Today I want to chat a little bit about the fear of commitment – especially for you aspiring creative entrepreneurs who maybe haven’t quite made the leap from the day job to your dream job. That leap can feel graceful or it can be sloppy and end with a twisted ankle – I believe one’s ability to commit is a contributing factor in what that leap looks like.
Have you ever seen the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall? If not, it’s great. Check it out. There is this scene where Jason Segel (one of my celebrity crushes since Freaks & Geeks days) is trying to build up his nerve to jump off this cliff into the Pacific Ocean. He finally just mans-up and makes a running jump – but mid-leap changes his mind. So in his airborne hesitation he sorta ends up clinging to the tropical cliffside vegetation, and really has no way back up, and no way back down, without some serious rock-scraping and possible skull-cracking. If he would have committed to the jump he would be in the water having the time of his life rather than clumsily clinging to the edge of a cliff.
Kathleen here. Last week I shared about the question creatives trying to do-it-all should ask before they say “yes,” and that’s “why am I doing this?” But once you decide why, and the leap is there in front of you – how do you stop from making a cliff-jumping blunder by second guessing yourself?
Your leap may not be so dramatic as a scene from a romantic comedy, but sometimes just taking even a few steps toward a new idea or dream can become a one-step forward, two-steps back scenario for creatives making a decision.
I can always pinpoint a commitment phobic creative by taking note of the following symptoms:
1. You hoard blank notebooks. You might be a commitment-phobe if you buy really special notebooks for dreaming, scheming, and grand planning but the first page intimidates you and that beautiful leather Moleskine remains blank for years.
Try this: Put pen to paper. Listen, just because you brainstorm some ideas and actually write it down does not mean you’re married to it. There is a magical mind/body connection that happens when you go through the process of writing and sketching that will get your gears turning in a new way.
2. “Now, what exactly do you do?” If you’re using vague language or describe yourself as a “jane of all trades” you might be afraid of committing to building a successful creative business that draws a sustainable income.
Try this: With that pen and paper write down all the things you can or want to do in your creative business. Now cross out the ones that you haven’t actually been paid for in 6 months. Great. Now you might have a shorter list – cross out half of it. That’s right. Now what’s left? If you have more than two or three items on your list I want you to circle the top two services, skills, or products that excite you or draw the most income. From there I want you to update your website to be more specific and describe how you can be hired for just these two things. Then consider making the rest hobbies.
3. You have a website for every business idea you’ve ever had. Or even if your business website and portfolio are separate from your blog you might be afraid of committing to being who you are in business. And we believe that only when you blend the personal with the professional that’s when real connections and dream jobs are made.
Try this: If you’re not ready to combine or ditch some of your sites try bringing just a little bit of business into your personal blog. Tell your readers what a day in the life is like for you. Or maybe share the behind-the-scenes of a project you’ve been working on. Then go to your creative business site and read all the words on it out loud. Does it sound like you? Or does it sound like a robot wrote it? Update by injecting just a few words you actually use in real life onto your site.
4. You have a profile for every social media platform ever. But you’re spread thin and aren’t really engaging with any of them.
Try this: Pick one social media platform that is your favorite. Spend just 30 minutes a day there for 2 weeks. Add (or delete) friends, interact with them, and start conversations. Social media is often a frivolous after-thought but it’s crucial to any successful creative business.
I’d like to close this post by saying that fear and excitement feel very similar in the body. There is sort of a liberation in committing. What feels yuck is indecisiveness. Because honestly, the problem isn’t actually making the wrong choice. Usually, the right answer could be any of the choices, but it’s the act of deciding and doing – that makes it actually feel that way.
When do you feel most indecisive as a creative professional? Tell us on Facebook.
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If you’re interested in some work/life guidance try our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions - insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.
Our next Braid ECourse, Dream Customer Catching: Embracing Your Expertise and Attracting What You Track will be in session from March 21st - 30th. Learn more and register for this $75 ECourse here.
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Hi friends. Today I want to chat about how overwhelming it can be to be a creative with a ton of ideas and not enough time or resources to execute all of them. It can be confusing to make sense of how all your creative passions fit together. And when you try to do, be, and offer All Of The Creative Things You’re Good At you run the risk of confusing your customers, diffusing your expertise, and worst of all becoming burnt out, spread thin, and/or paralyzed by potential.
You all know we preach narrowing in on your niche and embracing your pointy point-of-view. But today I want to chat a little bit about how to diversify and expand your creative business without detracting from your core genius or diffusing your income-drawing focus.
Kathleen here. You see, I’m the kind of creative who is always chasing the high of trying, doing, becoming, transforming, and creating something new. It would be really easy for me to get scattered if I didn’t constantly ask myself one very important question:
Why am I doing this?
This question always allows me to examine my purpose. When I ask “why” I’m able to get clear about my intentions. So with that, I’ve found that my answer to “why?” should fit into three categories:
Why am I doing this? When my answers fit into one of these three categories, I know I’m doing it for the right reasons:
1. To better serve my dream customer
For example, one time I decided to put on a workshop and while it was successful it didn’t make my soul sing. If I had asked myself “why” beforehand I would’ve discovered that I wasn’t doing it to better serve my dream customer, but instead I was doing it because that’s what all the other cool kids were doing.
2. To deepen my expertise with a new skill or tool
When I decided to get life coach training with Martha Beck I knew it would contribute to my purpose in helping creatives live what they love. But let’s say you’re a web developer interested in learning photography – don’t quit coding to become a photographer. Instead try to find a way to use photography to supplement your existing offerings.
3. Because I really want to
Sometimes just really wanting to do something, without regard for business vision or even life purpose is enough. Do what you want and if it finds a way into income-generation, great. If it doesn’t put food on your table but feeds your soul, that’s cool too.
So before you decide to say yes to one of your many creative ideas, or even yes to someone else's request of your creative time and energy, ask yourself "why am I doing this?"
It's hard to pause and remember this when it's all go-go-go. Usually we only consider this question after we are neck-deep in, and those creative ideas, energy and time seems to be quickly drying up. So think of it as creative self-preservation. I challenge you (and me) to ask "why" of ourselves earlier and more often.
How often do you really stop, as a creative-doing-it-all, and ask “why” of yourself, before you say “yes” to someone else? Tell us on Facebook.
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If you’d like more ideas on how to expand while still embracing your core genius, check out our next Braid ECourse, Dream Customer Catching: Embracing Your Expertise and Attracting What You Track. This $75 will be in session from March 21st - 30th. Learn more and register here.
Or if you’re interested in visioning for what you’d like your work and life rules to feel like try our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions - guidance delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.
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When I help creatives with their copy (i.e. the words they’ve written about themselves or what they do) I sometimes feel like an old-timey newspaper editor – okay, let me clarify, an old-timey newspaper editor in a Superman movie. “Don’t hide the hook in the fourth paragraph! Why isn’t this on the front page?! That’s the thing. You’re burying the headline!”
Think about it. If a paperboy was screaming out “extra, extra read all about it” while tossing out a stack of the early morning edition of “the-story-of-you” onto an early morning curb (okay, yes, still movieland here), when the closeup reveals the all caps bold headline, shouting out this declaration of you and what you do – what would it say?
Are you being too discreet? Too humble? Probably not, oh you crazy bold creative, you. Most likely you just have trouble seeing what the most nuanced, or interesting, or refreshing, or necessary aspect of your story really is – and you’re treating it like the punchline, an aside, a backstory or a pull-quote, when really, it’s the magic. Are you burying your own headline?
Tara here, and I just got back from a one day Oxygen Series workshop for women with life coach, Jay Pryor. He is my first life coach, and so in my mind, the standard for life coaches. He really tells it to you like it is and holds you accountable.
My favorite thing about Jay is he puts people (often creatives, too) “on the hook” to be accountable to their vision and actions, as in “you are on the hook for doing this one thing by the next time we meet.” Whereas I like to find someone’s hook, as in, “hmmmm, what is the most interesting and condensed version of your personality or talents, but super-concentrated?”
In other words, I like to pull “headlines” out of people.
Now, I catch myself unintentionally burying my own headlines all the time. Sometimes because I’m afraid they’re trite, or I take them for granted. But one of my big ones that usually rises to the top, is that I’m a storyteller, and I’m able to use my creative ability to make visions real for people. I can turn ideas that feel vague, or misty, or nebulous – into real concepts, scenarios – and yeah, headlines.
Here are some headlines we’ve written lately for other creatives:
– “My purpose is to make the solopreneur revolution even louder.”
From a writer who realized writing was just a tool for helping solopreneurs like her succeed in business, not just being a successful solopreneur.
– “It’s not a costume, it’s wearing my heart and my style, on my sleeve.”
From a vintage clothing designer/blogger who wanted to create a business out of this vision.
– “I love teaching people as much as feeding them, it’s just a different kind of nourishment.”
From a plant-based chef who wants to bring a new way of cooking to a market where this approach to food and entertaining isn’t the norm, but is a need and a desire all the same.
– “I surprise clients with a new prairie approach to designing outdoor spaces that connect people to nature in their daily lives.”
From a urban prairie landscape designer who wants to create multi-use outdoor spaces with only indigenous (local) plants.
– “I help other coaches launch their programs and their confidence, through the roof.”
From a business coach who wants to "help the helpers" design the work and life that takes them to the next level.
When I see headlines rise to the top for creative entrepreneurs, it’s typically after being buried in the chatter of uncertainty, or still feeling like they hadn’t quite proven it, or the chatter of having so many ideas, they forget the crux of what makes them special.
The funny thing is, I didn’t actually write these headlines for these women. These are all things they said out loud or wrote in their own words, but never thought of them as headlines. They thought of them as… support copy.
Now, these headlines are imprinted in their hearts and minds. They punctuate their conversations, their website copy, their emails, and the way they talk about themselves.
So, I challenge you to look at how you’re talking about your business or your creative path, to ask “am I burying the headline?” If the answer is yes, can you start bringing the thing that you truly are best at (or truly want to be doing) to the forefront of your conversations – and your copy?
I tend to lean towards peppering in these headlines, these new daring ways of thinking about ourselves, into our content – over time. But for some of you, uncovering these gems of clarity can be such an abrupt feeling, you want to shout “stop the presses!” and start changing everything you write and say as soon as possible.
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Our next Braid Ecourse, Dream Customer Catching: Embracing Your Expertise and Attracting What You Track will be in session from March 21st - 30th. This $75 complete-at-your-own-pace ECourse is chock-full of content, worksheets, and videos. Learn more and register here.
Or check out our $40 DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. You can sign up to receive work / life guidance straight to your inbox anytime!
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