BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.
16-Mar-2016
Play Pretend to Cultivate Confidence in Your Business | Braid Creative

Play Pretend to Cultivate Confidence

Tara here. Of all the creative entrepreneurs and aspiring-to-be’s my sister and business partner, Kathleen and I have worked with, at one point or another, almost all of them have expressed that they want to cultivate an attitude of confidence and fearlessness. Kathleen’s advice to them is this: Pretend as if you are a confident and fearless badass.

Of course she would just cut to the chase (and use the word “badass”) to help them keep moving toward what they really want. But our advice to help them embrace their ability to “do this thing!” is really not that different than the lens we use to help them brand themselves. We often hear a client telling us that they know the talent, the drive, the dream, the itch to do something that’s all their own, or just something a little new and scary—it’s in there, inside them somewhere, but they don’t quite 100% believe it yet, or they don’t quite think they’ve “arrived” there yet. Pretending “as if” is a great way to articulate that scary, vague, too-big-to-describe thing they want to do—and take action.

Kathleen wrote a great post on this subject not too long ago. I want to share it below. And just take a moment to acknowledge that it wasn’t too terribly long ago, we were jumping into our own vision and adventure together. We pretended “as if.” And then we just “were.” We still have to work, but we did it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Kathleen here. Playing pretend might sound like “fake it ’til you make it,” but it’s more like taking on the Method approach to acting. I only know what I know about Method acting from actors like Jared Leto who talk about never breaking character (even off set) when playing Oscar-worthy roles. Actors use Method tools and techniques to create authentic thoughts and feelings true to the role they’re playing. I think we can draw from the Method acting technique to harness the feelings we want to have in our creative work and life.

How to be a confident fearless badass

I mostly play pretend when I’m scared and trying something new—big or small. One of the first times I found playing pretend to be useful was when I was the lead art director on an NBA account. I knew nothing about basketball and I was a young designer. So I pretended as if I was a senior boy (my aesthetic was quite feminine at the time) designer at Nike working on a cool sporty campaign. And it worked. But sometimes I have to play pretend for the little things too. I mean, sometimes I have to play pretend that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t get anxiety when meeting a new friend over coffee.

Today I invite you to pretend.
Pretend as if you got enough sleep.
Pretend that talking money with clients doesn’t make you break out in hives.
Pretend like you’re the most badass designer / writer / photographer out there.
Pretend as if you’re the kind of person who always makes the healthy choice.
Pretend you’re Beyonce. Or even Mister Rogers.

Pretend as if … Because then you are. (click to tweet)

 how to behave with confidence

But if playing pretend doesn’t work for you, I’ve got another “fake it ’til you make it” way of thinking about it: behave as if you’re a confident badass. So don’t worry about your attitude or mindset. You can still feel insecure, confused, or scared but still behave like someone who has their shit together. Stand up straight, initiate eye contact, have a firm handshake, and hit publish.

Behave with confidence and confidence will find you. (click to tweet)

Or let’s say you want to be a writer, but you’re not feeling inspired. Then behave as if you’re an inspired writer. Sit down and write 1,000 words. Even if they’re really awful words. Behave as if you’re a writer and the inspiration will follow.

Or maybe you want to be happy but are finding yourself in a foul mood. Behave as if you’re happy—put on a smile and give someone a compliment. Behave as if you’re happy and happiness will find you.

Perhaps you want to be more fit but are feeling like a couch potato. Behave like an athlete. Take your vitamins, lace up your sneakers, and go outside. Behave like a healthy person and soon enough you will be healthy.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you like this post you might like our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love—in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

Or check out our Braid Method Branding Ecourse if you need to find a little confidence in defining what do you do, who you serve, and how you share it with your audience.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

SHARE THIS +


How to Narrow in and Claim Your Creative Focus | Braid Creative

Claim your creative focus | Braid Creative & Consulting

In our last blog post, we wrote about why and when you should be narrowing in and getting specific about what you want to be known for. Easier said than done, right? We've talked enough about narrowing in on your creative focus that we think you understand that it's an important thing to do in your business, but understand that something is important and actually doing it?—well that's where it gets a little tricky.

We shared a lot of WHY’s to narrow in and find what you want to be known for, let’s talk about some HOWs:
In our Braid Method Branding Ecourse, we talk about HOW to really narrow in and claim your creative expertise:

1. Diffusion & Confusion Culprits:

If you are good at “all the things,” and you’re having trouble deciding where to focus:
- List out all the ideas in your head that are making you feel scattered and causing diffusion of your own focus. See which ones you can put on the backburner for now.
- List out the different ways you’re describing or not clearly describing what you actually do that’s causing confusion for potential clients. See if you can get the five different bullets you’re using to describe what you do down to even two or three.

2. What Do You Want to Be Doing All Day?:

If the diffusion and confusion lists still have you feeling uncertain or overwhelmed or not willing to “let go” of some of the wider services you provide or wider pool of people you provide them for, ask yourself this “What do you want to be doing all day?” “Who do you want to be doing it for?”

What do you want to be doing all day? Who do you want to help? | Braid Creative & Consulting

3. Fill out Your Gift Tag:

This is one of the most challenging exercises we give our clients. But if you’ve done steps 1 & 2, give it a try. It’s a super-short version of some of the longer scripts we give creatives to help them better articulate their business and their brand. But that’s why it’s hard, because it is so short! We call it a gift tag because it’s the label on your package! It tells people what to expect before they open it & reminds you what it is you have to give!

Fill Out Your Gift Tag:
How to _____ [ advice, know-how, inspiration you share ]
From a _____ [ what you want to be known for! what you do + a little bit about you]
To a _______ [ dream client like you! ]
*Another similar version of this exercise that might be a little easier, is If You Wrote a How-To Book, what would the title be? The chapters? What would people “get” from your chapters? Which section of the book store would it be in? How would your personality or personal story show up among all the good tips, advice or inspiration you are sharing?

DOWNLOAD: WRITE A BOOK WORKSHEET

What would be the chapter titles in your how-to book? | Braid Creative & Consulting

4. Your Process i.e. The Steps You Always Take

Guess what? If you tried out the If You Wrote a Book exercise, you may have just framed out your creative process (the ingredients or steps you take every time when working with a client) and you didn’t even know it! Defining your Creative Process is like Owning Your Expertise 2.0. You’ve put the intention out there to narrow in, get specialized and get known for doing this very specific service. But if you can really build a framework for HOW you do it, and stick to those steps every time, it’s like every time you work with a client you are sharpening your expertise, building your confidence, giving them even more benefit of your knowledge and specialization! It’s a win-win for any creative working for themselves (and their client!) who wants to craft a business of their own making instead of feeling like a helper for hire.

If you can believe it, we get even more specific (ha! see what I did there?) about defining your creative expertise and narrowing in on your specialty in our Braid Method Branding Ecourse. So if you found this post helpful, make sure to opt in to the full ecourse!

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

SHARE THIS +


What You Want to Be Know For | Creative Entrepreneur | Braid Creative

Define your creative expertise

Creatives are multi-talented! Many of us have the entrepreneurial spirit! Some of us are a little more introverted, but still making it happen (Tara here, and that’s me!). But all of us who are creating fulfilling business for ourselves can feel stuck when it comes down to the “figuring out” part! Especially when we can do so many things, have so many quirks and passions, could package up many different services from what we’re able to do, and potentially work with so many different kinds of dream clients!

It can be hard narrowing in on what it is you want to be KNOWN for when you’re first starting out. (click to tweet)

Narrow in on what you want to be known for

But this can be an issue for so many of us even when (especially when!) we’re transitioning into the “next level” of our biz. Here’s what keeps us from owning that very specific creative expertise:

1. We’re scared of not attracting enough business by claiming one specialty.
2. We’re unsure if we have a creative expertise in the first place.

You would think “not enough business” is the main deterrent because it’s linked to money, but you’d be surprised. I think more of us have faith in the idea that “the money will come, I will survive” than we do “I know what my specialty is, and what I really can deliver in a very specific way for people.”

Many of us trust ‘the money will come.’ But so few of us trust that we really have a creative expertise we can really claim and own.

Examples of getting narrow with your specialty & starting to really own your expertise:
- graphic designer to digital designer for food & lifestyle bloggers
- life coach to family coach for kids & parents
- caterer to natural food parties & outdoor events
- interior designer to marketing consultant for other interior designers

So as you read through some of those examples, you may have been thinking in your head what your specialty might be. It’s a tough one. But one thing to really consider, especially if this topic is a challenge for you, is thinking about narrowing in in terms of the life stage of your work and business. For those of you who like to have linear goals (okay like me) think of it like a timeline.

If figuring out what you want to narrow in on is giving you fits, take a pause, and think more about the life stage of your work and your business.

creative entrepreneur stages of business

JUST STARTING OUT:
If you’re just starting out, a good way to develop a specialty is to actually try to get how you work and what you offer more defined and watch the patterns emerge. You’ll also want to get more narrow with who your dream client it—the two should narrow together.

This is the part where a lot of creatives struggle because they feel that by narrowing in on what they’re doing, they’re saying no to clients who might want to pay them, but don’t fit their defined specialty. So forgive yourself for being a little broad at first, this is the time for experimentation.

But keep your eye on the prize. I’d say within one year, refresh and reframe your “specialty.” See if you can get even more narrow.

ONE to TWO YEARS IN:
This is a good time to really consider experimenting with getting more super-specific about your specialty, here’s why:

People are still going to try to hire you for the broader stuff you’ve been doing; it’s not going to just “dry up” because you are getting more specialized. But now you can break your rule when you want to, if you want to (we ourselves have had plenty of instances where someone came to us who wasn’t an “ideal client,” but the project sounded fun, so we decided to do it. And that’s okay too!).

The reason to narrow in at this point is because you can really focus in on what you are best at. That way, you aren’t spreading yourself too thin, or burning yourself out. You can have a lot of control over the offering you’re providing and definitely start moving out of order-taker role into guiding role.

This is also a good time to think about how you share your expertise that’s coming out of these patterns you’re seeing, which if you’ve been sharing any sort of content at all, you’ve already most likely been doing, but you can really focus on shaping the content that you’re sharing to assume more of that “teacher” role.

TWO to FOUR YEARS
This may still be a phase where you’re narrow in even more, based on all the points I shared before, but if you have already narrowed in, by now, you’ve gotten pretty good at breaking your rules when you need to, and sticking with them when you need to as well.

So now might be a time where you start experimenting. Can you get even more narrow with a specific product—a knowledge-sharing product, for example?

Can you get even more specific by telling your dream client exactly who they are? “I’m for _____.”

Do you have a way of doing what you do (a method, if you will) that’s the same every time so you’re really sharpening your approach and your deliverable for people?

BEYOND the 5 even 10 YEAR MARK… WHAT’S NEXT?:
Here’s what we’ve learned from our creative entrepreneur clients who are at this mark:

If they have been super narrow in one area, they may be ready to now widen back out.
For example: I want to go from being a life coach to a lifestyle brand.

OR

They really want to shift from 1:1 work to 1:to:Many work.
For example: I want to go from being a brand designer for small businesses to being an advocate for small local businesses as a speaker/author/consultant for “how to start your own small biz.”

This is the time when you have a little freedom to experiment! This is also a stage where you might let some of those other distractions, ideas or opportunities that may have tugged you off track before, actually be something you dabble in.

But! if you’re switching your specialty altogether like “I’m going from being in corporate sales to being an interior designer,” you can feel like you’re back to the one-to-two year mark. And with your branding and positioning your creative expertise, as well as practicing and gaining confidence in that role and biz...you are, you are starting over. But! you probably will move through this timeline of feeling like a specialist pretty quickly – heck even if you’re just starting out, you may move through this timeline quicker than I’ve described – but I’m the conservative one of this Braid team, so take it with a grain of salt! But also with a grain of permission that you don’t have to know right this second what your expertise is. You just need to not be afraid of it, and keep moving toward it.


If this post was helpful for you, then we know you're love our Braid Method Branding Ecourse. Here, we dig into some exercises to help you figure out what you want to be known for and what you can claim as your expertise. Ecourse students also get access to quarterly masterclasses where we dig in with even more detail to unpack some of these lessons and get specific with what you might be struggling with. You can sign up for the ecourse here.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

SHARE THIS +


THE BRAID BLOG from TARA AND KATHLEEN
Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for getting clear about your vision and voice, sharing content that attracts your dream client, and creating the brand positioning you want to be known for.

Learn more about how to work with Braid here >

RECENT POSTS
CATEGORIES

VIEW ALL BLOG ARCHIVES >

 


 

blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

LETTERS for CREATIVES

Want more? Sign up for our exclusive weekly email letters from us, Kathleen and Tara, for insights and advice from our own personal and professional overlap – as sisters, business owners, content sharers, and creative entrepreneurs.

Thank you for signing up for our Braid Letters. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox and in the meantime like us on Facebook.

 


 

BEING BOSS PODCAST

Listen to the Being Boss podcast with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson for candid stories, insights and tips on how to be boss in work and life.

© Braid Creative and Consulting
Website Development by Indie Shopography