BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.

Kathleen here. Here at Braid Creative we talk a lot about creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who are paving their own path to live what they love. But get this – a majority of our creative coaching clients have day jobs. Most of them hire us for the confidence and clarity that comes from our coaching and consulting to quit. We regularly get emails from those former clients who share with us that they’ve finally decided to make the leap from day job to do their own thing (!!!!!) – those emails usually include lots of exclamation marks – and we’re always so happy (!!!!!) for them. All of that said, and as supportive as we are, we never actually tell anyone to quit their day job.

In fact, day jobs can be ideal for lots of creatives. While working nine-to-five (and then some) doesn’t give you a lot of time, it can offer the kind of security that allows you to build up a portfolio of dream projects on the side. With a day job you can afford to be picky about the extra stuff you take on. And on that note, when you work for yourself sometimes you get desperate for clients (even not-so-dreamy clients) with cash – and nothing kills creativity like desperation and clients from hell. Day jobs also give you access to teams, resources, and rad customers that you may not have when you work solo. And just because you work a day job doesn’t mean you can’t also rock the entrepreneurial spirit by embracing your own personal brand and razor sharp point-of-view within the walls of an organization that also happens to offer you a steady paycheck.

Late last year I coached a UX (user experience) designer who had big passion for projects much larger than herself, but she was also attached to the idea of working solo (I mean, that’s The Dream, right?). I challenged her assumption that working for yourself is the only path to living what you love and asked her why she wanted to freelance rather than work on a team. After sitting on that question for a while she realized the work she was best at – designing complex user interfaces – didn’t lend itself to working alone. She finally found the confidence, through coaching and additional UX training, to submit her resume and portfolio to a digital advertising startup company. She was hired and recently followed up by sharing this with me: “They are paying me a really great salary (about $30K MORE than my last full time job), full benefits, 401K, and stock options. More than that I feel appreciated, challenged and excited about my career—all feelings that were completely absent from my freelance life.”



It turns out her day job very well may be her dream job! If I was still coaching this client today I would ask her the following questions: 
• What does your ideal day look like? How does your day job fit into the picture? Are there any disconnects you could tweak AT your day job to make it even more dreamy? 
• In what ways can you cultivate your own personal brand at your day job? In other words, how do you consistently show up for your co-workers? What can they expect from you every time?  
•  Any passion projects you want to pursue on the side? Perhaps you maintain a personal blog or are obsessed with hand-lettering. Consider how these might inform the work you do at your day job. Or maybe these are creative endeavors you keep just for you. 

Now, I realize not every nine-to-five is quite so dreamy. So this week in our Letters for Creatives (our exclusive newsletter sent straight to your inbox) I’m going to be talking about when to quit and sharing my own story about how I decided to make the leap from senior art director at a cool ad agency to being my own boss for the first time ever. If you don’t already receive these free emails then sign up here. 

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P.S. If you feel like you need a little creative coaching for loads of confidence and clarity check out our DIY Coaching for Creative email series. It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox and you can sign up anytime. Or contact us for more information on how we can work together one-on-one. 


P.P.S. Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching is in-session this week but our next ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You is now open for registration and will be in-session July 18 - 27. Learn more and register here. 

photo via Unsplash


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As creative entrepreneurs we’re faced with some pretty weighty decision-making to-do’s on a daily basis. In a single day at Braid Creative we’re responsible for making decisions on how we run our business, from the content we’re sharing to the processes we’re implementing. But in that same single day we’re also helping our clients make big decisions around their own brand and business vision, too. The thing is, decision-making is a resource you have to exercise to get good at – otherwise you may find yourself paralyzed and wanting to stay in bed all day. 

Kathleen here. I’m really good at making decisions. I’m never paralyzed by options and I’m never afraid I might be headed down the wrong path as a result of a decision I made. It’s a skill I took for granted, or simply overlooked, until I started a business with my sister. When I found that we were having to make decisions that seemed to stress her out (she has a beautiful mind that seems to think in layers that weigh all the possible variables and outcomes at once) I was finding no problem in saying “let’s do this.” And then we’d do it, make some money, and everything was fine. Or we’d do it, it would be a total failure, and we’d move on quickly – either way, everything was still fine. Failure or success, either way, we were moving through all the planning, launching, and growing of a business with speed and grace. 

So in this moment, of this single day at Braid, I want to share with you a few ways to exercise and leverage your decision-making power – from the super practical to a bit more conceptual: 

EAT AND SLEEP WELL
Eating well and being well-rested is the easiest and most effective way to become a better decision-maker. Since being sleep-deprived (ah, life with a 4 month old) I’m now realizing how key sleep is to making decisions. Get your eight hours in every night and I promise you’ll be better equipped for weighing pros and cons on the fly during the day. You’ll be twice as efficient in half the time if you’re getting good sleep. 

And then there is food. Food is fuel not only for your body but for your brain. Since eating a mostly Paleo diet (that means veggies, fish, eggs, and lots of good fats – no sugar, grains, soy, or legumes) I’ve had more sustained energy throughout my day, not to mention some skin that rivals a glittery Twilight vampire during those rare sunny days (guilty pleasure right there). If you’re interested in eating more Paleo I recommend checking out our friends at Whole9 and their NYTimes bestseller It Starts With Food. I also like Michael Pollan's book Food Rules for a more simplified and holistic approach to eating well. 

MEDITATE
I’m currently reading Ariana Huffington’s Thrive and it’s inspired me to really get serious about my meditation practice. Even just two minutes a day can do wonders for your psyche and decision-making abilities. And meditation doesn’t have to be another task on your to-do list – here are some more ideas on how to incorporate living mindfully into your already busy day.

EXERCISE
Some of my best ideas happen when I'm lifting heavy weights at the gym or on a long afternoon walk. Even just now, as I am writing this post, my sister went for a quick walk around the block to clear her head before going into a client meeting where she knows she’s going to have to be on point with recommendations and on-the-fly advice. 

READ MEMOIRS
It's nothing short of inspiring to read about how other people have forged their path and seeing the successes, failures, and decisions they made along the way. Reading memoirs is a great reminder that we're all human and we all have the same 24 hours in a day to write our own life’s narrative. I prefer reading memoirs over blogs when I find myself getting caught in the comparison trap. Memoirs tend to share the whole picture, with equal weight on the ups and downs, versus the Pinterest-worthy highlight real that the blogosphere is so well known for. 

CHECK IN WITH YOUR GUT
Ditch the list of pros and cons, get out of your head, and check in with your gut. Let intuition lead the way from time to time. It's usually never wrong. This week in our Letters for Creatives – an exclusive email straight to your inbox – I'll be sharing a few examples of how and when I've used intuition to make little and big decisions for my work and life. Sign up to get that letter here.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
When you know what you want it's easy to make decisions that will lead you to the end goal. If you're not sure what you want, then get curious. Daydream about the kind of life you want to live. Get specific. Map out your ideal day. If you still need more help pinpointing the kind of life you want to live check out my DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. 

In closing I want to share one more secret when it comes to making decisions: any decision is going to move you forward if you take action on it. Ditch the notion of right and wrong and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don't wait for confidence and courage to come knocking on your door first – you only find those guys along the way. 

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Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching is the next to be in session! This ECourse helps creative entrepreneurs figure out how to work with / sell to the people they like, the people that pay, and the people they can actually have the most impact for. It will be in-session from June 20 - 29th. Learn more and register here.

Or check out our DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.

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We work with a lot of creative entrepreneurs who see the value in blogging, but not every creative likes to write. These “I-hate-writing” creatives can get pretty conflicted about this truth about themselves, and it’s not unusual for us to be working with a creative client who will matter-of-factly, but clearly uninspired about it, say “well... I guess I need a blog,” because they do recognize how blog content can help shape and share their expertise, which in turn boosts their business and bottom line. In fact, that’s what our ECourse Shape Up Your Content is all about (it’s in-session right now, but will be back around in a few months if you missed it this time). 

Kathleen here. I believe blogging is one of the most powerful tools for not only shaping your life but also exploring your expertise, and connecting with your tribe. I would not have been able to quit my day job (and convince Tara to quit hers) if it hadn’t been for what started as a little blog about my life. So yeah, I’m pretty passionate about blogging. However, if you don’t like to write, you’re going to muster up all sort of low vibrating emotions such as guilt and anxiety over the self-imposed feelings that you should be blogging – especially when you see all of your peers hitting publish like it’s no big deal on the daily. Nothing kills creativity like bad vibes. And bad vibes are never good for business.

DON’T BLOG IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO WRITE 
There are alternatives to blogging when it comes to generating content that helps you find your focus, narrow in on your niche, and cultivate community. Look at other online platforms you can rock like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn, just to name a few. Where are you already hanging out? For example, if you already have 1,000 Facebook friends but feel like you need a formal blog to share your content you are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect where you already are. 



TRY MICROBLOGGING 
With a newborn baby I haven’t had as much time to post to my personal blog as I used to. So instead of just posting an image to my Instagram. I’ll actually write a couple sentences to share what I’m up to or what’s on my mind. I’ll even ask questions and engage my Instagram followers for conversation in the same way I do on my blog. This is an example of microblogging. It’s a super low-pressure way of connecting with your tribe in a very little amount of time. You could even use Tumblr or Pinterest as a microblog by writing more meaningful captions on inspiration you’re collecting rather than leaving it blank. 

REDEFINE WHAT BLOGGING LOOKS LIKE FOR YOU
One of the reasons you might be hesitant to blog is because you’ve put external expectations on what blogging looks like. For example, you might think a blog has to be super wordy and published every day. But you don’t necessarily have to be a prolific writer to have a blog. You could just post photo-essays that share behind-the-scenes glimpses of what you’re working on once a month. Or you could record an iPhone video blog (also known as vlog) once a week – (I love how Gabrielle Berstein does this). Or maybe hosting a podcast is more your style – your blog can simply share the show notes that redirect your reader to your podcast. There are so many opportunities for what blogging can look like for you – don’t limit yourself with what other people are doing.



“I DO WANT TO WRITE, I’M JUST TOO BUSY / UNINSPIRED / TIRED / ETC.” 
I hear this a lot with my one-on-one creative coaching clients. Writers who really do want to blog but have about a million excuses why they shouldn’t. If you’re making an excuse you either A) really don’t want to blog or B) you’re not being professional. And both of those things are okay, just recognize them for what they are and move on. My advice here to you would still be to just not write and stop beating yourself up about it. Spend your energy making something else. But if you’re a glutton for punishment how about you just force yourself to write for 10 minutes a day every day for a week? Block off time on your calendar, set alarms on your phone, shut down your email and close all distractions – start writing and hit publish. 

You might also like these Braid posts: 
• GAAAHHH! Don’t Make Me Write
• My So-Called Social Media
• Capture, Shape, and Share with Instagram


Our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do shares a lot more how to when it comes to being who you are on your blog – both professionally and personally. This is by far our most popular Braid ECourse and it will be in-session from May 16-25th. Learn more and register here. 


Or check out our DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks. 

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Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for creatives.

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