When I first quit my nine-to-five job in advertising to strike out on my own as a freelance graphic designer, my number one priority was being able to pay the bills working for myself. I had this grand fantasy of tending to my veggie garden in the middle of the day and designing work that would spread across Pinterest like wildfire. That fantasy quickly became a reality, but I still didn’t feel fulfilled or satisfied. I felt somewhat scattered and aimless. I lacked purpose until I started a blog series called Freelance Matters – I openly shared my insecurities and victories as well as very specific tips on everything from managing client relationships to creating an effective to-do list. I found that by putting it all out there I was attracting my tribe – other creative entrepreneurs. They were asking me for advice, sharing their experiences and even hiring me to help them.
A year later Tara quit her job as an executive VP creative director to join forces with me. When we first started Braid Creative we had a couple of specific goals in mind. Those goals were as follows:
Tara brought a sense of maturity and method to my bold vision for our little business. Over the next year we had our fair share of paying dues and putting in late nights but I made more money than ever before. I explored Eastern Europe for three weeks while Tara went on beachy pontoon adventures with her family. And most importantly, we understood the value of becoming experts by exclusively working with our dream customer – the creative entrepreneur. We even managed to hire two full-time employees to help us execute and grow our put-it-all-out-there vision. Together we grew into our roles of business women and made Braid Creative itself our own number one client.
Every few months I get all riled up and set a fire under my own ass to be more, do more, help more and make more. It’s during these times that I get this idea that we need a formal business coach. Okay, so yes, we ourselves coach business visioning of course, through a creative entrepreneurship lens. And we’re no stranger to the work/life clarity that comes from being coached from a life/executive coach. But I mean a coach of the financial planning variety – to help us get clear on exactly what we need to be doing to be more, do more, help more and make more. But I’d always conjure up this image of a slick silver fox in a suit who wouldn’t “get” us or understand our bold vision in this new way of working.
And then I found Tara Gentile. I bought her eBook The Art of Earning and finally felt like someone understood exactly how I felt about money. In fact, I had been thinking about writing my own eBook for creatives called “Everything I Know About Money for Creative Entrepreneurs” but the book had already been written, with much more eloquence, by Gentile. The Art of Earning is perfect for creatives who feel icky talking about money. It will turn your perspective upside down and help you see money not as a necessary evil but as a flow of energy and catalyst for productivity. I wish I had read this book years ago.
I finished The Art of Earning just in time for Gentile’s release of her new eBook The Art of Growth. This eBook has helped me put concise words (and actions) to the forward movement I’ve intuitively started planning for Braid. The Art of Growth gave me the focus, confidence and validation I needed to well … grow. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect as we move into 2013. We busted our asses in our first year of business to hammer out our method, deepen our expertise and get razor-sharp with our point-of-view for one-on-one work with creative entrepreneurs from all over the world. Now we’re ready for more reach and meaningful impact with blog posts, Braid ECourses, and Braid Workshops (coming this Spring), along with new training and expanded offerings that dig deeper into addressing the work / life issues that creative entrepreneurs face.
Gentile, like us, believes that your Most Valued Customer (what we call Dream Customer) has a profound role in not only receiving value from your business but actually creates value for your business. This is achieved by honing in on your purpose and your expertise. Gentile reinforces the idea that by deepening our expertise and refining our method we’re not always having to reinvent the wheel. With that we can better leverage our business by producing maximum impact without all the sweat, blood and tears that often come with launching a new business or product. This brings us back to our initial goal of time to live our lives (you know... those 30 hour work weeks and 8 weeks of vacation).
In closing, if you’re an aspiring creative entrepreneur read The Art of Earning. And if you’re ready to take it to the next level read The Art of Growth. Then let’s have a serious chat, complete with throat-burning whiskey and cigars, about how we’re going to take over the world with this bold way of doing business in a new economy – what Gentile calls the You Economy.
Disclaimer: We thought we’d try something new here. Our links to The Art of Earning and The Art of Growth are affiliate links. That means we receive 50% commission when you buy these books by clicking through from our blog post. We still wholeheartedly endorse the products we review but thought it would be a cool (and maybe profitable) way to let Tara Gentile know that Braid readers support her work too by participating in her affiliate program.