Braid Letters for Creative Entrepreneurs | Email No. 8
EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HAVE THEIR SH*T TOGETHER BUT ME
from Kathleen Shannon
Kathleen here. One of the most complicated things about working for yourself is the abundance and potential of ideas (so many world-rocking ideas!!!) immediately followed by the overwhelming feelings that:
A) you should’ve figured it out already, and then
B) not knowing where to begin, quickly followed by
C) paralysis to act
If you’re anything like me you start surfing blogs and reading interviews and watching TED talks on creatives you admire and start feeling like everyone else has their sh*t together but you. The earth begins to rotate a little faster and your heart starts thumping a little louder and you get that knot in the back of your throat and fantasize about working an “easy” job - like at a makeup counter in the mall. You start feeling really unoriginal and as if you will never be able to create anything world-rocking. Ever.
Tara and I have found from our work with creative entrepreneurs that this end-of-the-world feeling is common. We have found that everyone feels as if they’re making it up and nobody feels like they totally have their sh*t together.
My recommendation to remedy this feeling is this: start creating content immediately.
Where do you begin?
1. First, figure out which ideas have spark for your big future vision but also make sense of those ideas within the trajectory of your past victories. Pick one idea to start executing on now. Our past, present, future exercise is a great way to identify the overlap of what you should focus on right now.
2. Then sort out and organize what you can share about this idea (your expertise and gifts of knowledge) against what you actually get paid to do when implementing this idea.
3. Get specific and make it real. If you’re trying to keep your idea appealing to anyone and everyone it’s going to fall flat. If you’re using words like “unique” or “quality” to describe your product or idea … stop. Those words say nothing about who you are and what you do. In fact we have a brand exercise called Two Creative Content Quick Fixes that can help you replace these overused or underwhelming words with ones that are more specific, special and actually fit what you do and what you sound like (in real life!)
4. Get hired. Tell your customers how to hire you and then get paid - this step is what takes you from having a dream to becoming an entrepreneur.
Kathleen Shannon | Braid Creative & Consulting
Braid Letters for Creative Entrepreneurs | Email No. 26
LET’S ALL JUST SIMMER DOWN
from Tara Street
Tara here, and I want to talk to creatives (especially creative entrepreneurs) a bit about simmering down. When I say simmer down I mean specifically when it comes to sharing you and selling what you do. I want you to look at the way you post, tweet, email, and even compose the brand copy on your website. And ask yourself this – is it all coming out like an exclamation?
Is everything you say a declaration of wonderfulness? Is that Facebook post really so “AMAZING!!?” Are you really “SO EXCITED!!?” to share every blog you compose. And when you have a first conversation, either via email or face-to-face with a person who’s maybe about to hire you, are you really going to be “DIFFERENT, AUTHENTIC, UNIQUE, INSPIRED, ALL-ABOUT-THEM,” not to mention “AFFORDABLE, FLEXIBLE,” while at the same time working that sparkling personality of yours and laughing your head off, “HA-HA-HA-HA!” (please hire me) “HA-HA-HA!?”
This ironically comes out of a rather excited conversation I was having with Kathleen just a few days ago, that turned it to soapbox moment, hands waving, and then checking ourselves, because we have to ask ourselves before hitting post or send "do I really talk like this?" When tempted to get all clever, cute and likable, I have to ask myself – how can I be more useful?
Some creatives have the opposite problem of being too inaccessible or territorial with their ideas, and that wall of cool creative mystique is a barrier between them and clients. So don't be chilly – but figure out your own (nice) way, to not smother people with likeability and excitability.
Of course you can still be excited, likeable – heck, lovable – in your posts, tweets, about me copy, blog posts and even in that first conversation with a person who might just be a perfect new client or collaborator. But when it comes to the moment where you want them to decide to actually hire you or not, that’s when it’s time to simmer down, stop using exclamation points, and just simply explain. (Note, “simply explaining” should not to be translated as over-explain, over-promise, or try to fit perfectly into every requirement they are looking for).
Are you giving people a chance to decide if they really need you? Are you giving them the space to formulate in their own head if you are a fit for them. Are you taking a breath and even letting yourself decide if they are a fit for you?
If you can remember to use your inside voice, as in, stop shouting so loud, stop smiling so big, stop using so many exclamation marks, and stop feeling like you have to do handstands just to get the attention, you will be way more likely to attract the very people you want to respect (and like) you the most.
Tara Street | Braid Creative & Consulting
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