Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Confessions of a Creative Entrepreneur

Warning! This post is going to be a little different.

I hope by now you don't get the mistake idea that I have all the answers.

While I'm doing the best to share what I've been learning about creativity and its relation to being an entrepreneur, I'll admit that I still struggle myself with not only learning these lessons but more importantly living them.

Over the years I've helped entrepreneurs and wannabe's with everything from simply getting started to taking their first baby steps to building teams and social media and even ultimately to selling their businesses.

The only rule is that there really are no rules - or let's put it another way. What works in one set of conditions won't necessarily work - even when everything seems the same.

As much as I believe in always doing what we can to learn from "failures," sometimes you just salvage what you can out of a situation and walk away with that box of stuff.

More recently, I've been experimenting with writing / blogging and posting on social media while testing online chats like Hangouts on Air and more recently Meerkat, Periscope and now Blab.im -

Why am I doing this? With the limited success of past launches I'm working to build a deeper relation with my audience - my 1000 True Fans.

Meanwhile, on the more "creative" side of the spectrum I'm working on some fiction and interactive media including a Twine game.

It's not easy to do these things while doing freelance work and earning whatever income I can to keep food on the table. Nope, sorry - no rich spinster playing sugar momma to this creative.

Recently, I've been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic where she shares how she did what she could to keep writing.

"I wrote my first book while I was a diner waitress. I wrote my second book while I was a diner waitress and a bartender. I wrote my third book while I was a bartender who also worked in a bookstore and who also worked as a journalist. When EAT PRAY LOVE (my fourth book) came out, I was still working at a flea market on weekends. If it wasn't for the bananas success of EAT PRAY LOVE, I would still be doing other jobs."

Gilbert implores us not to depend on our art to pay the bills - until it does.

In other words, as she puts it - “To yell at your creativity saying ‘You must earn money for me!’ is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”

So, while I'm saying that creative entrepreneurs need to play it safe - in fact, I've been thinking about the advice that Jim Carrey gave at that commencement speech. Like the best poker players make sure the odds are your in favor, but don't play with your rent money!

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Top Graduation Speeches for Creative Entrepreneurs

Nothing like graduation.. and in the commencement speech the mayor of your city confuses the name of your engineering college for that tech school. You know the one that airs those cheesy commercials in the middle of the day..

Yeah, to this day I don't remember anything else the mayor said but I still remember the collective groan and wave of cringes that echoed in that auditorium.

I don't know about you but these are the commencement speeches that I wish I had heard before going out into that big wide world after college..

First up, of course, is the one and only Steve Jobs addressing the Stanford graduating class of 2005 who shares his journey as a creative entrepreneur and how "you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back.."

Next is author / artist Neil Gaiman who I recently learned about from his relation to Amanda Palmer and got highlighted on Brain Pickings -

Last but not least is comedian Jim Carrey who shares the tragedy of his own father's dream that got left behind in choosing the safer route -

So, what I find the most inspiring is the advice that no one really knows anything, and you need to do what you can to practice your art - your craft. Most of all you have to be willing to fight for that right because no one else will do it for you.

Which commencement speeches have you found to be most inspiring for creative entrepreneurs? What do you wish someone had told you as you graduated?

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