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How I Fell in Love with Business in a Pumpkin Patch (And Made $20 an Hour at Age 12)

How I fell in love with business I love fall!  Cooler temps, fall colors, hot drinks, and warm boots! This year was a fun first for our little family.  Our daughter turned three recently and we met up with family friends to take the kids to a pumpkin patch.  Why am I writing about a pumpkin patch on a business blog?  A pumpkin patch was where I fell in love with business and started my journey of being a creative entrepreneur.  So today in honor of my daughter’s sparkling eyes picking out her first pumpkin, I want to give you glimpse into the beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur. (more…)

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What is Your Business Kryptonite? 3 Ways to Overcome Your Biggest Weakness

creative-business-kryptonite

Last week we talked about your business superpowers.  Check it out here!

Today I want to talk to you about a subject that may not be quite as fun but is just as important!  Your strengths will help you attain success in business, but understanding and responding to your weaknesses is what will determine if you can maintain your success. (more…)

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You Are a Superhero: 3 Steps to Discover and Embrace Your Business Superpower!

creative-business-superhero

When I was little I used to imagine that I had superpowers.  I’d daydream that I could fly.  As I sat at a window seat on my airplane ride and watched my city grow smaller and smaller I was fascinated by how the streets were laid out and how simple everything looked when you could see the entire image at once.  While I’m not as excited about flying now as an adult, I still love the window seat on take-off to see what seems so big become so small.  I find it interesting that this perspective parallels my career – seeing the big picture and then breaking down the strategy into a creative, workable plan to help businesses and entrepreneurs get to their final destination. Recently I was watching a preview for a superhero show on TV and I started thinking: what would it be like if we could have a superhero power in our businesses?

What makes a Superhero?

From Spiderman to Batman, Superwomen to Elastigirl; what 2 things do superheroes have in common? (more…)

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What’s the Catch? 5 Things to Remember When Asking for Free Business Advice

5 things to remember when asking for free business advice

 

A few months ago an acquaintance contacted me and asked if I’d like to go out and have dinner with her and catch up.  I was excited to connect and even though I was in the middle of several big projects I cleared a spot in my schedule.  I looked forward to an evening of eating delicious food (that I didn’t have to cook or clean up after) and conversation with someone I enjoyed but rarely got to spend time with.

When she started our time together by saying “I know that your passion and expertise is in ____ area of business and I just wanted to get some business ideas from you…”  I have to admit, my heart sank a little.

She said: Let’s go have dinner and catch up
I heard: Let’s go have dinner and catch up
She meant: I want free business advice (more…)

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Boundaries in Business – Dealing with Pushback from Clients

Boundaries in Business - Dealing with Pushback from Clients

Last week’s post in the Self Care for Creative Entrepreneurs series introducing the Principle of Boundaries raised a great question: How do you deal with client reactions when you begin instituting boundaries?

Education Takes Place through Communication

If you have previously operated your business with no boundaries or less than ideal ones don’t be surprised if you get a little pushback initially.  Education happens through communication.  You are not in an adversarial relationship with the clients that feel like they are taking advantage of you.  Even if it feels like it!

If you have not clearly established a boundary then it is not fair to blame someone for crossing it.

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Interviews with Creatives: Rachel Tucker, Founder of Pantote

Interviews with Creative Entrepreneur - Rachel Tucker from Pantote

I am so excited to introduce a new regular feature on the blog!  I want to highlight different creative entrepreneurs in various fields from the up-and-coming to the seasoned veteran business owners.  Often the unique challenges of being a creative in business can feel isolating.  The more I connect with entrepreneurs in fields even very different than mine I find how similar we truly are and I am encouraged and challenged in my own business growth.

Today I want to introduce you to Rachel Tucker, founder and designer at Pantote where she creates beautiful fine leather goods.  Her fall line launches today, and let me tell you, they are fine!   I’ve known Rachel for about 6 years and can say she’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside!  Outside of being a designer and model, she’s also an accomplished musician and songwriter with her husband Mckendree Tucker where they make up the duo – August York.

Enjoy the interview and please, don’t judge her for the answer to my last question… there is still hope yet!!

pantote1

Tell me about you and your business!  

I first started in the fashion industry as a model. I’ve been a model here in Nashville for 10 years now. Time flies! Because of being a model, I have been exposed to working with designers for years.
I have been working under the name “Pantote” for a little over a year now. All of my products thus far are leather goods, although I may introduce other things in the future.

What inspired you to start your business?

(more…)

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Self Care: The Principle of Boundaries – Part 3

Self Care for Entrepreneurs: The Principle of Boundaries

 

Establishing healthy boundaries is the second principle and third post in our Self-Care for Creative Entrepreneurs series.  If you’ve missed any of the first posts you can check them out here:

Self Care is not Selfish – Or Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way

What is Self Care?: Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

Self Care: The Principle of Creating Space – Part 2

Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like: Your ‘yes’ doesn’t count if you can’t say ‘no’?  I started out in business saying ‘yes’ to every question clients asked:

Can you do this? Yes.
Can you do this for a ridiculously low budget? Yes.
Can you give up your weekend to finish my project because of my lack of planning?  Yes.
Can you do this project that you don’t want to do?  Yes. (more…)

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What Do You Want to Hear About? (Plus a game of Mad Libs)

Mad Libs for Creative Entrepreneurs

I had some time to sit down and write this morning between getting caught up on emails and planning for several meetings.  I started perusing my list of possible blog topics that I’m excited dive into and then I had a thought… what if what I want to write about is different than what you want to hear about?  I need your feedback!  Do you have any topics to suggest?  Respond in the comments below or chat with me on social media! You can find all my social media links in the sidebar!

So, because it’s Monday and we all need a good laugh, here are some Mad Libs to make your suggestions easier!

  1. Allison, talk about ___________ and ____________, because no one else is talking about it.
  2. Whatever you do, don’t talk about __________ because EVERYONE is talking about it.
  3. Would you please talk about ______________ and business? Because I need help with that.
  4. Teach me about __________ in a way that doesn’t make me want to hide in a closet or feel like I’m the only one that this is challenging for.
  5. Help me stop sabotaging myself when it comes to _____________.
  6. Meet up with me in person to talk about ____________________ for a long time.
  7. Allison!  Please write a book called ______________.

Mad Libs for Creative Entrepreneurs

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How to Handle Less Than Ideal Clients – Part 2

Less than ideal clients

Missed Part 1 – The Antithesis of Your Ideal Client?

Have you ever seen the children’s pegboard game where the objective is to match specifically shaped pegs to the holes in the pegboard?  Every heard of the old adage “a square peg in a round hole”?  The potential client standing in front of you is holding a pegboard with specific shapes cut in it.  You and your services are a clearly defined peg with a precise shape, size, and composition.  Your responsibility to yourself and your client is to determine if your peg fits the hole in their pegboard.

The best way to avoid a less than ideal client is to know what constitutes a good fit for you, and how to help them discover what a good fit is for them.  That need varies from personality to expectations, timetable, style, objectives, and budget.  I have found that the majority of the clients that have been problematic for me are because they don’t know what they want and I didn’t clearly express what I needed.

When the Unforeseeable Happens

The more clearly you spell out expectations on the part of both parties in your contract, the most space you give both of you to discover if you’re a good fit, modify terms, or spell out possibilities that may increase the time, cost, or change deliverables.  That is why I cannot stress enough the importance of having all agreements and expectations in writing.  No matter how carefully you assess a potential client and every foreseeable contributing factor, there will be times you find yourself working with someone who is not a good fit.  When this happens you have 3 options: complete the project as planned, modify the project, or cancel the project. (more…)

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The creative entrepreneur's guide to marketing, design, branding, and business development