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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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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 Antithesis of Your Perfect Client – Part 1

ideal client worksheet

 

I am greatly enjoying writing the current series on Self Care for the Creative Entrepreneur.  The resulting conversations that I have had with many readers around the world online and in person have enlightened and challenged me in my own journey in so many ways!  I am finding that this is one of those topics where the more time I spend, the more ideas and discussion there are to be explored.  I’ve decided to make it an ongoing series punctuated with other topics of creative entrepreneurship.  Currently on my desktop I have a document with 94 potential blog posts related to being a creative entrepreneur and creative business.   Every time I have a conversation with a client or think about a particular business success or struggle I feel like I add another topic to my list.  Now to just find the time to write about them all!

The Topic At Hand

Clients.  I’ve heard the topic discussed in hushed reverent tones, within paragraphs discussing hopeful dreams, desperate adventures, and sometimes even as a swear word! (more…)

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Self Care: The Principle of Creating Space – Part 2

Self care principles for creative entrepreneurs

Missed the first post in the series on Self Care?  Check it out here:
What is Self Care?  Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

I am jumping into this week feeling more rested than usual after a relaxing weekend camping with my husband and daughter.  For me there is nothing like getting out in nature to refresh my perspective on life!  While I thoroughly enjoyed our short time away, I returned with a new appreciation for air conditioning, comfy beds, and NOT sharing a small space sleeping with a wiggly toddler!

Before we dive into today’s topic, let’s review the definition of self care that was introduced in last week’s post:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met.

The Principle of Creating Space is the place where you give yourself space to recognize a need and then discover what that need is and how to respond to it.  It sets the stage for the journey into what self care is to you in the present moment.  It’s the foundation that you will return to in the cycle of self care.  What constitutes self care in your life is an ever changing application depending on your current needs.  Before we delve more into ways of creating space, let’s explore the topic of needs.

definition of c (more…)

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

What is self care?  Stop surviving, start thriving

After blogging about my last few months of resting and recuperating following a procedure on my spine, I have been amazed by the feedback I have received.  It seems that this topic of self care is one that strikes a deep chord in many of us and goes much deeper than just remembering to take enough down time to recharge our physical batteries.  It’s about caring for our body, soul, and spirit.  At its core, self care is the commitment to value ourselves.

What does that look like as a creative entrepreneur?  If I look at the sphere of successful businesses around me, often it seems like being a driven workaholic is celebrated; sacrificing yourself, your family, and community are a given.  The mindset that if you are not working like a mad person from early to late you are not a ‘real’ entrepreneur.

For years I bought in to this mindset hook, line, and sinker.  Quality time with my husband looked like us working late into the night side by side on our laptops.  Dates revolved around business discussions.  Clients got used to emailing me at 9 pm at night, expecting a response… the same day.  I remember several days into vacation (I used that term loosely back then!)  I was sitting in my car sending files to the printer for a client before leaving on a cruise.  I believed my clients wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t constantly at their beck and call.  Consequently because I lived that way I shouldn’t have been surprised that they believed the same thing!  I survived on caffeine and felt constantly exhausted and wondered why I was overwhelmed as my business grew.

When I caught myself prepping my resume with the intent of getting a job working for someone else the week after logging my highest income generating month in business I knew that something was seriously wrong.  Shouldn’t I be excited that my hard work was paying off?  I was burning out…correction…I was burnt out.

What is Self Care?

Self care is:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met. 

(more…)

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Self Care is not Selfish – Warning: Personal Post Ahead!


selfcare

Warning: Personal post ahead!  This post might better be titled “Lessons I’ve learned the hard way”, because boy, have I learned this one by doing it all wrong!  I have been absent from the blog for the last 2 months and it feels so good to be back!

Where I’ve been…

Eight years ago I was in a horrible car accident with an SUV, 2 cars, and 2 semis and it is a miracle that I am still alive.  Since then I have lived with almost constant severe back and neck pain.  I’ve seen 10 chiropractors, had physical therapy, taken muscle relaxers, cranio-sacral massage, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, kinesiology, acupuncture, strength and flexibility training, functional medicine, cleanses, more tests than I can count, and the list goes on with a heavy price tag attached.  While most of them offered a little relief initially or at least more information to add to my arsenal, none solved the issue… until now.  I had a procedure done on my spine (learn more here) that uses x-rays and then a manual adjustment to the atlas at the base of the skull to restore perfect alignment.  The results have been nothing short of miraculous.  For the first time in over 8 years I am almost pain free with the likelihood of being completely pain free by the end of the 8-9 month recovery period.  I’ve spent much of the last 2 months on my back letting the muscles recover around my spine.  My amazing mom came to take care of our toddler.  I had all intentions of using the time to do lots of blogging, but a few days into it I realized that my body was going to need a lot more rest to recover than I anticipated and when I was able to be up and around my attention and energy needed to be focused on my family and limited work commitments. selfcare2 (more…)

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What is a Creative Entrepreneur?

whatisacreativeentrepreneur

Defining Our Terms…

I would define a creative entrepreneur as an individual in the creative sector who identifies an opportunity in the marketplace and uses business skills to turn their ideas into profits. 

You may be a creative entrepreneur if:

  • When someone asks you “what do you do?”, do you struggle to find a way to describe it in one paragraph?
  • Are you tempted to give a list?
  • Do you decide how to answer based on what you think is most pertinent to the person you’re talking too?
  • Do you find yourself resistant to labeling yourself with a job title?
  • Do you dream about crafting a thriving business around something you love so much that it’s the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, the subconscious thought throughout your day, and often the last thought as your head is hitting the pillow?
  • Do you feel that your career goals are too varied to choose just one to describe yourself with?
  • Do you dream of making your passion your career?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above you may be a creative entrepreneur! (more…)

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