Braid Creative

Braid // Behind the Scenes

March 24, 2014

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I was the first person in my family to pursue working for myself when I left my day job in advertising to go it alone as a freelancer. Blogging about that journey here was not only a big part of what convinced my sister to join me in creative entrepreneurship and launch Braid Creative but is what kept me feeling grounded through the questions and uncertainty that comes from being your own boss. Over three years later I’m feeling pretty comfortable but have been itching lately to share the insecurities and victories alike that come with building your own creative career.

With that, I’m going to be sharing more behind-the-scenes business insights. And today I want to talk about my sense of urgency to be a big deal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said:

I just want to be Danielle LaPorte. Gabrielle Berstein. And Marie-Freakin’-Forleo.

Okay, let me clarify. I want to be me, of course, but I want to have the kind of self-built success that these women have manifested for themselves. I often find myself racking my brain to figure out how to build a scalable empire with great reach and meaningful impact. And if I’m being completely honest I can’t help but sometimes fall into a middle-school popularity contest mindset. I’m limited by the belief that because these women are popular they are successful – which is just not true and straight-up insulting to their hard work. They’re popular because they make their hard work look so easy.

What else do these rockstar women have in common? Clarity of purpose. I know what I stand for, but I’m not sure my capital P Purpose is so easily defined. I’m still young and am far from having all the answers. But this I know for sure: purpose is woven into the daily grind. Sometimes it’s hiding in the details and other times it’s so obvious it can be easy to overlook. So from this day forward, I’m going to try and move through the daily grind step-by-step with a little more mindfulness and patience, and perhaps I’ll find that clarity of purpose.

So today I want to know – do you have clarity around your purpose? Any online rockstars you admire (or are straight-up feeling jealous of)? 

P.S. For more behind-the-scenes business insights like this check out our exclusive Letters for Creatives with content never shared anywhere else online. 

How to Attract Dream Customers

March 19, 2014

BeYourself

A lot of you, dear readers, are creative entrepreneurs or aspiring to leave your day job and live what you love. And you might already know that a big part of loving your job is loving who you work with and who you work for. Or on the flip-side a client from hell can leave you fantasizing about working at the MAC makeup counter in the mall (or is that just me?). So today I’m going to cut to the chase and give you three secrets to attracting dream clients.

1. BE YOURSELF 100% OF THE TIME
In our society there is an expectation that when you’re “on the clock” you are buttoned up, polished, and sound a little bit like a robot. You have your work clothes and then you have your evening & weekend clothes. The person you are for your friends and family is not the same person you are for your clients.

I think this is a total bummer. And worse, this kind of separation of personal and professional is a disservice not only to yourself but to your client. You see, when you can be who you are on and off the clock you create the opportunity to forge genuine relationships, which leads to real trust, which then cultivates collaboration, which then results in enthusiastic approval on projects.

But here’s the deal. Most of the creatives I coach only PERCEIVE that they won’t be hired because they let their true colors shine – which is the total opposite of true. Give your potential clients more credit. Treat them like the humans they are and they’ll respond with equal respect. I always use my hair as an example. I assumed it would keep me from being hirable but the opposite has been true. In fact, I’ve doubled my income since dreading my hair. So, wear what you want to wear, dye your hair crazy colors, write your truth and hit publish, and just be yourself – 100% of the time. You will attract dream customers with cash and you will repel the clients from hell.

2. LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE  
I’ve found that whatever I’m interested in personally at any given time is what I attract professionally. When I was deeply into my yoga practice I was hired by a yogi to rebrand her studio. When I was going through life coach training I found myself helping other life coaches define their brand and business vision. And the most explicit hit-me-over-the-head example of like attracting like is when I was captivated by Brené Brown’s message of Daring Greatly and was then hired by Brené Brown herself to overhaul her personal brand and website before appearing on Oprah.

I think the Law of Attraction is at play here but more than that I think a big important step in attracting like-minded clients is not just being who you are 100% of the time but explicitly sharing what you love. That means blogging, talking, and Tweeting the things that interest and inspire you.

3. YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT 
So finally, you have to not only know what your dream customer likes (probably the same things you like, per point #2) – but you have to ask them for their business. That means you have to have an offering that fits their needs. And then you have to ask them to hire you.

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So here is where I’m going to ask you to hire me. Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What You Track is open for registration through this Thursday and will be in-session from this Friday March 21 – 30th.  You can take it for $50 using the code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register. Learn more here to see if it might be a good fit. 

P.S. Even if you don’t have a creative business, I think this ECourse is great for bloggers too! Just replace “dream customer” with “dream reader” and voila, you’re on your way to attracting like-minded readers who will engage with what you have to say.

P.P.S. If you don’t have $50 that’s cool – I totally understand. We have lots of free resources too including the Braid Blog (this week we’re talking about conversations that get your hired), my Coaching for Creatives blog series, and our exclusive behind-the-scenes Letters for Creatives that are delivered straight to your inbox. Here’s a sneak-peek at this week’s letter about coming back from maternity leave in case you’re interested.

Coaching for Creatives | Thoughts Are Things

March 11, 2014

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Today’s post is a reminder that everything begins with a thought. Look around you. Your laptop, the vase on your table, your cup of coffee, the Kleenex box on your desk, the art on your walls, and even your relationships … all of it began with an inkling of an idea. Thoughts may feel intangible but the truth is this:

Thoughts are things and they will manifest in your reality.

So, if everything in your life was cultivated from a thought, that means you are responsible for all of it. Good and bad. So take some time to take stock of how your thoughts have come to life around you.

Try this: On a sheet of paper draw three columns. Label them with the following:

1. PAST
Write down three of your most major accomplishments and trace them back to the original thought. Take note of how you were responsible for them manifesting them. Write it down in the far left column. For example, one of my biggest accomplishments was trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp. I had never even been overseas when I saw a documentary about Everest on the Discovery channel and thought “Wow. I’d like to see Mt. Everest!” That seemingly flip desire manifested itself into a life-changing journey. 

2. PRESENT
You have something like 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day. Most of them are recurring. So today I want you to come up with three new thoughts. It can be anything from a goal or resolution, to a relationship you’d like to develop, to a new “what if” question, to something you would like to make or research. Write them down in the middle column. My thought today is not entirely formed yet, but I’m curious to see how being a new mom will blend in with my career – especially as my maternity leave comes to an end. Another thought I have is that as much as I would love to be creative and make things with my hands in my down time my true passion is cooking and fitness. Maybe I will explore being more intentional with those things as my “hobbies”. 

3. FUTURE
I want you to write down the date for exactly one month from today in the future column. Leave this section blank until a month from now. When you return to it I want you to write down how the thoughts you wrote down in the middle column manifested themselves in your life. So for me, I’m going to note in a month from now exactly how that new mom / career blend has manifested itself (it could be anything! From simply a new perspective to maybe a new service or product for working moms.) Or perhaps I’ll have some fun passion projects or experiments rise out of my obsession with health and fitness.

So, today we’re focusing on the manifestation of positive thoughts but consider the less-than-fantastic stuff around you. Take responsibility for it and ask yourself “what thoughts or stories do I tell myself to attract _____.” Sure there are some things that may not be your fault – like getting into a car wreck or falling ill. But try to find responsibility and awareness for the thoughts and reaction around the crummy stuff. Take note of how it shifts your perspective from a reactive victim to perhaps a proactive badass.

I’d love to hear some of your past accomplishments and the originating thought in the comments. Or let me know your new thoughts for today and let’s check back in together in a month to see how they all came to life?

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P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Also, our Braid ECourse, Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What You Track is now open for registration and will be in-session March 21 – March 30. And Kathleen readers can take this course for $50 by using the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register.
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DIY Coaching for Creatives

February 24, 2014

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I was recently asked the difference between life coaching and the Coaching for Creatives that I do. Life coaching, depending on the coach, can take on many forms. There are some coaches who focus on the mind / body connection and help their clients tackle weight loss. Some coaches focus on what sucks and help their clients hurdle road blocks that keep them from where they want to go. There are relationship coaches, health coaches, and money coaches. But the one thing most coaches have in common is goal-setting and action-planning to live the life you want to have.

Me? I’ve tailored my coaching program (both 1:1 and the DIY email series) to blend the techniques I learned in the life coach training I’ve received from Martha Beck with the patterns I’ve uncovered and tools I’ve developed from consulting hundreds of creative entrepreneurs over at Braid Creative. So the coaching I do is specifically for creatives who are looking to design and live life, both at work and play, according to their own rules. When you are creative for a living the line between work and life is easily blurred. Your work is personal and the life stuff often gets put on the back burner. To compound that, if the work you’re doing (and the clients, or perhaps day job, you’re doing it for) isn’t satisfying then life “off the clock” isn’t going to feel very dreamy either. My style is to help my coaching clients get clear about their vision and commit to a self-perscribed action plan to make it real.

In my coaching experience I’ve found that most of my creative clients crave the same things:
• they want an attitude of prosperity & abundance (specifically around money)
• the desire a morning routine
• they would like more time to make things with their hands
• they want to write daily (blogging / journaling / or even a book)
• they want to pick up a meditation practice (or at least find a few minutes a day to still their mind)
• they want to cook and eat tasty meals
• they want to cultivate courage and confidence
• and finally, they want to feel creative and happy – it’s as simple as that

So it’s my job as a coach to help them get specific about what that dream life looks like and hold them accountable to designing it. I also throw in a bit of intuition, personal experience, and resources when appropriate. But because I am only able to take on a limited number of one-on-one coaching clients and because my coaching fees are out of reach for some creatives I decided to create a DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s $40 for 4 emails per week for 4 weeks (that’s 16 emails total). The emails are a blend of practical tips, tools, and worksheets but also touch a little on meditation techniques and weekly mantras (but I promise it doesn’t get too terribly woo-woo). If you like the Coaching for Creatives blog series I post weekly here you’ll probably enjoy going a little deeper and holding yourself accountable to make small changes with the DIY Coaching for Creatives emails. Unlike our Braid ECourses, you can sign up to receive these emails any time. So if now isn’t the right time, that’s cool. It’ll still be there when you’re ready.

You can learn more and sign up for the DIY Coaching for Creatives emails here.
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Related:
Grounding Exercises for Dreamy Creatives
Coaching for Creatives blog series
Braid ECourses for Creative Entrepreneurs

Coaching for Creatives | Be A Lover

February 17, 2014

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I used to hang out with lots of cynics, or for the lack of a better word haters. These friends, myself included, delighted in coming together and bonding over the things they don’t like. Gossip, venting, complaining, and commiserating can be addicting. Like a drug, the “high” of negativity can feel really fun and good – but the aftermath can leave you feeling gross and hungover. So these friendships I had were rooted in negativity – they were toxic and eventually fell apart.

Gossip can be addicting. I would find myself talking trash, complaining, and venting to my nearest and dearest. I was doing myself and the people I love a disservice by not giving them the side of me that shines. I finally realized I was both the problem and solution. It became clear that it is not only in my power but that it is my responsibility to be a lover. But it takes discipline, daily, to not fall into the easy routine of negativity. Being a lover takes way more courage and effort than being a hater. Here’s how I (try to) do it:

• SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVERS 
I’m not saying my friends and family can’t come to me when things are a total shit show and they need my support… but I’d rather more often bond over the things that delight and lift us up versus the things that make us miserable. That said, like a boomerang, what you put out there is what you’ll get back. So that takes us to the next point below.

• BE A LOVER
Get this: it’s in your power to cultivate and attitude of love in your relationships, conversations, and interactions. This means you’re choosing to show up in the world as a lover. Here are a few ideas on how to be a lover:

1. Be explicit and enthusiastic about what you love.
Make it a point to verbalize, blog, or simply be mindful about what you love. Every day. Communicating what you love can feel vulnerable and doesn’t always come easy. Need help? Use your senses. What do you love to smell, hear, and taste? What do you love to read? What do you love to feel? Take notes of what delights you and tell someone about it.

2. A love script for the creative entrepreneur.
I love it when creatives tell me what they’re really good at. So here’s a lover’s script for introducing yourself as a professional creative: “Hi. My name is _____. I do ____(A)____ for ____(B)____, but what I really love is ____(C)____.” 
Blank A: This is what you do that you get paid for. So it could be graphic design, web coding, photography, etc.
Blank B: This is your dream customer. Think of your favorite client to date and use a few words to describe how your professional interaction felt.
Blank C: This is what you really love doing (even if it doesn’t quite pay the bills yet or is even a non-work-related hobby). Blank C is what makes you a lover instead of just a commodity.

3. Ask other people what they love. Ask your creative buddies what they love about their job or a project they’re working on. Ask your partner what they loved about their day. Ask your friends what makes them feel the most in love with life.

So to conclude this post – tell me what you really love in the comments.

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P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Also, our most popular Braid ECourse, Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do is now open for registration and will be in-session February 21 – March 2. And Kathleen readers can take this course for $50 by using the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register.
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