Tag Archives: creative business

Life and Blogging are Like a Camera

life is like a cameraI came across this quote picture on Facebook, posted by a friend, but created by Jack Canfield. I do love social media, even though it can be a time quicksand.

So now I have all the acknowledgements taken care of, I find it has inspired me to revisit the purpose of this blog.

It started with an idea to attract people to our new software product, as well as the wellness products with my longtime Shaklee business (still gotta have a plug for the best natural products around). Then, as the software concept imploded and the desire to find our way back to our deepest dreams emerged, it became a way to recreate our financial and creative lives.

  • First, by inspiring us to recommit to our passion for writing and creativity.
  • Second by building this blog to support others like us who were ready to delve into their true talents and become financially independent entrepreneurs. Creative entrepreneurs, that is.

As often happens with life, both our lives and this blog developed into something I never imagined as we struggled to find a path beyond our start-up partnership. Now that that dream has disappeared, this new vision seems much more coherent and valid. It addresses our core dreams and talents. As well as the ongoing desire to help others live better, healthier and more congruent lives.

All this may sound too philosophical for some of you…like, where is the meat? Yet I know there are many who have already embraced the desire to put their talents to work, their dreams into action and their finances in their own hands. And many who are entering their ‘third trimester of life’ who are ready to recapture their true essence, while creating a new stream of income… a necessity for so many of us. Continue reading

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7 Clues That You’ve Found IT: Passion

Loving your life

For many years I couldn’t identify the IT factor.

That’s the one thing people talk about that you can’t live without and for which you’ll do anything to be successful.

I had a lot of interests and modest talents, but no one focus I obsessed about, let alone believed would allow me to create income.

Teachers and family had told me since 2nd grade that I was an exceptional writer.  I just didn’t have the confidence to imagine becoming an author, as in PAID author.

Instead, I applied my talents to my jobs and eventual business, but never allowed myself to imagine developing my them to sell directly.

And, I relegated my time to other priorities and left my discretionary time for writing and design projects.  In other words, ‘just a hobby’ status.

Maybe you can relate?

Three things changed all that.

  • First, I joined a writing group and began exposing myself to other people’s criticism and feedback.  I committed to learning how to be a better writer, took writing classes, and then began exploring how I could offer a writing product someone would buy.
  • Second, the internet.  Specifically e-books and online publishing, including blogs, Amazon books and the many freelance writing opportunities they provided.  Kaboom… in 5 short years the world transformed for creatives.
  • Third, I started this blog because I believed there were many more creative people like me, especially Baby Boomers, who had spent their lives NOT doing what their native talent and potential passion could have inspired them to do.

So, if you’re wondering what talents you might have left on the sideline with the subtitle

‘Someday I’ll do …..” I offer some clues to help you discover, nourish and develop them into

an entrepreneurial adventure to love.

  1. Time, it flies!  You sat down to write a short letter or blog post, or maybe editing your photos or making a few sketches. Before you know it, 2 p.m. has passed and you missed lunch.  So what!
  2. Pleasure.  That sense of being in the right place, doing the right thing at a particular moment.  The nagging to-do list might try to invade your mind, but the drug of pleasure keeps you on course just a little bit longer… or maybe all day?  Imagine feeling like this every day.
  3. Peace. Stresses melt away, doubt takes a long trip without you and you are in a zone where nothing can spoil your moment.  You own yourself, your mission and your goals without strife.
  4. Perfecting is Fun.  Editing, tweaking, researching, clarifying…it’s all a game that fills you with enthusiasm. Learning to be better is the highlight of your week. Seriously…you’ll know it when you feel it.
  5. Energy Explosion! Who needs caffeine? Your energy builds as the project develops. You could work through dinner if it weren’t for your bum needing a break.  Or the house getting dark around you.
  6. Idea Frenzy.  It happens. You’ve found a great project idea, which spawns a dozen more ideas and next thing you know, you’re chasing rabbits and catching none.  Write those things down and come back another day (more on this later).
  7. Tribe Magnetism.  As a creative person without a purpose I often felt like an outsider, alone in my unique perception of the world.  What happened when I made a commitment to my talents, began exposing them to scrutiny and supporting other ‘creatives’? I started finding my tribe and that began a swell of energy and a sigh of relief that I am still unique, but not alone. Creating is a solitary process, yet we need people to share our ideas and energy, people who understand the drive to create as well as the frustration of obstacles and distractions.  I found the more I embraced myself as a ‘writer’ the easier it was to find people who wanted to support me.

If you found one or more activities that fit with a few of these clues, I invite you to explore further to see just how far and what direction would be right for you now.  The mystery of how to be yourself, embrace your talents and ‘make your mark’ on the world could be lurking closer than you think.

Next post:  Finding a purpose for your passion

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GT Book Review: A.P.E.: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

GT Book ReviewYou’re creative, right?  And like most people these days, I bet you could use some extra cash to cushion the fall from budget grace.

If you’re a writer, you may have wondered as I did if it’s possible to become an author and earn income from your talent.  Today, that can be a real possibility if you’re willing to dive in and learn, take action and refine your strategies.

The impetus for Getting Traction is to share what I’m learning along the way about all the flexible, online strategies for creative people to earn income from…well… anywhere.

I’ve found plenty of blogs and other resources designed to help us navigate the wild new world of online income strategies and market our writing talents. Mediocre how-to books are abundant, so when you find one that’s indispensable it’s worth talking about. (check out the Toolkit section for a growing list of resources for creative entrepreneurs)

The new truth in publishing is that anyone can write and publish a book.  Translating that into a quality product that is entertaining, helpful or inspirational, then ensuring that it will sell is a whole ‘nother thing!  In order to do it right, we need to be voracious learners willing to take some risks and venture into uncharted territories.

I have two new favorite books that are more reference books than light reading, although both are written in a comfortable guide style that is enjoyable. They have become invaluable in helping me chart a course as a writer/author so that I know what questions to ask and where to find reliable answers.

My first is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki.  You may recognize the name from Apple history, or perhaps from some of his great T.E.D. talks.  If not, it would be worth listening in on some of those, just to see if his style and insights work for you.  He’s written some other valuable books on startups and one of my favorites, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.  Granted, he has a big advantage over new authors, with a million twitter followers and such.  Still the content is worth the price of the book and focusing some attention on the steps he outlines.

A.P.E. is a guide book to help you avoid the mistakes that will be inevitable if you attempt to traverse the e-publishing Himalayas without a guide. This is a fast changing terrain, and one of the advantages of e-books is that they are easily updated as conditions and the industry change.

And change they will…faster than many of us can adapt on our own.  Just imagine…before 2007 most of us had never heard of Facebook!  That’s less than 7 years that have changed the internet and our society forever.

A.P.E. covers everything, from deciding if you really should write a book, to how to finance, upload, price and market your book.  The publishing world is changing and writers have a new kind of freedom in this more democratic atmosphere to determine their own path without the gatekeepers of the past.

Baby Boomers to Millennials…we’re embracing entrepreneurship at rates never seen before.  Opportunities are out there, we can market to anywhere in the world and the internet has leveraged our reach to help us find our niche market.

Still…unless you have loads of money to pay a trusted partner to do it all, you need a guide to ensure you know the questions to ask, as well as when to find a consultant to help, and this is a great place to start!

I’d love to hear your comments about this or other books that help writers become authors and entrepreneurs.

Next review up:  Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.

For more on Creative Business and Entrepreneurship at Getting Traction:

Blog Favorites: Gone with the Wynns

Creative Business

 

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Too Late for 2014 Resolutions??

Creative Business PlanJanuary 15, 2014

I admit it…

I’ve been lurking, reading and critiquing all the articles about New Year’s resolutions.

Maybe not ALL, but lots.

Some are so upbeat that the cynic in me wonders how many times they re-used the same tired list or live in some delusional world where good stuff just happens.

Others…well, they’re already quoting the stats about how 92% of resolutions fail, or most are forgotten after 2 weeks.

Hhhhhmmm…just about NOW!  Have you forgotten what you wrote or even where you put that list from New Year’s Day?? Or did you even write anything down?

Do you want the probability estimates for attaining your life goals when you don’t write them down?

One word:  DISMAL!

My list usually starts in one of my many spiral ‘idea’ notebooks (‘which one?’, I ask myself a week later) or in my mobile moleskin (one in every bag, on the nightstand table, on my desk…) or in my head, the worst of the options since it is a vast forest of ideas, plans and dreams I have yet to tame.

Many years I just reused the same list, if I could find it.  Evidence of little progress made, or sometimes reverse progress.  Awww snap!

This year, as usual, new strategy.  This one might work.  Maybe.

No maybe’s!  Let’s resolve that we will make progress!

As creative entrepreneurs, we need to find inspiration enhanced by good business strategies.  Our left and right brain need to work together to turn our passions into profits.  This is the challenge and my mission is to reveal pathways to help us achieve our goals.

Resolutions help us start fresh, invigorating our ideas and goals with new passion.  They also need a backup plan to keep them activated!

My resolutions involve accountability to my blog readers, my team and myself.  Weekly check-ins to ensure someone might be holding me to my commitments.  This will also require some introspection and planning.

Plus, they involve mobile tools.  Evernote (read my post about online organizing tools HERE) so that the notes, revisions, goals don’t get lost on paper, on my desk or in my tote.  I can also edit them anywhere…yay!

And all this must be backed up by systems to keep me on track, focused and productive without stress or drama.

I have big plans for this year!  What about you?  Whether you’re following your gut, your feng shui consultant or your team’s plan for your future, let’s start by making the commitment to be all in with it.

There’s more we’ll discover and reveal along the way…for now…

Step ONE:  Be all in!

Meet you here tomorrow.  We are going to change our lives!

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How to Master Multi-tasking for Creative Entrepreneurs

When I first became a working mother, then later a mom-preneur workingbaby and working mom from home, I discovered the need for multitasking… BIG TIME!  Today, it seems to be a necessity. However, there are those who are telling us our brains just don’t work that way.

So how is it possible that everyone all around us is doing IT?

I’ve noticed as I get older, the multitasking genius is fading and it’s often more difficult to track two similar activities, like talking on the phone and scanning a web article. My brain goes into rebellion. Other factors seem to affect my abilities too. i.e. some days are better than others. Do you know what I mean?

So, I decided to do a little research on the art of multitasking.  Here’s what I found:

  • Our brains can’t multi-task (sorry, but it seems to be true!)
  • It’s more stressful when we try to make it multi-task (most of us have experienced this!)
  • Multi-tasking is really switching the brain’s attention from one task or awareness to another. (‘Command center, pay attention to THIS now!’)
  • As we age, get too caffeinated, fatigued or stressed our brains ability to switch focus effectively can deteriorate.
  • We can train our brains to be more effective at switching focus by practicing!

I find the creative tasks are the ones that demand my full attention. If I’m sitting here thinking about why my phone is beeping softly, whether my laundry is dry, and how much time I’ll need to make the soup I promised everyone for dinner… well, things just won’t gel like I want, which will result in a lot more time to get it right.

Multi-tasking…bah humbug!

Here’s the quandary:

How can something that is functionally impossible, seemingly destructive and potentially non-productive be so darn essential for success in the 21st century?? (That’s a lot of adverbs in one sentence, but I think you can see the necessity!)

So, here’s my Mastering Multi-tasking for the Creative/Mobile Entrepreneur Checklist, in spite of it all:

  • Remember that you are not thinking 2+ things at the same time; you are simply switching back and forth, so practice becoming quicker at it by using your brainpower without getting stressed
  • Develop your list of habitual skills with practice. Make a list if that helps. The more time you spend practicing an activity, the less focus it takes for your brain, then the easier (and less stressful!) it is to switch focus while continuing your habitual activity.
  • Try multitasking between habitual activities and brain-intense activities (like washing dishes + talking on the phone, or walking + listening to an audio seminar)
  • When something is really important or demanding of your full creative talents, remove distractions, set a timer and give it 100% focus for the allotted time.
  • Get up and move every 1-2 hours! Make a couple of quick phone calls while walking around the block. Today, I started the dishwasher, laundry and cooking the soup at 10 a.m… Once set up they don’t require my attention, but technically I am the ultimate multitasker. When I take my mini-break, I give myself 10-15 minutes to put the laundry in the dryer, empty the dishwasher and stir the soup (on timer so I don’t need to worry until it beeps). Then back to work, fully focused and refreshed.
  • Find tools that work for you to make you more effective. I always liked lists because once I make the list I don’t have to keep trying to remember what else I need to do. Very distracting! I also love Evernote to keep all my research results handy at the click of a button. This one tool has saved me incredible time, stress and paper piles.
  • Take a brain break! You know, stand up, stretch, deep breathe and don’t try to do anything for 5 minutes except just BE in the moment.
  • Even better, take a ‘screen break’. Study, read, think, talk with real people… anything without a screen, touchpad or earpiece. Shop even…woohoo…in a real store, I mean. This one we’re talking one hour+.
  • Reward yourself when an important task is complete… is that a power nap, a coffee with a friend or just curling up with your favorite magazine with a cup of tea? Your brain will love you and perform better for it.

Below you’ll find a few articles I came across while researching this article. I’d also love to hear how you handle multiple task challenges, so please share your ideas.

Make it a focused, productive, low stress day by going out there and employing your creative talents, one at a time.

Further research suggestions:

How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work) 

Secrets of Multitasking: Slow Down to Speed Up 

How to Multitask Without Losing Your Mind

Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again

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