Go On, Put Yourself Out There!

Even if it terrifies you.
Even if you think your art should speak for itself.
Yes, even if you’re an introvert!

To be honest, I actually identify as an extrovert. Although I do often desire some down time and process many things best by myself, I still find that what I need is the company of others (especially others I love) in order to recharge. But just because I’m an extrovert myself doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate introverts. In fact, I love them! They make up most of my closest friend circle, and are often the people I get along with the best. You know what they say – opposites attract.

And one thing I’ve heard repeatedly from my introverted creative friends is their fear of networking and schmoozing. Hell, you don’t have to be an introvert to fear that. I hate it too. I think all artists and creatively inclined people can relate to the icky feeling of trying to force connections and convince people to give you money for your work. It’s a hard thing to do and still feel like you’re being true to yourself as an artist.

But the problem is that, as a self-employed entrepreneur, you do have to put yourself out there so you can tell people about what you’re doing, build a community of customers and forge connections with potential clients and partners. You can’t make a name for yourself if no one ever even knows your name.

But that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone about you. Networking doesn’t have to be a game of numbers. It’s not just about how many people you meet and how many business cards you collect. It’s about the quality of the connections you make, more than the quantity. Marie Forleo recently interviewed the very wise, best-selling author and TED Talk speaker Susan Cain, who said, “Don’t think of it as networking; think of it as seeking out kindred spirits.”

I love this! What you do as an artist and creative entrepreneur is always going to be original and innovative, and not everyone will resonate with it or understand it. But those aren’t the people you want to meet and talk to anyway. You can be a killer networker and make all these connections, but if none of them are people you’d actually want to collaborate with or talk to again, then all that effort was spent for nothing. If you only find one person at a party or networking event that you really connect with and want to keep in touch with, then that was a successful event and you should feel good about that! Give yourself permission to feel satisfied with that big (and genuine) accomplishment, and take the pressure off yourself to have to “work the room.”

Find your kindred spirits

In that vein, I recently stumbled upon a fantastic 15min networking solution on Daily Worth, which advocates for this very strategy. They recommend that you choose your networking events very carefully, prioritizing events that will be filled with your “high-profile targets – whatever that means to you. Pick the events you’ll attend strategically and then research the attendees ahead of time to decide a handful that you’ll actually want to meet.

Then go to the event for just the first 15 minutes.

Spend those 15 minutes engaging with each person you identified. Approach them with a provocative or interesting question, and see if anyone sparks as a kindred spirit. Then participate on a few key threads on Facebook or Twitter, and reach out the next day with an email saying something like, “Sorry we didn’t get to talk more last night at the event. I was hoping to have more time to discuss [fill in the subject or question you brought up] with you. Would you have 15 minutes by phone this week to finish that conversation?”

If they respond, you can keep the conversation going and turn that spark into a lasting connection for your business. Once you’ve found those special kindred-spirit connections, however many they are, you’ll feel more motivated to stay in touch and turn them into productive collaboration and progress for your business.

In fact, one of those connections may even prove to be a perfect partner, someone who compliments and completes you in your business. Maybe they’ll be a fellow introvert who understands the way you operate and can work at your speed with you. Or maybe they’ll be an extrovert who can cover the parts of the work that you don’t enjoy, such as the networking or communication with clients, and take those responsibilities off your shoulders.

Whoever they are, just make sure they are a kindred spirit for you and your creative business – that’s all you have to remember to be an awesome networker. So get out there, find those events and those key people you want to connect with, and then put in your 15min to make it happen! It can (and should) be a lot easier than you think.

Happy Networking!

Then comment below and tell me how it went! What worked and what didn’t? And how have you found success identifying kindred spirits and valuable networking practices? I already know you are one of my kindred spirits, so I want to keep the conversation going here too! So remember to subscribe to my email listbuy my book on building the business with your team, and stay tuned for more tips right here!

Listen to the Dark Beauty of The Productive Artist

We’ve done it again! The Productive Artist has been featured on another podcast!

Topher Adam, of Dark Beauty Magazine and Dark Beauty PulseCast, recently interviews yours truly and asked me to explain why I created The Productive Artist, how I got here, and how I want to inspire the next generation of Artists with my new book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan.

Topher and I connect on a lot of similar points about our goals and mission for our businesses, and what change we want to inspire in the global arts community. Give it a listen, and see if you agree with us!

Dark Beauty PulseCast

If you do agree with what we have to say, and what to hear more – remember to subscribe to my email list and YouTube Channel, and stay tuned for more coming soon. And don’t forget to get your copy of my new book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan!

The Productive Artist is on a Podcast!

Goodness groceries! What an incredible and rewarding journey this has been so far as The Productive Artist – not to mention the journey that got me here!

Just the other day, some of my close girlfriends and I were ruminating on our life goals that we’ve accomplished so far, and how much easier it is to see how far we’ve come if we look back a year, or even 5. A few years ago, I never imagined I would actually be a published author, or that I’d be helping so many aspiring Artists and creative entrepreneurs as The Productive Artist.

It’s been one hell of a journey – one that’s taught me a lot about how to guide other Artists along that journey toward realizing their own dreams and goals. And one of the joys of having reached some of those goals and achieved some success is the recognition you receive from peers and the resulting opportunities to share your story with even more people.

That’s what happened when Kent Sanders approached me about appearing on his podcast for The Artist’s Suitcase, a wonderful online resource geared towards Artists and creatives who want to unlock their creative potential.

The Artist's Suitcase

Wanna know how it all got started, why I do what I do (for all of you), and what my new book is all about?

Then listen up to this podcast from The Artist’s Suitcase, featuring yours truly!

The Artist's Suitcase-My Podcast 9.26.13

Huge thanks to Kent Sanders of The Artist’s Suitcase for the opportunity to do this awesome interview! If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to my email list and YouTube Channel for more juicy nuggets and valuable advice to come.

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

Greetings from the Dusty City!

I’m here in Black Rock City, Nevada – home of the infamous Burning Man festival – and it is caraaazy hot out here! It’s also practically overrun with other amazing Artists and creative entrepreneurs. So I’ve definitely been making some really incredible connections here, and getting a great response to my mission with The Productive Artist.

But while I’ve been telling them all about The Productive Artist and my upcoming book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan, I seem to keep getting one question over and over. Many seem skeptical about what a business plan is even for and if it’s applicable to them as an Artist.

So for my next video, I’m going to talk more about what a business plan really is, when you break it down to its core purpose, and how that purpose can seriously benefit Artists and creative entrepreneurs like YOU!

Check it out, and stay cool!

What dya think of that? I’d love to hear what you think, so please comment below (or below the video) and share your thoughts.

Then please “like” and share this video, if you enjoyed it, and stay tuned for the imminent launch of my new book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan!

And We’re Off… to Burning Man!

Oh boy! Just two weeks left until the launch of my new book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan. I am so excited, and I hope you are too!

But in the meantime, I’m headed off to Burning Man, where I will spend the next week exploring incredible feats of art & music and rubbing elbows with the amazing creative minds that will also be there with me. It’s going to be a much needed time to relax and enjoy beautiful art & life – but it will also be a time to be Productive and connect with more of the creative community and tell them about The Productive Artist.

Making a living as an Artist is hard enough, so it’s important to have a solid plan in place, take advantage of every opportunity you have, and always be as Productive as possible – while still having fun of course! And Burning Man will be the perfect blend of both for me, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Are you going to Burning Man? Come visit me at Camp Squishtanbul at 4:15 & F (False Idol) – look for the pair of pants on a flag pole marking our capitol, NoPantstinople!

And if you’re not going, then I hope you have an amazing week – hopefully partly because you’ll have this next Productive Artist Intro video to keep you company!

Did you enjoy that video? Did it inspire you to want to be more Productive in your creative endeavors? Then please comment below and let me know! And while you’re at it, why not “like” it and share it with your fellow Artists and creative entrepreneurs too.

Then get excited for the launch of my upcoming book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan, in just two weeks.

Burn bright, my friends!

Putting Myself Out There… Who, Me? Scared?

Wow. It’s just hit me that I am now less than 3 weeks away from the launch of my exciting new book – The Productive Artist’s Business Plan!

And that means the time has come to take a chance and be bold! Go big or go home, right?

I’m sure you know, as fellow creators, what it’s like to put something of your own original creation out there for other people to critique and consume. It can be a pretty scary thing to do, especially if you’re subjecting it to the consumer market and the particulars of other people’s wallets!

But that also makes it incredibly brave and more rewarding in the earning of it.

Even so, as I approach the impending launch of my new book, the butterflies are becoming increasingly real and unrelenting.

So I’ve decided to take some smaller, slightly less scary steps first, to help me prepare for the really big book push that could launch my career and help millions, or leave my reputation in tatters… no pressure!

Over the next few weeks leading up to the book launch, I will be posting several videos that tell the vision behind the book, and what business planning for The Productive Artist is all about. Because putting something out there that I’ve recorded and edited myself is also kinda scary, and seeing myself on video can be pretty embarrassing too. They won’t be perfect, but they’ll be a more fun and fearless step up from the blog posts I’ve been putting out there so far.

So without further ado, here’s the first video:

There you go! I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope it inspires you to put yourself out there too! Because it does take major guts to brave any such public display of self-expression. But if you don’t put your creations out there, how will anyone know about them and benefit from your unique gifts?

So if you know what you want to create and put out there, then conquer those fears and just go for it!

Then please comment below and let me know how it goes!

And remember to mark your calendars for the launch of my upcoming book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan, in just a few short weeks!

Trigger Happy

Warning: Triggers AheadWe all have different things that trigger a specific reaction in us. You see a plate of fresh baked cookies, and your stomach growls. You watch that one movie and the ideas just come pouring. Each of these simple external triggers causes your brain to react with a particular feeling or habit, which can be either helpful or hindering. They can influence your decisions, make you recall memories, and motivate you to take action.

The idea here is to surround yourself with triggers that have a positive affect on you. You can’t change the fact that these external triggers exist around you, but you can try to use them to your advantage. This involves a combination of removing the negative triggers, and surrounding yourself with the positive ones.

To do this, it’s important to understand that the triggers themselves are not inherently good or bad. They just are, and you can manipulate those triggers around you to encourage more positive responses.

For example, if you kept a plate of cookies on the counter, you’ll end up eating more cookies. But if you instead keep out more healthy triggers, such as a healthier yummy snack or exercise magazines, you will find yourself more likely to stick to your diet.

Identifying your triggers is the first obvious step. But this is much harder than it sounds. Triggers are not an exact science, and everyone has different responses to various things. The trick is to pay close attention to your surroundings when you do feel a sudden urge or emotion, and take note of what might be causing you to feel that change.

Negative Triggers

For example, you may notice that walking over to what part of your living room results in a feeling of anxiety. Take careful stock of the items around you, and you may discover this feeling is being triggered by a painting or other object near you. In this case, the idea is to remove this object and thus remove the negative trigger from your environment.

Positive Triggers

Now in another example, you may notice that you feel more hopeful and uplifted in one part of your bedroom. This could be because of a picture of a loved one, or simply because your bed comforter reminds you of safety and warmth. Whatever the trigger is, and no matter how simple it may seem, it’s important. And it can inform how you can influence other areas of your home and workplace to encourage the same positive feelings.

Here are some examples of triggers I personally use, which may prove useful for you as well:

  • I keep an “ideas board” at my work desk, covered with articles and images from magazines that have inspired me, or my creative accomplishments, or happy photos of loved ones I admire – looking at this bulletin board of creative clippings helps me feel good about myself and jump-start the creative juices.
  • I keep the desktop on my computer totally empty, so as not to distract myself with other programs and documents – then when I have work or a project that I do want to remember, I’ll add it as an icon to my desktop for a visual trigger.

Triggers & Marketing

Triggers are also an essential part of marketing and advertising. The ads you see on TV and in magazines can absolutely trigger a need to purchase something you didn’t realize you wanted. So why not utilize this concept in your own marketing strategy?

Happy customers = Paying customersIf you understand common triggers and how they play with what goods or services you are trying to sell, you can help influence the reaction of your audience when they interact with your marketing campaign. By no means should you exploit this or communicate false information. But there is a great opportunity here to help your audience better understand and feel the benefits of your products or services if you incorporate relevant triggers that your audience immediately relate to.

For example, let’s say you sell chocolates and other sweet treats in gift baskets. People have such a strong emotional response to the idea of sweets and the situations in which they crave them. So reminding them of these moments as you advertise can be a very effective way of relating your products to your audience on a more personal level.

So now take a moment and think about what your triggers are, either in your personal life or business, either for your own mental health or the health of your business marketing – or BOTH! For either of these purposes, it’s a very healthy practice to revisit regularly, so take the time to do these check-ins with yourself ongoing whenever you can. Maybe try scheduling some recurring time on your Calendar to remind you to do this.

Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Please comment below and tell me what negative triggers you notice that you can overcome or avoid – or positive triggers you can utilize more in your personal or professional life.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our list!

Free to Be Me

“I fear being like everyone I hate, I fear failure, I fear losing control. I love balancing between chaos and control with everything I do. I always have a fear of going one way or another, getting lost in something, or losing everything to get lost in. And I fear being a completely acceptable sheep in society.” -Marilyn Manson

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Marilyn Manson’s music, and I wouldn’t say I relate to him much either, but I do connect with this quote. I think in some ways we all do. None of us wants to become something we hate, or don’t respect. None of us wants to feel like a failure. And certainly none of us like to feel out of control in our own lives.

It is about finding that balance between letting the chaos run free and still feeling like you are in sufficient control. It’s important to give yourself room to do what you want to do and be who you want to be. That’s really why I became the Productive Artist, because I’m passionate about this and want to help the artistic world become more productive with a greater balance of control and creativity.

A dear friend once told me that you first need deep structure in order to allow for deep chaos. And I believe that’s true. If you can create deep structure that allows for such creative freedom, then I believe there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

Today is my birthday. So I’m finding today especially to be a nice time to check in and remind myself of who I am and who I want to be. I have been striving to embody this in my life, which is why today I am reminded of all my resolution and drive that centers on this freedom to be me. To ensure that each of the productive systems I create still own my unique voice and celebrate, rather than suppress, the free spirit and authentic self that my chaos gives me.

So as long as I can maintain a solid framework in which to let my creative chaos explore and thrive, it will only help me in the things I want to accomplish – today, this year, and for the rest of my life. And I can only hope that what I put out there as The Productive Artist also helps you to do the same.

Take my hand
Come with me
Where the children are free…

And you and me
Are free to be
You and me!

Build the Business

“Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos.” -Francis Ford Coppola

I’ve been trying to take my own advice and better organize both my personal and professional life. I’ve made great progress with my personal life, but have been struggling a bit more on the professional side.

This past year, I set a goal to take my businesses to the next level. And in that time, I’m proud to say I’ve been really focused on mastering my role as an independent film producer. I dove head first into industry resources, stalking important & influential IMDb profiles, staying up-to-date on the trades & industry news, and reading really thick books on film production and budgeting. And lately my production company partner and I have really been kicking our own production slate into high gear.

But I recently came to realize that my goal of driving my professional career doesn’t only apply to my filmmaking path — it also means the work I’ve been doing here, as The Productive Artist. This is the area I’ve been wanting to really step up, so it’s time to give it some serious TLC.

The main thing my Productive Artist business needs is more . I need to hone in on what this business is really about – who my target audience is, what value I am really offering, and how can I best put that offer out there to benefit others?

I’ve been going over and over these questions in my head and I’ve been narrowing down to the answers, albeit a bit slower than I’d like. But what could really help me get there faster is some help and insight from YOU – you are my audience, my readers, my clients. So it would actually be immensely constructive, and help me to help you even better, if you could tell me:

1. What do you wish The Productive Artist would provide?

2. What part of your life (personal or professional) do you find the most plagued by creative chaos?

3. How can I best help you become a more Productive Artist?

I want to step up my tips, tools and services as The Productive Artist, and provide more clear and consumable solutions. But that’s going to harder to do without your feedback. So please feel free to comment here – share your thoughts, your roadblocks, your needs – and I promise I will give every single suggestion my full attention.

Thank you and I look forward to reading your comments!

And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter while you’re at it.

The New Productive Artist site!

Introducing the newly designed, focus-refined, Productive Artist site!

As I recently announced on The Chaos Whisperer site, I’ve been trying to give my business greater clarity and defined direction. And so I’ve decided to evolve my advice and offerings into the new and improved Productive Artist vision, being one myself and wanting to help other creative minds find greater productivity and chaos management in their life and business. And to that end, I’ve launched this shiny new website, that hopefully now features simpler navigation, so you can more quickly find what you need to improve your productivity in your creative projects & endeavors.

So without further ado, please feel free to explore my new and improved site. You can access any of the above Categories by hovering your mouse over “Your Guide To…” in the top menu. Whatever area gives you the most creative chaos, click on over to that Category and see if The Productive Artist can help you manage it.

And please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for further improvement. Enjoy!