Tagged in: entrepreneurs

Finding And Making Creative Partnerships

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It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.– Charles Darwin

I used to be a lone ranger, wanting to do things all by myself.  My mule-like independence, and lack of trust in other people, kept me from exploring a lot of creative ideas. Sound familiar? Eventually, I got smarter, and learned to appreciate the benefits of creative partnerships. I credit Tim Trueheart with my ability to collaborate–he was my first creative partner, and together we’ve tackled a lot of creative projects over the past seven years.

Partnerships can be tricky though–especially if you partner with the wrong person or if YOU are the wrong person.

But, if we can learn to recognize good creative partners, and take care to foster these relationships, we will be able to launch new endeavours to help us with our creative and entrepreneurial success.

 

What Makes An Ideal Creative Partner?

Someone who is as enthusiastic about your vision as you are.

A person with complementary skills.

Someone with a track record. Have they created or produced anything before? Do you have any evidence of follow through?

  A business or organization that could benefit from a creative partnership with you or your business. The pARTnership Movement is an organization that believes in this type of collaboration and plenty of success stories to get you inspired with the possibilities.

 

How To Find Creative Partners

  • Get outside your house as much as possible for authentic, human interaction and engage in good conversation. Meet a variety of people.

  • Actively and constantly look for ways you can help people.

  • Make networking a game. Can you make five people smile today? Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

  • Nervous about talking to strangers? Don’t be afraid of reading self-help books for tips on starting a conversation. I recommend the self-help  How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

 

How To Foster A Creative Partnership

  • Be honest and use good communication.

  • Show and expect mutual respect.

  • Talk is cheap. Make sure good conversation is punctuated by action.

  • Pay attention to signs of bad character. Do words match actions?

  • Have clear, written expectations of roles, responsibilities, and deadlines. Use a service like Slack to track communication and documents.

Why Do You Want to Form These Relationships in Your Community?

  • You can meet your heroes!  If you are an artist of any kind, you can attend shows and events within your community and be in the same location as people in your world that have influence. This gives you the opportunity to make a face to face connection.

  • Collaboration! Creativity thrives on collaboration. Develop partnerships with people you admire that will benefit them. It will lead to more work, and build your reputation.

  • Partnerships  grow your core network and introduce more people to what you do.

Remember this, JellyVisionaries:

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

– Helen Keller

LOVE,

JELLY

 

Making Myself Uncomfortable

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The Longest 20 Minutes Of My Life

Ok, I’m doing it. I’m trying out this public speaking thing on Oct. 15th at NEPABlogCon in Scranton, PA. I’ll be speaking for 20 minutes on why bloggers should consider starting a podcast. Here I am, a podcaster, in the midst of a 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Hello, day 23!

I am so nervous that I am having bizarre dreams about it every night. Reference my public speaking horror story to understand my terror. Surprisingly, I’m also starting to get a little excited about it. I’m looking forward to meeting 200 bloggers. In fact, if you have a creative business, I’d consider attending this conference or a similar one. It’s an inexpensive chance to meet 200 people with audiences. I bet many of them would find your creative ventures interesting, and that could lead to a feature on their blog, or some other collaboration. Tickets are just $15. Join me there! Make valuable connections!

 

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Sometimes, I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

I’m producing DC PodFest for the second year, and it is quite the adventure. Last year, I really had no idea what I was doing. Putting together a conference is intense because it takes all your skills plus ones you have to acquire on the fly, and then, demands that you use them simultaneously for several months. I love it! I’m scared of it! It’s so much work and sleep is very inconvenient these days. What if the conference sucks?! This year is actually less stressful than last year because I have a great team helping me make sure it’s a success. Team are so important. I want to hug them.

This is another perfect opportunities to meet a group of people with an audience. Podcasters are always looking for interesting people to interview. Being on a podcast gives you an opportunity to tell your story and get new people interested and aware of you and your business. Get your tickets to DC PodFest and make friends with people that have microphones! Use Password: microphonetime for $50 off your ticket!

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I Will Relax on November 20th!

Sitting on a bed of nails has got to be more comfortable than a second speaking opportunity! I’m pushing myself to be more visible and come out of my very comfy “behind the scenes” mode because it isn’t serving my goal of growing my business. So, I will be presenting, on behalf of my company, Social Media Rescue, a talk called “Tell Your Story To Sell Your Story” to the Northern Virginia Writers Group on Nov. 19th. This is a group of independent authors who want advice on standing out on social media so they can sell more books. I love helping creatives, so I have another strange mix of dread and excitement.

This period of extreme discomfort will help me grow as a person, and business owner. I am looking forward to coming out the other side. Oh my gosh–what if I discover that I love public speaking?! No way, that won’t happen, but something will.

What are you doing to be uncomfortable; to push your limits, to unearth your real potential? We have no idea what we are capable of until we jump off the metaphorical cliff, and see if we have wings. I bet you do–big, beautiful, luminous wings that will take you to incredible places!

 

Love,

Jelly

Kick Your Small Business Assets Into Gear

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“An Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.”  – David Karp, founder and CEO Tumblr

Creating Assets For Small Business Success:

As small business owners, creators, and freelancers we are often caught up in providing our services for day-to-day income. Service businesses are great. I have one! However, they have a built-in weakness, and that is an inability to provide long-term income stability until scaled, which can take years. You provide your service, you get paid, and now it’s time to hustle for your next client, customer, or gig. Your time is always being traded for money. The thing is,  time is really priceless–your customer can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Wait a minute! Oh, yeah, perspective is a powerful thing.

This is where assets become your business besties. Yes, you spend time building and creating assets, but your time is front-loaded for long-term returns. Once your asset is created, it can start working for YOU. Assets can be anything that you create that adds long-term value or income for your business or personal brand. Over time, the accumulation of these assets will compound by providing multiple revenue streams, and a steep increase in opportunities. It’s true!

Not all assets will produce immediate or direct revenue. Consider an email list that you’ve spent years building. That email list gives you a direct line of communication with people who are interested in what you are selling and producing. That email list can turn into a monthly newsletter with news, and special offers that generate to sales. Your blog can attract your target audience, and provide content for your ebook, or podcast. All three of those assets can be monetized. Did somebody say money? Cha-Ching!

 

These Are All Assets!

Your Email List

An original design or photograph you can reproduce on textiles or license for others to use

An ebook

A webinar course

An app you developed

A community you’ve built

An event you produce

A newsletter

A Podcast

A web series

A blog

A PDF Tutorial

Ok, JellyVisionaries it’s time to kick some assets! You have everything you need to create amazing things that can work for you. Need help? Just ask! The list above provides just some of the possibilities. Make time by concentrating on only those actions that work towards fulfilling your vision of success. You are a creator and the world needs you on your game.

As always, We believe in you! Be Weird. Be Your Kind Of Successful. 

Until next time,

Love,  Jelly

And the accompanying episode of The JellyVision Show Podcast!


 

Stop Doing Nothing and Turn Your Rad Idea Into A Business

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Did You Poop An Idea?

I am not impressed (yet). So, here is the thing. Your idea is pure waste unless you do something with it. Most ideas get flushed by our self doubt as quickly as they are imagined. Seriously, doing something with your idea is not for wussies. Taking action is hard and it’s risky too. The process of turning your idea into a business reality can be exciting, but it can also be tedious, frustrating, scary, lonely, exhausting and did I mention risky? You will probably even cry at some point.

YOU COULD FAIL! 

So, why in the world would you ever want to do something with your precious idea? It’s so much fun just to talk about it and feel smart! It’s quite simple, really. Because, doing nothing is failing in the worst way. Doing nothing is future regret. Doing nothing means always wondering, “What if?”. Doing nothing means you have zippy chance of living life on your terms, learning huge lessons, leaving a legacy, or finding personal success. Turning your idea into something real lets you tap into your creativity, intelligence, spirit of adventure, and discover strengths you didn’t even know you possessed.

 

Doing nothing is f*cking embarrassing.

 

If you are still reading, I bet your idea is nagging you like a brat in a toy store–it just won’t leave you alone. “PLEEAASE do something with me”, it whines at you constantly. You feel more disgusted with yourself every day that goes by that you neglect your whiny idea. You are itchy inside knowing that you have to take action before you grow old and die. You are out of excuses. You are ready to hop on the Crazy Train to Action Town. Here we go, don’t look back. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Be Like a Dictionary and Define Your Business:

What about this idea brings you joy? Not every idea should become a business. It sounds trite, but your business should be fun. Obviously, not every second is going to be fun, but you should feel passion and  excitement for your business. Know the reasons behind why you want to do this. Starting a business is not just about making money–it’s about a lifestyle of creative freedom, independence and accomplishment. All of that comes with the price of uncertainty, so it’s important that the trade-off is backed by passion currency. 

What does your business do?: Be clear on the services or products that you sell and why. Who are you helping and how? Write it down in a living document such as a Google Doc so that you can reference and add to it as needed. Keep your business as simple as possible in the beginning. You can always add more services and products later as your business develops.

What does your business NOT do?: You need to be just as clear on what you don’t do. It can be tempting to expand your business outside the scope of your passion and expertise when you need to make money. Don’t compromise your vision.

How Much Do You Charge?: Analyze all the expenses associated with providing your product or service. Your time is also an expense. Determine how much you need to charge to make a profit on your product or service. You also need to figure out the volume of business you need to do to make sufficient revenue.

Identify Your Customers: Where do they congregate on and offline? What do they read, watch or do? Don’t gloss over this. Be as specific as possible because this will help you focus your marketing efforts. Niche down as much as you can and find your community. 

 

Eyes Wide Open:

 Who else is doing it?  Don’t be discouraged if you find out that your idea is not original. This is actually good news because you have an instant proof of concept.

Study your competitors: Take note of what they are doing well and what they aren’t doing so well. How can you be different? That difference is your advantage.

Your Costs: Find out what everything is going to cost to launch your business. Make sure to distinguish between needs and wants. Don’t spend a cent that isn’t necessary, and don’t go into debt. 

Find free and low cost small business resources: Go to your county’s website and look for information about starting a business. You will most likely find other resources such as workshops and literature about running a business. Take advantage of all the resources. If nothing else, you will meet other nuw business owners and expand grow your network.  SCORE is a national, free program offered by the Small Business Administration where new business owners are paired with experienced business people as personal mentors. Super awesome!

Talk To People: Get a group of friends or family together as a focus group. Get their honest impressions of your product or service. Be thankful for their negative comments. Being able to adjust your product or service early, can save you from making costly mistakes.

The Tedious Practicals:

Naming Your Business: Your name is important, but don’t get attached too quickly. Make sure you can get your business name as a top tier domain as well as across social media platforms. Your goal is for your name to be the same everywhere. It will take time to research a name that can be that consistent.

Get An EIN Number: An EIN number is like a social security number for your business. This is how the IRS will identify your business as a tax entity. You will need an EIN number to get a business bank account and a business license. This is also a good first step in thinking of your business as separate than yourself.

Get A Business License: Your county or city wants to tax your business, so you need a business license. It’s paperwork. It has to be renewed. You may also be required to register a Trade name and file Business Personal Property tax forms. Your jurisdiction will walk you through what you need. Make a file for the records, keep copies of everything, and put renewal dates on your calendar 2-3 weeks before anything is due.

Business Structure: You will want to determine the legal structure of your business. You may be fine starting out as a sole proprietor in the beginning, but you will want to research LLCs and other options so you can choose the one that gives you the best legal protection and tax benefits.

Open A Business Bank Account or Business PayPal Account: Keep your business income completely separate from your personal income from the beginning. You will save yourself a lot of frustration later, trust me. Consider opening a PayPal account for your business which has an easy invoicing system which will allow you to start billing clients immediately. You pay a small fee to PayPal for each incoming transaction, but it may be worth the expense in the beginning when you are just starting out. You will also have accurate records of income and expenses–especially if you order a PayPal debit card connected to your business PayPal account so you can pay for business expenses from that account.

Purchase Liability InsuranceBeing a business owner has enough stress. The few hundred dollars a year you will pay for a general liability policy is worth the peace of mind in case something goes wrong. If you are starting a high liability business–get as much insurance as you can afford. 

A Logo and Social Media Graphics: Get a professional logo and social media banner designed and sized for for all the platforms. Again, you want to be consistent across platforms. Consider using Fiverr if you are on a super tight budget. You should be able to get everything you need for $20-$40.

 

PR & Marketing:

 Get a Website or Blog: You need an online presence and it’s easier than ever to make your own website using WordPress templates. If this is intimidating, don’t let that frustration delay your business. There are services such as RocketPack Online that cater to small businesses by offering web design and maintenance services on a subscription basis so you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for a website.

Social Media Strategy: Your customers are hanging out online. Determine which social media platforms are best for your business, then you have to implement a focused strategy so that your social media efforts are not wasted or damaging to your brand. You can screw up social media. Consider consulting with a social media management company to help you maximize your social media success. Paying for an hour long consult could save you tons of time and missed opportunities.

Tell Everybody: This is not the time to be shy. Get comfortable telling friends, family, aquaintances and strangers about your business.

Organize Unique Events and People: An effective way to get recognition in your field is to organize events and gatherings that provide value to the the community of people who benefit from your services. Think creatively and don’t make it a hard sale. Put together a fun event and before you know it, you will be a micro-celebrity in your industry.

DIY PR: Don’t hesitate to handle your own public relations. Learn to write and distribute your own press release. Contact podcasts relevant to your expertise and ask to be a guest. Share your knowledge with their audience and get lots of publicity in exchange.