How to leave a corporate job for a creative one

Sometimes we have a dream to leave a corporate job for a creative one. But how on earth can we do it? For this podcast I was lucky enough to interview Bree Noble who did exactly that. She left her corporate job as a Director of finance to pursue a career in music.

Bree talks candidly about the journey she took from University, to the corporate world, and then finally leaving to fulfil her dreams of a creative career.

Bree was able to carve out a successful career, not only as a musician, but as a podcaster, and as a supporter of other musicians through online courses, sharing the tools that worked for her.

Listen to the podcast to find out more, and you can follow these links to see more of Bree’s work:

Women of Substance Podcast

Female music academy 

Bree’s own website

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Value your creativity

Successful failing

When we are creating something new we often forget that the failures along the way are as important as the final success. Valuing your creativity in all of its forms is so important. It helps you to keep going when the process is hard and it can help you to negotiate higher fees for your work.

In this podcast I talk through ways of valuing your own creativity and how you can use this to explain to new clients and customers the creative process. This can then help you negotiate higher fees for your work. If you don’t value the creative process yourself, how is anyone else going to value you it and pay you for it?

As creatives we often forget to build reflection time into our work. Because being creative is instinctive to us, we forget how much brain power and energy it takes each day to create.

Listen to the podcast and let me know in the comments below how you value your own creativity. 

There are tips below on how you can value your own creativity….

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How to work with passion rather than money

There are moments in your career when you need to forget about the money. This might sound like a strange thing to say, so let me explain why.

As creatives it is nearly impossible to be creative if you are thinking or worrying about money. Have you ever tried to design something from a starting point of money concerns? If you have, you’ll discover that the creative part of you becomes stilted. You panic. You over analyse. And before you know it, you haven’t been about to design anything.

Creativity needs freedom. It needs to know that anything is possible and it needs to come from a starting point of passion.

In this week’s podcast I talk about ways of making passion your priority, and how and when you need to stop thinking about the money.

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Let’s talk about money!

Often as creatives we would rather hide under the duvet than talk about money. We have a love, hate relationship which isn’t always healthy.

As we head towards the end of January I want you to take this time to really think about your finances. I’m not talking about the tax return, or how much is in the bank (although I hope you are keeping an eye on those things!). I’m talking about the work that you are doing and the money that it is generating- or not!

In this podcast I talk through why it is so important to keep an eye on the projects that you are working on. We invest so much of yourselves into our creative work, both emotionally & through the time we spend on it, that we can often forget it needs to earn us a living!

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Planning For A Great Year

success-doesnt-just-happen-its-planned-for-2

As we race towards the end of the year, I always think that this is a great time to review what you have achieved so far, and to plan for 2017.

Planning for a great year takes structure, and not just the odd to-do-list. This is more about looking at what you want to achieve, and setting those points as markers for how the rest of the year will be structured.

I explain how to do this in the podcast that you can listen to below.

I still use to-do-lists (I know they can be addictive!), but if the major events aren’t planned out, it makes it hard for you to know when you need help, support or finance to get the project done. It is also crucial to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to complete the project.

Too often we think that we can achieve something in a certain time frame, and then life gets in the way. Make sure you build in contingency planning, both in terms of time and money, in case something goes wrong. It is better not to need it, than to wish you had it!

A challenge for you

At the end of the podcast I talk about a challenge for you to plan your own year ahead. Here are some of the key things you need to think about:

  • Do you know the deadlines for your project?
  • Do you have all the people you need to help you?
  • Have you got finance in place for the project?
  • If you don’t have finance in place, have you planned how and when you will need it?
  • Are there press and PR moments that you need to plot out for the project? (Remember that some magazines have 3 months lead times!)
  • Do you have support plotted out for the year, so that you are able to achieve what you need?
  • Have you plotted out holidays and fun times with family and friends? It is so important to take breaks so that you have the energy to go back and finish the project.
  • Have you plotted out points in the year to review your progress? By making moments to review, you can see if something is working or not, and whether you should continue with it or try something else.

Above all have fun with this. Things are flexible, and can be changed as we go along. Unless we know what the big challenges are, we can’t prepare for them. It might mean that you only focus on one big thing a year rather than several, but it is better to have achieved one thing, than to fail at several.

Let me know in the comments below what you are going to aim for next year. Is there any help that you need with it? 

Becoming a furniture designer

luno-side-board

I have had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Farmer, designer and maker of Luno furniture with her husband, Dan Knowles, in Los Angeles. I’m pretty obsessed with their work. Not only have they added beautiful speakers to the furniture, but there is room for a Whiskey bar inside as well. Ticking all of my boxes! You can see more of their amazing creations on their website: http://www.iamluno.com

Jennifer was great to interview and she spoke candidly about the struggles and the wins along the way. She began her career in the music industry in LA before discovering her love of furniture renovation, and with her husband’s sound engineering skills Luno was born.

unnamed

Sometimes we feel like we need everything in place before we start. Jennifer explains that sometimes it takes a jump into the unknown to get going and figuring it out on the way down. Her bravery is inspiring to me and I hope she encourages you to make a leap in your own creative career.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

What do you feel is holding you back in your creative career? What one thing would you do if you could take the fear away? Share your story in the comments below.

Retreat your creativity

Retreat your creativity

You may know that I have just come back from a writing retreat. Retreats weren’t really my bag before. I thought it was rather indulgent to take time off and retreat from the world, but I have now realised that it is so important to take time where and when we can to focus on our own practice.

I wanted to share some of the things that I learnt by giving my creativity a retreat, and why I think it is something that you should build into your career plan.

What I found most useful was the fact that I was sharing the experience with others who thought or felt the same way as me. We were all going through the experience together, but at our own pace and building something ourselves. This was a powerful thing.

Most of the time as creative freelancers we spend time alone making or creating. On top of that we have to sort out our books, do a tax return and find new audiences and clients. We need to know that taking time to be creative- (totally creative), is not only a gift to ourselves but it can also help us to reflect on our own career and see what is and isn’t working.

Taking time to retreat from the electronic, rushing and commitment heavy world that we live in, is something we need to make time to do.

Now, I totally understand that not everyone can drop everything and lock themselves away for a week to focus on their creative practice. But what you might be able to do is carve out 24 or 48 hours once a year to have a retreat. You don’t even need to leave your home to do it.

Having 48 hours without the internet, telephones or other distractions gives you time to experiment, to reflect, to take a moment to see how far you have already come and to celebrate that.

When we are running around and trying to build or keep our career on track we can forget how much brain space is taken up from just being!

Ask yourself when was the last time you didn’t check your emails for 48 hours or left your mobile phone at home?

Technology has seeped into everything we do. You can see this from the craze of Pokemon Go that has exploded everywhere- People taking a walk with their phones held out in front of them trying to catch a small animated creature to earn points.

Retreats are a moment in time that is purely yours to do what ever you want with. I talk about how you can create mini retreats in your life, whether you have children or other commitments to work around.

If you fancy going off on a writing retreat, this is where I went for a tutored retreat ARVON.

When you take a retreat or a mini retreat, there are some things that you need to think about before you begin.

  1. Make sure that you let other people know that you are going to do it. Let your nearest and dearest know that you are not going to be available (do create an emergency contact that they can reach you on if they need to). Then let your email list know that you will be unavailable by setting an out of office reply on your email and mobile phone.
  2. Unplug all of the technology and put it away- all of the tablets, phones, and internet. If you don’t trust yourself give a friend the key and ask them to bring it back to you in 48 hours.
  3. Focus on one thing. Trying to cram all of your dreams, plans and ideas into one retreat isn’t only exhausting, it is unproductive as well. You end up making lots of starts, as like love, they are more fun in the beginning. But what you want to have is a bit of a break thorough or time to create one thing- or at least start it.
  4. Start early (unless you are a night owl- in which case start late and work late). You only have a retreat for a period of time, so treat it as precious. You can have lie ins other times when it is over.
  5. Make time for exercise. Taking a walk or a run round the block when you are retreating helps you to clear your head, come up with new ideas and take a breather from the intensity of creating all day.
  6. Prepare all of your food in advance so you don’t have to cook, shop or even think about those chores. (On my retreat this was the most relaxing part of it. I didn’t have to plan meals or do the shopping, it was all catered for).
  7. If you want to do the retreat with others you could all hire a place to come together or share the day time work with each other. Working alone but coming together for meals works well.

    This is the most important point:-

  8. You may not create the best work while you are on a retreat. It might be that you discover a new way of doing something or a way or writing that you hadn’t explored before. Don’t be disheartened if at the end you have a few bits of work in a folder that you may or may not use. The benefits will come later when you look back on it.

So now I have a challenge for you!

Over the next month try to block out 24-48 hours that you use to create your own retreat. Make sure that all technology is banished and locked away. If you usually work with computers as a designer etc. try to take this time to use paper and pens instead. Literally go back to the drawing board.

In the comments below let me know how you get on and what break throughs you made.