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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Starting a creative business at any age

Tricia Cusden proves that you can start a creative business at any age. I was so impressed with Tricia’s outlook on life and it was a real pleasure to be able to interview her for this podcast.

Tricia founded the pro-age beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever  when she was 65 years old and already retired. Tricia had become frustrated with beauty products that weren’t suitable for mature skin, so decided to take herself back to school as a make-up artist and then launch her own range of beauty products.

What I loved about Tricia was that she was repeated told that her vision wouldn’t work and that older women wouldn’t buy make-up. Rather than stop Tricia, it only encouraged her to continue.

Starting a creative business at any age can be daunting, but when you haven’t grown up with social media or computers from a young age, it can be hard to know how to connect with your audience through these methods. Tricia’s daughter helped her to upload a video to Youtube showing you how to apply make-up for mature women and it went viral.

This changed how Tricia decide to run her business. Originally she was going to follow the formula of holding selling-parties, where a host helps to sell the products to a group of friends at a small event. With the success of the online video, Tricia realised that she could connect more easily with her audience on-line.

Her business has gone from strength to strength and now turns over nearly £2 million. Not bad for someone who was told that older women wouldn’t buy make-up!

You can listen to her whole story and the advice that she gives the younger generation on starting their own business by listening to the podcast below.

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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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Timelines can help you achieve success

When we are busy focussing on our own career we often forget to look backwards at how far we have come. Timelines can help you achieve success if you use them in the right way.

I am writing this article a couple of days after my birthday (yes that’s crazy eyed me on my first birthday!).

Birthdays are always a good point in the year to reflect on how far you have come, and what you have achieved with your life so far. It isn’t a moment to put undue pressure on yourself! It is a time to appreciate all that you have done, to get where you are right now.

We forget that when we entered this world we didn’t know anything. We had to learn how to blow out that candle on the cake until eventually we were baking our own. It is the same with your career path. We gaze lovingly at the people who are ahead of us and believe that we can never do as well as them.

Not only is this damaging to your self confidence, but you also have no idea whether they have had help to get where they are today, or have grown up with family members to help them into the industry.

It is important to focus on your own path. In this week’s podcast I talk through ways that you can do this, and how to use timelines to plot out- not only where you have been, but where you are heading as well.

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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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Dealing with imposter syndrome

At some point in our careers imposter syndrome will strike. I have suffered with it many times, and it always feels like the little monster on your shoulder telling you that you shouldn’t be there.

Imposter syndrome was first coined in the 1970’s when a study in America at Georgia State University noticed that successful women suffered from chronic self doubt.

Men also suffer from imposter syndrome but not as often as women. There are several examples of high profile women who have come out and talked about their own feelings of dealing with imposter syndrome.

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am”
Facebook Chief Sheryl Sandberg

So why does hearing about how successful people also struggle with this help you? Imposter syndrome strikes when you are reaching out of your comfort zone and growing. If we can take a moment to thank it for showing us that we are challenging ourselves, we can gain some control back from it.

In this podcast I talk about why imposter syndrome strikes, how to overcome it & I set you a challenge to help you deal with your own imposter feelings.

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Giving thanks

This week I want to talk about giving thanks. It isn’t thanksgiving, or a special reason to do this -although the holiday season is a great time to send a card.

Taking the time at the end of the year to think about all of the people who have helped you, is a great way to see that you haven’t had to do this all alone.

Sometimes we forget the small things that people do for us; whether they make an introduction, explain a new skill or lend an ear to listen to your concerns.

I have been blessed this week with thank you’s from some of the people I have mentored over the year. It means so much to me that they have taken the time to write and tell me about the successes they have had. It was this that gave me the idea for this week’s podcast.

In the podcast I talk about why it is important for you to give thanks to the people who have helped you, and I have set you a challenge start to thank those that have helped you.

Reminding people that they have touched your career and life in a positive way, helps to spread a bit of magic around. We often spend too much time focussing on the negatives when we build our careers,  without taking a look to really see all of the positive help we have received during the year.

What has someone done to help you this year? Let me know about it in the comments below. 

Remember to be thankful as 2016 draws to a close, and think of ways that you can help others in the coming year.

Going Pro

turning-pro

Going pro is all a matter of belief and confidence in the work that you are producing. Obviously if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it! So I’ve recorded a podcast to talk you through real things that you can do to turn pro.

Often it is about how you present yourself and your work. From the way that you handle clients, right down to the way that you communicate in emails and on phone calls. Over the years I have seen people’s work that is of a professional standard fail, as they haven’t taken into consideration the other areas of their career that they need to have a professional attitude towards.

You can hear about what you need to think about in the podcast below, and I set you a challenge to help you review your own career and work right now, and what you can do to improve on it.

The best way to start is to look at what you do right now. Think of the areas that your work, you and clients or commissions interact. Look at the list below and think about what areas you can improve on.

The list (do add your own)

  • Emails- How are you writing them? Is it in a formal or friendly voice. Choose what feels right for you and your industry.
  • Telephones- Is your answer machine message clear and concise? When you leave a message, do you repeat your phone number twice, so that the person at the other end has time to write it down? When you talk to someone on a call, are you friendly and helpful, or shy, blunt and uncomfortable? These are things you can work on.
  • Website- Even if it is one page, do you have a website? When people are looking at your work, or thinking about hiring you, a website gives them proof that you are professional. It is also a way for new clients to find you. Don’t under estimate how important it is to have one.
  • Contracts & Agreements- do you use these for every bit of work, no matter how large or small? They not only give you protection, but they also help you come across as professional and serious about your career and work.
  • Model & location agreements- if you work as an artist, filmmaker or photographer, this is something that you should think about. I talk more about it in the podcast.
  • Delivery notes- if you are sending work, this helps with your own filing, but it also makes you look more professional to the client.

There are lots of other things that you can add to the list. The key is to think what your competitors or heroes are doing, and how you can appear as professional as them. Chat with your friends as you might be able to share legal costs to produce contracts. Anything to help you get started on the road to being professional has to start with you.

Often turning pro is a self belief  in you yourself and your work. Doubt never goes away, but how you manage it can be the difference between you succeeding or giving up before you have climbed that hill.

I’ve set you a challenge in the podcast to review your own professional work and attitude. Let me know in the comments what things you are going to change, and any tips you have to offer. 

Pricing your goods & services

pricing-is-the-exchange-rate-you-put-on-all-the-tangible-and-intangible-aspects-of-your-business-value-for-cash

Pricing your goods as a creative can seem like a daunting task. There is no guide to follow and rarely an industry standard pricing list. This can make it seem like some sort of alchemy calculation, especially when you are starting out.

Pricing is one of the subjects I get asked the most about by CWI members, creative start-ups, and University students. It brings out the most amount of panic and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This week’s podcast is all about how to work out what your worth is, and how that then affects your pricing structure. You can listen to it below.

Once you have worked out your worth (that is what you as an individual needs to keep the lifestyle you already have- nothing to do with your work finance) you can start to look at all of the other elements that you need to think about when you price your goods and services.

Pricing goods

Pricing goods is slightly easier than pricing services- so let’s start here. You know that there is a fixed cost to making something. You know how much it cost in materials and in your time, but there are other things that you need to think about as well.

  1. If you make a piece of work in a studio you need to take in the costs of rent, heat etc as well.
  2. When you work out your hourly rate- does it make it feasible to sell that piece of work to the market you are currently talking to? Or do you need to look elsewhere?
  3. Making one of something will always be more expensive- is there a way to make multiples or have your work manufactured?
  4. If you are selling your work through galleries they often take 50%. Have you added that to your costs?
  5. Can you look at licensing your work to make more profit? This isn’t for everyone, but it might help when you are starting out and trying to build a name for yourself.
  6. Have you added aspirational value?

Aspirational value

Aspirational value is the alchemy element of your work. It is one of the hardest things to price for and it can take time to build it into your work. You’ll see plenty of artists raise their prices as they go along, rather than jumping straight into a high value piece.

The key is to look at the people you admire and the kind of career you want to model yourself on. How have they priced their work over the years? Do they have their work for sale in limited places or have they licensed it for all sorts of things? This will make a difference to the value of the pieces.

Pricing services

Pricing services is slightly harder to do. It isn’t as if you buy them off the shelf at the local store, but you can compare yourself to other service providers doing the same thing in your area.

If you are running workshops it helps to look at what your competitors are charging. Remember to think about who they actually are though. Often councils or Government funded workshops and classes are heavily subsidised, so you need to think why having you as the training makes them more valuable.

It might be that you have a wealth of experience, or fantastic contacts that you can share. Or that you have been on the same journey as the people you are teaching, so you understand how they are feeling. Or you are so specialist at what you do, they can’t find it anywhere else. All of this adds value.

When you look at your pricing remember these things as well:

  1. Your travel time and mileage to and from the venue.
  2. The cost of hiring the space, or if it is at your studio- remember to add the cost of rent, heating etc for that period of time.
  3. Preparation time- this is one that most people forget to add, but it is part of the cost as you are still working when you are preparing.
  4. Post time- as above, you might have to sort things out after the event. All of that time and work counts towards the cost of the workshop.
  5. Any materials that you will use or even just photocopies of worksheets.
  6. Any refreshments.
  7. Press and marketing materials- even you posting on social media is your time!

There are many other things that you might now realise you need to add to the cost. You need to think of everything that you use or need, to create and complete the workshops. Your time before, during and after, counts towards it as well.

Final thoughts

Pricing is something that you need to test and review. It might mean that the market you were hoping to enter is now unable to afford your goods and services, so your entire customer base changes. This will then affect your marketing, branding etc.

At the end of the podcast I share ways that you can find out how to price your goods and services when you have no idea where to start.

Let me know in the comments below what you find so hard about pricing your goods and services. 

If you still find this hard, there is an online Creative Business course coming up in 2017. To be the first to sign up for it at the early bird rate, let me know that you are interested by emailing me at:

Philiy@CreativeWomenInternational.com

Giving back can help your career

we-make-a-living-by-what-we-get-but-we-make-a-life-by-what-we-give

When you start out on a creative career, the last thing that you are probably thinking about is giving something back. What if I was to tell you that there is a great benefit to thinking about giving something back the moment you begin your career?

You might think I’m crazy when you are worrying about the finances and how you are going to make the rent. But actively building this into your career plan can actually help you get ahead.

When we try to help others, they in turn will pass it on and help those coming up through the ranks. Obviously there are going to be a few who take things without giving back, but if we all helped each other up the career ladder, rather than trying to climb over each other we would have a stronger and more stable career.

Some people are great at giving back, but often do it at the detriment to their own success. There is no point cutting your own arm off, if that stops you being able to help more people with two! Sometimes we can’t do everything we believe in straight away, but having an idea of what we plan to do, will enable up to structure our career around it.

In this podcast I explain why it is so important to do this, and I have set you a challenge to complete this week to give something back yourself.

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