Business 101 Blog

Why Masterminds Don’t Work and How You Can Learn Anything Forever

What is Non-Linear Learning:  The More Natural Way To Learn?

To truly understand non-linear learning we first have to talk a little bit about linear learning.

For the most part we are all familiar with linear learning.  It is the kind of learning we have done in school, where you study something, you learn it, and then you apply it.   And this is a very effective way to learn a lot of things.  For example, medicine.  If I was looking for a doctor, or a surgeon, I would definitely want someone who has studied, learned , and then applied their education.  I would certainly NOT be looking for a surgeon who was looking to have a breakthrough (at least not during my surgery!)

So, there are many areas of life where linear learning works well and is the preferred method of learning.  However, it is not the most effective way to learn everything.  For instance, how do I stay in passionate love with my spouse after 20 years; or how come, no matter what company I work for or which manager I work with I still find myself at the same plateau, or the same income level;  Or maybe it is about your health —  you start out well intended, but something happens and you cannot quite see what it is, you lose weight and then put it back on;  Or maybe it about your relationships, you are dating and no matter how many different people you go out with you find yourself in the same basic situation.

If any of that sounds familiar, then you have also probably tried some linear learning to attempt to change it.  You have read books, followed all the right rules,  or tried to dominate yourself into submission.   Yet, you still cannot really get out of the rut you are in.

Areas of Life Where Non-Linear Learning Is More Effective

These are areas of life where non-linear learning would be more effective.  These are areas of life where you cannot really see what is shaping the results you are getting.  You know there is something there, but you cannot quite see it.  It is like trying to see the back of your own eyes, we all have blind spots in some areas of our life.

What Is Non-Linear Learning?

So what is non-linear learning?  Non-linear learning is when an all of a sudden phenomenon occurs.  Some would call it an aha moment, or a light bulb goes off…a sudden shift in perspective that allows you to take new actions and opens up new points of view for you.

We have all learned this way, learning to walk, learning to talk, learning to play an instrument, or learning to type, learning to swim.  These are all learning in a non-linear way.   The best example I have found is learning to ride a bike, mostly because for the most part we are all old enough to remember it.

When you learn to ride a bike, you get on the bike and you pedal and then you fall.  You do it again, pedal and fall, pedal and fall, pedal and fall.  And then at some point, you pedal and pedal and then you pedal and pedal and pedal and you are riding the bike!    Right there, there is a moment when you go from trying to ride a bike to being a bike rider!   It is just a moment when everything shifts.

There Are a Few Important Things to Note About Non-Linear Learning.

First, it never goes away.   Once you learn something in a non linear way it is yours forever… literally.   You might not ride a bike for 25 years, but if you got it out of the garage and dusted it off, you would be able to ride it.  And you know that! Same with learning to swim.  Once you know how to swim, you might not swim for years, but you don’t wonder if you still can… you absolutely know you know how to swim.

#2.  No one can explain it to you.   You could read books by Lance Armstrong about riding a bike, but it would not get you any closer to being a bike rider.  Non- linear learning is something you have to do for yourself.

#3.  It is natural.  We have all done it and it is not even hard.

However, for the most part we don’t know how to focus that kind of learning on areas of life that are important to us.

Why Masterminds Don’t Work

Masterminds can be great for general support, and can put a structure together that has some accountability.  What they don’t tend to provide is anything beyond what you can already see.   Having a group of people who recognize when you are bullshitting yourself or doing more of the same, instead of causing a breakthrough you need and want.  A mastermind is a tool for rapid growth, but will not necessarily provide that breakthrough from a plateau, or have you become the leader you envision yourself to be — a coach with deep roots in non-linear education is essential to that kind of growth.

For more reading on Causing Breakthroughs read: Dealing With Frustration and Despair

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported
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Developing Power: You Need Methods not Miracles!

Becoming Aware Of Your Self Sabotaging Behavior

Tawn Holstra Auston

In the Tarot, there is a card called the Tower of Destruction.   For many it is a scary card, predicting a huge disruption in the future.   What most people don’t see in the more subtle aspects of the card is that the disruption is caused… we are at the heart of it.   The card is saying it is time for us to shake things up… change old crusty behaviors that no longer serve us.

According to the Tarot Handbook, by Ariel Angeles, the card is about “healing and restoration, but first, it is a symbol of the change and awakening that is required to dismantle that which is artificial, false, or conditioned.”

Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs’ focus for 2018 is Developing Power and our first cut is all about our unconscious behaviors that are undermining our growth, business or personal.

These Behaviors Are Shaping Your Future

What we are taking on is our habits — those actions we take, over and over, as if they were a part of who we are.  We tend to be unaware of them or, at the very least, we are unaware of their impact on our effectiveness.

Unconscious:  What we are unaware of

Habits:  Those thoughts and actions we do over and over, and over, whether they are good for us or not.

So how do we find and eliminate our own unconscious habits? I mean, they are unconscious, right?

First a few important and ground breaking insights into habits as they relate to being human!

1. Habits are whole system phenomena –    they do not occur in a vacuum, so there is more than one aspect to most habits.   They include thoughts, activities, timing, moods, and sometimes sounds or smells.   Plus, habits wear grooves in our software AND our hardware.

Even new violins produce better sound and become better instruments by being played by a virtuoso – they get          accustomed to the vibration and the vibration changes the cellular structure of the wood.     Amazing right?!!

2.  Habits are not all bad… we love habits and having things become second nature to us. Typing is a behavior we  are trained to; language, driving, all are really great habits we have taken years to build.   Any mastery you                    have is a habit you have intentionally developed.    Congratulations!

3. Habits are a type of hypnosis we cast on ourselves.  – At first the habits work and we love having them, but if you  find yourself trying to change a behavior that does not serve you anymore, than you have a bad habit.   No        one makes us smoke, or bite our nails, or give up on our dreams.    We do all of that through the choices we make        yet we act as if it was happening to us through some outside power.    Huh?

4. Not all habits are obvious.  — Some are, nail biting, being late, leaving cabinet doors open, clutter, etc.   Some are much more subtle.   Things like, being over busy or over committing, putting things off with a great                           justification, not doing complete work,  doing work that does not make the most mission critical work your                   fledgling company  needs done…

5. Human behavior is extremely malleable throughout our whole life. What?!   Yup, that’s right!  We can change anything at any time… like Dorothy in Munchkin Land, we just have to be ready for the responsibility of being in charge of our own future.

OK, So If This is All True, How Do We Become Aware of Our Unwanted Behaviors?

Especially, when we are working hard on our new business?   There are behaviors that we won’t discover until after we have started our new business and we are up to our ass in alligators.  Are you laying the track to your  own train wreck with your unconscious behaviors or bad habits?

How to break bad habits is one of the tougher tasks of being an entrepreneur.  Sometimes the things we do to get started, our ability to shoot from the hip, or make quick decisions, are more automatic than we realize and we can’t really not do it.   They serve us in some cases and undermine us in others.

A super simple but hugely impactful habit that I had for many years was to put off tasks that emerged during the day until I had more time.  In the moment,  I did not think I should stop what I was doing and deal with whatever just popped up because it would take me off what I was already doing… I was proud of my ability to stay on task and focus on what I was doing.   What I learned was  sometimes you need to re-evaluate the issue that popped up and at least put it in a schedule for WHEN it WILL get done, or it never gets done.

There is No More Time Coming

Why this is a subtle habit is because I really thought that I would get to it later.  I also thought  that being overly busy would end one day when I had more success, or had sold my business, or retired… it was always a someday thing that I dangled in front of my own face – my dream life did not include working like a mad woman, but there I was, every day.

Waking Up in the Middle and Changing Now

Waking up to the fact that I had put things off until later a thousand+ times before and it always produced the same result, I saw it was time to recognize that more time is never coming!    The bad habit was pretending I would have more time one day.   I accepted that I was lying to myself and I was the one ruining my peace of mind.  That unconscious behavior was the path to running around like a chicken with its’ head cut off, which I did for years and just thought that was how it was supposed to look when you are super engaged entrepreneur.   Busy, busy, busy.

So every time I decided to put something off, I would remember I was choosing to be insane and overwhelmed  in a couple of weeks and I was painting myself into a corner for more things to “need” to be put off then too.

So how did I change that behavior?

Make a New Commitment to A Practice that Will Become a Habit

I tried a new practice…obviously, issues still came up, something would happen during the day, the phone would ring and it would be something that needed to be done.  The new habit I started was taking the time to schedule it, right then.    I keep a calendar on my desk so that I could check it immediately.    It took an extra 2 minutes, but it also kept my days to normal work lengths and I had the confidence that everything was going to get done in a timely manner and nothing would get neglected or forgotten.

How to Get Started Revealing Your Unconscious Behaviors

To start revealing your own automatic behaviors, I suggest you journal your behaviors… write every day for a couple of months and see what behaviors you have every day.

Some places to look:

Morning routines

Lunch routines

Dinner routines

Transitions from work to relaxation or during your drive times.

How do you handle your money?  Habits of shopping, saving, investing, or gift giving

When do you work?

Your most creative time of day is____________

When do you exercise?

When and how do you create meal plans?

When and how do you do your research?   Dig deeper into what you are working on?

When do you read?

How do you keep track of ideas?    Notes you take?   Things you want and/or dream about?

Start  Slow –  Better to Be Effective —

All of these areas have many repetitive activities that may or may not serve you or fulfill your dream life goals.    So consider taking them on, one at a time —  start slow, the cravings, the unconsciousness will surface loud and proud, so taking on more than one at a time will likely set you up for failure.    Start with one important habit that will give you a new level of mastery and provide you with power to accomplish your goals.

Suggested Reading:  Time Magazine’s Special Edition on Habits   

For more reading on how little things get in the way read:  Where Has All My Passion Gone?

FREE GIFTS:

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support I did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I know how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

 

Read More

Developing Power: Do Your Hear Yourself?   Demystifying Failure and Frustration

Are You Making the Same Promises to Yourself This Year As You Did Last Year?  

Tawn Holstra Auston

This is a mean question.   I mean, we are all so excited to forget about last year’s fails and start fresh – and we know in our hearts it can work, only it rarely does.   And I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm for your dreams, certainly NOT.     So we make our new year’s resolutions and vow to really do it this year, and we mean it.  We really, really mean it.   Then how come we are making the same promises we made last year?   Didn’t we mean it then, too?

The answer is simple, something stopped us last year (and maybe the year before that too).    There are so many possible things that can get in the way of our success, too many to list, but the one universal truth is something got in the way and somewhere along the way, we stopped working towards our goal.

If we look at the consistent fails of most people, there are a three predictable missing components when things get tough.

3 Most Common Missing Structures for Success

#3.   No real plan for accomplishing the goal —  we tend to fly by the seat of our pants, even when starting a business, we tend to just grab our first customer and start running.   We will get to the accounting, the marketing plan, the team development later… what’s important now is cash flow!   Right?

#2.     No clear picture of what we are really aiming for?   We have a good idea of what we want, but many times we will not actually write out or draw, or really clarify the exact goal we want and how it will be when we have it.     This may seem like visioning or some woowoo practice to you, but studies have shown over and over that having a crystal clear picture of your goal is one of the most important things you can do to keep on track — Make it so real you could taste it.   I love to collage, so that is my way, but create something that you can remind yourself what your goal is (this is your WHY).   If you write it out, read it once a week.   If you draw, hang it on the wall.  If you collage, like I do, hang it on the wall.

#1.   No Support —

We tend to go it alone  —  a huge mistake.   Creating alone is one thing, trying to take on a big goal, one that you have failed at before and is apparently really important to you, (just guessing, since you are recommitting to it), yet we do not think to change our behaviors.   Driving it alone is great when we are starting out but it is way too easy to give up. Too easy to cut corners, not notice the lack of progress or enthusiasm.  No one to celebrate the wins (sometimes just showing up is the win!)    Going it alone is simply a recipe for failure, so get on loud speaker about your goal and ask for your posse to remind you when you falter!    If this is your bugaboo, it is a behavior you can change!

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Says Who?

 It has been said for eons, that once we are past a certain age that we cannot learn new things or ever change.    This has been found out to be completely wrong thinking and scientifically proven that our brains are quite elastic, healable, and can learn for our whole lives.     Books such as the Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, celebrating its 10th year in print, and Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, also out for about 10 years, are written by medical doctors who have shown that human beings can learn anything even after 20 years old, even after 50 years old.

But we do not teach behavioral training in school.   We do not teach it anywhere really except the military, it is considered advanced learning even then.  Thus,we are left to tackle our own self-defeating behaviors all on our own.   From bad habits to unconscious repetitive behaviors which are sometimes hard to see what they are, we are left to figure out this all by our lonesome.

So How Can We Change Our Behavior After So Many Years?        

 Changing our behavior is not hard, but that does not make it easy.    It takes consistency more than anything… keep going and do not give up until you have it —

Instead of attempting to stop the old, start a new practice that moves you toward your goal.   It is important to note that none of this is important without your goals.    Our need to sleep in 4 – 5 times a week is only a problem if we are committed to early morning goals.    Otherwise, sleeping until 10 am is not a problem for anyone.

Let me give you an example from my own life.   A couple of years ago I stopped drinking for a year.    For most of my adult life, with the exception of about 8 years of pregnancies and nursing babies, I drank wine.   A couple of glasses a night.   Not a problem really.  Never drunk, never out of hand.  But yet, I knew that it was something that I had fallen into rather than planned.  So, as an experiment, I decided to stop drinking for a year.   I chose a year because I knew that I could power through any shorter amount of time and not get the lessons possible, so I needed to take on a time period where I would have to actually not be a drinker anymore.

The first 3 weeks I was completely aware of how much I wanted to drink every evening.   The nuances of my habits started to become much more clear to me.   Normally, as I was making dinner, I would pour myself a glass of wine to transition from my work day to my evening with my family and cooking dinner while drinking wine and watching a little TV was the trick.    So every day I would find myself facing my habit… wine had become my way of relaxing and transitioning my day.

My first insight:   I had lost my own ability to just relax without wine–

So,  with the help of my husband,  I created a question to ask myself when I wanted a glass of wine, “What are you avoiding?”     This became my new habit every time I wanted to drink a glass of wine.    The answers were also very useful, but the practice gave me a new habit to develop.

What Really Surprised Me Were All the Benefits I Got That I Never Expected

I am happy to say that it took about 5 weeks for me to stop having daily thoughts about drinking.   Then I started saying, “I don’t drink” in response to requests to go out for cocktails,  but what really surprised me were all the benefits I got that I never expected.  I started to have a renewed power to give and keep my word.     I had energy in the mornings, clarity in my thinking, a peacefulness when just being,  and focus while sitting and working.   Life seemed to flow easier somehow.  All from changing a behavior.

This is only one example of what may happen for you.  What I can share is that it is worth the effort to gain your strength.    For when we make resolutions, we are simply giving our word to ourselves (and sometimes others).    If we have no real power we are just hoping it goes differently.   The past failures are right there to remind us that we need to do something differently this year.    If we don’t we are just hoping  and you and your dreams are worth more than that!   Giving up on our goal again, that is tragic.

Here are some simple starting points for changing a behavior:

#1 .   Start with something very clear.

Like drinking or eating sugar, or gluten.    For best results, it needs to be a very black and white result.   No gray areas allowed.     A good example is getting organized.   This is WAY TOO GRAY a goal. It has no finite beginning or end.   If clutter and losing your keys are your nemesis, then have Clean kitchen counters or putting everything away EVERY NIGHT —  or making places for everything so you know where they are.    Remember that these are behavioral habits so you need to be specific and you MUST BE ABLE to ACCOMPLISH IT.  We are changing behaviors, not thoughts or feelings.   It must be something you can DO, since the habit shows up that way.

#2.  Have something at stake.

When I am going to take on changing a behavior I ask myself, “what will be possible if I get this done?”    For me having power with my word is critically important —  it is my only real power in the world, no trivial matter to me.    So that is frequently my “why”.     But whatever is your “WHY”  should be important enough to you that you will be reminded of who you are when you choose to NOT do what you ALWAYS have done before!

#3.   Pray —  joking, kind of.

What I mean is ask for help.    Have someone on your team that will encourage you to keep your word.  Do pray if that gives you strength, but ask a human being too.   Sometimes,  my husband would just say, “I thought you weren’t drinking” when he could see me considering ordering a glass of wine at a restaurant.    Those little nudges were enough for me to say “no thank you” to the wine and be so much stronger for it in the long run.    At times, I would hate that he would remind me… but the behavior was the same… no wine.

When You Cannot See Where to Start

When we don’t know where to go or which way to turn, it is time to clean up our lives.

Things you can do, if you are really baffled by where to begin is clean your physical space  — file, sort drawers clean closets, finish unfinished things or get rid of them

Everything needs a home, a place to be while you are doing your life —

Scrub your kitchen out clean out the medicine cabinets and under the sink… dig in wherever there is unconsciousness get into it make a dent in your universe.

This brings us back to zero

cleaning your space is great, and will feel great when it is done, and will give you a solid platform to start to notice your behaviors that sabotage your dreams.    Your hidden behaviors will likely even surface while cleaning and organizing your life!

Start Where You Are

Remember that this is important, but it is not significant.   You will make mistakes, you will forget, you will resist on your own path to happiness and freedom.    Finding a support system is key to your success, so, if nothing else, start a conversation with someone about what you are thinking about, share the article, and start talking to someone else besides yourself,  and just get started.

A year from now, you will wish you started today!  

 For more ideas about Finding Your Power read 3 Most Important Activities for Starting A Creative Business  

When I got started as a single mom with 4 kids and no money I was desperate for a coach, but never dreamed I could afford one.   That is what compelled me to start Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to begin with… I wanted to give back and support folks who were working for what they loved.  Our program starts as low as $37 a month  and covers all the basics, with a learn-at-your-own-pace system.

I invite you to accept the free gifts below.   I want nothing but for you to have enough faith in yourself to give try.  The world needs your love and creativity, now more than ever.

Be the spark and remember we are at your service!

Pick up your free copy of The 8 Costliest Mistakes Creatives Make in Business!   

Click the link for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation for your Creative Business (even if you don’t have one yet)!

  • What Your Will Get from your call!
    • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
    • Ask anything that you need to know
    • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
    • Ask for Resources you can Trust
    • Feel supported on your adventure!

 

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Dealing With Despair and Frustration:  My Amy Porterfield Story (podcast included)

There are so many folks working really hard to make a difference, bringing their heart and souls to the market place and, at times, the pace of growth can make us seriously doubt and even wonder if we are doing the right thing by building a business.

Tawn Holstra Auston

I know when I started six years ago; I was so enthusiastic that I could hardly sit still.   All I wanted to do was reach out to potential clients and say “Here I am with your solution!” Which I did, but getting organized for real success took so much longer than I ever anticipated.    There were real times when I sat at my desk and cried.   I would sit there thinking “How much longer should I keep trying?”, “Maybe I should give up?”.   Then I would remember my clients.    Then, I would think about the people who would not get help if I quit.  In other words, I would think about you.

It turns out, You are My Inspiration

The work that you do and the people that you help and will help. The people you encourage, support,  be their angel, I am moved to my core by your courage and strength and I have no heart for quitting on you or on them.    I remember that you might be sitting at your desk crying and thinking you aren’t so sure anymore.   You might be sitting at your desk doubting your power to deal with the obstacles in your path.

When in Doubt Think of your Tribe

It always works for me.  Spend some time in your day to make the folks you want to serve real for you.   If you work to end homelessness, go to a shelter and do something that reminds you of your purpose.    If you work to save our environment then watch something that inspires you, like Blue Planet; If you work for human rights, talk to someone at risk or challenged by biases.

Part of Our Job is to Stay Inspired

One of our responsibilities as leaders is to stay inspired and I know, from personal experience, that it is not always easy.    Remember you are not alone and that your tribe is counting on you, even if they don’t know you yet!

What Would Bill Gates Do?

This is a story from my imagination, but tell me what you think.   When Bill Gates was a kid and quit college to move home and tinker in his parents’ garage for a year, do you think his mom and/or dad would open the door and say “Hey Bill what are you doing in here all day?,  Go get a job!,  Go back to school!” ?   I think, “What would life be like if he had listened to their doubts and gave up?”

So do what you have to do to stay connected to your mission.   Call a friend, call your coach, watch inspiring movies, volunteer… just don’t give up too soon…

 Introducing Amy Porterfield’s Amazing Podcast

One of my mentors, Amy Porterfield recorded this wonderful podcast just for those moments!   I thought it well worth sharing.  Give it a listen

#203: How To Get Noticed Online When You’re Just Starting Out

For more reading on Inspiration read:  Where Has All My Passion Gone?

FREE GIFTS:

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

 

Read More

Is It Too Late to Start a Blog and Why Would You Bother?

Is it Too Late to Start a Blog?

Tawn Holstra Auston

“Is it too late?”, is a constant question I get when I suggest someone start a blog.   Even with all the content out there, many people simply misunderstand what a blog is.

A simple definition is, a blog is a regular modality (article, video, podcast, artwork, music, or poetry) that expresses art/ work out into the world through the internet.

Blogging is an emergent way artists and creatives can publish their journey and find readers, of like mind, to share it with  – generally for free.

The concerns about “being too late” seem to come from the amount of content already out on the internet and yes, there are a lot of blogs.  What is forgotten is that there is only one you!    What you have to say may be aligned with or even similar to a topic of another blogger, yet your future services and/or products may not at all be related to other bloggers’ and, much more importantly, how you deliver your message will be entirely unique to you.   

How You Deliver Your Message Is As Important As What You Say

Ultimately, how your message is delivered is as important as what you have to say.    Your people, your tribe, the people out in the world that are specifically looking for someone they resonate with, will be attracted to your voice above others.   If you do not ever put your voice out into the world, your tribe cannot hear it, thus will never find you.

Blogging is All About Building Trust With Your Reader

Customers are looking for folks who they can trust to consistently deliver valuable content in an area of life that matters to them.    Each person has a different threshold of trust with a different level of interest in the subject.  If you are consistent and, most of the time, give them something interesting to read, listen to, or watch, they will continue to follow your blog.    It is that simple.

I say “most of the time” to be clear that you do not have to be perfect.  Blogging is an expression – not a science, and, just like any expression, some pieces will get more attention than others.   That is part of the learning for the creator, and it is also what keeps it honest.  If you take a left turn, or start to get inconsistent, or just sloppy or lazy, even after building a great readership, they will unsubscribe eventually – or just stop opening it.   Your tribe will become a certain kind of North Star and you will get better at your craft due to their feedback.

As we said earlier, there are a lot of blogs out there so what separates them from each other?

There are two real differences in blogs that are on the same or similar subjects:

One:  The consistency of the quality of the information.    Are you doing the depth of research to make sure your posts are current and relevant to your ideal readers?   And are you taking the time to craft a quality post?

Quality is imperative to the success of your blog, so to take care of your tribe take every opportunity to deliver the best work you can.

Second:  Your Voice!    Your voice is unique to you and your take on your topic is equally unique.   How you create your posts, your style is unique to you.    The folks that follow your blog will stick with you the more they get to know you.

This is a unique time in the world where anyone who has access to the internet, can start a blog and connect with a tribe.    If you are passionate about your subject and will invest time and energy in making it great, then you will find a tribe that resonates with your message.

The best part is that you do not need to pretend to be some academic, scientific person – if you are not.

You do not need to be assertive if you are shy, or sit back and coast if you are an activist.

You do not have to put on any airs at all.   You get to create posts that express your passion the way you want to express it; you get to express your passion for your subject and give the world the best of what you love about your subject.  Share your passion with the world and the more you do that the more your tribe will lean in.   The best part is the more you are you the more your tribe can find you!

So, is it too late to start a blog?  Absolutely not!   It is the perfect time to get started.

As to why you would bother?  

There are many reasons to start a blog, to educate the world about something you love; or to educate a particular community – such as living with autism; or after stroke;  or as a vegan.

You might start a blog to transition your skills into an educational format so you can retire or travel the world or simply get out of the office more.

You could start a blog to share your art if you are a painter, photographer, singer, musician,  or write poetry.

You might start a blog if you are an expert at something, like civil engineering or biomimicry or forcing bulbs and want to share your discoveries with other people besides those in your office.

Any and all of those reasons are a good reason to start a blog.    You might start a blog simply because you want to journal your journey through something – think Julia and Julia.    These types of blogs have endless possibilities, including travel, health journeys, being engaged, having a baby, dealing with aging parents, or empty nesting.

The reasons to start a blog are as unique as the blog!

If you ever want to have a business of your own and you are not sure how to get started , the first thing to do is create a blog….

Why?

It takes time to build a tribe.   I know there are people who say you can do it in 30 days… and there may be people out there that have done it that fast.   The average person will take about a year to build a tribe of any strength PLUS, the tribe you will build over a year will be much richer and more engaged than a tribe you build in 30 or 90 days.

Another great reason to start now (or soon) is that you have time to really get a handle on what your message is about.   A blog can start in one direction and then do a deep dive into a subject that becomes the real heart of the blog.    For example, a blog about finding the love of your life might do a deep dive to explore long term intimacy and keeping love alive for 20+ years.

The beauty is that there are so many subjects that are not being blogged about and there are so many people that are not reading blogs yet because they have not found a blog that matters to them.    Yours may be the exact blog that will change their world, as well as yours.

Lastly, Blogging is a Win-Win-Win

If you consistently put out a quality blog you will find readers.   You get to express yourself and really love what you are doing, you get to help people; they get to be helped; and the world gets to heal and grow through a collaborative, grassroots connection of its people.

So what will your blog be about?   I cannot wait to hear your voice!

Click this link for more reading on Building a Creative Business

FREE GIFTS:

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all the support did get while I was getting started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please accept this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

 

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3 Painful Misunderstandings New Entrepreneurs Have About Business Models that Kill Their Dreams & Leaves Them Frustrated, Scared, and Broke

How Come So Many Great Ideas Struggle to Get Traction or Any Real Success?

As Steve Jobs stated in an interview with Fast Company, “Design is not just about what it looks like.  It is also about

Tawn Holstra Auston

how it works”.  Designing a powerful business model is about what works!

I coach a lot of new entrepreneurs.  Frankly, that is my bread and butter.  So I take their success very personally.   I am in the business of figuring out what really works to get started in 2018 and it is also my business to keep on top of the constant innovations occurring in our field.

There are some very predictable mistakes that new entrepreneurs make, in their enthusiasm to bring their dreams to life, that undermine their efforts from the beginning.  One of them is not taking the time to design a business model that supports their long term goals.  So they spin their story to launch and do a decent job, yet limp along due to the business model they have chosen that does not allow them to thrive, getting frustrated, thwarted, and stressed about money, otherwise knows as broke.

Whenever I speak to an entrepreneur who is struggling to make ends meet, works 80 hours a week just to make enough to keep the lights on, and their idea sounds like a great idea… the first 2 things we will look at is the Offer, and the Structure for Fulfillment.  How are you making and delivering your offer in the market?

What is a Business Model?

A business model is a structure that allows for the profitable delivery of product or services to the end user.

Simple…

So, what are the 3 Painful Misunderstandings that Most Creatives Have About Business Models?

Let’s get right to it:

Misunderstanding #3:   Confuse a Business Model with a Business Structure  

Comment from new entrepreneur:   I’m an LLC (or whatever).

It is important to understand that a business model is different than a business structure.   When I first get this comment, I immediately understand that the new entrepreneur is thinking about S-corps, or LLC’s.   Sole proprietor vs C corp  and think that they are the business models.

It is true that certain business models can only be operated inside of certain business structures, but that does not make the structure a business model.

Best Practice is to choose your business model before you choose your business structure.   At the same time, all things are changeable, some much more complicated than others and by complicated I really mean expensive to change.  So better to choose the model first and then choose the appropriate business structure to scale the model.

Misunderstanding #2. It doesn’t make that much difference  

Comment from new creative entrepreneur:  I will choose that later.

This could not be further from the truth.   The business model can change everything.   The right business model can make life easier, harder, or even impossible to succeed.   A better way of understanding this is that the wrong business model can make it impossible to grow or scale your business.

Misunderstanding #1.   Completely unaware what a business model is  

Comment:  what’s a business model?

This is the #1 reason people choose the wrong business model because they don’t even know there is such a thing.    Most folks pick their business model by default.   They have a product or service they want to sell and thus they sell it however they do and a model is born.

So what is a business model and how do they impact your growth? 

 A business model is a simple flow plan (structure) for moving a unit (product or service unit) from design/creation to end user, profitably.    It is much more of a flow chart or a work flow chart.  It will answer the question, how do we make money and how much money do we need to get it profitable?  It will also answer How many people do we need to make this work?

A few basic principles about business models:

  1. There is not one that is better than another.  A business model creates the mode by which you do business.

For example, when I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs I was used to my consulting business model.  Private coaching and teaching classes for other companies and that worked for a while until I realized, as most consultants and coaches eventually do, that there is still a cap on how much work you can do and thus a cap on your income.

The pros were high fees and fewer clients, the cons were I was limited to those that could afford my fees and I was always going to be limited by my capacity to coach (time).

Cons were I was answering the same questions constantly and not experiencing any creativity in my ability to give more.  Plus,  I was missing a lot of people who really needed my services and were more of the clientele I was hungry to serve.

So I redesigned the business model to reflect a gym membership type of model.   Where members would pay a smaller monthly fee and make use of the on-line videos (equipment and pool)  and live weekly classes (think group classes, like yoga or Zumba) as they felt the need.    All the work was recorded so it was also more useful to those that had unique hours or were in different time zones.    From time to time, as private coaching (think hiring a trainer) was needed they could schedule for a reasonable rate.

One call or training session could have a lot of impact that way.

If I had tried to serve the clients I most wanted to support, those creatives that are passionate and want to help make the world a better place for all of us, I would have suffered by being broke or not reached them at all and suffered for not following my heart.

Another example is a brick and mortar store front that sells garden supplies.   

This model is usually designed to put out all the money up front.  The entrepreneur has to rent or buy the space, do all the work of making it attractive and organized and an example of what’s possible (for folks to get ideas) and inviting.   Then advertise and hope that folks come in.     It takes the most money and has the most risk of any of the models.

If you are already in this model, it can be enhanced (and most saavy store owners have implemented this already) by collecting email addresses and offering discounts to returning customers through loyalty programs.

It can further be enhanced by offering education, free or for a small fee, to bring in new potential customers —  like how to bring bees and butterflies back into your yard

 A third example of a business model is of a professional who wants to prepare to retire and wants to create passive income that he/she can count on once they quite going to the office   

The traditional model would be for the person to do all the work to write a book and hopefully have a best seller.    What most people do not realize is that writing a book is a huge undertaking and 98% will never sell more than 100 books, and those will be to their friends and family.

A more relevant model is to start by writing a blog, creating really good content regularly while they do not need the income (before they retire).   With good design and good marketing folks can make a real living within a year or two depending on how much work they are able to devote to it.

As the blog content accumulates, the book starts to be revealed, AND there is already a following that has been built during that year, who would want to buy the book.

 For more ideas about Finding Your Tribe read 3 Most Important Activities for Starting A Creative Business  

When I got started as a single mom with 4 kids and no money I was desperate for a coach, but never dreamed I could afford one.   That is what compelled me to start Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to begin with… I wanted to give back and support folks who were working for what they loved.  Our basic program is $37 a month and covers all the basics, with a learn-at-your-own-pace system.

I invite you to accept the free gifts below.   I want nothing but for you to have enough faith in yourself to give try.  The world needs your love and creativity, now more than ever.

Be the spark and remember we are at your service!

Pick up your free copy of The 8 Costliest Mistakes Creatives Make in Business!   

Click the link for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation for your Creative Business (even if you don’t have one yet)!

  • What Your Will Get!
    • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
    • Ask anything that you need to know
    • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
    • Ask for Resources you can Trust
    • Feel supported
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3 Ways to Build Your Creative Business to Weather Whatever Algorithm, Hurricane, or Flood May Come

Tawn Holstra Auston

Build Your Creative Business to Weather the Storm of Sudden Change

It has become increasingly obvious that any  creative business that relies on social media traffic or walk-in traffic has a certain level of vulnerability, NO MATTER HOW SUCCESSFUL THEY ARE!

Why?  Because if something sudden changes, like the town decides to take a year to replace all the sewage pipes on your street and detours all traffic away from your doors for the year; or Facebook changes their mysterious algorithms and your fan base loses contact; or a hurricane or flood or extreme storm sweeps through and causes such chaos that it takes a month to recover —  your income is likely to be dramatically impacted immediately.    In some instances, these impacts can make it impossible to recover.

So How Can You Bullet-Proof Your Creative Business From Feeling the Pain of These Sudden Changes?

Recognizing your one and only true asset —  your customers.

As creative business owners, our customers are our bread and butter and being able to communicate with them, no matter what, is critical to recovering after sudden changes.   However, if the traditional mode of communication is what gets interrupted, then you are sunk.  And that is exactly what just happened to thousands of successful entrepreneurs who relied on their huge “friends list” or “followers” when Facebook shifted gears.

So, what to do?

From the beginning of e-commerce to today, there is only one totally reliable way to connect with your customer and that is by email.    Your email lists are an asset that should be guarded and nurtured as gold was in 1929.

Which Creative Business Owners should be building email lists?   Hairdressers; dentists; doctors; lawyers; builders; landscapers; store owners; stylists; designers; aestheticians; restaurant owners; coaches; teachers; therapists; grocery stores; literally every creative business owner.  Why?

During normal times, to nurture your loyal customers.   During breakdowns caused by sudden change, to provide support and/or access to support.

If your contacts are heavily weighted in social media you should seriously consider mobilizing an effort to gain email addresses.

3 Easy Ways to Reach Out to Loyal Customers

3. Create a free event to acknowledge them –

Depending on your business, you can offer them something free to Thank Them for their business, support, and loyalty.  Every day customers have more and more choices for where the shop, especially on-line.    Free gifts and fun events, especially ones where they can bring others (who maybe don’t know your business yet!!)

2. Create a Loyalty Program for all customers, loyal or new —

Most of us are familiar with Frequent Flyer Programs that have become normal business for many businesses  Movie theaters, restaurants, book stores, bagel places, coffee stands, even inside  of larger companies there are departments that offer programs now, such as soup cards for the deli in a large grocery store.    To design an effective program be sure to look first at what kinds of real value you can offer.    These programs can also produce resentment if they are only for data gathering so please be conscious and transparent, if this is your choice.

1. Create an Educational event or gift for Loyal Customers —

Almost all businesses can add some kind of educational aspect to their existing business and creative businesses are no exception.  Adding and educational aspect can/will build enormous customer retention and appreciation.

Create a monthly newsletter that goes into depth about some aspect of your creative business that your customers would appreciate.  It will create a bond with your customers beyond their purchases and even allows them to share your business  with their friends and colleagues.    Providing Tips, Professional Knowledge, Crazy Secrets that Work —  bring an entirely new reason to do business with you and a way for new customers to find you.

It is also possible to just ask them.   With certain businesses,  especially creative businesses which generally have a more personal self expression designed in, small local co-operatives, pre-schools, etc, it is very possible to just let your customers know that you are wanting to provide continuity of service and convenience to their customer experience.

For more reading on Building a Creative Business

I started my first Creative Business when I was a single mom with four tiny children.   That was 25 years ago and I started Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to give back.  I am so grateful for all who supported my while I was started, but more than anything I wished I had some business support, some mentoring or guidance.    I want you to know that I get how hard, confusing, and challenging it can be to be alone and have real questions with no one to ask.

Please take this FREE 30 Minute Creative Business Consult as my way of saying “You Can Do It!”

What you can use the call for:

  • Ask anything you need to know!
  • Get important, reliable resources for whatever you need
  • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
  • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
  • Feel supported

 

 

Read More

5 Ways to Use Outrageous Actions to Kick Start Your Business Growth

What Does It Take to Produce a Breakthrough?

There is a method to it and, I promise, throughout the series we will continue to unfold it.  For those who are in a hurry, there are also ways you can speed it up.

The simple and most potent access to breakthrough level growth is bold, or even outrageous, actions.

I like to think of it like a warning label – Bold Action will likely be required.  The question is, bold to whom?  outrageous to whom?   Is it outrageous for a fireman to run into a burning house?   Although it is heroic, it is also what they signed up for. They practice and prepare for it.  It would be outrageous for anyone who is NOT a fireman to do it and maybe even stupid.  Maybe, bold and outrageous actions are bold or outrageous only from our particular point of view.  They are big moves for us because they generally take courage.  They are outside our comfort zone, or things we never thought we were capable of.    They are so far out of our ordinary/normal way of being, we would not normally even think of them.

Being Ordinary vs. Living Extraordinary

Let’s be clear, it is not possible to stay, “business as usual” while producing a breakthrough.   The very nature of causing a breakthrough will pull you from your normal.  It will pull you (opposed to push you) to take actions that are outside what you are comfortable with and that is enough to get the ball rolling.

Go for the “No!”  

When I was just starting out as a trainer, I got the opportunity to submit an application to teach for a big platform that reached millions of people.   I was scared to death to do it and thoughts like, “I am not ready”, “they will never accept me”, “who am I to compete against experts?”, flooded my head every time I thought about it.  I would have sweaty palms and feel like I had 4 cups of espresso when I was working on the application.    I finally saw that I was afraid I was, somehow, going to blow some big opportunity that I would never get back.  Now I know, this is a beginner’s fear.

When you are moving toward your breakthrough there will likely be opportunities to step up in a way that your vision/future Self would  and you will either take that opportunity or not. The Breakthrough will be you taking it. Normal would be for you to not take it.  The super- important thing to remember is you have won by taking the action!   

The result will be whatever it may be, and your breakthrough is when you take the action!  With each small action you take, you are changing who you think you are in the world by engaging in conversations beyond your little self’s (your small, safe self’s) capacity to exist.

You will get a lot more no’s when you start making outrageous requests.  You even want to get them,  but remember the requests you are making are only outrageous to you, and the No’s will reinforce your breakthrough when you are making a lot more requests.

Every Time You Take Action Consistent with Your Vision/Future Self, You Are Reinforcing the Breakthrough, or Driving a Stake Through It’s Heart!

 Every author I have ever coached has thought that all they needed to do was get to Oprah and their lives would be forever changed.   When I said, “then call her”…. they all think I am kidding.   And that is the dissonance.   If you know what to do and don’t do it, that lack of action can be very dis-empowering.   Making huge requests (huge to you) is the fast, simple way to get things started.   It is like jet fuel for your goals.

5 Outrageous Actions to Kick Start Explosive Business Growth

1.  Make a list of milestones that would completely flip your project. 

  • Examples:
    • Author = sell 1000 books in a day or 10,000 in 30 days
    • Coach = 10 new clients in a month (or a week)
    • Workshop Leaders = 1 Sold Out Program
    • Inventor = a million dollar licensing agreement or a spot of QVC

 Criteria for breakthrough milestones are:

  • It has to seem impossible from where you are now
  • You cannot do it alone
  • It is thrilling and terrifying at the same time
  • It completely flips your game –

2. Make a list of people who can make that goal happen with a yes!

  • Examples:
    • Oprah
    • The head of a large organization
    • The buyer of a bookstore
    • The producer of a QVC segment

 3. Share your Outrageous Milestone with 10 people

  • 4 of whom you hardly know or just met;
  • This will require you to start conversations with folks you do not know and share what you are up to

 4. Make Requests Until You Get 3 No’s – (not sales)

  • Ask for what you want or need- (but not to sell )
    • Types of Requests you can make
      • A meeting
      • A commitment
      • To do a talk for their organization
      • A donation
      • Something that would support you –
        • Referral Partner
        • Airplane Ticket
        • Design Help
  1. For added Speed (and intensity)
    • Add “by when” — a shorter time frame vs. no time frame
    • Double your game (share with 20 people!)

Causing Breakthroughs is Fun!!

These simple actions will kick start your breakthrough and then some.   I have done this exercise many times and it never ceases to amaze me how much fun it is.   I meet new people who are also excited about what I am doing and want to help or participate in some way.   It brings me to new connections I would never have made and leads me to new discoveries as well.

Little Choices are Huge Levers

Each time you have an opportunity to share your project and what you are working on you are faced with a choice.  Talking about what we are working on can be challenging and it can take practice, but the heart of the matter is will you?  Will you ask?  Will you share?  These are the little choices you will constantly face when moving toward your breakthrough.   You will constantly be asked to be the Vision Self (you created) and you will, likely, be scared or uncertain.  When you do it anyway and cause a breakthrough for yourself it changes everything.  As stated earlier,  EVERY TIME YOU TAKE ACTION CONSISTENT WITH YOUR VISION SELF YOU ARE REINFORCING YOUR BREAKTHROUGH.    That is your breakthrough becoming the new normal and on your way to mastery.

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Where Has All My Passion Gone? The #1 Way We Undermine Our Own Success

I had a client today lose sight of why she was starting a business.   Two months ago she was enthusiastic, empowered, and totally clear about her purpose and why she was investing in her future.   Today she was half assed about whether we should even have a coaching call.

What happened?    This is an important topic because at some point,  it happens to everyone who puts their ass on the line for something that matters to them!   So what happened is simple:  she broke some of the commitments she made to herself, what looked like little things at the time.  “No big deal”, she would do them another time or even would do them next day – or not.    She started to slip on some of what she said she wanted to accomplish and THEN started to numb her experience to that.

Even when the promises are to ourselves, we will act out our numbing behavior to avoid feeling bad about falling short of our commitment.

How did she numb herself?  Isolating herself (hiding), eating more sugar, doing things that make her feel good in the moment but bad later, sleeping more,  or watching TV.   Whatever the numbing behavior is,  the question is:   What are you avoiding by eating that cookie?   What are you trying not to feel by having that drink?   By not going to the gym when you said you would how are you explaining it away?  “ I need a break”,  is a red flag for what?

The bad news is – it is considered completely normal to break promises to yourself,  it is how we stay living an average life.   If you share with someone else that you were too tired to do everything you said you were going to do today – they will “understand” which makes it even worse!

Being extraordinary is an unreasonable way to live and it takes something out of the ordinary to live that way…

I am taking my own coaching today:

  • Making a list of incomplete items and then putting them in a calendar to get them complete.
  • Taking a stand for living an extraordinary life that I designed
  • Doing at least 1 thing TODAY that makes me really uncomfortable (to anchor this insight and move it towards a breakthrough).

Announcement: 

This only happens once a year and once it is full, it is closed automatically.

Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs is about to have its annual GRATITUDE Registration which means you can get 8 coaching calls a month, 100 hours of videos on every aspect of starting and launching a business available 24/7, and enormous support for your new venture for only $25 a month and NO Set up fee!    Strictly Limited to 200 people

 

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Is It Time You Finally Started That Creative Business You Dream About?

Tawn Holstra Auston

Everyone has Dreams of Starting a Creative Business That They Love.

Being our own boss, having control over our income, making decisions that can change our life or our community, and have a real joy in our work is the dream of every creative entrepreneur. Really! The benefits of starting a Creative Business sound great! We might even have a great idea, a supportive partner (spouse, best friend, sister/brother) who is as excited as we are, yet, we are unsure if we should.

Just beyond the excitement is a veil of doubts and questions

Do we have what it takes? Can we handle all these different areas of activity which we have not done before? Will we make the transition from job to business owner? What if we fail? What if our idea sucks? How will we recover? What is there to lose?

These are all really good questions and are best looked at at some point, really soon if you already started. However, the answers to these questions are not the way you choose to start a business. No matter when you start, you will be incompetent at somethings and fantastic at others, bad at and good at; ready and not ready; … so then how do you know when it is time you start a business?

How Do You Know When It is Time to Start a Creative Business of Your Dreams?

As we consider our options there are generally two that it all boils down to;  Staying where we are or grow into who we want to be.   Starting a creative business takes courage, actually starting any business takes courage.  The fact that it is a creative business that brings more of our personal passion and heart into it, makes it much more raw and thus takes more courage.

Some questions that may help you choose:

1. Are you possessed/burning/driven with the desire to offer something to the world?

Is there some area of the world that you cannot stop thinking about?   You read books, volunteer, make donations, follow stories about others who are doing what you are inspired by.   When you consider working in this area, you heart sings.  This is an strong indication that you would thrive working in this area.

2. Are you always coming up with better ways to do what is already being done?

This may relate to the area in #3.   You are great at finding creative solutions to problems and know they would work.  You take time to design solutions that you do not do anything with. For example, I had volumes of sketch books filled with house designs decades before I became a builder.

3. Are you WILLING to Take a Chance on Yourself and Your Dream?

If you are, almost everything you will come up against after that can be handled while you are starting your creative business.  If you are willing to create something and keep moving forward you can start.  You will learn along the way, and that is the nature of all business now.

Suggestion: Stop waiting

There is always some aspect of creating that dream, creative business that will be scary simply because there will always be new areas to learn.   Is it worth the stress of being uncertain to have a business that includes your heart, head, and passion?   Only you can choose that.  I  can share that I chose about 25 years ago and I have had some hard times, but never, not ever have I regretted my choice.   There are always challenges, it makes it easier to get through them when the result is so palpable and important as the quality of your life.

Once You Decide

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What to Do Next to Start Your Creative Business

Learning what is next will get more important as you invest more of yourself and more of your funds.    Making the right choices is imperative to being a successful, creative entrepreneur.

Check your Chamber of Commerce for free entrepreneurs classes and ask others in your area is one way.

When I got started as a single mom with 4 kids and no money I was desperate for a coach, but never dreamed I could afford one.   That is what compelled me to start Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs to begin with… I wanted to give back and support folks who were working for what they loved.  Our basic program is $37 a month and covers all the basics, with a learn at your own pace system.

I invite you to accept the free gifts below.   I want nothing but for you to have enough faith in yourself to give try.  The world needs your love and creativity, now more than ever.

Be the spark and remember we are at your service!

Pick up your free copy of The 8 Costliest Mistakes Creatives Make in Business!   

Click the link for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation for your Creative Business (even if you don’t have one yet)!

  • What Your Will Get!
    • You can design a Next Actions plan for building the life of your dreams!
    • Ask anything that you need to know
    • Create Learning Plan so you can begin powerfully
    • Ask for Resources you can Trust
    • Feel supported

 

Read More

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