Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way offers real-world-tested techniques that can benefit all sorts of businesses, whether you’re a sole proprietor running a coaching practice, a crafter looking to license products, a wellness professional with a team of employees, or any creative soul making a meaningful difference with your work. You’ll discover how to:
* assess your business’s unique “ecosystem”
* build your brand and attract, engage, and keep ideal customers
* develop new income streams that better leverage your time and resources
* promote your products and services with authenticity and ease
* grow your team (virtual and in-person) and manage staff and vendors
* establish infrastructure and procedures to keep operations running smoothly
* carve out vital white space to pause, reflect, and celebrate
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Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way
Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur
By Jennifer Lee, Kate Prentiss
New World LibraryCopyright © 2014 Jennifer Lee
All rights reserved.
Your Creative Business Is a Work of Art
Defining Your Own Success
Hello, my fellow right-brain entrepreneur!
When I created my first Right-Brain Business Plan, sitting at my kitchen table back in November 2007, I had no idea that that colorful and unusual approach would empower so many creative entrepreneurs around the world to launch their businesses in a way that made their hearts sing. It fills me with joy knowing that, as a result, more visionary souls, heart-centered professionals, and inspiring artists are out there making a positive difference through their work. Bravo, if you're one of those courageous creatives and have taken the leap to pursue your passions! I want to make sure you and your business are here to stay, so that you can keep on sharing your special gifts with the world.
That's where this book comes in. It picks up where The Right-Brain Business Plan book left off. While the earlier volume laid the foundation for clarifying your big vision, goals, and plan, Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way takes you to the next steps, to growing your company by crafting how you offer your products or services, to engaging with more of your perfect customers, to diversifying and maximizing your moola-making methods, and more. You'll dive into doing the work and taking the actions needed to build a thriving and sustainable creative business. You'll learn to take your business more seriously, but in a way that still feels fun and manageable. Even if you've been in business for a while, the creative frameworks and visual tools in this book will spark fresh aha moments to help you move through blocks and get to your next level of success.
NOTE: Don't worry if you haven't read The Right-Brain Business Plan yet. As long as you have an overall sense of where your business is heading and the people you want to serve, you can build from that. Or if you've already created a Right-Brain Business Plan, I'll point out where you can reference your visual plan for supplemental insight. You can also check out the table on pages 213–14 to see which exercises from the previous book correspond to which chapters in this book.
Business as Art: Trust Your Creative Process
As right-brainers we instinctively go through our own creative process any time we make something new. And as entrepreneurs we're creating new things in our businesses all the time. Yet somehow, when it comes to anything business related, we right-brainers presume we must follow an imposed left-brain, linear process. We dutifully struggle to fit ourselves into a set structure, and then we're either frustrated when things don't go as planned or disappointed when we find we're not as far along as we thought we "should" be.
Well, my right-brain friend, what if I told you that even in business, things are nonlinear and organic? Progress happens along a circuitous path of trying things out and seeing what sticks. Success unfolds over time, bit by bit. Yes, there are left-brain details that need to be handled along the way, but overall, business growth is actually more the result of right-brain genius than you may have thought. That's good news for us!
Your creative business is art. Consider how an intuitive painting takes shape. You begin by dabbing some paint here, adding a pop of color there. You follow your energy and listen to your gut as you fill in the canvas brushstroke by brushstroke. Maybe you started with an image in mind, but as forms and patterns appear you see the piece in new ways and the painting morphs into something you couldn't have predicted. An intuitive painting isn't produced pixel by pixel, line by line, in the sequential way that a predefined image is spit out of an inkjet printer. And just like an intuitive painting, your creative business naturally emerges through play, discovery, and your refinement of each inspired action. Then, when one painting is done, you pick up your brush and start again, building your body of work.
In business we assume we go from point A to point B in a straight line. But really, it's more like the creative process you use in your craft, which may look a bit like this:
You start from nothing.
You find inspiration.
You sketch, doodle, and brainstorm to flesh out the idea.
You play with the idea, test it out, and explore it.
You make it real by sharing it with the world.
You discover and learn more about it as others interact with the idea.
You reflect and refine the idea.
You start again.
Strive for Sustainable Success in Your Business
I bet you have big dreams about the difference you want to continue making in the world. That's why I want you to be successful and your business to stick around for the long term.
If you work yourself to the bone month after month only to barely make your numbers, that's not sustainable. If you push too hard and grow too fast without building a solid foundation, you might begin with a bang but eventually will hit a brick wall. You don't want to be a flash in the pan. You want to have staying power so you can continue to live your passion and share your gifts, right?
Sustainable businesses are scalable and resilient. Their owners constantly learn more about and refine their work by cycling through their creative process; they repeat their successes and increase their capacity to continue growing on their terms.
Success Your Way
The cool thing about owning your own business is that you get to call the shots and carve out your own definition of success.
Take a moment and ask yourself, "What does success look and feel like to me?" Is it about finding freedom and flexibility? Meeting certain monetary milestones? Making a meaningful impact? Receiving adoration and accolades? Fully expressing your creativity? Accomplishing lofty goals? Having fun? Conquering the world or changing lives one person at a time?
Be clear about what drives you. Don't succumb to external definitions of what success is supposed to look like. Rather, dig deep to uncover and honor what truly fulfills and serves you. It takes courage to claim your unique path to success.
Sustainable Success Survey
The Sustainable Success Survey helps you check in on some of the key aspects of running your creative business that we cover in this book. In each section, answer the questions that are relevant to your business. At the end of each section of the survey you'll find a sliding scale between two key aspects. Mark a point on the scale to show where you are placing most of your attention. Depending on your priorities and your current situation, the point may be at either end of the spectrum or somewhere in the middle. There is no right or wrong score. The important takeaway is to recognize where you are on the scale. If you're not where you want to be, what can you do to shift your focus? Complete pertinent portions of this play sheet as often as you wish (weekly, monthly, or quarterly).
SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS, IN THE WORDS OF FELLOW RIGHT-BRAIN ENTREPRENEURS
"Success is happiness in all things and in all ways. Business success is waking up each day with a song in my heart, knowing that I am going to share my gifts with the world, live my true purpose and calling, and generally be happy and have lots of fun! Sustained business success is knowing I can do all that, receive moola for it, and feel my value and worth in the world."
— Bindi Shah
"I think success is living off of your vision and having a positive impact on other people. And a sustainable business is one that you can do forever."
— Mari Pfeiffer
"Sustainable means doable, easy, hassle-free."
— Patty Donahue
"Sustainable success is doing work that fulfills and inspires me and allows me the freedom to live a life overflowing with ease, adventure, laughter, and joy."
— Cynthia Patton
"Success = doing what you love, being with people you love, living on your own terms, expressing yourself freely, and earning the moola that helps you live the lifestyle that's right for you. Sustainable success = adapting your plans and expectations as you and the world around you change, without sacrificing any of the above."
— Mary Maru Wright
"Sustainable success means the business is vital — is life giving. It is a business that continues to grow with the least effort. It also means the business is life affirming and it positively impacts the people who work in the space."
— Mary K. Clark
"Success means having quality, deep, rich relationships — because in the end, you can have all the fame and fortune you desire, but if you don't have true friends, you've really missed out. Sustained success means creating the kind of lifestyle that allows for the ebb and flow of business and life while still providing for my needs and growth."
— Tammi Spruill
How to Use This Book
Let this book be your go-to guide for building your sustainable business the right-brain way. You can approach the book chapter by chapter, or feel free to dip into the parts or sections you know you need to address first or explore further. The key is to take action in the real world, because that's where the true magic happens.
The book is divided into four parts:
Part I. The Lay of the Land. This chapter and chapter 2 help you get the lay of the land through some initial assessments of where your business is now. You'll get a sense of your business's current health, and you can build from there.
Part II. Setting the Stage for Yourself and Your Right Peeps. Start here if you need to clarify your core message (chapter 3), build your platform, or engage more with your tribe to learn how to best meet their needs (chapter 4).
Part III. Getting Down to Business. Dive into this section if you already know who your perfect customers are and you've developed strong relationships with them. You're ready to get down to business, launch your products and services (chapters 5 and 6), and make more moola (chapter 7). Even if you already have products or services, or both, in place, this section will help you expand by diversifying and leveraging your moola-making methods.
Part IV. Sustaining Your Success. The final part of the book guides you through getting the support and systems in place so your business runs smoothly (chapters 8 and 9). We end by embracing ease, which may be the most important lesson of all when it comes to sustainable success. Visit chapter 10 whenever you're feeling stuck or depleted and need a pick-me-up.
Throughout this book you'll find the following headings and icons:
Right-Brain Reflections. Occasionally you'll be prompted with a question to help deepen your awareness or understanding of a thought pattern, situation, or intention. Your answers may come through journaling, drawing, or having a conversation with one of your creative cohorts.
Illustrated Play Sheets. Writing your thoughts down on paper is one of the best ways to start making them real. The images and metaphors used in these fun and colorful play sheets will engage your creativity and intuition, helping you to gain new insights into your business. You can also download PDF versions at www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com/rbbiz.
Exercises. You'll find creative exercises in most chapters. These may include intuitive explorations, artistic assignments, or experiential activities. While these short projects are meant to spark insights and help provide clarity, by no means do you need to complete all of them. Just choose the ones that will help you work through places where you've been stuck or that you know need more attention. And by the way, you don't need any special artistic skills or talent to do the visual or creative assignments. Just have fun!
Right-Brain Entrepreneur Spotlights. Throughout this book you'll get to meet creative business owners just like you who have demonstrated the use of their right-brain genius. I hope their journeys inspire you to take risks and keep moving forward. Some have had their businesses for several years and have used their right-brain abilities to reinvent themselves, grow the online part of their businesses, expand their teams, or diversify their moola-making methods. Others are still in the first few years of business, so they're laying foundations for sustainable businesses.
Left-Brain Chill Pills and Right-Brain Boosters. Since these quick tips were such a hit in the previous book, you're getting a refill prescription here. Right-Brain Boosters are bits of inspiration to enhance your creative intuition, and Left-Brain Chill Pills are short suggestions to quiet your judging mind. Take doses of each as needed (doctor's orders!).
Tips. Once in a while, I'll point out something to watch out for or make note of.
Action Accelerators. As you'll see, one of the guiding principles in this book is to take action. So, in each chapter I'll urge you to take at least one suggested small action out in the real world. Remember each small action gets you closer to your big vision.
Left-Brain Checklists. Each chapter wraps up with a handy-dandy checklist to help ensure that you've covered all the important pieces. Of course, not all items are mandatory, so feel free to skip the ones that don't apply to you. The checklist police are not going to fine you if not all the boxes are ticked.
MEET MR. SKETCH, YOUR BROAD-STROKE BUSINESS BUDDY
It's probably no big surprise that I'm a fan of colorful markers. I went through a phase when I always had my set of Staedtler fine-tipped pens with me so I could carefully write down precise (and of course pretty) notes.
One day while talking to my mentor, Andrea J. Lee, I shared with her how overwhelmed I was as I geared up for my first-ever video summit to help launch my first book. My head was spinning with details, what-ifs, and labor-intensive logistics.
Andrea simply said to me, "Jenn, six-figure business owners use Mr. Sketch."
What she meant was: rather than fixating on the minutiae and painstakingly planning while using my Staedtler fine-tipped pen, I could, metaphorically, cover the same ground more effectively and efficiently with the broad strokes of a Mr. Sketch marker. That's the type of strategic shift that takes creative entrepreneurs to their next level of success.
Try it now:
Use a fine-tipped marker or ballpoint pen to color in this blank box, being careful not to leave any white space showing.
Now get your wide-tipped marker, Mr. Sketch, or thick felt-tipped pen and color in this blank box, being careful not to leave any white space showing.
My guess is that Box 1 took a heck of a lot longer to color in, line by fine line, whereas you probably filled in Box 2 with a single broad stroke of your Mr. Sketch.
Likewise, don't fret about the itty-bitty details when a simpler solution will yield an even better result.
As you make your way through this book, there are some key things that I want you to keep in mind.
Be uniquely you and embrace your creativity. This book is not about giving you a cookie-cutter, step-by-step solution. You are a creative person, after all, and your business is just as creative as you are. Examples and spotlights are provided, but they are by no means blueprints to follow. Building your business the right-brain way is making it your own and making it work for you. Add your own touch of right-brain genius.
Dream big but start small. Don't get seduced by the bigness of your big vision and expect to achieve it all at once. Your big vision will unfold over time, bit by bit, so break things down into manageable pieces and go from there.
Keep it simple. Opt for easy, broad strokes instead of fine-lined, complicated solutions.
Take action, make it real, and tweak as you go. Many of the exercises will emphasize turning your thoughts into something tangible that you can share, test, and tweak sooner rather than later. People can't buy a brilliant idea that's locked away in your head. Be willing to take action and put yourself out there, even when you don't feel ready and even if your idea is not yet perfect. You'll actually learn more and gain more clarity the more you interact with your idea and get feedback.
Look for the learning and repeat what works. Always have your eyes peeled for valuable new insights to help you continuously improve. Then, when you find something that works, keep doing it until it doesn't work anymore.
Excerpted from Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way by Jennifer Lee, Kate Prentiss. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Lee. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsContents
Foreword by Michael Port
Part I. The Lay of the Land
1. Your Creative Business Is a Work of Art
Defining Your Own Success
2. Tending Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Is Your Business Blooming and Booming?
Part II. Setting the Stage for Yourself and Your Right Peeps
3. Taking a Stand and Making an Impact
What’s Your Core Message?
4. Attracting, Engaging, and Learning from Your Right Peeps
Cultivate Connection, Community, and Customers
Part III. Getting Down to Business
5. Packaging Your Gifts and Crafting Your Offer
Switch from Selling to Serving
6. Let’s Do Launch
Campaigns, Communications, and Calendars to Promote Your Offers
7. Making More Moola
Optimize Opportunities for Ongoing Earning
Part IV. Sustaining Your Success
8. In Good Company
Growing Your Team and Getting Support
9. Smooth Sailing Systems
Make Day-to-Day Operations a Breeze
10. Embracing Ease
Creating Calm amid the Chaos of Life
Optional Right-Brain Business Plan Exercises to Reference
Featured Right-Brain Entrepreneurs
About the Author
Join the Right-Brain Business Revolution