Anna Sabino is an artist, but certainly not a starving one. She wasn't born into a wealthy family, didn't inherit money from a distant relative, and doesn't have a rich husband. But she made it as an entrepreneur, as a single woman, and most importantly, as an artist.
In Your Creative Career, she shows her fellow artists and creatives how to build a business that reflects their talent and true calling while generating serious cash. Whether the goal is to build an empire and be financially free, create a lifestyle business, or just to have more time, Your Creative Career guides you through every aspect of creative entrepreneurship.
If you want to start your creative career, transition into it, or give it a boost, this book is a must read that features:
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About the Author
Anna Sabino is the designer behind the jewelry brand Lucid New York, which she started after leaving her Wall Street career. Her jewelry collections are sold in more than 100 stores all over the world and have been featured in People StyleWatch, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. Sabino is a contributor to HuffPost and Medium and is a certified career coach. She speaks and leads workshops focusing on growing your creative business, generating multiple streams of income, and working remotely. You can find valuable business advice at AnnaSabino.com.
Read an Excerpt
Designing Your Creative Career
I'm amazed when I realize what's available to us. Taking film-making as an example. We used to need intimidating infrastructure; film-making tools and resources were not available to the majority of us. We now have it all; we have access to high quality gear and online education to create whatever film we dream of. People are open and able to share, teach and collaborate easily. We now have most tools in our pockets, allowing us to document things on a whim and share fast. The world is open and transparent. We get invited behind the scenes to participate in the creation process of others. We are empowered customers but also creators pressed to share our secrets. It's possible to create solo but close to impossible to make it alone.
Yet, in this abundant world, there are still things that can crush our creativity if we let them. If we keep glorifying dissatisfaction and the feeling of not enough, we can keep dragging our personal heavy lead ball, preventing us from walking the creativity path. Let's get inspired by this limitless world of abundance available to us, pick up our tools, and get creative.
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
— DOUGLAS ADAMS, THE LONG DARK TEA-TIME OF THE SOUL
Living Life by Design
We often choose the default option just because we didn't have to choose it; it is just there. Our computer screensaver is the picture of the mountains, the one that it came with. We are not really into the mountains but choose to look at them every day when we open our laptops because we can't be bothered changing the default image. We listen to songs on autoplay, buy books based on a computer recommendation saying "You may also like " We end up going somewhere because we were invited, take something because we were offered it. We choose options based on their ease; everything is prepared for us so we say yes and proudly admit that we "go with the flow."
It takes courage to live the life you want especially because we are surrounded by those who settled. We need to have the drive within and instead of being inspired by others, we have to be inspired by our dreams. There are those who will keep dreaming and others who will start living their dreams. Those who aspire to live by design will dream, plan, and execute, and those living by default settle for temporary comfort and keep dreaming their dreams without a plan to live them. They defer taking action and choose to settle for the safety of their paychecks. They start believing that a job is not supposed to be interesting or fulfilling, that it's a job. They work to live and wait for retirement when they'll be able to live the life they want.
You know what life path you want to follow; don't let anyone derail you. Continue designing life on your own terms and living your unconventional life. Don't try to calculate the length of the process. You may not be able to determine when you'll start living your dream life. You may be getting ready for it building it, and there will be a day when you wake up and will know that you have stepped into your greatness.
"EVERYTHING'S AMAZING AND NOBODY'S HAPPY."
— LOUIS CK ON LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN
How Do You Measure Your Life?
Society conditions us to think that success is to be measured with money. Accumulating the latest toys, splurging on extravagant vacations, and buying big houses may seem like the recipe for fulfillment, but all these possessions may only feed our dissatisfaction by making us want bigger and better. We don't know the taste of enough, and being in a constant hustle for more makes us unable to enjoy what we have. There will be always those who started earlier, who are more successful, and who have more. We notice them, and even if we look away, trying to mind our business, there is social media, which makes sure we see it all amplified. It's important to realize that there are many ways to measure your life. Purpose, profit, fame, money, fun, and time are just a few of them. Once you give yourself permission to measure your life according to what's important to you, you will start designing your life on your own terms.
Taking a step back mindfully is crucial, as you may get too busy and forget what's important in measuring your life. A company you work for may try to convince you that life should be measured with money. They could be motivating you with higher raises and asking you to devote more time and energy to work. Having money as a sole work motivator may work for some time, but one day you may get an internal wakeup call and realize that time is the way you want to measure your life. You'll start considering quitting your job and starting a business to be in charge of your time.
There are those who work at the job they hate for years because they're incentivized by money. As a result of their great paychecks and high raises, they adjust their lifestyles: they buy larger houses with larger mortgages and choose private schools for their children. They have to continue working at their high-paying jobs to sustain these lifestyles. Having gotten used to a certain way of living, they're not able to scale back, so they continue working and complaining about how unhappy they are. And yet the golden handcuffs they chose to put on themselves are too shiny to give up.
"The nail that sticks out gets hammered down" says a common Japanese expression referring to how tough it is to live a non-conformist life. Social pressure of imposing what's normal is so strong that it condemns any behavior that's out of the ordinary. Living life by design is not for everyone — only those who are the most resilient and determined will make it happen.
Freedom: The New Measure of Being Rich
Are you experiencing true freedom? Are you doing it with or without the money? Does money give freedom? The old answer was yes because we didn't know what was possible. Being rich and leading a celebrity-like lifestyle still gets a lot of social admiration, but all that glamour fades if being rich equals to working non-stop or not being able to travel. What's prestigious, what gets attention and all the looks now, is true freedom. If amassing a fortune is the way to freedom, we want the fortune. However if fortune makes us prisoners of our lives, there'll be a day when we'll break off the golden handcuffs to experience true freedom, with or without the money.
"$1,000,000 IN THE BANK ISN'T THE FANTASY. THE FANTASY IS THE COMPLETE FREEDOM IT SUPPOSEDLY ALLOWS."
— TIM FERRISS, FOUR HOUR WORKWEEK
We mistakenly define freedom as all the product options and choices available to us. We are content with freedom of choosing the size of a TV to buy and making a choice of a restaurant we want to go to for dinner. When have we lowered our standards so much?
Because of the transparency of our lives, which social media facilitates, we witness and get inspired by others who started designing their lives on their own terms. They take sabbaticals, extend their business trips adding on some extra days to surf, experience the country, and socialize. They take mid-week days off and work throughout the weekends. They get a taste of freedom because they are designing the life on their own terms. Even if our close friends are conformists and live the life by default, we can follow, reach out, and ask advice of complete strangers whose lives we admire. Only we know what freedom means to us and we shouldn't let anyone else influence our definition. We are all at different stages of our lives, prioritizing different things.
Do you want to be done with work at 3 p.m. to pick up your children from school? Are you a morning person or a night owl? When you own a business you can run it according to your circadian rhythm, family needs, aspirations, and dreams. However, freedom in your career doesn't mean that you will stop hustling. You still will be; probably your hustle will be even more intense, but it'll be on your own terms. Those who understand that living and working on your own terms is about writing your own script — not about finding the way to work less — will succeed.
What Should You Do With Your Life?
When you type "What should I " into Google, the phrase "What should I do with my life?" is one of the top results. It may be hard to answer such a broad and overwhelming question. Just like with everything so vast and mind-boggling, I recommend breaking it into smaller, more edible pieces. The well-known question "How do you eat an elephant?" and its answer "One bite at a time," couldn't illustrate it better.
Robert Maurer, in the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, recommends tackling big questions by asking small, less intimidating questions first. We'll look closer into making changes the Kaizen way in Chapter 9, but applying this principle here, try breaking the crushing question of "What should I do with my life?" into smaller questions, which will sound less scary and hopefully bring you closer to the main answer. Try answering questions about what work would excite and fulfill you, contributions you could make to the world, or the activities you love doing. Do these activities involve contact with people or are you more of a person who enjoys working and getting things done solo or with one or two people maximum? Getting to know yourself will bring you closer to knowing what your dream lifestyle should be.
In cafes and in the streets, I always hear people complaining about their jobs. Once in a while, however, I meet a person who loves what they do. I'm sure it happens to you as well. When you meet people who are satisfied with their careers, ask them about one aspect of their jobs that makes them happy. Keep asking this question of everyone who you meet and who loves what they do, whether they're employed or own a business. Collect these answers, write them down, and determine if the answers relate to you. Don't feel anxious if you are not clear about what you would like to do with your life. This discovery is a process, and there may be multiple paths you'll need to take to achieve clarity. Your seemingly futile efforts will give you answers — just don't wait for them; keep going through your discovery process.
Stretching Your Walls
We're all designers — lifestyle designers. Stop giving yourself and others excuses for your boundaries. There are no boundaries. Stop blaming and look within. All is possible. You just have to figure out what path to take. You'll always have boxes and walls around you, but imagine they're rubber. Stretch them — you can do it! If you've never stretched your walls and lived to your own potential, take the time you need to adjust at your own pace. It may take a while for your walls to become malleable, to stretch and feel natural. But take the steps now. The earlier you begin the transformation, the better. Design your lifestyle but leave lots of room. Don't base your design on details and goals. Be open to opportunities and things that will happen because you'll be enjoying the process.
Designing your life is a reverse process of traditional designing. You usually create something from the beginning to the end, look at the finished product and are proud of it. But here you know the final product, you're working on finding the pieces of the puzzles to make the complete picture. Ask yourself what's important — to you, yourself. Start living by it now.
There are so many unwritten books and screenplays, so many undiscovered voices, so much unfulfilled potential. You don't want to join that crowd. Start living by your own rules, maximizing your potential. Feel excited about life; don't be overcome by the routine and watch the adventures pass you by. The excuses and boundaries, treat them all as stretchable walls ready to be molded by you. These are your walls. Walls with lots of potential. So start shaping them now.
Your own definition of success may surprise you. Revisiting the reasons behind starting our business, we realize that they changed since our initial declaration because our ego and our "self-centered ambition" got in the way. We now want success and everything that comes with it.
Simon Sinek, in his book Start With Why, compares success and achievement, stating that they are not the same thing, though often they're mistaken for one another. "Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal," says Sinek. Achievement is measurable: we achieve, we get certified, move up one level, get promoted. It takes a certain type of a personality to enjoy our achievements. Most of us treat achievements like stepping stones to other achievements and this race is endless. We dream of buying a boat and agree that this would be an achievement for us. As soon as we arrive into the marina, we see other, better boats, and they now become what we aspire to achieve. But at least, no matter how long our satisfaction lasts, achievements can be measured.
"Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being," writes Sinek. It's usually difficult for anyone to admit that they are successful. We feel unfulfilled because we are on a constant search for our why. Once we find the reason behind our efforts, we may start feeling content and satisfied.
Success has a different meaning for everyone. If we let society dictate how we should live our lives, our success will be defined in materialistic and financial terms. We'll be putting in more time hustling toward our ever-changing goals without realizing that what's really precious is about to pass us by.
You've probably heard stories of people who decided to sell it all, free themselves from the financial burden and live a minimalistic life. They have probably got a wakeup call during their race for fortune that this was not the contest they wanted to participate in. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, authors of Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, who were featured in the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, popularized the trend of striving for less. The living-with-less trend has spread widely, making the tiny house lifestyle a fad. It encourages cutting down, reorganizing, and getting multifunctional tools. Living with less and living smarter has begun to replace our former aspiration of abundance. Reusing,refurbishing, and vintage became words symbolizing status and mindful living.
After the iconic book The Four Hour Workweek was published, lifestyle design terms emerged, and we started noticing that success definition is personal; it was time to redefine it based on what's important to us. Status quo was not enough anymore and neither was living life by default. This empowerment made many of us jump ship and make drastic changes. Those who read the book early enough started creating life on their own terms right after graduation. It's as if we all got permission to release social pressure and define success on our own terms, realizing that no one else needs to understand our journey but us.
Tasting Your Dream
By taking a bite out of your dream and trying out your dream lifestyle, you'll be able to determine if the dream lifestyle and career you have envisioned for yourself are for you. If you don't do it, you will keep wasting your efforts and pursuing the path leading you to disappointment. The sooner you find out that the dream you thought is your dream is not what you wanted, the better, because you'll be able to refocus and start working toward something you truly desire. The only way to know if your dream is really your dream is to take a taste of it and try living it.
As an example, it's common to dream of buying a sailboat and sailing around the world. I'm not the one to talk any sailor dreamer out of this dream, but it would be safe to suggest that doing some ocean sailing will allow them to see if this sail-around-the-world idea is really their dream. Besides sailing in calm waters with the winds filling up the sails and enjoying a cold beverage, there's also sailing in rough seas, which is unavoidable and is not for everyone. You must be okay with staying wet for a few days in a row. You will be exhausted from night watches (the 24 hour sailing day is usually divided into shifts of three or four hours as there has to be someone up and alert at all times), the boat will need repairs and unforeseen trouble will arise. It would be best if you discovered the joys and sorrows of sailing around the world early to determine if this dream is really your dream.
Our dreams are often shaped and conditioned by social pressure. We enviously look at other people's houses and aspire to one day get our own. That day comes; we get a house that is over mortgaged, and maintaining it makes us work so much that we don't have the time to enjoy it — not to mention owning a house doesn't give us the freedom of being location independent. Doing dream research and taking a taste of our dreams allows us to possibly pivot and start pursuing the right path.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Your Creative Career"
Copyright © 2017 Anna Sabino.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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 Contents
1 Designing Your Creative Career 15
2 Your Humble Beginnings 27
3 Exploring Creativity Within 41
4 Transforming From Artist Into Creative Entrepreneur 53
5 Making It! Product Business 67
6 Following Your Passion vs. Providing What People Want 83
7 Succeeding as an Entrepreneur 95
8 Pressure of Growth 111
9 The Comfort of Change 121
10 Creatives and Money: Profit and Pricing 133
11 Spreading the Word and Developing Your Brand 147
12 Mindful Creative 165
Ending Remarks: Celebrating 177
About the Author 187