Category Archives: Entrepreneur

Design is transcendent but business is necessary

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote a few years ago. I am revisiting it and adding more insight in to the the business aspect of running a creative based business.

This first book was all about how we use our language as creative to succeed in our endeavors. I wanted to revisit and make sure I still had it right. I’m trying to work on this blog from my iPad. Of course everything has changed on how to execute a blog post from how I do it on my computer. Please bear with my editing capabilities on iPad.

Design is Transcendent

We know that Universal thought has for its goal the creation of form, and we know that the individual thought is likewise forever attempting to express itself in form. We know that the work is a thought form, and a sentence is a combination of thought-forms; therefore if we wish our ideal to be beautiful or strong, we must see that the words out of which this temple will eventually be created are exact, that they are put together carefully; because accuracy in building words and sentences (and art work or any creative modality) is the highest form of architecture in civilization, and is a passport to success.͟ Kojin Karatani Architecture and

Metaphor

Baba Hari Dass, an Indian Yogi says the best ways to really learn something is to teach it. As a busy working Mom and wife this can be a challenge. When I decided to go back to school with small children I did not realize just how challenging it would be. Now 7 years later with a new direction in my life and children becoming more and more self-sufficient, I can return to what I missed. When I first started my design firm I was trying to kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to offer something to potential clients and get the word out about my new business. At the same time I want to integrate the design principles more into my soul. I wanted to know these principles so well I would use them inherently with everything I created. It was something

I felt I had been missing for years as a professional artist who was not formally trained. I was certainly creative enough, but never knew the basis from which to work and create and therefore really take my work as an artist to the next level of refinement. So I threw myself into studying the principles and created a seminar on them, presented them a few times to small audiences and then got so busy with work I could not continue with the seminars.

Principles are our foundation for success in Life and Art/Design

It has been a few years and our firm is doing very well, again I am looking to remind myself of my artistic principles with which to work from and sinking back into really defining and deconstructing the thought process I came to realize that these principles are the same intrinsic ways of thinking that create abundance and prosperity in our lives. The thought process that goes into designing, creating homes and spaces, artwork and developing our business all stem from the same system of principles and thought. If we continue to practice these principles in a systematic way our lives become more abundant, our work reaches new levels of excellence and brilliance, our relationships become more deep and meaningful, and we gain a sense of discernment for what is good and hopefully what is great. In the process of all of this happening we also gain an understanding of how important it is to gift what we have learned so our entire community can rise to a higher level of consciousness and abundance and our lives full of integrity can reach out and touch others and encourage them to walk with a light in their heart as well.

When we talk about what it is to have principle, we are talking about a manner in which

someone acts or a system of beliefs by which they live their lives. A set of principles is almost a

systematic approach to making all the little decisions in our lives that will shape our future. We

can have great principles and create an amazing life. We can lack principles and use little

judgment and create havoc in our lives. Living our lives based on a set of principles allows us to

act with integrity without any effort. This ability frees our minds and our hearts to create and

share with more people on a higher level.

Using Principles for art or design and creative endeavors works in a similar fashion. If we use

a set or group of principles for design we can create something that is unlimited, creative,

sensible, stimulating and serves us well. We should run our lives with the same goals, to create

a life that is unlimited, creative, sensible, stimulating and abundant as well as being of service

to others. This is a full life, this is an amazing design. The language is almost interchangeable.

I believe that the language we use to speak of Design and how we choose to live our Life

are transcendent, they are one and the same. Our lives are inter-dependent and are woven,

intermingled with people, experiences, places, time, etc. We can use the terms we use in

design as well as art to relate to our lives; In design we speak of scale, how the use of the size

of something, a pattern in a wallpaper or a sofa in a room, in life we measure the scale as we

compare what we believe our lives to be in relation to those around us and what we want to

achieve in our lives. There is proportion in our experiences. We try to achieve balance with how

we spend our time with emphasis on differing things over time. All of these principles will

create Harmony in our lives. These are the same principles used in Creating great Art and

Design.

We use the elements in a design to affect our principles. These are a finite and can be used

in very specific ways, far less conceptual. Elements are used more like tools. In design, element

refers to shapes, line, form, mass, texture, pattern, light and color. When I speak of success, the

elements I will use are the small tools that will allow us to manifest our principles. What I have

found is in the breadth of our lives there is always design. We are building our life with the

choices we make. We build our life with whom we choose to spend our time, with what we

work at, as well as all of the everyday smaller choices, like what we had for breakfast. We are

working from a blueprint of how we were raised, our paradigm. Architecturally metaphorically

speaking, all of these day to day choices we make are the building blocks, the 2×4′ s that are our

walls , and rooms, sections of our lives; they are the canvas on which we create our

masterpiece. .

Sow a thought, reap and act,

Sow an act, reap a habit,

Sow a habit, reap a character

Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny

Great Success and Great Design are based on layering of Principles. Like a great cake

each layer gives you more to enjoy. Success and Design work the same way. You have to add

layers to achieve a level of excellence and discernment. My goal with this set of principles for

design and success is to create a foundation of thought. This will be the foundation from which

you will make choices for your home or work space to elevate your design and so elevate your

experience. We will learn to work from a set of principles to create a foundation from which to

make our life choices that will generate abundance and much more in our lives.

The success system I have put together for you will guide you to be able to create not only a beautiful space

to live or work in but also to create a life of abundance, clarity, health, creativity and service.

This is a system of principles that if practiced regularly will get you everything you want in your

Without reviewing how we have lived, practicing self-reflection, how we will be able to

recognize what works and what isn’t working, we are doomed to continue our not so great

pattern of choices we make. We all have issues. There is no perfect life, at least not these days,

and not even on t.v. We have moved from the June Cleavers to the shows like ͞The Middle͟. I

don’t want to really spend a whole lot of time rehashing what we already know about our lives,

but if you are sincere about making it to your goals you need to be real about what you do, how

you do it and with whom you are doing it.

I have already introduced the idea of the paradigm

or blueprint. This is an idea that through our childhood experience we are more or less trained

to think, be and act. We are heavily influenced by not only our parents, but also our friends,

teachers and society at large. The expectations and rules we are taught, if we are uber blessed

or even a little lucky is healthy, supportive and encouraging. I would say that for the majority of

us, not so much. I would say the majority of us have backgrounds that are relatively

dysfunctional; at the least we have some complaint about our original situation. What I am

saying to you now is that you have a choice. I am officially informing you that you have all the

power in your life to make it what you want. You have to believe!! You have the power to

change your blueprint!

TET: A Lesson in Hiring and Retaining Great Employees

I am a very small business owner but I have amazing vision for our future. I’m just not always sure how to get there. So I read a ton of business development books, go to seminars and workshops and mine as much information from my loosely knit circle of mentors as possible

The economy in Florida is staying steady on a nice slow rise. I feel confident that when the slowdown does occur it won’t kill business like it did in 2009. We are positioned to offer enough service and product that we will continue to be ok.

I have hired a Design Assistant and taken a new route or adopted a new culture similar to what I am reading about currently. After the last 2 years of hiring and either firing or people leaving after a short period of time I felt I had to take a new approach.

“Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham, is about small companies, who had the opportunity to go wild, deciding to stay small and really perfect their product, client experience and improve the lives of their employees.

All of the companies in this book are far bigger than mine but the theories stand.

It is simply this: Teach- Equip- Trust (TET)

Invest in training employees so they can rise to their potential. Give them the tools they need to do the job. Check in with them quarterly to be sure these first two objectives are met. Finally simply trust they will use their knowledge, training, resources and tools to not only get the job done but also provide and exceptional experience for our clients.

That is the end goal.

This is the practice I have been working in for a year. It feels taxing at times because of the field we are in and there is so much to learn on my assistants part. But it is my responsibility to try this method vs the previous of just showing a few things and making them figure out the rest. That did not work out well at all. 😳 it was strictly trial by fire. It had worked previously in my pottery business but not here.

We are 6 months in and it’s going well. She has even mentioned she is learning more here at the school of Mangrove Bay that at her college.

We are currently in the look out for our next victim and we are ready with training protocol and procedure manuals to streamline the process of getting the next assistant up and rolling much faster.

It is a true challenge to be a business owner, on your own, winging it at times. In the end it is well worth the effort for the flexibility and ability to create and live to our potential.

What Does Marketing Mean to the Business Owner?

I do a lot of research on how to market my business. I know a guy who has a paver business. He told me something I never let go of. He said the truth of being in business is that we are all in the service industry, we just happen to be selling pavers. I would take this a step further that you keep the mindset of not just being a designer, but a business owner. You have to constantly be aware of the larger concept of owning a business.

There are the four P’s of marketing. I know this sounds boring, but you have to remember you are a business owner first who just happens to be blessed enough to do what you love. You are the first of the four P’s : Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. You are selling you. This will lead to your branding. What is your brand? What are you selling that about you that is any better than what the other 10 “designers” are selling. I will talk about this a little more, but you want to really take a moment here if haven’t already built one and create a mission statement for yourself. I want you to start this marketing journey and get a spiral notebook, this is going to be your “Marketing Dojo” book. You will make notes and plans and keep them all in one place. I have several of these. I have my daily notebook on my desk for phone calls and lists. I can always flip through and review what I may have missed at the end of a busy day. I have my website notebook, I build all of my own sites, yet another creative outlet. I have my book idea notebook, etc. My system for keeping the right thoughts in the right place. I realize I could do all of the in Evernote, but at some point I had to put the technology down and I feel when writing down my ideas it is more visceral for me to do it with the physical motion of hand writing.

You should already have one of these but I do recommend rewriting it once a year to get a grasp of where you want to go and who you want to be. You can start this by considering others you admire and what qualities they hold. Then think of who you are and what you think as being your ideal self. How do you treat people and what legacy do you want to leave? In business these need to apply as well as your personal life. In business, who so you admire and why? What qualities do they own that you would like to emulate? I don’t mean for you to think of what they have accomplished in a physical manner, like how big the firm is or what car do they drive. You need to think of the traits they exhibit and the principles they live by consistently to have gotten them what they do have. Don’t focus on the stuff, focus on the journey. The stuff will come if you are coming from the right place.

Then consider how you want your clients to remember you and talk about you after their project is done. The design will be wonderful, that goes without saying. Any designer can do that, we are trained for it. What other qualities do you have or service can you offer to your clients to make them thrilled to tell their friends about you and refer you to others? When you are thinking of this consider what your abilities are in and around your previous experience, what your other skills are. Clarify your aptitudes and turn them into your purpose. Then step away for a day, come back and refine your message. Print this out and hang it above your desk. Your mission statement is reminder of what you are really after and what goals need to be accomplished to get to that place of leaving an amazing legacy.

11 perfect ways to recognize your authenticity: Now own that sh*t b*&tch

“Personal authenticity is a daily expression of your core beliefs and your personality. These are the character traits you exhibit every day.” I found this on the web, if you own it, say so….

At times people will judge  and scorn you. I see it, but I make a choice to recognize it peripherally. Then I let it go. This is simply because what others think does not define me. What I actually DO with my life is what defines me, especially when I think of what will be said at my end of life ceremony, get down groove party. Think of that time and you instantly become authentic. Get it right because we are all gonna die.

That is the practice part, to think of what people will say of you and your actions at the end of your life. To get to where you want to be practice these basic actions….

  1. Become self ware, write down what your moral values are, what is your moral compass. I suggest all the things you say about your neighbors and your friends goes here. Ie: “I cant believe she goes out all night without her husband”… equals… I believe time in a relationship should be spent together growing trust and getting to know one another. Think about what is important to you based on what you see happening around you. This is the easiest place to start.
  2. Have an open mind. Greet new things and old things with a smile. Even if you are judging in your mind say out loud, “hey wow, that is so awesome!” My daughter catches me on this on a regular basis. Just yesterday after the little freeze we had here in FL she went outside in the morning and saw everything was covered in white. “Mom, it snowed outside, come out and see!” I go out and simply say thats not snow, its frost. “Mom you are no fun, you are so negative.” I’m thinking snow would be way worse and I was being positive. But I need to practice more to see things with an open mind and a child’s eyes to better appreciate what God has given us in or limited days on this planet.
  3. Have goals. Writ these little boogers down. What are your goals and priorities. What or who are your real actions serving? Are they serving your true goals or are they serving everyone elses goals? Take time to do some self evaluation, figure out what you really want and start taking small steps to go in that direction. What I have found through this practice is if you measure a thing, break down your goal into smaller tasks and set a deadline you will make it happen.
  4. Trust your intuition. I believe true intuition is Gods voice in us. It takes practice to listen calmly and quietly to begin to recognize the difference between that voice and the crazy little voices that pop up in our minds that encourage us in the wrong directions. When you are in a situation you are not sure how to act on, sit in quiet solitude and listen to the different voices that are coming and going. You will start to recognize the calm firm voice that is your intuition, you will sense your own reaction to it with a clear energy like no other. The quiet solitude piece is most important, its easy to make a wrong decision and listen to the wrong voices in our minds when we are too busy.
  5. Don’t Lie. Duh… but it’s harder than you think. We have to first stop lying to ourselves about who we are and what we are capable of. Becoming self aware is a first step. Once we stop lying to ourselves we can stop lying to everyone else. Think before you speak and don’t qualify anything with excuses. Just speak the truth.
  6. Don’t try to be perfect or be someone else. Envy is a hard thing to get away from. Comparing yourself to the Jones’s is never getting you any further in life. We are wasting our energy on trying to mirror something that may not even be true. Usually that person is a total hot mess and we just don’t know it. You are an individual. You are the only you. You are an original, that means there is no else just like you. That idea is so amazing to me. I have this conversation with my kids all the time about not comparing themselves and doing all they can to really live up to their own potential. As adults we should remember the same lesson. Nothing really changes after middle school. We still need to work to live up to Gods potential in us. And it is limitless and abundant.
  7. Be present and pay attention. We all know how to do this, its just whether we choose to do it or not is the question. This means when someone else is speaking you need to put down your phone, get out of your own thoughts and your own agenda and focus on what the other person is saying. Staying present also means focusing on the task at hand and giving it your utmost attention. With all the distractions of technology and the expectations that our phones are constantly on our person, that we should be available immediately, it is a true challenge. Self Discipline is a practice that is not just daily, but a minute to minute practice.
  8. Express your own ideas and opinions. Self expression is key to the health of our creative self. To express our ideas to others takes a great deal of courage and thoughtfulness. writing this piece I realize what a shame it is that so many of us don’t have the courage to speak up in front of others for fear of being judged or shunned. It does take practice to put your own ideas into words, to articulate what you want to say in a meaningful way that isn’t harmful to anyone. What I practice is preparation. Before I go before a client or walk in to a meeting I spend time preparing for that meeting, I gather all the information I possibly can and I have even written down what I want to say so I can edit it and practice before I even walk in the room. I have been shot down before or have been the target of an interrogation unknowingly walking in to a trap. Afterwards I suck it up and shake it off and fix what went wrong. It has usually been a gift that someone was showing me a better way to do things or how to be a better person.
  9. Prioritize what’s important to you and voice it. Finding your voice throughout your life is a journey. So is figuring out what you really want out of your life and setting those priorities. Truth is they change occasionally based on your age and what stage you are in in life. Kids are all about instant gratification, young adults are more about preening and setting goals for college. Then there is marriage and children for a lot of us. And finally retirement and watching your dollars more closely. Setting your goals and deciding how to get to them is immensely important. So is voicing them to others, so their agenda is not yours. If you in a family voicing your priorities is super helpful. You may find that those who care for you will invest in your goals emotionally and try to help you get there faster.
  10. Don’t sell crap. This applies to your job as well as your self image. If you’re in a position where you don’t believe in what you are doing, or you are not happy with your position, you are the only person responsible for making the changes necessary to change the outcome. And if you can’t change your position, find a way to make it better, add value and reality to your situation or change your mind set. And if are in sales, don’t sell crap.  I usually have to argue with at least a couple potential clients about what I charge for my services and the cost of the materials I select for a home. You get what you pay for, you want to pay cheap prices, you get cheap crap. I don’t sell crap. Cant win ’em all.

Personal authenticity is the daily expression of your core beliefs and personality-  its a practice you have to keep at daily.

Own your beliefs and desires and values and you will find that you gain not only respect for your self but respect form others. You will become more of a leader and not a follower. re-read this article occasionally to remind yourself you are important and what make you more important is that you are true to yourself.

repost: the unfair truth about how creatives succeed

Sharing is caring, this is by Jeff Goins

Creativity: a systems approach

What makes a person creative? As human beings, of course, we are all endowed with the ability to create. But, what is the difference between that kind of “little c” creativity and the world-changing “big C” creativity that changes industries and leaves a legacy for generations to come?

In his decades-long study of creativity, management psychology expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described what he called a “systems approach.” Since “creative” work tends to be subjective, he posited a model that included three systems:

  • The domain
  • The field
  • The individual

In order to be considered creative (in the sense that it offers some kind of enduring work the world remembers), a work must satisfy all three of these areas. Here’s how it works: First, an individual must master his or her craft in a given domain (art, science, mathematics,etc.). Then, this person must offer the creative work to a field of influencers in that domain who are trusted experts. Finally, those gatekeepers must decide whether the work is worth being accepted into the domain as being authoritative.

That’s the systems approach to creativity. And as much as I initially winced at the word “gatekeepers” when considering what makes creative work succeed, once I started reading biographies of famous artists, scientists and musicians, Csikszentmihalyi’s theory made a lot of sense. Talent is only part of the equation. The rest is networking.

read more…

Under the comb the tangle and the straight path are the same. -Heraclitus

Reading “the obstacle is the way”, validating what I already believe. We can run from our problems, if we don’t see a way around them, then it is best embrace our situation and we find a way through them. 

Success is an Attitude

Success : This is an attitude, I have succeeded in everything I have undertaken. I visualize, I plan, and make it happen. It may not always end up how I first see it, but I have learned to let things evolve and become what they want to be. If I foster an idea and put forth the effort , find resources, plan and adjust, refine, my ventures always come to fruition. I take the same positive attitude when I am ready to ramp a certain aspect up of an existing project. I am sure I have some peter out or completely implode, but I choose to not give them the energy they certainly don’t deserve. On to bigger and better things. Learn what you can from it and move on, never giving up. I remember hearing that Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy just before his great Model T came to fruition.

Tackle your future now…