Find Your People
I can’t tell you how I first discovered Braid Creative, a brand and business visioning studio headed up by Kathleen Shannon and her brilliant sister Tara Street, but I do know I discovered them last year when I was trying to figure out this whole freelancing/building a business gig and was looking for a way to do it that made sense to me. When I found the Braid blog it was nothing short of magic; these guys were sharing knowledge about building a creative business that made sense to my non-conformist, alternative, whatever-you-want-to-call-me-but-I’m-different lifestyle. Needless to say, I was hooked.
Fast forward to January of this year, and Kathleen teams up with her friend Emily Thompson of Indie Shopography to put out a quiet little side project called Being Boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. The podcast brought life to these two brilliant women that had created and grown their businesses to be sustainable livelihoods, and they were sharing their expertise with us. Again, I was hooked, one of the original fans :) At that time I was in Oregon for a few months, re-branding myself and working on a huge website overhaul. Listening to these guys every week was like my own little mastermind/pep talk/support group. I’m not the only one that felt this way.
By the second or third episode, they announced that there was a Being Boss Facebook group. Perfect! I thought, let’s check this out and see if there are others like me to connect with. The group exploded almost overnight and continues to grow. Currently the count is over 4,000 members who are coming together to ask for advice, share their victories, and connect with others that speak our language. Unlike other groups, there is no shaming, trolling, or meanness of any kind. I’ve never been part of a more supportive community than this one.
I’m telling you all this so you have the backstory to why 75 of us felt it was absolutely necessary to get on planes and in our cars to meet up in person when they announced a vacation for us in New Orleans. For one, Kathleen and Emily are no-BS kind of gals, and they are as real as it gets when it comes to audience building and genuine marketing. They were wanting to connect as much as we were, and they managed to attract some of the coolest, smartest, and most ambitious women in the country, bringing us together for a one-of-a-kind experience.
We were all excited, nervous, chomping at the bit, all of it, because it was almost surreal that the people we had met and started relationships with online were going to be face to face with us, in the same room, and that Kathleen and Emily would be there, meeting and chatting with every last one of us.
We attended a live recording of the podcast, had a master class, and wandered around the French Quarter together, getting tarot card readings for insight and purchasing crystals for strengthening rituals later. As we ran into each other around town and started new friendships, we all knew that magic was the only word that could describe what we were doing. This was not just another creative business conference, this was a revolutionary way of building a community.
I came away from this experience of connection with an entirely new perspective on my brand, my business, and my approach. I think I speak for us all when I say it went a long way to giving me validation for what I’m doing. My ideas no longer only existed in my mind, but were made real by sharing with other women that are doing the same thing I am every day, fighting for the same creative livelihood that we all know is our real calling.
This past week has been a deep and visceral experience as I let all the magic dust settle and put form to my big thinking. I’m more in tune with my purpose and am working on meaningful ways to share that with my people. I’m in the middle of creating my process that will guide you, the driven and ambitious creative, through a series of transformational exercises designed to bring out what makes you distinctive and build a business doing what you love.
With everything I create from here on, from blog posts to courses to my own client work:
I will give you permission to create a livelihood being exactly who you are, and give you the guidance to help you get there.
I didn’t write this just to share my story with you, I want you to take a leap yourself if you are feeling alone on your creative journey and have trouble finding your people. I’m not saying it’s easy or that it will happen on the first try. It probably won’t. I put myself in the middle of many other communities over the last year looking for my people, and this is the first time it FELT RIGHT.
You may even be thinking that you are strong and ballsy and stand on your own no matter what. I know this because that’s the stance I’ve taken many times in my life. But it is phenomenally harder and will take longer to get where you want to be unless you surround yourself with others who are actually like you. I know you are an individual, but yes, there are even people out there that share some of your best qualities :)
So look locally or outside of your own city for where they are meeting up regularly. Find them online and reach out for Skype dates or even phone chats. But find them. Meeting and connecting with others who do what we do is one of the things that makes this creative life so sweet and rewarding.
WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
This love letter was first sent to subscribers of The Creative Flow, a place for actionable guidance and inspiration for building a creative livelihood online.