Pattern Shift

#71 From Hobbyist to Professional: Embracing Your Weirdness for Creative Growth with Mark Steadman

October 27, 2023 Saskia de Feijter / Mark Steadman Season 4 Episode 71
Pattern Shift
#71 From Hobbyist to Professional: Embracing Your Weirdness for Creative Growth with Mark Steadman
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to unlock the secrets of optimizing creativity and productivity in your business? Brace yourself for a transformative journey with our special guest, Mark Steadman, the mastermind behind Creative Workflows. Together, we'll explore the labyrinth of the creative process, highlighting the challenges faced by creative entrepreneurs and shedding light on how they can thrive sustainably. You'll learn how to leverage your inherent creativity to manage your business, and how technology can be a valuable ally in this endeavor. We'll also underline the importance of carving out time for planning, organizing, and immersing in what truly fuels our passion - our craft.

Curious about how a bullet journal could be your ultimate mindfulness tool? We'll show you how this ingenious method can help you bring order to unstructured information. You'll understand why a robust system is the lifeline of creativity, and how it can catapult creative entrepreneurs towards an organized and productive state. We’ll also discuss the power of structured systems to expedite task-switching, helping you make the most out of your precious time and energy.

Finally, we'll guide you towards building a system for organizing and storing creativity-related knowledge. Join us as we discuss Mark's experience with releasing music during the Internet’s nascent stage and how a centralized knowledge repository can be a game-changer. You'll learn about the surprising ways limitations can ignite creativity and how carving out time can amplify your creative prowess. You'll also gain insights into the role creativity plays in business and how you can leverage creative thinking to hone in on your customers' problems. This is an episode packed with practical insights to set your creative business on the path to success.

If you want to build or grow your business in textile crafts, why don't you join our online community for a small, monthly contribution of only 10 euros, which is $10 ish. You get to hang out, learn from and share your business. And your craft journey with all the lovely people there, support the podcast at the same time and you get everything wrapped into one loving package. I would love to welcome you there.

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Speaker 1:

In this fun and creative conversation I talk to podcast veteran Mark Steppman, who's just started a new podcast called Creative Workflows. We talk about just that the creative process, what tools we use to help us in the process, and the creative mindset around organizing and planning. Hi, my name is Saskia de Vaiter, and this is PatentShift. Day-to-day life as a creative business owner can be very lonely and overwhelming, leaving no time to actually grow your business. The PatentShift podcast gives you business insights and actionable tips to help you rise out of the day-to-day swamp and start to become more visible and move your business forward. Find out how you can be part of helping crafters move away from fast fashion and become a value-based business owner who's on top of things, running a business that's more sustainable for themselves as well as our planet.

Speaker 1:

In this almost hour-long episode, I interview Mark and Mark interviews me while we dive into the life of a creative business owner. Mark doesn't hate marketing and branding. He says he just really wants to make his stuff more than anything else. I think that might sound familiar, doesn't it? So we are interested in the way creative business owners can make the best of their creative talents in running their businesses. So before we start the interview. Don't forget to sign up for PatentShift updates and the Yevel Business Circle Creative Business Tips and Insights, and you can do that via the show notes. Go ahead, you can just go there now and sign up while you're listening. It only just takes a minute. Oh, and I would really love it if you share this podcast with your friends. Thank you, Hello.

Speaker 2:

Saskia. Hello Mark, how do we start something like this? I?

Speaker 1:

don't know who's got the lead. Oh no, this is messing with my head already.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Am I interviewing you or are you interviewing me?

Speaker 2:

Yes, is the answer yes.

Speaker 1:

Indeed.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it sounds like you've got some thoughts and some ideas and some things, and I'm happy to be guided by you, and then we can just see where the conversation emerges, as is the tradition.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So I just wanted to make sure that we decided that we wanted to have this conversation before I landed on this perfect thought which has emerged because I'm redecorating my website. So I'm focusing on one kind of ideal customer now, whereas before I was talking to two, and let me clarify that a little bit. I work with creative business owners in the textile craft, slow fashion kind of industry, but I also offer community and guidance for the crafters themselves who are looking to build a more conscious wardrobe and make more conscious decisions around it. Those are two distinct groups of people I always imagined matching with the products and services that I offer, and after I decided that I wanted to make a podcast. That is helpful thanks to you, mark for my business owners, I thought that I would leave the crafters behind a little bit, but as it turns out and as I'm redecorating my website, I'm going back to my mission and my vision and who's my ideal customer and all of that.

Speaker 1:

I'm thinking they're actually one and the same person, because the business owners nine out of ten, nine and a half out of ten they're all crafters, they're all creative people, they all have their creative journeys and processes and all of that, and the other way around as well. A lot of people that are creative and crafters and making things. They are secretly thinking about what would happen if I started business in this. So this is now what I'm focusing on and trying to bring it all together, to match them up as one and to talk to their joint experience. And then there you are talking about creative processes, journeys and all of these kinds of things. But now we'll give the mic back to you, because you can explain that much better.

Speaker 2:

Okay, hi, so I was doing a little loom video.

Speaker 2:

I was recording a loom video for a client earlier about Notion, which is a tool that you can use to dump your brain into but then organize the things that are in your brain very easily and share those things with other people and potentially collaborate and work with others on the stuff that was in your brain and is now in a shared system.

Speaker 2:

People use it for all sorts of things. People are developing life operating systems, running their whole lives on Notion, and I was showing this for a client to explain. You know, there's sort of seven different tools and services that you use and that we all have separate accounts for and different usernames for, and if we use one tool, we might actually be able to get all of that work done. And it's one of those things where I get so nerdily enthusiastic about ways that we can use the tools and the services that are available to cut as much repetition and as much busy work and boring work out of our lives so that we can focus on the stuff that we actually want to do, the stuff that gets us excited, which is making the things, and so that's what I'm trying to focus on the craft, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cut the crap and get shit done.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. Yes, let's crap more craft. And so, yeah, that's my whole bag. And it extends far beyond tools and bits of software and goes into mindsets. And you know, one of the early conversations I had was with a writer who it's all about. For him it's all about getting the right note taking process, which is longhand or shorthand, and then transferring that to longhand and then using post it notes all over the place to start mapping out ideas and linking things and using index cards to have little light, to keep little ideas on so that they may they might not fit over here while he's writing the book, but at some point I know that's an idea that I want to keep. And so he gets put in a little index card stack and completely analog and a great system, and so I love, I love diving into it to all of that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1:

Same here. All the things that you were saying I really connect to and I'm a bullet journalist, as they name it, and I'm actually an official bullet journalist because I'm in training with the bullet journal company and I love that practice of the mindfulness practice that is also connected to this productivity system. That kind of keeps you going in your journey to find the things that actually matter. And again, cutting out the should I say craft? No, not cutting out the craft, cutting out the, the crap, but I don't want to swear too much, but that's not enough. And even writer Carol, the inventor of the bullet journal, has a combination of digital tools and the, the writing in the journal combined. And for me also, notion is, is is new in my life and amazing. And I'm at this spot where it's super overwhelming and amazing at the same time. So trying to figure out how can I make it work for me now and, at the same time, kind of finding some time to go deeper and make it more functional, because all the possibilities.

Speaker 2:

I think that's the interesting thing is, when you get to a sort of thing with productivity, there's the basic stuff of of, of, of, of, what the Americans might call the table stakes of like, okay, you know, I can have, I can think about recurring tasks and due dates, and when I review things and that's all that can be fairly simple. But then there are. You get to a second level where I think it's actually hard to until, and unless you see someone else do it and someone else's system, it's hard to know what's actually doable and what you could actually do and what is. I had no idea that I could do this and it would make this whole workflow easier, whether it's a new tool or just a new way of thinking about organizing your information. David Allen I can't remember, but it was in the 80s or the 90s came up with with the his to-do system, which has just left my brain and I will remember it in a moment.

Speaker 1:

I know it, I know it, I know it. Is it getting things done? Getting things done.

Speaker 2:

Getting things done. Yeah, Go for it. Go for that again. So back in the 90s I think it was David Allen came up with with getting things done, which was again a system that you could just use on paper or with index cards that's how he designed it initially or with an app, and it's when you get into what you might call thought technologies that help you, blow open what you thought you could do, and that's the kind of stuff that's quite interesting.

Speaker 2:

Wow, I hadn't thought about working in this way working with other people, especially when there's information being passed all over the place. It's yeah.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. So do you think that? Because within bullet journaling, it's very clear that the fact that you hold a pen, that you write down and use this language that's called and now I forget and use this language that's called rapid logging when you do that, the process of it, the process of taking a little bit more time and the pen that slows you down to think about what you're writing down, do you think that is something like that is connected, connects more to creative people or and digital tools. Is there something that's more appealing for the creative minds or am I now thinking too too much in one direction?

Speaker 2:

No, I just said the opposite for myself, but yeah, no, I think it's interesting.

Speaker 2:

I think I feel like so. I got interested in bullet journal back in 2013, 2014, I think, when it was first, when there was just a little video and it was very much back then. It felt like it was designed to be a paper based productivity system with a maybe a small amount of lowercase M mindfulness, not the kind of mindfulness that we think now. Mindfulness in in terms of deliberate would be more probably the better word in thinking about things that are recurring tasks. If you've got something that you're supposed to do every week, if it's once you've done it, you cross it out or you've got to defer it over to the next week, and that mindful act, that deliberate act of writing out that task every time, helps you think about am I really going to do this again, because I've been writing this out 52 times.

Speaker 1:

Am I actually going to get it done?

Speaker 2:

And it feels since then, over the sort of nine, 10 years, it seems to have expanded a lot more. Because I think I like the process and I like aspects of the, of the slowing down, but I think for me productivity I don't view bullet journaling necessarily as a productivity tool because for me it feels like it slows things down in a way that I don't want to be slowed down.

Speaker 2:

It's adding that kind of friction as a mindfulness tool is a deliberate way of thinking about things, and there's also as a way of being able to gather unstructured information together as well and doodle in a way that is useful, pictograms, all those kinds of things in a way that you can't really do successfully digitally, not unless you've got one of those fancy, remarkable tablets. Then it feels like it makes sense.

Speaker 1:

You know, but I don't think it's like a hardcore, get shit done kind of framework.

Speaker 1:

And I just is. This conversation is not about bullet journaling as a whole thing, but just wanting to say on that that you can definitely turn it into what you need and using the mindfulness aspect and then going into notion to get that quick, the quick fix of organizing things in another way. So there's is that it's. You can use it in so many ways. But in terms of the process of creativity, how do we link this to the tools that we use and how does creativity come into this whole idea?

Speaker 2:

For me, I think it's. It's about being able to organize the various bits and pieces that go into a creative project, to know that they're in one place and to know that they're easily accessible so that you can get back to something really quickly or just jump on. Maybe you've got five minutes. Yesterday I had five minutes in between projects and I was able to just open up logic, the audio editing mainly music editing app, and make a quick tweak to a theme tune that I'm working on, because it was just just thought oh OK, I've got a couple of minutes. This is in my head. Now I'm being able to do that.

Speaker 2:

It's. It's having the tools in the organization to be able to quickly move to different ideas or different things that you want to do, without that big cognitive yeah, tasks switching load which we can often get of. Ok, I've just spent a couple of minutes in this email and now it's going to take me a while to reframe and think about where I am. There's something about having which is why I think notion is useful is because it can give you that quick overview, just remind you easily where you are, how to use, orientate yourself and then go into the thing that you need to do, whether that is Adding an extra few words to a blog post or tweaking a bit of music or opening your graphics application to do a thing. It's just knowing where everything is, and having that organized means again that you can get back to the the fun crafting stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah yeah, exactly, and it then goes into not the specific tools, but having a system, an organization around your creativity, and that kind of opens up this interesting space of creative people. And I'm going to just now go ahead and do this whole generalizing thing of creative people don't want systems, they need chaos to thrive, and that kind of thing. How do you feel about that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I think I think make a certain type of mind, maybe likes living in the chaos, but I don't know that that makes them more creative.

Speaker 2:

I think there is the and I think Elizabeth Gilbert touched on this really well in her book Big Magic there's this whole thing that the myth of the, the tortured creative or the tortured writer who has to have had some great trauma or sadness or whatever, and it links to the same idea of this, this vision of this, this, the creative or the creator person, who, who is this special kind of being? And it's just no, we all have our aspects of creativity and, yeah, some bit like a friend of mine, deliberately like moves from productivity system to productivity system, like every month, because it it tweaks that part of their brain that they're just like this is fun, this is novel, I'm learning something new and picking up a new technique. I'm bored with that now. Or I get that, now I'm going to try something else, and it bonkers, but at the same time it scratching the itch in their brain. So, yeah, I absolutely reject this notion that there has to be a link between or that or that creativity is somehow disordered or not ordered.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I fully, completely agree, and especially when it comes to being a creative business owner, I think saying that I need the chaos around me is an excuse to get things organized and get things going. And it actually literally takes up so much of your time when it's not necessary Because you, as you said before, going from one task to another takes up a lot of energy and we all know that we can focus on one thing for a very short amount of time. So if we have to switch a lot and then lose all this time, focus, productivity, whatever you want to call it, that's all different things, so call them as they are. But it's so useful to have systems and processes for the creative mind and in my personal experience of having kind of a neuro spicy mind, I actually meet them and I built them for what I needed through time.

Speaker 1:

So when you're talking about your friend, I'm like, hmm, that sounds familiar, something shiny, something new. Let me dive into that and not come up for the next five and a half hours. So that's also not very productive. So I'm now learning to. Okay, I have chosen notion, so I will make a real good effort to really connect to that and use it to the best of my abilities. And yeah, and I want to link it back to the creativity process. So when you use whether it's notion or bullet journaling or whatever, or you just have a running list like I had a running list in my iPhone for bands that I would never start and businesses that I would never start, but I just get these ideas for names and brands and I need to put them somewhere, and so if they're there and somebody says I really feel like starting a hand knit sock company, then I can say hey, I've got just the name for that.

Speaker 1:

Let me find it and not having to go through like stacks and stacks of what one of my clients calls her loose paper system.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a depends how many O's you put in there, because that's either a loose paper system or a loose paper system.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think she'd agree. It's a little bit of both. She has a sense of humor about it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. I think there's also a mindset within, especially people who because there is a subtle distinction maybe not so subtle between creative and artistic. So I think someone who is creative, that could be used in all sorts of different contexts, whereas artistic, I feel like the art is the, that's the main thing, whereas creativity might be used for all sorts of different means. And I think that within the more sort of art end of the spectrum, it feels like there is a rejection, like you were talking about about, about sort of chaos, and I don't know if it's about chaos or if it's about not wanting to be restricted and somehow it not feeling. I don't want to say cool, because that's not the right word no but I know what you mean.

Speaker 1:

Like being respected as an artist.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's something in this concept of locking yourself down or organizing is somehow detrimental, or it's Ooh, what's the word? A rejection? A rejection is also Paranthetical, is not the word Antithetical? It is somehow antithetical to the mindset of the artist. And so then it becomes oh no, that's for you business types, or that's for you academic types, that's not for us. And I think that little nut would be really interesting to crack to help people understand. Like no, it means you can do more of the stuff that you enjoy doing and it's not selling out in some way. You know, I think back to I don't know even me, 20 years ago. I think I would have rolled my eyes so hard at the ideas of productivity when it came to creative work that they would have disappeared at the back of my skull, Whereas now it's just it's there and I've embraced it. But I, yeah, I think maybe to your point about chaos. There are people that haven't, because it just feels, yeah, antithetical to art.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. How would you? Can you give an example of how you use your creativity and how you organize it? Some people are itching.

Speaker 2:

Let's have a think. There's things like are the easiest ones for me to think about because it's a creative, it's an iterative process. Every week or every two weeks or whatever, we're putting out a new episode, and so that iterative process that requires some kind of management, especially if you're interviewing guests and you're dealing with juggling multiple guests at the same time. It was only in 2019 where I really got into. I was using Trello at the time and a couple of other tools that stitched together so that I could manage and run maybe three interviews in a week. Sometimes I think two a day and know that they were all going to stack up and know that I, when each episode was going to go out, without having to put that. Keep that in my head, because that's an impossible task. Here we're recording three episodes. This one's actually going to be episode three. Tomorrow we're going to record episode two. That's weird, but that's, and then it becomes a whole mess, so something like podcasting or blogging. Equally, I think those kinds of iterative things make a lot of sense to have systems for If I think about my music when I do because I'm not thinking about that on a recurring schedule, although when I made so, I made a little EP of three songs back in 2017 and the only real rigor I had to that was that I made a commitment that Tuesday mornings was when I would work on the album, because I was able to swap around my work week as a consultant developer person and so I was able to commit that time and I'd be here in my studio making the music. And so just setting that time, that was really it. But I think, if we extend that a little bit further, if we start thinking around the things, around the creativity, so if I think about the music having a place for having a central repository of knowledge, be that a text file on your computer doc or a Google doc or a Notion page or a page in a bullet journal that lists here's where everything goes, here's the music lives on Bandcamp or it lives on this website and if I need to go and make changes, that's the website that I use. Just as you've got a password manager for the website, don't write your passwords, don't use password manager, but knowing if I'm going to release a new piece of music, here's the process that I go through.

Speaker 2:

And Jonathan Colton was a. He used to be a web developer and he turned into a much beloved comedy novelties comedy musician, sometimes did some serious song and he released a song a week for I don't know if it was a year, might have been longer and he would release a piece of music a week and you think about managing that process. This is back in the early days of the internet, so it probably went up on MySpace somewhere and you've got to think about okay, it's gone to MySpace, maybe it's 2007. It's gone to MySpace, I've got to post it to Twitter, I've got to even before that, I've got to do the artwork, I've got to all these different things. And so having one place where you put all of that information means every week you're not having to reinvent the process.

Speaker 2:

So that's what that makes me think of.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and also going back to, it's not a huge thing, like you don't need assistants and teams to organize your whole creative process right. You can have a notebook where you keep your the songs that you're writing, and for me, I use the Ultimate Guitar tabs, where I had my favorites, and I go back to that every time and just I was in a country mode and then I was in this mode and then I add and add things on and take things away and the notebook, and that is also a way of organizing your creative thoughts, so it doesn't have to be very complicated. And for me now, as I'm on a journey of learning to sew all the clothes that I need, I also have a notebook and I have online things that I use to keep things together Information resources, all of that and actually also my community is a place for that, where resources come together and where you can always dip into that and not just use tools but also use people in community to inspire and bring ideas and thoughts together. And also an interesting thing that came to mind where you were talking is that sometimes restriction is often at the base of creativity. Just having fewer things to work with in an organized way can be so much more productive than having all the things, the huge amount of stash, the huge stacks of books like all of that. It's a little bit of everything, I think. Everything.

Speaker 1:

I think in a way and, on another note, taking notes, when you organize your creative process, you create more time, and when you create more time, you can be more creative. And in my case, as a creative business owner, that is too creative business owners. You can see that in two ways. I'm creative and I own a creative business. Do I? No, yes, I do no, actually I don't anymore. My business is for creatives. Oh my God, there's too many meta levels.

Speaker 2:

No, this is I want to get into.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I want to dig into this because so you say your business is not creative. I wanted to ask you where creativity and your business meet. Where are they separate? Where are bits that you've decided that are separate? Or where are they melding together? Or what bits of your quote, unquote, outside world creativity are bleeding into the inside world of your business? I don't want to know it all. Tell me all.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, when you said that, when you repeated that back to me, like the hairs on my arms stood up. So I don't. I think I do have a creative business, but it's weird because as somebody that offers services, products, knowledge for creative business owners and creatives, there's no way that creativity is not a part of that, but it's a part of me and how I do things. I'm a creative thinker as a first thing to get into. I love that, I thrive on it. There's give me a problem and I'm like I'm there like a, like a terrier who's bored. Give me something to do now, and so there's an elf. I'll find a way to fix the problem. So that's creative thinking.

Speaker 1:

I do not craft items to sell, so that would be a way of thinking of a creative business owner, but what I do is I am very creative in finding ways to solve the problems that my customers have to give. One example is that when I was in the yarn shop owner which is a thing, it's a thing and in the yarn shop owner and I couldn't afford a business coach, I thought I would. At that time I didn't want to invest in a business coach. I thought I'd be better off buying more yarns to sell. I was wrong, should have spent time talking to a business coach, but in retrospect now, what I do is I offer that kind of help for those kind of businesses for an amount that's doable, because I offer it from the perspective of having been in their shoes and also not only having their experience and talking their language, but also having other.

Speaker 1:

I'm a marketer, I'm a train marketer and branding specialist and all of that, not just that, I have the experience from that time in my life, but I can really speak that language and I know what's important to them and I know that they freak out when they hear branding and marketing and selling and they get hives and they hate those terms. I find creative ways to connect with them about things that they don't want to be talking about or they don't want to tackle and they're in this day to day thing of just keep doing the same things and not moving out of that swamp type situation. So I don't want to turn this into a whole. This is what I do go buy my product, but please do. But yeah, the creative business owner I definitely am, because I don't think it's the business, it's the person.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, ed, do you think this a version around selling and branding and marketing comes in for creative people? Because I have the same thing. No, it's not that I, it's not that I hate marketing or hate branding. I'm quite into it, but I just want to make my stuff, and Especially with creative work. Yeah, I haven't thought about this from from the point of view of someone who makes a garment, but it's just gonna be. I would think very much the same is this thing is made out of love. You want people to enjoy it and to consume it and to get value from it. But the idea of Selling that in all the words, of what selling means, feels icky, icky, yeah, and difficult as well. It's not. It's not just necessarily that it feels icky, it feels murky. And how does one even do that? And do I? Do I have to be an influencer now? Is that what that means? And you, know.

Speaker 2:

No, you don't no it's a rhetorical question, but I appreciate it. Yeah, yeah, no, I know no it's.

Speaker 1:

It's a. It's a recurring question and there's there's a couple of answers for it. I think one is that lots of that's called them creative business owners, the people that make that want to sell, or the people that are in the creative space that want to sell. They Don't. They are typically not educated on running a business. They start their business either from a passion for a craft or something, or they have gone through art school or music school or their dancers or name it, and in that education they didn't spend time on how to sell yourself, how to build a brand around your person or your product, and so they don't know how to do it. It feels Awkward to them and what they then turn to is social media. They just copy what everybody else is doing without really knowing what the effects are, if it's even going to give them any return on investment in terms of money, time, everything they just. Social media to a lot of people is like window shopping. They just look at what's going on, they try to copy it, but it's not the thing, and actually they start copying from each other, which then builds this whole culture of what things should look like. But it's the look like and it doesn't really actually Sell a product Unless they're super Genuine. They're just being who they are and they're just showing all aspects of themselves and their business and people connect to that and that is why they might go shop with them. But usually there's not a really thought-through process. And there could be, and that could be much more.

Speaker 1:

And what I also want to say about this is the the feeling of ickiness around branding, selling, sales, marketing, all those kinds of terms has to do with the exposure we've had to these things over the years. We've seen bad examples that we don't connect to. But then there's a different way of doing things ethical marketing, ethical selling just I use the word Conscious a lot make a conscious decision, sit still, take pen to paper, take some more time and think about how, what is it that you're doing? Anyways, what is marketing? What is branding? And I I just wrote about it on on linkedin because I thought people really sometimes do not know what it actually means and they're too scared to ask.

Speaker 1:

Well, what you're really doing is just People have a problem and you're trying to solve it for them. You're the best person to solve it for them because you die amazing yarns or you have Great teaching skills or designer skills to make patterns, and Somebody's waiting for that. So why are you not selling it to them? Because it's a key? No, they're waiting for it. You should be doing that right now, in your way, because you're going to be connecting to the people that connect to you, because it's all we try to find, the people that are like. Some people will think, oh, that's a scared person, she's way too Whoo, there's all things going on. And I'm not sure there's all things going on. And other people will go, oh, she's charming, let's check out her website and that's how it works.

Speaker 2:

It makes me think of finding the need versus or recognizing that the the need already exists, and I think that's what people Think about with marketing. It's. I guess I have to create a reason for people to buy my thing. And it's the way you've just described it. There is no, they're already looking.

Speaker 1:

Or they already need.

Speaker 2:

They might not know that they need that particular thing, and you you don't have to sell it as a as a point of. You should buy this tincture because it's going to solve all your problem. You know the problem that your thing actually solves, and so it's. It's not, then, about how can we manufacture a, a way to fool people into Buying the thing, and that's the bit that feels horrible and icky.

Speaker 1:

It's.

Speaker 2:

And that's, that's a bit more advertising. That's and that's one tiny little part of marketing and people think of Of advertising as being a much bigger part of marketing than it is. I don't need a car, yet Lots of car manufacturers want to advertise to me and and tell me that it's going to make my life better, whereas actually it's not a need that exists. If you present to me An actual problem that I am experiencing right now and say we have this thing, it is that simple. It's getting in front of the right people. That can sometimes be the harder bit, but that just requires a bit of thought. It's it's not shouting to everyone saying how you need this thing. It's it's asking Do you need this thing? Do you genuinely do you have this problem? Not, do you need this thing because that's the solution.

Speaker 2:

Do you have this problem? Is this thing missing in your life? Are you running out of patterns? Are you bored with the patterns that you've already got? Is your collection of yarn looking a bit, a bit frayed and stale and it's it's not inspiring you anymore. The colors that you're playing with are they looking? They're just not doing it for you.

Speaker 2:

You know, are you, are you bored? Are you like all sorts of different things that are problems that people are having. It's like when I wish to get the name wrong I think it's read Hoffman, or I might have it wrong the CEO of netflix back in the day Said we're not competing with other streaming services, we're competing with sleep. We. That's why we have the rollover that every time an episode finishes before the credit's come up, it's bam, let's get you straight through to the next episode, because they want people to keep consuming and enjoying netflix. They're not competing with other streaming services, they're competing with boredom. And so once you realize what you're competing with oh, the problem that you're solving, the thing that's missing in people's life that you provide Then it's like it's not about selling, it's simply saying oh, do you have this problem too?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's helping absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and as long as you focus on Asking prices that make sense and and putting the work into those kinds of Questions as a business owner, knowing what your values are as a business owner and talking about them and sharing it, being transparent, it's. It's a thing that they call the no interest factor, which is probably something you've heard about before, which talks about if you Know this person, this business, if you like them, that's, that's a, that's a you will probably trust them. All these things work together and then once you solve the problem for that person or give them a good feeling you were talking about being bored. It doesn't necessarily have to be this huge problem. You can just give them a good feeling and you solve that and you're in their world and they've embraced you, then try to keep them instead of trying to find more and more and more people.

Speaker 1:

So what's more important is to make the connection to the people that connect to you and keep it going and really get to know them and get close to your customers so you can help them even better and grow their trust, grow their, grow your insights in what they really need and then tweak on that and just being there, it's like a personal assistant, so look at yourself as if you're the personal assistant to your customer, like you are there to serve, and that feels so less icky, especially if you then also have this healthy money mindset thing.

Speaker 1:

That's a lot of work for people where you think my business needs money. If I don't have money, I cannot keep this business going and I cannot help people and you need to be asking the right prices to keep your business going. And these are all the type of things that I talk about to creative people and they feel really uncomfortable about these things. But it's basic stuff. But somebody has to almost give them permission to be their full creative selves, with their values and their needs, and sell in a way that is authentic and doesn't feel icky.

Speaker 2:

And yeah, and I think a lot of that, or certainly a big part of that, can come from storytelling, because if you tell the story of what you're making as you're making it in your way. I put up a goofy little video on LinkedIn.

Speaker 1:

I love that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's me which was just me miming because I didn't have the forethought to record video, when I was actually recording the music parts for my theme music. I didn't even notice that.

Speaker 2:

No, no, no, no, exactly that's creative thinking, mark Exactly, and why does it matter? And by me, there's two ways of looking at this. I could have written a post that says I have a new podcast coming out. It's called Creative Workflows. You can hear episode zero now to see if you like it. And then please follow the podcast. And here's a link. It's just a little bit by the algorithm, it's just text. It's not that interesting. Or I could think about oh, you know what. What might be fun is I'm making this music anyway. Why don't I take an extra half hour and make a little video and just throw that up and just say here's a work in progress. I'm not promoting anything, I'm not selling anything.

Speaker 2:

And the reaction it was such a lovely reaction from people.

Speaker 2:

It was so warm and lots of likes which is all lovely for the brain dolphins, but lots of lovely comments as well that it truly engaging in this thing, probably one of my more engaged with posts.

Speaker 2:

There was no sale, there was no mention of the podcast Later on and this is not a strategic, this is not me being cynical and rubbing my hands together and thinking, oh, I can trick them now, but there is that fact that later on, because I've built up a bit of goodwill and a bit of interest. I can drop a comment on that post or I can post a new thing saying hey, you know that piece of music that you engage with, it's in a thing now and it's about creativity and you might like it. It's an honest way and it's using your own personality. The video was a little bit goofy I had to stay on a t-shirt. I didn't care, I just cracked on. It's using your personality, putting your personality into your creativity and letting it be clumsy, letting it be imperfect, letting it be whatever it's going to be, but, first and foremost, let it be honest and share it with people.

Speaker 2:

The last point on this, I think, is giving people a bit more credit maybe than we do, because I titled it or the first line I put in that post was this is a work post, because it was a silly little image and a silly little video and I wanted to say this is the work in progress, this is about the work that I'm doing.

Speaker 2:

This is a work thing. It also landed on Instagram. It could have gone somewhere else. It's one of those things where you could look at a LinkedIn post and go that probably doesn't belong on LinkedIn, and so the internal saboteur in my brain could have said no, it's unprofessional, it's not professional enough or it isn't written in the way that people thought leaders and inverted commas like to write on LinkedIn, which is two words and then a space and then two words and then a line break and then two words to make it look as if it's really impactful and deep. It was just a silly little post and it went well because I gave my quote-unquote audience on LinkedIn the benefit of the doubt to say you might enjoy this.

Speaker 2:

you might make a chuckle or you might like the piece of music, and sometimes that's all it needs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, a very, very interesting thing to say on that is, if you flip that completely around, what happens a lot is that people think I have to be professional, so they take on this persona of the business owner and go in the completely different direction and say we do this and we do that, and there's no we, we just ask them in their attic working their butts off and I would, for one, rather see the attic than some sort of shiny thing. And that's what happens a lot with these stock photos, which I also sometimes use. But turning your creative business into a stock photo, that's not where we want to go. We want to show who we are and the real us, because we are different from those big brands and from those. We're different. So you want to connect to people that are like you.

Speaker 1:

So one short example I was on a yarn festival and the one person I engaged most with was actually there to meet businesses, to talk to them and to see what their problems are and how I could help. So I was doing research and there's this one person with a head full of dreads and tattooed and having wonderful yarn. But I looked at her and I've seen her before and I'm like this is my person. It was clear that I was going to talk to her first and to go deep into conversation with her, and it is about showing who you are and showing your creativity, whether that be very structured or chaotic, and just being brave sometimes, because I'm sure it wasn't super easy for you to put that music on LinkedIn. It must have taken a little bit of a. Are we going to do this or not?

Speaker 2:

But that's what gets the reactions.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And another example of that is the one that actually felt like the LinkedIn one felt okay. The one that felt a lot ickier, a lot harder and I actually almost had an instant regret after doing it was emailing my previous newsletter and saying this is going away now. Funnily enough, I just got the notification earlier that the domain name is going to be expiring soon, so that's a sign that things are over. But emailing this list and saying this is the direction I'm taking.

Speaker 2:

I'm not hiding behind some brand name or lots of different brand names and different monikers and pseudonyms. This is all me. These are all the many and weird and wonderful things that I do. And here's an example. Here's a song that I recorded a few days after going to a business hippie festival, when my voice was hoarse and I wanted to share it with you because this is what it's about, and that was the one that actually made me. I instantly went on to two separate WhatsApp groups of different friends and was like I just did this thing. I think I might have gone mad. I think this was a bad idea. This just went to 600 odd people, oh God. And I had a couple of spots. What?

Speaker 1:

happened.

Speaker 2:

I had a couple of responses from people mostly wishing me good luck Not a single person. And one person was like I suck not with this. Yet Not a single person was like how, Because we have these ideas, and I had people that were going to how dare you pollute my inbox with yours? I was expecting a deep creature on one minute of podcast audio and that's what I'd expect. You deliver me this heartfelt song with your guitar, With their motion, yeah and yeah. Funnily enough, people didn't react like that. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, sometimes we're, we've got to give people credit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and maybe just trust a little bit and be vulnerable, and that's so much easier said than done, and there are definitely other aspects in my life where being vulnerable is harder. But, yeah, giving yourself that moment and almost jumping out of the airplane before you've Theoretically, hypothetically, jumping out of the airplane, before you're certain that your parachute has been attached.

Speaker 1:

You'll knit the parachute on the way down Mic drop. But coming back to everything we've talked about, can we say that what we end up with is the fact that creative business owners can be either creative thinkers, creators themselves doesn't really matter what you do, it's about how you do it. But, at the same time, the creative people that are crafting, that are making the makers, have this gold in their hands where they can be so different and so unique compared to all the other businesses, creators and makers around them. So lean into your creativity and, at the same time, don't be afraid of the business aspects, because organizing in systems and using tools in a creative way will help you to grow and move forward and be even more creative. So is that kind of what we land on in this conversation, or what did you take away from it?

Speaker 2:

I think, but also something you said there was let your creativity I wanted to say let your weird into your business, not just let the creativity into your business but let your weird like Amen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let that into your business, let your weirdness in there. And if you're thinking about a change whether you work for yourself and at some point you'd like to sorry whether you work for someone else and at some point you'd like to work for yourself, selling your own stuff, writing, making music, making art, whatever it is it doesn't have to be overnight and it doesn't have to be this instant thing where you now say now I'm this, reject me or accept me. It can be incremental. You can make these subtle changes. You can introduce yourself to new communities and say over here, I wear this hat and this is where I feel comfortable, and you can start to spread once you feel that, okay, I'm comfortable around here, these people get what I'm doing, these people get me. You can then start to expand that and to see, maybe some of the people in my existing life are interested in this thing, are interested in what I do over here. We don't have to keep these things separate and it can be something that we do over time as an expansion of what we are, rather than straight away having to redefine yourself.

Speaker 2:

I think that's the process that I'm undergoing now. I haven't made a grand statement, but I love the idea and I have for a long time that I could make my living doing a little bit of creativity, but that's probably not going to support me. I'm realistic about that and that's fine. I genuinely okay with that, as long as I still get to do it. But what I really enjoy is having conversations like this, having conversations with creative people who are stuck and being able to figure out how to help them, or talking about process and helping people understand how they can get more things done or understand how they can unleash their creativity all those kinds of things.

Speaker 2:

Without thinking about it has to be in this particular business. It's just if you're a creative person and you're stuck with something or you've got a question, I feel like I'm in a position to help, and that's going to take a while to shuffle those new cards into my deck, for those cards to actually become now my whole hand is made up of these cards. That's going to take a while, but I don't have to rush it and that's okay because I want to be doing this for a long time, not just for the next year. I can take my time and I think you can take your time If that kind of thing excites you. If living off your creativity in some way excites you, then go for it. But don't put everything you can into it without burning out, and don't feel like it has to happen instantly. Let it happen slowly if it needs to.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so your podcast talks about the creative process and I talk about creative businesses, and together, today we talked about the mashup of these two things, which was a little bit chaotic, but it was creative, it certainly was. And we brought our weird.

Speaker 2:

I feel like we did so we practice what we preach. Absolutely, and I feel like there's and I was thinking earlier there's more scope for us. This may be a production meeting to have off air, but it feels like there's such lovely scope here to meld the same, to be able to talk to people on different levels who are struggling with different aspects of their creativity, whether it's getting things done or making a business.

Speaker 1:

I don't know.

Speaker 2:

It feels like there's a very useful mesh in mechining there, which is not a word.

Speaker 1:

I agree, I agree. It feels like the backflip of a book where there's still so many chapters we can write. Oh yeah, so should we end up with you mentioning the name of your podcast and I'm mentioning mine for our listeners?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, my podcast is called Creative Workflows and it's all about the tools, techniques and mindset shifts that help us do more of the work that we love without burning out, and you can find creative workflows wherever you would expect to find podcasts.

Speaker 1:

And my podcast is called PatternShift and I talk to and about creative business owners in the textile craft and slow fashion industry and with the dream in my head to build on a more solid base to have something that works against fast fashion. And you can also find PatternShift everywhere you would expect and also on PatternShiftfm.

Creative Workflows and Productivity Tools
Creativity, Organization, and Productivity
Creativity in Business and Organizational Strategies
Finding the Need in Marketing
Authenticity and Connection in Business
Creative Process and Creative Businesses