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Did you enjoy your work day?

<mid morning snippet>

Had a really good conversation about work life balance and the joys of running a business you can put on auto-pilot during the summer so you can spend more time with the kids while they are out of school. The importance of building a business that includes family really resonates strongly with me.

<evening snippet>

Stumbled upon this story about how one software company was able to hire an artist, (as creatives are so in demand) and do so in a way that serves both the artist’s passions as well as the company goals. What a great story – and for many entrepreneurs that follow what they love, it’s inspiring to read how one company manages to grow creatively.

Just two reasons why this was an awesome work day…

Storytelling at its best…

I had an awesome meeting this morning with Captain Valerie who owns her own sailing firm. I’ve grown to adore the way Valerie talks about her sailing trips. She is truly a master at sharing the most amazing details of her travel experiences from around the world. She undoubtedly wins more business because of her ability to create a highly authentic connection to her clients, allowing them to peek behind the curtain of her very compelling brand.

I am guessing that her high rate of repeat business is due in part to her storytelling skills. She is open to sharing instead of selling. People just want to know about your business – and in Valerie’s case, the amazing food, cultural experiences and open seas. I have no doubt that her clients continue to share her stories with others since they have such a vivid image in mind of what she offers.

When you are able to communicate your company mission as Valerie does there will come a tipping point for your company as well. You know you’ve succeeded when your brand speaks for itself and your fans promote you because they believe in what you’re doing – you’ve been consistent and honorable and people have fallen in love.

Here’s to your success Valerie! To learn more about her amazing sailing expeditions, visit her website, and mention that you’d like to hear her stories – they’re awesome.

creative brands

We are all creative. Some may even claim the title of artist, but lately I’ve been thinking that it’s not the title that really matters — the important thing is the lifestyle you aspire to. Here then is my list of characteristics I’ve noted about people who live with creative intention and build creative brands. I’d love to know if you find yourself anywhere in the description that follows.

From what I can see…

Creative people live in spaces that help them cultivate their ideas and develop new projects. We may find inspiration in a fabric, a photo, or a childhood memory. We use these ideas as a starting point to develop our homes and work spaces to our liking. We use materials in unique and innovative ways. Our home work spaces contain lots of inspiration. We are collectors of ideas and materials. Because we are always creative, our homes serve multiple functions. Our homes are a conglomeration of ideas — a test bed of sorts.

To feed our creative efforts, we shop. We shop for things both old and new. We reuse. We search the past for familiar ideas and make them trendy and stylish again. We may haunt the aisles of large retailers, but we often have a cadre of smaller companies we frequent whenever we need specialized products or services. We love places like Etsy.com, Creativity Portal, Illustration Friday, and a myriad of fun, quirky, and captivating websites and blogs that provide suggestions on new products and services.

We are introspective. We find inspiration from details others may overlook. We play with materials, words, and ideas; we push the envelope. We find joy in creating the simple and the complex. We like to try our hand at multiple things, often with the skill and insight to combine two or three seemingly disconnected things into one cohesive design. We appreciate the imagination and the inventiveness of others. We marvel at our own vision. We are insightful. We are out-of-the-box thinkers and are often called visionaries.

We love to see the impact of our work on others; because much of what we do comes from a place deep within ourselves. We make statements. In our work we capture the beauty and tragedy in life — and all the emotions in between. Sometimes we make things to trade or give; and other times we make things to sell.

We are connected. The internet gives us a space to set up camp and declare who we are. Sometimes we are part of the support system supplying materials and resources for other creative people to use. Other times we are the front line; showing our work and sharing ideas. We join mailing lists, read blogs and create online communities. We move offline and connect in person through clubs, correspondence, conferences, classes and co-ops.

Creative people share. We provide hope, inspiration and innovative techniques. We know the importance of artful living; of passing down our creative knowledge to our children, friends, parents, siblings, partners, and visitors. We keep track of our techniques, and of our progress and setbacks.

We know how wonderful it feels to see a project from its concept stage through material selection, organization of thoughts, and completion. It is like therapy for some. For others it is our passion.

Creativity is what we live. It is our legacy.