The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real

by: Lisa Sonora Beam (2008)

The Creative Entrepreneur was voted Winner, in two categories--Craft and Business, of the 2009 IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Benjamin Franklin Award which recognizes excellence in publishing.
This book is for the large audience of artists, crafters, and creative individuals from all walks of life who desire to make a livelihood from their creative work, or who possibly have achieved some success, but don't know how to replicate it or move to another level of accomplishment.
The Creative Entrepreneur takes readers on an inner journey of creative exploration to discover how to make their dreams of creative livelihood real.

 It's a visual, project-oriented, step-by-step approach to business development for anyone who is mystified and possibly frustrated by how to make a business out of their creative work.

The Reviews

This is an unique book where the author presents the visual journaling techniques and prompts to meet the three basic challenges faced by many creative/visual-oriented entrepreneurs: dealing with the emotional & psychological mental blocks, misunderstanding the creative process, and lacking the practical business knowledge.The first three chapters of this book focus on the self-analysis, discovery of skills and talents, and mental/psychological blocks. The last two chapters provide the strategic tools for managing and growing your business. The author show how a visual journal can be used as a living document that is subject to change over time, and also is adaptable to ever changing personal needs and business climate.The first chapter, the shortest one in the whole book, shows how various journaling techniques can be used for brainstorming, problem solving and gaining insights. Additionally, it lists the benefits of a visual journal, and also briefly mentions what supplies (simple) are needed to create one.Chapter two starts with the creation of a flower with four intersecting ovals that can be viewed as the creative entrepreneur's mandala. This enables one to see a "big picture" of the essentials needed for the realization of one's business vision. Chapter three, the largest of all, views the blocks not as personal barriers but opportunities for growth. It explains the characteristics of each side of the brain (left & right), and how they can work together rather than compete. It also shows that it is necessary to understand the four modes of functioning so that they can be controlled and managed more effectively. Both the constructive and destructive aspects are identified for each of the mode, and the remedies are provided for each of the destructive ones.The fourth chapter shows how one can think strategically like a CEO using the managerial planning tools provided in the book. The basics of promotion and marketing (branding, packaging, advertising and media selection) are presented in the last chapter which utilizes the strategic approach rather than the tactical one. At the end of this book is a DIY project: a mini journal that allows one to document the strategic plans, to keep track of one's progress, and to recycle the existing paper cards and ephemera instead of buying expensive business planning books.I have submitted several pages from my own journal for the inclusion in this book; however, I did not get the whole manuscript when I did some of the exercises. Consequently, I did not get a chance to develop the strategic plans for bringing my business ideas to fruition before I got this book. Pretty soon, I will have to go back to my visual journal pages for refinement and reassessment. But I can rely on this book to help me develop my own strategic plan with its visual journaling techniques and prompts.

I teach a class called "Advanced Media Projects" which is for graduating Media Arts students who are about to transition from college to the "real word". They work on building online portfolios, writing resumes, cover letters, artist statements, and other marketing materials. I start the class with exercises from the book that get them to think about questions like, "Who ARE you?" 'What are you better at than anyone you know?" "What is important to you?"Beam's approach is to suggest that pondering these questions is vital to marketing your authentic self so that you build a practice or business that FITS you.The more fine arts oriented students seemed to dive right in, since they are always questioning meaning. The exercises helped them to focus and remember themselves. The design students, however, seemed to really grow and stretch their brains into places that no one had coaxed them before. I supposed this is because design is more about meeting the demands of a client, not finding your inner truth. But only by finding your inner truth, like an artist, can you make choices about who your clients will BE, and what kind of lifestyle you will lead. This is how to achieve a long-term sense of satisfaction and a sense of agency over your work-life balance.This book is as useful as it is fun. And much cheaper than needing therapy because you didn't go through these exercises and hit a wall 3 years out of college.

I haven't made it through this book yet, but so far, just doing the beginning exercises in my journal has been very therapeutic for my creativity and business. It makes me slow down and just marinate in the questions rather than just rushing through them like I might do with a regular journal exercise of questions and writing them down. Sometimes I will take several days to create a background, paste in my questions, and answer them. Or, I'll get the page all set up and wait to answer the questions until I feel inspired to. I enjoy this process so much and feel it is bringing me closer to how I truly feel about running a business and what I actually want to do vs what I think I want to do. I highly recommend this book for anyone who might be struggling with answering the questions we need to answer for business or who have answered those questions over and over again and still haven't felt aligned with what their heart aches for. I will try to update this again once I've completed the book, but it might be awhile. Just go get one and see.... it's much faster than waiting for me. :)

This book is helping me put my ideas onto paper in a very creative and insightful way. Yes, it requires time and much thought as you take a good look at yourself as a business professional and a creator. While my business idea is more culinary arts-minded (not as artistic or crafty as some of the business ideas spotlighted), I was still able to adapt to the concept of creating a visual business journal.Best features: many basic business terms put into relatable terms. Great directions for the projects (even though I did many to my own liking), and many visuals to use as a template.Struggles: Many people on here are asking "what's the point of this book? You could be using your time to build your business not creating some lame scrapbook type journal ABOUT your business!!" Well, to me, understanding myself as an entrepreneur and spending time visualizing my business IS part of building a company. I know it will serve as motivation and inspiration to get through the more left brain-minded tasks of expanding my company. So, if you have that mindset, don't buy this book!! But if you enjoy creating and getting your daydreams and business thoughts/plans/questions out on paper, then go for it! It was worth the 11 bucks I paid for a used copy!!

The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real
128 pages
⭐ 4.6 💛 87
paperback: $2.31
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