What’s your passion?
Do you dream of turning that dream into financial rewards?
Anna Sabino is a designer, speaker, co-active career coach and author of Your Creative Career: Turn Your Passion into a Fulfilling and Financially Rewarding Lifestyle. She values efficiency and her mission is to share lessons learned and mistakes made to save fellow creative entrepreneurs’ time.
If you’re an artist or creative with a burning desire to launch something, Anna has been there. She built her business from scratch, one customer at a time, and has valuable lessons for anyone who wants to build something enduring.
Don’t Crush Your Creativity
In the opening of your book, you talk about all that’s now available but then you say that “there are still things that can crush our creativity if we let them.” As you built your businesses, how did you overcome those things?
It’s up to us to decide what to pay attention to. Unfortunately, very often we tend to be attracted to dissatisfaction, so we notice people and things that make us feel inadequate. There are always going to be those who started earlier, have more resources and have achieved more, but we have our own creative path to follow – limiting distractions and staying on it is something that we should all strive for.
So, yes, we can crush our own creativity and flow if we choose to focus on dissatisfaction. Being aware that we’re doing it is a step closer to taking advantage of our full potential and starting to step into our greatness.
I appreciate your take on discomfort and its importance to achievement and success. Would you share your philosophy with those who haven’t read your book?
Our entrepreneurial path is far from being straight. It has curves and roadblocks. Sometimes we have to stay in the discomfort for a very long time not knowing when or if the breakthrough will ever come. Most are scared of this insecurity and quit, sometimes right before succeeding.
When we put our heart into any project or career design, at first we are at zero with zero followers, readers and zero customers. Then our hard work makes us advance. However, the progress happens inch by inch. Those who want the miles and are disappointed by “the work input versus the result unfairness” get out of the game. They join a different game where all the pieces have been laid out for them, and they can securely step in and ride the wave of that success. It’s not their own, but to them success may be the security that they now have.
Definitions of success are very personal, but every success comes with its own territory. You’ll never like all the colors that it presents, but it’s crucial to realize what truly matters most to us and know that we’ll have to make some sacrifice to achieve our success and maintain it.
How to Handle Criticism
How do creatives best handle criticism in a social, internet-connect world?
Creatives and business owners are often in love with their business so they take the critiques that come their way very personally. We have a hard time detaching ourselves from our products and services. It’s important to realize that we are separate from our products and that it’s impossible to create for everyone. Our art, our products and services are not for everyone, and that’s ok.
Critiques, if used wisely, can be very beneficial to our business. We can sift through them and decide what to act on. I’m a huge proponent of testing and creating based on our customers’ feedback. So if we look at critiques from that perspective, we may find them beneficial. In my book I’m suggesting 7 tips of how to deal with rejection and critiques creatively. Ultimately it’s all about working on detachment from our work, on loving the process and minding the course instead of focusing on results.
Critiques are there to stay, and the more we grow, the further we spread our message, the harsher the critiques coming our way may become. It’s up to us how we’ll utilize them – we can’t make them disappear, but we can choose to get crushed by them or utilize them to our advantage.
You tried to order a crepe from a business, but he said “no” since it was closing time. Where many would complain about this, you saw this as a positive. It struck me both because of your positivity and also because it demonstrated the freedom you speak about earlier in the book. How do you maintain your positive outlook?
I clearly remember trying to order a crepe at a farmers’ market at closing time – 6 p.m. The owner politely refused. It was very refreshing to see that there are business owners who set their boundaries and keep them. Maybe he had a daughter’s dance performance or another family event to attend. In the world where we all strive to sell one more crepe, it’s refreshing to see someone who defines his own rules and sticks by them.
Success depends on how we define it – most of us would love to achieve life/work balance, but we tend not to be firm with maintaining the work boundaries. Work spills over into our lives, but the crepe business owner from the market seemed to have his work contained within the set hours.
How to Become Visible
What have you learned about “becoming visible” and personal branding?
It’s hard to get noticed and be listened to in this overcrowded world. It seems to me there are many who want to share content but not many who want to consume. I’m glad to notice that personal branding has become all about others. Those who succeed achieve success because they shine through the success of others. They have been helpful lifting others instead of building their own pedestal.
In this overcrowded world, sharing valuable content consistently is key. We can’t expect anyone to wait for us, and in order to provide exceptional value, we need to stay connected and be present.
Everyone can start building their brand at any time – the barriers of entry are low, but this comes at a cost because the quality of content that’s demanded from us in exchange for the attention is high. No one wants to look at blurry pictures and shaky videos anymore. The immediacy and rawness of the moment is now shown with cinematic skills. Everything changes all around us so quickly and if we want to stay in our readers’ and customers’ minds, we better adjust our speed.
Our customers want to see us, and they demand transparency. Since it’s not about making us shine, they do want us to share our failures and our mistakes so that they can save time and achieve their own success faster. This is what building a personal brand is about – helping lift our readers and customers, saving them time so that they reach their creative goals.
How to Maintain Momentum
How do creatives maintain momentum when inspiration seems to wane?
We all get creatively inspired differently. For some it may be working in a community and being held accountable. For others it may be the environment where they work. Discovering what makes us thrive is an important part of our creative process.
Inspiration is very personal, and some may prosper in a chalet in the mountains; others work well in crowded coffee shops. Also not all of us are productive in the morning, and instead of striving to become a morning person, we should try and accept our circadian rhythm and listen to it.
One of the biggest writers’ complaints is writer’s block. However, these uninspired writers often keep trying to create in the same environment. Discovering what and where we get inspired and making changes accordingly can help us stay in the creative flow.
Being consistent in our creative life can help keep the momentum as well. By making and sharing daily, we develop a muscle – we sharpen our focus and have an easier time maintaining it. The more creative work we do, the more efficient we become.
When I was writing my book Your Creative Career: Turn Your Passion into a Fulfilling and Financially Rewarding Lifestyle, I was hesitant to enter a challenge of writing a Medium article a day for 100 days. I decided to go for it, and this experiment changed my work flow dramatically. I became a more efficient writer, had an easier time staying in the creative flow, and I used the feedback I was getting about my Medium articles to inspire the book content.
For more information, see: Your Creative Career: Turn Your Passion into a Fulfilling and Financially Rewarding Lifestyle.