If only Jennifer Lee had been in my life in the 90s! I was whiling away my days in a full time MBA program, both ambitious and bored. I wanted desperately to break out of the traditional corporate life & onto my own creative career path, but I did not have the understanding or discipline in my emotional toolbox to know what that even meant at the time. Ideas were whizzing around my right brain on roller skates with no interest in being tamed, while the left half was just doing everything it could to hang on to the curriculum and the structure I needed to get through the program. Neither side of my brain would trust the other, which meant there was either an ongoing battle between the worlds or the doors were simply glued shut. One day I was so overwhelmed by the struggle that I panicked in the middle of a finance class, grabbed my things and made a dramatic bolt for the door, bringing the class to a halt because I had so much baggage in my hands that I couldn't even get that door open and the professor had to let me out. There just weren't many resources, let alone support, to help me make sense of it all.
I finished my degree and tootled back into the corporate clutches to pay off my graduate school loans, and went through the motions until I hit my limit, jumped full time into my art, and spent a lot of time trying to broker the peace treaty between the left and the right. It took me years to find a comfort level doodling my way toward this new career (I didn't even want to call it a career for a while), and it took even longer to work up the nerve to launch my art into a business. I am thrilled with my choice but I have to admit that I still struggle severely with left-right woes. Every single day. Some days fifty things hit me all at once and all I can manage is to pivot in a large circle and get nothing done. It's frustrating. I can cope with it & get back on track more easily than I used to, though -- partially from experience and partially because there are now, thankfully, resources and support that didn't exist before.
Jennifer's first book, The Right Brain Business Plan, was a gift to my bookshelf and my daily life. Her writing helped me to get out my dreams on paper, clarify my goals, prioritize my plans and to look at my business in a holistic sense instead of compartmentalizing it all. Also, on a personal note, it made me feel like I wasn't a lone freak. I realized there was actually a community out there who struggled with the same things. I was even more anxious to get her new book, Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur (published by New World Library with beautiful illustrations once again by Kate Prentiss). While her last book was about the planning, this one is all about the doing. The doing is usually where it all falls apart for me, and I need the help!
In the publisher's words: Building Your Business The Right-Brain Way "combines solid business expertise with a right-brain perspective that inspires creativity and innovation. Jennifer Lee’s fresh, empowering approach emphasizes taking action and continually improving to achieve extraordinary long-term results. Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way offers real-world-tested techniques that can benefit all sorts of businesses, whether you’re a sole proprietor running a coaching practice, a crafter looking to license products, a wellness professional with a team of employees, or any creative soul making a meaningful difference with your work."
What I love most about Jennifer's new book is that she trusts the right brain to take the driver's seat in her approach to developing a successful creative business. Her book is methodical and easy to follow, but not one bit of it is dry or posed as an unbreakable rule. Her writing is entertaining and rewarding to read -- and her words are totally actionable. Each chapter is full of tips, prods, checklists, questions, colorful work(play)sheets, action accelerators, reflections, confidence builders, right-brain boosters, left-brain chill pills, suggestions on cultivating connections, ideas on how to identify your creative gifts, cultivate your message and package your product/service offerings, and personal anecdotes from other creative entrepreneurs. I loved reading their stories, identifying with obstacles they faced, appreciating the sacrifices they made, learning from their experiences, and celebrating their successes.
Another personal takeaway from this book is realizing that the chasm between the two halves of my brain is not really as wide as I so often (and histrionically) like to pretend. It's all in the attitude & finding the way for both sides of my brain to work in sync with the other to fulfill my own personal passion and mission. That (for me, anyway), is the key to building a successful (and sustainable) art business. Bolting from a finance lecture is not the way to do it.
If you need The Right-Brain Way (Right Away!), and I understand if you do, you'll find it at Amazon or New World Library.
If you'd like to play a giveaway game (you know I love to do those), I have one extra shiny copy sitting on my desk just waiting to be sent. Just answer me this (a question from page 40):
What would you tattoo across your chest?
I'll pick my favorite answer on Sunday, April 27!