“If I said no to non-ideal stuff right off the bat, I would not have ever learned what I should say yes to.”
It was my absolute honor and pleasure to recently sit down with Lauren Frontiera of the Grit and Glitter Co podcast for her 100th EPISODE! How cool is that? Lauren very appropriately named the episode Grit and Glitter Co Podcast: Challenging the Advice Given to New Business Owners. It’s all just that! A challenge!
Lauren is all about real and raw conversations, something I very much appreciate, considering all of the fluffy “inspirational” content and education out there on the interwebs. It’s always nice to tune into something light and inspirational from time to time. But, too often we in the creative industry give so much of ourselves to our services and crafts that we refuse to open ourselves up to what may be hard or difficult to hear. I get it! We’re so mentally drained from pouring our hearts into our clients that we almost can’t possibly give anymore, especially to discussions or thoughts that may make us feel less than uplifted. But, I think that not only does our industry a huge disservice, but ourselves! I had a strong gut feeling Lauren would be the perfect person to talk with about all of these things, and I couldn’t be more right!
Have Courage and Just Try
It was late one night after a rather frustrating day in the studio that I decided to take the chance and reach out to Lauren. Honestly, I didn’t expect her to respond, let alone give me the “hell yas” to come on to the show and dig deeper! We talked a little bit more about that expectation on my part towards the end of the episode: as a “newer” creative entrepreneur I didn’t have the “right” to develop so strong an opinion on certain topics because I don’t have the years on my resume! If anything, I hope our chat breathes a little more courage into listeners. Whether you’re 1 day into your entrepreneurial journey or 1 decade, we need you! Your voice matters, and we need you to use it!
Dangerous Advice for Newer Entrepreneurs
The topic Lauren and I immediately dove into was the one that I was itching to talk with her about most: how there is so much advice, particularly from more seasoned entrepreneurs, encouraging newer entrepreneurs to say “no” to non-ideal clients and projects right off the bat. Personally? I find that advice to be rather dangerous.
As a creative that offers a rather niche product and service, I, to this day, do not have many seasoned creatives to look up to. I continue to have to forge my own path with regards to educating fellow creatives and my clients on how I can best serve them. If I had started to turn people away, especially in my first few months of business, simply because I BELIEVED, at the time, that they were not my “ideal,” I would NOT be where I am today, nor beginning to be recognized for my style and service. I had to say “yes” to anything and everyone in order to LEARN to identify my ideal. Nothing replaces good old fashioned time and hustle. Though it may take time, and a heck of a lot of pain, it does no one any good to cut corners.
How Some Popular Advice Can Make Our Community Less Inclusive
Lauren and I then took the conversation in a direction I didn’t quite expect, but am so thankful for. As we were discussing this rather dangerous advice of immediately turning away non-ideal clients and projects at the beginning of ones business, we began to flesh out the realization that that advice could be a form of privilege. In that, many aspiring creatives are not in the financial or personal position to immediately turn away clients. This, more often than not, begins to affect certain demographics and communities of people more than others. Whether we want to recognize it or not, our community is beginning to look, feel, and sound the same. This type of advice absolutely discourages aspiring creatives of particular races, ethnicities, demographics, and communities from feeling welcome and finding success. We owe it to ourselves (and each other) to start changing that!
The “Courses” Phenomenon
In the same vein as the “turning away non-ideal clients” conversation, Lauren and I then dove into discussing how that kind of advice usually reaches newer entrepreneurs through courses. Before jumping into creative entrepreneurship, I spent a few years in arts management/legislation, before spending a hot second of my life doing User Experience on a federal contract. It was a HUGE shock to me, as a newer entrepreneur, to learn about this course/education phenomenon…and their prices!! This type of alternative-stream-of-income/transactional relationship between more seasoned and newer entrepreneurs doesn’t really exist in other industries. Also, considering the average income of a creative entrepreneur is quite lower than, let’s say, a federal web developer…woah!
I’m not AT ALL saying that courses are evil, or newer entrepreneurs should not invest in themselves and their business. I’m just encouraging everyone to recognize that there is soooooo much of it! If you are an entrepreneur that offers this type of service: I beg of you…please make sure that you are not promising that your algorithm for success will make everyone else successful…and, perhaps make sure that your service is unique and not just “another” offering/source of income for you.
I know this was a lot, but I sincerely hope these smaller conversations can start leading to something bigger. We owe it to ourselves, each other, and our industry to always find ways to improve, be more welcoming, be more encouraging, and be more inclusive!
A HUGE thank you to Lauren for having me on the show to share a little bit of what’s been on my heart lately. Please, go give her and her amazing podcast some love, and listen to the entire episode by clicking the links below!