Creating Urgency

I think one of the problems I've noticed creatives run into when trying to sell their work or services is a lack of urgency on the part of their customer or client.   Creative work often seems nice to have but not critical.   As creatives, founders and entrepreneurs we know the value we bring and how beneficial our work can be, but relaying that urgency to someone is difficult.   How do you create something as important to someone who doesn't share the same understanding or...

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10x Creativity

Creativity can only exist in a judgement free environment. As soon as judgement takes hold, particularly from our own mind, creativity is stifled. Yesterday I was driving down a random street in LA and noticed the trees growing from little dirt patches dotting the sidewalk. I thought to myself that a tree is the ultimate creative act. Every twist of its trunk, every outstretched limb is the product of a creative decision that, once made, defines how the tree will look and function as a whole. ...

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Go From Reactive to Proactive

Where do you see your business in 2 years? 5 Years? Where do you see your business in 10 years and what kind of lifestyle do you want to be living by then? Are you still sitting at the computer answering client requests? Are you traveling the world? Are you just coming in for meetings and leaving? Or, maybe you're completely absent from your business and have a company running on its own. It’s a given, perhaps, that we all have goals. But how well have we really thought them out? Take, for...

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Forget Content. Context Is How to Get People to Remember You

The human mind is a context machine; we think in context. Context is what allows our minds to make meaningful connections that persist. If you look at memory champions, the way they remember long strings of numbers is by placing them into a context. That’s because our brain was originally designed to map out the landmarks around us and contextualize them to help us find our way. The reason stories have become our primary source of communication throughout time is because stories create context...

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Why I Spent Three Days Alone in the Wilderness

Last week I did my first solo trip into the wilderness for three days and in the process moved closer to a life dream. First let me begin by saying, that this was not only the first time I’ve gone into the wilderness alone, it was the first time I’d gone backpacking EVER! But a couple of years ago I saw a documentary about hiking the John Muir Trail in Northern California and I knew that one day I was going to do it. Walking the 230 mile John Muir Trail takes lots of planning and...

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Storytelling Heals Wounds

Every business or enterprise has a story and when told well, it's one of the most impactful ways to communicate your message. In business, we tell a story in our bio page on our site. We tell a story when we do case studies. We tell a story on our blog or when we're across the table from a potential partner or customer. But did you know that stories can also heal? It's been found that armed forces veterans use storytelling to help themselves heal from PTSD and other emotional wounds. If you...

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The 5 Areas of Human Values

I love the work of Jim Stengel, brand consultant, educator and former Global Marketing Director for Proctor & Gamble. In his book "Grow" Jim talks about his findings that the fastest growing companies over the last several decades have been companies who at their core have a single ideal that drives everything they do. This ideal, which is expressed not only through their product or service, but also through company culture, falls into one of five areas of human values. These are: ...

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Visual Identity and Branding

I've had several conversations this week that have led to this post... It seems several people I've spoken to recently mistakenly equate branding with visual identity. The two are not interchangeable. Branding is the entirety of your customer experience. Any contact you have with a client that is repeatable or consistent is a part of that experience. Your logo and design is only a part of that experience. Good design is a huge value add but it's not your branding, it's your visual identity....

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A Small Step to Failure

We hear a lot these days about the idea of failing fast and often. And as long as you're able to learn from your failures it actually is a great recipe for success. But the concept is thrown around as if it's really easy to do and the fact is, we all have a natural aversion to failure and rightfully so. So what does it take to actually fail fast? It takes the ability to proceed even when you know beforehand that there are things about your product or service that won't work. But again, that...

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It IS Important

I used to be very scared of making something "important" to me because I was scared of failing at it. I used to say "Money isn't important to me." or "What people think of me isn't important to me." The reason I used to say these things is because I was scared to put in the work at making these things happen. And worse, I was scared of failing at them. I was scared of failing at making money. I was scared of people not liking me. I see things differently now. These things are important. Well not...

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The Clarity of Purpose Brand Strategy…

Ok, so obviously there is incredible nuance to brand strategy, marketing and messaging. But sometimes the simplest approach is the most elegant. If I can recommend one thing that's guaranteed to work in helping you get your message out it's this: Clarify your purpose. Clarify for yourself first and foremost. Then get clear on how your purpose expresses itself through your business. Look, not every business can save the world and not every business has to. Purpose isn't always something you...

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Go for No…

I don't remember where I heard this - But over the last few months I've had sales success using the motto, "Go for no." What's it mean? Glad you asked. "Go for No" means going out to sell your product or service and trying to rack up as many "no"s as you can. Instead of looking for "yes"s you're now looking for "no"s. Why? Because looking for a "yes" psychologically makes the entire exchange with potential clients more precious. There's more on the line. More to be lost and the chances for...

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Being productive doesn’t mean being a machine…

I don’t like the word “productivity”- Not that I don’t like being productive, I do. But I’d love to challenge the notion that productivity is some innate virtue. As computers get faster and the economy more and more global, we are being asked to produce more and more to compete with machines, and workers in developing economies. And the value of that production is being stripped down by this rebalancing. “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are...

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Minimum Viable Product isn’t just for tech startups…

Yesterday a friend asked me for some advice. Upset by everything that’s going on with police shootings in the US, she wanted to encourage people to take responsibility for the situation as a way of helping us all as a nation deal with the matter. Her vision was to create a platform to inform people on local initiatives. The site would have members’ areas, forums and other engagement tools. Also she wanted to produce a high quality video to kick things off where people would share...

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