RBBiz Day 4: Sam Bennett

Creative Business

Procrastination is Genius in disguise…


Or so The Organized Artist and Day 4 interview subject Sam Bennett claimed early on in Thursday Summit session. I appreciate anyone who joins together organization and artistic pursuits, bucking the stereotype that all artists are disorganized, flaky, and otherwise irresponsible. It’s pretty important, if you want to be a successful artist, that you have some sort of system that keeps things flowing smoothly!

Procrastination is one but one problematic trait of creatives (and others, of course, but we’re focusing on right-brainers at the moment), as is perfectionism. Bennett had a suggestion for dealing with that, as well, at least when it comes to goal setting. She suggests that we set goals in tiers: what I must do, what I’d like to do, and what would be amazing (the ‘drinks are on me’ level). That way, as long as we meet our level 1 goal we can accept the accomplishment and move on to whatever’s next.

I do this when I go to conventions, though I never really thought of it in this light. My must-do number is however many books I need to sell in order to break even for that event (usually around 16-18). My second goal at each convention is to empty a box, so we’re taking one less box of books home that we arrived with (average of 22-28 per box). My third tier goal shifts, depending on previous sales. The most books we’ve sold in a 3-day convention was 54, and that was an outlier of a show for us on several levels, so while it’d be great to beat that one day, it’s not always realistic. Instead, our highest “normal” show is in the 32 range, and any time we start approaching that number I get very, very happy!

Finally, she reminded my of a piece of advice I’ve given often, and even follow myself (most of the time), though I haven’t lately. You can do anything for 15 minutes. Setting aside 15 minutes for the projects that matter most, each day, every day, is a sure-fired way to actually Get It Done (also the title of her book). While I plan to spend way more than 15 minutes on The Crafty Branch’s business plan this weekend (my third-tier goal would be to finish it altogether, but I’d be thrilled with just organizing all the facts I have now and completing the playsheets–see what I did there?), making time for those 15 minutes during the week can be a bit more challenging.

This week has gone by so fast, already–only one more session before we’re halfway through–but there’s still another full week ahead. And you can still sign up for your free pass to the second half by clicking the image below. And if you want to catch up on the earlier sessions whose replays have started to expire, upgrading to the Booster pass gives you forever-access and other downloads, too. You still have time to upgrade to the Premium pass, which comes with hundreds of dollars worth of additional business-building resources, and the first of three coaching calls is Wednesday the 18th.


RBBiz Day 3: Corbett Barr

Creative Business

While Tuesday’s session was way far to the right side of the brain, Wednesday’s interview with the founder of Fizzle.co, Corbett Barr, was a bit more on the logical, left-brained side. Just because this is the Right Brainers in Business Summit doesn’t mean we ignore the left–in the original Right Brian Business Plan book Jennifer Lee maps the different sections presented in the right brain plan to their traditional left-brain counterparts (helping those who need to prepare the traditional plan to present to banks or investors) and the upgraded options for the Summit (Booster and Premium) both included left-brain checklists of actionable items from each section.

I considered yesterday’s talk a sort of palate cleanser.

Top 3 Corbett Barr takeaways

Top 3 Corbett Barr takeaways

The topic for this interview was listed as “Honest Online Business Marketing” and I think transparency is the watchword there. He made the point that people don’t fall in love with brands or corporations, they fall in love with the people and stories behind those brands. So it’s important to open up and share some of yourself, to give your right people a chance to get to know you.

He also introduced us to the concept of the MVP, in this scenario it’s the minimum viable product and is, apparently, a software term? (If so, that explains so very much about software releases.) A practical direction in the vein of work smarter, not harder, it’s the idea that you can put together a product that meets a basic standard of work with which to test the waters and get feedback.

And how do you get that feedback? But having a community that is invested in your product or services. Fostering that community will, in turn, inform where you need to go next. Like finding a need and meeting it, but in a very concrete way.

Now, applying this lesson to The Crafty Branch makes me wonder what an MVP would be in this situation—a pop-up shop, perhaps? Of course, that’s almost as much work as the entire store, so maybe that’s a bit big for a viable MVP, but I”ll keep thinking on it!

RBBiz Day 1: Lisa Congdon

Creative Business

As usual, the Right Brainers in Business Video Summit has me in the frame of mind to recognize personal truths and get. things. done. The synapses were firing even before the summit started!

Todd and I ended up going to Louisiana this weekend for a family funeral, and arrived back home after dark on Sunday (even with the time change). Still, I had just enough time to print out the playsheets (both the Summit-specific ones and the playsheets from the Right Brain Business Plan and Building Your Business the Right Brain Way) and bind them into a notebook so I can keep all my Summit notes together and use it as part of my right-brained plan for The Crafty Branch. As I was putting it all together, I added blank sheets of paper between each printed sheet so I wouldn’t have to worry about adding sticky-notes or loose sheets that could get lost.

First lesson of RBBiz 2015: Scarcity makes me anxious. Abundance gives me comfort.

My first day's notes and playsheet (hanging out on my planner).

My first day’s notes and playsheet (hanging out on my planner).

I realized I might be adding more paper than was necessary, but to not add them sparking a bit of nervousness and worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep each day’s notes together if I was stuck cramming letters wherever they’d fit. And I had the resources and ability to provide abundance in this instance.

But onto Monday’s interview with Lisa Congdon.

I’ve heard Lisa Congdon speak once or twice before. I was familiar with the basics of her story and process–so some of this was familiar ground for me (there was also a dust-up in the past I knew about, so I challenged myself to listen objectively and leave my preconceived notions of the speaker at the door, so to speak). It’s bound to happen when you spend a lot of time among the Internet teaching grounds, you know? But just because you’ve heard something before, doesn’t mean you don’t need to hear it again, in a new space and in a different frame of mind. Repetition is a good thing, sometimes, so being reminded of “dream big, start small,” “don’t compare yourself to others,” and “create everyday” are good things to hear and act upon.

There was a moment in the chat stream though, one of those “only happens in Summit” kind of thing, where we were reminded of the importance to let the Universe know we were out there and–very important–available. So I, and others, did just that.

I am an illustrator who LOVES to work with emerging authors and creators.

Which is absolutely true, but something I hadn’t been putting out there as much, recently. I mean, sure, I build that shiny new website, but how often have I promoted it since then? Exactly.

But in announcing my availability in the fast-moving chat, the Universe listened–or one of its citizens, at least, and I sent out my resume and rate sheet on request last night. It was also the kick in the pants I needed to finish said rate sheet and resume, so now that’s done and I have it ready to go in the future.

Nice the way that works, right?

My resume opens:

The  more I consider the hows and whys of what I do, the more I am convinced my purpose is not just to create, but to support other creators and help them reach their goals by offering my skills and expertise to their endeavors. I am not simply a pencil for hire, I am a collaborator, a co-conspirator, and a champion of the emerging author and entrepreneur.

And that’s my other big takeaway for Monday, maybe not from the presentation directly, but the chain of events and thoughts all coalesced into the realization that everything I do: my cookbook, this blog, and the store-to-be is as much about expressing my own creativity as it is about encouraging and enabling others in theirs. It’s my Helper Monkey-ness at its core, and a great way to evaluate future projects and opportunities with a very quick litmus test.


If this has you curious, there’s still time to get your free ticket to the Right Brainers in Business Video Summit. And since the replays are good for 48 hours, if you sign up today you won’t have to miss anything, you still have time to get caught up!

Feels Like Just Yesterday…

Creative Business

But it’s been 4 years since I was introduced to the awesome that is Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan and her annual Video Summit, but since year five starts next Monday, I guess it must be!


Chances are, if you’ve mentioned business, business plans, or anything remotely related around me I’ve recommended this book to you. To everyone else: here ya go. I first found out about through Tori Deaux of The Circus Serene (and, now, Quirkpreneurs) who was part of Lee’s RBBP workshop and featured in the original book. That first year there were a lot of lightbulb moments and I also hooked up with Nicole Fende, the Numbers Whisperer, who became my accountability buddy (or, since we’re both in finance, we call ourselves Bean Buddies), client, and–most important–my friend. The Summits routinely increase my feed reader rolls, too, as it gives me an excellent opportunity to find out about people I might not have come across, otherwise. (And that would be a shame.)

Just look at this lineup!

Just look at this lineup!

The best part, though, is that the Video Summits–10 days of live webcasts, interviews, playsheet downloads, and live chats–is absolutely free. No cost. Perfect for the cash-strapped entrepreneur. Hey, we’ve all been there. Some of us are still there! It is what it is.


(This would be a great time for me to tell you that today’s links, at least the RBBiz-related ones, are affiliate links.)

In fact, the only thing it’ll cost you is a little time–less than an hour each weekday (Jen usually wraps up the live feed after 45 minutes so people can do whatever they need to do before getting back to work, etc., though sometimes sessions do run the full hour). And since time can be pretty doggone precious, the recordings of the live sessions are available for replay for 48 hours afterwards, so you have a bit of flexibility if the 10am PDT/1 pm EDT schedule doesn’t work for you.

If the replay windows aren’t flexible enough for you, or you just want more resources from the Video Summit overall, there are the Booster and Premium passes available. The Booster pass gives you forever-access to the videos, plus transcripts and audio files you can download, as well as the chat logs–which can be really useful when people are sharing websites or social media handles: that chat moves fast! The Premium pass includes all of that, plus a facilitated Facebook group, 3 group coaching calls, and a bunch of other business building bonuses (say that 3 times fast).

The first two years I watched the Summit, I just watched, took notes, and got a serious inspiration boost. It was awesome just the way it was and I didn’t feel like I needed more. Year 3, though, I decided to go ahead and be a little brave and apply for one of the Premium Pass scholarships–and I won it! I was over-the-moon happy and I really enjoyed getting to know the others in the Facebook group better, being able to engage during the coaching calls, and made some fabulous long-term connections there. So last year, year 4, I went ahead and enrolled in Premium right away because I didn’t want to go back to no having those extras. I keep the audio files on my iPod so I can listen to them in the car. Instead of scrambling to take notes, I can enjoy the live chat or not worry if I’m really swamped one day and have to catch up. (Like last year when our house closing landed right in the middle of the summit–obviously I missed that day!)

It’s kinda like cruising: once you get a balcony room, you don’t want to go back to just a window!

But what I like most about Jennifer Lee’s approach to business, so much so that I own both her books, have avidly watched all 4 years of Summits, enrolled in her Product Development Playground course last fall, and signed up to be a Licensed Facilitator of her Unfolding Your Life’s Vision and Dream Box courses, is that she’s very low-pressure, down-to-earth, kind and caring in her delivery of the information. While other business schools, classes, and conferences are all about the hard sell, the million dollar launches, and leave you feeling like you need a shower, Jen is about the “dream big, start small” and checking in with your heart and intentions.

So, if this is something that sounds right up your alley, I invite you join me for the 5th Annual Right Brainers in Business Video Summit, starting March 9th, 2015.


And if you’re thinking, eh, maybe next year? Might want to rethink that! Jen mentioned in an earlier newsletter that this year’s might be the last Summit of it’s current form. What does that mean exactly?! Not sure–I’m hoping we hear more during the Summit! I have a hunch, and we’ll just have to see how good my intuition is once we know for sure, but until then, please think about joining us for the next 2 weeks?

This is the beginning of my Big Vision collage for The Crafty Branch. It's on the back of a 26" painter's palette--of course! This is the kind of fun we have with the Right Brain Business Plan :)

This is the beginning of my Big Vision collage for The Crafty Branch. It’s on the back of a 26″ painter’s palette–of course! This is the kind of fun we have with the Right Brain Business Plan 🙂

My goal for this year’s Summit is to use the inevitable momentum it always provides to finish the business plan for The Crafty Branch. (See, you get rewarded for reading down to the bottom of the post: the craft boutique-to-be has a name!) Both a right brain one for me and the more traditional left-brain version for the bank, too. I’ll also be posting my take-aways from each day of the summit over the next two weeks.

Hope to see you there!

Defying the Flaky Artist Stereotype

Creative Business

Oh, you know the ones.

Super creative, but man is she ever hard to pin down.

Constantly sells her art but is in a panic every tax season.

Never runs out of art supplies but might forget to pay the light bill.

And so on and so forth.

We’ve all either heard about or known someone like this–after all, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. But it doesn’t have to be this way and I, for one, would like to see more of my fellow artists and creatives defying this conception and showing just how good at business they can be!

All they need are the right tools.

Three years I was introduced to the concept of a Right-Brain Business Plan and Jennifer Lee’s book of the same name by another creative business maven and I fell instantly in love. Even though I’d been keeping the books for a small corporation for over a decade by that point and was very good at numbers, lists, and the other linear, left-brain functions, I was (and am) still a creative being at heart, and even though I could write a standard business plan for myself, MBA-style, why would I want to when there’s another viable option.

Thus began my devotion to Jennifer Lee’s book and the annual Right Brainers in Business Video Summit (which happens to be going on right now, by the way). Now she’s come out with a sequel to the Right Brain Business Plan: Building Your Business the Right Brain Way. I’m still working my way through the new one (ordered it on Kindle so I wouldn’t even have to wait for Prime delivery) but so far it’s as fabulous as expected.

My first two Right Brain Business Plans are still works in progress—basically they’re ever-evolving as the business grows and changes. One is scrapbook-style and the one for my cookbook is actually in the form of a DM screen.

The cover and first 3 pages of my Right Brain Business Plan for the Character Cocktail. Lots of pink, lots of collage elements, and lots of fun!

The cover and first 3 pages of my Right Brain Business Plan for the Character Cocktail. Lots of pink, lots of collage elements, and lots of fun!

The DM-screen Business Plan for What to Feed Your Raiding Party. I still have 4 panels to fill in as I expand what I'm doing with the book and it's sequels.

The DM-screen Business Plan for What to Feed Your Raiding Party. I still have 4 panels to fill in as I expand what I’m doing with the book and it’s sequels.

Back to the Summit, though, it’s 2 weeks of creative entrepreneurs offering their advice for approaching your own business pursuits and every year I get so much out of it, a renewed sense of purpose, and I’ve met some great people through it as well (not to mention a client and accountability partner). It doesn’t hurt that it’s entirely free, too, and even if you can’t make the live sessions, the replays are available for 48 hours after each session.

My favorite speaker from last year’s Summit has to be Dan Pink–his talk about extroverts and introverts and applying improv skills to selling is really an inspired concept! This year we started with Michael Port who gave a great talk about thinking big and going after your goals. Among the many pieces of wisdom he dropped on us was this gem:

Our job is to get people to consume, not just buy, what we create.

Think about that for a minute. I run into this with my cookbook all the time: I really do care that people use the book and cook from it, not just buy it as a novelty piece, that’s why I added some of the gaming elements that I did and maintain a website where people can log in and log what they’ve cooked. I want to build a community, and not just to keep people informed of when the next book comes out (though that doesn’t hurt), but to get people cooking and making those better choices, you know?

Tuesday featured art licensing agent Lilla Rogers. First, it was great to have a working artist (she started out doing that and then transitioned into licensing and representing other artists–I’d much rather be represented by folks who’ve created art before, not just the buyers, you know?) as part of the Summit–the first year or so was very coach and writer heavy, which was still awesome but doesn’t always directly translate to product-based or art-based businesses as the way and the why tend to be a bit different. My favorite part of Lilla’s talk?

She offered a “Left Brain Chill Pill” by sharing how she realized that when she was feeling anxious, that adrenaline rush was the same sort of rush you get when you’re excited. Two sides of the same coin and it’s possible to reframe that anxiety by asking  yourself ‘what am I excited for?’

Of course, she had loads of good points to share, plus she runs classes and bootcamps to help artists prepare for licensing their work. I love that the Summit introduced me to her and now I’m on the mailing list to find out when her next class opens up and licensing artwork has been something on the horizon for a while for me.

And yesterday we heard from Alicia Forest who, after 8 years of building her business, she’s finally passed the million dollar mark and takes summers off. How does she take the entire summer off?

You take your calendar and you x-out those months you don’t want to work. Then you plan around them.

It’s those simple, duh-like things that we tend to over-think on our own that sometimes we just need someone else to point out. Again, there were other nuggets of awesome that she dished out to us, but that was one of the highlights.

What if you come in late or want more than 48 hours to replay and absorb the Summit sessions? Jennifer Lee’s got you covered with Booster and Premium upgrades. The first two years I didn’t use either of them, just took notes and read the book a few times to really grok what as going on. Last year, though, I applied for and won one of the Premium Upgrade scholarships (which includes the extended–1 year–access to the recordings and chat logs you get in the Booster and adds 3 group coaching calls plus a private Facebook Group faciliated by Jennifer herself) and it was amazing! So much so that I ordered the Premium Upgrade on the first day of this year’s Summit.

Now, the info only works if you put it to good use, but last year gave me such a boost that I got brave enough to start offering myself as a guest as the conventions I sell my book at. And I’ve yet to be turned down (and let me tell you, that’s a continual boost not just to sales but to my ego as well!). There are playsheets (worksheets but more fun) in the book and available for download that help you plan out your actions and put the excellent advice in the books and Summit videos to use.

Have I piqued your curiosity?


To sign up for the rest of this year’s Right Brainers in Business Video Summit or the see more information about it click here: http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com/

If you want to catch up on the days you’ve missed and sign up for the Booster or Premium Upgrades, click here*.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post or even asked to write it, I just love the Right Brain Business Plan and all it’s led to, and wanted to share.  I do receive a small affiliate payment if you choose to buy using the Amazon links above, and I am a registered affiliate for the Right Brainers in Business Video Summit, so if you use the asterisked upgrade link, I’ll get a bit of that and I thank you. If you’d rather not use affiliate links, I get it, the links without asterisks will take you where you need to go and I will never know!