Afri-love and Step and Stone present: ClarityCall – 10th January 2015

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I know many of us are counting down to Christmas and the opportunity to take a break; spend quality time with family and friends and; rejuvenate our energy and spirits. For some people, thinking about work is the last thing they want to do as the year rolls to a close. But for a few of us, whose work is fuelled by passion and a desire to realise a dream, there is no ‘off’ button. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to the down time, so that you can spend it strategising and planning how to take your business to the next level, in 2015. 

I have a feeling many of you resonate with what I’m saying and I’ve got some wonderful news for you! I’ve partnered with the coolest startup coach I know, Danielle Anderson, to deliver a ClarityCall webinar on the 10th of January, to help you get started the way you mean to go on. This is an exclusive opportunity for you, my Afri-love community, wherever in the world you might be.

I've done this exercise with Danielle myself and it really helped me to focus on what was most important for my business at that time. It can be really hard to have that kind of perspective when you're juggling the myriad day-to-day demands of work and life. The results and momentum that I've experienced in the past couple of months, are testament to the power and value of giving myself the time to do this with Danielle. I wish this sort of pause, clarity and progress for you all so, I'm thrilled that Danielle has offered to run this exercise for us.

 

About This Webinar
Entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners share a common trait: trying to turn a vision into a reality. In this workshop, we’ll tackle the question responsible for many restless nights: “How will I ever get to where I want to be?” You’ll be guided through a powerful, reflective exercise to help translate your big dream into a clear, actionable plan and get your business off the ground.

 

Takeaways

  • Be able to make decisions on where best to place your limited time and energy.
  • Gain a realistic action plan for what to do next.
  • Learn how to plan for your business without a wordy, conventional (and dull) “business plan”.
  • Discover the most important areas for you to focus on first.
  • Find out how to break down the barriers that impede your progress.
  • Leave with a clear direction on where you’re heading.

 

 

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5 Better Ways to Network: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part III

Reframing-Networking-Growing-Connections-CAKE-Series

 

The term ‘networking’ used to put me off. I’d imagine an awkward room full of strangers, standing around trying to impress others. Others who, had already made up their minds about who they were going to pay attention to or not.

Cynical, I know but, I’d spent countless evenings at networking events, hoping for a different experience, in vain. Instead, I’d come home feeling, if I’m honest, a bit less confident and wondering if there was something wrong with me.

Yup, been there. Over it.

 

A necessary evil?
At the same time, I knew there was a reason people were putting themselves through this. I knew it could be a solution to one of the common challenges that we touched on in the first CAKE Series Twitter chat, a few weeks ago: how to focus on your current plate of work, but also keep new work coming in.

The turning point
The past year has been very different and it’s all thanks to some amazing women that I know, who each invited me to be a part of something. I’ll get on to that in a moment, but first … Once I found ways to network that worked for me, I realised 2 things:

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Hobby or Business: Should you Take your Creative Pursuits to the Next Level?

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My experience of running a business has been rewarding in many ways but, it’s no walk in the park. If you’re creatively inclined like myself, you may have had the thought: “how can I design my life so that I get to do more of this making stuff?” It’s no secret that I’m a big advocate of this – I’m often encouraging people to go for it. However, if you’re planning on making a living from it, it’s important to really think about whether you want to create a business of it, or if you’re better off with a creative hobby. 

Here are some questions to help you decide:

Passion
a). Do you have an unwavering love for what you do? Do you eat, sleep, breathe and think about it all the time?
OR 
b). Do you just like it a lot right now?

Focus
a). Do you have a relatively clear vision of the career and lifestyle you want to have?
OR
b). Does your vision change fundamentally, with every day, every encounter and every new experience?

Drive
a). Are you a self-starter?
OR
b). Do you prefer to have things all planned out for you?

Multi-tasking ability
a). Are you adept at juggling several different tasks and responsibilities?
OR 
b). Do you prefer to work exclusively on one thing at a time?

Confidence and fearlessness
a). Are you proud to show and tell the world about what you’re doing?
OR
b). Do you hate talking about yourself?

Resilience
a). Do you have a thick skin when it comes to what others think and say about you and your work?
OR
b). Would you rather not put yourself out there for scrutiny?

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘a’ questions – welcome to the wonderful and challenging world of enterprise!

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘b’ questions – why ruin a good thing? Why not nurture your creativity without the pressures of business, for now?

If I had to sum up the qualities I think it takes to make a living from your craft, I’d say that these are up there: passion, focus, drive, multi-tasking ability, confidence (at least enough to fake it well), fearlessness and resilience.

At the end of the day, running a creative business is about so much more than just making (see my post on non-creative business priorities for creative professionals). Some people welcome this as a necessary part of the lifestyle they want to lead but, for others, these demands destroy their enjoyment of their craft. With a creative project, you can change your mind, change the plan at a whim or quit at any point. You can do so with a creative business too but, the consequences of this kind of spontaneity could be more significant.

Let me know if this post has been useful to your decision-making. 

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Related:

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Beyond Making: Non-Creative Business Priorities, for Creative Professionals

I wanted to be a creative professional because I like to come up with ideas and to make things. I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted more freedom over my ideamongering (yes, I made that up) and my making. The hard truth of the matter is that, running a creative business is still running a business. As much as I would love to spend all my time developing concepts, drawing and designing, in reality that has often only taken up half, if that, of my work time.

I’m not complaining because my situation does indeed enable me to live life (a little more) on my own terms. With the wisdom of experience, I continuously make adjustments to free up more time and space to create. It’s about finding a balance. A team and a business partner can certainly help with that but in the beginning, that may not be an option.

Before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s good to know what will be in store – to appreciate the various hats you may have to wear by your lonesome. Here are ones that I can think of: Continue reading “Beyond Making: Non-Creative Business Priorities, for Creative Professionals”

Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights as a Creative Professional

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It was World Intellectual Property Day this past Saturday – an opportunity to think about our rights as creatives and why it's so important to understand them. One of the biggest challenges I have faced in running my creative business is communicating that ideas = money. Ideas are some of the most valuable things we have, especially being that we live in the Information Age.

When people commission Asilia to create something for them: part of the fee covers the fact that we can use computer programmes that they might not be able to; part of the fee covers our design and technology skills; part of the fee covers the collective experience that we have, especially given our different backgrounds and perspectives but; as far as I'm concerned, the true value that we bring is through our creativity – our ideas.

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Interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Homeware Brand, Toghal (+ Give-away Every Friday in February!)

Dayo-Forster-Co-Founder-Toghal-African-Inspired-Homeware

 

I'm delighted to share this interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Toghal, a new textile-based homeware brand. Inspired by an appreciation of the legacy of Africa's textile heritage in the world and a love of technology, Toghal is about reimagining traditional textiles to create something iconic and fresh.

The Asilia team and I have had the great pleasure of working with Dayo to bring the brand to life. It's been a fantastic project and the kind of challenge that we thrive on: how to create a brand that is contemporary and global, while at the same time, rooted in or inspired by a particular culture. I am also pleased to welcome Dayo as a sponsor of Afri-love!

Dayo's story indeed exemplifies the beauty of collaboration and also, the crucial importance of preparation – research, learning, planning, and partnership. It's a great example of how, by setting off to solve a problem you've experienced in your own life, you can create an enterprise that serves others.

Enjoy and make sure to check out the 'Free Bag Friday' give-away details, below the interview. 

 

Toghal African Traditional Textiles Reimagined Flyer Design by Asilia

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A Success Reading List for Creatives

July 2020 update: 6 and a half years after sharing my success reading list, it’s still relevant! I found myself thinking about it and wanting to update it with more gems. See the update below.

New journeys require new tools

When I embarked on journey of self-employment, almost 5 years ago, I went on a mission to educate myself about success. I got caught up in all the fantastic things I was learning about business, finance, personal effectiveness and ultimately, about myself. So much so that, I can probably count on my 2 hands, the number of fiction books that I’ve read during this period.

Over the past few months, as I establish my second business, I find myself ramping things up and making this reading part of my daily routine – at least 30-45 mins every day. The difference I’m experiencing in my mindset, my behaviour and my results is not a coincidence. When wiser, more seasoned and more successful people talk about swapping some TV time for reading – they’re not trying to rob you of joy! They know how they got where they are. So I’m going to retrace their steps (these days I catch up on TV on Sundays when I’m doing my hair … but, that’s a whole other post).

Below is a working success reading list – books that I’ve found very useful, as a creative entrepreneur.

We can have both (creative satisfaction and prosperity). Here’s to no more starving artists!

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Asilia’s January Sale

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I love running my own business and I'm always so excited to see other people taking the leap! That's what this blog is about – celebrating entrepreneurs (particularly ones in the creative industry). 

The company I co-own, Asilia, is all about harnessing the power of design and digital technology to help pioneers take their brands and businesses to the next level. 

To that end, as a welcome to what's going to be an amazing year (if you decide so) and, in an effort to kick things off with a bang, Asilia is offering 8 exciting packages for ambitious, passionate people, just like you!

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5 Reasons To Have a Business Partner: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part I

5-Reasons-to-Have-a-Business-Partner-Entrepreneurs-Need-People-Part-I

One of the best decisions I’ve made in my entrepreneurial journey is having a business partner. We’ve laughed and we’ve argued. We’ve been charged with excitement and been on top of the world, and we’ve also had our fair share of set-backs and disappointments. The consistent thing over the past 3 years is our appreciation for the fact that we’ve gone through all these things together. When one has been discouraged, the other has dragged them from the doldrums and kept the vision and motivation alive. As business expert Mike Southon mentioned at a talk he gave at our London office space, one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is find a foil.

Here are my top 5 reasons why:

Continue reading “5 Reasons To Have a Business Partner: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part I”

Interview with My Father (My Hero!), Entrepreneur and Author, Paul Kitololo

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My father, Paul Kitololo, has been an entrepreneur for all of my life. At the height of a successful career in the corporate world, he gave up the regular paycheck, the company car and, in many people’s opinion – his sanity – in order to start his own tour company. Over the next 3 decades, Private Safaris grew to be one of the most prestigious tour companies in Kenya and East Africa. I remember spending my Saturday mornings at his office as a child, busying myself on his secretaries typewriter (creating my ‘zine). I am still in awe at how my father successfully run the company while also: participating in or chairing several associations and boards; managing the Kenya Special Olympics team; writing a novel, Shortcut to Hell (published in 1983); making it to every single one of my parent-teacher evenings, as well as sports days and plays and; generally being so involved in my life.

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