Currently I work full time in Marketing Communications. I also run a freelance consulting business that provides design, marketing and training services to small businesses and non-profits.
What book would you like to discuss for this review? Do you have a book that inspired you throughout your business journey?:
My choice is Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur by Jennifer Lee
What drew you to that book? What did you hope to get from it?
The unique concept of building a business the right-brain way was a new idea for me. Traditional business books tend to emphasize linear ways of thinking that I could never relate to. This concept of using creativity instead of suppressing it to grow your business was truly appealing to me as a marketing and design professional.
If you could give us a few take away messages that you were able to successfully put into practice what would they be (feel free to include quotes from the book)
The main message that a creative business can be a sustainable business was successfully articulated throughout this book.
In fact, Jennifer Lee states, “Sustainable businesses are scalable and resilient. Their owners constantly learn more about and refine their work cycling through their creative process; they repeat their successes and increase their capacity to continue growing on their terms.”
She goes on to create a great visual to accompany this thought by declaring that your business is a work of art that you must continually nurture in your own way in order for it to grow, almost like a flower. Later in the book, she has an exercise that uses a flower model as a way to better understand what she refers to as the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This holistic concept of a business was eye-opening for me and has allowed me to see my business in an entirely new light. It is something that I will continually focus on as I grow my fledgling enterprise.
How do you feel this book helped you within your business?
First of all, as I mentioned above it has given me a completely new framework to approach my business. Secondly, the exercises, inspiration and resources are unequivocally the most useful aspects of this book. The exercises allowed me to clarify my message and planning, while the inspiration from reading about similar small business owners gave me hope. The resources were unlike any I’d had seen in similar books as Jennifer really lays out the foundation of what you need to succeed as a creative business owner. The entire book is almost a choose-your-own-adventure business book, which I felt was so refreshing. I will definitely use the work that I completed as part of the exercises and will continue to use the book as a reference point when I need to grow my business to include other team members.
Have you recommended this book to others?
Sharing the message that this book has to offer is just one reason why I was so excited to be interviewed. I truly think anyone can benefit from reading this book; not necessarily just “creatives” that run their own businesses or are thinking of starting a business. I especially appreciated the last section on Embracing Ease and found it to be the most helpful. This type of discussion was one I had never seen before in a business book. This section focused on the importance of balance and self-care for the entrepreneur something that is likely an afterthought, yet so imperative for business owners to actively and continually practice to be successful.
Have you read any other books by this same author?
Yes. I read Jennifer Lee’s first book entitled, The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. It was so beneficial to me as I was beginning to take my freelance business more seriously. The methods Jennifer teaches helped me to solidify my own right-brain business plan that I still use for inspiration. After completing that book, I was eager for more and was thrilled when I heard she was writing the sequel, which was published last month.
If you could send one message to this author what would it be?
Actually several years ago, before her first book was written, I had the opportunity to meet Jennifer Lee. She was speaking at the Creativity in Business conference in Washington, DC but I arrived late to because of other commitments that day. We had planned to meet, but as it turned out she had an early flight and had to leave the conference before we had the opportunity to meet in person. Since that time, she has gone on not only to write one of my favorite books, The Right-Brain Business Plan but also bow my second, Building You Business the Right-Brain Way. If I were to meet her now, I would simply say, “thank you for writing a book for the part of the population that feels alienated by typical business books and thank you for helping me birth my creative business.”
Melanie Sklarz inspires individuals and groups to tap into their creativity for personal and professional success, whether it’s a painting, marketing plan, or being everyday creative. As a marketing and design strategist, she creates smart, social and strategic online solutions for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Find her at MelanieSklarz.com or blogging at DoseofCreativity.com.
Note: Interview is as it appeared in Solopreneur Marketing Magazine. As a columnist for the magazine, I have been granted permission to post all Book Savvy articles on my website by the magazine owner, Chelsea Dixon.