Ahh! I'm so excited to introduce the first installment oh my new interview series My So-Called Highly Creative Life. You guys know my friend (and creative business hero!) Jenn Lee, right? The founder of The Right-Brain Business Plan, Jenn has a new book: Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur. It's good. And I'm featured in it, which means that Jenn is brilliant, eh? *wink*
I got to chat Jenn up about her creative process and get the insider scoop on how she gets so much done, stays inspired, and kicks so much ass in her biz. And be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post for your chance to win a copy of her new book!
Jenn, When do you feel most creative in your day-to-day?
I feel most creative when I have white space, so I aim to build that into my day-to-day. Like time in the morning to journal. Or having lunch outside. Space to think, reflect, dream. Often times I’ll have light-bulb moments when I’m out walking my dog. Or I feel very inspired when I’m working in my “backyard office.” There’s something about being in the fresh air that gets my muse going.
However, I will say there are occasionally times I become utterly possessed by the muse when I have a lot on my plate and my mind is just churning out one idea after another. This can happen when I’m right in the middle of leading an event or developing new material. Like during the weeks leading up to and during the video summit, my muse goes on overdrive because there are so many a-ahs and connection points.
When I’m in that state of creative overflow, ideas come out in big spurts and sometimes it means I stay up late getting those ideas down on paper.
How do you handle the boring, un-fun, non-creative parts of your business?
I either find a way to make it fun or shift my perspective. Like using sticky notes on my wall calendar to plan out launches and milestones. Color coding my spreadsheets and adding pictures. For things like dealing with my attorney for contracts and stuff like that, I know I just need to suck it up and take care of it because it’s in service of getting my message and work out there in a bigger way.
Accountability is key, so I send the message and set up the meeting! Then I lean into my support circles to decompress – like debriefing with my coach, or going for a hike with a friend.
OR I delegate! For example, I have a bookkeeper who reconciles my books for me and handles payroll and sales tax. I recently hired a business manager who is helping me more with the operations and logistics of my business.
If it drives me nuts, I’m not good at it, or my time can be better spent doing something more growth-focused, I need to find someone else to help me.
Do you have any secrets to balancing the fun, creative work with the "gotta get it done" stuff no one likes to do?
One thing that helps me balance is following my creative rhythm. I make sure that I have time blocked out for the fun, creative stuff – I usually like big blocks of uninterrupted time for that (and I have my self-care Fridays). I like to do my outward facing work (like coaching calls, teaching sessions, interviews, etc.) on Mondays and Wednesdays. On those days I’ll also block out time for more of the admin stuff in between the appointments because it’s easier to fill in those gaps with more admin type tasks. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays I typically focus my energy more inward for things like content creation, planning, visioning, and more of the fun stuff.
And like I mentioned above, I do my best to delegate the things that I don’t enjoy doing so I can focus on the things that I do like doing!
Describe the most fun day you've ever had "at work."
The most fun I have is usually when I’m leading an event like the Video Summit or workshop (like with Creative Live), or when I’m teaching a video class with my Mentorship folks and coaching them online or on the phone. It’s fun to take people through experiential learning exercises and help them discover new ways of looking at their life or business. And it’s totally amazing to see when people have a breakthrough. In fact, in 2006 I co-lead a leadership retreat that was so inspiring that I realized it was work that didn’t feel like work! That’s when I knew I had to quit my corporate job.
I also love days when I just get to be by myself. When I can be in creation mode and absorbed in my creative flow plus make time for lots of self-care. Those are days when I feel super productive and pampered. I need a mix of both of the outward and inward “fun” days.
What would people be surprised to learn about you (and your biz!)?
Sometimes people are surprised to learn that I’m a HUGE introvert especially if their only experience of me is of seeing me lead or teach. I have a bit of this love/hate relationship with being in the spotlight. The introvert and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) parts of me get really drained by being in front of a room AND the Leo and Enneagram 4 with 3 wing parts of me relish the attention. It’s a constant battle!
You are a biz hero to so many people (more than you know!). What do you want all of your "invisible mentees" to know?
Awww, thanks! Hmmm, I want them to know soooo many things but I’ll keep it simple here and share one of the guiding principles from my new book: “Dream Big but Start Small.” Allow yourself to have your wildest, pie in the sky visions about what you want to create in the world. Be passionate about the impact you want to have. Just don’t get so overwhelmed by your big vision that you become paralyzed.
Instead, keep taking small steps forward toward your dream. Each small step will eventually add up. Remember that things take time, so be patient with yourself and your process. And make sure to get support along the way so your cohorts can remind you of the progress you’re making toward your big dream!
You have special gifts to share with the world so keep on keeping on!
Jenn, thank you so so much for 1. sharing your insight with us and 2. being awesome. Cause you are. So awesome. (Talk about sharing your gifts with the world! You have done so much for so many of us!! xox -Tiffany
**The Giveaway: To win a copy of Jenn's new book, leave a comment below letting us know what your Start Small looks like by Friday (5/24) at 9am PST. The winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
**graphic by Erin Cassidy for Tiffany Han Coaching