Viva Bang Bang

Interview with Meredith Bullock

Business Inspiration, Design, ArtBrittany TaylorComment
MeredithBullock

Meredith and I met the new fashioned way – via the internet. Twitter to be specific. Her website is beautiful, her message is clear and she's local! So, naturally, I asked her to be on my blog immediately. 

Meredith is an entrepreneur who believes her calling is, "to help others to discover and strengthen their talents, personality and passions so they can bring value to the world doing what they love." And oh yea, she's a great artist/designer herself AND she teaches workshops like the watercolor one she just taught with The Skillery

Needless to say, I'm thrilled that she did this interview with me and I'm excited for you to get to know her!

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You work with creatives to help them strengthen their talents and make money doing what they love, what are the biggest mistakes that you see creatives make when they’re first starting to turn their passion into a business?

Working without a contract might be the biggest mistake I see over and over again. A contract is essential to a smooth transaction because it outlines what is expected of each person, gives a projected timeline, has the price, terms and conditions in writing and overall gives the artist/creative and the client comfort and security. Not to mention its shows your clients your professional, you're organized and care about the project start to finish.

I understand that contracts/agreements are daunting because you might not know how to write one, but there are endless resources and templates you can find online and personalize to your business and projects.

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You’ve started 3 successful businesses, what were your biggest struggles when you first started out?

Learning how to communicate with my clients online was a big struggle starting out. Coming from 13 years of being a hairstylist, where I talked, touched and connected with 15-30 clients per day face-to-face, learning how to bring the same warmth, trust, connection, enthusiasm and creativity to each client via email was difficult. And because most of my clientele lived out of state or over seas, email, phone or video were the only options for communication. I tried phone calls but have never adhered to them well.  

Then I tried video chats, which was a whole new experience for me, and it immediately improved my relationship with each client and alleviated any stress. Face-to-face conversation, even if it's on a screen, is far better than any phone or email interaction because it shows we're both human, we have feelings and we care. Today, I make it mandatory to meet each client via video at least once for short term projects, and almost monthly for long-term projects.

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How do you continue to learn and grow both as an artist and as a business professional? Are there any conferences or workshops you attend or blogs that you read regularly? If so, what are they?

I've always been one to take a DIY approach to most things, so I read a lot of books, read artistic and business blogs, curate inspirational artwork and designs on Pinterest, listen to podcasts and then I read some more. Conference and workshops are all new for me, so I've only attended a few but plan to go to plenty more! My favorite blogs right now are Braid Creative and Breanna Rose and my favorite podcast is with Michael Stelzner, the author of Launch - a book I recommend to everyone with an online business.


You offer a variety of creative services, teach workshops and give lectures. How do find a good work/life balance?

The two most important things I've realized that help balance my life with work are 1) being honest with myself and with everyone around me and 2) knowing what I want my day-to-day to look like and sticking with it. That way when new projects come along, as they always do, I don't overbook myself. Or when I really need a day off I take it. Or when I need to schedule a video chat with a new client and the only time they're available is after I'm done with work, I say no. Or if a project needs to be done in 2 weeks and I know it will take 4, I say no.

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Nashville has grown a lot in the past few years, what are your 3 favorite new spots in the city?

My husband and I have only been here for about six months, so my range might be narrow, but we love to eat at Silly Goose, Burger Up and Holland House, grab a cocktails and see a live shows at The Basement, Stone Fox, No. 308, Village Pub and The Crying Wolf and meet with other creatives and Nashvillians for coffee or tea at Barista Parlor, Crema, Bongo Java and Ugly Mugs.


If you had to tell a creative to invest in only one thing at the start of their business, what would that thing be?

Wow, great question Brittany! This took me a minute to think about because one of the first things I thought was a logo. But before a logo, because honestly you could just create a simple logo yourself, I'd say a business book. When I first started out, I didn't know what I was doing and definitely did not have any money to invest in anything except a $15 book. It wasn't a stuffy business book either, it was creative and geared towards artists like myself, looking to make money with my craft. The book was called Craft Inc but it wasn't the book (Barnes and Noble was sold out of it) it was the Workbook/Planner. It had examples of forms, papers, asked things like my style, what my overall vibe was, it basically had everything I could ever need to get started with my business. It was brilliant, it still is brilliant and I recommend it to all of my clients just starting out.

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What is a typical workday like for you?

8:30 - wake up and make coffee

9:00 - mediate and read

10:00 - eat breakfast and confirm my day

10:30 - go to the gym, run or walk

11:30 - blog

1:30 - eat lunch

2:00 - check and return emails, video chat with clients

3:00 - work on artwork and design projects

5:00 - mini break

5:15 - finish up projects and work

6:30/7pm - conclude work

7:00 - begin cooking dinner

7:30/8 - eat dinner

8:30 - hang with my husband and watch TV or movies or go to a music show

11:30 - a little personal reading then bedtime

 

You’ve already accomplished a lot in many different creative arenas, what do you plan to tackle next?

To name a few; publish a book, launch a series of ecourses, paint a series of abstract acrylics, write and record a handful of songs and launch a 2-5 day in-person passion to profit workshop geared for creatives, artists and musicians who want to start making money doing what they love.

 

Want to see more of Meredith? Check out her website here!

Why I’m taking a break from freelancing + My online art shop’s official launch date

Brittany TaylorComment
BreakFromFreelancing

While I’ve been working full-time the past 10 months after graduation, I’ve also been doing freelance work (mainly designing and setting up websites for small, local businesses). It’s been great to get to work with talented clients, grow as a designer and make extra cash, but it’s also been stressful. Working 40 + hours a week and then coming home and working more in the evenings and/or on the weekends is not particularly fun or easy to manage.

I realized that in addition to thinking about my 9-5 job and all of life’s little chores, I was also thinking about clients and their projects all throughout the week and honestly, I felt overwhelmed by it all.

I started to wonder why I was making myself do all this extra work. I enjoyed the actual work, yes and I eventually would like to work for myself, so freelancing was a good starting point. But I enjoy the work I do at my day job too and I’m not planning on making the switch to self-employment anytime soon.

I feel like there are so many projects I want to do for myself and so many things I want to do in my free time with my friends and family, that loading myself down with more freelance work indefinitely would be the wrong decision for me.  

I’m grateful for the experience and knowledge I’ve gained from my freelance work and I’m happy I got to work with the people I did. This is by no means a goodbye to freelance work forever. I still fully intend to work for myself designing and consulting in the future, but in the meantime, I’m going to focus on my fine art projects, learning new skills, honing existing ones, cultivating creative friendships and keeping myself open to new collaborations that come my way.

I believe that taking time to follow my creative fancy will make me better prepared for when I do go back to freelancing.

One of the first personal projects I want to get going is my online art shop. I’ve talked about it on the blog before and was hoping to have it launched in April, but since I’ve been trying to clear my plate of freelance work, it hasn’t been completed yet.

The new grand opening date for the Viva Bang Bang online art shop is June 1st!

I’m excited to finally launch this dream that’s been in my head for a long time and can’t wait to see where this project takes me!



Nashville Craigslist Creepin'

Brittany TaylorComment

On this beautiful Saturday, I spent way too long perusing the Nashville Craigslist and falling in love with everything. I'm sharing three beautiful finds that I wish I had room for/need for in hopes that you do. Also, I'm an old, gaudy lady at heart which is made apparent by these finds. 

4 Tier Crystal Chandelier - $375

This person will "not respond to scam artists" so don't even try.

Kitchen dining room table and 4 chairs - $60 (I repeat- ONLY $60!)

Brass and velvet - what more do you need?

Antique English Deco Armoire - $225

Burled wood! Burled wood! 

What's your favorite Craiglist find of all time?

 

Why I Blog and Answers to Life's Other Mysteries

RandomBrittany Taylor2 Comments
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The title of this blog post may be misleading. I do not actually have the answers to life's mysteries (so please tell me if you do!), but I can tell you why I put time and effort into this blog. There are 4 Main Reasons I blog and they are as follows:

1. Documentation

I don't journal like I used to (I didn't need to keep adding to that embarrassing collection of essays) and I like that my blog, along with other social media outlets, can serve as a way to document things in the world that may not otherwise be documented such as interviews with local artists, photos of a local artist's home, etc.

2. Community

In addition to documenting things I'm interested in, I also like to share these things! And what better place is there to share and find likeminded people than internet? Since starting this blog, I've connected with a lot of really great people that I might not have otherwise. From a great group of bloggers that I get to hang out with and eat at awesome restaurants with to other artists and designers that I've interviewed via the interwebs, I'm very appreciative of this creative community and have truly enjoyed getting to interact with each of you.

3. Giving Back to the Internet

Closely related to my second reason, this reason for blogging is because I feel like I take and take and take from the people of the internet all the time (hello pinterest!) and I want to share and feel like I'm giving back interesting content. I have a handful of posts that have been fairly popular and it makes me feel good to think that something I created is entertaining/helping someone else. 

4. Experience

As many of you know, I'm a designer and a small business enthusiast. I would one day like to work specifically with creative entrepreneurs to develop their brands, market their work, utilize social media, etc. Having this blog has given me an excuse to try various blogging platforms and social media outlets, as well as study (read: stalk) other blogs/bloggers to see how they're using and promoting their blogs. I think that this experience (along with my 9-5 marketing experience) will be useful to share when I do eventually work with small business owners. 

 

Why do you blog?