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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!