Business Artists are thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals who want to approach their daily business as part of a creative problem-solving and skill-building endeavor that brings them personal as well as financial growth. How do you do that?

Navigating Uncertainty for Entrepreneurs & Creatives

I hold space for vast amounts of uncertainty in my life – creatively, entrepreneurially, existentially. My closest teammates, friends, and family know this.

But not everyone is temperamentally disposed to invite uncertainty. I respect that. So, I also train clients to navigate uncertainty in ways that work for them when branding, rebranding, and advancing next endeavors with far-future horizons.
I use a framework called Fertile Confusion. It’s a process I use to convert confusion into innovation and break-throughs.

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Embracing Challenges for Growth

Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

There are problems, there are challenges, and there are obstacles. They’re not the same.

Harrison Ford got sick on the set of Steven Spielberg’s film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

One morning, scheduled for an intense sword fight scene with a formidable foe, Ford didn’t feel up to the task. So, he asked Spielberg to make a change. Spielberg agreed. Out of sheer necessity, Ford made a creative choice, a choice that would make for arguably the film’s most memorable scene.

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A Ripe Time for Introverted Creatives & Entrepreneurs

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Image: Unsplash.com

There’s never been a better time for you to share your message and creative brilliance with the world.

Imagine if Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, but cowered at the prospect of receiving publicity or criticism or of appearing vain by drawing attention to himself so he decided to keep the discovery to himself, that would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it?

And yet a few of us creatives somehow think it’s okay if we keep what we create to ourselves or that the world has conspired against us if it’s not showing up at our studio or shed doors begging to see and buy the antidotes to their suffering that we’ve created. Read more

Tapping into Creative Collaboration

tracking wonder - collaborate

Collaboration, it turns out, is essential for creative productivity and innovation.

The New York socialite Mabel Dodge knew something about putting talented, engaging people from different backgrounds and creative media in the same room. With the right atmosphere and combination of people, ideas could ignite that might inspire creative action (including even, a few love affairs). Read more

Marketing and Thought Leadership

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Image: Unsplash.com

Marketing matters to anyone wishing to build a business, advance a career, or become a viable author or thought leader. You know that.

But in the wrong doses and with the wrong timing, marketing can kill creativity, thwart innovation, and stall the very professional growth necessary for long-term or next-term success.

Ironically, too much reliance on marketing data at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons can create a brand or book that has the very qualities that lack authenticity and do not lead to brand loyalty. Read more

Content Marketing: Ideas for Shaping Your Brand Story

Tracking Wonder - Your Brand Story

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If you can make people feel something you can generally grab their attention. Your brand story matters because your why is the powerful driving force getting you out of bed even on the days you’d rather roll over, ignore what needs to be done and binge watch Netflix.

It’s also a pretty compelling reason for other people to notice and ultimately invest in you, your book, your brand or business.

Whether it’s a personal story or the inspiration behind what drove you to create your business, story is what as humans, we’re wired to we resonate with deeply.

My work with clients involves lots of field research and study of models so we can iterate, emulate, and innovate. In a nut shell, see what works. Here are 3 surprising sources for inspiration for story I think you;re going to enjoy.

1. Johnny Walker

Yep, the bourbon. Actually, two German university students submitted this 90-second film on spec to the bourbon brand legend. Watch how it piques your curiosity, raises questions in you about the men’s relationship & who’s speaking, and where – if anywhere – they’re wandering.

The product isn’t the Story. The brand Story here is how the product is entwined in people’s lives, memories, and celebrations. Even the tough-minded are likely to shed a tear at the poetic script’s truth and beauty. In 90 seconds.

My questions to you: The next time you shoot a program or product video, how can you pique curiosity instead of being obvious? How is your product or program or service entwined in people’s lives for the better? You don’t need a 6-figure production budget.

2. Starbucks Upstander

Warning: There’s a not-so-subtle political drive behind these stories. Still, it’s an example of how real stories of real people can drive home a point. If your brand is justice-related or if you’re a social entrepreneur, take stock.

My question to you: How can you tell stories of “ordinary” people who are fulfilling a mission or the core values your brand stands for?

3. Jonathan Fields: One Author’s Quest to Plant 10,000 Trees

Jonathan combines his passion for nature with his quest for a good life in the “10,000 Tree Good Life Forest” Project. Here he tells the story of his book and his personal quest in a context that matters.

My questions to you: If you’re launching a book or product, what larger mission that might involve partnership or collaboration can you imagine? Tap into both your core values as well as the book’s or product’s content. Remember, your book is not your Story. It’s only a part of the brand Story you’re living.

If this blog speaks to you I invite you to join our The Tracking Wonder Quest Community. Our community is comprised of professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, teachers, coaches, and consultants dedicated to doing Business As Unusual. I’d be pleased to have you join us.

Learning: The New ROI

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Source: Unsplash

Whatever it is you’re building, creating, or advancing, when you think of your return on investment, weigh it on what you learn in the process. This is often over looked or not calculated into the final ROI at all.

Backstory

I laid out rows of three acorns on the lawn.

Me: “How many rows of three are there?”
7-year-old: “Foherr” (she rolls her ‘r’s as if she were French).
Me: “So, how much is 3 times 4?”
7-year-old: “Twelve!” Read more

Use Writing to Discover Your Brand and Business

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Image: Unsplash.com

Whether you tag yourself “writer” or not, writing can feed the ideas you’re obsessed with and the questions you’re living and that your brand and business is delivering on.

Writing can inform your brand’s integrity. And if you’re in transition – in life, business, brand – oh, yeah. Writing is an ally there, too.

Someone asked me recently about the work I do and how I help to  build brands and the brand stories they’re based on. The answer. I do build a brand the same way I build a life: An idea consumes me. I write, research, dive deep, create, test. Through that process, I unfold a brand and business. Read more

Content Marketing: Lead With Your Story

Tracking Wonder - Brand Story Strategy

How a local clinic and an alpaca farm benefited from brand story strategy.

I see a lot of businesses (as well as online entrepreneurs) make the same mistake when they build a website and venture into content marketing and social media. Business owners unintentionally bring old assumptions about advertising & marketing to online content and social media.

Traditional advertising is about pushing your product or services onto customers or potential customers.

The ads might be clever to get attention. You pay a premium for advertising and invest in expensive print collateral, and you just sort of hope somehow by virtue of advertising’s messenger pigeons that the right person will get the mail and show up at your door.

So what happens when a business owner steeped in traditional advertising and marketing ventures into the brave new world online? Read more