I quit my job last year because my soul's gas tank had been running on fumes.
I had the vision + passion to start my own business but my brain was a hot mess of ideas. I needed some help connecting the dots.
Enter Braid Creative & Consulting, branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs co-founded by sisters Kathleen Shannon and Tara Street.
Braid's eCourses are jam-packed with insightful information whether you're seasoned or just starting out.
In this interview Kathleen shares a bit about her story, what daily life is like for the Braid gals, how she fills up her soul's gas tank and who this eCourse is for.
What inspired you to quit your job and start freelancing?
I was working for years as a senior art director at a really cool advertising agency. Freelancing or entrepreneurship was never on my radar until my blog readers started asking me to do small brand identities or wedding invitations for them. My own wedding invitation designs attracted attention on some popular blogs and the side business was picking up. Over the course of a year and with the support of my husband and sister I started to think "I could do this... for real."
Did you have a clear vision of the work you wanted to do and who you wanted to work with?
At first I was pure freelance-for-hire. I would take on any type of project work for just about anyone willing to pay me.
But here at Braid we're very specific about who we help – which is other creative entrepreneurs who need help with their branding & business visioning. We say "no" a lot.
How else did you obtain clients other than through your blog?
I suppose word-of-mouth and by meeting people at conferences like Alt Summit.
Looking back now what would you have done differently?
Well, in hindsight I had NO idea what I was doing. Each day presented new things to learn and obstacles to overcome. I was very reactionary and had very little invested in my own positioning, brand, or business vision. It would've been nice to have had a plan or a roadmap for myself.
What does a typical day at Braid Creative & Consulting look like and how do you balance all the different roles you play?
At Braid we have 4 full time creatives on staff including me, my sister, our brand director Liz Fabry, and our designer Kristin Tate. Tara and Kristin are in our office (which is an apartment we lovingly call "The Braid Nest" located in a historical 1929 building) by 9AM. I am usually blogging to & Kathleen from home in the morning and stroll into The Braid Nest by 10AM. That's when Tara will go for a run and I'll check emails. I'll touch base with Liz who works remote from Durham, NC via Skype and we'll go over our schedules and work flow. Tara, Liz, and Kristin are typically doing lots of client work while I work on blogging (for my personal blog and The Braid Blog), and our own brand development. I usually work out at lunch and have a quick bite to eat. Then the afternoons are usually filled with back-to-back coaching for creatives sessions and client meetings.
Tara and I have really been able to balance our roles by constantly communicating about what those roles are. Our team helps us execute and implement – we're all very productive but we don't try to do it all.
What do you do when you need to fill up your soul's gas tank?
On a small, daily scale I like to cook good food while listening to a great Spotify playlist. A daily workout and evening walk keeps me sane too. And honestly, chilling out on the couch with my man, our kitties, and a really good show does a lot for me. But what feeds my soul on a grand scale is road trips, international travel, and capturing those adventures on my blog.
Can you talk a bit more about Braid's eCourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You and who is this meant for?
We’ve developed this online course for creative entrepreneurs – from freelance creative professionals to small independent creative businesses – who struggle with an overabundance of ideas, messages, and content (visual or verbal) on their site, their blog, their materials and even in their conversations – not to mention, analysis paralysis of what to do with them. We help you chunk down your ideas, recognize the ones with the most potential, and the ones that are just distractions in disguise. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can go from content chaos to a concise (yet still creative) message.
This Braid eCourse is great for bloggers, photographers, designers, and writers who feel scattered and need help finding a little bit of focus around what they're putting out there.
What advice would you give someone who feels trapped in a 9 to 5 job but wants to break free and make money doing what they love instead?
Okay, first off. You're not trapped. A 9-to-5 is not prison. In fact, a day job can go far in helping fund your dream job. Trust me, nothing kills creativity like the desperation of feeling broke. So my advice would be to get very clear on A) what you would love to be doing instead and B) how much money you need to make to sustain yourself. Then start building the dream on the side. At some point you will have to make what will feel like a leap – but it will be a much more manageable leap if you've already set up a good foundation to build your dream job upon.
Resources: Braid's eCourse