Thoughts On Being A Quirkipreneur: It’s Not About You

Aug 22

The Antlered & Quirky.  We Rock.

Having spent the last few days in a summer-cold-coming-on haze, I’ve had plenty of time to think. It’s not been a very productive think, but it’s been a very long one, so there have to be a few gems in there, right? This is my Dayquil enhanced attempt to capture a few of those gems, in their rough and unpolished state.

Being a successful Quirkipreneur is more than just throwing your henna’d hands in the air and celebrating your weirdness while perching it jauntily atop your head like a set of off-balance antlers. (although I have to admit, that IS fun)

Being a Quirkipreneur means approaching your unique oddities and creative strange-ness with intent. It means honing your presentation and message until your weirdness evolves into a highly marketable & palatable brand.

Knowing just how to hone that presentation? It means understanding and accepting not just your own quirks, but the quirks of your Right People (and probably those of your Wrong People, too.)

Because as a Quirkipreneur? It’s not all about *you*.

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Is Your Business Suffering From Self-Help Syndrome?

Aug 05

Running your own creative business will stir up every neurotic impulse you’ve ever had, and then it will invent a few new ones just for fun.

My New Self-Help Book: 30 Days To Overcome Self Help Syndrome

You’re not alone in this; even the most experienced, qualified, and talented entrepreneurs struggle with doubt, fears, crippling and crippled egos, performance anxieties, over/under confidence, gambling too big, risking too little, yadda yadda into infinity and beyond.

Left untended, those neurotic quirks can cause big problems for your business.  A minor anxiety about finances can lead to avoiding record keeping which leads to tax nightmares.  Feeling less-than-confident about your writing can mean you avoid answering emails and miss sales.  Your over-compensating ego can mean you won’t even consider advice from experts and are forever re-inventing the wheel.

Letting your psyche run roughshod over your business? It’s just bad for business.

You already know all of this, I’m sure.

I know that you’re an astoundingly self-aware bunch who regularly takes a non-judgmental (if informal) inventory of personal strengths and weaknesses. You’ve thought hard about how your shortcomings might impact your business, and you’ve decided that you’re just not going to let that happen.

And your plan for not-letting-that-happen is…. ?

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It’s a Menagerie of Totems!

Jul 25

So, This Empty Pole?

It looks lonely, doesn’t it?

This is where the message from the totem will go. It will also tell you who the totem belongs to, along with a link to their website.

Also, if you click on the totem (or, in this case, the Vacancy sign) it will take you directly to the website of the community member, too. Cool, isn’t it?

That’s because it’s waiting on YOU, waiting to have your Quirkipreneurial community totem placed on it.

Which is seriously cool.

And pretty darn quirky.

It's A Flourish!

Want the full fancy pants details?

Visit the Really Official Sales Page!
(it has big red fonts and everything!)

(sold out!)


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What’s all The Fuss With Google+?

Jul 16


“Ho-Hum, it’s another social media platform.
It’ll suck. I’ll suck at it. My friends will suck at it.
And I don’t need another Facebook-Twitter-MySpace-Plurk-WTFever sucking my time away!
I’m too busy for this + shit.”

Well, my happy ray of social sunshine, you might want to rethink your apathy – and not because I un-cleverly rhymed a headline, either.

Like it or not, G+ isn’t going away. How do I know? According to Google CEO Larry Page, the service now boasts 10 million users, who have shared 1 billion items in a single day.

That’s some serious traction for a 3 week old beta service.

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The Good & Bad of (business) Metaphors

Jun 09

So, Judging By My Emails…

I stirred up a quiet little hornets-nest-of-doubt in more than a few people last week. The culprits? This post about metaphors-gone-amok, and this other one, about murdering-your-darlings.

I apparently left some readers wondering if I meant their metaphors, mascots and witty wordplay were overdone.

Oops.  Sorry about that!  Let’s get this cleared up with a Q&A session, ok?

It's Another Flourish!

What’s A (Business) Metaphor?

It’s just a metaphor that’s used in your business… some sort of  symbolic representation or illustration that helps you or your customers better relate to what you’re doing.

I learned about the art of metaphoring from Havi Brooks’s blog, where she’s developed it into an awesome system. She in turn credits Suzette Haden Elgin for it.  But wherever it originated, it’s pure fantabulous for getting past the stuck of formal business terms and structures.

It’s also sometimes an awesome way to make your website or business stand out from the crowd, becoming what Hugh MacLeod calls Social Objects

It's Another Flourish!

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Murder Your Darlings: Dangerous Creativity Meets Rosemary’s Baby

Jun 03

It's A Flourish!

This was originally posted on MindTweaks, June 12, 2007.  But it’s  relevant to yesterday’s post, and I want you all to see it, so go on, Google… penalize me for duplicate content! I’ll take one for the team! Voila!

I’ve forgotten where I first ran across the  brilliant, dangerous advice to“Murder Your Darlings,” but I’m in good company, it seems.  A quick web-search shows that it’s been attributed to Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Twain, Wilde, and about a quadzillion other word-smith serial-killers.

The most likely source is Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who, in 1914 or so, quipped:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate
a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it
— whole-heartedly —  and delete it before sending
your manuscript to press.  Murder your darlings.”

Your “darlings” are those brilliant strokes of your writer-ly wit. They’re the most astoundingly beautiful interplay of paint that ever appeared on your canvas, the best and brightest ideas that you as a Creative have ever had. Darlings are our indigo-children, the fruit of our labors, the idiot-savants we nurture and coddle and pet-pet-pet, the ones we keep under our pillow so we can admire their shine, even in the dark of night.

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Put down That Metaphor, Ma’am!

Jun 02

Monstrous Metaphor, In Need of Murder!“Now step slowly away…

“That’s right, keep your hands where I can see ‘em! … Dispatch, I’m going to need some backup here. This could get ugly… Ma’am, I said KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN… What are you doing? No, for gawd’s sake, DON’T FEED IT… Aye!! Officer Down, OFFICER DOWN!!

(unintelligible screaming)…

Don’t let this happen to you!
Keep your metaphors spayed, neutered, and curbed.
It’s not just good business, it’s the law!

It's Another Flourish!

That little story up there?

The one that’s supposed to be a clever opening to get your attention?

It’s dreadful, isn’t it?

Yes, I know some of you want to throw sweet mother hen “Cluck, cluck, it’s not so bad, dearie…” reassurances at me now, but trust me,  it’s bad.

How do I know it’s bad?

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Who’s Afraid Of A Little Woo?

May 12

Woo-WOooooOOO says the ghost!

Me, That’s Who.

Apparently, anyway.

I’m talking, of course, about the infamous “woo-woo”, a phrase used to mean spooky, spiritualist, crystal-laden irrational beliefs not based in science or reality. It’s generally used in a dismissive or self-conscious way, and I associate it with the spiritualist fraud séances of yester-year – you know, sheet covered ghosts that say woooo, WOOOOO!

“Woo” came up recently on Twitter, where the lovely Bridget Pilloud and Abby Kerr were discussing why we view it in a derogatory way, and if it can be rebranded, so to speak. They got me thinking (as both of them often do) and I realized I’ve been shying away from spiritual topics here on The Circus.

Turns out, I’m mind-numbingly, progress-stuckingly petrified of being perceived as “woo-woo”.

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How I Dropped the Freelance Ball, and What You Can Learn from It

Mar 17

I’m not very good…

…at toss–the-balls-up-in-the-air-and-catch-them juggling.

Ok, I’m worse than “not very good”;   I can’t do it.

Before you can-do-ologists jump in with encouragement, sure, I know that with enough practice I’d  develop the hand-eye coordination, focus, and discipline required for basic juggling.  But I’m talking about my “right-now skills”, the marketable ones. Theoretically, I could learn to juggle, but practically, you do not want to hire me to entertain at your next party by juggling GeeMa’s china.

It’s ok.   I suck at actual juggling.  You can say it.

I’m rather bad at metaphorical juggling, too. You know, the kind that has to do with balancing various life tasks, skills and projects? The kind of juggling that is *crucial* for a successful freelancer?

Yeah.  I suck at that, too.

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It’s A Right-Brained Interview, with Jennifer Lee!

Mar 07

Note! If you somehow missed my Show & Tell spotlight on the Right-Brainers in Business Summit* you can still check out Emmit’s flashing circus lights for free until 9pm eastern, tomorrow night!

It's A Flourish!

So, by now you’ve heard…

About Jennifer Lee’s The Right-Brain Business Plan, right?   I’ve certainly rambled on about it enough lately,  so if you *don’t* know, you probably stumbled in here from a search engine, looking for discount tickets to Cirque du Soleil or something. (You wont find those here, just for the record, but you’re welcome to stick around for the popcorn and sage-advice for quirkipreneurs)

Anyway, Jenn (that’s her lovely face up there) offered me the chance to interview her for the Circus.  I jumped at it, and this is the result.  Tada!

Tori: I’ve been talking with my audience, and while they’re really clear on the “Right-Brain” part, some of them still aren’t sure about what a business plan actually *is* — can you give a quickie explanation?

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