Today, On Alien Monster… #37 The Bipolar Blanket Fort

Sep 18

It's Another Flourish

AlienMonster #37: May The Fort Be With You

Wondering what this is about? <—click here

It's Another Flourish!

While sorting through the archives of Alien Monster comics, this one leapt out at me – probably because I’m having a blanket-fort-kind-of-week around here.

And seriously, who doesn’t want to hide away from the world in their own way from time to time? How many of us might choose to stay in that fortress-of-solitude, if other needs didn’t force us back into the world?

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What You Didn’t See On The Circus Last Week…

Sep 12

Things go wrong. Even with ballooons. Sometimes *especially* with balloons.

Sometimes? Things go wrong. The popcorn won’t pop. The flying trapeze won’t fly.  The elephants are arguing politics with the tigers, the star poodle is in the dressing room crying over a bad haircut, and the clown’s nose keeps falling into his breakfast cereal.

Last Week? Yeah.
All of That Happened.

Ok, maybe not ALL of it, and not exactly those things… but stuff did go frustratingly not-right.   I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes around here, so you don’t feel so alone next time you feel like crying over the clown nose in your soup.

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A Business Villain With Flourish!

Apr 02

It's A Flourish!

My creative-cohort TheNumbersWhisperer (aka Nicole Fende) has been having fun with the idea of Business Villains – personifications of the problems & fears we encounter as biz people & entrepreneurs. She’s got a lovely reader gallery of rogues started up, and at her suggestion, I decided to contribute a portrait of my chief Arch-Nemesis of 2012-2013:

The Drama Llama: A Business Villain With Flourish(click on the image for the full impact)

It's A Flourish!

At first glance, the Drama Llama seems innocuous enough…

Amusing, entertaining, maybe even a little charming. But don’t let his sweet face fool you — this woolen miscreant will rob you blind and leave cloven hoof prints all over your quirkipreneur heart!

He’ll  come to you in the guise of a family member, friend, or business partner, or he may present himself as a creative muse of your very own.  But beware, this “muse” comes with baggage, and he intends to make you his SkyCap!   Once he’s tricked you into carrying his full emotional weight, he’ll spit over-dramatic and irrational rhetoric at you, demanding attention and distracting you from more important business at hand — important business like, oh, I don’t know….  running your business, as an example?

How do you defeat this Ugly Ungulate?

Refocus the spotlight of your attention on profitable, practical tasks, side stepping the emotions and drama as much as possible.   If the Llama comes to you in human form, disengage yourself from them if you can, and if not, try to get them focused on small, simple steps forward. If the Llama speaks to you from inside your own head, learn to recognize his voice with its overblown statements and exaggerations.

Me, I find it useful to introduce a little Llama Logic — reminding him that his vision of the world is a wee bit distorted, seen as it is through a veil of llama wool  that’s been pulled over his eyes for so long he can’t remember what the real world looks like.

So here’s hoping for a Llama-free 2nd quarter of 2013, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, another Nemesis portrait, coming soon to a blog post near you!

It's Another Flourish!

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What, Exactly, Does Tori *DO*? Probably Not What You Think.

Jul 27

That’s a question I’ve heard all of my life.

I heard it most recently during an interview with The Word Chef, Tea Silvestre , while we talked about my award-winning branding. Not one, but two of her people asked exactly what I do—and as usual,  I stumbled out a vague answer — “It’s in flux!”

Seriously, I felt a bit embarrassed that my branding (while admittedly beautiful & effective) *still* doesn’t make what I actually do very clear.

That’s because what I do really *isn’t* very clear, much less concrete. Since I launched the Circus, the market has shifted and changed, and my direction has shifted and changed.  Most of the past year has been focused on developing the Quirkipreneurs concept and website – a project that has shifted me into a role of community builder and entrepreneur, and will hopefully lead to a lovely, clear answer to “What does Tori do?” very soon.

But I know a lot of you want to know just how I earn my moolah (Since it’s rather obviously NOT through the products & consulting I’ve never gotten around to offering ‘round the Circus.)

Ready? Ok!

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We Interrupt This Blog For A Personal Insight Emergency!

Sep 15

This started as a comment on a previous post, but it turned into something more.  Not a lot more, mind you, but it’s certainly more than a comment – It’s about my process, so it may not make a lot of sense at first. Also, there are questions for you at the end of each section, so you can dive in and not-make-a-lot-of-sense right along with me, if you like.

I was really
struggling last night.

Doubting everything.
Doubting everyone.
Doubting myself.

This recent anti-online-business bruhaha shook me, what with all of the talk about “online businesses aren’t real/can’t make money” and “people who don’t have degrees and haven’t successfully run brick and mortar businesses can’t coach/teach/write about business.”  It undercut my confidence in what I’m trying to do here.

So I curled up with a particular book that serves as my creative touch stone, and slowly? I remembered why I’d set up this weird and ill-defined circus caravan in the first place:

To do something fun, experimental, unpredictable,
something that incorporates a variety of skills into
a package that, hopefully, can help others and add
consistently to our household income.

Something that inspired me. Something that was inventive. Something that took risks.

I’m not asking you to set aside secure or boring or every day lives, and take those risks with me.  But if you  are already taking risks (or wanting to take those risks), I’m asking if you’ll consider joining me and others in some small or large way,  so we can have support and comfort as we forge new ground and take these risks together.

My questions for you: What is the original concept that drove you to decide developing your own venture-business-thing was the way to go? What are you risking with that?

But then? I realized
I’m not exactly clueless.

I’ve been surrounded by small business and innovation all of my life.

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Of Soup, Circuses & Quirkipreneurs (part 1)

Sep 13

A Quirk That ThinksSomewhere in last week’s series on Gossip Drama Soup, I promised to explain how the whole internet marketing scandal relates to Circus Serene & the merry band loosely identified as Quirkipreneurs. Since both concepts are still evolving, I’ll start with how I currently define them:

>>> The Circus Serene (this site, yay!) is largely about process – the process of creating a fun, creative, successful business that reflects our identity and ideals.  So a lot of the content here follows thought processes, creative processes, productivity processes, or anything else that develops and evolves. (I just figured this out yesterday, so there’ll need to be a bit of tweaking done)

>>> Quirkipreneurs (still more an idea than a thing) is about business identity & community; an identity & community that supports people like me in our unique, sometimes difficult to define goals. A community that helps us find services geared to our needs, a community that inspires, instructs, troubleshoots, networks, and helps promote.

But this Gossip Drama Soup, everyone-is-a-scammer scandal thing? It’s made me second guess the whole idea of what I’m doing, and brought them up a whole lot of issues worth examining.  I’m going to tackle them one by one, over the next few days.  This first one I already ranted about, but it’s worth revisiting:

Issue #1:
Realistic Business Models & Expectations

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Gossip Drama Soup: Resources For Reputations

Sep 10

Have A Big Bowl Of Drama Soup! It's "Um, Ooooh!" Good!

Hopefully? None of us will find ourselves front and center in our own editions of Gossip Drama Soup, but it can happen to anyone,  even when the water isn’t ethically or morally murky.

All it takes is one determined, disgruntled customer,  a former employee or ex lover with an axe to grind, a crazy neighbor who doesn’t like the color you painted your house, or a frustrated family member, and voila!  The rumors start, then turn to smears, and pretty soon your reputation is being hammered.

So what do you do when someone takes aim at you and your business?  I thought some resources might come in handy, and give us something  productive to talk about.

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Gossip Drama Soup Illustrated: The Sheep Edition

Sep 10

Fleece me like you MEAN it, Baby!!

It's A Flourish!


And that’s all that needs to be said, right?

Unless of course you’d like to leave a comment.
Which would be  just awesome-possum.

It's Another Flourish!

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Gossip Drama Soup: Running A Business Ain’t A Pipe Dream, Dammit.

Sep 07


Among all of the dirty laundry and accusations that make up what I’m calling Gossip Drama Soup?

There’s an absurd claim being made that there is no such thing as a successful online micro-business.

It’s just a pipe dream, you see, and those of us building our own businesses? We’re chasing a mythical beast, like a unicorn.

And since there’s (supposedly) no such thing as a successful online business, anyone who sells anything to support the online small business market is clearly a scam artist, right? Their customers are defrauded victims and fools. We’ve been lied to. Oh woe iz us!

Or that’s the story that’s being told, anyway.

And that story?
It really, REALLY ticks me off.

Because the last thing most of us need is someone tearing apart our efforts in the name of “protecting” us.

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Gossip Drama Soup: The Sins of Internet Marketing

Sep 04

Gossip Drama Soup! Now playing on Channels 5, 6, And Infinity!
So, the other day I wrote a post about the Dunford-Droid-NavarroFamily mess, henceforth known as Gossip Drama Soup.  The pot is coming to a boil, and honestly, I’m still not really not certain of all the ingredients that add to its… erm…  distinctive aroma.

Whew, that is one stinky soup.

But among the personal drama about mortal sins and mouthy broads and failed businesses? There’s a whole other topic that isn’t being discussed much yet, and it’s the one that might actually be sort of relevant  here on the Circus:

<cue over-dramatic music>

The Sins!
of Internet Marketing!

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