Do you know what makes me really happy (besides dark chocolate and a good cup of coffee)? Witnessing a creative professional’s transformation from confusion to clarity as they align with their unique talent and build the business of their dreams.
Through my coaching work with creative entrepreneurs, I’ve learned there are many reasons for not fulfilling our potential, but there is ONE thing that is absolutely vital to turning things around:
I’d like to shine a light on two clients, artists and designers, Andrea and Sara of Kind Aesthetic. Andrea and Sara came to each of our sessions ready, able and willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. I was continually astounded by how much they implemented between sessions.
I thought you’d enjoy meeting them and learning more about how taking decisive action turned their business around.
Justine: I’d love to introduce you to everyone. Let’s hear the elevator pitch you worked so hard to create!
Kind Aesthetic: Hi! We are Kind Aesthetic, a creative agency that uses art, design and communal action to give voice to ideas so they can thrive in the real world. We work with creative entrepreneurs, brands, organizations, and artists who want a stunning visual and emotional representation of their ideas that is fresh, exciting and engages their audience.
JC: What was your biggest challenge when we started working together?
KA: When we started working with you, Justine, we were just doing too much and were having a difficult time focusing our energy on the projects, prospects, and clients that mattered most to us. Since we have a wide range of skills, expertise, and experiences, we were trying to do it all! It turns out that we love using a few really well.
JC: Tell us a bit more about the two distinct services that you offer. What issues did that raise and how did you deal with them?
KA: Kind Aesthetic and DELVE have the same goal: We help our clients tell their unique stories in clear and powerful ways, and art, design and community are always involved.
More specifically, Kind Aesthetic is our creative agency, where we offer a full range of services from developing a brand voice and visual identity to curating exciting content to, in your words Justine, managing the s%*t out of a project! For example, we helped a super-talented artist launch a fashion line by naming and branding her business, crafting an appealing online presence, telling her story, and working with her to combine all of the pieces to make everything work together. When we work with an organization or brand, we help conceptualize a powerful and smart experience for their audience. We run competitions that activate new audiences and create more opportunities, or perhaps curate and produce art for an event, pop-up, or exhibition.
DELVE is specifically for artists and visual people. We are artists ourselves and understand how difficult it can be to maintain professional business practices as well as communicate intricate and conceptual ideas. So we developed the DELVE Toolkit to work with artists one-on-one to help them build sustainable skills to best communicate their work in-person, online, and in writing. Also, we run DELVE Workshops to work on these tools in group settings, and host really fun DELVE Networking nights all across NYC. Our next DELVE Networking event is May 22nd at Tiger Strikes Astroid in Brooklyn!
JC: Being a freelancer or entrepreneur means living outside of our comfort zone much of the time. How did you get past doing something that made you feel uncomfortable?
KA: Since there are two of us, we help empower each other to take leaps and live outside of our comfort zones. As artists, we make work that is personally driven, so we often experience discomfort, have to overcome creative blocks, and put ourselves out there. But there are certainly times when we have to follow our intuition and dive head-first into unchartered business waters, such as negotiations, and networking. By diving in, we have lost (most of) that fear and discomfort. If it feels uncomfortable, we know that we’ll probably learn something from the experience.
JC: It’s natural to hit a plateau in any process, whether it’s losing weight, getting in shape, or improving your business. Did you experience that and if so, how did you overcome it?
KA: We find hitting plateaus to be natural, and when it happens we immediately take a bird’s eye view on everything to regain perspective and analyze what works and what doesn’t. Something can always be improved.
JC: There are lots of ways one can approach building a better business. How did you know when you were on the right track with an idea or course of action?
KA: Kind Aesthetic is still a young business, so we are still building and getting better day by day. We know we are on the right path when our clients send us referrals and give us positive feedback by saying things like: “everybody needs to hire you!” We like when that happens!
Using our talents to help our clients tell their stories is extremely gratifying for us. For example, we are currently working with a talented artist and interior designer who was in dire need of crafting her message online, in writing, and in person. She will soon have a gorgeous site to point to and say: “This is all of my work in one place, telling my story as a uniquely creative individual.”
JC: How did your working relationship and respective strengths help you take action?
KA: We are fortunate to be artists who are organized and we learned quickly that we work well together. We have very different and complementary skills and strengths so this helps us dive right into projects. If we have a great idea, we say to ourselves: let’s just do it! We’ve learned that our positive intentions yield positive results.
Andrea is a photographer and loves to see the big picture. She gets excited about planning events and brainstorming with clients. Sara is a painter who also has a ton of graphic and exhibition design experience under her belt and is able to think spatially about flow for everything from websites to exhibition and event spaces.
JC: What role do community and networking play in taking action?
KA: Without community, life would fall flat. Art and design are meant to interact with people and can improve our experiences in the world. We need to talk about it and nurture those ideas in person. We started DELVE Networking events to help artists and creatives make connections with each other and take power into their own hands. We can learn from each other’s mistakes as well as get inspired by each other to take action.
JC: Was there a specific point in the process when you felt things ‘clicked’? If so, could you share more about that?
KA: Yes! When we finally got our elevator pitch down to two sentences and were like “Aha! That’s exactly what we do!” It made everything else so much easier–we were able to then craft a clear services page on our website and easily network and explain succinctly and clearly what it is that we do as a creative agency. That was a real turning point, and it’s helped us tremendously with our marketing.
JC: I would say that both have a natural a bias towards action. Where does that come from? Do you have and strategies to share with the readers?
KA: As artists, we have learned to do it all—from conceptualizing projects to make the work to installing it to writing about it to documenting it to talking about it to organizing the events so people can see the work…and more. It’s part of the world we live in—we are makers. There is a natural shift in implementing this action in order to make it work for our clients. We make lists, lots of them, and the first thing we do is plan out our timelines from beginning to end. By starting with a shape (the timeline) we can then be creative and very productive within this space.
JC: Could you share what you implemented during the course of our 8 sessions together?
KA: The pitch that we crafted together is implemented every day! It is our mantra and how we stand out from other agencies since it rings true to our beliefs as creative individuals. By crafting that pitch we got to dive deep into our best skills and let those rise to the top. All of your marketing help has been invaluable as well, allowing us to set time aside weekly to get it done.
JC: What are the 3 most significant improvements you’ve experienced in your business (new clients, results, income, productivity, etc.) as a result of your positive action?
KA: Since working with you, Justine, we are much more confident and productive. We have gained new clients as a direct result of our clearly communicating how we can help them, and most importantly, work together. Thank you!
Thank you, Andrea and Sara, for sharing your experiences, and may your success (and client list) continue to soar!
If you’re struggling to define what makes you unique, please join me at Harlem Garage on June 2nd for my 7 surefire strategies to getting more dream clients. You’ll leave with tools that you can implement right away!