The Creative Business Design Lab

How to take brave action on your creative project…even if you are plagued with self-doubt, with Henry Thong

Session Notes

There is LITERALLY nothing more important to building a creative career than putting your work out there even when you’re not 100% confident about it (because no one is ever 100% confident…and it’s usually more like 25-50%).

Putting your creative work in front of potential clients or fans is scary! But trusting that your courage—taking action before you feel “ready” will lead to feeling more confidence in your work and thus taking more risks with it—is the pivot point between dreaming about a creative career and actually living that life.

My guest for this edition of the Creative Business Design Lab is Henry Thong, a self-starting, self-producing documentary filmmaker, whose original series Makers Who Inspire has amassed over 1.85 million views, and has won multiple awards. Henry parlayed his personal success into a full-time job as a filmmaker for ConvertKit.

I asked Henry to join me because his story is one of Courage Before Confidence over and over again: He submitted to film festivals while still in high school, won, and gained amazing mentors as a result. He started a freelance business as a filmmaker straight out of high school, skipping film school altogether.

He moved to the USA from his native Australia without a job or a plan, and secured a full-time position as a filmmaker for email provider ConvertKit within 3 months (That’s how we met! Henry made a film about me in 2021). I use ConvertKit, and if you’re curious about it, here’s a referral link!

Henry had a ton of insights to share about how to be more courageous with your work. Watch to find out how he blocked his exit, asked "What’s the worst that could happen?", leaned on preparation and mentors, turned “expensive” mistakes into stronger decisions going forward, hypes himself up, and uses stress as fuel.

Don’t miss the awesome Q&A at the end!

Links

Autonomous Creative: Don't settle for just surviving. Build a creative life you love

Henry’s personal YouTube channel

Henry’s work at ConvertKit

Henry's Instagram

Creator Sessions by ConvertKit on Instagram (filming + photography by Henry Thong)

How to handle your creative business finances—even if you’re “not a math person,” with Shawn Fink

Session Notes

Creative people often run screaming from any mention of math…but taking charge of the numbers in your business is incredibly powerful and far easier than you might think!

In this session of the Creative Business Design Lab, coach Jessica Abel and guest Shawn Fink, a business design strategist and courage coach for creative entrepreneurs, explore two ways using super-simple numbers will save your butt when it comes to business.

Both Shawn and Jessica are Capital-C Creatives who grew up with complicated feelings about math but now use simple business numbers on the daily.

Jessica demonstrates how a little 3rd-grade multiplication and division reveals strategic decisions that you need to make, and helps guide you to the right answer. You can get the free calculator she talks about in this blog post.

Shawn walks us through a 3-step finance-check-in ritual designed to calm the nervous system and release fear around business math (and then also get the tasks done!)

We grew up marinating in the idea that math belongs to the Enemy Camp. It’s scary, it’s overwhelming, and paying too much attention to the numbers makes you akin to The Man.

We got over it. You should too.

We know that numbers (and facing reality?) can be scary! But we’ve got you! We won’t let the math stop you!

We hold a live, free Creative Business Design Lab session every month! Find out more, and join the next Design Lab live at https://jessicaabel.com/creative-business-design-lab/

Links

Get the blog post about creative business models, including a button to get access to the Income Clarity Calculator: https://jessicaabel.com/not-making-enough-money/

Get Shawn’s weekly financial check-in: https://shawnfink.com/financial-checkin/

YNAB referral link: https://ynab.com/referral/?ref=NzGIBY4iTPmrNsU3

How to create a multipassionate website that works, with Victoria Lansford and Charlene Lam

Session Notes

Multipassionate creative people hate being pigeonholed, and can’t stand to hide or suppress any of their many interests. So how can multipassionates create a website that works?

You CAN showcase your interests without alienating potential clients.

In this session of the Creative Business Design Lab, coach Jessica Abel and guests Victoria Lansford and Charlene Lam discuss how to welcome potential clients and customers to their websites in a way that guides them through what they need to know to make a purchase and ALSO invites them to explore what will delight them!

Lots of Q&A on special cases for various website situations and bodies of work, and recommendations for best practices.

Links

https://victorialansford.com
https://www.charlenelam.com
https://www.thegriefgallery.com
https://www.rettswood.com
https://www.samanthaclark.net
https://jessicaabel.com/authentic-personal-brand/
https://jessicaabel.com/resources/diy/making-minicomics/

I’m Jessica Abel

I’m a cartoonist/ author/ teacher/ editor/ illustrator turned creative business owner.

I know what it’s like to be doing everything “right,” and realize that people on the outside think I’ve got it all nailed, yet working insane hours and still not making ends meet.

I like to think of myself as competent. Yet a total lack of connection between the massive effort I was investing and the minimal return was driving me crazy.

I needed control over my life and my future.

I needed to support my family.

So I pivoted, hard, to creative business ownership.

This pivot point for me and my career is exactly the pivot point I am driven to create for others.

I want you to have an independent, creative, sustainable business.

I want you to have control of your future.

I want you to stop feeling victimized by your creative life (and stop feeling guilty for feeling that way when so many others would love to do what you do).

I believe that every professional creative needs to equip themself with powerful, effective strategy so that they can build businesses that meet their needs.

We (the big We—the world) need you to be successful because we need you to have the freedom and support to bring your work to the world for the rest of us to experience!

make more money with creative business - jessica abel

I’m Jessica Abel

I’m a cartoonist/ author/ teacher/ editor/ illustrator turned creative business owner.

I know what it’s like to be doing everything “right,” and realize that people on the outside think I’ve got it all nailed, yet working insane hours and still not making ends meet.

I like to think of myself as competent. Yet a total lack of connection between the massive effort I was investing and the minimal return was driving me crazy.

I needed control over my life and my future.

I needed to support my family.

So I pivoted, hard, to creative business ownership.

This pivot point for me and my career is exactly the pivot point I am driven to create for others.

I want you to have an independent, creative, sustainable business.

I want you to have control of your future.

I want you to stop feeling victimized by your creative life (and stop feeling guilty for feeling that way when so many others would love to do what you do).

I believe that every professional creative needs to equip themself with powerful, effective strategy so that they can build businesses that meet their needs.

We (the big We—the world) need you to be successful because we need you to have the freedom and support to bring your work to the world for the rest of us to experience!

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