Business is not as usual. Many of us can feel it, see it and know in our bones that changes are in the air. The tendency to go to scarcity and fear often rages within us when the future is uncertain. I get it, just a few days ago I had to stop and say to myself: ‘No one is coming to save you – you have to act for what you believe – you have to share what you know. Who is going to create the future if you aren’t a part of leading the way?’
For me this means using my energy to be in business for myself – otherwise my life force is diverted into some other cause or grind. My stand is that business created by heart centered entrepreneurs is a HUGE part of the revolution. Not all of us can make this choice – to go into business for ourselves. This message if for those of you who have dared to dream your own path. Who have chosen to work for yourself, serving those you care about, doing what you love, sharing your light!
I have been in business for myself since the age of 24. I have learned a way of working that I am ready to bring to women entrepreneurs. I knew I couldn’t do it alone – because it is unconventional and calls for mighty support structures. I am offering my teachings for the first time about my unique approach to business, in collaboration with my friend and co-leader of many years, Amy Ahlers.
We created a bridge between conventional business tools and Intentional Creativity ~ a mastermind and prosperity circle for women. I am sharing part of my business story here with you in this Red Thread Letter, challenges and successes, to give context to this offering.
If you wish to receive the invitation, and see what we are up to, here it is:
Greetings to you this day! I would love to share part of the story of my business with you. I don’t think anyone’s business path is ordinary – and mine as a working artist is no exception. I had to strive to give up the starving artist mentality over and over, until finally I broke free of the limitations and created my own way of working. I am truly in love with what I have created in the world and feel so blessed to have chosen the path of an artist entrepreneur on a path of service.
Here’s a few points of interest about my path….(including failures)
My mom and my grandma were both entrepreneurs and told me I could be too.
After a brief foray into corporate America, I knew I had to create my own path. (Yes I did that too, I sold computer training for the first personal computers)
After leaving corporate, and art school, when I was 24, I began working on my first show. A year later, I had my first sold out art showing of paintings, pottery, photography and poetry – I worked on the show under the mentorship of my teacher, Sue Sellars.
It would be almost twenty years later before I had my second sold out show. I remember the feeling both times: “I can make a living with my art ~and~ maybe I can guide other women to do that too.”
In between there was a lot of ground to cover. Looking back, as I write this letter to you, my eyes are filled with tears. Dang, mascara redo and I have to teach today! I am so grateful I chose this path – because business isn’t just something I do – it is my offering, my love in form.
I wish I could speak to my young entrepreneur self and say:
Honeybee – busy bee, slow down. Take care of yourself. Study the people who have done it before you. Sit in circle with other entrepreneurs. But more than any of that… I would have liked to keep reminding myself there was only one way to do business: My way. It might not be the best way – or the fastest way – but it is indeed, my way – the way consistent with my own soul and values.
When we work from our own flowing river within, the inspiration and the know how, feel endlessly possible. I often feel pulled forward, so instead of pushing the river, I am actually being catalyzed. This is how it can feel when the business we create is sourced from our own unique information. Each of us has a call – but will we answer?
Creating RADIANCE with Amy, just the design process, has been so illuminating and has articulated many things I wasn’t seeing about my own business models and beliefs. I so look forward to working on my business right along side the women who are going to join us in focusing on their business for 6 months.
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What you might not know about me… (the secret life of doing business my way has some benefits and drawbacks of course)
I turned my first book deal down (for 2 titles) because they wanted my next few books signed on the dotted line, and to remove the nipples off of my images of women. No can do. Instead – I published my first book as a print on demand at the age of 25, called Color of Woman, and I hand painted every cover for the first few hundred. Eventually I would go on to sell 11,000+ plus copies myself and be in over 350 stores throughout the US and Canada.(I still wonder what would have happened if I had said yes to that book deal)
I have failed in major ways over and over and I kept going. One time I rented a 7,000 square foot gallery in San Francisco’s gallery district and ran out of all my savings. I remember the day I went to Taco Bell with my last few bucks. A man at church gave me $50 from God, and from there I kept going. All along the way people have helped me keep going, whether through actual resources of money, or payment plans for courses, where I learned how to take my next step. All along the way I have studied with women who walked before me and blazed a trail.
I have opened galleries with $5 and a few paintings. More than once. That’s a lot of faith or just a little bit of wild hearted stubbornness about not going back into the job market.
I created over one million dollars in painting sales by the age of 40.According to national statistics in my genre I was one of the top grossing independent artists for over 10 years. Which is a lot (but isn’t saying much at the same time-lol because it really isn’t that* often that artists make it big).
My business now pays out over 150k to women who work on our programs from home, part time. I love this. I remember my mom and my grandma providing jobs for women too and how important that was for us as a family.
Grandma was a pattern maker for my mom Caron’s dress designs. Sometimes they would stay up so late working I made a bed under the sewing table. I can still hear the sounds of their business around me, humming, the iron steam, the sewing machine, the calculator, the packing tape, the scissors…and feel the velvet swatches from my blanket on my skin.
Today, our businesses serve between 500 and tens of thousands in a given month with free and paid offerings in Intentional Creativity. We have had a physical location for teaching since the year 2000 in locations like Sonoma, San Francisco, Sausalito, Mendocino and Healdsburg. We aren’t just an online business, but have a physical space of beauty, art, culture, creativity and ritual to share with those we serve. I am now in business with my husband Jonathan – how cool is that? I just keep learning and growing from those around me!
Answering a call: Teaching business for me started in my thirties – I actually taught my version of Visionary business in Masters and Phd programs (I don’t have a degree) I still teach that class today, and in fact, a version of it will be in RADIANCE. I started because my compassion for students graduating, was immense. They spent all this money – and didn’t have a business plan – I was shocked, so I took a major stand. Eventually my classes would be over-full and have waiting lists. And…many of those women came to study with me after they graduated.
In 2009 my call to teaching was increasing – the women who bought my paintings wanted to learn how I did what I did. So, I started selling online trainings. My friend and business partner Mary MacDonald said, let’s turn the video on and see what happens – thankfully I was a natural in front of the camera and I loved the idea of moving beyond one to one onto one to many. Our first course had over 100 women in it. Since then, thousands and thousands have worked with our team in Intentional Creativity, intuitive painting and consciousness raising!
Making a difference – What I am most proud of is opening a school for women to teach the teachers, and by 2018 we will have over 200 Intentional Creativity® teachers worldwide, Color of Woman School. Amy helped me get clear on that school, and the value of it and what to charge. She helped me ‘launch’ and held my hand through creating the application, parts of which I still use today after 8 years! Radiance, also has an application where we can learn more about where you are in your business path!
When I was young and idealistic, I imagined being on the front lines of advocacy for women and girls on all levels. And in many aspects of my business, I still do versions of that. However, I received wise counsel, that what I had to say could be taught to others, and I could reach far more that way than I would on my own. Instead of thousands, tens of thousands. And it is happening every day throughout the world.
I truly desire to serve and share my gifts. My work is a ministry. I feel like I am a part of creating a future that I want to see. I am part of turning the great wheel. I am not sitting this one out – rather – I am sprinting ahead and calling others to join me.
The stories of the mundane and the bizarre and the delicious go on and on in a 25+ career in business!
But why am I telling you this now?
About 8 years ago, yes even after creating millions the bottom was not so very far down, I made a few wrong turns business-wise with a big gallery and over-extended and had to do a lease buyout when my business partner left. So here I was at 40 with zero dollars but incredible skills and big dreams and a great track record. My friends, the Cosmic Cowgirls, brought champagne and cowgirl creamery cheese, and we got to talking. What’s next?
We cooked up a plan for my next steps, we heartstormed and masterminded, but I wasn’t familiar with the online world, or online marketing or technology – so the barrier to entry felt extreme. I tried to get help and just a new fancy website with an email capture box was close to 10k. I wondered how anyone could make it in business these days.
Through one of my besties, Christine Arylo – I learned more about the woman who would help me take the next step, Amy Ahlers. I wasn’t desperate, for one reason – I had made and lost money before, and I knew I would recover, but would it be fast enough? I needed to uplevel, yesterday.
I rented a little house living on my own for the first time since my early twenties. I was scared, but passionate for my work with the transformational arts. Classes continued to sell and fill and paintings too – yet I was behind. Many of you have likely experienced that!
So I talked to Amy Ahlers, the Wake-Up Call Coach – and I told her I felt I could coach artists. She told me it would be hard, would be a demotion (based on who I was and what I was good at and I had moved out of trading time for dollars a long time ago) and that I should only do it one time or as needed. She was right. I only did it one time – but that conversation over a few weeks put me on my feet and got me close to 50K to work with. I already had an audience, so I am not saying it was easy – but we did it. That support was what I needed to jump start my new world.
I took on technology and promised myself I would be at cause for my own business. And I am. I work with over twenty technologies still to run our businesses, with support of course! The page you will see for RADIANCE was created by Amy and myself, because we are committed to knowing how to run our business, do the work at hand, and to teaching other women how to make it happen too! In our program one of the mighty tools we are offering is hands on experiential learning – if we continue to resist technology we will not be able to carry our message to the world in the way that we could…
I am telling you my story today because it is pretty awesome that a rogue artist entrepreneur would have something to say about business, alongside Amy Ahlers – who works with big business and high end clients and studies all the latest technologies. But, turns out. I do! We come from different worlds, and we have created a bridge between them. You are invited! It is available all online, with an in person retreat here at Cosmic Cowgirls.
RADIANCE : Request the Invitation here
A 6-Month Prosperity Circle for Heart~Centered Entrepreneurs
to Amplify Passionate Life Work
I have a very specific, unique perspective about how to do business in an authentic, soul stirring way, in which you do not compromise yourself for profit. I left my day job in my early twenties, and yes I have looked back – but always kept moving forward anyway. I looked back because I have often missed having more perceived security – and buying my own health insurance and have a shifting income does have risks. Because every dollar that comes in is made by me, and sometimes that’s a lot of pressure. Yes, I do wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen a more traditional path.
But then…then…I realize the amazing gifts.
I wake up without an alarm. every. day.
I set my own schedule.
I end work at 4pm most days. I rarely work weekends unless I am teaching.
I collaborate with friends on projects that serve the world.
I teach what I love.
I get to serve and be served.
I have made a living with my gifts.
I have provided jobs for others.
I am my own boss.
How much money I make is up to me.
How many hours I work is up to me.
Creativity is woven into all that I do.
Love is at the center of all my choices.
Thankfully I love what I am doing – so work is a joy!
So let me share with you how this all relates to you and your business – if you are an entrepreneur with heart – who is already on her path, we invite you to consider Radiance. We are bridging two worlds – a high end coach, online marketer with incredible skills is teaming up with an artist, who works on both sides of the brain who encourages people to hand paint their business plan. Sound delicious? Unconventional? Wild? Add glitter and the whole thing is rockin’ and rollin’.
To discover what we have been working on for over a year to bring you – come see us over at our prosperity circle that is coming to a town near you…. It’s 6 months, it’s a serious investment in time and resources for all of us – and if it is time for you to say yes to spending focused supported time working on your project – this may be for you.
This may not be for people ‘just’ starting, as the investment is consistent with someone who has time and resources to commit. Regardless, come see!
Let’s shine. Let’s exit the systems that don’t serve and create a bridge between worlds. No matter what is happening out there, we can bring our light to the world and a whole bunch of sass and shimmer!
My stand is for the future of business that does not condone the suffering of others for profit. That takes into consideration the next seven generations. That has a commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs. That honors the earth and all life is sacred. My stand for the future of business is amplifying today through sending you this letter and includes doing my part to work with women to share another approach to creating business.
Business is not as usual – and it is time for us to take unusual approaches. No one is going to create our futures for us, we have to stand for what we need, want and desire for ourselves and our planet.
If you get a chance to join us for RADIANCE you will see how passionate I am about business. Face turns pink, hands wave, hairs fly, jumping up and down kind of passionate. I want us to be empowered to act. To share. To tell new stories. That’s how I know how much it means to me – how it feels in my heart and body. It’s radiant.
Yours in the sunshine,
This is an image at Terra Sophia, the place where I created my first art show, and where I am going to teach a 5 day retreat starting tomorrow for Color of Woman School. Returning to the source…
You can see my last sold out show and some of my latest paintings at www.shilohsophiagallery.com
May LOVE be at the CENTER of all CHOICES