Category Archives: Creativity

Does Fear Stop You from Starting—or Finishing—Your Creative Pursuits?

How many creative projects are on your “to-do” list?

Maybe they’re not on your immediate to-do list … because, well, you’re busy. But you’d really like to get to them … “someday.”

If you had time. If you had talent. If you weren’t failing.

Does this frame of mind sound familiar?

If you’re attracting money in fear, then you end up attracting fear along with any money you bring in.

And do you know what fear does? It stops us from doing what we’re meant to do: our creative work.

It’s no surprise to you, then, that procrastination and perfectionism are rooted in fear-based emotions.

And these can grip even the best of us.

Which is why I invited Samantha Bennett, author of “Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in Just 15 Minutes a Day,” to join me on the Love-Based Money Podcast. She’s sharing how to get past procrastination and perfectionism in just 15 minutes per day. And it works! I’ve experienced it, myself.

Listen here:

Samantha Bennett on Love-Based Money with Michele PW: How to Stop Fear from Standing in the Way of Your Creative Pursuits, in Just 15 Minutes per Day.

Are You a Creative Entrepreneur Who Has No Time To Be Creative?

It happens to all of us.Creativity_01

Life. Business. Family. Endless to-do lists. Client emergencies. Family emergencies.

And then, you wake up one day and realize you haven’t done squat for months (or maybe even longer than you care to think about) to nurture your own creativity.

You keep thinking “if I just get over this (family/business/health/whatever) hump, I’ll have time to slow down and be more creative.”

Yeah — and how’s that been working for you? Continue reading

The 3 Visionary Powers of Entrepreneurs

Guest blog post by Julie Ann Turner

Did you know that high-achieving entrepreneurs, creators, leaders and visionaries inevitably share Visionary Powers?

In many ways, these powers can serve you – they are among your greatest strengths …GuestBlogPost_02

Yet these same powers carry a potential hidden downside that can actually hold you back from sharing those very same strengths with your tribe – those who need your gifts and guidance most – and therefore, from building your business.

To help you ensure YOUR powers serve you (and help you serve your tribe) instead of hold you back, I’ve created the following guide to understanding which of the powers you are, along with my tips for avoiding their potential downsides. Continue reading

25 Ways to Add More Creativity in Your Biz

If you ever have one of those days when you’re absolutely dragging, and feel like you don’t have a creative bone in your body (or maybe it’s one of those REALLY bad days when you feel like you may never be creative again) or maybe you just need a new perspective on something, take heart — these 25 tips may be just the ticket you need to rev up your creativity, and get those ideas sparking again! Continue reading

3 Ways Being Creative Can Hurt You In Biz

Yes you read the title right. This is all about how being creative can hurt you in biz.

We all know being creative is definitely an asset when you’re an entrepreneur. But…

Your greatest strengths are also your greatest weakness. And being TOO creative can actually keep you from building the biz of your dreams. So let’s dig into how creativity can actually hurt you in biz.

1. You love starting new things — but finishing? Not so much. There’s nothing like the rush of a new idea or a new brainstorm, is there? It’s soooo much fun to live on the Island of Possibilities and Dreams.

Which is why the Land of What Your Biz Is In Real Life feels so, well, blah.

Ideas that live on the Island Of Dreams are fun. Coaxing those ideas off of their fun island (where they’re hanging out at the beach during the day and partying every night) and talking them into becoming permanent citizens on the Land of Reality where they are now earning their keep and making money for you can be not-so-fun.

Those ideas aren’t necessarily all that thrilled about leaving their carefree lifestyle. So it takes time. And work. And sometimes that work is difficult and unpleasant.

(And that doesn’t even cover the “what if the idea isn’t all that hot once it’s real” fear that can also take over as you get close to finishing a new project.)

So being super creative can also mean lots of unfinished projects that are still half on the Island of Dreams, which means their hanging out having a blast rather than making any money for you.

2. You want to love the projects you’re working on. Yes we all want to love what we’re working on, but the truth of the matter is no matter how much you love an idea, there will be times where you just want to ship the smelly thing back to the Island of Dreams to stay.

If you’re too creative, you may decide it’s easier to just fall in love with a different idea on the Island of Dreams and, well, that means another unfinished project on your to-do list that isn’t making you any money.

But if you want to be a successful entrepreneur you must resist that urge. Only ideas that are firmly in the Land of Reality will have any hope of making you any money so even if you aren’t feeling the love, work through it.

3. Ideas aren’t the only thing you fall in and out of love with — your biz brand is also a constant moving target. This is the one that’s really tough to overcome. If you find yourself changing your brand every year, then it’s going to be really difficult to build traction in the marketplace.

Now while I am a big believer in just getting something out and letting the marketplace give you feedback (and yes I have gone through a few brands myself over the years) if you are constantly just not happy with your biz brand, then you are definitely letting your creativity rule your biz.

There is a time and place to rebrand — but it’s NOT because you’re tired or bored with your brand (especially if it wasn’t that long ago you rebranded because you were…well tired and bored with your brand). If you rebrand too much you’re just asking for your ideal clients to be confused, and that’s very often the first step to biz failure.

So, you’ve probably sensed a theme here. And that theme is — if you know you’re creative, and you find yourself making decisions on your biz, your brand, your products, your programs, your marketing, etc. based on if something is fun or gives you that rush, and you find yourself NOT working on something because it’s starting to feel like work (and you’d rather go back to the rush) then you’re probably allowing your creativity to dictate your biz rather than enhance your biz. And that’s a recipe for a not-so-successful biz.

Business Ideas – Need a New Idea? Try Changing Your Perspective

One definition of creativity states that creative people look at the same thing everyone else does, yet they see something no one else does.

But even creative people (which includes all of you, of course) can run into roadblocks every now and then. Sometimes it’s not possible to see something different. Sometimes you’ve just been staring at a problem for so long it’s now impossible to look at it in any other way.

So what do you do in these situations?

Why not try changing your perspective?

Consider this: A friend of mind who does needlepoint has a design that’s mostly black. Rather than simply stitching the design on white canvas with black thread, she’s using a black canvas and is stitching the negative aspects of the design instead of the positive.

She changed the way she viewed the problem. And now she has a really cool-looking needlepoint design that’s different from most other ones out there.

Or what about this: An art teacher has her students turn a photograph or object upside down and paint what they see — not a picture but an arrangement of shapes.

By changing your perspective, you’re changing what you see. And when you change what you see, you’re more likely to create something completely different.

But — I can hear you all saying right now — that’s art. That won’t help me with my business problem.

Okay, so here’s another story from the book “Thinkertoys” by Michael Michalko. Back in the 1950s, experts proclaimed the ocean freighter industry was dying. Costs were skyrocketing and delivery times kept getting pushed back later and later.

Executives at the shipping companies kept focusing on ways to cut costs while ships were sailing. They developed ships that went faster and needed fewer crew members to run.

It didn’t work. Costs continued to spiral out of control and it still took too long to get the merchandise shipped.

Then one day, a consultant changed the perspective. Rather than ask the question: ” In what ways might we make ships more economical while at sea?” executives asked: “In what ways can we reduce costs?”


Ships are big money-sucking machines when they aren’t at sea actually doing their job — shipping merchandise. And when aren’t they working? When they’re sitting in port being loaded and unloaded.

So, the industry came up with way to preload merchandise on land. Now a ship comes in, the container carrying the cargo rolls off, a new container already loaded with cargo rolls on, and the ship heads back to sea.

That one innovation saved an entire industry. And it happened because shipping executives changed the way they viewed their problem.

Exercise — Change your perspective

So, how can you change your perspective and solve your business/marketing problems?

Try what the shipping industry did and change the question.

Instead of looking at a narrow part of the problem (“In what ways can we make ships more economical while at sea?”) broaden the question (“In what ways can we reduce costs in general?”)

Here’s another example.

Maybe your question is “how can I land more clients?” What if you started broadening the question like so:

How can I land more clients?

How can I grow my business?

How can I make more money from my business?

How can I make more money period?

How can I be happier in my life? (I know, I know, money doesn’t buy happiness. But it’s certainly nice to have.)

Maybe one of those questions is a better place to look for a solution. Because maybe one of those questions is the “real” question you want to solve, but since you never took a step back to look at the big picture, you’ve never discovered the right question to ask.

And if you don’t ask the right question, your muse will never give you an answer that actually solves your problem.

7 Reasons Why You Absolutely Must Get Creative With Your Marketing RIGHT NOW

1. It’s not your grandfather’s communications model. Communications has drastically changed since, say, the 1970s when advertising was in its heyday (actually most of the 1900s, but the 1970s is a good representative year).

Target markets are fragmented, customers have more demands on their time and they’ve learned to shut out the majority of advertising messages out there. The old ways of marketing based on advertising don’t work the way they used to. To succeed in the new communications model, you need every advantage you can find. And that includes harnessing your creativity.

2. Break through the information/products overload. The Internet has been the biggest boom to small businesses everywhere. It’s simple and affordable to sell your products and/or services to anyone in the world. However, the ease of setting up an Internet business means lots of people are doing it. Lots of people doing it means lots of products and services are available.

The easiest way to set yourself apart from the other 16 million Web sites out there is to enlist the help of your creativity.

3. If it looks like your competitors’ marketing plan… While it’s always good to know where your competitors are putting their marketing dollars, it may not be smart to be there too. (What I’m referring to are the different marketing vehicles, such as print publications, radio stations, billboards, event sponsorships, community groups, etc.) This is especially a problem if you’re always following your competitors’ lead and are never “the first” to take advantage of a new opportunity.

Think of it this way: If your message is only appearing in the same places as your competitors, how are you going to keep from blending into the crowd?

I’m not saying to ignore the places where your competitors are hanging out. I’m just saying you had better get creative with your marketing vehicles. Maybe you need a token presence on some media outlets while you branch out and look for other “off the beaten track” opportunities you can own.

4. If it smells like your competitor’s marketing message… Producing similar marketing materials to your competitors’ is a surefire way to get your customers to ignore you. Take cars for instance. Can you tell me the difference between a Ford and Chevrolet commercial (other than the tagline)? Do you even know if the commercial you’re remembering IS a Ford or Chevy commercial?

See what I mean?

And when your customers can’t remember what’s different between you and your competitor, how will you convince them to buy from you rather than your competitor?

Getting creative with your marketing will help your message stand out from the crowd.

5. Harness the power of your creativity for your marketing. Not only is there power in using your creativity, but there’s power in new ideas. Skeptical? Think of the surge of energy you feel during that “A-ha” moment. Think of all the excitement surrounding a new idea. You can even take it further and look at the energy surrounding the creation of a new life (which, when you get right down to it, is the ultimate act of creation). When you focus that power on your marketing, there’s no telling how far it will take you.

6. Enjoy your marketing. Let’s face it. Marketing isn’t always fun. In fact, sometimes it’s drudgery. But when you add your creativity to the mix, your marketing takes on something completely different.

Being creative is fun. So, the more you can blend your creativity with your marketing, the more fun you’ll have with your marketing. And the more fun you have, the more you’ll do it (and the more results you’ll see).

7. Use it or lose it, baby. The more you use your creativity, the more creative you become and the more your creativity will spill over in other parts of your life. What better way to consistently make use of your creativity than by making it a part of your marketing plan?

The bottom line? No matter where you are on the creativity scale, your attempts at creativity won’t hurt your marketing (no matter how “bad” you think you are at it). But if you don’t at least try to be creative, you’re definitely never going to stand out from the crowd. And, chances are, being creative will only enhance your marketing – probably in new and unexpected ways.

That’s the beauty of creativity – you never know when or how it will step through the door, bringing with it the all the energy and excitement of new adventures.

Quiz: Are you Creative?

Worried you may not be creative, or you may not be creative enough? Take this quiz and find out just how creative you are.

Get a piece of paper and number it one to seven. For each question, write down the corresponding letter of your answer.

1. When you come across a rose, you immediately:

A. Smell it.
B. Quote every rose poem you can remember.
C. Write your own poem.
D. Sketch the rose.
E. Step on the rose.

2. One of your dreams in life is to:

A. Write a novel.
B. Become a painter.
C. Travel the world.
D. Climb all the famous mountains.
E. Just once, get everything done on your to-do list

3. Your desk:

A. You have trouble finding as it’s buried under everything including the kitchen sink.
B. Resembles a natural disaster.
C. Is a bit of a mess, but you know where everything is.
D. Is basically neat — you use the stacking method
E. Is in perfect order — everything in its place.

4. The person you admire most is:

A. Einstein.
B. Walt Disney.
C. Your mother.
D. Jane Austin.
E. Anyone who can get everything crossed off their to-do list.

5. You consider yourself:

A. Extremely creative.
B. Creative.
C. Somewhat creative.
D. A little creative.
E. About as creative as a turnip (actually, come to think about it, turnips may be more creative then you are).

6. You get new ideas:

A. All the time.
B. Several times a week.
C. Several times a month.
D. Once or twice a month.
E. You dimly recall getting a new idea when Clinton was in office. Or maybe it was the first Bush.

7. You dream in:

A. Color.
B. Black and white.
C. Both black and white and color.
D. You can’t remember now.
E. Nothing. You don’t dream.


Throw out all your answers except the one for number five — “You consider yourself:”. If you answered:

A. Extremely creative — Then you’re extremely creative.
B. Creative — Then you’re creative.
C. Somewhat creative — then you’re somewhat creative.
D. A little creative — Then you’re a little creative.
E. About as creative as a turnip — then you’re about as creative as a turnip.

Okay, this was a bit of a trick. But it’s true. How creative you think you are corresponds with how creative you are.

There was a famous study done that illustrates this. A big company wanted to increase creativity in its employees. So it hired a group of consultants to come in. The consultants started by thoroughly testing all of the employees. They discovered the only difference between the employees who were creative and who weren’t creative was how creative they perceived themselves.

Even more telling was what happened to the group that wasn’t creative. The consultants focused on helping them nurture their creativity, and at the end those employees were actually more creative than the ones who had initially considered themselves more creative.

And that means you too can become more creative. In fact, how creative you become is entirely in your own hands.

Creativity Exercise — Assumptions

Ready to become more creative? Here’s an exercise.

Write down all the reasons why you’re not creative. Go on. Write them all down. Every negative reason you can think of. Things like:

I’ve never been creative in my life.
I haven’t had a new idea in over a year.
I don’t have time to be creative.

Now reverse those negative assumptions and make them positive. Like so:

I am a creative person.
I have lots of new ideas all of time.
I don’t need time to be creative because I already am creative.

Do this every day and see what happens. This is a great way to start getting rid of those inner demons that keep all of us from realizing our true potential.

5 Tips to Make Your Marketing More Creative

Same old same old just doesn’t sell anymore. To make your marketing stand out, you need to get creative. Below are five tips designed to get your creative juices flowing. Some are brainteasers or are what Michael Michalko in “Thinkertoys” calls Linear Thinkertoys. Others fall under intuition or Intuitive Thinkertoys.

Some tips may appeal to you more than others. My suggestion is to try them all. Even the ones you’re not drawn to may still open some doors that wouldn’t have opened any other way.

These tips will work whether you sell a product, a service or both.

1. Find the “second right answer.” Roger von Oech talks about this in A Whack on the Side of the Head. Don’t be content with the first good idea you come up with. Take the time to think of a second, or third or 50th idea. Quantity counts – the more ideas you have to choose from, the more likely you’ll discover an excellent or even a brilliant one. Remember, Thomas Edison discovered thousands of ways a light bulb didn’t work.

2. Change the question. If you change the question, you’re probably going to get a different answer. You say you want to sell more products? What if you changed the question to how can you make more money? Well, there are other ways to make more money than to sell more products – maybe you lower the cost of making the product or you raise the price of the product. Now you suddenly have new avenues to explore rather than just going down the same tired path.

3. Ask your product or service how it wants to be sold. Now we move into more intuitive techniques. Start by getting yourself into a relaxed state. Take a few deep breaths or practice some relaxation techniques. Imagine your product or service in front of you. Now ask it questions. Who do you want to be sold to? How do you want to be sold? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who do you think you can help? Why do you want to help them? You can also do this technique as a journal exercise. Write down the question and answer. See what bubbles up onto the paper.

4. Paint a public relations campaign. What would a press release look like if you painted it? Or sculpted it? How about a dance number? A collage? Take any part of your marketing that troubles you and turn it into a piece of art. By combining two dissimilar acts, you may discover your answer. Or you may not come up with anything at all, but just the act of “playing” and “creating” could jolt something loose. Hours or days later your idea may suddenly end up in your lap.

5. Walk away from it. If nothing is working, then stop. You can literally walk away by taking a walk, or just quit thinking about it. This is especially important if you find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged. Give your subconscious time to mull things over. The idea may just suddenly appear to you. Or, after a few days, try another exercise or two. That may be the catalyst you need.

The most important tip of all? Make sure you have a blast. Being creative should be fun. Keep it light and fun, don’t struggle too hard with it, and see how many ideas you’re rewarded with.

5 Proven Tips to Make Money from Your Creative Ideas

By Nancy Marmolejo, Guest Blogger (sponsored post)

By nature, entrepreneurs are highly creative thinkers. Every aspect of a business- from filling a need, to solving a problem, to marketing, to selling, to serving customers- is an expression of creativity.

But for every great idea that gets launched, millions more go the wayside because entrepreneurs simply don’t know how to take action, how to decide if something’s worth pursuing, or if the time is right.

Wild ideas are GREAT for business…  and now more than ever is the time to take action. Why? Because so many people are playing it safe, the playing field is wide open for wild ideas.

This is the time to be bold and brave, to lean out instead of leaning in, to move into theunknown rather than stay in the familiar.

But how do you do that without losing your shirt? Follow these tips, inspired by real-life success stories, and see your wild ideas pay off!

1. Don’t wait until you know everything. The time it takes to become perfect at something is a surefire way to miss an opportunity.Never stop learning, but at some point you must take action before- even before you know all the details. Entrepreneurs are fast learners- never underestimate your ability to learn onyour feet while you’re taking action. As Michael Port shares in “The Wild Idea That Paid Off” virtual chat series, “Be a blank piece of paper with a beginner’s mind.” Let the knowledge fill you as you go along.

2. Turn past failures into future successes. Thomas Edison took over 1000 tries to invent the lightbulb. You might fail at something too… but that failure could be the path to your next big success. Branding expert Kim Castle turned a disastrous financial situation into multi-million dollar business by simply plucking out the lessons and spinning them into gold. (Kim shares her entire story in an interview we did). Where there’s failure, there’s opportunity!

3. Step out of the safe and familiar. Trailblazer coach Shawn Driscoll hung out mostly in the background until one day she decided to break out and fully express her talents through her business. It frightened people around her, but the bold steps have paid off. Productive Flourishing’s Charlie Gilkey walked away from an established career and doctoral program to begin a business that served the needs of creative entrepreneurs.  Social media pioneer Jack Humphrey gave away an extremely valuable product for free at the risk of losing $100,000 in sales. Marketing expert Ellen Britt chose to brand her business with an unconventional, regional twist. They each were told not to take the risk butthey did… and it paid off. Get out of the safe and familiar and take bold steps into the unknown.

4. Live a creative life. Creative people don’t just summon up their creative juices when needed. They show curiosity,try new things, and embark on new adventures. Business coach Andrea Lee views life as a creative adventure and puts what she learns into her business and live events. Author and coach Pamela Slim is drawn to great ideas in all aspects of her business and life. The creative life is a way of seeing possibilities and taking action on them.

5. Make a plan. Taking risks and being spontaneous can still follow a plan, which is what 9 innovative thinkersall agreed was the key to success in these conversations on creativity and innovation.  Being able to put your creative ideas into action is what separates wild ideas that go nowhere from wild ideas that pay off. Look at the big picture. Chunk it down into action steps. Map out the details and set deadlines. Stay accountable to yourself and someone else so things get done. This is where the rubber hits the road and where the success stories are born.
There’s a big difference between a wild idea that pays off  and a distracting bright shiny object.Follow these tips to turn your wild ideas into profitable paths to happiness, prosperity, and innovation.

About the Author:
Nancy Marmolejo is an award winning business owner who teaches entrepreneurs how to stand out as experts in their fields. The founder of the highly successful Viva Visibility, Nancyrecently launched a free virtual chat series “The Wild Idea That Paid Off” to encourage entrepreneurs to think broadly and to encourage curiosity. With 8 forward thinkers joining her, this series is designed to give concrete steps to turning your wild ideas into profitable, lucrativepayoffs. Sign up here.

My 24-hr Sale (or Why You Should Be Thanking Uncle Sam)

A couple of weeks ago, my accountant called to let me know my taxes were ready. He also shared with me that I was one of the “lucky” ones – I was one of the few in his practice who owed money because my business made money last year.

Ah, lucky me.

Good news, my business was successful last year. Bad new, Uncle Sam wants his piece of the pie.

So I decided to look at this as a win-win. I would have a 24-hr sale on one of my best products, Kaching Traffic Secrets.

You win because you’ll be able to save a whopping $200 for 24 hours AND you’ll get THE system on driving more traffic to your site using Web 2.0 tactics. This isn’t another information product that will languish unopened on your shelf – this is the actual system I use for myself and for my clients to drive thousands of visitors to their sites.  You just hand it over to your virtual assistant and they implement it. It’s that easy!

And I win because I’ll be happily writing my check to Uncle Sam. (Well, happily might be stretching it…)

Uncle Sam wins too, but maybe we’ll not talk about that…

Anyway, sale starts bright and early Thursday morning at 6 am Pacific and ends Friday at 6 am Pacific. Here’s the link if you want to check out Kaching Traffic Secrets now:

5 Secrets of a Successful Launch Campaign to Help You Sell More

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that my last preview call, 5 Secrets of a Successful Launch Campaign to Help You Sell More, is this coming Wednesday, Oct 29, at 4 pm PST/7 pm EST.

Here’s the link to reserve your seat:

This is the call where I pull it all together. I started with getting the leads, then moved to converting the leads with psychological triggers and now I’m ending with how to put it all together and successfully launch your product or service.

You’ll learn:

* What a launch campaign is and why it’s so important when you’re introducing a new product or service to the marketplace

* What all successful launches have in common (so you know what you need to do to make yours a success)

* One BIG mistake entrepreneurs do when they create a launch plan, and how you can prevent it

* One BIG step that’s overlooked by many entrepreneurs (miss this and you could end up wasting a lot of time and have nothing to show for it)

* What you need to keep in mind during your launch so you get truly FABULOUS results


Here’s that link again to sign up:

If you’ve already signed up for either of my first 2 preview calls, you’re automatically signed up for this one as well. Watch your in-box for call-in info.

New Photos and Unhappy Nick

Dear Readers,

Remember how I told you I had new photos taken of me? Well, they’re on my Web site, so make sure you check it out:

I basically picked 3 to be my main photos, but I had a lot more taken (and there were a bunch more really good ones). I ended up posting all the ones I liked on MySpace page in a photo album ( — click on the View My Photos if you want to see them all). One in particular is quite striking of me but I’m afraid it’s not, well, business enough. (I’m wearing a gold tank top.) Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think. (And if THAT doesn’t get you to my MySpace page, I don’t know what will  )

Nick wasn’t happy at all during the photo shoot, so to read his take on it, take a look at his blog,

In the spirit of football season and Brett Favre, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers who just broke the NFL all-time touchdown record, I’ve put together an article about how football provides some valuable business-building lessons. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, I hope you’ll still enjoy it.

Michele PW (Pariza Wacek) is the author of 5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make That Kill Their Sales…And How To Prevent Them. Ready to turn lookers into buyers and watch your business skyrocket? Click here to learn more about this special report, free for a limited time.

How your personality can grow your business

The other day, a colleague of mine told me about a new marketing agency and sent me a link to their Web site. I checked it out.

Needless to say, it was dreadful.

Oh, it was pretty enough. Very nice graphics. And what little copy there was, was very artfully placed (although so tiny it was difficult to actually read).

Why do I say it was dreadful? Because, even though it was pretty, it had absolutely no personality.

The copy was boring (not to mention full of “we’s” but that’s for another day). The graphics were pretty but boring. There was no life, no energy. Just flat.

It was as though the Web site was trying so hard to appeal to everyone, it ended up appealing to no one.

You see, people want to do with business with people. And they want to do business with people they know, like and trust.

But how will they know if they like you if they don’t know your personality? If you’re so busy hiding behind some boring, flat, but oh-so-politically-correct Web site, how will they ever figure out if they like you enough to do business with you?

And, even more importantly, will they stick around long enough to get to know you. Continue reading