Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interview with Jennifer Lee of the Right-Brain Entrepreneur Mentorship Program

As an artist and illustrator, I have worked for myself for quite a few years and yet I knew hardly anything about building and marketing a business. When I began working with Jennifer Lee in 2013 through her group mentorship program, a whole new world opened up to me. Suddenly, business concepts seemed so relatable, practical, and even fun and exciting. Not only did my business begin to grow and evolve in miraculous ways but my artistic vision and true purpose became clearer. Although I now fly solo after 2 years in the program, I use the teachings from the mentorship again and again throughout my business.

Check out this little snippet of an interview she did with me on her Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit a while back and see one way her program continually helps me.

The next round of Jenn's 10-month Mentorship Program begins on May 2. If you are a creative person whether you are a writer, an artist, a therapist, a coach, a musician, or a maker and you want to start or grow your business, this mentorship program will truly support you on that mission and give you all the tools you need to succeed while having fun.

I interviewed Jenn recently to give you a peek into her world and her work. She had so much inspiration and advice to share. Enjoy!

1. I love your books the Right-Brain Business Plan and Building your Business the Right-Brain Way. What drew you to specifically focus on a right-brain approach to business?

When I first quit my corporate job, I went the library and checked out a bunch of books on starting a business and I was so uninspired by how boring and traditional they were. None of them spoke to my right-brain sensibility. I’m naturally very visual and I love to use collage to connect with my goals so it just made sense that my business plan would start out as a vision board! As I shared my first Right-Brain Business Plan with people, I was struck by how excited folks got about their own goal setting. I knew I was on to something that would help make business more fun and accessible to creatives.

2. As an illustrator, I was so submerged in the work of creating the art that I didn't realize what really goes into building my business until I worked with you. I am sure that many creatives feel the same way. How do you make business concepts relatable and practical for artists, makers, and healers like myself?

We’re so conditioned to think that business must be done a certain way and we put on our “serious business” hat and then wonder why we feel stuck, overwhelmed or frustrated. We cut ourselves off from our own source of inner wisdom. But when we allow ourselves to tap into our right-brain genius, intuition, and passion we open ourselves up to an empowered and inspiring way of doing our work - even as we deal with the left-brain tasks. I find that things like visuals, metaphors, and experiential exercises help to make the money, marketing, and sales more relatable for creative folks. Who knew that sticky notes could help people with their budgets? Also, the real-life case studies that I share from my own business and from fellow cohorts create powerful light bulb moments when participants see what’s actually possible.

3. I know you have been spending time in your studio exploring large-scale intuitive painting. This is so exciting and I always love to see the paintings on your Instagram. How do creative practices such as this inform and support your business?

I love expressing my creativity and emotions through my gigantic wall-sized intuitive paintings. This creative practice has helped me on so many levels. I’ve learned to trust and act upon my intuition more boldly than ever and that it’s okay for things to be messy, ugly, or not make any sense (great lessons for a recovering perfectionist). Painting big has helped me practice taking up space and being seen (a huge turning point for this introvert). My practice also helps me move through the ups and downs that come along with the entrepreneurial journey - it’s one of the ways I work through places I might feel stuck or frustrated by and it’s a way to continually fill my own creative well.

4. You have been a full-time coach for just about a decade and I am sure you have learned so much from this journey. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your business?

I wish that I knew earlier on how to think more like a CEO of my company and not just the coach or artist delivering the service or product. It took me a couple of years to really step into being an entrepreneur and business owner and once I started to run my business with that mindset, things started to shift.

5. You recently hosted an inspiring webinar on redefining success. People often associate success simply with money and/or fame and don't often look deeper to see what it really means to them. What is your current definition of success?

I admit that I’ve been seduced by those external definitions of success in my corporate career and even in my own business. As part of my own healing journey, I’ve been redefining success as feeling creativity fulfilled, making a positive impact through my life and work, embracing ease, and having the freedom and flexibility to enjoy my life in a way that’s aligned with my values and vision.

6. I am a huge fan of your Cohort Circle Mentorship Program and have participated for 2 years in a row. I truly learned so much and my business evolved in ways I could not have previously imagined. I am curious what types of transformations you have seen in the people who have participated in your mentorship program?

I absolutely loved having you in the group, Nicole! It was awesome to see how you applied the teachings to your own business and got such great results! Like you, I’ve seen our participants get clearer on their core message and offers - for example, Vivienne McMaster of Be Your Own Beloved was a past Shining Star and she’s really worked to establish herself as a leader in self-compassion and self-love through self-portraiture. Others have grown their lists by hundreds and even thousands (like you!) by hosting virtual events or doing collaborative projects. We’ve had participants transition from successful businesses into new creative work that’s more aligned to who they are now. Mostly it’s the deeper transformations such as gaining confidence, expressing more of their authentic self, putting themselves out there in bigger ways, and trusting their own voice that provide the foundation for the awesome outcomes and accomplishments we celebrate in our Circle.

7. What advice would you give to someone early in their creative entrepreneurial journey?

Remember that it takes time to grow a business so keep on taking one small step after another. Every action gets you closer to your big vision. Also, make sure to surround yourself with supportive people who can help you to continue taking those steps forward. You don’t have to go it alone!

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