4 weeks for you!


We are all born with creativity.   It is the way each of us express, differentiate, and excel at what we do.
Depending upon your cultural, social beliefs, and upbringing,  you have either been encouraged or discouraged to express your creativity. 
Individual challenges occur when we reach cross roads in our journey.
  These are opportunities  to clear away  old bad habits and distractions that we have been tripping over for years.
 Is it time to take on the project that you have been dreaming of?
 Perhaps you have spent a career doing something you were told was a good career  and now you want to  consider how to take all the skills you have amassed and create a "new you" doing something YOU love.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”  ~Oprah Winfrey

This is a 4 week program-  We meet in a one on one session for 1 hour each week.
Depending upon the agreed upon objectives  specific to YOUR individual needs, I will guide our  discussions to address your creative challenges and opportunities  in a structured, safe, environment.
Each week you will be given specific take away exercises to work on during the week which will act as building blocks to  help you  address, barriers, re-engage, or develop your creative self.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to get out of your head, into action, with support when you have a  breakthrough or blockade.

Who should attend?
Artists or creative wannabe's who have the desire, willingness and commitment to connect with themselves and others , develop and nurture your creative self  in a healthy, safe, and supportive environment.

When and Where
Berkeley / San Francisco  locations available. Weekly meetings are generally scheduled between  9a-6pm Mo-Sat.  Dates, times and location will be confirmed based upon schedule availability. *During typical sessions we meet for coffee, lunch, or a walk for 
face to face consultations and workshops.
  
Meetings can  be scheduled ANYWHERE in the world- contact me to discuss details and pricing outside Berkeley / SF area for both face to face and Skye options.

Limited Availability!  
The number of spaces  and discounted pricing  a  limited time offering!

Registration: 
Full Registration is required when you sign up to guarantee your space for: Four- one hour break through consultations.

Registration Fee:  $399   









Do or do not...




When you have committed to a large project- you know that you are going to be faced with multiple challenges.
The biggest challenge is often simply getting started.  
You or others around you may question your motives, and even your sanity for following something that you believe strongly in. 

Once you are under way, you are often diverted with competing priorities and obstacles .  You might even face barriers as you are attempting to finish your project.

The Boston Marathon  is a huge “project” for a individual to take on- without any horrific distractions.
When you compete in marathon distance races, you are committing to hours and hours of running.  26.2 miles is a long enough distance that you can’t “fake it”, meaning  if you were a active and healthy individual you could probably drop into your neighborhood 5- 10k or maybe even a 1/2 marathon, race and finish, It might not be pretty, and you would feel pretty sore to run between 3-13 miles with little training, but you could "fake it".
Running your body for 26.2 miles, that means running four 6.2 mile 10k's in a row. It also means you have worked out the physical stamina needed, your dietary requirements, and often the biggest piece of the puzzle, the mental component. Staying focused, motivated, and listening to your body. Once those big pieces are taken care of what if you  have set your sights on competing at the Boston Marathon?

 It is a championship race  that requires qualifying race  times and requirements for runners to compete. It's too much to "fake it" you have to be prepared and have done the hard work just to get there.  Then you have to face the actual event. Obsticles? yup, hills? you bet several,  your body? the distance, sometimes the weather, all take their toll. Regardless of your finishing time your tired when your feet cross over the finish line.  
With the prolonged mental and physical drain  it is VERY  easy to get distracted, and in the unthinkable instance of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon bombs were  laid at the finish line.
Bill Iffrig- via London Telegraph
During the first explosion, you see  a 78 yr old runner Bill Eliff being knocked to his feet.  
 I guarentee you this runner, who had 3 Boston's already under his belt did not include bombs exploding on the side of the course when he was preparing for this event.  Despite the tremendous distraction and diversion of 2 bombs exploding, he completed the race.

We run, ride, race, create music, art, and new products to make our lives “better”- while completing our big projects, we like to cheer others like us on!   Together WE push forward. It didn't occur to Bill to not finish the race, he had already come so far. (!!!)
There will always be barriers trying to stop us from what we are driven to do, I can't bear to dwell on the horrific nature of the loss, and to have a beautiful historic tradition used as a platform for some depraved bullies attempt to interupt the successes of others.

I do believe we creatures, try most days to love, protect, and challenge each other, and when things get hard we cheer each other on to be the best we can be.  As a old friend reminds me   “Do…or do not, there is no try”-  Yoda

Today, start something good,

we are here cheering, and celebrating!



Links and credits:

Boston Marathon BAA.com
Qualifying information
Bill Iffrig: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/15/177393410/boston-blast-man-knocked-over-by-explosion-got-up-finished-race

Photo credits
via London Telegraph:
Bill Iffrig: http://media.kens5.com/images/470*264/0415bill_iffrig.jpg
Start something big: vemo.com
Peace Train: cat Stevens  via dailymotion.com
Lack the courage to start- tamra engle

Tour or travel planning?

During spring time I notice 3 types of people.

Families preparing for a spring break- looking for a get away.
Business Travelers-  Road warriors who are home often enough to collect their bills, then off to the next  client.
Tour Preperation- Artists preparing for summer tours- Local, regional, and North American travel, in cars, vans, busses, planes, and trains.


If you spend any amount of time "on the road" you have certainly experienced a wide variety of places to eat, sleep, while trying to  get to the next location, it can get ugly really fast!

Sometimes we get so focused upon  the destination we forget "la gioia è nel giro " Italian  for "the Joy is in the ride".  


When your planning your next great adventure, whether it is for business or pleasure-  think about the amount of time you are going to be spending traveling?  

What  are your eating? Where are you sleeping?  And what are your physical activity needs are during that time?  When driving,  do you get out and stretch and walk around every few hours? or did you not plan your drive time well, and your racing non stop to get to the next town?
  Are you making good food choices while you are traveling?  Drinking enough water? or are you falling victim to what  ever pre-packaged, motel  fast food that is filled with fat, sugar, and calorie or portion sizes that are enough to feed two people, and your "system" is outta whack for a week. 

Whether you are a artist touring, a business traveler, or your bringing the whole dang family with you for a outdoor adventure.   You are physically hauling more things with you.  Suitcases, food, equipment and everyone's toys. 
Most things are heavier, and shoved into tight spaces requiring you to bend over, or stand in a awkward position reaching above your head. 
If your a woman  are you physically strong enough to lift 30-50 lbs above your head?  Most women can't lift 20 lbs over their heads!   Do you ever come home from a trip and feel trashed or get sick?  

Being trashed or sick totally defeats the idea of "getting away".
 Your supposed to come back home feeling  relaxed not in a deeper hole than when you left! 
  If your traveling for business, you ALWAYS have a pile of work waiting for you when you get back,  If your too sick to get back to it,  then your gonna feel really stressed out, trying to play catch up.
 Stop coming home from a tour or business trip sick, or from a conference with another "bug".

If your new gig is going to put you on the road more often, and your goal is to really "kill it" then get serious and  think about it like you are "training" for your job.   Lifestyle guides can assist you with everything from project management helping with travel planning  to making recommendations for proper meal and exercise planning to insure you get the most out of your travel time by staying healthy!

Some additional reading about travel and health:
 http://bethegarden.blogspot.com/2013/04/human-foie-gras-anyone.html


I'm Coming to your town:

Ready to schedule a planning meeting with you, or your leadership team?
  • Private or group consultations
  • Short- Mid term project work
  • Workshops- to improve and grow your personal and business health.
  • Entertainment Consultant: Producer / Branding / Social Media
  •   Email me!


Florida:         Clearwater Fl: May 19-22nd-
California:     SF / Central Coast / LA / OC/ SD
Italy:    Sept - Florence, Sienna, Tuscany-   
Your town?

Schedule your private or group consultation to improve and grow your personal and business health!

Meet the new baby!

The past two years the  customers that have been referred to me most, have me individuals and business's who need(ed) assistance re-branding- or transitioning on to the next big thing in their lives.
As I began working with these individuals everyone  had gone through several MAJOR life changing events. 
These are times that I call "book mark" moments, the starting or ending of a relationship, job, or home. 

Re-branding, re-discovery, re-birth,  or mid-life crisis, what ever you choose to call it.  What every label you want to put on it, every human has chapters in their lives, and you as the authors of your story get to decide which path's  and 
directions you choose to take within the chapters.

When I am in a personal transition time, I  use these times  to assess where I am at, evaluate the tools I know how to use,  and refine how I am using them, or add additional skills to my tool box to help my clients do the same, so they can achieve the goals they imagine.

My ongoing  evolution has branched out into a new Lifestyle Blog titled
 "Be the Garden"  In this new forum, I will share tips, recipes, interviews and articles  each week about people like you who are successful business owners, managing a busy household, and like to play hard!   If your   interested learning ways to keep yourself and your family reclaiming health, sanity and balance to your lives,  then you can "Be the Garden"  and use this as a launching off point for a new way of living!  Greener, with more space for the things that are important to you.  
I invite you to subscribe to the blog, which you can get delivered for free once a week. 

Are you ready to get started on what's next?   Then let's talk!   Most initial consultations are over a walk or coffee-



I'm Coming to your town:


If your interested in meeting for a private or group consultation or workshop let me know:
Ready to schedule a planning meeting with you or your leadership team? Email me!


Coming to:

Washington: Seattle Wa:  March 27-29th- schedule your lunch or post work meeting
Florida:         Clearwater Fl: May 19-22nd-
California:     SF / Central Coast / LA / OC/ SD- Schedule your private or group consultation or workshop


Be the garden direct link:  http://bethegarden.blogspot.com/

Sorry, I've been swamped!!....

How often have you heard or used this "excuse" for not responding to someone?
"I am sorry but I have been swamped!"   Swamped is a   term used to describe a feeling.  It is a feeling brought about by overwhelmed thinking.   When we use this phrase on others,  deep down we feel it will gain us sympathy, and acknowledgement of our stressful situation.

 Have you heard or used these phrases " I'm feeling down" or   " I can't seem to do anything right"?
Have you ever worked on a project with someone that simply complained about the job, the boss, or co-workers? Perhaps they go on to say how they can "never get everything done".   When your surrounded by it, you soak it in and start to believe it, and pretty soon, you find you are also a  "victim" in the "habit" of "being swamped", and find you are never getting things completely done.

Forget your bad habits, Try embracing these terms "Get over it"  Rise above it", even "I'm on top of it!"


 Look at the words you use to communicate.   Make a list of phrases that you use frequently, if your spending your time and energy talking about why you can't do things,  I bet you have a long list of things that are not getting done.

When you create your list of priorities for the day, is there realistically enough time to complete the tasks you have on the list?  Or, do you need to need to make modifications to realistically complete the tasks in a high quality way that you feel good about?

 Communicate with others on your team  who depend upon you to complete the task(s) by a specific time, or if you need help learning how to better manage your time, put your ego aside and bring in a professional to help you move out of this "phase" of not accomplishing.

  Sometimes life  does toss in delays and distractions.  How you choose to handle them will affect your success, and your relationship with those you interact with.

How have you gotten out of "being swamped?" let us know in the comment section-

References: Swamped: http://dictionary.reference.com/slang/swamped


How you gonna love somebody else?

"Honey, if you can't love yourself,
            how the hell you gonna love somebody else?"
- RuPaul Glamazon entertainer  

Do you love your product or service?

Does it excite you?  
Think about the last time you purchased something that really made you feel:  cool, hip, efficient, skinny, smarter, or super excited? 
*Extra bonus if what ever it was made you feel ALL those things!).  

Whether buying the latest technology tool, to having the cool ride you have always dreamed about when you are parting with your hard earned cash, especially for a big ticket item, you are doing so because something has REALLY motivated you to do it. Ideally your motivation isn't because the washing machine has suddenly gone ka-put.

If your product or service doesn't make you feel excited, then it certainly wont make your customers feel that way either.

Some people prefer easy,  you can spot them a mile away, they expect they, their product, or idea will be discovered and wealth will rain down upon them.  When it doesn't, they are bitching,   making a great deal of noise and waste energy, yet never do anything about it. 
 If your not creating-your not moving forward and certainly will be frustrated by staying stuck in the same place day after day, after month, after year...

If your tired of being comfortable and standing in the little circle, labeled "your comfort zone"  
Take action right now by joining others who want to create and move forward and if your ready I can  connect you with someone that provides solutions for creative minds like yours.



Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuPaul's_Drag_Race

Don't forget to unplug tonight!


Starting at Sunset March 1st through March 2nd it is National Un-plugged day.

A day where Americans are urged to "un-plug" from electronic devices.  The news of this latest "holiday"  made me chuckle.  In our home we have had  scheduled "Un-plug" days and weekends, Our vacations are generally speaking "un-plugged" affairs.   Why?    We found ourselves under a constant barrage of  negative and sensationalized news in social media, daily paper, and old school television and movies- Everyone had a microphone and was screaming out the mundane, horrific in a constant wave of information.

We found ourselves stressed out, not sleeping well, our diet and exercise program had kinda been kicked to the curb because we just didn't have time, and were too tired.

As Individuals we often forget that WE control our environments.  We get so distracted by all the crap swirling around us, that we get bogged down in habits and routines that are easy, and don't challenge us.  We become complacent and soon we  find ourselves like gold fish circling the drain.  
 As we stopped and looked around, we realized we both felt like we were trapped in  a environment that we didn't like and really didn't like how we FELT!

With our little electronic iFriends and Droid buddies in hand, we are constantly switching between a variety of tasks, when bing, we are off to the next distraction. 
They have done studies to show that humans are NOT good at multi-tasking. When you are constantly switching tasks, your brain's processing center who's job is to  help you focus and learn new information is being used up by  being constantly redirected  from one task to the next, to another....
Instead of flitting back and forth try finishing something then moving on.
I have a list of items at the beginning of the day, that I need to complete, Finish a task THEN move on to the next, when you complete one thing before moving on to the next  you will find you have more completed tasks vs having several unfinished things on your plate.

Unplug from the madness! We set some boundaries in our home  to help us reclaim sanity and balance back into our lives.  It has resulted in us losing weight, feeling better, and reconnecting with friends and colleges, which keeps work humming. Get creative, in your home environment you have endless distractions- take a play from Mr. Rodgers, put on a sweater, or jacket that is your "work jacket",  Mentally it is a reminder that you are in "work mode", when you stop to take a break, take off the jacket.

Here are some other tips to help you reclaim some balance in your life, be more productive and enjoy more "unplugged time" 

1) No cellphones, Pads, or computers in the bedroom (ever!)-   Have your phone in any other room and turn your notifications OFF after 9pm.  The bedroom is for resting, and is a intimate sanctuary, respect it and protect it, you will sleep better I promise you!

2) Vacation destinations- Plan your next trip where there is no cell coverage-  Take a day trip, weekend, or vacation with a friend-  We have a country filled with National, State and Regional parks that are beautiful resources to educate you about our local natural resources, learn ways that you can be a better "neighbor" walk through them with a 2 or 4 legged friend, Your soul will thank you.  You may not be able to help yourself from snapping a few pictures to post online LATER!

3) Business meetings-  I schedule meetings  when ever possible as hikes, or walks.
Just the act of getting out of the office and walking to the corner cafe, changes your perspective and gets your body moving.  Re framing who you are is key to your success, when you walk hold your head high, don't look down, take deep breaths and be grateful for being able to enjoy this simple yet beautiful action, it's a free gift you can give a friend too!

4) Diet Re-evaluation- 

  • Read your labels- If you have any canned items in your home they should only have the item listed and water, no preservatives, or color enhancers!     
  • GMO watch- 70% of packaged foods contain Genetically modified ingredients- do you have cereal, cookies, snack bars, or anything with corn syrup in your cupboard? Corn Soy, and Cotton are the 3 top  Genetically Engineered foods- You will be surprised how many  products you have  in your home that have been modified, get rid of the offenders and make educated decisions about you and your families health.
  • Limit how much bread and starch your eating every day-  Most Americans are loading up in this category- and foods like this that quickly break down into a high glucose  or high glycemic index food- which spike your blood sugar then leave you feeling hungry, Notice that you will be hungry  a hour after eating a Big mac and Fry's? 
5) Get up and MOVE!- I don't need to link to a article here for you to know the benefit of exercise.  Make yourself walk at lunch or meet a friend for a walk in the morning before or after work!.  Make yourself do this every day for one month. I promise you will feel better at the end of 30 days and have a healthy habit that will help you feel great!

6) Call someone in your contact list- (before you unplug) Schedule time to get together face to face- for a cuppa joe, or to be your partner in crime for #5.  People are looking for a reason to get out and not be glued to their electronic leash- reconnect face to face.  You will develop relationships and find your personal, professional, and spiritual life are filled in wonderful ways that you hadn't imagined!

Now, if you'll excuse me I have a new client to meet, we are going for a walk to discuss a new project they are excited to get started on and were going to do it with out any electronic leashes.

What are your favorite ways to "un-plug"?  I would love to hear about them, or if you need help figuring that out, let's go for a walk.... Come on, it's a beautiful day out there!




Links:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margie-kelly/genetically-modified-food_b_2039455.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794


   

Are you challenging yourself?




Ask yourself, Are the efforts of each individual / area  of your organization being devoted to the same general purpose?

Do you see area's where improvements can be made?  
Being self employed you always have to have a hand in the current project you are working on, while the other hand is busy looking for new business. Each year you dedicated to personal improvement and skill development.
It's simular to being a farmer - Who's job  has distinct cycles for clearing / prepping, planting, growing, and reaping. These cycles in allow each of us to assess, making adjustments, add skills, value.
Are you challenging yourself to bring the very best  to your clients? 


"Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare". - Japanese Proverb
Taking a thought or idea and moving it into a tactical plan allows you to create your own Battleplan. When done correctly, a tactical battle plan considers where you are currently and identifies the "what" and "where" to advance your actions toward your business's purpose.

"It's not where you want to go, but where you come from that matters most"   
We often focus on trying to identify lofty goal above us, often without much work or planning,
 you have stuck a stake in the sand and declared it your "golden ring" you are constantly reaching for, and many of these "gold rings" are left unreached, and your left disappointed.
   Why not turn things around and take a look at where you are right now, how are you carrying yourself in the world? Even if that inner dialog, which is usually  something that somebody else has said about us. Often we assume those labels and characteristics that others have bestowed upon us, to shackle and limit who we really are.  It is our responsibility to take time each year to peel back the crap that doesn't belong to us and toss it aside, it's old news and isn't helping you.

PERSONAL GROWTH:  This is a important step that many think they can skip over it, or figure they have "already done this". In my mind if you want to continue to grow, you continue to do the work so you can keep growing.  Take a good look at where your at right now- Mentally ,Physically & Fi$cally- both in your personal & business worlds.  Are you happy with how things are going?
I, like almost  everyone I know, has some type of personal history that  can  get the way, some of it we continue to trip over,  day after day, and year after year.  It can stop us, or seriously alter our journey in a way  that we had not hoped for.  You can see the warning signs  where we see difficulties brewing In our relationships, our health, our business. 





Be Fearless and honest with yourself, list a few things that you feel are holding you back.  Is it your temper? Does your writing need improving?  Is it time to take lessons that you have been putting off? Or  is everyone around you having a communication problem? 
*Perhaps you can improve how YOU communicate, You don't have control over anyone else, but you do have control over you and your actions. 
 Why not provide yourself with valuable tools that you will find make you more effective, and much happier, you will be amazed how you use these tools time and time again later in life.

Ask yourself- Are you challenging yourself?


Resources you might check out:   * (Landmark Forum) ( your local college) 
http://www.landmarkeducation.com/schedules
http://extension.berkeley.edu/catalog/persdevelopment.html


Take your business on the road!

Part of this month's series on Touring (taking your business on the road)

When you own your own successful business, you have to be entreprenueral, resourceful, creative, market, and be able to supply product to support the demand of your advertising.

While growing you have to be able to do all that AND that the "show" on the road. What ever business sector your in, or the products you produce, service you provide you need to market your wares, if your a musician you  go on tour, others mayhave a booth at fairs, business expos, or larger industry conventions.

Your little "store front" Whether a large tech vendor debuting at the consumer electronic show in Las Vegas or your own D.I.Y. goods at a local community event.  In these locations you  provide your prospective customers a visual impression of what your product or service is like, and what sized market you are targeting.

This past weekend, I met a young entrepreneur named Hunter.
I was just arriving with my musical gear to perform at a local farmers market.
 For me, the farmers markets are a great way for me to encourage others to support their local farmers, I am lucky enough to meet wonderful folks in the community, and I get to play music for a couple of hours and go home with armloads of organic fresh fruit and veggies that my family gets to enjoy that week.
Just outside the entrance of the farmers market. I noticed a meticulously assembled 1/4 scale booth made with stained and sanded wood and cooragated tin,  On a polished wooden counter top a high quality hand juicer that you would see at La Sur Table sat next to a large crock bowl filled with bright yellow, plump lemons, next to a clear sealed container w/ what appeared to be sugar glistening in the morning sun, Seated on the corner of the counter was a 5 gallon igloo water jug.  The printed sign indicated this was Hunters Lemonaide Stand, and for $1 I could get a fresh squeezed cup of lemonaide (sweetened to taste). 
A bright blue summer umbrella shaded the vendor from what promised to be  a sun soaked, hot day.

 As I was passing, I recalled lemonaide stands when I was a kid, none of them met the high quality standards of this stand.  A well groomed young man stood behind the stand, slowly wiping down the polished wood counter of his stand. At 9:30 in the morning while many of us are still slurping our morning coffee, this young man was ready for business.   I asked him if  he was Hunter, and this was his stand?  He smiled and said "Yes, it is!"    Hunter appeared to be 9 or 10 I asked him if this was his first job?  He said "I  sold Lemonaide before, but I had to hand squeeze the lemons. My customers didnt' like to wait, that long for a glass of lemonaide, so I  bought the best hand juicer I could find on Amazon". He said he knew that "the time I was saving with the new juicer, allows me to serve 4 or 5 more customers during the same amount of time!"  I was really struck by how he knew he could increase his customer satisfaction, which had a direct positive impact on his sales. I asked him what he was saving for now? "I want a iPad, and my dad says I have to save, and buy it myself".  I thought of how my dad told me he would help me buy my first car, but I had to save money for insurance, and to pay for 1/2.
I was really impressed that this young man had already realized the importance of:

1) Identifying a need-  he took advantage of the hot summer weather, in a location where people were walking around specifically to buy food and snacks, have a low cost, high value item that most people would love!

2)Presentation matters:   Without a word being exchanged, I saw a very well constructed booth, with shiny clean bowls and juicer located in a place that I knew had fresh organic ingredients.

3) Have the BEST quality: Hunter focused on the important details to capture the attention of a potential audience, and had quality ingredients to back it up.

I really wanted to help Hunter get his iPad, I introduced myself and told him, I have a very loud Microphone, and I'm going to tell the shoppers to come buy lemonaide from your stand!  He thanked me, and I wished him luck!

Two and a half hours later, I was leaving the farmers market and I noticed a line of about 7 customers at Hunter's Lemonaide stand-  I waved as I went by and asked him how his day was.... Hunter was grinning and said "Thank you very much for saying something about my stand!".

As I was passing by I saw a man standing in the shade about 10 feet away from Hunter, he was waving me over to him.  I assumed this was Hunter's dad.  As I came over, he shook my hand and said  He wanted to say thanks for saying something about Hunters stand.  I was happy to help, since Hunter was working hard, and  saving for somthing important.  I said it appeared that Hunter had a good day.  The dad laughed and said "Hunter, usually does pretty well, when he does these things"   I shared that it was a good job for a kid to pick up a few bucks. I figured he probably made $50.  Hunter's dad laughed " A couple bucks?  Hunter, looks like he's gonna clear almost $500 when he finishes with this group.
I was blown away that  this kid had done so well in just a few hours.  I felt lucky to have met a young person who had it so figured out, It was a testiment to some good "teachers" guiding him, and also a testiment to his hard work.
I drove home with a smile on my face, realizing today Hunter was a example of a independent business owner doing something really well.

We can all take a lesson from young Hunter, when brining our business on the road.   You never get a chance to make a first impression.  Bring and present your best in your product or service.  Know your market and go to them,  have sufficent inventory to meet demand and repeat.

Does your business need  help taking it on the road, or a gentle facelift? Or perhaps you have  a "special project" that you need managing?

Tamra Engle is a independent Business Strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She assists artists and business’s via private consultations and project assignments with Artist development, Project management, Production and Lifestyle rebalancing, to help develop your independent creative business.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at: www.tamraengle.com You can email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

Sign up now for your 1 month Master Class’s to help your Creative Business:






TOURING- GET THE BALANCE RIGHT

There isn’t any questions that you are working hard if your a independent artist   and independent business owner.
Every day you need to effectively handle multiple priorities-
Focusing on the important work of creating and performing  while you have irons in the fire to keep work coming in the door tomorrow and months after.

Staying balance and focused when you are juggling multiple priorities is key.



Summer is heating up-
 Whether you’re a local, regional, or nationally touring musician, your plans must certainly include playing shows so the world can hear, and fall in love with your music right?  
 Summer is one of  the biggest money making time of year for artists- Farmers Markets, Festivals, Fairs, House Concerts and Tours!  This is a time of year when smart artists are booking and playing 7 days a week.

On the long list of many things you need to do include, finish writing more material, then  organize the band and  get your chops sounding great, while you  perfect your performance so your show is mind blowing to watch!  Then, you need to duplicate your  new works of art so your fans can “take you home with them”.   All while while marketing and booking  gigs and plan a summer tour?!

Even if you are only playing your local gigs, you still have to haul your gear to and from the gig. When your on the road you are hauling your gear to and from the gig, after sitting in your car, truck, or van for hours on end,  if your lucky you are able to sleep in a quiet room with a nice bed every night your gone.
 Depending upon which part of the country you are in, you may find your normal healthy food choices  are suddenly VERY limited. 

It doesn’t take very long for the long hours, heavy lifting, no sleep, and cruddy food, start to take their toll on you.  
 You may find yourself coming home from tour exhausted and even sick perhaps you have even had to cut a tour short because you were ill.

It doesn’t give you bragging rights to blow up before a tour ends or to  come home trashed, it is simply a reflection that you haven’t prepared to do your job properly. 
If your plans include bigger tours, supporting mid level or A level acts, it shows the hiring management company that you are not up to the job, you will have missed a huge opportunity and not even known it.

TIPS TO PREPARE:
 If your heading back out on the road, or going on the road for the first time,  We will spend the next couple of weeks sharing ways that will keep you in shape  to take what ever the road throws your way.

Preventative health care:
 Not surprisingly many artists do not have health or dental insurance for themselves, or their equipment feeling they cannot afford it.    You may not feel like you can afford monthly insurance premiums, but you cannot afford  NOT to get your annual medical and dental examinations.  The few hundred dollars you would spend on your annual dental and medical exams *are all expenses that can be written off in your annual taxes! (1)
Many diseases can be prevented or controlled if they are caught in early stages(2)

Stress Related health disorders: Nearly 1/2 of the health issues we are facing today are in some way connected to stress, economic, family, and  work related pressures all take their toll on us, and manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Do you find you have chronic  sinus infections, fatigue, or persistent cough, or allergies? they can all be signs of unbalance in your life.   Recent studies have linked heart attacks and stroke to gum disease. By simply having your teeth cleaned you could reduce your chances of  heart attack or stroke.

Invest a little, Save big:
 The cost of a standard office visit to your doctor and dentist, and flossing every day  is much cheaper that a trip to the Emergency Room. So give yourself the gift of a longer life, save your hard earned money, by spending on the prevention, the price tag of a cure is higher than many can pay.

Do you have any favorite stories from the road,  maybe it was the burger joint outta the twilight zone in Yuma Az? or when the van's horn got stuck ON.  Share your best tales of the road in your comments below-


RESOURCES:
here are links to organizations that offer low cost and preventative health care  services for artists:

EHealth and TuneCore- provide a resource comparing 10,000  health insurance products from over 180 carriers
ASCAP-Your local P.R.O. has health care coverage available for it’s members
Recording Acadamy/ MusiCares  the good folks at NARAS have MusiCares that provides services for artists needed resources and assistance. 


Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She assists artists and business’s via private consultations and project assignments with Artist development, Project management, Production and Lifestyle rebalancing,  to help develop your independent creative business.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at: www.tamraengle.com    You can  email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

Sign up now for your 1 month Master Class’s to help your Creative Business:



Links to References:

(1) http://outright.com/blog/when-are-health-expenses-a-tax-write-off/
(2) http://dentistry.about.com/od/dentalhealth/tp/reasonsdenclean.htm
www.kp.org
www.ehealthinsurance.com
www.musicianhealthinsurance.com
www.grammy.org/musicares


photo credits:


Jugglers- Moscow Circus 
Junk food- Tamra Engle
Roadies- Jen Wester- backstage BonJovi

Putting it all together! (the Creative Process)


The final installment on our month long series focusing on  “the Creative Process”  featured in  weekly installments to help creative business owners-


As we approach the pinnacle the next stop through the creative process is- 

CONCEPTION:  By combining our identity, inspiration and vision, committing our intention, and creating a design, model, or outline to form our creative expression. Our idea’s are conceived and in this mix of idea’s and intentions a creative “baby” given life-it may be expressed in acting, or in a new song, new item in your merchandise line, or exploring a new creative genre, like painting, fashion design, or ??? your imagination is  limitless!

CONSUMPTION:  Once we have gone through all these steps to put our creative babies out into the world then what?  We want everyone to love our babies as much as we do!  We dream of the masses loving what we have created, and imagine thousands, even millions of copies of our “creative babies” to be in the hands and hearts of “our people”.


WHAT’S NEXT?  At the end of every cycle stop and review.  Every process and step in that process is filled with learning opportunities, keep what works, and don't repeat the same mistakes again,
 as artists we have a duty to ourselves to diligently work at evolving and improving our craft.
 Are their any steps in the creative process that you feel you need to clarify or develop further?  If you look at yourcreative pyramid, if you are not starting with a strong sense of identity and how you relate to your market, it will have a direct impact on everything you hope to build upon.

Let’s step away from the pyramids and charts and look at actual example of the creative process in work with a local  San Francisco bay area artist named
Nkechi  (pronounced N-Kay-Chee) an artist, having worked as a actor, singer/songwriter/ model, she is now exploring painting as part of her creative journey.  I sat down with Nkechi  after her audition for the X-Factor to discuss her evolution as a artist,  The journey of accepting herself as a creative, and what it was like going through the audition  for a Network Television show.

(TE)How did your background help you prepare for an open casting call event?
(N)-As an actor and model I am used to the “waiting” part of long auditions.

(TE)What was your inspiration for auditioning for the X Factor?
(N)My sister suggested it. And then I decided to highlight the obvious. I believe every individual is a unique creation of God, which I translate to mean we are all God’s X Factors in our own lives.

(TE)Do you set goals for yourself as a artist or as part of your creative business?
(N)Before this year, (2012) not so much. This year, very much so.

(TE)Was auditioning for a network television show one of your goals?
(N)Being on a network television show by 2015 is one of my goals.

(TE)How did your background help you prepare for an open casting call event?
(N)I am used to riding the feelings of anticipation that build up before an audition when you are really going for something with all you are.


(TE)Let’s take a look behind the scenes at you rehersing before your audition:http://youtu.be/qqthLzo0JbM

(TE)Were there any surprises during the audition process?(N)I was surprised to see how many fellow local bay area artists were there to go for it as well.  I love San Francisco as a (creative) community.
(TE)Can you tell us briefly the steps in this type of audition process?
(N)In a snapshot it is a cattle call. We were at the cow palace after all! But in a way you are “just a number” assigned to a seat and then you hope that your mini performance plus a big dose of providence enable you to stand out enough to get called back.

(TE)How much preparation did you do to prepare for your audition? A few days.

(N) I did as well as could be expected for someone like me.  An original artist developing my sound and figuring out how much I feel called to make music. I sang a medley of “Tonight” by fun and Amazing Grace.  After not making it to round 2 I did a little second guessing as to whether I should have gone for an original but I shook that off and made a decision on steps to take in approaching a future opportunity.


(TE)What would you have done differantly ?
(N)I would have gotten a coach familiar with X Factor for help to make sure I was presenting the truest expression of my artistic voice.


(TE) What did you learn from this process?
(N)I got inspired in a bigger way than before.  I learned that my purpose has always involved being an entertainer although I’ve doubted this for most of my life.

(TE)What advice would you give young singers attempting a big goal?  (N)-Pace yourself and enjoy the process.  Where you start as an artist may not be where you end up, but as long as you are expressing your true essence you will be a winner. "Pursue your art! Whatever it is. If you want to sing, then sing! If you want to paint, paint".

(TE) I have watched you fearlessly and enthusiastically explore a variety of creative genres, acting, singing, and writing. Have you always accepted yourself as a artist?

(N)I seem to have finally come to peace now with who I am and how I am made.  I am a beautiful child of God, and so are you. After much pain, life experience and a quasi identity crisis I have come accept God’s purpose for me in sharing his love through music and art. Music and art moves people and helps people get through life experiences they don’t have words for.  I appreciate this now and want to give back what I have been given.  I pray that my music will stir people in the way others’ music has moved me.  I am a work in progress, but knowing this now has added tremendous peace to my life.

(TE)  Nkechi, thanks for sharing your journey and evolution through the creative process as a artist!  We  wish you the best success going forward, and  sharing your inspiration with our readers!

###

Tamra Engle is a independent Business Strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She provides artist's and businesses  Artist Development, Performance Coaching, Production, Project Management, Process Improvement, and  Operations Development services via private consultations and assignments with a focus on  Lifestyle rebalancing,  to help you reach your objectives.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at: www.tamraengle.com  
You can  email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

Sign up now for your 1 month Master Class’s to help your Creative Business:
 http://www.squidoo.com/guitartam-master-classes


Spring Forward w/ your business


 The 1st quarter of the year is behind us.
Are you on track to earn what you planned?
Do you feel confident you will achieve what you want this year?

What projects have you completed?

Are you happy with your progress so far?




Would it help if you could- Discuss your idea's and priorities with another artist and business executive?


GET THE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT
-Artist Branding-Development

-Production
-Project Management
-Review a upcoming project or plan

-Owning- Starting or Growing your business
-Lifestyle Re-focus, Balance
-Business Planning
-Identifying and overcoming roadblocks


STOP FEELING OVERWHELMED!
 After a initial consultation you will walk away with a lots of ideas and recommendations to get you back on track-
Or let me help you launch your next creative project or business!


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE MEET?


 My clients live all around the world- in every time zone- Each relationship is unique, based upon your own personality, and priorities.


 Our initial consultation is a 1 hour meeting. We meet in a environment that is conducive to effectively communicating within the confines of your busy schedule. I recommend a  environment conducive to having a conversation, often simply going for a walk or coffee, to be in a neutral environment, to help obtain key background information.
DO YOU TRAVEL?
I often travel to client locations for project work and short term assignments. I work with individuals and large corporations, and successfully completed projects with a budgets up to $10 million Dollars (US).
In addition to face to face meetings, we have a variety of tools to stay in touch based upon the clients needs.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU
Why you want me on your team

In over 25 yrs I have gathered the tools to take a idea from conception to develop a successful business model.
 Consulting with new and established business owners with strategies to identify, launch, or develop new revenue generating models to maximize your earning potential, or help you develop the type of creative business and brand that attracts investors, and representation.


Experience Highlights:


-Professional studio Musician
-National Touring Musician (U.S/Mexico)
-Project Management (PMI certified)
-Artist / Business Development and Branding
-Business Operations for organizations from individuals, start up to fortune 500 organizations-
-Reviewed and consulted in Not for Profit environments
-Aquisitions and investor sales.
-Business review and assessment
-Technology Review and assessment-
-Coaching and developing businesses and brands with a focus on lifestyle balance


Additional services to help you or your small business
Producer- for your next demo, EP, or CD
Motivational speaking
Workshops for your group or small business.
All clients are in my referral network,  I help connect you to partners appropriate for helping you meet your goals, and create collaborative opportunities.




CLIENT TESTIMONIALS / EXPERIENCE:

If you are passionate about your creative career and also believe in preserving our environment, and keeping music and arts education accessible to school age children, then we already have quite a bit in common!
Working together we can accomplish anything we properly plan for- I offer you enthusiasm, encouragement, and the experience to help you achieve.


Links to:
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
CLIENT TESTIMONIALS
MUSIC PRODUCTION


GET STARTED NOW   

Purchase before  May 1st 2012 for your  special "spring forward" pricing-


Initial meeting options


Individual 1 hr $49.95 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
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Group/band $89.95 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
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Sm biz $99.00 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!









The Creative Process Pt 4


The Creative Process: is this  Month's topic featured in  weekly installments to help creative business owners-


 INTENT (#4)
How do you bring your creative vision into reality in a fresh inventive way?

They say “there is many a road paved with “good intention”. Before you get stuck on that road, you will want to ask yourself if you have the time, resources, and money, to realize your vision? 

If your missing these 3 key factors your creative process could potentially end right here.

What are you creating?  Have you created something like this before?
  Has ANYBODY created something like this before?
Do you have the time, resources or money to dedicate to this? 



If your writing a song, it could take you only  :45 minutes- just like quick Mick Jagger when he penned Brown Sugar(1) , or it may be 5 years(2)the reported amount of time Leonard Cohen took to create the masterpiece “Hallelujah”. 

Creating art  for me, is like creating little babies, some of them come quick, and others take their time, you just can’t rush them being born- each one comes out when it’s darned good and ready!

Make a mental determination whether you have the time, resources, or financing to commit or not commit your “intention” to your creative endeavor.




DESIGN: (#5)    

This is where the rubber hits the road, the point in time where you combine your inspiration and identity with your vision, to create a draft, proto-type, or model of your creative composition.

The design phase is where thoughts, ideas, doodles, and plans converge to be arranged, tested and edited with the ultimate goal of mirroring what was imagined in the creators mind.

Can you think of examples where a design fell short of your expectations?

Apple a company not known for many  failed products has had a couple of missed opportunities, the Mac Newton (1993) which I believe was one of the 1st PDA’s on the market, Priced higher than most computers at the time the $700 Newton drew barbs for it’s poor handwriting recognition. 

A more recent tech miss was Nintindo's Virtual Boy Anything but portable and easy to use. If you blinked you may have missed this one!

Enjoy this beautiful example of Intent, Vision, Inspiration, and Design  in Jeff Buckley’s interpretation of Cohen’s  ”Hallelujah”. 


















LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls http://youtu.be/UTABohv5kpc

Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls http://youtu.be/UTABohv5kpc
Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.
Video & Link used by permission Coyote Grace 2011

"Why" did you do it?

















Are you so caught up in “what” your doing, 
that you are forgetting to communicate  "why" you do what you do?

Let’s imagine the product you make is a casual shoe that is made from used bicycle tubes and tires. You don't just make shoes, you are someone who cares about your environment, and the waste we human beings create.

Suddenly, you have identified your niche market and are  able to connect with other green consumers who, like you,  are committed to reducing waste by purchasing a re-purposed product, as well as outdoor lifestyle avocates, cyclist, and triathletes.

Being able to express the deeper meaning of “why” you are doing something allows your business to be ready for product growth. You can now very clearly identify and more importantly create a connection with your customers who are purchasing your products. Using their feedback create innovative new product offerings.

If you have not already done this,  The first step to getting started  is writing your mission statement.
If you wonder whether you need a personal or business mission statement.
I encourage you to do both, starting with your personal version. Then, write about the business.  Don’t be surprised that they are different.

A good mission statement should explain clearly and concisely in a paragraph why your business exists, and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It articulates the business’s  character, its values, and its work.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon, who's characteristics are  Artistic, Innovative, Powerful. 
Have you written the mission statement for your business? Share it with us in  the comments below, or if you need help getting started...


 Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com  




Links: 
Shoes: http://fashion-stylist.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/image/simpleshoes_silk.JPG
Shoe Bike: http://www.electric-motorbike.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Shoe-Bike.jpg
Why: www.TamraEngle.com

Your customers Rain or Shine!



What’s the best way to increase your bottom line?  Know and grow your customer-fan base.
Understanding who you are, and who your “market” is key to that success.

Today, we are going to take a look at the difference between Mainstream and Niche markets.   

Mainstream Market- Are products and services that are high demand items with a lower price point.
 Niche Market focuses on a more narrow demographic within that group, with a highly specialized market and higher price point.

I wanted to showcase some fun examples of some highly successful business's using Niche Marketing here in the SF Bay area.



The Market:  High End Foodies   
The Product:Gourmet Ice Cream

You are  hard pressed to find American’s who don’t love Ice Cream.
 Most of us probably even  have a pint or two of our favorite Hagen daz or Ben and Jerry's in the freezer. 
My lactose intolerant friends seek delicious options within the Sorbet or  Gelato offerings.
Over the past couple of years, the economy has continued to tank, however, there is a growing market of high end foodie  consumers that  regardless of the weather, which in the bay area is often overcast and cool temperatures. You will find lines of customers wrapped around the block awaiting a scoop, dish, or take home pint of the rich creamy goodness of Gourmet Ice Cream made from fresh, organic, locally produced ingredients!

I have focused on a couple of examples that are local favs:

Fenton’s Old School Creamery  - Dialing into the Old School vibe when you were a kid,  Grown up foodies bring the family and favorite dates year round to this Home foodie hangout.
‘Scream Sorbet- w/ flavors like Thai basil w/ Coconut, Strawberry shortcake, Dark & Decadent Chocolate Peanut butter and the purest Pistasio you could hope for -   $10 pint

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream-  Focusing on all organic ingredients- They don't mind if you don't live locally, you can order 4 pints and have it Fed Ex’d to anywhere in the US. For $54.00 about the same price as their competitors!

Product sold directly to retail outlets:
Jeni’s Homemade (made in ‘their kitchen) - I discovered them  at Market Hall in the  Rockridge shopping area of Oakland.  My selection was  Sweet potatoe w/ Torched Marshmellow.    Delicious Decadence to parlay some holiday flavor.  A pricy but delicious   $12 a pint, that I will be going back for more of.

Rain or shine these businesses have customers lined up for their product, on one particularly chilly 48 degree day, I noted they were able to sell ice cream to Eskimo’s!  Understanding your customers, and what they want regardless of the weather is keeping these businesses thriving, Does your business have a connection like this with your customers? Do you sell direct to consumer, or have relationships with a retail or distribution chain?   if not, now is the time to take a look at your marketing strategy.

Do you have a favorite independent business that is successfully utilizing Niche Marketing?  Tell us about it in your comment section below.






Links:


Fentons: http://www.fentonscreamery.com/
'Scream Sorbet: http://screamsorbet.com/
Tara's Organic:  http://www.tarasorganic.com/
Jeni's Homemade: http://jenisicecreams.com/ 

Your favorites!




As we all look back on the past year, together we have celebrated some great success, faced challenges and fears,  hopefully overcoming them.

The other day I repaired my oven It decided to die on Christmas.   The prospect of fiddling with a gas and electrical appliance was pretty scary to me. but the prospect of buying a new stove on Christmas weekend was something I was even MORE reluctant to do. 
I had never repaired a major appliance, and was really scared about doing it.  After some google searching I watched a couple youtube videos and marched off to the parts store to buy and replace a  glow bar ignitor.  Not rocket science, but I felt really good that I saved our home a major cash expenditure by simply doing something that scared me. For me It’s a stepping stone for a successful week ahead. 

Challenge yourself to do something that scares you everyday, It will help you and  your creative business become stronger.

As we end 2011 I wanted to  take a quick  look back at your favorite posts,
and start the new year by saving you $25!

First take a glance back to your most read posts:




Now are you ready to look ahead and save $25?  
If you complete my 10 question survey  (by Jan 1 2012) Your feedback helps me provide you with high value reading & service offerings.
As my way of saying thanks for your time, I will give you $25 off your initial consultation! (limited time offer, so let's get started). Before saying goodbye to 2011,
 I want to share a New Year tradition that was shared with us.
Write down something you want to leave behind in 2011 on a small piece of paper, and fold it in half, ( you may choose to write down  a behavior,  a relationship, a obsticle to you).  Just before the  clock strikes 12:00 midnight toss the written  thing you wish to leave behind in a fireplace or burn it with a candle, removing it from your life  to make room for something good.


Thank you for taking the time to read, and the opportunity to help you continue to grow your business and have a balanced healthy life that you imagine.

Let us know how you faced and overcame something scary in the comment section below!


Happy and a very safe New Year to everyone.  If your imbibing- drop the keys and have a designated driver! 



How Can I help you


BLOG 100  Dec 2011


http://guitartam.blogspot.com

This is a milestone for me. My 100thblog posting!

This year I had committed to:
1)    Improve the writing quality of my Blog.  
I realized over 100 posts that  my aim has been true, and my grammar has been comical on more than one occasion!
2)    Commit to posting content weekly  I was surprised some times how challenging this is while juggling other work priorities.
3)    Provide content to help readers grow their “creative business”

I  want to thank you for taking the time to read my postings, and share your thoughts on topics and ideas important to you!
This is a really great opportunity to check in with you my readers, and see what I can do to better serve you in 2012?

To that end, I have  put together a short survey (10 questions) to find out “How can I help you?”
  • Are there any particular topics or projects that are going to be important to you in the New Year ? 
  • Do you need to bring a professional onboard to help you  managing a upcoming project?
  • Establish your priorities?
  • Produce a upcoming CD /video/installation?
  • Prepare for an upcoming tour
  • Help you with some simple business planning  
Or are you interested in different types of content?


 I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the survey 

To say Thank You for taking the time to complete the survey, You are automatically  gifted 30% off your initial consultation- purchase a gift certificate by Dec 25th
survey rate: $50 gift certificates- 1 hr initial consultation.
(your gift certificate is redeemable until 12/31/2012).


Sending  you blessings of Peace and health, 


=Tamra=

3 Free gifts for your holiday!






Mid December- We are all working like mad to STOP and spend time with our loved ones.

As you look at the calendar we are just a couple of weeks from 2012!!! 
  I am always surprised by this very small window from Thanksgiving to the year end holidays, a flurry of people, food, and  family. It’s stressful!!! 


 ESPECIALLY when you have to stretch your dollars even further than before.
What can you do to prepare for the holidays without spending much or ANY money at all?  


1)    Grab your calendar or smart phone and a note book (or your computer)
Start going backward month by month and begin listing the big projects you worked on. 
You are pulling together your list of accomplishments, which you can then compare to your list of goals.  Each big projects and achievements should be either achieving a goal or a  stepping stone toward accomplishing a big goal.

2)    In a separate column list the names of new people you met in relation to your creative business each month.  I don’t mean the 100s of facebook “friends” who you don’t really know, , I mean the people that have referred work to you,  Hired you for a project, or introduce you to important people that have helped you this year.


3)    Drop the people on this list a email or call  Just connect to say thanks for working with me! Or let’s have coffee and talk about what you have been up to...  *Have these individuals already been invited to join your email or newsletter? (you can just include a sign up link in your signature line, and leave them the option to join).

PLAN + GROW + NETWORK = MOVE FORWARD 

Measuring your success and growing your network of  contacts are two important tasks for all  business owners.  Do you need help with a upcoming project? or need help getting organized, focused and moving forward?  

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your creative project or business. You can read more about her and join her mailing list at www.tamraengle.com  guitartam@gmail.com   *Save 33% now! email mail me at guitartam@gmail.com  to order your  Holiday Gift Certificates  thru December 31st!

5 ways to Fund your creative business



There are a variety of funding sources available to creative business owners  regardless of your passion- Musical Artist-Film Maker- Painter- Sculptor- Clothing designer-Writer- Photographer- or a fortune cookie writer.
 Financing is essential to sustaining and growing a successful creative business.  You know you can’t do it all by yourself, You want to focus on your creative endeavors, do need help growing your business?  and wonder how you pay for it?     
Beyond taking out a loan from the bank or borrowing against your 401K I have listed 5 funding sources you can immediately utilize to grow your creative business-
1)    Host a class or workshop:  What better way to connect with your fans than to host a class or workshop? You are able to use your skill to teach others, you grow your network of fans who purchase goods or services from you! Check out the internet for local community centers, and schools for places you can host your event.  Make sure you can accept credit /debit card orders and And you have created a additional revenue stream to your independent creative business.
2)    Keep the change-  When I quit smoking years ago, I set aside the $1 a day I spent on cigarettes, and at the end of the day, that dollar bill, and the the left over change from coffee  or lunch that day also went into the jar. The jar filled several times to a goal I set of  $5,000! Which helped me make the down payment on my very first condo! It felt GREAT!! *back in the dark ages $5,000 went a lot farther than it does today!
3)   Small Business Administration- The SBA offers loans and grants  for small business owners, You benefit from digging around this site, see the funding requirements, and see how you can tap into help.
 Trades and  Barters The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that 25 percent of the world’s trade is still done this way. Many albums and art installations have been helped along by trading and bartering services with friends. From designers and illustrators, to do posters, cards,  to Haircuts,  makeup, staging, etc..
4)    Credit Cards- I don’t encourage running up or maxing out lines of credit, I recommend you keep some credit available in case of emergencies.   HOWEVER, if you know that you will earmark the re-cooped money to quickly pay off the  debt , then make the investment in growing your business.
5)    Fan Funding sites: There are a variety of sites dedicated to you setting up a project funding site, with a  tiered reward menu  for investors to participate in your creative project.   Marillion - is a UK band recognized within the music industry as the first established band to fully utilize the power of the internet, they have funded four albums through pre-sales to fans and totally re-vitalized their career in the process.
I have listed some of the more popular fan funding sites, Look at each site, since fee's and audiences vary. Make note of the most successful funded programs, and their  video promo’s and funding rewards.  Keep in mind crowd/fan funding is a very emotional, your success is based in the appeal of your idea! Work it!!
 Kickstarter: Projects must obtain 100% of their funding goal for donors to pay and creative projects to obtain financing.
ArtistShare:  Started in 2000 the 1stcrowd/fan funded site / label
PledgeMusic- Launched in August 2009.  Enables fan project funding through unique incentives and opportunities for fans, with an percentage of the projects proceeds donated to a charity of the artists choice.
Sellaband: -  Fan Funding website in Europe launched in 2006 that as of mid 2009 had helped 33 artists raise $50,000 euros.
Have you used these or other creative ways to  finance your business? Let us know in the comment section below!
If you or a loved one  have questions about how to  manage a creative business?
Are you ready to launch a new project? or start planning for 2012?
  Affordable customized monthly programs are available.  
 Purchase   a  Gift Certificate  for my consulting services-(email / phone / skype consultations available, to help artists in other time zones)!  Gifts Purchased before Dec 25th will be given a $25.00 discount on their initial consultation.

Customized packages and special rates to make your gift giving easy this year. 

Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com  

Who Sends out holiday cards?


Do you keep track of the accomplishments and projects you have worked on during the past year? I realized as I wrote out the title to this blog that I am a few posts away from my 100th blog!  *more about that soon!
It’s nice to look back each month at all you have  gotten done, to get here. It really helps put things into perspective and show you what progress you have made. 
What new people did you meet?
What booking manager, took a chance and gave you a show? or really did you a favor and gave you a Friday or Saturday night spot? 
What act added you to the bill of their show when you were driving through and needed a Wed night gig on your tour? 
What stranger decided to host a house concert or lend out a exhibit space for a you,  or another artist?
  I bet you can think of at least 20 people as you look back over your year.
Now is the perfect time to fill out a holiday card, to just say THANKS.  That person made it possible for you to earn a living doing what you love. Think about what a awesome gift that is!     

In your card don’t ask for anything, just thank them and wish them a happy holiday! A $0.44 thank you is a really nice way to remind them of you, and help keep you in their mind as a “nice person” to do business with in the New Year. And holiday cards come in a box of 20?  How handy!




Is their someone special who made a difference to your creative business  this past year? Give their business a shout out in the comment section below!


Need help creating a marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your creative business strategy?  Tamra Engle is a independent business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

Holiday fun time saving apps!



During the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, I noticed between the huge meals, the entertainment revolved around  playing with a 9 week old puppy, and during the puppies naps having several generations of family, poking away at their smart phones sharing their favorite apps with one another.
*For the record the family falls pretty squarely into the Apple smart phone market, most of these apps are available for Android users.






Here is a list of some favorite holiday and time saving apps for creative people like you!




Fun Holiday apps: 



Amazon Mobile  (Is your employer blocking access to shopping sites at work?  You can buy pretty much anything at Amazon.com, and now the Amazon Mobile app (Free) makes it easy to shop right from your iPhone.

GoodGuide While most iPod shopping apps are designed to help you save money, the GoodGuide app (Free) has a unique goal -- to help you identify products that are good for you and the environment.

Good Food Festive Recipes:  Over 160 foolproof collection of festive feasting options to catapult you into a New Year!

Grocery IQ (Free)
 includes all the features you would expect in a powerful grocery app, including a barcode scanner, list sharing, and integrated coupons. If you are like me and buy the same things every week, the favorites list will help you save time. You can also edit your list online and it will update automatically on the app.

 (US$1.99)  We could use some extra holiday spirit!
 This app includes 20 “Grinchmas” cards that you can personalize with your own photos -- and who doesn't want a picture of themselves dressed as the Grinch? The cards can be emailed to friends or saved to the app’s photo library.








Bonus  Recommendations:



Dragon Dictation: Don't worry if you are not already hooked up with the hot new Siri, iPhone 4s,  I think Dragon’s voice recognition works better than my typing and auto "correction" of the iPhone.

Facetime:      
This was awesome for a  global family reunion conference call, we had family from as far away as Germany!  Sure, it’s great to hear a voice, But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.    Bonus! No cell minutes local or international used! 

What are some of your favorite holiday or time saving apps?  Post them in the comment section below!



Need help creating a marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your creative business strategy?

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com


Promoting your business during the holidays-pt 2 of 3



What are you doing to bring your fans closer to your creative business during the holidays?

In the United States, We are just day’s away from the biggest $hopping days of the year.
 If you are a creative business owner, the last couple months of the year can mean a sales jackpot if you have taken the time to  prepare and market to your target audience.

 In Part 1 of my 3 part series “promoting your music during the holidays"
We talked about using the themes of the holiday to have fun, while create a unique “selling opportunity” for your fans, and prospective business partners.

Our next holiday Thanksgiving, gives us 3 big target days to help you promote your music or creative business- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Holiday Marketing Background: 
During tough economic times, especially during the holiday’s businesses spend millions in ads to encourage spending. Marketing firms have created “holiday events “ specifically to encourage consumers to CONSUME. 
Here are 3 new holiday’s that were created specifically to encourage people to spend money- That YOU can take advantage of to help increase your sales.

Black Friday -Refers to a old accounting terms,
 Being in the red denotes a negative profit margin, where as “in the black” denotes a positive profit margin. Most retailers make or break their sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
 According to ShopperTrak, who uses in-store monitering devices to examine sales in 2010 black Friday sales in 2010 increased to 10.7 billion!! a .3% increase over 2009 earns it the top spot as the heaviest shopping day of the year!

Small Business Saturday-  Our friends at American Express are responsible for starting this event which happens the 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving- now in it’s 2ndyear.

 Aimed at promoting small business owners. Amex is reimbursing  $25 in cash to the 1st  of 200,000 shoppers  using their American Express card to support a local small business,  local businesses signing up get $100 facebook ads or free!  I  encourage supporting this holiday however, recommend you  spend cash, Don’t run up your credit card bills! Save using your credit cards for the emergency fix, or broken tour van that will certainly pop up when you least expect it. 

Cyber Monday is a marketing term created in 2005, referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving, many are back to work and can’t physically go to the store, No problem, just  shop online!
 In 2010 consumers spent $1.028 billion,  a 16% increase from the previous year on product purchases on Cyber Monday!

How do old accounting terms and marketing gimmicks help you grow your business?  First lets look at a example of a local business targeting the tired shoppers with a fun diversion from the madness.

One famous example of  musical artists utilizing the Thanksgiving holiday to help future album sales-  Arlo Guthries “Alices Resturant” a 1967 release that  comically exaggerated  Thanksgiving day adventure turned Vietnam protest. This album that has sold over a million copies, and is still selling 40 years after it’s release.

5 Things can you do to sell more!

1)    Send a newsletter to your fans- Remind them that your music makes the perfect gift, offer to ship “personalized” signed copies, for a extra special gift. Remember You need to get “heard” above everyone else trying to sell something.

2)   Record a Holiday song- Songs with  a “Thanks” theme? Create one for a special “sale” fan download. Here is a fun example  

3) Video your holiday song- How do you catch some of the  shoppers searching on line? Create a shopping wave!
Drive traffic to your  website with your new holiday single,  create a YouTube video of your holiday song,  have fun with it… include a link to where your fan’s can “buy” this exclusive MP3 of your holiday song.

4)    Partner with a local business- We all want to help the local small business owners during the holidays! *the 1% big corporations seem to be doing fine without any additional funding.   Do you own a retail space? Suggest a special “holiday show”  Invite a musical artist to perform  a simple acoustic holiday sing along, or host a fun "fashion" show to sell products you sell in your retail space!   Heat up some cider and you have a super fun “shopping “ event, it doesn't have to be fancy to be fun for your customers!

 This is a wonderful opportunity to create cross- cultural events, sharing traditions,  the different ways we each celebrate the fall solstice all around the world.  Are you a local business owner or artists interested in connecting? Let me know (add email link).

5)    Local Children’s Hospitals or Sr. Centers- Think about those less fortunate. Call your local children’s hospital,place of worship, or Sr. Center ask if you can come sing holiday music to the guests there. 
You don’t play a instrument ? You can offer to  read books, share photo presentations, or  host a free activity or workshop!
 Share pictures of the outing on your social media or next newsletter, the smiles in the pictures will inspire, and remind others how easy it is to help another who is unable to get around during this special time of year.



      Now, that you have completed your 5 tips you can relax:
      Set a extra plate at your table for Thanksgiving- There IS someone in your immediate circle who has no one to share the holiday with.  Invite them to share a meal with you, it's one of the bests "gifts" you can give to a friend!


I invite you to share the link to your Holiday song and video in the comment section below!

Show up and be there



November, our thoughts are turned to giving thanks.

The past 5 years, I found myself in the wake of two significant losses, I felt my heart was a well not holding as much “thanks” as it had in previous years.

Life has a way of tossing obstacles into your path when your driving down the road of life,  We try our best to swerve and avoid collisions, wrong turns, and distractions while we are trying our best to move forward.   “life happens” whether or not your paying attention.
My Mother and beloved dog’s passing had left two huge holes in my heart and the “well” of thanks simply leaked out instead of filling full.

A few months ago, we had mutually decided that our house was ready to be filled again with the patter of paws. 
The excitement and joy the day before our “new arrival” was shattered with a phone call. 
3,000 miles away, my partner's brother  was suddenly going in for emergency quadruple bypass surgery. His wife and 3 sons, like us were all stunned by the news.
 Our joy was suddenly mixed in with the icy fear and gravity of a very active guy being faced with  this life threatening procedure.  

The day of the procedure, two of three sons had arrived by bus to be there for their dad and to help their mother, during this horribly scary time.  The three boys are all in College, one in Europe, the decision was made that he should only come home if things didn't go well.

It reminded me that the boys I  watched grow up the past 10 years, had shared stories over years on their path's to becoming Eagle scouts.  Whether you love or hate the BSA, these guys were participating in outdoor activities, to learn about  about  responsible citizenship,  community services, and character development  to help them "be prepared".
They were gathering tools, and learning how to use them.   - Little did any of us know, it was for this moment, to simply do one thing. “Show up, and be there” for two of their important “teachers” Mom and Dad.

 When I was considering my topic for this weeks blog post, I was reminded how much I had to be thankful for, and how the “well” was filled! .  Proof that there is hope for broken hearts!

I am grateful to the great  spirit that watches over all of us, for seeing my brother in law safely through a major surgery.
For the fuzzy new life that is snuggled next to me as I write this posting,

The health and well being of all those I love, 
having food & shelter, and doing what I love for a living!

 Sending each of you reading  with blessings of being healthy and well!
I love to hear what your giving thanks for, in the comment selection below.



Need help creating a music marketing plan? or simply have questions on managing your music business strategy?
Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area. She is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, You can read more about her at www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com





A task a day, grow your business 5 ways


 People often tell me, If I just had a list of things I could do each week to grow my business….

Here are 5  things you can do next week (do one a day, or a couple every few days).
 By Friday you  will have accomplished 5 tasks that will help move you forward!










1)    Do something that excites you


2) Do something that terrifies you-  The best way to grow, is to stretch past where your comfortable.


3) Keep in touch w/ colleagues, USE your social media and actually schedule time to go enjoy a beverage, or a meal and get “caught up”.
*The person you spoke to yesterday will be the one that recommends you for a gig, or introduces you to a important contact.

4) Go out, and meet 5 new people each week- Find out what people do, there are a lot of people looking for work, do you have a opportunity to give someone work? OR can your special skills help someone else out, Trades go a long way!


5) Write or finish that song, poem, spoken word that you have been working on.
Looking for a topic? Write about something you are thankful for... It's that time of year, and a great reminder for everyone!

Post a link to your new song, poem or spoken word in the comment section below. 
You have just introduced your work to a new audience! AND you have taken a moment to give thanks  during some very challenging times,  which is a much more productive use of your time.

Congratulations! 



Need help creating a music marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your music business strategy?
Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area. She is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, You can read more about her at www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

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