Introducing The BBC Collective

by seanlow on May 23, 2017

The Highlights

I get asked often – what comes next for you, Sean? A book? A video series? Something where creative business professionals can get a more pointed experience from you without having to go all the way to working one-on-one with you. No matter how hard I tried though, I could not get excited about any of it.

After a ton of searching as to why, I finally figured out that I need to be interacting with creative business owners in some way.  I am a teacher and perpetual student at heart. I have to engage in challenging creative business professionals to be better and to be challenged by them for me to feel engaged.

Then the idea of community started to ring in my ears. What does it mean to be part of a community? What can the community do to change the landscape that a single business cannot? The answer, as I now fully understand, is a whole lot. Committed communities create movements and movements change the world.  Give me a limited, diverse group of rabblerousers and we can start the proverbial snowball down the hill.

This is how I came upon the idea of The BBC Collective. Pair my fierce desire to teach, be taught and to create a ruckus for creative businesses with a group of creative business professionals who want to come together to do the same. Add in other smart rabblerousers in to share their expertise once or twice a month and now we have quite a concert.

So here is the soup: a weekly experience where we talk about a specific topic that I will have written about beforehand, which post will include a case study of how a member(s) are experiencing the issue. Two hour long conversations later and you will have a weekly deliverable of an in-depth “brief” with two one-hour (ish) power group podcasts on the subject. $250/month with each commitment being four months (no month to month ever – the collective invests in you, you invest in the collective).

A much more detailed description of The BBC Collective follows, but the above are the highlights.

I am hoping to kick-off The BBC Collective’s weekly discussions the week of June 12th with the first topic going out the week of June 5th. I am ready and I am leaping as Seth Godin would say. For those ready to leap with me now, I am offering a ½ hour one-on-one session with me if you sign up before June 5th. Here is a link to where you can sign-up. Many many thanks in advance. It is going to be a fantastically awesome ride and I just cannot wait.

 

The Longer Version

I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with a wide swath of all creative business on a one-on-one basis – all kinds of designers – interior, event, graphic, fashion; photographers, architects, even shoe makers. Some of the businesses are household names, others just starting to make a name for themselves and everything in between.

My mission is to have the business of a creative business tell a compelling, iconic story. For that story to be as compelling and iconic as the art the creative business produces.

The work is intended to be transformative and that is what I am about. Sure, there are techniques and concepts to learn, but the aim is to transform a creative business, to literally have the creative business (through its owner and employees) speak a different language. I seek for creative businesses to be confident in every aspect of their creative business’ process – from the moment the phone rings until the project is finished.

Success for me is when a creative business owner and/or their employees find their voice as a business. They become the guides that they are to make great art for their clients on their terms.   Of course, making more money matters and most of my clients usually do, but being in control of their story and their process is the foundation to that material success.

Why Group Work Now ?

I will always work with creative businesses directly. Being witness and guide to transformation is my drug of choice. However, the power of the collective to make profound change, to lead others into another way of understanding how their business might work, has never been greater. Together, voices of those committed to seeing if there is another way, those seeking to be perpetually curious is how the world changes and creative businesses are transformed.

Technology has afforded us the ability to connect as never before in human history. I want to use this power to raise those who are willing to stand up and do the work. Creative business needs to be propelled forward, to develop new and different techniques to surprise and delight its clients. This takes work and commitment to whatever knowledge I and my guest lecturers might impart. It also takes community to learn together and, more important, stand together to go another way. A way that is a truer, deeper and more powerful reflection of the business behind the art. Most important, it takes consistency, showing up every week to challenge ourselves and make each other better.

What Does The BBC Collective Include – Highlights:

  • A collective of creative businesses limited to 125 members
  • Weekly in-depth written brief with follow-up exercises (where appropriate)
  • Two Teleconferences (30 participant limit for each) per week on topic
  • 25% discount on any one-on-one work with Sean during your subscription
  • Private Facebook Group

Who is it for?

Anyone in creative business (owner or employee) who is looking to elevate their business through a process of weekly exploration. I expect members of the collective to want to work hard on challenging themselves about why they do what they do with the goal of transformative change. Being perpetually curious, willing to listen to different viewpoints and be part of the conversation are prerequisites. I am really hoping for a broad cross-section of creative businesses so that we can really be cross discipline and learn from each other in a real-time, practical, on-going way.

How Does It Work?

I have a very specific vision for the collective. I am a lawyer by training and have also worked with many MBA’s in my career. I would like to combine the best of both worlds in The BBC Collective – real time case studies from business school with Socratic discussion found in law school.

Each week, on Wednesday, I will send members a topic survey with five or so choices (i.e., pricing, client management, contracts, sales, finance, strategy, structure) with the aim of finding the topic hottest on everyone’s mind. Thursday, I will announce the following weeks topic and solicit requests for real time examples related to the issue. For example, if the topic is pricing, a member can send in how they are currently pricing, what is happening and what is a hoped for resolution.

I will review the case studies and will choose the one I think fits the best with the weeks conversation. The following Tuesday I will release my brief on the subject. With permission, the business owner will be revealed with the aim of finding support not only from me but the collective as a whole.   The brief will have four, possibly five parts: 1) a general discussion pertaining to the topic – more targeted than my blog posts but still general enough to apply to all members; 2) a specific introduction, review and analysis of the case study; 3) an industry specific recommendation based on the case study; 4) wider implications of the case study; and 5) follow on exercises/materials (if appropriate) that might be helpful for members as they seek to attack the issue in their own creative business.

On Wednesday and Thursday following the release of the weekly brief, I will host 45-60 minute recorded teleconferences limited to 30 members each. The teleconference will start with a brief introduction of the topic but will be largely a Socratic discussion on that week’s topic with members adding their opinions and analysis to the forum. Prior questions and thoughts can be emailed to me in advance, but definitely not a prerequisite. The teleconferences will be limited so I would ask that we all be good citizens and only attend one per week. My expectation is that life and business will likely mean only half of you can attend a conference in any week. The conferences will be recorded and you can look at them as awesome podcasts that you can review at your leisure if you are unable to dial in. If I am wrong about the desire to attend the teleconference live (i.e., demand is higher than availability, I would be willing to consider adding one more conference per week).

All briefs and teleconferences will be archived and accessible to members so long as they are members. I will likely keep a four month rolling archive so that materials will come off after being on for four (4) months. Of course, the archive will be searchable and organized by relevant topic.

Guest Lecturers

Once or twice per month (depending on availability), a guest lecturer will take over the collective for the week. You will have a few weeks advance notice of who the guest lecturer is going to be for a particular week. Members will know the topic the guest lecturer will cover the previous week and the same case study process will occur. The goal is to make sure that there will be a very rich experience with the guest lecturer vs. a simple guest post or passive presentation. Even though I think guest lecturers will truly enjoy the experience, I will absolutely be paying the lecturer for their time and expertise. My desire is to have each guest lecturer fully engaged in providing an in-depth and remarkable experience for members.

Facebook Group

The collective will have its own private Facebook Group where members can communicate and share ideas with each other both in general and specific to the relevant week’s topic. My goal with the group is for it to be dynamic and engaging as a workgroup. I will monitor and add to the conversation a few times daily.

Cost

Two hundred and fifty dollars per month on a rolling four month subscription basis (i.e., you sign up for four months at a time). If I have to develop a wait-list, you will have to provide 15 days notice if you are going to end your subscription. Only fair to those waiting.

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What Makes You Remarkable?

by seanlow on May 17, 2017

What makes you remarkable? So personal. Like asking, who are you really? Why do you matter? Why should I care? Do I believe you? Do you believe you?

We all spend our time pondering these questions. At least we should.  We are meant to live remarkable lives. To live with purpose and drive; to bring ourselves to the party. It makes no difference what “it” is so long as it is ours.  Everybody’s quest is for our own meaning.

Now move to your art and your creative business. Why are your answers any less meaningful, any less profound, any less introspective? What makes your art remarkable? Your creative business? Are you remarkable because you care? Because you provide great customer service? THAT is what makes you remarkable? Are you sure because I am not.  You have to be able to say that you are the best in the world (your world) at what you do.  If not, why not? Just because others practice your art does not make them remarkable or not relative to you.  Remarkable is not a relative question. Remarkable is a fingerprint – it belongs to your art and your creative business alone.  Of course, this means you and only you can answer the question as to what makes your art and your creative business remarkable.

Many of you read the above and think I am pushing platitudes and idealisms. After all, no creative business is truly remarkable in its own right. Too many competitors and choice for any one business to be remarkable. Remarkable as not being relative is an illusion.  And so it goes to say that you are only part of a category. Maybe the category is remarkable but your art and creative business are remarkable mostly for being in the category, not the other way around. To which I say, work harder, dig deeper, find the essence of what you believe your art and your creative business to be.

Arrogance is refusing to accept the grace of humility and to live only in expectation and entitlement. Do not be arrogant, but do not mistake arrogance for conviction. Your art and your creative business exist to be remarkable. Think for a second what it would mean to live in that skin. It would mean no apology for what you know to be true, the wisdom of your gifts and the power of your vision. Your clients can only appreciate the wisdom and vision, embrace their power and accept them. Your clients cannot, however, fully understand your wisdom or the depth of your vision, so do not expect them to. No fish will ever treasure the fresh air. Instead, be remarkable as your clients have every right to expect you, your art and your creative business to be.

These days are the beginnings (or the middle) of the busy moments for your creative business. Spring has sprung. As life blooms again, so does the desire to find joy. Make no mistake that is why your creative business exists – to help your clients find joy. And to help clients find the joy they seek from your art and your creative business, your art and your creative business have to be remarkable. More to the point, you have to KNOW why your art is remarkable so that knowledge can find its way into every moment your creative business spends with your clients.

Every day is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to see cause and effect. When you bring all that makes your art and your creative business remarkable to the surface, see where that takes your relationship. My guess – it will make you resilient, determined and confident in your and your creative business’ ability to deliver joy. So go ahead, ask the question out loud: what makes your art and your creative business remarkable? Now live there and nowhere else.

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Breaking The Model Vs. Redecorating

May 9, 2017

New website, new prices, new contract. Some creative business owners believe that when they embark on these missions, they are breaking the model, not just redecorating. They are wrong. The IPhone really is not all that different from cell phones that came before. Cooler and more functional sure, but not that different. Add in apps […]

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The History Of Whys

May 2, 2017

I had the very good fortune to spend some time talking with Vicente Wolf this morning. He was gracious enough to let me and a friend pick his brain about his thoughts on the current state of the interior design industry.  For those of you who do not know who Vicente is, he is a […]

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Ask The Right Questions

April 25, 2017

This is not school. The unasked question is not the only bad question. Worse, far worse, for creative businesses is asking the question that is designed to categorize a client rather than reveal more about what you and your creative business truly care about. Literally, your question shoots you, your art and your creative business […]

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Getting The Exact Wrong Reaction

April 17, 2017

Most creative business owners are people pleasers. After all, 99.9% of creative businesses are in the happy business. You, your art and your creative business exist solely to bring joy to your clients. Even on the commercial side, the aim is to help a business client achieve what they seek through your work, not destroy […]

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Free Is Free

April 11, 2017

So let’s lay out an all too common scenario. Your favorite project length for your creative business is four months. You happen to be slow at the moment and for the next month but busy down the road, four months from now. The same client comes to you and says they have identical projects, one […]

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There Are No Guarantees

April 3, 2017

We live in a world where there are no guarantees. No promise that if you work hard, be a person, a business, of character, integrity and purpose you will win the day, the client, the game. I suppose we never did live in this world, however, we (okay I) could always cling to the illusion […]

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What Matters To You?

March 28, 2017

What matters to you, your art and your creative business has a price. The price is vulnerability. You will be vulnerable to those that will say what matters to you does not matter. Notice I did not say does not matter to them. I said it does not matter. Wholehearted dismissal of what makes your […]

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Strategy

March 13, 2017

Strategy gets a bad rap. Almost everyone in creative business goes about strategy exactly backwards. Usually, creative business owners start by looking at what everyone else is doing and then try to figure out what they should do to be different. Jane designer charges by the hour, I will charge a flat fee. Fred the […]

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