Image by Hugh MacLeod
UPDATE: We’ve now sold out. Thank you and welcome to all our charter members!
If you’d like to be first to hear when we open up again, you can sign up on this page to join the e-mail notification list.
We’ve now started taking enrolments for the Lateral Action Creative Entrepreneur Course.
The course is designed for:
- Artists and creative freelancers
- People looking to set up a home-based business
- Bloggers looking to build a business around their blog
(If that doesn’t include you, you may want to skip this post — there are plenty more articles about creativity and related topics coming up on Wishful Thinking, plus the free e-book I’m working on …)
If you’d like to be one of our charter members, with lifetime access to the course (including all future updates) at a 50% discount, you can head over to Lateral Action and sign up.
The course gives you a detailed roadmap for succeeding as a creative entrepreneur – a small, creative business consisting of one person or a very small team. It will show you how to research and develop products that people actually want to buy, market yourself on the internet, and build a business without spending a fortune on advertising or employees.
The sign-up page on Lateral Action outlines the course content and format, and we’ve also published a free report about it, so I won’t go into that here. I’ll just say a few words about why I’m launching an e-learning course, and introduce my fellow teachers.
Why I’m Providing an E-Learning Course
The great thing about blogging is that it has connected me with a wonderful network of people around the world. It’s created the opportunity for me to work with inspiring creative people who I’d never have met otherwise. At the same time, I’ve discovered there are certain limits to the coaching, workshop training and blogging that are my core activities.
In some ways there’s no substitute for a live, face-to-face learning experience, either one-to-one in coaching sessions, or in groups for workshops. The logistics can be a bit challenging though — it was great that my Creative Momentum workshops sold out over the summer, and I’ll definitely be doing some more of them before long. It was also a bit frustrating to hear from many of you who said you’d love to come, but couldn’t fly all the way to London for a two-hour workshop. And even when I run a full day workshop, I often wish it could be longer, as it feels as though there’s so much more to teach.
Coaching is a bit different. It’s about facilitating someone’s learning in a way that is highly focused and tailored to the individual. So it’s not the best use of a coaching session for me to spend a lot of time explaining things and conveying information. But with many issues, such as web marketing and entrepreneurship, there is often a lot that the client needs to know before we can get started.
In the past three or four years, I’ve found I can use the Wishful Thinking website to add a lot of value to my coaching and training. I often give clients e-books and blog articles to read before for coaching sessions, so that they have the essential information when they arrive, and we have a much more productive session as a result. And for my recent Presentation Skills Training and Internet Marketing Training workshops, I created an online version of the workshops, which attendees access in the Members area of Wishful Thinking. The feedback I’ve received about this has been terrific — people have told me it really helps them to learn at their own pace, and they can keep referring to the materials as they put their plans into action.
I’m now taking this a stage further by launching a full-blown e-learning course, featuring audio lessons (handy for listening on an iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player), transcripts of all the lessons, and practical worksheets. Later on there will be a members forum and Q&A calls, all included in the charter membership package. It means we can cover the topics in much greater depth than a normal training workshop — and you’re free to learn at your own pace, repeating lessons and referring to the training materials whenever you need them.
It also means you get the benefit of an extended training at a significantly lower price than you would pay for live training or coaching. We’re talking around 18 hours of audio lessons (plus the transcripts, worksheets etc) for less than the price of a couple of coaching sessions.
And you may have noticed that a couple of paragraphs back I said “we can cover the topics…”. That’s because I’m not teaching the course on my own. I’m delighted to be working with Brian Clark and Tony Clark — two highly successful creative entrepreneurs — so you’ll be getting the benefit of not one but three teachers on this programme.
It’s a good deal for me too, of course. As well as the satisfaction of creating a programme that I’m proud of, it means I’m practising what I preach about entrepreneurship, creating my own product and adding an extra revenue stream to my business.
Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
OK, But Why Entrepreneurship?
If you’re like me a few years back, you probably don’t readily associate entrepreneurship with creativity. But I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that they are not only highly compatible, but creative entrepreneurship is the path that offers creative people the greatest amount of financial independence and personal freedom to pursue their dreams.
Over the past 13 or so years of coaching artists and creatives, I’ve noticed that earning a living from your creative passion is one of the most cherished dreams – and often one of the most difficult to realise. That’s the core challenge we’re going to address with the Lateral Action programme.
So what is a creative entrepreneur? It’s someone who takes a slightly unconventional approach to entrepreneurship — we’re not trying to emulate empire builders like Richard Branson and Bill Gates. Good luck to them, if that’s what they want to do, but it’s not my cup of tea.
The Lateral Action definition of a creative entrepreneur is someone who builds a thriving small business around their creative talent — but without hiring any employees or investing large sums of capital. He or she could be an artist with a studio, a freelancer with a laptop, or a micro-entrepreneur operating from a home office.
For a fuller description, read my article The 3 Critical Characteristics of the Creative Entrepreneur. And for an inspiring vision of what it’s like to be a creative entrepreneur, watch the Lateral Action videos Everybody Loves Marla and Marla Mentors Jack.
And if you’d like to hear about my own journey towards creative entrepreneurship, read my recent article The Story of a Reluctant Entrepreneur.
Who Will Teach the Course — and How Do We Know What We’re Talking about?
This next bit is slightly awkward, because Brian and Tony are much better known than I am, so it feels a bit odd introducing them. But I know that some of you are new to the world of Internet marketing and entrepreneurship, so I’ll do my best to do them justice with a brief introduction.
Brian is best known as the founder of Copyblogger, a hugely successful blog about copywriting and web marketing. I’ve been telling my clients for years that Copyblogger is absolutely indispensable reading for anyone who wants to sell things on the Internet. Brian gives away an enormous amount of free advice on Copyblogger, but unlike most bloggers, he has used his blog as a platform to build a multimillion-dollar online business, releasing e-learning programmes such as Teaching Sells, Partnering Profits and Freelance X-Factor, and the popular website design theme Thesis (which I use on Wishful Thinking).
Brian isn’t just a very successful internet marketer. He’s also a highly talented writer who really understands creativity and creative people. He turned to entrepreneurship when he became disillusioned with his prospects as an aspiring Hollywood screenwriter – and the screenwriting bug hasn’t quite let go, as you can see in the Lateral Action animated videos, all scripted by Brian.
This is what artist and creative entrepreneur John T. Unger has to say about Brian’s gifts as a teacher:
My first career was poetry, and for fifteen years all I did was read, write, perform live and study with luminaries like Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. I learned more from Brian in the first year of Copyblogger.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Brian will be taking the lead on the marketing modules on the Lateral Action course, and showing you how to approach web marketing, not as a ‘necessary evil’, but as a highly creative extension of your core work.
I think of Tony as a kind of Swiss Army Knife for creative entrepreneurs. For one thing, he’s got an incredible range of talents – illustrator, animator, programmer, blogger, teacher, entrepreneur. And for another, he’s got an encyclopaedic knowledge of creativity, business, software and productivity systems. I first ‘met’ Tony online a few years ago, when he was dispensing advice for home-based entrepreneurs on his blog Success from the Nest. More recently he’s partnered with Brian on Teaching Sells.
Tony likes to keep himself in the background, but his fingerprints are all over Lateral Action. He does all our design and website development. He drew the cartoon characters Lou, Jack and Marla – and brought them to life in the aforementioned animated videos. And he also serves as a one-man IT suppport department for Brian and me, when (as frequently happens) we reach the limits of our technical capacity.
Whenever I encounter a technical problem at Lateral Action — I ask Tony.
When I’m stuck for an example to use in an article — I ask Tony.
When I want a recommendation for software to perform a particular task — I ask Tony.
You get the picture.
Tony will be teaching the module on business systems, a.k.a. how to automate or delegate the ‘boring bits’ of running a business, and stay focused on the interesting creative work which is the reason most of us got into a creative profession in the first place.
Tony would like to point out that he’s not Brian’s brother.
Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll have a reasonable idea of who I am! As you know, I provide coaching and training for creative people and innovative companies.
But you may not be so familiar with another side of my work, as I don’t write about it much online. I’m a psychotherapist, registered with the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and in practice since 1996. In that time I’ve worked with all kinds of people facing challenging problems and situations, including anxiety, depression, fears and phobias, addictions, trauma, work-related stress, relationship break-ups, bereavement, homelessness and stress-related illness.
In my coaching work, I’ve also helped a lot of freelancers and small business owners deal with the stresses and strains of self-employment — which can be a very lonely place at times. And having been self-employed myself for almost the whole of my career, I know exactly what a rollercoaster ride it can be!
So it’s fair to say I’ve seen a lot of stressful situations up close, at first and second hand. I’ve also seen what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to handling pressure and staying motivated and effective. On the Lateral Action course, I’m taking the lead on a module called Succeed (Don’t Stress) which is a distillation of everything I’ve learned about emotional intelligence and stress management for self-employed people. We’ve included it in the course because we want to give people a holistic toolkit for dealing with all aspects of running a small business — the personal as well as professional.
Most of the other modules of the course will consist of interviews/discussions between Brian and me. I’ll be asking Brian lots of questions to draw out the most relevant advice from his vast store of knowledge, and complementing this with my own perspective on creative entrepreneurship. And I’ll be asking Brian many of the most common and urgent questions I hear from coachees and workshop delegates, about how to apply the principles of creative entrepreneurship to their own career and business.
I Know This Stuff Works
Those of you who have attended my workshop Web Marketing for Creative People know that my websites are my main source of new business. When people ask me how I manage to get my sites so high up the search engine rankings, and actually convert visitors into clients, I tell them “by following Brian and Tony’s advice”. As well as reading Copyblogger for the last four years, I’ve taken several of their e-learning courses and devoured every lesson (many of them two or three times). And since we launched Lateral Action together, I’ve had the benefit of a hands-on education in how to create and promote a successful web venture.
In a nutshell: I’ve tested Brian and Tony’s advice first-hand, and I know it works.
(I drew the line at changing my surname to Clark though! )
If you’d like the benefit of our combined experience, and to apply it to your own creative business, you’d be well advised to sign up sooner rather than later. UPDATE: Enrolment for the first programme is now closed. We’ll be running a second progamme early in 2010 – if you’d like to hear about it when we open up again, you can sign up on this page to join the e-mail notification list.
For this programme we’re offering a charter membership deal of 50% discount on the 2010 price, to include all future updates and features. On the sign-up page Brian says the price will never be this low again, and I know he’s true to his word about this. Whenever Brian and Tony have launched a new course, I’ve signed up for the charter member deal — and a few months later, I’ve seen people happily paying several times the fee I paid. It’s great to see people are satisfied with a course at the full price, but it’s even nicer to know I got the whole thing a lot cheaper!
We also offer a 30-day guarantee on the programme, so if for any reason you decide not to continue, we’ll happily refund your fee, no questions asked (but feedback welcome).
OK, that’s enough about Lateral Action from me. I’m excited about the programme as it’s on a bigger scale than any of the trainings I’ve delivered before, in terms of both the content and the number of people we’ll be able to help. If you’re interested in joining us on the journey, head over to the sign-up page, where Brian outlines the roadmap.
Next up on Wishful Thinking, we’re back to our usual programme of articles about the business of creativity and the creativity of business. (Including that free e-book I mentioned earlier …)