Customer Reviews: The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real
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Customer Reviews

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on December 7, 2008
I found this book to be a thorough delight! It's packed full of wonderful tips for your creative business, no matter what it is. Business concepts and process is presented in such a way that all right-brain folks (like me) will feel coddled, looked after, and safe. If only I had had this book 25 years ago when I tried to start a weaving business! The author makes it fun (amazing, no?) to make business plans and imagine ways to
materialize your artful dreams. Also, as a serious art journaling person, I loved the layout of the book, which contains wonderful examples on almost every page of brilliant journal layouts and compositions. All are in sun-drenched, glorious color!! This book is so delicious to read that I had to ration myself to a chapter a day. Otherwise, I would have devoured it in one sitting and missed many valuable sections. I purchase a LOT of art books--a LOT--and this is one of the best this year--definitely five stars.
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on October 28, 2008
I was skeptical. But, then I found that this book is a real motivator. Fun to read, fun to look at, but with a serious mission: how can business owners like me blend creativity and business success? The book goes on to answer that question.

Our small web company deals with the un-bending requirements of accounting/distribution systems with the softer, yet stronger, notions of creative presentation of products and company image. I am constantly looking for new inspiration, and this book has it.

I have already started my journal, and I have gleaned a couple of new ideas that I will use. I found it delightful to browse or to read chunks at one sitting, and it helped me look at my situation with a fresh point of view. I highly recommend it. I got a copy of the book for my son too.
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on May 5, 2009
Although I already have a boring all text and statistics yawn fest business plan, I find that I seldom refer to it. I need something else to help move me forward and get me unstuck. I need something to get me excited about strategic planning. This book does it.

I, like many artists have shelves full of books on the business of art, creativity, marketing and the like. They bore me to tears. This, on the other hand, is a great motivational tool.

Rather than have me fill notebooks with dry lists, this book instructs me to create mandalas, vision boards and visual journals. I have created these before but not as a business tool. This book takes me step by step through the process of figuring out what I want and need, and gives me all sorts of insights to keep moving me towards my goal.

This is the best book of its kind that I have seen. It's probably the only book of its kind that I have seen. It's art with a purpose, which appeals to me.

There are many books on making visual journals but this book in my opinion is the one you need if you are seriously thinking of your art as a business. I have already told many of my artist friends about it.
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on December 10, 2009
Books on helping creatives grow their own business are hard to find. I've read and reviewed Craft, Inc. and it was a good resource for starting a creative business. However, while it covered many aspects of running a business, I found that it wasn't good for actually teaching you how to set-up and create your own business from conception to reality. Enter Lisa Sonora Beam and The Creative Entrepreneur. Billed as a "DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real", this book not only teaches readers the fundamentals of building a business to match their creative dream, but it presents the core business concepts in a way that makes them easy for creative personalities to understand.

The Creative Entrepreneur developed out of workshops that Beam created and offered "creatives" who wanted to take their craft and turn them into viable business opportunities. She does not believe that artists need to starve in order to succeed. This book is her legacy; it shows artists that they, too, can grasp business concepts that turn their artistic visions into concrete and functioning business plans--no matter what they are. At first glance, this book looks more like an art technique book than a business fundamentals primer. Don't let the shiny fool you; this book packs an informative punch. Beam introduces the book by explaining how the visual journalling process aides in the process of business creation. She encourages readers to follow along with the exercises in this book, just as if they were sitting in on one of her workshops.

The rest of the book explains and shows examples for various business concepts that are key to uncovering exactly what form your artsy business will become. Beam helps you explore your strengths, develop a vision and goals plan, and set SMART goals for yourself. She also helps you overcome your fears. By exposing them, Beam helps you to minimize and remedy them so they don't distract you from attaining your successful goals. At every step of the way she presents the information in easy-to-digest bites that also include plenty of fun exercises, journalling prompts, and examples from people who have already gone through her process.

The Creative Entrepreneur helps you lay the foundation for your business. But that's about as far as the material in the book goes. Beam quickly glosses over the idea of promotional materials that could help your business expand and get noticed, but she doesn't cover how to obtain licenses, or networking with other entrepreneurs and suppliers. Therefore, I wouldn't consider this book as the "all inclusive" text for creatives looking to go into business for themselves. Instead, I see this as a companion to Craft, Inc. which delves into the daily business running aspects in greater detail.

I loved this book. There's so much good information in it that I think it's valuable for anyone to read through. I especially loved her breakdown on the left brain/right brain and the information on SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). While I'm not ready to create a business out of my bookbinding just yet, I know that the information and exercises are things I can use to help propel and transform my writing life into something more. I recommend this book to any writer, artist, or crafter who desires to do more with their art, or just become more attuned to what you can offer the rest of the world. Even if you're not interested in operating your own business, this book gives you a lot to think about on assessing your creative strengths and weaknesses.
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on January 20, 2010
This is an unique book where the author presents the visual journaling techniques and prompts to meet the three basic challenges faced by many creative/visual-oriented entrepreneurs: dealing with the emotional & psychological mental blocks, misunderstanding the creative process, and lacking the practical business knowledge.

The first three chapters of this book focus on the self-analysis, discovery of skills and talents, and mental/psychological blocks. The last two chapters provide the strategic tools for managing and growing your business. The author show how a visual journal can be used as a living document that is subject to change over time, and also is adaptable to ever changing personal needs and business climate.

The first chapter, the shortest one in the whole book, shows how various journaling techniques can be used for brainstorming, problem solving and gaining insights. Additionally, it lists the benefits of a visual journal, and also briefly mentions what supplies (simple) are needed to create one.

Chapter two starts with the creation of a flower with four intersecting ovals that can be viewed as the creative entrepreneur's mandala. This enables one to see a "big picture" of the essentials needed for the realization of one's business vision. Chapter three, the largest of all, views the blocks not as personal barriers but opportunities for growth. It explains the characteristics of each side of the brain (left & right), and how they can work together rather than compete. It also shows that it is necessary to understand the four modes of functioning so that they can be controlled and managed more effectively. Both the constructive and destructive aspects are identified for each of the mode, and the remedies are provided for each of the destructive ones.

The fourth chapter shows how one can think strategically like a CEO using the managerial planning tools provided in the book. The basics of promotion and marketing (branding, packaging, advertising and media selection) are presented in the last chapter which utilizes the strategic approach rather than the tactical one. At the end of this book is a DIY project: a mini journal that allows one to document the strategic plans, to keep track of one's progress, and to recycle the existing paper cards and ephemera instead of buying expensive business planning books.

I have submitted several pages from my own journal for the inclusion in this book; however, I did not get the whole manuscript when I did some of the exercises. Consequently, I did not get a chance to develop the strategic plans for bringing my business ideas to fruition before I got this book. Pretty soon, I will have to go back to my visual journal pages for refinement and reassessment. But I can rely on this book to help me develop my own strategic plan with its visual journaling techniques and prompts.
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on May 21, 2009
I'm not a right-brain creative, though I would love to be. I was drawn to this book for the subtitle: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real. I'm familiar with business plan structures, but was compelled to take closer look because of the idea of using a visual journal to coax ideas onto the page. Essentially, I'm a left-brained person wanting to use right-brain techniques! I like what Lisa has done here: step-by-step instructions to guide you through assessing your skills and values, to think like a CEO re: your business purpose, to establishing objectives and tactics to get it done. She also includes photos of how others have approached their journals so you can develop your own way of expressing your ideas.

This is not supposed to be art, it's a business plan! That said, the bonus is that this is a gorgeous book to browse through for inspiration. It's not the usual art journal--it's a working, purposeful journal that just happens to be fun to create! Both left- and right-brained folks could benefit from reading this wonderful book.
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on May 2, 2009
"The Creative Entrepreneur" is a breakthrough for teaching right brain left brain integration. As a studio artist and lifetime creative I struggled with trying to fit my right brain view into a largely left brain world. As long as I can remember left brain thinking has been held as the norm and yet to many it always seemed limiting. Life doesn't always happen in a linear time line of events nor does innovative thought.

While Lisa's book seems to be aimed mostly at helping creatives recognize and use their left brain processes, I think it is really strong as a tool to help broaden the view of left brain focused focused.

Her graphic journal process,which takes up about half of the book, is a wonderful methodology for awakening the right brain functions in left brain dominant people. In doing so it sets the user up for eventual integration and holistic thought processes.

The real value of this book is its magically imaginative way of giving users a way to move into whole brain living and eventually a more integrated view of the world.

Interestingly enough I can't imagine a similar book written from the left brain view that could be even smidgen as effective or close to providing as much fun!
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on August 18, 2009
I ordered this book because I read that it was a unique way to look at art marketing. What I found it to be was a pat formula for making an interesting, creative-looking collage-scrapbook kind of thingie. Did any of you notice that everybody's books looked more or less alike--and more or less like the author's? (Write something. Print it with block letters. Paint over it. Glue on some stuff. Get real wild--make it bigger than the page.) It looks to me like a fun activity that gives the illusion of creativity and accomplishment, just the kind of thing artists are always looking for to get out of doing their real work. The examples of business and marketing inspirations (a portable kit of art supplies, for instance) sounded like desperate attempts to generate some money--or get a grade--and seemed just like the sort of loopy ideas us artists come up with when we are first starting out that in reality aren't gonna fly all that well. I would love to know how that idea went. I have to admit, though, the author's idea for this book seems to have gone over quite well with a whole lot of people.
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on May 5, 2009
This is my favorite BOOK of the YEAR! Lisa Sonora Beam converts the dry task of business planning into a creative process that can make dreams for a creative business become real.

Lisa is a Creative Entrepreneur and well understands the challenges that a creative person in business faces. In her book she presents processes that circumvent these challenges in engaging and fun ways. You know these steps work because she wrote her book using them!

For creatively oriented folks looking to make their business ideas real, this is a must have book!
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VINE VOICEon July 29, 2011
When I first got this book, I wasn't sure that it was going to be helpful. I was wrong. As an artist, I am naturally a visual learner and a predominately right brain thinker. Therefore, for the most part, I excel in being able to express my feelings, I am highly creative, and I am a very intuitive. However, I am not always as business savvy as I need to be. This book is helping me hone on my left-brain functions, so I can better verbalize the value of my products, develop business strategies, increase my business leadership skills, and ultimately make a profit. Best of all, I can do the latter through the use of an artist journal, like the ones I've been using for years to develop my art project ideas. Since I usually solve problems by visualizing them, this book has been the perfect fit for me. If you are like me, I highly recommend this book.
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