Usually someone starting a new business seeks advice from an accountant or a business consultant of some kind. Someone who knows his or her way around a balance sheet, business plan, or strategy statement. A number cruncher, risk management consultant, or marketing specialist.
These kinds of services are essential for any business to succeed AND, as I am just beginning to realize, so is creativity coaching, which involves assisting any creator in any field who wishes to be more productive, to develop her creative and humanistic capacities, and to more successfully share his talents, services, and/or products with the marketplace.
This past weekend, my friend and colleague, Somae Osler, invited me to support her in opening her elegant, newly renovated yoga studio (Somalila Studio), serenely situated on the rural property near Duncan, BC, which she shares with her husband, poet Richard Osler.
It was a bold beginning for Somae, who not only provided free classes in areas such as Beginner Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Movement Meditation throughout this inaugural weekend, but also invited participants to share their needs and concerns in “tea and treats” sessions after each class.
As Somalila Studio’s “Creativity Coach in Residence,” I participated in all five of Somae’s classes and attended all follow-up sessions. Throughout the weekend, she and I had a number of one-on-one sessions in which we addressed the inevitable anxieties that emerge from putting oneself out there, assessed her strengths as a teacher, parsed client feedback, spotted marketing opportunities, pinpointed potential challenges, identified populations that would likely respond to her unique approach, discussed possible business affiliates, etc. We also spent a lot of time discussing her values, refining her vision, and determining how to maintain the integrity of her vision as her business evolves.
It was exciting for me to work with an artist in an intensive “on site” situation like this. To not only hear but to directly witness her needs and challenges, and to be able to address them in real time. It was a revelation to see how natural it was to move from existential concerns (“Am I good enough?”) to business matters (“What’s a reasonable price point in this market?”) to client relation issues (“How am I to offer my help while maintaining strong boundaries?”). None of these areas exist in isolation. They’re all interrelated.
I feel grateful to Somae for trusting me with her baby, which is what a new business is. (She did great, by the way! Lots of positive feedback from participants who are eager to continue working with her.) I left feeling inspired to offer this kind of service to other artists who are starting new business ventures. To have the privilege of accompanying them over the threshold from the familiar to The Unknown. I hope I get the opportunity.