Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Liz Kimball, Creativity Catalyst, TEDx Speaker, and Coach for Visionary Creators based in Maplewood, New Jersey, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I believe that women's creative voices are the single most underutilized natural resource we have available to build a better world that works for everyone. My work is dedicated to empowering women and girls to actualize and amplify their signature creative work and become culture-shaping, sovereign creators.
My clients are boundary-defying authors, filmmakers, choreographers, producers, playwrights, comedians, recording artists, thought leaders, podcast hosts, founders, thought leaders, and moms who are disrupting the status quo in order to build a better world.
I offer coaching programs, training, community, and content that unite and support women visionaries to build platforms around their ideas, storytelling, and creative work without burning themselves out in the process.
Tell us about yourself
I started my business because I was working as a performer and director in the entertainment industry and was very done with how the old boys club was still running Hollywood and Broadway. While I had multiple degrees and had received some incredible opportunities in my career, I still felt like I lacked true creative agency and had this gnawing feeling that there was so much more potential and power in me that I couldn't figure out how to access. I also felt like by devoting my life to other people's creative visions, I often had to do things that went against my values. I knew other women that felt this way. I sensed that we needed spaces and conversations where we could create our own rules and develop synergy to trust, cultivate and amplify our voices, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I was also very interested in the power of cross-pollination and bringing women creators from different industries together. So often, we were siloed in training and development opportunities. So I sent an email to several women I knew and invited them to a conversation about how to get more women's stories into the world. Our first meeting was four of us in a tiny rented space in midtown Manhattan, and we've been growing ever since.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Staying true to my voice. Entrepreneurs are marketed to ad nauseam with the latest success hack or marketing secret that convinces us we need to follow someone else's formula to do the unique work we were born to do. I think the boldest, most innovative thing we can do as leaders is to remember that the only secret is our truth and to create and lead from there.
I'm also very proud of my TEDx talk: Why We Need to Grieve our Childhood Dreams!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being visible as you change and grow. Leadership is an incredibly sacred responsibility. In today's world, it means allowing people (sometimes thousands or millions of them) to watch you evolve through all of the challenges and the triumphs. I think it's so important to acknowledge this when you choose the path of being an entrepreneur. Your business is its own creative being that is separate from you, but as the core ambassador of your business, you are choosing to stand beside it and let people see you through its evolution. In my experience, as a shy person who is a hermit at heart, this requires deep resilience, mental stamina, and a great therapist or coach.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't make what the market wants; make the vision that won't let go of you
- Resist the magnetic pull of conformity and say the very boldest, truest thing you feel called to say. Keep saying it, even when your voice shakes, people write mean comments, or it feels like no one is listening.
- Stop following advice that feels wrong in your body and create your own rules.
At the start of my entrepreneurial career, I received a lot of advice that I ended up ignoring — things like, you have to clarify your ideal client before you start, you have to create guarantees, or don't express your political beliefs online.
In the early stages of my business, I really struggled with what everyone was telling me to do and what felt right inside of myself. With the rise of Instagram and other social platforms, the personal development industry was booming but still quite dominated by a small handful of male gurus. It was still reinforcing the idea that a guru's advice would be more effective than listening to our own. All of our "problems" were personal and not tied to a larger collective narrative.
In the entrepreneurial industry, I realized that so much of the business advice wasn't written for me. I decided to throw out the advice because I have a kind of stubborn integrity. I'm sure it resulted in slower growth initially (plus a lot of meltdowns), but I wanted to wake up excited to return to this work every day and to build a business that felt like the most fully expressed version of myself and that every inch of it aligned with my values. Over time I realized that the amazing clients and students I am lucky to collaborate with chose me because I was doing things differently.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When deciding whether or not to launch something of your own, there can be a period of what I lovingly like to call unbearable angst. You are trying to figure out if you should bet on your vision, and it can be maddening trying to assure the fear voices in your head that you can guarantee its success. And the truth is — while research and proof of concepts can help you shape the work, you will never entirely know. You can't guarantee the success of something before you make the leap. But underneath this angst is a powerful curiosity that only you possess. It just sometimes has to show up as angst because that's the only way you will listen to it.
I believe that if you are feeling this curiosity disguised as angst, it means two things:
- You have a vision that someone out there — and probably a great many people — will be greatly moved and transformed by.
- Following it will transform YOU — because any creative project worth pursuing will always turn you into the next best version of yourself. So basically, your truth is the winning strategy.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.