Being a blogger or creative business owner comes with a unique set of struggles. You can only imagine how fun it can be to explain what you do at family dinners. Or how hard it is to explain to your boyfriend why glue is a business expense. Or doing your taxes in general. But honestly, sometimes the hardest part is figuring out what to say, and how to stand out in a sea of other talented creative ladies.
Today’s #wcw is the answer to all those creative biz struggles. Violeta Nedkova was tired of trying to fit in when she was born to stand out. She was ready to be loud about her creative passions, and she’s helping the rest of us do the same. Violeta uses authentic marketing (which is officially my new favourite buzzword ever) to help creative rebels grow their businesses by being themselves, and she wrote a book all about it – for FREE! We’re talking with Violeta about being genuine, being okay with no plan, and being intentional.
What does being a “creative rebel” mean to you?
Creative rebels are brave individuals who do things their way, even if it goes the opposite direction of the majority of the population. They are authentic, genuine, and connected to their inner voices. This is why they can easily stand out online and turn industries on their heads because their ideas are different and progressive.
When they want to get somewhere, they don’t just follow expert advice but try a lot of things, experiment, come up with their own creative solutions, and end up with unique creative projects and businesses.
Great examples: Seth Godin (permission marketing), Austin Kleon (newspaper blackouts), and Jen Carrington (with her super insightful and genuine conversations on the Make It Happen podcast).
Tell us about your career journey – what got you to where you are today?
I used to be a very unhappy teenager because all of my ideas were different from those of my fellow classmates and peers. I just wanted to create new things, ask questions, and talk about deep things, and everyone else was on another level, where those things were less important than the status quo and who’s popular at school.
I was an outsider, but then I “grew up” into finding fellow creative rebels in University, and yet I would still follow when it came to finding work after that because people told me I needed a job, any job to pay the bills. So I ended up doing HORRIBLE jobs for years, going homeless once, and generally being miserable for a long time.
I never stopped my passions from realizing, but they were always hobbies that I didn’t take too seriously. I mean seriously enough to turn them into something bigger. Until last year – 2015- when I decided to commit to a single brand and name it after myself so I have wiggle room. The best thing? I get to help people be themselves and free themselves the way I did, and it’s so fulfilling that I haven’t had to look back since I started. 🙂
What is the most valuable thing you think your clients get from working with you?
I think it’s thinking differently. People come to me with a lot of doubts, fears, and excuses, and I do my best to get to the bottom of them and disperse them by looking at the situation from another angle. Thing is, society and your parents taught you that you should fit to the world, but I give people permission to find things that fit THEM, and go for it.
I’m not a complete dreamer, though, I’m always very prudent when it comes to savings and backup plans. I always encourage my peeps to save money and make connections that would make the transition easier.
You talk a bit on your site about how it can be hard to juggle personal and professional dreams and ambitions. What’s one piece of advice you’d give entrepreneurs struggling with that balance?
My personal and professional dreams are the same. It’s funny but I’m exactly the same person on my business as I am in my life, and my end goals fill my bank account AND soul. Now, I do understand that might come in the way of my personal relationships, but when that time comes, I just do my best to find balance.
I have no great advice here. I think all we can do is our best. 🙂
What advice would you give other freelancers looking to start their own brand? How do you go about building a positive reputation from scratch?
Don’t think about is as a brand or put pressure on it. Please!!!
Just start doing something you love and share it with the world. Whether that’s writing or networking or starting a collaborative project, just have fun and explore the possibilities. At the start of a brand, you can’t possibly know how it will look like after time. If you’re doing all this planning and research, stop. I have changed my brand and message over the time, and the world did not implode. If anything, my brand grew stronger, and you need to give yourself permission to do the same. My main problem with overplanning and strategizing is that it’s a good excuse for people not to start. And when they do, there’s been so much pressure in the whole process, that they might flame out.
I started my new business last year and I would have hated it by now if I’d used this time to plan and strategize. The ideas that came spontaneously were the best ones. And I had fun, which I remember now when things get tough. In a weird way, this feeling of joy has fueled my faith in the strength of my message.
P.S. Oh and when you do try, start with some kind of idea of what your purpose is. That’s where your message, your tagline, and your unique advantage will come from. 🙂
Tell us what a typical “day in the life” looks like for you.
Get up, get coffee, pet my cat.
I’m embarrassed to say the first thing I do online is check twitter – who mentioned me, what they retweeted, and who followed. Hah! I’m obsessed with twitter. I do different things on different days, so newsletter on Monday; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday client work and discovery calls, and the rest of the time I create whatever’s on the calendar. The best parts of my “job” is that I can adjust the calendar and switch days if I felt like it.
And my favorite parts – talking to people, writing above all, and collecting information and inspiring stories I can share with my community of creative rebels. I love sharing with my peeps!!!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your business?
That you need to let go of the idea you have in your head about how this is supposed to go.
I’ve had this idea that growth will be fast, my list would grow like Gangbusters, and that very soon I’ll be on the same level with some of my online idols. I know this sounds crazy, but I have managed to achieve goals this fast before. This time, however, things are going slower, and I think this is actually a blessing in disguise.
It’s a blessing because it allows me to be very intentional every step of the way. If it were growing lightning fast, I would have gotten lost in the specifics and gone on autopilot, and those things are the enemy of creative rebels – because when that happens, you let go of yourself and become a copy of everyone else.
What is your next goal?
My next goal – after I finish some current projects – is to open a digital library of guides for creative rebels.
I’ve written the first one (The Creative Rebel’s Guide to Starting a Business is free on my site) and the second one is in the works (this one’s about disrupting industries). I have a mile-long list of possible titles, but I really want to take my time with it because my audience literally helps me out with these decisions. I talk with people and then BAM, I have my course title or a blog topic or a book idea. The ideas come from me, so I love them, but I also have a confirmation from my audience, which is a relief because going in blind is totally terrifying. And often necessary. 🙂
As for really BIG GOALS, I want to hire a VA this year. This can seem small to some, but it’s a huge deal for me because I’m so used to doing everything myself. It’s gonna be neat, though as I’m getting a bit burnt out.
If you could pick anyone, which three women would you invite to your next dinner party?
Jen Carrington, Elizabeth Gilbert, and J. K. Rowling. It’s going to be a fascinating conversation.
What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow? (Or other social media accounts!)
I’m not big on Instagram. I’m only big on Twitter as that is my main traffic source. If you can go big on one or two social media platforms, you can achieve much more than trying to spread yourself thin over many.
My favorite accounts are those of my fellow creative rebels, which I try to collect in various twitter lists. The problem there is that they are from different industries, and it gets a little messy, but fun. 😀
I wish I knew how to…
Everything I need, I know how to do, and if I don’t, I’ll learn it soon.
Tell us what “celebrate the everyday” means to you.
It means being GRATEFUL for everything instead of taking things for granted.
At the end of every day, I take a minute to thank the Universe for the life I live and my business and the people I have met since I started it. I also thank the Universe for my parents’ health and my friends.
I think you can only achieve big things when you’re able to appreciate the little ones.
Thank you SO much Violeta for joining us today! If you loved reading about our #wcw and can’t imagine not being BFFs with Violeta, you’re in luck. You can join her and her team of Creative Rebels on her Facebook group, and learn more about her crazy insightful (and FREE!) book on her website!