IN THE STUDIO WITH ANNA SABINO, AUTHOR OF YOUR CREATIVE CAREER
Anna Sabino is a designer, writer, and certified business growth coach who has made it her mission to help other creatives build and grow their independent businesses. This is an area she knows well, as she grew her jewellery brand Lucid New York from a small homegrown operation into a successful brand sold in over 100 shops worldwide. We recently had the chance to chat with Anna about her experience as a creative entrepreneur, her latest book Your Creative Career, and her top tips for turning your passion into a money-making business.
IN THE STUDIO WITH AUTHOR ANNA SABINO
Hi Anna, lovely to be chatting with you! So you actually quit your Wall Street job to create your own jewellery brand and work for yourself. That must have been a pretty daunting leap to take. What motivated you to take such a huge risk?
Thank you so much, Tara. I love Creative Founders and the community you’ve created. I’m so glad we connected, thank you. When I was on Wall Street I felt there was only that much I could do. I felt limited but what bothered me most was that I couldn’t be in charge of my time. I had to be at a certain place at the same time everyday and I really dislike routines. The leap was actually not daunting, it was the year leading towards it that was. That’s when I had two careers so it was a huge commitment but in the end the hustle was worth it. I started following a creative path that I really wanted to with no routine, no boundaries and I was in charge of my time. Not to mention I was doing something I truly loved and I was able to decide about the direction where my business should head in.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the beginning, and how did you overcome them?
I think my biggest challenge was achieving work/life balance although some entrepreneurs argue that it doesn’t exist, that nowadays it all blends into one life. Well I had a hard time not to feel guilty when I was taking time off. I would watch a movie and I’d think that this was the time I could be spending on designing my website or doing research. I started longing for the “leaving work behind feeling” that I used to have when working a 9-5 job. I don’t think this feeling of complete detachment from business can be fully had when owning a business but I started scheduling my work hours and being strict about respecting the finishing time.
As your business grew, you decided to focus less on how much money you were bringing in and more on personal growth development skills. Can you tell us a little bit about why you took that path and what you learned in doing so?
This is what’s important to me. I love learning, being open to opportunities and getting involved in new creative projects. If I was to focus on growth of one creative venture, I’d find it too one dimensional. I love being involved in a few creative endevours – this is my way of keeping my creative energy up and being excited about what I do.
As a certified business building coach who speaks, coaches and leads workshops focused on growing creative businesses, you must work with a lot of first-time entrepreneurs. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see newbie entrepreneurs making?
Most entrepreneurs have a hard time pricing their products. This may be because of their insecurity in the initial stages of running a business. They may also feel that they do what they love so charging for it would not be fair. So behind pricing there’s actually believing in their skills and charging for it adequately. If they don’t believe in their business, skills and themselves, how can their customers value their products. I often see this attitude at the beginning of a creative career.
In your opinion, what are the most important skills to cultivate if you want to be a creative entrepreneur?
I’m not sure if you can cultivate entrepreneurial skills. I think owning a business is either for someone or it’s not. It’s a commitment that not many are up for. When owning a business, it’s important to stay curious and truly passionate about what we do because we will be devoting a lot of hours to it. Curiosity helps us be resourceful and approach our business creatively. From decision making to problem solving, it’s also crucial to be agile – be open to adjusting to circumstances and changing. Successful entrepreneurs have grit and they love to hustle. Sometimes we become obsessed about our projects, skip meals and forget about the world around us. Often, in the initial stages of running a business, entrepreneurs need to work longer hours than in the job they transitioned from. Accepting this commitment and truly loving owning a business is important to succeed.
You just released your first book titled Your Creative Career about turning your passion into a financially successful career. What can we expect to find within the pages?
When I was writing Your Creative Career, I decided to share it all, not save anything for the next book. The book is sectioned into 12 chapters presenting 12 creative insights, which will help us design the life we truly want to live.
The book inspires us to reflection about what truly matters to us in our careers, which determines how we want to grow professionally. Some may want more time, others may like to create a location independent lifestyle and yet society pressures us to define growth in financial terms.
Your Creative Career is filled with actionable tips for creative entrepreneurs. Whether you’d like to start or already own a business, you will find valuable info no matter where on the entrepreneurial path you are at. There are tips on pricing and setting up systems, building your platform and making meaningful connections but also stories based on my 14 years experience as an entrepreneur. I’m open and I’m sharing my mistakes and failures so that my readers can learn from them and achieve their own success faster.
We’re always blown away by super productive people who never seem to stop creating. How do you find the time and energy to juggle running a successful jewellery business, coaching and writing?
It’s very challenging to juggle a few businesses when one of them is in their initial stages. I’ve had my jewelry brand Lucid New York for 14 years so I’ve set up a lot of systems and it’s now a lesser time commitment. I guess it goes back to the fact that I am not focused on business expansion. I’d rather make my businesses grow deeper instead of broader. To me it’s important to make them efficient so that they are sustainable and run smoothly. I also limit the number of career coaching clients I take on every year.
What do you love the most about your job? And what do you like the least about it?
I love freedom, flexibility and excitement my creative career gives me but its unpredictability can be challenging. I feel like I always have to be on my toes or some kind of entrepreneurial train will run me over. Every year jewelry trends change and customers are looking for new things. As far as my book, I keep my eyes open and always explore what opportunities it may bring. I am aware than when I write another book, my hustle will start over, I won’t be able to build on previous efforts and ride some kind of a wave. I’ll be paddling against the current again. Wait but I love it actually. I guess I love all aspects of entrepreneurship!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I would love to slow down. Every year I say this and then I start another creative project that makes me extremely busy. In 10 years I’d love to be involved in causes promoting reading, learning and education. I’m a believer in formal education with hard copy books and I’d love to get involved with organizations supporting it. I do hope these both formal education and books still exist in 10 years.
At Creative Founders, we love shining the spotlight on inspiring entrepreneurs like yourself. Can you tell us about another female creative in your community who inspires you and why?
I was a guest on many creativity and entrepreneurship podcasts lately chatting about the release of my book Your Creative Career and being a creative entrepreneur. One woman has been particularly memorable – Lauren Frontiera, founder of The Real Female Entrepreneurs podcast . She’s full of positive, fantastic energy, her podcasts are fun and insightful. I love her way of being, she successfully leads and mentors having a lot of fun on a way putting us all in a good mood. Yey Lauren!
Please check out Anna Sabino’s new book and don’t forget to stop by her website to say hello!
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