Business planning meets mixed-media

The Creative EntrepreneurBusiness planning books are generally linear things, stepping you through the motions of starting or extending a business from insight to implementation. But we all know that reality is not like that, particularly in artistic enterprise. When artists and creative individuals consider starting their own business or profit-generating activity, vision, business, purpose, life, passion, and self-expression are all part of the mix.

Which is why I appreciate Lisa Sonora Beam’s book on the subject of business planning for artists and creative individuals: The Creative Entrepreneur. While it contains many of the same core elements as any business planning book — define your business, carve your niche, know your customer, know yourself, and so on — it brings a truly hands-on approach to exploring those deep issues in non-linear ways.

Beam offers a visual journaling approach to engaging goals, strategies, tactics and barriers — posing questions to be answered not just in your head or in spreadsheets, but on paper, with clippings, paints, markers, pens, scraps, and photos. And each essential question gets multiple treatments, as you go back to your original thoughts and highlight the essential bits with more layers of context.

The result is unique to business planning, and a uniquely beautiful book. If you think visually, learn with your hands, and bristle against traditional tomes on business, consider this alternative. I’ve already grabbed my crayons.