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get to know creative plus business – our 2022 good stuff awards partner

get to know creative plus business – our 2022 good stuff awards partner

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Advice and insight from the rad organisation that will mentor this year's Good Stuff award winners.

If you haven’t heard, the annual frankie Good Stuff awards are back! This year’s winners will receive $1000 cash, a feature in issue 111 of frankie and a year’s subscription to the magazine. Plus, they’ll take part in Creative Plus Business’s GROW program – a series of super-helpful mentoring sessions for makers, creatives and small-business owners who need a little support. We asked Creative Plus Business director Monica Davidson to tell us more about this ace program, and the story behind the organisation.

Hi Monica! How did Creative Plus Business begin? I started freelancing as a writer and filmmaker over 30 years ago, and I was helping other creatives with their business skills from day one. The more I learnt about what to do (and what not to do), the more I wanted to share that with my friends. I ran my own production company until 2014 (when I decided to refocus on helping creatives become more entrepreneurial), went to the Australian Film Television and Radio School and got my Master's Degree in Screen Arts and Business, and started Creative Plus Business in 2016.

What kinds of services do you offer? Everything we do is based on the foundation of education. We offer workshops and webinars that people can attend online, usually for a low price (or for free, which is part of our social enterprise outreach). We also offer mentoring and advisory services for people who need a personalised, one-on-one approach for their specific creative business challenges. We have online programs for people who want to study in-depth and at their own pace, as well as loads of downloadable resources and blog posts to help people understand specific elements of creative entrepreneurship.

This year, Good Stuff award winners will take part in your GROW program. What does the program involve and how it can benefit makers, small businesses and creatives? The program is a series of four 1-hour mentoring meetings designed to help creatives stay on track and remain focused and accountable as they take their business to its next stage. The confidential meetings are held with one of our 15 expert consultants, who all have experience and qualifications in running their own creative businesses across a range of industries.

The first session is a deep-dive into your goals and what you hope to achieve from the program, and then each month we discuss your next steps. Whether you're a freelancer ready to solidify the way you work, a partnership looking to act on your plans, or a company ready to hire employees and take on the world, I think everyone can benefit from coaching, mentoring and advice from an experienced and empathetic creative expert.

What’s your advice for turning your passion into a career? Do some research to be sure there are people out there – like clients, customers, your audience or even a funding body – who are ready to buy what you have to offer. I know that’s a bit of tough love, but it’s the key difference between doing something creative just because you love it and doing something creative that’s in service to the wants and needs of other people.

Over the years that you’ve been mentoring creative businesses, what’s one common challenge or mistake you’ve seen? It’s a mistake to think we creative people can’t do business. It’s simply not true. We’re not stupid; we just need a bit of practical help that works with our way of doing things and is empathetic to our specific needs and learning styles. Sure, some of us suck at maths (like me!), but that doesn’t mean we’re hopeless with money. We might be nervous about business or marketing, but we can learn. Teach us what we need to know about entrepreneurialism in a practical and entertaining way, and we can take on the world.

What's one business lesson you’d like to share with others? Take yourself seriously! I wish I had learnt that sooner in my own career. As soon as I started taking myself seriously as a creative practitioner, other people started to follow my lead. When I stopped treating my work like a hobby, I started understanding my own knowledge gaps and where I needed help. I found mentors and teachers to guide me, and my expectations of my work, my clients, and my own abilities started to rise.

Running a creative business can be tough. How do you look after your wellbeing to avoid becoming overwhelmed? Wellbeing is so important – it’s a conversation we have at Creative Plus Business all the time, and I’m still learning. I am getting better at talking about the things that I’m struggling with, and I have my own board of advisors to help mentor and guide me in the way we help other creatives. I also schedule regular ‘wellbeing days’ into my calendar when I take time off work to see my friends, have a massage, or just binge a new show – whatever I need to do on that day to address my imbalance. Oh, and dancing. Tuesday night is dancing night, and I rarely miss it!

Pop over to the frankie Good Stuff awards page for more information about this year's awards. Learn more about Creative Plus Business over here.