Gather Creatives: Connections & Staying Motivated

12 Aug Gather Creatives: Connections & Staying Motivated

I just spent the morning with a wonderful group of other creative business owners at Gather in downtown Cary. What brought me to this meeting? Michelle Smith, the owner of Gather, started this group called Gather Creatives. Michelle is an amazing person and a huge influence on the creative community, and she wanted to form a place for likeminded creatives and entrepreneurs to come in order to help us become more successful. By meeting up with other people in the community and sharing resources, collaborating, and forming new friendships, she hopes this Gather Creatives will help us with our businesses, relationships and also form a tight knit creative community.

Since I’ve become involved in the creative community in Raleigh, I’ve noticed how my business (and me personally) have really grown. I’ve met some amazing people and have built such a wonderful support network of those around me who have offered support, advice, encouragement and have ultimate pushed me to keep striving toward becoming an even better business and person. It’s not about networking, it’s about building connections and relationships.

Often times, creatives have the tendency to be more introverted, so it’s hard to get out there and “network” the old fashioned way. After listening to other creatives talk about “networking” (ugh), I’ve found that others feel the same way! I distinctly remember on person telling me that networking made he feel dirty and it was creepy haha! The goal here is to put an end to networking- get rid of that mentality that your success at the networking event is based on how many business cards you forced upon people. Stop and actually listen to people, get to know them, make the deeper connection. Recently, I’ve attended many events that I actually look forward to (shocker!) and the only reason is because I’ve formed close friendships and connections with people and I actually look forward to hanging out with them and catching up. I think of these types of events more as social events then the dreaded networking event.

So that brings me back to today. Michelle set up Gather Creatives where the large group meets up for potlucks and get togethers. Then she has the idea to form us into smaller groups, where we could get together for an hour or so a month and have more in depth conversations about business, our lives and whatever else we want to talk about. It’s a great opportunity to get information on what’s working for other people and make your business even better. Today, I met with Pati Reis of Old News Design, a talented maker who takes recycled newspapers from all over the world and embroiders designs on them,  Matthew Booty of Enkle Designs, who makes custom handmade furnity, and Lauren Arant of Lauren Takes Photos, a photographer who specializes in Senior Portraits.

Today we talked a little bit about staying motivated. It’s hard as a small business owner to wake up every morning and assign yourself tasks, especially if you don’t have a boss or someone managing your projects for you. Sometimes we might struggle to get going on new projects, especially if it’s self initiated and not brought about by a client. What we decided was the number one most important thing you need to do in order to stay motivated is to be held accountable! I’ve noticed in the VAE Launch program this year, I’m able to stay motivated because every month we meet and share what we accomplished the past month. You don’t want to show up to a meeting and say you’ve accomplished nothing- right? Well what happens if you don’t have a group like this? It could be easy to lose motivation because nobody will know if you don’t do it anyways! The solution? Find a group of friends and meet once a month or however often and set goals and hold each other accountable for the work. If you aren’t sure you want to find an accountability group or partner, make an announcement on facebook or instagram telling your audience “I’ll be releasing a new product next month” or “My new website will be live by the end of January!” There. It’s done. It’s out there in the world. Now you have to do it!

My group decided that we will be each other’s accountability group, and that every month we would set a goal. Next month, we’ll tell everyone what we accomplished, and set a new one. I’m excited! My goal for this month? Get some product photography done so I can show you guys some of the cool wedding invitations and projects I’ve been working on!

We also talked about some tools you can use to stay motivated and on top of your work. I use ToDoIst, which is a GREAT to do list app the integrates with gmail and helps me stay motivated.

Also, make sure you break your tasks into small goals. It’s really important instead of writing “do website” to break down that project into much more bite size pieces like “research other websites I like”. Because there’s nothing scarier than looking at a giant task like that and having absolutely no clue where to start. Welcome procrastination!

Some other resources?

Come to the next Gather Creatives meetup

Come to an AIGA Raleigh event to meet other designers and creatives

This Skillshare class is AMAZING! You’ll be glad you took it! Get Stuff Done Like A Boss: Design Your Workflow and Double Your Productivity in 21 Days with Tiago Forte

Here are some additional resources to that Michelle gave us:

Staying Motivated & Happy podcast

How to Stay Motivated & Accomplish Anything article


I look forward to seeing where this group goes!