DELVE Toolkit

5 steps for effectively telling your story to potential clients

You are the only ______ (fill in the blank: freelancer, artist, designer, singer...) in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way.

So how do you let your potential clients know who you are and what you do in a way that feels powerful and genuine? How do you recount your professional history, products and services in a compelling way when your work isn’t there to visually speak for you?

 

 

 

 

 

Here are five tips for telling your UNIQUE story:

1. Carve out the time to get it right

You need to set aside time for yourself to craft your unique story. Take a look at your schedule and determine when you most like to write and feel self-reflective. Over morning coffee? At night after a day’s work? On the weekend?

Make it count! Schedule a few hours in your calendar and show up. This is a very important meeting you have with yourself.

2. Reflect on why you are awesome

It doesn’t matter if you hate writing, despise thinking about yourself, loathe self-promotion, and would rather crawl in a hole. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back a bit, reflect on all of the amazing things you have been doing and think about why you are so awesome.

Let’s get started. Answer the questions below honestly and with as many descriptive words as possible in a free-form style. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes or coherent thoughts, just write and avoid jargon. Be yourself. No one is reading this except for you.

  • What do you do? What does your work look like? (If you make visual or physical products, get down into the nitty-gritty and describe one of your most successful projects or pieces in great detail. If you offer services, write out the exact steps you take on a project from beginning to end with an ideal client.)
  • How do you do it? (List the cold, hard facts about how you do what you do. Take nothing for granted. For the makers: how much time does it take, what kind of materials do you use, what does it look like in space? And if you offer services: how much time does it take, what is your approach and attitude, where do you do it? What are the results that people get from you?)
  • How did you arrive at this kind of work? (What is your applicable personal and professional history that has led you down this unique path? What inspired you to start doing this? Go back in time and think about the days before freelancing, or that amazing project that launched you.)
  • Who are you as a creative professional and how do you want to be defined? (As a creative, you might wear many hats, but only state the thing that you want to be known for by your ideal clients.)

OK, you’re done! Save your writing and get ready to move on with your day.

But first, schedule a time tomorrow to review this. It should only take about 30-45 minutes. Do it. Show up. Don’t wait until next week!

3. What nice things have other people said about you?

So you currently have a giant document full of information about your work that applies only to you. These notes provide the actual words that reflect your very own personal and professional history that drive your creativity and passion for what you create.

Next, you need to remember the nice and amazing things that clients have said about you and your work.

Write from memory, and if you have some great testimonials kicking around then copy them into this doc.

4. Show why you care

You’re more than just your work.

Your career path and personality make you unique, so just describing yourself as a “designer” won’t help you get new clients. Tell us exactly what you design, why, what it means to you, and how you got there. Give your clients something to care about and remember.

With that frame in mind, review your notes and take the first stab at writing your unique story as if you were telling the story to someone who loves what you do. Don’t bore them, engage them.

Set your timer for one hour.

First, clearly state what you do and the services you offer. Tell us why your services are unique and how and why you do them. Next, reflect on any interesting tidbits of your professional path or applicable personal details that make you stand out from others in your field. And finally, what are the amazing results that clients get from working with you?

Sleep on this first draft, take a day or two, and better yet, engage the help of a friend and schedule in your next meeting to whittle this beast down to a manageable statement that you can use on your website and other marketing materials. It will also translate beautifully to how you talk about what you do.

You’re close. We know you can see the light.

5. Keep refining

The goal for the next sixty minutes is to finish editing your draft down into a manageable professional story that is engaging, genuine, and all you. The goal is to have one to two concise and powerful paragraphs that are malleable enough to share on your website, use in your marketing efforts and feel proud of.

Spoiler alert: this step really isn’t the last, since your unique story will be ever-evolving and changing as you do. Roll with it and come back to these questions often when you feel a shift in your work or when you know that you have something wonderful to add.

How do you tell your story? Let us know!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Is time always running out?

One of the biggest fears a lot of our clients have is the fear of not having enough time. Enough time to finish a project, get an application written, or a proposal sent out. It's that nagging feeling that you might as well not even try because you'll probably run out of time. Or the realization that the deadline is at midnight, and here it's already 7pm, so why even bother. It's born out of procrastination but also causes procrastination. Have you ever said to yourself "I'm never going to get my materials together in time, so I might as well not even bother?" (and then promptly clicked over to Facebook or Instagram)...

Us, too. It happens. But how do you get out of that mindset or rut? 

The key is realizing it is a mindset. Meaning it's in your mind. Anything that's in your mind, you can adjust. If you think about it, there are 2 kinds of time. There is clock time, which is standardized and given (60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, etc.) and then there is the time you feel on any given day. This kind of time is completely based on perception, meaning an hour at the dentist can feel like an eternity, while watching your baby turn 18 can feel like the blink of an eye. So any tasks that you want to fit in for your practice or business can be organized with clock time, but their perception can be adjusted depending on your mental attitude towards them. 

Step one is harnessing and organizing that clock time. 

Here's how:

1. First, you need to know where all of your time is going to begin with. Grab a scheduler (or a calendar), and for one week, write down everything you do and how long it takes. Be honest, and see how much time the various parts of your business or practice take. (This is also a valuable exercise to see what things you're not even doing, even though you know you probably should be doing them). How much time during your week is spent with productive activities that are working towards your goals?

2. Wait, what? Goals? You know you have some, but are they really clearly spelled out for the next month, six months, or year? And we mean really clear, like you know exactly what the goal is, and how it's broken down into achievable tasks over the next few weeks? Next step: write out your goals, and then break them down into manageable pieces or steps.

3. Each piece of that goal should have time assigned to it. This is where a scheduler or calendar actually comes in really handy. A to-do list is great, but what happens is that it becomes longer and longer and then gets overwhelming. Take those to-dos and pencil them into a real schedule with real amounts of time assigned to them. That way you don't have to think about them and have them overwhelm you, unless they are the scheduled task in front of you for the next 30 minutes or hour. Keep that appointment with that task. If you do that, it will actually get crossed off your list! Amazing!

4. Take 10 or 20 minutes at the beginning of each day (or even the night before) to plan the day. Make sure all your scheduled goals are still on track and that the tasks you set for yourself are realistic to accomplish. At the end of your work day, take 10-20 minutes to go through that day's tasks and assess if you've actually accomplished them and if the process went smoothly. If it didn't, assess what went wrong and try to remedy it for next time. (For example, you set one hour to work on your writing, and you got nothing accomplished because you were feeling blocked and spent one hour staring at a blank screen. Next time, start the task with a list of questions you can answer to help you get the writing process started. Start simply, with a question like "What is this project about?")

5. Take a minute before each task to decide what result you want to achieve. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take a minute after each task to determine whether your desired result was achieved. 

This all seems like a lot of work, probably. But once you try it and figure out a way to work it into your routine, time will feel a lot less scary and you'll actually feel like you have a grasp of it–and can possibly even manage it!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

It takes a village. We're cultivating a community through DELVE.

You might be incredibly social or like to keep to yourself, or maybe you’ve been in your field for over 25 years or you're just starting out, but still there are multiple times a week when you might feel alone, frustrated or stuck when it comes to your artistic or creative practice. Why? Probably because you are trying to juggle 3,000 things in addition to your creative work. If you’re reading this, you are a talented person who is filtering the world through your creative lens to make your work, in addition to possibly managing other jobs, family, and life stuff... PLUS you also know (maybe just at the back of your mind) that you need to market and communicate your work in a kick-ass manner in order to get the opportunities you want. It’s a tall order, and you’re smart and up for the challenge, but it can be really, really hard.

Well, good news: we are launching the GROUP DELVE TOOLKIT!
Why should you care? Good question.
Here’s why:

  • The Group DELVE Toolkit is a series of online classes for artists and creatives that will help you get better at writing and talking about your work, and will cover all of the nuts and bolts of all of the marketing stuff that feels really hard and not genuine.
  • The classes will be curated and small so you’ll still get personal attention.
  • Small classes means support from your peers, and cultivating these relationships will be built into the classes.
  • The Group DELVE Toolkit is AFFORDABLE! We aren’t multimillionaires selling you an impersonal system. We are two successful women who are artists and creative entrepreneurs and have worked with incredibly talented people to help them succeed. You know you need to invest to succeed, but we don’t want to make that option too hard.
 

Do you want access to a discount to the Group DELVE Toolkit before it launches to the public? Take this short survey!

 

We feel and have felt stuck a lot, too, and that was a huge motivating factor for us to start DELVE.  It is due to the amazing community we’ve cultivated, and the hard work that we’ve put in, that we are now in the position to help you achieve your goals: by helping you clearly articulate what you do–online, in person and in writing–in order to get the opportunities you want, and therefore the life you want to have.

If you're reading our blog for the first time or you’re a familiar friend, we wanted to take a step back and share who we are and how you can be part of the community of artists and creatives we are cultivating in person and online so that running your day-to-day business (artists, you are small business owners, too) can be inspiring and in line with making your work.

First, a little backstory. We, Sara and Andrea, are both visual artists and started our creative agency, Kind Aesthetic, as a way to offer artists and creative small businesses genuine storytelling, visual branding and beautiful, effective websites to push their businesses to the next level.  Any clients who have worked with us know that it's more than just getting a "brand." We can't help you without digging in deeper and uncovering what makes your work uniquely yours and why you are the best at it. We ask a lot of challenging questions, but we support you, hold you accountable, and refresh how you communicate your work to an ideal client as well as to yourself.

It’s because of this creative agency work that DELVE came about, which is an educational and coaching platform for artists and creatives who want to hone their own professional skills and how they communicate their work. In other words, we help guide you in creating your unique story, marketing plan and personal brand. DELVE started as a series of in-person networking events around New York City where amazing speakers shared their paths about how they achieved their professional successes, and has since branched into workshops and our popular 1:1 DELVE Toolkit, a coaching platform for individuals.

We understand that there are a lot of people advertising classes and online marketing solutions to you. Our services come from a very genuine place because we have had the same struggles and have been offered the same options. We are confident that what we do differently is:

  • We communicate very clearly that working with us is not an “easy fix.” We don’t find galleries for artists or tell small business owners where to find their next paying clients. We aren’t magic unicorns. But we do help you define your unique story so that your ideal audience and clients can find you. And when they do find you, they will be very impressed.
  • We listen and we care and we ask a lot of questions. We are two very kind and honest individuals who won’t work with you if it’s not the right fit. We care about your success and don’t want you to waste your money.
  • We won’t waste your time. We show up, you show up, and together, through wonderful conversations and some incredible work, we will help you. And, dare we say, it might even be fun and will make you feel good, confident, and excited about your work.

We hope that if you're interested in some amazing online classes specifically for fine artists in all disciplines, and also all kinds of creative entrepreneurs, you'll fill out this quick survey so we can offer you the classes you want at the times you want. Our thanks will come in the form of a discount! Cheers!

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

10 SPOTS Available for the DELVE TOOLKIT FRESH START SALE: THROUGH 10/15/15

Take action on presenting and communicating your best work to the world: in person, online and in writing.

Back by popular demand: THE ANNUAL DELVE TOOLKIT SALE!
Contact us to get 10% off any DELVE Toolkit package through 10/15/15.
Sign up now and begin anytime before the end of 2015.

The catch: we only have room for ten new artists or creative entrepreneurs to join the DELVE community.

September is a great time for new beginnings, and we want to give you a chance to get on track to achieving your professional goals by helping you focus on your work for four weeks or more. With a 100% happiness rate with all of our DELVE Toolkit clients, we are confident that spending the time working with us will:

  • give you greater insight and confidence into how you talk and write about your work to your ideal audience
  • get you organized, motivated and ready to apply for any opportunity
  • assure you that your work looks beautiful and all of your visuals work for you, not against you

A FEW FUN FACTS:

  • 10% off is actually a savings of up to $300. (Take advantage!)
  • The DELVE Toolkit is for people in all stages of their careers and all ages. We create customized one-on-one productive experiences with everyone.
  • The Toolkit is based on the principle that there are nine specific tools you need to hone in order to best communicate your work to the world professionally. Read about each tool here if you an artist, and here if you are a creative.

If you've been thinking about the DELVE Toolkit for a while, this will be the ONLY sale this year, so jump on it and email us to sign up! (We'll set up a 20 minute call to assure we are the right fit.) If this is all new to you, read below to learn more.


What is the DELVE Toolkit?
The DELVE Toolkit offers visual and performing artists and creatives professionals, one-on-one guidance to help you best communicate what you do, get (and stay) organized, and reach your professional goals. We specialize in helping you–the talented artist or creative entrepreneur–build sustainable skills to assure that your work is best represented to the world: online, in writing and in person.

How does it work?
The DELVE Toolkit is simple: we work with you one-on-one on a weekly basis to work towards your goals. We get to know you and your work on a deep level, guide you through weekly assignments and manageable tasks to work towards your dreams. We meet over video chat once a week and email the rest of the week. Our conversations are laser focused on you and your work, and we help you break down big goals and obstacles into manageable, specific tasks. Through this weekly practice you develop new habits and skills to propel you further after we're done working together. To start, email us and we will schedule a phone call to make sure we are a good fit, and then you enroll, we schedule our meetings, and begin!

Why should I work with you?
When your priority is your art practice or building your creative business, how do you achieve your professional goals when time is limited, you have so many responsibilities or you feel stuck? It's incredibly hard—we know that from experience. That is why we started the DELVE Toolkit in the first place. We are here to help push your amazing ideas forward and assure your work is best presented to the world... so you can spend more time doing your work and not worrying about the rest of it. We truly care about what you have going on, we take great care in listening and providing clear and unbiased feedback, and we will have a lot of fun and great conversations along the way.

Is the DELVE Toolkit right for me?
If you are a visual or performing artist, a person who considers themselves a creative, a creative entrepreneur, a crafter, a maker, or any version of these, the Toolkit is right for you. We have worked with people in all levels of their careers to make progress on what is important to you. Every person has an incredibly unique vision, set of talents and skills. We work with you to hone what you have and develop what you're lacking.

Why should I invest in the DELVE Toolkit?
The DELVE Toolkit began because we realized that as creatives we all do so many things and have so many responsibilities; it's necessary to get expert, clear, productive feedback on the work that we put our heart and souls into. The Toolkit is a chance to push your career forward, learn new sustainable skills, and empower yourself with the confidence and knowledge that your work is indeed amazing. You investment will allow you to spend laser focused time on your work and how it reads to an outside audience, and it will leave you with the clarity and energy you have been missing.

What have other people said about the DELVE Toolkit?

“I got my art business in order! I needed help with time management, writing, and applying to artist residencies and call for entries. I haven’t seen anything like The DELVE Toolkit that felt as personal, realistic, and accessible. The Running Start package was a great kickstart! Thanks for helping me reach my goal of a residency this year! I’ll be going to Iceland for September and October!”  — Liz Robb, visual artist

“Where Kind Aesthetic excels in digesting & understanding ideas and your bigger picture, they also understand the processes involved to achieve it. They helped me structure a working plan with attainable goals and action items that have already started the wheels in motion, becoming a small business owner and creative entrepreneur. I recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about taking that leap. Just have the consultation with these ladies. You will not look back once you do!"— Lindsay Maiorana, Clementine's Daughter

"Like many artists, I worked independently in isolation and was in need of feedback on my work as well as guidance on emerging as a professional artist. Kind Aesthetic, you gave me the tools needed to begin the process of refining my work, finding community and presenting my work in a professional manner. I know I've said this before, but you've literally changed my life."  – Jason, visual artist, (and now MFA student, thanks to his work with the Toolkit!)


If you've gotten this far down the page, you must really be considering taking the leap. The DELVE Toolkit is going to be fun, productive and uplifting, we promise. Send us an email to set up a brief call to assure we are the right fit and then we can begin as soon as you're ready. Remember, there are only 10 spots for artists and creatives all over the country! You have until 10/15/15 to sign up. We look forward to talking with you.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Take yourself back to school with the DELVE TOOLKIT SALE!

We have been super jealous of the kids of all ages getting ready to go back to school this September and wanted to give an opportunity to all you artists and creatives out there to TAKE YOURSELVES BACK TO SCHOOL THIS FALL WITH THE DELVE TOOLKIT.

When your priority is your art practice or building your creative business, how do you achieve your professional goals when time is limited, you have so many responsibilities or you feel stuck? It's incredibly hard– we know that from experience. That is why we started the DELVE Toolkit, a service that provides visual and performing artists and creatives professionals one-on-one guidance to help you best communicate what you do, get (and stay) organized, and reach your professional goals. We are here to help push your amazing ideas forward and assure your work is best presented to the world. 

We're offering a one-time, first-ever sale of our DELVE Toolkit packages for Artists and Creatives. This means a potential savings of up to 300 bucks! And it's also a chance to take action on presenting and communicating your best work to the world: in person, online and in writing. The DELVE Toolkit is for people in all stages of their careers and we create bespoke one-on-one productive experiences with everyone we have the pleasure of working with!

What is the DELVE Toolkit?

The DELVE Toolkit offers visual and performing artists and creatives professionals, one-on-one guidance to help you best communicate what you do, get (and stay) organized, and reach your professional goals. We specialize in helping you–the talented artist or creative entrepreneur–build sustainable skills to assure that your work is best represented to the world: online, in writing and in person.

The Toolkit is based on the principle that there are nine specific tools you need to hone in order to best communicate your work to the world professionally. Read about each tool here if you an artist, and here if you are a creative.

How does it work?

The DELVE Toolkit is simple: we work with you one-on-one on a weekly basis to work towards your goals. We get to know you and your work on a deep level, guide you through weekly assignments and manageable tasks to work towards your dreams. We meet in person or over Skype once a week and email the rest of the week. Our conversations are laser focused on you and your work, and we help you break down big tasks, major worries and huge unknowns into manageable, specific tasks. Through this weekly practice you develop new habits and skills to propel you further after we're done working together.

Is the DELVE Toolkit right for me?

If you are a visual or performing artist, a person who considers themselves a creative, a creative entrepreneur, a crafter, a maker or any version of these, the Toolkit is right for you. We have worked with people in all levels of their careers to make progress on what is important to you. Every person has an incredibly unique vision, set of talents and skills. We work with you to hone what you have and develop what you're lacking.

Why should I invest in the DELVE Toolkit?

The DELVE Toolkit began because we realized that as creatives we all do so many things and have so many responsibilities; it's necessary to get expert, clear, productive feedback on the work that we put our heart and souls into. The Toolkit is a chance to push your career forward, learn new sustainable skills, and empower yourself with the confidence and knowledge that your work is indeed amazing.

What have other people said about the DELVE Toolkit?

"Wow, you guys are good! These questions [from the first assignment] are really making me think and I love it. I am already so inspired!"

"Like many artists, I worked independently in isolation and was in need of feedback on my work as well as guidance on emerging as a professional artist. Kind Aesthetic gave me the tools needed to begin the process of refining my work, finding community and presenting my work in a professional manner." 

"Thank you so much for what you've done for me these past two months. I know I've expressed this before, but you've literally changed my life."

"I benefited from working with Kind Aesthetic by learning some new tools and sharpening up some others to push my practice and career as an artist further.  While being a sounding board, Andrea and Sara provided helpful insight after reflecting on my needs from my practice and career.  Together they helped guide me to not only help clarify language around my work but to create effective changes to my presentation via my website and social media outlets.  These changes have already begun to facilitate more exposure."

How do I sign up?

First, check out the different packages we offer at delve-art.com.

Then, Email us set up a free phone call or Skype so we can get to know you, learn about your goals and see how we can help. 

From there, we make a plan according to your budget and schedule to start making progress immediately.

How long with the sale last?

The DELVE Toolkit sale will be on through October 1st! But don't fret, you can start the Toolkit process anytime before the end of 2014. That means our first meeting needs to happen by December 31st. But chances are, you'll want to get started working towards your goals right away!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.