Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Many People Decide They Want To Be Millionaires When Really They Want The Experiences That Being A Millionaire Affords, Which More Often Than Not Doesn’t Require Anywhere Near A Million Dollars At All.

 snapshots of my workspace

As most of you know, I have a weekly meeting of the minds with my dear friend Lo. The purpose of these meetings is to inspire each other, push each other, and keep each other centered, and focused. This week, I am going to have a meeting of the minds with all of you via this blog post. Today I am going to take you through my "Creative Flow" which is basically culminating an idea, and seeing it through from conception to fruition. I plan on keeping all of you updated on the progress, as well as the set-backs as I try to launch my line.

These past few weeks, I have had the amazing opportunity to work on some commissioned pieces for a few special people, [do to confidentiality issues, I can't disclose much info about it yet] and I couldn't have done it without some of the techniques outlined below. Execution has always been an issue for me, however learning my creative flow has helped put a stop to me being afraid to pull the trigger on a lot of projects.

Executing goals is something I am sure we have all had difficulty with at some time or another, and it is the failure to execute goals that has a tendency to leave our spirits with a certain void. As a result, we sometimes turn to acquiring material possessions, forging relationships whether platonic or sexual in nature, or turning to other vices such as smoking or drinking in hopes to fill this void. Those vices may fill your void, however those feelings of "happiness" are only momentary, and are dependent upon external events which leads to a state of constantly chasing your next hit of happiness. Stop seeking pleasure to avoid pain; in order to completely live up to your God-given name and fill your void with true happiness, you must return to your goals/purpose and begin to cultivate and nurture them/it.

I'm pretty cheesy, I save all of my fortunes from fortune cookies and have them near/on my workspace - Never doubt the power of positive affirmations.

Make room for positive energy, and provide a comfortable, inviting workspace: Prior to working, I light some incense, and create ambient lighting around my workstation. I make sure my workspace is clean and free of clutter. If I am feeling an extreme amount of tension from the days events, I may burn sage near my workspace, and meditate for about 20 minutes.

Make a road map: How are you going to get from "Point A" to "Point B"? I find it is best to work out the schematics of this equation prior to starting the creative process.
  • Write down your list of goals
  • Take big goals and chop them up into smaller pieces; if Public Relations is not in your budget right now, find other ways to get press/recognition for your brand. Many designers in this day and age resort to "gifting" celebrities with their creations in hopes of garnering press, and/or securing a relationship with their stylist. You can do this by interacting with the stylists on social networking sites [twitter is a good tool] and asking them for their mailing address, or you can contact the agency that represents the stylist and request that info from them. A lot of the popular designers you see now have befriended a stylist or two. 
  • Make sure you include your target market in your road map, this will determine the look and feel of your brand, as well as the type of press to seek. 
Brainstorm: I like to read old history books for inspiration, cut out pictures from magazines, visit Museums, or even listen to music from my personal favorite Miles Davis with a pen and pad in hand, writing down the first thought that comes time mind.- Below you will find the inspiration from my jewelry collection, and as you can see, you can acquire a "source" for inspiration from anywhere.

I am inspired by the organic shapes in most of Lawrence Kupferman's pieces. [Image Credit]

I am also inspired by my studies of The Chakras [Image Credit]

Inspiration is also drawn from the Fela Kuti Queens [Image Credit]

Organization: Once you have completed the task of brainstorming, it is time to organize your thoughts in a cohesive manner so that they translate well. Here's an example:
Inspiration: Lawrence Kupferman, Chakra, Fela Kuti Queens, - Organic shapes, rough gemstones, use of gemstones that promotes positive energy and spiritual healing. Vibrant colors, colors of Africa
Sourcing: Once you have the basic idea/framework on paper, you must begin to source the materials for your project. When sourcing materials, it is best to acquire items that are readily available at all times, try not to purchase "close out" items because there is no guarantee they will be available in the future. In the event your product is in high demand you want to make sure you have access to supplies that will meet the demands of your consumers. 

Cost Analysis: Once you have your supplies sourced, you can begin to set prices for your wares. The prices should include the following: Cost of goods, gas, ink and paper [for your promo materials], your personal pay rate, Public Relations, and any other relevant business related expenses. Your price should also be reflective of your target market.

Set dates, and stick to them: I set dates for everything, it is the only way that I can keep myself on track. For instance; you can give yourself two weeks to seek inspiration, two weeks to complete sourcing of your materials, etc. - Setting dates can keep the momentum going ensuring that you always remain excited and focused on crossing off goals before moving to the next. It also helps create organized work habits in that you are used to a methodical flow versus doing whatever you feel at the moment. While the latter is great, I would reserve that style of work for someone who is very disciplined.

Create a professional business front: Even though you might be conducting business from your living room, your brand does not have to reflect that. If graphic designing isn't your forte put an ad in Craigslist for a graphic designer; or you can even post ads in forums like Project 4 Hire in which freelancers bid for your work. Check out Logo Pond to snag design inspiration, not only is it free to look, but it will also help you determine what "industry standard" is for your particular business venture. You can also turn to sites like Big Cartel which offers merchants an easy platform to sell their wares. Also check out Wix for those DIY'rs out there; they offer flash web design templates for only several dollars a month.


  1. Elizabeth "Lizzie" GrubmanJuly 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Nicole are you willing to mentor? I am affiliated with a program in Cambridge that I would like to chat witht you about.

  2. Great post! I thought I was the only one that kept all my fortunes :-)


  3. Great post! Setting dates and sticking to them is always going to be a work in progress for me. Lol. I'm getting better as I get older. :D

  4. Thanks Nicole, God always sends you a message just when you need it the most. I save my fortunes too, the funniest one was (you will receive a fortune..wait for it...cookie!!!) Well it was true! Your blog is truly inspiring.

  5. Just wanted to say that the coral and turquoise is a beautiful color combo!

  6. Love it! I needed this today. Thanks.

  7. Great post! This has touched me in more ways than one! Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

  8. Stay inspired Nikole, you will reach your goals. If you believe it you will achieve it ;0) Also feel free to start an online blog store, I'd be sure to purchase ;0)

  9. This is so powerful. I found your blog through YouTube.com as I was desperately scouring the internet looking for how-to’s for my natural hair; I've been hooked ever since. Not sure if people understand how extremely focused and motivated you have to be to produce quality writing as you do, over and over and over. This gift you have is amazing; you are already as rich as can be.

  10. Great post! I love coming to your blog to read how eloquently you can share your life lessons as well as share vibrant pictures. You make me want to take some time to learn photography and someday upgrade to a DSLR.

  11. Great post I too am a jewel designer and being and staying organize is my biggest problem...and I have to feel good to create and sit for hours...its hard to find people that understand this entire process

  12. You are such a beautiful soul!!! I always look forward to reading your post, because you make me want to become a better person mentally and physically. Hope this doesn't sound corny but I'm just being real! The world is waiting for your arrival and I will be there applauding you as you accomplish your goals! Good luck!

  13. Great post!!!! I LOVE FELA KUTI!!!!:)))))!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Nicole, Great post! I think that alot of your points made get in the way of us creative folk. We tend to be all over the place. I will be implementing the 2 week tool.

    Check me out at

  15. Thank you for this post!! I wish you luck on your line Nicole. I will use these guidelines as inspiration for myself. My goal is to create my own TV Network. The goal may seem huge, but I'm trying to stay optimistic and realistic. Thanks again for your positivity. :)

    P.S. You're not cheesy..I save fortunes from fortune cookies too..

  16. I wish I would have seen this before I had to learn them the hard way. This is a great process list, Nik. Thank you for the reinforcement. =D

  17. This is a great post!!! Good luck in all your endeavors.

  18. Love your Blog... You do an awesome job. I posted before asking for advice on how to get organized and stay focused with my own jewelry line and this was so helpful. You truly inspire me.

    Today I actually came to your blog looking for a quote I saw on here (still looking for it) that I wanted to share with other and keep in a place I could read it often. I'm hoping some of your positivity will rub off on me.

    Stay blessed!

    Shawn J.

  19. Thank you so much for this. Your blog has quickly become my go to for ALL AROUND inspiration. Not just hair! You're an amazing soul.

  20. I want to thank all of you for the kind words! They really warmed my heart! I really do appreciate the supportive comments, and the fact that you all tune in! - I am also relieved to know I am not the only one out there who saves their fortunes from the fortune cookies!! - Seriously it is the positive support that pushes me to continue to want to strive to be a better person so in essence we are all motivating and inspiring each other.

  21. The way you write is powerful and what you wrote can change someone's life. You just helped, with one single post, countless of people who read or who are to read this. It's beautiful and inspirational. Thank you :)

  22. Great post! I just found your blog last weekend and already it is one of my favorites!! I love your positive attitude and the inspirational quotes at the beginning of every post. Plus I think your weekly meetings with likeminded people to keep each other inspired and motivated is such a good idea. I am seriously thinking about doing the same thing here.

    Thank you and God bless.


  23. I think I can use some of your strategies as I embark on my own creative endeavor-writing my dissertation...thanks!

  24. very inspiring! "meeting of the minds" thats a great idea! i started a blog recently promoting artists, maybe if possible i can feature you on it.... promoteart.blogspot.com

  25. This post is perfect...simply perfect. I will definitely use this post as confirmation that I am on the right path. I too am on the brink of discovering what is important to me and seeking to fill an intangable void. There are so many thinks that I would like to do and it would be a shame to drift through this life without putting my God given gifts to good use.

    In the past, I've struggled with "following through" with various projects in which I start, but fail to finish. My word for this year is execution, and I am definitely making a conscious effort to follow through with the things that I have already initiated.

    Again, I absolutely love this post! *prints page*

    Thank you so much for your inspiring words.


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