I recently discovered Tara Gentile and was so impressed with her practical and insightful advice for people who want to live their lives creatively that I knew she had to be a part of my Pantheon of Notables series. Tara writes about so many great topics for creative people so although I’ll do my best to cover a good range of useful information, you really should go to both of her websites and look around.
Me: Hi Tara, could you tell my readers about what you do and include where they can find you?
Tara: Yes! I consider myself a philosopher of creative living and a creative business strategist. At least that’s what’s on my business cards!
The heart of what I do is empower people to question everything they take for granted: in their day-to-day lives, in their “art,” and in their businesses. I help people focus on what they’re good at, what they have to offer, and what comes easily to them.
At taragentile.com, you can read my thoughts on these very things. There I focus more on the business side of things.
On the other side, you can visit my daily ezine, Scoutie Girl to discover a range of voices writing all about creative living. We aim to provide a community for creatives where conversation is encouraged. We know it’s not easy to always have these conversations with the people in our “analog lives” so create them in our “digital lives.”
Me: Could you tell us what you mean by Creative Living?
Tara: Creative living means not taking things at face value. It means seeing possibilities instead of actualities. It’s the little spark of life that pushes you to create something you want instead of always buying the thing you want. Another key tenet of creative living is allowing yourself to feel full and satisfied while always striving for more and greater.
I actually asked this question to my readers a while back and created a crowd-sourced post on the topic. There are so many different ways to answer this question. I’m not so postmodern that I can’t put a definition to it but I love how our individual experiences allow for us to manifest creative living differently.
Me: You wrote a very inspiring post about living in a place of abundance and mentioned that many artists tend to exist in the opposite place, could you talk to us about that?
Tara: Thank you. That post is still one of my favorites.
It’s human nature to look at our circumstances and see only what we’re lacking in, what we don’t have. In actuality, we have so many assets at our disposal. Whether you are trying to craft a business or produce a thriving hobby. There’s too few dollars in the bank account, too few materials in our stash, we always need something ELSE.
But really, what we have is a lot. And it’s a lot more than many people have. And you can leverage what you already have to do great big things.
In fact, I think we have a great responsibility to say YES because of what we have instead of saying NO. We use our scarcities as an excuse instead of being empowered by our abundance. I’m working hard to change that for the people who come into my life digitally.
I started my business with $80. My mom created a career for herself from word-of-mouth. I can make dinner from a few random ingredients in my fridge! (Weren’t expecting that one, were ya?)
We have SO much. We just need to be creative and free with the way we use it.
Me: I love how you talk about using storytelling to shape and grow one’s business. Could you tell us a little bit about this?
Tara: It’s really easy to think that our experiences are ours alone. We’ve been told how unique and special we are over and over again! And we are. But we’re also so very similar to so very many people.
Your story is relevant because it’s someone else’s story too.
If you’re wanting to connect with people to sell a product or service, it’s important that you connect your story to that product or service because it helps people see the wider purpose of what you offer. But it’s also important to hone in on others’ stories so that they feel more deeply connected to you.
When you connect both your story and the story of your customer to a product, that product becomes like a mirror that allows your customers to see themselves buying & using your product. That’s really powerful.
[Me to readers: This is relevant for your Bio or About page on your digital portfolios too. If you would like to learn more about this, you can find more at: Tell Your Story and a Guide to Stress Free About Pages.]
Me: Many of my readers are working at full time jobs and would love to leave them to start their own creative business like many in the Scoutie Girl community have done. What would you suggest to someone to start making this dream come true?
Tara: Get really specific about your goals. Do you know exactly how much you need to be making to leave your job? Do you know exactly when you want to leave? Do you know exactly how much time you have to work outside of your full-time job?
Once you have taken a complete inventory you can really begin to chart your course.
Also, take a look at how your job is serving your right now. Can you live off a little less to funnel your steady income into investments that would allow you to grow your business faster like coaching or advertising? Can you use the relationships you’ve formed through your job to get feedback or referrals for your outside pursuits?
Having a full-time job certainly has its assets. Make sure you’re using those and not just concentrating on the drawbacks!
Me: What words of wisdom would you give for getting past the fear of making this kind of leap?
Tara: Simply that nothing is permanent. You can make the decision to leave your job and grow your business but you can certainly make the decision to get another job later.
We put way too much weight into these decisions and certainly, they are difficult at the time we’re making them. But when you look back on all those big decisions: where to go to college, where you got your first job, where to live… you understand there were always options. You could change your mind.
Changing your mind doesn’t mean failure.
Me: You also have so many great resources for blogging and creating a community around it. Could you tell us why a creative business owner should bother with a blog and why the community part of it is important?
Tara: Your blog is your greatest branding asset as far as I’m concerned. It’s your opportunity to create your own press, conduct your own market research, and communicate your own message. It’s a place to play and learn. It’s a place to share and gather.
There’s not much you can’t solve in your business with a great blog! That may sound cliche but it’s got a lot of strategic truth.
The community element is important because everyone wants to feel like they belong. They want to feel like they’re part of a group. You are the leader of that tribe and that gives you a great deal of influence over cool people!
Me: You have so many great things available on your site so I don’t want to miss anything. What’s your latest offering or project that you’d like to leave us with?
Tara: My latest offering is what is growing into my new flagship product: The Art of Action. The Art of Action is a 6-week digital program designed to teach creative people the mechanics and philosophy of getting more done.
It features a lesson from me, an interview with a creative “Action Master,” and a workbook each week. I really try to get you to question your most basic assumptions about the way you work & produce so that you can do more of what you do best.
I finished up the first session a couple of weeks ago to rave reviews and I’ll be starting registration for the next session very soon!
Me: Finally, how you would rate your Satisfaction Quotient (1 being not so much and 10 being off the charts, amazing) and could you tell us how you arrived at this number?
Tara: I’d say about an 8. I’m pretty darn satisfied with my life: not only as it is now but the direction it’s headed.
I’m not working towards any huge goals right now. I’m working on maintaining the growth & success I’ve attained thus far and that’s a pretty nice place to be. It’s a little calmer, a little more confident.
There are small changes that I’d like to make: enroll my daughter in preschool, move to a city, etc… but none of those things are really weighing down my satisfaction. Instead, the changes I’d like to make are more things that I could see increasing my satisfaction!
Again, it’s a nice place to be!
Me: Thank you so much, Tara. I’m honored to have you on my site and appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions!
To find Tara and connect with her:
My site: http://taragentile.com
Scoutie Girl: http://scoutiegirl.com