How to Build a Company You Love – This Woman Did It
October 29, 2016
Ashland Viscosi spent the first 10 years of her career learning.
Ashland, who has a Master’s degree in political science, served in the Peace Corps, followed by a multi-year stint as a statistician for the State of Oklahoma. Next came the (oh-so-obvious) jump into film production, where she produced a short film that won an award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and spent three years working for the Austin Film Society.
Eleven months ago, right after Thanksgiving, she made the biggest jump of all – starting her own business, Creatives Meet Business. And she was able to make that successful both from what she learnt from her career and via LinkedIn Learning, but also what all of those experiences helped her learn about herself.
“I’m a connector,” Ashland said, who lives in Austin, Texas. “I know that about myself, it’s what I am best at doing and what I love to do. I really like to support other people in their process, and I didn’t want to be limited to just film.”
Creatives Meet Business’s mission is to help artists and creative-types build their business by providing them with tactical advice and support. The goal is to help people turn their passions into realities by giving them the skills and relationships they need to support themselves through their artistic pursuits.
“It’s a mindset shift,” Ashland said. “Creatives need to think of themselves as a business. And we aim to do that by giving them expert advice and a community of people going through similar struggles.”
Of course, starting her own business has been the biggest learning process of all, an effort in which Ashland said the courses found in LinkedIn Learning have played a major role. Thanks to the skills she learned and her diversified revenue streams, Creatives Meet Business is already turning a profit and has helped dozens of aspiring writers, filmmakers, artists and others establish successful careers.
How #AlwaysBeLearning has helped Ashland build her company
When Ashland started Creatives Meet Business, she routinely held 42-person events where experts in fields like accounting and social media would give aspiring artists business advice. One day in February, one of the attendees gave her an ingenious piece of feedback – why don’t your turn this conference into a podcast?
Ashland loved the idea, but had no idea how to record a podcast. However, she knew of Lynda.com thanks to some experience with it when she was producing films, so she got a subscription to learn the technicalities of audio production.
“I’ve read books on subjects and I’ve watched Lynda.com courses on the same subjects, and the Lynda.com experience is superior to me,” Ashland said. “I just find it easier to retain the information.”
Specifically, Ashland took LinkedIn Learning Instructor Maxim Jago’s courses on audio production – “his voice is audible chocolate” – to learn how to do a podcast, frequently pausing the course so she could follow along with him. The work paid off, as at her next event in April, she created her first podcast. Soon, it became one of the chief marketing channels of the business and a way to reach people outside of Austin, Texas, as well as providing another revenue stream for Creatives Meets Business.
“It’s really the only way I can reach more than 42 people at a time with one of our events,” Ashland said, referring to the 42-person limit she puts on her conferences.
Tying it all together
When she first started her career, Ashland didn’t know exactly which way she’d be headed. Through pursuing her interests and gaining more and more skills, she discovered exactly what she likes to do and built a business around that.
Not everyone will share the same passions as Ashland or follow a similar career path. But her journey is instructive – by always learning and always being open to new ideas, you can gain both the skills you need and the insight about yourself to build your ideal career.
That’s what Ashland did, and now she has built a successful company doing what she wants – helping others make their dreams come true.
*Image by JEALEXphoto/Jessica Alexander