Autonomous Creative

With Jessica Abel

For creative iconoclasts who want to pay their bills AND do the work they love, get insights, ideas, and next steps from a graphic novelist, author, & business coach. Find out how to build a balanced and productive creative life, and to thrive financially with simple, sustainable business foundations—without creative compromise.

Featured Post

How to use your core values to build an ethical creative business that can help make the world a better place (with an activity & audio!)

Heads up: This one's a deep-dive! I've included an activity (and an audio recording of the article and activity instructions) in the blog post to help you learn how to use your core values as a powerful tool to build your confidence as a professional creative. Obviously, in this big crazy world, there is a lot that’s out of your control. We all make compromises, a lot of them. We all have to grapple with adverse circumstances (and often actual adversaries). In order avoid feeling like you’re...
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11 months ago • 4 min read

creative flow vs burnout: may the right one win

I went through most of my career feeling like success was just…one…step…away, around a blind corner, and that all I needed to do to get there was… More. More work, more marketing, more income streams, more…everything. At some point—or really, over and over again—I did so much more I almost broke. I know I'm not alone. I constantly see other creatives trapped in the same cycle, which I’ve dubbed “Cyclical Burnout.” The truth is, most of what we’re taught about having a creative career (when...
5 months ago • 1 min read
The step-by-step plan to find high-value clients - The Autonomous Creative with Sarah Lacy

The step-by-step plan to find high-value clients

I’ve been talking a lot over the past year about one of the biggest contributors to the painful income gap most creatives experience: relying on selling low-cost products via a LOT of marketing, especially social media. There isn't anything inherently wrong with that approach, if you love producing content for Instagram and marketing 24/7. But if you don’t? The best way out of that crunch is to design a high-ticket offer that you can sell to just a few clients. The number one thing I hear...
6 months ago • 1 min read

😎 Summer playlist

Happy summer solstice (or winter solstice, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)! Yes, I know it was actually yesterday, but I’m already going at a summer pace over here. Summer is just built different. I’ve got 2 teens whose lives utterly transformed a week or two ago when school let out. I teach art college, and summer is downtime. I’m a gardener, which means I’ve been extremely outdoors for the last several months, and now begin to get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Many years, I’ve...
6 months ago • 3 min read

Do it now.

The bad news is: You think you can learn yourself out of this bind. You can’t. The good news is: You already have what you need. Here are three lessons I’ve learned as a coach, from my awesome clients. 1. Things don’t have to be hard to be worthwhile It’s the nature of scarcity to make us value things that are rare. (Think gold. Sure, it’s pretty, but if it weren’t rare it wouldn’t be worth much.) The flipside of scarcity-based value is that we devalue things that are plentiful. You’re...
8 months ago • 4 min read

Celebrating 6 new creative businesses! 🎉

I’m so incredibly proud to introduce the second cohort of the Autonomous Creative Incubator! We’ve all been working so hard for this day, and it feels incredible to be helping launch these new businesses into the world! Six short months ago, these awesome creatives committed to building new businesses. Why did they take this huge step? Because they all needed to create time, freedom, and autonomy in their lives. I mean, don’t we all? But it turns out, the way that actually happens in reality...
8 months ago • 4 min read

How to stop waiting for permission to be a professional creative, with filmmaker Henry Thong

What’s one of the most consistent things I hear from every single successful creative I’ve talked to? There was this time when I just started doing this thing. I just started making this thing, and I did it because I wanted to do it, and because it was what made most sense to me creatively, I fully committed to it and I had no idea what was gonna happen, but that’s what opened all these doors.” But those doors won’t open if you’re not out there doing stuff. Listen, I know it’s a cliché. I...
8 months ago • 3 min read

What you learned in 3rd grade that could actually change your life

Your creative endeavors, broadly speaking, bring all kinds of important benefits to your life. Your creative business, however, has a single MOST important job: Getting you paid, and paid well enough that you are not scrambling and struggling. What, specifically, does that mean for you? And how can you take charge of making sure you bring in the money you need? um…it involves a little MATH. I know when I mention math, creatives of all kinds tend to tune out. Mention business math? Less tuning...
9 months ago • 2 min read

What if nonstop hustle isn’t how you succeed…but how you fail?

What if all that hustle and all those late nights… Those projects you poured your soul into… The marketing strategies you keep putting on checklists and telling yourself you definitely need to try… What if all those years of blood, sweat, and brainstorms are literally what’s preventing you from reaching the creative career success you dream of? Wouldn’t that piss you off? Yeah? Well, you certainly wouldn’t be an outlier. A couple of years ago, a group of impressive, accomplished, mid-career...
10 months ago • 2 min read
The Autonomous Creative with Tara McMullin

Are you exploiting yourself and your own creative labor? with Tara McMullin

Pre-s: If you’re struggling to write a book, you don’t want to miss this. My friend and colleague, Gabriela Pereira, the creator of DIY MFA, is hosting one of her amazing, FREE Writing Sprints this weekend, and you can click here to sign up! This is a free virtual writing retreat where writers can create their own goals and build their community by connecting via social media. Once you sign up, you’ll be invited to the secret headquarters, where you’ll get access to a series of videos to...
10 months ago • 2 min read
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