Hi, thanks for stopping by.
I’m a poet who earns my living as a coach for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs – and mavericks in various other fields.
It’s my job to help you create remarkable things and achieve your creative and career goals. I do this in several ways:
- Blogging here at Lateral Action, as well as at Wishful Thinking, The 99%, Copyblogger and a few other places
- Teaching the Creative Pathfinder course — it’s free, so if you’d like to join over 8,000 students currently enrolled, you can sign up here
- One-to-one coaching for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs
- Writing e-books, which you can download for free here
- E-learning — the Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap and Money for Creative People (with some new courses in development)
- Coaching and training for innovative companies — over at Wishful Thinking
Some people ask me what a poet’s doing in the world of creative entrepreneurship and internet marketing. I guess it’s not an obvious career path.
To be honest, part of me would like nothing better than to switch off the internet forever, throw away my iPhone and spend my days in the library, leafing through dusty volumes of verse and scribbling away at poems of my own. But that wasn’t an option, and I definitely didn’t want to work for the Man. I tried freelancing, but found out I had chosen ten bosses instead of one, which wasn’t exactly conducive to writing poetry.
Believe it or not, creative entrepreneurship turned out to be the surest route to some peace and quiet with my poetry books. It means I can actually take time off without feeling like it’s money down the drain. And amazingly, the internet marketing side of things turned out to be pretty creative and – whisper it – fun.
Who’d have guessed it?
How I got into this business
Once I realised it wasn’t going to be easy earning a living as a poet, I decided to follow the traditional route to success, i.e. go to London to learn a trade and seek my fortune.
When I started practising as a psychotherapist, I noticed that among the usual therapy clientele, I would occasionally come across a creative type in need of some very specific assistance, such as a novelist (“Don’t tell my editor, but I’ve spent the advance and haven’t written the novel. The deadline’s next month…”), an actor (“I’m the leading lady, but I’m terrified to go on stage…”), or a freelance designer (“How come I work all the time, but I’m always broke?”).
I realised most of these clients didn’t need psychotherapy, just some help with the professional challenges they faced. Probably because I’m a creative writer myself, I loved working with them, and we were getting amazing results. So I started offering a specialist coaching service for artists and creatives. That was the first piece of the jigsaw, back in 1996.
Another piece came from my experience of delivering coaching and training for big corporate organisations. That gave me a hands-on education in the realities of modern business, and what it takes to be effective under pressure.
But I was never really comfortable in the corporate world, so I decided to combine my creative and business interests by specialising in the creative industries.
I went back to school and took the MA in Creative & Media Enterprises at Warwick University. This was a fantastic course, covering business topics like strategy, organisational structure, marketing and so on – combined with theories of creativity, intellectual property law and the creative economy.
While I was researching an essay for the marketing module, I came across an e-book by Seth Godin about business blogging, and realised this was something I had to do…
On Valentine’s Day 2006, I wrote my first blog post on www.wishfulthinking.co.uk. Up to that point, the site had generated hardly any web traffic and even less business. But once I started blogging, my website visitors and blog subscribers grew steadily every month, and new business enquiries started to come in. I experimented with Google Adwords, but gave up when I realised I no longer needed to advertise – because my blog meant I was already on the front page of Google for my chosen keywords. Shortly after that, I realised my website had become my main source of new business.
My blog also got me on the radar of Brian Clark and Tony D. Clark, two successful entrepreneurs who were living the internet dream, powering a successful online business with their laptops, know-how and creativity. In 2008 we founded Lateral Action together, using my writing skills, Tony’s design, animation and technical wizardry, and Brian’s strategic and marketing expertise. Our combined experience and networks meant Lateral Action grew much faster than Wishful Thinking, and it wasn’t long before it was among the most popular 50,000 websites in the English-speaking world, according to Alexa.com.
In 2009 we created and launched the Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap, an in-depth e-learning course in how to build a profitable and fulfilling business as a creative entrepreneur. (If you want to be first in line next time the course opens to the public, you can sign up here.)
In the summer of 2010, having achieved the original goals we set ourselves, we decided to dissolve the partnership. Brian and Tony had their hands full with several other successful projects, and after working with them for two and a half years I had learned enough to pilot Lateral Action on my own.
Now I spend my days dictating to my computer via speech recognition (you didn’t think I was typing this, did you?), coaching clients via Skype, and building my online business empire. And hanging out with interesting people on Twitter and in Third Tribe.
I also run live workshops and consult for creative industries organisations, which makes a nice change from all those hours on the computer. And working from home means that all the time I would have wasted on commuting and meetings, I get to spend doing meaningful work, or with my family.
So far, the 21st century is turning out to be an amazing adventure for me. No jet-packs or colonies on Mars yet, but my creative curiosity has led me into places I’d never have dreamed of a few short years ago. I hope you’ll want to come along for the ride – because right now there are incredible opportunities opening up for creative people like you.
I’ve been coaching artists and creatives since 1996 and have worked with people in all kinds of creative professions, including artists, designers, writers, film-makers, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs, architects, singers and fashion designers. I’ve also consulted for organisations including the BBC, Channel 4, Arts & Business, the UK’s Institute for Practitioners in Advertising, and creative agencies of all sizes. And I’m proud to be on the editorial board of the acclaimed magazine Magma Poetry, with responsibility for the magazine’s new media strategy. (I edited Magma 34, archived in the UK Poetry Library here.)
I’m a qualified psychotherapist, registered with the UK Council for Psychotherapy. I also hold an MA in Creative & Media Enterprises from the University of Warwick and a BA in English Language & Literature from Oxford University.
My work has been featured in media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Creative Review, Mslexia and the Discovery Health Channel.
Join me for the ride…
You can have articles delivered to your inbox about creativity, productivity, personal development and business skills for creatives, by signing up for free updates from the Lateral Action blog.
For a free 25-week education in how to succeed as a creative professional, join over 8,000 students currently enrolled on my Creative Pathfinder course.
If you ever feel you could do with some one-to-one help, I offer a specialist coaching service for creative people like you.
And for bite-sized inspiration…
Follow me on Twitter
Add me on Google+
Like Lateral Action on Facebook