33 strategies to Creative Capital

Creative Capital is great, it does not necessarily have monetary value, it’s just something that has a tremendous impact on your life. Creative industries are employing more and more people, and it’s simply not enough to be the boring accountant type. There is a desperate need for ideas and creative approaches towards problems, start today and increase your value by building Creative Capital.

33 Powerful Strategies to build your Creative Capital

  1. Start to develop concepts that are out of the box.
    Concepts that have never been done before are great capital, or maybe they just suck, but at least it’s fun to make up things and go for them. Knowledge is limited, creativity not.

  2. Build a cool blog, not one about making money.
    Start to write a blog about what floats your boat. Hobby, Sport, self improvement, ramblings… whatever you have your own perspective on. Just don’t bore people, make it entertaining or deliver useful information.

  3. Take photos.
    Taking pictures is one of the easiest ways to start being creative. Do whatever you want to do, take snapshots, arrange something, whatever it is you do, it will open your eyes for small things and details that are usually lost.

  4. past

  5. Take those photos like you have never took pictures before.
    Once you start to take pictures look at them, you probably have a certain style. Try to do something new, get yourself a book, or copy the work of others and see what you can learn. It’s important to change the perspective every once in a while to not get stuck with what you are doing.

  6. Write Short Stories or a Novel.
    Having a good imagination is a gift, no matter if you are selling something or telling you children a good night story. You don’t have to depend upon other to give you stories, learn to make them up! You might like it and start writing a real book.

  7. Create mind-maps.
    Whenever you have a problem, don’t just think about it, learn to create mind maps that will help you to solve your problems.

  8. Work with alliterations and images.
    Language is powerful, just think of Joseph Kosuth One and Three Chairs and you will either think, I could have done this, or you will think another time and see how powerful his works are. It’s amazing what language does.

  9. Build Creative Capital, it’s a smart investment
  10. Share your experiences on a non profit basis.
    Everyone is successful in something, just share your fountain of information! Be the best at something and start building a community around your services. It’s amazing how much you can get out of giving.

  11. Join a theatre group.
    There are plenty of things that you can learn when you start to be in a theatre, speaking and acting in front of the masses, changing the perspective, finding new friends, acting is a wonderful thing, but it’s not for everyone.

  12. Learn to Shoot Movies.
    Video editing is a cool skill to pick up, you can spice up presentations, create family films, independent movies or viral nonsense. Remember to have fun.

  13. Develop skills in Computer Graphics
    No matter if you are going to learn to build 3D Models, how to manipulate in photoshop or digital painting. There are plenty of things you can do, which are easy to pick up and will help to build the creative network in your brain.

  14. Pick up design skills.
    Design is actually a craft, there are plenty of books about it and after all it comes down to usability and style. It’s not like art, it’s a craftsmanship.

  15. Read, read & read books
    Reading, we have to do it and we do it a lot! Most people just read useful stuff day in and out, pretty boring if you ask me! Get funky and go overboard, start reading something really useless, a funny book, a thriller, whatever just make sure it’s something you can enjoy. Reading stimulates the mind

  16. Get a library card
    Few things are as powerful as cheap and free education. Even if you are a baller on a budget, you can be a smart baller on a budget 😆

  17. Develop new skills
    Coming nicely along with the previous two posts, combine reading with the do it yourself area of your library and you can read books about building whatever, self-improvement, Sports, Games, Finance. To make a long story short, pick what you are interested in and build your knowledge base, it’s the foundation for Creative Capital.

  18. pirates

  19. Doodle!
    Doodling is great. It does not have to be perfect, loosens up the mind and helps to unwind. You can do it everywhere…in conferences, at the phone, in a bar, on a napkin, toilet walls… get those creative juices flowing! doodlage and skineart are great places to share your pieces or to draw inspiration.

  20. Learn a new language, brush up your grammar skills
    Languages are a challenge and you should probably join a class or team up with someone from another country to pick up his language. You will train different parts of your brain, and as usual the greater the network, the higher the possible output.

  21. Become a coach in your favorite ballgame.
    Enough of sitting in front of the couch and whining about how your team lost. Get a trainer license and start coaching a team! It’s a great experience and improving your social and leadership skills will come naturally.

  22. Take part in a subculture
    Join a subculture that you never thought of joining before. Interact with people who are out of your regular surrounding. Finding new ideas and trends is easier when you see that there are different lifestyles than your own.

  23. Engage in a new sport
    Surfing the waves looks cool or not? Why not book a flight and have a great surfing vacation and pick up that sport? You can’t swim? Then get some inliners or a skateboard, start dancing just find a sport that has style and kicks ass. As we grow up we tend to forget that we are allowed to have fun and enjoy life. That’s why most adults fancy some kind of boring sport, that’s actually just social interaction to find potential mates, but no fun.

  24. Plan a big party on a low budget
    Planning a party is the small style event management, but everyone can do it if he has enough money to spend and could even hire someone to manage it. Make planning a party a challenge. You have to set a budget, get a place, invite people,… plenty of stuff to do and it will sure hell work on a lot of different skills such as social interaction, business sense and the ability to enjoy life. 🙂

  25. Found a charity
    Founding a charity can be done by almost anyone, you just need willpower and motivation. There is a lot of stuff to do, and only few people are willing to put in hours for this fulfilling work unless they have made it.

  26. Start meditation
    Meditation does not have to be meditation in a common sense meaning, it can be running, reading a book or doing whatever relaxes your mind. Today’s society forces people to go on overdrive for most of their life, learn to appreciate the small moments in your life and get out of the rat race every once in a while.

  27. Believe in yourself and your ideas
    The biggest investment you can make is to believe in yourself. You should trust yourself, and do everything you can do to be what you want to be! Self confidence is the best way to get rid of a lot of problems that smart people can have, be proud of yourself.

  28. stones

  29. Do something stupid every once in a while.
    Yep, allow yourself to make mistake and useless things. Just do whatever you want to do, forget about all this things that society expects you to do and simply enjoy your life. Don’t harm yourself or other with those things though.

  30. Invent new rules for a game
    Playing games sounds like a child activity, but it’s fun for every age. Just pick up a game, play it and invent new rules. Bending and breaking the old rules helps to develop new skills and offers another perspective on possible problems.

  31. Learn some magic tricks
    Magic seems to be outdated, but it’s fun to do some coin or card tricks and does not miss to impress. Learn to appreciate that magic is the sugar and spice of life and that we don’t want to know how everything works and simply be entertained.

  32. Become an inventor and make up some useful tool
    Just think about a problem and how you would solve it. I hear you saying that you are no engineer, but that does not matter, just think about it, write it down and learn to develop scenarios for things where you don’t know jack. It’s fun, entertaining and maybe you can sell your idea or find the right people to get it clicking with you.

  33. Imagine to be CEO of a popular company
    A real fun article could be found at the netsetter, where Collis was the imaginary head of twitter and thought about how he’d run it. Working out how things work for others is the best solution to understand your competitors and the business world. Just learn from other and pick up what you like and ditch the rest.

  34. Adapt strategies from other disciplines
    Interlinking what you are learning when you do any of those things recommended in this list is crucial. There is nothing more worthless than a specialised creative who does not know how to unleash his full potential. Learn from life for your life.

  35. Take a vacation
    Meet new people and visit another country. In Germany we have the saying “Reisen bildet den Charakter”, which translates to Travelling builds Character. See new things, enjoy life and be ready for challenges that come along. We have the freedom to be world citizens right now, enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

  36. Life on the streets for a few days
    This is one for all the people who think those bums living on the street should simply get some work. Appreciate your life, do what you want and respect others, especially people who had bad luck and lost what they have. The fisher King is a good way to remind us how bad things can happen.

  37. Flirt
    The last point should not have brought you down. Flirt with life! Dance in the morning sun, … life is beautiful, that’s why you should enjoy it and you should simply flirt with it. Enjoy what you do, have some fun and spontaneous interaction and smile at the world. There is no reason to frown and be unfriendly day in and day out, everybody wants to have a little fun.

That’s it, there is probably a lot more to build your Creative Capital, and I’d love to hear if you have other ways to build your Creative Foundation and Resources.

31 Day Challenge – Day 1 – Elevator Pitch

The task for today at the 31 Day Challenge is to create an elevator pitch for your blog. The first task for this challenge was a SWOT Analysis of this blog, it gives you a pretty good idea of what smashill is all about, to make a long story short …

Smashill builds creative Capital.

That’s it… that’s the mission. In case you wonder what creative capital is, it’s everything but boredom. This article is too short to end right now, so let’s end it with style and a quote that pretty much sums everything up 😀

Be excellent to each other!

How to create pullquotes in CSS

Pullquotes are quotes from your text that remind on quotes you find im magazines that emphazise an important message. There is no special reason for this small update, but since the start of this blog pullquotes were on my mind, but not knowing how to do it left this neat little gadget out of the blog. Asking a big search engine is the easiest way to find information these days and it came with a statisfaction guranteed.

Pullquotes make your site look sexy & smart

The code has been updated and my CSS understanding has grown a bit. This article will help you to create some nice looking pullquotes yourself. The real power of Pullquotes is that they emphazise someting you have written and improve the visuals of your otherwise long and boring looking text and without the need for additional images.

Want some? Create them yourself!

Creating pullquotes is amazingly easy. It takes a few minutes of understanding the code and a few more minutes to get it working. Here are some really helpful sites & tutorials about pullquotes.

  • Article at html dog gives a good overview to create good looking pullquotes.
  • Blogsolids article is a really simple way to implement blockquotes, and is the base I used to create the pullquotes on this site.
  • Shape Shed‘s article is a good read in case you want to add quotation marks at the beginning and end of your pullquote.
  • Another very short, and really easy way to create pullquotes can be found at Jamus Design
  • Probably one of the best list’s to quote designs is compiled by smashing magazine

Don’t wait, create your own blockquotes and enjoy the fresh touch you can add to your blog or website.

Protect your income – Save more time

Being the all around ninja that I am doing everything myself is a big concern for me. I don’t have many assets besides time, and even this resource is not the biggest. Cutting back online time has been a big issue for me, and I have succeeded to reduce the amount of time I spend in front of a computer significantly. I try to get outside as often as possible, fill one canvas after the other, even though I am a concept artist, and do a lot of other fun things.

But what do you do when you reduce your time in front of the computer? How do you get stuff done, especially when you create websites or things like that? There are easy answers: Freebies! & Stock items! Those are great time savers.

Free stuff for your needs

Ever wondered where you can find great stuff for free?

My favorite resource for Web Design
My first stop for everything related to web design would be smashing magazine, as they offer plenty of freebies ranging from icons to wordpress designs. Usually very high quality designs that are free to use for every project you create, only resale and redistribution is forbidden. So those are extremely sexy and can be very useful for people who need neat themes for blogs or affiliate sites.

Tools to create digital art
In case you love to create things from scratch, but lack textures or brushes, bittbox is your place to go. Here you find all that stuff you need when you are creating stuff, and the best thing, it’s free.

Dirty Textures
Another texture site is Texture King, there you find loads of dirty textures, simply awesome for grunge designs.

Icons & WordPress Themes
Icon design is nice, but actually, I think there are enough icons on this planet already, you can find another great set of icons at wefunction. Otherwise they wefunction has loads of cool stuff for free, characters, themes, and more.

Do you write a lot of blog posts want to illustrate them with pictures?
Try the creative commons at flickr. The important thing here is to be very selective. Don’t use images that are probably not owned by the guy who put them there, don’t use images where are visible faces on commercial projects, as you’d need a model release from the model. There are a lot legal obstacles in case you decide to pick pictures from flickr, that should not stop you from using it! It’s a great resource, you just have to be aware of the risks, and are probably best of to directly ask the photographer for permission.

Probloggers 31 Day Challenge

Signing up for this challenge seemed like a good idea. The original challenge should have started on April first, but I guess it was not the date that Darren had planned for it. He seems to be busy setting up forums and doing all kind of things for it, so he postponed it for one week. I am really looking forward to it and I’ll start with the first mission, which is a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis of smashill.

1. Define Your Mission and Goals

I want to document my journey of my creative output and create a small but profitable brand around smashill and all the items I create. I want to create useful insights on how to get such a business off the ground, earn a few bucks each month and build a readership.

2. List Your Blog’s Strengths

What attributes does your blog have that will help you to achieve your blog’s goals? Good, brand-able name. Unique perspective. Useful information. Information about products and product design.
What does your blog have going for it? I’m working on it and putting energy into it.
What are you good at as a blogger? Ideas. Creating. Thinking.
What resources and assets do you have at your disposal? Time. Tools to create my works. Creativity.
What do you do better than anyone else? Creating ideas & concepts.

3. List Your Blog’s Weaknesses

What attributes does your blog that are holding you back from achieving it’s goals? It’s very young. Not marketed enough. Not enough content about my creative works.
What skills do you not have as a blogger? Not being a native speaker. Publishing articles too early, not reading them 3 times and making sure everything is easily understandable.
What is ‘broken’ on your blog or in your workflow? My output besides the blog that I should blog about, creating items and products that I could blog about.
What could or should you improve about your blog? Focus more on my strengths as a creator, step away of being a long time writer.
What should you probably avoid in your blogging? Write posts that are too general and could waste time.
What is distracting you from your goals? Nothing, I am on to it.

4. List Your Blog’s Opportunities

What external things could/are helping you achieve your blog’s goals? Commenting on other blogs. Working on the value of my property with unique content. Links pointing to my site. Creating buzz through giveaways or a contest. A bigger twitter following.
What trends are their in your blog’s niche that you could explore on your blog? Focus on the creative market, shirt designs, art developments, case studies, how people are making money with their creative output.
What tools and technologies could you use to improve your blog? I can think of none.

5. List Your Blog’s Threats

What external things could or area hindering you achieving your blog’s goals? Not enough traffic. Not enough subscribers. Not enough Buzz. Not enough definition of my works.
What are other blogs in your niche doing that could be hindrance to your own blog’s growth? Focusing more on their role as artists or designer rather than bloggers.

6. Analyze Your Reflections and Generate Strategies

The plan should be to work more on my creative output than writing about general stuff that can be found somewhere else. The cartoons I create are a good base to start. Writing less and showing more of my stuff is the way to go. There is a unique style going on a smashill and that’s what should be emphasized.

7. Plan to Do Something and Do It

Joining the 30. Day challenge was the first thing to do, which will force more work on the blog instead of just writing.
I will run a contest/giveaway to create more traffic and buzz about this.
Working on the creative output and offering more unique content means that I will document what I am creating and sharing how I do it.

Coming to the point

A point rarely is a perfect circle, it’s rather just a small splash, so do it, get to the point. Screw everything else for today.

Pocket Money for freelancers

Sometimes it’s hard to get started in the freelance world. Unless you have been working in the creative industries and leave with a few of the clients your company has been working with, you have to start at zero. Maybe you already own a solid portfolio, maybe you don’t. In any case you have to spread the word, and what is better than creating work that will pay for itself. Here are a few things that you can easily do yourself without the need of finding clients.

Create a Website.

Don’t neglect the place where you start out, no matter what you do, a unique personal website is a must! It does not matter if it is just used as a business card linking to all the free services where you sell/showcase your work, as a blog or if you create a shop there. Your unique domain will make you brandable, display professionalismn and in the best case, will be easy to remember.

Start a blog.

You can start one at wordpress or blogger, join an existing blog as a co-editor or start something up at your own website. A great way to start out is to pick 3 topics you are interested in an write about them, see which blog works best and go from there.
After picking the topic you want to stick to you should create a blog on your own domain. An unique domain will make your website brandable, display professionalismn and in the best case, will be easy to remember and search engine friendly.
Showcase your skills and be aware that it’s your portfolio. A great example is skelliewag. Giving information, building trust and working at all those big blogs such as freelanceswitch, problogger,…
After some time, your blog might actually turn out to earn you some money through recommendations, advertisements, paid reviews, affiliate marketing… there are a million ways to monetize a blog, just get it up and running. In the worst case scenario you have learned how to create a blog and can offer this service, in the best case scenario you create an asset that will produce you money and potential clients en masse.

Take part in T-Shirt contests.

There are plenty of sites offering T-Shirt contests. Threadless, lafraise or designbyhumans are the ones that are really popular. In case you know how to create cool artwork people would love to wear these are your places. You can win between a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars in case your shirt is printed, can add those designs to your portfolio and be part in one of those communities. There are a few popular people such a Ray Frenden or GoMedia who use this to leverage their popularity.

Open a Shop

You don’t need some fancy software, you can simply start building a shop for your creative output. Take zazzle or cafepress for example you can create almost everything with zero budget. You design the items and get a share of the revenue. It’s a great way to find out how well your items would sell and if you should consider selling them yourself.

Create Stock items

I have a love / hate relationship with stock items. It might be cool for a lot of people, but if you are an artists who loves his work, it might be hard to sell it for such a low price. Sure the idea is cool, but somehow it does devaluate work. Besides that you need to create items that will sell well, this might be someone simple or simply high end work that can be used for plenty of things. So usually high quality artistic items sell pretty bad. It’s great for leftovers or simple things that don’t take much time to create.

Create an affiliate product

The easiest way to create an affiliate product is to write an ebook. Just look at freelance switch and their rockstar series. Create something people need to know and are willing to spend a few bucks on. Now you need to give some of your revenue away and pay it to people who are going to promote your book. It eases your marketing efforts and gives other people the chance to earn money. It’s a win-win situation for both sides. A good service to help you selling your ebook is E-Junkie as it is cheap, easy to use and there are a lot of people using it, such as freelanceswitch.