This week it’s great to be joined by Tad Hargrave. Tad is a hippy who developed a knack for marketing. Despite years in the non-profit and activist world, he finally had to admit he was a marketing nerd and, in the end, he became a marketing coach for hippies. Maybe it was because he couldn’t stand seeing his hippy friends struggle to promote their amazing, green and holistic projects. Maybe it was because he couldn’t keep a 9-5 job to save his life.
Whatever the reason, for almost a decade, he has been touring his marketing workshops around Canada, bringing refreshing and unorthodox ideas to conscious entrepreneurs and green businesses that help them grow their organizations and businesses (without selling their souls). And, over the years, he has become recognized as a leader in the wider movement towards green and local economies.
Thanks Tad, it’s great to be speaking to someone whose work we feel a great sympathy for. It’s been fascinating for us to think and learn about ways of engaging with the world about Writing Our Way Home, without resorting to traditional marketing and turning them (and us) off… On to the questions:
What drives your creative work?
I like making things. I’m going to define creative work as ‘creating things’. Making something knew that wasn’t there before. In my case, that’s going to be workshops or ebooks and such. Soooo . . . I think laziness is a big part of it. Once I make a product I don’t need to keep repeating myself. I can just send them to a resource to check out, ‘go read this ebook.’ or ‘watch this video’. that feels really good.
also the process of making these things forces me to really learn it. to refine and articulate what I know in a way that other people will ‘get it’. that helps me whenever i’m working with a client or teaching someone.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?
when i look back at myself i see so much arrogance. or . . . i was trying to position myself as some amazing marketing guru when i was just starting. wanting to charge the same rates as the bigwigs.
in a lot of ways, it’s all worked out perfectly. i’ve been able to learn and unlearn what i’ve needed. the process of doing it has refined me. but . . . i took it all so seriously. i took myself so seriously.
i feel blessed that i came across the pay what you can practice and philosophy because that feels so authentic and real for me. and it gave me feedback about what was working and what wasn’t.
i don’t know if there’s anything i could say really. but i think i felt really uneasy with some of the approaches I was taking and i wish someone could have affirmed those discomforts and encouraged me to explore them and find alternatives instead of just pushing further. but . . . in a way it really had to unfold the way it did.
How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
hrmmm. the lack of money can become an excellent motivator i’ve noticed – but, for me, money rarely is.
for me it’s never a matter of a lack of ideas either. right now I have 666 (not making that up) separate blog post ideas that i’ve been keeping track of. so . . . it’s not about ideas. when things get tough and i feel blocked, i find that it’s often a sign of overwhelm in other areas. and so the first thing i need to do is tidy my space, make to do lists, clear off my desk top. make space. once that space is there i find that inspiration often returns.
or i need to sit with the difficulty and really listen to it. actually sit quietly somewhere with my journal and really listen in. often that sense of difficulty contains the seeds of new inspiration for something.
How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?
business wise, every new thing I create makes my life a little more beautiful and harmonious. it saves me time, makes me money or helps people find me.
but it also . . . i feel proud. i feel good. there’s a sense of ‘i made that’. i want to show others. creating things feels like the harvest time – where i can sit back and reflect on all that i’ve accomplished. it feels wonderful.
What is it like to send your work out into the world?
i love it! by the time i send it out i am usually already pretty proud of it and excited to share it. i love when i get great feedback on things.
What was the best advice anyone gave to you?
don’t do it to IMpress – do it to EXpress.
What helps you to pay attention to the world?
taking space. i never stop noticing the world – but to really pay it attention . . . i need psychic space and that means an orderly environment and lack of clutter. if i’m cluttered up i can’t create. i get useless.
Brilliant, thanks Tad. Check out the rest of the interviews here, and check out Tad’s website here.