You are creative and your relationship with your creativity is important to building a business and a life you love.
Esther Wane is a Storyteller and Creative Coach, guiding you as you step into your unique story and become the creative hero you are meant to be. She supports you in your growth as you heed your call to action, step out in faith with creativity to provide the world with the gifts only you can offer, and then return to share your inspiring story with others.
As a child, Esther was highly creative, immersed in a world full of stories; reading, writing and performing in every moment she could, dancing freely with her imagination. When she became an adult she put away the creativity of her childhood and picked up a successful career in an investment bank. While this gave her status and security, it did not bring satisfaction. Instead it brought shame and separation from herself and her creative journey.
After her daughter was born Esther was faced with the realisation that if she was going to teach her child to thrive, she would have to show her the way. So began Esther’s hero’s journey to listen for her call to action, take creativity’s offered hand, and step into her unique story.
Through developing her own creative practice she has become an award winning and in demand audiobook narrator with over 120 credits to her name, including Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series, Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” and Sarah Vaughan’s “Anatomy of a Scandal.” She has published her first novel, “The Way Home” and has a second book in the pipeline: “Be Your Own Hero: A Mindful Guide to Thriving in a Creative Life.”
Much of this has been made possible by employing the business leadership skills she developed as an Executive Director in finance as well as practicing positive psychology and mindfulness meditation. Esther has studied for a number of qualifications in these areas to better support her coaching clients and continues to invest in her professional development.
She lives in Hertfordshire with her family, including two unsurprisingly creative children and one nutty dog. When she isn’t reading or writing she can usually be found walking her hound; browsing in a bookshop; hanging out with her children; or discussing the joys and struggles of life with a friend.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
After I left drama school I knew I wanted to make a living out of acting and writing but didn’t know how to go about it. I tried out a few things and then found myself building up a successful audiobook narration business as well as writing a novel.
I realised that to do this I had needed to keep faith in my creative impulses and work on my resilience and optimism to maintain my determination.
The bedrock of my work on myself was in mindfulness meditation and positive psychology techniques as I built a creative practice. I also found that the more I invested in myself and my personal development the more successful I was in building my business.
At a certain point I felt ready to share what I had learned and studied positive psychology, strengths coaching and mindfulness and meditation. Then I began to write a book about my experience with these elements based on Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey template.
Having written the book and understood the value of what I had learned and experienced I devised a series of creative coaching programmes and workshops for creative artists, entrepreneurs, leaders and teams, designed to guide them into a mature relationship with their creativity and become the creative heroes they are meant to be.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day with a routine of meditation, journaling and reading something inspiring. After that I take my son to school and walk my dog. Coming home I have my breakfast and plan my day.
Often I split the day into two with lunch and the gym in the middle. I will then record audiobooks or other voiceover work in one part and write, coach, or work on my business in the other part.
As a creative I have to be flexible so this can shift but I do like to have a structure that I can break!
At the end of the working day I try to close it out and plan the next day before spending time with my family and ending the day with a gratitude and creativity journal, as well as a bit more reading.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a lot of ideas so I like to live with them for a bit and see which ones really matter to me. Once I know it’s an important idea I start to plan how I’m going to take action to bring it to life. It’s the commitment to small actions in the direction of your dreams that brings them to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend towards greater audiobook and podcast listening is exciting. As well as my personal investment in audiobook narration I love the spoken word. Audiobooks allow us to take in stories in a different way and open up the world of literature to a wider audience.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Working on my focus and choosing to intentionally do one thing at a time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have faith in your creativity. It knows what you need and it will always be there to help you figure things out.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Peanut butter and marmite are a match made in heaven!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay in tune with myself. I am constantly asking myself if this is something I really want to do. Is it building my dream or someone else’s? That way I know I am totally invested in everything I do.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Paying attention to what people enjoy receiving from me. Staying connected to my audience allows me to find the sweet spot of what I love to do, what I am good at and what is valuable to others, the Japanese call this Ikigai.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I lost an audio client because I wasn’t paying attention to the quality of what I was giving them. This upset me as I live by Steve Martin’s motto, “Be so good they can’t ignore you” yet I had gone astray. I took note of the feedback and invested in improving my equipment and audio recording set up so I could rest easy for future work.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ethical clothing for teenagers would be great. There is a lot of choice for children and then adults but teenagers don’t seem to have the same attention or rely on throwaway fashion. I’d love to see their passion for the environment and working conditions reflected in the clothes available to them.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a ticket to a coaching workshop for audiobook narrators with Andi Arndt and Steve West. I never regret money I invest in my own growth and knowledge and I love learning from other people’s experiences as well as my own. I also think something special happens when people band together in developing their creativity.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Headspace is an app that I have used for the last six years. The clarity, peace and focus I gain from my meditation practice really supports me in being productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Since my book “Be Your Own Hero: A Mindful Guide to Thriving in a Creative Life” is not available yet I’d recommend “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It was the book that first started me connecting with my creativity. All entrepreneurs are creative as they are creating businesses and solutions that weren’t there before, so understanding the form and interests of your creativity makes sure that your business is in line with you and serves your purpose.
What is your favorite quote?
“There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.” Brené Brown
• Invest in yourself because you are your most valuable asset. If you do this it will pay off in your business every time.
• You are creative and your relationship with your creativity is important to building a business and a life you love.
• Build some structure into your day but be willing to let go of your plans if the flow takes you somewhere more interesting.
• Work on your skills and make sure the quality of your work is the best you can make it. If you love doing something it is worth taking pride in your work and others will value that attitude.
• Make sure you are really invested in what you do and that you are building your dream with every step you take.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.