creative biz success: interview with Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty

Today we meet Liv Lane, of Choosing Beauty. Liv is a typical creative entrepreneur, with irons in many fires, including a thriving blog, a radio show, an upcoming e-course, and an Etsy shop (not to mention two beautiful little boys to take care of)! How did it all come to be, and how does she balance it all?

Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

Wow. It’s a path with so many twists and turns! But I feel like creativity has been my constant companion all along. And, looking back, I see some common threads: a need for autonomy, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to help others know more and be more.

I started out in radio, launched my first web site in 1998 (a made-for-kids’ entertainment and news site), moved into public relations, then created and ran a successful radio promotions company for a Fortune 500 corporation. Corporate life gave me stability and amazing learning opportunities, but it rarely felt fulfilling. I would go home and spend hours writing, scrapbooking, magnet- making, decorating – anything to keep those creative juices flowing.

I really lost my way after the birth of my first son in 2003.

You can read more about it on my blog, but those creative juices – and my interest in life itself – basically disappeared as I struggled with deep depression and post traumatic stress disorder. After a couple years of intense therapy, I launched a blog called One Year of Beauty, intending to post a photo and write my reflections every day for one year. I figured it would be healing to force myself to find the good in each day.

I truly didn’t expect it would spread so quickly and resonate with others so deeply. But within a couple of weeks, I had radio stations calling for interviews and people halfway around the world emailing me to express their gratitude. I knew I had hit a nerve – and that I wasn’t alone in my yearning to tap into the beauty of life. From there, it was like the universe just kept opening up one door after another, inviting me to really do what I love.

Was there a moment where you just knew you had to leave your day job and take the plunge into working for yourself?

I had so many moments of incredible serendipity and synchronicity.

I speak a lot about how important it is to pay attention to those nudges, to listen to your intuition. Had I ignored the little (and big) signs in my life, I’d probably still be sitting in a cubicle somewhere doing a job I was good at but didn’t make me feel good.

I lived a double life for a while, running the radio promotions company during the day and being a blogger at night. And then I got the opportunity to return to the radio airwaves, hosting a weekly show in Minneapolis about living your best life. The more I did the stuff I truly loved, the more I dreaded going into work.

I knew more creative opportunities awaited me – I could just feel it – but I couldn’t pursue them while working long hours, buried in spreadsheets. My husband was a great cheerleader and we devised a plan for me to walk away from corporate life and step into my new life. My blog became the foundation for my own company, Choosing Beauty, in 2007.

How did you get into speaking (including your regular radio show)?

Truthfully, I’m an introvert. But I still love speaking to audiences – whether on the radio or at an event – about topics that are dear to my heart. I knew early on that I wanted to be a broadcaster (really, I wanted to be the next Oprah). Somewhere, there is a treasure chest full of cassette tapes featuring me as a kid, hosting fake radio shows!

After I graduated from high school, I was craving “real world” experience – particularly in broadcast journalism. I convinced my parents to let me postpone college for a year if I could find a paying job in that field. Two weeks before I was supposed to head to college, a massive dose of serendipity led me through the doors of a national radio network for kids, headquartered just blocks from the house where I’d grown up. They hired me as a part-time news writer and within a year, I was promoted to morning show co-host and chief news correspondent. The pay was horrible, but I loved every minute of every day there.

Years later, shortly after launching my blog, I had an idea for a women’s radio talk show on creating your best life and wrote a proposal for it. I swear the planets aligned, because it is really hard to get a new show on the air – and mine was green-lighted within a couple of months. I’ve co-hosted Get Real on myTalk 107.1 in Minneapolis since January 2007.

I think radio trained me to be a good public speaker – to be concise, to be a good storyteller, to be authentic.

And the concept of Choosing Beauty is one that resonates with so many people. We all long to feel purposeful and passionate in our lives, to feel like there’s magic woven into our days. I’ve never done much self-promotion as a speaker; organizations and event planners tend to hire me after being referred by someone else.

Have you ever brought other people into your business, or felt the need to?

Funny you ask! Just last weekend, I tweeted “I need a technical wizard on my staff. First, I need a staff.” Some days, I swear the thing I miss about corporate life more than a stable paycheck is a good administrative assistant and an IT guy.

I’ve been able to juggle and balance a lot over the past few years, including parenting two young boys, but the past few months – since formally putting myself out there as an artist – I’ve definitely been contemplating how I might delegate some of the things on my plate. I do have a great young woman named Jordan, whom I’ve dubbed my Vice President of Fun and Organization. She helps me with my Etsy shop, art shows and speaking gigs whenever I need it. I’ve also aligned myself with experts I trust in various support areas, from public relations to finance.

Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

When I don’t take the time I need for reflection and to clarify my visions, especially at the beginning of each year, I start to feel doubtful and worried about where the heck I’m going, like I’m just treading water. I also get bored easily, so I love hatching new ideas. At the start of this year, the dreams I laid out for myself included launching a new web site called The Feel Good Deal of the Day, which I’ve done and am having a blast with. And I’m super-excited to launch my first e-course this spring, called How To Build a
Blog You Absolutely LOVE.

I also thought this would be the year my first book would be published. After working on it for 2 ½ years, it was due out on my birthday, 10.11.11. But a couple of weeks before going to print, my publisher cancelled everything and, for budgetary reasons,
announced it would no longer be publishing new books! That was a huge shock. But I’m choosing to see it as another one of those cosmic nudges and trust that there’s an even better publisher out there who will be eager to birth this beautiful book into the world.

Since your focus is choosing and sharing beauty, could you share 3 places you like to visit online for inspiration?

So hard to choose just three! I adore what Amanda’s doing at Kind Over Matter, cultivating and sharing all things kind and creative.

I’m kind of addicted to my daily Notes from the Universe. Each brief but inspiring email is like a shot in the arm. I love opening it up each morning!

And I always find a nugget of wisdom or creative inspiration in Kelly Rae Robert’s blog posts.

Visit Liv on her blog, Choosing Beauty.

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