Austin, Live Music Capital of the World, bounces with creative energy. Yet even this artist-friendly city struggles to financially support its expansive treasure trove of creative talent. That’s why I was instantly intrigued when I caught wind of the Creatives Meet Business mission to nourish Austin’s creative sector through impactful community and leverage entrepreneurial creativity.
Inspiration Behind Creatives Meet Business
Ashland Viscosi, Austin native and graduate of the Leadership Austin Emerge program, found herself lucky enough to fall into a dream she didn’t even know she had. She entered the film and production industry, after graduating with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science.
Passionate about an array of artistry networks beyond film, Viscosi ventured into other creative industries to offer support and find reciprocal community. However, she began to notice a large gap in the Austin creative network.
“It was always the same people that kept supporting film and going to the same events. And I wondered, how do you get people to spend time outside of their creative discipline and care about another? Why is there not more cross-pollination?”
This self-limiting network was missing out on organic growth opportunities, and Viscosi set out to fix that.
Bridging the Gap Across Creative Disciplines
In 2016, Creatives Meet Business hit the ground running. The business honed an innovative platform set forth to solve two problems. First, how do we better support each other in the artistic community across disciplines? Second, how do we help create career sustainability for creative-minded entrepreneurs? Painting an eclectic canvas of creative-minded individuals from all walks of life, this cross-discipline community benefits from synergistic business acumen.
Creatives Meet Business offers several types of relational and skill-driven events hosted by industry leaders. These offerings include recurring round tables, podcasts, and a three-day convention called The Experience.
Okay. This might not seem revolutionary at a glance, but wait for it.
It’s time to eliminate the word networking from your vocabulary. Because at Creatives Meet Business events, you enter into authentic egalitarian conversations. This is not a “what can you do for me?” mindset. In fact, Viscosi encourages participants to fight the urge to even ask, “So what do you do for a living…?” According to Viscosi, this completely shuts down a conversation.
When our mindsets are focused on traditional networking precepts, “we miss out on genuine connections and community. We build up walls instead, and I’m on a mission to break down those walls and barriers.”
Create a Network That Matters
Following Robin Dunbar’s philosophy of individual network size, Viscosi helps others create impactful networks. As a result, Creatives Meet Business fosters an environment ripe for relational over transactional interactions. “To be authentic—to peel off those layers,” you need to find the freedom to be yourself and let go of that manufactured vibe many networking events instill.
For example, Viscosi hosts a lunch bunch during all three days of The Experience conference. Participants pick a type of cuisine, from which their meal is prepared. Based on that selection alone, they’re grouped with taste bud-sharing peers to talk shop.
If tangible business direction is what you crave, consider a round table hosted every other month for $15. The most recent round table was hosted Dec. 11, 2018 and entitled The Lean Business Edition. This is basically business acumen speed dating. But no worries! There is no swipe left or right here. You sit at a table, snack on bites, and sip complimentary libations while speakers rotate between small groups.
This is a far cry from the traditional linear lecture. Because you are with your same concentric groups throughout the night, the intimate atmosphere encourages conversation among equals. Bygone are the days when you absorbed knowledge only to awkwardly await the appropriate time to ask the speaker your questions at the end of the night.
Looking Ahead to The Experience 2019
Lastly, for ultimate community saturation, there is the annual three-day conference, The Experience. It’s packed with knowledge from industry leaders, called guides, who engage in symbiotic edification with their peers (a.k.a. you). The Experience is much more than simply imparting skill sets and knowledge. It’s drenched in rare uninhibited connection through idyllic jamborees, such as ice cream socials, an exotic animal petting zoo, and even cocktail classes. Stay tuned in April for details on the Sept. 19-21, 2019 lineup.
Viscosi’s on a mission, folks. Creatives Meet Business refuses to see people as transactions and insists that artists shouldn’t starve. Instead, Viscosi leads the charge to feed a creative network with business perspicuity in an effervescent atmosphere.
To learn more, visit the Creatives Meet Business official website.
Krista Hager is a word, coffee, muscle, dance, and Austin enthusiast. Scattered in life, focused in business, she owns a small content creation agency and its sister site, a mom entrepreneur networking platform called Mama on the Internet.