Creative Entrepreneur & Unlocking Your Genius’ Gifts

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Lewis Hyde writes in his book, The Gift, that the task of setting free one’s gifts was recognised labour in the ancient world. Our genius comes to us at birth and carries with it the fullness of our undeveloped powers, which it offers to us as we grow. 


Here, the gift refers to a natural talent, ability, or aptitude that resides within each of us. It is a special quality or skill that comes effortlessly and distinguishes each of us in various domains.


Work is what we do by the hour. 


Work begins and ends at a specific time, and we trade our hours in exchange for money.


As Octavia Butler toiled at her gift of writing before the working day began and long after it finished, she worked as a telemarketer, potato chip inspector, dishwasher, and warehouse worker. 


Labor on the other hand sets its own pace.


When we first connect with the potential of our gift, we are moved. Something within is awakened and felt, and we get to work of our own accord. 

Our gift can take many forms, including artistic talents, athletic abilities, intellectual prowess, leadership qualities, or any other innate capacities that set each of us apart.


Once a gift has stirred within us, it is our responsibility to develop it; to do the labour of setting free our gift. 


Unlike hobbies, gifts are inherent qualities to be nurtured and developed to their fullest potential. Harnessing these gifts requires commitment and perseverance.

Setting Free Your Gifts

Defining Creative Entrepreneurship

Creative entrepreneurship refers to the fusion of artistic vision, innovation, and business acumen. It involves harnessing one’s creative talents and translating them into viable ventures that generate value for both the entrepreneur and society.


Profit is undoubtedly important, but creative entrepreneurs strive to strike a balance between commercial success and the pursuit of artistic expression.

The Gift vs. the Market

While the market operates on principles of scarcity, competition, and ownership, the creative economy thrives on abundance, cooperation, and generosity.


Applying these contrasting principles to the realm of creative entrepreneurship can lead to transformative outcomes.

Nurturing Creativity

Creativity flourishes when it is treated as a gift rather than a commodity. Creative entrepreneurs can embrace this idea by focusing on creating value for their audience or customers, rather than solely chasing profits.


By nurturing their creative process and valuing the act of giving, entrepreneurs can foster a deeper connection with their audience and build a community around their work.

Collaboration and Community

Collaboration and community are important in the gift economy. Creative entrepreneurs can foster partnerships, engage with their audience, and create platforms for dialogue.


By embracing collaboration, entrepreneurs can tap into collective wisdom, broaden their perspectives, and create an ecosystem that supports and nurtures creativity.

Balancing Creativity and Commercial Viability

One of the key challenges for creative entrepreneurs is striking a balance between creativity and commercial viability. Hyde suggests that by reframing the act of creating as a gift, entrepreneurs can navigate this delicate balance.

By recognising the value of their work beyond monetary terms and aligning it with their audience’s needs and aspirations, entrepreneurs can find a sweet spot where artistic expression and commercial success intersect.

Sharing the Gift

An essential aspect of the gift economy is the notion of reciprocity. Creative entrepreneurs can embody this principle by giving back to the creative community.


Whether through mentorship, sharing knowledge and resources, or supporting emerging artists and entrepreneurs, giving back helps to sustain the gift economy and cultivate a thriving ecosystem of creativity.


Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler had various jobs before her writing career took off, including a potato chip inspector, a telemarketer, and a dishwasher.


These experiences allowed her to observe society and its inequalities. With her genius, she crafted visionary and thought-provoking science fiction novels that explored race, power dynamics, and social issues.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou had a diverse array of jobs before her writing talent blossomed. She worked as a sex worker, streetcar conductor, dancer, singer, and actress.


These experiences enriched her understanding of the human condition, which she skillfully expressed through her poignant poetry and autobiographical works.


Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer’s journey to musical success involved a range of jobs, from living statue street performer, a stripper, and even a wedding singer. These experiences shaped her fearless and unapologetic approach to art.


Palmer’s genius lies in her ability to connect deeply with her audience, her raw vulnerability, and her boundary-pushing creativity.


Iconic Barbie has had an extensive range of careers over the years. From astronaut to veterinarian, Barbie has held countless jobs, inspiring young minds to dream big. Her genius lies in her ability to adapt and empower girls with limitless possibilities.


Through her diverse careers, Barbie encourages imagination, ambition, and allyship.


Allison Russell

Singer-songwriter Allison Russell has displayed her gifts across various artistic pursuits. While diligently crafting her musical gifts, Russell worked as a waitress, a teacher, and a doula.


These experiences provide Allison with a rich understanding of the human experience, which she beautifully translates into her soulful music.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood, the renowned fashion designer, had a diverse career trajectory before the fashion industry. She worked as a primary school teacher and a factory worker, which cultivated her punk perspective.


Westwood’s genius was in her ability to challenge conventions and push boundaries, creating tailored, provocative and iconic designs. 


Lady Gaga

Before becoming a global superstar, Lady Gaga had a range of jobs that shaped her artistic journey. She worked as a waitress, and a songwriter, and even performed in burlesque shows.


Gaga’s genius lies in her fearless creativity, powerful vocals and building community. 

Margo Price

Margo Price, the talented singer-songwriter, has an interesting work history that contributes to her musical brilliance. She worked as a waitress, a janitor, and even in a prison as a secretary. 


These experiences shaped her understanding of struggle and resilience, which she artfully weaves into her heartfelt country music.


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