Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon
Learn to get in the right mindset as an entrepreneur in the book, Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms, by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. In this Creator Conversation Q&A session, Kathleen Shannon shares what readers can expect, creativity in the business world, inspirational places in Oklahoma, and more. Kathleen Shannon is a co-founder and partner at Braid Creative located in the Paseo District in OKC. She co-hosts the podcast Being Boss which currently has over 4 million downloads.
What can readers expect to learn with “Being Boss?”
This book is for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, or aspiring side-hustlers who are wanting to quit their day job. In it we’re sharing our own insights, experience, and tactics for making money doing what you love and living life on your own terms. We break it down into a few foundational pillars:
MINDSET: You can’t be boss if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. The challenges we tackle when it comes to creating a career and life that are fulfilling require the right mindset: confidence in who you are and the decisions you make, a will to seek out motivation and inspiration, committing to setting and working towards big ass goals, trusting yourself and showing up to do the work, knowing and practicing your values, remaining positive, and tackling fear and your own inner critic.
BOUNDARIES: Boundaries are the physical, mental, and emotional “rules” that you define for yourself. These rules keep you from feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Boundaries also help you decide which opportunities you say yes to, what you say no to, what you let in, and what you let go. Boundaries are how you carve out time to do what you want, prioritize what matters, and define how you live and work.
HABITS & ROUTINES: If mindset and boundaries get you emotionally and intellectually prepared for doing the work, your habits and routines are how you get the work done. From setting goals and establishing a morning routine that sets you up for success, to taking care of yourself outside of work, habits and routines are how you behave like a boss, every day.
[pullquote-right]”You’re never too old/shy/busy/etc to meet new people, nourish relationships that are mutually beneficial, collaborate, partner, and ultimately work with others to build something really boss.”[/pullquote-right]YOUR WOLFPACK: It takes a village to build a boss life and work, and cultivating a pack of just-the-right people is easier now than ever before. Your wolfpack supports you, encourages you, and assists you, and includes your friends, family, mentors, peers, and collaborators. You’re never too old/shy/busy/etc to meet new people, nourish relationships that are mutually beneficial, collaborate, partner, and ultimately work with others to build something really boss. Relationships are everything, and they can help you go far.
YOUR WORK: As a creative, your work is how you make money doing what you love while staying true to who you are 100% of the time. This work takes a dedication to your craft, unwavering focus on your goals, and reliance on your own skills to take you from dreaming and scheming about what’s next to actually doing the work.
YOUR LIFE: As much as we love our work, we don’t just define ourselves by the work we do or the bottom line in our bank account. The most admirable bosses we know prioritize connection, relationship, family, friendship, travel, and really good food (yeah, what, we like our food) over making money or being a slave to their Rolodex (if you don’t know what a Rolodex is, just Google it). Bosses are curious about life outside of work and use their resources to enthusiastically pursue what they find interesting.
How do you describe yourself and what you do?
I own a branding agency in Oklahoma City called Braid Creative. My role there is a creative director and partner – so not only am I giving my team creative guidance for client projects, I am also holding the vision for how we grow and market our own company in mind. I also co-host the podcast Being Boss with my “business bestie” Emily Thompson. There we talk about what it takes to run and profit from a creative business.
What inspired you two to write this particular book?
Our book Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms was born out of almost a decade of conversations about creativity, productivity, habits, money, “fraudy” feelings, systems, processes, and balancing family and career.
[pullquote-right]”Who you work with can make or break how satisfied you are with your job – so when you’re working for yourself, even if you’re building your dream job, it can be isolating and lonely.”[/pullquote-right]You see, we started building our own businesses in branding (that’s my jam) and developing websites and successful online business platforms (where Emily finds her groove) for other creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and side-hustlers who were knocking out their passion projects outside of their 9-to-5 at a time when all of our friends and family were collecting steady paychecks and benefits from their own bosses. The world of eCommerce was still uncharted territory and we weren’t only figuring it out as we went – we were paving the way. Who you work with can make or break how satisfied you are with your job – so when you’re working for yourself, even if you’re building your dream job, it can be isolating and lonely. Without peers to show you the ropes and mentors to guide you along the way, it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind or worse: paralyzed from taking the next steps.
We were a couple of creatives who were craving connection and conversation. Every couple of weeks we would hop on a video call and talk shop. After a year or two of this, we decided to hit publish on our “business bestie” conversations and release them in a podcast called Being Boss. Our show caught on quickly; we became the go-to podcast for other creatives and aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to hear insights and real talk about what it takes to do the work. “Do the work” has become our motto – because making a living doing what you love isn’t always easy and it takes hard work. Being boss means getting in the right mindset, cultivating confidence, practicing productive habits, setting healthy boundaries, finding your tribe, and really nurturing the lifestyle you want to live beyond the work that you do.
Being boss is a constant practice, and after three years of hitting publish on our podcast (and now a book), we’ve learned that it’s a conversation that is constantly evolving.
What was the greatest challenge you overcame in writing Being Boss?
When other authors talk about writing books it seems to be an incredibly painful process, but we loved writing this book together. Early in the drafting process, we were probably a little precious about Writing A Book – it just felt so permanent and daunting. We used our own tactics outlined in the book for getting creative work done to write this book – we blocked off time to write, set boundaries to protect our creative energy, and did the work. We quickly found a collaborative rhythm and held each other accountable to writing the best book we could.
How can creativity work with business?
Anyone who runs a business is a creative – you are constantly solving new problems, looking at challenges from a different perspective, and finding opportunity in every set-back (and trust, there will be set-backs).
What I want is for anyone reading this book to see that they can make a business with their creativity – and they can do it without selling their soul or compromising their art. In fact, creatives are especially positioned to redefine what it means to be a business owner. I want to live in a world where creativity is revered and compensated appropriately – and that’s only going to happen if creatives can step up and be more boss.
Why is creativity so important in the business world?
All human beings are creative and if we can bring more of who we are into our careers we will be that much more fulfilled. Our work will not only become more meaningful – it will become more innovative and will undoubtedly change the world.
What are some of the biggest takeaways you wish readers would learn from the book?
Being boss is all about owning who you are, knowing what you want, and making it happen. I want people reading this book to feel like they can make really big goals and actually achieve them by making space for them. I want them to use their values and intentions to drive their decisions in their careers and in their lives. And finally, I want them to takeaway the inspiration, motivation, and practical actions it will take to do the work and be boss.
What will you never do again do in life?
I have a really hard time saying no to really great opportunities. So in the past few years I’ve said “yes” to working on a couple of really cool projects with some really talented people but it wasn’t entirely aligned with my own mission – which is helping people be who they are 100% of the time. I became spread thin and my own most important work became watered down. Now I’m able to filter any decisions and opportunities through the prompt “will this help people be more of who they are?” – if the answer is no, I say no.
Also, once I went skydiving in Cushing, Oklahoma. I never feel the need to jump out a plane ever again.
What happens to you in your dreams?
I love that you ask this. I love writing down my nighttime dreams every morning – it’s a great way of tapping into your subconscious. Recently I had a dream that I was touring a super modern home with high ceilings made of concrete and glass – it was filled to the brim with thriving plants – it was just barely out of my price range.
Where are some great places to go in Oklahoma for inspiration?
The Wichita Mountains: Escaping into nature for a hike is always inspiring.
Commonplace Books: I could spend hours browsing titles and chatting with new friends here.
Okay Yeah Co. / The Plant Shoppe: I definitely wrote a few chapters of my book from here.
The Drake: Whether I’m dining from the patio or eating oysters at the bar, this is my favorite place to eat dinner with friends.
Shop Good: I found some of my best friends by shopping at their store – they carry the best t-shirts and fill their new space on automobile alley with inspiration to explore your own backyard.
Cleveland Neighborhood: This is my stomping grounds and what I call home – my neighbors there feel like family (and some of them are literally family!).
Red Cup: This place feels like something you’d find in Austin, Texas. I love meeting my girlfriends here to talk shop and gossip about life. It’s so good for people watching too!
Anything else you want to say or let people know?
As I’m typing out all the places and people that inspire me in Oklahoma I guess I want you to know that your community – your people – they are everything. Find your tribe and love them hard. Celebrate with them when you hit your milestones and trust in them when you’re struggling and need some extra support.