Nov 172013

Sally Kuhlman is a blogger, writer, and social media sage. The more I read stuff on her websites, the bigger a fan I become.

I recently met Sally at a deep writing workshop in San Francisco as we’re both working on book projects. She’s a smart and friendly person who has a lot of wisdom to share with writers, musicians, and other artistic people looking for a boost on the business and online side of things.

Q: What kinds of services do you offer for businesses and entrepreneurs?

I provide consulting services to businesses and nonprofits in marketing and social media. When necessary, I start with getting organizations set up on social media, I then teach them how and why to use it. I work with them to build awareness, create and manage online communities around their businesses, organizations and causes. I also offer project management services for newsletters, blog updates, and social media management. In addition, I offer business brainstorming services where I meet with business owners and brainstorm ideas to build more awareness around their business and to help them determine and stay focused on their goals. I also wrote an ebooklet for stressed out, busy people called The ABCs and 123s of Getting Stuff Done.

Q: How did you get started in this work?

Years ago I was working as a virtual assistant providing project management and marketing support to small businesses and nonprofits. As social media emerged I jumped on the bandwagon and brought my clients with me. Over time my business evolved in to a full time social media consulting business.

Q: Do you work much with creative and artistic people?

Yes, I have worked with many creative and artistic types. I’ve worked with jewelry designers, artists, coaches and authors.

Q: What are some common struggles you see with the business side of the artistic life?

The main struggle I see for artists is their lack of desire to focus on the business side of things. Artists love to make art and be creative, they often don’t love bookkeeping and marketing so much. I recommend creative types in business to either schedule in a few hours a week to focus on their business or if they can afford it to outsource the administrative and marketing side of their business so they can focus on what they do best. There are some wonderful virtual assistants out there that can be incredibly helpful and affordable.

Here are some VA sites:

Q: What tips do you have for artistic people to make the most of their online presence?

I say go for it! Create a public Facebook page and a Twitter page, put your stuff out there and get to know people. An artist who does an excellent job at this is Tamara Holland, author of How To Start Making Your Art Your Business.

Tamara is the owner of Bean Up The Nose Art and is very active online:
Facebook and Twitter

q: What do you write about in your blog, “Sally Around The Bay?”

I originally started the Sally Around The Bay job to get myself out of the house and on adventures. Sally is a play on words. The definition of sally is to go out on an excursion or adventure, it also happens to be my name. My blog was my own personal Yelp! in the early days, now it has become more of Sally’s rambles. I often blog about tips and tricks for social media but I also use the blog to ponder my thoughts on life about things such as marriage equality, homelessness, commuting by bus, etc.

q: You’re writing a book on the topic of “other mothers.” What is the book about? What has been the most exciting part for you writing this book?

The book is about a common thread of feelings found among women who feel they don’t fit in the “traditional mom” box and often feel like outsiders in the world of motherhood. Whether stepmothers, adoptive moms, lesbian moms or other, these moms have unique feelings when it comes to raising children, which very few people talk about. The most exciting part of writing the book has been connecting with other women and hearing their stories. I have been blown away by some of the amazing women I have interviewed.

Where to find Sally:

Dec 102011

Music is not about playing the correct notes. It is not about being rewarded for being a good musician. It is not about being better than others, having the teacher, conductor, or producer stroke your ego by telling you you are better than others.

Music is not about being cool. In his post, “Are jealousy and Sour Grapes Killing Your Music Career” at the CD Baby DIY Musicians blog, Chris R. posits that there is no such thing as cool. I have to agree with him on that–taste varies so much, it really is hard to see how the goal of music is to get you into the cool crowd.

Music is not about putting in a little bit of work in order to become the center of attention at gigs. It isn’t about having a bunch of people tell you how pleased they are. It isn’t about having everyone listen to you, where usually you spend your life stuck listening to what others have to say without getting your say in.

What is music about? It is about playing, that’s all. Like little kids playing a game simply for the fun of it. There’s a saying that baseball legend Willie Stargell used to say, and it is probably older than him, “They don’t call it ‘working’ baseball. They call it ‘playing’ baseball.” Baseball players are playing a game, no matter how much money and how many TV cameras are involved. It’s still the same game that little kids play in their back yards.

And music is still just music. It’s little kids banging on pots and skillets. It’s five little kids honking on little harmonicas all in different keys, making noise and having a laugh. Read about Mozart’s life, and you will learn that he had dirty jokes and an impish side to his personality, though he wrote such elegant, transcendent music.

After all the workshops on how to market yourself, how to record your demos, how to book your regional tour, how to promote your gigs, how to sell CDs once you’re at the gig, and how to follow up with your fans after the gig–after all the self-management and self-promotion and self-franchising, it’s just music. You’re still a little kid banging on a toy piano, just for the fun of it. That’s the only way your music will mean anything to you and your fans.

Stephen Nachmanovitch’s book , Free Play, is an inspiring read for musicians and other artistic people who need to foster their improvising impish side. He writes about losing yourself in the music and regaining a child’s playfulness. Give this book a look if you feel that your artistic side has become too serious or too depressing for you. You will fine it a big help in getting back to the simple playfulness of your creative pursuits.

Jul 072011

You just read a great poem, saw a moving theater performance, or enjoyed an awesome new CD. Perhaps a minute or two is all it takes to give something back to the people who poured imagination and sweat into that creation.
Here are a few practical suggestions on how to give back. I have small and independent artists in mind especially, since those folk depend so much on the grass roots.

  • Send a note: Mention a specific song title. quote a line from the poem. Let the person know what you specifically liked. You might be amazed at how seldom it is sometimes for an independent artist or writer to get fan mail, and it’s a double-treat when the feedback is specific.
  • Buy two: When something really excites your creative side, buy another one to give away. Share a book, sculpture, print, CD, or theater ticket with a friend, especially when birthdays and holidays come around.
  • Muster the forces: Get a few friends together to get out for some live music, theater, or an art show. There could be some good date ideas here too, if you’re looking to get beyond the old dinner and movie thing.

OK, I started the list. Now you can give those things a try, or add other suggestions to the comments. What do y’all think?