Hi. I’m Amanda McCune, also known as “Aardvark Girl,” and this is Business for Self-Employed Creatives.
If you know me from the Womanpreneur Podcast, thank you for continuing with me on this journey. And if you’re new, welcome!
I am passionate about helping business owners, freelancers, and other self-employed creatives maneuver the business world and find the fun in it. Because it is fun!
There’s nothing like the privilege of working for yourself – making your own rules, owning your time, and trusting your instincts to make the right decisions for yourself.
The day I walked out of my corporate job was one of the best days of my life.
I remember feeling that freedom and it’s something I still carry with me. I want everyone to feel that way!
But who am I, and how did I get here? And what are my qualifications?
Well, I’ve been managing businesses since I was 17, and I have an extensive history of taming chaos in creative industries.
But when someone asks me what I do, it’s not always an easy answer.
I’m a producer, project manager, and business specialist for creatives. What does that even mean?
The business and project management part of my services comes from my overall experience. I do have a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, but I’ve also been working full-time in management roles since I was a teenager, so I have a really solid understanding of what it takes to run a business.
It started at TCBY, which just seemed like a fun place to spend a summer in Vegas, but that’s where I first found love of business. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but it became clear pretty quickly that there was something in this for me.
From there, I moved to LA to manage an audio postproduction studio, which is how I got into this industry. But LA was NOT the place for me, so I came back to Vegas and spent a few years as the Operations Manager for a production company. I was then recruited by another production company to become its Director of Operations, and I worked there for almost 10 years.
The one thing these companies had in common was that they were messy and disorganized and chaotic when I got there… and I fixed them. But once everything was running smoothly, my work became less challenging, and less rewarding. And I was getting pretty tired of corporate life. I didn’t like all the policies and politics and not being appreciated. I knew I could help more people, who would actually value what I had to offer, on my own.
But at that job, I was working with the C-Levels and the creative workers, and there was this huge communication disconnect between the two. I realized there was this need to translate between business and creation, between the numbers and the art. I was able to take information from one side and convey it to the other in a way that made sense for everyone. And that’s really my specialty, because I’m one of those rare types who’s not right-brained or left-brained. I’m right down the middle.
So for me, having a more logic-based role in a creative environment is what helps me achieve that perfect balance I need. And for my clients, that balance helps me simplify their issues and find workable solutions.
I was also seeing that the freelancers I hired were having the same struggles as these businesses, but they didn’t have anyone to turn to. They didn’t have a… me.
So now I offer general management services for those who need some help but aren’t looking for a full-time employee.
Sometimes that means bookkeeping or managing budgets, sometimes it’s developing new systems to streamline processes, other times it’s doing part of a project or taking one over when someone is too busy. I even spent 9 months as a project manager for a presidential debate. It really just depends on what someone needs and how I can help.
I’m essentially a trusted partner people can depend on when they need a little guidance or support.
Everything I know about business I’ve learned on my own. I never had anyone to guide me. And I’m grateful for that – my superpower has always been my ability to just figure things out. But when I see others struggling and I know there’s a better way, I just want to help
That’s why I started coaching. Or consulting. Or advising. Or whatever – I still haven’t found a word I love to describe it, which is why I just say I’m a business specialist.
For me, coaching is overly saturated with sales-heavy gimmicks and constant email marketing that I just don’t want anything to do with.
Consulting conjures up images of stuffy old men in business suits who help some, but only enough so that you constantly need them. That’s not for me either. If I’ve done my job, you don’t need me anymore, except for an occasional check-in. My hope is that you’ll refer me to someone else who does need me.
Advising is more accurate, I suppose, and someone recently told me I’m basically a business therapist, which is probably the closest match to what I do – because success isn’t just about how you use your skills, it’s also about how you use your brain.
But whatever you want to call it, I use my business expertise and understanding of creative minds to help self-employed individuals find a way out of the chaos and into a more balanced work life.
Now, I should mention that I don’t care if you call yourself a sole proprietor, independent contractor, freelancer, solopreneur, or anything else – if you’re getting paid to provide services for others, you’re a business owner.
And sometimes acknowledging that is the mindset shift that makes all the difference.
It’s just thinking about what you do in terms of business and not just about what you create or what services you provide.
I understand that how you work isn’t the same as how other businesses work. And how you think isn’t necessarily aligned with the traditional perception of a “business person.” But that perception is outdated.
That’s why you’re better suited for self-employment than working for someone else who doesn’t get what you need and wants you to follow some structure that doesn’t make any sense.
It’s so great having control over your own time. But, when you work for yourself, you don’t have someone else telling you what to do and when to do it, so you have to stay constantly self-motivated to get everything done.
And you have to do ALL of the things. It can be overwhelming.
The last thing you want to think about is organization… or bookkeeping… or admin work – that’s not fun for you.
But having that “boring” stuff under control is just as important to your success. So is your attitude and how you choose to think about and react to situations.
You want to maximize your tax deductions and keep more of your income for yourself, right?
And how do you make educated decisions if you don’t even know where your money is going?
Do you even understand the value of what you have to offer?
And how do you adapt when the world throws you an unexpected curveball?
I can help you take control of the things that stress you out and find ways to make them manageable… if you’re willing to do the work.
My clients are producers, directors, editors, photographers, casting agents, voice actors, audio engineers, artists, musicians, authors, realtors… all kinds of people. All facing similar problems.
But every solution is different because every person is different, and every business has different needs, different budgets, and different levels of comfort when it comes to sharing.
And while real transformation does require a commitment, sometimes you’re just not there yet.
So sometimes we start simple, with a one hour call just to get a handle on things. Almost like a business therapy session.
Sometimes we set up weekly check-ins to make sure you’re staying on track with everything.
Or maybe we’ll tackle one project and give it a month, or three months, or six months, or whatever makes sense.
My coaching services are always customizable to what you need specifically. It’s not about learning to do things my way. It’s about finding a way that works for you. Getting the details in order so you can focus on doing what you love to do.
WHY I’M HERE
Hopefully this helps you understand more about what I do. And that’s why I’m offering these business tips, so I can share everything I’ve learned in my… many, many years… in business, and provide you with the tools you need to manage the chaos and find the fun.
Whether you’re watching the video, listening to the podcast, or reading the blog, thank you for being here. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on social @aardvarkgirl. If you want to work with me, that’s where you’ll find me, too.
And since I’m just getting starting out here, it would be really helpful if you can take a minute to subscribe, leave a review, and share with your other self-employed creative friends.