Bonnie Christine Shares How She Created a 7-Figure Business Teaching Creatives to Succeed Doing What They Love

[00:00:00] Made Remarkable intro: Welcome back. And thanks for tuning into the Made Remarkable podcast, hosted by Kellee Wynne. 

 Please welcome. Self-taught designer, amazing blogger and an incredible teacher and mentor. Bonnie Christine. 

Whether you're an aspiring surface designer, or simply someone seeking inspiration. This conversation is a must. Listen. As Kellee and Bonnie share how easily you can overcome fear with courage and build a business that is truly remarkable. 

Don't forget to check out the show notes and transcripts for more information about Bonnie promotional offers and any other links or names mentioned in the episode. Kellee loves connecting with listeners. So don't be shy. Reach out on social media and together let's build a community that celebrates the remarkable. If you want to be notified every time a new episode hits the airwaves, just hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you so much for listening and now let's get to the good part. Introducing Kellee Wynne and Bonnie Christine. 

[00:00:56] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, hello. Hello. I'm Kellee Wynne, artist, author, mentor, fiercely independent mother and wife, and the founder of a multiple six figure creative business, and I love my life. But I've been where you're at. I was slogging away at this art business thing for more than a decade. Once I finally connected with my true calling, unlocked the magic of marketing, and built a system that could scale while I realized I could make an impact and make a substantial income, I'm finally running a business that I love and it makes all the difference in the world.

My biggest dream is to help you do the same. Let this podcast be the catalyst to your biggest success. You already have it in you because you are made remarkable.

Hello, Bonnie. It is so nice to finally meet you. Welcome to the podcast. 

[00:01:44] Bonnie Christine: Hello. Thank you so much. Very excited to be here. 

[00:01:49] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I'm gonna guess that a good majority of my audience knows who you are, but just in case, how about a good refresh of where the start of this beautiful career happened for you.

[00:02:04] Bonnie Christine: Absolutely. I am an artist and a fabric designer and also an educator. I have been designing fabric since 2012, which is a part of a much bigger industry called Surface Pattern Design. So we get to design. Patterns for all kinds of surfaces like wallpaper and stationary and gift wrap, and so many fun things.

And then a big part of what I do is teach as well. So I teach people how to do the same thing, how to learn Adobe illustrator and artwork creation and create income from their art through licensing their patterns. 

[00:02:43] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Fantastic. So what I loved reading about was how much your relationship with your mother, especially through childhood and into early adult, influenced where you are now.

She was multi-passionate, very creative, and in, and really inspired you. 

[00:03:00] Bonnie Christine: Incredibly so, and part of this story that I don't tell often is that her mother and her grandmother, my great-grandmother were also creatives. , and they sewed. My grandmother worked in a fabric store and then my mom went on to.

Open a fabric store and then I worked in her fabric store and one day was just kind of looking, so my part of my job was to meet with reps and decide what we were gonna carry, what collections we were gonna carry. And this was back in like 2009 and it just hit me one day. Someone was doing this for their job and.

I wanted to do it. And so with really no background in art or design or program usage, I just set out to kind of piecemeal the whole thing together. It took me a long time, , just over two years to learn kind of everything I needed to learn, which is part of. Why I love to teach today, because I can shorten that timeframe significantly.

[00:04:03] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right? Things have changed so much since we had to like scramble and find a blog post or a YouTube or a, you know, ask somebody's got those insider tips somewhere. But it seemed like we were pioneers at the time trying to figure out, now I'm not a surface pattern designer, but as an artist, even for me to figure out what paths to take in my career, who was.

Yeah, the internet has changed everything 

[00:04:31] Bonnie Christine: very much 

[00:04:32] Kellee Wynne Conrad: so. That moment of connecting the dots of, being in the fabric store, being around the creativity, and then realizing that somebody actually needs to create these designs that must have been like this fire lit in you. 

[00:04:51] Bonnie Christine: Well, for me, it really was everything that I loved in life all wrapped up into, you know, this.

Potential. It was, I mean, I was incredibly creative, always had been loved fabric, loved to sew, and I knew that I also wanted to be an entrepreneur. I knew that I wanted to be able to work from home when I had children. Eventually, I knew that I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world, and it was almost too good to be true.

And the hardest part for me was that it just felt like, An unachievable goal, like I had no foot in the door, no. No online business? No. I mean, just talk about starting from zero, no experience, no following, no website, no nothing. And so it was quite an overwhelming goal to have at the beginning.

And , so I understand kind of that crushing overwhelm and then how to just start breaking it apart and moving forward through it anyways. And really seeing some of your life's biggest goals come true. 

[00:06:02] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, probably more than you ever even imagined now. I bet. Absolutely. Yeah. One thing that I heard you say, That really like sparked in me made sense, especially as an entrepreneur, is every day you would just do that one thing, even if it was just 15 minutes, that one thing that propelled you forward.

And the next day, one more thing. So, you say around 2010 is when you had the idea, but it wasn't until 2012 until you had the first collection, which honestly two years is not too shabby. However, There were a lot of steps in the way on the way to that goal, and I love that you just broke it down to one thing, and that's so powerful for people who are just getting started, or even someone like me who's been doing it for 20 years and it's still like, okay, now what is the one thing I need to do?

Tell me about still how that helped you.

[00:07:00] Bonnie Christine: I still use it today. , that was the only way that I broke out of that overwhelm. So there were about six months between that moment when I felt like, oh my goodness, this is what I want to, where I had shared that with my mom. I had shared that with my husband. It very much had sunk in into my bones that that's what I wanted.

Yet I had not done anything, not even one thing to get started because. It just felt too big. I didn't know how to start. I didn't know the steps. My vision was so far out, I just was completely paralyzed and until one day I woke up and I remember the morning exactly and I really just got kind of mad. But I had let so much time passed by and I thought, you know, I don't know what it's gonna look like in a month or six months or a year from now, but I do know what I could do today to just.

Get going with it. And so that day I Googled how to become a fabric designer, and that just led to one answer and sparked a new question that I was devouring onto the next. It just kind of unraveled itself in front of me and it led me to steps that I would've never known were needed, and. I mean, the amount of progress, like you said, some days it was 10 or 15 minutes, but some days it was hours and hours and I didn't miss one day, not one.

And at the end of two years is when I signed my first contract as a fabric designer. 

[00:08:34] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's dedication, but that's what it takes, and I think. So much of Instagram and social media makes it feel like it's an overnight thing for people or that it came really easy or naturally, and what they don't see is the hours of work, the dedication, the daily task of showing up for yourself, and that's really powerful.

You also said something else about that 10 seconds of , having courage. Because that's what it took for you to then expose yourself, because that's a scary thing, you know, showing up. It's one thing to show up for yourself, create the work, learn how to use the MA materials, the Photoshop, the whatever, and create the design.

But then to present it like, Yes. Feeling like you weren't a professional in the sense of being trained from some fancy school. You had a college education, but it wasn't in this field. So this is all self-taught. So that moment that you're gonna take those 10 seconds of courage, talk to us a little bit about what it takes to get there, like to actually put yourself out there.

[00:09:44] Bonnie Christine: Yeah, I think it's terrifying. And also I know that if we're not doing things that terrify us, we're not playing big enough. Mm-hmm. And this is something that I heard from my pastor. Around the same time, like 2010. His name is Craig Rochelle, and, and he talked about how so many things in life that we want are on the other side of just 10 seconds of courage.

And I have utilized that in so many different ways in my life. And specifically at that point, it was very much like picking up the phone and calling companies cold and saying like, hi, my name is Bonnie. I'm a designer. I would love to work with you. Can I speak with your art director? And I mean, my husband knows.

I don't even like to call and take out like, please don't make me pick up the phone. And so I would literally write a script. Hello, my name is Bonnie, and I would oftentimes have to just get up and take like a walk around the room, dial the number, and know that on the other side of just 10 seconds things would be flowing.

And it always worked. And so what do we need to do? That's just. We're standing on this side of 10 seconds of potentially an incredible breakthrough. And so I've taken that with me. I've introduced myself to people. I've, asked someone if they wanna collaborate. I've walked into a booth and introduced myself to an art director who's never heard of me before.

Like It is that gut wrenching out of your comfort zone, necessity. Mm-hmm. To get to where you need to be, , where you wanna go. 

[00:11:28] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Oh yeah. , And I relate to that quite a bit because it's the only way really to create success for yourself, right, is you have to take that risk, put yourself on the line, be seen and be visible, which is kind of scary because it's not just to the designers or the companies or the whatever, but it's to the audience.

Now that we're also creating the blog posts, we're writing the stepping into a place of owning the space. That takes courage as well, which is required, especially as you ended up doing, was turning it into a membership and then even bigger things, but showing up then and being visible. I think there's something very vulnerable about that, but it's the only way to build a business as a creative if you really want, you know, your business to flourish and, and grow.

Yeah, I think when you started a blog that became very popular. Yes. 

[00:12:26] Bonnie Christine: Yes. And I think oftentimes that personal development around vulnerability isn't often talked about, and that you have to grow as a person to be able to handle vulnerability and handle feedback and criticism as you grow your business.

And I think it's one of the most vulnerable things you could do is be an entrepreneur and also one of the most worthwhile things you could ever do as well. 

[00:12:55] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. I feel like it's stretched me beyond anything that I ever thought was possible. I've really grown because of it. No doubt. I mean, for many different reasons.

The challenging times as well as the, the. Liberating times and the times where we see the success of our students or our community, or just those who get to enjoy the creations that we make. Like there's something that really changes inside of you that you realize it's not just for you anymore, which is kind of where my made remarkable philosophy comes from, is sharing what we've been gifted, into this world.

, and you've done a great job with that and your social media has grown, but, I'd love to go back to some of those early years as you were building community and the blog and, , just, going back to those moments and how it felt early on. 

[00:13:46] Bonnie Christine: Yeah. Well, my blog was very much. I don't know how to do this big thing, so I'm gonna do this and just kind of build something that feels familiar.

And it was very much like my foot in the door. It was how I started. I had an Etsy shop and I wrote, very consistently. So I did 10 blog posts a week for many, many years, and it was 10 really? 10. So twice a day? Yes. Wow. Wow. It all really is a testament to consistency. I mean, consistency and showing up and putting good work into the world is, it's just the long game.

There's really only one way to go up, and then it's just to show up, and never go away. And so from there, I began a membership that was in 2012. It's called Flourish. Today it is for alumni of my course, the immersion, the Surface Design Immersion Course. But the membership has been going on for, I mean, last year was our 10th year, so we're a decade into this membership and six years into the Surface Design Immersion course.

So, I have two faces to my business. One that's very creative and design, uh, sat like saturated and all meat, and the other one that is very education related, and we have a huge heart for. Our students and our community, and that all really came about because this work can be very lonely.

I think that the more specialized your talents are and also the higher a success level, you reach the lonelier it gets, because I really talk to the people in my community and this industry like you go out on the street and say surface pattern design, and no one knows what you're talking about, let alone like talking about.

Licensing and contracts and negotiating and, , tools in Adobe Illustrator and, and all of this stuff. And so it's very difficult to get plugged into like someone who understands what you're doing, your goals. , and it's really important to be intentional about putting yourself in a room filled with people who not only speak your language, but very much understand what you're going after and can lift you up along the way.

And so I needed that and so I created it. And today it's where we all hang out in order to really push each other and understand each other. So it's a beautiful thing and very difficult to find, in just your average day-to-day life. 

[00:16:28] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Absolutely. So after more than 10 years now, how many members have you created?

What kind of a community have you created? 

[00:16:37] Bonnie Christine: Yeah, so the, flourish membership is at around 4,200 members, but again, they're all alumni of the immersion course, right? So you have to come through the course in order to get opened up to that, membership community. So we have, just over 4,000 members there, and it's a beautiful place.

[00:16:57] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I love it. I love watching the launch this year too with you and how excited your community was to finally have a chance to join. So sometimes people find out about you and you know, you open up immersion once a year, which I think is a really important thing to do because. When you're hands on. I know as a creative, I have my creative time in my season and then I have my business time.

So knowing that, it's like you're gonna put your all in once a year, right? So I know people were waiting, I was just watching how they're like, I'm gonna like have a big garage sale so I know that I can afford to do this. You know? And it's like, yeah, really inspiring because what they've done is connected the dots that they don't have to take as long as you did to figure it all out.

This is something that really helps them. Gain the tools and the knowledge they need so rapidly and so, so needed too. 

[00:17:51] Bonnie Christine: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I spent a lot of time learning the hard way, learning things I didn't need to learn, and just going down rabbit holes. I didn't need to go down and so this is everything someone needs to know truly.

I mean, we start from opening Adobe Illustrator to. Like leaving as an illustrator expert in this course. Mm-hmm. And then we cover portfolios, collections, licensing, contracts, working as a creative entrepreneur. I mean, it is called immersion for a reason. It is incredibly immersive. Yeah. 

[00:18:29] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Wow. That is, it's like, Yeah.

Worth compressing time to spend with you and all the years of knowledge that you have. I think that it's incredibly valuable and, and I say that from the point of view of somebody who's been coaching and teaching, and there's that moment where you're like, is this really needed in the world? And then you see how it changes other people's lives, right?

You have students that come around away with this, with the knowledge, with real, tangible skills. To take their creativity to the next level. And that's honestly remarkable. 

[00:19:04] Bonnie Christine: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the, the only reason we do it is because of what it means, what it opens up for our students. And so, , we measure the success of our business by the success of our students.

And,, the only thing that we're really interested in is people making a living, doing what they love. And if students come out, Making a living, doing what they love, then that's how we measure our success. And so the stories are just, I mean, they're truly remarkable. , people quitting jobs that they've hated forever.

Or, coming back like at retirement age and doing finally what they've always wanted to do, or being able to work at home with their children or contribute to their family's finances for the first time, doing something that they love. And that is, Just my number one goal for everyone. 

[00:19:59] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. For sure.

And I think from the artist's point of view is finally being able to see your work come alive in a new way. Mm-hmm. To me is really exciting. Know everybody has a different path as an artist and some people maybe wanna be in the MoMA. But I've always said, I'd rather be on every mug in America. And so this is that pathway, you know, it's like where is your intention, where you're going with your work and knowing that this is a real path, and that you get to see the ideas you have come alive.

I mean, that in and of itself is a reward, right? 

[00:20:35] Bonnie Christine: Yeah, absolutely. There's nothing like seeing your work on a product for the first time, and then 

[00:20:42] Kellee Wynne Conrad: what was that like for you that first time you got that fabric collection? 

[00:20:46] Bonnie Christine: I mean, it's incredible. From a very self-driven perspective, seeing your work on, on something is just, I mean, there's nothing like it, but.

When people start using it, I mean, when you see wallpaper in someone's home that you designed and you know that you're a part of their everyday life, or they've created like their nursery around your fabric, or they've made a quilt for their grandmother who's in the hospital out of it, you very much become a part of people's stories and a part of people's lives and that that isn't even something I can put into words.

I mean, it's legacy. 

[00:21:24] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, it is legacy work. And as artists, sure. The first thing may be doing it for the actual creation,, the experience of creating. But in the end, knowing that you can create joy in so many ways for other people. I'm hoping, I'm connecting for the listeners, I'm connecting this pathway for them.

To really understand that our artwork is so valuable in so many ways. Yes. For the process, for ourselves and nurturing, but even more so is in how it nurtures other people by showing up in this world, by sharing it by, whether it's art that's hanging on the wall or it's a, like you said, a, a quilt that's been made out of your design.

It's really special and it's really how we are all so connected in ways that we don't even realize. Yeah. Yeah, very much. Very much. So. Those who are interested in taking the next step in surface pattern design, what would you give some advice on? Like what to take into consideration? How would you know if it's the right thing for you?

What would be some of the first steps to learn or to be prepared for? 

[00:22:34] Bonnie Christine: Well, oftentimes I think people think that they need to be an artist and they truly do not need to be an artist. I was not an artist when I started, and I still wouldn't say that I am a fine artist by any means, but I do love to. Be creative and arrange things.

I do sketch and paint as part of my practice, but I have many students who also don't necessarily, and so I think you have to have a real eye for color and for gathering inspiration and for bringing an idea to life. And so we definitely start with the basics and that is gathering inspiration and beginning to form like ideas around where you wanna take your, uh, we, we work typically in collections.

So do you have a story that you wanna tell in collection format or a theme that you really wanna run with, and then you kind of work backwards and begin gathering inspiration from there. Some people sketch, some people paint, some people collect things and scan them in and use them without drawing, you know, at all along the way.

So there are many different ways to approach it, but it's all very fun. Learning Adobe Illustrator is really the beginning, and so it's gonna be probably the longest part of the process if you've never used the program before. It's like learning a new language, but it's also, absolutely possible.

So learning Adobe Illustrator and how to translate your ideas into something that we can make a repeating pattern from is the, the beginning? 

[00:24:12] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Mm. Yeah. Okay. Something that I haven't managed to learn in all my years of being an artist and having to learn tech. I've been grateful for Canva, but you can't make a repeating.

Pat a pattern on Canva. No, you really need the sophistication of Adobe Illustrator, but I love that you said that even women in retirement are able to transition now and finally follow their dreams, so it's really accessible to anyone with a desire. 

[00:24:42] Bonnie Christine: Absolutely. I mean, this year we had a nine year old. Learning and I believe a 77 year old, I mean, and just all across the board, different ranges of different ages and, and life experiences and uh, you know, it's absolutely achievable. Yeah. 

[00:25:06] Kellee Wynne Conrad: What are some of the wildest things that maybe your prints or even your students' prints have been put on the most?

Like we think of surface pattern design as fabric or wallpaper or products like that, but do you have any like wild stories of possibilities? 

[00:25:27] Bonnie Christine: Well, one of my favorite stories is that I had a student kind of doing some homework. She went to target with a notebook, and her goal was just to write down every product that she saw that had a repeating pattern on it, and after hundreds of items, she left the store without even being able to complete.

And so, there are so many companies in so many industries, in every country in the entire world, ready for like literally needing artwork for their products. Mm-hmm. And so there's literally no limitation. We have the entire fashion industry to think about the quilting industry. Think about things like reusable diapers or even disposable diapers, have cute prints on them.

Many of my students go into like baby and children wear, and then also kitchen textiles. Things like rugs and aprons and tea towels and mugs. And the list is honestly, it goes on and on and on. So many different possibilities. And so the. Magic to licensing is that typically a licensing contract is per industry.

So you can take one design and license it in one industry, then you can license the same design and as many other industries as you want. So once the ball begins to roll, it very much picks up speed quickly. And so, Yeah, I would say, I always kind of tell people to choose one industry to start with. Make it the one that you're most excited about.

Sometimes that's stationary. Sometimes that's baby products. Sometimes it's fabric or wallpaper or tape or, or whatever. And then, get established there and quickly move on to another industry. And then truly it's. Selling based on percentages. So you get royalty rates from it and one piece of artwork can live on for years and years and years and years in multiple industries.

 It's pretty incredible when you think about doing the work once and creating income from it over and over and over. 

[00:27:36] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's really fantastic, which is why I said I'd rather have my work on every mug in America. I know that there's a bigger impact that way, but not necessarily, I don't know.

I admired Mary Englebright as a kid growing up, so what can I say? I just thought it's great. Her art's everywhere. It's making everybody happy. Right, right, right. and also, my son, he's in high school right now and he's exploring like all the tech options. Instead of going like the AP route, he learned from his older brothers that that's just a lot of work.

And so he was testing out different tech and he. Took a printing class. He's like, mom, did you know it's the largest industry in the world? Hmm. Printing surface pattern design. Printing, there you go. Yeah. Connection. Absolutely largest industry in the world. Everything needs design. Everything needs designed, so there's room for all of us.

Absolutely. So I was, wondering if you could speak a little bit from the entrepreneur's point of view, because obviously if you become a surface pattern designer or any other kind of industry as an artist, turning your work into business, we have more than one hat to wear now. So how do you balance that?

How do you find a way to, this has been my biggest challenge, in all honesty, cuz I love the business side of things. I love entrepreneurship. I can't even say the word. I love being an entrepreneur. But then to switch into the creative mode, it's challenging for me. It's like, I don't know how to show up online.

I don't know how to balance my time, and I've been doing this a long time. You think I'd have it figured out, but how do you manage to balance the two? 

[00:29:15] Bonnie Christine: Well, there's a lot that I do. I mean, we could just sit and talk for days on that. I think everyone is different. I don't necessarily, tap into my deep creative work and my deep business work in the same day.

It's very much like switches that I turn on and off. And so I'll go into big creative like design, months and then I'll kind of like put it on the shelf while I go into something else in the business as well. But that's just kind of me. I know people who spend the first hour of their day, creating art and then they move on to business and I think that sounds very lovely and balanced.

So if you can do that, I think that's probably best

[00:29:56] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I personally cannot. I'm more like you. I have to like, Like go all in on one or the other for the day. Mm-hmm. But I really love that thought of like chunking out like 30 day time periods of just being in creative mode. Yeah, definitely. How do you balance that?

Is that part of the reason why you have immersion at a certain point of the year and then you can shut down that part of you that needs to be business oriented and then focus on creative oriented? 

[00:30:29] Bonnie Christine: Not really, no. I'm not really ever shutting it down, because on the backend we're supporting members year round.

But I have a team, so part of what I really want to get to is how we really cannot do everything in our business. And I think a lot of us really hold on to doing all of the things. And so a handful of years ago I started to just think about how could I do only the things that only I can do?

So. And anything that I'm doing that I don't actually have to be the one doing, can I outsource it? Can I hand it to someone else? And so this has us really thinking about our zone of genius. Our zone of genius is where our biggest talents and our biggest passions align. They overlap. And so anything outside of that overlap should technically be given to someone else who, who is in their zone of genius.

And so the easiest way to wrap your mind around this is to calculate how much your like hourly rate is, right? So how much do you make in a year divided by how many hours you work in a year. And I spent about nine years doing everything myself, which meant that your creativity is very much tapped thin because you're wearing multiple hats every single day.

So, I just did this math the other day for a presentation I was doing, and in the fourth year of my business, my hourly rate was $9 an hour, which means that I wasn't hiring out anything. So, And then in the 10th year of my business, pretty sure it was the 10th year. It was around $114 an hour and I made my first hire.

And then, so as I specialized what I was doing and refined a, like only doing the things that only I could do, giving everything else away, my business scaled significantly because then I was using, my specialty. To drive the business forward. And so that was like four years ago. There are eight of us on the team now.

And so creating artwork is one of the things that only I can do. Mm-hmm. And so I create work, I do things like this cuz I can be the only one to do it and then everything else gets given away. That can be, and that way you're able to grow at a much quicker rate. 

[00:32:54] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. I am fully on board with that. That was the shift I made about three years ago.

And now have a full team to do. Yeah, they're not gonna be able to record the podcast, but everyone else can edit, post it, do all of that work. Right. Right. And that changes the energy for sure. About where you show up. Mm-hmm. Which is wonderful. But I still personally struggle between business Kellee and Creative Kellee.

And I think it's just the mind shift like. Being in the right energy, but I loved the idea of like maybe even if I just just did it once a year, blocking off like 30 days. It's more creative Kellee than business Kellee. Absolutely. And let the team take over. Like I think that's a really fun way to balance out because I think as creatives working also as entrepreneurs, it is challenging to know where to put your energy in, even if you have a team that takes over.

Most of the work that can be done by someone else, it's still knowing how to shift the energy and be in that zone long enough to actually see the results of it. So I think that's one thing I've picked up from your, I was listening to your interview for Convert Kit, which will link in the show notes, but that was one thing I was like, oh, genius.

That might be the way that I move forward. Yeah. At least give myself like that, you know, artisan residence for 30 days out of the year. 

[00:34:20] Bonnie Christine: Absolutely. Because it's what drives everything. I mean it's so easy to let it fall maybe, if you're business minded like we are, but it's so important to keep it mm-hmm.

At the forefront of everything you do. So we just mark it off way ahead. This month and this month Bonnie's going into like deep design mode. So it's just part of the calendar. 

[00:34:44] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Ah, well I'll talk to my team about that calendar that we're gonna set for this coming year. Yes. Ah, it's so good. What about the phases of creativity?

Yes. I am kind of pulling from your video interview because that was really. That stood out to me as well. Like you were just talking about. I think the part that really helped also was honing in on this idea of the rest period. Mm-hmm. Where you're doing things that are for yourself and to rejuvenate yourself that you cannot monetize.

And I don't know about the rest of the entrepreneurs in this world, but my brain automatically turns, how can I make this a thing, you know? Yeah. And we don't have to make everything a thing, so I love that. If you'll talk a little bit about those phases of creation and you know, that'll help also for those who have to balance the business and the creativity.

[00:35:39] Bonnie Christine: Yeah. Actually just published a podcast on this, the three phases. So what's a super deep dive? There are really three phases to the creative. They are inspiration or information gathering, creation or implementation, and then rejuvenation. And I like to move through inspiration, creation and rejuvenation on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, and an annual basis.

So there's like cycles and gears turning every day, week, month, and year. I think that you'll find that it's very easy to get stuck in one phase or the other, so like being stuck. I often see students really stuck in the inspiration or the information gathering phase because. It's actually easier to learn than it is to implement, to do the work.

And so anytime you have like those chronic, course takers or book readers or, or you know, scrollers they on Instagram. Yes. It's like, not ever taking the information and then planning to move into the implementation of the information that you gathered. And so they'll finish a course and move on straight to the next one rather than building in how to actually implement all of the things that they learned.

For instance, something I do like after I go to a mastermind or a conference, I have to block the, the week off after that just to kind of like figure out what I'm gonna do from what I learned rather than just like truck through to the next thing. Mm. And then, Being stuck in the implementation phase means we're stuck in the doing.

And so if we ever are like, well, I want to take this course, but I don't have time to, or there's a new book out that I ordered three months ago and I haven't had a moment to pick it up, oftentimes you're working on the weekend or not being able to take a vacation. You're in the doing phase and you're stuck there.

You can't gather new information and you can't rest. And so, I don't think it's often that we get stuck in rejuvenation phase. I did once, and this was after I had my second child. I was just so used to kind of like I didn't have time to really do everything I wanted to do or learn everything I wanted to learn.

And I very much had this coming back at it, moment, a couple of years. There was a couple of years there that were just consumed with having babies. And so I think it's really important to realize like what phase you're stuck in because you need to be fluidly learning, implementing, and resting, learning, implementing and resting because, we also have to realize that we, the entrepreneur, are very much, having the idea, you know, creating the idea and then presenting the idea to the world.

And so, At the end of that, presenting the idea to the world, like we need to gather ourselves back together. We need to rest and rejuvenate rather than just plow through to the next thing. And that's different from anyone on your team, anyone in your family, anyone who's not an entrepreneur and everyone around you has to understand that cycle that you have to, be inspired by it, create it, and then you've got to pull yourself back together. We call it the exploding star theory. It's like the star kind of explodes once you, , you know, you have this idea, baby, and then you birth the baby and you present it, and then you've got to kind of like come back together again. Yeah. 

[00:39:15] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Because it's in learning through that cycle before you move on to the next one, that the next cycle gets even better. 

[00:39:23] Bonnie Christine: Yes, absolutely. But you have to move through that rejuvenation phase so that. Otherwise you risk burning out. If you go right in between, in the first two phases, back and forth, back and forth, and you just skip that third phase, that's when we get scary.

Like close to burnout. 

[00:39:39] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. I've been there actually, and I understand it completely. 

[00:39:43] Bonnie Christine: Yeah. You wanna avoid that 

[00:39:44] Kellee Wynne Conrad: working actively to avoid that again. For sure. 

[00:39:47] Bonnie Christine: You wanna avoid that, so anytime you're working outside of work hours, Anytime you're working outside of work days, anytime you can't take a vacation, it's time to do a, a hard check.

[00:39:58] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. When you have to say no to the things that you created the business for in the first place. Yeah. Right. And then something's off kilter for sure. I'd love for you to just talk about, What you think has been one or two of the most important things that you've done to grow your business?

[00:40:20] Bonnie Christine: Well, I mean, far by and away the first thing that comes to mind is email. I mean, the number one thing I wish I would've started earlier, and the number one thing that drives my business today is email. And so if you're starting, start your email list. Yeah. There's nothing else worth your time. I see a lot of people building businesses on social media and.

That plays a part in it, but like my number one goal for someone is to, if they approached Launch Day and Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Pinterest were all shut down that day, that they would be completely fine. That's my number one goal for everyone, and your email list is the only way to really make that happen.

[00:41:06] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, I've seen people choose to, oh, I have an Instagram and every time I, I launch something, I just announce it there and I'm doing all right. And by All right. Might be a different standard, but I'm like, but you can't rely on that at all. You've gotta make the list, 

[00:41:24] Bonnie Christine: Like for instance, right? Like I could post. On Instagram today and have no idea how much money I could make. Right? But I can send an email today and I know for sure that I could make, let's say at least $10,000 today. Right? And that's a huge difference. Like, because you don't know what's happening on social, you don't know about the algorithm. You don't know if it's gonna push it up or push it down.

Like you just don't know. Right? And, um, it's not. The security that you want. It's not for selling. Those platforms were not built for selling. They were meant for socializing. So use it to socialize and 

[00:42:03] Kellee Wynne Conrad: yeah. Exactly. And I know that my engagement numbers for say Instagram might be like 15% of the people following you saw you this month.

And I'm like, wow. And yet I have a 50 to 60% open rate on my email, so I know right. That more than half of my email list saw what I sent to them. Ok. And that's like a huge difference, you know? Yep. Huge difference of, also the kind of intimacy and community that you can build. So I do appreciate learning how, cuz there is a fear for a lot of business owners or artists over the paid ad.

And in order to grow your email list, you one had really enticing, relevant. Offers that people could take for free and get some knowledge, which we're gonna link of course in the show notes, because I want anyone who's curious at all about surface pattern design to go check out Bonnie Christine's offers because she's the one to learn from.

I don't know anything about it, but that's why I have you here. But it was in creating that perfect offer and then spending the money on ads that really helped push it to the next level. 

[00:43:21] Bonnie Christine: Yeah, I mean, our focus is on serving our audience first and foremost. And it's very easy for me to talk about, the free or the paid offers that I have, because, I 100% know that they change people's lives.

Like I 100% believe in the work that we're doing. And I think that everyone listening to your podcast probably has that same, like, we're not selling snake oil, like we're actually, we actually have things that incredibly people's lives. And so we have to be willing to say, so we have to be willing to share it with the world and. I grew organically for 10 years. Mm-hmm. And I think it's really, really powerful to understand how impactful it can be when you have something that enhances someone's life to being willing to pay to get that in front of the right people's eyes. And I call it such a blessing today that we have the ability to do paid ads because, I mean, let's say 50 years ago if you wanted to get your message out, you were doing a one to many model.

You were doing a commercial on tv. Yeah, a billboard. Magazine or a newspaper. And today our marketing money goes so much further because we're able to say, well, I want, creatives who are female who live in this part of the world who read this magazine to see what I have to offer. Mm-hmm. And that's incredible and it should be embraced.

I think somewhere along the line we. Thought that traffic was owed to us. Mm-hmm. That if we built it, people would come and that that was owed to us in some way. I don't know why or where. We got the idea that we didn't need to invest in our own business. And so for me, I returned about 10% of my gross annual revenue back into marketing.

And by industry standards, that's actually low. Like many companies do more than that. And so I would urge listeners to even start with 5% of what you make and pour it right back in to growing your business and understanding that that's part of what makes us an entrepreneur, taking the control of our business growth back into our own hands.

[00:45:48] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. It's such a mindset shift that by spending the money, you're actually gonna make more money. But it's not just about the making the money. I know that our overall goal is to impact more people, but having a fair exchange and being paid for what we do is what keeps the lights on and keeps us, supporting our team, et cetera, and growing the business.

But Amazing how something as simple as Facebook ads or Google Ads or whatever we're going to use can help us grow so much quicker. Yeah. And right. The algorithm owes us nothing. Nothing at all. Instagram owes us nothing. It's such a hard pill to swallow because it's like I'm creating content for free for them.

And it's more like, okay, but they're giving you a free platform. Free bullhorn. And if you make an impact that way, that's great organically, but we never had such an easy opportunity to build a business before in the history of the world. Yeah, never before. It's very special. It's very special time. So I, I definitely agree.

Don't be afraid of spending the money to. Make a bigger reach. But I love what you pointed out is you are not making an offer, a free offer or otherwise that isn't highly valuable. So even if the only thing someone can do right now is take your free offer from you, you have a PDF and you have a video series, you're gonna walk away with knowledge that can be transformative in how you think about your business and what you do next.

[00:47:17] Bonnie Christine: Exactly. Very much so. 

[00:47:19] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And that's the key is giving. And we do give, and that's our goal is to give and then to make it even more of an impact. Well, I love this conversation and I love getting to know you. And before I wrap up, I want to ask the same question I ask every guest that comes on the podcast.

What is your big audacious dream? 

[00:47:45] Bonnie Christine: Hmm. Big audacious dream. It's blurry. Well, maybe I should just say my clear one. My clear one is that I would love to write a book. 

[00:47:56] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I know that's gonna happen. 

[00:47:57] Bonnie Christine: Love. No doubt, I would love to write a book. There you go. 

[00:48:03] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, what about the blurry ones? 

[00:48:04] Bonnie Christine: The ones that are the blurry one is that I teach students how to create art and how to create income through licensing.

And I'm always looking on ways to close that loop, finish closing that loop for people. And so I'm always looking for ways on how to actually connect the artist with the company. And I'm just always thinking about. How to better close the loop for students and really drive home their success. And so I have a lot of ideas, but that's what I, that's what I circle around 

[00:48:37] Kellee Wynne Conrad: how you're gonna be able to close that loop.

Yeah, that's good. That's still with the end goal of those who work with you or know you are gonna be able to grow even more. Yeah. I love that. How amazing. What a amazing, remarkable story. 

Thank you so much, Bonnie. Pleasure. You too. 

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