An Edelman Public Relations internship transplanted Jeff Mindell to Los Angeles from the East Coast. Not sure of what the future would hold or if he would end up getting a full-time job out of the internship. With his imaginative and creative wife by his side, he knew everything was going to be okay, somehow. “What’s the worst that could happen, it doesn’t work out and you go back home or move somewhere else,” Jeff states. This is the kind of thinking that all creative entrepreneurs should make both personally and professionally. What have you got to lose?
As creative business owners how to do we decide what we are known for, our aesthetic for branding, how we market ourselves, manage a business, and still have a personal life! I know I personally struggle every day with how to have a work life balance, especially because I work out of my home. This is why it was such an honor and huge opportunity to sit down in a coffee shop in the Arts District of Los Angeles to tackle these questions we all have with Jeff.
- How did you decide to become a creative entrepreneur, specifically a photographer?
“My wife has started a DIY blog that became very popular over the last five years. She needed photography done for her website and social media. So I picked up a camera and got to work. Having no previous photography experience I landed my first gig photographing a new boutique ice cream shop in Hollywood. The interior was modern, minimalistic, and full of pop colors. Fearful of having the owner reject my work once I delivered it, had me up every night for almost a week straight. I started self doubting myself, ‘is this good enough, are they going to like it?’ It wasn’t until I started my own personal Instagram account, so that all my friends and family back home could see what I was up to, that I realized I could combine my passion for photography and potentially make this a career.”
(A very unconventional way of becoming a photographer, but that is also the beauty of being a creative entrepreneur. You don’t have to follow what society tells you you should be doing, you can forge your own path or stumble upon it through someone else, like Jeff did.)
- Do you consider yourself and artist? Many creatives struggle with owning this title.
“I struggle with this as well, but the more I refined my craft, the more I realized that I am an artist and I create a medium of happiness. I think we all (as artists) have to understand that we have different styles, ideas, composition, and motivation. Try not to compare yourself to what other people are doing, nothing good ever happens from it!”
- How did you decide what your brand was going to be?
“I always dreamed of moving to California one day, and here I sit in downtown Los Angeles! When I first traveled to Los Angeles back in college I loved how happy and bright everything was. Doing the photography for my wife’s blog definitely helped in transforming my brand, but also having a passion for modern architecture and anything that makes me smile and laugh.”
- Social media is key for creative business owners now more than ever. What are your favorite platforms and what is your strategy for marketing on those platforms?
“Instagram by far is the biggest outlet now, that is great for free advertising, exposure, and generating an income. Snapchat is also great for wanting to share some personal moments along with professional collaborations and behind the scene videos. I generally try to post two times a day and if I don’t have anything to post, I don’t post, and pick up the next day where I left off. A lot of people worry that if they don’t post every day they will lose followers and not be relevant. Simply not true! Some great editing apps that I love to use are VSCO and A Color Story.”
- What do you do when you are in a creative rut and can’t seem to get back on track?
“I look at other artists’ work. Work that is completely different from my style. Admire that individual artists’ style, composition, and attention to detail. Being able to get your mind off of what you normally do and think about how other artist achieve their desired look helps re-focus and balance my thinking.”
- What is your ultimate vision as an artist? What are you aspiring to?
“I would love to do some work for Architectural Digest. I love modern interiors and am fascinated by architecture. I would also love to have a coffee book with a series I am currently working on called Palm Springs Doors. Besides those two things, I just want to make work that make people happy. Smile, laugh, or just feel a little bit better than they did before.”
- Now for a little fun! We get so use to identifying people as their brand aesthetic, what are five things that people may not know about you?
“I am always singing. I love walking and exploring new places. I am a homebody. A good time to me is sitting on the couch, ordering pizza, and watching Netflix. I have a weird connection of associating objects with peoples name.”
My big take-away from doing this Q+A with Jeff, is that there is no right or wrong way when being a creative entrepreneur. You just have to go for it! Make mistakes, find out what works and what doesn’t work for you. When you are feeling down and need a pick me up, walk outside, go explore, travel somewhere you have always wanted to visit. Look at other artist’s work and re-gain focus on what your goals are. For Jeff it is creating work that make people happy and becoming a photographer for Architectural Digest.