Creative Entrepreneur Series: Interview with Susannah Conway

Welcome to the second instalment of the Creative Entrepreneur Series! You can see last months interview with Katie Stephenson from the Art Wall here.

This month I’ll be interviewing Susannah Conway, a photographer, writer and self confessed Polaroid addict. I’ll be chatting with her about her upcoming ‘Unravelling’ e-course, her new book that’s set to be published in 2012 and she’ll also be sharing with me her tips and advice for other creative entrepreneurs and what her day to day life involves.

Your new e-course is due to start in May, can you tell us a bit about what your students can gain from signing up?

The Unravelling e-course is ideal for anyone who wants to get back in touch with themselves and find new appreciation for what they have in their life. We use cameras to investigate our world but it’s not a traditional photography class — it’s more like taking a safari into your life for eight weeks with a group of like-minded women. The community aspect of Unravelling classes is huge — so many friendships have been made in the two years I’ve been running the course, it’s really an honour to watch it unfold.

Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

Questioning. Creative. Passionate.

What is a typical working day like for you?

I get up when I wake up, which is something I still treasure after years of being traumatised by my alarm clock. I make porridge and coffee and sift through my in-box, taking care of anything urgent first. Depending on the projects I’m working on, the day is usually a mix of writing, connecting with my Unravellers, blogging and hanging out on social media and scanning & editing Polaroids if I’ve been shooting. I shower at lunchtime, which breaks up the day nicely, and stop for dinner around 7pm before doing more work in the evening. I’m really bad at taking time off — it’s something I need to work on.

Your book is set to be published in Spring 2012, how is it coming along? Can you let us in on anything that will be featured in it?

Well, it’s definitely coming along! I sent the finished manuscript and photographs to my editor on April 1st, so the next stage will be the editing and then the design process. The book is loosely based on the Unravelling course and is one part memoir to two parts inspirational musings on what’s important in life. There are 77 Polaroids, most of which have never been published before, and I’m so excited to send it out into the world.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

It’s a tie between two things: being an auntie — I helped my nephew be born, and being his auntie is the best thing in my life — and finishing my book.

Any tips for other budding creative entrepreneurs?

Be yourself. There are so many books out there with advice on how to create a business, market a business, ace social media, takeover the world, etc etc, but the most important ingredient, I think, is to be yourself. Be transparent in all you do, and do the work that makes your heart sing the loudest. If you’re truly passionate about what you do you’ll be more willing to devote all your time and energy to making it work — because that’s what any fledging business or project needs. Give it everything you have, and make it the most honest version of you and your beliefs/desires/dreams. For example, I spent a year trying to make my portrait business grow, networking locally and pimping out my talents for jobs and commissions. At the end of the year I was drained and uninspired, and not wanting to put myself out there any more; I’d thought that was the sort of photography work I should been aiming for, but it just left me depleted. A few months later, when I was asked to create a photography evening class, I suddenly found myself doing work that inspired me SO MUCH it’s lead to the creation of a full-time business. I’m still using my photography skills, just in a more authentic way. Once I was doing something that was more “me”, everything seemed to start working, business-wise.

Do you have any projects lined up for after your book has been published?

When the book comes out I’ll be headed to the States for a mini book tour, which I’m really excited about, but there’s lots to do before that happens. There’s the summer session of Unravelling which starts at the end of May. I’ll be launching my guidebook, Blogging from the Heart, later this year, and if all goes to plan I’ll be opening the doors to a new gathering place for women in the autumn. Somewhere among all of that lot I’ll also be editing my book. And probably eating a lot of Nutella :)

I’d like to thank Susannah for taking part in the interview and you can follow her through Twitter or by subscribing to her blog. I’m sure she’d love to hear your comments which you can leave below!

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