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Applications are Open for the 2019 CYOP Artist Residency!

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Applications are Open for the 2019 CYOP Artist Residency!

ArtistResidencyApplicationsOpen1.jpg

The day has finally come to swing open the doors to the CYOP Artist Residency! If you're a regular subscriber to the Creative Digest you’ve already heard the news, but I wanted to dive a little deeper into why I launched this sort of program.

I believe that creating anything, whether it’s a painting or a podcast or a beautifully designed space, is an act of vulnerability. If you’re putting something into the world where it didn’t exist before, you’re taking a huge leap of faith. You’ve got to trust in yourself, you’ve got to trust in the market (if you’re attempting to earn money for your creative thing) and you’ve got to be willing to have it not work out.

That’s a lot for all of us to take on alone.

But that’s just it — we don’t have to do it alone. We can collaborate on our creative pursuits! We can build space and time to bounce ideas off one another. We can partner up in a mutually beneficial way so that, together, we can grow.

That’s what this residency is about. The program will allow for an artist to work collaboratively with me on the Creating Your Own Path podcast to share their story, create beautiful portfolio pieces and gain experience while also providing me an opportunity to showcase, pay (!!!) and support different emerging artists each year.

To learn more about the program and the application process, click that button below!

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Working Creatively Doesn't Have to Look Like Entrepreneurship

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Working Creatively Doesn't Have to Look Like Entrepreneurship

Working Creatively Doesn't Have to Look Like Entrepreneurship // jenniferesnyder.com

I've been giving this idea a lot of thought lately. When I first launched Creating Your Own Path as an interview series, I recalled being given a very narrow set of career options in my high school counselor's office. I was a junior at the time and that was when you were supposed to start picking out the path you might want to take in life.

So many of the jobs and career options that exist today simply didn't back then — and it hasn't been that long since high school. Even in college, I felt as though my options were limited, but times are changing and that's a good thing. 

However, I have been stumbling along my path of entrepreneurship for seven years now and, over the last year or so, I've begun realize why certain discussions in this space haven't completely resonated with me.

You see, there's this idea that working creatively means you have to run your own company. Going into business for yourself has become synonymous with success and freedom and all of those values we love to love.

But guess what? You can still work creatively for any number of super rad companies and still be successful and — wait for it — free. Want to know something else? Some of those creative jobs with organizations and companies around the world pay really well and they come with benefits and other perks like never having to use QuickBooks again, allowing the word "hustle" to fall away from your vocabulary, and going to the dentist with some regularity.

What I'm getting at, here, is that I want to urge all of us (myself included) to stop glamorizing the path of the entrepreneur. It's not glamorous. It's really hard work. Being your own boss can be awesome — that's true — but it's not the only way to create your own path.

In fact, I've met dozens and dozens of people over the years whose jobs I didn't even know existed — and the jobs they hold within their companies are SO COOL. I'm betting current high school juniors and college freshmen don't know those jobs exist either. I propose we change that. 

Who's with me?



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Applications Are Now Open for the CYOP Artist Residency Program!

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Applications Are Now Open for the CYOP Artist Residency Program!

CYOP Artist Residency Program // jenniferesnyder.com

I'm SO excited to announce that the application window is finally open for the first ever CYOP Artist Residency! You can find information about the residency, along with the official application, by clicking the button below.

And please remember, this residency is funded in part by the sale of items in the shop. I wouldn't be able to offer a paid residency without the support of those interested in seeing programs like this succeed! 


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My Word for 2017: Open

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My Word for 2017: Open

My Word for 2017: Open // jenniferesnyder.com

It feels a bit surreal to be scooting right past middle of January already, but over the holiday break I set some time aside to focus on the year ahead and I'm so glad I did. Just as I've done over the last two years, I'm choosing a word for the year instead of making a bunch of personal and business resolutions. 

My word for 2017 is OPEN.

I have a lot of hopes about how this word will manifest in my life. I hope it will inspire me to continue trying new things and to be open to new adventures. I also hope it will remind me that in order to open the door to something wonderful, oftentimes other doors need to close.

My biggest hope, however, is to simply be more open with how I carry myself, how I communicate, and how I approach the world around me. It may not always be easy, but I know committing to the word "open" this year will be worthwhile.

Tell me friends: have you picked your word for the year?

p.s. Here's a little inspiration from the gal who got this whole "one little word" thing started.



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The (Seemingly) Lost Art of Running a Business Like a Human Being

The (Seemingly) Lost Art of Running a Business Like a Human Being // jenniferesnyder.com

Can we chat for a few minutes? I've been thinking about how things are going around here and I've come to a few conclusions.

At the end of August, I sent out an issue of my weekly Creative Digest that ended up serving two purposes. You can read the full email here, but let's talk about those purposes.

The first purpose was intentional: I wanted to communicate to my most dedicated readers and listeners that I needed to put things on hold for a bit. My family and I were watching my stepmom's health deteriorate rapidly and I felt the need to press pause on the elements of my work that I knew could survive my leave of absence.

The second purpose was slightly less intentional, but was—dare I say—more important: I was really honest with subscribers. I was emotional while writing, I dropped a curse word (which aligns pretty seamlessly with the real, everyday me), and I didn't censor myself. My stepmom was dying and, to be honest, censoring myself didn't even come to mind. Bottom line? I showed my humanity in that email.

A few things have happened since:

  • Immediately after hitting send, more people unsubscribed from my Creative Digest list than ever before.
  • Within hours, dozens of subscribers checked in with me by replying via email, texting, calling or reaching out on social media.
  • To date, that issue has a higher open rate and click-through rate than any other Creative Digest issue.

Here's the thing: I was initially a little disheartened to see subscribers dropping like flies. It's never fun to have quantitative evidence that shows people opting out of your humanity. However, I got over those vanity metrics pretty quickly because I knew, in my heart, that those who read my words, reached out, and engaged are the people who matter.

You see, I'm not a brand. I'm a human. I'm a person who has feelings. Those feelings are likely to surface on occasion.

Sadly, there seems to be an enhanced (and sometimes aggressive) focus on cutting humanity out of business, altogether. So much of what we see in this strange, amazing, creative world of entrepreneurship has to do with building a perfect brand.

"DON'T share your personal story," they shout.

"You've got to have consistency," they demand.

"Here are the seven things that will guarantee your success," they promise.

If you run a business, freelance full time, or have a side gig, it's important to think about how you present yourself, your products and/or your services to the world—no doubt about it. I am here to tell you, however, that being a human and running a business aren't mutually exclusive.

Take me, for example. I'm in the business of sharing stories. Some of the stories are my own and some are the stories of others. Sometimes I share via my podcast, sometimes I share on behalf of clients, and sometimes I share through various print and online publications. Depending on the medium through which I share a story, the presence of my voice tends to vary.

However, if you've opted into a medium I own and produce—like the Creative Digest, the podcast, or this space—you will likely notice that my voice has a strong presence. You have a front row seat to my humanity, my thought processes, my emotional state, my vulnerability, and my flaws. Take it or leave it.

I am not running this side of my work—my business—like a brand. I'm running it like a human. In a world full of deeply edited, perfectly staged brands, I hope many of you will find that refreshing.

Those only interested in a one-dimensional experience, free from any and all human traits, can opt out at any time. It's completely okay—encouraged, even. I realize that my brand (ahem) of humanity isn't for everyone. My life is real, my work is real, and sometimes the two collide in sad, wonderful, frightening, and exciting ways. 

My hope is to recapture and revive the (seemingly) lost art of running a business like a human being and, thanks to the kind souls who make up the last two bullet points in my list above, I know many of you are with me.

I'm so incredibly honored to have you along for the ride. 


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