10 Lessons About Business, Creativity & Magic
by Sarah Gottesdiener·
This time of year I’m feeling reflective as I’ve celebrated 10 years of making a living through my creativity, intuition, and spiritual practice. It hasn’t been easy to create a business in alignment with my integrity and values, but it has allowed me to sleep at night. :)
Over 125,000 people have read my thoughts on many different topics. I’ve taught thousands of incredible people in workshops about abundance, boundaries, creativity, magic, and more. My studio has been able to give out close to a thousand scholarships and the business has donated over $120,000 to grassroots organizations and non-profits that support trans rights, queer rights, Indigenous rights and land back, Black lives, reproductive rights, unhoused women, the prison abolitionist movement and more, over the years.
It is possible to live a creative, value-led business that is profitable. I am now trying to learn how to make it wayyy more fun and wayyy easier. Once I figure that out, I’ll share it with you, too. ;)
In no particular order, below are some of the lessons I’ve learned about living a creative and magical life. This can support a business, but it doesn’t have to—it can also simply support your big, full, precious self.
10 Lessons in Creativity, Magic & Business from Sarah Faith Gottesdiener
2. Everything can be creative because you are not separate from your creativity. At times, your creative spark will feel far away, your art lacking, but it is not true. Doing the dishes is creative. A sentence you sing to yourself on a walk is creative. Constructing an altar is creative. The creative muse never leaves a mystic or a witch, because we are the creative muse.
3. The world will want you to explain and quantify something that exists outside of numbers and language. Once in a while, it makes sense to be able to say this equals that, and here is some impressive yet ultimately meaningless capitalistic feat, complete with receipts. But know the real reason you create, which often lies outside of language. Anything magical is mysterious and paradoxical—both simple and profound, immaterial and satiating.
4. Some key components of creativity overlap with a spiritual practice. Curiosity, experimentation, connection to a source or Source, discipline, and getting out of the way of self-doubt are needed for both. They also can help support a business. Last year, my studio’s revenue increased by over 33%: all thanks to experimentation, curiosity, and trusting my intuition.
5. Remember why you do what you do, outside of ego and security. The most beloved projects may never make any money—often, they don’t. Do what you need to do anyway, regardless of the outcome. You never know what will lead to what. You need to make money, of course. You also need to feed your soul. Find a way to do both. An abundance mindset breeds opportunity.
6. The optimism inherent in inspiration must be protected. And also: a lot of the creative process is more enjoyable with managed expectations. Wanting everything to be the next big thing is internalized colonialism. Keep the spark lit for the process, always. Have a reason why you are making/creating/researching/ideating and tap into that. Even if your reason is an intense emotion or a vision from a dream that stays close in your mind. Reward yourself along the way; clarify celebration and satisfaction. The reward cannot solely be money: once you are doing things solely to make an income, you have lost touch with your core whys. Over time, only doing things for money will make you feel like shit.
7. Your inner flame is holographic. Your inner flame needs change. One season it’s the unruly teenager, wanting to make ugly art at 2 am. The next, it’s the refined auteur that spends hours researching for one sentence that doesn’t even make it in the final round of edits. Stay connected to your inner flame so that you can honor their needs.
8. There always must be a part of your creative practice that is just for you. Journaling, sketching, writing letters you will never send, rambling voice notes, solo dance parties, raw first drafts that no one will see, late-night ragefests on a canvas: these all feed the fire and clear out psychic—and emotional—debris.
9. You are a human being, not a machine. Creativity is an inherent part of who you are because you are human. You do not have to “prove” an artistic identity in how many likes, followers, vanity metrics, dollar bills, or how much institutional attention you receive. Being an artist is about how one inhabits and sees the world. There will be times when you won’t “make” anything: maybe not for months, maybe not for years. During that time, you are seeing, observing, wondering, healing, reading, resting, and engaging deeply in your life: this is part of being an artist who is also a human.
10. Your intuition knows what your future self will need to learn. Channeling is how your creative spirit taps into the future. It’s ok to not understand why or how or when. Become your own teacher. Make what you need to see. Honesty will always feel a little scary. It’s ok to grow out of styles, interests, and mediums. If you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing. Always choose growth over comfort. Except for when you need to rest. Be a resting body consistently. A well-rested body is an open vessel for spirit, creativity, and intuition to enter. Gratitude is a closed loop of a gift: try to experience it often.