18 – Commissions and Systems with Miranda Van den Heuvel
Miranda Van den Heuvel

Laura and Nikki interview Laura’s talented friend Miranda van den Heuvel. Miranda is an intuitive painter and creative life coach living in Luxembourg. The founder of Create and Connect, she loves to inspire change through creativity. As a life coach, she inspires people to go from reacting to creating their lives. As an artist, she likes to draw parallels between art and life which makes the process so much more fun, personal and valuable.

Over the last 10 years, Miranda has developed life coaching retreats, taught in-person painting workshops, given a TEDx talk, developed online courses and painted hundreds of pieces of art. She also happens to speak seven languages, manage a full-time day job and is raising two boys at the same time. She is a great example of a Startist that does not let fear or procrastination keep them from making progress on their art biz.

A couple of years ago, Miranda began offering commissions of her artwork. We know commissions can be a valuable source of income for many artists, but they come with their own set of challenges. After sharing her Startist story, Miranda provides helpful suggestions on the systems you can put in place to create a positive experience for both the artist and the collector. Be sure to download her free art commission questionnaire listed in the show note resources section.

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Topics discussed

  • Miranda’s Startist story (1:56)
  • How she got her painting mojo (2:12)
  • Developing a coaching and teaching practice (2:51)
  • Creating retreats (4:22)
  • Getting started with commissions (8:39)
  • Creating systems (11:44)
  • Miranda’s commission process (14:20)
  • Pricing your work (17:57)
  • Handling revisions (20:53)
  • Contracts (24:33)
  • Intellectual property rights and copyright (27:14)
  • Laura and Nikki’s experience with commissions (29:52)
  • Setting up “effortless” systems and processes (33:21)
  • Miranda’s TEDx talk experience (38:33)

Laura

0:07
Hi, this is Laura.

Nikki

0:08
And this is Nikki with the Startist Society inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.

Laura

0:17
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.

Nikki

0:31
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours. Laura, who are we talking to today?

Laura

0:41
Well, today we’re talking to my talented friend Miranda van den Huevel.

Nikki

0:46
Miranda is an artist and creative life coach living in Luxembourg. She loves to inspire change through creativity. As a life coach, she inspires people to go from reacting to creating their lives. As an artist, she draws parallels between art and life, making the process so much more fun, personal and valuable.

Laura

1:04
Over the last 10 years, Miranda has taught art and life coaching retreats, creative thinking corporate workshops, given a TEDx talk, hosted in person and online workshops and created hundreds of pieces of art. She also happens to speak seven languages, manage a full time day job and is raising two boys at the same time. She is a great example of a Startist, someone who does not let fear or procrastination keep them from starting and making progress on their art biz. A couple of years ago, Miranda began offering commissions of her artwork and she’ll be sharing more about that process with us today. Welcome, Miranda, to the Startist Society.

Miranda

1:44
Hello, thank you for having me.

Nikki

1:48
We’re so glad to have you here. Why don’t we start by having you tell us how you got started as an artist and how you created your own art business?

Miranda

1:56
Oh, I was born an artist, I think. I think we’re all born artists. And then we go to school and then creativity gets kicked out of us, unfortunately, because we have to fit some sort of norm. Right.

Laura

2:12
Right.

Miranda

2:12
Um, but yeah, so after, after that creativity was kicked out of me in school, I took some classes and I actually took a class by Flora Bowley. She’s an intuitive painter who kind of got my my painting mojo going. It really kicked in when I took her online class. And since then, I’ve just been… I have my own studio now. And since then, I’ve just been painting lots and lots and lots.

Nikki

2:45
So what stage of your life did you take that class? You were already working full time? Did you already have kids?

Miranda

2:51
Yes, I was already working. I had two kids. I was divorced, so I was a single mom. And yeah, and I was looking for like a balance in life, because I have a corporate job, which can sometimes be very… corporate. And I was looking for creativity and had already started a little sidekick. But I wanted to take it to the next level and offer it up at work but also to other people. And that’s how I basically got started.

Laura

3:25
So you started out with creating art. And then you started developing and creating a coaching practice and offering workshops or how did that develop?

Miranda

3:39
I think they all kind of happened at the same time, but when you try to think about when did I do what, it kind of overlaps? So, I did a life coaching certification. And don’t ask me when that was. Somewhere in the middle of all the painting and the creating and the raising kids and the corporate-y job working. But then I thought, hey, why not combine the two? Why not combine anything creative, artsy, with life coaching. And so I was looking for creative ways to do that. I started organizing retreats for women, because I went on a retreat myself in 2009, where I met Laura.

Laura

4:19
This is true.

Miranda

4:22
Yeah, so when I when I came back from that retreat, that retreat for me was was pretty life changing. And when I came back from it, I was like, I want to do one of those retreats every year. And so I was looking at – this was in the US, I live in Europe. I’m like, I’m not going to go to the US every year because that’s just too expensive. So I was looking for retreats in my area to go to regularly and there was nothing. They were either too new-agey or religious or something. And so I thought, well, if it isn’t there, and then I’ll have to create it myself. So I started creating my own retreat.

Nikki

4:55
Perfect.

Laura

4:56
Which is being Startist, right?

Nikki

4:58
Yeah, absolutely. How do you even start with creating a retreat?

Miranda

5:01
I started by making a vision board.

Nikki

5:04
Nice.

Miranda

5:05
Yes. And so that was in 2010 and I had my first retreat in 2011. And the funny thing was that when I was at that retreat with my women, they were. So I was showing them the vision board, and somebody noticed that on my vision board were eight women. And on the retreat were eight women. Oh, wow.

Laura

5:27
Yeah. That’s the power of manifestation right there.

Miranda

5:30
That is the power of manifestation, totally.

Laura

5:33
So what types of things did you have at your retreat? What was available for people when you started out? And you were saying, Okay, this doesn’t exist, I want to create something. What did you offer in your retreats?

Miranda

5:44
It was all about life coaching. And the first day was mainly about setting your intention and getting clarity and making a vision board. And then the second day was like, Well, okay, now we have a vision of how our life should be or how we want it to be, that vision board life. But there’s so much in our normal life that isn’t like that yet. So what obstacles do we need to clear away to get to that dream life? So the second day was all about, Where’s my energy going? What do I need to eliminate? What steps do I need to take to go from this A to B.

Nikki

6:21
I need that coaching.

Miranda

6:25
Well, you have to come to Luxembourg.

Laura

6:26
Now I know, I actually attended one of your retreats in Germany, and we also had some yoga in there, and some other things. It was really amazing to have that time to get away. And I think you’re right, giving yourself that space enables you to develop and look forward to what is next for you and your life. So I think it’s fabulous when you provide that to others. But then the art wasn’t as much involved in that particular retreat. But now you’ve also developed teaching some art classes, right? And online courses and things like that. So how has that developed for you?

Miranda

7:04
So after the more life coaching retreat, I did actually an art yoga retreat, where I combined the massages, the yoga with some art making, as well. And in the meantime, I moved to a bigger house where there was a sort of room downstairs that I turned into a studio and I thought, well, whatever I have learned, I would really like to pass that on and give intuitive painting classes to people that live around here. And obviously, when you do that in person, you’re like, well, how can I take this to the next level? You know, take it online so that I can reach the world. And that’s not always easy. Because if you’re on your own, and you have a day job, and kids and life – you have to figure out everything by yourself, right? And so like you guys are doing with podcasting. And so it took a while, it took me I think about two years before I got some sort of online courses going. And my offer is still limited. But I’m very proud of what I have created. So I have a few e-courses that are email based, but I also have some video courses on how to be creative in your everyday life.

Nikki

8:27
Nice.

Laura

8:29
So let’s talk a little bit about commissions. So a couple of years ago, I think you started dabbling into commissions. So why don’t you tell us how you got started in that process?

Miranda

8:39
I didn’t start dabbling into it. Like life happens to you when you’re busy making plans, some company contacted me and said, We want to commission an art piece. And I was like, Yay. But then I was like, oh my god, how do I do this? I don’t know how I don’t know what. And so being the creative me, I was like, Okay, well, I’m gonna set up a meeting with the company. And we talk about, you know, where’s this going? And what do you want and what is your budget? And so I created the first piece for them, which was a huge one. It was very big. It was a triptych. So three big wooden panels that went into their conference room. And it was also very not like my art. So my art is very colorful and floral. And they ordered something that was more…they were a nautical company, so they wanted something that was very nautical and manly and rustic. So I managed to do that.

Nikki

9:38
So how did they find you?

Miranda

9:41
Um, through a friend. So a friend where you know, it’s always like that it’s the connections, right?

Nikki

9:47
Definitely.

Miranda

9:48
A friend of mine knows the person that was working at that company and they were talking and saying, you know, we have all these empty walls. Do you know any artists and he recommended me and so there you go.

Nikki

10:01
I just always wonder when somebody comes and says, We love your work, we want to hire you to do a commission, now do something completely different from your work.

Miranda

10:11
That is kind of what they asked me. But…

Nikki

10:14
I’ve had that happen. Yeah.

Miranda

10:16
And I said, Yes. Because I really wanted to do that. It was a challenge for me, as well. If it was, if they had asked me now to do a portrait of their CEO, I would have said no.

Nikki

10:26
Right, right. Well, so the people listening can’t see this. But I see a painting behind you that I assume is your painting. And I can see its floral, abstract floral, I can see how it could translate to sort of a nautical thing. The shapes could easily be sea creatures. So it’s not that far of a stretch.

Miranda

10:49
No, no. And I think the the piece that I did create for them was still in my style. And it still, it still felt me I wasn’t completely butchering my creative vein

Nikki

11:02
Right? Not like when somebody saw me drawing nudes and flowers and said, I was doing that on my car. And some guy said, Can you paint a fighter plane on my truck?

Miranda

11:14
Yeah, no.

Nikki

11:15
No, sir.

Miranda

11:16
It has to, it still has to speak to you. It still has to speak to your creative soul, right?

Nikki

11:21
Definitely.

Miranda

11:21
And it did. So.

Nikki

11:23
So how did you go from that one? first request? Did you just go Oh, commissions? Now, that was fun. Let me figure out how to do that.

Miranda

11:33
No, I was just happy to have that first piece out in the world.

Nikki

11:36
Right?

Miranda

11:37
And, and how you know, very often the universe then go, so that worked well, let me send you somebody else.

Nikki

11:43
Okay.

Miranda

11:44
And so a private client, somebody who had seen my art, contacted me and said, I want a piece for my staircase. Can you do that? So that was the second one. And it wasn’t until the third one came to ask for a commission that I thought, hmm I need to set up a system because I’m a fan of systems. And so that’s what I did.

Nikki

12:08
I’m a fan of the idea of systems.

Miranda

12:13
Right? Well, I am sure you have a lot of systems.

Nikki

12:17
My system is called winging it.

Miranda

12:24
So people always think of systems as well, that’s kind of like, you know, your Excel spreadsheet of boxes and things like that. But a system can be anything, you know, it can be an email template that you have, it can be a set way of you dealing with certain things that you’re being asked, like, if you have requests for your time that you don’t want to honor, how can you set up a proactive way of saying no, because then it’s prepared and you don’t have to react to something. So whenever you have something set up, so you don’t react, but create your response. That’s a system.

Nikki

13:09
Aaah.

Laura

13:10
So how did you create a system, then, related to commissions?

Miranda

13:15
So I was like, Okay, well, so there’s two things. One was, I need a page on my website that talks about commissions so that people can see that this is what I do. And then I need to, I want to explain to people how I work and how they can work with me. Because for me, that is a way to attract your ideal client. Because it tells them, Hey, this is how it works with me, you go to my website, I send them to the page and there is sort of a few steps outlined of how this works, this whole commission process with me. And so on my website that is outlined. And when they then say, Okay, well, I can work with that, they contact me, and then I send them a little questionnaire.

Laura

14:04
So tell me a little bit about your process. And we will definitely link to this in the show notes so that people can see the page that you send people to, right? So you have you say you have a process and then they agree with it, then they reach out. So what is your process?

Miranda

14:20
So when they contact me, we usually… Well, first I would send them the questionnaire to already get some information from them. But my goal is to get to know them a little bit better because I really want to make a very individual bespoke piece of art for them. So I want to tell a story. So I will be asking them what kind of story it is that they are looking for, what kind of artwork they’re looking for. Where is it going to be? What is their budget? What colors do they like? What colors do they not like? Do they have any shapes that they prefer? Do they have any words that matter to them? Do they have any pictures they want to be incorporated or collaged on the piece? What kind of support? You know how big it’s going to be, where it’s going to be. And then usually, if they live around my area, I would go and visit them to get really inspired by their surrounding and their life and sit in the home and let that infuse, as an artist, into my soul. But it can also be done via Skype, right? Nowadays, you can walk around with, with your phone into any living room or wherever the painting is going of the client. Right? And I think that’s very important that you see who these people are, where the painting is going so that you can make it very personalized.

Laura

15:43
So I know one of the issues that we have with commissions is pricing. How do I price my work for a commission?

Miranda

15:51
So for me, again, I’m always coming back to my ideal client, I want to attract only ideal clients. And my experience has shown me that when I give them an idea of what my art costs, usually half of them are not my ideal client. So usually, what I do, and that is my experience has shown me is when you ask them what they are ready to pay for a commissioned art piece, you get a much better budget, than had you offered a certain price. And that also gives you a very clear idea of is this an ideal client or not? Because if your ideal budget is, let’s say, I don’t know, 1,000 dollars or euros? And the client says, Well, yeah, I had in mind a huge piece for like, 100. Uhh… no,

Nikki

16:55
That’s when I go in and say, Okay, well, for that budget, you can get a small drawing, instead of a large mixed media piece.

Miranda

17:07
But it gives you immediately an idea of who these people are.

Nikki

17:11
Right?

Miranda

17:12
And what kind of language they speak and what kind of budget they have, and what kind of art they’re looking for. So if they’re looking for, you know, a big, huge triptych for 100 euros then, yeah, or if they they immediately launch into, oh, yeah, and and then I also want to incorporate, you know, my grandma’s photo and a dog and a portrait of whatever, then I’m like, yeah, have you seen my art on my website? Do you know, what I do?

Nikki

17:43
Do you have examples on your commission page of these are the types of commissions that I’ve done? and possibly even a range in price? Or do you not even bring up price until after the questionnaire?

Miranda

17:57
I don’t bring up price? And because I think it’s very individual. And I don’t want to say, I don’t want to limit my ideal clients by giving them a budget, because some client may not have my ideal budget, but it’s still an ideal client, who I can benefit from in many other ways. And that I think, is as valuable as money. So yes, there is a price tag, but there’s also a non-price-tag to everything I do. So and yes, on my website, there are so I have my art gallery on my website. But I also have on the commission page, a few examples of the commissions that I did

Nikki

18:40
Nice, and we’ll show some of that in the show notes.

Laura

18:43
Yeah, and I think the other thing when it does come to pricing, though, that needs to be considered is that if you’re doing a commission, you’re doing something bespoke something unique. So you should be able to charge more for that than you would for your normal art that you might just produce on your own for yourself, right?

Miranda

19:00
Yeah, yeah.

Laura

19:02
I mean, if you put if you put those two things side by side, like a painting that you created on your own, that’s the exact same medium, size, everything compared to one that you have commissioned, or someone has commissioned from you, how would you suggest people price that?

Miranda

19:19
Um, well, it depends a little bit on on the size and the support that it goes on, and whatever goes in there so that the more practical side of the painting,

Nikki

19:31
But assuming that the two pieces, the one you’re doing for the commission, and the one you would have just done for yourself are equal in terms of medium, size, substrate, how would you price a commission differently from just a painting you were doing for yourself?

Laura

19:46
Like a percentage standpoint, not necessarily a dollar standpoint?

Miranda

19:49
For me, it’s it’s 20 to 30% more expensive than my normal art would be because I do spend a lot more time, you know, I go visit the customer, I really integrate their story. I have more connections with them while I’m making the piece of art as well. That’s part of my process as well, that I do send them updates and pictures of the process up to a certain point and only if they want to, obviously, and some video as well. I video all the process of my commission.

Nikki

20:25
That is definitely adding a lot to your time and energy. Also I would say, if you’re creating your own piece, you can go off the planned track with it, and just be intuitive and let the painting take you wherever it wants to take you. If it’s a commission, you have to stick to, you know, I mean, you have some leeway, of course, but you have to stick to what their guidelines are. So that’s more difficult…

Miranda

20:49
Sometimes you’re on a deadline as well.

Nikki

20:51
Yeah.

Laura

20:53
Yeah. So I think one of the challenges in that area, you’re talking about sending them updates, things like that, I think a big issue people run into are revisions. So like people coming back and saying, Oh, can you change this? And can you change that? And can you change this? And if you’ve already negotiated a price… sort of how do you keep those revisions from being excessive or communicate with them such that you can charge for extra revisions beyond a certain point? Like, how do you handle that process?

Miranda

21:22
Well, my painting process is very intuitive and layered. So my ideal clients do get pictures and videos while I’m creating and my questionnaire up front has, I think, clarified most of the questions and colors and, you know, any complaints or any changes wouldn’t be that big, because most of the stuff is clarified beforehand in what they like and don’t like. But if they then, I have this actually, with one of the last commissions, I send them a few pictures, and they were like, oh, but there’s way too much black. And I’m like, Don’t worry, I will get there, you know, there’s gonna be another layer on top, but the black is needed to create contrast and depth, you know, but that kind of already gave me a feedback, while you know, I’m not I’m not bringing them a piece that is 99% final, and then they say, oh, but I don’t like it, I want a revision. It’s, you know, after 10%, after 20% of the painting done, after 50% of the painting done, they get some photos and they can they can comment, they can give me their feedback. And some of it I will take into consideration and the other one is just my artistic freedom of doing whatever I want. Because they ordered a Miranda, right.

Laura

22:41
So what happens if you do get through a certain part of the process and they just say, you know what, I’m not interested anymore. This isn’t the commission for me. How would you handle a situation like that? Are you able to retain any of the any money? Do you…

Nikki

22:58
Do you take a deposit before you start, first of all?

Miranda

23:01
Well, it depends.

Nikki

23:04
Ideally.

Miranda

23:05
Yeah. So ideally, yes, my process includes a sample piece. So whenever the agreement has been reached, that I create a piece for them, I first create a smaller version of the final, translating what they have shared with me into a smaller piece. And from that, I can then you know, they can say and have all the comments, that’s kind of already a pre-revision, if you want. And that that kind of preempts a lot of the Oh, we don’t like your art.

Nikki

23:46
So do they keep that smaller piece?

Miranda

23:48
Yes.

Nikki

23:49
So they get a smaller piece and a larger piece?

Miranda

23:51
Yes. And so far, I have never had anybody not end up. You know, nobody has ever said, Oh, thank you, but no, thank you. If that happens, the contract will take care of it. I mean, they will owe me a certain amount of deposit. And I get to keep the painting, obviously. And then I do with that painting, whatever, I just add another layer and sell it to somebody else.

Nikki

24:19
Cover up their grandma and their dog.

Miranda

24:21
Exactly. That’s easily done in my in my style. I just come on top of it and just paint over it and go crazy.

Nikki

24:30
Bye grandma.

Laura

24:33
I think that does work well for your style of painting. I think for some artists, it could be more difficult depending on what they’re working on. But, but I do. I do like that idea of a contract. Like you had mentioned having a contract and I think a lot of artists, when they’re starting out, don’t realize that that’s something they might need, you know, having a contract. And the other thing that you mentioned was having a questionnaire in the process at the beginning and I think that is huge to have that communication back and forth, because you want to be clear on expectations, right? It’s managing expectations. And starting with that questionnaire sounds amazing Miranda, that you can get all that information right away. So I’m sure that that type of thing would be really helpful for our listeners.

Miranda

25:16
Yeah, it really creates a sort of, it’s kind of already like a contract, because you’re asking the people what it is that they want. And then you just have to sort of translate that into a contract and add some legal clauses. But it also manages expectations. And it makes the customer do a lot of work beforehand, so that it doesn’t surprise them once you get going, you know, you eliminate a lot of questions, or a lot of, you know, people don’t necessarily understand what it involves to create a painting. So when you ask them all these questions beforehand, you preempt a lot of doubts and a lot of revisions, obviously.

Laura

26:00
So I know that you are being extremely generous today. And you have offered to share your questionnaire that you give collectors, with our listeners so that they can see all the types of questions that you normally ask someone? Yes. So we will be providing that link in the show notes so that everyone can go out there and download this information for themselves to know exactly what types of questions are really useful and helpful.

Nikki

26:30
And that’ll be super helpful for people who want to start offering commissions or are doing it in a less ideal way. And also for people who want to commission art and need a better understanding of the process. So thank you for that.

Miranda

26:44
Yeah, you’re welcome. And I think it’ll help anybody to, you know, get an idea of the questions. But then what they really need to do is get clear on their own way of doing commissions and how they can adapt that questionnaire for their art, and what kind of clarity do they need to get for themselves and also for their clients in order to create these conditions? Because that is really key, the clarity, and the pre-work is is most of the work.

Laura

27:14
Yeah, I know another thing that comes up as it relates to commissions a lot is intellectual property rights and copyright. So I think some collectors think that if they have purchased a commissioned piece from you, they basically own everything about that piece of artwork, they they own the copyright, they own the if they want to go and put it on 100 cards or upload it to Society6 and create a million products out of it. They think that purchasing a commission may give them that right. So how do you think it’s best to handle a situation like that around intellectual property rights and that communication with your customer, your collector?

Nikki

27:54
And is that stuff in your contract?

Miranda

27:56
So it’s already on my web page, first of all, so the page says, whenever you have commissioned, you know, the copyright is mine unless otherwise agreed. And yes, this is something that goes in the contract. And it clearly states that the copyright remains with the artist, unless something else was agreed. And if they want, if, like, for example, I create a smaller piece, where I’m happy to give them, that is very, very personal. And I’m happy to give them the copyrights so that they can make bags for the whole family, then I’m happy to, you know, to give them the copyright, but that obviously comes with a price as well.

Nikki

28:36
Right.

Laura

28:37
Yeah, charging a premium for that, right.

Miranda

28:39
Yes. Yeah.

Nikki

28:40
And do people take you up on that?

Miranda

28:42
So far they haven’t.

Nikki

28:44
Yeah, well, I think most people, it doesn’t even occur to them probably to do that. You might even give them some ideas.

Miranda

28:51
When you tell it up front that this is the thing and then you have it in the contract as well then there is not a question, right? There’s some dispute or whatever, you’re safe. Right.

Nikki

29:02
Right.

Laura

29:04
So yeah, that’s great to be really clear about that and the expectation upfront and knowing that if it is something that’s bespoke, you may not also want to go create a million prints yourself and sell them on your own site, right because they’ve basically paid for this commissioned sort of one of a kind piece and so if you go turn around and sell it as prints, it may no longer be one of a kind, right?

Miranda

29:27
No, I usually don’t put commissioned artwork on any other platforms or I hardly even put them on my site. You know, because it’s not for sale, it’s been sold. And I’m not putting them on any of the platforms to make gimmicks out of them or anything like that. I don’t create prints without either.

Nikki

29:50

Laura, have you done commissions?

Laura

29:52
I have done some small commissions, yes. I haven’t done very many of them and they have been smaller in size and I think it can be great for extra income. I think that it is a challenge though if you don’t manage those expectations up front, like if somebody says, Oh, I really like this and this and this piece of artwork, can you make something like that for me? And then you create it and they go, Oh, well, I didn’t really like the shape of this and this, can you change it to be more like this, and you’re already too far down the path. So I know Miranda with your work, it’s a lot of intuitive layers of paint. So you can just kind of cover it up and move on to the next thing. But if you’re doing something figurative, for example, it can be difficult to do that. And also, depending on the medium you’re using, so. So I think I have sort of maybe a love/hate relationship, like, I think I think conditions can be fabulous. But I also think you have to have a tough skin. And then being able to cap those revisions, I think is super important. You know, and if they go beyond that, then there’s a fee associated with it. And a lot of it like Miranda, you said is attracting the ideal client? Yes. Because if you’re attracting the ideal client, then things should kind of go smoothly for you. But if you’re attracting, attracting that non ideal client, then it can go a little sideways, and it might take a lot of time and energy that you weren’t expecting. What about you, Nikki?

Nikki

31:19
So my work is harder to do revisions on than Miranda’s. Most of the commissions that I’ve done have been drawings of the person. So I either will take photos of them, or they’ll provide photos for me. And it’s pen and ink drawings for the most part. So there’s no covering up of layers, if it’s not what they expected. So it’s a lot of pressure. And it’s really pressure I put on myself, because I’ve never had anybody say, Oh, that’s not what I wanted. I hate it. But I still put that pressure on myself of you know, I’ve got to get this just right. So

Laura

32:00
Yeah, and I think like Miranda, it’s great that you do a small piece of work. But a lot of your commissions are larger, right? Like, they might be something really huge. So you don’t want to like get too far down the path on that.

Miranda

32:10
That takes away the pressure that Nikki was talking about? I’ve done the first piece and they are like, Oh, we love it, then I’m like, Okay, cool. Now, pressure’s off, done a little thing, now I can do that thing bigger, right?

Nikki

32:21
Yeah. And I never thought about doing that. But I could do that too, a lot of people haven’t been able to necessarily have the budget for a larger piece from me. So I’ve done a lot of really small drawings for people. And that’s fine. Because if I have to redo it, it’s not that huge of a deal. In fact, sometimes I will draw, if they’ve provided me several photos, different poses, I’ll draw several of them. And they can choose which one or I might just give them all of them if I’m feeling generous. But yeah, if somebody wanted a larger one, I could do a small, a small version of it first. And I think that’s a really good idea. I might have to add that into my undocumented process.

Laura

33:05
So we’ve talked about building systems that support you. And I know that Miranda, you’ve mentioned before that you love a process feeling effortless. So what do you mean by that? Tell me what you mean by that.

Miranda

33:21
So effortless to me, is something that just feels right. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a lot of work. Yeah, it’s just work that is not costing me a lot of effort, or a lot of energy. So

Nikki

33:41
Or stess.

Miranda

33:42
Yeah, or stress and, and finding the ideal client is part of that. Because when you have your ideal client, whatever you do with them, or for them is effortless, because it’s fun. And whenever you set up systems to create that effortlessness, it’s less work because you’ve created the system around it. And it’s also more that you have more time left to do the fun stuff. So as soon as it doesn’t feel effortless, as soon as it starts to drain my energy, create stress, doesn’t feel right, I ask myself, Hmm, what do I need to tweak here? Do I need to create a system to make it easier and save time? Do I need to let go of this person or this workshop or this system, because it’s draining too much or it’s no longer for me? What needs to shift so that it can become effortless again, and fun.

Miranda

34:46
I love that. I love that. That makes complete sense and I have light bulbs going off in so many areas of my work that I need to start applying that thought process to.

Miranda

34:58
Oh, I’m happy to talk to you about that, and how you can do that.

Nikki

35:02
Yeah, absolutely

Miranda

35:03
Maybe you should do a podcast about effortlessness.

Nikki

35:07
I think maybe we should maybe, maybe it would be fun to kind of do one where you’re coaching me through some of those things to help see how you can go from that, where something in your process has become too much effort, too much stress, a pain point, and talk through, kind of coach through how to turn that into a system. I think that would be actually valuable. And maybe even drum up some coaching business for you.

Miranda

35:36
Most of the clients that I coach that have this issue of it’s too much work, it’s too much energy, it’s too much this, too much that, is usually because while they don’t have systems, and because they lead or work out of a place of reaction instead of creation, so…

Nikki

35:56
In case you can’t see, because you’re listening to a podcast, I’m raising my hand

Miranda

36:01
And so when you constantly react, it’s a lot of work. Because even if it’s not a lot of physical work of lugging and doing the thing, it’s a lot of energetic work.

Nikki

36:13
Definitely.

Miranda

36:14
Because you’re reacting and you have to invent things on the spot, and you’re firefighting a lot, etc. And when you have set up systems and created, you know, questionnaires, and pages that people can go to, and it’s all explained already, all that pre-work, and that dreaming stuff is taken away. And it attracts the ideal client.

Nikki

36:35
Yeah, definitely, definitely better to be proactive than reactive, which kind of is the opposite of my wing-it style. But I need to find a balance of the two, like doing enough of the pre-work and systems that still allows me to kind of react on the fly in good ways, mot bad ways.

Miranda

37:00
Yeah, and once you’ve winged something three times, yeah. Can you give that wing a box or a place, or a, you know…

Nikki

37:09
Right, right. Turn it into a system.

Miranda

37:12
Yeah. Give it another wing so it flies?

Laura

37:18
Yeah, I definitely think that’s a challenge. I know, for me, before I’ve gotten multiple emails that were all asking the same question. And I’m like, Oh, well, I should prepare, you know, a template that I can send people. So then I, I create a template, but I don’t save it anywhere convenient. And then I have to go dig through my emails and stuff to find the template. So I tried to create a system, but it’s not working.

Nikki

37:39
That is not a system.

Miranda

37:41
My magic number here is three, whenever I get asked something three times, I create a system or a template or a page or something, so that next time I don’t have to rewrite the whole thing again, or try to find the thing that I wrote, but didn’t save.

Laura

37:57
Right?

Nikki

37:58
Yeah, that’s, that makes sense. We should do that.

Laura

38:06
Oh, well. Miranda, this has been awesome talking to you about commissions, and also the fact that you are going to be providing your questionnaire to everyone to download for free. I believe it’s going to be at, where’s it located?

Miranda

38:21
It’s going to be on my website. So there’s a page created specially for it. And that page is createandconnect.org/startist.

Nikki

38:33
And we will also link to that page on our show notes. But there’s actually one thing that I wanted to bring up that we didn’t talk about. In your intro, I learned that you did a TEDx talk.

Miranda

38:46
I did.

Nikki

38:47
I would really like to hear about that. How did that come about? What was it about? We’ll definitely link to it.

Miranda

38:53
That was quite a life changing and awesome experience, as you can guess.

Nikki

38:58
Yeah. How did that come about?

Miranda

39:00
So somebody was organizing a TEDx event, and in Luxembourg, and they send out a call for if you want to become a speaker that the subject was failure, if you want to become a speaker, call here or write an email here. And I was like, yeah, I you know, every time I watch a TEDx, I’m like, I can do that. I have stuff to talk about, you know.

Nikki

39:29
Had you done much public speaking before that?

Miranda

39:32
Um, for my day job, I do a lot of public speaking. And, and I have, you know, every time I have a workshop of 10 people or something that’s considered public speaking, right. And I like it. So I was like, Well, let me see how much I like it. You know, for a bigger audience and a big name thing, and so I called them didn’t think, you know, didn’t think anything was gonna come of it. It’s TEDx, after all. But they called me back and they said, Yes, we want you. So I was like, Oh my god, what did I do?

Nikki

40:06
Now I have to actually do this.

Miranda

40:07
Exactly. So but it was really well organized as you would think, you know, it being TEDx. We were coached by a storyteller and a presenter of, you know, how to present yourself how to public speak, how to turn whatever you have to say into a story, so that it becomes engaging and fun, so that, you know want to listen to it. And, and I did it and and I was really scared. And but I did it scared. And that’s the only way we can live life. Right?

Nikki

40:37
Brilliant.

Miranda

40:38
Doing it scared. And it was amazing.

Nikki

40:41
So has that led to any other opportunities?

Miranda

40:46
Um, I have met quite a few interesting speakers at TEDx. And it hasn’t led to, you know, Oprah didn’t call, but…

Nikki

40:57
She’s about to any minute.

Miranda

40:59
Right. But whenever I mentioned it, it’s a jaw dropper.

Nikki

41:05
Well, it’s an excellent social proof. So do you want to do more public speaking like that, on that those type of topics?

Miranda

41:14
I would love to actually.

Nikki

41:17
Okay, universe, do you hear that?

Miranda

41:18
Universe? TEDx-like talks. I’m happy to do them.

Nikki

41:25
Awesome.

Laura

41:26
So Miranda, where else can our listeners find you online?

Miranda

41:31
The best place to go would be my website, because everything else, all the other social media links are on there. And my website is createandconnect.org.

Laura

41:41
Thank you, Miranda, so much for being here. We’ve really enjoyed our conversation.

Miranda

41:45
I enjoyed it, too. It was great. Thanks for having me.

Nikki

41:49
It’s been great getting to know you a little bit. I’ve been hearing Laura talk about you for a while. So it’s nice to talk face to face.

Miranda

41:55
And hopefully we can meet soon.

Nikki

41:57
Absolutely. I want to come to one of your retreats. Are you going to pick them up again, once it’s safe to travel and everyone’s vaccinated?

Miranda

42:04
Once these crazy times slow down a little bit – less crazy. Sure.

Laura

42:09
And also Miranda lives in Luxembourg, which is the land of like storybook castles. It’s amazing.

Nikki

42:16
Well, I have never been there.

Miranda

42:18
It’s the only Grand Duchy in the world.

Laura

42:22
Yeah.

Nikki

42:22
I don’t have any idea what that means.

Miranda

42:25
Google it.

Laura

42:25
It just means it’s cool. It’s just a really cool, it takes you like 30 minutes to drive across the country, but it’s a really cool country. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, we’d love for you to subscribe and leave us a review.

Nikki

42:39
Visit startistsociety.com/miranda to read the show notes and to get links to all of the topics that we discussed.

Laura

42:48
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

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