February 16, 2015  • Curriculum

2015_0209_PicI’m envious of anyone who can play with Legos and Pipe Cleaners all day. And yet, the idea of being a kindergarten teacher sounds like a level of hell Dante failed to describe adequately.

But by reading The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain deBotton, I learned to dive a bit deeper into my feelings of envy to figure out what it was I was really seeking. (Read: Not a room full of children, but rather the soothing, creative environment found in building with Legos.)


Design has its origins in a variety of emotions: Frustration that something doesn’t work well, anger that a group’s needs aren’t being met; or annoyance when faced with inefficiencies.


Out of those negative emotions can come something wonderful: an elegant design that mitigates those feelings of frustration. And, to paraphrase deBotton, I’d include one more powerful emotion that can drive something great: Envy.


In crafting curriculum, in designing programs, and in building workshops – all of which are business-based, but tailored to creative entrepreneurs – we build using envy. (Call it the Minerva Model.) We try to build the programs we would like to attend. What’s more: We’ve built curriculum, programs, and workshops based on feedback from working artists and creative entrepreneurs. What do they wish they had known? What type of program would they envy?


We’ve gathered such insights from one-on-one client work, and countless workshops and boot camps since 2009. (Well, perhaps not countless. We did after all reach 459 creative entrepreneurs in 2014.)


And we’ve used that knowledge – coupled with envy-based design – in building our programs.


We designed our online learning program to mimic ongoing financial tasks artists and creative entrepreneurs face throughout the year. We offer Goal-setting in January, Budgeting Love in February, and Taxes in March (just as a start). And these courses align perfectly with the free business tips (and gentle reminders) we share with our subscribers each month.


“I wish someone would just remind me about these things so I don’t fall behind.” Envy-based design of our newsletter.


“I don’t exactly remember what we talked about – Can I have a refresher?” Envy-based design of our online on-demand learning.


“The whole weekend … wow. Still on the high.  It was extraordinary to be in a room with all of you. I feel so inspired and empowered for being tackling the real world and keeping my imagination and spirit.  Thank you so much for such an extraordinary workshop and experience!” Envy-based design of the Business of Art Boot Camps.


In building what has become something of a legendary boot camp experience, we crammed years worth of financial know-how into two days. It is everything creative entrepreneurs wish they had known when first treading (or diving or plunging or plummeting) into creative fields. And more.


Past participants have learned the real secret behind the boot camp’s success: This financial boot camp isn’t actually about finance at all. It is about building confidence and empowerment as a creative entrepreneur. We just approach it through the lens of finance… and of course, we cover financial tools and knowledge that help build successful, sustainable creative existences too.


And of course, play doh helps. As do pipe cleaners. Because what is a financial boot camp without something to alleviate stress and anxiety? Negotiating with Legos is far more fun than negotiating for fair compensation. And carrying Legos (or pipe cleaners or play doh) with you to your next client pitch may help you feel incredibly powerful and incredibly confident.


And that is something to envy.



Special thanks to the Greater Columbus Arts Council for permission to re-posed this blog by Elaine Grogan Luttrull in advance of The Business of Art Boot Camp in March 2015.

Join Elaine Grogan Luttrull for The Business of Art: Financial Literacy and Career Planning for Artists on March 14th & 15th presented by the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

Elaine will lead discussions and activities to empower creative entrepreneurs and freelancers to follow their passions and build sustainable careers. Topics covered will include goal setting and the art of budgeting for projects both personal and professional. Elaine will also share the best ways to manage irregular cash flow, including the how to determine the “right” amount of cash to have on hand. Tax and healthcare questions common to creative entrepreneurs will be covered on Day 2, and throughout the workshop, Elaine will answer questions from participants in this intimate workshop-style session.


To Register:




Money Tips

Get money tips sent to your inbox by subscribing to our email newsletter:

Arts & Numbers

You don’t have to do this alone. Arts & Numbers is a comprehensive financial guide for creative individuals… and anyone else with a passion for something other than accounting and finance. This book aims to provide basic information on finance and financial matters for creative entrepreneurs to take ownership of their financial situations, thus ensuring their long-term success, creative and otherwise.

Written in short story form with fictional anecdotes supporting the financial advice, Arts & Numbers promises to be an easy and useful read for creative entrepreneurs at any stage.

Check it Out