Creative + Co-Pilot

What I've Learned From Teaching as an Adjunct Professor This Year

If You Can Brand a Business, You Can Build One


As I finish out a year of self-employment, I can't help but evaluate my happiness and successes personally and professionally. Although I have nothing major to complain about, I know I have to do somethings better and set loftier ambitions.

I've been stuck in the mindset that I've got to find the right place with the right projects to truly make myself happy. The longer I function helping other brands come to life, the more I realize that i have the fundamentals and the drive to do the same thing for myself. I encourage my fellow creative entrepreneurs to realize the same.

My friend Marcus Whitney, Founder of Moontoast, my good buddy Wes and I had a nice talk over a cigar and beer a couple of weeks ago. Marcus is a successful tech entrepreneur in Nashville and a great sounding board for my creative endeavors. I asked him what I could do to enhance my personal brand and he said the words that held the most value for me. He told me to treat myself and my brand like I do my clients. Put the attention, care and craft you provide for your clients into your own personal brand.

Think of all the time spent helping clients find their voice. Coordinating with copy writers, building style guides, and helping with tone and content strategies are key components to building a business. Find your place in the market, work out logistics of production and work the numbers. Jump into something you are passionate about. The Crowned Heads guys are a prime example of following what you love and carving your own path. If you have the cajones and the will, you will find a way.

I'm fortunate enough to have a great client in Crowned Heads cigars in Nashville. It is the strongest working relationship I've built. They trust me, and in turn I create some of the best and enjoyable creative I've ever produced for them. It's a joy, but it's hard to find other clients that understand the need for, understand the process of and value in creative work. Instead of functioning the rest of my life as a service, I've decided to branch out and marry my two passions in life, soccer and design to develop some products I believe in. I'm integrating this while maintaining the trifecta. The trifecta of successful creatives as coined by creative entrepreneur, SeanWes is 1-Client Work. 2-Teaching and 3-Products. I've got client work and teaching under control, but now it's time to take less client work and focus on my new venture. 

I'm knee deep in branding this next step. With design and strategy for the company in full swing, I'm excited to create products I'm passionate about and fill a gap in the global soccer lifestyle market.

I'll be sharing my progress along the way. Why would I tell people before it's up and running you ask? Won't people steal my ideas? It doesn't matter, because no one will do it as well as I think I can. Thanks for your support, and I look forward to showing you folks what I've got cookin'.

Stephen Jones