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Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness

Creative Business Coach Justine Clay
An audio magazine exploring creative culture and rooting into purpose even when we’re out on a limb.

In Conversation with Justine Clay

On this week’s episode, Ioana sits down (well, Skypes) with Justine to talk about what it’s like to build a creative business. Even if you’re a company of one, she says, it’s beneficial to think about yourself as the CEO of a business first, and a creative maker second. This way, you shape your processes and client base to steer where you want to be in the world. With a freelancer mindset, we’re often locked into a loop of trying to get more projects.

“There are only so many things you can do to get more gigs, but if you’re building a business, then you’re building a model of something.”

— Justine Clay

Key Principles

We talk about positioning, creating a value proposition, and scaffolding to support the products and offerings you’re putting out in the world. Depending on the nature of your business, this may be in the form of a book, a seminar, a podcast, digital services, etc. Wherever you play, let those channels touch the ideal clients you’ve identified and spread your message.

We also talk about the process of learning:

“You either need to hear it put in a certain way or you need to hear it a certain time. So I could hear the same conversation about positioning from 25 different teachers and then I’ll be in one audience hearing someone talk about it and—BOOM! I get it.”

Justine’s Process

We dive deep in to study how Justine develops her coaching services. We peek into her growth curve and valuable lessons she’s picked up over 15 years working with creative professionals. Here’s a nugget she learned that changed her:

“As the coach, it wasn’t this top down approach of knowledge for me to one person. It was a co-creative process, not just between me and the participants, but between the participants too.”


Learning is intentional. We find success when we are deliberate about where we wanna improve. Getting really clear about our purpose and who we serve is critical in establishing a business model. It gives us a framework to play with.

Embracing the fact that we don’t have all the answers and still showing up to support our ideal clients is powerful. We create a positive impact when we make someone’s life a little easier, clearer, connected — and it doesn’t have to be a tidal wave. Incremental, intentional impact is where it’s at.

We don’t need tens of thousands of followers. We need a few strong signals of encouragement from a few people that we’re on the right path. For Justine and Ioana, their life’s work is about cultivating resonance, not reach.

“Have a beginner’s mind. Don’t think you know anything. If someone wants to tell me about how to create an ideal client profile, even though that’s my favorite part of the process, I’m like, bring it on. I would love to hear what your approach is. If someone’s got an approach, and there’s one piece of it I really like, I integrate it into mine. I’m not trying to reinvent some proprietary process or system. I’m trying to find out what works for my community.”

About Justine

Justine is a creative business coach, entrepreneur, writer, and speaker, dedicated to helping purpose-driven creative entrepreneurs and freelancers position, market and profit from their unique creative expertise. She is based in New York City and works with clients across the world. Find her at


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