71 episodes

I am a producer, project manager, and business specialist. I created this podcast because I’m passionate about helping business owners, freelancers & other self-employed creatives succeed… and have fun doing it.

There’s nothing like the privilege of working for yourself – making your own rules, owning your time, and trusting your instincts to make the right decisions. But I’ll be honest – it’s not always easy. It can feel overwhelming with all the things you have to do, but you CAN do it – you just have to be motivated and willing to do the work.

My tips will help you handle the “business” side of things so you can focus on your talent. I’ll share the common issues we face, along with the solutions that have worked for me and my clients.

You already have everything you need to succeed. I’m just here to guide you.

Business for Self-Employed Creatives Aardvark Girl | Amanda McCune

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 20 Ratings

I am a producer, project manager, and business specialist. I created this podcast because I’m passionate about helping business owners, freelancers & other self-employed creatives succeed… and have fun doing it.

There’s nothing like the privilege of working for yourself – making your own rules, owning your time, and trusting your instincts to make the right decisions. But I’ll be honest – it’s not always easy. It can feel overwhelming with all the things you have to do, but you CAN do it – you just have to be motivated and willing to do the work.

My tips will help you handle the “business” side of things so you can focus on your talent. I’ll share the common issues we face, along with the solutions that have worked for me and my clients.

You already have everything you need to succeed. I’m just here to guide you.

    Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

    Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

    The demand for remote work and flexible schedules was there long before the pandemic forced employers to let people work from home. Now that it's proven as a possible, and often beneficial, option, many workers are not willing to go back to that archaic 40-hour work week structure.


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    If you have a topic you'd like to hear about on this podcast, let me know at info@aardvarkgirl.com or DM me on social @aardvarkgirl.


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    When I first started consulting, I noticed a common theme amongst employees. They were annoyed by the standard 40-hour work week, having to be in the office every day, and being forced to work in an environment in which they weren’t particularly efficient. And this was in 2015, long before the pandemic forced businesses to allow people to work from home. At the time, I worked in an office full-time, too, and was equally irritated by what a total waste of time it was. It was an issue with a lot of people I knew, in different positions and industries. Why did we need to be in a specific space for a specific schedule that was based on archaic factors?


    We know I’m a logical person, and there is no logic in this framework anymore.


    I can accept Monday through Friday as a work week. That’s pretty much engrained into the American ritual and it’s fine. I think we should have more than 2 days off, but that’s not always feasible.


    But the 8am to 5pm with lunch from 12pm-1pm schedule doesn’t make any sense. For most of us, sometimes our work is going to take more than 40 hours a week and sometimes less. We need to be able to manage that time based on our workload. Our time working should be dictated by how long we need to get our jobs done, not based on a pre-determined and irrelevant number of hours.


    Also, chances are that the most efficient schedule is not going to be that regimented. It’s going to utilize pockets of time throughout the day, not just in that one big 8-hour chunk.


    If you have kids and you want to take them to their after-school activities, you should be able to do that. It might mean that you stop for a few hours in the afternoon and then work a little bit after dinner, but then you’re going to be much happier because you’re getting that important time with your family AND still doing your job responsibly.


    If you have personal appointments, or friends in town, or you’re not feeling well and need to rest for a bit, or if you’re not a morning person and spend the first few hours of the day not getting much done because you’re not fully alert yet, or whatever the case may be, it is counterproductive to try to force a work schedule that doesn’t actually work for your life.


    There are times when a team needs to be together for meetings to discuss things as a group. Some people are extroverts and get the energy they need from being in a room with other people. Others are introverts and that energy actually takes away from their ability to work well. Most are somewhere in between those two. So as the boss, if you are forcing one or the other, meaning everyone has to be there every day or no one has to be there any day, you’re preventing an entire group from being the best employees they could be.


    And the common thing I sadly heard from those owners back then was “I need them to be in the office so I can make sure they’re doing what they are supposed to do.” Most people are self-motivated when given the opportunity. Some do need to be managed or told what to do, but if you hire the right people, and communicate with them properly, you should never have to micromanage. A short conversation can reveal everything you need to know about them and their working styles, and how to create a schedule that maximizes the benefits to you and them. It’s not that hard.


    There’s a reason why, when I’m doing an evaluation for a company, I ask to speak individually wit

    • 9 min
    Gilda Graham: The Hero‘s Journey

    Gilda Graham: The Hero‘s Journey

    Gilda Graham is an actor, screenwriter and Emmy-nominated producer. She also helps others navigate the stressful nature of the film and television industry through her coaching program, "The Hero's Journey," in which she helps people write their own scripts by figuring out where they are now, where they want to be, and guiding them on their path to get there.


    In this episode, we discuss her passion for the film industry, and why she had to pursue that career path, even if it wasn't what her family wanted for her. Her journey, like the journey many creatives take, has taken many twists and turns along the way, but they all led her to the place she is right now - exactly where she's meant to be.


    Gilda explains the importance of understanding and managing your finances so you can afford the freedom to say no to jobs you don't want and focus on the ones you're passionate about (spoiler alert: you don't need to make a ton of money to be money smart).


    We talk a lot about trust - trusting yourself, the people you hire, and the people you work with, and also trusting that life will take you where you're meant to go, even if it happens slower than you might like. We also touch on the importance of avoiding burnout by taking breaks, honoring your visions, and finding a few minutes each day to do something healthy for your mind.


     


    Connect with Gilda: https://www.gildagraham.com/


    Instagram @miss_ggraham


    Twitter @gildagraham


    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTgk_yxX7qzEI2F6T6L7dw


     


    Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl


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    00:18 I've always wanted to go into the film industry. When I was about 12 or 13, it was just something that I...something was calling to me. I loved storytelling. I loved being able to tell a story and to move people.


    05:07 It took me a while to trust the process. You always want to be in control of your own life, and that's something that I've learned through energy healing, like doing Reiki. And then also just letting go, and surrendering, and understanding that you are in control of your life in a sense. But for me, I believe life also knows and controls that aspect and it just goes a lot slower than you. So, you have to be completely patient in some way but just kind of keep the ball rolling.


    08:23 It's part of growing up in your first few jobs. Whether it's in studio, or corporate, agency, whatever it is, you're going to learn who you want to work with, and who you don't want to work with. It takes time. It takes energy to figure that out, and it does take money. And people don't realize that money and finances have a huge part to play in you actually working on things that you want, as opposed to you don't want. But it's a huge part of it, because you can afford then to say no to somebody.


    13:21 And I think what you learn in acting, if you have a good coach, is trust. You have to trust the other people. You have to trust that they know how to make the right decisions. And if they don't, you come out of love, and you make it for them without making it seem as though you're choosing. And that kind of comes into all aspects of a job. You have to trust the people that you hire to do the job. You have to trust yourself to hire the right people. And then you have to trust the people to know that they love their job enough to do it correctly.


    17:22 I was just at a Fortune 500 corporate company, and one of the only other female producers, I remember her saying something along the lines of, “This is dog eat dog. And if I have to just care for myself, then I guess that's how it's gonna be.” And it’s a small department, so if you’re eating somebody, you’re eating your coworker, and we all know it. We all understand what you’re talking about.


    20:04 There is a lot of unhealthiness going on, and that you have to be around, to get the p

    • 50 min
    How to Function When You've Said Yes to Too Many Projects

    How to Function When You've Said Yes to Too Many Projects

    Even with the best boundaries and understanding the importance of not overdoing it, we sometimes find ourselves in that situation where we've taken on too much. Here's how I got to that place and what I do to get through it.


    Please leave a review and subscribe so you never miss an episode! Questions and comments can also be emailed to info@aardvarkgirl.com


    Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl


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    As I’m about to start recording, I’m reminded of this college English class where I had to write a paper that instructed readers how to do something, step by step. At the time, I worked a full-time job, a part-time job, and was going to school full-time, so finding time to keep up with silly things like schoolwork was a bit challenging. I’m not always great at coming up with topics to write about, and I had a hard time thinking of something I did often enough I could write instructions for it. And, of course, I was running out of time because it was due the next day, so I ended up writing instructions for how to drive yourself crazy by waiting until the last minute to write a paper for your class. My professor seemed to enjoy it because it was a humorous take on the topic. It was not unlike what I’m about to say now, many many years later.


    We all know I’m a big fan of setting and honoring boundaries. I acknowledge the importance of work-life balance and making sure self-care is a priority. I have no problem saying no or being transparent when I just don’t have the bandwidth to take on another project. But even when we’re armed with the best principles and the clearest understanding of how to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our businesses, sometimes we end up in a predicament where we’ve taken on too much. You’ve been there, right? You had it all under control, but then one deadline got moved up, and another project increased in scope, and one client really needs your help and suddenly you’re in too deep. What do you do?


    This is where I’ve found myself the last couple of months. It’s almost comical at this point, but it also kind of fits in with the norm. It seems like traditionally my work cycles are all at once or not at all. Feast or famine, so to speak. The… predicament, I’ll say, because it’s not exactly a problem… is that the last 2 years have pretty much been a nonstop feast. And while we know in reality I do like to eat, in this metaphor it wouldn’t exactly hurt for me to go on a diet for a little bit. I say this with my usual disclaimer that I am incredibly grateful to have had so much work during a time when my primary industry was mostly shut down, and when many others have not been so fortunate. But production has come back full force and I know so many people who are in a similar place right now, where the work is just flooding in and they’re trying to balance it all.


    I was talking to a friend recently about everything going on and she asked how I managed to get to this place when I’m usually so good about not taking on too much. It’s a valid question because it does seem like I’ve failed to take my own advice about saying no and putting myself first and all that fun stuff that I truly do believe. But, sometimes the best decision for yourself is actually the one that puts someone else first, and that’s kind of what happened.


    I’ve set my business up in a way that allows me to work on multiple things at any given time. It comes with a lot of perks. If one area is slow, I have other things bringing me income. This proved invaluable during that time when there was no production work. If that was all I did, I would’ve been in a bad place for a bit. It also keeps me engaged because I’m not doing the same things all the time. Every day is different depending on what projects I have going on. And it allows me to wo

    • 11 min
    Solopreneurship 101: A Quick Intro to Running a One-Person Business

    Solopreneurship 101: A Quick Intro to Running a One-Person Business

    If you want to get started with your one-person business, you might not be sure where to start. Here is a super quick introduction to what it takes to become a solopreneur.


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    Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl


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    I’m still not sure how I feel about these made-up words like solopreneur, but they seem to be common so I’m doing my best to embrace them. I think the word entrepreneur has been overused to the point it hass lost its original meaning. Everyone is some kind of preneur these days. But I get the sentiment and this episode isn’t to challenge what’s appropriate in the preneur space. It’s about what it takes to be a solopreneur, or a single person business.


    The most common comment I get in my business sessions is “I don’t know what I don’t know.” It’s coming from people who are wanting to start their businesses but aren’t quite sure where to start. They often already have full-time job jobs and would like to leave them but how do you know when it’s the right time? If it’s the right decision? How do they know they won’t mess it up and regret the decision?


    The thing is, there never really is a “right” time. It’s all about choices and how hard you’re willing to work to make it work, if self-employment is actually what you want. It’s good to arm yourself with information, but not to overwhelm yourself so much you get stuck and don’t make any progress at all.


    To me, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that, no matter what service or product you’ll be providing, you will be running a business. You have to stay in that mindset. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “business-y” person, there are certain things you’re going to have to do. So here is a quick Intro to Solopreneurship.


    First, form your business. Pick a name, get your licenses, define your services, and start offering them. Don’t spend too much time worrying about whether you need an LLC or not. You will not find the answer by Googling because it depends on a lot of personal factors. So if you want to save a lot of time and confusion, discuss it with your accountant to see if it’s the right choice for you. Otherwise, you can start as a sole proprietor and change it later if it makes sense.


    Second, set up your accounts. As soon as possible, you want to open separate bank accounts so you aren’t mixing your business and personal funds. It’s a huge red flag to the IRS if you don’t have that separation and can hurt you when it comes to business deductions. All business income should go into those accounts and all business expenses should come out of those accounts. It doesn’t mean you can’t transfer your money to or from your personal accounts as needed, but you need to show that paper trail of it flowing through the business account first.


    If you end up setting up or filing as an S Corp, keep in mind that how you withdraw money is going to be different than if you’re a sole proprietor or single member LLC, so make sure to discuss that with your accountant in that case.


    After you’ve done those two things, you’re running a business. Congratulations!


    So then what? Now you get to work. And as a single-person business, that means you’re wearing a lot of hats, so it becomes a balancing act of getting all the things done. It can feel like a lot in the beginning, but you’ll get in a rhythm as you go. You’ll figure out your systems, how to make the most of your time, and which things are worth outsourcing so you don’t have to deal with them.


    One of the most important, and most people’s least favorite hats, is the bookkeeper hat. You can’t get around it. You’re going to make and spend money and there’s this lovely agency called the IRS that needs to know about it. It’s so important to stay on top of your money. Not just for

    • 7 min
    Aiden Clark McFarland: Be Limitless

    Aiden Clark McFarland: Be Limitless

    He's a business and lifestyle coach with a gender-free clothing line called Limitless. He helps other creatives not only think outside the box, but blow up the box entirely. Please welcome Aiden Clark McFarland.


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    Connect with Aiden:


    https://www.limitlesswearables.com/


    Twitter @AidenLimitless


    Instagram @aidenislimitless


    YouTube: Be Limitless and Queerate


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    Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl


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    00:40 Instead of just a bump, it became a wall of like, do I keep wanting to push other people's visions forward or do I want to start finding my own? Can I build something that incorporates all these different elements of myself without restricting them? That's where I went, what can I do? How can I start building this? I literally started looking for ways to build an income from scratch. That gradually became a lifestyle.


    03:50 I ended up leaving that company, just doing things on my own, and really cultivating my client roster until instead of "I'm just going to work and keep getting clients and keep getting income," I started fostering it down to which of these clients do I feel passionate about their projects? Do I feel they're including me versus me just being a cog in their machine? I really was able to fine-tune. By that point, I had replaced my job income. I set a date and I left my job.


    07:24 I was not happy with the clothes I was finding off the rack. They didn't express what I wanted to express. If I went to the women's section, it wasn't built for my body. If I went to the men's section, it was drab and boring. I wanted to find more clothes that fit me, and then I finally had this duh moment of, well, I sew. I've been making costumes and stuff for years. Why don't I start making clothing for myself? Why don't I start a clothing line?


    09:43 Then it just became, well, now that I'm making these clothes, of course, they're all going to have pockets. The first round of clothing is very unisex, very gender-free, with more tunics, robes, and things like that. 


    12:00 I was just going to tease it out like, here's an item. I'd take it to shows. When that became not an option, I had to really look at this, get really serious, and build a business plan. How much would it really take to create a full line out the gate? What would that look and how much would I need? I did the Kickstarter. It got fully funded. It's amazing. 


    19:05 I was just hearing similar themes through all the conversations of like, “But I don't, I don't want to offend anybody.” A lot of fear of being seen and fear of being heard. Also, “Nobody is going to be interested in what I'm creating. It's not good enough. I need to do more before I can share it.” A lot of that are holding ourselves back because we don't think we're ready or good enough. As I started getting out of my own way, really getting out there, showing my voice, getting on social media, starting a YouTube channel, and putting out the clothing line, I was like, I have this experience of my own to share plus my years in business and admin.


    21:30 The more of our artist friends that I was helping with little business things, the more I was seeing that all the business help in the world wasn't going to get them where they wanted to be because they were still holding themselves back out of the fear of not being good enough, or “My product isn't going to do the thing or be what people want.” What they needed was to get comfortable with their voice, with their creativity, with putting it out there, and just letting it go into the world. Letting your child go out into the world and see what happens. 


    24:51 Look at the materials you've used to create that piece of art. What did they cost you? What practice and training have you done? Did you go to art school? Have you been drawing every day for 10 years and that's how you'

    • 45 min
    Stop Treating Women This Way

    Stop Treating Women This Way

    Even with all of the recent momentum in the right direction, women are still being mistreated at work. We're still being talked down to, ogled, touched, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable when we're just trying to do our jobs. A lot of men don't even realize this is happening, even when they're at the same place. We need to keep speaking up for ourselves and others until this behavior stops.


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    Please leave a review and subscribe so you never miss an episode! Questions and comments can also be emailed to info@aardvarkgirl.com


    Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl


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    Assuming you’ve listened to previous episodes, you probably know I don’t like to focus on problems because I’m more interested in solutions. I’m an eternal optimist who believes everything works out the way it’s supposed to. I look for the best in everyone. I don’t hold grudges. I treat everyone with kindness without losing sight of my boundaries. I do understand that not all people do the same.


    With this podcast, I like to keep things light. I do have a bit of a tough love approach at times, but it’s always from a place of wanting to help. I talk about serious business topics but I’m not exactly controversial in my opinions. I stay out of debates and respect that people have the right to make their own choices, even if they don’t agree with mine. Some might say that’s playing it safe, but I’m not into the drama. It’s not my place to change people’s opinions. When I speak about business, I’m speaking from experience. And I give a lot of disclaimers that my way might not work for everyone because we’re all so different.


    But when it comes to how people, especially women, are treated, I don’t think it’s so subjective. There’s right and there’s wrong. It shouldn’t be controversial. But I don’t know why, especially in recent years when there’s been so much momentum, we’re still so far behind where we should be.


    I realize that one thing I’ve enjoyed about not being on a set in the past year and a half is that I haven’t had to deal with people misbehaving in person. My first job back I was reminded that there are still so many issues  with how women are treated, whether it’s being talked down to, expected to do certain tasks based on gender and not position, or being ogled or touched in uncomfortable ways. It’s not all men and it’s not on every job, but it’s happening far too often and I think we should talk about it.


    I’ve had a lot of conversations about this recently and what I’m finding is that most women are still experiencing this, and that most men don’t realize it’s happening, even when they’re working at the same place. They don’t think it’s an ongoing problem because they’re just not aware. I think part of this is because they don’t pay attention. I don’t even mean that as a criticism. It’s more that they’re focused on their own job and not looking at what everyone else is doing. Also, the offenders are usually smart enough to know they can’t act inappropriately when others are around to witness it. And some of them sadly don’t realize when what they’re doing is inappropriate or making someone else uncomfortable. The lack of awareness is an issue in itself.


    Based on a collection of stories from women I’ve talked to, here are some of the many things we shouldn’t have to deal with, but for some reason still are. These scenarios have all happened within the last year, so I’m not talking about the way things used to be. I’m talking about how they are now.


    We shouldn’t have to wear baggy clothes in hopes it will cover our figures so men don’t gawk while they talk to us or watch us walk by.


    We shouldn’t have to do our best to be “one of the guys” so we don’t attract the wrong attention.


    We shou

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

_badasscass_ ,

Very Informative

Great format. Great length. Great content.

sarah.heeter ,

Sharp and smart!

Perfect length! Love this show... so appreciated for this voice in this space!

kim.matthe ,

Very approachable and full of ideas and info

Aardvark Girl is engaging while presenting helpful, topical information. As a freelance creator, I’m so glad I found this podcast—I know the info will be helpful for me moving forward! Many of the episodes are tiny bite-size listens, from 5-20 minutes, so you don’t have topic or host fatigue.

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