Business Not 101

Working hard to build a creative break with Linda Cajuste, Kimberley Chan founders of My Creative Break

March 08, 2022 Olivier Bousette Season 2 Episode 13
Business Not 101
Working hard to build a creative break with Linda Cajuste, Kimberley Chan founders of My Creative Break
Show Notes Transcript

Sometimes you need to travel far away to re energize and refocus on what is important to you, and sometimes it can be as simple as a small creative break and on today's episode, we talk with Linda and Kimberly, founders of My Creative Break, about her own travels that lead them to want to share and help others find their own creative sparks and joy.  We explore the ups and downs, and the Ah-Ha moments and so much more.

Kimberley Chan

Kim is a former corporate marketing girl who embarked on a creative journey a few years ago. She traveled the world, lived in different cities, and met people from all walks of life. Today she is a writer and 'freelance creative' who loves motivating people to do things they love and get out of their comfort zones. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn

Linda Cajuste 

Living the 9-5 life by day and balancing creative projects at night, Linda always felt like Clark Kent having to balance another identity. A few years ago, Linda was fortunate enough to take a sabbatical year. During that year, she moved to Paris, pushed her boundaries and was able to experiment and let her creativity shape her days. whether he was learning to shoot a short film or taking a stand-up workshop, she kept exploring. It was liberating. Upon returning from her sabbatical and back to her  9-5, she realized that she had to make time for her creativity no matter how busy life got. These days, Linda creates time to connect with her inner child by continuing to make time for things she loves like writing, coaching and improv theatre.

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Olivier: [00:00:00] Sometimes you need to travel far away to re-energize and refocus on what's important to you. And sometimes it could be as simple as a small creative break. Hi, I'm your host Olivier Bousette. And on today's episode, we talk with Linda and Kimberly founders of my creative break about their own travels that led them to want to share and help others find their own creative sparks and joy.

We explore the ups and downs, the aha moments and so much more. more

Olivier: Hi, Kim. Hi. Linda. Welcome to business. Not one-on-one.

Linda Hi.

Olivier: All right, guys, let's get right into it. Please introduce yourselves. 

Linda Sure. I'm Linda. I always see I'm an accountant by day and I'm a creative at night. So I'm a writer, I'm an improviser and I'm also a life coach.

Kim : I'm Kim and I'm all, I'm also a writer and I'm also what you call a multi creative. I enjoy everything creative [00:01:00] from from dancing to theater. Pretty much everything. I have always grown up doing something creative. So I enjoy talking about everything, creativity and everything that's related to.

Olivier: Excellent. All right, let's get the sixty second business pitch of my creative break 

Linda sure. So my creative break, we are a community that motivates busy professionals to basically connect to their creative side or creative workshops and experiences. It helps them escape their everyday routines and worries. So they'll feel energized and happier, which makes them also more positive alert, productive, even adventurous in their work or project.

Kim : I'm going to add that we also offer workshops and team-building programs to companies which help them strengthen their bond and communication within their team and drive product.

Olivier: Excellent. So when you guys started this, what was sort of [00:02:00] the aha moment behind it? 

Linda Yes. So it started for me. I was working a few years ago. I was working and I was very fortunate that I'm at my workplace. We are able to take a sabbatical. So I decided to take a sabbatical year and I called it my creative sabbatical. I decided that year would be the year that I would connect to, you know, my creativity.

So I went off to Paris for a year and two days a year. You know, I decided so. Me working for a, you know, a nine to five job being an accountant. But I decided to really explore all, you know, my creative side. So writing doing improv stand up. So, you know, really trying out a little bit of everything.

So after that here, when I came back I was very fortunate. I had my job, so I went back to work. However, I wanted to still have that feeling, that feeling that I could still connect to my creativity and continue to do. Things. So I was [00:03:00] looking for like a community. And I spoke to Kim and and that's where like, she'll tell her side of story, but that's when, you know, we started to thinking.

Yeah. We want to have like a community that motivates like people to just connect to the creative side. So yeah, I'll let Kim kind of continue the story.

Kim : Yeah. So I worked for a really long time in corporate marketing and at one point after doing it for so many years, I said, I kind of need a change. I feel like it's time for me to move on, but I didn't really know what I wanted to do. So I just decided that, you know, I'm going to drop everything and just take a break.

And I decided that I wanted to go and travel for a little bit because I never really had the opportunity to do that. So I kind of just left everything and. I went and I traveled to to Europe stayed in Spain for a little bit, lived there for a little bit, and then this more traveling to other [00:04:00] different countries and then went off to Asia and then decided to explore what it's like to live in Asia.

So I settled in Hong Kong for a little bit and Yeah. I mean, doing all, all of my travels, I got to do a lot of things that I hadn't had time to do while I was working like nine to five wake when I was here in Montreal. And I got to, I also got to try new things, like things that, like, I never thought that I would, I would do.

And I, I met a lot of people. And when I, when I came back to Montreal, you know, I was kind of thinking about it and I was comparing, you know, life here and life in Europe and life in Asia. And I was, and I was kind of thinking, you know, the way I feel now, I feel different from. Like how I felt when I, when I first left and I was trying to figure out why, why, why is that?

What is where's this coming from? Right. And I [00:05:00] realized that, you know, the people who, who have met in all my travels, the people who were the happy. Are the people who made time for themselves who took the time to actually do things that they like. And then I guess I was talking to Linda and like, you know, that's when we really realized, you know, when we were working here in Montreal, we never did that.

We never made time to do things that there'll be like a lot. We just worked and worked and work and that, you know, kind of had an effect on us.

Linda Yeah. And then, so by you know, talking, we said, okay, you know, we need to have like this kind of community where we can motivate people. And yeah. That's when, like we sat down and yeah. The idea. The creative break was born. 

Olivier: excellent. Now I got the pleasure of actually attending one of your events and I thought it was really brilliant and sort of, sort of brings me up. Did you guys hit any roadblocks when you're about to launch this idea or during your initial phase [00:06:00] launching this ? 

Linda Yeah. Yes. We didn't have a lot of, we had like a lot of roadblocks and I I've seen like the, the main roadblock that we had. For sure. It's, you know, just us like trying out you know, because we're, we're just new. We were new entrepreneurs, we starting up. So the first thing, the roadblocks we'll just say, okay, where do we get started?

Like where how do we really start this community? So that was like one of the first world blocks that we hit is just like getting the tools, getting organized and really getting started.

Kim : Yeah, we were, we also like only, only two people. So, you know, when, when we first got started, we kind of had to wear all the hats at once. Like we, we were everything. So, yeah, like, you know, and when we started, we, we had our day jobs. This would only a side project. So that was kind of hard to manage everything at once.

I mean, we all, we always have so many ideas, but we didn't have all the time to wait, execute them all.

Olivier: Yeah. I think [00:07:00] every entrepreneur, every startup in the world that's excellent. So sort of leads me to this great question. I started to ask. If you can go back in time and leave yourself a thirty second voicemail or something that you shouldn't have done, or you should have done, what would it be? 

Linda For me, I would say, I would tell myself, well, start sooner. Like don't be afraid and just start. I think that this is the biggest, like sometimes fear we have is just like, we take time to kind of plan for sure. We need to plan, but sometimes it's just like, you just need to get started. And, you know, so once you pass that, then, you know, you kind of learn and you have those plans and everything, but get started.

So starting sooner that that would be definitely like my voicemail to myself

Olivier: excellent. 

Kim : Yeah, I would say, you know, no, there are no bad ideas because you know, at, at the beginning we would kind of think aids is a good idea. If you know, it's just going to be worth doing so there's no bad idea. If you have an idea, just go for it because you know, When you get an [00:08:00] idea, it's because you believe in something.

And when you, when you believe in something it's going to, it's going to go far.

Olivier: Yeah, I think it's like one of those things where the imposter syndrome, where we doubt our ourselves and our ideas, is it going to work or not? And I think like, am I the right person to do this? 

Linda Yeah. 

Olivier: when you're, you've created this project, what's your Northern light. What's the one thing that guides you guys. What is your ultimate goal with this? 

Linda Yes. I would say like really helping people due to. Have fun in their lives. I bring this like sense of, of joy and calm and childlike kind of like, remember when we were young and we just playing we fought worry. So we want to bring that feeling. Cause we know like especially now more than ever you know, there's this kind of like disconnect.

There's also, you know, we work, work, work, and sometimes it's good to just like disconnect and connect with people and connect to things that we enjoy. So that. You know, when I talked to some of my friends and they're like, [00:09:00] oh, you know you did this and you're connecting to your creative D like, how do you do this?

Okay. You know, I tried to modify them to just like, okay, you can do, you can do this too. And why don't you try painting or what don't you do go back to things that she loved and you could see, like, there there's like this, this light on their face. And that really brings me joy. I really that's the feeling I want people to have.

And I guess that's the, or a kind of Northern light. We want people to feel that way, like when they come to our workshops or just like, even. Even if it's just like giving them advice of just try it, try something new. What is it? Something that you had a passion for that you may be pushed aside or you want to explore do it.

And I feel like that feeling at that, that brings us great joy. So that's.

Olivier: Yeah, that's.

a great point. So one of the things about your business is definitely a community-based, so you need to grow your community. 

Kim : Well, I mean, when we started, we kind of started [00:10:00] at an Instagram page. So we started motivating people on Instagram, posting, motivational quotes. And from there we kind of grew a community. I mean, they, they found us there. And they saw that we were also on Facebook. They joined us there. And we also, we also joined other communities to kind of like, you know, get to know other people and have other people like, get to know us.

So, you know, just, just putting ourselves out there, you know, whatever resources we had Yeah. Like yeah. Getting people who were, who were interested in, you know, what we're doing and why we doing, and just, you know, having natural conversations with whoever came, we came across like either in real life or on social media.

Linda Yeah. So organically and joining like networking events as well, I would say, but like, yeah, mostly organic and we're still. Again, learning still continue to learn that, you know, just to grow the community at using you know, other means social media, I would say to really [00:11:00] kind of grow at like, 

Olivier: Yeah. I had a one guest who actually used BNI, which is a local business network international. And I think is what it stands for cost you $25 or something. It's very small and she's managed to quadruple her business with that because it's something that's unique, but allows you to go to multiple different locations.

So definitely a community based networking in business networking is really big. I agree. 

Linda yes. Yes.

Yes. That's true.

Olivier: So what is your primary marketing strategy for you guys? How do you sort of marketing your services? 

Kim : Mostly through social media and our website. I mean, we, we also have a newsletter that we send to our community. And like every time we have something to announce and yeah, I mean, we, we attend like other communities, networking events and just word of mouth, you know, just by like speaking about what we do, like people.

Olivier: you find a lot of your business is [00:12:00] referral, like people coming across your Instagram and sort of joining you or, or from other people.

that already have joined you and you know, come and talk to other people, their friends, or, and other colleagues and bring him. 

Linda Yes, definitely. Definitely. So far referrals, it's people like you know, friends of friends or people that we met and you know, sometime I attend like a networking event. And so, you know, I would say like what we're doing and see, oh, you know, I met someone that's like, cut, could be interested in what she do and kind of connect us and, or attend or a few workshops.

And so definitely, definitely that's, that's one of the ways that we, you know, we grew up. 

Olivier: Excellent. And so moving forward, where do you guys think my creative is going to be in one year, in two years in five years. 

Linda Yeah. Great question. I would say for, for this year, like definitely want to grow you know, continue growing [00:13:00] organically, continue growing like you know, or groups or Facebook groups, but also starting like, you know we always started to kind of like reaching out to really like corporations, like really kind of like targeting more like.

Our clientele. So especially the corporate side, this is something that we want to develop. And also I would say. For the next few years continuing like, okay. The marketing, like there's a lot of means of social media. So, you know, the paid ads also being more like creative in it, just like being present on Instagram.

Now they have reels being creative to get out there and, and and grow or workshops or offerings in or products, especially for corporates. So that's like one of the big things too that we want. 

Kim : I'm going to add that, you know, right now we're operating like 100% online. All of our workshops and programs are all like done through zoom. So eventually, like, you know, when this pandemic guys down, we'd like to take that into like, you know, [00:14:00] real life we want, you know, we want people to have that real life connection and like to have that, you know, physical community.

So that's what we're hoping for.

Olivier: Excellent. And you guys talked about really corporates. So there's something that's really popping out a lot is sort of the special services. So what excites you about your industry? It moving forward, do you think this is a trend 

Linda yes, I think this is, will continue well into the future, especially after what we've been through from the, from the past, like two in two years or two and a half years almost. So. Coping coming also from, you know, the nine to five corporate world. I see that there's a need for you know, just emphasis and an emphasis on wellness and you know, connection and really it's just like kind of a Engagement more through other activities.

Not, that's not only like work-based, but also getting to know your colleagues. Sometimes it's hard, especially like let's see, virtually sometimes it's hard to really connect. Like [00:15:00] we would connect like normally. So I feel like there's really this need. And I, I, I guess like, yeah, it's not only a trend.

I think it will, it will stay, will remain.

Olivier: Yeah. Excellent. And do you think that in sort of the corporate world, where do you guys see your services sorta be rendered in the future? Do you believe like the companies are going to integrate I've had a lot of other guests talk about wellness and talk about their services. And I was always curious you know, some companies are starting to look into incorporate those as part of their everyday business practice. Certainly Google, I went to Google and they actually bring a lot of this in-house so you think it is something that's going to happen eventually? 

Linda Yes, definitely. I think so. And I, I see that already sometimes like you know, having their own kind of workshops inside. But I, I see it also, like, you know, there's a place for both like inside, but also like sometimes for big events you know, sometimes retreats having someone from. [00:16:00] You know, the, the outsider just like bringing something bigger you know, a team building or something that that's maybe that insight couldn't really do you know, by themselves or yeah, they have the, really the focus on that, but.

Yeah, I guess like I feel there's a place for both of them, but I do feel yes that in-house will, it will be competitive. The Dell, the corporate corporations will eventually like have their own in-house kind of yeah. Wellness and workshops in the, 

Olivier: It's certainly larger ones. Right? 

Linda yeah.

Olivier: You know, I had one guest and he has a, the happy startup school. And it was something when you guys mentioned retreats and create in person events. And he actually hosts these camp where they go away for a week. And so I was curious, is this something that when you go talk about your like three to five years down the road, is this something you guys are looking at doing retreats going outside of Montreal or outside of Canada, like going [00:17:00] somewhere else and bringing all of your community with your at least, you know, the ones who can go, but is that something you guys are looking at? 

Kim : Yeah, we, we have talked about it actually before the pandemic. When everything that we were planning was supposed to be awake in person. So we were talking about, you know, building. And making them network, having the space where people can, you know, feel safe and get creative and you know, just just like feel free and like meet other people.

So we were actually thinking, you know, like, you know, on top of having, having lead all our regular workshops or corporate workshops we would think of that maybe some of these people would like to. To go on retreats, you know, go for a weekend away somewhere to actually, you know, distress and in feel free and, you know have, have a way to just tap into their creative sides with, with no boundaries, but then the pandemic happened.

So you don't know where that's going to go. 

Olivier: Excellent. Well, there's some amazing ideas taking this group of [00:18:00] people and bring them something outside of their comfort zone somewhere that did just can't go home afterwards that they actually have to stay and get to know each other. 

So I love these, these ideas of retreats and concepts of taking people outside of their comfort zone. 

Linda Yes. And I would say, I would add to that, that, you know, because like both of us, like when we experimented, like we were going away, like we did the creative sabbatical, we, we went away. So I went to Paris and you know, You know, people always ask me like, oh, how do you plan for a creative sabbatical maybe away?

So that's something that we did talk about too, having maybe those kinds of travel kind of retreats, like, okay, go somewhere else. And, and really, like you said, like be outside of a comfort zone and experiment, you know just wearing a different hat for, for, you know, three months. Well one month, two months or whatnot, but having those kinds of experiences in other countries away from, you know, where you add in, so definitely. 

Olivier: Yeah.

I think it's life-changing one of the things that I always try to [00:19:00] do is whenever I traveled to a new city is I reach out to startups and to small businesses at coworking spaces that I like, we work and other ones locally, and I say, Hey, do you want to meet up for coffee? And I would say, You know, half the time people say yes and I get to meet people, but the people who are, they're not necessarily people from that city.

'cause they're startups and they're entrepreneurs. So they're from other parts of the world or other cities, certainly in the U S and it's always intriguing to get to, to meet them and obviously pre pandemic, unfortunately, but it's something that I feel is so important is to open up our worlds and not to be stuck in one little cylinder of a space.

So I think it's brilliant. All right, moving on. Now we want to get to know you guys as entrepreneurs. So my first question. Okay. What is one habit that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Kim : I mean, I guess. We're both naturally hard workers. And but I mean, what, what makes us succeed in this is that [00:20:00] like, we, we love what we do. Like we actually have a passion for it and we believe in our business and you know, that just makes us productive. Like, and you know, every time we meet, we motivate each other. And, you know, some, sometimes you, we have to meet at night and sometimes one of us was like, oh, I'm really tired. And the other one's like, no, no, we have to do this. We believe in it. Like we believe in it. We keep going and we stay productive.

Olivier: Excellent. I love that. I love that. So true. The moment you started wavering in the start-up scene, it's not good news. So you have to keep going. 

Linda Yes. 

Olivier: So now is, is there anything that makes you unproductive, something that takes away your time? Like for myself it's TikTok. I am. I got, I got rid of that app. It's been hours on that. 

Linda Yeah. I would say like both of us, like, because like, okay, we have like, or auto jobs and also we have other things that we're doing. Like, you know, I ride, I have, you know, you know, sometimes doing improv. So there's other things that like get our [00:21:00] attention. So we have to block off time and really kind of be disciplined.

It's like, okay, have her calendar. You know this, like for instance, Sunday, evenings, we work like business you know, plan a week. So we really have to kind of plan those times because it's not like it's really easy to get kind of filled in with Phil, like yeah. With everything else. 

Olivier: Yeah. It's a time just becomes overwhelming and just run out of it. Yeah. So, what is one thing that you guys feel gives you a real edge in your business? 

Linda I would get so in our business, what gives us an edge as well? Both of us like we, you know, do come for from like the nine to five corporate. Also we, we, we are a kind of like, we experiment what we were, right. That offering like this, this connect and connecting to our creative side. I, that gives us an edge because we really do know what we're talking about, what we experience.

We know the feeling and we want to people to feel the same, like good feelings to connect to their creativity. Also I would say. [00:22:00] The only thing that gives us an edge. Like we are, you know, we're very creative both of us in different ways. We have a lot of ideas, so we kind of like, okay, execute.

Or if something is not working, we're really quick to just like, we have the other idea already there. So I feel like that gives us an edge too, because it's just like, okay, let's move on. We, we brainstorm. Okay. Next if that's not working, we haven't always another idea for that. So.

Olivier: Yeah. 

Kim : Yeah. I mean, we go knowledge combined is like, Just like, like everything, like she has an accounting finance background. I have, I have more of the marketing and like the arts background. So we kind of have like the different knowledge too, but with, to kind of get going with whatever we need to do. So like, you know, I'll handle things like websites and ads while she handles like other things.

So even though we all have to wear like a million hats at once, it kind of works out very well. Yeah.[00:23:00] 

Linda oh, sorry. No, I was just saying also like for our workshops, like both of us, we have like this, like we had the improv brag bow, and we, you know, we love people. We love kind of like, you know, entertaining and motivate people to get out of the comfort zone. So, or workshops. Like we, we, it comes through like the, this kind of, of, of just like wanting to people to really feel safe and also getting them out of their comfort zone and having fun.

Olivier: Excellent. Excellent. All right. What is one routine that you guys do daily or weekly that helps you stay grounded? Certainly when you're in a startup world and in a small business, it's constantly go, go, go, go. So. It brings you back and relaxes from yoga. For example, for me, it's writing my journal every day and how I feel, how I'm feeling, how I physically and mentally, and then what I want to accomplish that day and things that bothered me the day before sort of empty out myself when my journal. 

Kim : Oh, [00:24:00] yeah. Well, for me, it's just, you know, it was just about like taking a little bit, a little bit of time just to, to do like something that's not work-related so something fun. So it may maybe one day, I'll just like, you know, I'll do some reading when other day I'll do some writing another day, I'll like, you know, completely switch gears and, you know, just start dancing in my living room.

So yeah.

Linda for me. Yeah. For me, like I have like this new morning routine, so really take time to just like, you know, having this like five minutes morning meditation, I try to really start the day with that. So I completed since last year. And it's been something that's like keeps me grounded. And also I would say like really I love writing and building other worlds.

So when I, you know, I'm into like building, like my story I love that. So I would say writing, I, and also I won't lie like Netflix and chill is always good for this. It's always something that disconnects me. So yeah.

Olivier: Excellent. So what is one piece of [00:25:00] technology that you guys use daily that you could not live without? 

Kim : Oh, that'll probably be zoom. Like we're on zoom all time.

Linda Yeah, I guess, yeah. These past years zoom as really like, yeah. 

Olivier: interesting. It's the first time somebody said zoom, everyone else has said phone, computer, whatever the, but that's, 

Linda Yeah. Cause you cause even the two for a meeting, like, you know, like, oh, we've been loved downs. Like even if we're physically in the same city, we've been doing our meetings mostly through zoom. Like we haven't met physically. We, not that much during the pandemic. So if there was no zoom, like of course it would be phoned, but like at least like that adds like something.

So say yeah, definitely zoom during the pandemic could spend like, yeah. 

Olivier: Excellent. Excellent. All right. Questions. I sort of end all my interviews with is what is one business book that you guys have read or business related book that you would suggest the audience to read that really helped you guys. [00:26:00] 

Linda Yeah. I'd say for, for me, like, it was like it's a book that's called, like the 24, like discipline intrepreneurship ISIS steps for startup. It's by bill audit. So and that book. It's just like for people who start like a startup, it gives like 24 steps. And yeah, I feel like it's, it's been I've been reading it, just trying to find kind of a.

Let's say a plan, something that's morally. Okay. We we've went to through the steps, some steps, not in the exact order, but it gives just a sense of just like, okay, where am I at and where it needs to go. And it applies to most businesses. And I think that. Well, this book that was more of a teacher from MIT, I believe.

And it's more like, yeah. Technology, but I feel like the applies to everyone. So I would definitely someone that's starting up in the most kind of have to have the steps to follow. I feel like it's, it's pretty good.

Olivier: . Well, that's it for all the questions. Now, I'm going to leave you guys, but with one more, how could [00:27:00] the audience come and connect with you guys? What's the best way to come out and reach you? Is it on LinkedIn or on Twitter? What's the best way they can come and connect and have a conversation with you guys. 

Kim : Yeah. They can reach us in any way that they want. Our website is my creative We're also on like every social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. We're really easy to find is at my creative break on everything. So whatever way they want to reach out to us, like we're all with their.

Olivier: Well, I want to thank you both for joining me today. It was an absolute pleasure. 

Linda Yes. It was a pleasure. Thank you so much for having us.

Kim : You. Thank you

 Olivier: I want to thank you for joining us today. We hope that these podcasts give you some insights from the stories and experiences of the founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners who share with us. And we hope that you find some useful takeaways that help you along your own business journey. Like always please follow and leave us a review until next time.