Meet Ashland Viscosi, Founder of Creatives Meet Business

In her own words, Ashland Viscosi shares insight on how she started her own business and more so, how those who are interested can get involved.

Tell us about CMB. When did you launch it? How has it grown?

Sure! Creatives Meet Business (CMB) all began with our roundtable event series that launched three years ago. These events provide insights and knowledge into seeing yourself as a business owner, and after you’ve checked that box, you then learn how to be successful and sustainable in creating and growing your business. In addition to learning, these events are all about connecting attendees—creatives and entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds—with each other. About two or so months after starting up the event series, I started producing a podcast from content shared at the roundtable events. The podcast (Creatives Meet Business Podcast) is a great way to learn, or refresh yourself, on every business topic under the sun. If we haven’t produced it yet, don’t worry, we’ll get there! Then, there’s The Creatives Meet Business Experience, or CMBXP for short, which was first established two years ago and takes place in Austin, TX each September. Over the course of three days, there are over 50 hands-on workshops, mentorship sessions, and nightly happy hours that are all about helping attendees connect meaningfully with each other and learn the skills they need to thrive in business.

What was your motivation to create this type of event?

The underlying goal and motivation of everything I do with Creatives Meet Business is to have a connected and empowered community. But specifically where and when inspiration struck to create CMB, and by proxy CMBXP, occurred when I was working in the indie film scene and at an arts-based non-profit. I’d be at a film screening and look around and see a lot of familiar faces – mostly fellow filmmakers or folks in college studying film. In a lot of ways I loved this, but then it hit me, it was the same crowd night after night… 

Austin’s a city rich in creativity across all sectors, why wasn’t there more support from the other art and creative scenes, those not involved in film? What I wanted to discover was how can we widen the communities of support, not just for film, but for all of the creative sectors, and help everyone achieve financial sustainability. How could I help folks see themselves as business owners and then equip them with all of the tools they need to tackle entrepreneurship successfully. And that’s how Creatives Meet Business was born.

For people who want to participate as panelists, how can they get on your radar?

I absolutely love meeting new folks and chatting about opportunities! As I don’t have an open submission process or call for speakers, interested folks would need to reach out to me directly and be ready to grab a cup of coffee.

How do you come up with programming for the event?

Several ways, but it’s always based on the needs of my audience that they’ve either said directly or that I’ve anticipated. I love surveys, I think they’re an integral part of what I do and develop. Having said that, I ask all kinds of questions, either directly or indirectly, that 

help me gage the topics that my audience most needs and wants to learn. I survey after all of my events - every roundtable and after CMBXP.

Are there any supplemental events we should be on the lookout before next year’s CMB?

You bet! The dates for next year’s CMBXP are: 9/19/19 – 9/21/19. More information and badges will be available in April, 2019. In the meantime, there are roundtable events every other month. Our next one is December 11th with Capital Factory. If personalized goal planning or individual consultation is more your speed, just reach out, we offer those services too!

Rapid Fire Questions:

What was the last thing you read?

I just finished, like 20 minutes ago just finished, Farsighted by Steven Johnson. It’s an awesome book that’s all about the decision-making process and ways we can improve our long-term decision making

What’s your favorite podcast?

I like several, but my absolute favorite is NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! I also love Up First! With all of the negativity surrounding politics (and I LOVE politics, I have two degrees in Political Science), I’m having trouble staying current with all of my favorite pundits. Up First has been a blessing in that I can get a quick update on all-things news and politics without the negativity from longer-form political news sources.

Favorite productivity tip?

How serendipitous! My most recent roundtable (10/2) was all about productivity! Sadly for me though, I didn’t sit in and hear anything, but an attendee reflected on something that was shared that was absolutely brilliant! While not quite productivity related, I think it’s really clever! Instead of waking each day to an alarm clock, this speaker had a light that was on a timer. At a specific time each morning, the light acted as an alarm and started to brighten to simulate daylight. It seemed like a wonderful and far less jarring way to wake up each morning!

What is the best advice you've ever received?

I wouldn’t quality this as advice per se, but I read this recently and it has really stuck with me. “What happens fast is illusion, what happens slowly is reality. The job of the long view is to penetrate illusion” – Stewart Brand. This quote was used to make a point about long-term decision-making, but it makes me think about how nothing is built overnight and how long things really take to grow and develop. It’s like the expression “all overnight successes take about 10 years.”

Favorite Happy Hour in Austin

Tough question! I like many and for many different reasons. If I’m in the mood for a cheese plate, the answer is Blue Dahlia. Their cheese plate (which is a quarter pound of cheese for $10) is divine and they have several wines to choose from for $5. I also LOVE El Chile. Their margaritas are SO delicious and I’m all about their queso fundido with chorizo.

Ashland Headshot