Friday, November 23, 2012

Favorite Friend Friday: Melanie Biehle of Inward Facing Girl & genuineMIX

The perfect Jane-of-all-trades, Melanie Biehle is one of those special people that seems to have about three thousand talents. Aside from being pals, we were lucky enough to be one of her first clients in her brand new business, genuineMIX: a creative consulting, branding and design business. Working with her was excellent and we learned sooo much. Walking away from our meetings made us feel empowered to build Assemble in the direction we want. On top of all of that, her successful blog, Inward Facing Girl, is a delightful read, and completely inspiring. Meet this week's Favorite Friend!

Melanie Biehle Inward Facing Girl and genuine mix photo by sandra harris rain coast cottage
Photo by Sandra Harris

Tell us a little bit about how you came to be a blogger and consultant, and Inward Facing Girl.
I've always written things and kept diaries, ever since I was a little girl. When I was a teenager, that turned into bad poetry. Then when I got older I started exploring short fiction, essays, and screenwriting.

In 2003 I moved to Los Angeles to become a screenwriter. I'd worked in market research in Seattle, so I decided that I'd take a day job in film marketing until I became the next Nora Ephron. My political romantic comedy never made it to the big screen, but I did option my screenplay, which is pretty cool.

inward facing girl melanie Biehle typewriter
Inward Facing Girl

Ultimately, working in the film industry killed my creative mojo. I spent my time working long hours and telling studios how to market and edit their films. After that kind of day, I just didn't have the energy to work on my own stuff. In 2008 I moved back to Seattle, far away from moviemaking, and started Inward Facing Girl to ease myself back into creative writing. I never planned for it to be such a huge part of my career or that creating that blog would provide inspiration to start my own consulting business.

You've just launched your brand new business website, genuineMIX. We were so happy to be one of your first clients! What kinds of services do you offer?
Fun ones! I offer social media and branding consultations, graphic design services, and creative coaching. I'm interested in several different things, like a lot of creatives are, but I've found that these services really complement each other and give me a way to combine my educational and professional background in a unique and authentic way.

inward facing girl melanie Biehle genuine mix

What is it like to work for yourself? What are the downsides and upsides?
It's pretty awesome. I love being in charge of my own day. I can decide how I want to spend my time and if I want to get dressed or not. I love being able to do work that I'm completely passionate about, and that I know there are opportunities out there that I haven't even thought about yet. The downside of being a creative entrepreneur is related to an upside - I love being in charge of my day, but it's all on me. I'm the one who is responsible for bringing in new clients. I'm the one who is responsible for marketing myself and my work. I'm the one who is responsible for my own income. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time!

What would your advice be for anyone who wants to be their own boss, whether in the creative field or not?
Have at least a partial plan. Be open to switching gears if something doesn't work out exactly the way you'd hoped. Organize your time! That's a huge one. Typically when you're starting out all the work falls on you and you have to make room for the day-to-day and the big picture.

How do you balance being a mom and wife while working at home?

It's interesting. My husband works from home too. Until recently we both worked side by side in the same room, then one morning I asked him to help me move my desk into our bedroom. I'm probably more productive now. :) I have a two-year-old son who is in day care 5 days a week, so when he is gone I am in full-time work mode. I try not to do too much work on the weekends, but it's not always realistic when you start a new business. If I have to work on weekends, I try to do everything really early in the morning while my husband and son are still sleeping or during my son's nap time. Balance is something I'm constantly adjusting.

Do you have any new projects you are excited about?
I'm excited about getting new projects! I finished redesigning my website earlier this month, just met a lot of incredible people when I went to Camp Mighty that I'm hoping to work with, and I'm speaking at Altitude Design Summit in January. I'm excited to see what 2013 will be like, and I'm looking forward to meeting and working with some awesome people.

smilebooth camp mighty melanie Biehle sandra harris alt summit photobooth
Smilebooth at Camp Mighty

If you could work with anyone on a collaborative project, who would it be?
Sofia Coppola. I love her.

What do you like to do in your off-time?
LOL! That's a good one. You're hilarious!

Okay, so my husband half-seriously jokes with me that I'm always working. It's kind of true when you have a blog that is largely about your life and the stuff you're interested in and like to do. There are times when I leave the camera at home and focus on experiencing the moment, but it can be really hard to turn it off sometimes. One of my personal goals for 2013 is to be more present when I'm doing one of my absolute favorite things, spending time with my husband and son. I'm not someone who is constantly on my iPhone, but I'm on it more than I'd like to be and my mind wanders too much sometimes.

In my on and off-time I also love visiting contemporary art museums/galleries, taking photographs, hanging out at coffee shops, having real conversations with people (small talk makes me tired), and reading a million blogs.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I'm not a pick one place kind of person. I'd like to have the freedom to move about - not constantly, but I don't see myself as being tied to one place. This is my fourth time to live in Seattle! :) I would love to spend a huge chunk of time in Europe so I could take short trips to places I've already visited and loved and those I have yet to see. I'd probably make Hamburg my home base because one of my dear friends lives there. I could see myself living in Portland or San Francisco for a while. I'd like to spend a few weeks a year in NYC. I'm a nomad. :)

If you could eat at only one local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I hate you. (editor's note: we made an exception--three restaurants!)
Breakfast - Wild Mountain Cafe
Lunch - Uneeda Burger
Dinner - Serious Pie

What's your dream job, besides what you are doing now?
Novel writer

You get to organize a dinner party, who is there?
Sofia Coppola, Andy Warhol, Judy Blume, Wonder Woman, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Loralei Gilmore

Thanks, Melanie! Happy Friday, everyone!

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