There’s a complicated art to building a business, and this is even more so true for creatives, makers and artists who pour every ounce of their creativity, passion and time into their work. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated, and there’s a woman in Austin helping the booming creative community bridge the gap from artist to entrepreneur/business owner.
Who is this angel? Ashland Viscosi, the creator of Creatives Meet Business, a community where creatives come together and learn more about business so they can build sustainable careers and thrive doing what they love. It’s goal planning, events, podcasts and more — but the star of the show? Her upcoming event: Creatives Meet Business Experience (CMBXP). But this is not your average conference or workshop. CMBXP is a 3-day, choose-your-own-adventure style event for artists and creatives from all walks of life looking to expand professionally.
With over 50 workshops on artistry and skills development, business, marketing, storytelling, and one-on-one mentorships paired with nightly themed happy hours, CMBXP is the unique environment every artist-entrepreneur needs! It’s like a summer camp for creative adults looking to make big things happen.
Artistry mixed with business, events with a little networking on the side; this is a very unique cocktail wouldn’t you say? The moment you meet CMBXP’s creator, Ashland Viscosi, you can’t help but be intrigued by her vibrant energy and warm, intelligent conversation. She’s not all business and has a deep understanding of folks of all kinds, and she credits this in part to her upbringing. Ashland moved from Austin, Texas to her mom’s hometown, Duncan, Oklahoma, when she was eight.
“Even though I was a pretty adaptable 8-year-old, it was a huge shift for me. I went from being able to ride my bike in the neighborhood (my old stomping ground was the former putt-putt turned bar, Yard Bar) and going to Highland Mall (back when it was a mall…) to living on a ranch outside of Duncan where we had rabbit ears for three television channels...I was always (and who am I kidding, still am) into “nerdy” things. I was a chess champion in middle school and by high school I was in marching band, advanced academics, and on the quiz bowl team. Duncan is an interesting place in that it has high school sororities (if you’re thinking Dazed and Confused, your head is in the right place), but their process of how they select people to join isn’t exactly the kindest for the psyche of a female in high school. I wasn’t selected by any of the three sororities in the summer between freshman and sophomore years like most gals were, instead, I was selected between my sophomore and junior years (thanks in large part to my friends becoming members during the previous summer). I think in so many ways, I never felt like I fit in and never belonged since I straddled so many different social circles. I don’t want others to feel like they don’t belong, so everything I do now is about fostering community and helping folks find their place and their tribe.”
I know, I know, after reading this quote from Ashland you immediately want to meet her - she’s that cool cocktail of both interesting and introspective muddled with creativity. And her journey through careers and life has always seemed to lead her to creating community and finding connection, in-part thanks to her experience with sudo-sorority life as a kid. After high school, Viscosi earned two degrees in Political Science (BA and MA) and studied Philosophy. She put in hours at a number of diverse jobs from truck stop worker and barista, to the Office of Personnel Management for the State of Oklahoma. Ashland even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Honduras. When you try to follow along on her career journey, Ashland says it best herself:
“In a way that’s likely very unfair to my career, I’ve compared it to a mystery bag that you’d find at a garage sale for $.50. There’s always a logic to why these items were paired together, but looking at them all as separate pieces, it’d be really hard to see how.”
In the talk she gave at Creative Mornings Austin, she walks through her career and life journey, the introspection she learned, and the passion she developed for the creative community and film industry. After uncovering this passion for film and the greater artist network, she made it her goal to help folks build meaningful relationships and business skills to help them succeed. Viscosi has been chasing down that passion for community she developed early on with her company Creatives Meet Business (CMB) and taking action to push the growth potential of artists with her CMBXP event.
Now, we’ve met a lot of women doing amazing things but there’s a certain excitement surrounding Ashland and her future plans. She’s helping so many people achieve their career goals and grow their network — her potential to impact seems to be as limited as her flexible skillset — and by that we mean limitless.