Who’s the Muse?
Who’s Terri Belford?
(the Resume Version)
Terri has been self employed for over 30 years in businesses developed out of personal interests in the advertising, home furnishings, fine arts, healing arts and contemporary crafts fields. She started her first business in her 20s . Her most recent business, a gallery of contemporary craft, continues to thrive under the creative direction of a new owner. The businesses were all profitable and started on very little capital. Since selling her gallery in 2007, Terri has continued to help aspiring entrepreneurs, artists, crafts people and collectors become their own boss while making a living based on their passions.
Terri says, “ Creative people don’t need more ‘how-to’ business books. They need someone to tune in to their interests, really listen and give them concrete ideas to make their passions profitable. I’ve found most aspiring entrepreneurs are turned off by rigid business plans and MBA speak. I help them design a customized map to put the life back in their livelihood and turn their interests into income and craft into cash.. I’ve yet to meet a dream that can’t be translated into a profitable business.“
The Muse in First Person
My work and playtime are a lovely collage of walking my dog, Lucy, by the sea, camping in the Monterey pines, and cross country road trips in my VW camper. (Much to my niece Emily’s disappointment, it’s missing the peace sign and flower power. My son, Todd, has the 70’s hippy version) My adventures are in a glorified minivan complete with mobile air-card, a desk and outlets to recharge my laptop. While it’s true I do venture into cities to conduct workshops and consult with clients, I can frequently be found camping in the redwoods of my beloved Big Sur visiting with artists and doing “research”.
I love reading, writing, spending time with family and friends, hearing the stories of strangers and watching people in airports. The art and customs of different cultures fascinate me. Motown music makes me happy, Black Gospel singers stir my soul and the Blues makes me cry. While I am shy about public performance, I do dance alone in my kitchen and sing alone in the car. My favorite teachers are those under five or over eighty five.
Why I’m the Muse
My story is more about where I came from than where I am now. I don’t for a minute believe that I’d be who I am had my dad not been the oldest child of poor Russian immigrants, with the responsibility of supporting his mother and siblings at fourteen.
The last time I saw him, shortly before he died, my dad gave me a cherished gift. He told me that if he could live his life over as someone who hadn’t had those hardships, had he been given the opportunity to become a physician, attorney and other professional, he’d want to live exactly as he had. I believe the greatest legacy a parent can leave is having no regrets in the end.
My dad told me once that he only played golf because his doctor told him to find a hobby, that he didn’t particularly enjoy the game and that his favorite past time was business. As a kid, I found that a little odd, but now I get it. I see now that if work is a product of your own creation, nurturing it is fulfilling and rewarding. And every bit as much a game as golf.
While it was typical of my parents generation to pressure their kids into going toward “practical” professions and land solid corporate careers after college, my sisters and I were encouraged to embrace our creativity. My sister, Pam, wrote her first song at nine and although she didn’t have her first big hit until forty, our parents never discouraged her or suggested she just give up and focus on making her “more stable” library job a career. And when I announced plans to major in art, my dad only mentioned that I might want to learn some commercial art as well.(note: I didn’t listen and later when I wanted to open my own ad agency, my dad did not offer to loan me money. He gave something bigger. He said, “I’m glad you’re resourceful.” It’s my belief that he was able to let us be our artsy selves because he knew something that those parents with steady paychecks didn’t. He knew that the only real job security was the job you create for yourself.
He saw decades ago what high level executives are only now realizing: that entrepreneurs possess the creative problem solving abilities to make it through tough times. My dad left us a gift so much more valuable than cash. He showed us that our most valuable asset is our own resourcefulness.