VJ Von Art – Business Consultant -Content Writer – Web Design at Bold Tony Studio
I am a creative beast, a deep thinker and a total right-brainer. Creating art since 1986 + 18 years in London helping set up and run start-ups. I am a founder of a multidisciplinary ‘zebra‘ creative digital agency Bold Tony Studio. I help companies and individuals generate new ideas, bring them to life, improve efficiency, and discover their authentic edge. I am a huge advocate of improving workplace and personal mental health and building sustainable + meaningful life. Art is a massive part of my life, and I coach others on how to tap into their own creativity and dispel the myth that creativity is chaotic, present only in certain types of people, or can’t be learned. My agency is a one-stop-shop for creative expression.
Random Facts About Me: I am unstoppable, unapologetic and indestructible. I use unconventional methods and tools and have rather authentic views on life and the world.
– I am Dyslexic, and I love it. My brain is well funky: I can’t remember dates, numbers (yep, I need a calculator to count how old I am, every time), but I worked in finance and nailed it. I process double the visual and emotional information than ordinary people, as my filter for relevance is totally screwed. I am analysing and categorising everything at all times. It’s both fun and exhausting.
– I am a Psychonaut. I love nature, and I believe it holds the key to unlocking our true potential by showing us what we are when the social, political and cultural conditioning is stripped away. I also use other nonpsychedelic plants and methods to hack my brain and enhance my performance. I am a member of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).
– I am a Global Citizen, but I am not a nomad. After living in London for 20+ years, I left it to travel the world and lived and worked from Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Spain. Currently building an eco-house and bio garden in the woods.
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
I am one of those lucky few people who always knew what I wanted to be, and ever since I can remember, I was told that it would be the end of me. I did try to stop daydreaming and be a responsible adult, but it came at the cost of my physical and mental health. One day it hit me that the rescue ship was not coming, and I was the one calling all the shots. That day I made a conscious decision to follow my heart. I had to put in a lot of work to tackle fear and limiting beliefs about money, business, and who I am to get me where I am today. I did not know where the new path I took was going to take me or that I would build three companies at the back of it, but I knew that the standard formula of how to live and work was broken and sticking it to it would make me miserable, sick and irrelevant.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
Life experience, tracked record of failures and ability to push your client beyond their limiting believes. Each individual or business has the inner wisdom to resolve their problem. They don’t need you to do that for them. They need your help to constructively look at their situation, support them, and show them the hidden talents that already exist at their disposal. I don’t like telling people what to do. I enjoy helping them discover how to do it themselves. I understand that this may not apply to all types of consultancy sectors. 😊
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
Oh, god, no! I am only human 😊 This whole coaching industry of teaching people how to plan and organise one’s life and business to perfection is causing a burnout and depression epidemic in our society. You do need to be honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are. You need to understand that your goals can’t be set in stone and that what success and a good life are to you in your 30s will definitely change later on in your 40s, 50s and so on.
I have a realistic daily to-do list that fits on a standard yellow post-it note. I am also a professional disappointer as I am not striving to be everywhere for everyone at all times.
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
Yes! Time is like money; the moment you start counting it, you start running out of it. I embrace the natural flow of time throughout my day, some days, it runs super fast, and some it crawls. I stopped using an alarm clock 4 years ago, I hardly ever have my watch on me, and I don’t have any clocks in my house or the office. I set notifications for meetings only, and the rest I do organically.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
Stop glorifying Google as the best example of what a successful modern business should look like and design your company culture based on what is trending in Silicon Valley. Unless your goal is to build a Monopoly and toxic work environment where a large part of your workforce feels depressed and anxious.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
What works for me may not work for others. Some of us have the looks, some are great at public speaking or writing or love to sit on social media 24/7. I think whatever you do, try and create real value for your audience. The world has been hijacked by spam, and everyone is drowning. Say and show only if it is truly useful. Go for quality not quantity. I personally like old school marketing methods instead of social media.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I start and finish my day with a walk. I am a highly creative person, and my brain can’t sit and meditate in silence, so I do mantra meditation. In summer I also do a lot of wild swimming in lakes and rivers and obviously gardening. I need to get physical to shut my brain and relax 😊
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Decide on your price, and don’t settle for less. Before becoming a consultant, you had a career or series of life events that shaped you and there for you now have bags of information you can give to those at the beginning of their business or life journey. You should not be paid less than what you use to get paid when you were employed, period. If you settle for less, you will grow resentment, work overtime, and never attract high-end paying clients.
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Whatever you do for pleasure should not be tainted by guilt. If you take the time to enjoy something, why spoil it by beating yourself up about eating it or drinking it or doing it. My time with a cup of hot chocolate is how I give myself a hug after a stressful day.
Q10. What’s your goal for next year? To work less but deliver massive value to my clients. To be more present in my life and to write a book. Sharing our story is the bravest thing that we can do in life.