Erica McMillan is a serial business entrepreneur who created and founded six thriving businesses. She is a contemporary artist, a writer for both Entrepreneur and Forbes, a Forbes Council Member, and a modern marketing brand consultant and online visibility strategist helping companies create cohesive, innovative, and differentiating campaigns to propel their business to the next level.
I’m a wife, mother, business entrepreneur by day, and artist by night living my best life in Reynolds with my husband and 3 amazing children whose initials create CJV when combined and first names compose my pseudonym.
Creating is more than a passion for me, it is at the core of my soul. Whether it is developing a new methodology for one of my businesses or trying out a different technique with new paint, it is the process of creating that I live for. The ideas that keep me awake at night propel me to discover, design, produce, and invent. I love the process of turning a thought into an actionable plan and executing it to fruition. Passion when defined by any serial entrepreneur isn’t just doing what you love, it’s more intense than that. To me, my passion for my businesses and my art is a barely controllable desire. The challenge is shutting down my computer or cleaning my paintbrushes when a fleeting thought that turned into a full-blown idea isn’t finished to my satisfaction.
This is my response…
“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate." – Vincent van Gogh
I have a need to always be doing something NEW. In business or art, it’s the NEW challenge that keeps me feeling alive. The definition of an Entrepreneur is “one who takes risks,” but I like to add ‘one who takes risks for the chance to capitalize on new opportunity.’ To me, this is equally as true for a corporate business owner as it is for an artist. The saying ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’ is a frightening glimpse of rejection after countless hours have been spent, but at the same time an exhilarating hope if those gratifying hours lead to my art bringing joy to someone’s home. Like starting a business, creating a piece of art is also all about taking chances; one bold stroke of a paint brush can change the entire end result for better or worse.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
As a ‘Boss of Self’, I constantly experience an in-the-moment need for action. It’s more like a strong impulsivity to get my hands dirty and try a new method or a new technique whether the vehicle is my Mac or a canvas! The ‘living on the edge’ thrill for me as a type A personality is allowing myself to enjoy the ride without being able to predict the outcome. The possibility for newfound success drives me.
“The soul of an artist cannot be muted indefinitely. It must either be expressed or it will consume the host.” Gerard de Marigny
Passion defined from any serial entrepreneur isn’t just doing what you love, it’s more intense than that. To me, my passion for my businesses and my art is a barely controllable desire. The challenge is shutting down my computer, or cleaning my paint brushes when my thought that turned into an idea isn’t finished to my satisfaction. Needless to say, my passion keeps me working until the wee hours of the morning and I like that!
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams
As an Entrepreneur I must make mistakes along the way for growth, learning, and ultimately the ‘aha’ moment; just like art, I am constantly tweaking and experimenting until the painting finally stops talking back to me. Making mistakes is actually something I have learned to appreciate. It is my process, and that process is crucial. Throughout my career, I have made so many mistakes that set-backs no longer disappoint me because I'm confident in my ability to create again, even if it’s letting go of something that didn’t work and moving on to something completely different. Often my therapy after a long day in the corporate world is squeezing paint on a canvas and creating something from nothing. It’s very satisfying.
“Your gifts lie in the place where your values, passions, and strengths meet. Discovering that place is the first step toward sculpting your masterpiece, Your Life.” – Michelangelo
Some people think that being creative and artistic is a gift. I disagree. With vision, ambition, discipline, and determination both are self-taught skills learned by trial and error.