Santa Fe Region Client ProfilePi Luna Press LLC
Pi Luna used to live a double life. By day she worked as a math tutor at the Santa Fe Community College. This job eventually grew into a teaching position. By night, she was an artist. Her two worlds couldn’t be more different, and she longed for a way to integrate them.
After graduating from Goddard College with a master’s degree in fine art, she had hefty student loans. She needed to work longer hours as a math teacher to make ends meet. She was too busy teaching to create art and fell into a deep depression. Life felt empty without creative expression.
Pi decided to start bringing creativity into the classroom. First, it involved having students use art and cooking to learn fractions. Then it evolved into creating booklets for her students. She would put her art in the booklets, show real-life examples for the math problems, and provide clear explanations of each topic. Creating the booklets felt engaging because she was using both of her interests – math and art. Plus, they were a huge hit!
Soon after, Pi created a business math textbook for the Santa Fe Community College. Pi teamed up with another math teacher, and within six months, they wrote a 400-page textbook called “Life Savings: Navigate the Financial Course.” During that time, Pi not only researched business math, but also learned about graphic design, illustration, publishing, marketing, and curriculum development. She worked harder than she had ever worked before and loved every minute of it.
Unfortunately, the first edition of the book didn’t work out. There were technical issues, time constraints and limited editing. The school decided to stop using the book and Pi faced a tough decision. She could accept the set-back, give up or could keep going—a decision many entrepreneurs must make when they are first starting.
Despite feeling deeply ashamed and embarrassed at her first attempt, she loved the process of designing a curriculum. Pi was also willing to do whatever it took to build a career around it. Leaving her teaching position behind, she embraced entrepreneurship.
Pi Luna is a local artist and business coach for creative entrepreneurs (artists, authors, musicians, etc.). At first, her company focused on creating and publishing business and financial books, but it quickly evolved into doing workshops and individual coaching. As she worked with different groups of people, she found she resonated strongly with other creatives. It was easy to relate with them because of her artistic side, and she could offer them support with her mathematically/logical side.
She believes highly creative people have an advantage because they think outside the box, can adapt to change quickly and stand out in a highly competitive landscape. The challenge is figuring out how to bring those creative ideas to life in a way that is sustainable and lucrative.
Through one-on-one coaching, workshops, educational books, and her meetup group “Creative Coffee,” Pi helps her clients fill in the missing pieces involving technology, marketing, and time management so they can make money doing what they love. Her services include:
Whether building a website, sending an email newsletter, designing a brochure, or setting up a bookkeeping system, technology plays a major role in running any business. Pi teaches her clients how to use the software programs they need so their business can run smoothly.
Money and Time Management are limited resources and must be used strategically. Pi helps people organize their finances, set prices, develop plans, and structure their time so there is time to be creative without life getting in the way.
Creative entrepreneurs are unique. They seldom fit into the traditional business roles or labels; it’s often challenging to describe what they do to others. For example – explaining the Meow Wolf creative concept to a distant relative who has never been to New Mexico may be difficult.
As a coach, Pi uses the Socratic Method; she teaches by asking probing questions. Pi encourages her clients to talk. She draws out their ideas by asking key questions. She helps them uncover the deeper messages and meanings found in what they do. The insights that arise out of their conversations create clear messages to go on their websites and marketing materials so people will know what they do and want to learn more.
Support and Encouragement
Marketing and sales involve putting yourself out there, handling rejection, and receiving feedback. It is hard enough to sell products and services from another company, but when those products/services are your own, it adds an additional level of challenge. Creative entrepreneurs often face emotional and psychological barriers to success, including doubt, discouragement, insecurity, and shame. Pi’s sessions are safe and non-judgmental. She provides emotional support to help her clients move through those barriers to reach their higher goals. Her meetup group, “Creative Coffee,” also provides a supportive community of other creative entrepreneurs.
When asked about her biggest challenge as an entrepreneur, Pi indicated it was misunderstanding the word “focus,” which is an essential ingredient in any successful business. She provides a lot of different services, which she sees as parts of a puzzle—each working together to create a whole picture. For example, if you read one of her books, you’ll see a combination of real-life stories, hand-drawn illustrations, math instruction, spreadsheet templates and business concepts. These elements weave together to form a holistic learning experience.
Without understanding the whole picture, it’s easy for people to look at Pi and say, “you’re all over the place” or “you need to pick one thing and focus on it.”
Many times, she has tried to take the advice, but it does not work. Take pieces out of a puzzle and it will hurt the rest of the pieces.
Pi overcame the “focus” challenge by redefining the word. Instead of focusing on the specific services or tasks she offers, she placed her focus on her customers. Pi has a very targeted audience and loves working with creatives. By listening to what they need, she can customize her approach and pick the right pieces to help her clients meet their goals.
Pi gives the creative community practical tools to build their business and teaches these tools in fun, engaging ways. Her services make complicated topics easy to understand and implement. Creatives find authenticity in their marketing and learn how to use technology to be more empowered in the daily operations of their business.
Becoming a WESST client was a turning point in her business. Before she went to WESST, she was trying to sell her first textbook. People weren’t interested in reading a large book, so WESST showed her a new model. They invited Pi to teach workshops to their clients using her books. This opened many doors and led to individual clients. It was the key to her success.
Pi loves what she does. Every day is different. One minute she is teaching an Excel workshop in Taos. Next, she is designing someone’s website. Then she is helping an author organize her short stories into a memoir and helping her think about how to market it. The diversity of her job keeps her on her toes and makes her mind happy. Plus, it’s fun to see her clients grow and evolve.
“WESST is an amazing resource for small business owners. I went to them when my business was in the beginning stages, and I was struggling to get customers. They completely turned my business around by giving me teaching opportunities in Santa Fe and rural New Mexico. These workshops led to clients and important connections in the business community. Bette and Roseanna have been supportive and encouraging every step of the way. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for WESST. I highly recommend them for workshops and mentoring.” -Pi Luna