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[33] 5 Techniques to Reduce Stress and Relax

This past weekend, I spent three days offline and on retreat – specifically, at a restorative yoga retreat. Or, as Nick likes to call it – ‘laying around on pillows’.

Why? Because I have learnt – the hard way – the necessity of self-care and relaxation in order to be my best self – and do my best work.

In this episode, I share 5 techniques I personally use to reduce my stress – to bring my body down from the ledge of fight/flight/freeze.

Chronic stress has become an epidemic – and I have no doubt that you have suffered – or are suffering – from it right now.

The techniques I share in this episode are all practical, proven ways to enact the relaxation response in your body, and therefore improve both your physical and mental health. To make you more calm, more in control, more mindful, and less anxious.

I hope you walk away from this episode with at least one new way to reduce your stress to help you to be happier and healthier every day!



Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • What happens in your body when you are stressed versus relaxed?
  • How you think about stress changes how it affects you.
  • If you can see it as your body preparing to respond to a challenge = courage (TED talk – Kelly McGonagal).
  • 4/8 breathing technique to elicit the relaxation response.
  • Meditation – counting the breaths from 1-10 helps you to learn how to remove yourself from the flow of your thoughts – and therefore not get caught up in them.
  • Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
  • Gratitude helps you rewire your brain to focus on the positives, and therefore be happier.
  • Positive Psychology – Martin Seligman.
  • The yoga nidra recording I use – on Spotify.


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(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[32] Should you Diversify or Consolidate your Sales Venues?

If you’re in business selling your handmade goods… where and how are you selling them?

Are you selling online? Via markets? Consignment? Wholesale?

Is what you’re doing now working for you?

All businesses go through an evolution, and the way you sell your work is often a vital part of the puzzle that will make or break your business.

In this episode, I discuss whether you should be diversifying or consolidating your sales venues. And why.

The answer differs depending on the stage you are at in your business – not to mention your personality, product, business model, and your customer.

I also share my own journey through this very same process. I’ve tried it all – selling online in tons of venues; selling at markets; selling via ‘rental’ spaces in shops; consignment; wholesale…

I discuss why these days I only sell online, and only via a very small selection of venues.

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • There are pros and cons to both approaches.
  • When you’re starting out, you need to try as many different sales venues as possible.
  • Try online, retail, markets.
  • You need to discover what avenue of selling suits your personality, your products, your business model, and your customer, best.
  • As you grow your business, you need to get more focussed.
  • Find the channel that works best for you and focus on that.
  • Become an expert, and work out how to work that venue to its full advantage.
  • I discovered that selling online works best for me, my personality, lifestyle, location, product and business model, and my customers.
  • You may thrive selling via wholesale – or focusing on markets and shows.
  • As you become established, you no longer have the time to experiment with so many sales venues and avenues – drill down to the very few that really work for you – but don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket – because if you rely on one avenue of sales, and that disappears, so does your business.


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(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

C&T Christmas Shop Share

The online shopping season is upon us!

I hope your sales have been picking up, and you’ve got yourself sorted for the holiday rush.

For a lot of makers, this is both the best and the worst time of year. Best, because we’re making sales, baby! And worst… because we’re run off our feet and stressed trying to get all those orders out the door on time.

With the Christmas spirit ramping up, I wanted to give you – my lovely Thrivers – an opportunity to share your creations with me, each other, and the handmade-appreciating world!

This is your opportunity to share your shop with us.


In the comments below…

  1. Share a link to your online shop.
  2. Tell us in one paragraph or less who you are, what you do, and which item in your shop you think would make a lovely gift!
  3. Share this post with your maker friends on facebook, pinterest, instagram etc. (feel free to use the above image and tag it #CTChristmasShopShare) so they can come on over and share their shops too!


I know you – like me – want to support your fellow makers this Christmas giving season by buying handmade – so let’s get the sharing happening!

Oh – bonus… if you end up buying anything from someone on this list, leave a reply to their comment and let us all know what you bought and why!!

Jess xx

[31] Kirsten Devitt on Creativity and Confidence

The hardest part of running a business is starting it.

It takes courage to put your work (and yourself) out there and say: this is who I am, and this is what I’ve created!

You know what they say about courage, right?

Courageous people aren’t without fear – they feel the fear, but they do the scary thing anyway.

You might find yourself looking at me, or anyone else who’s been running a creative business for a while – who has attained some modicum of ‘success’ – and you may think ‘sure, it’s easy for you to put your work and yourself out there – you know you’re going to kill it!’.

The truth is far different. Every single one of us feels fear and uncertainty – no matter what stage we’re at in our business and creative journey. Yes, it might lessen somewhat, once you’ve had a number of wins (and plenty of losses, let me assure you!) but that self-doubt never goes away totally.

I think that’s what keeps us real – what keeps us honest, and driven, and vital.

And that’s what today’s podcast is all about.

I sit down to chat with my friend, colleague, and all-around awesome lady Kirsten Devitt of Each To Own about her business and creative journey – about creativity and courage – about fear and self-doubt. We delve deep into the murk of our minds, and we touch on some profound truths about creativity and fear.

Oh, and we laugh a lot, too. My gal K is one funny lady!

If you’ve ever thought ‘my work isn’t good enough’ – or, even ‘I’m not ready or good enough’ – this episode is for you.

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • As creative entrepreneurs we all have face that nagging worry of ‘are we good enough’ and ‘can I do this??’.
  • Sharing your work, and in essence yourself, with the world is is terrifying.
  • Don’t feel that you can’t open your shop because it isn’t perfect.
  • Share it with the world, and revise along the way.
  • You’ve got to be brave enough to just put things out there.’ – Kirsten
  • You’ll make mistakes along the way, it’s part of the process.
  • There will be times you graduate to the ‘next level’ of success.  Celebrate those moments!
  • Also, celebrate those around you.  Don’t expect anything back.  Just be nice, give someone the opportunity to savour some positive feedback.
  • Take the time to show customers you care.  Handwritten notes will go a long way.
  • Take the time to create personal connections with customers.
  • Ignore the pressure social media puts on you to create and cull the perfect life.
  • ‘Don’t compare your inside, to someone else’s outside.’ – Jess
  • Be genuine in your social media interactions.  People can tell if you aren’t be authentic.
  • Displaying your life and brand as totally without flaws will not allow for people to feel connected to you.
  • Strive to stay positive in your social media presence.  Without being phoney, create a nice pleasant environment for fans and customers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people for help when you need it!
  • “It’s nice to be important, but its important to be nice!” – Kirsten
  • To see more of Kirsten’s amazing work visit her website or Instagram.
  • How do you maintain confidence as a creative in a world that likes to compare?



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(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

P.S. There are a few minor swears in this one! You have been warned :)

[30] 5 Time Management Hacks You Should Try Today

We all have the same amount of time in a day.  The hard part is managing that time.

In this Podcast I go over five tried and true time management hacks.  If you implement these into your life, you will find you are getting MORE done in less time, and with more calm and focus.

I use all 5 of these hacks on a regular basis to get my work done efficiently and effectively – and therefore do better quality work in less time – which is a win-win situation, for sure!

This podcast is actually a little peek inside one of the workshops I offer in the Thriver Circle – How to be More Productive by Managing your Time, Energy, and Focus. What I share here today is less than a quarter of what I share in the full workshop, but it’s a powerful hit of information that – if you implement it! – will see your focus improve and your work flow.

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • It is scientifically proven that multitasking DOES NOT WORK.
  • Your brain can not process two tasks simultaneously.
  • Instead it very rapidly jumps from one task to the other.  That transition period slows you down.
  • You will actually get LESS done if you are multitasking,
  • The better approach is single-tasking.  Turn everything else off, and focus on the singular task at hand!
  • Don’t check emails as they pop up throughout the day.  Process them instead, and then move onto the next task.
  • The Pomodoro Technique works with the scientific findings that after 90 minutes your brain’s focusing ability is tapped out.
  • After that period, you must reset your brain.  Grab a drink.  Go for a walk.  Stretch.  Play a video game.  Play with your cat!
  • Split your time between focused work, and then rest.  During the work, do nothing but work!
  • You can download an app to time your focused sessions.
  • When you know there’s an end coming, it allows you to be highly focused.
  • Chunking your tasks is another effective approach.
  • Create blocks of time for similar tasks.
  • You can chunk by the day or by the week.
  • Maybe your mornings are dedicated to creating, your early afternoon is for processing emails, your late afternoon is for marketing.
  • Or you can dedicate Tuesday and Thursdays to making, Fridays to marketing, Mondays to business.  What works for you!
  • This approach allows your brain to really dive deep into the task at hand.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has suggested the matrix technique.
  • This method has you put all tasks into four categories, ‘Urgent, Important’ ‘Urgent, Not Important’ ‘Not Urgent, Important’ ‘Not Urgent, Not Important.
  • A great tool for prioritizing!  Keep in mind, it’s the Not Urgent, But Important’ category that often gets overlooked.
  • And lastly, but not least there is the two minute rule.
  • From Getting Things Done by David Allen.
  • If it takes two minutes or less, do it now!
  • When our brain has a task that it knows needs to be done, it loops and keeps coming back to that task.  Causing distraction.
  • If you can answer an email quickly, do it!  Let that loop be closed.
  • What strategies have you used?

Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)