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[114] The Starving Artist Myth with Kerstin Pressler


Do you ever feel like you will never make any money from your art/craft… or, even worse, that you don’t really deserve to?

That it is somehow noble or the ‘right thing’ to not charge for what you create? That taking money for it will somehow devalue it?

You might be suffering from the myth of the ‘starving artist’. This idea that you can never make money from art, and that, in fact, there is something ‘bad’ about doing so.

In this episode, I chat with Kerstin Pressler, and we discuss this very myth – and why both of us are vehemently against it. Furthermore, we discuss ways that you CAN make money from your art or creative pursuits – right from the get-go. You don’t need to suffer for the sake of your art for years until you start making money from it!



Quotes & Highlights:

  • Kerstin Pressler is a fine artist living in Europe between Germany and the Netherlands.
  • A savvy businesswoman from the get-go Kerstin also runs ‘The Biz School for Creatives.
  • The Biz School for Creatives gives creative and makers the tools to make their art into a thriving business.
  • “I knew I didn’t want to struggle, so I needed to figure it out- I want to paint and create things, but I also knew that I needed to make money”- Kerstin Pressler
  • Kerstin started to figure out how to run a business while she was in art school, and as she kept learning she started to teach other students what she had learnt.
  • For the first few years, you can expect to spend 80 to 90 percent of your time working on the business side.
  • “It can be a choice- you don’t need to make a living from your art, but you need to accept that you will need to have a job, because you still need to eat!”- Kerstin
  • The starving artist myth: If you want to be a successful artist, you need to endure a long period of struggle in which you make little money because you’re so dedicated to your art and that is all that matters.
  • One way in which Kerstin supported herself was by being open to other revenue streams- teaching, smaller businesses and using social media (to name a few).
  • You don’t just need to finance your business- you need to finance your life, make sure your prices reflect this!”- Kerstin
  • Write down your price and see what the hourly rate is- you might find that for some pieces (especially those that are time consuming) that you are working under the minimum wage.
  • As artists sometimes we don’t charge what our work is worth because we are either being told that we, and our work is not good enough, or more commonly because you don’t have the confidence.
  • Think of two numbers (you’ll need to do the maths!)
    • In one year, how much money do I actually need to pay all my bills, including putting away savings, to survive?- this is your minimum.
    • How much would I need to be able to pay for all of the above, but be able to do things I want to do, for example: go on a holiday, buy new clothes- this number is your goal.
  • “Being a perfectionist is dangerous because it just means you never start, or never make a move because you’re so afraid of making a mistake”- Jess
  • If you wait until everything is perfect-it will never happen!”- Kerstin
  • There will always be a struggle, you just need to be confident that you can get through it.
  • Surround yourself with other creative and entrepreneurs that walk in similar shoes- people you can share the journey with who understand and don’t judge you.
  • “A doctor doesn’t need to explain himself, so (as an artist) why do I need to explain myself”- Kerstin
  • If you just commit to doing a lot of something, you’ll figure it out, simply because you have to.
  • Developing systems allows you to be able to hand that work off to someone giving you time to be creative.
  • You need to be willing to invest in order to grow.
  • You can find Kerstin and The Biz School for Creatives or connect with her on Facebook in the Sparkling Creative group.


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[113] Seeking Freedom with Beth Kempton


How important is freedom to you?

For me, it’s essential. Freedom is one of my most core values. I have deliberately designed my life to increase my sense of freedom, so that I can spend each day doing what I love.

But what exactly IS freedom? It will mean different things to different people.

For example: for me, freedom is being able to wake up every day and be in charge of how I spend my time. When my life follows that script, I feel free – even though, from the outside, I might not seem free – I own a house, I’m married, I have 2 businesses and I teach a regular yoga class. I have a cat dependent on me ;D In short – I’m not ‘free’ in the sense of someone with none of these responsibilities. But nevertheless, I’ve never felt freer.

My guest this week has written a whole book on the topic – in fact, it was after reading her book – Freedom Seeker – that I reached out and invited her on the show, because I love how she approached and talked about freedom. It is something you can bring into your life – but you don’t necessarily have to change anything about your life in order to feel more free. Just the way you think about it.

In this chat, Beth Kempton and I talk about her life – her own journey from freedom, away, and back again – and how you can find more freedom in your life and your creative business.




Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:


  • Beth felt the need to be free in her twenties, she couldn’t bear the idea of tying herself down. So, she studied Japanese at university for the opportunity to go overseas in her second year.
  • When the second year came around, Beth became a sponge for the Japanese language and culture.
  • Beth jumped at every opportunity she was given, putting her hand up for every work and learning possibility. She even managed to get her own TV show. Later on, she became an integral cog in the FIFA World Cup wheel and even worked for UNICEF for a while.
  • “When you really get yourself out there and do something creative there is this knocking on effect”
  • Beth went on art retreat in California where she learned the power in groups of creative women. She was really inspired and decided she wanted to help these women learn how to monetise their creativity.
  • After a successful period of time helping people make money from creativity, Beth has her ‘Bedroom Floor Moment’.
  • “I realised I felt completely suffocated by this life that I had built.”
  • “If you’ve got a lucrative income stream that supports the rest of your business then that’s absolutely fine. You know, there’s no need to kill it but if you allow it take you over and you don’t do the stuff that really lights you up then you just kind of wonder, you know, what am I doing?”
  • After having her second child, Beth took five months maternity leave and the concept of her book, Freedom Seeker, was born.
  • “Actually what happened was in that space of maternity leave the whole book concept came to fruition.”
  • “Business can be a gateway to freedom but you have to set it up in a way that makes you delight in the everyday.”
  • Beth discusses the security of life in business versus the security of life as an employee.
  • “In the current environment, I could not feel more secure in the fact that if I want to generate some money all I have to do is create something and put it out there in the world, to platform I have spent a lot of time building.”
  • Beth talks about three main concepts in her book The Context vs. The Cage, The Eight Freedom Keys and Project Cycles.
  • “So, taking the time to go, what are the facts about what’s going on in my life and what are my thoughts about those facts, and distinguishing the two.”
  • “Don’t put on yourself the burden of not being able to be organised because actually, it’s the secret weapon of the freedom seeker.”
  • Find more about Beth on her website or instagram.


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[112] How to Rock Facebook Live with Jackie Muscat


Have you used Facebook Live to market your handmade business yet?

If so – how did it go (share with us in the comments!). If not – why not?

Is it the fear of being live on camera? Is it that you don’t know what to talk about? Is it that you’re just not into using Facebook?

Whatever the reason, I highly recommend you give this week’s episode a listen – because it might be just the thing that will encourage you to give FB live a go.

My guest is Jackie Muscat of Craft My Success, and she is a kid’s bedroom mural artist as well as an expert on how to grow your creative business using the (free!) power of Facebook.

Facebook might not be the first place you turn these days to market your business – but it should absolutely be a cornerstone of your online presence – because it is by far the most active social media in the world. And people really do expect you to be there.



Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:


  • Based in the UK, Jackie Muscat is the muralist and Facebook strategist behind successful creative businesses World of Wall Craft and Create My Success.
  • Through Craft my Success, Jackie helps other makers and artists get results with Facebook.
  • You can guarantee that your ideal customers are on Facebook, with statistics in Australia showing 95% are on Facebook compared to 33% for Instagram.
  • “If I am buying something online and it isn’t a household name, I go to the Facebook page and make a judgement on that…if you’re not visible on Facebook it’s going to have a negative impact”- Jackie
  • You don’t have to pay to play on Facebook, the vast majority of things you can do on Facebook are Free.
  • “If you learn the rules of play, there is no way it can’t benefit your business”- Jackie
  • After being released in April 2016, Facebook Live saw a 300% increase in live videos between January and May 2016.
  • “If you don’t add Facebook Live to your toolkits, you’re going to miss a trick”- Jackie
  • With Facebook Live, people have access to the real you.
  • Facebook live gives you the opportunity to say this is the real person behind this business- it is the closest you can get to meeting someone face to face over the internet.
  • Work out what you’re going to talk about and have a plan so you’re not flailing around in the dark.
  • Trolls: Combat trolls by calling them out and breeze on in a professional manner. Don’t let the possibility of it happening put you off because the gains to be made from Facebook Live are so much greater.
  • You don’t need to be a big gregarious character to do Facebook Live- it’s about connecting who you are with your audience.
  • Don’t stress about who is watching it live- the authenticity is still there in the replay!
  • Repurpose your videos- don’t double your workload! Download your Facebook Live video and re-use it on other channels: Youtube, Blogs, Mailing List, etc.
  • “Nobody is paying anywhere near as much attention to your business as you!”- Jess
  • Facebook live can be done on desktop or any mobile device, however you’ll need a strong internet connection.
  • Like any other video, make sure your lighting is good and you have everything you need on hand, ready to go. As much as you want to be real, you don’t want to look unprofessional!
  • Give your audience somewhere to go from your podcast- the majority of your videos should have a ‘Call to Action” For example; Sign up to my mailing list, head to my store etc.
  • “If you’re going to spend any money on advertising, spend it on Facebook!”- Jess
  • Don’t put too much weight on it- you can do it again and keep getting better, it is more important to get over the hurdle and just do it.
  • Challenge for this week: Do a Facebook Live in the next week.
  • You can find Jackie on her website Craft My Success.
  • To download Jackie’s list of Facebook Live ideas click here.



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[111] Handmade Business is Hard Work


Handmade business is hard work.


It takes a lot of time. A lot of work. A lot of learning. And a LOT of patience.

There are no shortcuts. There are no magic bullets. There is no way to circumvent doing the work.

There are no ‘secrets’ to success.

Success is not guaranteed. However… if you have determination, discipline, a willingness to grow and change, and a solid belief that you have a product people want, your chances of success are high.

They’re even higher if you find a mentor and colleagues from whom you can learn.

In this episode I discuss the reality of handmade business – and that while it IS hard work, it’s worth the effort to build something that you can help you to be in control of your own creativity and income.



Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Handmade business is hard work.
  • Being realistic with your expectations means you’re more likely to achieve success.
  • You have to determine what your own definition of success is – and work towards that.
  • No-one can tell you the 100% bulletproof method to succeed. If they claim they can, steer clear.
  • Others can act as guides, support, cheerleaders.
  • It is up to YOU to have the dedication, determination, and discipline to do the work.
  • You have the power to make it happen.
  • You CAN figure it out.
  • When you’re starting out, there’s no point putting more time into making more and more products if: 1. You’re not making the right things, and 2. No-one is actually SEEING them.
  • Be prepared to spend around 80% of your time on the business, and 20% actually making in the first year or two.
  • If you want guidance and support, join us in the Thriver Circle. Membership is open July 4-6 2017.


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[110] Business Intensive with Judy Carlson of Boulder Creek Soapworks


Today I’m drawing aside the curtain and taking you behind the scenes to share with you one aspect of Thriver Circle community membership – namely, the monthly Business Intensives I run for members.


Since the Circle started I’ve been doing 1-2 of these Business Intensives every month during our live calls. It’s an opportunity for members to put themselves forward for some one-to-one time with me (something I don’t offer outside of the Circle and my courses) – and with input and support from other members of the Circle, too. Each participant fills out a questionnaire, and we spend around 1/2 an hour with them on some key elements of their business.

When I was planning my podcasts recently, I thought that you might enjoy hearing what one of these Business Intensives is like! So, I reached out to a past Business Intensive participant – Judy of Boulder Creek Soapworks – and she happily agreed that I could share her BI with you here on the pod.

I hope you enjoy this episode – we covered a lot of ground – and had a lot of laughs! – and if you have any questions about Business Intensives, or comments on this ep, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

If you decide you’d love the chance to do a BI with me, make sure you don’t miss the next membership window for Thriver Circle membership – which is July 4-6, 2017. Check out the brand spanking NEW Thriver Circle website here for all the details!



Quotes & Highlights from this Episode


  • Judy Carlson runs Boulder Creek Soapworks and has been making and selling soap online since 2012
  • Judy’s main goals for the next 6 months are to increase sales, evaluate wholesale and consignment markets and explore subscription boxes to achieve steady income.
  • Do the maths on how much you need to sell to achieve the amount you want to earn!
  • ‘We need to know what the numbers are so we know what we are aiming for.’ {Jess}
  • Products with low price points are more difficult to turn a profit so look at sale options outside of selling single products.
  • Alternative sale options include selling in bulk, bundles or sample sets.
  • Lower price point options can provide entry opportunities for new customers.
  • When looking at consignment and wholesale options, research and decide what you are happy with in terms of the split and be clear and firm with your payment terms.
  • ‘It’s really important to have terms and conditions in place for what you are providing.’ {Jess}
  • Create a positive morning routine – Commit to something small to start with and build from there!
  • ‘I have an hour tracker app to keep track of hours worked.’ {Judy}
  • Decide on your unique selling point and determine your ideal customer!
  • ‘Your ideal customer does not cover all of your customers but you will generally find over time there is a certain demographic of people that will come back and continue to buy from you.’ {Jess}
  • Ask yourself, does your marketing and branding speak to your ideal customer?
  • Finally, businesses take time to grow – you can grow them faster by putting more time and effort into them but know your situation and what suits you when moving from full-time employment into your full-time business!
  • Past Podcast mentioned: Ep 16: How to Change your Life by Changing your Morning Routine


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