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[66] Expectations Vs. Reality

This episode is all about facing the reality of the expectations – both conscious and unconscious – that you may be harbouring about your creative business.

We usually begin our small business journey driven by our love for what we do, and quite often as our business begins to grow we begin to butt our heads against the expectations we harbour about what we should be doing, what our business should be doing, and how our work should make us feel.

In this episode I touch on a number of potentially false expectations you may have about your biz, and I counter them with the reality of the situation, in order to help you avoid disappointment or a feeling of defeat when things aren’t going as you had first imagined they would.

It doesn’t do any of us any good to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of what running a small handmade business is truly like. It’s not all sitting around dreaming up beautiful things and making them!

Sure, turning your biz profitable will ensure you do have the opportunity to do that, but it also brings a raft of other time-consuming responsibilities and difficulties that may be stressing you out because your expectations are constantly being challenged by the reality of running a small business.

I hope this episode helps you to open your eyes, realise you’re not alone in what you’re feeling, and find deeper acceptance of the reality of how your relationship with your craft will change when you turn it into a business, rather than indulging in it as a hobby.


Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • ‘Stress and disappointment often comes from a disconnect between our expectations and the reality of the situation.’ {Jess}
  • 1. The expectation that you will get everything on your to do list done.
  • It is important to realise that it is normal not to get everything done all the time and this is okay.
  • If you find that some tasks are just never getting done you need to work out why so you can remedy that.
  • ‘Get realistic about why things aren’t getting done.’ {Jess}
  • 2. The expectation that you are going to have enough time.
  • We all have more ideas than we have time to complete them.
  • You will NEVER have enough time to do everything you want to.
  • You need to be realistic about how long a task or project will take as this is often underestimated.
  • 3. The expectation of success and profitability.
  • Some people expect their business to become profitable in a much shorter time frame than is realistic for a new business.
  • ‘Just let go right now of the idea that your business is going to be profitable straight away.’ {Jess}
  • It is possible but unlikely so holding that expectation will just stress you out.
  • Small business takes time to grow and for traction to build.
  • 4. The expectation that once your business has reached a level of success that there will never be a dry spell.
  • You have to be accepting of dry spells and use the time wisely.
  • Use the time to promote your business even more or as extra time for business development.
  • Use a dry spell to your advantage to keep your business moving forward.
  • 5. The expectation that you will get to spend all day doing what you love.
  • At minimum 50% of your time is not spent making things.
  • All the behind the scenes tasks take time away from making.
  • It stops being about you and becomes about your customers.
  • 6. The expectation that you are going to be able to please everyone all the time.
  • This includes the expectation to please yourself all the time!
  • No matter how hard you try to make every customer happy it is impossible but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
  • You will come up against people who will be upset, angry or disappointed.
  • ‘It is really important to do everything you can to make sure that customers are completely informed and educated about your products.’ {Jess}
  • Use any of these situations as learning experiences and never let them get you down.
  • Chances are that something along the way will go wrong but you just need to fix it and move on.
  • 7. The expectation that you are always going to love your work.
  • There will be days where you don’t love it.
  • It is important to be aware of this and go into it with eyes open.
  • You won’t love every moment but you can re-frame that moment and learn to look at it in a different light.
  • 8. The expectation that doing what you love will make you happy.
  • Happiness comes from within.
  • Everyone should find work that they love, but that doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time.
  • ‘You cannot rely on any one thing to completely revolutionise your happiness.’ {Jess}
  • Whatever you are bringing to the world through what you create, it is all about the feeling. How are you trying to make people feel? How are you trying to make yourself feel?
  • Make sure you join us for #CTMonthInTheLife Instagram Challenge (starting in August)!


Download or Listen to This Episode

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

#CTMonthInTheLife – A Photo-a-Day Instagram Challenge for Makers – Starts August 1, 2016!


It’s back! I’m once again running a month-long Instagram #photoaday challenge in August – #CTMonthInTheLife

I had so much fun last time I ran it – and I know so many of you really enjoyed it, too.

This challenge is for makers, artists, and creatives of all stripes.

I know how much I love seeing behind the scenes of other creatives’ lives and work, and I know I’m not alone in that bit of loving voyeurism, am I right?

So, I created this challenge as an opportunity for you to share all sorts of behind-the-scenes snapshots of your work life with us.

I want to see a month-in-the-life of your work. I want to see your space, your materials, your life, your passion. I want to see what motivates you, what your materials look like, what you DO every day!

Who wants to play?


Join us for #CTMonthInTheLife!


How to participate:

1. Share the image below on your Instagram feed. (And why not share it on FB to your Page… and on Pinterest or Twitter, too? This isn’t compulsory, but it will help to get your friends playing, too!).



2. Follow @CreateAndThrive on Instagram. I’ll be posting each day’s prompt to the feed to remind you to take your photo!

3. Post your response to each day’s prompt on your own IG feed (and some folks are creating a #CTMonthInTheLife Pin board, too – and you can push the photo through to your FB page).

4. Make SURE to tag every challenge image @CreateAndThrive AND #CTMonthInTheLife – I’ll be choosing my 4 faves and re-posting them to the C&T IG feed each day.


I’ll be posting each day’s prompt on the Create & Thrive IG account throughout August with a little blurb that explains a little bit about what it is. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory though!

We’ll kick off on August 1st, and play through till the 31st.

Please be aware that I’m running on Australian Eastern Standard Time – so for those of you on the other side of the world, we’ll be a little ahead of you time-wise – but just play when each day rolls around in your timezone!


Make sure you’re following the @CreateAndThrive IG account.

I can’t wait to peek inside your creative lives… will you be joining us?

[65] How to Start or Get Featured on a Podcast with Katie Wyatt

In this Episode I chat all things podcasting with Katie Wyatt, who not only runs her own successful podcast, but also helps other people get their podcasts up and running.

This episode is by request – I’ve had a number of you ask me about podcasting, so when I met Katie a few months back, I thought she’d be the perfect guest to have on the show to cover this topic.

I chat with Katie about the hows, whys, whens and whos of podcasting and how you can get started. We also talk about what you can do to be featured on podcasts.

Podcasts are becoming more and more common as a platform to promote and grow your business. It is a great way to find your audience and to really engage with them.

Podcast audiences can be really loyal listeners and as such can create quite a personal way of finding and keeping the customers you want.

If you’re a maker, don’t be limited by the idea that ‘I can’t do a podcast, what would I talk about?’ There’s real space in the podcasting community for podcasts about creativity and making.




Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Firstly – how are you supposed to constantly come up with content for your podcast?
  • Start with thinking about an interview format as it is a great way to start and begin the content creation of your podcast.
  • Don’t be afraid to re purpose previous ideas and/or blog posts.
  • You will soon find the content starts to build up very quickly and you are never short on ideas!
  • People feel very connected to the podcaster – more so than a blog. It is somehow more personal.
  • Create structure for your podcasts so that you don’t end up rambling.
  • ‘You need to work out how to make sure people find you, listen to you and then engage with you’ {Katie}
  • Secondly – How do you put it all together technology wise?
  • Skype is a fantastic way to record interviews and there are also programs such as Amolto and Audacity which are free recorders that integrate with Skype.
  • You want to make sure you have crisp clear sound which is also important when it comes to choosing a microphone.
  • You don’t need much to get started and you certainly don’t need to spend a fortune.
  • You will need somewhere to host your podcasts such as your own website or an online hosting platform.
  • Last but not least – How do you get the word out?
  • It is important to put work into marketing your podcast.
  • ‘You have to work to get noticed’ {Katie}
  • You need your listeners to subscribe, rate and review!
  • Use your existing email list and get the word out there on social media too.
  • Treat it like a mini launch and let everyone know!
  • It is ideal to have a weekly podcast but if that is too much commitment fortnightly is okay too.
  • Want to get featured on a podcast rather than recording your own? Here are a few tips;
  • 1. Find creatives who you admire that have been interviewed on a podcast and that just may be a great one to pitch to.
  • 2. Listen to the content of the podcast before you pitch to make sure your pitch fits their style.
  • 3. Be prepared to be turned down. Expect it. But if you keep at it you will get a yes and that is worth it.
  • Want to learn more? Katie has some great lessons on podcasting which you can check out at Secretpodcaster and Podwell.


Download or Listen to This Episode

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

[64] Making the Functional Beautiful with Clare Collyer of Zillpa

In this Episode I chat with Clare Collyer, the designer and maker behind the Australian handmade brand Zillpa.

Like many of us, it took time for Clare to find her current creative path. She had a creative childhood and studied graphic design but soon realised that what she really wanted to be doing was working with her hands.

Clare went on to study fashion design, and absolutely loved it! She ended up securing a job working for a bridal label, where she learnt a lot about running a business making things.

Behind the scenes, Clare was working on her own designs… and at one point, she started creating rope-based products. That was the turning point for her and her business.

Zillpa began to grow, and so Clare took the leap to creating and selling her products full time.

I met Clare through the Brisbane maker’s scene – specifically, because we were both members of BrisStyle (which began as an Etsy team, and which I was the VP of a few years ago).

I love her work, and I knew she’d turned her biz into something really successful, so I invited her to come on the show and tell her story.



Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Zillpa grew so much that Clare ended up opening her own retail space with a working studio out the back.
  • The store front has now closed as she focuses on markets, online sales and wholesale to grow her business.
  • Clare finds that face to face selling can be easier for her with customers enjoying holding and feeling her designs before buying.
  • Clare took Zillpa to the trade show Life InStyle and this ended up being a huge success for her business securing a large number of wholesale orders.
  • The biggest challenge she has faced in running her creative business are her own pressures and expectations of herself.
  • A huge boost to the business was a featured article in Home Beautiful magazine which has been a highlight of her creative career.
  • Clare has found that taking her products to the customer such as shows and markets has been the best marketing move for Zillpa.
  • Clare now has a wholesale agent which has been a really positive experience for her helping her free up time to do more creating.
  • ‘It’s all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses’ {Jess}
  • Clare admits that having a plan for your business is a huge help in moving forward as well as knowing your weaknesses and being ok with them.
  • She hopes to continue growing her business and to keep creating and doing what she loves well into the future.
  • You can Find Zillpa on her website, Facebook and Instagram.


Download or Listen to This Episode

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

Thriver Circle Membership – and Access to Your Year to Thrive – is Open Now!


Hey Thriver,

It’s time to get the support and guidance you’ve been waiting for…


I’ve opened the doors of the Thriver Circle to new members for 48 hours only. 


I’m so excited to invite new members into our Circle! 

Our members are jewellers, ceramicists, knitters, artists, designers, paper-cutters – they span dozens of different media. There are Circle members from Australia, NZ, America, Canada, the UK, Europe, Singapore… we are a global community of passionate creatives who are focussed on making our passions into a thriving business – and we believe in supporting each other to reach our goals.


What do you get as a member of the Circle?


  • NEW! Exclusive access to the year-long Your Year to Thrive program for makers.
  • A private, positive community forum – with over 350 fellow creatives who are already there to help you and keep you accountable (and you get direct access to me, too). It’s a safe, supportive space to share your concerns, questions, and successes!
  • One exclusive workshop from me every month, covering topics like pricing, selling online, marketing, social media, photography, time management, finding your ideal customer… and more. Oh, and you can request workshops, too. These are not available anywhere else.
  • A monthly call with me, during which 2 members of the Circle get 30 minutes of one-on-one time with me in a Business Intensive + there is a Q&A session at the end.
  • Early notification + a member’s discount whenever I launch a course or program. 

These are just some of the benefits you get from being part of the Circle… you can find out all the details of these benefits and  more here.



If you want to join us in the Circle, don’t hesitate.

Membership is only open 4 times a year, for 48 hours at a time. This membership intake will close on Thursday the 14th of July, 10am Australian EST (convert to your timezone).

Membership is only $15 AUD per month, paid via paypal subscription. You can cancel any time – no lock-in contracts, no big up-front cost.

If you’re not already convinced that the Circle is for you… why not try it out for a month for the price of a good magazine and a cup of coffee and find out for sure?

My goal is for you to be learning what you need to in order to turn that small $15 a month investment in to hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars a month income from your business.

Let’s make it happen, together!


You can join us here, or find out more.


Jess xx

P.S. Leave a comment if you have any questions!

P.P.S. Please don’t hesitate if you want to join. I’m only holding the doors open for 48 hours, and your next chance to join is 3 months away…

Join Now