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[106] Staying Open to Possibilities with Lisa Congdon

 

Have you ever felt like you have missed the boat in your creative career? Ever thought you were ‘too old’ or it was ‘too late’? Or maybe you’re not experienced enough in your chosen creative field?

My guest this week – Lisa Congdon – is a wonderful example of someone who stumbled into a creative career due to discovering her passion for art in her 30s. Lisa hasn’t always been ‘an artist’ – indeed, when she was younger, ‘creative’ wasn’t a label she would have given herself.

Fast-forward 15-ish years since she first picked up a paint brush, and she is now a well-known and prolific working artist – creating art, illustrations, books, videos, and more – and making a living from her creativity out of her home studio in Portland, Oregon.

Lisa is the perfect example of how you can make a shift into a creative career, even if it’s something relatively new to you. It is never to late to learn new skills and it is never too late to pursue your creative path as a second (or third, or fourth!) career. The key is to put yourself out there, to build a name for yourself, and to be open to the possibilities that come your way – to grow your career or business in ways you might not have anticipated or planned for.

Lisa and my stories have a lot in common (chatting with her I felt like I’d found a sister from another mister!), and she has a lot of practical advice and wisdom to share with you – whether you are an artist or any other sort of creative.

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Lisa’s art started purely as a hobby after taking a painting class with her brother.
  • In about 2004 Lisa started uploading images of her work online and after a while, she started to get inquiries and gallery offers.
  • She opened her Etsy store in 2007.
  • Lisa realised that she had to continue to share her work and create her opportunities if she wanted to do this full time.
  • Lisa has built a huge following which creates its own opportunities.
  • She now also has a couple of published books which were exciting opportunities that appeared for her.
  • Instagram is an incredibly important place for artists to show their work and to help be found.
  • Don’t be afraid of others stealing your work or ideas – the benefits of being present online far outweigh this risk.
  • Lisa can’t stress enough how important it is to have a support network.
  • ‘If you don’t have a supportive partner or supportive family then go find other artists who could be your support network’ {Lisa}
  • You need to be prepared to take risks if you really want to see the rewards of a creative career path.
  • ‘The magic is always in the creative ideas’ {Lisa}
  • You can find Lisa on her website, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

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

[105] Should You Start a Second Shop?

 

Have you ever wondered if you should start a second shop?

Maybe you’ve started a new craft. Maybe you’ve started making work that is vastly different to your current product lines. Or maybe you want to start selling different types of products all together.

So – when is starting a second shop – which is, basically, a second business – the right choice? And when should you just integrate your new work into your existing business?

I see this question pop up all the time – so I thought it was time to address it in a podcast ep.

In this episode I discuss how I’ve approached this very thing myself – multiple times! – and why I made the decision to run multiple businesses, rather than just squish everything together.

I also give you a few questions to consider that will hopefully help you make the right decision for you if and when this question arises.

 

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Do your multiple product lines have enough in common to exist under the same brand?
  • Can they be ‘branded’ together – i.e. photography style, target customer etc. Or are they too different?
  • I’ve started multiple businesses numerous times because I didn’t want to dilute my brands – but it’s a LOT more work to run multiple businesses. So be sure.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does my new idea have anything in common with my existing brand?
  • Will incorporating my new idea into my existing brand compliment and improve my brand/shop overall, or dilute it? 
  • Do I have the time/energy to manage two separate brands/shops?
  • You want your business to be known for doing one thing well. Don’t fall into the trap of being a ‘little bit of everything’ brand.

 

 

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

[104] Developing Your Signature Style with Caitlin from Ink & Spindle

 

In the first years of your business it can sometimes feel like you are yet to find your signature style. Sometimes, this is just something that needs to be developed over time – and you’ll know it when you find it.

One business that has done this beautifully is Ink & Spindle.

Caitlin Klooger is one half of the Ink & Spindle team who run their Aussie-inspired eco fabric screen-printing business from their studio in Melbourne. All of their fabric is hand-printed by them in their studio – and they sell their fabric by the metre, as well as selling homewares and custom window blinds.

In this episode I chat with Caitlin from Ink & Spindle about what inspires her, how the business works, and how it all began.

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Caitlin and her business partner Lara run a screen printing business in Melbourne.
  • She studied interior design and landscape architecture but started her own textile business from home when she met Lara.
  • They are inspired largely by plants and nature using this as a base of the design process.
  • Ink & Spindle have an eco feel and ethos using organic and ethically sourced materials.
  • There always comes struggles with running a creative business and juggling family is one of them.
  • ‘Business and life are so intertwined’ {Jess}
  • There is a focus on online sales and customer service as well as wholesale and interior design.
  • Instagram is the favourite marketing tool in the Ink & Spindle studio as it is image focused.
  • Ink & Spindle has developed and grown naturally as Caitlin and Lara’s skills and confidence developed and grew.
  • You can find Ink & Spindle on their website or facebook.

 

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

[103] Finding the Space to Just Be

 

When was the last time you just stopped and did… nothing?

As our lives become increasingly busy and connected, it can be so easy to feel pressure to be working and doing all the time – you can easily forget to live in the now. To just be.

In this episode I help you discover ways to be more mindful of how you spend your time. And to allow yourself to not be pursuing something 100% of the time.

It can be super easy to get caught up in the future. The when, the ifs and the one days. The goals. The end point.

But remember… 99.9% of your time is spent in the process of working towards that goal… so if you’re not enjoying the process, what’s the point?

Today I want to invite you to step away from all of the ‘shoulds’ – all of the doing – and just find a little bit of space to practice just being, instead.

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • It is important to have some sort of structure to your day or it can be easy to lose focus.
  • Having some structure means you can enjoy your down time more.
  • If you are ALWAYS thinking about work it can become too much pressure and stress.
  • You need to leave space for ‘unproductive time’.
  • Though some have argued that today’s age is one where ‘the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning,’ there’s an unshakeable and discomfiting sense that, in our obsession with optimising our creative routines and maximising our productivity, we’ve forgotten how to be truly present in the gladdening mystery of life.’ {Maria Popova}
  • There is so much work to be done in growing a creative business and so it is important to enjoy it.
  • ‘Modern technology has made it harder than ever to disconnect from the clamour and demands of others, and the demands we put on ourselves.’ {Jess}
  • You need to make sure you are living the days you want to live now and not for what could be in the future.
  • Working hard does not mean you can’t enjoy life and make space for the things you love.
  • You need time to just be.
  • You need to impart meaning and positivity into all that you do.
  • This week I want you to find 5 minutes every day just to be. It doesn’t matter what it is but make it a guilt free experience living in the present moment.

 

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

[102] How to Choose the Right Ideas to Action with Kez Tutton

 

As a creative person your mind is probably buzzing with ideas day in and day out. It can sometimes feel like your head might explode, and these ideas can keep you awake, obsess you when you’re trying to do something else, and generally leave you feel frazzled and frustrated because you don’t know which ones to run with.

So… how do you work out which ideas to grab hold of and which ones to let go.

In this episode I chat with Kez from The Handmade Biz Planner about this very topic. Kez ran her own handmade business for 5 years, and she’s also spent many years in the corporate world, learning about business and systems.

Kez creates online resources that help add value to your creative business through forms and processes that can help you beat that feeling of overwhelm.

The idea behind her business is ‘careful, gentle planning’.

So, let’s learn a bit more about her, and about what she calls the ‘Ultimate Brainstorm Process’!

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Kez put together all her skill sets to create her business The Handmade Biz Planner.
  • Firstly there is the Creation phase.
  • Write everything down, every little (or big!) idea to help keep your mind clear.
  • Keep a notepad beside your bed to collect ideas as they pop up.
  • So, how do you decide which crazy ideas to follow? Enter the Prioritise phase.
  • Make sure you have a criteria to check the ideas off against.
  • Does the idea fit with your core values? Does the idea suit your ideal customer? Does it fit within your business goals?
  • Then comes the Planning phase.
  • You need to put these ideas into a plan.
  • Create a road map of what you want to do and where you want it to take you.
  • Then you need to work out the action steps.
  • Do it now, do it later or don’t do it at all.
  • Don’t become trapped by the processes, make it work for you.
  • ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the result of other peoples thinking and don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.’ {Steve Jobs}

 

 

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