Five Ways to Build your Creative Business on Instagram



Five ways to build your Creative

Instagram is a must for creative businesses.

The ability to connect with followers using images and videos works so well for those in the creative industries – so if you’re not part of Instagram you’re not only missing out on potential customers – but also a lot of marketing fun too!

Once you’ve got your account set up in Instagram, then the next thing that you’ll want to know is how to get more followers.

More followers means more people seeing your posts, finding out about your business, and potentially purchasing your products or services.

Here are our top 5 ways to build your creative business on Instagram:


1. Pimp your Bio

Getting people to your Instagram account is the first step.

Of course, when they do come to your account it’s important that they understand what you do immediately.

Writing your bio in Instagram is what you do when you first sign up. However, you may have noticed that other accounts have a bio that has been formatted with line breaks.

To keep up with the pros on Instagram you should write your bio in the Notes app* and copy and paste it into Instagram. Use emojis to add more flair but remember that you’ve only got 150 characters to play with.

(*Required for iPhone only. Android phones have formatting available when writing within Instagram.)

Here’s a great example of a bio:

Example of a Good Bio

And this one is not so great:

Example of a bad bioSync with all your marketing materialsSync with all your marketing materials


2. Sync with all your marketing materials

If you’re on Instagram, then you need to tell everyone that you’re there!

Cross-promote your Instagram account across all your marketing platforms by adding in an Instagram feed plugin on your website, a custom tab on Facebook, and links from your other social media profiles.

Include a link to Instagram in your email signature and at the end of your e-newsletters.

You can even embed Instagram posts onto your website or blog by using Instagram on your desktop computer to get the embed code.

If you sell a physical product, include a postcard or flyer telling people that you’re on Instagram and ask them to join you there.

For printed materials, don’t rely just on an Instagram icon; you need to include your actual Instagram username.

3. Use relevant hashtags

Hastags gather together similar posts in a collective group.

By adding hashtags to your posts they have the ability to be seen by more than just your followers.

Hashtags serve to connect your account with people that are interested in your creative business. Therefore the hashtags that you use should relate to your business and what you do.

The questions below are a quick way to start thinking about which hashtags you should use on your Instagram posts.

Which tribe does your product connect with?

For example: entrepreneurs, hipsters, fashionistas, mums, makers, artists, creatives

Give your business a broad brush stroke, in one word describe what you do…

For example: craft, macramé, jewellery, print, design, cross stitch

Which category does your product or service come under?

For example: Handmade, fabric, homewares, interior design

Where are you located?

Tip: For a lot of businesses starting out on Instagram connecting with the local community is a great way to build your following. This can also be good to use if you’re selling at a local market or event.

Now… Write down the variations!

By only using one hashtag to describe what you do you are missing out on marketing to a broader reach of customers. Once you’ve written down your answers above, take a moment to come up with variations on the same theme. For inspiration, check out ( to search by which hashtags you want to use.

Remember people still need to be able to read your comments, so make sure that hashtags don’t take over!

Here’s how to play the hashtag game right:


Example of good hashtags

And here’s an example of less effective hashtagging:

Example of Bad hashtags

4. Post interesting content

Interesting photos and videos are what make Instagram such a great social media platform!

While you may sell only one product, it’s important to show this off in a variety of ways so that people are continually interested in your posts. This also serves you when people come to your account so that they’ll choose to follow you as well.

It’s easy to create compelling content by placing products on interesting backgrounds, using off-centre points of interest and perspectives. 



Add yourself or other people into the photos for even more engagement.

In contrast to Pinterest (where users prefer images without people) photos with faces receive more interaction on Instagram. Put yourself in the picture and see the results!



5. Collaborate with other accounts

Collaborations involve working with other Instagrammers or businesses to build your following.

Collaborate with other accounts for competitions and photo shoots to cross-promote each other.

Collaborations can also involve tagging locations and other users so that they receive a notification and will potentially repost your image as well.


Instagram is a great platform to work with other businesses that you know and ones that you don’t.

Use Instagram as a research tool to find other collaborators and reach out to them. If you’re contacting another account to collaborate with, work out exactly how you want to work with them beforehand and know what you can offer them in return.



 So get your creative self out there and go share your unique story with the Instagrammers of the world!


P.S. Jess here. Are you a member of the Thriver Circle – my online community for makers? I have a 45 minute video workshop about Instagram where I teach you a range of strategies to grow your following, your community, and give you advice on how to make your feed look superb. If you’re not a member, you can join right now for just $15.


[#11] How to Find Your Authentic Voice

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 11

On this week’s episode we talk about the process of finding your authentic voice for your business – and how you can inject your own personality into your branding and story across all your content channels (blog, social media, website copy etc.).

Sometimes it’s hard to tell a consistent and honest story about your business, because it’s so entangled with you and all your myriad aspects.

You might be a parent, partner, worker, and teacher along with being a business owner – which means you have a lots of different aspects to your life, personality, and personal narrative.

Finding out a little bit more about who you are can really help you to distil down the parts of your personality that match your business, and help you to showcase these aspects in your business communication.

There’s a lot of information in this episode so listen in for some more tips and exercises that will help you to show the best version of YOU to your loyal followers.

More professional

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • You don’t need to be someone you’re not so figuring out who you are is really important.
  • Grab a bunch of magazines and rip out images which represent your personality and paste them onto a piece of cardboard. This is kind of like a look-book for your personality.
  • It’s about defining yourself by what you surround yourself with.
  • If you have a fun and vibrant clothing line, you’re not going to speak with a formal “no-nonsense’ tone of voice.
  • On the flipside, if you sell upmarket gold and gemset jewellery, you wouldn’t be dropping swearwords or text contractions like ‘luv this gr8 style!’
  • “A little bit more professional than your most casual self is always my recommendation” {Kath}
  • Get onto those replies as quickly as possible, even if it’s just an acknowledgement.
  • So many people say they can’t write or can’t find their voice when blogging.
  • “Nobody expects your blog to be perfect – it’s not a School assignment guys…” {Jess}
  • It’s more like writing a diary or a journal.
  • If you struggle with writing and ‘don’t know what to write about’ there are loads of tools out there which help you to learn and grow your writing style.
  • “I’ve done the 500 words challenge and it was what helped me to get a job writing for a local online events publication” {Kath}
  • You can write posts that you don’t publish immediately if you want to work on them further.
  • The key is just to start writing and you’ll find your style will develop so much quicker than just simply thinking about it.
  • “I don’t use it often, but if I can’t think of a title, this blog topic generator can help you with distilling down your blog idea into a great concept.” {Kath}
  • Find great images and use video.
  • “We’ve been talking about voice as words, but voice can be a little bit bigger than that.” {Jess}
  • Have photos taken of yourself in your workspace, or just take some of yourself.
  • Make sure your written voice and style match your photos and other imagery.
  • Use IG and Facebook to show your lifestyle and business and how they mesh together.
  • Photos can help you to tell your brand story and you can showcase your unique personality.


Download/Listen to this Episode

You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher

Brand Your Craft Banner Wide Final

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Enrol in our self-study eCourse, Brand Your Craft – available now!

Click here to find out more.

3 Passive Income Streams for Your Creative Business




Passive Income3 Alternative Income

There are loads of ways to make money out there and often, as Creatives, we can get caught up in the art of what we’re doing and forget about the business of art.

To continue doing what we love, the undeniable truth is: we need to make money.

Without money, there are no tools and materials to work with.

Without money, we don’t have time to take a holiday to find our muse and allow creative thoughts to flow.

Without money, there is no food to fuel our creative imagination.

In short, just like everyone else, Artists and Creatives need money to do what they love.

Now that we’ve established that ‘making money’ aren’t dirty words and the act of making moolah is, in fact, extremely necessary, we can start thinking about options of getting that cash into your hands to help you live your best life.

You might have a small or burgeoning creative business where you make items individually by hand and this takes a lot of time (but you totally love it).

This can be so rewarding – but there is always going to be a time when you hit a ceiling of how much you can make in the time you are awake.

You can take on staff and grow your business if that’s what you want.

OR you could try to find some passive income to supplement your income from your handmade business.

What is passive income?

Usually it’s the kind of thing you can ‘set and forget’ and it slowly ticks over and makes you money.

Passive income is not necessarily easy and it can take hard work to get it up and running, but the reward is rarely having to work on it once it’s done and available to the world.

I’m going to give you a list of income streams which you can get going that might compliment your creative business, but that you don’t have to work on day to day after the initial set up.


  1. Write an eBook

Whether you’re a writer or not, chances are; you are an expert at something. {Hint} Whatever you’re making and selling – you’re an expert at that!

If you’re a silversmith, perhaps you could write a simple printable with tips and tricks that a beginner might need to get their own workshop started and how to sell their own products.

Or perhaps you’ve had loads of success with marketing your business and getting excellent PR. If you write that down and offer your expert information in the form of an eBook, you can charge a fee each time it’s downloaded.

The passive part: Once you’ve written the eBook, you only need to advertise it from time to time and let people pay for your expertise.


  1. Sell Stock Graphics or Photos


Have you mastered the art of photography through your work on your business?

I see so many amazing Creatives who have incredible photos in their online stores. If that’s you, I bet you have a catalogue of awesome pics which you can sell to people who want stock images for their own website, blog or business.

Some great places to start are Shutterstock, iStock Photo, Alamy and 123rf but there are loads out there which all have differing payment options.

For the graphic designers out there, some of the photo sites will also sell your graphics or you can find companies which specialise in using your graphics for saleable items.

Most people know Threadless Tees and then there’s Society 6, Redbubble, Zazzle and inPRNT which do most of the hard work for you – you just submit the design and forget about it.

The passive part: Take new photos or just grab some from your collection then submit and forget.


  1. Monetise your blog

So if you’ve been reading this website for a while, you’ll know that having a blog is still a must for your business these days. It tells your story, helps with your SEOs, builds relationships and lots more – read all about it in Megan’s excellent post here.

There are lots of ways to monetise and you can definitely do your own research but the first thing you should consider is whether or not you want ads on your blog.

It’s ok if you don’t – you absolutely don’t have to – but it is a way of adding a passive income stream for almost no effort. Some companies will let you target ads so that they match your target market which means they won’t turn off your loyal followers.

You could also charge for premium content on your blog by having a members-only section where VIPs get exclusive access to content. This could include printables, downloads, special discount codes or expert information.

Affiliate marketing programs are another great way to get some extra income however they can take a little more time (making them less passive). If you have become an authority in your field, you can recommend products adding an affiliate link which identifies you as the referrer and rewarding you with payment.

It’s best to always identify that you are being paid for your review or link to ensure your followers are on the same page.

The passive part: Once you set up these items on your blog, you will only have to come back to add content or write a review


There are so many more ways to make passive income to supplement your income from your creative business. 

At some time or other, every Artist and Creative worries about money and how to make sure their business is a success.

Just as in life, diversifying and adding alternative income streams might be a way to give you some breathing room via a regular and reliable income.

As I said before, it’s not easy to set up a successful passive income stream. But once you have, it will hopefully make you more financially comfortable in the future to get on with creating what you love.

[#10] 8 Steps to Turn your Passion into a Successful Business

Copy of The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 10

Hey Thrivers! Nick and I are currently on our way over to the UK for a sabbatical from our jewellery business, and to visit family and friends – we’ve got lots of adventures in mind for our 3 months abroad.

However, while we’re taking a break from Epheriell, all things Create & Thrive will be running as-usual while we are there – I’ll be sharing photos of our trip on the Epheriell IG if you want to follow our adventure! 

I’m planning on holding at least one meetup in London, so if you’d like to be part of a Create & Thrive meetup, make sure to let me know!

Now, let’s get on with this week’s episode…

In today’s Podcast I’m talking about some vital steps to take in order to make your creative passion into your dream business.

The 8 steps I cover in this episode are going to get you thinking about where you want to go, and how to harness your passion and creative fire to get there.

By following these simple steps, you will find that your business will grow and adapt along with your own needs and the needs of your customers.

Listen in for more detail on these 8 steps that will help you start, maintain and grow your own creative biz – there is a ton of motivational and practical info in this episode!

Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.



Top of the mountain


Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Just because I like something doesn’t necessarily mean that someone wants to buy it.
  • You have to switch your mindset when you start selling stuff.
  • You still need to make things that you’re passionate about and that you care about.
  • You may need to change techniques and materials, you might need to change what you make entirely.
  • “You might not need to change, you might just need to get clearer on your ideal customer and seek those people out.”
  • Get balance by being obsessive about driving your business forward, not about the business itself.
  • “You need to care really, really deeply and you need to have that fire that will drive you when things get tough.”
  • It’s important to know why you’re doing this – what are you aiming for?
  • “What’s your why?”
  • If you know what your goal is, it’s easier to push through the uncertainty.
  • If you run hot and cold with your business it will make it so much harder to grow it.
  • You will never be ‘done’ with your business, if you are ‘done’ then it’s probably over.
  • Decide how much time you have to devote to it, decide on your key tasks and goals. Then do something every day to move your business forward.
  • “Make little tiny steps every single day – that is how you get to the top of the mountain.”
  • Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool you have.
  • Give your business cards to your friends and family.
  • “Mum always has a stack of Epheriell cards with her and I think she gives out more than I do!”
  • You never finish growing.
  • “Work the process of learning into your everyday habits.”
  • Help other people so share your skills to learn more. You learn something best by teaching it.
  • We are all equal even at different stages of our business.
  • It can be overwhelming the amount of stuff that’s out there in the world but pick 1-3 people that you trust and listen to them.
  • It can be dangerous to have all your eggs in one basket.
  • Diversifying can help you grow your business easier and more quickly.
  • Try out markets, consignment, wholesale and online and try it all for an amount of time which suits you and your products.
  • “I used to do markets and wholesale but I have found that not only do I want to sell online but it’s where my products sell best!”
  • Try different venues online: your own website, Etsy (US & International) , Madeit (Australia), Folksy (UK), Felt (NZ) etc
  • “I thought my customers were female to start with but now I have a huge market with men in my wedding rings since I followed my market.”
  • By having different products lines then you can touch on a lot of different markets.
  • Try new things every single day.
  • Don’t be afraid to give something a shot if you want to try it.
  • So what if you fail? Just move on to the next thing. If you don’t try, you will fail.
  • “If you’re just starting out, you might be scared to try new things since you haven’t built up your courage muscle. But this is the best time – at the beginning very few people are watching!”
  • You’re still finding out who you are in your business.
  • “If you have courage, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
  • If you keep waiting until you are perfectly 100% sure that you’re ready, then you would never do anything.
  • “If you commit to it, you will make it happen.”
  • Setting a date before you know you are ready means that you will be highly motivated.
  • By promising that you will make it happen, it will light the fire and you’ll live up to your own awesomeness.

Download/Listen to this Episode

You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher

Success Stories – Satsuma Street





jody headshot2_1000


“Grandma” and “Kitsch” are NOT the words you would use to describe Jody’s beautiful cross-stitch patterns from her online store Satsuma Street. As an avid crafter who likes to try her hand at everything, I was gobsmacked by the beautiful and unique patterns which are modern, bright and fun; these are now on my ‘to buy’ list! Read on to hear more of Jody’s amazing career story and how she sold over 12,000 patterns so far on Etsy.


Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

All of my careers so far have been creative ones, but very different! I have a degree in costume design and started my working life as a seamstress and costumer.

After doing that for a while, I decided to go to film school and got my Master’s degree in animation. I worked in Hollywood in the visual effects field for big action movies, but after a few years I got tired of the intense hours and unpredictable nature of the entertainment business.

That’s when I decided to start my own business designing cross-stitch patterns, at first just as a sideline.

Much to my surprise, Satsuma Street took off almost immediately, and within a year it had become my full-time job.



What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?

The biggest challenge has really been trusting my own instincts.

I’ve started to get all kinds of offers for ways to expand and diversify, but when you run your own business and work completely alone, it’s hard sometimes to trust your own choices.

Making the decision to trust my gut and only say “yes” to things that feel right to me has been tough, but so far it’s worked out.

What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?

When I was approached by the public radio show Marketplace, who wanted to do a story on my business, I just about fell over I was so surprised!

The radio story ran nation-wide over a three day period, so it was really fun to watch the traffic to my shop go through the roof as people all over the country discovered me.



Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

It seems like finding the time to achieve all your ideas is the most common struggle I hear from creative entrepreneurs!

That’s definitely my greatest frustration these days, I already work seven days a week and yet still don’t have enough time to do it all.

Because I’ve always managed to make a living from my creativity in some way, I don’t doubt that I will find a way to keep doing that, even if I can’t totally predict what the future will hold.

Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?

I definitely go through creative slumps, but I’ve come to think of them as a normal part of the creative process and I try not to let them worry me too much.

As one of my artistic idols, Corita Kent, said;

“The only rule is work. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.”

So if I’m feeling stuck, I still try to do something creative every day, even if it’s just going to a museum and staring at a favorite painting.

I think as long as you try to stay mindful of the world around you, and really make a point to notice the beauty and details even in the smallest things, you will always find inspiration.



How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?

My days are really varied, some days I’m sketching new ideas, others I’m doing nothing but responding to customers and working on social media posts.

That’s the great thing about working from home, you can keep your schedule really flexible. The downside to working from home is that it’s very easy to work seven days a week, or till all hours of the night!

Because I love what I do, I don’t mind working hard.

But lately I’ve just been trying to listen to my body and when I start to feel overwhelmed or exhausted, I take a personal day!

What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?

I happened to launch Satsuma Street right around the same time that Instagram was becoming popular, and I really enjoyed posting process shots and finding other cross-stitch fans there.

I encouraged my customers to share photos of the projects they had made using my patterns, and that started a really organic and fun way for new customers to find me.

By using the app to document my progress on new designs, I can generate excitement for them before they even come out, and it’s a great way to quickly gauge which products will be popular or not.


What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?

Don’t get too upset about people sharing or copying your work.

The first time I discovered people sharing my patterns illegally, or someone knocking off my designs, it felt like a punch in the gut, and my first reaction was to stop putting my work out there in the world.

But I’ve learned that while the internet can expose you to people who try to steal or copy your work, it also exposes you to many, many more people who will love and respect what you’re making and pay you for it.

You should definitely protect your intellectual property and defend it when you can, but don’t let negativity consume you.

The benefits of being able to connect with people all over the world cannot be overstated, so ignore the copycats and just keep making!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope that in 5 years I’ll still be running Satsuma Street, and helping to change people’s ideas about what cross-stitch and needlework can be.

I’m planning to explore video and web classes, so I can help share my love of the craft to those who haven’t tried it yet.

And I would love to expand and start applying my design sense to other products, so hopefully in the next few years I’ll find the time to make that leap.




Find Jody Online:





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