[16] How to change your life by changing your morning routine

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 16

How can changing your morning routine change your life?

Do you start your morning feeling relaxed and under control or do you start it feeling tired and frustrated?

By crafting a morning routine that enables you to take care of YOU before you take care of everyone else, you can overhaul your entire experience of life and business.

In this episode, I share my own 3 hour morning routine, which includes things like yoga, reading, and spending quality non-work time with Nick, my husband, before we start the day’s work. I explain why I do the things I do each morning – and give you some suggestions for things you might like to consider incorporating into your own morning routine.

This is my routine – yours will look different. It all comes down to what you know you need to incorporate to help you start the day relaxed, and from a place of power and calm instead of stress. And the key element of this is the word ‘routine’ – I talk about the power of crafting positive habits, and how to grow your routine incrementally over time.

Overhauling my morning routine changed my life – I now start my days from a place of power – knowing I’ve done all my vital self-care activities, and can launch into my workday from a place of energised calm. Of course – some days it all falls apart, and that’s okay! It’s what you do most of the time that matters – and the longer you work at crafting your routine, the more powerful it will become.

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.


The Well

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Make time for the most important things in your life for your own personal happiness and health
  • Doing things which are for relaxation and for exercise will always make you feel better
  • “I read a book, blog or at least something which will get me energised and inspired for the day.”
  • Look for reading in the morning which will get your business brain churning and ready for you work day
  • Making space for your morning and all the rituals you would like to complete before your day starts is really important
  • “If I get on the exercise bike, I’ll listen to a Podcast.”
  • There are heaps of great apps and websites you can find which give you exercise ideas and which can do within the time you have available for your morning.
  • APP: 7 Minute Workout
  • Leave yourself as much time as you can for your morning routine.
  • “The key is to have a flow and a set of triggers which will help craft your morning routine.”
  • BOOK: The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter
  • Changing one thing in your morning routine is actually about changing a whole bunch of habits.
  • All your habits are triggered by something which precedes them.
  • Understand the reward for changing your habit – why do you want to change your habits?
  • You will find that overhauling your morning routine will bring about ‘Energised Calm’.
  • If you feel that you’re putting your needs above other people, you are! But that’s OK as you need to look after yourself before you can look after other people.
  • “You’re like a well. If water is being taken out of the well but there’s never any rain, that’s when everything falls apart and you feel stressed and depleted.”
  • Morning routines start the night before.
  • Set a bedtime alarm so you get to bed with enough time to get ready and get enough sleep to get in gear for your morning routine.
  • “I find and set out my exercise clothes for the next morning so it’s easy in the morning and I don’t have to spend Will Power. I set myself up for success the next morning.”
  • Getting more sleep is the number one way to boost your mental ability and mood.
  • Make a plan – brainstorm everything you want in your morning routine and do a timeline.
  • “Intellectually I want to get straight out of bed and go for a walk but it just doesn’t work for me. I need that time to sit and drink a cup of coffee and a glass of water and read a book before I’m ready.”
  • Have a shower and get dressed even if you are working from home that day.
  • “If you’re relying on an external reward, it’s not going to work as well. It’s got to be linked in the moment. There needs to be an intrinsic reward otherwise you will deplete your willpower.”
  • BOOK: Habit by William James
  • BOOK: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • WEBSITE: Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

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Thriver Circle Membership Open Now! (For 48 Hours Only)





Join the Circle...

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! The last 6 months have been amazing – we’ve had members making huge leaps forward in their businesses – they’ve been crafting new websites; getting media features; increasing sales; gaining the confidence to increase prices; and so much more.

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?

  • A private, positive community forum – with over 160 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.



SIGN UP!! Even though I haven’t set up a shop yet, the sharing of information from the community is amazing! I am so happy that I joined the Thriver Circle! You won’t see another bunch of talented handmade artists who are so supportive, encouraging and helpful!!

~ Adeline Tien


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. The next intake isn’t until the end of October, and this membership intake will close on Thursday the 30th of July, 8pm 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…



It’s great to be able to duck in and out of this group for insight, inspiration, advice and just to feel like I’m not alone in all of this when some days just feel like I’m in struggletown: population zero! It’s easier knowing we’re all dealing with variations of the same things, and can offer support, guidance and hope. It is SO beneficial on this journey.

~ Suzanne Cleary


Join Now


[15] How to advertise your business on a shoestring budget

Copy of The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 15

There are so many great free options for advertising and marketing your business these days that talking about paying for advertising is unusual for me. But the truth is, if you’re not paying for something with money, you’re paying for it with time.

We recorded this month’s conversation about how to find affordable advertising which is targeted towards your ideal customer.

Making sure you know who your perfect customer is will be the very first step you need to take in the process so if you haven’t done this yet, now is the time!

A marketing plan is key and you can find a great link to Kath’s post about an annual Marketing Calendar here and here.

Once you have these things in place, it’s all about research and making sure you know all about the publication or website where you’re spending your money.

Listen in for all the inside information about how to advertise your business on a shoestring budget.

Targeted Adverts

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • There are so many free options for advertising these days – you should try a lot of those before turning to paid advertising.
  • Decide on a marketing plan. Don’t just start paying for advertisements willy nilly.
  • “If you haven’t sat down and figured out your ideal customer yet, do that first and foremost.” {Kath}
  • What are you advertising? (the brand, a product, a special deal, a seasonal product).
  • Do an annual plan with dates you need to pay for adverts (and the reasons why).
  • Research – If you can’t afford to buy the magazines/print publications you want to check out, go to your local library or ask friends if they have copies.
  • Read up about the online blogs or websites which are offering paid advertising spots.
    • Ask for their Media Kit
    • How many readers do they have?
    • What are their demographics – are these your target customers?
    • Do they have a ‘product’ or ‘indie brand’ section which you could slot into?
    • What are other people saying about the publication?
  • Figure out a budget and stick to it – no matter what the advertiser wants from you.
  • Start small and ask for a discount.
  • I have found that almost all larger businesses I’ve worked with are happy to give you a discount to trial your advert.
  • Smaller businesses are just like you and may not be able to give you much of a discount – but they might have a smaller and more concentrated group of people who could be your perfect target market so it’s worth paying the money.
  • “Facebook Adverts – I’m still figuring these out but I find that I get about a 50/50 strike rate.” {Kath}
  • Think outside the box. There are loads of places where you could spend a bit of money for a potential sales gain.
  • Give away some freebies to encourage people to purchase from your store.
  • Print postcards or fliers and deliver them to mailboxes in your local area or to businesses which might have a lot of traffic.
  • Sponsor your local fete or school event – they will usually do a lot of advertising for you in advance.
  • Promoted Listings on Etsy have been successful in the past.
  • “It’s better to target your adverts in one place than scatter gun them all over the place. Try one place and stick with it for a few times to see if it works – then move on if it doesn’t.” {Kath}
  • Build brand awareness with this new audience before giving up.


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Quick Fixes for 6 Common Blog Mistakes






Quick Fixes for 6 Common Blog Mistakes

You want to look like you know what you’re doing, but is your blog plotting to make you look like a fool?

I see these same content and technical mistakes on blogs over and over, and most are easy to fix. If these common blog mistakes have been driving you crazy on your own site, I’ve got some tips for you today.

My fixes use WordPress menu names, but most blogging programs will have similar functionality, though perhaps tucked behind a different menu.


The mistake: Images that click to the same size image


This is a common problem with a simple fix. As a reader, I see a photo in a post, and notice that when I hover over it, it’s a link. Expecting to either get a lightbox-style pop-up over the screen with a larger photo, or at least be taken to the larger photo directly, I click, and I get… the exact same photo at the exact same size, but on a blank page. Now I need to click my “back” button to get back to what I was reading.

The fix:

When you’re adding the image to your post, make sure the “link to” choice is set to “none” in WordPress. WordPress will remember what you did last time, so it’s always good to check the setting for each new image, rather than assuming it’s set how you want it.

If you do want to link to a larger image, make sure you upload the large image itself, choose to have it resized in the post, and set the “link to” field to “media file” or “attachment page.”


The mistake: Images that are the wrong size


It irks me when I’m reading a blog and the photos don’t take advantage of all the width of the column they’re in, or  when photos are all different sizes throughout the blog.

The fix:

Always upload images that are as large or larger than the space you have. Sometimes this isn’t enough, though, as your WordPress admin might be set up to size and display photos smaller than they are.

If big photos turn small when you add them to the blog, you need to adjust some settings. Find out how many pixels wide your photos need to be to fill the space available. There are a lot of different ways to do this, none of which are quick to explain, I’m afraid. Ask your friendly web designer friend (me)!

Now that you know how wide you want your photos to be, make sure WordPress is set up to help you with that. Go to Settings in your WordPress admin and choose Media. You can set three standard sizes, and then you’ll be able to choose from between them whenever you upload a new image. Your small size could be used for thumbnail graphics that lead to posts, your medium could be the photos in the posts, and large could be the size people see when they click to view it larger.


The mistake: Photos that have been distorted


It’s weird to come across a photo that’s obviously been stretched or squished, like a piece of chewing gum.

The fix:

You are probably changing the height or width of your image without changing the other side. For instance, if your image is 400 pixels wide and 400 pixels tall, when you change the width to 300 pixels, you need the height to change by the same amount.

The fix for this depends on where you’re having the problem. If the problem happens when you edit the photo, be sure that when you change the width of an image, the height is also changing proportionately. This would be in Photoshop or whatever other photo editing software you use.

If your photos look fine on your computer, but then look crazy on your blog, check your media or file upload settings to make sure that they aren’t automatically being resized on one dimension only.


The mistake: moderating comments unnecessarily


If you want your comments section to be lively, it’s always best to have a discussion going as quickly as possible. Holding comments to be approved manually by you slows things down, and in the time it takes you to click and approve a comment, people may have missed out on the opportunity to discuss.

The fix:

Allow comments to flow freely on your site, unless you begin having a problem that requires you look at each comment individually. This is under Settings > Discussion in WordPress.


The mistake: being overwhelmed with spam


As soon as your site is ranked in Google and starts getting traffic and interest, spam robots will flood it with tons of garbage comments. Letting these pile up on your site is bad for business, and spending all of your time manually deleting them is a waste of your time.

The fix:

Pay Akismet $5/month to wipe this stuff out before it even makes it to your blog. If you spend more than 5-10 minutes per month tackling spam comments, I’d say this is money well spent.


The mistake: A bunch of garbage in your sidebar


WordPress gives you so many handy dandy widgets that it’s super tempting to fill your sidebar up with lots of neat looking goodies. However, clogging your sidebar with clutter will just cause visitors to ignore everything they see to the side of the real content, and you will have lost the opportunity to make your blog an easy place to explore, or to promote what you most want people to know about.

The fix:

Edit your sidebar ferociously. Look at each thing you’ve added, and ask if it’s something your reader needs, or if it helps you with your business goals. Remember that the more distractions you give your reader, the less you’ll be able to guide them through your site to your ultimate goal (purchasing your products, signing up for your service, etc.).

I share many more tips like this in my Aeolidia newsletter.

What mistakes do you see on blogs that drive you batty?

What questions do you have about your own blog?

P.S. If you missed my post with 260 blog post ideas, that’s a good place to get started on improving your blog!

[#14] 5 Ways you’re Sabotaging your Success

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 14

When you decide to turn your creative hobby into a business, there are going to be external obstacles that get in your way – LOTS of obstacles. That’s just business – just life, really – and they are an inevitable part of trying to make something happen.

But you can also get in your own way.

We can be really good at stopping ourselves from succeeding, often without even realising it.

I’ve taught hundreds – if not thousands – of people how to turn their hobby into their dream business. I’ve found that while we are all passionate about creating something and have a drive to create new things, we also need to have a drive to make a living out of it.

If you don’t have the desire to make a financial success out of your creative biz, then you won’t.

Lots of creatives have the ‘starving artist’ mentality where they don’t feel comfortable making money from their art.

I’ve here to tell you: you are not disrespecting your creativity if you’re making money from it. If you resonate with this common issue, you’re not alone – and it’s just one of the unhealthy beliefs we absorb from our society that may be causing you to hold yourself back.

In this episode, I discuss 5 ways you might be unconsciously sabotaging yourself and holding yourself back from making your business a success – and how to overcome these self-created obstacles.

So, if you are feeling negative about your business, you may recognise a lot of things in this episode.

See if you can take steps to change them and help your business thrive.


Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • We can’t change and overcome these roadblocks unless we recognise that they are there
  • If you start a handmade business and you’re expecting to make a huge profit in the first few years, you need to forget that
  • It might happen – but it’s unlikely
  • “Chances are, it’s going to take a couple of years to gain some traction and make it a full time business.”
  • People over-anticipate what they can achieve in a certain period of time
  • “You see those people who seem to be an overnight success – they’re not!”
  • Some people will be coming at this with other skills and industry knowledge which will allow them to find success quicker. But they have spent many years honing the skills which allowed them to succeed.
  • If you’re coming at this business without that background knowledge, things take a long time to learn
  • Don’t put yourself down if it takes time
  • “I hope it’s a fun part of the journey for you, experimenting and trying new things.”
  • If you’re not in it for the long haul, really think about whether it’s something you want to be doing in the long run
  • You are competing against the entire internet and everyone who is in your niche
  • You need to stand out, and it if you haven’t got the elements correct, you will find it hard to gain traction and make sales
  • Only you can choose when you call yourself a success
  • People will focus on something that’s not working and will complain about it – there’s no point
  • It’s OK to blow off steam and get it off our chest
  • You’re sabotaging your success by being a ‘glass half empty’ rather than a ‘glass half full’ person
  • Focus your energy of your on the positive
  • “Nobody is responsible for the success or failure of your business but you.”
  • You can always find ways around roadblocks
  • It doesn’t matter how small your success, it deserves celebrating
  • “This is a case of starting too many new things at once and not being able to give any one thing the attention they truly deserve.”
  • You might always be wanting to try new things
  • This is really great but can also backfire as you’re not able to focus on any one thing
  • “Sales follow your focus.”
  • You have to give your business the time, attention and focus it deserves so it has a chance of success
  • Do all the things you want to do, but do them sequentially instead of concurrently
  • In order to make space in your life, you may want to give other things away
  • “You’ve bought the courses, you’ve bought the e-books, you have all the theoretical knowledge that you need but you’re yet to do anything about it.”
  • This is often what happens when you’re a perfectionist
  • Consistent investment in your own education is a valuable thing
  • There’s comes a point when you just have to take the leap
  • You will make mistakes, but do that while nobody is watching
  • If you never put yourself into the arena, then you will never make progress
  • Put yourself out there and until you do that, you won’t know what other people think
  • You don’t learn to walk the first time you try but you get there eventually
  • You’re afraid that everything isn’t perfect
  • Nothing is ever perfect
  • “Get it to the stage of pretty darn awesome, or just pretty good, and get it out into the world.”
  • Until you do, you aren’t going to get feedback to make things grow and evolve

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” {Theodore Roosevelt}

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