[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’!

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.


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}


  • Kez is giving away a Daily Planner downloadable PDF for subscribers of to #HandmadeBusinessToolkit – So make sure you sign up here if you haven’t already!
  • You can find Kez online at The Handmade Biz Planner (This site/resource is no longer available), Instagram and on Facebook.


Download or Listen to This Episode


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

[101] In The Fire of Transformation with Claire Anderson



Businesses don’t grow via a nice smooth curve.

In fact, businesses often go through periods of massive upheaval in the process of evolving. My guest this week is in the midst of one such transformation.

Claire and her fiance Steven own a glass blowing company in Canada. They spent some time travelling and working in studios together around the country: and then decided it was time to settle down and start their own.

They chose Niagara Falls as a place to call home and started working hard to get the studio off the ground. Together they create functional and artistic wares through traditional glass blowing techniques, and they have dreams to not only grow their glass business, but also become a hub of the creative community in NF – helping other artists to grow and evolve, too.

In this Episode I chat with Claire about the transformation of her business and what the future holds for this dedicated and hardworking couple.




Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • Claire and Steven set up a crowd funding campaign to help fund the studio as there is so much equipment and permits involved.
  • A huge challenge for Claire and her partner was the process of setting up the studio (not an easy thing with their craft!) and the roller coaster of emotions that went with it.
  • Their glassware has been selling like crazy and they feel they have found their niche in a certain style ‘The Canadian Ice Glass’
  • They both have different strengths within the business and work with this.
  • There have been some huge life adjustments to manage the studio and still find time to do the things they enjoy.
  • Luckily, they both have the ability to care for each other through stressful times.
  • Claire admits they do have a plan and are ready to settle where they are even with the challenges they face in the creative industries in Canada.
  • ‘Finding the right product is the best thing you can do’ {Jess}
  • They have been focusing on wholesale and shows but are hoping for a retail season in the future.
  • ‘Make your bread and butter something you are very confident in and are very proud of’ {Claire}
  • Claire has found that it is so very important to always be confident about your pricing.
  • You can find Claire and her partner Steven at Studio Vine, and on Woodruff Glass.


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’.)

[100] 10 Truths About Running a Handmade Business


Welcome to Episode 100 of the Create & Thrive Podcast!

And it’s double celebrations, because it’s not only the 100th episode, but also the 2nd birthday of the podcast this week.

*throws confetti*

To celebrate the 100th episode, I decided to look back over the last 2 years of episodes, as well as ruminate on my (almost) 9 years running my own handmade business.

To wit, I have recorded what my best friend would call a ‘real talk’ episode – where I lay down 10 (sometimes hard) truths about running a handmade business.

In short:

Is it hard work? Yes.

Is it worth it? Heck yes!

I hope you find this episode heartening and grounding. It’s been a joy to produce this podcast for you over the last 2 years, and I look forward to bringing you a new episode each week into the future!

Almost 9,000 people listened to the show in March (2017), with over 13,000 downloads – which, compared to previous months, shows me that more and more of you are discovering the podcast and enjoying what I have to share with you.

So – thank YOU for being here, and I hope you continue to enjoy every episode I bring your way!

Jess x


Download or Listen to This Episode

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


Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • 1. Everything will take longer than you think it will
  • Website, photos, social media posts, growth of your biz – absolutely everything!
  • Give yourself twice as much time as you think each task will take.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 30 – 5 Time Management Hacks You Should Try Today.
  • 2. You can’t compete on price – so find something else that makes you stand out
  • ‘If you are competing on price you are treating yourself like a commodity’ {Jess}
  • You need to make people fall in love with what you do.
  • You need to find your unique selling point to make you stand out from the crowd.
  • ‘Not competing on price but because what you make is so special that nobody else does it: that’s when you will find success’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 53 – Why You Need to Find Your Micro Niche.
  • 3. You WILL have unhappy customers
  • It will happen at some point along your way so you must be prepared.
  • If you have done your best, it is probably not your fault but you need to be equipped to handle it with grace.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 3 – How to Provide Outstanding Online Customer Service and Episode 82 – How to Deal with Unhappy Customers.
  • 4. There will be days/weeks when you fall out of love with your biz/lose your passion
  • Don’t panic – this is normal and happens to most of us.
  • Accept the creative cycle and learn to work with the ups and downs.
  • ‘Take the time to recharge yourself and re-energise’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 81 – How to Overcome Creative Block with Christina Lowry and Episode 99 – Making Friends with the Tyranny of Never Being Finished.
  • 5. No less than 50% of your time will be spend on non-making tasks
  • This will be especially apparent in the beginning stages of your business.
  • You need to invest so much time into all of the business tasks to create your business.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 62 – Making the Transition from Hobbyist to Business Owner.
  • 6. There is a wall that you will hit – and you have to decide if you’re happy to stay inside it, or break out to grow. If you don’t want to grow, that’s okay, too!
  • There will come a point where you will hit a wall where you cannot do any more than you already are.
  • You have to decide if you are happy to stay inside the wall or break it down and grow outside of it.
  • You can always bring help into the business or outsource tasks.
  • ‘You don’t always have to grow’ {Jess}
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 97 – How to Expand Your Business with Poppy Treffry.
  • 7. You can’t do it alone
  • Even if you are a one person show you still need others for help and advice.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out guidance or ask for help when you need it.
  • Find your community and it will be a huge help both practically and emotionally.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 77 – How to Run an Effective Business Partnership with Nicole and Delilah from Dear Handmade Life.
  • 8. Working for yourself is better (and more secure!) than working for someone else
  • When you work for yourself you have so much more control and security than you do when you are at the mercy of a boss and a job.
  • If you can figure it all out – and it can be so awesome and empowering working for yourself.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 63 – What’s Your Definition of Success?
  • 9. You will doubt yourself, be scared, and wonder if it’s worth it (spoiler, so does everyone else!)
  • ‘It is perfectly normal to feel self doubt, to feel fear, to have these moments of existential crisis’ {Jess}
  • Don’t ever let self doubt and fear stop you.
  • Always remember, what is the worst that could happen?
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 31 – Kirsten Devitt on Creativity and Confidence and Episode 58 – Why Perfection is a Dangerous Illusion.
  • 10. There is no right way to anything – only your way
  • ‘I believe in evidence and autonomy’ {Jess}
  • Listen to advice, but remember it’s just that – advice based on one person’s experience. Trust your own experience. Do what works for you and your biz.
  • For more on this make sure you listen to Episode 46 – The Power of Being True to You in Business with Jill from For Strange Women.


[99] Making Friends with the Tyranny of Never Being Finished


Do you ever get frustrated, stressed, and simply wish that you could be done with your work? Do you feel exhausted at the thought that all those jobs you ticked off the to-do list will still be there to do again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next?

This, my friends, is an experience that I call ‘the tyranny of never being finished’ – and it’s time to recognise that so long as you have a business, it’s never going to go away.

If you are running your own business you will know this feeling all too well: especially if you are in the beginning stages of your biz. There is just ALWAYS something more you feel you ‘should’ be doing, or that you could be doing. You feel overwhelmed, frazzled, and sometimes it just all seems too much.

Also – your work can start to feel mundane and repetitive, which slowly saps the joy you feel about your business.

Frankly? The only way to fix it is to face it head on. You need to recognise it… and not only that: you also need to learn to make friends with it.

In this episode I discuss the tactics I have used over the years to turn ‘never being finished’ from a burden into a joy (most of the time!).



Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • There is ALWAYS something more you could be doing.
  • The could be doings are endless: research, learning more, blog posts, social media, networking etc.
  • It is so easy to become overwhelmed with the repetitive nature of running a business.
  • You need to accept that you will never finish and there will always be things you could be doing.
  • Sometimes you have to decide that you have done your best for the day and let it go.
  • There are always things that will get in the way of you doing your best.
  • Stay focused especially in the growth stages of your business.
  • Remember that you can’t do the impossible so you must focus on what IS possible.
  • Identify the feeling of never being finished and make friends with it!
  • The positive side of never being finished is that each day brings potential fro growth and there will always be something new and exciting around the corner.


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’.)

What Thriver Circle Members have to say…


Hey Thriver,

I may have been the one who created the Thriver Circle, but it is the members that make it the amazing community that it has grown into.

(There I am with three long-term current members – Sue, Vera, and Jayne – at last year’s Artful Business Conference!)

Without each and every member of the Circle, it would still be incredibly valuable, sure. All the exclusive workshops I create for members, the Your Year to Thrive course, the personal access to me every weekday…

Those things are super-useful to you and your business journey. But the thing that really makes the Circle so valuable are the members. The people who, just like you, are working to grow their handmade business.

Their support, their stories, their answers when you have a question, their compassion and support when you’re having a bad day… THEY are what make the Circle shine.

So, today, I wanted to share what they have to say about the Circle.

Last week, during one of our regular live chats, I asked if anyone would be willing to share their feedback on why they love the Circle.


Here’s what some of the current members had to say:


“So glad I joined The Thriver Circle after doing the Set Up Shop course. It is the best place to find like-minded, creative people who love to inspire and support each other. Jess and team supply sooooo much practical information and resources to really help get you on your feet in home-based business. Can’t recommend highly enough.”

Thriver Circle Member Paula Priaulx


“It seems to be the best handmade biz info I’ve seen on the web. The workshops are so helpful and have answered numerous questions I’ve had. The Thriver community is awesome and always there to lend a helping hand to others. The Thriver Circle is soooo worth while!!!

~ Thriver Circle Member Tammy Ward Hass


“I wasn’t sure if I’d get much out of joining the Thriver Circle but I gave it a go and now I can’t imagine where I’d be without it. The information and support I’ve received has truly been invaluable.”

~ Thriver Circle Member Chrystel Galea


“Jess, thank you for being so awesome. I am happy to be part of the community and grateful that I found you. Eveyone else, never stop believing that you are awesome, you are. You make dreams come true.

~ Thriver Circle Member Raun Norby


“I love that there’s a community of like-minded makers at my fingertips who are always there to support each other. No question is too big or too silly to ask! Someone has always been in the same position and is so happy to help.”

~ Thriver Circle Member Jaime Nuske 


“I love being part of the Circle! It’s wonderful to be able to seek advice from, be inspired by, and share experiences with an amazingly supportive bunch of people who genuinely get what running a handmade business involves.”

Thriver Circle Member Dyani Evans 


“I love the Thriver Circle! It’s my go-to place for like minded creatives in handmade businesses. A place where I can share my wins and also the hard times, with people who will understand; be supportive and – importantly – often come up with solutions.”

Thriver Circle Member Suzie Horne


Membership is open right now.


If you want to make 2017 THE year your business thrives, join the Circle today, and you’ll receive the information and support you’ll need to make it happen.

You can find out all the benefits of joining the Circle at ThriverCircle.com.

Ready to join? Click here.

I hope I’ll see you there, and that myself and the Circle can be part of helping you to grow your handamde biz in 2017 and beyond…

Jess 🙂


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