[122] How to be a Misfit Entrepreneur with Kate Toon

Do you ever feel like you’re not a ‘real entrepreneur’?

Yeah, me too. And so does my guest this week, Kate Toon – who happens to be the author of How to be a Misfit Entrepreneur.

I met Kate at the Artful Business Conference this year, and promptly invited her to come on the show, because I loved the way she approached ‘being an entrepreneur’.

We have a lot of laughs, and chat about what it means to grow a business YOUR way – and how to own that and be proud of it, rather than feel like you’re somehow not doing it right.


Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
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  • 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. (Membership is open on September 27th!)



Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Most of us don’t fit the myth of the yacht owning, hammock lazing, one-hour workday entrepreneur.
  • Develop your own style of entrepreneurship to fit the lifestyle you want to lead.
  • Business growth for the sake of growth is not mandatory.
  • It’s okay to align your goals to personal wants rather than business outcomes.
  • “We can keep doing what we’re doing and it is okay. We don’t always have to be doing something new or different or exciting to be happy.” {Jess}
  • Keep expectations of your business growth realistic, avoid comparisons and get on with your own journey.
  • “Nobody is immune to the feeling of an imposter or not being good enough. Even if from the outside if they look super successful.” {Jess}
  • There will always be someone doing things better than you – stop focusing on others and focus on building your business.
  • “Stop consuming and start creating.” {Kate}
  • Looking for inspiration? Don’t go to your competitors go to your customers.
  • Criticism and difficult customers are part of the entrepreneurship journey.
  • Take the high road but you do not have to cave to an unreasonable customer.
  • Kate recommends The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
  • Develop your business direction with your core values in mind. These will change and grow as you do.
  • Chase interesting ideas and stray from your path. Some ideas will work and some will crash and burn. Let these ones go.
  • “The whole point of having a business is getting some satisfaction and enjoyment out of it – not just money and customers.” {Kate}
  • Time management and organisation is essential – structure your day, keep motivation high, track time and establish tasks.
  • Kate recommends the Pomodoro technique for time management.
  • Find out more about Kate and buy her book here.



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[117] Round Table Q&A with Thrivers in Winchester, England


This week, I’m bringing you something special!

When I was in England recently, I had a Thriver meetup – and 5 wonderful makers (who also happen to be Thriver Circle members) came along. We spent 2 hours talking all things creative business!

In the first part of the session, each maker had 15 minutes to ask questions about their business. In the second session, I opened the floor to general handmade biz questions.

I did record everything, but alas, half of the first session didn’t save (darn technology!) so today I’m sharing with you that second session – the open Q&A.

We cover some important topics – from pricing to finding and marketing to your ideal customer, to collaboration and SEO. We packed a lot in this short session!

Enjoy, and a huge thanks to my guests for not only coming along and being awesome, but being willing for me to share this with the world via the podcast. Their names and details are below – do check them out!


My Guests


Quotes and Highlights:

  • Adela sought advice on marketing her card-making business for adults, Della by Design.
  • Try bundling and marketing kits for events – hen’s parties or girls’ craft nights in.
  • Market these event packages on the website separate from the individual kits to increase reach across audience markets.
  • Victoria, of Toria by Victoria Jowett, asked about establishing a creative partnership.
  • Approach your potential partner with a concrete proposal package.
  • Ensure that collaborative partnerships are formalised in a written contract.
  • “Remember, when you’re working with someone else it doesn’t just double your problems it multiplies them as there are two people wanting to get things done.” {Jess}
  • Jo, of Stitches to Treasure, enquired about how to establish a business focus.
  • “You don’t just have to have one group of target customers. You make different ways to engage the different groups.” {Jess}
  • Use a variety of marketing messages and customers will connect with the ones that resonate to them.
  • Suze, of Suze Harris Decorative Woodwork, sought advice on how to set an hourly rate.
  • Ensure you cover all of your time not just the making.
  • In the early stage of a business your time will be skewed towards learning lessons. This will shift as you gain experience.
  • “You can do all the maths you want with your pricing but at the end of the day it’s just the starting point. It’s not the end point.” {Jess}
  • Remember business is about experimentation. Take risks. (Jess shares an anecdote about product lines that have been trialed and retired)
  • Victoria is looking to boost her SEO.
  • Ensure photos are saved with key words and your business name in the title.
  • Mix up your key words and utilise the power of the Alt Tag.
  • Adela wants to run an Instagram Christmas promotion featuring styled images with objects from other businesses.
  • Try working with a different maker each day to increase reach and build relationships.


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[114] The Starving Artist Myth with Kerstin Pressler


Do you ever feel like you will never make any money from your art/craft… or, even worse, that you don’t really deserve to?

That it is somehow noble or the ‘right thing’ to not charge for what you create? That taking money for it will somehow devalue it?

You might be suffering from the myth of the ‘starving artist’. This idea that you can never make money from art, and that, in fact, there is something ‘bad’ about doing so.

In this episode, I chat with Kerstin Pressler, and we discuss this very myth – and why both of us are vehemently against it. Furthermore, we discuss ways that you CAN make money from your art or creative pursuits – right from the get-go. You don’t need to suffer for the sake of your art for years until you start making money from it!



Quotes & Highlights:

  • Kerstin Pressler is a fine artist living in Europe between Germany and the Netherlands.
  • A savvy businesswoman from the get-go Kerstin also runs ‘The Biz School for Creatives.
  • The Biz School for Creatives gives creative and makers the tools to make their art into a thriving business.
  • “I knew I didn’t want to struggle, so I needed to figure it out- I want to paint and create things, but I also knew that I needed to make money”- Kerstin Pressler
  • Kerstin started to figure out how to run a business while she was in art school, and as she kept learning she started to teach other students what she had learnt.
  • For the first few years, you can expect to spend 80 to 90 percent of your time working on the business side.
  • “It can be a choice- you don’t need to make a living from your art, but you need to accept that you will need to have a job, because you still need to eat!”- Kerstin
  • The starving artist myth: If you want to be a successful artist, you need to endure a long period of struggle in which you make little money because you’re so dedicated to your art and that is all that matters.
  • One way in which Kerstin supported herself was by being open to other revenue streams- teaching, smaller businesses and using social media (to name a few).
  • You don’t just need to finance your business- you need to finance your life, make sure your prices reflect this!”- Kerstin
  • Write down your price and see what the hourly rate is- you might find that for some pieces (especially those that are time consuming) that you are working under the minimum wage.
  • As artists sometimes we don’t charge what our work is worth because we are either being told that we, and our work is not good enough, or more commonly because you don’t have the confidence.
  • Think of two numbers (you’ll need to do the maths!)
    • In one year, how much money do I actually need to pay all my bills, including putting away savings, to survive?- this is your minimum.
    • How much would I need to be able to pay for all of the above, but be able to do things I want to do, for example: go on a holiday, buy new clothes- this number is your goal.
  • “Being a perfectionist is dangerous because it just means you never start, or never make a move because you’re so afraid of making a mistake”- Jess
  • If you wait until everything is perfect-it will never happen!”- Kerstin
  • There will always be a struggle, you just need to be confident that you can get through it.
  • Surround yourself with other creative and entrepreneurs that walk in similar shoes- people you can share the journey with who understand and don’t judge you.
  • “A doctor doesn’t need to explain himself, so (as an artist) why do I need to explain myself”- Kerstin
  • If you just commit to doing a lot of something, you’ll figure it out, simply because you have to.
  • Developing systems allows you to be able to hand that work off to someone giving you time to be creative.
  • You need to be willing to invest in order to grow.
  • You can find Kerstin and The Biz School for Creatives or connect with her on Facebook in the Sparkling Creative group.


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[68] The Future of Online Selling with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet

The Create & Thrive Podcast 68

In this Episode I discuss all things SEO, website creation, and online marketplaces with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet.

In the beginning, Jonathan developed Zibbet as an online sales platform for friends of his who were fine artists, as there wasn’t really an appropriate online sales platform for them at the time.

Over time, Zibbet has grown in scope. and now focuses on helping makers get their work into the world. They also offer their own website builder and have been working on some other pretty exciting things, which we discuss in this podcast.

We also chat about the future of social selling and the benefits of selling on an online venue as well as your own website – and how to best make these venues work for you.

This podcast includes some really great tips for both beginners and those with a little more experience. Jonathan has a great mind for business while keeping the particular needs of creative entrepreneurs squarely in his sights, and he and I are definitely on the same wavelength regarding how to be successful in business, as you’ll hear at the end of the ep!.




Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • ‘If you do the work you WILL be competitive’ {Jess}
  • If you have a hobby you can sell in any online marketplace that is easy and works.
  • If you are creating a brand then you need to have your own website and domain name.
  • ‘If you are trying to build a real business and you don’t have your own website then you are doing it wrong’ {Jonathan}
  • You need to make sure that all links lead to your website not an online marketplace.
  • Sending traffic to an online marketplace could ultimately end up with you losing the sale to another maker.
  • Online markets should be used for extra sales and extra exposure.
  • You need to be competitive online, everything should be top notch.
  • Zibbet have their own website builder which is also integrated with their online marketplace.
  • Currently Zibbet are developing a platform that integrates a whole range of channels to make sales and inventory control even easier for sellers.
  • SEO is super important and stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
  • There is on-page SEO which includes title tag and meta description (your welcome message).
  • Fill these on-page SEO tools with great keywords and word it in a way that is enticing to people.
  • There is also off-page SEO which is all about creating back links to your website for example being a guest blogger.
  • Make sure all online appearances such as guest blogging link back to your website and keep creating these external link backs.
  • Google yourself to see what comes up. This are what you need to work on. It has to be good stuff.
  • Do your research with website builders as features and cost can vary greatly.
  • Jonathan notes three things that are really important for building a business.
  • 1. Consume a lot of great content because that is how you learn and grow.
  • 2. You need to work really hard, there are no short-cuts.
  • 3. You need to have lots of patience as this journey takes time.
  • ‘Constantly learn, work very hard, and be patient’ {Jonathan}
  • You can find and explore Zibbet here or head over to the Create & Thrive facebook page to enter our giveaway!


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[39] Daisy Forster on Facebook and Thinking Inside the Box


Daisy Forster runs a creative business selling her hand-dyed yarns.

She started her business selling online via Facebook, and has since grown to offer yarn club subscriptions, and also run dyeing workshops and retreats as well as business retreats to assist other creatives.

I invited Daisy on the show after a comment she made in the Thriver Circle, about how she has used social media – primarily Facebook – to grow her business to a very profitable level over the last few years. With all the talk out there about how Facebook ‘doesn’t work’ any more for small business, I thought it was worthwhile to pick her brain about it – to find out why it worked for her, and how you can use that knowledge in your own business.

We also discuss the huge leap forward her business made when she decided to start offering a ‘yarn club’ subscription – members get a box with a new skein/skeins of her hand-dyed yarn every month that they are subscribed. This is been so successful that Daisy currently has 4 different clubs, and it is a huge part of her business model.

If you’ve ever thought about offering a subscription club for your own handmade goods, don’t miss this one!



Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Daisy Forster runs Devon Sun Yarns, hosts luxury yarn retreats, is a knitter, and a creative business mentor.
  • Daisy found that using Facebook worked naturally to grow her business, as she was already involved in many groups as an active member.
  • ‘You need to build a community with the people who like your page’. {Daisy}
  • Daisy created a yarn club to help her organise, supply to her committed customers, and streamline her business.
  • ‘Make sure your business is working for you’. {Daisy}
  • It is important to work smart in the small amount of time that you have.
  • Daisy likes to work with what is inspiring her at the time which keeps her business flexible.
  • When it comes to social media you should check in with your business multiple times a day.
  • ‘The best marketing moves I have made are to be consistent’. {Daisy}
  • Always be present on social media as people love to know you will be there.
  • Learn and know when your peak times are to post so you show up on peoples feeds every day.
  • ‘Positive systems and habits can be the difference between sanity and insanity’. {Jess}
  • Don’t wait. The real learning comes from doing.
  • You can find Daisy at her website, Instagram or Facebook.
  • The book Daisy is featured in: The Business of Being Social

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