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[52] How to Thrive in the Face of Illness and Injury with Heidi Fahrenbacher

Ep 52 - Create & Thrive Podcast - correct

Heidi Fahrenbacher is a ceramicist. She has faced some huge challenges in her business following a fall on some ice outside her studio.

No one knows the stress of facing injury while running a creative business better than Heidi. She makes a living full time from her ceramics so it was a huge deal when she fell and injured herself.

From business success to a painful path to recovery, facing chronic pain and surgery it took Heidi many years to get back on track, and the healing process is still ongoing.

Heidi and I discuss how she stayed positive through some of her hardest days, how she managed her frustration and got her business back on track.

If you have faced illness or injury, are currently on the road to recovery or would like to make sure you are prepared just in case, have a listen to this episode!

Ep 52 quote - Brown Jr.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Heidi’s small business was going very well until in 2011 when she walked out of her studio and fell on some ice, knocking the wind from her. She thought she would be fine but soon noticed a numbness in her foot. She realised then that she had to get some medical advice.
  • It took years before the doctors could find what was causing the pain Heidi was experiencing.
  • Heidi had to undertake hip surgery and it was at that point she had to stop working.
  • After recovering from surgery, 6 months later she started to feel numbness in her foot again and began physical therapy.
  • ‘I was ready to quit ceramics.’ {Heidi}
  • A foot doctor found that the bones in her feet weren’t aligned and were pinching a nerve. Finally she had found the source of the numbness!
  • Heidi finally  was in the healing stages and it came down to waiting patently.
  • ‘That kind of strain and stress can really bring you down.’ {Heidi}
  • Heidi eventually accepted  what was happening and realised she had to be honest with herself.
  • ‘I would go through days when I would throw a pity party for myself.’ {Heidi}
  • Heidi could no longer focus on her social media and marketing and suffered greatly.
  • ‘It is much easier to self promote when you are excited about what you are doing.’ {Heidi}
  • Heidi soon came to the realisation that it was just work and it was time to cut herself some slack.
  • ‘I was surviving instead of thriving.’ {Heidi}
  • It took a year or so to get back into things, changing the way she worked and some of the techniques she uses.
  • The best practical advice Heidi can share with you is to ensure you are insured especially if you live somewhere where there is no free healthcare, figure out how easy your products are to make in the case that you can’t, and try and have an emergency savings account to cover you through the hard times.
  • Emotionally you need to stay positive. Heidi used to use physical exercise to find stress relief but now reads and listens to comedy to ensure she is laughing as often as possible.
  • Having a supportive person and/or community is also very important for you emotions.
  • ‘You can’t give up, you’re going to want to and there are going to be really bad days.’ {Heidi}
  • You can find Heidi at her website, Facebook or Instagram.

 

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’.)


The Role of Your Partner in Your Creative Business

 

 

 

creative partner

Your loved ones are expected to be your support, give you encouragement and help to motivate you, especially through the hard times.

So what happens when your partner just so happens to be a non-creative? Someone who doesn’t quite understand what you do and why you do it?

This doesn’t have to be a negative, there are ways around it. Let’s look at a few of them below.

 

  1. Your partner does not have to be part of your business

This one is probably the most important point here.

It is so exciting when you start a business, all you want to do is share it with your loved one. You start dreaming of working from home together, attending markets together, or throwing business and product ideas around over a glass of wine in the evenings.

Of course we want or partner to be on board with all that we do but this is often the furthest thing from their minds. Most importantly remember that this is your dream: not theirs. Of course you want to share your passion and excitement but remembering it is your dream, your idea, and your goals will save disagreements.

 

2. Only tell them the good bits

This is not healthy in the long term. There is no small business that only has ‘good bits’.

It can however be a good tactic to use for a partner who can only see the flaws in your plan. Focusing on your successes when talking about your creative endeavours will help the other realise just how exciting and wonderful your business is.

Don’t ignore the challenges but see them as just that, a challenge to work through – and find support from other creatives who have probably encountered the same challenges.

The last thing you want in the growth stages of your business is your loved ones telling you to give it up (yes, it happens!).

 

3. If they are not creative they may never understand

Sometimes a creative person finds another creative person to call their significant other, but more often than not there are wonderful matches made between the creative and the non-creative.

While these partners may never truly understand the passions of a creative person, they have strengths that can help you in your biz. Find these strengths and work with them.

 

SONY DSC

 

4. The ‘real work’ argument

One common barrier to understanding is that a non-creative partner may see your work from home, or social media, or emails and accounting as ‘not real work’.

After all you are sitting there on your ipad in your jeans enjoying a cup of tea.

This is a common challenge in relationships where one person works from home in a creative online-based business.

Rather than getting defensive (a natural reaction) just explain – tell them about how your instagram brings you sales so you need to keep it updated, or that you are replying to an exciting email about possible wholesale.

It is often a simple lack of understanding of what you are doing that can make a partner feel this way.

 

5. Celebrations

Those of us with supportive partners are super lucky, but those of us with partners who don’t understand need to remember you didn’t meet them with the goals of having a business partner or mentor, and so they don’t need to be that.

Find these skills in others who face or have faced similar challenges and let your loved one be just that.

Once you lose that expectation, they will hopefully soon see the joy you feel in running your creative business, and support you in a way that is comfortable to them and nurturing to you.

Don’t Give in to Fear and Guilt

Fear and Guilt

There is this feeling that can suddenly appear when you notice someone paying attention to your work.

It is excitement that someone appreciates your hard work and skill but… it is also a feeling of fear.

Fear that they will change their mind, walk away, or make one of those comments that make you shrink back into your shell a little like “I could make that” or “that’s too expensive”.

This fear makes us feel the need to do everything in our power to please the potential customer.

Discounts, changes, or unrealistic time constraints, making us feel like we are suddenly grovelling, hoping for approval and acceptance from someone we don’t even know.

If you run a creative business you have felt this.

It is an immense pressure to put on yourself to try and please everyone.

It can’t be done. You need to take a step back and have a good hard think about how to treat customers that aren’t giving back. Because after all we are in this to work for ourselves doing what we love.

I have a good friend who is in small business and when it comes to this subject she is my biggest inspiration.

She has a large following of loyal customers she has built over the years. She also (like all of us) has the occasional hard to please, difficult, or demanding customers that no matter what are just impossible to please. And her reaction to these people who are so clearly not her ideal customer?

She lets them go.

She finds she can’t help sometimes, and so she lets the customer go, she laughs it off, and she puts her focus back on the real customers.

She feels no need to give more than she has, and she feels no guilt.

It sounds simple, but these two things can be some of the biggest challenges of running a handmade business.

There are people out there who love what you do. Find them and embrace them and simply let the others go.

They are not worth the fear and the guilt. They will never be your supporters so don’t try and convert them.

Of course kindness and understanding of all people needs to be projected and never make a potential customer feel like they aren’t valued.

Thank them for looking. You never know, if you leave a good impression they could become your ideal customer in the future.

lemon tea

To assist in this make sure you also look after your mental health to grow your courage, spend enough time with your loved ones to know you are supported, and eat a good diet to help your body deal with any stress you encounter.

You are doing this for you and you are number one.

Fear and guilt have never been on your ‘to do’ list – so remove them for good.


 

 

Your Creative Business will Always be a Work in Progress

work in progress

 

This whole running a creative business thing sometimes feels like a never-ending work in progress… that we’re never ‘finished’. But is this a bad thing?

Let me give you a little tip.

You will never finish.

You will never be done and you will never reach perfection.

But this is ok! It is more than ok because no one ever does. You, your life, relationships and your creative biz are all works in progress.

It really is all about the journey. This is why you need to enjoy every moment of your creative career. The downs are as important as the ups and the goals once reached will leave the space for more goals.

Your biz is forever evolving and this is a wonderful part of being your own boss. Watching your business grow and evolve is rewarding.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to this evolution in order to truly embrace and understand the rewards of your business.

 

1. Reflection

Take a moment to remember when you first started.

Did you really think you would be where you are now? Are you surprised by what you have achieved? I certainly hope you are.

It is so easy to get caught up in the every day challenges that we face as creative business owners that we forget to stand back and really check our progress.

 

2. Exploration

You are not lost. You are never lost. You are exploring, discovering and learning.

If you find yourself somewhere unexpected or unplanned it means you are forging a new and exciting track in your business. This is an important idea to remember. Walk forward with confidence and trust the natural path your creative business leads you on.

 

ceramics

 

3. Expectation

There is a constant pressure felt by creative people to please others.

You obviously want to please people. Your family, friends and customers are all very important – but you need to remember you are doing this for yourself.

Expectation can sometimes be a burden. If at any point you feel you cannot deliver as expected you need to be honest with yourself. Your life is here to be lived by you. If you need a holiday, take it. If you don’t want to undertake a commission, don’t. You need your business to work for you and not the other way around.

Use your brain here to weigh up options instead of becoming a slave to the expectations of others.

 

4. Possibility

As a creative business owner you will have a mind buzzing with ideas.

A whole bunch of possibilities will be there, always.

This is a wonderful thing! You can choose which possibilities to make realities, which ones to discard, and which ones to hold on to for later.

Do not try and do everything at once – but know you have the freedom to work with all possibilities and you have the ability to create more along the way.

 

advanture

 

If you write a list of everything you need to do to succeed in your creative biz, and you ticked them off one by one until you got to the end would you have a perfect business?

No. By the time you finish that list there would be an entirely new list!

It may be more precise, it may be more thorough but it still won’t get you to the finish line. Just ticking off tasks is no way to enjoy your business.

Love what you do as you do it – not just when you finish – and you will forever be content.

5 Ways to Harness Your Creativity

image

 

Do you feel like you lack inspiration on some days because your creative business is weighed down by scheduling, accounting, packaging, or liaising with customers?

Don’t forget why you started in the first place! Get back on track and get those creative juices flowing!

Being a creative person can mean your mind never stops buzzing with ideas. Problems with inspiration and motivation arise when other factors come into play such as a tired body, your day job, your everyday chores, or even your social life.

Having a creative mind does not always mean you are motivated. Imagine if we could achieve all of those wonderful thoughts and ideas!

While this may not be possible it is important to not get stuck in a slump waiting for motivation to come to you. Sometimes you have to go seek it out for yourself.

 

Here are a few ways to light that fire.

 

1. Get Natural

Being out and about in nature is one of the best ways to take a moment to really connect with your mind and feel peace.

Sometimes our heads are filled with so many negatives, anxieties or responsibilities – how are we supposed to feel like creating! Taking a walk, sitting in a garden, watching the bird life or dipping your toes in a river can be invigorating.

A moment in nature can recharge our batteries, calm our mind and put us back on track. If you are really feeling that slump then just take a few moments in nature and you will feel it.

 

2. Start Right

First up – start out right!

We all know how getting up late, running out of time, rushing and skipping breakfast can completely ruin a day. Take charge of the day by taking some the in the morning to set your intentions.

Have a cup of tea, read a chapter, meditate, or whatever feels good for you. Even just 5 minutes of peace will make a difference. You can’t always plan how the day will go but by doing this you will be so much more prepared to face any challenges that come your way.

 

3. Just Do It

Sometimes the biggest barrier to letting the creative juices flow is just starting. Just do it.

Pick up your tools, have a play. Once you are there, because you love what you do and because you are great at what you do it will come naturally. It’s so easy to put things aside especially when you have many thing on the go at a time. Put some music on, wiggle out all your tension and just do it!

 

image

 

4. Allocate Time

While this can be a hard one sometimes for a creative mind (how can you force yourself to be creative?!) it can work really well.

Give yourself the opportunity to be creative. Sometimes it will flow and sometimes it won’t come as easily. If it doesn’t then go back to step 2, or 3 but actually give yourself the opportunity, allocate the time to create.

 

5. Make a Mess

This is the best one by far. Just get in there and make a mess!

Try a new idea. Make something for yourself. Express yourself!

Constantly thinking about the marketability of an item or an idea can sometimes turn from pure fun and switches that business part of the brain on. Do something you won’t sell, or don’t want to sell. Make art, make it great, make it fun and make a mess. It doesn’t have to be beautiful polished product.

It can be your masterpiece – the masterpiece that helps breed creativity within your brain. Because we all know that the more we use our creativity, the more we have. Go on, make a mess.