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[118] The Only Race is With Yourself

 

Do you feel ‘left behind’ when you look at other handmade businesses?

Do you worry that you aren’t doing enough? That your business isn’t growing fast enough? That you should be where that person is?

I’m here to tell you that this is a super-common feeling. AND that you need to stop looking at and comparing yourself to those other businesses out there.

You can only do what YOU can do. You cannot compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

That is: maybe you have a job, and children, and elderly parents, and a partner, and hobbies… etc etc. In other words – your life only leaves you with a certain amount of time free to work on your business.

Your free time may be vastly different to that person’s free time.

Stop acting like you’re in a race with other people. The only race is with yourself.

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Many fledgling creative entrepreneurs struggle with finding what they think is enough time, energy, and resources.
  • There are times when establishing a business will feel onerous and times when it will feel easy.
  • What really matters is that you enjoy the majority of the journey. Otherwise a time will come when it all becomes too hard.
  • “You are not in competition with someone else. You’re not racing someone else. You’re simply racing against yourself.” {Jess}
  • In the words of Mary Schmich “the race is long and in the end it is only with yourself.”
  • It is okay for your craft to remain a hobby rather than a business. (Jess shares an anecdote from a Thriver Circle member who made the decision to close her business and instead pursue her craft as a pastime).
  • Establishing a business is more than just creating your saleable project. You will be spending a large proportion of time learning about marketing, administration, finances, connecting with people.
  • Factor in your time, energy and resources when making goals.
  • “We get frustrated from the disparity between our reality and our imagined reality.” {Jess}
  • Create a toolkit of time management and planning strategies.
  • Building a business takes times, patience and long-term dedication.
  • “Every little step is progress forward. No matter how small it is. It is always a step forward and it is always something to be proud of.” {Jess}

 

Download or listen to this episode.

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

[113] Seeking Freedom with Beth Kempton

 

How important is freedom to you?

For me, it’s essential. Freedom is one of my most core values. I have deliberately designed my life to increase my sense of freedom, so that I can spend each day doing what I love.

But what exactly IS freedom? It will mean different things to different people.

For example: for me, freedom is being able to wake up every day and be in charge of how I spend my time. When my life follows that script, I feel free – even though, from the outside, I might not seem free – I own a house, I’m married, I have 2 businesses and I teach a regular yoga class. I have a cat dependent on me ;D In short – I’m not ‘free’ in the sense of someone with none of these responsibilities. But nevertheless, I’ve never felt freer.

My guest this week has written a whole book on the topic – in fact, it was after reading her book – Freedom Seeker – that I reached out and invited her on the show, because I love how she approached and talked about freedom. It is something you can bring into your life – but you don’t necessarily have to change anything about your life in order to feel more free. Just the way you think about it.

In this chat, Beth Kempton and I talk about her life – her own journey from freedom, away, and back again – and how you can find more freedom in your life and your creative business.

Enjoy.

 

 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

 

  • Beth felt the need to be free in her twenties, she couldn’t bear the idea of tying herself down. So, she studied Japanese at university for the opportunity to go overseas in her second year.
  • When the second year came around, Beth became a sponge for the Japanese language and culture.
  • Beth jumped at every opportunity she was given, putting her hand up for every work and learning possibility. She even managed to get her own TV show. Later on, she became an integral cog in the FIFA World Cup wheel and even worked for UNICEF for a while.
  • “When you really get yourself out there and do something creative there is this knocking on effect”
  • Beth went on art retreat in California where she learned the power in groups of creative women. She was really inspired and decided she wanted to help these women learn how to monetise their creativity.
  • After a successful period of time helping people make money from creativity, Beth has her ‘Bedroom Floor Moment’.
  • “I realised I felt completely suffocated by this life that I had built.”
  • “If you’ve got a lucrative income stream that supports the rest of your business then that’s absolutely fine. You know, there’s no need to kill it but if you allow it take you over and you don’t do the stuff that really lights you up then you just kind of wonder, you know, what am I doing?”
  • After having her second child, Beth took five months maternity leave and the concept of her book, Freedom Seeker, was born.
  • “Actually what happened was in that space of maternity leave the whole book concept came to fruition.”
  • “Business can be a gateway to freedom but you have to set it up in a way that makes you delight in the everyday.”
  • Beth discusses the security of life in business versus the security of life as an employee.
  • “In the current environment, I could not feel more secure in the fact that if I want to generate some money all I have to do is create something and put it out there in the world, to platform I have spent a lot of time building.”
  • Beth talks about three main concepts in her book The Context vs. The Cage, The Eight Freedom Keys and Project Cycles.
  • “So, taking the time to go, what are the facts about what’s going on in my life and what are my thoughts about those facts, and distinguishing the two.”
  • “Don’t put on yourself the burden of not being able to be organised because actually, it’s the secret weapon of the freedom seeker.”
  • Find more about Beth on her website or instagram.

 

Download or listen to this episode.

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

[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.