Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

Coming Soon: A New Community for Makers – The Thriver Circle





One of the things that has come out of the 2014 C&T Questionnaire is the desire for a community space where creatives who are serious about making a success of their handmade businesses can help each other out and learn in a private, safe, and supportive environment.

Those of us on this handmade biz journey often come up against two big challenges – info overwhelm and a feeling of isolation.

There is just SO much information out there about how to grow a successful business. How do we know what advice to follow?

We often come across conflicting information, and end up throwing our hands up in frustration… because we just feel overwhelmed and unable to choose a direction. And that results in us stagnating and going nowhere.

I will say to you now that no-one will ever be able to tell you with 100% surety that one way or the other is better for you… but my gosh, it sure does help when you have a group of people who are on the same journey, who understand your exact business, and who you trust to tell you the truth about the pros and cons.

It also helps to have someone give you trust give you some structure – someone who will draw out the key lessons on a topic so you don’t have to invest eons of time to work it out by yourself. You save time, and you save mental energy. That’s more time and energy to work in your business, doing what you love – the making.

This can be such a lonely, isolating journey, too. So often, the people in our lives – the ones we are closest to – just don’t ‘get’ it. They don’t understand why we want to do this – or perhaps they don’t even believe us when we say it is possible.

They might even scoff at the idea that you can make good money from selling your handmade creations, because the idea just seems so unconventional. Even if they DO understand and support us, they do so in a loving but vague way – chances are they don’t have any idea of the actual intricacies of starting and growing a handmade business.

This is why it is so beneficial to connect with our fellow makers. Because they get it. They understand, intimately, what we are going through – because they’re going through exactly the same challenges as us.

I believe in the power of peer learning – I used it all the time back when I was a classroom teacher.

I believe that we learn best from others who are walking the same path as us – but who are a little bit further ahead, so they can point out the pitfalls… and the breathtaking views not to be missed.

I believe in the concept of cooperation rather than competition. Other people’s successes are to be celebrated and learnt from, not envied.

I believe that when we help each other out, we all win. Because there’s enough pie for all of us. (Mmm… pie…)


And so, I’ve decided to create a space that allows you – lovely maker and passionate entrepreneur – to connect, collaborate, support, and learn from your peers – with me as your chief mentor and guide.


It’s called the Thriver Circle, and it’s opening to Foundation Members on Monday, the 26th of January.


General membership will open only 4 times a year – but members will also have the ability to personally invite their friends to join the Circle at any time.

Membership is on a monthly basis – you can leave the Circle at any time if you feel it’s not for you any more. I know that you don’t have oodles of money sitting around to spend on your biz, and that’s why the monthly membership fee is about the same as what you’d pay for a cup of coffee and a magazine – just $15 AUD. Foundation Members will pay even less – the first 3 months for Foundation Members will be just $10 per month (paid upfront).


So, what do you get when you join the Thriver Circle?


With membership to the Thriver Circle, you not only gain the benefit of a strong, positive community of other people just like you – striving to grow their handmade businesses – you also get exclusive teaching & guidance only available to members.


A Positive & Supportive Community

This community will have its home in a private Facebook group – so it’s easy for you to use and access. We are all ourselves in the Circle – no anonymous members or trolls in here!

If you’ve been yearning for a safe, private space, full of handmade business owners – both new and seasoned – with whom you can connect, learn from, and share your own discoveries, then the Thriver Circle is what you’ve been looking for.

All members must agree to abide by a Community Charter when they join – and anyone found to not have followed those guidelines will be asked to leave the Circle. It is a place for support, care, positivity and education – it’s a Circle for those who are upbeat and serious about growing their handmade business – negativity and pessimism don’t help anyone grow.

You are also, of course, able to ask questions, share useful information, ask for feedback etc. from your fellow members in the Circle at any time. This is YOUR space.

I will be hanging out there on a daily basis to give my support and feedback wherever I can, too.


Member Profiles

Each Circle member will have a private member profile visible to other members of the Circle, where you can list your name, business name, what you make, your website, your social media links, your city, state and country , and more about you (these are all optional). You can also friend other Circle members and send private messages – perfect for when you’re working with a Buddy (more on that below)!

This makes it easy for members to find other members with whom they have things in common, and make connections. (Hey, you make ceramics and live in London too? Awesome – let’s grab a coffee!).


Monthly Workshops

At the beginning of each month, members will receive an exclusive workshop – available in video, audio, and written format – that they can access at any time. New members will also gain access to all previous workshops when they join, and all members will retain access to all of them for as long as they remain in the Circle. You can also request workshops on specific topics!

These workshops are not available to the public- they are for members only.

Currently available workshops (yes, these will be available immediately to Foundation Members):

  • January 2015: What’s Your Why: How to Build YOUR Ideal Business
  • February 2015: Selling Online: The Fundamentals

Upcoming workshops:

  • March 2015: Essential Tactics to Grow your Instagram Following
  • April 2015: Pricing with the Head + Heart
  • May 2015: How to Write a PR Pitch
  • June 2015: Critique Yo’ Self
  • + more…


Monthly Live Business Intensive Call

Members will be able to nominate themselves for a live business intensive with me and other members of the Circle… which will be recorded for those who can’t attend. Each call will have 2 of these intensives + a Q&A session at the end.

Each member chosen for an intensive will have 30 minutes with me and the other Circle members on the call focussed on them and their business. The recipients of the intensive will be drawn randomly from those who have put themselves forward that month – pledging that they will be attending the live call.

I will rotate the time of these calls each month so people in different timezones will be able to attend at least once every few months.


There will also be regular community events, such as:

‘Buddy-ups’ – where you nominate to be placed with a buddy so you can help each other out, one-on-one. This gives you the opportunity to grow a close, mutually beneficial relationship with a fellow Thriver!

Monthly ‘Help a Thriver Out’ Critiques – where you can nominate to have your shop chosen for a critique by the community, hosted in the facebook group.



If you’re interested in joining the Circle, you can find out more information here on the Thriver Circle website.

Make sure you’re subscribed to the C&T email updates in order to be notified when Foundation Membership opens. Registration is only open for 48 hours from 9am on Monday the 26th of January (that’s AEST), so make sure not to hesitate when that email hits your inbox!

If you have any questions about the Circle, feel free to shoot me an email, or just leave a comment below.

If you’re committed to making your handmade business a success, I hope you choose to invest in yourself and your business, and join us!

Jess x



Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.

What say you?