Monday, August 13, 2018

tips for marketing a creative business

In my opinion marketing and promotion is one of the most important ways to grow your creative business. And if I am keeping it really honest, I didn't actually figure this out until I got a job in marketing. You see, I spent years thinking that I would make art, upload it to my online shop or get a wholesale opportunity or show my art in a gallery and things would just sell. I spent years, putting most of my energy into making art and whatever time I had left was spent on (minimal) marketing. It wasn't until I got a job in marketing at a university that I saw how important time, effort and a marketing plan was. I remember sitting in a staff meeting where we were all brainstorming ideas for a marketing campaign and a light bulb went off! I remember thinking, why in the world am I not thinking about this stuff with my art and my creative business?!?! Why don't I have a plan or a marketing approach when it comes to my art? For some reason (probably because I am an artist), I thought that a business minded approach to my art would ruin things or would take away from the creativity. But what I didn't realize was that any type of business (even a creative one) requires time and attention to marketing and getting the word out. I am here to tell you that the minute I realized how important marketing was, was the minute my business evolved and great into what it is today- a full time gig that supports our family! 

Today I thought I would share some really simple and easy things to think about when it comes to marketing your creativity business.


1. It really helps to begin by identifying your brand- in other words- identify the things that make you unique! Take time to ask yourself questions like:
What makes me unique?
Who is my audience or customers?
What makes me different from everyone else out there?
What do I want my life and business to look like?
What do I want customers to feel when they see my art or visit my website?
Getting honest with yourself and your brand will help you to begin making decisions about how and where you want to market your work.

2. Take some time to really figure out your goals. Do you want more customers coming to your online shop? Do you want to fill up your classes? Do you need to spread the word about your freelance services. Answering these big questions  before you launch into a marketing plan will help you take on an approach that works for your longterm goals.

3. Take time to do your research. What might work for one business may not be right for you. Spend time searching for marketing inspiration. I like to look for business and marketing resources online and the best part is that it's free. A quick search can offer up some resource and information that you can use in your own marketing approach. Doing your research and really understanding all the different ways to market and promote will help you decide what works best for you.

4. Decide if you want or need to spend money on marketing. It's ok if you don't have a budget for professional help (I never did). Try reaching out to fellow artists, crafters and small business owners. Ask for marketing opinions and advice to see what has worked for other people. I knew early on that I wanted to do it myself but not everyone wants to operate this way. If you need help or if you want to invest a little money into marketing, make yourself a budget that matches your goals.

5. Give yourself a time frame to experiment and try a handful of things. As I have mentioned, nothing it going to work over night- a marketing plan is like a long term investment of time and energy. Often you need months and months of trying, testing and putting information out there to really see results.

EXAMPLE: These days I actually give myself a 6 months to 1 year to test things out and then at the end of the year, when we sit down to crunch number and plan I can really see if my marketing has been working.

6. Creating a marketing plan can take time and a lot of trial and error. Give yourself permission and time to experiment and figure out what works best for you. Also keep in mind that it's totally normal to fail or not get things right. This stuff takes time to figure out and it can look different for everyone. Things not working or even failing can actually be a great way to make decisions moving forward.


1. Trade advertising with fellow artists
2. Post your work on Instagram or Facebook
3. Use Instagram to share photos from your life and business
4. Offer contests
5. Start a blog
6. Sponsor an event- either live or virtual
7. Create a video series YouTube
8. Build an email list or newsletter list
9. Offer coupons and discounts for products and services
10. Share a free tutorial
11. Plan giveaways for customers
12. Offer a deal or discount to specific social media followers (instragram, twitter, etc)
13. Team up with fellow artists and bloggers to offer giveaways, organize blog hops, etc
14. Create a hashtag for your products and services that can be shared on social media
15. Send inspiring information to your email list
16. Challenge yourself to share on social media 3 times a day
17. Interact with other artists and crafters through social media
18. Guest post for fellow artists

Looking for more art business tips and advice?

how to start selling your artwork- HERE

jump start a creative career- HERE

taking a leap into full time artist- HERE

coping with creative burnout- HERE

coping with failure- HERE

how to keep your work authentic- HERE

the art of chasing a dream- HERE

managing life and a creative business- HERE

the art of setting goals- HERE 

the art of blogging- HERE and HERE

the things I haven't shared- HERE

stronger than I ever knew- HERE

Friday, August 10, 2018

happy weekend!

Hey Friends! I apologize for my sporadic posting lately! I've been working really hard on some fun projects this summer that I am excited to share with you very soon. I promise I will be back to regular scheduled DIY projects and creative posts very soon!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

creating with jules- resin necklace pendants

Every now and then I make a batch of resin pendants using various methods, and I’m sharing with you today how I’ve made these hand painted resin pendants.

You will need:

There are so many brands of resin to use. I’ve been using one called “Glass Coat”. They are sold as a two part epoxy kit that you mix together. The individual brands will state on the bottles whether they are suitable for coating. 
-Wide wooden stirrer
-Wooden craft disks (I used 1 1/2”)
-Acrylic Paint
-Sealer (I used a water based gloss varnish)
-Necklace or cord and closure of your choice
-Small propane torch
-E6000 glue

First, seal your wooden disks using gesso.

First, seal your wooden disks using gesso.

Once dry, paint them however you like. Glean some inspiration from Alisa Burke’s flowery painting projects here, or just doodle-paint like I did. I had no plan; I just started painting. If you don’t like anything you’ve done, just paint over it! There’s no pressure here, and that’s the beauty of acrylics :) 

Paint the backs of the pendants in solid colour.

Once my designs were dry, I sealed them using the gloss sealer front, back and sides. 

Leave to dry.

Now you can mix your resin. Pour the two parts of your resin into a disposable cup, and mix following the directions on the bottle of your particular brand using the wooden stirrer. 

Place your pendants on some paper (baking paper provides extra protection if you need it) to protect your working surface. Pour the resin on, or ‘spoon’ on like I have in the photo, and gently coax the resin up to the sides of the disk using the stirrer. The surface tension keeps the resin from dripping over the sides, although that sometimes happens.

Using the propane torch, quickly run over the resin close to the surface, but not touching the resin with the flame. This will pop any little air bubbles.

Leave in a dust free area to cure. I place a large lid over my work to keep dust off. You just have to make sure the lip is deep enough so it doesn’t touch the pendants.

Glue bails on the pendants using E6000 glue.

Once the glue is dry, thread your pendants onto cord or necklace, and enjoy!

Jules :)

You can find more of Jules here:

Friday, July 27, 2018

how I quit my job to work as an artist

Ten years ago I walked away from my day job and I never planned or imagined the evolution and growth that my tiny creative business would have. At the time, all I wanted was to earn enough income with my creativity to be able to quit my desk job. I spent years practicing, trying, failing and searching for a creative and fulfilling career as an artist. And if I am being honest, I spent a lot of time hoping for my "big break", drifting, jumping around and never fully committing to what it would really take to achieve my dream of being a working artist. But everything changed when I decided to get serious and disciplined about my dreams. I sat down and got really honest with myself and my goals and instead of waiting for something to happen, I decided to make a five year plan to quit my day job in order to work as a full time artist.

Now, five years is a long time but I was really conservative and careful about decisions at the time. Because I was working two jobs, I knew it was unrealistic to try and quit my job quickly. Instead I gave myself a lot of time to work within my life and schedule. Today I wanted to share a detailed look at what that plan looked like. My hope is that you will find a little inspiration and feel empowered to chase after your own big goals.

Identify the BIG Dream:
My giant dream was to quit my day job and work as a full time artist. At the time my husband was working his job but we also needed my income to survive. If I quit, I needed to make the same income as my day job which was $30K per year OR $2,500 per month OR about $83 per day. While this information TOTALLY overwhelmed me at the time, breaking it down into numbers is what helped me figure out a basic plan.

TIPS: Don't be afraid to talk to the people in your life about your big goal or dream. Often it is the people that know us best that can help with support, ideas, inspiration or act as a sounding board! 

Also, don't be afraid or overwhelmed by putting a price on that dream. For a good part of my life, while I was always making and selling art, I never sat down and made a budget or put a number on my goals. The day, I looked at my bills, my financial responsibilities and the income that I needed in order to quit my job, was the day that my entire plan caught fire!

Identify the things you can do to make it happen:
My goal was to work as a full time artist and create a sustainable creative business that would produce the income that I needed to survive. I knew that this goal would likely have a lot of trial and error and involve a lot of searching for the "right way" to earn that income.When I began brainstorming and planning, I discovered that I was really flexible. All I cared about was having a job or business where I was creative. Once I was grounded in this realization, I was able to make a plan that included all kinds of different options I could try. I was able to make a plan that included all kinds of different steps. Here are the big ones that I started with:
Grow and build my online shop to make more predictable revenue. 
Apply to craft/art shows during the holidays.Write a book. 
Look for paid opportunities to write articles for magazines. 
Apply to teach at art retreats. 
Look for local (paid) teaching opportunities. 
Teach my own classes and retreats. 
Teach classes online.

TIPS: Keep an open mind about the steps it takes to reach your goal! While it is great to figure them out, you can also infuse flexibility into that plan. And when (or if) things in life change, give yourself permission to change those steps and smaller goals.

I've found that writing it all down or keeping a journal really helps in the planning process. I think that we all tend to plan differently. I am not here to tell you how to go about documenting your plan. Instead I just want to encourage you to get it on paper and use it for reference. Often it's these brainstorms, outlines or written plans that can be the daily reminder that you need to stay focused on your plan.

Get realistic about the time frame it takes to reach that goal:
When I started planning, 30k per year felt like a lot of money that I needed to make as an artist in order to quit my day job! I was overwhelmed so it made sense to give myself lots of time to try different things, save money and develop my creative business into something that would be long term. This is why I settled on a five year plan for my big dream. I knew that more time meant more flexibility for trial and error and it meant having the ability to take risks. Here is what it looked like:

For my five year plan, I used year one and two as the time frame where I was experimenting, testing ideas, trying new things, creating new work, doing lots of research and "casting my net far and wide".

I used year three and four for growing and building upon the things that were working and were generating income. These are the years within my five year plan that I had the most growth because I had put in the hard work of really testing what would work for my dream.

Year five was the time when I began the process of walking away from my day job. By this time, I had exceeded my goal of generating $30k per year from my creative business. In fact, by this time I had run into the "good problem" of needing more time to put into my business which made quitting my day job a decision that made sense.

TIPS: Figuring out a time frame for your goal/dream is one of the most important things you can do when developing a plan. Having a clear understanding of the time it could take to reach a goal is going to help you get more realistic about what the steps involved in your plan.

Keep in mind that different dreams are all going to have a timeline that looks different. A five year plan for my dream made sense for my life but someone else may have only needed one year! Go easy on yourself when it comes to time. I've found that staying realistic and honest about my schedule, the amount of time I have and how much I do, has helped me become a better planner.

Thursday, July 26, 2018


I've got another giveaway today! I am giving three of my new pouches each will be filled with my favorite supplies!!!

To enter to win:
Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite supply.

I will randomly select 3 winners who will each receive a pouch. 

Giveaway ends at the end of the today 10pm PST and I will update this post with the winners!

****************UPDATE WITH WINNERS**********************

Email us at and we will get you your pouches.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

watercolor flowers download for you!

Ok friends, I have a fun free download for you today. Ten pages of watercolor flowers! Print them out and use them in your planners, scrapbooks, paper, collage projects and more. 

Download HERE

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

let's have a GIVEAWAY!

Ok friends let's have a giveaway. Today I am giving away a $200 voucher for my shop!

Leave me a comment, tell me your favorite creative medium or process.

I will select 1 winner at the end of the day 10pm PST and I will update this post with the winner!

Good luck!

****************UPDATE WITH WINNER*******************

Congrats Jen! Email me at and we will get you your voucher!


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