How to build a successful creative business on Shopify


You might be wondering how on earth you build a successful business on Shopify? It can feel like an endless list of jobs-to-be-done. This is why I was so happy to have Arianne Foulks the founder of Aeolidia as a podcast guest.

Aeolidia began  in 2004 setting up online shops for designers, makers, and other creatives. It’s an amazing company that designs custom Shopify ecommerce websites, creates logo and brand identity design, and supports these services with stats analysis, product photography, copywriting, business naming, marketing strategy, and SEO! She certainly knows her stuff!

Arianne shared some of her top tips during the podcast about what you need to do to have a successful Shopify site, and common mistakes that people make. She talked through ways that you can improve your site to drive more traffic, which in turn leads to more sales.

I certainly felt inspired to consider my own Shopify site after this interview!

You can listen to the podcast below.

If one of the things that you are worrying about is how to price your own products or services, you can read about and listen to a previous podcast that I shared about pricing. Click HERE.

You may be considering setting up your own Shopify site, or have one that needs improving, as an extra bonus, Arianne wanted to share a free resource she has made to help you get more traffic for your Shopify account, which helps you make more sales. You can download it here:

I’d love to hear about your own Shopify journey, the pains and the success. Share your story in the comments below.

How to build an audience

How to build an audience- might be something that you have been thinking about yourself. I’m not talking about an audience in a theatre (although if that is your creative career, these tips can work for that as well), I’m talking about an audience of new customers and clients.

You might have a small audience at the moment, and are worrying about how, and what, you can do to grow it. It isn’t all about numbers…having a small audience can often be all you need. It is all about having the right audience. 

In this podcast I talk through ways to build an audience and what to do with the one that you have. I also talk through ways of engaging with them on social media and through more traditional methods, like leafleting.

Things you need to think about when you build an audience

  1. Why? You need to be clear about why you want your audience to engage with you on a certain platform, or via a leaflet.
  2. Start with the outcome you desire and work backwards. This can be a useful technique for all the work that you produce. Starting with the end helps you to build a timeline of what you need to do, and when, to achieve the result you desire.
  3. Remember the audience you already have. It can take 7 times more work to attract a new client or customer, than to keep the ones you already have. Think of ways that you can reward them. Is it by offering them special discounts or being the first through the door at your exhibition?
  4. Make yourself useful. If you post of social media, it is important to know why, when and how you are doing it. Make sure that you post things that are of interest to your audience or things that tell them more about you and your business. Make them a fan rather than just a customer.

Summing up!

  • Remember that if you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no-one. 
  • Think strategically about what you are doing and Look, Review and Reflect.

  • Remember the audience you already have.
  • Think of the outcome first and work backwards.

Your challenge for this week is to look at your own social media use. Think of the things that you like or dislike, the articles that interest you or the people that you follow. Why do you do that, and what can you learn from it for your own social media strategy?

Let me know in the comments what you want from your own audience.

How to get to the top of Google

Learning how to get to the top of Google can help you to attract new clients & customers. It builds trust & gets you ahead of the competition. But how can you do it successfully as a creative?

In this podcast I spoke to #1 Bestseller and digital expert Tim Cameron-Kitchen from Exposure Ninja about how creatives can improve their websites to give their clients & customers the best experience, how keywords can help you get ahead of the competition, and improve your ranking on Google. 

As someone who used to struggle with this myself, Tim breaks it down into manageable chunks that you can start working on straight away. He offers practical advise that won’t cost you a penny to start working on right now.

You can listen to the whole interview in the podcast below.

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Giving back can help your career


When you start out on a creative career, the last thing that you are probably thinking about is giving something back. What if I was to tell you that there is a great benefit to thinking about giving something back the moment you begin your career?

You might think I’m crazy when you are worrying about the finances and how you are going to make the rent. But actively building this into your career plan can actually help you get ahead.

When we try to help others, they in turn will pass it on and help those coming up through the ranks. Obviously there are going to be a few who take things without giving back, but if we all helped each other up the career ladder, rather than trying to climb over each other we would have a stronger and more stable career.

Some people are great at giving back, but often do it at the detriment to their own success. There is no point cutting your own arm off, if that stops you being able to help more people with two! Sometimes we can’t do everything we believe in straight away, but having an idea of what we plan to do, will enable up to structure our career around it.

In this podcast I explain why it is so important to do this, and I have set you a challenge to complete this week to give something back yourself.

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The emotion of business

If you are reading this article & enjoying the podcast, this is what I share with my mailing list every Wednesday. To join the gang you can sign up at the bottom of this page.

The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts.
When we talk about emotion and business they are two words that usually shouldn’t go together. If we are negotiating fees, a new contract, applying for grants or funding or going out to sell our products and services, we need to take emotion off the table.

As creatives we are usually emotional beings. We create our work from a place of passion, love, commitment or the pure desire to share our gifts with the world. These are special emotions and not something that you should switch off.

There are times however when you need the emotional part of you to turn the dial down so that you can negotiate. We have all experienced that moment when we have to sell ourselves, or our products and services and the emotion wells up inside us. Our stomach feels like it is full of butterflies and we stumble over our words.

Selling yourself or your own work is always harder than doing it for someone else. That is why most artist statements are written in the third person, it is easier to talk about ourself if we aren’t saying I all the time. This is why we need to be able to control our own emotions when we need to.

In this podcast I talk about ways you can take control of your own emotions, and when it is important to try to do that. Sometimes we need to be emotional to share our passion, and at other times we need a business head on us in order to be able to negotiate successfully.

It isn’t something that you will get right every time, and I know that over 21 years of being a freelancer even I still get emotional at the wrong times-that is part of learning and developing your career.

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Why you need to build a community of clients.

They are so many benefits to building a community of your clients and customers.

When I set up the CWI I wanted to create a place for women to come together, share ideas, help and inspire each other. We have members from over 27 countries that are generous with their advice and support. It is this type of community that I want to talk about today.

When we work as freelancers we have to continually innovate and find new customers and clients to sell our work to. It is important to understand how the climate has changed in terms of customer service and need.

Gone are the days when we met our prospective clients and customers for the first time during an interview. We now use the power of Google to check out who wants to hire us, or whom we can sell to.

I like to think that we have gone back 100 years in terms of customer service. Our ancestors would have shopped in the corner store before super markets were invented. The owner would have known what you bought last week, what you might like from the new stock, how your mother is and whether you need to pay on credit or can pay the full bill this week.

They knew your name, your family and neighbours; they were part of your community. This is how it is now that social media and on-line selling has arrived. We want to know whom we are buying from and if they share the same values as us. We want to know if there is a story behind the work, which makes it all the more valuable by knowing it.

Why you need to build a community of clients

Whether you sell face-to-face, online, with one client or many customers, to make a success you must now create your own community. A community will spread the word, be your biggest cheerleaders and fans.

In this week’s podcast I talk about the benefits of thinking this way. How you can make people value what you sell to them, and how they can become your biggest fans and part of your marketing strategy. I also talk about how they can make or break your business, and must be handled with care. I talk about a FREE workbook that you can get access to if you sign up to the mailing list at the bottom of this page.

Continue reading “Why you need to build a community of clients.”

How to tame the social media beast

Some times social media can feel like a bit of a beast. It is always nagging you in the background, or stealing all of the time you could be creative instead. We feel like we need to be on every social media platform, chatting to every person, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can tame the social media beast!

Social media can work for you if you answer these three questions first before you go anywhere near it:

  1. Why do you want to use social media?
  2. Who are you talking too?
  3. What do you want to get out of it? -(Your goal).

That really is as simple as it needs to be. We panic and try to do too much, too often, without any direct focus. All this achieves is a stressed out you, and no clear guidelines of whether you are achieving anything by posting anything!

In this podcast I talk through ways to make it work for you, from identifying your audience, to the right type of content and the best times of day to post it.

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How to crowd fund successfully

We would all love to know how to crowd fund successfully. I get asked a lot of questions about how to raise finance for projects or funding. Even the Arts Council and Banks are looking towards crowd funding to get their clients to raise half of the cash.

Si Walker
I always have rosy cheeks!

I love a challenge, so I hunted out the lovely Si Walker from, which is the biggest crowd funding platform in the UK. He generously recorded a podcast with me, teaching you how to crowd fund for success.

Si talks through lots of top tips, and ways that you can drive an audience to your projects and pledges. One of the best pieces of advice was that the audience can become your fans. This also acts as marketing for your business in the future.  Si talks through how that can be done in the podcast.

You can listen to the podcast below.

If you missed the top tips PDF from Crowdfunder that I shared last week, you can access it again here: CROWDFUNDER 

Do let me know what project you would like to crowd fund, or if you have one on the go at the moment. Share links to them in the comments below.

Is there a subject that you would like me to cover in a podcast, or someone you would like me to interview? Send me an email and I’ll see what I can do. CONTACT 

Not all testimonials are created equal

Testimonials are one of the most important tools for your creative business. They cost nothing, build trust and you can use them in a number of places to draw in new clients and customers. A word of warning though! Not all testimonials are created equal.

The best way to get your message out is to let others hear from people you have already done business with but you want to make sure that those testimonials are doing the work for you. So how would we do that? The best place to start is by looking at some examples of testimonials. You can find some dotted all over this site from people I have had the pleasure of working with.  You can read some of them under Press & Praise.

Have a look at what those testimonials are saying. They give concrete facts about the knowledge they received, rather than saying they enjoyed the experience and had a good time. When you are looking to attract new clients, they need to know that you can deliver results for them. Whether that is delivering a new piece of art work, and your previous customers talk about the amazing after care service you offered, or whether you are delivering a course, and the students gave you feedback about how it helped them with their work, business etc.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”― George MacDonald

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Guerilla Marketing For Your Career

Marketing doesn’t have to be boring!  I want you to think about fun ways that you can get your marketing, and message out in the world.

With that in mind, I have created this podcast all about guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing isn’t about making friends with the furry fellow in the jungle, this is about getting creative and making the most impact with the least amount of resources possible. Sounds like fun!

With very little resources there are ways to make an impact and reach your audience. It is important that you also think about your customer profiling as well. There is no point creating something amazing and then putting it out into the world, at a location your ideal customer would never go to. You can listen to a previous podcast about customer profiling here. CLICK

In the podcast about Guerrilla marketing I explain how you can create campaigns to directly reach new clients and customers, to generate press for your work and above all- to make new sales.


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