How to build a successful creative business on Shopify

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:

https://aeolidia.com/boost/

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

A guide to branding

Branding can seem like the last thing you need as a solo freelancer when you are juggling everything else. Liz Dennery Sanders explains why it is so important to focus on your branding, how it can help your career and your bank balance! Which is why it is worth giving it some focus.

I had such a fun time chatting to Liz about branding. Liz has been in the business for 25 years working in marketing, branding, creative direction and PR. She has worked with iconic brands like Escada, Elyse Walkwe and Serena Williams, and many more.

We recorded a podcast so that you could share the top tips and knowledge Liz has about branding and style.

Liz is the author of ‘Style & Substance: How to Create A Compelling Brand’. It is a fantastic guide and workbook for women who want to build their confidence, their brands and their bank account. It is something that I wish had been around when I was starting out.

If you are quick and buy a copy of the book via Liz’s website www.shebrand.com/book you can also grab $1000 worth of extra goodies.

I’m not affiliated with this book in anyway, I’m sharing the love of a great product that can help you with your creative career.

What I love about Liz’s message is that “women can rise higher using their voices, growing their influence and businesses, and in doing so shatter the glass ceiling and old perceptions about what a women is capable of being and doing”. We can do this!

To listen to the podcast and get those brilliant, branding tips from Liz- click below:

Let us know in the comments what your branding issues or loves are at the moment. 

Remember to sign up to the Creative Women International newsletter to get these podcasts and tips land in your inbox before anyone else. Plus there are some goodies you get for signing up too!

Take away the guilt.

Let’s take away the guilt from freelancing. I’m re-posting this image of my morning coffee on a mini break to Cornwall. You might be wondering what this has to do with guilt?

When I started my career as a freelancer I was on call 24/7, I would jump if the phone rang and I was still checking messages well into the night. All of this made me burn out. I was worried that if I didn’t appear available at all times, that I would never work again. Have you had that feeling?

So jump forward several years and I am pleased to say that I have figured out that no-one is going to black list you if you don’t reply to that email they sent at midnight, or you won’t ever work again if you take the afternoon off to sit in the park or on the beach.

Freelancing is tough. We have no medical care, no paid holiday or sick days. So we need to take the perks as well. If the sun is shining and you are up to date with your work, go on out there and enjoy it.

There is a quote that I read the other day that sums this up perfectly;

“No one wishes that they spent more time at work when they are on their death bed”.

This week’s podcast talks you through how to take the guilt away and how these mini-breaks can help your creative output.

I have a challenge for you….look at the week ahead and book yourself some time, guilt free. Let me know what you plan to do 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 leave a corporate job for a creative one

Sometimes we have a dream to leave a corporate job for a creative one. But how on earth can we do it? For this podcast I was lucky enough to interview Bree Noble who did exactly that. She left her corporate job as a Director of finance to pursue a career in music.

Bree talks candidly about the journey she took from University, to the corporate world, and then finally leaving to fulfil her dreams of a creative career.

Bree was able to carve out a successful career, not only as a musician, but as a podcaster, and as a supporter of other musicians through online courses, sharing the tools that worked for her.

Listen to the podcast to find out more, and you can follow these links to see more of Bree’s work:

Women of Substance Podcast

Female music academy 

Bree’s own website

Continue reading “How to leave a corporate job for a creative one”

Starting a creative business at any age

Tricia Cusden proves that you can start a creative business at any age. I was so impressed with Tricia’s outlook on life and it was a real pleasure to be able to interview her for this podcast.

Tricia founded the pro-age beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever  when she was 65 years old and already retired. Tricia had become frustrated with beauty products that weren’t suitable for mature skin, so decided to take herself back to school as a make-up artist and then launch her own range of beauty products.

What I loved about Tricia was that she was repeated told that her vision wouldn’t work and that older women wouldn’t buy make-up. Rather than stop Tricia, it only encouraged her to continue.

Starting a creative business at any age can be daunting, but when you haven’t grown up with social media or computers from a young age, it can be hard to know how to connect with your audience through these methods. Tricia’s daughter helped her to upload a video to Youtube showing you how to apply make-up for mature women and it went viral.

This changed how Tricia decide to run her business. Originally she was going to follow the formula of holding selling-parties, where a host helps to sell the products to a group of friends at a small event. With the success of the online video, Tricia realised that she could connect more easily with her audience on-line.

Her business has gone from strength to strength and now turns over nearly £2 million. Not bad for someone who was told that older women wouldn’t buy make-up!

You can listen to her whole story and the advice that she gives the younger generation on starting their own business by listening to the podcast below.

Continue reading “Starting a creative business at any age”

Timelines can help you achieve success

When we are busy focussing on our own career we often forget to look backwards at how far we have come. Timelines can help you achieve success if you use them in the right way.

I am writing this article a couple of days after my birthday (yes that’s crazy eyed me on my first birthday!).

Birthdays are always a good point in the year to reflect on how far you have come, and what you have achieved with your life so far. It isn’t a moment to put undue pressure on yourself! It is a time to appreciate all that you have done, to get where you are right now.

We forget that when we entered this world we didn’t know anything. We had to learn how to blow out that candle on the cake until eventually we were baking our own. It is the same with your career path. We gaze lovingly at the people who are ahead of us and believe that we can never do as well as them.

Not only is this damaging to your self confidence, but you also have no idea whether they have had help to get where they are today, or have grown up with family members to help them into the industry.

It is important to focus on your own path. In this week’s podcast I talk through ways that you can do this, and how to use timelines to plot out- not only where you have been, but where you are heading as well.

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Multi tasking can be bad for you

We are often told that multi tasking is the answer, but what if I was to tell you that multi tasking can be bad for you?

As women we are told that it is a skill we are good at, something to be admired as we rush around and try to finish a million things at the same time.

Now I’m not saying that multi tasking doesn’t have its place. The best way to multi task is to break tasks down into chunks and only focusing on each chunk at a time. Single-focus-tasking works on a similar principle, but in a more extreme way.

In this week’s podcast I talk about how you can make Single-focus-tasking work for you and how it can help you to make your projects more successful.

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How to work with passion rather than money

There are moments in your career when you need to forget about the money. This might sound like a strange thing to say, so let me explain why.

As creatives it is nearly impossible to be creative if you are thinking or worrying about money. Have you ever tried to design something from a starting point of money concerns? If you have, you’ll discover that the creative part of you becomes stilted. You panic. You over analyse. And before you know it, you haven’t been about to design anything.

Creativity needs freedom. It needs to know that anything is possible and it needs to come from a starting point of passion.

In this week’s podcast I talk about ways of making passion your priority, and how and when you need to stop thinking about the money.

Continue reading “How to work with passion rather than money”

Dealing with imposter syndrome

At some point in our careers imposter syndrome will strike. I have suffered with it many times, and it always feels like the little monster on your shoulder telling you that you shouldn’t be there.

Imposter syndrome was first coined in the 1970’s when a study in America at Georgia State University noticed that successful women suffered from chronic self doubt.

Men also suffer from imposter syndrome but not as often as women. There are several examples of high profile women who have come out and talked about their own feelings of dealing with imposter syndrome.

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am”
Facebook Chief Sheryl Sandberg

So why does hearing about how successful people also struggle with this help you? Imposter syndrome strikes when you are reaching out of your comfort zone and growing. If we can take a moment to thank it for showing us that we are challenging ourselves, we can gain some control back from it.

In this podcast I talk about why imposter syndrome strikes, how to overcome it & I set you a challenge to help you deal with your own imposter feelings.

Continue reading “Dealing with imposter syndrome”