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Getting Past Fear and Doubt

gettingpastHello! I am back after a wonderful break with my husband and two boys. In the past week, they have all gone back to school and work. It is now time for me to focus on and organize all of the creative ideas I have. I mentioned before the break that I designed some fabric that I plan on making into eye pillows and donating a portion of the profits to charity. Four styles of fabric arrived last week and it was so exciting to see them! Although I was thrilled, I have been working all summer on getting past fear and doubt to share my ideas with the world. Has this happened to you?

I have been amazed at how I can get caught up in how my website looks, designing labels, worrying about a logo, creating a perfect workspace and a gazillion other things (I haven’t even thought about my Etsy shop!). These things keep holding me back. I have come to the conclusion that if I want to get my project out into the world I just need to do it and be okay with everything not being perfect right away. Seriously, that perfection that I am seeking is never going to happen. I know that as a new business owner I will receive feedback, learn tons of lessons and evolve over time.

I have spent time emailing people and asking their opinions and waiting to hear back. I realized I was actually waiting for their approval. I knew I wouldn’t be able to dedicate a lot of time to this until my kids were back in school and my husband went back to work but I didn’t realize how many insecurities would pop up along the way.

So I am creating goals and deadlines (including signing up for a local handmade market in October!) this week plus sharing with you in an effort get myself on track and take my life in the direction that I want it to go.

So, all of you lovely business owners out there, how have you gotten past fear and doubt to share your ideas and gifts with the world? We all want to know! Please share in the comments.



Summer Break 2014


Hi all! I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far! I am popping in to announce a summer blog break here on Handmade Success. My boys are on summer vacation and my husband is taking a sabbatical from work so it only makes sense for me to take a break too. We have some trips planned (Door County, Legoland, Flagstaff), projects around the house to finish (reupholstery, hanging artwork, fireplace mantle) and whole lot of family time to spend together (swimming, playing, reading). I will also be taking this opportunity to start growing my business on I have been overflowing with ideas and have not had the time and energy to bring them into fruition so I am hoping to take this time to focus my efforts there.

I am working on finishing an ebook with Jena Coray and Bettie Newell that I think you will all love plus another ebook I have been writing on my own about bringing more of what you want into your life using yoga and printable worksheets. In addition, I have also designed some fabric that I am going to use to make eye pillows, pouches and pillows. You can see two of the designs below. So excited!


I plan on donating a portion of the sales of all of the above to charity. This is project close to my heart and I am looking forward to making it come true. Now that I have shared it with you I am considering all of you my accountability buddies 🙂

I have scheduled some Facebook posts over the next month that I think will interest you and help your business so be sure to check our page.

I will be sharing my adventures as well as progress on my projects on Instagram and my Facebook page. I would love it if you followed along!

If you are starting anything new this summer please share below so we can follow along with you too!

p.s. If you miss the regular posts be sure to check out yesterday’s The Ultimate Guide (with tips & resources) to Boost Traffic and Get Customers from Made Freshly. It has tons of info and links to articles from Handmade Success and others to keep your business growing!

p.p.s. If you or anyone you know are in the L.A. area be sure to check out Create 2014! They are calling it the best craft and food fair ever. Best part? Tickets sales help benefit 3 different charities!

Sending you creative hugs and kisses,




What are you 100% wrong about?

windowstorefront of Merry + Bright

In every business there are things you can see and things you can’t.

Take this stapler, for example. That’s something I can see in my business.

And that half-eaten Chocolate Orange. I can see it no problem.

The lovely things on our shelves, our beloved customers and my husband patiently dusting our roll-top bath are all things I can see when I look around my shop.

And there are lots of obvious things on show in your business too.

But let’s talk about the things which aren’t so obvious.

As I’ve often reflected, human beings are weird creatures. No, we are.

You wouldn’t catch an otter opening up the back of a troublesome remote, rolling its paw over the batteries and expecting that to somehow make it work better, would you?

Or observe a meerkat, having repeatedly failed to hoover up a piece of thread, pick it up, examine it closely, then throw it back down on the carpet and try again.

We are WEIRD.

And one of the things which makes us so charmingly eccentric is our tendency to believe that if we can’t see something with our own two eyes, it isn’t there.

The problem is that many of the things which shape our businesses, and our lives, are completely invisible to the naked eye.

Your assumptions are one of them.

Have you ever said to yourself:

  • “There’s no point writing to that shop about my work. They won’t be interested.”
  • “I need to have X amount in savings before I can really take my business seriously.”
  • “If I approach a retailer about stocking my stuff and they say no, I won’t be able to handle it.”
  • “For my wholesale business to succeed, I’ll have to do networking and self-promotion. I’m just not that kind of person.”
  • “The idea of creating a thriving business from doing what I love sounds great. But it’s a dream. Stuff like that doesn’t happen to people like me.”

Sound familiar?

Most of the time our assumptions are invisible.

Think about it this way. You’ve got a jug of water, right? You pour it into a clear glass vase. The shape of the vase determines where the water goes.

So if it’s a tall and straight vase, you get a tall and straight volume of water. If it’s a modern, squiggly vase, you get squiggly-shaped water.

Your business is the water and your assumptions are the vase. In other words, what you think determines the ultimate shape of your business.

This can be a problem when assumptions are so strongly ingrained, they don’t feel like assumptions at all. They feel like facts.

We sigh and say, “That’s just the way the world works,” when, actually, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve done it. We all have.

So what can we do about it?

Here are my four remedies for assumption-itis:

1. Get the facts

Instead of relying on how you think things work, learn how they ACTUALLY work. Do some research. Enquire. Ask a designer you admire how they got started. Find out how shopkeepers like to be approached.

2. Equip yourself

Use your shiny new facts to work out what you need to learn. Go look at blogs. Go to the library. There’s a wealth of information out there. Un-chink your armour.

3. Start asking for what you want

Assumptions keep you quiet. They stop you asking for stuff because they make you think you already know the answer.

So put them to work. If an assumption says you won’t be able to get the hang of twitter, test it by quietly having a go.

If an assumption says you won’t be able to cope with hearing “no,” then turn things around. Investigate the art of gently but fimly saying “No, thank you” to stuff that doesn’t float your boat.

Does that charity fundraiser in the street crumble into dust when you say “No, thank you” to setting up a direct debit?

Does your friend vaporise with shame when you say “No, thank you” to going on a blind date with some guy she met at the dentist?

Assumptions are theories, and like any theory, they have to be tested.

So how about you start testing yours? Chances are you’ll quickly see which ones you can ditch.

Right now, for example, I’m about to test my assumption that I can’t get seven segments of Chocolate Orange into my mouth at once.

Yeah. We’ll see about that!

clarewashi copy

 Clare Yuille – Indie Retail Academy

Clare Yuille teaches creative people how to sell their work to shops. Click here to get her free starter kit.


How To Beat Burnout and Gain a Fresh Perspective


Who’s feeling a little burnt out after a busy first quarter? My productivity took a hit after an excited (and exhausting) January through March this year, and I desperately needed a break. I bet you can relate.

I simply became too attached to email and imaginary deadlines. To keep the computers in the house off for a week sounded as good as a vacation in Fiji to me … to not have to answer and check and reply and check. In other words, to just be in my quiet home with the day ahead of me sounded as peaceful and inviting as warm white sands and crystal clear waters.

But here’s the thing: I don’t like to admit that I need a break from my amazing work-at-home career doing what I love. It feels silly and selfish, yet so true.

You need time to be gentle with yourself.

A creative career is demanding. Yes, I’m typing to you in my pajamas under a blanket on my couch with a cup of decaf vanilla chai tea beside me. The irony is not lost on me. But, I’ll say it again: a creative career is demanding.

I’m always creating my next move, and my inner-dialogue sometimes feels as frantic and high-pressure as a stock exchange trading floor. My family comes home from work and school, and sometimes I’m present, but other times I’m still mentally lost in the frenzy.

You know they feel that, don’t you? They know when you’re present, and they know when you’re more focused on what’s behind your eyes than what’s in front of them.

Take a digital cleanse.

If you’re feeling burnt out, schedule at least two days in the next two weeks where you vow to turn everything off. You see, a digital cleanse helps clear the frenzy away. It helps you to be present. You will instantly release all of your made-up demands and (hopefully) let gentleness wash over you.

And then, go climbing.

I recently settled down with my children for a showing of Mary Poppins. It’s been a few years since I had seen it last, and I love to revisit a classic. In it, (the character) Bert says,

“What did I tell ya? There’s the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it? But the birds, the stars and the chimney sweeps.”

I love a good dose of perspective. My last home was situated high on a mountain, and right beside me in my own back yard? An even higher peak. I hiked it often, especially on beautiful days, for the view and perspective it offered.

When you work from home, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of your own four walls. Spaciousness is a value in my life, and for me, small spaces = small ideas. There’s something about climbing above the noise, being still, and watching the motion of the world beneath you.

Even if you don’t have your own personal mountain to climb, close your eyes and adopt a bird’s eye view of the day you’re facing. Allow your mind to rise above the noise, and imagine the whole world at your feet.

Here’s wishing you a delicious dose of gentleness + perspective!



 Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.

Free Printable: Simplicity by Coco Chanel


I was lucky enough to take a small break with my Mum earlier this month and in between long conversations, luxurious tea sipping and lounging around looking at magazines, I came across this lovely quote by Coco Chanel (the Queen of elegance, herself) and thought it was supremely relevant to those of us who own (or are hoping to one day!) a creative business.

I often have an idea that is made entirely too difficult by trying to make into something it really isn’t and I invariably go back to either the drawing board or my original idea.  I’m also slightly obsessed with my new calligraphy pens that I was recently gifted and so, I created a lovely print in spring colours and flowing calligraphy to remind myself (and now, hopefully you!) to keep it simple.


Simply click on the above image or click here to download your print or maybe you know someone who could use the reminder!

Happy Spring!

Please feel free to print out as many copies as you like for yourself, friends or family, but remember that this is for personal use only and not for resale of any kind.  We would also appreciate it if you would kindly link back to this post when sharing.  Thanks! Geri xx


Geri Jewitt — The Languid Lion

Geri Jewitt is a graphic designer gone rogue from Corporate who now owns The Languid Lion, a design studio focused on branding for small businesses and helping them stand out from the madding crowd.  Recently adding custom letterpress design + printing to the studio, she loves working on custom projects, such as wedding stationery or branding collateral! She is also the editor of The Lion’s Den, a blog where she writes about owning a small creative biz and offers tips, tutorials, templates and design inspiration.

The Languid Lion – CharlieBoy Press – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest – Instagram