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How To Recharge Your Inspiration When Your Creative Batteries Are Drained. Or At Least What Works For Me

judiglassAutumn Yellow Sunflower Wine Glass from Judi Painted It

Are you the jack of all trades in your small business? Do you always feel there are not enough hours in the day or that you need a clone, or two or three? Are you constantly pulled in 10 different directions on a daily basis as a small handmade business owner? Me too!

I set high goals in a short time frame and dream big, with that mindset comes being consumed with work and stress. After all, you want to succeed at what you do and if you love your craft and have an insane desire to keep it your full time job or make it one….. be prepared to work your ass off! Be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life.

It’s one thing if your reselling an item someone else made, it’s an entirely different animal when you physically make something and sell it. You need craft time (the easy part), then the battery draining part of everything that comes with marketing yourself. That is when the hard work really starts.

Some of the things that I have learned the hard way to keep me in touch with loving what I do and keeping me inspired.

  1. Stop with time wasting tasks! Some things I just totally suck at are writing and visual marketing ads. If you need help with something and have a small budget has been a life saver for me, along with reaching out to those who are looking to build their portfolio like HS kids. Ask family members or friends to help with what ever they can. At times, I put my entire household to work.

  2. Create a work schedule and stick to it! This, I will admit, I struggle with because I work from home. I cannot just leave the office and walk away calling it a day. I have found that my family time suffers. As hard as it may be if your really backed up, start your work day and hour early or pick it back up when the household went to bed.

  3. Clean, organize and de-clutter your office or work space. If your home office is anything like mine in a matter of one week it can easily look like a tornado went through. Between orders, accounting, show schedules, marketing plans, other projects, etc it can get nuts. I have found if I keep it clean and try to follow the rule I tell my little one “When your done playing with it put it away”, but I’m never really done playing with it. If I walk in my office and my brain is overloaded with a mess… it drains my creative juices and all motivation to get through my work day.

  4. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You would be amazed what cool creative things I have come up with just by messing around and trying something new.

  5. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF that is not work related!! Im 100% honest here when I tell you I watch 1 hour of TV a week and that is the only time I sit on my couch. Don’t let your craft take over your life. I’m a very energetic and on the go person. BUT I do schedule a full body massage every 6 weeks or so (partially because I have to with my neck always looking down painting), but the rest is a treat to myself. I also go to kickboxing classes about 4 days a week. Find what works for you and take care of you.

These are just some of the things that I have found work for me. I would love to hear what works for you.

Editor’s note: Judi has been a reader of Handmade Success for a while and was our 1st reader interview last year. We have made a lovely connection over email and social media. I love following her artwork, craft fairs and adventures. I added the photo above to give you a glimpse of her amazing work. I hope you check her out too! Her new Pumpkin glasses are now on my “must-have” list for my favorite fall pumpkin beers  🙂


Judi Jamieson-Rader – Judi Painted It

Judi Painted It started out as a hobby that took off to new levels in 2010.

She believes in hard work, dedication, quality and getting the best possible value for your hard earned money.

The name came about when people would see her work at friends or family members home and ask “Wow, where did you get that?” and the answer became the name of her new business as the response was always the same…. “Judi Painted it”.

Judi is a mix of self taught artistry and artistic family traits, she is a workaholic who pushes for perfection. She is also wine lover who enjoys sweets, red and white. Deep sea blue fishing and sky diving were two activities she enjoyed in the past.

Hard work and determination does pay off over time if you stick with it and don’t quit.

If you would like to read more about Judi and her learning experience growing this business, you can read some of her blog posts by clicking here.

Summer Holiday!


We are taking a summer holiday! We will be back the last week of July with posts from Shelly of Creating Space, Mindful Living and Lisa of Marketing Creativity!

In the meantime, here are a couple of links we thought you might like:

Also, if you have any topics you would like covered please let us know in the comments or shoot a message! Hope you are enjoying your summer!

5 Things: May


Just a couple of quick things I wanted to share with all of you creatives!

1. Did you take Kristen’s challenge last week and try to find your voice on your blog? Moving to Arizona has meant a lot of changes for me and I have been journaling a lot to find my own voice and hope to start sharing that with you soon. Be sure to share your posts with us!

2. Have you seen this e-magazine Emma? I definitely thought of you when I read this on their site: “For city mamas, nesting newlyweds, and budding entrepreneurs. Chock full of easy DIYs, dinner party printables, and design advice from crafty business owners.” It is super cute!

3. Do any of you have an interest in making one of our monthly desktop calendars? You can see some of our previous ones here. Shoot me a message if you or someone you know would like to contribute!

4. I just ordered these earrings for a friend from Edor. I love her simple and stunning designs! Enjoy a peek at all of her jewelry in her Etsy shop.

5. Check out this pretty free printable floral letterhead from The Languid Lion. I just got a new color ink cartridge and plan on printing some of these beauties up!

Dream Business

Have you ever taken time to figure out your dream business?

You know, the one that floods your mind as soon as you wake up and leaves you daydreaming about the new products you’ll create when you just get a spare fifteen minutes? The one that you spent months planning, or maybe plan to spend months planning in the future? The one that fills you with an explosive passion and leaves you ready to take on the world?

Whether you’re currently chasing that dream or waiting for the perfect time to do so, have you ensured that it’s YOUR dream business that you’re chasing after?

Each entrepreneur, and every shop owner, and every person with a dream to create, has their own dream business. It’s one that’s carefully crafted to fall in line with their beliefs, their hopes, their dreams, their wants, their needs, their abilities, and their story. It’s one that doesn’t follow all of the so-called rules that everyone else has created and it breaks the mold with the products and ideas that stem from the brains behind the business. It’s one that meets their needs, not the needs of the society we’re catering to.

There are certain aspects that help craft these delicate dreams and help shape the business structure. It may be part time, or it may be full time. It may be a hobby, or it may be a career. It may be a one woman show based out of the home, or it may be retail space that’s filled with tons of employees that you can guide to help you run your perfect business. You might be famous and hitting newsstands everywhere, or you may be just a name behind a popular brand. There might be popular accessories in it that are made around the world, or it may be something simpler and entirely unique to you.

There are so many variables that fit into making it your own perfect company and because of this, every single dream business becomes completely different from the next one. It makes each and every dream business vary in the goals, the plans, the mission, the strategies, and the beliefs behind each brand. So when you try to fit into the shoes as the owner of someone else’s dream business, do you think you’ll truly succeed? Can you run it like they do, with the same end goal in mind and the same drive for growth, if it’s not stemming from your blueprints for your own personal dream business?

I doubt it.

So if you’re running your business now, and it’s not entirely fitting your mold . . . have you asked yourself if it’s someone else’s dream that you’re trying to fulfill? Maybe even your own dream that has changed over time and no longer fits your current mindset? If you are chasing someone else’s dream, step back from it. Look at the pieces of the puzzle that don’t quite fit. Find a way to rearrange them to create your perfect picture. And then ensure that your business evolves and grows as you do. Only then can you fulfill the role of a dream business owner.


Ashley Wagner — After Nine to Five

Ashley is the creative force behind the After Nine To Five blog and shop. She’s a self-employed consultant/blogger/graphic designer that is determined to live the life that she used to believe would always be just a dream. You can follow her journey along with her husband’s journey as they make their transition from being Wisconsinites to Floridians on And a DIY Life.

She is also the founder of The Better Blogger Network – a community dedicated to helping each other grow as a person and even more so, as a blogger. She is also the founder of RevolutionizeHer – a project that is dedicated to encouraging and inspiring women to live the life they dream of living, especially through self-employment.

Alignment and Lowering the Bar

I am going to ask you to lower the bar. Did I just feel the ground shake? Probably but let me explain.

Many people I know here in the Bay Area are in similar situations. They are working a “bill paying” full-time job while they also work hard to start their own creative small businesses. One of the biggest concerns I hear has to do with giving so much time to the, let’s just continue to call it the “bill paying job” for kicks, and not enough time to their own personal creative growth and the development of the own passions.

Fortunately, many of these creative folks are using services like what we offer through Lightbox to help with time management and goal development. But still how does one remain patient and deal with the challenging emotions that come up with spending the majority of our time doing something we may not want to do?

First, I am going to suggest that you actually look at the work you really want to be doing.

Instead of looking at the very specifics think about the qualities attached to the work. Is your dream to start a creative space where you can teach others to tap into their creative process and where you will help form a supportive community? A quality of your passionate work might be helping others or the desire for community. Then I want you to really look at bill paying job. Is there anything about the job that supports these qualities? More than likely there is. Can you help others by making their job easier? Can you build an after work community of people that enjoy similar cultural/creative experiences? Can you use the workplace as a way to explore working with and listening to co-workers with different perspectives?

Then I want you to look at what is sucking the energy out of you while you are at the bill paying job?

Are you stuck in that negative space of feeling trapped? “I can’t leave the money is too good.” Well good, glad to hear you are making money. Can you realistically live on less and possibly work part-time? This negative place can also spin you into another energy sucking spiral of only seeing the things that are wrong. This is my weakness. Do you know how much energy perfection takes to sustain. TONS! So much that it often takes away from everything else you are doing. This is where I am going to ask you to lower the bar. What can you let go of and spend a little less energy doing at this “job.” This is not your own business. You can only do the best you can do. Spend that extra energy on yourself and your own dreams. Lower the bar enough that your job will not be jeopardized, no one gets hurt and you can be happy while there.

Negative thoughts take up a lot of space and can be paralyzing.  Changing this focus can open up opportunities and space for your other work. Make being happy at work your main goal and create a challenge out of it. Do you want to experiment with working in a community? Find new creative ways to practice what that would take – listening to others, helping when people need it and be open to learning a new way of doing things.


Shelly Kerry — Lightbox SF

Shelly is the motivation and creativity side of Lightbox SF. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – weekly advice to help keep you motivated, push through those stuck times, and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find the space in your head and the space in your life to pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself.

Besides creating and running her own jewelry design business, em’s studio, Shelly writes guest posts on living your best life on well-known blogs such as Kanelstrand, Handmade Success and Awfully Grand and is pursuing a Core Strengths coaching certificate through San Francisco State University.



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