My first creative business was born from a shopping need

(And how I juggled a newborn baby and a 3-meter long sideboard)

Often business ideas are born from a situation of need. The need for change, or the need for more creativity and freedom. A niggle to do something else in life. And sometimes they are born because you live in a place where your shopping needs aren’t met 😂.

This is a story about the time when I decided to start a vintage furniture shop in rural Scotland, with no experience of running a shop whatsoever. To go with Pippi Longstocking‘s quote: ‘I have never done it before, so I think I can probably do it’. Right?

About 12 years ago, my first ever business idea was born out of the need to buy more funky furniture for my new home! I could not find ANYTHING I liked in the stores in Aberdeen, where we lived.

I yearned for quirky, colourful and soulful pieces, and all I found was mass produced, boring and beige.

I suddenly thought: if there is nothing here, I’ll start selling it myself! And so I did.

A seed was planted.

relaxed business coach

Planning for the big launch of my creative business

I started jotting down ideas in my journal, sketched my future shop front, stuck down images I liked, imagined the things I would sell.

I started doing market research, and signed up for a few free local business courses (all boring and not relevant to a creative business at all!). I talked to other shop owners to understand what was required.

I booked a trip to Copenhagen for inspiration (oh my god, that city is design heaven!).

I kept working on my ideas, dreaming, picturing it in my head, talking about it to friends. Being so excited about getting closer to perhaps actually doing it. Meanwhile…keeping it a secret from my employer.


And then I got pregnant, and had my son, in December 2011.

Did my plans get shelved?

Nope.

Once I have an idea in my head, I bring it to fruition. I registered as self-employed on the first day of my maternity leave. Yup, that’s how I roll. During the ‘nesting phase’ I bought a sewing machine, and started making cool looking throw pillows, and collected small vintage items.

I got business cards printed, set up a Facebook page, started selling on Etsy, made cute hand printed labels, and got invited by a friend to sell my products at a Christmas fair, a month before giving birth. My debut out in the open, selling product to real-life customers!


how to start your creative business with no money
Proud pregnant entrepreneur right there!

Signing the lease of my own shop unit and starting a creative business on a budget

And then, early Summer 2012, I spotted a shop unit for rent in an old mill, in the countryside of Aberdeenshire, not far from where I lived. It was £300 a month on rent, and I went for it. I remember being beyond excited to get the keys! I got a group of fellow new mothers together who I got to know through pregnancy yoga, and they helped me redecorate the space, taking turns in baby-sitting. It was a messy business, trying to keep 8-month old crawling babies from putting their little fists into the paint pots, but we had such a laugh. It was a crazy, funny affair, but we did it.


creative business coach and mentor for creative businesses
My baby boy strapped into a tiny chair while I was preparing the new shop.
creative business coach

‘Nina’s Apartment’ vintage furniture shop opened its doors in October 2012.

It was my most creative business ever. Pure joy. I carried a baby on my hip, and worked on a shoestring budget, but I made it work.

I had a fire in my belly, creative juices flowing, and my marketing skills helped me to quickly build up an amazing community.

How did I go about my marketing?

I connected to many other creatives in the area, spread the word, sent out press releases to grow my reputation, kept a lively blog with styling tips and news, and posted good pictures of new stock onto my Facebook page (which quickly grew to 5000 followers!).

Being a local, physical shop, online marketing was important, but actual in-person networking definitely helped.

In the four years I had the shop, I sold many incredible vintage pieces, organised upcycling workshops, and held vintage and craft markets. I even took a stand at the Scottish Home Show, a big interiors fair, which made me feel like a ‘proper’ business, rubbing shoulders with the big boys and girls.

(By the way, I think you can see that I was definitely not a ‘beige and boring’ kinda shop…)


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AND…I won an award for my creative contribution to the area. 💫

Born from a need to fill my own house with better furniture, I ended up adding creative flair to a whole region. It all started with an idea, I made a plan, I spotted opportunities, and made it happen.💪


creative business coach wins award

Lessons learnt from starting my first creative business

  • Don’t try to be perfect. Learn on the job. Find out what works. Make mistakes. Adapt.
  • Sometimes the things YOU think will sell well, are not the things that bring you the most income. Find out what your clients’ needs are. I discovered my mid-century modern sideboards (or ‘credenzas’) were my most popular items, not the hand-crafted or painted items. I became known as ‘Mrs Sideboard’ in the area, as I was the only one specialised in them.
  • Ask for support. I did it ALL by myself, plus I was a new mum with a baby. I was exhausted. Sourcing furniture, collecting it, carrying it, cleaning it, styling it, marketing it, selling it, often delivering it, and doing all the admin. Oh yes, and breastfeeding during the night. It was a lot. It was crazy.
  • Don’t keep yourself small just because it’s the first time you are doing something. You are totally capable! Because I had no experience whatsoever running a shop, I often felt like an impostor. I undercharged, over-delivered, and didn’t always believe in myself enough. In hind-sight, I did an absolute CRACKING job.
  • Don’t keep on thinking about your dream business, just start, even if you still have one leg in a day-job. You will figure stuff out along the way, and can grow as you go. With support, solid marketing foundations, and a positive mindset you can move mountains.

creative business coach online

I will help you create your own creative business!

As a creative business coach, I help budding and new entrepreneurs create a solid foundation for their own creative business.

I help my clients to feel in control of their marketing (in a joyful and easy way!), but also take the pressure off in building their business.

I will help you build a sustainable business and plan for the future, whether that is while you are in the middle of parenthood, still in employment, or currently looking at diving fully into entrepreneurship.

Book a free call

How do you choose the right coach, and how much do they charge?

Busting myths and dropping truths about online coaches

Some of you will have worked with coaches before, and you will know what they normally charge, and how it all works. For others, this is all new. Today I am sharing a bit of advice on choosing the right coach, and how much money you should expect to pay.

First truth bomb: no matter how much you pay for a coach, at the end of the day you will have to put in the work yourself.

No easy way out.

A business coach will not miraculously bring your clients.

They will advise you, guide you, reflect and give you feedback, but the job of a coach is to bring out the best in you, and coach you while you are doing the work.

A good coach can be amazing in steering you in the right direction, helping you get to your goal faster, and completely transform your mindset and level of confidence.

They can literally change your life. Some of the coaches I have worked with, have transformed the way I look at life, taught me valuable insights, and helped me become the person I am today. It can really be the biggest gift you give yourself.


creative business coach mentor


But how do you know a coach is the right one? What should you look for in a coach?

My advice? Choose a business coach based on their energy and the connection you feel to them. Not because they claim they earn 6 or 7 figures a year.

Another myth busted: their income says nothing about whether they are a good coach, nor whether they ‘get’ you as a creative business owner, and can help you with your needs. Their income says a lot about their ability to conduct sales calls.

Sure, perhaps their systems will get you to 6 figures too, but decide if that is what drives you. If you just want a lot of money, then by all means, hire this like-minded coach. But if you want a sustainable, healthy and wholesome business based on your true values, then look elsewhere.

There are so many self-proclaimed coaches online who charge extortionate amounts of money for their services, and all they have is a couple of testimonials and some story about how they overcame their struggles and now can teach you to do the same. Just be aware!

I am being a little cynical here, I know, but I know that many people get talked into coaching programs they don’t need, and spend a lot of money on something that is not aligned with who they really are.


Questions you should ask yourself when looking for a coach:

  • What do you like about this coach? Do they share your values?
  • Why do you watch their content?
  • Do they have the right expertise?
  • Are they credible?
  • How long have they been doing this?
  • What results do their clients get? (you could even message these clients to ‘fact-check’ if these testimonials are genuine, and hear it from the horse’s mouth!)

Also, take your time deciding if you want to work with a coach. You’ll be stuck with them for a while, so it has to feel right.


How much does a (business) coach charge?

You’ll be asked to invest 4 figures (and sometimes even 5 figures) for a 1:1 program. It won’t be any lower that $3000-5000 for six months, and in my experience of working with coaches, it is often way more than that.

The investment can vary hugely per coach, though, and to be quite frank, probably says more about the amount of profit the coach wants for themselves than about how good they are at what they do.

However, the main reason for coaches to charge thousands, is because they have limited availability and time to work with clients 1:1.

You are not going to a classroom of 30 with a teacher teaching the same thing to all of the students – you are actually hiring your own personal mentor for up to six months, who offers tailor-made advice to you, and cares more about your results than anyone else.

That costs money.

They will be supporting you not just through weekly video calls but also via voice messaging, email and whatever channels they use.

You will get their dedicated time and personalised support for all of those months together, and you’re paying for the transformation you’re receiving. So take all of this into account when you make a decision. What is it all worth to you?

creative business coach and mentor
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Whatever you decide, make sure that you feel completely comfortable and confident about the investment.

Don’t feel you have to make a decision on a first call with a coach. It does help to know what kind of investment to expect, so you can decide whether you want to book the call in the first place.

If you know that you are not going to be able to hire a coach, don’t book the call.

Focus on other things that you can afford at this very moment, such as a group program, or any of the free content your favourite coach is sharing online. Binge on it!

But if you are ready, and you’re excited to find a good coach, then go and shop around, book calls with different coaches to compare their offers and prices, and do your research.

One bit of advice: investing in yourself at this level is absolutely worth it, but don’t EVER let a pushy coach make you feel you’re missing out if you’re not saying yes to them on a sales call. It is YOUR decision, and YOUR money.


Planning ahead for working with a coach

If you feel fired up to make a real, lasting change in your life and business, you are committed to put in the work, you feel happy about the investment, and you can dedicate your time to a coaching program, then hiring a coach is an excellent idea.

But it has to feel in balance, and not put you into poverty before you even begin.

Some people have plenty of savings or spare cash in their bank account to pay for it (great!), others can borrow some money from family (amazing!).

But most people simply get faced with the fact that the first few months of working with a coach, most of their earnings will go straight into the coach’s bank account. Ouch.

Trust me, I’ve been there, and it can give you anxiety, especially when you are at the start of working with a coach, and the clients aren’t exactly queuing out the door.

I have been in exactly that position, where I paid $1200 a month to a coach for six months, which was about 70% of my income at the time. It was painful.

Staying financially in control

I am happy to say, though, that I do not regret investing all that money, and I would do it again.

I chose a wonderful coach, who helped me not only as a business person, but also as a human being. I feel good about having worked with her.

We had a great click, and I loved every call we had together. I have grown and learnt so much about myself.

But if you don’t want to feel poor each time you make a payment to your coach, then go and plan for this kind of investment, like you would for any other big expense, and put yourself in a more empowered position.

Start saving, put aside money for this purpose, and feel in control of your finances.

Even better, pay in full if you can, so you can relax and go full in with the knowledge that every month’s income from then on is yours!

It will make you feel great that you are financing your own personal and professional development. And you will feel even better once you are seeing the fruits of your labor, and the results of working with an incredible coach, who will change your life and business forever.


Am I the right coach for you?

creative business coach

How to coach yourself back into the game

What to do when you find yourself in a phase of self-doubt

Today was a wonderful day. In fact, this week was a great week. However, in all honesty, I didn’t start out like that at all on Monday, as it was the first week of the children going back to school, and I felt I had to somehow jump straight back into my normal working routine. It was much harder than I thought. I had a head full of thoughts, ideas, reminders, and – also – a nasty little voice inside my head telling me that I was failing, not organised, and that I should maybe just pack it all in. I felt chaotic and stressed, and I put a lot of pressure on myself! Then on top of that, I was at the end of my cycle, and rather low on energy. Time for some self coaching.

So how did I end up on a high by Friday?

I told myself to stop and listen. Listen to the silence, the birds, and my true self.

I told myself that I needed rest, and that it was totally OK to not jump straight back in. I gave myself permission to spend time on self-care. What did that look like? I did some content creating and admin while I had the energy for it. Then I did some housework. I meditated. I did EFT tapping and I let go of stored anxiety. I repeated the affirmation to ‘go with the flow’, and trust in the moment. The annoying voice still kept coming, but I tried to ignore it.

The truth was, I needed to reconnect with myself after nearly three months of Summer. A busy time with the family, traveling, being out of my normal routine, and not being on top of my business caused me to feel out of sync.

Being out of sync then led to self-doubt, and anxiety over whether I was actually doing the right thing in life. Do you recognise this? Once I reminded myself that none of this was true, and only a story that had popped up my head due to circumstances, it got better as the week progressed.

Today I came home happy.

creative business coach
Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

Gratitude and acceptance as medicine for getting back in the flow

I had worked my other job, as a city guide for tourists in Valencia, and I realised how much I love making people happy. I felt nothing but gratitude for my life in Spain. The fact that I don’t have to go to an office from 9 to 5, and that I have totally created a life worth living. A life where I combine all of my gifts and talents, and have found an environment where they all get a chance to shine. I get to share my knowledge and passion for culture, architecture and history with visitors to Valencia, I get to sing in a band, I paint, I have plenty of free time to spend with my family, and I get to support other entrepreneurs as a creative business coach. What’s not to love?

Gratitude is a powerful medicine. And so is acceptance of moods, cycles and little ups and downs. Gratitude and acceptance are my tools to stay connected to myself. To not spiral into depression, but to see the beauty in little things each day. To count my blessings, to feel the warm sunshine on my skin, to be so utterly thankful for what life is giving me.

It is normal to feel like crap sometimes. It is normal to feel low, not like yourself, and like you’re doing it all wrong. And when one thing feels ‘off’, then it’s like Murphy’s law: everything else seems to also not go to plan. Your energy attracts a certain energy. When you are angry or depressed, it is like your whole environment adapts to this, and everyone and everything confirms this feeling. But it is only a temporary reality. The key is to find your ‘normal’ back, and not make that rubbish feeling last for too long. Because deep inside you know who you are, you know that your core being chooses joy, and knows what to do. Have an early night, and do what brings you back to your true core. You’ll soon find your happy back.

Work with me

creative business coach

As a creative business coach, I teach marketing tricks but I also coach clients back into the game when they are off-track and are going through a wobble. I am good at that. Call me if you want to find out more about working with me.

Marketing course for creative business owners

You may have jumped into the deep end recently and started your own creative business. Or perhaps you’ve been running it for a while now. Whatever stage you’re at, one thing is certain:you’ve not quite got the hang of the whole marketing your business thing. And it is bugging you! You know you need to give it some more attention, and you really need a strategy, but where on earth do you start? And what works well for your small creative business? In October you can join my 8-week joyful marketing course.

I am creative business coach, and I have helped many entrepreneurs, freelancers organisations and small businesses grow their audiences by doing marketing that works. I keep things simple.

I believe marketing shouldn’t be a chore, but instead can be a creative outlet in its own right! Yeah, I know, you’re not feeling it yet, right? Read on though, as I have something you may like.



No more marketing gobbledygook, time for clarity!

Many marketing courses, coaches and business mentors all say the same things. They throw a bunch of sales and marketing jargon at you, but nothing is really suitable for you as a creative. Also, most have never worked in the creative sector or as a creative themselves, and so it often feels like you are talking to someone from a different planet. I am not like that.

I worked in the creative sector for over 20 years, as marketing manager, audience development specialist, copywriter, and coach, and I know the creative brain inside out.

The creative brain. It’s a little chaotic, but it is wonderfully jam packed with ideas. It just needs someone to help bring some structure in it all.

You just need some guidance, and someone to help you see the wood from the trees. That’s me. I do just that. I make things simple, and make light bulbs go up.

I work with clients 1-to-1 (check out my services here if that’s what you’re looking for), but I also organise group coaching programmes. This autumn, I am launching the second edition of From Overwhelmed to On the Ball, my joyful marketing course for creative entrepreneurs. 8 weeks, 6 live calls and modules, plenty of quick-win exercises, and…peace of mind by the end of it. I teach you all my tricks, and you will feel so much better about marketing your business.

creative business coach

8-week joyful marketing course
From Overwhelmed to On the Ball

Why is this marketing course great for creatives?

First of all, I am a creative at heart. I am not a corporate, commercial business and sales guru, but I have skills, and 20 years of marketing experience. And I understand your beautiful, chaotic, creative brain. The world needs you!

Creatives are notorious for underselling themselves, and they often drown in a sea of ideas. Right? This course teaches you exactly how to make yourself better visible to the right people, in a joyful, creative and authentic way, so you can make more money doing what you love.

What will this course teach me?

Is this course suitable for where you’re at?

How do you sign up?

I have limited spots available, just 12, to keep the group small, and so that I can give each one of you enough 1-to-1 attention as well.

Quick decision-maker? Grab the early bird discount EARLYBIRD to receive 15% off the full price.

How to start writing your very own book and get it published

Interview with book writing coach Georgia Varjas

Are you dreaming of your name on the cover of a book? Do you have tons of ideas, and do you really believe you could help more people with your own book? Then perhaps it is time to get started. Today I am talking to book writing coach Georgia Varjas, who helps clients to become published authors. Because, let’s face it, we may have all the great topic ideas, but writing a book takes confidence, courage and creativity, and most of all, a hot deadline to get stuff finished if we ever want to get somewhere. Let’s find out more.

You are a true creative and artist at heart. Where does your passion as a book writing coach come from?

I have had a varied and rich professional experience in many areas of showbiz, as a musician, spoken word artist, speaker, published author and much more. Words have always played a role in whatever I did. As a professional saxophonist, I worked in theatres, accompanying solo acts, creating moods and emotions – stories even, to enhance the performance. I performed poems, stories and short dialogues to music. I basically write to express myself – and others, especially women, through plays, poems, scripts, blogs, articles, short stories and now, 4 published books.

My passion is about sharing the pleasure of giving, entertaining and enlightening my audience and to bring out the creative in them. As a book writing coach I want people to show and share with the world their own exceptional life experiences and knowledge.

Book writing coach
Georgia Varjas, book writing coach

As a creative business coach, a lot of my clients come for marketing support, and want to elevate their brand. How does a book fit in with that goal?

Writing a book is a cathartic experience both personally and professionally. You need a certain amount of what I call the 3 Cs – confidence, courage and creativity to write, publish and market your book. And when you do – opportunities of the most extraordinary kind are the result – because you just have so much more of the 3 Cs. Having a book can really elevate your business.

Not everyone is a writer, though. How do you help people actually write a decent book, if they have never done that before, or don’t consider themselves good writers?

Well, there is a certain amount of truth in what you say – however, many people are full of limiting beliefs about their abilities. Having professional guidance and support, like a writing coach or mentor, who can bring out the real story, a story that has legs – is one of the most successful methods to write a book.

What are the biggest trends in the publishing industry; if I want to write a bestseller, what topics do well right now?

Self-publishing is the best way to go. Not only is it affordable but it gives you total control of your book and the business it brings. Traditional publishing is now down to the big 5 (Penguin/Random House. Hachette Book Group. Harper Collins. Simon and Schuster. Macmillan.) And the chances of being accepted by them is remote.

The top 5 topics in the non- fiction range are:

  • Autobiography
  • Memoir
  • Personal development/self help
  • History
  • How to – travel – cook – etc
how to self publish
Georgia Varjas, book writing coach

And then there is the publishing issue. How do you get your book published and on the shelves? And do you need a big budget for this?

As I mentioned above, the world of publishing has changed immensely in the last 5-6 years. The traditional companies have shrunk down to 5 and the independent publishing houses have doubled. But self-publishing has become the number one way to publish a book for 1st time or 2nd or 3rd time authors too.

Remember back in 2012 when they said print books will die out? This has not been the case at all. According to ProQuest Bowker Report October 15, 2019 – more than 1.7 million books were self-published, a 40% rise from the previous year. Self-publishing has become affordable and easy to do. Like anything in your business you need to invest but the ROI (return of investment ) is not always monetary as we know in other areas of our business.

What are some of your top tips for people who want to write a book? How do you start?

Great question, Nina! The hardest thing for most people when starting out is finding the real core of their topic. Recognising what exactly it is they want to write about. And very often, after a session or 2 with me – they find it goes much deeper, or off at an angle they never thought about. Secondly, it is all about breaking it down into smaller units. Your top topics – say 8 to 12 of them, become your chapters. Most non-fiction books are around 35,000 to 55,000 words. I have over 200 blogs on my website, so people can find many more practical tips to write a book.

And then it is about finding a killer title. It may just be the one that inspires and motivates you to get writing and then again it may change by the end of the book. Having a hot title is a real boost for the budding author.


creative business coach
Photo by Parth Shah on Pexels.com

You have written quite a few books yourself. Are you working on a new book right now?

Yes, I have written and published 4 books, contributed to 6 anthologies and many articles and blogs too. I do have another book brewing in my mind and heart but at the moment, my passion and enthusiasm is to see more people express themselves, build their profile and business by writing a book.

Please tell us about how people can get in touch with you if they are interested in writing their own book.

There are a selection of programs on offer at the moment. Group or 1-2-1 online. A new group program starting in October 2022 called – Write For Autumn, the ideal way to start writing in a supportive and collaborative group environment. It runs for 4 weeks and has limited places, so I can give plenty of attention and guidance to each budding author. I am also running an In Person event in London on Thursday 22nd September for anyone in the city that week. All the details are on my website.

Are you excited to start writing your own book? Get in touch with Georgia to see how she can help you. www.georgiavarjas.com

5 things that will help you feel better when you are having a slow month

Each July I get this feeling: why is it so quiet? Normally I get at least two strategy calls booked in each week from potential new clients, and a number of sign-ups each month for my 1-to-1 programmes, or Power sessions. And although it is a reccurring thing, and just a natural summer break, I still always find myself going into that annoying short-term panic. It used to be much worse; nowadays I coach myself right back into feeling OK. I know from my clients that this famine feeling is very common, and I wanted to share just a few thoughts about this today, so you can perhaps benefit from some of my advice too.

1. Look how far you’ve come

One thing that will make you instantly feel better, is to look at your results so far. I tell this to my clients all the time: celebrate your wins! Look at the previous months, year, or even last few years, and see how far you’ve come. You have changed so much, you have put in the work, you have worked with real clients, sold your services, and have the beautiful positive reviews and testimonials to show for it. Read those testimonials again, and take the credit. It was YOU who made all of that happen, and you will do it again.

creative business coach
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

2. Don’t start discounting yourself now

When the quiet times commence, the panic kicks in. How can you quickly earn some money? How will you pay the bills? One of the things you should never do, is start discounting your main offer. This is your bread and butter, your signature service, your pride and joy, and you should raise the price for that, if anything, not lower it.

What you can do instead, is come up with an offer that is a bit different, and perhaps priced at a lower entry level, but that does not take you too much time to produce. Perhaps an online workshop via Zoom, a mini masterclass, or an e-book, bundling your most popular blog posts. Those lower entry products can help you grow your audience, and also work as an introduction to working with you. You will probably get a few enquiries afterwards from people who see the value of working with your longer term!

3. Step out of the scarcity mindset

Scarcity mindset. It’s an animal waiting to grab you, when you are at your lowest, and hungry for clients. One of my own clients told me the story of her friend, who kept going on dates with girls he didn’t really like, just because “he was so afraid of being single“. It is that exactly. Let’s not be afraid of being single, but instead think long and hard of who we want to date, and draw up contracts with. You do not want to sit through meetings with people who drain the life out of you, haggle you down, do not value your work, and cross your boundaries, for example. So please be aware. Stay sharp, stay picky, and have faith that the right one will soon appear.


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4. Be proud of what you have self-funded

Your bank account might be looking a bit sad right now, but if you have been investing in yourself and your business this year, than that is something to be extremely proud of. It is something I realised myself, when I looked at my tax return for 2021 and saw that the total net income was somewhat lower that I expected. But this was because I had also invested a total of €13k in my business (13,180 USD), and my personal development. I spent it on a business course, and worked with a number of coaches, one of them being my biggest investment ever – and worth every penny. I would not have been the person and coach I am today, if I had not done this. And I paid for it myself.

So if you have managed to pay for training or coaching, or even contributed properly to the household bills this year, then congratulate yourself. You are a business owner, and you are earning money doing what you love!

5. Stop the stories, find the silence

Stop the stories in your head.

You are enough, you are brilliant, and you are needed in this world. You have had great results already, now trust the process. Try and silence the narrative, and the ego that is telling you that you’ll never make it. You will make it. Other people made it, and so will you. Don’t go frantically posting on social media for a few Likes, or mindlessly scrolling, as it will only pull you further down the negative spiral.

Once you think you’re not good enough, everything you choose to see and read, will confirm this. Switch off your laptop, delete the social apps off your phone. Go outside into nature. You have time now! Take this time to work on your inner self, and love her for all she has done. Breathe deeply. Connect. The answers are all inside of you, and you are your own best guide. But you have to start listening to your true self. You can not hear her when your mind is full of rubbish and worries. Take a break. It will all work out.

If you are looking to work with a creative business coach who helps you to feel confident, clear and focused, so that you attract more clients, find out now if we are a good fit:

How I had to fall apart before understanding my life’s purpose

And how building a business comes with a lot of personal growth

Look back on your life right now; how many things now make total sense, but were pretty unpleasant or worse when you found yourself in the middle of it? Do you now see they really had to happen in order for you to become who you are? At the time you probably thought the world was falling apart, and you were terribly unhappy. And now? Everything is different, right? Although, no doubt you are again in a new situation that you want to change. It’s called life, it is normal, and most of us feel this way once or multiple times in our lives. Nothing is permanent, and we will constantly encounter obstacles on our journey. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t grow up.

Light cannot exist without darkness. We are here on earth to learn lessons. It’s a game, really; to get to the next level, we got to face various challenges, there are no short-cuts..


I lost my vintage furniture shop in a fire in 2016. My third ‘baby’, as I called it, and my first adventure as an entrepreneur. I had put my blood, sweat and tears into that creative project, and one early April morning, the whole store went up in flames. All that was left, was my name on the facade, as a sign that could not be touched. I felt numb, and while everyone around me showed their sympathy and support, I turned away from the pain, and pretended it ‘was just material’. I kept the facade up (ha! symbolism!), and moved on.

I could deal with this like I had dealt with everything else in life. I relied once again on my strength, and refused to feel vulnerable.

Looking back, this event carried so much meaning, and I didn’t see it at all at the time. Back then, I felt some grief but mainly exhaustion, and also an eagerness to quickly find something new, and not to dwell on the loss. I am an enneagram type 7, and if you are one too, you will recognise the characteristics of impatience and an unwillingness to sit with discomfort. That, and having an unlimited well of creativity. Just like other traumatic events in my life (two miscarriages and two complicated births), this was not one to brush under the carpet and just forget about. But I did.


creative business coach

Face your shadows and take responsibility

Looking back now, I understand entirely why I felt that way, but at the time I could not explain my strange avoiding behaviour, and it was like my tough alter ego had taken over to deal with the matter. Post traumatic stress? Perhaps. I had behaved similarly after the losses of my pregnancies and the awful births I had endured. And then another ‘baby’ died: my business. But it took some time before I saw the connection, and the lesson I had to learn to become who I am today.

I kept escaping and distracting myself in more creative projects, work, and social commitments, and thought I had got over them.

But big events and recurring issues in your life cannot be ignored. They will forever haunt you, until you are willing to face them, and bring them into the light. Trauma will reappear in different shapes and forms, until you finally get the message, and change. Whether they are painful events like mine, toxic relationships, or constant setbacks in your career, there really is no escape.

You cannot blame the outside world; you have to look at your own behaviour and mindset, and take full responsibility if you want something different for yourself. What you focus on will grow. What you give out in vibes, you attract.


creative coach

Stuffing down the pain and keeping up appearances

If you don’t look inwards to find out why these things keep happening, you will prevent the bigger and beautiful things that are meant for you, from coming to fruition. This is exactly what happened to me. I thought I had everything sorted in life, and that I knew who I was, but I only knew half. I had to fall apart before seeing it.

After turning 40, having had two children, and just having accomplished an emigration to Spain as a family, it all started to crumble. Up to then, my strength and resilience had always been my badges of honour, and the things that pulled me through any hurdle in life. My confidence, strength, and pro-active personality, however, were just expressions of my outward, male energy. There was a huge part missing. It was time to go inward, and deal with the pain, sadness, setbacks, vulnerability, and grief that I had stuffed down safely into my body over the years. My feminine energy was calling me out.

I entered a time of seeking help from a psychologist, mindfulness coach, various yoga and meditation retreats, and I slowly started to see how much I wanted to be heard and listened to. I wanted to be carried, for once. Being a mother, a wife, and someone who tends to never ask for help, takes its toll.

I am not weak because I ask for help. I am not less capable because I show my vulnerability. I am not less smart, less of a business woman, or less likely to grow, because I sometimes feel insecure and a bit lost. But to admit this, is hard, and still my biggest lesson.


creative business coaching
Photo by Charl Durand on Pexels.com

Stepping into a new chapter with joy

The pandemic in 2020 also brought a lot of inner struggles to the surface. Like it did for so many of us. When you come to a standstill, this is often a time for self reflection, and seeing things for what they are. I felt sad, stuck, lost, alone. My automatic pilot failed me. My creative brain was still working over-hours to keep the engine going, but it was beginning to stutter like a rusty old car. By the end of that year, my husband went off to walk the Camino de Santiago. It was the start of my own journey into coaching.

All of these things make so much sense now. They had to happen, and they happened at the right moment.

The coaching idea triggered a huge amount of inner work. To be a good coach, you’ve got to face your own demons. You’ve got to deal with your own shit first. So I invested in myself, both personally by working with a therapist and going on plant medicine retreats, and I started working with several business coaches. The growth and personal development have been astounding, and the return on investment is worth gold. The lessons, the insights, the revelations, but especially the shedding of the pain, and the acceptance of my hidden feminine, softer side, have been so healing, on many levels.

There was a point, not so long ago, when I felt stuck, and thought, what am I still going to do during the second half of my life? What is actually my life’s purpose?

I now see that I could not have dreamed it up, I simply had to trust in the process. The universe gave me exactly what I needed, and at the right time. I needed to go through the pain, let go of what no longer served me, and deal with my 40 years of baggage, before stepping into the next chapter of life with a renewed energy, joy and focus. I can see clearly now (the rain is gone!).




How does this all apply to you?

I have been lucky to work with many different clients since I started as a creative business coach, and all of them come to me because they are going through a big transition in their life. My super power is to see through their chaos, and pour it into very sharp summaries that suddenly switch on light bulbs.

This week, one of my clients, a singer and vocal coach, shared her struggle to nail a song she had written for the new album of her band. All other songs on the album were joined productions, and she only ever sang backing vocals. Now it was her time to shine. But she was so self-critical, and in the process of recording, she forgot to be in touch with her heart and focused too much on the technical aspects. She felt that people would judge her song as well as her voice and would say she wasn’t good enough.

I said:”But don’t you see that this song is a metaphor for all that we have been working on over the past five months? You are stepping out of the shadows, both as a coach and as a singer, and this song is your vessel to get to the other side .”

Owning your own business is huge. And it brings up a lot of issues: lack of confidence, fear of judgement, imposter syndrome, ego, doubt, but also impatience, procrastination, chaos, and overwhelm. We have to face them, and dig out the root cause.

Choosing joy and creativity in your life is huge. It is brave to jump into entrepreneurship, and it requires guts. But it also makes you feel vulnerable, and it triggers the biggest personal development you will have gone through in a very long time. My clients feel the calling to work with a coach, because they want a guide, a professional to help them step into their own next chapter in life with full confidence and joy.

Asking for help is not a weakness.

Love, Nina x

creative business coaching

How pretending I am on the main stage at Glastonbury makes me perform better

I’ve been in bands for 25 years. I refused to learn to play an instrument as a child, and I can’t read sheet music, but one day, at age 17, I asked my parents for singing lessons, and the rest is history. My journey as a singer (and songwriter) has a lot in common with my journey as an entrepreneur. I have always been confident on the surface, but inside I can be a bag of nerves. Still, over the years I have grown, learnt, developed, and have become a lot less worried about what other people think of me. After so many years, I know what my abilities are, and I know I can deliver. Both as a vocalist, and as a business coach. In this post I share some tips to perform like a boss.

Stage fright is still a thing, even after so many years, especially when singing a new song…or launching a new business offer. It’s back to having self-confidence, and believing in yourself. Knowing that you can, and that you’ve done it so many times before. We got to keep reminding ourselves.

When I was a little girl, I used to get nervous on stage too. A school performance, a musical, a show-and-tell. My mother used to sit in the audience, smiling at me, and giving me her loving “don’t worry, you are doing great, Nina” look, which would give me that extra bit of confidence to keep going – and also relax into it. Nowadays my mother lives too far away to be my pep talk coach in the audience, but I often still imagine her being there and spurring me on.


creative business coach

Fear of judgement and making fool of yourself

My biggest fear nowadays, when performing on stage? Losing my words, not remembering the way a song goes, the audience not being appreciative, making a fool of myself, and basically people thinking that we are a shit band. The old impostor syndrome. Also, as front woman, it is my job to chat in between songs, and since we are in Spain, this needs to happen in Spanish. Yup, add that to the mix of ‘oh-my-god-I-can’t-do-this’. But the excitement always wins from my nerves, and as soon as we start playing the first song, the nerves go, and I remember why I love it so much.

Now I can get annoyed with my nerves, or I could try and beat myself up about them, but I can also accept that being nervous before a performance is part of who I am. In fact, being nervous gives me that extra bit of adrenaline to be focused and perform better. It’s not pleasant, but getting annoyed about it will not help, let alone giving up.


There a few ways to calm the nerves, and feel ready to rock before going on stage. Try this before your next public speaking gig, or any other event you are terribly nervous for.

1. Look over the heads of the audience

When you are standing on stage, and you see a big group of people in the audience, all staring at you in anticipation, it can feel pretty overwhelming. Often, the look on their faces can be serious, which, in the past, I have mistaken for judgement. I thought they didn’t like what I was doing, and when that doubt creeps into your head…it’s Murphy’s Law: all downhill from there. You’ll forget your next line, you start stuttering, blushing, blood rushes to your head, your heart starts racing….and you lose it. Remember that a serious face does not mean they are judging you negatively. Also, to avoid locking eyes with a serious face, throwing you off your speech, pick a spot on the back wall, and look over the heads of the audience.

2. Imagine you’re doing a TEDx talk

Pretend you are at some great big event, not the small room you’re in. You’ll show up differently, for sure. I always pretend I am on the main stage of Glastonbury festival, with thousands of people expecting me to give an amazing show. I cannot let them down, they have paid good money to see me, and they are ready to have a great time! They don’t want to see some shy bag of nerves singing softly into the microphone. They want to be blown away! Remember, when you’re feeling nervous yourself, that you have been invited onto that stage because people have faith in you, saw you perform elsewhere, heard good things about you, and want you to share your gift. You are TOTALLY capable. Now, go and do your thing, and stop playing small.



3. It’s not about you, it’s about them

Like I said before: it is about your audience, and much less about you. Of course, you want to have a good time, but in the end, it is your audience who are on the receiving end of whatever it is you are sharing. Before you go on stage, or into an important meeting, focus on the people who you are facing. What are their expectations? What did they come to the event for? How can you give them exactly what they want? By making it about their needs, you give yourself an aid and your job will be to fill that need. During the performance you can check in with yourself; is the audience still with me, am I giving them what they came for?

4. Practice out loud and get familiar with your own voice

Practice makes perfect. It’s an old saying, but it is very true in this case. The more you get out there and face your public speaking (or singing) fears, the less scary it becomes. Also, practice your words out loud at home, or while driving in the car. Doing this makes you get familiar with hearing your own voice, and figure out which lines flow, and which are perhaps too clunky. You can even practice your jokes. No stand-up comedian just comes up with theirs on the spot, they have all worked these things out at home.

5. Be like Hulk and do a big power roar before a show

Someone gave me this tip a few years back, and it works wonders! Right before showtime, you take yourself to a private space, the bathroom or a quiet corner somewhere, and you pretend you’re hulk. Yes, you read that right. You raise your arms in the air with balled fists and stand wide legged upright, making a power face. RRRRRAAAAAAAAARRRRR!!! Say out loud (or softly, but full of confidence):”I can do this! I am going to have a great performance!” The energy and mindset boost of a statement like this does miracles for your confidence on stage.

6. Trust yourself – and detach from the outcome

You’ve done all the practice, you’ve learnt your lines, you know who you’re facing, now go and enjoy yourself. Detach yourself from whatever the audience may think of you, and just deliver that amazing workshop, presentation, webinar, or gig. You’ve been doing this work for so long, you have so much expertise and experience, you are more that qualified to do this. Trust yourself, and have a wonderful time. Any little mistakes will only be noticed by yourself.

Go and deliver that talk, gig, or presentation, with your head held high, and with a smile on your face. You can do it!


Work with me

creative business coach

I am available for 1-to-1 coaching for creative entrepreneurs and coaches, and I would love to give you all the pep talk – and kicks up the backside – you need to show up as the person you were meant to be.

PS: if you want to check out my band, you can find it here: TREBOL

I am now helping hippies with their marketing; what on earth is going on?

Why you start to attract a different type of client when you alter your message and content

I recently tweaked my niche.

I started out this business in 2020, mainly serving artists and designers, because I worked in the creative industries for over 20 years, and that is what I knew best. I thought that I should just focus on the clients I had worked with for all of my working life, and stick to that niche. But lately I started attracting more and more spiritually conscious business owners such as coaches, healers and therapists, without specifically targeting them. They seem to be drawn to me.

Being ‘creative’ does not equal being an artist. It means having a creative brain, and an entrepreneurial spirit. But that is not the main reason why I have become a hippie magnet.

I am a magnet for spiritually conscious entrepreneurs, because I as a person have changed a lot myself since starting out as a creative business coach. I did a lot of inner work, spend time meditating daily, and have become more spiritually aware and awake.

And when you start expressing this in your content (and send these message out into the universe)…the magic happens.

I thought I turn my call-to-action button purple for a change, to fit in with the hippie theme 😉


spiritual and creative business coach

Soulful coaching for creatives and hippies

Why am I attracting spiritually conscious entrepreneurs? Because what you focus on will grow. This is why aligning your business with your true self is so important. Who do you want to attract and work with most? Start talking about your values and what you are interested in right now to resonate with them.

I have always felt passionate about being ‘soulful’, doing things with intention, helping other people, and sharing those values in my personal life and business. Kindness, honesty, sustainability, creativity, and living in freedom. Authenticity, independence, sovereignty, and compassion. Values that go much further than whether I know a lot about marketing and getting more clients.

Sure, I help you with sales and marketing and business planning, but whether or not you and I get on well has all to do with shared values.


Yes, I am very drawn to spirituality. Call me ‘woowoo’, and I won’t deny it.

It’s probably to do with hitting mid-life, but in the past few years, I have done a lot of inner work to get rid of stored trauma that was stopping me from moving forward with joy. It has helped me as an entrepreneur too.

I did various things, from breath work to ecstatic dance, and from ayahuasca retreats to detoxing my body with the help of the amazonian kambo frog (which is not for the fainthearted, I tell ya – go and google it).

I certainly became brave and a little bit crazy in my 40s! But it also helped me to finally grow up, and step up to become the person I want to be.

So yes, I am a bit of a hippie, but at the same time very down to earth, and with a good sense of humour. I’m keeping it real. Yin and Yang, y’all.



A creative business coach who looks beyond a marketing plan

You know why I enjoy working with coaches, healers and therapists as well as other creatives? Because by supporting them, I indirectly help many people in the world to feel better, and relieve the suffering. Making money doing what we love is awesome, and by creating abundance we can make a change that rolls out like a snowball.

When I help my clients with my coaching, they can have more impact in the world by sharing their gifts with more people. I want to help those people too. I can’t do what they do, but I can teach them my skills to get more clients.

Working with me means an investment in your personal development as well as your business. Curious what this looks like? Check out My philosophy.

Together we make the planet a more beautiful and happy place. And be honest, doesn’t the world need it right now, badly?

If you are also a hippie at heart, you know where I am.

Tree hugs and peace signs, jeehuu and Aho,

Nina X

PS: here’s the link to my diary if you want to set up a free call with me and discuss options to work together. Go to my diary

business coach for spiritual healers
Photo by Erin Profaci on Pexels.com

Why you don’t need to build relationships with your potential clients

I am going to bust a myth today… Stop spending time building relationships with potential clients in the hope that they will buy from you.

As a creative business coach, I have taught the importance of building relationships to my clients many times before, so this may come as a surprise. But becoming friends and being part of the same community does not in any way mean people will buy from you more easily. Clients do not come to you to be your friend, they need help. In this blog post I shall explain what you should be focusing on instead.

Why do we spend so much time trying to build relationships with potential clients?

Because most of us creatives, coaches and therapists are trying to be ‘nice’, and don’t want to ‘put too much pressure’ on selling our products and services. We hate to be sales-y and pushy, and so we emphasise on building a community of followers to hang out with online, to share posts with, to start conversations with.

But how many of your online pals have bought from you? How many people in your network have hired you? Look at where most of your clients are coming from; did you know them beforehand? Did they book you because they wanted to be your friend? Or did they buy because they felt you could really help them with their problem?


creative business coach
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Friends and loyal followers don’t necessarily become your clients

The truth is, we should focus on getting discovered by the right people first, and build the relationship once they actually buy. Spend more time and effort on becoming visible in the right places by the people who need your help. Make it easy for them to say ‘yes’ to you, with a crystal clear message, and plenty of credibility. Be authentic, real, and approachable, and you will become a magnet to the people who are your dream client.

Once you start working together, that is when the relationship building begins. And when that relationship flourishes, and you solve their problem, this person will become your ambassador, telling many others about you. Put your energy into that outcome.

I recently closed my Facebook group for this exact reason: it was a nice bunch of people, and we had some good chats on there sometimes, but nobody ever booked a call, let alone bought any of my programmes. So why was I still spending time in this group? Because I felt a loyalty and responsibility to this tribe, and I wanted then to like me But in the end, you have to be honest with yourself, and realise that you are running a business, not a charity.

There is nothing wrong with sharing your expertise on social media for free, but if you end up trying to run several platforms to serve people who will never buy from you, you need to stop and think. How could you spend that time better?

Of course, you can try and force the issue, and reach out directly to followers. Some coaches swear by a lead-generating tactic called DM-ing. You know the ones; the coaches who send you a private message on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn trying to be friendly and chatty. They are trying to build a relationship with you. And sometimes, they are genuinely nice, and you enter the conversation and you may think, yes, I like this person and I want to work with them.

However, 9 out of 10 times…we can get a little annoyed by unsolicited messages from overly eager coaches, especially if we feel pushed into booking a call. This is NOT a good start of a relationship at all, in my opinion.


creative business coach
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So if we will not focus on relationship building…what should we focus on, then?

Before someone parts with their money, they want to be sure that their problem will get solved when they pay you. They will check you out, want to know if they can trust you, and will make a decision based on relevance, credibility and value. Those are the three things you need to nail down in your marketing.

Marketeers always talk about the so-called ‘buyers journey’. This is the process a buyer goes through from the moment they discover you to the moment they click ‘buy’. Often, this journey can take a while. They stumble upon you on social media, they start following you, download a freebie and enter your ‘funnel’, they consume your content for six months, they sign up for a free webinar, buy a short course or an e-book from you, and then, eventually, because they feel they know and trust you – they say yes to a high-ticket programme.

In theory.

Some clients don’t need to go through a funnel

I have had more than one client discover my website in the morning, book a free strategy call with me in the afternoon, and sign up for a 1-to-1 programme by dinnertime.

Not much of a buyer’s journey there! So what happened here? They found me on Google, I was being relevant on my web content, they felt I was credible enough to book a call, and during that meeting they felt I offered exactly what they need for an acceptable price. It was a 100% ‘yes’ for them immediately. And this is what you should be working on too. Get the three ingredients right that will make it super easy for a potential new client to make a decision on whether you are the right person to work with.


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Relevance, credibility and value

The three ingredients to get absolutely right, are relevance, credibility and value. In other words: your message, the backup of your claim to solve their problem, and a price that reflects your offer and matches their need and urgency.

Get this right, and you will sell time after time.

1. Relevance

Being relevant means tapping into the client’s ‘pain points‘, or current reality. You make it crystal clear that you are able to help them with that particular problem. You are relevant to what they are looking for. You are relevant in your blog posts, your social media content, your emails and your general web copy, so that people who meet you for the first time, immediately know whether you can help them or not. This is important to get spot on, so you attract only the ideal clients, and turn the others away.

2. Credibility

Gather testimonials and write case studies. This type of ‘real’ content is very important for someone to make a decision about working with you. Written testimonials, videos, audio files, quotes, it really doesn’t matter, as long as they are genuine and not made up. If you haven’t had any paid clients yet, I recommend offering your service for free or at a discount to a handful of friends and people in your network who fit the ideal client profile, so you build up those reviews.

Media coverage is another great way to build up credibility. A mention in a magazine or an interview on someone’s podcast, or you could write and self-publish a book. Another form of credibility is sharing your expertise in your content, and mention any relevant experience and diplomas that could back up your message and offer.

3. Value

Third point to focus on, is value. A potential client will first discover you, then decide whether they think you are the right person to help them with their problem (or if you offer the right product), and then look at the price. The higher the need (‘the bleeding neck problem’ – is their need urgent?), the more they are willing to pay.

So value does not automatically mean having the lowest price. The three points work closely together and need to be in balance. If the price is right for them, and your offer seems relevant to what they need, but there is nothing to proof that you have actually helped people, then they still won’t buy. Likewise, if your offer is relevant, but your price is super low…then people may wonder whether you are actually going to deliver a good job. Don’t be afraid to ask your worth.

creative business coach and mentor

I hope this was helpful! And as always, if you feel I am relevant to your problem, you have checked out my credibility and case studies, and you would love to talk to me in person, please book a free call to chat.