Case study: from wobbly startup to confident studio owner

Jess signed up to a 1-to-1 coaching programme with me in September 2021. She is a young graphic designer, based in Bristol, and she had just started her own freelance design studio. And although she already had a steady flow of clients and enquiries, she felt very insecure about the direction of her business. A year before, she had been sacked from her job as designer for a corporate company, and although she was OK about leaving, it had dented her self-confidence. Who was she to just start on her own? What would people think about her? What if she was going to mess up? This is her story.

Although she claimed she didn’t know what she was doing, it became clear very quickly, that she was indeed quite ambitious. She told me straight on the first call that she:

  1. Dreamed of running a creative studio or agency, leading a team of people
  2. Would want to attract bigger projects for high profile clients
  3. Would be in the position take off time without stress, creating a better work-life balance

She also had some secondary wishes, such as creating multiple (passive) income streams, and adding brand photography to her services. Her biggest wish, however, was to feel less anxious.

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Defining her niche, tweaking her message

Like most of my clients, Jess suffered from a lack of clarity in her business and marketing, which gave her that lack of confidence in herself and her future, and anxiety about whether what she was doing was the right thing.

She felt chaotic in her thinking, with too many creative ideas, and not knowing where to start. Having that clarity in terms of your niche and audience really is the most important thing in your business, and creates so much more calm in your head.

Although, as a graphic designer, Jess already had a clear offer and service, she didn’t have a clear picture of her ideal client. We therefore worked on understanding her core values and the type of clients she most enjoyed working for. She mentioned sustainable businesses, equality campaigns, and not-for-profit organisations as her favourite types of clients, but looking at her mixed portfolio on her website, her work was not reflecting that ambition. This meant that her dream clients would potentially not recognise themselves in the type of work Jess was showcasing, with the risk that they would look for a different designer. Time to get that message clear!

She had already started working on a brand new website, and together we improved the copywriting for it, making sure that her text expressed clearly what she stands for and who she wants to help. For example, we went from generic opening sentences on the home page like ‘Hi, welcome, I’m a graphic designer in Bristol’, to ‘I create purposeful graphic design that inspires, and helps you make a positive impact‘.

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A content plan and conquering LinkedIn

To reinforce her message that she is looking for conscious clients in the not-for-profit sector, around topics like sustainability and equality, we also worked on a content plan. What type of blog posts could she write to build trust and authority with the right clients, so they could she knew her stuff? What type of social media posts could she create to help her become better visible with the right people?

We decided to focus on LinkedIn in addition to Instagram, and also made sure she updated her profile and bio, her banner and description, all to reflect her new, clear message. She made a list of key people in her target industries, and made some new connections. Jess then managed to overcome a very common fear on LinkedIn, namely that she was scared of the reaction of peers. Would they criticise her for suddenly talking about sustainability, racism or women’s rights? Some of these topics can be quite sensitive and political, and the last thing she wanted to attract was negative attention. Still, she started to carefully share and post more content that helped to position herself as a designer who cares about these topics, and guess what? Lots of likes, and no nasty comments (of course not!).

Over the months, I coached Jess through both practical aspects of her business (marketing techniques, income goals), and mindset issues. Being someone who tends to get lost in the details, I helped her put things into perspective and make it all less complicated. Working on a clear schedule with SMART goals was a great way to keep the overview and prevent Jess from spiraling into anxiety.

Simplifying business

Next on the list was her long-term ambition to scale her freelance one-woman business to an agency with more people. Jess told me she felt overwhelmed by the idea of growing her business into something bigger, as she thought it would involve a whole lot of admin and organisation. “But Jess”, I said. “Building a team around you does not mean you immediately have to put people on the payroll. You can start by simply hiring freelancers and outsourcing work that way.” She then could get used to the feeling of leading a team without the burden of being an employer.

Scaling your business can start with something as simple as hiring a virtual assistant who schedules your social media posts for you, or handles your emails. And with larger projects, hiring a junior designer to help out, will free up time too, so you can work on securing new clients and doing the more interesting work.

Tools in her back pocket

I watched Jess blossom from being a wobbly new business owner in September, saying yes to any job coming her way and not knowing whether she was going to make it all work, to a confident entrepreneur who “now knows how to reach out to the right people, has tools in her back pocket to build her empire, and feels less anxious when work dries up, because she knows how to plan ahead.”

During our work together, she:

✅ defined her niche, offer and audience
✅ got more clarity about her own values and what projects she wants to accept (and what not!)
✅ learnt how to plan her marketing content and what to post in order to resonate with her dream clients
✅ launched her brand new website that 100% reflects who she is and what she stands for as a designer (have a look, it is gorgeous!)
✅ reached out to virtual assistants and junior designers to start outsourcing work and scale her business in the next 12 months

This is what Jess thought about working with me:

“After working with Nina as my creative coach over the past few months, I am so pleased with the results. Nina has helped me gain clarity on my values and the direction of my business, and has provided me with the tools and resources to make my goals a reality. I have really enjoyed working with her, and would highly recommend her coaching services!

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Do you want to transform yourself from wobbly to powerful? Book a free 30-minute call to see if we are a good fit. Schedule a call here.

Case study: finding the courage to become an autonomous artist

Visual artist and illustrator Manuela Bianco, originally from Italy but based in The Netherlands, came to me in Spring 2021, for a Power Session. Like most of my clients, she had too many ideas and projects filling her head, felt easily overwhelmed and distracted, and she needed guidance. In those 90 minutes I was able to help her with some simple steps to make her feel instantly calmer, and more in control of her marketing. A happy client, she soon returned with the exciting news that she had been successful in applying for a professional development grant, so she was able to invest in working with me for three months 1-to-1. We embarked on a journey together, where I watched her grow from introverted illustrator to an ambitious artist with big plans. This is her story.

Like many visual artists and makers, Manuela struggled to earn a good income from just selling her work. Her floral illustrations with ballpoint pen are stunning, but she found it hard to find a consistent stream of buyers.

So she offered online and in-person drawing courses on the side, which gave her extra income, so she could pay at least for the monthly studio rent. Manuela blamed the low income from her artwork on her lack of knowledge of business models, strategies and marketing. As often is the case, the true reason was something else.

From corporate career to justifying being an artist

Like so many creatives, Manuela suffered from the common belief that “artists are poor“. A deep-rooted belief, that is not easy to shed, but one that prevents most creatives from becoming the confident business owners they want to be. Also, like many self-taught artists, she had long ago chosen a ‘safe’ corporate career before finally leaving it, but was now struggling with the feeling and insecurity of no longer having a ‘proper job’. On top of this, as an introvert, Manuela also hated being in the spot light and making herself visible online. Important barriers that were all holding her back.

Still, she had big ambitions: making more large works, possibly for high-end clients and interior design companies; starting a gift-ware collection with stationary items, creating label illustrations and printing her work on wallpaper. Perhaps looking at licensing her artwork. She wanted her work to be for sale in more shops and galleries, open an online store, and apply for a spot at art fairs in The Netherlands. Her website needed updated, and she needed a strategy and better organisation of her time around family.

And then there were her drawing courses.

Making brave decisions opens up opportunities

I knew from the start that what Manuela really wanted was to be an autonomous artist, and not a course leader, but as a coach, my role is not to tell people what to do. Instead, I offer guidance and let clients discover their own truths, by asking questions and holding up mirrors. At the start of our journey, the courses were an important part of the business, and Manuela wanted to run them. So I helped her come up with more ideas to promote them.

But as we continued to work together on marketing her offers, it became more and more clear that Manuela didn’t get any joy from offering her courses. They felt draining. However, she was too attached to them, and too scared to let them go. It provided her with a steady income, and moreover, the courses for her were a way to ‘justify’ being an artist. They were “easier to understand for her friends and family than her art practice” (her words, and, of course, mainly a story in her head!), but mostly, they gave her the idea that she was still having some kind of ‘proper job’. An offer led by self-limiting beliefs, and not giving her any joy.

One of the worksheets I gave her, made her realise that she needed to change things drastically. The exercise asks clients to list their offers and give them a green, yellow or red light, depending on the amount of income earned, time spent, but especially joy felt, while doing them. Doing this exercise made Manuela see immediately that the courses were given the red light. But how do you give up something you dislike but are scared to let go of?

As often happens when you say a crystal clear yes or no to something, the wheels start turning, and the magic happens.

The light bulb moment and choosing joy

During one of our calls, two months after starting the programme, Manuela appeared on screen very happy. “I have some exciting news!” she exclaimed. She told me about the revelation that what she really want to do is drawing, not teaching. The courses came from a place of fear and scarcity. “Everything fell into place”, she said, after doing the exercise. “It was a light bulb moment.” After also feeling inspired by one of my blog posts about having a job on the side, she noticed a vacancy for 2 days a week as gallery assistant in one of her favourite local art centres. That was it! “15 hours a week, the same income as I get from my courses, but I now have three days left to focus on making my art instead of marketing and delivering courses.” She got the job.

Clarity and focus for the future

Choosing a part-time job alongside her business as autonomous artist provides her with a better organised week, and more focus on the days that she gets to spend in her studio. The fog has lifted and she now has a much clearer idea of where she wants to take her business. She is now working on creating a couple of large artworks to exhibit in September, which she may turn into wall-sized prints for a big art fair next year. She is finalising her website and launching an Etsy shop to start selling smaller prints and stationary, and will take on more commissions when they come.

During our work together I have seen Manuela grow in confidence as an artist in her own right, and become excited and in control of her professional future as an illustrator. She left her old beliefs around ‘status’ behind, and cares less about judgement by others (although this, of course, is a much longer process than three months!).

We celebrated her getting her first corporate commission, after working on mindset and pricing. We have come up with ideas to come back to in the future to find new clients and approach more places to sell her art. And her courses? She actually hasn’t completely ditched them (!), but will no longer offer them like she did before. Instead, an evergreen online course is in the pipeline, to reach a larger global audience. Exciting!

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Manuela says about working with me:

“When I signed up for Nina’s 12-week programme, I wanted to build a profitable – but also sustainable – business that would allow me to live off the sales of my artwork. I had as many ideas, as I had doubts, and I wasn’t able to focus and make choices.”

“Nina has helped me with an incredible amount of very concrete issues (from defining my ideal client, to approaching local shops, defining the price of my work, securing commisioned work from a corporate client, etc.) as well as strategy and mindset issues that went well beyond marketing. I feel so much clearer and confident about what I want to achieve, and I now know how to achieve it too.”

Are you interested in growing your business and confidence too? Schedule a free 30-minute call to find out how I can help you!

Stop fighting the bear and let go of control. A loving message for the tough cookies.

When playing the strong card no longer serves us

This blog post is a very personal one. Today was a tough day. I am on day 13 after getting sick with Covid, and it has worn me out. I usually get sick with flu or colds at least once a year, so I know the feeling, but this virus is a beast. At least, it has been for me. And perhaps, in a strange way, it is just what I needed, spiritually, and where I am in life right now. Today’s blog post is about acceptance, patience, surrendering, and trusting the process. Sitting with the pain, and working through it. Ouch. As an Enneagram type 7 and manifesting generator (Human Design), these things are hell, but unfortunately things I can no longer ignore.

For the past two years the universe has been telling me that it is time to face my demons, or shadow side, and become more whole. I want to step into the second half of life with confidence, and without the need to constantly wanting to proof myself. Show more self-compassion and stop being so bloody hard on myself. Ask for help. Set boundaries. But gosh, it is a slow process, and I am a slow learner in this area. I have been fighting a grizzly bear for a very long time now, desperate to keep control. But the fight is over. I cannot do it anymore. This is my story, and that of many other strong women.

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Tips from a creative business coach

Resilient and strong…better than vulnerable and soft?

My whole life, I have been strong. The eldest daughter, independent, never asking for help. An adventurer, very organised, able to get stuff done and achieve things. “You are so resilient”, I heard on many occasions, and I wore it as a badge of honour. I am a strong woman. I am confident, capable, flexible, creative, intelligent, brave. That became my identity. Strength.

But by the time I hit 40, things started to crumble. I was tired. My body was tired, my mind was a mess. I had gone through two emigrations, miscarriages, traumatic births, I had lost my shop in a fire, and I was trying to be supportive to a husband with chronic health issues, and who had just lost his job. Identifying as the strong one, I naturally made it my task to hold it all together, sailing the family ship through the storms.

We moved to Spain in 2018, and I briefly felt re-energised. A new environment, sunshine, lots of new friends and opportunities. I carved out a new life within a year. A network of inspiring women, an online copywriting business, plenty of days on the beach. What wasn’t to love? But I still hadn’t learnt to sit with my pain. I was escaping into distraction.

I had never given my past traumas time to heal. Meanwhile my eldest son was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. My husband was not finding his feet in Spain as quickly as I had, and his health issues persisted. Everyone was jealous of my eternal blue sky pictures, but few knew about my internal meltdown. I kept “playing the strong card”, which was my default behaviour, and I chose to carry everyone and everything, for yet another year.

In 2020, the warning lights came on.

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In January 2020, I snapped my ACL (knee ligament) during a silly skiing collision with my eldest son. (Knee injuries – if you believe in this kind of thing – are spiritually the sign that your pride and ego are in the way, and that you are carrying too much). I remember feeling so angry and frustrated in those first months of 2020, for being disabled and walking on crutches, needing help, and being dependent. My freedom was taken away from me. I could no longer be strong. I was trying to fight that f&ckin’ grizzly bear again, and the bear was winning. I was imprisoned in my house, and I didn’t even know that a month later I was going to be locked down properly, together with the rest of the world.

In March there was the pandemic. 66 days of a hard lock down in Spain with a disabled leg, two wild noisy kids inside an apartment, and the police driving around the hood to make sure nobody escaped. It was surreal, and it made me feel even more trapped.

Not backing down, and the hard lessons that followed

I finally caught Covid nearly two weeks ago, and nearly two years after the start of this shit show, and it wiped me out. My husband and kids all bounced back after just a couple of days, but not me. The strong one. The captain. The fighter. Brought down to her knees. I thought I had done so much hard inner work in 2021 already, but no, plenty more to do, baby. I even went to my first ayahuasca ceremony last summer, purging out a shed load of baggage. But it took a stupid virus to drag me right back into my process of surrendering. The universe’s way of saying: “You don’t want to listen to me, do you, you opinionated, stubborn woman, with your self-righteous ego and allergy to weakness? Here, take this.”

Every time I felt a bit better, and I immediately started doing stuff, the Covid-consciousness raged through my body telling me to stop. “REST, woman. Stop telling yourself you are weak if you take more time to recover. Just allow yourself to be vulnerable and taken care of, for once.”

Letting go of control is so, so hard for me. I have created this story in my head that if I stop being strong, it all falls apart. And because of this self-proclaimed role of fighter, I cannot stand the moaning and complaining of my children or husband, their aches and their pains, their anxiety and their – in my eyes – negligible issues. “Snap out of it, guys! Pull yourself together! Stop whinging, just deal with it!” I shout. The angry, tired wife and mother, trying to take back control, fighting that bloody bear again, and getting frustrated once again for not getting the desired results.

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Allowing yourself to let go and stop fighting

I listened to a podcast this week by a Dutch woman I follow on social media, and she said something that resonated so much. She said:“I don’t like other people being weak, because I am never allowed to be weak myself.” She was describing how I felt to a tee. It wasn’t the weakness in others that was the real issue; this was about my own longing to be carried for a change.

Why is it so hard for women like myself to let go and show vulnerability? Because we are wired this way. Somehow, during childhood and growing up, we were shaped that way. Eldest children often become like this, and, growing up in the Netherlands, with its ‘no nonsense, roll up your sleeves and get on with it’ attitude, it was not surprising that I too developed this trait. Dutch women pride themselves in being strong, tough and able to handle anything. Cycling with two kids on a bike, in the pissing rain with grocery bags hanging from the handle bars? Piece of cake. We are made of steel. I am no exception. A healthy attitude? No. It wears us out in the end. But we don’t like to admit it. We’d rather die than being seen as weak and needy.

Acceptance, trust and surrendering to whatever hardship we are going through, is an art and a hard lesson to learn for people like me. Be honest; how is this for you? The same? The thing is, you can keep fighting the bear, because you want to stay in control, or you can loosen the grip and make life easier for yourself – and those around you. No more fighting will not make the situation disappear, but it may help us to finally move through it.

My coach said to me:”You’ve got to surrender to the flow and current of the river. It is easier to navigate when you don’t constantly try and paddle upstream. The problem is, as women we want to proof that we can do everything, but nobody else actually cares. It’s the story we tell ourselves, that we are not good enough if we stop paddling hard. We are asking way too much of ourselves.”

The other thing is also, that by carrying everything for everyone else, we don’t give others the opportunity to develop coping skills. What would happen if we for once throw our hands up into the air and say:”You know what, I don’t know how to help you today”. Would it end up in chaos? And what if it did?

How this all relates to your business

What does this all have to do with creative business coaching, you may ask. Everything. What I have learnt more than anything during the process of launching and growing my business, is that you have to understand who you are deep inside, completely, weaknesses and all, because your business is yours and flows from you and who you are. For your business to grow faster, you need to feel good. And that means facing and accepting your shadow, the parts of you that you are less proud of. The triggers, your nasty side, the traits you don’t like looking at. If you want to be mature, and run a sustainable business in the long run, you will need to acknowledge your weaknesses as well as your strengths. If you don’t, they will keep popping up as issues and conflicts until you learn, and they can throw up big stumbling blocks on your way to success.

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Accepting all of you, and loving yourself for it

Compassion and softness towards ourselves, that is what many of us strong women need. Just because we own a business, does not mean we cannot show vulnerability, or ask for help. Acceptance that we are human, and admitting that we do not know all the answers, is in fact also a sign of strength and maturity. And it is definitely a sign of self-love and energy preservation. Trusting the process, trusting life, and trusting the ability of others to solve their own problems. It is very scary to let go and pause (what about that bear?!), but by doing so, shifts will happen. We may find that the bear is not a grizzly, but can, in fact, become a teddy. Our loved ones may actually thrive when we give them a chance to figure stuff out for themselves.

Our business, too, may blossom when we take a rest, and build up our depleted energy. TLC, slowing down, doing the bare minimum for a week or two. The world will not stop. Your business will not implode if you take a well needed break. Fuel that car.

So my biggest lesson this week? I need to listen to my body. I don’t have to proof to anyone that my Covid is less severe than anyone else’s. Or that my immune system is so super strong. I will get fully better next week, or even next month. It doesn’t matter. It is nothing in a lifetime. I will accept and welcome this virus as an important message, yet another one, to go deeper inward, face my demons, and surrender. I will sail this river, downstream and with ease, and rest on the banks when I need to, before floating down further, choosing only the tasks that come easy to me. No new courses right now, or fancy projects, and hours of sweating at my desk, but simply some reading, some writing, and the weekly calls with my beloved clients.

Whether I will finally learn my lesson, time will tell. God, I hope so. Still, the ‘I am a strong woman’ badge of honour is sewn tightly onto my chest, and it is hard to take off. But perhaps I can embroider it with flowers, or stick a big velvet heart on top of it, to add some much needed softness. Will you join me in becoming softer, and stop playing the strong card all the time? Here is to my fellow strong women; I hand you a big soft velvet red heart for your chest and a bucket full of compassion to pour over yourself. I love you, and I see you. No more fighting the bear, for there is no bear.

Nina x

Schedule time with me in my calendar

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When do you feel ready to ditch your job and follow your creative dream?

Why it often takes half a lifetime before people change

Many of my clients have just left their job situation or previous career, or are planning to leave it soon. They dedicated most of their working life to corporate jobs and careers they chose a long time ago. Choices due to either parental expectations, or, mainly, financial security.

Most of them left their inner creative spirit behind in childhood and adolescence. Or when their job required them to step up into management and stuff got busy.

The happy child who was always drawing, the teenager who wrote deep poetry, the kid who loved spending hours making and crafting things. It’s only years later, when they can no longer ignore their inner voice and yearning, that they feel ready to face what has always been waiting inside them. And that can be scary.

In nearly all families, parents want what is ‘best’ for us, and pass on the doom and gloom message that “you can’t earn any money with that”. And that’s the end of the happy, artistic child and her dreams to turn the world into a place full of glitter.

They choose ‘safe’ over something that is truly in alignment with their true self. And what do we know at that age? Our parents’ messages and advice, in most cases, come from a place of loving fear. Loving, because they want to protect their children from pain and misery. They mean well, but it is the result of many generations of scarcity. The idea that their creative child will end up in poverty, is something they want to prevent at all cost.

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Parents want what is best for us, and ‘best’, unfortunately, in their eyes, is mostly linked to financial success, not joy. It is a common story, and whether my clients grew up in the US or in Italy, it is also a universal story.

So they choose ‘what’s best for them’, finish a degree in law, business administration or nursing, and start their careers. They don’t really think too much anymore about their previous joy and passions, and any creative activity now gets shelved, moves into the background, or, in the best case scenario, is continued as a hobby. Work takes over. Long hours. Stressful times. Perhaps they receive a promotion to keep them going and give them a feeling of being successful. Making mum and dad so proud.

But as the years go by, and often after entering parenthood, the feeling that something doesn’t feel right, creeps in. What have they been doing all those years, chasing a career that gave them money….but very little joy?

What was it all for?
Where’s the glitter?

Things start to shift in them. Some end up in a burn-out. Some go through other crises. Call it a midlife crisis, perhaps, but it brings up some pretty profound questions about their true values and what is important to them. “Who are they, deep down, and what do they really want out of life?”

In modern-day society, we step onto the crazy rapid hamster wheel as soon as we enter school age 4. Work, assignments, projects, after-school activities to be ferried to, tests to do, exams to pass, diplomas to get. Peer pressure. Parental expectations.

We race around like maniacs, without ever getting the time to learn about the true meaning of life, and honouring who we are deep down. We often don’t get to know ourselves properly until we’re hitting the midlife crisis. Nobody takes the time to let children figure stuff out.

Most children are naturally creative, and drawn to working with their hands, but instead maths, physics and languages are regarded as the most important subjects in the curriculum. Art often gets stuffed into the week as a frivolous afterthought and a tick in the teacher’s box. They get the pupils to copy some Pinterest example and stick a couple of googly eyes on a toilet roll. Job done. Back to the maths.

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The inner creative will never leave you; go and give her some love

But no matter how hard you try to ignore your creative, wacky ideas in adulthood (because you have a serious job and a reputation to keep up, right!), it’s like a weed, it will pop up in your life. because it is who you are, and what you always were here to do. This deep yearning will especially knock at your door at times when you feel down and miserable about your current situation. That is when ideas sprout.

“I’d love to run a tea room one day,” you suddenly think. Or, “I’d love to run creative retreats in a beautiful sunny place.” A seed gets planted.

And the more you think about it, the bigger it gets. Some people keep ignoring the inner voice, and save their plans until retirement. Others, who are braver, take the bull by the horns and decide to go for it.

When do they feel ready to become a creative business owner? Usually after coming out of a burnout. Or when they lose their job. Or become a mother. Or move abroad. Life changing experiences that turn them upside down, shift their reality, and offer opportunities for radical change.

This happened to me too; I opened my own vintage design store 8 months after becoming a first-time mum, 10 years ago. Everything was so different already for me with a baby, plus I had no job to go back to, that I felt less scared to take the leap.

But ready, well, no, nobody ever feels 100% ready. But when the excitement is bigger than the fear, that is when the magic happens. You’ve got to really, really want it. That doesn’t mean those brave souls then live happily ever after, though. Because, as we all know, the choice to go into entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges.

Running your own business is not easy (but – Oh – the freedom!), and in that respect our parents were right: the road to financial success as a creative business owner can be a little bumpy at first. But the most powerful thing about taking this road, is the incredible personal development that comes with it. And for that alone, it is worth it.

It is like taking off the veil, opening your eyes to your own truth, and getting full permission to finally be 100% yourself. The playful, creative child inside of you finally gets heard. No more expectations of others, it is now you who calls the shots, and you can be as creative or as wacky as you like, building your emporium.

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I am ready when you are

As a creative business coach, I get former professors calling me who want to start creative retreats. Ex medical practitioners who dream of writing funny self-help books and running workshops. Former teachers who retrained as a life coach. Lawyers in the process of launching an quirky event business (see case study!).

Clients call me with heads bursting full of ideas, and an eagerness to finally move forward and transform their lives, and that of others.

I help them clear the chaos in their heads and focus on the first important steps; fine-tune their niche, define their audience, and formulate their message. Often times mindset is a big part of the work we do together, to overcome those pesky self-limiting beliefs (thanks, parents!!), and step into our new creative entrepreneur shoes with full confidence and focus.

Whether you have a clear idea already about what you want to do, or you’ve been running your business for a while already, or you feel stuck between a number of different possibilities; as a creative business coach, I help you find clarity and confidence.

Having that outsider’s pair of eyes on your situation can support you in finally becoming who you want to be, and doing the work you were always meant to do. You don’t have to be 100% ready, but you will feel a lot more ready and confident after working with me.

You have everything inside you already, so let’s bring it to the surface. You are awesome.

Book a free 30-minute call if you are ready to transform your life, and build your creative business with me. We’ll have an informal, no obligation chat to see if we are a good fit.

creative business coach and mentor for small business

People are maxed out on information. Cut the BS and start building trust.

Buyer journeys, client personas, marketing strategies, content plans. Courses, programs, training, webinars. Free events, paid events, irresistible offers. Buy-it-now. Email funnels. Reels, stories, groups, pages. Do you feel tired just reading these terms? You are not alone.

I don’t know if it was ‘the Great Pause’ which caused it (a great description that someone in my network used this week), but people are definitely more clued up now on smelling rats. Nobody has any time anymore for sales-y bull sh*t. So stop feeding your followers with typical marketing stuff. We are all tired. But what we do crave, is deep connection with like-minded souls who we can trust. How can you build more trust and create those real connections?

Selling is, of course, what you do when you run a business. That is how you create your income. Obviously. But was this your main driver when you started?

Probably not. You felt a passion, a creative fire burning in your belly, and a strong yearning to share your gifts with others. You wanted to make the world a better place, help people, and create wonderful items, events, or services.

Clients come to me because they feel lost in the marketing department. They feel they need more sales and marketing skills. A strategy. They watch peers and competitors offering freebie downloads, sharing sales pages, and pushing their products. They feel pressure to do the same, but don’t know how. I am going to say something very controversial right now: don’t. Traditional sales and marketing will do nothing for you or your audience. And what makes you think you need to use traditional marketing techniques for your quirky, non-traditional business anyway? Try something else.

In a world of too much information and marketing overwhelm…what would you enjoy seeing online? What would you still want to engage in as a buyer yourself?

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People online are maxed out on information. There is so much out there, that we are all feeling fed up with hearing about yet another ‘amazing offer’, or receiving unsolicited DMs where we get persuaded to ‘hop on’ a strategy call, only to get pushed into buying some high ticket program by an overly keen coach.

Yes, we know that you are fabulous, and you think that our lives will be empty without your help or product. But we don’t want to book onto to another webinar or training. Download another free PDF that will sit in our Dropbox for months, unread. We are exhausted. Are you exhausted?

Detachment and being real in a shaky world

So, as a creative business coach, what do I think you should do, then? I believe in building trust. Showing up as your own unapologetic self. Talking about what matters to you. Being real. In a world where everything is on shaky ground, be a beacon of light, and shine. Be authentic, honest and transparent, and rather than focusing on selling your services, focus on inviting your audience into your world, and creating real connection. Be a friend, and be of service.

Invite your audience to be part of your tribe, no strings attached. Create content that simply informs and inspires, but not overwhelms. Show people who you are as a person, let them experience your wonderful creative energy. Find joy in real conversations with your audience. Listen. Detach yourself from the outcome. Take the pressure off.

As an example, I offer a free monthly group coaching call for my audience on Zoom. It is not giving me any income, and I don’t know if any participants will ever buy from me. But I enjoy the call. I have great conversations with my audience on these calls, and it is a lovely opportunity to connect deeply with them, and hear about their realities. I try and serve them the best I can, and I learn from them as they share their worries, issues and challenges with me. Most of all, we build relationships.

Whether this leads to paying clients, no idea. But I am showing up as me, and people are able to experience my energy in a live setting. If they like my personality, they are likely going to come again. Or tell others. I am building trust, not doing a hard sale.

Trust is everything right now, in a world where we distrust the media, distrust the government, and wonder when our current reality is finally going to change for the better. We maybe can’t stop the big powers at play, but we can start building tribes of like-minded people. Help each other, reach out. And in this digital age, tribe members can be anywhere in the world. So start building those relationships with your audience and followers, who are clearly drawn to you and your style. Start connecting to them at a deeper level, spark joy, motivate them, and above all: create a sense of belonging.

What does this looks like in terms of creating content and promoting yourself online? Exactly as I am doing right now: write stories, blog posts, record podcasts, make short videos. Share inspiring photos. Organise get togethers. Choose the tool that gives you joy, and your energy will naturally be in it. But please…stop the overwhelm, both for you and your audience. And try detaching yourself from the monetary aspect. When you have built that trust, and people feel ready, they will come. They will. But first build trust.

Have a coffee with me. Schedule your free 30 minutes with me here. No strings attached.

*Here is a short clip from my latest free coaching call, so you can see me in action. 🙂

Set intentions, follow your intuition and nurture your creativity this year

Each January we are told to become a better version of ourselves this year, with overly ambitious resolutions and the obligatory positive attitude. New year, new you! Oh, the pressure. Let’s just ease into 2022, shall we? I mean… we are entering the third year of craziness and ongoing measures surrounding a pandemic. I think it is safe to say we are all a little apprehensive of whatever is coming next. Right? Here are some of the things I recommend you do instead of setting yourself goals that are only making the stress levels go up.

My advice? Set some good intentions, a few achievable goals, and keep doing the things you love. Create inner peace, and look after yourself. Stay close to your heart, and listen to your intuition. It is always right. That, to me, is a better way to start the new year. And way more sustainable.

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1. Set positive intentions

Intentions are not goals. Intentions are really a mindset thing. Where goals come with a certain amount of pressure (and the guilt if you fail to action on them), intentions are softer, and, in my opinion, a more gentle way to start the year. You make it your intention to do something this year, which basically puts the wheels in motion. An intention sends a message to your brain that you are now willing and ready to make a change or work on your goals. If anything, it will help to put you in a positive mindset. You can say your intentions out loud, but it also works well to write them down in your journal or on your note board.

Examples of intentions can be:

“I intend to write a weekly blog post for my website, so that I add value and improve my SEO.”
“I intend to be more patient as a mother, so that I improve the relationship with my children.”
“I intend to show up more often in videos, so my audience gets to know me better and experience my positive vibes and energy”.
“I intend to go for a walk twice a week before starting work, so I get fitter and clear my head.”

2. Set achievable goals

Setting achievable goals is very important for your mindset as entrepreneur. If you only ever put the bar really high (“I will earn multiple 6 figures this year”), you’re going to feel pretty low very soon. By all means, include a more ambitious goal (“I will start earning a steady 5k each month”), but make sure that most of your goals are actually reachable. Small goals, bite-size milestones. Celebrating these smaller wins will still give you a great feeling, fire you up, make you feel amazing, and keep the motivation up to more forward and work on the bigger goals.

Examples of achievable goals can be:

I will attract two new coaching clients each month by the 1st of April.
I will finish writing my e-book by the 1st of July.
I will have delivered four creative workshops in-person by the end of 2022.

creative business coach
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3.Build in enough time doing what you love

Yes, I know you are obsessed with your business right now, but are you also building in enough time to switch off and nourish your soul? To get out of your head and work with your hands (or move your body) is a great way to refocus and de-stress. New ideas will come when you step away from your laptop. It doesn’t matter what hobby or activity you choose, as long as you make time for it. I was guilty of ignoring my own artistic self for a long time, and this year I am making sure I have at least one whole day each week to nurture my inner artist. For you it might be cooking, or going for long walks in nature. Spending time reading novels, knitting, playing piano, learning a whole new skills. Whatever it is, schedule it in, just like you schedule in everything else. It helps you to stay sane and create a good work-life balance.

Book recommendation to kick start your own creativity:
The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

This book is all about nurturing your creative spirit and get the juices flowing, by;

  • Writing the ‘Morning Pages’: consistently write three pages each morning in your journal before you do anything else. It is not meant to be art or read by anyone else; it is purely to empty your head and get the worries, overwhelm, ideas and thoughts out of your system and onto paper.
  • Going on a weekly ‘art date’ with yourself. Just you on your own. Take yourself to a museum, a gallery, the seaside, the park, or anywhere else you want to pamper the artist inside of you, and spend time with this (often) very much ignored part of yourself.

creative business coach
photo: Sybilla Michelle Photography

Listen to your gut: it speaks the truth

Your intuition lives in your gut – and it knows the truth. Listen to it. Has your gut been telling you to quit your job for a long time now? is that niggling feeling not going away? Stop ignoring it and start planning your escape. Your gut speaks from your soul, and will always push you in the right direction, that what you are meant to be and do here on earth. That doesn’t mean it will be an easy change, or approved by your environment. But sooner or later you will be faced by this desire for change again, so why postpone it any longer?

I know, we talk ourselves out of things, because of fear. We convince ourselves that “our life is good as it is, and we may not succeed if we change.” Just remember: your rational head is only trying to protect you, it has no idea what you are capable of!

Don’t let your brain take over, like it usually does, talking sense into you. It doesn’t know what is best for you, it will always try and coerce you back into other people’s expectations, safety, and the comfort zone. But be honest: how will you feel at the end of your life if you didn’t even give it a try? You can move mountains, you’ll see. If others can do it, so can you.

What are you going to do differently this year?

I don’t teach marketing; I switch light bulbs on in your head

Let’s discover where your true joy lies…and how amazingly creative you are

This time last year I had just started my new coaching business. And hey, I am pretty proud of my achievements so far! In less than a year I have built up an online an audience, delivered multiple masterclasses, an online creative summer school, and launched a live 7-week group marketing course. I also booked my first 1-to-1 clients in Spring, and have helped many creative entrepreneurs since to find clarity and confidence, and turn their soul purpose into neat little businesses.

But while I first thought my coaching was going to be just about marketing, I have realised that clients are coming to me for something very different. They seek a fellow creative buddy, who helps them organise all the ideas in their head, make a game plan, and holds them accountable.

Marketing is an important tool in my coaching and mentoring box, but only part of my skill set. Before we even get to the stage of marketing an offer, we will have done a whole host of other things together. I want to know what makes really you tick! You see, working with me means fully investing in yourself, your self development and uncovering the awesome creative person you are. Nevermind business, let’s meet the real you and your big why. We got to hunt for treasures!

creative business coach

You may tell me that you want to build a business selling X, but by talking, exploring and doing various exercises, I want to discover what lies beneath. Most new entrepreneurs start doing things in a certain way, because we think that’s what we should do, or think we want. But when delving deeper, we soon find out that there are other desires waiting to come to the surface, that are the real talents and gifts waiting to be shared with the world. Where the real joy lies. The stuff that fires you up. Self-limiting beliefs are usually the reason for hiding them.

To build a business that is sustainable in the long run, we need to bring the your true passions and desires out into the light. Or else, they’ll keep niggling away in the dark, and you’d be building a business based on something you want to change again in the near future. What’s the point of hiring a coach if you don’t go all the way? You are investing in yourself, so you may as well dive deep.

All my life I have heard people telling me “oh, Nina, you are so creative“, and “I am not creative“, and “I wish I was as creative as you”. When someone says this to me, I hear a longing. They sigh. They moan about their job. And I hear a cry for help. I see a person stuck in a life or career they are not happy with, that doesn’t give them joy, and they look at me with envy.

Because they see a person who is doing what she loves, and earning money with it.

They want what I have. And the truth is, they can make that change. They really can. You can too. But it needs someone to make them realise their own creative potential, go onto a discovery journey, and give them the confidence to break out of their belief system and redesign their life the way that is truly aligned with their values and desires. Not the expectations of others. Your time is now!

Who on earth told you that you are not creative?

All people are creative in their own right, but the thing is, most of them are conditioned in believing that they are not the ‘creative type’, or they think that being creative is the same as being artistic. There are thousands of ways to be creative.

Creativity means being curious and thinking outside the box. An artist is creative, but so is an entrepreneur who creates off-beat weddings, offers unique holiday experiences, or brews his own craft beer. Soulful businesses with a real passion. Every person has things that they love doing, what they know a lot about, or what they would want to spend more time doing if they could.

Most people have been conditioned by parents, teachers, peers, and background, to choose a certain career that was a ‘safe’ choice, but was probably not well aligned with who they truly are as a person. How many people do you know in your own network, who spend their life doing something they hate, because they don’t know how to change things?

Clients come to me because they have made the brave decision to finally leave their old self behind, and build their dream life and business. They trust me with their time and investment, and I feel incredibly honoured to be part of their journey. I feel humble to be chosen by them as a coach at such an important moment in their lives, where they are ready to embark on a huge transformation personally and professionally. I care for my clients, and it is wonderful to be a witness of the growth in confidence and clarity in them, often within a few months of working together.

So no, I am not just an average marketing coach, nor am I a standard business coach, going through a cookie-cutter programme of methods, questions and exercises with clients. I am Nina, and I do things my way. I work with clients who feel drawn to my energy, my way of writing, my sense of humour, my kindness, and my curiosity.

I offer my guidance, my knowledge, my creative thinking, and my motivation to the people who need it, and choose to share their journey with me. My clients become friends, I love them all.

I am a creative coach. I switch light bulbs on. I bring out the creative fire and happiness in people, guiding them on the path to a fulfilling life. I sift with them through their junk yard of ideas, desires and skills, and help them prioritise, and make a game plan for the future. I use a lot of common sense, but I may also throw some personality tests at you, or inspiring books I think you might like.

Together we look at all the options, the goals, and the potential to create their own fabulous creative business, fully aligned with their values, principles and joy. And yes, then we start marketing. We look at niche, offer, audience and the best way to get clients.

Spreading the beauty and gifts that lie hidden in so many people – that is what I aim to do with my coaching programmes for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses. Bringing out the best in people, and making them believe in themselves. Helping them understand why they are doing things, for who, and how they can build this further. If this resonates with you, and you feel ready for a positive change in your life, then call me. I am here to walk the path with you.

Why most web copy does not convert and what you can do about it

Top tips for awesome copy

What is your web copy like? Are you proud of it? Does it work hard for you and bring you clients? Or are you feeling embarrassed to share your website with anyone? Writing web copy is not something that comes easy to everyone, mainly because we tend to overthink it, and get the tone of voice wrong. But there are a few simple tricks to create web copy that reads better and converts well. Today I am sharing something you could try to improve your own web copy. Let’s turn up the heat a little…

As a creative business coach, I see many clients struggling with their web copy. I help them improve their writing by making them see things differently. Because it often is not the style and structure of their writing that needs tweaking; it is the way that they write about their business and offer.

Problem number one: most web copy is boring, too formal, too business-like, and there is no connection with the reader whatsoever. Where’s the warmth, my friend? Are you even trying to attract human clients? You see, when you write about your business on your website, it is not about what you sell. An About page, and, in fact, most of your web copy, should be about your client, and their problem. Talk to them, not at them. Your reader is a human being. Show them some love, make them feel understood.

Brrr. Your web copy is cold as ice. Warm it up.

This is where many entrepreneurs go wrong. Most of them think that they should explain the features of their product or service, and how it all works, in great detail. They write their copy from their own point of view, not from the reader’s.

This is emphasised by the fact that many business owners talk in their copy about how much they love their product. “I love running my own business and being my own boss“. Well, that’s nice. Now, why do I need to know this as a customer?

About pages are a place where this nearly always goes wrong. We want to read more about what the business can do for us and why we should trust them, and instead we get to read what the owner did before they started their business, their whole life story and bumpy career path. Nope. Tell us how your business stands out from the rest. Why should we hire you? How can you help us? What makes you special?

Writing about your background and experience is good in principle, but only if you use this to connect with your customer. So step into their shoes. Keep it relevant. How does this information help them decide whether to hire you or not?

I want to be heard and I want to be looked after as a customer. Convince me.

When you are visiting a website because you need to solve some problem (for example, your back hurts, and you need to find a physio), how much does the physio’s personal life story help you decide whether you want to book an appointment with them?

What you do want to know about the physio, is what types of treatment they are specialised in, how experienced they are, what other clients say about them, and practicalities such as location and cost. But if this was all written down in a cold, formal way, without a friendly photograph of the physio and their clinic, I probably would not book the appointment. Using a friendly and welcoming tone of voice, however, will help me decide to call you or not. After all, it is my body you are treating, and I want to be feel safe in your hands.

Another example. If you are selling bespoke furniture, what will convert a potential customer who has found you on Google, doesn’t know you, and is now looking for more information? What kind of copy will convince them that you’re the one who can deliver what they need? Your CV? Your life story? Just a portfolio?

If you only show a few photos, and don’t offer any information other than maybe an email address, what is likely going to happen? They probably click away and look elsewhere. People are lazy. Take away all potential barriers. Make it super easy for people to buy from you. Give them helpful content, show them that you understand their situation, and be approachable. Yes, include a friendly photo of yourself!

marketing tips for artists

Continuing the example of the bespoke furniture-maker; to grab their immediate attention (other than with striking images of your work), you could also share an enthusiastic paragraph about your love for different types of wood, the soul of natural materials, and why you love creating unique pieces. Nothing too lengthy, but enough to ‘feel’ your passion. Then tell the reader how you are helping clients, and what your procedure is. Perhaps give them a price indication. Include a few testimonials on your page, and you will win them over in no time.

When people land on your website, your web copy needs to work hard and immediately grab their attention, make them feel heard, and speak to their problem. Otherwise, they’ll leave within 10 seconds. You do this by making your web copy about them, and making that human connection, from person to person. After all, you are a small business or freelancer, not a multinational. Customers are looking for that personal touch.

To recap:

  1. Add plenty of enthusiasm and warmth to your copy, you are not a robot
  2. Ditch the formal tone of voice, CONNECT
  3. Talk TO the customer and ABOUT their problem (not AT the customer and about yourself)
  4. Break down barriers: answer all their possible questions and make it easy for them to say yes and buy

Do you want help with your copywriting?

I help creative business owners get better at marketing so they attract more clients. I work with them for 3 months or 6 months, meeting weekly on Zoom. Copywriting is nearly always part of the work we do, as well as mindset and marketing planning. Each coaching program is custom-built. I give my clients homework, like writing their short marketing message, or social media posts, but I also ask them to write blog articles, to help them feel more confident and happy about creating content. I give them honest feedback and make them see how they can improve their writing by making simple changes.

Are you interested what I could do for you and your business?

creative coach for small business

How to get your business noticed by sharing your human side

Are you sharing your quirks, or only your skills?

“Stop lying to yourself, Nina!”, my coach told me on our weekly call. I was a bit taken aback by her comment, as it hit a nerve. I usually feel quite confident and in control, and I am not often critisised like that. But I knew exactly what she meant, and I deserved it. I was lying to myself, and I needed to start speaking my truth to get my business noticed by the right audience.

What my coach was saying to me, was this:

“Show me more of the real you, not the person who you think you should be.”

And even though this was something I knew already, and in fact, is something I teach my own clients, I knew I was guilty of hiding myself behind a veneer of something I believed my audience wanted to hear and see. Why was I doing this?

Oftentimes the business owner in us is acting. You show up as a different version of you, someone you feel your audience will perhaps take more seriously. Be honest with me; when you show up online, in a video, giving a presentation, or even at an in-person event, how much of it is an act? When you are talking about your business, are you pretending to be someone ‘more’ or ‘better’, perhaps copying the style of someone you admire?

How much of your real, unique traits, quirks and gifts are you hiding in those situations? Quite a lot? Don’t be too harsh on yourself: we all do it. However, becoming more aware of it will improve your business in the long run, and keep the joy alive. So let’s find out what we can do differently.

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on

We are scared of judgement, so we put on a mask. That will not get your business noticed.

So why do we take on a different personality when we step into our business shoes? Short answer: because we feel our real self is not good enough. We hide behind a veneer of business talk and mannerism, because we think the world will judge us if we don’t. We think that people will not take us seriously if we are silly in a video, use our sense of humour in a newsletter, show up with messy hair, or talk about topics that really interest us, but are perhaps a little unusual for some.

We play safe by choosing standard topics within the expected container of our business niche, and by sharing content that doesn’t offend anyone or that could potentially scare people away. Because we don’t want to scare potential clients away, do we? Or do we?

What would happen if you would start talking about topics that say a lot about you as a person, and that are things your competitors do not talk about? What if it made some people unfollow you, but attracted many more followers in return, who really ‘get’ you, and love your unique style?

When I started making myself known as a business coach online, I too was guilty of playing it safe. I had never been an online coach before, so I was looking for examples to know what to do. I started following successful coaches and looked at how they did things, what type of content they created, and what services they offered. Ah! I thought, so that is how you do videos. And that is how you try and sell your programme. And this is how you launch a course. I started doing similar things, and even though I felt I was doing thing my way, and not copying anyone, I was still hiding behind a layer of veneer. Because I felt nobody would take me seriously as a coach if I just showed up as me.

Photo by Mike on

Share your gifts and traits, as well as your skills

When you are new to something, anything, you look for teachers, and you copy their methods. There is nothing wrong with that in essence, but it does become problematical when you continue on that road. Then your business becomes a copy of someone else’s, and worse; you will not attract your ideal clients, because they don’t get to see the real you, nor understand why you are any different from the competition. It becomes so much harder to sell your offer.

With my own coach, I dived into personality tests like the enneagram, Human Design, spirituality, and finding out more about who I am as a person first of all, and as a business owner second. I am an enneagram type 7, a Manifesting Generator, and a Maker 1st, Advisor 2nd, in the Sparketype test (go and do them, you’ll be amazed!). Doing these tests really told me a lot about myself, what drives me, my behaviour and decision making, and what my true calling is. I am a creative – and a helper.

At the end of the day, building a business that is sustainable in the long run, needs to be aligned with your values and principles. Not with the values of someone else.

Most of us are not thinking about our values and principles when promoting ourselves; we are only sharing our skills and whatever it is we are selling. Again, out of fear of judgement, or at least because don’t know enough about marketing. We choose the safe path, because our skills are measurable, and often backed up by certificates, experience and credentials. We feel professional, and confident to talk about this to our audience.

Our gifts, however, are what make us stand out from the crowd, and could potentially help us enormously in our marketing efforts. Knowing your personal values, principles and personality traits will make content creating easier, and will potentially make everything flow better. Just like friends are attracted to you for being you, ideal clients will want to work with you because of your energy and personal values. So share them.

Find out more about my coaching programmes

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Your business is your own unique creation

These gifts, which are personality traits, talents, and special interests, have a big influence on our life and the way we work, and really are the power tools that can make our business amazing. But what do we do? We hide them. And I am no saint, you know. I too have mainly been sharing my skills, not my gifts. I have earned my diplomas, have built up my career, my experience, my knowledge, and I know how to practically help people. But how much was I sharing about what makes me tick? Not much. Because I didn’t feel anyone needed to know about these things. They were separate from my business. And thus I created two different personas: entrepreneur Nina, and private Nina.

“Nina”, my coach said to me, “I want to you to sprinkle some of that creative hippie rebel into your content, and stop hiding your cool personality”.

Sometimes you need someone to tell you the truth. Someone to give you permission to accept your full self, with all of your quirks, and tell you that you are allowed to blend them with your business. To stop worrying what old colleagues may think of you, if you suddenly start talking about plant medicine, poetry, or street art. To fill your days with what gives you joy, and make your business part of it. If we keep acting, and pretending to be someone else, or be all ‘business-y’, when in fact, it makes us cringe deep down, then how long do you think it will take before you’ve had enough? Align your content with who you truly are as a person, and your ideal clients will love you for it.

This is me!

I am Nina, 40-something, Dutch and living in Spain. I am a creative business coach, wife & mother, singer-songwriter, rebel, deep thinker, and social introvert (I like hanging out with people, but not too many, and I do love my own company). I am terrible at baking cakes, because I am impatient and I don’t like following rules. I am interested in all things spiritual, but I don’t wear purple dresses. I am a curious being and I always look for sunshine and solutions.

business coach for hippies

I help creative entrepreneurs get better at marketing so they get more clients. If you like my quirks, and you would like to find out how we could work together, you can schedule a free call with me here!

Is what you sell still giving you joy? How letting go can help you grow.

Fear. Is it holding you back moving towards your goal?

I had two powerful client calls earlier this week, with creatives who are on my 3-month program just now. It is funny how often you see the same patterns occurring in these calls with clients, despite their businesses being very different (one is a visual artist, the other a graphic designer). This Monday both calls were around fear, and how to overcome this to grow a sustainable business, and to follow your real purpose. In those blog post I will share the story of one of my clients, who is a visual artist, and what happened to her when she had a eureka moment.

This client is a talented artist in the Netherlands, who sells gorgeous ballpoint drawings of flowers, and she wants to sell more of her work. She hired me as a coach this September, to help her find a way do this. We worked on mindset, goals, niche, pricing, marketing strategies, and her different offers. For the past months I have seen her grow in confidence, get more clarity, and attract new clients and commissions. She’s had some great wins on the way.

Despite my client’s wins, there was always a niggle, or conflicting issue, that was blocking a real break-through in moving towards her long-term goal: becoming an artist and selling more of her work. She was holding onto something that was no longer serving her. But she needed time to see this.

creative business coach growth
Photo by Gustavo Cruz on

Spending too much time on marketing the wrong product

Her marketing efforts were divided between promoting her artwork, and selling her drawing courses, which had different target audiences, and required very different tactics. The courses gave her a predictable income each month, and she felt this justified her being an artist, as ‘at least’ she had some income to show for. But she wasn’t feeling much joy doing them at all. Worst of all; a lot of time was spent each week to market a service she wasn’t 100% behind, but that took away precious time to grow the thing that was she is truly passionate about and wants to do for the rest of her life: making her own work.

She also found it hard to fill up the courses, which is not surprising when your energy is not fully in it. But still, she was holding onto them. Why? Fear of loss of income, fear of change, maybe even fear of growth. But this Monday, my client came to the call very excited, and eager to share her big news. She had made a decision. She was going to ditch the courses. She looked so happy. 😃

As a creative business coach, I let my clients go on their own journey to make decisions and come to insights, while guiding them. Sometimes they feel very strong about a certain direction, and I have to bite my tongue to not suggest what I think they should do. This is important, because when clients realise themselves, that things are not working, and they come full circle, the effect, growth in mindset, and clarity that come with it, are much stronger and longer lasting.

how to sell more art
Photo by Iryna Kostsenich on

It was beautiful to see my artist client come full circle and realising herself, through our conversations, worksheets, and the inner work she had done over the past weeks, that she needed to let go. I am a true believer in the universe giving us opportunities when we fully open up and say yes to life. Things just start to flow after that. They do. You make space for new ideas, people, and projects.

Delete the distractions, keep your eyes on the goal

My client told me how a part-time vacancy had opened up in one of her favourite art museums, and how this would be perfect to support her while she could continue to focus on growing as an artist, without the distraction of the courses. She would still receive the same predictable income as she did with her courses. But now without the marketing headache. Win!

When we acknowledge that we are holding onto products and services because of a feeling of scarcity and fear, we can clearly see how this creates a barrier for growth. We hold onto what we think is security, where in fact this joyless security takes up space for new, more exciting and aligned opportunities. And taking on a side-job is not a sign of failing at business, as long as you enjoy doing it and it serves you. I wrote a blog post about this recently. I actually think as creatives we feed on this kind of variety, plus creating different income streams is in fact, very healthy. As long as they still allow you to grow as an entrepreneur, working towards your long-term goals.

how to sell more art

Fear is never a good compass

Imagine if the trees hold onto their dead autumn leaves, because they were too scared of the future. There would be no space for new buds to appear and new life to blossom. What is taking up space in your life and business right now that you feel zero joy about? What would you have time for if you let go of it? What is holding you back?

Make some space today for those new buds and fresh flowers to bloom. It will be OK.

(Psst: would you like my help as a creative business coach in tackling those mind blocks? Book a free 30-min call to check out how we can work together to make your biz blossom: