Creativity? I haven’t got time for creativity!

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If you’re chasing small children, changing nappies and juggling a smartphone all at the same time, the chances are creativity isn’t one of your top priorities. If I’m honest, it wasn’t that important to me in my LBK (life before kids) either. The tools of my trade were spreadsheets rather than paintbrushes!

Creating a business is a kind of creative pursuit. But creating a business is usually a logical series of steps that lead to an outcome – at least that’s what you’re aiming for. Admittedly some days it’s much more haphazard than that! But the outcome still matters – if your product isn’t good then nobody will buy it. If your customer service is bad then your customer won’t return.

Even if your product is creative, such as a logo or even a canvas to hang on a wall, ultimately someone has to like it enough to buy it. You’re not one hundred percent free to do whatever you choose.

So why does creativity matter so much? Continue reading “Creativity? I haven’t got time for creativity!”

Desperate Artwives: Mothers who create art behind closed doors

Being a working mum means that anything other than earning a living and caring for children is usually pushed aside. At least that’s the picture for many of us. Yet having young children so often brings about a burst in creativity. Perhaps it’s the shift in our priorities, the fresh perspective that children bring or just reconnecting with the way we were ourselves as children.

I experienced this myself but not being especially artistic, for me it was an urge to write, communicate, teach and be entrepreneurial. But many mums are artistic and find themselves desperate for a creative outlet. Conceptual artist Any Dignam is a mother of two who was in exactly this situation. That’s why she has created Desperate Artwives. Continue reading “Desperate Artwives: Mothers who create art behind closed doors”

Starting a Social Enterprise: Siobhan Robertson of Trela

Many women starting out in business are motivated by more than just making money or even being able to work around their children.  That means that a social enterprise could be a good choice for many mums starting out in business.

Here’s Business Link’s definition of a social enterprise…

A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

Siobhan Robertson launched her social enterprise, Trela, just a couple of weeks ago on 10th January. Today Siobhan tells us about Trela and why she chose to start a social enterprise.

  • Tell us a little about Trela

Trela aims to bring creative people together to create, learn, network and source supplies. We also aim to work with the local community advancing the understanding of mental health issues and offering a way of using creativity to relieve stress.

  • Why did you start a social enterprise rather than a traditional business?

I started business as a graphic designer though have had the idea of Trela in the back of my mind for a long time. The plans have grown over the years and now I am finally at the point where I feel I am ready to go ahead with them. The ideas I have are all based on working with the community and after searching around I found out about social enterprises and realised that my idea fitted in with this business structure. It meant that I could do what I enjoy while making enough money to live on. I have suffered from fibromyalgia from a young age and this has made it very difficult for me to work full time out of the house. Working from home means that I can work when I feel up to it and around my daughter. She goes to nursery 3 days a week at the moment though I find myself working at night as well when she is in bed.

  • Is it harder to run a social enterprise? Or does it actually bring business benefits as well as social ones?

I would say it does bring business benefits. Having searched social enterprises I came across Firstport. They support social enterprises with free business advice and start up awards. I think being a social enterprise will bring more interest to the business as people will see that it isn’t another money grabbing scheme. It is a business set up that the community can get involved in and can really be a part of.

  • What would your advice be for a mum thinking of starting a social enterprise?

My advice for other mums looking in to setting up as a social enterprise would be to get in touch with Firstport or Business Link. Research is also a great help when you are making plans, looking at what other similar ideas have to offer and how they go about it. I have lists and lists of ideas that I am slowly working through. Take it a step at a time and you will get there.

If you’re a mum running a social enterprise I’d love to hear from you.

Mumpreneur Monday Challenge: Get Creative

It’s week three of the Mumpreneur Monday Challenge!

Weeks 1 and 2 have gone down really well, so if you’ve joined in don’t forget to leave me a comment to tell me how you got on. If you missed the previous Monday Challenges they were Promote Your Blog and Get Out There!

This week I’ve taken my inspiration from Business Plus Baby’s guest blogger Amelia Critchlow. Amelia’s an artist and workshop leader who blogs at 101 Bird Tales (fab blog, I really recommend going over there and having a look). Amelia really is making a living from being creative and that’s why she’s inspired this week’s challenge.

Recently I’ve got a bit bogged down in the logical, outcome-based side of business, so a quick read of Amelia’s blog was like a breath of fresh air for me.

True, you do need focus, planning and a firm grip on your finances to run a business. But if you lose your creativity you can get blinkered, miss opportunities and just stop enjoying what you’re doing.

So your challenge this week is to…

Get creative!

Here are some ways you could do this:

  • Go for a walk

Splash in puddles, crunch in the leaves, blow away the cobwebs, feel the wind on your face.

  • Be in the moment

Pick a time and just focus on where you are at that exact moment. Don’t think of the million things you need to get done before the end of the day, just pay attention to what is happening in that moment. You’ll notice things that would pass completely pass you by otherwise – perhaps that’s a feeling, perhaps something you can see, smell or touch.

  • Do a creative activity you haven’t done since you were a child

Play doh, sew, make stuff out of cereal boxes… it’s up to you.

  • Write whatever comes into your head

Sit down with a pen and paper and just write. Don’t think, don’t edit, just let the words flow.

  • Paint like a kid instead of a grown up

Do an art or craft activity with your children but be a child, not an adult. Don’t supervise or teach, just get in there and have fun together.

  • Something else?

Maybe this post has sparked another creative idea for you? Go and do it!

And after all that..

Has this task made you see you’ve got stuck in a routine? Or perhaps that you need to reconnect with why you started your business in the first place? Has it sparked some new ideas? Or maybe it has reminded you to have fun and take some time out?

I’ll leave you with a quote from 101 Bird Tales, which is taken from ‘How to be an artist’ by Michael Atavar

“It [creativity] doesn’t work to deadlines. It needs room to grow and that space can be a place of waiting. We assume that time on a bus, waiting for some-one to arrive, a train delayed is lost time. Perhaps it’s just the universe telling you that you need to do nothing.”

Please do leave me a comment to tell me how you got on!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Siona Watson

Amelia’s Grant for Creative Women

If a £100 grant would  help you with your creative project, then take a look at Amelia Critchlow’s 101 Bird Tales blog.

Amelia, artist and workshop leader, says

“‘Gift Grants 2010’ was an idea that came to me early this year. It is a personal initiative I wish to start, assisting creative self-starters in an arts/creative project. I am willing to give as a ‘gift’ – hence the name – £100 to an individual who has started an initiative related to creativity/the arts, but may be experiencing financial difficulties, or simply needs some money toward materials, a space, paid help, or whatever else might be needed to get a creative project up and flying.


I found it an incredible struggle trying to single parent, earn money, and find something for me, but when I did (art) and with the help I was given, I feel it has been the difference between sanity and insanity for me. Now it’s time I’d like to give back.”

To find out how to apply and if you’re eligible, check out 101 Bird Tales.

And Amelia will be guest blogging here at Business Plus Baby very soon…