A day in the life of a Creative Business Owner
Woohoo, it's time for another 'Day in the life' post where we all get to find out what an average day at work is like for a job that folk are less familiar with. This month I am so flipping excited to share with you about the day in the life of someone I greatly admire and who I've been following for a long time. This person is one of the hardest working people I know and I'm over the moon to share what a day in the life is like for ...
I’m Claire and I work from my home city of Cambridge. I describe Claireabellemakes as a creative lifestyle brand because it encompasses my shop, blog, craft parties and freelance work as a stylist and contributor. The product side of my business offers scrabble inspired prints, cards and gifts and I also incorporate bicycle accessory designs.
I’ve been up and running since 2012 when I finished a masters in Arts Management. For the first few years I built the business whilst I worked full-time which enabled me to let it evolve organically.
Each day can be really different for Claireabellemakes, depending on the projects I’m working on at the time. I usually get up about 7.30am and grab some porridge and fruit for breakfast. I work from my home studio so I start about 9.00am by answering emails and scheduling social media for around 30 minutes. My studio is usually a complete mess and it’s currently a big task of mine to get it in order so I can work more productively. If I have time, I’ll have a little tidy up, but usually I’m rushing to get going with product designs, packing up orders and working on freelance projects.
The morning is also the time I like to work on any photo shoots because it is when the light is best in my studio space. I like to shoot in batches because I find it more efficient, so I might be working on a DIY commission for a freelance client, or setting up some product shots to include in my shop or on social media. I keep on track with a Bullet Journal, so this is usually out on the desk as I work and reminds me of any deadlines or plans.
Working from home has some nice perks for lunch in that I often cook a hot meal. I love a jacket potato or soup, but I also walk along the river a couple of times a week to meet my other half G for a sandwich and coffee. If I have orders to post, I usually pack and do these at lunch time. I’m lucky as I live so centrally in Cambridge, that I have about 5 post offices within walking distance and all the staff are lovely at each one. I sometimes use Drop and Go for busy times of the year too.
Throughout the day I’m usually chatting online with my creative friends in Cambridge as we share what we are working on and give each other feedback on new designs. Afternoons are when I mostly do my computer based work such as writing product descriptions, blog posts and editing images for freelance work. I’ll usually have a pot of tea on the go - at the moment I’m still loving a rooibos candy cane one I found at Christmas! Sometimes I pop out to work in a local coffee shop for a change of scenery.
If I am developing new products, I’ll also use the afternoons to work on sketches and ideas. When G gets home from work he usually helps by giving me feedback and making suggestions. I really value his input as he isn’t immersed in the creative world like me so I get a fresh point of view.
At the end of the ‘working day’ (around 6pm) I like to round things up by checking my Bullet Journal for tasks and to plan the next day. It’s such a good system for making sure you are progressing for all your goals. I have pages for tracking social media stats, planning big projects and working on designs. I take a break from 6-8pm to eat a meal with G and to watch some TV (at the moment we’re watching Black Mirror on Netflix). If I am feeling poorly (I suffer with frequent migraines) I end my day here and get an early night.
If my evening is free of social plans and I’m feeling well, I usually work a bit more until around 10 or 11pm writing blog posts and editing YouTube videos. Lately I’ve also been working on some crochet patterns for a magazine, so I like doing these commissions in the evening under a blanket. If I decide to have a night off, I usually work on personal crochet or knitting projects. I’m also trying to complete a cross stitch I have had on the go for years…..
I’m trying really hard to have one day off each weekend. I used to be terrible at this and have guilt if I wasn’t working, especially as I often lose days to migraines, so I used the weekends to get ahead. Now, I work one day and this is usually when I create my blog and YouTube content. I design DIY projects, write about my favourite handmade picks or film planner videos to share with my stationery audience. On my weekend day off I usually go for brunch and catch up with friends and family. If I haven’t cycled much during the week I tend to hop on my bike for some fresh air and exercise.
I always take some time on Sundays to plan and empty my mind onto paper for the week ahead. I find planning to be such a great tool for helping to achieve my goals and to create focus in my business. I also see it as a creative practice as I enjoy making my planners look nice - it definitely keeps me motivated to look at it. If it’s the end of a month I have a lengthier planning session where I review my goals and input my financial information. It’s also the time I send out my invoices for sponsored blog posts and freelance work.
I am sure my days will change depending on how my business grows. This year a focus for me is to get my work into shops and to increase my income on the product side of things. I’m looking forward to writing more DIY content and creating videos too. I'm also planning lots of meet ups with my creative friends!
Thank you so much, Claire! It's been fascinating hearing all about what your day is like and blimey, I knew you worked hard but working at the weekend too, I'm impressed! I can't wait to see how your business continues to change and develop, exciting times!
I hope you've all enjoyed reading about Claire's average day at work as a creative business owner. Here are some handy links to her website and social media pages too: