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Finding fulfillment and success as a creative professional — an interview with Elise Blaha Cripe

How do you forge your own path to success with your creative work? Today, I talk to Elise Blaha Cripe, who tells us how she turned a blog into platform, a podcast, and a series of products that has helped her thrive. But more than that, I was blown away by her reflection on what she has built, after 10+ years: “I have felt more and more fulfilled by the work that I am doing.”

Elise Blaha Cripe is a crafter and founder of the Get to Work Book, a daily planner and goal-setting journal. Among her many accomplishments:

  • She has blogged for more than 12 years, with more than 3,000 posts.
  • She has published more than 125 podcast episodes
  • She has launched an unending list of craft projects
  • She developed and successfully launched a new brand

In this time, she moved from being a person who shows you the behind-the-scenes of craft projects, to someone at the helm of a big standalone product line. It’s a powerful creative shift.

At every point in this interview, I noted how Elise doubled down on her creative vision and herself. In our talk today, we discuss:

  • How the idea for her most successful product came by following her passion, and a talk that she gave at an event.
  • How she found a niche for her product in an otherwise crowded marketplace.
  • Her mindset as she invested $45,000 in a new product, without worrying too much if she would be able to sell it.
  • How she framed the risk involved in growing her business: “If I had lost it all, that would have been awful, but we would have been okay.”
  • How she slowly built up to a larger project via a series of small experiments and learning slowly: “There was no way that I could have gone from never selling anything, to diving into something this huge. I was only able to do that because I had done smaller things over and over again.”
  • We talked a lot about anxiety and the reality of being a creative professional; Elise described it this way:, “You lose sleep all the time. That is part of running a business. My customer service motto is: What decision can I make right now that will help me sleep tonight. Whatever that is, it is often expensive and frustrating, but if I do that, then I will be able to sleep.”
  • We talked about how she identifies collaborators and works with others.
  • I was surprised to learn how small her team is: one part-time virtual assistant, and (drumroll please) her mom, who helps out with shipping! (Don’t you love that?!)
  • How she manages running a full-time business while working from home with two young kids.
  • The work ethic she had that lead to her blog’s success: “To me, writing a blog was like getting up and going to work. You don’t feel good, but you still go. That was the habit it was for me.”
  • How she launched her own business. She moved across the country and launched her business with the assumption: “My husband and I moved across the country, so I would have had to find a new job. We made this agreement: If I can make for myself what I was making at my last job, then I don’t have to get a real hob. That was my 1-year trial to see if I can make $30,000. That is when I decided it was going to be more serious. That is when I got more determined to do projects on a bigger scale.”
  • Why she says, “I am so not an overnight success story. I am a 10-year success story. It feels good, but it has been slow.”
  • On what she has learned by interviewing guests in her podcast about creative businesses: “Im very aware that none of this is magic. I’m aware of how the sausage gets made. It’s fun and refreshing to see that people have the same struggles that I do.”
  • Her advice to the number one problem that she hears from people who read her blog or listen to her podcast: that they have too many ideas.
  • How she deals with negative comments.
  • Her parting advice: “No matter where you are at, and no matter what you are working on, you are always scared. You are always striving for more. You never get to a place where you say “It’s all easy now.” That isn’t reality. There is always this thing that you are growing towards. While you never fully make it, you have to appreciate how far you have come. there is so much value in looking back and reflecting on the things you have done.”

Thank you Elise for sharing your wisdom and your journey with us!

You can find Elise at the following places:
GetToWorkBook.com
elisejoy.com
Blog
Podcast
Instagram
Twitter