Author: Lisa Jacobs

Interview with Annabel Wrigley of Little Pincushion Studio

Interview with Annabelle Wrigley of Little Pincushion Studio

Ready for some handmade goodness? Please allow me to introduce you to creative entrepreneur and author, Annabel Wrigley. She runs Little Pincushion Studio just 10 minutes from where I live in Warrenton, Virginia where she teaches local classes, leads Creative Bug workshops and is currently working on her fourth (!) book in the We Love to Sew series. She’s agreed to answer a few questions on how she built her thriving creative business as a maker, please enjoy the interview and welcome her to OMHG!


Hello, dear Annabel! Thank you for giving me this interview! I’ve shared some background on what you’ve accomplished in creative business, and I’d like to get some insight on all that you’ve built and what you’re working on for the future. How long have you been in business? 

I started teaching children around 5 years ago, but I have been sewing for 15 years.

What made you decide to open a studio? And how do you like the experience so far?

I decided to open a studio when the demand became so great for sewing classes that I could not operate out of the little front room of my house. We were literally busting at the seams. Converting our garage into a studio space seemed like the perfect next step. I love having a dedicated space to not only work on my own creative projects, but to also teach and inspire kids to embrace their creativity.


In addition to owning the studio, you’re a teacher, workshop leader and an author! How do you juggle all the different aspects of your creative career?

It is a challenge every single day. I tend to take on a lot more than I probably should, and I am constantly juggling to make sure that I am not only there for my children, but that I am able to still find time for my own creative ventures. Luckily my children are a little bit older and are busy with their own activities. I do love that my daughter loves to do what I do, so she comes to the studio and helps me most days after school.

You’re clearly enjoying your career and allowing creativity to blossom in every area of your life. Do you have a business plan, or do you just let it all unfold?

This career really just happened, and I have never felt the need to have a business plan. As the classes have grown, the business has evolved as well. We have moved the studio a couple of times and have now settled into a wonderful bright space where I am able to accommodate all the classes and workshops that I want. My main business goal is to continue writing for children and teaching to an excited group of lovely gals.


I’m always impressed with the amount of press you receive. You’ve been featured in several magazines, and I even watched you on the local news! How do you gain that next level of exposure?

I think it is important to make the most of social media in any way you can. I have reached out to magazines on many occasions just to say ‘hello’ and to tell them a little bit about my studio and why I think a story about my studio may fit in their publication. The worst thing that can happen is that they may say ‘no’ … you never know until you try! I also have a wonderful PR person at my publishing house and she often lines up great publicity opportunities for me.


What has been the proudest moment in your creative career?

The proudest moment for me was definitely getting my first book deal. I was in shock that it could ever happen and felt so proud to show my children that if you really want something, you have to go out there and make it happen. My book, We Love to Sew will be translated into German and French this year and that makes me just so excited!

I also love when young girls email me to tell me that they have been inspired to sew from reading my books. That is why I do this work … it is the best job!


What’s the best piece of advice you could offer another creative just starting out and looking to make a similar career dream come true?

Don’t doubt yourself, go out there and make it happen. Start small and let your creative future unfold naturally. I think it takes a little time to find the true path, but once you have found it you will know and it will be a great moment.


Hear, hear! Thank you for the delightful inspiration, Annabel! You can read more and connect with Annabel by visiting her at Little Pin Cushion Studio.

A Camp Fire Tale: The Year I Lassoed My Dreams

A Campfire Tale: The Year I Lassoed My Dreams, Lisa Jacobs for OMHG

A few months ago on my blog I published, If I Knew I Could Not Fail, I Would … in which I listed all the things I would do right now if I knew I could not fail. I forced myself to dream big and think a little outside of the box. I wrote down everything I could think of, but I could only think of four items:

  1. Focus all of my efforts on group coaching
  2. Lead live, in-person workshops for groups of 100+
  3. Host a women’s retreat for 20 creatives
  4. Start a podcast

I was just putting it out there for the sake of putting it out there, to demonstrate how fun the blog topic was. But in response to the article, one of my previous clients said:

You should do those things on your list even if you might fail at one or two.

And she was right. Of course she was right! Not only do I coach next-level business to clients, my own business was built on my passion for growth and expansion. I constantly envision ways to improve and upgrade my day; it’s in my nature. So why hadn’t I gone for these big dreams?

I guess I was just … scared? Waiting for permission? Hoping to be recognized? Looking for a big break? And those things are exactly what I coach my clients not to do. I certainly could not leave my career wish list hanging. It was time for a big dose of my own medicine.

Do you know what I did next?

I went for the one I wanted the most. I began planning a women’s retreat alongside an amazing line-up of inspirational leaders in our field! I’d been dreaming of collaborating with a handful of amazing ladies, so I reached out to them and pitched my idea … and they all said, “YES!”

I cannot reveal all the details yet, but I can ask you to save the date! We’ll be meeting the weekend of February 27, 2015 in the lovely, culture-rich city of Charleston, SC. It’s going to be amazing. Pencil it in on your calendar because you won’t want to miss this event!

I realized that the upcoming retreat answered one of my soul’s cravings. So, I looked to answer more …

What are you truly craving?

Over the course of the next few months, the “If I Knew I Could Not Fail” experiment evolved into this question: What am I truly craving? And one of the biggest cravings I had in online business was for a deeper connection.

I’m a creative business coach, and when I feel a big moment coming in a session – a moment in which my natural intuition is about to align what is out-of-sync in the client’s life, I have to look up into the webcam during the call (away from my client’s face), so that she can have eye-to-eye contact with me when I deliver that important message. Only one of us gets to truly connect during that powerful moment, and since she’s the client, it’s always her.

The screen gets in the way of a real connection. It’s where I look at my webcam so we can pretend I’m looking into your eyes. It’s where I pretend I’m dressed to the nines while I deliver my greatest blog post, when I’ve really just popped out of bed. It’s where I share my sunlit side.

We always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides. – Margaret George

I crave a deeper connection, and the creative retreat I planned for next February – where I’ll be able to meet people face-to-face, look into their eyes, and feel the magic in the room – was only the beginning. Here’s what I did next:

I found a place where we truly belong.

I love that I have built my own career from scratch, but truth be told, this work-at-home business can be lonely. I’ve missed building, brainstorming, troubleshooting, and goofing off with my co-workers. I’ve missed the feeling that comes from working partnerships that evolve into comfortable friendships, and I’ve missed feeling like I knew where I belonged.

A few short months ago, I found a place filled with creative connection + co-working opportunities + an abundance of love and acceptance. I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve recently joined the Oh My! community for creatives.

Inside the Oh My! Handmade Goodness community, you’ll find forums (they’re always buzzing), big ideas and projects you can join in on, plenty of opportunity to share what you’re working on, and loads of support and encouragement. There’s even an area where members share discounts, coupons and free downloads with each other (as an example, I share a free copy of my best-selling e-program, Shop Fundamentals).

When I arrived on the scene, I was able to jump right into the discussion, which was all about what we were going to let go of in order to lasso our biggest dreams. The timing was divine.

I developed my dream client.

I’ve coached hundreds of creatives, some of them ideal and some in disaccord, and I’ve learned a lot about who I want to work with along the way. I named all of the qualities and attributes my dream client would have, and then I placed an ad (aka blog post) to find her.

Once she found the post, I let her know:

I think you’re her, my dreamy entre-prowess. From now on, I’m going to gloss over everything else so that I can focus all of my attention on you and your needs. I’m going to write to you like we’re sitting down for a steamy cup of coffee, I’m going to email you love + kindness (just as a best friend would), and I’m going to create services and products that were made with you in mind.

You know, I’ve made some big changes to my line-up this year (such as posting my monthly income for all to see), and that’s changed the face of [my] blog and the depth of our relationship. I think that’s because you’re ready to make big changes, too.

I built a coaching package that honored my natural abilities.

This might have been one of the scariest leaps I’ve ever taken. In May of this year, I decided to give up smaller, yet reliable streams of income to go all in, on my terms.

I developed a “group coaching concentrate” where multiple business owners could learn from one another and support each other’s growth over a three-month period. I called the first running, The Summer Shift, and for a limited number of clients, I offered to monitor their actions and keep a file on the progress they made towards their goals.  I promised to know their businesses as well as I know my own, and to be equally invested in its success.

I didn’t care if it failed; it felt true and right. I believed in it. 

And because I did, the most amazing thing happened: The Summer Shift filled up with dreamy entre-prowesses. My work felt more meaningful and fulfilling than ever before, while my clients saw the progress + results they so desperately craved.

2014 will go down in (my) history as the year I lassoed my dreams.

You know that saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”? Since opening my creative business and making big dreams come true, I’ve become a believer in the “uncomfortable zone.” Even though I often face scary challenges that leave me feeling vulnerable to failure and defeat, the rewards I’ve received have heavily outweighed the risks I’ve taken.

Here’s how to lasso your big dreams:

As we are each in creative business, I’m sure you’ve felt vulnerable about your work and business plan, too. I imagine you know how difficult “putting yourself out there” can be. I’m sure that you can relate to the fear and hesitation that feels inescapable when doing something you’ve never done before … because as creative business owners, we regularly have to try things we’ve never done before.

For the purposes of this article, I looked up the definition of “vulnerable.” From, the three different uses for the word are:

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation.

3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.

I found this interesting because the one I feel most often in creative business is definitely #3: “(of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend.” used “a vulnerable bridge” as an example of the definition, which got me to thinking:

Aren’t our creative businesses just that? A series of vulnerable bridges between where you are and where you want to be?

No wonder we build armor around our dreams, which by the way, is what I used to think I had to do in order to succeed in an independent career. I was taking a leap that NO ONE I knew had ever taken before, so each time I shared my big dreams, they were open to assault and difficult to defend.

This isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) bridge to cross.

Each next step in your creative business brings you to another vulnerable bridge. Even though you’ve already crossed many vulnerable bridges to get to the safe and solid ground you’re standing on now, the next bridge to appear on your path always presents more difficult challenges to overcome. These scary and seemingly unsafe bridges can sometimes make the journey utterly exhausting.

As I was standing in front of my last vulnerable bridge, I pulled a card that read:

Be Open to Love: The intellect employs an interesting strategy to avoid feeling insecure and facing possible pain or disappointment, especially in matters of the heart: It gathers as much information as possible in advance of a commitment. This works up to a point, but it will never be a substitute for gaining the wisdom and understanding that only come out of direct experience.

Your soul’s purpose right now is to learn about love by entering intimate relationships. Surrender control, and open your heart to these lessons. Ignore secondhand opinions and warnings from others to play it safe, and give in to intimacy.

Your soul’s lesson: Stop trying to avoid pain and disappointment by withholding your heart and commitment. Reflect on and decide what type of love you want from others, and then ask for it! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can’t expect anyone else to know, so be honest and take your time. If you’re afraid of intimacy or fear rejection, admit it. And don’t give more to others than you feel comfortable with, only to resent it later when you don’t collect the anticipated return.

If you’re facing the next vulnerable bridge in business, you’re sure to love those words as much as I did. You see, just before you take your first steps to cross the vulnerable bridge ahead of you, your mind plays tricks to protect your heart. You then desperately seek reassurance from others, and if you’re anything like me, most of the people you know in the real world can’t comprehend your vision, let alone the obstacles you currently face.

Moreover, if the bridge is especially vulnerable (higher and scarier than you’ve ever traveled before), the “secondhand opinions and warnings from others to play it safe” can stop you dead in your tracks for days, months, even years. And you’ll get stuck there until your desire for what’s on the other side of that vulnerable bridge trumps all, and you just go for it.

Are you facing a vulnerable bridge in your business? And if so, what’s on the other side (the safe ground) that you are so desperately craving? Share your journey in the comments, and let us help you cross that vulnerable bridge!

A Beacon for Success: How to Shine Your Light of Expertise

How to shine your light, Lisa Jacobs

On my first visit to Camp #OMHG, I shared how to find your true north and claim your expertise. You see, I’ve come to understand that we’re each made to be brilliant at something, and it’s too often a greatness most of us never realize we’re living. Sadly, people don’t always go inward to find their true north. Instead, we try to think about what would be right, rather than do what feels good.

Therefore, I issued an exercise and a challenge: Name what you’re good at and claim your expertise! Today, I’m back to show you how to show off your individual brilliance. It’ll go a long way in creative business, because most of us are waiting to be discovered. And oftentimes, we don’t even realize it we’re doing it!

How many of you are politely waiting for someone else to shine the spotlight in your direction? Where are you hoping to finally be “featured”? Who are you secretly hoping recognize you + your amazing talents already?

In my coaching business, I often refer to the 3 stages of creative business growth. The first stage is the novice business owner, and this is where everybody begins (and hopefully everyone grows out of). In this stage, a creative sees their business as a gamble – a lottery ticket that could win! It is in this beginner stage that you operate on a Field of Dreams mentality, believing that “if you build it, they will come.”

The next stage is the amateur, and this is where the creative starts looking for a “big break.” While your focus and business mentality are improving, you probably still spend most of your time seeking instant gratification. This stage is where most business owners get stuck, waiting to be discovered.

And when you get stuck at this level, you will fully feel the stall, as if time is standing still. You will find yourself having “if only …” thoughts, such as “If only Esty would feature my shop on their homepage, then I would get sales.”  Or, “If only WordPress would share my article on freshly-pressed, then I would gain readers.”

I mean, who wouldn’t want that kind of exposure? I get it; I’m a creative business owner, too. However, that attention does not produce long-lasting success. In order to claim your expertise and become a beacon for success, you must stop seeking approval and permission from an outside source.

Enter the final stage of growth: Become a professional.

This is my hope for each of you. At this stage, you are all in and taking full responsibility for your business’ success. It is at this stage that you finally realize: Nobody is going to hand you a top-selling Etsy shop, popular blog, or social media maven status! You have to build it yourself!

The fastest way – the absolute best hack – to get to this last stage is to realize that making this business a success is your job. Once you take responsibility for your success and realize that it is up to you to make your dreams come true, you’ll be on your way to achieving them.

At the professional stage, you take ego + entitlement out of the equation. Your business needs you to run it as an objective CEO, and a professional business owner will happily assume that role.

Start with a blueprint on paper: Where do you want this business to go in the next three years? And then, work backwards. What are the milestones you’ll need to achieve to end up there? Which goals will you have to reach each year to stay on track toward your destination? And what do you have to do today to get started on your journey?

The career of your dreams is yours for the building, but you have to lay the foundation, the bricks and the mortar. Add your unique brilliance at the top, and it will become a lighthouse; a true beacon for success.

What does the career of your dreams look like?