Do you dream of running your own successful, thriving - & profitable - handmade business?
Maybe all you have is a dream.
Maybe you have a hobby you love and an inkling that you could make money out of this thing.
Or maybe you already have a business up and running, but know you don't have everything figured out just yet.
You're passionate. You're dedicated. You know you want to make this happen.
But you just aren't sure if you're doing all the right things, in the right order.
Imagine if someone could guide you through every single step that you need to take in order to turn that dream into a concrete reality?
What would that mean to you? What difference would it make to your life?
I'm offering you exactly that.
Your Year to Thrive is the program you've been searching for.
Meet your Teacher
I'm Jess Van Den, an Aussie gal from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, and I've been running my own successful handmade business for 8 years - 6 of them as my full-time occupation.
I started my business - Epheriell - as a hobby, and through years of intense study and experimentation, I worked out how to make my business a success - so much so that I not only support myself, but also employ my husband full-time.
I've been helping makers just like you navigate the waters of handmade business for years via my website Create & Thrive - which features a blog, podcast, ebooks, and courses.
I have spoken at conferences, and been featured in numerous publications as an expert on building a successful handmade business - including being invited by Etsy Australia to teach new sellers the fundamentals of selling online through their Etsy Resolution program in both 2015 and 2016.
In January 2015 I started the Thriver Circle - a membership community for makers - which has grown into a vibrant community of over 400 people from all over the world who have just one thing in common - the desire to turn their handmade hobby into a thriving business.
Oh, I have some bits of paper, too... I am a qualified teacher, as well as holding Bachelor's degrees in Science and Arts.
I have not only taught myself everything I needed to know about running a successful business, I've been helping others do the same for years. Over 3,000 makers from all over the world have taken my courses and workshops, and my mission is to reach as many makers as possible to help them grow thriving businesses.
I want to help you to realise your dream.
That is why I've pulled together everything I know into a comprehensive, year-long program that will take you on a journey to build a handmade business that fits you, your life, and helps you find the success you've been searching for - whatever that means to you.
This is Your Year to Thrive.
Your Year to Thrive is a year-long program - 13 modules, spread over 52 weeks.
It covers everything you need to do and know to start (or revitalise!) and grow your handmade business - from foundational vision and planning; through brand and product development; venue testing and selection; your online presence; your copy and photography; marketing; social media; time management & self care, and much, much more.
In this course I have pulled together everything I have learnt over the last 8 years - it covers everything you need to learn and do to make your business a success.
This program is also deliberately designed to fit into your busy life - with one lesson on one topic every week for a whole year, it is at a pace you can actually enact, and will help you to make informed, epic progress on building your business.
Say goodbye to wondering 'am I missing something'? Or 'am I doing this right'? Or even 'is this even possible'?
Yes. It is possible. I did it, and so have many, many others. You can, too.
This is the course I wish existed during my first few years in business.
So, what exactly will you learn in Your Year to Thrive?
Each module is 4 weeks long, and contains 4 lessons - one per week. Each lesson will be delivered to you at the same time each week, via email.
> Module 1 - Vision
Get clear on exactly what you want your handmade business to be. This crucial step is often overlooked by those transitioning from a hobby to a business.
> Module 2 - Foundation
From a clear vision, you will determine exactly what your business direction and Brand Personality will be, and who your Ideal Customers are.
> Module 3 - Plan it Out
In this module you will create a simple, actionable business plan, and you will also decide how you are going to incorporate ongoing planning and goal-setting into your business so you stay on-track to realise your vision.
> Module 4 - Product Development
You will take a hard look at your current products and determine if you need to re-calibrate your product line so that it reflects your vision, brand identity, and is unique enough to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
> Module 5 - Pricing
This is a crucial module. You're now clear on your vision, your mission, your brand, your products and who you are selling to. It's now time to clarify your value and charge accordingly.
> Module 6 - Online Presence
Every handmade business needs an online presence - in this module, you'll make sure yours is telling the right story and enticing people to fall in love with your brand.
> Module 7 - Nuts & Bolts
Are you saying the right things and using the right tools? This month we'll focus on things like product photography, your voice, your tools & equipment, and how your packaging reflects your brand.
> Module 8 - Sales Avenues
You will consider the different ways you can sell your products (wholesale, markets, online etc.) and determine which venue or combination of venues is right for your business.
> Module 9 - Marketing
How are you getting the word out? It's time to put together a marketing plan and decide what marketing avenues will work best for you. Do you want to use PR? Social media? An email newsletter? Or a combination?
> Module 10 - Social Media
This module will help you get savvy with social media such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, and plan how you are going to use these tools to tell the story of your business.
> Module 11 - Time Management & Self-Care
How are you going to fit it all in? To work smart instead of hard? To avoid burnout and make sure your business doesn't take over your life? In this module you'll learn a stack of strategies to ensure your business and the rest of your life integrate in a healthy way.
> Module 12 - Community & Communication
How can you work with others to grow your business? You'll learn about the power of collaboration, and you'll also take a close look at your customer communication strategies to ensure you're helping people to become raving fans!
> Module 13 - Review & Celebrate!
Our final module is dedicated to helping you to step back from the details and take an overview of your business as it is now, and celebrate how far you've come since you started the program a year ago. What changes will you have made? What growth will your business have achieved? What wins will you have to share and celebrate?!
You probably expect a course like this to be horrendously expensive, right?
You're probably thinking I'm going to throw a number in the high hundreds or thousands at you? Like some of those other courses you may have seen?
I mean, the amount of value I have packed into this program is immense. Truly.
But you know what? My mission in life is not to make oodles of money.
My mission is to help as many people as I possibly can realise their dream of building a thriving handmade business.
I would rather help 1000 people who paid a modest amount than 100 that paid hundreds of dollars each.
I have deliberately chosen to charge less, so I can give this knowledge to more people.
I am one of you, so I also understand you probably don't have stacks of spare cash to spend on a course like this, even if you desperately want to do it.
I do not want cost to be a barrier to you participating in this program, because I truly believe it has the potential to change your life and help you realise your dream.
So - I'm doing things a little differently.
In order to join this program, all you have to do is become a member of my vibrant online community of makers - the Thriver Circle.
Not only will you gain access to Your Year to Thrive, you'll also gain access to an fabulous community filled with hundreds of makers just like you - a passionate, positive, and amazingly supportive group of people who are walking this path alongside you. They get it. They want what you want.
They will be there beside you, working through the program and sharing their own experiences and 'aha' moments!
And, of course, you get direct personal access to me via the group, too. I hang out there every day answering questions, giving help, support, and encouragement.
You'll also gain access to my ever-expanding bank of workshops that are exclusive to Thriver Circle members (17 and counting, in video, audio, and written format).
You'll get access to our monthly live calls, our regular live chats, and more.
You get all of this, plus exclusive access to Your Year to Thrive.
I want you do have the support and encouragement of the Circle community while you undertake this journey. You won't be doing it alone. And that might just make all the difference...
Okay, so how much does all this cost?
It's just $15 AUD per month, for 1 year, to complete the Your Year to Thrive Program.
When you become a member of the Thriver Circle, your membership is via Paypal subscription. You pay by the month, via automatic withdraws from your Paypal account. There is no lock-in timeframe. There is no pressure.
You remain a member of the Circle for as long as it's serving you, and can leave at any time.
In order to complete the Your Year to Thrive program, you will simply need to maintain your membership for a full year.
Ready to Thrive?
How will I access the program, and what format is it in?
You will receive each lesson via email - 1 lesson per week for 52 weeks.
The lessons are in written format. However, I will often link to supplementary Workshops that are available to Circle members (no extra cost - these are included in your Thriver Circle membership!) and these are in video, audio, and written format.
Does it matter where I am in the world?
Not at all! We have people in the Thriver Circle from all over the world. It doesn't matter where you live, or what timezone you're in, you can take part in the program.
What happens if I fall behind?
Look, I get it - life happens!
I can pretty much guarantee that in a year, a few curve balls are going to come your way and result in you falling behind a week or a few. But never fear! The lovely thing about this program is that you receive all your lessons via email - so even if you fall behind, they'll all be there in your inbox, ready when you are.
The ideal is to work on each lesson each week when it arrives, but in reality, you can work at your own pace, and focus on the lessons that are most relevant to you at that particular moment.
What happens if I leave the Thriver Circle before I finish the program?
If you cancel your Thriver Circle membership before you finish the program, you'll get the lessons up to the week you cancel, and then you'll stop receiving them.
What happens if I leave the Circle before I finish the program, then come back again later?
If you leave before you complete the program, then come back again in future... you'll have to start from the beginning again. I can't add you back in where you left off. So please think carefully about leaving early if you really want to complete the program.
Can I change my email address during the program?
No. This is super-important. Please choose a very safe email address when you register on the Thriver Circle website (this is the email I use to send you the program). Why? Because due to the course delivery software I use, once you're in the system, I CANNOT change your email address without sending you back to the beginning of the program. So please make sure your email address is one you will be able to access for the entire year of the course.
Why are the modules in that order? Surely things like marketing and pricing should come earlier in the program?
I have put all of my experience and a lot of thought into the sequence of this program. Every single module builds upon the last.
For example - all the excellent marketing in the world won't help your business grow if your products aren't right, or your photography is sub-par.
You can't work out your pricing without understanding your vision for your business - its position in the marketplace - or what your products are and who your ideal customer is.
Imagine your business like a skyscraper. You can't skip over the planning, the foundations, or any of the floors. They need to be built - and built properly! - in the right order for the building to be completed with integrity.
If you want to reach the sky, you have to start with the foundations, and build from there. There are no shortcuts.
Can I pay you for the whole year up-front?
No. There is no upfront option or discount available. I want everyone to be on equal footing, and that means paying by the month. It also means that if your life changes, and you no longer want/need to continue the program, you can leave without being out of pocket.
Does this overlap with your other courses and guides?
There is some overlap with the other courses and guides I offer - especially SHIFT (which I've currently put on hold).
However, if you've done any of my other courses, there will still be tons of content that you haven't yet covered in this program - and, vice versa, if you complete YYTT and then go on to do any of my other courses, you won't find yourself repeating much content.
My other courses are all very niche - meant to take you deeply into a particular topic, whereas YYTT is more over-arching and aims to cover everything - and therefore doesn't dive as deeply into those topics.
Is this epic program really only $15 per month?!
Yes! And of course, you not only get the program, but ALL the amazing benefits of being a member of the Thriver Circle.
To be completely up-front with you: I will occasionally mention other courses/guides I have available if you choose to invest in those and deepen your understanding in that particular subject, but you do not need them to complete this program, and you won't pay anything more than $15 per month for 1 year to receive the full Your Year to Thrive program.
What Members of the Circle are Saying...
I'm so glad I joined the Thriver Circle.
I figured I'd join and see what it was all about and probably cancel after a month or two. Once I started getting involved though, I decided it was well worth staying on. Not only is Jess a wealth of knowledge, the suggestions and support from the other Thrivers is invaluable.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend joining the Circle to anyone running (or wanting to run) their own crafting business.
Joining the Thriver Circle has been a real turning point in the development of my business. I've gained so much insight in the few months I've been a member and love the support and encouragement from the group.
I would recommend it to anyone just starting out or who has been in business for a while as there is always something new to learn and a direction to grow in.
The workshops & group have been invaluable to me in learning things that are vital to a successful business.
Without Jess's help I wouldn't be using email to promote my business, I wouldn't have a clue about planning my year & seeing how that translates into daily task that are very easy to manage. Also the group as been great in helping me deal with awkward customers.
The Circle is here when I need support and encouragement, and it allows me to do the same for others.
I love it when we can 'brain-dump' ideas or thoughts related to our business and have other people who just 'get it'.
I am very happy that I decided to join the Thriver Circle.
It gave me the courage to register my business and confidence that I can do this! Even though I am in the very early stages of setting up my business, the information Jess provides and the support within the Circle have been invaluable.
SIGN UP!! Even though I haven't set up a shop yet, the sharing of information from the community is amazing! I am so happy that I joined the Thriver Circle!
You won't see another bunch of talented handmade artists who are so supportive, encouraging and helpful!!
I just want to say THANK YOU.
An interview I did last month was published today, and in it I spoke about the importance of finding your tribe. Well: You're my tribe!
It's great to be able to duck in and out of this group for insight, inspiration, advice and just to feel like I'm not alone in all of this when some days just feel like I'm in struggletown: population zero! It's easier knowing we're all dealing with variations of the same things, and can offer support, guidance and hope. It is SO beneficial on this journey. I'm only 15 months into my business journey but there's been so much synchronicity, that I know I'm on the right path. Thank you for cocreating this journey.
Jess I managed to listen to the first 2 workshops today and I had to say this publicly. This is amazing of you.
There is something very special about people who share in an unconditional way and pass on all they have learnt in order to lift other people up. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm on the right path and that I came across your sharing in order to keep going and learning along the way.
What I'm experiencing connecting with your info & Circle has boosted my drive even more & led to many a realisation that this is where I'm meant to be going. So thank you for the boost & the beginning of my wings!
Loving the Thriver Circle for the community.
It's so great to know that there are others in the same boat. When any one has a question there is always some one with a solution or a suggestion. And I'm really learning a lot from everyone who is further a long in their creative journey than I currently am.
I love the fact that we can throw questions out there and have some genuine responses that are helpful and often help resolve our issue.
We are all at different stages and know different things and it is nice to be able to make a contribution towards someones success and have them contribute towards mine
So...IS IT YOUR YEAR TO THRIVE?
If you're ready to join us for this program, you'll need to make sure you don't miss the next opening of Thriver Circle membership.
Thriver Circle membership is only open 4 times a year... for 48 hours at a time.
The next intake will be sometime in October, 2016. If you know that you're ready to take the leap and dedicate yourself to this business journey, don't miss out on the next membership window.
If you have any questions at all - about the course, or whether it's right for you - please email me - jess AT createandthrive.com - and I'll get back to you personally.
I hope you will join us and trust me to be your guide on this epic journey.
P.S. If you want to read more about the Thriver Circle, and all the benefits of becoming a member, click here.