I’m excited to introduce you to the amazing Carmia Jordaan, a talented graphic designer and creative entrepreneur from South Africa. Carmia was one of the reasons why I was inspired to start my own creative business. And for as long as I could remember, I’ve always looked up to her for her stunning, whimsical designs and inspiring business journey. But it wasn’t an easy feat for Carmia, because it took her many, many years before she found success in her now thriving creative business through blogging and ads.
Carmia runs two fantastic brands: Carmia Jordaan Design Co., where she crafts PLR planner templates and event stationery, and Clementine Creative, her hub for delightful planner printables and an engaging art and creativity blog. She’s a master at managing her time, staying motivated, and finding joy in her work. Carmia’s story is filled with valuable lessons for anyone starting their own creative business.
I can’t wait for you to learn from her experiences!
How Carmia Built Her Thriving Creative Business Through Blogging and Ads
Please introduce yourself, your business and what your business is about.
Hi, my name is Carmia Jordaan and I’m a graphic designer from South Africa. I’m a multi-passionate creative and I have a few different businesses: I create PLR planner templates and event stationery under my brand Carmia Jordaan Design Co.
I also offer planner printables and I run a blog about art and creativity under the brand Clementine Creative.
What inspired you to start your own creative business?
I lived in a small town where there were no job opportunities, so I had to create my own. Also, I wanted to have the freedom to work from home. I had just completed my graphic design course and decided to start offering graphic design services through Upwork and later on my own website. I also started creating my own products like printables and licensed my designs to stationery companies.
How do you stay motivated and focused as a solo-entrepreneur?
I find it easy to be motivated because I love what I do. But I also make sure there are no distractions before I start working. For example, I will clean the kitchen first otherwise I won’t be able to focus on my work 🙂
Can you share any tips for managing time and staying organized in your business?
It can be difficult to manage your time when you work for yourself. What helps me is to create a to-do list on my phone and then tick off each task as I complete it.
How do you balance the creative side of your work with the business side, such as finances and marketing
Marketing used to be my weakness, but I have grown to love it. I’ve taken a lot of courses on marketing and really enjoy it now, almost as much as creating. When it comes to finances, I use a bookkeeping software that automatically imports all my transactions. My husband then categorises each transaction. It’s super easy to do and you don’t need to be a bookkeeper. As far as taxes go, I hire an accountant to do my taxes for me. Numbers are not my strong point so I will never try to do my own taxes!
Can you discuss any challenges you’ve faced in running a small creative business, and how you overcame them?
My biggest challenge has been dealing with negative feedback/reviews or rude customers. I’m a sensitive person and tend to take things personally so my feelings get hurt every time I get a negative comment. It used to completely destroy my day and I even couldn’t sleep at night due to worrying about it. But over the years I have gotten a thicker skin so I deal with it much better now. I don’t let it ruin my day anymore. The way I deal with it is to talk with my husband first if I’m having a difficult customer. He gives me much better advice because he is not so personally attached to my products and business.
How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes as a solo-entrepreneur?
I watch a lot of Youtube videos and follow industry leaders on Instagram.
Can you tell us about a particularly successful project or projects you’ve completed on your own? You can also share your successes that you have achieved in your business.
Moving my online shop from Woocommerce to Shopify and moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress have been two big projects that I’ve completed on my own. Even though it was difficult to do on my own, I didn’t have the funds to pay someone else. But I’m glad I did it because it taught me new skills.
How do you price your creative work, products and services as a solo-entrepreneur?
I look at what others are charging, and take into account the value my product or service is offering the end user. Pricing is very difficult and it’s always a trial-and-error experience for me.
How do you market and promote your business without a large team or budget?
Using a blog and optimising my blog posts for SEO has been a great marketing tool for me. I learnt as much as I could about SEO and that has helped to get my products and blog posts out there.
How do you balance work and personal life as a solo-entrepreneur?
I try to end my workday around 4pm so that I can take some time to exercise and make dinner. But I’m not too strict with my time – if I need to run errands, I’ll do it any time of the day and then get back to work. I used to be very bad at taking time for myself but I have since learnt that it’s important to take breaks so that I can 1) better focus on my work and 2) feel more energised to get work done.
Can you tell us about a time when you had to take a risk in your business, and how it paid off?
The biggest risk for me was buying a course to learn how to run Facebook ads. It was a risk because the course was expensive and I was scared that my ads wouldn’t pay off and that I would lose money. But luckily it paid off. My ads were profitable, I made a ton of sales and earned high-quality customers. It also improved my copywriting and marketing skills.
Can you share any advice you’ve received that has helped shape your approach to running your small creative business?
The best advice I received was from Michelle Rohr: work on yourself first before working on your business. Personal development first, business second.
How do you measure success in your business as a small creative business owner?
I used to measure success by how much money I was making. But now I measure success by how happy I am. If the work that I’m doing is fulfilling me then I don’t mind how much money I’m making. Chasing a certain number each month stressed me out and I didn’t enjoy my work. But now I’m focusing on enjoying my work first and trusting that God will provide for me.
Can you share any future goals or plans you have for your small creative business?
Right now, I don’t have any future goals or plans for my business. I’m just taking each day as it comes.
Can you discuss any tools or resources that have been helpful in growing your business on your own?
I use Leadpages to build sales pages – it’s so easy and intuitive to use. I’m never using WordPress again for sales pages. I use Thrivecart for my checkout and love that it’s a once-off fee. I use Zoho Books to do my bookkeeping. All I have to do is categorise each transaction, but I can also create rules so that transactions can be categorised automatically.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your niche?
Be patient, because starting an online business takes a lot of time and work. You won’t see any results for a long time and it’s easy to feel despondent and give up. But if you love what you do, you’ll keep going and eventually see results.
Name a product you like to recommend to others
The Pro Planner Template Pack is the easiest way to create your own printable planner in 1 day or less. It includes 32+ done-for-you planner pages so all you have to do is add your own branding and start selling.
How can people get in touch with you?
- My planner printables shop: https://clementinecreativeshop.com
- My PLR templates: https://carmiajordaan.com/printables-for-commercial-use/
- My event stationery portfolio: https://carmiajordaan.com/event-stationery
- My blog: https://www.clementinecreative.co.za.
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