Latest News

How to turn your creative dream into a successful business

Tips from nine amazing women doing just that

It’s not an easy combo, being creative and successful. But that’s just what the women who are in Sydney for the Make Nice Un-Conference are all about—and they’re sharing their best #ladyboss life hacks ahead of the September 23 girl gang meet-up.

Anna Ross, Melbourne

Anna Ross is the founder of Kester Black, a vegan and eco-friendly manicure and skincare brand we can’t get enough of

“Leaving the desk is the best way for me to stay creative. I love going to a yoga class at the end of the day. It calms my body and allows my mind to take a break. The space is actually the most important part of being creative. Working too obsessively on a project can give you tunnel vision and it’s not until you step away you can see the bigger picture.”

Ann Friedman, Los Angeles

A freelance journalist for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and heaps more, Ann also co-hosts the insanely-popular podcast ‘Call Your Girlfriend’

“When I’m feeling stuck on one piece of work, I cheat on it with some very different work. So if I have a draft of an article due but the words just aren’t coming, I’ll set up interviews for another story. Or I’ll send a few invoices. Or I’ll do some planning for my podcast. I’ve realized that I work best when I have a lot of different types of work on my plate, which means I get to mix it up.” 

Jess Scully, Sydney

When she’s not busy organising Vivid Ideas and doing her thing as a Sydney City councilor, Jess makes waves in the creative industries in her role as public art curator

“Send yourself to an industry gathering at least once a fortnight – particularly early in your career. I know that sounds like a lot, and it can be hard to give up a night or weekend day, but connecting with my peers, seeing what’s new, hearing what people are working on, and building relationships, has been my biggest advantage. It’s the easiest way to get inspired, stay up to date, and to establish a network beyond your current workplace – which is one of the best investments you can make in your career or business.” 

Stanislava Pnchuk (Miso), Melbourne

Stanislava Pinchuk (better known as Miso) is one of the world’s most sought-after tattoo artists. Her client list says it all: Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Qantas, Converse, Thames & Hudson…

“I try to be really patient & generous with myself. If I can, I take a night off. I drink a little too much and I go dancing with my friends. In the morning I drink a black coffee, eat some eggs with a hangover and when I go back to my studio desk, nothing looks as bad as the day before.”

Becky Simpson, Nashville

Becky Simpson is an independent designer, illustrator, author and founder of Chipper Things – an art, paper and lifestyle product line.

“Figure out the one thing that *must* get done for the day, then carve out 2-3 hours (uninterrupted), and do it first thing. It’s hard to let go of an ambitious to-do list, but this is a case where the “less is more” thing is totally true. Bonus tip: I’ve converted to focusing on no more than 3-4 projects (projects being, multi-step tasks) at a time. I haven’t looked back.”

Leah Procko, Sydney

Design Director at Round, a branding design practice, Leah’s clients include Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and TOM Organic.

“My approach to being productive and creative seem to work in opposite ways. Productivity for me is all about structure and routine with a write-all-the-to-do-lists kind of vibe, whereas staying creative is all about change. The more I can change my surroundings, my routine and my source of inspiration, the better.  Hot tip? Be an explorer — whether it’s the world or learning a new skill — continually adding to your toolkit of skills and knowledge will keep things interesting for you and your next creative project.”

Lex Hirst, Sydney

A commissioning editor for Penguin Random House, Lex is also the arts programmer and festival director behind events like the National Young Writers Festival and ‘Junkee Take On’.

“My number one and two tips for staying productive and creative cancel each other out, but I stand by them both because life is complicated.

Number one – never let yourself procrastinate. Roll up your sleeves and jump in there right away, no matter how big or small the task. You can always edit it later and any project feels more achievable once you’ve started. 

Number two – some of your best creative work and thinking can get done while you’re procrastinating doing something else. Once you recognise this and lean into it, you realise there’s no such thing as wasted time. And that’s a pretty good life hack.”

Amy Nadaskay, Sydney

Founder and Director of Sydney design and branding consultancy firm Monogram, Amy has over 18 years of experience in creative production and has worked in Sydney, New York and San Francisco.

“Being well rested means I can power through that massive list with energy, owning my day by marking my calendar with blocks of undisturbed time, delegating items that others can own and probably execute better than me!  

My creative hacks: travel!  Going back home to NYC to refuel is a must but also going to new places like Japan are a super re-charge… being around other creative types, especially from different sector… collaboration – bouncing ideas off others and seeing how they can grow is magic. Finally: cards against humanity – seriously! Mashing up unexpected thoughts and seeing the inner workings of how others think is super creative. Laughing helps, too!”

Amrita Hepi

This professional dancer, choreographer, writer and activist takes her work off the stage and into the world

“Have a clear outline of what you want to do and commit to it (but know that things will shift a little and you have to go with that). Involve and tell others so you are held accountable. Have collaborators that hold you accountable. What is it that excites you about the project? The research/the material/working with others… hold on and go back to that.”

Related stories