Episode #120: Embracing Your Creativity & Learning to Experiment with Caitlin Gwynn

Today I’m chatting with Caitlin Gwynn, creativity coach and small business cheerleader about why creativity matters to business owners, what it means to be creative and why some of us struggle with it.

Listen to the Episode:

Ruth Poundwhite 0:00
Do you have something outside of your business that you get to play with and that you don’t need to be any good at? Have you ever thought you weren’t creative? We’re going to talk about both of those things and more in today’s episode with creativity coach Caitlin Gwynn. You’re listening to quietly ambitious with conversations about how it really feels to build a business that honours your whole self unapologetically. And that includes who you are, how you feel, what you really desire, the impact that you want to create, and importantly, the money you want to make. I’m your host, Ruth Poundwhite, and my superpower is supporting sensitive and ambitious humans to make more money by fully expressing and owning all of who they are. Let’s dive in. Today I am chatting with Caitlyn Gwen creativity coach and small business cheerleader about why creativity matters to business owners what it means to be creative, and why some of us struggle with it. Caitlin lives in Cardiff, surrounded by mountains of craft supplies, and has loved crafting and creating from a very young age, Kaitlyn started her business originally as a virtual assistant in 2020, but was drawn to revisiting her first passion after going through a period of business burnout, joy, community, and fun, are the things that light her up, and are the building blocks of her creativity work. In this episode, we talk about the image we’ve all got of what a creative person looks like, and how we get to redefine that by being willing to mess up and experiment and how that all translates beautifully to business. Okay, so can you start by telling us a bit about your relationship with creativity and how creativity came to be your thing.

Caitlin 1:49
Um, so from like, a young age, I was always doing like creative things. Like I love writing, like weird stories about like, you know, animals and stuff. And I loved reading and I loved like drawing, even though I was I still am not very good at it. So yeah, it was and I also enjoyed, like the results of other people’s creativity, like I always have my nose and a book. And I loved watching like films and TV shows and stuff growing up. So it just seemed like natural to me, that that’s the kind of stuff I would enjoy. And I took on every craft imaginable. And obviously, when, like, became an adult and started like working and stuff, the creative side of me kind of fell off a little bit because, you know, obviously trying to, like fit into like, the corporate boxes, and you know, like, you know, go out partying and stuff instead of doing like stuff that really, really brought me joy. And then I kind of got back into it, I made some crafty friends when I moved to Cardiff. And then just before lockdown started, I bought a sewing machine on like a complete whim. And through that, I really discovered how much I love having something like that to dive into that isn’t like, you know, like scrolling on my phone, or disassociating in front of Netflix, or whatever. And it kind of became even more like, a, like an escape for me when business started getting difficult. And when I started running a business and it all became very, like, intense. And yeah, just needing that timeout, I think. And I think that’s probably the the reason I’m so passionate about it now is because I definitely went through that time where I wasn’t expressing myself creatively. And I didn’t realise how important it was to me and how important it was to like my sanity and my well being until I started picking it up again. Which is why it’s my thing and why I love kind of passing it on to people and sharing it with.

Ruth Poundwhite 3:46
Yeah, I think so much of us can relate to that, like kids are just like inherently creative and exploring all different things and new interests, like from one day to the next sometimes. And I think a lot of us can relate to kind of letting that go a bit when we have to do all the adult stuff and pay the bills, and we’re suddenly really busy. We haven’t got time for it and no capacity for it. So yeah, that’s definitely been a thing for me as well. Yeah. So I want to talk about this idea of like, why it’s so important, like, why does it matter so much to us, as business owners and to us as humans in general, I guess.

Caitlin 4:35
Well, I think you touched upon it a little bit there like that idea of like playing and doing things with no expectation and no like, I’ve got to be like good at this and just kind of leaving that behind. And I think for me in business especially. There’s so many like rules like unspoken rules, some kind of Well, not even rules really, but how people like do things traditionally. And you kind of get like, I definitely did anyway, get sucked into that, and like, Oh, my business has to look a particular way or as a business owner, I have to look at an act a particular way. And I think having, like time to play and time to have fun, it’s just really important, from like, mental well being, and just to kind of, like, let loose and like, switch off a bit. I think as humans, like, generally switching off is like always very good. For obvious reasons, because life is quite intense. Like, I’m sure everyone listening will, will know that. But what was I going to say? Yeah, I think we’re always like, um, as business owners. And I think switching off and saying to ourselves, I’m gonna go and do something that isn’t like, related to my business whatsoever, is really important for us. There’s been like a million studies done, I did try and research it. But honestly, the amount of studies that come up when you kind of like, look out for this thing, there’s so many, just the benefits of doing something with your hands. Like that’s like the big thing. And yeah, mainly just doing doing things and being prepared to fail.

Ruth Poundwhite 6:16
I think that is the key part like, Well, yeah, because it’s not just in business. Although, you know, like, in my business journey, I went through this whole thing of like, thinking I had to be different and thinking my personality wasn’t good enough, or cut out for it or whatever. Not like needing to be more confident, and extroverted, and all those things, or do whatever marketing tactics was the latest trend or fad. But I think a lot of people, I mean, this applies to so many people, not just like sensitive humans, or introverts or whatever. But a lot of people listening to this will probably relate to this idea of like, you have perceived expectations, whether it’s true or not, I don’t know sometimes it definitely is. But sometimes it’s our own perception of how we need to be in the world. And like, it is exhausting, like trying to get everything right all the time. It’s like really exhausting. And I know that a lot of us then, you know, we grew up a certain way. And then we ended up being perfectionist or avoiding doing things in the first place. Because we don’t know if we’re going to do them perfectly. That has been such a huge, like, I think that has been a huge thing for me. And I want I think, I guess that’s why with kids, they’re just they’re just learning and failing and stuff all the time. And it’s part of it, you know, like even learning to walk and stuff. But as we get it become adults and pick up these ideas about ourselves and how we need to be in the world, it gets harder to just be willing to do something that we might not be good at just for the fun of it. Because because it’s not all about being good. That makes it fun, is it?

Caitlin 7:48
Well, no, exactly. Exactly. And like, I definitely found that I took up crochet like earlier this year. And for so much of the process, obviously, like when you start doing something you’re not very good at it. And I definitely have like that like thing inside me where I was like, well, if I’m not good at it straight away, then there’s no point doing it. Like I’m not going to bother. Ridiculous, because it’s the kind of thing you’d never say to somebody else. Or, you know, I I’m sure no one said to Picasso. Look, listen, that’s not very good. Like, you know, just been off. But, yeah, like, that’s definitely a thing for me, where those perfectionist things really kind of creep into, like every area of your life. I think it’s like you’re not careful. So really embracing the odds, you know what, I’m just going to muck around, and no one even needs to see this. Like, it doesn’t even need to be something I show people. Like it can just be like, for me, I think was like a really important like mental reframe for me. Yeah, for sure.

Ruth Poundwhite 8:53
Because it’s like, what are you doing it for in the first place? If it’s enjoyable in and of itself, then the end result doesn’t matter. Like I guess there’s some things in life. I can’t think of any examples of stuff wherever there’s obviously some things in life where the end result is what’s important, but like the process of it in and of itself. If you if you enjoy it, then why does it matter?

Caitlin 9:12
Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. I ran a journaling workshop recently. And one of the exercises we all did together was just doodling on a bit of paper. And that was awful for me because everyone who attended were artists, and I was, oh my God, why have I done this to myself? But like I drew and it wasn’t, like very good. And I say that in quotation marks because I know that’s not what it’s about. But just like, just having the like, yeah, just doing the process of doing something and not having any kind of weight to it and any like, oh, well this needs to be good enough posts on Instagram or like, you know, to hang up in an art gallery or whatever. It’s very freeing and you kind of you know, it’s a very like it becomes a way more enjoyable process if you kind of just easier said than done. Of course, just like leaving all that stuff out the door and thinking I’m gonna do it just because I enjoy it not because I’m, you know, like trying to get like a good grade at it or anything like

Ruth Poundwhite 10:12
that. Yeah, so I have to confess like I I don’t do much in terms of like, stuff with my hands, but sounds a bit weird. But I have been recently doing singing lessons and not like, not that you need to do lessons to have like a new hobby, but like, that’s the caveat, but it has like literally taught me how to even start to say, absolutely by no means do I think that I’m a good singer. Do I really enjoy it? Like, yes, so much. Like, it’s just so good for me. If I’m just thinking about the situation that you were in about, like getting this group of artists, I do some doodles that go along with it. Like that will be so scary to me. But

Unknown Speaker 10:52
at the same time, like

Ruth Poundwhite 10:54
this is a question like, What are you doing it for? Like, what’s it doesn’t matter? It doesn’t matter. Because like there’s joy, like for example, getting together with a group of friends and just singing or whatever it not that I do that much. But it would be really fun or like, you know, and what then came to me when you were talking about that was like, Well, how did these artists feel about it? Because it’s something that they do professionally? How do they then feel about just like letting go and allowing themselves to be imperfect and free with it? I wonder if it did anything come up with them?

Caitlin 11:25
Yeah, no, I did, actually. Because I’d obviously said, Oh, God, this is like a horrible situation. Because like, I know, I’m not going to be like, as good as everyone else. But it really surprised me because someone in the group who I consider to be immensely talented and very artistic. She was like, Oh, I actually I actually hate what I’ve done, but like, it’s fine. And it does, it does really put it into perspective, when you have people who do it on a professional basis be like, You know what, I’ve just, I’ve just gone for it. It’s terrible. I hate it. But it was fun doing it. And that was like a really nice thing for me to hear as someone who does not consider themselves to be like, traditionally artistic is that like, even people in that field have those thoughts and feelings as well of like, Oh, I’m not very pleased with this, like, you know, it’s not it’s not my best work or whatever believe just done in any way. And they’ve embraced that, like that same sense of playing and you know, getting in touch with the inner child and all that kind of thing. Yeah. And

Ruth Poundwhite 12:27
in some ways, I can see that there could potentially be more pressure for them. If it’s something that they do, either to a very high standard or professionally, then it almost feels like there’s more pressure and like something that you might have yet used to do for fun. And creativity then becomes work and their standards to me and that I can see that that can I mean, actually, I mean, it’s true of like the work that I do in my business. And I’m sure that you can relate to this as well. Like, I’ve always written stuff as well, like you said, like, I used to write random stories or stuff a lot when I was a child. And I’ve always written and journaled and all of that. And now it’s like, it’s part of my work. I mean, it has been for many years. And that was definitely an experience to go from doing it all for myself to then doing it to someone else’s standards, like when I was a copywriter getting paid for it. And I and it can be hard to then go back and find your like more. I don’t know what like the word innocent is kind of like the more innocent joy in it like pure joy, just for the fun of it can be kind of hard to find that fully again.

Caitlin 13:34
Yeah, I definitely found that because I did copywriting for a while as well. And I still do it for certain people. And like I do I know exactly what you mean, I do find it hard to kind of, like separate the two in my brain even though it’s the same activity, but they’re for completely different like purposes. Yeah. And yeah, I think that’s something I’m like still learning. I think it’s quite hard to like detach yourself from your work sometimes. I mean, especially when, you know, a lot of I work with like a lot of people who make things as well. And yeah, I definitely feel that same pressure from people where it’s like, oh, well, I make I don’t know, I make cakes for a living. But I would never ever make one outside of it. But I cannot imagine doing that for fun and things like that. So that’s definitely like conversation I’ve had with people that I never really thought of myself until people kind of started saying, Oh, well, I’m creative in my business. Like I don’t, I don’t know how to do it for fun.

Ruth Poundwhite 14:31
Yes, that’s so interesting. That’s what I was actually going to talk about next. Because I think like for me running a business is a very creative outlet, although I didn’t see it that way at first, and that is something that we will talk about, but I think sometimes you know, some of us who have like multi passionate type businesses and we come up with new offers, like not everyone runs their businesses that way, but I certainly do it quite a lot like that and And there can be a tendency to think that you can turn everything into a business venture.

Caitlin 15:04
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Yes. I realise. Yeah. When I started sewing and like making my own clothes and stuff, the first thing people would say to me for anything else is like, Oh, so you’re gonna, like, you’re gonna sell stuff? No, because it’s like fun. I don’t want to, I don’t want to do it for that. I do do the occasional thing for like a friend or something like that, or, you know, like for gifts and stuff, but monetizing. My hobby is like, the worst thing in the world I can possibly do. Like I yeah, it always really annoys me. People like, oh, have you thought about selling this? Have you thought about doing that? And I’m like, Well, yeah, but I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to lose like that joy in that fun. And that, like, you know, as soon as you started talking timelines and stuff, but I think that’s when it starts to get a bit like, Oh, this is like a job. Now, this isn’t like, something I just do for fun. Yeah,

Ruth Poundwhite 16:04
I’ve definitely said that people don’t like, oh. Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, isn’t it? Like, I guess, it’s just funny to think that that’s a natural reaction, like, you can be good at something. And you can just do it for yourself. I mean, there’s a there’s a, there’s a line, isn’t it? Some people do need a little nudge to do the thing that they most love. And some for some of us, it’s like, that could be an extra thing on the side. That’s a really nice escape, like you said, from all the wanting to get everything right, from all the things I see everyone else doing in their business, from all the results that I’m hoping to get from all the disappointments that I have in my business, like it’s a really nice thing to have completely separate from that world. Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. And let’s talk actually a bit about creativity or self care. And I know that we’ve touched on it a bit more, but a bit already, but I think, because there’s a lot of conversation about self care, and it’s really good that it’s part of the talk about, you know, alongside running a business at the moment, but a lot of it, I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t see it. It’s just me, but I don’t feel like it’s as much of a big part of the conversation. It like thinking about why it’s so important to have something fun, something playful, something completely separate. So yeah, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that conversation, or how do you, like, use it? And how do you not? I think, for me, sometimes it feels overwhelming, when I’ve got so much to do as well. So what would you say about that?

Caitlin 17:45
Um, so very good question. Um, I think, yeah, I definitely have noticed the conversation around self care, like changing a lot. I think people generally do understand and accept that isn’t just like having a bath. And yes, having a spa day or whatever. I feel like, even when you think about, like, the radical roots of the idea of self care, I think people are kind of generally more like, oh, okay, like, I understand that. It’s not just like, I don’t know, lying on the sofa and having a pedicure or something. Yeah. But for me, I definitely resisted it a lot. And I think it’s what led to like, my bowels burn out in my business, like last year was because I was like, Well, I haven’t I haven’t got time to do it. I just haven’t got time. Like I just, you know, further and further and further down the To Do lists, until like, you realise how exhausted you are, and have been out you are. So I think for me, it was I definitely had to get to like, the rough side of it before I could kind of come back and be like, Oh, right. This is why people prioritise it. And this is why people do it. So stuff like this doesn’t happen. But I definitely had to get to like was outside of it first. So I think for me, making it like less overwhelming. I think trying not to do too much. I think especially because I’m my creative hobbies can be quite involving, like getting my sewing machine out and things like that. So I definitely try and have like activities on hand that I can do if I have less energy, and if I’m like, Oh, I really need to like switch off before bed because I’m really stressed out about this thing that happened at work or whatever. And even if it’s just a chapter of a book, or just like free writing in a journal for like 510 minutes, having those activities that don’t take up a lot of time or a lot of mental space was like really really important for me and ensuring that I actually did like things that were creative self care, rather than just kind of oh, just you know, check Instagram for like the 200th time today.

Ruth Poundwhite 19:46
Yeah, that’s so important to me. Like I feel like I have a tendency to be to just get overwhelmed quite easily and if it if it’s a big thing, or if it involves a lot of steps, like getting a lot of stuff out or making a lot of mess. And then it’s so much harder for me to do. I think that’s why I’ve already connected with the singing. It’s just like, I can just sing when everyone. I love it. Yeah, yeah. And I’m just curious, like, how do you, this might be a really basic question, but I think that we need to talk about this, how do you pick a hobby that you’re going to try? Or creative activity you’re going to try?

Caitlin 20:23
I love it. Um, basically, I try and like, trust the feeling and try and let myself like, feel inspired. And like, if tattoo artists that I know, recently started doing pottery, and as soon as I saw that, I was like, oh, pottery, oh, I’m very interested in doing that. And I try and really let myself like, fall down the rabbit hole sometimes, and try and be like, Oh, Gosh, I wonder what it would look like if I did this. Or like, I don’t daydreaming about I can’t think of making cowboy hats. I don’t like, like, just following the feeling and following the merge and being like, oh, maybe I’ll give that a go. Because I think the great thing about the internet and social media and stuff in stuff is that it makes a lot of these hobbies and activities, like really accessible. So you can kind of if you do want to try something nine times out of 10, you can go on Etsy and pick up a kit or find a tutorial on YouTube or something and then just try it. And that’s again, I know, we discussed it already. But it’s definitely where that experimentation thing comes in. Of like, Oh God, what if I try if I try out pottery, like, I might hate it, but it’s fine. And I might love it. And that’s also fine. But I think yeah, it’s just really like letting yourself go down the rabbit hole, and just picking something that kind of appeals to you and trusting that feeling and then just like going for it. And yeah, being open minded to see what happens.

Ruth Poundwhite 21:50
Yeah, I really liked that. Because that’s been a whole journey of myself, like learning to listen to myself learning to follow the nudges. Like, I think in one of my courses, probably is the quiet ambition course. And one of the exercises just to like, fully nudges for a day, and I think that that for me was so huge, it sounds really small, but it’s so huge, because so many of us are like I should be doing this, I should be doing that, like we were saying about earlier, extra or perceived or real external expectations of us life stuff, all of this, all of these things, it’s really nice to see, you know, I can have an idea, and I can act on it, and I can see what happens. And also, sometimes this sometimes is a bit of negativity associated with people who take up new hobbies and like, like, I’m thinking of myself, like buying all the stuff to make candles, but then I never actually did it. Like things like that. But I like that, you know, flipping it the other way. And so you know what, you just got to experiment with stuff. I guess some things you don’t end up, like, maybe you do waste your money on buying that stuff that you were gonna do do with it. But you don’t know until you until you try, right?

Caitlin 22:58
Yeah, exactly. I mean, like, one example I’ve definitely follow was when everyone was making those claims, earrings. And I was like, I love those. Those are so cool. And then like, I got some stuff online to like, do it. And they were so bad. And I didn’t enjoy the process. And I was like I you know, and I think a few years ago, my reaction would have been like, oh my god, I wasted this money. And like, I wasted my time. Like, oh, my God, you know, I couldn’t do it. There must be something wrong with me. And now I think I’m definitely in a more like accepting place where I’m like, Oh, I actually I didn’t really enjoy that. But it’s fine, because I tried it. And like you said, you don’t know these things until you try. And I definitely always used to think that was like a really, like, bad trait about myself that I would want to, like, yeah, follow the nudges and be like, Oh, I’m gonna try this. I’m gonna try that. And it’s something I’ve really only kind of accepted in myself very recently, I think, because I bring that same energy to business as well. And for a very long time, I definitely thought it was like a bad thing that it meant I was like, flaky or that I couldn’t decide. But I’m a very stereotypical Gemini son. And that’s just who I am. And it’s fine. But yeah, no, I definitely. Yeah, I definitely feel about.

Ruth Poundwhite 24:16
Yeah, yeah, so much judgement of ourselves. And I agree, I have a quite a lot of that energy and my business too. And I think part of me is just thinking like, firstly, allowing our mind to think, Oh, I could try what XYZ thing I could try singing, for example, and I’ve always considered myself to be not good at singing. It’s like, well, actually, I could try it. That’s the thing in itself. And then if you happen to not like it, and it happens to have been a waste of time, or a waste of money, or waste of energy. At least you tried, because, I mean, I see this with business owners all the time. I’ve seen it with myself in my journey, like to bring it back to business like there’s so many things that I just had a block on in my brain And that I not only didn’t think I was capable of, but I didn’t even think about because it was just like, that’s not a thing for me. And the more I’ve experimented with this stuff, the more I’ve learned that you know what, there’s so many things available to me that I don’t know about yet. There’s so many things I’m capable of that I didn’t know about the episode things I might enjoy that I don’t know about yet. And that does take experimenting and allowing yourself to sometimes try something and wait for it to be absolute rubbish and waste of time. Like, I guess that’s the reframe. It’s never a waste of time. Really?

Caitlin 25:32
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it’s like, well, it’s, you know, I can just all I have to do in the, you know, if I try a craft, but I don’t like it, say, Oh, I’m sure I’ll know someone who will be able to, like, buy the equipment off me or whatever. And it’s fine. But I think for me, that’s, that’s definitely like, why I’m kind of more relaxed about experimenting in my business now, because I have more of that energy. And even when it kind of came to thinking about my work and creativity, I say, work I work in commerce, but because I love it, but it was definitely I was like, I can’t I can’t do that, like, no one’s gonna understand that. Like, it doesn’t make any sense. Like, you know, it’s, it’s weird. It’s like a bit like, it’s a bit off the road, like, I don’t know, can I do it? And I think if I hadn’t spent so much time, like growing up experimenting with different things and like trying out things, then it might not have happened at all. I might not have like, allowed myself to do it. But I think, yeah, it’s definitely like, conditioning of capitalist corporate nature. I think that kind of, nope, this is your thing. And you do that. And that’s it. And like, don’t do anything else. Because it’s not safe. Yeah, yeah.

Ruth Poundwhite 26:45
And I don’t know about you. But also I get so inspired by things outside of the actual work I do. So like, I think there’s something one of the One example is like live music I get so inspired by people performing live music, get really inspired by listening to music, and especially like lyrics and like how vulnerable people can be sometimes or even in the way that they’re singing them. I get inspired by all I mean, I keep bringing out music, but all kinds of things. And I think sometimes when some when I’m trying to when I’m too close to something, and I’m seeing someone doing something in a cool way, but that’s really like, linked to my business, it gets too much because it’s like, should I be doing it like that? And asking myself this question, but when but when you can allow yourself to be inspired by all kinds of things. Firstly, the shoulds are kind of gone, because it’s a different thing. And secondly, it brings a whole new level of ideas that you may never even have thought of when you’re keeping yourself inside a box, I guess. Do you Do you know what I’m talking about? Oh, yeah, no.

Caitlin 27:50
No, I do. I can only say I get really inspired by like other things that go on for me as well. And recently, I went to see someone live who the legendary Mark ravioli who I love. But his whole thing is improv and makes up songs. And sometimes he’ll start a song and be like, Oh, actually, no, we’re gonna do something else. And I’m like, I watched him live a few weeks ago. And I was like, oh my god, can you imagine if like we weren’t till about, about, hey, this isn’t working. Let’s let’s try something else. Or like, Oh, I really like the sound. I’m gonna I’m gonna do something with this. And yeah, like, I also get really inspired by things that are in No, no way related. I think that’s really important actually, to, like, get our brains out of like, that comparison mode that we sometimes feel when we see Yeah, people in business doing stuff. Yeah.

Ruth Poundwhite 28:41
And I guess it leaves more room for like innovation and do things differently. I mean, I guess, I mean, just keeping with the theme of music, there’s so many like musicians who have taken elements of you know, like theatrical stuff or, you know, they’re turning their shows it the whole kind of whole, like performances on the bringing things from other can’t think of the word other areas, and you make it something completely new. And you can do that in your business as well. Yeah, I wish I could think of a good example of that. But I can’t think of one but I know that it’s a thing.

Caitlin 29:13
I can’t either with every single blade like afterwards, but yeah, I can’t think of any Yeah, yeah. Okay, so

Ruth Poundwhite 29:19
I’ve got another question. Just to change gears slightly. And what do you think about people who say that they aren’t, they just aren’t creative? Oh, my goodness.

Caitlin 29:31
Every everybody is, I think a lot of the time when people say they’re not creative, they really have like, an image in mind of what a creative person looks like. And it’s like, oh, to be creative. You have to be like, like Artie fallacy. You have to be in a studio like Korean painter, the canvas and, and all that is and that’s something that I really try and like push back against because I know I felt like that I also know that isn’t true. Like I told myself for ages, like, well, I can’t I’ve never painted anything and I can’t draw. So like I don’t, why would I ever say I’m creative? And it kind of wasn’t until I learned that about myself and like, reframed it myself, I think that I was able to be like, Oh, actually, everybody’s creative. We’ve just got like, like societally. I think we’ve just got a really like, narrow idea of like, what it looks like. And like, traditionally, you know, you have to be like a starving artist, and you have to be like eccentric and things like that. And it’s like, well, it’s not true. I like I’m, I’m just as creative like, cooking something in the kitchen with like, a limited number of ingredients, as I am when I’m like sewing something like it’s the same thing. It’s just, you know, different, different mediums. And I think in business, it happens a lot as well. I get a lot of people come into my things that I put on that I like, oh, well, I do like accountancy like I’m no I’m not creative, or like, oh, I you know, I do something that’s traditionally more like, right brain like I can’t, I can’t. And I’d always say to those people, stop it, I can see why you think it but honestly, like, it’s it’s something that’s available to absolutely everybody.

Ruth Poundwhite 31:14
Oh, I love your answer. Yeah. And it’s like, there’s so many different versions of creativity. And it’s so funny because I had this story massively as well. And it’s really ironic because my whole childhood, I would always play music, and it’s like, an ultimate creative thing. But I never considered myself to be that creative. Or I now felt like I fit in with the people who were creative and stuff. And it’s just another layer of expectations of society. And it’s almost like, oh, well, that means to be creative. I have to do it to a certain level, or I have to be a certain way. And it’s just like, it’s defeating the whole point.

Caitlin 31:48
Yeah, exactly. Because it’s, you know, you’re, you’re doing it to, like, express yourself. And, and obviously, by the very nature of that, that is open for everybody. And we can all express ourselves in our own ways.

Ruth Poundwhite 32:00
I love that. Okay, so I’m gonna wrap things up by asking you a random question from my question cards. So the question is, what stereotype Do you totally live up to?

Caitlin 32:17
Oh, my goodness. Okay. So I have been thinking about this. And actually, even though I very much rebel against the, like, eccentric artists, eccentric, creative person, I think, unfortunately, I do slightly live up to that stereotype of like, you know, I’ve got like, grey hair, and I’ve got tattoos and I dress quite like colourful and stuff, so that I definitely probably do fit into that. And for ages, I was like, Oh, well, if I’m like that, I can’t be a business person. Because business people aren’t like that. Which is kind of why I’m always like, pushing people to be creative now. Because I’m like, Well, you can be both like, it’s fine. And also, the stereotype that I really like painfully fall into as well is like, cat lady. Appeared today, actually, which I’m really surprised about, because normally is seen as a thoughts, okay, because like, where are you? Well, and also, I mean, it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season. So also like those are like the stereotypes that came to mind. I was like, oh, yeah, I love cats. I love PSLs. But yeah, I think those are definitely stereotypes, like I do like heavily into, and it’s the stuff that I would always try and rebel against. I was younger, like being like, oh, yeah, I’m not like that weird or eccentric. But I think the older I get, the more I’m like, Oh, it’s okay to be like, a bit different, actually. And it’s actually like a good thing. It’s not Yeah,

Ruth Poundwhite 33:41
yeah. It’s just another example of fighting against who we are and trying to fit into a certain idea of ourselves. But I like the fact that you brought up how that made you feel as a business owner, though, and how, like, despite the fact that I feel like I’m fit into this stereotype, I don’t feel like it fits, then what business owners should be like, actually, it’s not true. Like business owners come in all different flavours. And you get to do business as your as your normal, natural self, whatever that is. And some people fit a more traditional version of that naturally, and some people don’t. And it’s all good.

Caitlin 34:20
Yes, for sure. For sure. I think, yeah, we all grew up seeing like business people on like, you know, the apprentice and stuff. And it’s like, oh, that’s, that’s what you gotta, you gotta be cutthroat and ruthless and wearing like grey suits and stuff. And yeah, I definitely I think that’s the most amazing thing about online businesses that like coming into it and seeing that there are people who, like, look like you have like backgrounds from all over the place, and do like these really like weird and wonderful things. And it’s like, Oh, my goodness, you can like earn money from being yourself and doing all the weird and wonderful things that like live in your brain like you can bring them to reality. And I think that’s the most amazing thing about running a business.

Ruth Poundwhite 35:05
It really is I get I tell you, sometimes I get really confronted with it when I go to London, and it’s like rush hour. And just like, I know, these people aren’t all like business owners, but they’re all like that kind of image that we have all the men in suits. And it’s just like, I just feel so far removed from that. It’s like, kind of funny.

Unknown Speaker 35:29
Yeah, yeah. Well,

Ruth Poundwhite 35:31
thank you for that. And I feel like, I don’t know, I feel like the key lesson from this is to like, re define what you think creativity should look like. And re think what it means to you. I feel like that is the core message. And like, everyone’s creative, and everyone gets to express themselves. So that’s how you linked those two things together?

Caitlin 35:57
Yeah, I think, yeah, I think it’s really, it’s really important to me. And like I said, it wasn’t until kind of I got into like a darker place that I kind of realised how important expressing ourselves and especially when, you know, a lot of us are doing, I’m sure a lot of people listening or like people who work in service as well. And I think when you’re kind of giving and giving you do kind of need to give yourself back some stuff as well and give like, give yourself the time and the space and the energy to just be yourself. And to just be a bit silly, not take it too seriously, and to just see what happens. And I guess follow the joy that comes

Ruth Poundwhite 36:32
from that. Yeah, I love it. And I’m just actually gonna ask you one extra question, what would you say to anyone listening to this? who’s like, I’m going to do something creative today? How would you encourage them? What would you encourage them to do to like put this into action?

Caitlin 36:45
Um, well, I probably encourage them first after like, follow a nudge. If you’re kind of feeling like you want to do a certain ticular thing. Like, just follow it and see what happens. You know, get get a Pinterest board, like find some people on Tik Tok who do it and follow it along for a bit and then do it yourself. And just remove any expectations. Like it doesn’t have to look like what people post online, like it can look however you want to. And just I think be realistic as well don’t think that was when I try and like tell a lot of people is that don’t try and do something that’s going to make a huge mess in your house or that’s going to take you ages or that you’re going to have to spend like hundreds on in order to do start small and build up. It’s a muscle just like any anything else of that nature, I think is that it’s a muscle we have to build up over time. Get things wrong. Yeah, get things wrong a lot.

Ruth Poundwhite 37:39
That’s what was wrong a lot. Yeah, for that. Yeah. Thank you so much. And I hope that people listening are inspired to go find some or just like, play around outside of business outside of adult adulting

Caitlin 37:53
Yeah, for sure. For sure. More play more play time for everybody.

Ruth Poundwhite 37:57
Yeah. Thank you so much, Caitlin.

Caitlin 37:59
And always thank you.

Ruth Poundwhite 38:01
And if you want to find out more about Caitlin and her work, you can find her on Instagram at Kaitlyn the creative or visit her website. Caitlin the creative.co.uk. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of quietly ambitious. If you have a moment to rate and review know that it really does make a difference. And if you’d like to carry on the conversation, then you can connect with me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite Join me in the Facebook group or my personal favourite. Sign up to my newsletter letters to quietly ambitious humans. Just go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash newsletter to subscribe and keep doing what you’re doing because your work really does matter.

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“Everybody is creative. Societally we’ve just got a narrow idea of what that looks like.”
Caitlin Gwynn

Show Notes

Today I’m chatting with Caitlin Gwynn, creativity coach and small business cheerleader about why creativity matters to business owners, what it means to be creative and why some of us struggle with it.

Caitlin lives in Cardiff surrounded by mountains of craft supplies, and has loved crafting and creating from a very young age. Caitlin started her business originally as a Virtual Assistant in 2020, but was drawn to revisiting her first passion after going through a period of business burnout. Joy, community, and fun are the things that light her up, and are the building blocks of her creativity work.

In this episode we talk about the image we’ve all got of what a “creative person” looks like and how we get to redefine that by being willing to mess up and experiment, and how that all translates beautifully to business.

Some of the things I talked about:

  • Why creativity matters, especially for business owners
  • The importance of experimentation, being willing to fail, and trying things we might not be good at
  • What it means to be creative and why some of us feel we’re not
  • How to have fun getting creative if you’re resisting it

Links from the episode:

Other episodes you might like:

“You can earn money from being yourself and doing all the weird and wonderful things that live in your brain”
Caitlin Gwynn

Quietly Ambitious

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Thanks so much for listening!

When you subscribe to updates you get access to 3 bonus episodes of the podcast – exclusively for email subscribers – that dive behind the scenes of my business (I talk about failures, money, community & more!)