How to start a creative business - Part I


marina de haan

Marina is the founder of ZoeteLiefde and the writer of poetry book  "Lily in the wild field". Go to and for more of her incredible work!

Photo: Carly Wollaert

Dream with your eyes open

It was summer last year. The sky was blue. The sun was shining. Usually that’s enough for me to be extremely happy. But something was off. Something was terribly off. I had been quite sick for almost a year back then. I spend many days at home trying to recover from eczema, but nothing seemed to work. No treatments and no amount of rest, nothing worked.

During those days, I knew something had to change. For my wellbeing, and for my future. When tragedy hits you , you suddenly start to think about life in a different way. At least, that’s what I did. Massive questions rose to the surface: Why do I do what I do? What do I want to achieve? What will my legacy be? 


The biggest decision… ever!

I’d like to inspire people to live their best life. I’d like to show people that love is the answer to the things that are happening in our world. That kindness is the key. I’d like to encourage people, and to tell them they are more than enough, that they matter, that they have potential, even if they feel like they don’t. 

All my answers led to one of the biggest decision of my life: starting my own creative business.
— Marina de Haan

ZoeteLiefde (Dutch for Sweet Love) is an idea I had a few years back in the middle of the night. (All good ideas arise when you’re trying to sleep, right?!) That morning, I woke up very excited and energized. Within a few hours I wrote the mission and vision for ZoeteLiefde. And because I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, I asked friends to help me out to execute my vision.


Stop daydreaming, start stepping out

Back then, ZoeteLiefde got all my “leftover” hours next to my job in communications, the dozens of coffee catch-ups with friends and my other life priorities. I never gave ZoeteLiefde the attention that  she needed. I never gave her 100%. Because of this she wasn’t able to grow, she wasn’t able to flourish, she wasn’t able to make the impact in the world I envisioned her to have. Although this was something I desperately wanted ZoeteLiefde to do.

The mission of ZoeteLiefde is to shower the world – the whole world - with love by creating beautiful things: post cards, calendars, art prints and poetry. The full impact of your vision is never going to happen if you hardly invest in your idea. It will always remain an idea unless you put hours of dedication and hard work in your dream. It’s really true; dreams don’t happen unless you do. 


Make it happen, today

I always tell people: dream with your eyes open. It’s my way to keep focus between dreaming about my idea, visualizing it and actually doing the labor. Dreaming alone isn’t enough. You got to get out of bed, cover your Chanel bags, and make it happen, every single day!

For the next few months I will take you on my journey of starting my own creative business. If you are pursuing a creative business, I would love to hear from you, so we can take this journey together. Feel free to message me via



Photo by Hind Mari