How to start a creative business - Part II


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

No strategy, no growth

People call me brave. I guess, it’s kind of true. Starting a new business and adventure is a courageous step into the unknown. Following your heart is a brave thing to do. Probably because many people are afraid to take a route which is not mainstream. I however think, it should be completely normal to do what you love, and to turn your passion into your job.

To me, following my heart is a risky move. I have no idea what will happen the next few months, but I do know that I want to give it my all. I will give #ZoeteLiefde my very best. To do this, I need to have a vision that is larger than me. I like how branding entrepreneur Floortje Lopes put it: “Create a brand that is bigger than yourself. Be clear about what you stand for”.

P.S. If you haven't already, read part I here.

Strategy gets you there

Vision without strategy is nothing but a dream. You can have the vision to go places, but you need a strategy to actually get there. A part of my own strategy is what I wrote down in my business plan.

To be honest, when I first wrote down ZoeteLiefde’s mission and vision a few years ago, I joined forces with other creative women, and we simply started creating inspiring post cards. All we wanted was to shower the world with words of love. I never took the time to write down my ambitions. I never took the time to research competitors and to create a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). I actually thought it wasn’t necessary. Not one of my wisest decision, but hey, I was young and couldn’t think of anything else but “changing the world”.

Although, writing a business plan is not an obligation, it is something that I highly recommend every creative entrepreneur to do. It took me about a month to finalize my business plan. Instead of rushing through all my ideas, I thought about every single detail that I wrote down. This helped me see the whole process of the company. It also helped me discover how ZoeteLiefde distinguishes itself from other companies, and made me realise how many resources I needed to launch this baby.

You will lose your focus (and motivation) if you keep looking at the paths of others instead of your own.
— Awura Simpe

Focus, structure, growth

During my writing process, I joined The Business Bootcamp. A very inspiring and uplifting evening with other creatives. We chatted about focus, structure and growth. These three words are still running circles in my mind. In a creative business you need these three components. You need to focus on your strategy. You need structure to get there (this can be difficult for people with a creative mind, but it is absolutely essential). Focus and structure will lead to growth. And growth leads to impact and influence.

Awura spoke about comparison, and repeatedly told us not to compare ourselves with others. “You will lose your focus (and motivation) if you keep looking at the paths of others instead of your own.” She also challenged us to think about our own definition of growth. To me, growth means the following: “With a dedicated team, creating a ripple effect of positive change and love in the hearts of customers worldwide, not lacking in resources and talent”.

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



Photo by  Hind Mari

Photo by Hind Mari