How to start a creative business - Part IV


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

What voices do you listen to?

People always tend to have an opinion about other people’s jobs, passions, careers or clothes. You name it, people have something to say about it. Not sure if this applies to people in different countries, but here in the Netherlands people do. They will share their thoughts without you asking for it. Oh and we’re pretty direct as well. So we don’t cut around the bush, we’ll just tell you in your face. Straight up.

To be very honest, I think this attitude of voicing your opinion wherever you go, is rather annoying. Ofcourse I too have an opinion about things that go on in our world and about the way people treat each other. But I decide to only share my opinion when it’s needed or helpful. I don’t find it helpful when someone voices an opinion about someone else’s passion. Why? Because it can pull someone down instead of building them up.

You can tell I’m a bit frustrated hey? I guess I still am. Because I was on the other side of someone’s voice the other day. And although I tried to delete the words which were spoken from my memory, they are still floating around somewhere in my brain. The incident caused me to ponder on the following two questions: what are the voices you listen to? And: Who do you allow to speak into your life and into your business?


Love, love, love

I’ve been having meetings about ZoeteLiefde with different people. From bookstores to bookkeepers. And I’ve been loving it. I enjoy chatting about ZoeteLiefde, it’s mission and our purpose. We want to shower the world with love, because love can make a difference in people’s lives. Love changes people. Love encourages people. Love makes a way. I believe that with all my heart.

I was shocked. And I still am.
— Marina de Haan

A few weeks ago I received a Facebook inbox from someone who isn’t a Facebook friend. Someone felt led to voice his/her opinion about the mission of my business. I didn’t ask for advice, so the comment caught me by surprise. It said something in the lines of the following: “You shouldn’t name your company ZoeteLiefde (SweetLove), because kind words don’t help people. You should call it ZouteLiefde (SourLove), because people need salty words”.

Shocked to the bone

I was shocked. And I still am. It would never pop into my mind to tell someone they should give their business a new name. A business name stands for a higher vision. It’s like me telling Awura to rename her Creative Women Collective for whatever reason. I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous! What does my opinion about the name she chose have to do with her vision for her company?

The comment wasn’t helpful, and this person obviously doesn’t know me and what ZoeteLiefde stands for. The salty words that were spoken into my life that day could have easily wounded me. But I decided to do my best to let these words go. To not let these words, affect my business and why I do what I do. The comment made me actually more aware of the purpose of sweet loving words. Those are the words that bring healing. Those words bring restoration. Those words bring hope, joy, kindness & compassion. A huge contrast to the salty words I received, which seemingly aimed to create the opposite.



It brings me back to the two questions that popped into my mind earlier. I have a few friends in my life that encourage me, that are always real to me and that speak life into me and my business. I trust those friends completely. Those are the voices I listen to. I can hear other voices, but I decide when what voices I listen to, and to which I don’t.

Hopefully you have a few wonderful voices in your life. Voices that lift you up, voices that tell you to push forward, voices that love you no matter what. Hold on those people in your life. They are treasures!

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!



* Read part I to III from 'How to Start' here!

Photo:  Hind Mari

Photo: Hind Mari