Finding your jam when your passion is your bread and butter

Today I have Betz White  visiting, to talk about  what happened when she allowed herself to  dive deeper into her creative journey. Thanks Betz for your insight! AND we just love your jam!

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We creative entrepreneurs find ourselves in a fortunate yet tricky position. Our passions have evolved into our careers! Good for us, that is, if we can keep the passion flame burning while maintaining a good revenue stream. We need our “bread and butter” but we gotta have our “jam”!

I accidentally became a creative entrepreneur back in 2006 when my work caught the eye of several magazines, publishers and a producer from the Martha Stewart Show. I had left my career as a childrenswear designer to stay home with my young kids, make crafts and post them on my blog. In a flurry of PR I had a thriving one-woman business making and selling my felted wool creations. I rode the wave for a few years, working hard and saying yes to every opportunity that came my way. I eventually tired of making stuff to sell and transitioned into teaching others to make. In other words, designing sewing patterns and books and teaching DIY classes.


A designer at heart, I had found my niche. For the past 5+ years I’ve designed and sold craft and sewing patterns for bags and accessories all over the world. I love to sew and share what I make through my blog and online classes. It’s my passion! And then, like many creative people, I needed to catch my breath. In 2014 I signed up for Monica’s Smart Creative Style class to regroup, refocus, and remember what it was that I loved doing.

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For me, the course was the perfect balance between defining the visual and philosophical aspects of my business and honing in on the marketing to support the vision. It was exactly what I needed to move forward on my creative journey as I had just finished an intense year of writing my third book.

2015 has been a year of developing personal work and rediscovery. I promised myself that after my manuscript was turned in, I would allow myself to do some “personal work”. When your hobby and passion becomes your business, like mine did, your work becomes public. It feels less for you, even though it is your business!


So, I set up my vintage knitting machine that I had bought back in the 80’s after I graduated from fashion design school. I’ve always loved knitting and I’ve become completely obsessed with re-teaching myself how to use this amazing loom-like contraption.

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Earlier this month, after a full year of play, research and creative experimentation, I launched my new knits collection, Betz White Studio Knits. If you take a look back at my Smart Creative Style boards, you might see a reflection of what I’m doing today. In some ways I’ve come full-circle. Or maybe it’s more like a spiral, doubling back on a dormant creative inclination but re-inventing and shifting a bit with each pass.

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This side project has taught me that passions pivot and new (or old!) ones emerge. Often I worried that investing time in personal work would be at the detriment of my current sewing business. But I’ve been able to find balance by keeping the knitting on the weekends and sewing during the weekdays. When I work on one, it gives me a breather from the other, which I find to be like creative cross-training! I believe we have the capacity to embrace multiple passions.

I will always love sewing and consider it my bread and butter, but knitting is my jam!

Where to find me:

New! Betz White Studio Knits Collection: If you want more sign up for Betz’s newsletter Newsletter sign up

Sewing patterns, books, and DIY: : Instagram :PinterestTwitter :Facebook

More about Smart Creative Style Coaching here.

1 Comment

  • You spoke to something I have been afraid of in my photography – that creating my business around it would take the fun out of photography for me. I figured out that teaching photography would keep my personal love of photography “safe.” Now that you mention personal projects, I think that is another key. Thank you so much for this insight!

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