Michelle T Smith  Ceramic Artist Brisbane Australia

Carmen Darwin, Design & Lifestyle Coach for Women who Work From Home
August 2017

Michelle T Smith


Tell us a bit about the business that you are creating?

I am a small batch nostalgia inspired ceramic artist.

What are your three core values in your working life right now?

Family, work/life balance, friends.

What’s the hardest part of running a business from home?

I miss creating with other like minded artists. I get distracted by things and people in the home. Sometimes I get lost in work and spend all day in my pj’s.

Ceramic artist

What’s the most rewarding part of running a business from home?

Sometimes I get to work all day in my pj’s. 

I don’t waste time in traffic and worrying about things that need to be done at home. 

My husband works at home as well so we get to see each other all day­ if we want to.

What fears did you have about starting your business?


My biggest fear was that people wouldn’t find me and or like my work.

Michelle’s Ceramice Work

Photograph by  Michelle Smith

“My biggest fear is that people wouldn’t like me or find my work.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running your home­ based business?

Routine is critical, schedule times to do those terrible admin tasks, and plan patterns of behavior that fit into the day. (No
good going to the studio when you know everyone is about to come home and ask for lunch or dinner).


How do you find the right balance between being a partner, wife or mother and running your business?


I guess you need to give yourself permission to be ‘selfish’­ I try to be Michelle the person as much as possible so that
Michelle the artist gets a look in. Wife and mother are my default personalities so they always get a turn. When I’m in the
studio they all know I’m working so I think the geography of having a dedicated space also helps.

On a scale of 1­-10 how much does your business light you up?OMG 9


What do you wish you had in your business that you are still
A studio assistant to help with the physicality of the job.
In moments of doubt, how do you overcome it and lift yourself back up?
I call my artist friends who have great belief in me, look through my journal, and back through my photos of successful

Handmade Dinner Plates in Soft Yellow

Photograph by Carmen Darwin

Who is your support crew if you have one? 

My daughter helps me in the studio, my friend Kate is amazing and is always there for me when I need to talk over some ideas.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given? 

Being an artist is 60% art 40% admin. Believe in and back yourself.
What’s a brief summary of the pathway it took to get to where 
you are now?
I was a hairdresser, jeweler, hairdresser again, hairdressing teacher, mother, hairdresser then finally an artist.
How important are grit, determination, and persistence to you in growing your business?
Maybe grit and determination not so much. I am lucky I am prolific in production so I find because of this I get to try many
different avenues for my work and this persistence to find a series of work that people connect to and respond to comes
quite naturally.
Which of your personal traits are you most proud of?
I am a great judge of character, a skilled social observer, and a really intuitive person so I think this helps me find a connection
to people through my art.
What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?
The hardest thing is that I have to make all the creative decisions myself.

What do you still want to achieve on a personal level?

I have realised that the number of hours you commit directly relates to the outcome of your skill and I am therefore always aiming for that next level of expertise. I know I will always be in learning mode with this craft and that fuels my enthusiasm and wonderment.

What sacrifices have you made starting a business?
I think drawing money from the family income to support what is essentially an egocentric journey was quite difficult, so I have had to do a lot of saving and pull back on spending on luxury items until I got on my feet financially.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Most of my work is related to a nostalgic connection to family or past happenings so I find the most inspiration in historical
find the most inspiration in historical events, family stories.

Who’s a woman you deeply admire?

Gwynne Hansen Piggo 

What do you still want to achieve on a personal level?
I would love my work to be collected and have an installation in a public space.
What do you find most frustrating about your home workspace?
Never enough space.

What’s your favorite thing about your home workspace?

It’s mine.

Until next time, Carmen x

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