Emma Lewis: Founder of Canvast

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Emma Lewis, founder of Canvast

Creating a product for women to encourage them and help them feel supported, valued and to remind them that they really can achieve anything they want to was the driving force behind Emma Lewis when she founded Canvast.  We spoke with Emma about what she loves most about being a boss, how Canvast aims to assist modern gals and her top 3 tips for starting a business.  Get ready for a truly inspirational read!

What was the inspiration behind Canvast?
I’ve always been a huge lover of planners.  I know the power behind planning; from productivity to having way more clarity and less stress – but I could never find one that fit my personality and the unpredictability of life. At the time of creating Canvast I was also going through a bit of a tough time personally, I would say that it really sparked the idea to create a product for women, to encourage them and help them feel supported and valued and remind them that they really can achieve anything they want to.  So I decided I would make my own!

What are your key products?
At the moment my hero product is of course the Canvast dateless planner.  The thing I love so much about it is that its never too late to start.  There’s no such thing as waiting for a new year to get your sh*t together.  And if you happen to drop the ball and stop using your planner for a month or two, there’s no such thing as wasted months anymore, you just pick up where you left off.  I also have a couple of digital products; one is a budgeting work book for women who are sh*t with money and want to be better, pay off their debt, start saving etc and I’ve also just recently added a PDF monthly chunk of the Canvast planner for anyone who isn’t 100% on whether or not a dateless planner is for them, so they can test it out and see how it goes before taking the leap!

I’ve also just started on a new collaborative secret project and I’m so excited for it! I think it’s something a lot of women are wanting/needing in their lives so I’m excited to make that one a reality and show everyone.  Give it 8 weeks or so 😉

“I honestly feel like the last 2-3 years has seen this massive change for women and the opportunities they have to create the life they have always wanted.”

How does Canvast aim to assist career women and girl bosses?
I honestly feel like the last 2-3 years has seen this massive change for women and the opportunities they have to create the life they have always wanted.  When I left high school it honestly felt like my options were either University or to go find an office job.  It’s incredible to see so many women doing what they’re passionate about and making their own rules.  But what comes with this is a ton of speed bumps; self-doubt, overwhelm, guilt with trying to everything for everyone all the time, never-ending to-do lists, juggling a social life, eating healthy, going to the gym, seeing friends, prioritising tasks etc.  Canvast is passionate about reminding you DAILY (every page is different, even if it’s only one little reminder) that you’re not alone.  It promotes setting goals and actually achieving them and it encourages self-care daily whether that’s the gym, meditating, reading or running a bath.  We have so much on our plates as women, and there is some sort of magic in getting everything out of your head and onto paper.

What do you love most about being a director/founder/boss?
It’s mind-blowing when I see women using Canvast, it’s honestly the craziest feeling.  Like, I made that.  And you’re using it. And look HOW you’re using it.  You’re getting sh*t done, you’re setting goals and being better and creating this life for yourself that you’re proud of.  It brings me to tears, constantly.  And if it weren’t for those women and the feedback I get, I probably would have given up by now.  Because owning a business is tough and there are sacrifices – but it’s so worth it.

“If it weren’t for those women and the feedback I get, I probably would have given up by now.  Because owning a business is tough and there are sacrifices – but it’s so worth it.”

What would be your top 3 tips or advice for someone wanting to start their own business?
OMG I’ve made so many mistakes, top 3 is hard!

  1. It can be EXPENSIVE (I spent my house deposit bringing Canvast to life) so do your due diligence, don’t just work with the first person who quotes you.  See how they work, how they communicate, do you gel with them? You want to enjoy the experience, so find someone who gets you and what you’re trying to achieve.
  1. Do as much as you can, but learn to delegate and outsource what you can’t.  If you tried to do everything you would never sleep, that’s the reality of it.  HONESTLY, listen to me when I say this….YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING.
  1. Be prepared to do some work on yourself.  Especially if you’re doing it alone, times will be tough.  You will doubt why you started, if you can keep going and what it’s all for.  It’s important that you’re constantly checking in with yourself, and if possible work with a good coach.  I’m actually branching into small business coaching, purely for those who want to start a business or very early stages of business so I’m open to anyone who wants to reach out for help as well. It’s something I’m really passionate about, and I know how much easier it is with a support system around you.

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How would you describe your work-life balance?
At the moment, terrible (ha!) I recently started back at work after 7 months off and lots of travel (which also meant lots of sleep ins and plenty of free time).  I’ve just gone back to shift work, and 10 hour shifts, which I’m not used to, so the last 6 weeks has really been about not drowning to be honest.  It’s definitely been an adjustment trying to find time for eating well and exercise which are super important to me, whilst also working big shifts and getting what needs to be done for Canvast done. But I do all of this so much better when I plan for it.  So I write when I’m exercising, what I’m eating, what time I’m waking up and how long I’m working for.  It takes the thought out of it. But there are definitely days I have to allow myself to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it. Because when I’m on, I’m on.

Apart from your Canvast planner, what is the one productivity or organisational tool you can’t live without?
This is a tough one because I feel like everything I needed to be organised and productive, I included in Canvast! But I use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts, I like that I can see what the feed is going to look like before I post.  My Instagram has never looked better than it does at the moment, because I took the time to plan the content.

Thank you so much Emma for sharing your business journey and tips with TDP (the top 3 are gold and so helpful for those just starting out!) To find out more about Canvast, head to the website and follow on Instagram for all the latest releases and updates.

Want to get your hands on your very own Canvast planner (or two – they make the perfect gift for a fellow career gal or girl boss)? TDP squad can get 2 Canvast planners for $100 (normally $139.90) with the code ‘spreadthelove’.  Get on it ladies!

TDP xo

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