Your Guide

Portrait in green square

Patricia van den Akker

Patricia van den Akker is the Director of The Design Trust, and a creative business adviser, trainer & coach. She is known for asking thought-provoking questions, using creative exercises, connecting the dots and inspiring you to get into action to turn your ideas into reality. Are you ready? @TheDesignTrust

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this course

Are you struggling with your plans for the year right now? 

Not sure what to focus on and feel distracted easily?

On one level you might have a lot more time during this Covid-19 pandemic to work on new work or focus on your website or jobs that have been on your to do list for a very long time … on the other hand you might feel really lost, have less energy or you might be procrastinating and worrying. 

You might be busy and filling your days, but you are feeling lost and want to get more inspired and energetic again. 

It is hard to plan and look forward in uncertain times like this. 

What 'should' you be working on right now? Making more work? Lower your prices? Should you promote yourself at all?

Maybe all your usual venues have closed and your income is diminishing fast. You want to get some results and control back ... fast! 

Maybe you have had to adapt quickly to a lot of change and you find it hard to adapt. 

Many creative professionals are struggling right now, unsure of what to do next. 

For creatives like you we have created a new online course:

Planning, productivity & time management for creatives in uncertain times

What will I learn in this course?

In this online workshop of two x two hours Patricia van den Akker, the Director of The Design Trust, and an award-winning creative business adviser, trainer and mentor will help you to plan in uncertain times, get ready for the future, how to make time to work on the things that matter most in your creative business and practice, how to set goals and activities that will turn your ideas into reality.

In session one on Wednesday 29 April from 10am – 12noon (UK time) we will focus on your ‘big picture’, planning for the future, and setting goals and actions for the next 6 months:

  • Identify why NOW is the time to plan (very) long term or very short term, but not for the next few weeks or months! (Hint: it’s too foggy and unpredictable so don’t even try!) During this workshop you will make time to reflect on your values and purpose, and why you do what you do. This time is ideal to reflect and take stock, and Patricia will share some really thought-provoking questions and exercises with you. And she will show you how to make time for the things that are important to you as a creative and human being.
  • What drives you? What motivates you? Patricia will share with you the 5 key motivations of creatives, and how you can balance them more in your practice and business/career too. Is your creativity still serving you? What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of?
  • Urgent versus Important (AKA Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants): One of my favourite strategic planning and time management tools that can help you now uniquely during the pandemic to move away from urgency and delivering to other people’s time lines and focus more on what you and your business/practice needs.
  • How to work on YOU? As a creative you are at the heart of your business and practice. Without you there is no creativity or work, so it’s essential to focus on your physical and emotional wellbeing, especially at times like this! Through the creative and thought-provoking Wheel of Life exercise you will identify specific activities for you to make you more inspired, energised and healthier.
  • Working ON your business. What needs work in your business? What are you avoiding? What are the jobs that you can work on now to get your business in a better place for later?
  • Focus on creating a healthier creative business: If you want to make (more) money with your creative products and skills then you will need to focus on the 3 key areas of your business: your finances, clients & marketing and your products & services. In this session you will set financial goals for the rest of this year. Learn what the marketing activities are that you will need to focus on to get ready for your clients and sales. And which creative products and services to focus on. And Patricia will explain how these 3 areas interact closely with each other. Are you ready to make some decisions and work ON your business strategically?
  • Create your own 6 months business plan, with specific goals and activities for you to work on in terms of your finances, marketing and work.

In session two on Wednesday 6 May from 10am – 12noon (UK time) we will focus on productivity and time management, and how to turn your big ideas into practical activities:

  • What time management really is about … and why it’s not about doing more but about doing better.
  • Are you always short of time? Reflect on your relationship with time and how it makes you feel, and what to do if you are always short of time.
  • Are you a planner or do you prefer a bit more flexibility? Do you love to-do-lists and planning stationery, and are you the Queen of Planning but find it hard to take action? Or do you prefer to see what happens and go with the flow? Patricia will share top tips for both planners-who-don’t-take-enough-action and flexible-but-disorganised-creatives too.
  • How to set better boundaries and learn to say ‘no’ (without upsetting anybody!) One of the biggest time management issues is to commit to too much.
  • How to stop procrastinating … why you procrastinate, and what to do about it!
  • Why to-do-lists don’t work … and what to do instead. Patricia will share some great planning tools that actually work.  
  • How to turn your big ideas (from session one) into reality. Do you find it hard to get started with your work … or do you find it hard to finish? With lots of practical time management tips to get you going, stay on track (some great hacks!) and get you focused and get your work ‘done’!

In this two-session online course Patricia will combine thought-provoking questions with reflective and creative exercises.

You will learn strategic time management and productivity techniques that will help you way beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

You will get insight into your own personal preferences and how to tackle some of your productivity challenges.

You will be working on reviewing your purpose and values during and after the first session, and you will create your own do-able plan to get you and your creative business ready for the rest of the year.

Who is this course for?

We created this course as a direct result of the Covid19 pandemic. For creatives who:

  • Are feeling lost. You are not sure what to work on right now, and you might even have lost your purpose.
  • Are unsure what to work on right now. You want to make the most of your time and energy, but you feel less energised and more distracted. And it doesn't help that you are possibly away from your usual work space and with additional responsibilities and jobs. You want to get some clarity, focus and purpose again. You want to set goals and identify activities that you can do to give yourself and your creative business more chance to survive and thrive. 
  • Had to make a U-turn and completely change their plans for the year. Your usual sales options have changed rapidly, you might have had cancellations, and you need to create a plan to keep bringing in money.   

The Design Trust is a specialist online business school for designers, makers and other creative professional (visual) creatives. We work with crafts people, visual artists, people creating prints and photographs, to creatives who license work or work to commission for individual clients or other businesses. We work mostly with creatives who create products and services, such as jewellers, textiles, or work  in homewares or giftware - from creatives selling on Etsy to creatives selling highly individual high-end individual work and commissions, to creatives offering workshops. 

This course would also be suitable for creatives working in other creative sectors, such as music or film, as well as other life-style sectors such as creative food, beauty products. 

Can't make these days or times? No problem!

This is an online course (see below) and we will be recording both sessions, plus you can ask any questions afterward on our private online training platform too.

So, if you are super busy with other jobs and responsibilities right now or if you are in a different time zone in the world, and you are unable to join us on Wednesdays 29 April and 6 May from 10am - 12noon ... then no problem at all! You can watch the two online workshops whenever you like as you will have access till the end of 2020!

How does this online course work?

The Design Trust is an online business school for designers, makers and other creative professionals. We are based in London and have been teaching professional development workshops for creatives since 2012, working with 1,000s of creative professionals from across the UK and abroad.

We use Gotowebinar for the two live online workshops on Wednesdays 29 April and 6 May (from 10am - 12noon UK time). 

You log in from your own computer at home and can see and hear Patricia speak. She will get you involved with thought-provoking questions, creative exercises and will give you homework too to create your own mini-action plan for this year.

BUT ... this course is much more than just two online workshops of two hours each! You will have access to your private online training hub, where you will find all the info about your course, watch the video recordings afterwards, download the presentations, network with other participants, and you can also upload your homework exercises and get feedback, and ask any additional planning, productivity and time management questions you might have (before and after the workshops have finished). The software for the website we use is called Ruzuku, and it’s really easy to use!

This is an online course, which means that you can join us from anywhere in the UK and overseas. 

We highly recommend that you try to join us for the two live sessions, as we know from our experience that you will be joining in more and getting more out of your course. 

But if you are unable to join us live then remember that both sessions will be recorded and you will have access to them till the end of 2020. You can also ask questions during the live webinars, and also afterwards via our online platform.

To make the most of this course we think you might need 2 – 4hours to do the homework exercises and to create your own plan for the rest of 2020.

Who teaches this class?

Patricia van den Akker is the Director of The Design Trust. She has been a creative business adviser, trainer and coach for creative businesses for more than 20 years and has worked with 1,000s of creative businesses at any stage of their career.

Patricia is known for her thought-provoking and inspiring style. You won’t be told what to do … but she will ask you the questions so that you can start working on what you really want to do and achieve with your creative skills.

She combines ‘big picture’ thinking and will push you to dream even bigger, with real-life challenges to make it happen. She is very passionate about what really works when it comes to turning ideas into practice, how to overcome yourself, your procrastination and self-limiting beliefs.

In March 2018 she was voted the Number One Business Adviser in Design & Branding by Enterprise Nation. In July 2019 she was voted the Number One Business Adviser in the UK for Sales by Enterprise Nation!

The course costs

This online course exists out of 2 live sessions of 2 hours each on Wednesdays 29 April and 6 May.

In addition you get will get:

+ access to the recordings and presentations 

+ network with the other participants 

+ additional planning and time management resources.

This 4 hours course costs £25 (incl. VAT). Click the brown ‘register’ button at the top of this page to pay and join the online platform immediately.


What if I can't make it on these days or times?

This is an online course, and both sessions will be recorded. So if you are unable to join us live on Wednesdays 29 April and 6 May then that's not a problem at all. You can ask questions and upload the homework exercises on our private online training platform. And you have access to this course till the end of 2020, so you can do this course at your own pace.

What equipment do I need?

You will need access to a computer (ideally PC or Mac, laptop) with reliable broadband to access the live webinars. You can join with a tablet or your phone too, although older models might have an issue to communicate during the session with text boxes. You don't need a headset or microphone.

Times are hard ... any discounts?

We know that times are hard for many creatives. However, this planning & time management course would normally be double this rate, but due to the Covid-19 we are offering this at a lower rate than normal.

Our Business Club members get this course for FREE as an extra bonus for their loyalty. As our Business Club Membership is only £25/month you basically can get this course for free too + get immediate access to over 100+ online workshops, masterclasses, expert interviews and more. To join our Business Club click here, and then you can get the info about how to access this course in the intro pages of the Business Club.

We are also working with partners, including Space London and Cultivator in Cornwall, who are offering free or highly funded places. If you are a client of theirs then get in touch with them asap.  

What if I want to join this course with more creatives?

Purchasing a ticket will allow you only personal access. None of this course should be shared with others who haven't paid or to teach others in any form. Like you we are a small creative business and this course is our copyright that we have developed over 20 years. I know that you wouldn't like it either if others would steal your copyright and share illegally.

If you would like us to teach a group of creatives or within an organisational context the content of this course or you would like to join as part of a group then get in touch with you on as we can offer you a bulk discount.

Got any more questions?

Then drop us an email at We are happy to help you.