Being able to quit your day job to turn your creative passion into your main source of income sounds like living the dream. If you love your career, you never have to work a day in your life, right?
Well, hold your horses. It’s one thing to have a fulfilling hobby you spend your spare time on, but it’s another thing to build a business around it (spoiler – it’s not all fun).
If you are set on having a small creative business then start by following these steps to help get you started on the right foot.
Start With A Business Model
A business model lays out how a company works to make money. It answers key questions to justify the business’s existence. Such questions include:
- • What problem does your product solve?
- • Who are you selling your product to?
- • What is your unique selling point?
- • What competencies can you leverage to find success?
- • How will you reach your target audience?
- • Who makes up your competition?
- • What is the state of the industry you will be operating in?
- • How will your customers pay you for your products? Is it a one-time purchase or a subscription?
- • How much will you sell your products for? How much are your customers willing to pay?
- • Who can you partner with to deliver value to your customers?
If you can answer all these questions honestly, you can be more confident about actually starting your business.
Create A Business Plan
A business plan outlines the way for your business’ success in the future. It has clear, actionable steps that when executed properly leads to positive outcomes. You cannot be simply stating your ambitions with no concrete processes to get your business to your lofty goals.
Business plans are also created with the intention of showing them to possible investors. This means you need to make yours as simple as possible in order to keep the attention of who you are asking to get capital from. An exhaustive 50-page document is not going to be an enticing read.
Use images, charts, and graphs to visualise the structure and flow of your business operations, roadmap, and projections. As a creative, you can use your skills to make your business presentable and digestible. It will also help you and your partners in business stay focused on what you need to do when you refer to your business plan.
Lastly, it will be easier to revise your business plan when you inevitably have to due to changes you have little to no control over.
A Quality Product is Your Foundation
Funding is the lifeblood of any business, and if you aren’t sitting on any capital to jumpstart yours, you need to convince investors to fund you. A solid business model and slick business plan can only take you so far. You need to prove to your potential investors that the product you are going to sell is good and ready.
You will be hard-pressed to find the funding you need if you don’t have any products to show. Work on making them as good as possible, whether they’re handmade crafts or graphic design services. It will show to investors that you have the skills to deliver on your promises. This is why having a portfolio is so important, especially for artists.
Get Investors Familiar With Your Market
Even with a quality product to showcase, it is still difficult to get the investments to launch your business. Don’t burn yourself out presenting your business plan and product to every possible angel investor or venture capitalist you can find. Look for investors who know your niche.
To help you start with your search, you can check out the following groups that connect startups with investors:
- • Creative England is an all-around business accelerator with services catering to creative startups
- • CrowdCube is crowdfunding for startups
- • UnLtd. helps startups that have a social issue angle to their business
Establish Your Branding
Your business’ branding is its identity. It’s how you want your target audience to perceive your business. You can build this off the personality and passion that your products exude. The brand is reflected through your business’ logo, your choice of typeface, your colour scheme, and other such identifiers. The key is consistency between all these design elements. If you are a visual artist, you’ll have an eye for aesthetics, so take full advantage of that talent.
Another important aspect of branding is making sure you establish your digital presence as soon as possible. This includes having a website and creating official accounts on all the relevant social media for your business. These are avenues for conveying essential information about your business, creating engaging content, and communicating directly with your customers.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the biggest platforms. If you want to maximise your social media reach, you need to have accounts on these platforms. YouTube is a must if you’re in the business of video production. Just keep in mind that social media is not about the hard
sell; it’s about crafting an identity and messaging that people can relate to.
Drumming up interest in your creative business takes a while when you’re starting from scratch. Your family, friends, and acquaintances will have to serve as your initial customer base. Join social media groups for people who share your creative interests. You might just find yourself a business partner.
Attend industry events such as workshops, galleries, trade shows, and networking activities. These spaces are where you can really start to build your professional network. Stick with creatives that are on the same level in your career path for now. You have a better chance of getting a response from fellow startup creative entrepreneurs who are also likely eager to make connections than from established business owners.
Once you have a sizeable audience and industry credibility, you can target the bigwigs for bigger opportunities. This includes popular media publications that can take your business to the next level with a feature that introduces you to the world.
Read Up on the Regulations
You have the responsibility of reading up on the law regarding starting a business:
- • As a micro or small business, you can keep things simple by registering as a sole trader. If you want to protect your personal wealth from financial risk, you can register as a limited company.
- • Find out what licences you need with this licence finder tool.
- • When selling products online, take note of the distance selling rules to follow.
- • Remember the VAT rates for goods and services.
- • Learn about your intellectual property rights to copyright your creative works.
If your budding business needs a physical space to work in, give us a call at 0117 244 3585 and we’ll help you find affordable co-working spaces in Bristol, Cardiff, and Manchester.