Everyone has a passion in life. But you possess something rare: the drive to turn that passion into a full-time business. The leap to self-employment can feel as terrifying as it is exciting, but with the right tools in your kit and a solid foundation beneath you, your passion will propel you to unimaginable heights. Here are our tips on how to start a creative business:
Understand your market.
Your business may have started small: Your workstation was your kitchen table, your sales were made up of supportive friends and family. But, when you’re good (and we know you’re good) things can take off quickly. The first step to transforming your side-hustle into a full-time gig is understanding the market you’re entering. You can do this by asking, and researching, a few key questions:
- Is there a gap in the market for my product or services? Am I addressing a problem that’s not been solved yet?
- Who are my competitors? How do they promote or sell their product, and what makes mine unique? Why should a potential client choose me over them?
- Who is my ideal client? The more you understand about who you’re selling to, the better you can tailor your marketing and promotional tactics. Are your potential buyers on Instagram versus Tik Tok? What’s their demographic – age, gender, location?
- Where do I want to be in three months? A year? What does success look like to me?
In addition to answering these questions, there are some low-cost and low-stakes steps you can take to gauge the demand in your market. For example, you can set up a website and social media platforms for your business. Sharing pictures of your products, videos of your process, or gushing words from your happy customers is an easy and free way to get your name out there.
Depending on your creative passion, you can also research trade shows you can attend to show off your work. Or, if you have the means, you can put together sample boxes of your products and gift them to local business or online influencers who may want to carry and promote your work. These steps, while not costing much, can have a massive pay-off.
Don’t get caught playing catch up. Establish a business plan from the start
It’s tempting to get distracted by the vision of a self-sufficient business where work doesn’t feel like work and you have the balance and flexibility in life you’ve always dreamed of. But this is your final destination. It’s not your starting point.
“A dream without a plan is just a wish.” – Katherine Paterson
Grounding yourself in a solid business plan – and referring back to it often – keeps the passion alive in your passion project! Rather than feeling out of control, bogged down with self doubt, and questioning every decision you make, your business plan is the rudder that steers you along so you can keep loving what you do.
Not only is a business plan essential to you strategically, it’s also necessary for the financial side of things. For example, your business plan will outline any initial start-up costs you’ll need to cover. If you’re planning on getting a loan or funding for your business, your business plan will be implemental not only in getting approval but in securing the amount of funds you need.
You can also project and plan for future costs you might encounter, which is why your business plan should develop and grow with you. You might find yourself getting more orders than you can handle on your own and decide to bring in an assistant to help – a common early lesson in how to start a creative business. You should adjust your business plan to accommodate this new cost and take the time to plan what it looks like if you continue to grow at this rate.
A good accountant is the best business coach
There’s a lot of advice out there, and self-proclaimed experts in all avenues of the business world. It’s tough to work out who you can reach out to that’ll offer you the best support, from day one of your business and on into the future. A good accountant won’t just be a bookkeeper (though this is an essential building block). They’ll also:
- Provide you with financial awareness
- Teach you what the numbers you’re producing mean, and help you make informed decisions around them.
- Give hiring advice
- Answer pricing queries
- Help organize the daily runnings of your operations
- and so much more.
Not only will an accountant help foresee and prevent problems, they can also find business-changing opportunities you might’ve missed. Your accountant has the in-depth knowledge to guide you on how to start your creative business, spotting investment opportunities or formulating a plan for how you can make the most of your profits.
Sometimes, all it takes is a single sale or new client for your business to change overnight. Take our client, Carrie, who’s jewelry business was growing steadily when a contract with a wholesaler nearly doubled her profits. A sudden change like this, even a positive one, can be paralyzing. What’s next? What does this mean? For me? My business? My taxes? By investing the time and money at the very start of her business to correctly set up her systems with us, Carrie didn’t miss a beat and was able to save, and invest, far more than if she had been doing things on her own. You can read more about Carrie’s story here.
It’s important to ask for help.
Being a business-owner can feel like a circus act, where you’re spinning a plate on each finger, one on your foot, and another on the tip of your nose. Having a solid support network, like a brilliant accounting firm, and being proactive with your planning is the best way to transform your passion into a sustainable, full-time business. If you’re ready to stop wishing and start looking into how to start a creative business of your own, contact Raedan here and let us take this leap together.