10 Tips For Starting Your Creative Business
Starting a creative business is hard. Mentally, it's one of the hardest things I've done. Because starting a creative business - any business - can mess with your mindset. Sometimes you feel like you're in it alone or that no one in your real life understands you.
So as someone who totally gets what you may be going through as a creative business owner - here's some quick business tips that I hope are helpful.
1. Get clear on your goals
Don't just say you want to start a business. When do you want to start by? How much do you want to make? What do you need to do in order to reach these goals? Get clear, write them down and assign due dates.
2. Separate your business and personal expenses asap
Right from the start if you can. Set up separate checking accounts and if you have to use a personal credit card when you start (like I did) - that's ok, but make sure all expenses are business related. Don't use that card for any personal charges.
3. Don't take that "no" personally
We're not going to win over all clients or have all proposals lead to a job. That's ok. Be ok with receiving no's once in awhile. It's not necessarily a reflection of your art or prices. There's a bunch of clients and customers out there for you. Don't let one no bring you down.
4. Don't spend too much time with branding at the beginning
And don't feel like you need to spend thousands to get a new website built or your photos taken. At the beginning, it's ok to do your own logo or even buy a semi custom one from Etsy. I did that for my first version of my logo. Your business will more than likely pivot a bit from your initial idea. So don't spend a lot of money on branding when your business could offer completely different services 6 months from now.
5. Get your contracts in place
Period. You exchange your services for money - you must have a contract in place. It doesn't matter if it's an exchange with a client or another vendor. Contracts will only protect you. There's never any harm in having one in place. I don't care if a vendor or client assures you that they'll pay. That's not the point. The point is a contract will clearly state what is expected from both parties.
6. Have a system
Get organized and systemized as early as possible. Use a project management tool like Asana. Have your workflows written down. This will help as you get busy and as you bring on people to help in your business.
7. It's ok if you pivot
Don't go chasing every shiny new thing - but if you seriously have a change of business heart - for example you thought you wanted to run an Etsy store, but now want to teach - that's ok. What you thought you loved may change. Or you may unexpectedly find something else drives higher revenue. Just please, don't pivot every other month.
8. Do what you love, outsource the rest
If you love editing videos but hate uploading to YouTube or writing blog posts and creating Pinterest graphics for that video - outsource. It's your business and you get a say in what you do or don't do.
9. Register your business properly
The moment you offer your products or services for sale and exchange money, you're a business. That means you should have your business licenses in place and make sure that you're following any tax laws based on your location.
10. Just start, even if you think you're not ready
Nothing is ever perfect. There is no perfect time to start. Don't wait until you've been at your craft for X amount of years. If you think you want to own a creative business, then get the ball rolling now.