WINNER ‘Progress toward circularity’ Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023

10 Things to Consider When Starting Your Creative Business

Starting a new creative business in 2022? Here are ten things you'll want to consider when you're starting out.

If you’ve been thinking about starting up a business focused on your creative practice, consider this your sign to get started. And if you already have a creative business, be sure that these 10 aspects of a successful business have been considered so that 2022 will be your best year yet. 

Want to get a comprehensive crash course in creating a home-based business with first-hand insight from the best creative businesses and their founders? Pick up a copy of Making a Living: How to Craft Your Business by Sophie Rochester or join the Making a Living Programme to be a part of the community that will help your idea thrive.

Making a Living book and digital programme

1. Make your aims and objectives known

Every business needs to have a clearcut goal in order to achieve results. Your business might have one simple goal, or it might have many overlapping aims, but clearly spelling out what it is you hope to achieve is the first step in producing a concrete business plan that will enable you to construct your creative business. In order to do this, it’s important to understand the motivations behind starting your business. Do you want to share a unique skill with the world and enable them to discover how rewarding a certain craft is? Are you trying to revive a craft that has otherwise been buried under years of disuse? Or do you want to incite creative cultural exchange? Decide what your objectives are, and remember them throughout each step of your planning process.

2. Be specific about your target audience

Your audience might range from complete beginners to your craft, to those who are seeking to become masters themselves. They might want to pick up a creative skill for the sake of leisure, or else they may be interested in purchasing unique products from independent makers. Figure out who your main audience is to better understand how to brand yourself, and to hone your use of language to their needs. 

3. Be strict with your budgeting

A pain point for many creatives but oh, so necessary, proper budgeting helps you track the material aspects of your business that keeps it running smoothly. It also helps you better understand what you should be charging for your services or products. Your business needs to be sustainable so that you can continue reading your goals, so keeping budget in mind from the very beginning is good practice. There are many helpful budgeting templates available online, including templates available via our Making a Living Programme.

Close up of arm of person at desk writing on paper

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

4. Materials and resources

Where do you source materials from? What resources, both free and paid-for, are available to your creative business? And which resources are worth investing in? Whilst the answers to these questions will differ from business to business, it is important to consider them before starting out, and continually as you build your brand. You will likely already be knowledgeable about where to source materials specific to your craft, but as your business progresses, you might find some suppliers who offer bulk discounts, or others that can provide sustainability credentials. You may also find towards the beginning of your journey that there are some aspects of business best taken care of by yourself or by using free software, but as it grows, it may be worth your while to put money towards business management or commerce products that will make your life easier.

5. Sustainability

One of the major shifts in society in recent years is the focus on sustainability. As a creative practitioner, you might already focus on sustainability without even realising it. One of the best things about making with your hands is its affinity with slow living. Making also helps participants understand the use of materials and what goes into the creation of things. With all this in mind, think about what sets your practice apart in terms of sustainability. How does it help the planet, or what makes its impact on the environment a good one? Hone your messaging to reflect this, and opt for materials that help you achieve sustainability goals. It’s not just for your own conscience, either; studies show that sustainability is one of the most important factors when choosing a product to buy.

You can read more about how Yodomo makers take sustainability into account through the use of recycled or dead stock materials, practicing mending instead of replacing and more.

Dyeing plants in a basket with scissors

Image from Grow Your Own Colour Kit

6. Social impact

We love creative businesses because they offer so much more than just commerce. There is a whole world of social impact that your business can affect, and getting both the messaging and implementation of this right is vital for the success of your business. This goes hand-in-hand with your aims and objectives, where considering the desired social impact can help you lay out your goals and produce a business plan. And if social impact is a part of your business from its very initiation, you’ll find it that much easier to create messaging around this for the sake of marketing.

7. Marketing for the digital age

In the age of social media and digital marketing, the ways to get your product seen are endless. You likely want to start off with social media that builds on your existing network of friends, family and followers. This will provide a great backbone to build your following and a base of repeat customers that you can continually market towards. Once everything else is in place, you may want to put some spend behind advertising. Be prepared to do some testing here as it often takes a bit of trial and error to get the right combination of words, imagery, parameters and timing. Once you’ve gotten it right, it’s just a matter of tweaking it in line with updates with the platforms you use.

There is, of course, so much more to consider when marketing your product, including brand design, public relations, collaborations, SEO, newsletters... The list goes on. To get a comprehensive overview of marketing for creative businesses, take a look at Making a Living: How to Craft Your Business. 

Three people attending a workshop on making a willow star

8. Join a community

A community of like minded people is a great resource for finding support and tapping into knowledge of those who likely have gone through similar steps as you. There are so many groups of creatives and business owners alike who may be able to share their stories at all stages of their journey, and to whom you may want to lend a helping hand. Social media provides a great place for this type of social interaction if there aren’t any physical places near you that you can take advantage of.

If you’re looking for a community of creative business owners or makers who are looking to start their business, we recommend our own Making a Living Programme, which gives you access to valuable templates for your business as well as a community to help you on your journey.

9. How adaptable are you?

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that resilience and adaptability is a must when it comes to business. COVID-19 threw many of the best businesses for a loop, and those who were able to rally weren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources but the ones who were able to adjust according to the new and ever-changing situations at hand. Think about how you might adapt your business if issues such as new trade laws, lockdown restrictions or licensing regulations come about that might affect your business. You needn’t propose a full-fledged solution, but it’s wise to consider how you might go about creating a plan to navigate tricky terrain.

10. How will you scale?

If all goes well, at some point, you may need to scale your business in order to satisfy a growing customer base. Figuring out how to scale your business is a good problem to have, but knowing that it’s possible to do so is necessary in order to plan out a business that has potential to grow. It is also important to ensure that your aims are continually fulfilled as you scale your business, so that you don’t lose quality or the essence of your creative practice when you grow.

Ready to jump in and start your creative business? 2022 is the year. Get a copy of the Making a Living book or join the free programme today to fast-track your way to success.