Should You Start a Creative Business? The 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

by | 20 Jun, 2018 | Creative Life

You love crafting & creating, have googled how to make money online, and dream of leaving the rat race to start your own creative business.

Is it time to turn those dreams into a reality? There’s a few key questions you need to ask yourself to make this happen. Don’t be dissuaded by any of them, but do be really honest.

If you’d love to sell your creative work to put something out into the world and give you a budget for the next project, that’s totally fine, but a completely different aim to planning to start a creative business and leave your day job in 6 months.

Reality Check: Does Running a Business Really Appeal?

Running any business involves huge amounts of work that’s nothing to do with producing the thing you’re actually selling; creating and listing on websites, marketing, finances… does all of that appeal to you?

The good news is that much of this work also needs creativity – photographing your work, learning how to connect and share your work with your audience, thinking creatively about how to grow your business. Ask yourself, are you willing to embrace those aspects too?

Do You Have The Business Skills?

Don’t be put off by this one, but have a little audit of the skills you’ll need, e.g., photography, writing, marketing, developing new ideas, awareness of money…

Where do you already have experience and where will you need to learn, collaborate or later outsource? How can you start to learn and implement these things today?

Will People Buy Your Stuff?

Eugh, this one! Will people actually buy what you’re selling?

“You have your own internal barometer on whether your products are ready to sell - find the balance between perfectionism that stops you trying and getting something good out there.” - Moira Fuller, Craftiosity Click To Tweet

You’ll have your own internal barometer on whether your products are ready – it’s finding that balance of not being *sooo* much of a perfectionist that you never try, but also getting something good out there.

And you have to get your work out there, so you can learn what people like and develop your work.

Have a watch of this lovely video of Ira Glass talking about learning to be a writer, with truth for all of us.

How Committed Are You?

This is a key one to run through the honesty filter!

What are you willing to do to create and run a creative business and – also important – what do you want to get out of it?

These two need to be lined up – if you’re looking for a hobby business and are happy to put in a few hours a week, all’s good.

If you want a full time creative business, you’re going to need to work your socks off, do things that are out of your comfort zone – and some things you don’t like doing – for a good couple of years to get your baby off the ground. Are you up for that?

What About The Money?

You’ll need some money to get started – even if it’s just for materials and listing on Etsy or signing up to your first local craft or art fair – but I’m a big fan of the Lean Start Up method of ‘fail fast, fail cheap’.

“No matter your goal, you’ll be learning when you first take your creative work out in the world to sell, so go out with an attitude of ‘test, test, test’, learn what people want, and keep moving forward.” - Moira Fuller, Craftiosity Click To Tweet

You can’t do this if you spend all your savings (or time!) on launching.

So no buying 10,000 business cards up front or booking straight into a big trade show when you haven’t established an audience for your work.

My Gran used to say some folk ‘could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’; that’s your task here, figure out what you need to do to get your work out there and the leanest way of doing that.

How did you get on?

If this excites you, I think you’ve already answered your own bigger question. Are you ready to start your own business? What’s your next step now?

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