Dreaming of turning your creative spark into a full-blown business?
Just imagine waking up each day, thrilled because you get to work for yourself and pour your heart into your creative passion! Whether you’re a writer, artist, or designer, you’re in good company.
But maybe you’re at a crossroads, feeling a mix of excitement and uncertainty.
Starting a business doing what you love is amazing, but let’s face it—it’s like diving into unknown territory.
Because being great at your craft doesn’t automatically mean you know the business side. Trust me, they don’t cover that stuff in art school!
Creating for fun or personal projects is way different from doing it for clients or aiming to sell. And running a creative business involves more than just creating…there’s taxes, invoices, legal stuff, contracts, and a whole lot more to handle!
No wonder you’re left scratching your head, wondering where to even start! It’s a juggling act between your creative drive and the nitty-gritty of business.
If this sounds like your story, I’m here to tell you that just because it sounds intimidating doesn’t mean it has to be scary. You just need a beginner’s mindset, a willingness to try, and reliable guidance to light your way.
And honestly, sometimes the best thing you can do is just START.
That’s why I’ve created this blog specifically for you: the creative who knows they have something incredible to share with the world, but needs a gentle nudge to just DO the damn thing and take those first steps with confidence.
This isn’t your usual guide—it’s a customizable roadmap to help you finally kickstart that creative business you’ve been dreaming up in your head.
Let’s transform those worries into actual game plans and those uncertainties into clear steps forward without the overwhelming or confusing business jargon.
We’ll dig into your dreams, sketch out your vision, figure out what you can offer, understand your ideal audience, and set the stage for an epic business launch.
Once you bring your business out and into the world, I’ll help you figure out your next steps, making sure you’re able to start, grow, and sustainably scale your business so that you can continue to thrive doing the work you love.
This isn’t just about getting you to that initial launch. It’s about launching a SUSTAINABLE business that can truly stand the test of time.
First things first: clarity is key.
“What exactly am I doing or striving for?”
Then, dig deeper and ask,
“More importantly, why am I doing it?
For example, my vision is to support creatives in business because I believe the world is a better place when people can do the creative work they love.
To make my kids proud and show them what’s possible in life!
Clarifying your “why” stands as one of the most critical tasks for both creatives and business owners. Surprisingly, it’s the one essential element that many businesses tend to overlook!
In my experience, not having a solid why is one of the top reasons businesses hit a wall.
That’s because, to put it frankly, running a creative business is tough work.
But brace yourself for challenges, curveballs, and unexpected hiccups (plus the highs, wins, and opportunities along the way).
Knowing your why becomes your guiding light. It keeps you pushing through tough times because you’re laser-focused on what really matters.
Put simply: clarifying your vision is how you make sure you’re happy with your business long-term.
So, don’t skip this step!
COO Tip: Need help figuring out your ‘why’? Check out this freebie I made just for you! It’s called the 7 Levels Deep exercise. It helps peel back the layers to reveal what truly drives you.
Understanding your market goes deeper than surface-level awareness.
Market research is your compass, ensuring your offerings sync perfectly with the real needs and desires of your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA). Start by diving deep into understanding your ideal client. Talk to them. Ask them questions. The better you know them, the stronger your connection.
But don’t stop there.
To conduct thorough market research, look beyond your ICA. Explore what similar businesses offer for inspiration and industry insights. It’s your pulse check to stay current and understand industry standards, helping you carve out unique opportunities to stand out in the crowd and price your offers competitively– which we are about to tackle in Step 3!
Here’s the thing: Your ‘great’ offer might not automatically resonate. In fact, good market research may actually uncover that.
Take a breath—no need to panic!
It might not feel great in the moment, but it’s better to see any flaws in your offers upfront before you put all your eggs in one basket! Strong market research exposes any weaknesses in your offers so you can fix and fortify them!
Sometimes, a minor tweak in your deliverables, features, or messaging can do wonders without abandoning your original idea. Market research is the secret sauce that consistently fine-tunes and elevates your offers, ensuring they resonate powerfully with your audience and give your business a winning edge.
Now it’s time to nail down what you’re selling – that’s your bread and butter. Without a specific product or service, you’re not really a business!
Luckily the market research you just did can help!
Sure– early on in business you may feel the need to get scrappy and take on unique projects that come your way. However, when you leave it up to clients to dictate what you do and how you do it, you can easily lose control and may even find yourself doing work that isn’t aligned with your vision.
Getting clear on what you want to do, how you’ll serve, what your offers include (and don’t!), and communicating those details clearly (contracts included!) is a game-changer. Trust me, it makes the client experience top-notch every time!
Once you’ve got that sorted, dive into pricing.
While this may initially feel daunting, it’s important to pull out your calculator and crunch some numbers. Ultimately your pricing structure needs to make sense so your business adds up! Consider all the factors, such as covering costs for materials, supplies, fees, or any subscriptions needed for your creative work.
The key is to ensure that your pricing not only covers expenses (not to mention your time and energy) but also allows you to be profitable so your business doesn’t become a really time-consuming, expensive hobby!
Finally, it’s time to dial in your offer messaging for your ideal customer. It’s not just about having something to offer, it’s how you sell it and who it’s intended for (no, you’re not selling to anybody and everybody). You need to share your offer in a way that speaks to your audience directly and specifically. Show them why your offers are so unique and showcase how investing in your product or service will benefit them.
Get ready to shout it from the rooftops!
Announce your business launch, throw open the doors, and engage with your ideal client avatar (ICA). Share your excitement with people in your community and reach out for support from those who can amplify your message.
Once you’re officially open for business, you need your first sale!
I know selling might feel outside your comfort zone at first, but it’s something you have to do to be a business owner– plain and simple!
It’s time to muster up your courage and remind yourself that you can do hard things!
When you’re crystal clear about your offer and how it genuinely serves your clients with top-notch quality, selling becomes more natural. It flows from a place of genuine service that your audience can sense and trust.
Sales, like any skill, demands practice and repetition. As you gain experience, you’ll find your groove and what works best for you.
So go ahead, make the offer and collect your payment– and make sure you have the proper backend systems and software to support invoicing!
If you sell a product, get to work creating and delivering your offer. For service-based businesses, it’s time to onboard your clients, providing a clear roadmap of what to expect and guiding them through the process ahead.
Celebrate! Seriously, this is a monumental achievement. You deserve to revel in the satisfaction of making your first sale– woohoo!
You’ve earned it!
Maybe it’s treating yourself to a favorite meal, having a mini dance party, filling up your creative cup, or simply taking a moment of quiet reflection to recognize the significance of this milestone.
Share the news with loved ones, update your journal, or set aside time to acknowledge your achievement in a way that feels truly meaningful to you.
This sale represents the beginning of your success story. So, whether it’s a high-five to yourself or a toast to the future, embrace this moment and let it fuel your momentum moving forward.
Now comes the fun part – fulfilling what you promised. It’s time to go above and beyond for your clients.
Make their experience your priority, ensuring every interaction leaves them not just satisfied but delighted.
But that’s not all.
Consider crafting a post-sale experience that wows them – a thank-you note, a follow-up call, or a surprise gift. It’s these thoughtful touches that elevate your brand from good to exceptional.
And don’t forget to ask for referrals!
Happy clients make the best (free) marketing team for your creative business. Their word-of-mouth recommendations can be a powerful asset. Nurture these relationships! These are the people who will champion your brand and bring in more like-minded customers.
Remember, the sale is just the beginning of a relationship. It’s the effort you put into maintaining and enriching that connection that truly defines your success.
Ask for feedback from your clients, listen attentively, and use it to fine-tune your offerings.
I know requesting feedback can feel intimidating (especially if you consider yourself a recovering perfectionist) but constructive input is essential to your growth!
There are lots of ways to gather feedback:
But here’s the key: Listen attentively!
Don’t just collect feedback for the sake of it! Absorb it, dissect it, learn from it, and use it as a roadmap to level up your business.
As a lifelong learner, I believe the best thing you can do in your business is never stop getting better.
Learn from your ideal clients – what’s working, what’s not, and how you can do it even better next time.
When you notice what can be improved, you can then create the right systems to help you achieve better outcomes for you, your creative work, your clients, and your business.
Spotting areas for improvement isn’t the finish line; it’s the starting point. You’ll also need to create systems that drive progress—systems that not only benefit you but also elevate your creative process, enhance your client experiences, and ultimately fortify your business.
Anything you do more than once should have a system!
Establish systems for your business operations and make them a habit, refining and improving your workflow at every turn. Systems ensure you’re never working from scratch when it comes to repeatable tasks saving you time and energy!
Create rhythms to support those systems and ensure you’re regularly returning to your “why”, conducting up-to-date market research, refreshing your offers, converting leads into sales, and refining your client experience.
Systemization–that’s the secret sauce to a sustainable business.
While getting your business up and running once and for all is a huge milestone, launching your creative business isn’t just about that initial step. It’s a continuous process of growth, learning, and refining your craft.
Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination.
If you need support at any point along the way, I’m always here to help. Whether you’re looking for a self-paced learning experience or in-depth 1:1 coaching support, I offer a variety of services and resources to fit your goals and your budget.