When someone asks you,
How do you answer?
Have you ever fumbled to find the right words or felt a bit awkward calling yourself an entrepreneur as a creative business owner?
I get it!
It took me YEARS to see myself as an entrepreneur, or even a business owner. Those titles felt far bigger, loftier, and more “serious” than my creative work and what I was doing, especially early in my career as a freelance graphic designer.
At that time my default answers flip-flopped back and forth from “designer” to “freelancer” haphazardly.
In a world that usually pictures entrepreneurs in suits and serious meetings, claiming that title as a creative might feel a bit like playing pretend (hello, imposter syndrome).
But what if I told you that being a creative is like having a secret superpower for entrepreneurship?
I wholeheartedly believe creatives are born entrepreneurs.
In this blog, we’ll explore why creatives actually make the BEST entrepreneurs and 3 reasons why naming and claiming the title of entrepreneur can help you thrive as both a creative and a business owner!
You might be wondering,
“What exactly is a creative entrepreneur?”
I define a creative entrepreneur as anyone who uses their creative skills, talents, or passions to make a living or earn an income.
By any other name, creative entrepreneurs are makers, artists, designers, writers, artisans, craftsmen, musicians, freelancers…they go by MANY titles.
But the challenge is a lot of these creative business owners don’t actually see themselves as ‘entrepreneurs,’ or ‘business owners’ (and ‘self-employed’ doesn’t always seem to translate, no matter how true)!
And I think it’s one of the biggest things holding creatives back!
It’s time to redefine what creative entrepreneurship looks like.
A definition that doesn’t make you choose between:
Instead this new definition of a creative entrepreneur opens up space for all of these facets of YOU to co-exist and support one another.
What if the new definition of the creative entrepreneur made room for you…
It’s all about shifting from CREATIVE to CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR and here’s why you’re perfectly positioned to claim this title and run with it!
Let’s explore the unique qualities that make creatives like you born entrepreneurs!
Creatives have this unique knack for seeing the world through a different lens. We’re not afraid to find ways to improve and expand the world around us.
Where others might see challenges, we see opportunities. When faced with problems, we see alternative solutions.
At the heart of entrepreneurship lies innovation, and that’s where creatives shine.
Creatives have a special knack for making something out of “nothing.” – it’s almost like magic.
When I was a kid, I had this habit of collecting stuff– things that others thought were useless.
Where others saw trash, I saw potential; a chance to build and create art.
Today, my daughter does the same thing (to my husband’s dismay,) and I’ll admit, I’ve even rolled my eyes at her “treasures” more than once.
But creatives see the potential where others see waste. That is at the core of our resourcefulness and entrepreneurial nature.
Passion is what drives us in everything we do.
We love our work, and when you’re passionate, it’s tough to slow you down!
We tackle challenges and obstacles that might halt others because we genuinely care, we know why we do the work we do, and our work holds deep meaning for us!
I truly believe this is the secret sauce that leads to longevity in business instead of a flash-in-the-pan business. Things will go wrong, obstacles will present themselves, and managing your business will be HARD work!
Even when you love what you do, being an entrepreneur is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows!
The key is that when you’re passionate about your work, it’s a labor of love.
Connecting to this deeper why helps you persevere when the going gets tough!
As creatives, we dream big, have a wide variety of skills, and are often brimming with new ideas!
Our well-rounded, diverse interests often mean we can see things that don’t exist yet!
Our minds are overflowing with possibilities, and that’s why we’re often interested in many different things (I’m talking to my multi-passionate creatives) – we just can’t contain all the exciting thoughts!
We have a vision of making the world better, creating better things, and making everything more beautiful. It’s something we can see clearly, even when others find it challenging or impossible.
Creatives are natural risk-takers!
And you know what?
Entrepreneurs thrive on taking risks too! In fact, it’s somewhat of a prerequisite.
It’s no wonder they’re a match made in heaven!
What sets creatives apart in the business world is that we’re seasoned pros when it comes to turning mistakes into lessons. We know how to fail fast and forward and understand that “failure” is a necessary, unavoidable part of the iterative process whether we’re making art or building a business!
In the creative world, it’s all about trying, failing, and trying again with more information and experience. Learning and improving are basically built into our DNA – it’s a part of our creative process and a necessary ingredient in any successful, resilient business venture.
Now that you’ve seen why creatives shine as entrepreneurs, let’s explore what this means for you.
Here are 3 compelling reasons why it’s crucial that you step into your role as an entrepreneur and fully embrace it. When you do, you open the door to more success and fulfillment in your creative business.
When you call yourself an entrepreneur, you’re essentially saying “hell yes!” to new opportunities.
Making this declaration (even if it’s just in your head) shows that you’re open to sharing your creative work not just for your own joy but to make a real impact as a business owner.
This commitment might mean turning your artistic passion into a thriving online store or transforming your craft into workshops that inspire others.
Choosing to identify as an entrepreneur lets you see that your creativity is more than just a form of self-expression; it’s also a route to earning a steady income and improving the lives of your clients and customers.
So, by embracing this title, you stop undercutting and undervaluing what you bring to the table and start dreaming about a future where your creativity not only feels fulfilling and inspiring but also pays your bills.
So many creative entrepreneurs struggle with self-doubt.
As designers, writers, makers, and artists, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, questioning if your work measures up to your peers. In the business realm – especially one lacking specific resources for creatives – it can feel isolating. You might even question if you’re cut out for this business stuff.
But when you call yourself an entrepreneur, you can start to confront imposter syndrome. It’s a strong statement that you believe what you create is valuable, and you are confident you can turn your creative projects into a successful business.
This change in how you see things turns the story from ‘Can I do this?’ to ‘How can I make this work as a successful venture?’
This mindset shift flips the conversation. Instead of wondering if it’s possible, you start figuring out how to make it a success, rather than questioning if it will be a success.
Creatives aren’t “just” artists, writers, designers, or crafters. They’re also natural innovators, disruptors, and visionaries.
Side note: Can we all agree to stop calling ourselves “just” anything, ever???
As creatives, we possess a natural inclination to create things that people both want and need. This organic process often blossoms into a business.
Calling yourself an entrepreneur is a nod to those skills and abilities that you may have taken for granted in the past.
It can be a serious confidence booster!
What you’re good at goes beyond your creative work– these skills can be incredibly valuable, even in areas of your business where you might lack confidence right now, such as marketing or crafting memorable client experiences. Surprisingly, these aspects of business demand a significant amount of creativity!
And even if you don’t feel like you have the resources to claim this yet, once you have direction and reliable guidance, you can channel your creative skills into these areas of your business too!
When you embrace your natural entrepreneurial spirit it can help you see how your abilities translate into so many areas of life, creative work, and business.
If creatives are natural-born entrepreneurs, why do many creatives struggle to start or keep their businesses going?
It’s a valid question that I hear a lot.
Creative entrepreneurs often take a different path to business, similar to tradespeople, who are creatives in their own right. Unlike the more traditional MBA route (no shade, my husband has his MBA!), our businesses grow more naturally from our passions and skills.
As creatives, we make things or have unique skills. Then, someone might ask for our help with a project or want to buy our art, product, or services. Suddenly, our passion, hobby, or skill starts making money. And it keeps growing! This is how many creatives end up with “accidental businesses.” Somewhere along the way, it just happens.
The problem is, without a solid, intentional foundation for building a business, these accidental businesses can quickly spiral out of control and morph into something that worked for a while but doesn’t serve you, your creative work, or your lifestyle anymore.
This makes it tricky to navigate unfamiliar areas like pricing, taxes, legal stuff, and business viability.
Creatives in business are often left with urgent questions like:
It can be scary and the lack of resources and support tailored for the organic growth of creative businesses is seriously lacking.
It’s crazy to me that this huge gap exists.
Especially because you HAVE to have some level of creativity to be an entrepreneur in the first place and creatives are natural entrepreneurs.
So, what can you do about it?
Let’s talk about how you can bridge the gap between your creative side and your entrepreneurial side in your business.
It all comes down to owning your entrepreneur title early on and treating your creative business as a real business even when it feels like a side hustle or a glorified hobby.
Easier said than done.
But, the sooner you can CLAIM your role as entrepreneur and CEO, the sooner you can ask the right questions, find the right support, and access the right resources that you and your creative business really need.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a creative entrepreneur which means you have to blaze your own trail. As much as you may WISH you could just copy and paste someone else’s business model, the truth is that will never leave you with a truly aligned business.
You deserve a business that is entirely of your own design.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t lean on resources to guide your way. The trouble is, many of the business resources out there just aren’t built with creatives in mind.
Creative entrepreneurs are just as valid as their MBA counterparts, even if they haven’t been introduced to certain business aspects traditionally taught in business schools (they don’t teach this business stuff in art school)!
I encourage you to shift your mindset around what it means to be a business person– a lack of experience doesn’t make you ‘bad’ at the business stuff.
There are accessible tools, coaching programs, and resources out there to support you!
But be sure to assess the source of the content before deciding to apply frameworks or strategies to your business.
It’s important to find trusted communities where leaders and peers are sharing information, ideas, and guidance specific to creative businesses.
Feeling alone on the creative entrepreneur journey is a common struggle but I want you to know that even though you and your creativity are so unique, your struggles and challenges are not!
As encouraging as friends and family may be, even with the best intentions they may not always “get it” or know how to truly help you.
I find that you can fill the gap between your creative and business side by building a community of fellow creatives, business owners, and partners.
Trust me, your people are out there!
And the beauty of the internet is, it’s easier to find them than ever before!
Look for related Facebook groups, group coaching programs (specific to your niche), and other online communities where like-minded creative entrepreneurs gather. Platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn are also full of vibrant creative business communities.
You can also seek out local resources in your community like art clubs, workshops, or meetups. Check out local bulletin boards, community centers, or even cafes that might host events for creatives. Engaging with your local creative community provides a chance to connect face-to-face, share ideas, and discover opportunities for collaboration.
Joining these spaces online or in person not only helps you connect with peers but opens up new possibilities for partnerships, learning, and sharing your creative journey so you can feel part of something bigger.
Running your own creative business is an ongoing process of self-discovery, inner strength, and adaptation.
By understanding what makes you, as a creative entrepreneur, special and dealing with common challenges, you can leverage your strengths and unique perspectives to problem-solve and overcome any setbacks that come your way.
If you’re ready to rethink what being a creative entrepreneur really means to you I’d love to support your journey.
My digital course, ‘Business Building for Creatives’ was designed to help creative entrepreneurs like you embrace both your artistic and business sides, balance work and life, and create a successful business while staying true to what you love.
I hope to see you inside the course!