I’ve been writing a lot of posts here this summer about starting a creative business in hopes that it might help some of you who have been putting it off for one reason or another. It’s very easy to start thinking about all of the things that you want/should/need to do and get overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Start with one small step and then once that is sorted out move onto the next.
Let’s start with the very beginning steps and you’ll see how easy it can be to get started.
Set up shop – What part of your home will you be working from? Will you have a corner of the dining room or the whole basement? What sorts of organization or arranging need to be done to set up your business space? Do you simply need to rearrange furniture or do you need to scope out Craig’s List or FreeCycle to find office furniture, sewing machines or other equipment? Don’t think that you have to have every little thing set up exactly right before you can begin. You will “grow into” your business space once you get going.
Be realistic about time – How much time will you have to work on your creative business? If you are working a day-job you may only have a few hours a day after work and some time on the weekend. Be sure to save some time for family, friends and fun too or you may quickly burn out. If you are able to jump right in and work on your creative business full-time you will still need to manage your time. Knowing how much time you will have to devote to your business will directly affect your business goals. You can’t have a goal of selling 1,000 doodads if you are working 5 hours a week. Be realistic about your available time in order to avoid stress and disappointment.
What IS your business? – Sometimes people get stuck when it comes to starting their own businesses because they aren’t quite sure just what they want to do. The answer to that question is probably right under your nose. What do you enjoy doing? What do you spend the bulk of your time doing? What is it that you do that your family and friends praise you for? Look at how you are already spending your time and make a list.
Get yourself legal – Talk to your attorney or accountant to determine how you will set up your business legally. The three basic legal forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. The most common set up for creative businesses is the sole proprietorship – it is the easiest to start, and the least complicated to dissolve. If you are not going to incorporate or use your own name as part of the company name, you will need to obtain a fictitious name statement, or what is called DBA (Doing Business As) is simply the operating name of your business. If your business name is not the same as your own personal name, you will need to file a fictitious business name. The registration process is very straightforward and is usually handled by the county clerk in the county where you plan to start your business. Once this is taken care of, you can do things under your business name, like open a business checking account.
Show me the Money – Many creative business owners start where they are. They already make jewelry or scarves and have decided to begin to sell them off. Starting small this way makes life easier in that start-up capitol probably isn’t needed. The other great thing about this plan is that your company doesn’t start out in debt. If you can’t start where you are you’ll need to figure out where the money to start your business will come from. Will you get a loan or try to get investors involved? How much money do you need and for what? Do you need money to buy some basic equipment or to run your company for six months? You’ll need to be very clear about what you need the money for and how it will be used before seeking a loan or investments. But don’t let that hold you back. Owning your own business and working to do what you love is well worth the work it takes to get going.
Keep in mind that everything doesn’t have to be PERFECT before you can get going on your creative business. You’ll learn, grow and evolve and your creative business may look very different in a year or two. The key is to just start.
I will be back in my next article with more business launching basics. Remember, don’t look at the whole list all at once. Just start at the top and work your way down one step at a time.
What steps did you take to start your own creative business? Were you able to start where you were or did you have to make some changes before you got going?
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
You can find more of Vicki’s article right here on her profile page!