Taking that first step to become a small business owner or entrepreneur takes dedication, hard work, and determination. Oftentimes you will ask yourself, “Is this the right choice for me?” You may feel overwhelmed in the beginning, but know many others feel the same way.
Aside from all the planning and paperwork needed to get started, you need to remember to remain focused on your end goal - your brand. As creative entrepreneurs, you are the brand. You are offering a unique service or product to the community.
Key items to keep in mind
As the creative community thrives, here are 5 key tips that you want to keep in mind as you start your business:
1. Set your business goals
Setting up your goals is carving out your path to entrepreneurial success. Having both small and long-term goals will allow you to track your progress for your small business. You also want to make sure you have a business plan in place. Without a proper business plan, your business will more than likely flop. You can lose money–and fast!
When you set your goals you want to make sure you set short and long-term goals. Short-term goals can be set by month or quarter. They will give you a sense of accomplishment once you complete them. They align with your long-term goals and make them seem within reach. Plus, when you get that feeling of “What am I doing?” you can refer to your goals and remember your “why” and the reason your business is valuable.
2. Pricing your products and services appropriately
Know the worth and value you bring to your customers. So many times, new businesses underestimate the amount of time and effort spent in addition to tools, supplies, and overhead costs as they price their products and services. Not pricing correctly can lead to having low cash flow and leave you in the red each month.
As independent contractors and creative entrepreneurs, you want to consider how many years you have devoted to your craft. This past year has shown us tremendous growth stemming from the great resignation of careers. You don’t want to price too low or too high, and you want to price accordingly against the competition. As we have seen within the last two years, costs on many items have gone up. Be prepared to potentially increase your prices to keep strong margins. When or if this happens, alert your customers immediately and have open lines of communication.
3. Establish a social media presence
You may have a personal social media presence, but now it's time to branch out and establish your brand page. As a creative, you are the product. Just like Chanel or Versace, it is your name that will be at the forefront of your product or service. You want to make sure you are well represented.
It is essential you separate yourself from your personal profile. Focus your efforts on building your professional online presence. With a professional business page, you can post about your product or service, pricing, reviews, and engage with your creative community - the sky's the limit! These business pages will also help you build your brand and business awareness. A firm understanding of your target audience will help you decide what social media channels to use to increase brand awareness and develop loyalty and engagement.
4. Research your local creative community
Creative communities have been popping up all over the country. Each community with a goal in mind to help one another as you build your brand. They provide online resources or in-person meetups creatives utilize as they work on their brand development. Topics supported range from blogging, vlogging, social media, branding, marketing, running a business, and much more.
Creative communities are founded upon the basis of mentoring, collaborating, and supporting entrepreneurial creatives as they start up their business. These communities yearn to inspire and give confidence to the creative entrepreneur.
Don’t ever feel that you are in this alone–because you are not! If a community structure is not something for you, there are also social houses. Some major cities have social house memberships to network with fellow creative peers, to name a few: London, Asia, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Austin. The atmosphere gives off a club-like vibe, with artwork-filled walls, and amenities that will spark your inner imagination. One of the most well-known social houses is Soho House, created 25 years ago in London.
5. Establishing your business presence
Like all new businesses, you have to remember to present yourself professionally from the start. Set up specific emails, mailing addresses, and phone numbers for your business–we know it’s tempting to use your personal accounts, but don’t do it! As a startup, it’s standard to run lean and on a tight budget but you need not worry. There are many affordable resources available to you. Google offers free email accounts, Google Voice (for a new phone number), and Google Profiles.
One of the largest line items on a business’s budget is office space. When building your business plan, consider if having a physical office is necessary for your specific company.
You can look professional and have a real street address with a virtual address! What is a virtual address? A virtual address provider will digitize your mail so you can access it and your important documents online from anywhere, anytime. Earth Class Mail offers a premier network of 80+ addresses to choose from. You can have a prestigious address on Park Avenue in New York City or Market St. in San Francisco.