woman painting at desk

Starting a Business in the Creative Industry

As a creative who wants to make a living from your art, it's easy to see yourself as having a hobby that earns you a bit of money, and not as running a business. You are enjoying what you are doing, and you do it for fun, so how do you turn it into a successful business?

As a creative who wants to make a living from your art, it’s easy to see yourself as having a hobby that earns you a bit of money, and not as running a business. You are enjoying what you are doing, and you do it for fun, so how do you turn it into a successful business?

Small business owners love what they do and have a real passion for why they do it, after all, that’s why they got into their business in the first place. The creative industries are no different!


How do I start a creative business?

To make a business work you need to have passion and that’s exactly what you have with your chosen creative outlet. If you’re ready to take it to the next level and start making a living from it, then you will need to get prepared and know what to expect.

One way you can get started is by coming along to our Start Up Course for Creatives on Saturday 6th & Saturday 13th November. The course is held in partnership with the Gloucester Culture Trust and is tailored specifically for creative professionals.

The course covers all of the essential areas for starting up your new venture. You will learn how to:

  • Understand your motivation
  • Clarify your contribution and impact
  • Meet the needs of your customers
  • Write a Value Proposition
  • Test your value proposition and write your pitch.
  • Clarify the ‘How’ and the ‘What’
  • Set your pricing
  • Understand external influences
  • Register your business.


Make a solid plan

There is a lot to think about when starting a creative business.

The first thing to do is make a plan. To help you on your way, you can join local networking groups which are invaluable sources of information. And once you have joined Start and Grow Enterprise, you will be able to access a list of our tried and tested networking groups in Gloucestershire.

The people you meet in these groups, and our advisors at Start and Grow, can help you to source suppliers, premises, and equipment, they will be able to advise on potential stockists for your products, give you advice on how you can make a profit from your idea, and how to incorporate multiple revenue streams to give yourself added security. To give you a helping hand, their Business Planning workshop covers all of the areas you need to consider when starting your business.


Advertising your products

Once you have identified exactly what you would like to offer through your business, and how your business will operate, you can start creating your brand.

Sites like Canva are great to help you with your branding, you can sign up for free and create collateral like logos, flyers, stationery, social media graphics, and a whole host of other items to promote your brand. If you’re not sure what you’re doing with Canva then take a look at Anchor Online Designs. Laura creates custom templates for clients who would rather outsource the work, and she also offers Canva courses to teach you exactly how to use it.


How should I price my creations?

Pricing the items that you make can be extremely tough and is one of the hardest parts of creating to sell. There are many different methods to work out your retail price.

One way to do this is to consider your costs. You’ll need to work out how much the materials have cost you to make the item, how long it will take you to create the item, how much postage and packaging will cost (if applicable), and finally add the profit you need to make on each item, and this will be what you charge for your items.

Materials + time taken + P&P + profit = chargeable amount

It’s helpful to do some research and see what other creatives or artists sell their products for, as this will help you to gauge what the market is like, and the value customers see in similar products. It is worth remembering that not all local artists and creatives will be trying to make a profit, some may just do it for the love of it and sell their wares at cost price so if you are researching other prices, it is worth bearing this in mind.

David Parrish, described as a “British guru in the creative enterprise sphere”, shares his thought process on pricing your products.


How do I succeed in a creative industry?

If you want to make a living from your creations, then you will need to learn how to market your innovative and creative ideas effectively. A good way to do this is by taking advantage of digital marketing tools.

Always consider your target audience first. Who are they and how can you reach them? Digital marketing tools such as Pinterest and Instagram can be great for promoting very visual and creative ventures. It is important to remember that Pinterest is a search engine and not a social media platform.

With Pinterest, you do not need to worry about building an audience or gaining followers, it is far better to spend your energy creating high-quality content that drives people to the destination you want them to go to. That destination could be your own website, an Etsy store, an eBay store, or a Facebook page, wherever your online home is where you want to send people.

Both Etsy and eBay have a wealth of information on their sites showing you how to go about selling on them. For Etsy head here and for eBay head here.

Instagram on the other hand is a social media platform, so you will need to spend time building an audience and engaging with them in order to get your creations seen and ultimately make sales.


Training on how to use social media

If you don’t know where to start with these platforms, then have a look on YouTube or Google for guides to help you get to grips with the basics. You could even search on Facebook as small social media based companies often run free training sessions. Start and Grow Enterprise also runs free sessions on how to use social media for your business.

The Social Giraffe and Magic Bean Media both offer training in how to use social media, Magic Bean Media runs The Greenhouse to train business owners how to be their own social media manager, and The Social Giraffe is excellent at making Pinterest simple and manageable for creatives and business owners.




Written by Nikki Knight – The Writing for Business Lady. She offers blogging, copywriting and ‘done for you’ content packages for small businesses. You can get in contact with her at www.nikkiknight.co.uk or nikki@nikkiknight.co.uk.

To take part in the Start and Grow Enterprise project, you will need to complete a short joining form.