Building your own creative business: where to begin?

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Starting a creative business can be hard work

For some creative professionals, working for yourself is the ultimate dream. There’s no big boss to answer to, there are no set working hours and you have complete freedom over the creative projects you choose to do. Yet going it alone can be a tough challenge, one that requires a lot of patience and perseverance if you wish to succeed. Having talent is ultimately the first step, but this will not be enough alone to start a successful creative business. Instead there are many important details to consider like where to find funding and understanding the legal obstacles that you may have to face. When starting something new it can seem impossible to know where to begin but to help you get a good beginning with your own creative business read our useful tips below.

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    Starting a creative business can be hard work

    Establish your business ideas

    One of the first things you should establish is which creative services you plan to offer to your future clients. Do you want to specialise in one particular area of design or will you open up your services to attract a wider range of customers? Whichever you decide, it’s a great idea to get a portfolio together to showcase your talents and to give buyers confidence in your services. As well as this, create a website. Make it eye-catching so that you’re remembered and let your perspective clients browse through your body of work. Don’t forget to include clear contact details to make that all important sale.

    Find funding

    Creating your own business requires a certain amount of funding to get it up and running and you can find this from many sources. Although a legitimate option, it’s not always advisable to seek a bank loan as you may not want to be burdened by a debt in the early stages of your business set up. You could, however, apply for a business loan if you open a business account and have a clear business plan to show.

    Alternatively, if you calculate exactly how much you need you could use your own savings to start the initial fund. As long as you have at least £1,500 in the bank, this could work for you. Borrowing from friends and family might be a better option for you instead, as long as you set clear deadlines for repayment. There’s always the possibility that you can find an investor for your company, and this would definitely help with getting the ball rolling, but you’d need to be able to prove that their investment is worthwhile and they’re likely to see a return on this.

    Legal pitfalls to avoid

    When in the early stages of your business, there are many traps ready to ensnare you that may make or break your new venture.

    Insufficient capital. This is where finding the funding for your business really becomes important. By ensuring that the cost of all your necessary resources are covered, you allow your business to grow and to become profitable. This also lessens the risk for your creative business to fail in its early stages.

    Lack of networking. Finding clients and securing work is one of the most important elements of running a business, yet if you don’t spend the relevant amount of hours finding jobs each week then your work will ultimately dry up. Dedicate at least a few hours each week to sending out your portfolio, pitching for jobs, and generally trying to build a rapport for yourself to secure future work.

    Underselling yourself. It’s very easy to undercharge for your services when you’re desperate for sales and clients. However all this gains is a heavy workload and a busy schedule that isn’t charged for what it’s worth. Be realistic with your prices but give yourself the credit you deserve for the work you know you can produce.

    Tie up legal ends

    Ah, the law! You really don’t want to mess with it, so make sure you’re aware of all the legalities when electing to be your own boss. If you choose to go self-employed, you’ll need to register with HMRC so that you don’t incur any monetary penalties. You’re also responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance payments and can stay on top of this by filling out an annual Self Assessment tax return form. Remember to keep records of your earnings during the tax year so you don’t get caught out. Invoices for sales and purchases, business expense receipts and bank records should be noted throughout the year to help keep your business running smoothly.

    On another note, Copyright will be automatically assigned to you once you produce a creative piece of work but you can register your Trademark at the UK intellectual property to protect your business.

    Whilst a lot of information has been given, it’s all necessary to help you make the most out of your creative business venture so that you can live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Good luck, and stay creative!