I have wanted to write a post on this for some time. After attending the Human library, a fantastic organisation, by the way, I went by the title ‘Self-Employed’ and supported The University For The Creative Arts in Rochester to engage with students ; who wanted to go into self-employment and starting a creative business.
This was not the path I had planned for after University. I had big ambitions to move abroad work for a high-end company; all the typical dreams. Instead, I found myself back in the countryside, falling in love and embracing my family around me, multiple fashion job applications being declined and a drive to just want to be creative.
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So here are a few things I wish I already knew about starting a creative business:
- Firstly, You have to fail to learn and improve. During my first few months of setting up Daines Atelier, I was approached by some clients who took advantage of the fact I was young, uneducated in running a business and alone in my workplace. Their negative words and actions led to a downward spiral for myself where I didn’t believe I was doing the right thing or had any ability to achieve anything at all. All of the hard work I had spent saving up money and gaining clients got given away to them and stopped working on everything for a few months. But I’m glad I had such a supportive community around me who believed I could do it. Looking back on the situation now it taught me what kind of clients I want to be working with and what kind of projects I wanted to take on. My company would not be as effective as it was now if it wasn’t for them causing a change in my direction.
- Secondly, Work away from home if possible. When I first started I attempted working from home to lower my costs. It was of no benefit: constant cups of tea, cuddles from my cat and washing up ended up constantly distracting me. Hence I started renting a space at The Silk Mill. My best move ever! Surrounding yourself with a creative community, your set-up and work place increased my productivity by 300000% (Perhaps a slight exaggeration.)
- Join these websites. After speaking with one of the members of The Silk Mill– Clare. As a result, She directed me to The Design Trust and The Indie Retail Academy. There are thousands of resources useful for setting up your own business (Especially if it is creative.) TIRA also has a facebook group which is amazing for advice and to link with others.
And you can’t forget the boring stuff…
4.Public Liability Insurance. Meep! Insurance! At first when searching for insurance so that I was able to trade at markets such as The Frome Independent, The Silk Mill Collective and others; Public Liability Insurance is a requirement. A quick google search will lead you to forking out £650 for the year, not ideal as start out as a small business. But the A-N Artists Information Company offer a membership which includes insurance for a fraction of the price. Plus it is a trust worthy community for artists.
4. Finally, Don’t expect to be a millionaire straight away. In my eyes a successful small business, is one that can pay all of its bills and make you happy! It’s a lot of hard work, time management and thinking. But once you start ticking off your achievements it is the best feeling in the world! I accept that I do not run a perfect business, but I plan that one day I will.