Creativity is thriving with modern technology and has become quite the competitive sector. More and more people are turning to creating their own companies, products, services and brands each and every year. This is a trend that we will continue to see, probably forever. The only problem is that thousands of creative professionals are readily available online making the ones with multiple talents more valuable.
So if you’re trying to break onto the scene now, here are 5 steps to build your creative business from scratch:
Brand. Now that you’ve put your original spin on a creative role, it’s time to set up your brand. Branding is a group of ideas and approaches behind your work that must be cemented tangibly through a website and social media presence. Setting up a website can be incredibly cheap, and the beauty of this industry is that you can barter your services in exchange for others, like trading an article for a personalized logo. Once you’ve got a card, logo, business email — ideally one that matches your website — and of course, a web page, start building your social media channels. Begin with LinkedIn and enter as much information as possible. Choose one other platform (I suggest Twitter as it takes the longest to build up) and enter your information and start adding color.Produce. By color, I mean content. You’d never invite friends over for dinner only to present them with an empty table. Why would you encourage someone to explore your brand when you’ve got no work to show them? Social media participants are fickle; if a person is directed to a ‘Website Under Construction,’ chances are they won’t head back a second time. In a saturated market, nothing will legitimize your business better than your actual work. Make sure you’ve got a few posts under your belt. I personally had 100 published articles before I felt comfortable promoting my website. Digging into your archives and revamping old work is also a simple way to produce content on your website without having to begin new projects. This third step is probably the most important and time consuming.
Plan. You’ve defined your brand and hopefully snuck in a lucrative loophole in your chosen industry. Now is the time to plan. Start by writing down a list of desirable companies, agencies and clients you’d like to work with that are in line with your offering. As a writer I keep a list of publications and editors I’ll target who are likely to respond to my style. Then map out the dollars and cents; dictate how much you need to earn in your first three months to keep afloat, and how many hours you’ll have to put into your business to make this happen. It’s a good idea to plan for a creative slump by having an alternate and consistent stream of income or investing in a savings ‘nest egg.’
Connect. Start within your own personal connections on Facebook and your email contacts to find like-minded creatives who may be able to assist you or be interested in your business. A simple announcement via a status update and email directing your friends and acquaintances to your new business will lay the foundations of your following. Going over the industry contacts you’ve discovered in your observation phase, start to reach out to professionals who are at a similar stage to you in their career. These newbies are more likely to respond to your emails, and if you extend an olive branch there’s a chance you could share information.
Once you have built up a powerful social network, make sure to continue to provide high value and unique content. You want to make sure that your work will stand out in a sea of millions. Think about what you look for and expect when you are the one looking for someone creative for a project or task.
Do you have any tips for new business owners to help them stand out?