5 Ways to Build a Successful Business out of your Creative Practice

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You ask, “Should I start a business out of my creative practice?”

Since we are a Nigerian brand, we will answer this question with further questions:

  1. Do you have a sellable skill (do people want to buy what you’re selling)?
  2. Do you desire more control over your time?
  3. Do you have a unique value proposition you feel the world must see?
  4. Are you self-motivated?
  5. Do you want to put food on your table?

If your answer is in the affirmative to all the above questions, then creating a business of your creative practice may be ideal for you. Here are 5 tips to help you create a successful business of your creative practice;

1. Network

This is the first tip because a business is nothing without clients/customers, and when starting your business, the vast majority of your clientele will be people from your network – your artsy acquaintances, your friends, friends of your friends and so on. Genuinely taking an interest in people and making connections is a great tip for building a successful business. Whether or not you like to network, if you want to have a successful business, this tip is non-negotiable.

2. Niche down

This is another great tip for your business. In the course of your freelancing or other employment, you may have participated in various projects and have now narrowed down your area of interest. Stick with it. It may not be obvious, because you may think that the probability of getting more clients is higher when you keep your service areas wider, but you get more clients when your business is specialized. Let’s paint a picture. Say, there are 400 general photography businesses in Nigeria, if you were to select one without looking, there will be four hundred different outcomes and the probability that a general photography business gets picked is 1:400 or one in four hundred. Next, say there are 10 baby photography businesses in Nigeria, if you were to select one without looking, there will only be 10 different outcomes possible. Your visibility and chances of getting clients go up when you specialize. Clients (like patients) always prefer a specialist.

3. Create a business structure

Structure your business; decide whether to go alone or form a partnership. Partnerships may be tough, because human relations are sometimes very difficult because of our varying peculiarities and particularness, but getting professional advice to structure your partnership or sole corporations, or limited liability corporations will certainly make things easier in the long run. We recommend partnerships simply because as the saying goes, two heads are better that one. SME Finance Hub has products tailored specially to make setting up a business easy. This includes business plans, setting up legal data rooms, sorting out your tax arrangements etc.

4. Pricing

Since you answered affirmatively to question five above, then you are well aware that food costs money (food is used here as an umbrella term for every basic necessity of life). Knowing this, you must go into business ready to charge your worth, plus taxes. Be prepared to charge full value to any one who patronizes your business, friends and family alike. Giving discounts lie within your discretion, but we strongly advise against free services because it really doesn’t profit anyone. Factor in your time, energy, knowledge and your precious talent when setting your rates. Decide if you want a less is more or a more is more approach, that is: do you for example, want to service 10 clients at N100,000 each to make N1M a month, or service 100 clients at N10,000 each to make N1M a month? There are advantages to both, so decide which approach is better for your business.

5. Community

Starting a business is one of the hardest things you’d ever do. The popular African proverb says “if you want to go fast go alone and if you want to go far go together” (with others). The second leg of this proverb is relevant here. Joining a community of other creatives in business, who understand your struggles because they have similar experiences and who are kind enough to give you tips from their own experiences will certainly sustain you. This goes in line with our first tip, networking, as other people are essential to your business. Kurating has such a community. Join us here.