Creative entrepreneurship 101

iStock_000007915036Small ChecklistThanks to Andrea Michael for her presentation at This is it Manchester event.

In the creative industries theatre, publishing, art, music, gaming and creative IT roles, film & TV, journalism, social and cultural enterprises to name but a few, it’s not uncommon to be self-employed or freelance for at least a part of your career.

Before launching yourself on an unsuspecting world think about yourself and your product and do a bit of research.

Know yourself

  • What do you want your life to be as a freelancer?
  • What is your measure of success? Is it money, being published, getting your work into a gallery??
  • What do you need vs what do you want?
  • What will you sacrifice?
  • What is the minimum you can survive on?
  • What makes a difference to your lifestyle?
  • Know your specialisms and transferable skills
  • Know what you are passionate about BUT also what you are good at.

The skills of a successful entrepreneur

Tenacity, committment, adaptability, enthusiasm, survival instinct, self belief, curiosity, self-sufficiency, and some business and admin skills will be handy too.

Make contacts

Recommendations are key in self employment. It’s not just about knowing your stuff and being good at it you need to get work. Other people have work and if you want to hear about it you need to be on their radar.
In the public sector jobs are advertised and its a pretty formal process but you still might need someone to give you the heads up! For privately funded organisations anything goes, they can give the work to whoever they want to so be the person they want!

  1. Networking is just having a chat it’s not always formal.
  2. Be nice and try to offer win-win situations, what can you offer someone what they need in exchange for something you need?
  3. Be someone everyone wants to work with – be indispensable, word will get around.

Promoting yourself

  • What are you offering?
  • What is your unique selling point?
  • How will you be perceived?
  • Who are you similar to?
  • Be consistent and be confident
  • Who is your market?
  • Where do they live, shop, work?
  • What do they spend money on?
  • Do they want you and do you want them?
  • Who else could you target?
  • Understand your worth, value, costs, prices.
  • Understand how to market to them, is it social media, advertising, flyers, websites?

You should now be able to write a short bio. Imagine it on your website / album cover / book sleeve – does it sell you?

The good stuff about self employment

  • You can do what you
  • Be your own boss
  • Be involved in a variety of exciting and interesting projects
  • Work when you want to
  • There is no such thing as failure, only learning.

…. and the not so good

  • No stability
  • It’s not a get rich quick scheme.No pensions or paid holidays. How will you fund yourself?
  • Loneliness.  Find a local network or group to join eg CING Creative Industries Networking Group in Manchester
  • Antisocial hours and the danger of becoming a workaholic.
  • Other people perceptions can be negative, disparaging or belittling of what you do.

Getting funding for your project

More support:

See also blog post on Getting work in the creative industries

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