If you are creative and you aren’t simply creating as a hobby you need to turn your work into a business. More and more creatives say they want to do their creative work full time, but refuse to take it to the next level because they don’t want to make it a “business.”
Like business is some sort of dirty word in the creative world.
Well, I have news for you:
If you want to make your art, writing, or whatever else into a full time gig, you need to turn it into a business.
To be honest with you, I am preaching to the choir. Over the last few months, I have been experiencing this desire to make my writing a full-time job for myself. And while I cannot quit my job and start writing feverishly, I did realize something:
I need to turn my writing into a business.
The more and more I thinking about turning my writing into a business, the more I see how this is the next logical step. The problem I am running into is figuring out how to do it all with my time and resources.
Those Who Have Gone Before Can Help Teach Us
One of the problems for most writers is we just don’t know what to do. Luckily, we have lots of resources available to us.
And then there are that aren't on Medium who share their experience like Jon Acuff, Michael Hyatt, and one person I draw a lot on is Jeff Goins. In fact, his book: Real Artists Don't Starve has been very helpful in growing my audience and helping me think about turning my writing into more than a hobby.
“If you don’t want your best work to die with you, you must train yourself to think and live differently than the ways we’ve been told artists behave. Don’t starve for your art. Help it thrive.” — Jeff Goins
Most of what I have been able to figure out on my own about turning my writing into a business has come from many of these people. As they share snippets of their businesses, I have learned about what they did to get to where they are now.
But how do we get there?
Steps to Starting Your Creative Business
I am on a journey to creating a business out of my writing. As this is true, I am compiling what I have learned so far and always continuing to learn more. And Ultimately, Anthony Moore says it best in this post:
“If you can provide immense value for a reasonable price, you’ll get customers.”
However, these are the steps I have learned so far, and if you know a thing or two, please share!
№1 — Produce Content Frequently
Almost everyone shares how they wrote or published every day for months. They don’t typically say they created amazing content. Only that they created consistently. Not all of what we create will be great, but when we put our creative work out there, people will see our name more and more and become familiar with us.
And in this familiarity, we begin to grow trust with one person at a time. Which leads to the next part of turning our creativity into a business.
№2 — An Audience
For us to start a business, we need to grow an audience. The audience is a consumer base which will help fuel our growing business. What I am learning is a lot of people grew the audience before starting a business so they had a base to start selling books, courses, and consulting appointments.
As we build trust with individuals, they grow into an audience of people who see you as a source of a credible source of information. Every one of the people I mentioned above has done this with their work. And we need to do it too.
If we want to turn our creative work into a day job, we need to build an audience.
№3 — The Email Subscriber List
It feels like everywhere we turn people are talking about needing an email list. And there is a reason for it, they have probably told you already, but I will share it again:
Email is the only way we can control getting a message to an audience.
Social media changes the way people can see what we share. However, the email goes direct to the people who are actually interested in what we have to share. An email directly to someone who has chosen to sign up helps give us a chance to share our products.
But we need to build that list first. And then work our way up the ladder.
№4 — A Product Ladder
I was reading something lately about creating a product ladder to help people become more familiar and trusting of your products. It essentially starts like this:
- Free Products: Lead Magnets for the Email list, giveaway items, and free email courses.
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Your first purchase product with a low cost.
- Front End Product: This is a product which is a little more value and cost than your MVP.
- Stepping Up Value: And cost with other products and services.
Basically, you provide value in products and start with a free or low cost to the customer. And then you create more valuable products or bundled products and have a higher cost for these, and step it up along the way. This ladder will help you reach new customers and keep customers coming back for more.
№5 — Income Diversity
Something else many people are doing is having different streams of income. For writers, it can look like a lot of different ways, though almost everyone I have read does some very similar income streams.
They can look like writing on Medium under the Medium Partner Program. Writing books and selling them at different price points on Amazon. Creating classes to sign up for at different price points. Doing consulting work with other writers. And doing different types of freelance writing work. These seem to be the usual writing income sources.
There are other ways to create income too. One way I have been seeing more of is affiliate marketing. I know this isn’t new by any means, but more writers and creatives have been sharing how they are using it.
Nevertheless, to keep a business sustainable, we will need diversity in the income stream.
Other Important Things to Learn
While I am learning a ton about creating products and growing a following, there are other things I don’t have a lot of experience or knowledge of yet. I have a lot to learn about the actual business aspect of a creative business.
A few things I know I need to learn more about coming in the form of a business plan, knowing how to set up an actual company, or even if I need to do this. How do we manage the money for a new and growing business? What legal and tax ramifications do I need to be aware of?
There are plenty of questions and a lot of answers to find. If you have any of these answers, please share! Though, it seems like this is part of the process for everyone. Learning about the business aspect along the way.
And I am sure there are things I don’t know that I don’t know.
“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” — Dale Partridge, People Over Profit
However, we cannot be frozen by fear of unknowns when it comes to turning our art and creativity into a business. Otherwise, it will never happen. We need to take our questions and find answers. And we need to continually move forward.
And maybe down the road, we will become one of the greats too!