How to set your creative business up for the financial support it deserves
Your craft started out as something fun, or a personal challenge even.
You would do it in your spare time because it brought you joy, and eventually people started to comment on how good you were at it, and that made you feel pretty awesome!
Because it's one thing to enjoy creating and honing your craft, but when people start to take note? You dance a little bit more on the inside!
Which is totally fine, because talent and hard work should be recognized :)
But now that you've decided to make the move from hobbyland to businessland so that you can capitalize on your gift, there are a few changes that have to take place if you wanna strive!
1. A shift of mindset
You can't keep looking at your business as 'a hobby that you can make money from'. That won't get you very far in businessland. Understand that this venture is a huge opportunity for you to change your own life, positively impact others by serving them and to contribute to a developing economy.
Shift your focus to who your art serves, how it serves them and what you can do to continuously improve your product to meet their evolving needs.
Assuming your business is something you're passionate about, once you make that shift you won't mind all the structural changes & investments you'll need to make next because you know your end goal.
2. Make it official
Securing your Instagram and Facebook handles aren't enough when you're establishing your brand as a business.
You should prioritize registering your business legally as well.
You know that saying "Opportunity comes to those who are prepared"? Keep that in mind here.
You never know which buyer, investor or company you'll cross paths with one day who believes in your brand and wants to support you, financially or otherwise, but can't because you don't have the requisite documentation.
Even outside of requirements, it's a testament to your preparation and automatically makes you more competitive as a business.
Look at it this way, if you applied for a grant from a particular foundation and a lot of the applicants have amazing products just like your own, but their businesses are registered and yours isn't, who do you think the foundation would choose to work with? A legal entity or you?
3. Stay on top of the day-to-day
Yes, you're a natural creative and accounting may not be your area of expertise, but the reality is, when it comes to your business, you're going to have to wear many hats until it grows to a point where you can pay someone smarter to do it for you :)
One of those hats will have to be 'Accountant/Bookkeeper'.
Luckily for you, there are a number of DIY accounting software out there that you can use to keep track of your revenue and expenses and stay on top of your invoicing.
Proper money management is a must. Especially, if you'd like to be able to access financial assistance in the future should you ever need it.
If this is an area you struggle with, there are institutions and government agencies with business advisers who are willing to sit down with you and advise you on the necessary steps to proper financial management and adhering to your business' legal responsibilities.
4. Put it in writing
Though a thorough 50 page business plan isn't necessary for your business right now, it's still important to create a document that outlines the business' purpose, mission and model for success.
This isn't just necessary for your own understanding and guidance. It will also help interested investors in analyzing the viability of your business based on your plans.
So make it a good one :) And when you're done, have a credible business adviser review it for you.
As your craft settles into it's new home- businessland, you'll have to make some necessary changes as you transition from hobby to sustainable business.
It definitely won't be seamless, but you will have support along the way from persons and organizations who want to see your business thrive.
But you have to be prepared for that help :)