The Art of Being a Creative Small Business 

Whether you’re running your own business as a small team or flying solo in the freelance world, one thing is for sure, the creative arts industry is anything but boring! Offering many diverse paths to channel and sell creative skills, the industry is home to a variety of careers from poets to photographers, screenwriters and many more.

Any small business owner will tell you that running your own show is a journey, a roller coaster that is full of wins and losses. If you have ever considered starting your own creative small business, then this is the guide for you.

The Facts: Creative Small Businesses in Australia

Small businesses within Australia are growing, with over 4.8  million people working for a small business at the end of June 2017, an increase of 66,000 or 1.4% compared to 2018’s recorded figures.

SMEs operating within the arts and recreation services account for approximately 22.3% of Industry Value Added, with each employee contributing $35,000 on average to the industry.

A Helping Hand

The internet is a fantastic resource for finding valuable tools to help build and grow your creative business. With so many websites and toolkits available it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start, so we’ve handpicked a few to kickstart your creative adventure.

Starting a small business: The first step is often the hardest, so here are a few of the first resources to check out when you decide to start your own gig.

Create your own website: Having a website to share your creative talents, products or services with the world is a vital step to help get your name out there.

  • Squarespace provides an all-in-one platform to build your own stunning website. There are useful tools and tips for marketing and choosing the right template to suit your business too
  • Wix offers both paid and free website building options. It is relatively easy to use and has the option to add an online store facility too
  • One of the most popular sites to use and build blogs, website and apps is WordPress. It was one of the first types of software of its kind, with plenty of information and courses available.

Get active on social: Being interactive and present on social media should be one of the top action items of your marketing plan. There are many apps and sites which are designed to help schedule and monitor your social media accounts, making life a whole lot easier!

  • IFTTT (If This, The That) has a whole host of plug-ins and tools to help automate your social media posts. One example is allowing for Twitter to tweet your Instagram posts as native Twitter photos.
  • Set and forget with automatic social media post scheduling via Buffer
  • Longstanding social media platform Hootsuite allows you to manage your content across a variety of your social media accounts and also delivers analytical insights into your posts and how they are performing

Freelance job boards: These are some of the most well-known and trusted freelance boards to help you find some freelance gigs when work is a bit slow.

  • OzLance offers resources for freelance professionals to connect and find work in their industry.
  • The world’s largest freelancing marketplace, Freelancer.com offers a variety of opportunities for creatives with anything from designing logo’s to developing apps, video editing and much more.
  • Upwork is another global giant on the freelance job board market and is a platform for hundreds of different freelancing skills

Learn more: Whether it’s honing in and mastering your own creative skills, or branching out and learning more on how to run your business, there are an abundance of resources to access and learn from.

  • Udemy unlocks a whole host of different courses for countless topics and subjects. Different subscription options are available to suit your learning needs
  • Another useful online learning platform is SkillShare. There are over 22,000 classes to select from and if you are an expert in your field you may even want to consider teaching your specialty skill through the platform
  • EdX features classes from some of the world’s leading universities like Havard and Boston University.

A Word of the Wise

Like every industry, there is a fair mix of challenges and opportunities which creative businesses face, some which are unique to the nature of the industry and some which all small businesses encounter.

We had a chat with two creative business owners, Andrew Garrick and Monica ronk, the creative forces behind the latest BizCover advertising campaign.

Small business owner, director, creative and producer Andrew Garrick identifies that creatives have some amazing opportunities in the Australian creative scene. Working for himself, Andrew is constantly kept busy with directing opportunities.

He said “We tend to get a chance to try anything once if you can give people reasonable confidence that you might be able to pull it off. There is a bit of an Australian attitude of giving a good idea a crack, which I love”.

For self-employed stills photographer Monica Pronk she finds the ‘ebb and flow’ of the creative industry her biggest challenge as a business owner within the photography field.

“Sometimes your flat out and sometimes it’s suddenly quiet. It can be unpredictable and takes a little while to get used to, especially to not panic when it gets quiet.”

She says “Having the right balance of work is a constant juggle, so I am always learning from this. It does take some time to build up a strong network, but I think I am at a good balance now, which is great!”.

When it comes to pearls of wisdom for others looking to start a ‘creative’ business Monica has this advice,  “if you are passionate about it, go for it. It takes lots of hard work and sometimes it even leads you in different ways then you planned.”

Andrew recommends to “be tenacious. Be honest. Be respectful of everyone. It can be really tough when you’re starting out, but I think it’s important to know that the hard work is actually what being creative is”.

Insuring Your Creative Business

Whether you are just starting out or a well-established creative business, having the right types of insurance in place to protect it is always a solid investment. Each creative business will be different with its own needs and exposures to risk.

While you may not need to insure everything under the sun, take the time to think about the things you couldn’t afford to be without.

Some of the different examples of when you may need business insurance as a creative professional include if you are an artist out and about, protecting your portable equipment and tools, for others it may be a requirement to hold Public Liability insurance before you can perform in public spaces. For those that teach a creative skill, they may need to consider Professional Indemnity insurance due to the risk of giving advice to others.

The team at BizCover are here to help with your creative business insurance needs, providing a variety of competitive quotes from some of Australia’s leading insurers for you to choose from. In a few clicks of a button or a phone call, you can have your business protected without the paperwork and hassle.

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