We’ve all dreamed of being our own boss at some point. There is a lot of information and self-help books about being an entrepreneur, but it can often be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.
So as a starting point, I decided to attend a Creative Entrepreneurship workshop organised by the Love Thread Project. I come from a family of entrepreneurs so naturally I was interested to attend.
The LTP Creative Entrepreneurship workshop provided a good, basic foundation of the steps to take in order to start our creative businesses, freelancing or side projects. I loved listening to each of the speakers’ advice, they each brought different perspectives with their personalities and experience. Each entrepreneur is different, what works for one may not necessarily work for another, such as each person’s level of risk taking.
The speakers who spoke at the workshop were : –
- Tara Simich – Fitness Entrepreneur from the Jungle Body
- Sandy Lai – Online shop founder of Hello Parry
- Lisa Chau – Creative Entrepreneur and Director from Genericse Shop
- Edit Maradona – Fashion Entrepreneur from Cabinet Noir
So here are the top 10 steps to starting your creative business as summarised from the workshop.
1.Spot the Gap in the Market
Do you have a unique start up idea? Is there something that you wish someone would invent to make your life easier?
Tara from the Jungle Body spotted a gap in the market in the fitness industry and wanted to offer an alternative to Zumba and Les Mills classes.
When Sandy started Hello Parry, there were barely any other online stores that existed apart from ASOS.
2. Write killer Business Plans!
A business plan is like a map – you need to know the direction of where your business is going.
Edit M from Cabinet Noir stressed the importance of writing a killer business plan. When pitching your ideas in your business plan, you need to be your best salesman to potential investors and other parties.
Write your business plan with a big vision. Edit explained that the market does not need another mediocre business venture but we should aim to be the best business brand in the world.
There are many good business plan templates online; Edit M personally uses the Business Plan Pro app for $100.
3. A Savings Plan
Before quitting your day job to work in your business full time, Tara from the Jungle Body recommends having a savings plan. The savings plan should clearly show what money is coming in and going out. For example, if you live comfortably at $700 per week, your business should earn $700 per week (after expenses) before you can quit your job.
4. Stay Mentally Strong – It is all in the Mindset.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be ready for many emotional roller coaster rides. You will be dealing with constant highs and lows simultaneously. Both Tara and Lisa both agreed that it is important to stay mentally strong and not feel defeated easily.
Tara shared how the Jungle Body was featured on the E Channel while dealing with staffing issues in her company. She had to learn to manage her conflicting emotions of excitement and stress at the same time.
To be successful, you have to accept that sometimes you will fail and fall. Lisa shared that sometimes, designers will create collections that do not sell as they have hoped. She advised us not to worry too much or take it personally – creativity is a process that we grow from. Believe in yourself and remain mentally strong.
Edit M spoke on the power of self belief –not arrogance. He believes that having big ideas with small capital is much more effective than small ideas with big capital. Edit sets goals by “dollar visualisation” – which earned him his first million by age 25.
5. Passion & Purpose
WHY do you want to start your business? Knowing the WHY is so important as there will be times where you will be tempted to throw in the towel…..but the WHY will keep you going. The Love Thread Project do what they do because they believe that the girls in Bali are worth fighting for.
Your passion and purpose of your business has to be much greater than the dollars. If it’s just about the dollars, you will get stuck. Tara cited the example of when she refused to charge thousands of dollars for running business workshops catered to small businesses. She didn’t believe in doing that as she knew what it felt like to be a struggling small business owner with limited cash flow not being able to attend business workshops.
Sandy from Hello Parry was working in a really comfortable accounting job but she couldn’t ignite the desire in her heart to do something more exciting with her life – which was fashion.
6. Take Advantage of Readily Available Resources. – Google and DIY jobs
We live in a time now where information can be accessed a Google click away – it’s a matter of taking initiative and asking the right questions. Tara learnt about the fitness industry and wrote her business plan by googling everything. She also encourages entrepreneurs starting out to take advantage of DIY websites such as Wix or Squarespace.
7. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
I heard this message loud and clear from each of the speakers. Innovation is very important as there will always somebody else who will enter the market and copy your business. Fashion is a very fast paced business where trends move quickly so an entrepreneur like Sandy from Hello Parry would always need to be ahead of the game and monitor street style trends closely.
On the other hand, Lisa from Generiseshop has a focus on slow fashion and sustainability so she would be monitoring the ethical market and what their customers want.
8. Network and Put Yourself Out There
All of the speakers agree that it is important for entrepreneurs to go out and attend events to connect with like-minded people. Lisa and Sandy regularly connect with their customers and pay attention to their needs.
Tara from the Jungle Body met her business partner and investor while working out in the gym. She offered her services to write up their business plan for free and the rest is history! You just never know what might happen so don’t hesitate to say hello to that person in the gym or café….your next business deal might happen as a result of it!
9. Use Social Media as a Tool for your Business
Entrepreneurs should use social media effectively as a tool to promote their business. Sandy from Hello Parry credits the success of her business to social media. Social media has played a huge factor in her inspiration to remain innovative (see point above).
10. Don’t Follow the Crowd, Be a Leader in What You Do
As cliché as it sounds,you do not need to be doing what everyone else is doing. Tara from The Jungle Body said that she wished that she didn’t spend so much money on traditional forms of media just because all of her competitors were doing it.
Performing consistently is also important – not just in the early stages of starting the business.
Edit is definitely not one to follow the crowd
More on the Love Thread Project Crowdfunding Campaign
If you are thinking of attending the next LTP workshop, I would highly recommend it. Network, learn new skills and support a cause much bigger than ourselves.
I hope you have found this post to be helpful. These are the basic fundamentals to starting a business. The more that you educate yourself and seek advice from professionals or from those who have been there before you, the better off you will be. You can do this!
The Love Thread Project have launched their Startsomegood crowdfunding campaign called “Dream Without Limits”. You can read more of their work to rescue Bali girls from human and sexual trafficking and donate to the cause at https://startsomegood.com/lovethreadproject.