#PROGRESS

How To Build A Business Around Your Creative Passion

Just imagine …  the ultimate dream. Waking up, having the most perfect cup of coffee, taking a deep breath of fresh air, and then starting your workday creating or building something that you’re truly passionate about. Even better is being able to do this every single day of the week. Is it possible? Of course it is!

Oh, I love this topic. If you’re a creative person and you’re not living out that passion, because you “need” to have another job to pay the bills, then something inside of you is slowly dying. There is no need for you to put yourself through such frustration, unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment.

Perhaps we tend to complicate matters … when it’s really not that hard. Think differently. You can turn that creative passion into a business and make a great living doing what you love!

But first, let’s get this one thing straight…

We’re all familiar with the concept of the “starving artist”. Creative people tend to not like the business side of pursuing their passion, and just want to be creative. In order for you to turn your creativity into a business you’ll have to get yourself some business skills.

Sure, you can outsource. Maybe you can let your manager, agent or assistant take care of your business, but if you want to thrive long-term, you will need to have a good foundational understanding of business yourself.

This might sound harsh to some at first, but we live in a world based on trade and commerce. It’s all a business in every society. Stop playing this “game” thinking it’s not important, or not for you. The sooner you realize this fact, the sooner you’ll be able to thrive. Become interested in business and then you’ll be on your way to turning your creative passion into a career.

Get used to wearing two different hats. Put the business hat on when you negotiate your fees, contracts and deadlines. You will need to act more like your own manager when you’re in this type of role. Put the creative hat on when you’re in your modem creating. To function well, learn to really separate the two. Don’t think about finances while you’re creating.

To be successful as a freelancer or business owner, you’ll need to know how to position yourself, sell and close deals, write up contracts and price your offerings in such a way that makes it profitable and sustainable long-term.

“So how do I get started?”

There are so many ways you can go about it. You can either package your creativity into a service that you provide, you can create a product, and you can teach or sell coaching. It’s all about supply and demand. How can you help, solve problems, or give value to other people or companies with your creative endeavors? It’s likely you can do many things in several different ways.

Let me give you an example…

If you’re a photographer, you can sell typical photoshoots. But you can also package your services more niche as a wedding photographer, baby photographer, real-estate photographer or a school portrait photographer. You can turn your best shots into prints that you sell online, you can sell some photographs through stock libraries, you can have monthly/yearly recurring contracts with magazines or fashion brands. Taking it one step further, you can turn your skills into online courses teaching other aspiring photographers about lighting, lenses and editing. The possibilities are endless!

You just need to think “outside the box”, which means the normal parameters of where your skill is typically used. Brainstorm all the different ways you can make money from your creative passion. Write down everything you can think of and do some research online. From there just figure out what you want to focus on and build your business around. Think long-term and how you want to position yourself in the marketplace. How can you stand out and be different?

Back to the photographer example … As a wedding photographer, there are usually lovely professional pictures done at the bride’s home as she gets ready with her entourage. At the same time, the groom and his group are getting ready, but the photographer is tied up. Perhaps you could be a photographer who specializes in “the guy’s’ story”. Your style could make a great addition to the final wedding memories.

My advice to you is to just get started. Nike said it best – “Just do it!” Don’t spend too much time thinking or creating your business plan before you take that first leap. Get your first client, and some quick wins to build momentum and experience. Tweak and polish your business from there, test and learn through trial and error.

It doesn’t take a lot of clients before you can make the transition from your current job, and to be able to work on your creative passion full-time. Be prepared to put in the actual work and be dedicated to making your dreams come true.

“But I don’t have an idea.”

You don’t have to come up with this brilliant idea that has never been done before. If it’s been done, there’s a market, which is a good indication that your passion can be profitable. You can however, put your own angle on it to make yourself stand out.

“What if my work isn’t good enough?”

I’m pretty sure your work is good enough for something. You may not be the best in the world, and you can work on that, but it’s likely you can help someone with your current skills. To use the photographer analogy, you may not be the best fashion photographer yet, but you can easily be a wedding photographer while you’re learning, or help companies with taking photographs for social media updates or website content. You can change your business as you go along and that’s totally fine. It’s called growing!

I hope this has given you some motivating ideas. It’s a big topic and I’m pretty sure that I’ll write more posts on this subject. Just know that today is a great time for you to start a business. With the Internet and social media, there’s really no boundaries and you can serve people all over the world. With 7.4 billion people on the planet, there’s a market for what you do. You just have to find the right angle and a clever way to position yourself.

I recently launched a free email course in Norwegian about this very subject! Head on over to casperstang.com/gratiskurs/ and check it out!

Now let me hear from you…

Any questions, thoughts or ideas? Leave a comment and let’s discuss it right here.

Remember to share this with any creative person who’d love to have the freedom and be his or her own boss.

Let’s move forward…

– Casper Stang