6 tips to become successful in the creative business

6 tips to become successful in the creative business

Whether as a photographer, web designer or in one of the other creative professions: if you are self-employed, you should follow a few rules in order to create a solid foundation. This is the only way to build up and, above all, to persevere over the first 5 years. Some say that you only really made it as a self-employed person after 5 years (others only after 10 years).

The first year of development is still exciting, but at some point the easy customers from the area are grazed, bigger problems arise, the business is constantly changing and it becomes more difficult to win new customers or keep old ones. It is all the more important to have a rock-solid basis at the start that will carry your business through all difficulties. Here are a few tips to get started in order to become and stay successful in the creative business.

Tip 1: Create a business plan
In the business plan , all the data of your company is summarized. What qualifications do you bring with you, what is your business idea (everything about your services and products), what is the nature of the market (who are your customers, what makes them special, do you have reference customers, what needs does your target group have), everything about the competition ( direct competition in the area, indirect competition, which fees are charged, which marketing measures are implemented, what can you do differently and better), everything about your marketing strategy (offers, price strategy, sales, advertising) and everything else about the organization, employees and legal form . How such a business plan is professionally implemented can be found on many blogs on the Internet.

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Tip 2: Focus on your financial plan
This also belongs in the business plan, but I would like to emphasize the importance of cash flow. If this falters and you worry more about how to pay your private bills instead of having fun at your job, you will quickly come to an end. Advertising is hardly possible anymore, the stress prevents calm work. Write down all private costs as well as the costs of your business. Think of all insurance, taxes and a buffer in case nothing works for a few months (you want to be a wedding photographer ? What do you do in winter?). Incidentally, it is not the worst tip to become self-employed on a part-time basis in order to discover this new world, but still know where the money regularly comes from…

Tip 3: Gain experience
You want to move in an environment where others act very professionally. You have to get to this level first. Attend classes and workshops (often a big investment, so make sure the instructor has many years of successful work in the field they are now teaching). Find your mentor. A mentor should be someone who has had a successful career, whose work you admire, and who is passionate about what they do. It is not necessarily about personal contact, but rather about being a role model.

Tip 4: You are a salesman
Many creative people think of themselves more as artists and also act as such, but the salesperson must be just as close to their hearts when they are self-employed. You have to be able to sell yourself and your services and products. Your customer and decision-maker can’t hold a candle to you on a creative level, but as a company and salesperson they are superior to you. So he will confront you on that basis. As an artist, you may be happy to get paid at all, but as a serious entrepreneur building a business that will not only fund you and your family now, but also your retirement years, you need sales skills to consist.

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Tip 5: Steady development
The following video shows how unpredictable self-employment can be. It is a constant development, adaptation and lifelong learning. You start with product A, which isn’t selling very well, but instead of giving up, you develop product B and it’s doing a little better. Your business plan must have said a lot about product A, but product B was the solution that at least keeps you afloat. But it was only with service C that you discovered your niche that really supports your business. At the start of your self-employment you didn’t know anything about this service C, but it just developed into it. The only important thing is to stay in business, whatever that will be. An exciting and often difficult path, with some surprises.

Tip 6: The question of financing
Bearing so many costs at once is an enormous burden, especially for those just starting their careers. Accordingly, not everyone can immediately afford to venture into self-employment as a photographer without making private cuts. Especially when the order situation does not cover the costs, there are hard months ahead.

Fortunately, freelancers can also apply for a loan to start their career. The prerequisite is usually a business plan, which the self-employed should have anyway. The technology for the first photos can be paid for with a small loan. In this way, work can begin immediately. Otherwise, artistic compromises have to be made or expensive equipment rental fees have to be accepted. If the camera and optics are financed by credit, photographers have a higher degree of flexibility.

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