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How to start a creative business?

Updated: Jul 31

These days, almost every 1 in 3 people wants to be a business owner and a survey by University of Phoenix found that as much as 63% of people in their 20s want to start their own small business. Whether you are thinking about starting an art or design business, a gifting or event business, or maybe even a fashion brand, you're probably thinking about how you can plan it for success. Well, no one starts something with a plan to fail intentionally but failing (or stagnant growth) happens all the time! So the question is, how do you start it right?

Here, I will uncover 2 of my best tips to start and how I grew it successfully on Instagram.

1) Discover your purpose

My mentees/clients often come to me with questions about "HOW": how to grow, how to sustain, how to make more sales etc, but I will always throw them back this question "WHY". More often than not, they struggle to answer the why. It is so important to ask yourself, why do you want to start a small creative business (or any business as a matter of fact) and communicate that to others. For example, when I started my business, I knew I wanted to do art and help people to find creativity in it so I established that purpose in a short statement “Empowering you to be creative through art” and had sub missions to the different areas of my business as it expands.


Establishing this in the early stages is crucial to growing a successful business and here's why:

  • It helps you set your long term business strategies. This is the secret (not so secretive) to deciding what I say yes or no to for my business. It helps me think about the long term effects on my business instead of making short term decisions because it doesn't align to my purpose. Without a purpose, it's like steering a boat in the ocean without a direction or a place to go. Whatever you decide to do, whatever concepts you've learnt, the purpose of your business steers the plan.

  • It gives you a bigger competitive advantage.Think about what the purpose is and who you want to hear it. There's competition for everything and if you want to stand out from the competition or grow your niche, you have got to define your purpose. You won't get stuck in competing with prices and it pushes you to innovate ideas for your business. One of the reasons I don’t do a lot of discounts even when I just started my business is because I knew the purpose and values of my business and that sets the advantage for pricing my products and services. For example, someone else could be doing almost the exact same thing but I won’t go out of my way to give discounts and lower my prices just so the client/customer would choose me. This helped me grow my business and brand in the long run

  • Increases brand trust and loyalty. I can’t emphasise how important this is and how defining the purpose ultimately helps your business to stand the test of time. This season with the latest pandemic happening, many small business suffered terribly and some even had to shut their business down. Ironically, my business took a leap and it was thriving! Not to boast about myself, but I know that it is because my business brings value to people and they resonate with the purpose of my business. Suddenly I was the number one choice of online instructor, selling out my book and getting booked out for mentoring sessions.

Discovering the purpose of your business and then defining it will ultimately keep your customers or audience who love what you do coming back for more.You can learn how to develop your brand/business purpose and how to price your products/services through my mentoring sessions.

2) Learn and practice as much as you can

Whether you are starting up your small creative business or you’re getting yourself ready to do it, don’t do it alone and figure everything out on your own.

  • Learn - You need to keep learning whether it’s reading, listening, watching or even going for a seminar/workshop. One of my wish, if I could turn back in time, was that when I was starting out, I did not have a business mentor or have the opportunity to learn from workshops and classes (there wasn’t a lot of workshops available to learn watercolour/calligraphy in Malaysia 4 years ago when I picked it up) and it took me so long to figure everything out on my own like what was wrong, what didn’t work and what might work. It sounds nice to be self- taught and be a one woman show sorta thing but it was a lot of tears and late nights wondering what’s wrong and how to even move from where I was stuck at (I do not take pride in that or claim to be self taught as we all learn from somewhere even if it’s not someone) and the only comfort was my husband assuring me it will be fine. Today, I still listen to podcasts and videos (not too much of a reader but hey, do whatever works for you) to increase my skillsets whether it’s for my teaching or business. Learning just adds so much value to your business!

  • Practice - Keep practicing! Whether you need to be good at designing, painting, baking, writing, communicating or even selling, you gotta keep doing it. I still do that today and I carve out time between running my business and being a wife and mom to 2 dogs! Have I perfected my skills? Absolutely not. Because every year I look back at what I did a year ago, whether it’s the write up of my contents, the modules I created, the art I painted, the videos I edited, I cringe a little at them and see how much I’ve improved from practicing. So keep practicing whatever you need to no matter how long you’ve been doing it.


So here’s my 2 long but best tips that I have for all of you thinking about starting a creative business! I started my workshops and mentoring sessions because I wanted to make this more available to people who are thinking about starting, growing or picking up a new skill. If you’re ready to learn more about how you can start or grow your business, book in a session with me and let’s get started! You do not have to figure it out on your own.


Mentoring session:

https://www.byjoeecheong.com/mentoringprogram


Art courses & workshops:

https://www.byjoeecheong.com/learnwithme


Connect on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/byjoeecheong/

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© 2020 by Joee Cheong.