This blog post was originally published on Folksy in conjunction with #FolksyHour.
One of the hardest things about running your own business is that you are doing it on your own. No business partner to share ideas, no team to turn to when things don’t go according to plan. There are many benefits to this of course – you get to make all the decisions, don’t have to answer to anyone and have the option to work in your pyjamas all day long – as well as not having to share the cake!
But what happens when you’re stuck? When you feel low, unmotivated and without direction? What do you do when you have no idea about Twitter? When you know you need to be sending newsletters but don’t know where to start? When your bookkeeping folder is in fact, a box of random receipts and you have no idea what to do with them?
I suspect this sounds familiar to some of you? A lack of knowledge or understanding about certain elements of your business will then in turn lead to lack of confidence, and it may be harder to then look for the support you need to build your business knowledge.
The online world is a highly educational one. By searching on Pinterest, for example, you will find a whole host of articles about Creative Business Support – each and every one full of incredibly useful information. There is no limit to what you can access online with regards to how to build your business. From SEO to bookkeeping, from digital marketing to pricing, and from PR to craft fairs. Everything you could possibly need is out there, so in theory, business–wise, you’re covered.
However, you may not learn that way, and may prefer to access support by speaking to an actual human. Where do you go?
By searching free business workshops in your local area should hopefully bring up some good options. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start to see what training or workshops they have to offer.
Or checking out your local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – they will have a growth hub that you can access – visit this page and click on the map to find the one closest to you and give them a call.
If you suit the demographic, The Princes Trust have a lot of support available.
With regards to online training, there is so much out there it’s hard to choose a particular one, but a good place to start as any is Skillshare.
Take a look at Gov.Uk – you’ll have an account from when you registered your business, so it’s worthwhile accessing their blogs and news articles to find out what you need to know from a tax perspective.
There are many other online training courses that you can access. Again, Pinterest will be your best friend here.
But these organisations aren’t focused on creative businesses, and sometimes it’s good to surround yourself with other creatives that you can relate to more than other businesses.
So there are a few amazing websites that support creative businesses – obviously I am going to recommend The Creative Business Network to take a look at! But aside from us, there are other incredible sites of support.
The Design Trust will have pretty much everything you need to help you in the growth of your business. From hugely comprehensive blog posts, to book recommendations and online training, this is one site that you can’t overlook.
Other sites I am really happy to recommend and suggest you take a look through are:
The support for creative businesses is growing, and the resources you can now access online are invaluable.
But how about your personal, and wellbeing support? Do you have access to a network of other makers? Do you have family or friends whom you can turn to, to ask questions or advice? One of the most important forms of support you need when running your own creative business (or any business) is that of emotional and physical support. Sometimes, the only thing that can help is having a rant over a cuppa, or asking a question on a forum and coming up with a number of empathic answers.
If you have a physical or a virtual network, you are in luck! But what about if you haven’t found one yet?
Well, we are passionate about providing that support and will try to help you as much as possible.
The Creative Business Network was born from an idea of getting together with the aim of sharing. Sharing ideas, problems, knowledge, successes, and obviously some tea and cake chucked in there too!
When running my own creative business, one of the highlights of my week (or month – depending on how busy I was!) were the cups of tea and chats with others doing the same as me. I felt less isolated after spending time with other business owners. I was able to share things that were troubling me, or ideas I had had but wasn’t sure whether to give them a go. Having that personal support network was one of the most valuable things I found, while running my business. I also cannot underestimate the importance of my online network of friends too – other creative business owners who were there when I needed them – and I was for them too. Instead of feeling like I was doing it all on my own, I felt like I had a team who had my back.
So where do you go to find this kind of support?
Well, #Folksyhour is a brilliant place to start – other creative businesses all chatting, engaging and sharing with each other. A brilliant creative network. We have spoken about online networks before in a previous blog post of ours, but utilising hashtag hours on Twitter, groups on Facebook, and hashtag campaigns on Instagram, you can really start to build up your creative online community.
Within these communities you can start to organise meetups, if the members live close by. You may have a good idea of venues within your area to target that may already host networking events, or coffee mornings. Whether it is an art gallery, community centre or arts café, try to find out what events they run. Be brave and go along! Remember, everyone else is in the same position as you. We’re all scared in the beginning, but the more we put ourselves out there, the more we grow, and learn. The more confident we become and therefore able to build our business more successfully.
We run events in our area, with the sole purpose of bringing like-minded creative business owners together. I have seen first hand the friendships they have helped form, the confidence they have helped nurture, and the community they have helped grow.
If you really feel that you need some further help and support then it may be worth getting a mentor. This is a bigger financial investment but can really help you focus on your business and help you become accountable. Mentors can help give you direction and make you see things from a different perspective. You also feel like you have a partner helping you along – but you may have to share the cake!
We offer mentoring, as do Jenny Hyde and Jen Carrington (links earlier in this blog). We also offer membership, which is a more cost effective way of getting monthly support.
Whatever support it is that you need, there will be someone or somewhere you can access it – so you don’t need to do any of it on your own. Give us a call if you need to, it would be great to hear from you!
Folksy sellers forum is a great resource:
Folksy’s blog is really comprehensive and covers so much business information from a creative perspective:
Some great resources available here:
Check out our Pinterest boards for some really useful business advice:
Hilary Pullen has written a brilliant book about online marketing your craft business:
Another book about selling your handmade work:
The Creative Business Network is a place where you can ask questions, find answers, receive mentoring & advice, and have access to a directory of suppliers and providers of creative businesses.
The Creative Business Network - where we provide everything to
support you in running a creative business.
Mentoring, support and advice, plus a directory of suppliers to
help you in your creative journey.
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The Creative Business Network
4 New Buildings,
01884 266045 / 07969 044006
4 New Buildings,
01884 266045 / 07969 044006