5 Lessons I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Running a Creative Business

I’ve technically been running business since 2011, but the first business I was in with a partner, and neither of us had any idea what the next decade would have in store for us – for our business, our families, and the dreams God was growing in our hearts.

My actual self-employment journey really started in 2016. Back then, I was working as a case-manager/Family Therapist, and that went through different iterations from 2016-2019, when I decided to transition to work from home mom life, and focused on coaching and creative education.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve learned a lot about running a creative business in the modern world. Lessons I think can help encourage a lot more people to take the leap into a different way of working/thinking about products & services in a global market.

One: You can build a creative business in pretty much any industry. That’s right, in today’s world with the internet, easier travel (you know, pre-pandemic time), and greater accessibility, the possibilities are nearly endless. There are also many possibilities of how you work creatively in your industry
teach the skills
write/record videos about it
offer services freelance
provide virtual services
sell products on various platform stores

And, these are just a few of the ways you can take your skills into a creative business. What kinds of professionals have created creative businesses? Basically all of them. A stroll through tik toks or reels will give you so many wide examples of exactly this and how people are turning skills and hobbies into profit and joy.

Two: It’s not easy.
Honestly, it’s not. No matter the industry or the path you choose, it will take time, energy, money, education, experience; just all of the things. It’s not an overnight thing that will happen for you (or anyone).
Think about it, even the biggest business and brand names we know started small and took time to grow. They of course made good choices along the way and didn’t go in fear, but they started small.
Marketing is also not easy. It takes time and consistency. If you stop too soon, you’ll feel like you never made it.
I like to think about it as a marathon not a sprint: it’s going to drain you, take so much training, and you’ll want to quit before you even see the finish line. Just, don’t stop running. Consistency+time+energy=success.

Three: Sometimes, you have to find other ways to pay the bills while you build the creative business.
Like we said in lesson 2, it all takes time. Which is why businesses in the past who needed brick and mortar shops would go under – buildings and supplies cost a lot of money and time costs money. In today’s world, businesses don’t always require as much overhead, but we all still have bills to pay.
We have rent, we need food and clothes, and warmth (or cool in the summer). In order to survive, sometimes, we have to have other ways to make money for this survival.
Maybe you work a full/part time job, or maybe you have a partner who works while you build the business, or perhaps, to work less, you have a roommate to shoulder some of the financial burden or a business partner to help work the business while you both work elsewhere.
We’ve all been there. Keep going.

Four: The internet allows us to shop small on a global level, and serve well on a global level. This means, others can shop our products and services from anywhere in the world.
We get to advertise on a global level, using social media platforms and paid marketing.
We get to supply our own creative businesses by connecting with other small, creative businesses – sometimes, this can help us and them build our platforms.
Small business has now moved from craft fairs and farmers markets to the internet and social media (but, don’t neglect those local options, either. Those are amazing opportunities, even in a virtual world).
Because of this, we get opportunities to show many different aspects of what we do, and make it easier for potential consumers/customers/clients to find what we offer.

Five: It’s all worth it, especially when you have needs or desires that clash with a post-industrial world workforce.
I by no means wish to disparage any kind of 9-5 or blue-collar jobs. I fully believe we need all of these.
As a woman with with two kids at home, who also has several chronic health issues that make it impossible to keep a schedule, but also wants to homeschool (personal choice), yet still needing to bring in income to help support our family, creative business makes a way.
Being able to run a creative education & publishing business that uses my passion and my education is everything to me. And, I’m passionate about spreading that to others, helping others find that way.
Whether it’s fellow moms who want to be home with their kids, or fellow chronic illness sufferers who need a new way to make income without worrying their health will hold them back or cause disciplinary action (because, I’ve been there, that sucks). Or, maybe just a person out there who wants to live all over the world, working from their tiny, mobile home. I’m here for it. I’m here for all of it.

Last little note: all of this applies to creative ministry, too. If you’re in ministry, remember the world is changing, and you can adjust with it. You can match the cultural shifts while still being a light, and you can be a present and active momma at the same time. Because, after all, our families are our first ministry, right?

Are you running a creative business? If not, have you wanted to transition to that self-employed creative business (or ministry) life? What lessons have you learned in the process, or what’s holding you back from making the leap/growing in the business? Join the conversation in the comments!

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