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A growing number of people are choosing to harness their creative talents, and try and make it in business. If you have a passion or a hobby, and you want to take it to the next level, you may be thinking about taking the plunge. But how do you go about translating your ideas and creative masterpieces into a business blueprint? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Think carefully

Before you make any rash decisions or start planning for the next ten years, think carefully. If you want to convert a hobby into a career, there are questions you need to both ask and answer. Do you have the funds you need to get started? Do you think you’re good enough to make it? Is there a market out there? Is this something you want to do full-time? Is it going to keep you above water financially?

Setting up a new business venture requires hard work, and it is a risk. Many new businesses fail. If you’re not 100% sure about giving up work, why not start your new venture as a sideline? This will give you time to do some research and get started without fretting about having no income for the foreseeable future. You can learn more about the initial costs, put money aside, and work out how you’re going to take a vision and make it a reality.

Make a plan

Setting up a business may seem relatively simple, but it’s never as easy as it looks. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes action required. It’s not just about printing business cards or setting up a website. You need to think about how your business will work and design a model. You need to plan how to finance your company and work out what you’re going to sell at what cost. You should be aware of legal regulations and consider how you’re going to market your business. There’s a lot of thinking and planning to do, so give yourself time. It’s very rare for new business owners to have all the answers, so don’t be afraid to seek help from experts. You may have the best ideas and invent wonderful products. But if you don’t know anything about marketing, you might struggle to make your business a success.

Some new businesses have very low startup costs. However, others require significant investment. If you’re thinking of applying for a business loan, make sure you are happy with your business plan first. The plan must be watertight, and it must showcase your company’s potential for growth. You should be able to explain exactly what it shows, and how you’re going to implement it to make sure that your business is a success. Be prepared for questions about the numbers, and make sure you’ve done your sums right.

Think about what your business will offer. Are you a musician, a singer or an artist? If so, you are the product, and you need to think about the best ways to sell the services you offer. Do you want to go down the path of trying to make it as a recording artist or are you looking to break into the events industry and sing at weddings or birthday celebrations, for example? Do you want to set up your own gallery, or are you keen to start selling your work from home or exhibiting in the local area? If you are a photographer, consider whether you want to sell your shots or you want to offer your services. Some photographers make money by taking photographs for other people or publications while others display their work in the same way as artists sell paintings or drawings. If you’re an inventor, plan how you’re going to get your product range to market and how and where you’re going to sell it. Every business is different, and the nature of your talents and your end goal may affect the path you choose.

Develop your skills

Starting a business requires a varied skill set. You have to become a human version of a Swiss army knife and be ready to turn your attention to an array of different tasks. If you don’t have any experience in accounting, business management, leading a team, marketing or using computer software, it’s wise to develop your skills and invest in some training. You won’t need college degrees in every subject out there. But it’s a good idea to be aware of the basics, and to improve your skills in certain areas. If you’re interested in learning more about running a business or you want to investigate courses that could benefit you in the long-run, take a look at options such as Premiere Pro training.

Get the word out there

In order for any business to be successful, it has to make money. If you’re not balancing the books, you won’t last long. If you’ve got ideas and plans, and you’re ready to go, the next step is to market your business whether you’re promoting yourself, a product range or a service. How are you going to let people know who you are and what you do?

In this day and age, there are all kinds of marketing channels available to you. One of the best platforms for creative people to promote their business is social media. You can create a profile in a matter of minutes, and before you know it, hundreds of people could have seen your page. You can use your profile to tell people about yourself and your business, organize events, showcase your talents, and generate an interest in what you do. If you’re a singer, for example, you can upload videos of performances and link to your website where people can purchase CDs or a store where you can download a digital version of the song. You can invite people to gigs or provide information about event hire. If you sing at weddings, for example, you can use social media to respond to inquiries, take bookings, and show potential clients clips of past performances and ideas for set lists.

If you’re a baker and you’ve set up a business selling cakes, you can post details of your launch event online. You can ask friends to share your posts, and you can advertise your business. If you want to sell to local cafes or you do bulk orders for offices, for example, you can post adverts on sites like Facebook, which could reach a host of local businesses within seconds. Visual aesthetics are extremely important when it comes to social media marketing, so make sure your pages look alluring and use images and clips rather than long passages of text.

Many businesses have a strong online presence, and if you plan to sell anything or market your business online, you’ll need a great website. Your website should reflect your company, and act as a virtual shop window. You want to entice clients and customers, and ensure that they like what they see. You also need to make sure that your site is easy to use, and that it works properly. If it crashes all the time, customers will lose patience and shop elsewhere. Use the pages on your site to tell people more about you and your company and answer common questions. It’s also advisable to have an interactive element. Many people buy online now, and it’s beneficial to be able to answer queries, respond to questions, and also to use feedback. Once you’ve got your website use search engine optimization to encourage more people to visit it. You can do this by linking up with bloggers, and using keywords, backlinks and search terms in your content.

Are you a creative person who longs to turn their passion into a career? If so, you may be thinking about setting up your own business. This guide will hopefully set you off on the right foot.

Good luck!