A Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship

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Saphia Lanier
Saphia Lanier



You have a creative skill that you’ve polished, nurtured, and developed for years. Though some people simply view it as a hobby that you’re passionate about, to you, it’s your world. If there was some way for you to turn this skill into a career, it’d be a dream come true.

Creative entrepreneurship

Unfortunately, it’s often difficult for creatives to find job positions that allow them to exercise their unique talents. The good news is you don’t have to wait for a new industry or role to emerge that needs your services. 

Instead, you can carve your own path via creative entrepreneurship. 

What is creative entrepreneurship?

Creative entrepreneurship is when you use your creative skills to sell goods or services to people and businesses. For instance, a painter can sell custom family portraits, or a carpenter can build furniture to sell online. Most creative entrepreneurs choose this path because it's an opportunity to earn a living doing something they love, and which they’re good at. 

Types of creative businesses you can build

Are you a creative person who wants to turn your passion into a business? There are many types of artsy businesses you can build. With some research and planning, you can turn your artistic skills into a profitable venture.

Here are ideas for creative businesses you can start today:

  • Graphic designer: Have an eye for design? Then consider creating logos, business cards, websites, posters, e-book covers, and other marketing materials. This is easier using tools like Canva, Photoshop, and InDesign. 
  • Photographer: If you enjoy snapping photos of nature, people, and other subjects, then photography may be a skill worth building. As a photographer, you can offer various services, such as wedding pictures, family portraits, or event photographs.
  • Freelance writer: Businesses need words to sell, educate, and connect with their buyers. This means writers are in demand by businesses needing to communicate with their audiences. You can pursue fields like copywriting (sales writing), blogging, or even ghostwriting to bring other people’s book ideas to life. 
  • Artisan: Being crafty with your hands could turn into a profitable business. Sites like Etsy, eBay, and even Amazon all help artisans sell their handmade products, such as jewelry, clothing, toys, or home decor.
  • Musician: If you’re musically inclined, you can start a business teaching students how to play instruments, composing music for shows and films, performing at events, or even recording and selling your own albums.
  • Web developer: Love building virtual products with code? Then you may enjoy designing websites, apps, and online software for yourself and others. You can learn languages like Python, Java, Ruby, and JavaScript to develop applications to sell or offer your skills as a service to maintain business software. In fact, this is quite popular — in 2020, software services made up 38% of creative sales in developing economies.

When deciding on a creative business idea, treat it like any other business you’d start. Do your research to ensure there’s a market for your creative services or products. 

“I recommend carefully thinking about your pricing,” advises Sally Day, director at Saltoria Marketing, a virtual marketing agency. “It’s challenging to put a value on the creative service or product you’re offering, but don’t underestimate the value of what you do. And don’t be afraid of trial and error — we changed our prices about five times when we first started.”

Pros and cons of creative entrepreneurship

Creative entrepreneurship is a path that combines artistic talent with business acumen. It can be a rewarding career choice, but it also presents a few challenges.

Here are a few pros and cons of creative entrepreneurship.


  • Freedom and flexibility: As a creative entrepreneur, you’re free to choose the projects and clients you work with and can perform tasks on your own terms. Since you’re a business owner, you can set your own schedule and work from anywhere you want (as long as your skill can be performed remotely).
  • Growth opportunities: Creativity is a skill you can hone and grow for many years. There are new technologies emerging that you can use to perfect and expand your skill sets. This gives you a chance to expand your skills, take on new challenges, and explore different avenues for revenue.
  • Personal fulfillment: Pursuing a career that aligns with your passions and interests can be incredibly fulfilling. There’s nothing like earning a living wage to perform duties you’d do for free. 
  • Financially rewarding: If you can find a consistent stream of work or long-term clients to work with, you’ll find the creative entrepreneur lifestyle financially rewarding. For example, you can create multiple streams of income by offering various services and building products to sell online or locally. Plus, you can set your own rates and give yourself annual raises. Between 2010 and 2020, creative goods increased from $419m to $524m, and creative services grew from $487B to nearly $1.1T — so whoever said being creative doesn’t pay needs a fact check.


  • Uncertainty: Becoming a starving artist is a fear many creatives have. Unfortunately, it's a dilemma creatives must consider, thanks to the unpredictability of these fields. Some struggle to build a steady income stream, and sometimes projects fall through unexpectedly. Then there are economic factors that are outside of our control. For instance, during the pandemic, cultural and creative industries contracted by $750B, and at least 10m jobs were lost.
  • Isolation: As a creative entrepreneur, you may spend a lot of time working alone. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Fortunately, there are ways around this, like working in a coworking space, networking opportunities, or having virtual coffees with an online community. 
  • Non-creative tasks: While pursuing your passion, you may spend time on non-creative tasks such as marketing, accounting, and administrative work. This can eat up your free time and hurt productivity and motivation, especially if it’s a task you dislike. An alternative is to find tools to speed up processes or work with a virtual assistant to handle these duties for you.
  • Work-life balance: Running your own business can be all-consuming, leaving little time for other aspects of your life. Achieving a healthy work-life balance can be challenging, but it’s possible when you set boundaries, delegate tasks, and use tools to manage your time (apps, planners, etc.).

“One primary difficulty I faced when first starting my business was finding the right balance between creative expression and commercial viability,” says Gemma Anne Smith, founder of a parenting blog. “It can be challenging to stay true to your artistic vision while also making a profit and satisfying customer demands.”

But for Smith and other creatives, the rewards far outweigh the risks, which is why so many people become creative entrepreneurs. Numbers show the creative industry makes up 3.2% of the global GDP and accounts for 6.2% of all employment. 

“Despite these challenges, I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion and share my creativity with the world,” continues Smith. “By persevering through the challenges and continually learning and improving, I can continue to grow and develop my creative business in a sustainable and fulfilling way.”

How To Become a Creative Entrepreneur

Interested in following your passions and earning a living while doing it? Then you’ll find the following tips helpful. 

Identify your niche: First, figure out what your unique creative talents are and which services or products you can offer that will give you a competitive edge in the market. This could be anything from web design to artistic photography.

Create a business plan: A business plan is essential for any entrepreneur. It serves as a road map for your business, outlining your goals, strategies, and budget. Make sure to include a marketing plan, financial projections, and a plan for growth.

Set goals: Create short- and long-term goals for your business. These could be anything from reaching a certain number of sales per month to launching a new product or service. Having these objectives will keep you motivated and on track to success.

Build your brand: Once you know what you’re offering, it’s time to develop a brand identity that reflects your mission and vision. This includes creating a logo, website, social media presence, and marketing material.

Promote yourself: Now that you have an identity, it’s time to promote yourself and get your name out there in the creative world. Think of ways you can showcase your work, connect with potential clients, and build up your portfolio.

Make connections: Networking is an essential element of creative entrepreneurship. Start conversations with other creative entrepreneurs, attend industry events, and stay up to date with the latest trends in the field. This will give you an edge over the competition and help you find more opportunities.

Focus on quality: Above all else, focus on providing quality services or products. This is the key to success as a creative entrepreneur. Put in the extra effort to make sure you’re producing something of value that will stand out from the crowd.

Take risks: Taking risks is part of being a creative entrepreneur. Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It may be scary, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

Continue learning: Creativity is one part imagination and one part inspiration. As the world evolves, you must keep pace to stay competitive. This means learning new trends, skills, and technologies to keep your offerings relevant and sought-after. 

Embrace failure: Failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship. Don’t let setbacks discourage you or deter you from your goals. Instead, use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Embrace failure as a necessary step toward success.

Creative entrepreneurship is an exciting and fulfilling way to make a living from your passions. With hard work and dedication, you can turn your creative inspirations into reality.

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