MUSE LIFE: Investing as a Creative Business (Part Two)

Illustration by Laura Callaghan 

Illustration by Laura Callaghan 

Turning your creative passions into a business is no easy feat. If you have already done so, I genuinely admire you for exerting the courage to choose to invest in your creativity regularly. If you’re still considering turning your artistry into a business, I’m glad you’re here where you’re actively seeking to learn from other artists. Whether you’re new to creative entrepreneurship or an accomplished artist, adhering to the following tips can help you get the most return from your personal creative work into which you continually invest so much energy.

Know where you stand.

With free online services like Mint and FreeCreditReport.com, there’s no reason to not know your spending habits and credit score. Many people are surprised when they first use a service like Mint and realize how much they actually spend on things like food, transportation, and toiletries. The first step to getting your finances in order is knowing what they are.

Track your expenses and gains.

If you are savvy in Microsoft excel, create a spreadsheet to track your expenses and business income. If you prefer another service to track your finances for you, you can pay a monthly fee to use a service like Freshbooks to track all of your profits and expenses. You wouldn’t want to lose track of business expenses like classes, supplies, and even your Freshbooks monthly fee that can be written off as tax deductions! You can also invoice clients through Freshbooks, so all of your business finances are organized and taken care of through a single site. Having all of your business expenses organized in a single place will not only reduce headaches when it comes time to file taxes, but continually give you a clear picture of the status of your developing business.

Continuously learn.

What makes people successful in any business is continually striving to improve their business. You can take free online courses through Coursera in almost any subject. You can more learn about entrepreneurship, marketing, or even your artistic endeavor. Continuously learning will foster your growth as both a business owner and an individual.

Ask for feedback.

Criticism can sometimes feel condescending, but can be one of the most constructive tools when building a business. If you don’t have an open platform for clients to provide feedback, create one now. Feedback is critical to business development, especially when building clientele. One of the most powerful and effective ways to invest in your business is to seek feedback and then apply it.

Find ways to exchange services.

Seek out places that allow you to volunteer in exchange for services, especially if you live in a city. I’ve volunteered in exchange for physical necessities, like food and transportation, and spiritual necessities, such as weekly therapy. If you can’t find somewhere to volunteer, offer some of your creative services to people in exchange for their services. You may be surprised at how many people might take you up on an offer of free art in exchange for a free haircut or meal.

Always have more than one source of income.

No dollar is promised, so if you lose one job you still want to be able to pay your basic living expenses. A secondary source of income could be profiting from an innate talent or banking off of an occasional side job. Unsure of where to look? Consider becoming a TaskRabbit, driver for Uber or Lyft, tutor, or babysitter. Remember – if you’re good at something, never do it for free.

Give generously.

Giving may be counterintuitive when trying to profit, but regularly providing for others in need can remind us what is truly necessary and encourage us to live and spend intentionally. Find a reputable non-profit organization that benefits a cause in which you believe and give lovingly and regularly. Many organizations allow you to automate donations as well.

In the business of artistry, we commit countless hours to pouring our hearts and souls into our work. Thus we deserve to see prosperous returns on the passion we devote to our craft. Whether you are an amateur to art as a business or an accomplished creative, I hope you find the above guidelines useful in further developing your creativity as a business. I wish you all much success!

Read more from Lyndsey with Investing for the Independent Creative