Creative Business Books ~ aka: growing your dream biz the fun way

Having a creative business that I run online, and through bricks and mortar galleries has been a dream come true for me.  I started off as a hobby artist, painting pictures for friends and literally giving them away; but then began to understand that I could make money from my hobby.  It was a slow process at first because there was lots I didn’t understand about running a business, but over the last  year or so I’ve immersed myself in the world of Creative Business and seen things really take off.  The other surprising thing is that it’s been a lot of fun.  Learning about business need not be a boring affair, it can be exciting and enriching and with the right kind of tools, your business can soar.

I’ve made a list of creative business books that have really helped me on my journey and I thought I’d share them with you here, to help you with yours.


The $100 Startup

This book is the kahunas of my stash of biz books.  Absolutely one of the best I’ve laid my hands on.  Chris Guillebeau writes in an open and honest way, and he tells it like it is.  He tells you what your customers need, he strips away the mystery of running a business and shares his wisdom and experience wholeheartedly.  When I read this, I had several big “a-haaaa” moments!  I’ve implemented several of his strategies to my own business already and seen a huge difference.  Well worth a read, will have you bursting with creative enthusiasm and inspiration after the first few pages.

The Firestarter Sessions

Danielle LaPorte is a woman who knows business.  She is dynamic, funny (I laughed out loud during this book), she’s straight talking, she will help to reconnect you to with your passion, she will show you how to create success.  Packed with quotes from inspiring and well known individuals, there are also work sheets tailored to guide and clarify.  It’s life changing.


The Right Brain Business Plan

This is a wonderfully inspiring business book; it’s pretty hands on in some aspects as you’re encouraged to make things to help you see your business goals more clearly.  There are also colourful worksheets guaranteed to inspire and help you and your biz stand out from the crowd.  Using a right brain approach to business, Jennifer Lee breaks down the barriers of traditional biz coaching into a fun, joyful journey for you.

The Handmade Marketplace

Find out how to sell your stuff locally, globally and online.  Discover how to price your work, how to set up shop on the internet, understand marketing and competition.  Learn about selling, at local fairs and online emporiums – Kari Chapin gives you the nitty gritty on what it takes to run a creative business, even down to tips and tricks on photographing your stuff and telling the world about what you do.

Turn Your Talent into a Business

Written by business guru Emma Jones, this book explains how to turn  your talent into a fully functional business.  It’s packed with case studies from people who have successfully done this which is both inspiring and informative.  Emma also tells you how to make money from what you do (beyond selling to your circle of family and friends), how to promote your stuff, get a professional image and manage your finances.

Anyone Can Do It

I’ve put this book in the list, not because it’s a How To biz guide, but because Duncan Bannatyne’s story is so inspiring.  It tells how he started from the bottom, with literally nothing and worked his way up to owning a multi million pound business empire; I couldn’t put it down!  When we read how others have done it – people from ordinary backgrounds with no qualifications and so on, we start to see that anything is possible.  We can do whatever we put our minds to.

These books are all personal recommendations that have helped me enormously – and I continue to read different biz books because it’s a subject that I really, truly enjoy – I never thought I would – but I do!   I love that there is so much to learn, and how one simple step has the ability to change the whole direction of your business and see it expand beyond expectation.

Before you go, I wonder if you spare me a moment of your time, and answer a few questions in this short survey please? – it won’t take longer than a minute, promise!  I’m wanting to get a deeper understanding of what my customers would like from me, and by taking the survey, I’ll be able to make this website a shiner, happier place for all of you who visit.  Just click the weblink below, and thanks very much in advance for taking the time to do this for me.
Click here to take survey

Growing an Art Business

When I first started to work as an artist, I thought I’d got it cracked if I created a painting and sold it.  I was very naive back then, I didn’t know much about running a business, in fact it would be true to say that I actually believed I couldn’t run a business – you had to go to college and do a BTEC in business and finance to do that…didn’t you?  Get yourself a certificate saying that you were capable?  I didn’t know arty people could also be business people and so for quite a few years I fumbled my way forward, selling the odd painting and learning bits and pieces here and there as I went on.

I remember standing in a book store business section one day, after having a light bulb moment where I thought I might be able to teach myself the basics, but it wasn’t to be.  I gazed unhappily at the boring tomes in front of me and sighed.  They didn’t exactly inspire me to conduct a home study course and I remember walking out empty handed, and feeling just as stuck.  Back in those days, creative people didn’t have the resources that we can easily lay our hands on now.  Back then, business was strictly for people in suits with large mobile phones.

It was a frustrating time for me.  I knew that I could paint, I knew that the people who had bought my paintings liked what I did, but I didn’t understand how to get myself out there, or how to go about getting myself noticed.

Cue the internet.

We are so lucky in many respects to live in a very technological age, and what this means for us artists and crafts folk is that life becomes a whole heap easier and potential customers become a whole lot more reachable.

However, people aren’t going to come to us if we don’t let them know we’re there.  Yep, if I’ve learnt one thing from my biz studies it’s about the importance of marketing yourself and being bold enough to blow your own trumpet and shout about what you do.

Now to tell you the truth, for a long time the business side of my business didn’t interest me.  In fact, you could say I was downright ambivalent about the whole thing and I think this stemmed from the deep rooted belief that you had to study at college or university to be a Business Person.  But this year I’ve been reading and studying business, learning how to expand to create new income streams, how to reach more people and how to make more sales.

We don’t have to rely on our income to appear from just one source.  We can create diverse ways of bringing money into our lives.

I mean – WOW!  This is really true!!  And for long enough I had no clue that you could do this!

I used to work in an office, and I just took for granted that I earned a salary and each month that set amount of money went into my account.  Once the bills had been paid and my outgoings taken care of, there was a predictable amount of money left over to play with for the next four weeks – it wasn’t much either.  I never dreamed back then that I could have created extra income streams to supplement my office job earnings.  Nowadays we have the added bonus of the internet, which makes earning extra money for ourselves even easier – we have the whole world to share our wares with, it’s an exciting prospect isn’t it?

So, with the knowledge I’ve soaked up from various books, courses and online entrepreneurs this year, I’m confident that I can create different products and experiences for people through my business.  My main focus is on creating products that people actually want and need.  As well as my art, prints and cards I also sell an e-book that I wrote to encourage people to live more creatively; and I’m currently working on creating a new e-course.  As we drift from one recession to another, and the world continues to juggle it’s finances, I think we have to adapt to our current situation and become a little more savvy and clever at how we go about earning money for ourselves.

One of the tools I’ve found works best for me is social media, by which I mean Twitter and Facebook.  Social Media is fast, it’s easy and it’s current.  The opportunities that have arisen from using just these two types of social media to share what I’m up to have been incredible.  I’ve had numerous commissions and sales come through these accounts, been invited to exhibit work at a gallery, had business owners contact me about selling my work in their shops, been involved with a school art project and also made some wonderful connections with other online artists.

There’s still heaps of room to expand my business and I feel excited about the future.  I’ve been emailed about whether I would ever consider art workshops, and as it’s something I’ve done before and enjoyed, I think that I would eventually like to do them again.  I’d also love to arrange an art retreat in a beautiful space with accomodation for the students, as I think this would be a wonderful experience to add to my business and it’s something I’m investigating.  I’m also considering online art tutoring/coaching, and am looking at devising a program that would work remotely, so that people around the world could be involved.

We don’t have to limit ourselves to just one thing – we can allow ourselves to dream bigger and to leap into new adventures.

Maybe you work at a job all day, but have a hobby that you could turn into a lucrative income stream?

Maybe your existing business feels a little stagnant?  Why not brainstorm some new ideas to take your biz forward ~ make a list, choose the one that makes your heart leap, investigate, plant the seeds, do it.

 

So back to now, and what I’ve been up to this last week or so:

Another recently new addition to my biz have been Mini Canvases – in fact, the ones I’ve painted so far, along with a couple of commissions have all gone off to new homes!  I’ve also been asked to create some for a gallery in Derbyshire and I’m very pleased with how they have taken off and the response I’ve had to them.

I’ve also got a brand new product to share with you all too.  After listening to my customers who have asked me for art postcards for long enough, I’m really pleased to tell you that at long last I have released a range of glossy art postcards!

 

There are six designs included in the set which feature images from some of my more popular paintings.  For a limited time you can order a set for just £5.00 which includes free p&p in the UK*.

I’m now off for a little break in Suffolk, I send you sunshine and warm days, jugs of wildflowers and inspiring dreams.

With love

*please note ~ any orders placed between 27th July and 5th August will be shipped when I return from my trip.