Is this the key to a successful creative business?


With the current transition phase of closing up my children's business and working full time on Haby Goddess, I'm spending time digging a little deeper into what needs to be worked on most within my business. 

I've been busy reading blogs, joining membership sites & organising some one on one coaching.  The one thing that keeps popping up throughout is the trouble creative business owners have working on the actual 'business' side.  Doing tax, gst, invoicing and all associated tasks (some would say all the boring bits) with the running of the business.  Most seem to prefer working on the creative content of either writing, making, photography etc.

But I'm the complete opposite!

I can give you charts, reports and figures on any part of my business.  I have lists, goals & folders for EVERYTHING! But.....I struggle with the creative side.  Now I know that sounds crazy coming from someone in a creative business but I have all these ideas swimming around my head, I just struggle with the process of expressing them.

It was most evident this week when I caught with a friend who I'm working on a side project with.  After a brainstorming session a little while ago we went away with our list of tasks to work on.  After meeting up again this week, it showed just how different our approach to writing was.  Her article flowed beautifully showing loads of expression.  Mine on the other hand was content heavy, point form and extremely structured (bit like a manual you would receive when buying a car!).  Not saying either of these styles are wrong but one had a creative flow while the other is all business.

I think you need both. I see so many wonderfully talented artists/crafters fail in there business because they can't do just that, run it as a business.  And others, like me, struggle because they can't quite get the creative point across even though the idea is there.

I have a daughter who is busy creating a design out of tissue paper on a mannequin.  It looks fantastic and I'm in awe of how easy it is for her to express her idea's.  Already I can see what side of the equation she's on.  She struggles to manage her phone credit and monthly allowance yet she excels at maths.  These things don't interest her yet she plans to work in a creative field.  I feel it is really important that she learns the business side of the equation if she wants to succeed.

Do you tend to lean to one side in your creative business?

12 comments:

Miss Cinti - my poppet said...

Haha, I'm totally the opposite of you. more doing than planing. I think the best partnerships are those with different approaches. I would have loved to have you as a business partner at my shop. You could have done all my taxes and saves me the stress!

clare's craftroom said...

I struggle with the business side and just trying to stay on track . If I had a secretary it would be amazing . I love your posts , you always make me think !

Thea said...

I like the creative side of things as well as the blogging/marketing but don't even have enough time for that and the boring bookkeeping keeps piling up... as it gets pushed aside.

Fussy Eater's Mum said...

Habby Goddess, interesting post. I went to design school but diverted into another (non-creative) line of work and now, years later feel like I've lost my creative spark. Like you, I am confident with the book side of business, but really have to work at finding my creative mojo. I think to find balance you have to force youself into a routine, like devoting one day to accounts, and another day to being creative. Otherwise, you try fiting it all in at once, and never feel like you are getting anywhere.

CurlyPops said...

Such a good question! I'm lucky that I have a maths/science background and I've previously worked in accounts for a large manufacturing company.... but that doesn't mean that I like doing my own accounts.
Sadly, there has to be a balance between creativity and the reality of running a profitable business.

Caroline said...

What a great question - Creativity and crafting I love...the business side of running a sewing school, not so much. More and more I'm learning that you can't have one side without the other, but who wants to do paperwork when you can sew and plan a new series of classes?

Maryanne said...

Hi Jodie, I definitely see the creative side of things as the fun bit and the logistics as something that has to be done. Unfortunately my sister who is my business partner has similar feelings. (as seen in her earlier comment!) Our business meetings always seem to stray into the creative side no matter how determined we are to cover some of the necessary planning and management issues.
I think it comes back to why we set up our business in the first place - it wasn't to run the business itself but rather to have an environment where we could share our passion about sewing and introduce others to this pleasure as well.
Thanks for the very thoughtful post - it has made me realise that we do need to pull up our business socks!

trudi said...

I love the creative side. But on the business side what I'm finding challenging is setting the postage fees, particularly when there is no allowance for individual items regarding their weight and destination on certain selling sites.I've been stung a few times in underestimating the cost to remote australian destinations, but I don't want to over charge either. Any ideas?

Jodie said...

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful & detailed responses. It seems we all agree that you must give the same attention to both even when one comes easier than the other.

Trudi - setting the correct postage is definitely challenging. I know some businesses only use post sachels, as it's a set price for anywhere within Australia - but again it will depend on the items you are sending if this is practical. In my online store if the postage is more than $2 overcharged I will always refund it immediately. I do lose on some - more so on international - postage to Norway is a killer! But for me it all seems to even itself out.

Maybe re-consider the way the item is packed. The lunch box kits I sell, I kind of pull them apart so the lay flat, meaning I can charge a large letter instead of a parcel.
Hope this has been of some help :)

cintism said...

I am in the process of setting up an online store selling my crafty creations and I am being held back by the fact that I want to do the business side of things 'right' and legal. I don't want to throw myself into it and then get caught out 6 months down the track by the tax man. Problem is that all this business stuff takes up the time of the crafty stuff. After looking around at other creative businesses at handmade markets etc I have ended up frustrated as it seems that there are so many people out there that have done the opposite and I end up feeling like a goody-two-shoes for wanting to do the right thing. Catch 22.

Jodie said...

Hi Jacinta, welcome to my world my friend!
I had insurance, was registered, had care labels & warning stickers - all of which many others didn't/don't have. They all take time and MONEY. But you need to do what makes you feel comfortable and just have to be a little sensible about it. If you are just selling to the local market once a month, many of these things may not be necessary. It's when you wholesale your work especially to an international stockist which I did, then these things should definitely be considered. I couldn't of done it any other way, I needed to know that my business and most importantly my family was (and is) protected.
Good luck with your business. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions related to this.

Bookkeeper Melbourne said...

Talent and management is two of the best thing people should learn in creating business.