Hello sweet friend!

I’m so excited for you to start your own creative business and share your passion with the world! 

Getting started with a new business adventure can be overwhelming. I remember all the questions running through my head when I first started my design studio back in 2019. Things like:

“Where will I find clients?!”
“What do I need to post about on social media to get someone to book with me?”
“Who is my ideal client? Do I really need one?”

As a budding creative entrepreneur, these are common questions that may run through your mind when starting out or trying to sign your first paying clients.

But there’s no need to do this alone. With the help and support of entrepreneurs who’ve been there before (oh hey!), you can get the guidance you need to smooth out the rough edges, and build a brand you’re unbelievably proud of. 

So, grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and let’s walk through the steps of starting your creative business.

Checklist For Starting a Creative Business

Entrepreneur sitting on couch on computer reviewing the 9-Step Checklist For Starting a Creative Business

Identify Your Passion & Your “Why” 

There are a lot of non-passion-driven tasks that need to be done so you can work your magic and give your clients their dreamy deliverables. And sometimes, when the emails seem endless and the to-do list has spilled over to a second page, it’s easy to wonder why on earth you ever wanted to do this in the first place. 

Keep your “why” close to your heart. Don’t lose sight of your vision of your life as a creative entrepreneur. When things start to feel overwhelming, having your “why” front of mind helps you know it’s worth it. Because believe me, it is! 

For help with reconnecting to your why, check out my free Messaging For Creatives workshop!

Conduct Research 

Once you know what lights you up and what you want to share, it’s time to fire up Google. Who else does what you want to do? Search for people already in the space and see what they offer, how they set up their business, what their price point is, and anything else you can uncover 

Once you know who else is out there and how they support their clients, think about the kinds of clients you want to serve. Who is looking for what you offer? What do they do for work? Where do they live? How do they spend their free time? 

As your business grows, you want to find your dream clients, people who are dying to work with exactly you. So find out who those people are and how you can connect with them because they’re out there! 

Determine Your Offers & Pricing

Now that you know what others are offering and who you want to serve, it’s time to get clear on exactly what you’ll offer and what makes you unique. Pricing your offers is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a creative business. You don’t want to scare away potential customers, but you also want to be compensated for the time, skill, and knowledge you put into your work. 

The first step is taking the time to fully develop your offers. What value are you bringing your clients? List every single thing that you’d like to include in your different offers and packages and be very honest with yourself about how much time that work will take. 

Inside The Expansion Collective, my signature group business coaching program for creatives, there is an ENTIRE module on strategic offer design and how to effectively price your services.

And remember you can (and should!!) be raising your rates as you develop a portfolio, gather testimonials from happy clients, and get more confidence in your work. Today’s prices should not be your forever prices!

Get Your Systems Organized

You’ve put in the time and know your “why”, your “who” and your “what”. Now comes the “how”. Being the one person responsible for every aspect of your business can quickly get overwhelming. Working out a structure and implementing organizational systems will help you keep your passion for what you do and give you more time for the client work you love. 

Before you start looking through some of the amazing small business softwares out there, you first need a structure. Think through every step of your client’s journey in detail. How are you finding clients? How do they reach you if they want to learn more about your work? How will you organize all the information you’ll need for their project? How will they pay? 

The process can seem overwhelming, but pour yourself a cup of tea, sit in your comfiest chair, and take your time. Put yourself in the shoes of your client and walk yourself through the entire process from inquiring to glowing results. Now think about how you can give that client a magical, thoughtful experience through every step. 

With your client experience lovingly structured, you can start looking at tools and supports to help you make that a reality. 

Position Yourself As An Authority With Quality Branding

You’re a passionate expert, and it’s important that your clients see that from the first moment they connect with you. Every aspect of your business should give your clients a peek into the level of experience that comes with working with you. A huge part of how you tell that story is through your visual branding. 

Your branding is your business’ personality. It tells clients what they can expect. Will the experience be fun and relaxed? Will it be focused and professional? What about edgy and sarcastic? Good branding comes from taking the time to think about how you want your clients to feel and making sure that is clearly communicated in everything you do. This way, when your soulmate clients come across your Instagram feed or land on your blog posts, they immediately know that they have found what they’re looking for. While many people choose to invest in branding later on in their business, it’s actually one of the most important aspects to consider when starting a creative business.

Create Your Website & Social Media Profiles

A website and social media presence is key in taking this vision of yours out of your head and into the public. This step can be scary because it is the moment when you really put yourself out there. But this is also the most exciting part as you watch your ideas shape themselves into something tangible! 

Starting an account on every social media platform at once can be overwhelming, so think about the platforms your people spend time on. Start delivering value and creating content that aligns with your brand, and it’s official. You’re in business! 

Put Together Your Marketing Mix

Unfortunately, even though we’ve all been told that if you build it they will come, that isn’t really the case. Creating your website and social media account isn’t enough to have your soulmate clients find you. You need to bring value and create content that resonates with them to build relationships and engagement. 

When starting a creative business, it’s important to find a system that works for you and keeps you on task. It’s so easy to jump on Instagram to look at trending music, and suddenly it’s two hours later, and you’re watching recommendation videos on where to stay in Italy… Have a plan and stay the course, so you create content with purpose. 

And don’t skim on email marketing! Email has some of the highest ROIs and is the best way to connect with just your biggest fans on a more personal level. You can learn more about the benefits of email marketing here.

Flex Your Sales Muscles (This Doesn’t Need To Feel Sleazy!)

Selling often feels sleazy, but it doesn’t have to. As a creative entrepreneur, you’re looking for a specific set of kindred clients who are seeking what you offer, so selling should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. The goal is to simply connect with them authentically and share with them as much value as possible. 

These strategies create trust and lead to genuine sales instead of pushy pitches and cold DMs that turn people off. And if you still feel like sales is the weakest link in your creative biz, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common issues clients of mine bring up inside The Expansion Collective and 1:1 mentorship. If you’re looking for support to sell with more ease, working with a coach can save you a lot of trial and error.

Get Started!

There you have it! A curated checklist for starting your own creative business! 

You have skill and passion to share, so stop waiting for the right time to launch your business. or The world can’t wait to see what you have to offer, so set aside some time, grab a beverage, and start at the top. You can do this, my friend, I believe in you! 

Looking For Support? Let’s Chat

If you would love some guidance on how to start your creative business, I’m here for you. I help heart-led entrepreneurs just like you build their brand and start or grow their business in a way that feels true to them.

With a little help, you can build a creative business that makes your soulmate clients say, “Finally! I’ve been looking for her!”

Learn more about my branding and design services or business coaching offerings to see how I guide my clients through these processes. And if you feel like we’re meant to be, you can apply to work with me today

I can’t wait to meet you!


9-Step Checklist For Starting a Creative Business

May 27, 2023