A couple of weeks ago we held our first Creative Startup event at The Hub in Melbourne. I invited four creative business owners to join me to tell their stories about what has worked for them, what hasn’t and the tips they’d give to anyone starting out in business. They were Shelley Trbuhovich from Galerie Montmartre, Liz Bull from Lizzy C Photography, Sarah Fisher from denu organic skincare and Darren Yeow from Stylus Monkey.
What a great night! It was fun and informal and hilarious at times. Here are the top tips that were shared on the night.
1. Start with the things that fit with your strengths
You need to discover what works best for you when it comes to marketing your business. Use your natural strengths rather than trying to be good at everything. For me, writing a regular newsletter has been invaluable. I love to write and the newsletter gives readers a chance to get to know me before becoming clients. It’s not uncommon for a new client to say they’ve been reading the newsletter for two years.
2. Relationship building is important
In order to give yourself the best possible chance of success in your business, it’s critical that you learn how to do that well right from the start. Everyone does it in their own way and it’s important to find out what comes naturally to you.
3. You need to put yourself out there
Shelley’s relationships are mostly developed in-person but she’s also used her blog to get the Galerie Montmartre name out there. When she first discovered The Design Files blog in the early days, she reached out to the lovely Lucy Feagins and her business was profiled not once but twice! As you can imagine, those posts generated lots of interest.
4. Do great work that speaks for itself
Liz has focused mostly on blogging and writing the occasional photo-journalism piece for publications like The Big Issue. Rather than writing lengthy posts, she lets her images do the talking.
5. Know your stuff
Sarah’s first big break came when she approached Hamer Hall to invite them to use her beautiful handwash in their bathrooms. Before the meeting, she did her homework about the products they were currently using and it paid off. Sarah’s not at all the pushy saleswoman but she knows her stuff and when she shares the benefits of organic skincare, you want to be a customer. (Make sure you visit her website and try a product or two. You’ll be hooked for life).
6. Do it your way
Darren has used Facebook to build a loyal following and to reach out to people whose work he admires. He does this brilliantly and in his own unique way. He’s happy to write a lengthy post and he almost uses Facebook as a personal blog which generates lots of engagement. His page is worth subscribing to.
Here’s some of what people said about the night
‘Open, passionate, funny people speaking honestly about their experience and sharing their stories is a great inspiration, and a good moment for reflection too.’
‘It was better than I expected, I thought the speakers were really open and sharing with their ideas. I liked the informality of the discussions yet all of the questions asked by Kate were covered.’
‘Kate and her business team offer a very honest, real world approach to operating a business. I am buoyed by the fact that they are humans just like me making human mistakes and still managing to be successful along the way.’
‘The Creative Start Up event was a great insight into some of the highs and lows of starting your own creative business. I’ll definitely be back!’
‘This workshop was enlightening and thought-provoking. I’d be very keen to come along to future workshops.’
We’re still working out what’s next on the agenda for a future event but I think it’s going to be hard to top this night.
As a thank you to everyone who joined us. If you’re keen to start your own business, check out our new Kickstart Your Business program.
We would be delighted for you to reproduce our articles as long as they remain intact and contain the author’s details as follows: ‘Kate James is a coach, speaker and writer. She works with people who want to live confident, creative lives. Kate can be contacted at www.totalbalance.com.au.’