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tips for starting a creative business

Hi my creatives,

Starting a creative business and calling yourself an artist, a writer or illustrator can be daunting. I know, I have been there myself.

As I get many questions on what first steps to take to start making an income with your passion I thought I would list my main answers in this blog, and I hope to see all your creative businesses taking off soon!

an illustration of a couple, the women is wearing a wedding dress
Irene Ruby Illustration

1: start creating!

This seems obvious but something that loads of people forget. If you want to be a painter, paint! If you want to be a writer, write! If you want to be a portrait artist, start drawing portraits! and so on. You cannot start making an income with your passion if you have not practiced your craft. When I decided I wanted to be an illustrator I purchased a sketchbook and I started to draw every single day! I really made my 'on occasion hobby' a daily practice. Sometimes I made something big, sometimes small. Some (lots) of my art was crappy and sometimes I made something I was really proud of. Each of these drawings however taught me something. Mostly they taught be to be consistent, to build a habit. They also taught me what styles I enjoyed, what materials to use and how to find inspiration.

It is ok to experiment and to practice, it takes time to master a craft. However, the more time you invest in your passion, the quicker you will find you will learn.

2: Show people!

This one can seem very scary as loads of us feel shy about what we make in the beginning. However, if you want to start selling your art there will need to be a point where you show others what you have made. Perhaps not everyone will love your creations, and that is ok, you don't like everything you see either right? But talking about your art will help you taking it more serious yourself and you may even find yourself some initial assignments. One of my first paid assignments was illustrating a friends wedding stationary and I would have never been asked to do that job if they hadn't known I made illustrations. You can also start sharing your art online, on social media, even under a business name or alias if you find that easier.

It does get easier to show your creations to the world the more you do it.

3: Call yourself an artist!

I would really highly recommend doing this fairly early in the process as it helps changing your own mindset. Depending on your creative ambitions start by calling yourself an artist, a writer or an illustrator. Perhaps you are a crochet creator or a sculpter, a potter or a dancer. Naturally you should never lie and for many professions you need the professional qualifications in order to use a title. However, for lots of creative professions the titles are free to use. When you start calling yourself the artist that you are it can give a confidence boost and it gives a clear signal to others that you take your craft serious.

4: Try not to compare!

This one is still hard for me as there are so many amazing artist out there and there are so many people that I admire. Especially on social media comparing your work to others happens easily. As we do not see the struggles and effort put into the art we only see a snapshot of it is easy to get intimidated.

an illustration made by Irene of a women and a cat
Irene Ruby Illustration

Try and keep in mind though that everyone is at a different stage in their journey and that some of your creative idols may be practicing their crafts for many more years than you are. You also do not know how many sketches/recordings and trials have taken place before a seemingly effortless picture is released into the world.

There is space for all creators out there and we all have our own unique view on the world that influences our art.

A creative journey is a learning curve and during that journey our style changes, our ability grows and our taste may become more refined. I find that the longer I am on that journey the clearer I can hear my creative voice and the less I compare what I made to the work of others.

I hope you found these tips helpful.

If you have any questions you are always welcome to reach out on to me.

Instagram if probably the easiest place to connect.


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