3 steps to starting your own studio

So you’re making the big leap and going out on your own. Whether you're working in a studio or working from home, you’ll be your own boss and in control of your own destiny, and your own time. Brilliant, I love it. I’m excited for you. Get out there and conquer the world! But before you jump straight in, I’d like to share three things I’ve gleaned over the years, things I wish someone had told me before I started my business.

01. Check your credit

There are a few vital financial things to consider before you take the plunge into the world of your new business. If you want to buy a property, you need to have two years of business accounts before you can apply for a mortgage. So if this is something you’re planning on doing, get all that set up before you hand in your resignation letter.

Do you have credit cards? Do you have a healthy limit that you haven’t already blown? Money will probably come to you intermittently when you first set up, and you may need a financial safety net, so factoring against personal debt might be a good option. Again, you’d be wise to get a credit card before you quit your job.

02. Get on with it

Consider your own temperament before going it alone. Are you good at the hustle? Are you happy self-promoting? As the owner of a creative business, you will be the one responsible for bringing in all the new business. Are you ready for this? As well as the enthusiasm to talk about your new venture, you need to be tenacious and consistent in your approach and ready to hear ‘No, thanks’ without wanting to throw in the towel completely.

Have you considered the many hats you will need to wear as the owner of a business? Your responsibility has just increased from merely creating awesome work to covering IT support, finance, marketing, HR and studio management – it’s all you. Be realistic about your abilities and build a team around you that will balance out your strengths and weaknesses.

And finally, stop planning and do something. Many people spend ages planning things they are going to do one day: there are URLs to buy, branding to develop, studio space to look at, people to contact. I’m a massive fan of planning. But to create a successful business, you need to actually do something. Start with small things to get going. And then take action every day to move you closer to your goal.

03. Get some clients in place beforehand

Chances are that, being in the creative industry, you’re starting a service business. It may sound blindingly obvious, but you therefore need some clients to service. Is there a way you can build up work on the side while still employed? Get some clients before you quit your day job and you’ll have confidence that your business is going to work – and get a bit of a cash to help you through the lean first months.

With the right amount of self-belief, common sense and downright grit, your business will be a success. Good luck!

This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine issue 260. Buy it here.

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