From Artist to Entrepreneur: How Creatives Can Succeed In Business

By Elizabeth Walker Elizabeth Walker has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on September 29, 2021

Many entrepreneurs start out with a creative spark that, over time, develops into a vision of their ideal business. This can range based on their industry and specialty, from a software developer who has an amazing idea to streamline technology for small businesses to a local potter who starts selling their goods and decides to launch a full-scale online store. There are hundreds of different avenues a business can take, but there is often a learning curve for artists who want to scale and grow a company.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen creatives face is in shifting their mindset. Many people find out, often too little too late, that they don’t get as much excitement out of actually running a business as they do in being creative. But when effective strategies are implemented, artists can launch and run successful businesses while adhering to the creative principles that got them started in the first place. 

Effectively Delegate Tasks  

Many creatives are deeply invested in their art or product. To a degree, it is an expression of who they are. This creates a unique, compelling offering for clients and distinguishes them from the competition. However, it is easy to become so married to their creativity that they forget how to implement scalable goals and strategies in order to see their company grow.

I know in my own companies, I was so deeply invested in what I was doing that I resisted appropriately delegating tasks. Over time, this took a toll on my energy levels and ability to run my company to the best of my ability. I learned that some people were better suited to tasks that, to me, felt tedious and time-consuming. Delegating tasks that I am less suited for allowed me to focus on client acquisition and overall growth. Effective delegation gives you, the company leader, a chance to evaluate the big-picture vision and goal of your company. 

One company founder has balanced the transition from artist to business leader particularly well. Amanda Gunawan of OWIU Design took her passion for design and architecture and developed a full-scale business that is successfully serving its market with a creative approach. 

A big part of their growth strategy was learning to delegate the tasks that could be done by anyone and having Gunawan focus on what only she could accomplish, such as big picture direction, overall company leadership, and high-level creative ideation. This strategy led them to significant amounts of success. Now, Gunawan is able to use her creative energy to develop innovative designs and steer the business in her ideal direction. Through this strategy, she is able to move from being seen as an architectural designer to a successful business leader at the helm of an innovative firm. 

Know When To Keep Things In-House 

Many companies partner a delegation strategy with significant amounts of outsourcing. For some, this is highly cost-effective. But others find that outsourcing reduces the amount of hands-on creativity they are able to imbue into their company offerings.  

In more creative fields, outsourcing could negate a sense of authenticity and personality. The team at OWIU Design keeps every single aspect of their business in-house, from design all the way to construction and developing materials like plaster. This is a rarity in their field and offers a distinguished sense of differentiation that their clients notice and appreciate. While outsourcing can be cost-effective, it’s important to consider what your business might stand to gain from keeping things in-house. 

Creating a holistic and end-to-end experience ensures that all parties are united under a single vision, creating higher odds of a successful product or service. While the up-front costs of keeping things in-house may be higher than using cheaper outsourced labor, reducing the back and forth that comes from external collaborations can actually end up helping keep things within budget in the long run. 

In essence, it’s important to delegate, but delegating doesn’t always mean outsourcing. It’s important to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses and assess what tasks you can hand off and to whom. Your employees are your greatest asset—they have a deep understanding of your company. Build a team you trust and give them roles and responsibilities accordingly. 

By Elizabeth Walker Elizabeth Walker has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team


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