Are you an artist, musician, or designer looking to turn your creative passion into a successful business? Then you may be a creative entrepreneur!
In this guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about creative entrepreneurs.
What is a Creative Entrepreneur?
A creative entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business in a creative field/industry, usually bearing most of the risks in exchange for enjoying most of the rewards.
Most entrepreneurs are creative in nature and often exhibit the signs of a creative person, often being innovators in their space. A “creative entrepreneur” just refers to an entrepreneur specifically in a “creative field.”
In this digital age where all you need to make a name for yourself is a cell phone, the term creative entrepreneur has gained popularity.
In this new age, it is also where Imaginated.com was born, where our goal is to inspire and educate the digital-age creative entrepreneurs in business, artistry, and mind.
If you want to learn more about what creativity is in entrepreneurship, as opposed to what “creative entrepreneurs” are, then check out our guide — Why Creativity is Important.
Creative Entrepreneur Examples
Here are some creative entrepreneur examples from different sectors:
1. Fashion Design
Coco Chanel: Chanel revolutionized the fashion industry with her iconic designs, including the little black dress and the Chanel suit. Her brand continues to be a symbol of timeless elegance.
2. Technology and Innovation
Elon Musk: Founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and other innovative companies, Musk has disrupted multiple industries, from electric vehicles to space exploration.
3. Film and Entertainment
George Lucas: The creator of the “Star Wars” franchise and founder of Lucasfilm. Lucas’s imaginative storytelling and groundbreaking visual effects have left an indelible mark on the entertainment world.
4. Art and Painting
Pablo Picasso: One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Picasso is known for his diverse and innovative body of work that included Cubism, Surrealism, and other movements.
5. Design and Architecture
Zaha Hadid: The late Zaha Hadid was an acclaimed architect known for her avant-garde and futuristic designs. She received numerous awards for her architectural innovation.
6. Music and Entertainment
Beyoncé Knowles: An iconic musician, performer, and businesswoman, Beyoncé has ventured into music, film, fashion, and philanthropy, creating a powerful brand around her name.
7. Culinary Arts and Food
Jamie Oliver: A celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Jamie Oliver has used his culinary skills to build a brand that includes restaurants, cookbooks, and TV shows.
Annie Leibovitz: Renowned for her celebrity portraits and editorial photography, Leibovitz has had a prolific career and worked for prestigious publications like Vanity Fair and Vogue.
9. Literature and Writing
J.K. Rowling: The author of the “Harry Potter” series, which became a global phenomenon, Rowling’s storytelling captivated readers of all ages and led to a successful media franchise.
10. Craft and Handmade Products
Etsy Sellers: Many individuals selling handmade crafts and products on platforms like Etsy are creative entrepreneurs. They turn their artistic talents into viable businesses, offering unique and personalized items.
11. Interior Design
Joanna Gaines: As a designer and co-host of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” Gaines has built a successful brand that includes home decor, books, and a Magnolia lifestyle empire.
12. Graphic Design
Milton Glaser: A legendary graphic designer known for creating the “I Love NY” logo and co-founding New York Magazine. His work has had a profound impact on visual communication.
How to Become a Creative Entrepreneur
So how do you become a creative entrepreneur?
Well since a creative entrepreneur is essentially just an entrepreneur in a creative field, it’s the same way you become a “regular” entrepreneur.
It all starts with an idea.
What value do you want to provide to the world and what problem are you trying to solve?
At the heart of every business venture, it is about providing value and solving an unfilled need.
Your product or service should provide value and solve this unfilled need that a target audience has.
It is then taking your product or service and then providing it to the world through marketing strategies and tactics.
So in this case, as a creative entrepreneur, it is about taking your craft, whether it be photography, graphic design, or painting and transforming it into a business that you can live off of full-time.
1. Identify Your Passion and Niche
Determine what you’re most passionate about and where your creative talents lie. Your business will be more fulfilling if it aligns with your interests.
Identify a specific niche or target audience within your creative field. A well-defined niche can help you stand out and attract a dedicated audience.
2. Develop Your Skills
Continue honing your creative skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Invest in courses, workshops, and self-study to enhance your expertise.
3. Create a Business Plan
Outline your business goals, mission, and vision. Define your target market, competition, and pricing strategy.
Establish a clear plan for how you will generate income and sustain your creative business.
4. Legal and Financial Considerations
Register your business and handle any necessary legal requirements, such as obtaining licenses or permits.
Set up a separate business bank account to manage your finances and track income and expenses.
5. Build an Online Presence
Create a professional website and social media profiles to showcase your work and connect with your audience.
Utilize online platforms to sell your creative products or services, such as e-commerce websites, Etsy, or freelance platforms.
6. Networking and Collaboration
Network within your industry to build relationships with other creative professionals, potential clients, and mentors.
Seek opportunities for collaboration, as working with others can expand your reach and creative possibilities.
7. Market Your Creative Brand
Develop a marketing strategy that includes branding, content creation, and promotion.
Use social media, email marketing, and other online and offline marketing tactics to reach your target audience.
8. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Prioritize customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality products or services and maintaining clear communication with clients.
Encourage client feedback and use it to improve your offerings.
9. Manage Finances Wisely
Keep accurate records of your income and expenses. Consider using accounting software or hiring an accountant to help with financial management.
Set aside savings for taxes and emergencies.
10. Adapt and Innovate
Be adaptable and open to change. The creative industry is dynamic, and staying flexible can help you respond to shifting trends and opportunities.
11. Time Management
Develop effective time management skills to balance creative work, business operations, and personal life.
Set goals and prioritize tasks to maximize productivity.
12. Seek Feedback and Learn
Encourage feedback from peers, clients, and mentors. Use constructive criticism to improve your creative work and business strategies.
Continuously learn and adapt to stay competitive and innovative.
13. Patience and Persistence
Building a successful creative business takes time and persistence. Be patient with yourself and your progress, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks.
14. Legal Protections
Understand intellectual property rights and protect your creative work with copyrights, trademarks, or patents as needed.
15. Seek Support and Mentorship
Consider joining industry associations or organizations for creative entrepreneurs.
Find a mentor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your creative entrepreneurship journey.
Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs
Here are some tips to remember as a creative entrepreneur.
1. Workings of a Company
The first tip for creative entrepreneurs is to have a basic understanding of the workings of a company.
As an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning while you get your company off of the ground, you will have to wear many hats.
In a full-fledged company, there are many departments each with its own set of responsibilities.
There is the marketing department, sales department, finance department, human resources, C-suite, etc.
By knowing all of the people it takes to start a company, you know what you have to do and the hats you will have to wear based on the company you are trying to start.
For example, with Imaginated.com, we are a digital media company so we do not have any physical products or services at the moment.
Our goal and our service are to provide top-quality information to help you grow your personal brand.
With that being said, we do not need a sales team or human resources team because we are a very small team.
Our biggest focus is on marketing, finance when it comes to accounting, and a C-suite position when it comes to thinking big-picture goals and ideas with the CEO.
2. Have an Understanding of Marketing
The second tip for creative entrepreneurs is to have an understanding of marketing.
Marketing will allow you to bring your product or service “to market.”
If you have the world’s greatest product or service, but no one can find it or knows about it due to a lack of marketing, is it really the world’s greatest product or service?
Marketing is like a wheel and there are certain cogs in the wheel that you need to understand to see how the machine works.
For example, the components of marketing discussed in our Marketing Framework Guide include:
It is important to know how each works together to create a marketing framework. If you alter one, it alters the rest.
3. Know Your Digital Channels
The third tip is to know your digital channels.
In this digital age, there are many platforms and channels to keep up with.
We have Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Clubhouse, creating a website, etc.
It’s important to keep your ear to the ground and stay in the loop so you can know which channels you will use to market your business.
The fourth tip is motivation.
Being a creative entrepreneur has never been easier but it has also never been as confusing.
What I mean by this is that there is a lot of false information out there and fake gurus looking to make a quick buck based off of your inexperience — promising you riches after you take their course.
Frankly, it’s disgusting — but I guess everyone has to make a living right?
That’s why Imaginated.com was created, to provide high-quality information surrounding business, artistry, and mind to creatives for free. If this interests you, sign up for our free newsletter.
What is a Creative Field?
Creative fields and industries include:
- The Arts
- Graphic design
- Content creators
- eSports/Professional Gamers
- Teachers/Coaches (Online Courses)
What Does a Creative Entrepreneur Do?
Now that we know what a creative entrepreneur is and the different fields and industries they innovate in, what does a creative entrepreneur actually do?
Well, a creative entrepreneur is just an entrepreneur who begins their own business in one of these fields. They start with an idea, develop it, build it, and market it.
For example, a creative entrepreneur could be a photographer who starts their own photography business providing portraits and is able to make a comfortable living off of their own business being their own boss.
Here’s one example from Lizzi Peirce on what she does and how she makes money:
Types of Creative Entrepreneurs
Most entrepreneurs in general possess certain skill sets that allow them to thrive as entrepreneurs. The same goes for “creative entrepreneurs.”
Most entrepreneurs think creatively, are good decision-makers, are often good at leading, have a strong sense of initiative, determination, and critical thinking, and are able to solve complex problems.
When thinking about the types of creative entrepreneurs, you can bucket them into 4 categories.
1. The Thought Leader
The first type of creative entrepreneur is the thought leader.
This individual is often known for being an expert or “thought leader” on a specific topic.
The thought leader is the broadest type and the other types that we’ll be discussing later can also be categorized as a thought leaders if they try to dive into the realm of teaching/educating on their craft.
For example, being a thought leader on investing in cryptocurrencies.
The thought leader is able to grow their brand image and brand loyalty through the information and knowledge that they provide — often being valuable information that you can’t find anywhere else.
It’s crucial that the thought leader comes from a place of good in terms of education and that they don’t cross the line between being a teacher and a fake guru.
It is important that the thought leader also has credibility in their field.
2. The eComm Guru
The second type of creative entrepreneur is the eComm Guru.
This individual most likely knows the ins and outs of Shopify, Woocommerce, Stripe, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other paid ad platforms.
The eComm Guru often engages in dropshipping or Amazon FBA to make their money as well as selling coaching sessions or courses to other individuals looking to become eComm gurus.
This field is the most prominent when it comes to fake gurus who advertise a course or teaching session that is worth a lot. The course often promises the student will be rich after taking it.
Most eComm gurus try to become thought leaders in this sense, however, the field has become very saturated so it’s important to perform due diligence on a thought leader to see if they are credible or not.
3. The Artist
The third type of creative entrepreneur is the artist.
This individual cares about their art and producing and sharing their art with the world.
This individual can be a photographer, designer, artist, painter, etc.
The artist often uses platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, etc. to showcase their art.
In order to stand out as an artist, many turn to becoming thought leaders and entertainers to gain brand awareness as an artist, but at the core, their art comes #1 to them.
4. The Entertainer
The fourth type of creative entrepreneur is the entertainer.
The entertainer often cares about providing value to others through entertainment.
Entertainers can also be described as content creators.
Thought leaders, eComm gurus, and artists can also become entertainers as a way to showcase their information or art.
How Does a Creative Entrepreneur Make Money?
The beauty of the digital age is that creative entrepreneurs can make money from a variety of different channels and platforms.
The most common ways entrepreneurs make money is by selling their main product or service, ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products.
1. Selling Main Product or Service
The first way creative entrepreneurs make money is by selling a main product or service.
For example, if you are a photographer, then it’s making money from the actual photoshoots.
If you are a graphic designer, then it’s making money from working with clients and providing them with designs for logos, web pages, etc.
The second way creative entrepreneurs make money is through advertising.
The advertising industry is a $138 billion dollar industry and it isn’t going anywhere.
If a creative entrepreneur wants to become a thought leader or an entertainer, they will often use a website, a YouTube channel, a Facebook page, an Instagram page, etc. to promote themselves.
It is on these platforms and channels that you can make money by setting up ads.
For example, if you have a YouTube channel that starts to drive a lot of traffic, you can set up ads on your account and make money based on people watching your videos.
The more traffic you drive the more money you make from ads.
3. Affiliate Marketing
The third way creative entrepreneurs make money is through affiliate marketing.
The affiliate marketing industry is a $12 billion dollar industry.
Affiliate marketing is also known as referral marketing.
It is when you promote a product or service from another company and if a user were to buy the product or service, then you would receive a little commission.
The most popular affiliate programs include Amazon Affiliate, Clickbank, CJ Affiliate, and more.
For example, if you are a fashion content creator, you could post a picture on Instagram with a certain outfit and tell users they can buy that outfit from Amazon and that there is a link to it in your Instagram bio.
You provide an affiliate link to the outfit using a special URL code provided by Amazon. If users were to buy through your URL then you would receive a commission.
You can place these affiliate links anywhere so it’s just about getting eyeballs on the link.
You can decide to build an audience through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, a website, etc., and then provide affiliate links to your audience through these channels.
4. Sponsored Content
The fourth way creative entrepreneurs make money is from sponsored content.
Sponsored content is similar to regular ad placements such as display and banner ads, however, sponsored content is a bit more natural because it stays consistent with the theme surrounding the content on a video or webpage.
For example, a popular YouTube photographer sponsoring Squarespace in their video and promoting their website-building platform for their photography site.
5. Selling Digital Products or Services
The fifth way creative entrepreneurs make money is through the selling of digital products or services.
Once a creative entrepreneur’s brand has grown enough, they could start selling digital products or services that are aligned with their brand.
For example, a popular digital service is an online course, eBook, guide, etc.
Another example of a digital product could be a photographer or videographer selling Photoshop Overlays or Lightroom Presets based on their editing styles.
What is a Creative Business?
With all that’s been discussed, I think we can define a “creative business,” as a business that is in the creative industry.
So as mentioned, it is a business that revolves around being in one of these fields:
- The Arts
- Graphic design
- Content creators
- eSports/Professional Gamers
- Teachers/Coaches (Online Courses)
We hope you enjoyed this guide on creative entrepreneurs.
We hope you find success as a creative entrepreneur!
What does a creative entrepreneur do?
A creative entrepreneur is someone who uses their artistic talents and vision to start and grow a business. They may create unique products, provide creative services, or develop innovative ideas that bring value to the market.
What are the characteristics of a creative entrepreneur?
A creative entrepreneur is typically characterized by traits such as innovation, risk-taking, passion, adaptability, resilience, and a drive for success. They are also usually self-motivated and constantly seeking out new opportunities for growth and development.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate runs his own professional photography business and photography blog called Nate Torres Photography. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.