Cultivating your creative talent is one of the most exciting and fulfilling ways you could spend your time. Practicing creativity has so many health benefits that there is almost no down side to starting a new creative hobby.
However, once you have been practicing your craft for a while and developed your skills, you may start thinking about what it would take to turn your hard-earned talent into a creative career.
Here are 5 things you can do right away to take your creative hobby down a professional path.
1. Set goals
Decide what success looks like to you and set your goals accordingly. These goals don’t have to be rigid right now, but you should have an idea of what you want to accomplish by turning your hobby into a creative career.
Write these goals down and make a plan for actually achieving them. Check in on the progress of your goals regularly and track your results.
If you would like more support for setting creative goals that will excite you, check out my post:
In this post, I break down my entire goal-setting process for creative work.
2. Organize Your Finances
Always Always Always keep your business finances separate from your personal finances!
Once you decide to take your art to a professional level and start bringing in income, you MUST keep good records of that income. The government is going to ask you for those records around tax time.
Set up a separate bank account for your creative business and start recording your inflows and outflows.
You can start with a simple Excel spreadsheet at first, but many small business owners like to use an accounting software like QuickBooks or FreshBooks, that can categorize your expenses for you and even connect to your bank account.
It may feel tedious at first to keep such diligent records, but starting out correctly from the beginning will save you loads of stress later.
3. Track your metrics
Track the metrics that are most relevant for your industry.
Bloggers need to track page views, shares and click through rates. Authors need to track book sales on various platforms and often track word count. Artists need to track art sales at events and online.
No matter what industry you are in, you will probably also want to track social media engagement and AD activity.
Make yourself a spreadsheet and track those numbers, as well as any others your industry recommends. I suggest tracking metrics on a weekly or monthly basis.
The more detailed your information, the more data you will have about which parts of your creative career are healthy and which parts need some help.
This data will come in handy in your business when you are ready to set new goals to grow your business.
4. Build A website.
Every professional needs a place for potential customers to connect and learn about them and their products.
You could do this with social media, but social media platforms are volatile and you never know when the platform you are on may become obsolete or suppress your content.
That is why a website is so important.
Your website is your virtual storefront. It tells potential customers and fans everything they need to know to work with you and buy from you. As long as you have a website, you will always have a place for your customers to gather.
If you don’t have a website for your creative business yet, get one.
Many creative business owners put this off because the process intimidates them or they don’t see the value. If you want your customers to take you seriously, you need to take yourself seriously and set up an official website for your business.
5. Learn How to Market Your Work
As creatives, we all wish that marketing wasn’t necessary. We wish we could just write the perfect book or paint the perfect masterpiece and that people would automatically flock to it like moths to a flame.
But it doesn’t work that way.
You may have heard the phrase “it sells itself” but that phrase is a lie. Nothing in this world ever really sells itself.
You have to do the work.
Marketing your business and products will probably take as much time and energy as making them, especially at first. But as you build momentum and track your metrics, marketing your work will get easier.
Marketing may feel tedious, but if you truly believe in yourself and your brand, then you will learn how to present your amazing products to the world and sell them.
If you want to take your hobby to the next level and turn it into a creative career, start by implementing these 5 things:
Organize your finances
Track your metrics
Polish your website
Learn how to market your work.
You can start on these 5 steps today and get the ball rolling to transform your creative talent into a creative career!