Hobby or Business: Should you Take your Creative Pursuits to the Next Level?

Creative-Hobby-or-Business-Which-Way-To-Go-Tips

 

My experience of running a business has been rewarding in many ways but, it’s no walk in the park. If you’re creatively inclined like myself, you may have had the thought: “how can I design my life so that I get to do more of this making stuff?” It’s no secret that I’m a big advocate of this – I’m often encouraging people to go for it. However, if you’re planning on making a living from it, it’s important to really think about whether you want to create a business of it, or if you’re better off with a creative hobby. 

Here are some questions to help you decide:

Passion
a). Do you have an unwavering love for what you do? Do you eat, sleep, breathe and think about it all the time?
OR 
b). Do you just like it a lot right now?

Focus
a). Do you have a relatively clear vision of the career and lifestyle you want to have?
OR
b). Does your vision change fundamentally, with every day, every encounter and every new experience?

Drive
a). Are you a self-starter?
OR
b). Do you prefer to have things all planned out for you?

Multi-tasking ability
a). Are you adept at juggling several different tasks and responsibilities?
OR 
b). Do you prefer to work exclusively on one thing at a time?

Confidence and fearlessness
a). Are you proud to show and tell the world about what you’re doing?
OR
b). Do you hate talking about yourself?

Resilience
a). Do you have a thick skin when it comes to what others think and say about you and your work?
OR
b). Would you rather not put yourself out there for scrutiny?

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘a’ questions – welcome to the wonderful and challenging world of enterprise!

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘b’ questions – why ruin a good thing? Why not nurture your creativity without the pressures of business, for now?

If I had to sum up the qualities I think it takes to make a living from your craft, I’d say that these are up there: passion, focus, drive, multi-tasking ability, confidence (at least enough to fake it well), fearlessness and resilience.

At the end of the day, running a creative business is about so much more than just making (see my post on non-creative business priorities for creative professionals). Some people welcome this as a necessary part of the lifestyle they want to lead but, for others, these demands destroy their enjoyment of their craft. With a creative project, you can change your mind, change the plan at a whim or quit at any point. You can do so with a creative business too but, the consequences of this kind of spontaneity could be more significant.

Let me know if this post has been useful to your decision-making. 

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Related:

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Beyond Making: Non-Creative Business Priorities, for Creative Professionals

I wanted to be a creative professional because I like to come up with ideas and to make things. I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted more freedom over my ideamongering (yes, I made that up) and my making. The hard truth of the matter is that, running a creative business is still running a business. As much as I would love to spend all my time developing concepts, drawing and designing, in reality that has often only taken up half, if that, of my work time.

I’m not complaining because my situation does indeed enable me to live life (a little more) on my own terms. With the wisdom of experience, I continuously make adjustments to free up more time and space to create. It’s about finding a balance. A team and a business partner can certainly help with that but in the beginning, that may not be an option.

Before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s good to know what will be in store – to appreciate the various hats you may have to wear by your lonesome. Here are ones that I can think of: Continue reading “Beyond Making: Non-Creative Business Priorities, for Creative Professionals”

Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights as a Creative Professional

Protecting-your-Intellectual-Property-Rights-as-a-Creative

 

It was World Intellectual Property Day this past Saturday – an opportunity to think about our rights as creatives and why it's so important to understand them. One of the biggest challenges I have faced in running my creative business is communicating that ideas = money. Ideas are some of the most valuable things we have, especially being that we live in the Information Age.

When people commission Asilia to create something for them: part of the fee covers the fact that we can use computer programmes that they might not be able to; part of the fee covers our design and technology skills; part of the fee covers the collective experience that we have, especially given our different backgrounds and perspectives but; as far as I'm concerned, the true value that we bring is through our creativity – our ideas.

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Interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Homeware Brand, Toghal (+ Give-away Every Friday in February!)

Dayo-Forster-Co-Founder-Toghal-African-Inspired-Homeware

 

I'm delighted to share this interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Toghal, a new textile-based homeware brand. Inspired by an appreciation of the legacy of Africa's textile heritage in the world and a love of technology, Toghal is about reimagining traditional textiles to create something iconic and fresh.

The Asilia team and I have had the great pleasure of working with Dayo to bring the brand to life. It's been a fantastic project and the kind of challenge that we thrive on: how to create a brand that is contemporary and global, while at the same time, rooted in or inspired by a particular culture. I am also pleased to welcome Dayo as a sponsor of Afri-love!

Dayo's story indeed exemplifies the beauty of collaboration and also, the crucial importance of preparation – research, learning, planning, and partnership. It's a great example of how, by setting off to solve a problem you've experienced in your own life, you can create an enterprise that serves others.

Enjoy and make sure to check out the 'Free Bag Friday' give-away details, below the interview. 

 

Toghal African Traditional Textiles Reimagined Flyer Design by Asilia

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A Success Reading List for Creative Entrepreneurs

Success-Reading-List-for-Creative-Entrepreneurs-on-Afri-love

 

When I embarked on journey of self-employment, almost 5 years ago, I went on a mission to educate myself about success. I got caught up in all the fantastic things I was learning about business, finance, personal effectiveness and ultimately, about myself. So much so that, I can probably count on my 2 hands, the number of fiction books that I've read during this period. 

Over the past few months, as I establish my second business, I find myself ramping things up and making this reading part of my daily routine – at least 30-45 mins every day. The difference I'm experiencing in my mindset, my behaviour and my results is not a coincidence. When wiser, more seasoned and more successful people talk about swapping some TV time for reading – they're not trying to rob you of joy! They know how they got where they are. So I'm going to retrace their steps (these days I catch up on TV on Sundays when I'm doing my hair … but, that's a whole other post).

Below is a working list of books that I've found very useful, as a (creative) entrepreneur. We can have both (creative satisfaction and wealth). Here's to no more starving artists!

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Asilia’s January Sale

Asilia-January-Sale-Afri-love

 

I love running my own business and I'm always so excited to see other people taking the leap! That's what this blog is about – celebrating entrepreneurs (particularly ones in the creative industry). 

The company I co-own, Asilia, is all about harnessing the power of design and digital technology to help pioneers take their brands and businesses to the next level. 

To that end, as a welcome to what's going to be an amazing year (if you decide so) and, in an effort to kick things off with a bang, Asilia is offering 8 exciting packages for ambitious, passionate people, just like you!

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5 Reasons To Have a Business Partner: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part I

5-Reasons-to-Have-a-Business-Partner-Entrepreneurs-Need-People-Part-I

 

One of the best decisions I've made in my entrepreneurial journey is having a business partner. We've laughed and we've argued. We've been charged with excitement and been on top of the world, and we've also had our fair share of set-backs and disappointments. The consistent thing over the past 3 years is our appreciation for the fact that we've gone through all these things together. When one has been discouraged, the other has dragged them from the doldrums and kept the vision and motivation alive. As business expert Mike Southon mentioned at a talk he gave at our London office space, one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is find a foil.

Here are my top 5 reasons why:

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Interview with My Father (My Hero!), Entrepreneur and Author, Paul Kitololo

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My father, Paul Kitololo, has been an entrepreneur for all of my life. At the height of a successful career in the corporate world, he gave up the regular paycheck, the company car and, in many people's opinion – his sanity – in order to start his own tour company. Over the next 3 decades, Private Safaris grew to be one of the most prestigious tour companies in Kenya and East Africa. I remember spending my Saturday mornings at his office as a child, busying myself on his secretaries typewriter (creating my 'zine). I am still in awe at how my father successfully run the company while also: participating in or chairing several associations and boards; managing the Kenya Special Olympics team; writing a novel, Shortcut to Hell (published in 1983); making it to every single one of my parent-teacher evenings, as well as sports days and plays and; generally being so involved in my life.

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Labour/May Day Special: Posts for those who’ll be resting and posts for those who’ll be building

Work Life Balance

For many of you around the world, today – labour day or May Day – is a holiday. Free time for you to spend relaxing, with yourself or with family and friends, and for some of you, extra time to spend working on building that idea you've been nurturing and perhaps even executing. 

Whether you're taking a break from your labour or indeed hustling to transform its shape, here's some inspiration for you via popular posts from the Afri-love archives.

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Buy African: Pretty, Funky Accessories from 31 Bits

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31 Bits is a business using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty by equipping them with the tools to earn a sustainable income. They currently work with 108 women in Gulu, Uganda. They work with each woman by purchasing jewellery from her on a monthly basis, providing a consistent income. They will work with the woman until she has graduated from the from the programme and attained a sustainable means of income in her community. The programme includes finance training, vocational training, community groups, AIDS and health education and English and literacy lessons.

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