We’re happy to say that most of the people we’ve worked with over the past few years have been really creative. We’ve been inspired by women who forge their own path, and we’ve been there too. My experience spans a few industries—starting with my very first and selling my first products on Etsy. Actually, I’d always considered myself creative, but it wasn’t until Etsy that I realized I was capable of thinking like a business owner. I figured out pricing, inventory, budgeting, market research, and more, and it’s what turned my hobby into a viable business.

As much as “creative” fields can differ from traditional business practices, there are a lot of similarities. You need to know both sides before jumping into a creative business because you can guarantee you’ll be juggling both ‘creative’ and ‘business’ for, well… as long as you own your biz.

What to know before starting a creative business.

You need to know as much about business as you do your work

Whether you want to sell original paintings, write a book, or start an e-commerce shop, you need to be able to commit to learning how a business is run. This means dedicating a lot of time and energy to something—that if you’ve been an artist or writer or student, not a business owner so far—you know little about. As creative people, some of these things are a little tougher to grasp—we’re not used to thinking about finances or analyzing markets, we’re used to creating. Before taking your project to biz level, you HAVE to be willing to gain business knowledge.

Not all things that must be done will be your strong suit

Here’s something creatives struggle with when they start a business. They’re talented and used to working hard to get their work out there, but maybe they suck at budgeting or are seriously uncomfortable with marketing themselves. It’s good to try to learn all these things—sometimes you are forced to because it’s unlikely you’ll have the budget starting out to hire someone to do it for you—but the truth of the matter is you’re not going to be the best, or the happiest, in every role. Even if your business is 100% a solo endeavor, there’s still going to be tasks you prefer over others. In this way, owning a business doesn’t differ from traditional jobs. So despite what you read in the latest popular e-book on livin’ the dream, it’s good to keep your head on straight and realize that livin’ the dream is also expense accounts and estimated taxes.

Not all problems will be solved in a traditional way

Even though you need to become well versed business-wise to sell a creative service or product, you also need to know this: A creative business will have different problems and thus require different solutions than other businesses you come across. But not being able to do everything by the book is actually a GOOD thing. There will be a lot of learn as you go, never before encountered type of problems to solve, and as a creative person you’re already prepared to take those on. In fact, you’re so good at thinking outside the box that these will probably be easier for you to overcome than the more typical problems that may arise. (It always helps to have a more logically minded counterpart to help in those cases, whether it be your partner or friend!)