BOOK REVIEW: Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen
What happens when the complicated concepts of business meet a creative entrepreneur? Learning and fun. Fiona Pullen (@craftabiz on Twitter) shares her extensive experience with creative entrepreneurs in this straightforward, no fluff book.
- If you are interested in turning what you love into a money making enterprise, then this book is for you.
- If you are interested in using digital tools to promote yourself and your craft, then this book is for you.
- If you are already an entrepreneur and interested in taking your business to that next level of success, then this book is for you.
Craft a Creative Business is a much needed primer on not only business tactics, but the importance of putting your best self forward. It is laid out in six easily read sections that take the reader through the steps in creating a business from scratch, using the digital age to your benefit, and selling your products both online and off. Pullen shows the importance of understanding the legalities of owning a business, helps you decide whether self employment is for you, designing the best look for your business, and using the digital age to build your success.
- Where do I start? This section reviews the realities of self employment, identifying your ideal market and customer, pricing your product competitively while paying yourself a living wage, and walks the reader through the process of setting realistic and reachable goals.
- Legal Matters: Those working in the United Kingdom will find this section especially useful as much of the information and resources are based upon the United Kingdom experience. Entrepreneurs around the world will find useful tidbits pulled from Pullen’s own experience in setting up her United Kingdom based business – The Sewing Directory, a website dedicated to making it easier to find locally sourced sewing resources. She covers copyright law and conventions and the importance of insuring your business.
- Presentation: Pullen pays special attention to sharing her experience about the visual side of business. Branding, product photography, and visual marketing impact your customer in lasting ways. Find out how professional photographs of your product may result in increased sales. She shows how the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” ties into many aspects of business – from advertising to social media and web design.
- Social Media: Using social media is important to any business, whether it is just setting up or looking to expand its customer base. Being social in today’s digital world is not always easy, so Pullen has filled this section with top notch resources, tried and true social selling techniques, how-to advice on the more popular platforms, and dos and don’ts when it comes to the social side of business.
- Selling Online: The online marketplace provides many benefits to small businesses. This section will introduce you to setting yourself in the online marketplace, the importance of learning the ins and outs of search engine optimisation (SEO), privacy and electronic regulations, choosing the best name for and designing your website, and making your products stand out in an arena full of talented competition.
- Selling Offline: Craft shows, galleries, or retail outlets are local, community based, and effective venues to sell your quality hand-made products. Offline venues allow you to meet your customers in person and are the perfect compliment to your online activities. Learn how to sell your work in person, set up a stall, plan for that next craft sale,, network in person, and market your events.
Each section is complete with activities that will help you think through the development, maintenance, and promotion of your creative business. Pullen includes snippets of advice from other well-known creative entrepreneurs. She closes each section with a list of further reading and resources that will help you access the tools that helped her reach her own success. Don’t forget to check out the accompanying website, http://www.craftacreativebusiness.co.uk/, for updates, downloads, marketing advice, and her blog – where she talks more about what it takes to build and maintain a successful business in today’s digital age.
I recommend this read to anyone who wants to know what it takes to be a success entrepreneur. Although the context is about business in the United Kingdom, the information and concepts are easily transferred to nearly any business type across the world.