My day job involves a lot of research. It’s what comes naturally to me, so when I decided that I would like to have a go at starting a business, a subject I know nothing about, the first thing I did was start to research how to do it. I’ve made a start with the reading and so far I have encountered a number of books that have a relatively passive aggressive tone of voice, are big on talk, and sadly rather thin on practical content (I’m not going to name names here). I have, however, have read some or all of 3 books which I found actually useful;
- Art, inc: The essential guide for building your career as an artist. By Lisa Congdon and Meg Mateo Ilasco. I really liked this one. It was probably the first book that made me think that a creative business was something I could actually do, rather than something I could just think about. I had 2 big take-homes from this one; a) you can be a professional artist even if you haven’t gone to art school and b) the importance of multiple small streams of income for artistic careers. This was a bit of an eye opener for me, I am used to getting a salary at the end of the month so this gave me a lot to think about in relation to my personal finances and ‘doing things differently’.
- How to start a creative business: The jargon-free guide for creative entrepreneurs. By Doug Richard. This book lays out how you may want to think about getting started, in a really straight forward set of chapters that describes business type things, step by step. It asks you thought provoking questions about your product or service, who your market is and where you sit within the market. Again really helpful in structuring the way you think about what it is you are actually trying to do.
- I can start your business: Everything you need to know to run your limited company or self employment – for locums, contractors, freelancers and small business. By Russell Smith. I’m reading this at the moment. I’ve found this really useful on explaining what the difference between what being self employed and running a limited company is, how the decision to be one or the other may impact on tax, and how you need to handle that. These are basically things I didn’t understand before hand, and now I have a better idea. I also rather like his tone of voice, which is very British in a self deprecating way. Russell Smith also runs a blog here and offers lots of additional support if you have further questions after reading it, so a good investment I would say.
While my research won’t end here, these are the books I’ve found useful so far. I would add that they are full of practical details and ideas to actually do things, and so are a productive place to start.