My next assignment is to investigate ‘How to become a self-employed artist’. Sounds an attractive idea, but what is really involved??
I began with the obvious at www.ird.govt.nz
Although this is probably one of the first sites to visit, the site itself is not user-friendly and is difficult to get direct answers. But definitely worth checking out if you looking to set up a business. This site appears to me to be for the established businesses or someone who is already in the know of small business.
I found another website far more useful at www.business.govt.nz
This website also a government website but far more easy to navigate with clear options relevant to a new business. This site was particularly good at explaining the legalities and business structures for the novice. This is a definite site to look at more so than the IRD one. This site also tells you how to register as a business.
One place I was surprised to find great information was our very dreaded Work and Income.
This site, amazingly, was the most helpful about setting up a business. It breaks down a check list to ensure you have the right skill set and are they right for setting up a business. Has check lists for what it will cost and even how to write a business plan. They also offer other help like grants and starting up costs to apply for. Also advice for financial help and support, and even run courses on small business. I found this site more helpful than any so far for the business side of self employment. definitely worth checking out!!
I also found a site that had an article that I found really interesting at www.artcareer.net.
This article is definitely worth a read, it talks about being an artist in business and gives what I found to be valuable advice. It explains the value in doing a small business course for the legal side. But also discusses taking advantage of social media for marketing, such as Facebook or having a blog. It talks about have a standard contract on hand so you and your clients understand the responsibilities involved. And talks about time management, a huge point to consider if self-employed, one that I should maybe investigate further. But most importantly above everything else be organised and ambitious and of course be passionate about what you do.
Lastly one site I found by accident is called Linkedin, once established as a self-employed artist this site would be very useful to get your name out there! This is a New Zealand networking site that has many self-employed people from many different industries. But found many artists are using this site. It helps you stay informed about your contacts and industry. Helps find people of interest and knowledge to achieve your goals and allows you to control a professional identity online.
In summary there is a lot of information out there for starting up a business and much help if needed. The hardest thing is going to be the commitment needed for such a venture and the amount of work you are willing to put into it. So to all those fellow artists, musicians and photographers….
Good luck on your self-employed adventure!!