Develop your career

Our research shows that freelance and small businesses make up the majority of the creative industries, so this section is dedicated to helping you develop your business skills. Get advice from the industry on starting or growing a business, as well as guidance for being a successful freelancer. Learn more about finance, funding and legal issues.


Make sure you get paid on time by checking your standard invoice template

5 financial promises freelancers must make to themselves

A topic often forgotten by freelancers during the quiet months is the financial tidying up of your business. This is necessary to ensure all will run smoothly and economically once business starts to pick up. Darryl Howes suggests five promises you should make to yourself.


5 ways freelancers can build contacts

For any freelancer, contacts are the lifeblood of their business and social world. The creative and cultural industries are certainly no exception. Here are five tips for building contacts and keeping your business pipeline healthy.


Nervous before a networking event? Good!

Don't let nerves hold you back from making a splash at a networking event. Networking expert Darryl Howes provides a game plan for thinking differently about networking and channeling nerves so that they work for, not against, you.


There has been a great deal of research in recent years on the benefits of having a social outlook on life. (Image: James Fletcher)

Skills for better networking

Face to face networking doesn't have to be a nightmare, but first of all you need to work on your social and commercial skills. Networking expert Darryl Howes looks at how to improve these skills and aid your networking technique.


Freelancers and creative business owners must make sure they claim expenses correctly and legally.

Claiming freelance expenses

When it comes to claiming back your expenses as a freelancer, it can be challenging to figure out what you can and can’t claim. Shannon Norman, of 1st Contact Accounting, shared 10 common claimable expenses.


Legally protect your designs

How can you legally protect your designs? Maxine Horn, CEO of intellectual property organisation Creative Barcode, gave her view at the New Designers Start Up Day, an event run by The Design Trust.


Vintage fashion company Aphrodite and Ares was founded with a loan and the support of a business mentor from Transmit Start-Ups.

Advice for your start-up

Starting out in business can feel daunting at times, but Damian Baetens, a creative business mentor with Transmit Start-Ups, says this shouldn't stop you. He shared five pieces of advice.


Effective networking

What do you do at a networking event? How do you prepare for conversations? Anna B. Sexton looks at four common networking styles and shows you how to be effective in networking situations.


Kirsten Hendrich designed parts of her website herself, but you could also use a ready-made template website.

How to set up an online shop

Kirsten Hendrich is a jewellery designer who set up her own ecommerce website. She shared advice on how to set up an online shop to support your creative business.


Presenting with confidence

Do you need help with public speaking? Vocal coach, Maeve Diamond, shares five top tools and exercises to make your presenting style better and raise your confidence.


Assuming you keep your side of the bargain, you can expect to be paid on time and in full.

Advice on freelance rights

Working freelance can mean sacrificing employment rights, although flexibility, variety and potentially higher pay may compensate for this. Here is an outline of some rights freelancers do have.


A business plan doesn't have to be a long, formal document.

6 tips for effective marketing

Often people starting a creative business feel they ought to write a business plan. Pete Mosley, advisor to creative people and businesses, has six pieces of advice to develop a market research strategy more easily.


Alex Barton founded Student Designers to help design students build their business skills.

4 steps for new entrepreneurs

After starting up several ecommerce websites, Alex Barton founded Student Designers, which helps design students develop their business skills. He gave 4 pieces of advice for young creatives with an entrepreneurial idea.


Could your customers participate more directly in the activity of your business?

8 ways to engage customers

How can you get your customers working for you? Chris Buckingham shared 8 ways creatives could apply the concept of the 'working customer' to their businesses.


Simon Moss works with Peter Layton to create glass sculptures, public art and architectural adornments.

A design pitch in five stages

Simon Moss designs architectural glass sculptures. He described the process of submitting a design pitch for a public sculpture competition, from initial brief to scale model.


By becoming a limited company, your freelance creative business could save money in several key areas.

Turn yourself into a company

Could you save money if your creative business became a company? If you’re working freelance, it’s useful to know the benefits of registering as a limited company.


Decision making styles for your business. Image © Anna Steinberg

Making business decisions

How do you weigh up the decisions for your business? Download a free tool that can help you consider the nature of decision making needed for different situations.


Catherine D'Arcy is the founder of online jewellery retailer Corazon Latino.

6 ways to secure your business

Times are tough. High street and online retail outlets risk going out of business as consumer spending dries up and costs rise. Here are 6 tips for creating a recession-proof business.


You will need to regularly test out which of your new ideas will find a ready market, and which will not.

How to understand your market

What have you got to sell? Are there customers waiting to buy? Have you checked the demand? Here are some easy ways you can answer these questions, and engage with your market.


Sue Hotchkis creates one-off printed and stitched textile pieces (www.suehotchkis.com) Image © Dave Bennett, www.davebphoto.co.uk

The transition to freelancing

How do you make the transition to a freelance career? Do you start part time, or commit to full time self-employment straight away?


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