Are fashion designers creative entrepreneurs?

What is a creative entrepreneur? The ultimate definition & examples

A creative entrepreneur is an individual who uses their creative or artistic skills to start and manage their own business, often in industries such as advertising, marketing, design, music, arts, writing, and entertainment.

They not only create something new and original but also apply innovative thinking to the management and growth of their business.

That is the standard definition of a creative entrepreneur, but it obviously goes beyond this. 

A deeper definition of creative entrepreneurship

At Artist Dynamix, since we focus on using digital marketing and digital media tools to help creative entrepreneurs show up strong and succeed online using websites, social media, SEO, e-commerce, and other tools, I felt it would be important to define what, for us, a creative entrepreneur is. For our own sanity.

And then I thought it would be good to share this definition here so that we’re on the same page.

Questions like this constantly arise in our work: If a lawyer comes to us and wants a website, are they a creative entrepreneur? Or do we develop the website anyway even if we decide that they are not? 

We have a whole philosophy on how we approach these questions but let’s stick with defining ‘creative entrepreneur.’

What are the boundaries of creative entrepreneurship? Is a landscaper a creative entrepreneur? How about someone who runs a market stall in a mall?

I have worked with artists and creatives for over two decades now. As a journalist. As a web developer for creatives. As a PR consultant. And as an entrepreneur. So this question intrigues me at geek levels. 

We had to come up with a definition; a deep, all-encompassing one…

There are some fields of work that most people agree fall under creative entrepreneurship. Graphic design and other types of design work are great examples.
There are some fields of work that most people agree fall under creative entrepreneurship. Graphic design and other types of design work are great examples.

And so our definition of creative entrepreneurship?

Creative entrepreneurship is the building or pivoting of a business or social enterprise on the foundation of a creative talent or skill.

Examples of Creative Entrepreneurs

So here is an example of the fields of entrepreneurship that are commonly referred to when people are talking about creative entrepreneurs:

  • Artists of all kinds who are in business
  • Barbers & Hairdressers
  • Beauty Practitioners
  • Branding Experts & Consultants
  • Chefs & Restauranteurs
  • Content Creators
  • Energy Healers
  • Fashion Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Landscapers
  • Photographers
  • Web Designers
Hairdressers? But off course.

Can people in non-creative fields be creative entrepreneurs?

Our answer is yes. At Artist Dynamix, we take the idea of creative entrepreneurship further. Our description for creative entrepreneurs includes people from careers that are not usually thought of as creative who are applying themselves in a creative way; for instance; 

  • Lawyers, who are creating material to make the law easy for ordinary people to understand,
  • Accountants who are building courses to teach entrepreneurs how to manage their finances better
  • Doctors who run blogs or podcasts to explain health and wellness.
  • Non-profits that are finding innovative ways of using content, art, business, or media to raise funds or reach out to their stakeholders.

You get the drift. Creative entrepreneurship is not about what you do. It’s about how you do it.  

Elements of creative entrepreneurship 

As creatives we step out into the world and share our work, then many times we retreat back into our shells because no one listened, no one read, no one watched, no one bought.

It was just over a decade ago when it first hit me that brilliant creative work can go unnoticed by the world. In fact, most of the most amazing creative work never gets any attention.

The week it hit me that creative brilliance does not equal attention or success, a friend of mine had launched a book that he had been working on for years. It was a deep, thought-provoking book. It’s launch was received by the sound of crickets.

The one thing that keeps coming up in my work with creatives is our uneasy relationship with money. When poet, Amanda Gorman, signed a multi-million deal with Estée Lauder, there were many who said she had sold out. 

As creatives, we often pretend we are not interested in money and then we put up campaigns on GoFundMe when an emergency hits. Nothing wrong with asking for money, but we should be very clear about the value we are providing.

Creative entrepreneurship is about giving birth to value

Creative entrepreneurship involves bringing some sort of creative talent, or skill into the marketplace, putting a value on it, and using it to solve a problem or serve a need in a systematic, structured way. Through continued work, upskilling, growth in visibility, and demand from your clients, the aim is to grow that value over time.

If you want to practice your creative pursuit, and not make money from it- either for yourself or for others, that’s fine. But you’re a creative hobbyist, not an entrepreneur. 

This does not mean your work has no value. It just means you’re not an entrepreneur.

But, it does not stop there. In the capitalist world we live in, value, in a business sense,  may start with value as equated to money, but must not end there.  

Value is what we bring to our families and communities when our businesses succeed and operate responsibly. 

Value is the way we inspire and spread wealth when we give back. 

Value is the way we set ourselves up so that those who come after us do not have to start from scratch or clean up our mess. 

Value is how the people who work for our businesses can be honorable and upright citizens because they have jobs, peace of mind, and feel like they are contributing to something meaningful.  

Yes, many times, especially when businesses struggle, these things are hard to achieve, but we should always be working towards them. 

And yes, according to us at Artist Dynamix, architects are creative entrepreneurs too.
And yes, according to us at Artist Dynamix, architects are creative entrepreneurs too.

Creative entrepreneurship is about service

It starts with showing up for the creative gift that the universe has given you. You honor your gift by using it, developing it, sharing it. 

Then when you develop a business around it, you focus on making sure you’re delivering good service to your clients. 

Then there’s the way you serve your team, your community, and the greater body of humanity. 

Finally, it’s the way you serve your mission. How intensely do you apply your gifts and skills to achieve the desired result? How do you treat others as you work towards your goal? How consistent and persistent are you? 

Creative entrepreneurship is about solving problems – creatively

If you come into the market and you’re doing things exactly the same as other businesses, then you’re not a creative entrepreneur. There has to be creativity in the way you offer your solutions. Creative entrepreneurs try out new things, build experimental products, and test new ideas. 

Another word for all this is… innovation. 

Creative entrepreneurship inspires more creativity

Creative entrepreneurship inspires creativity. In its purest form, it is a spiral loop that draws out creativity and wonder from everyone and enriches every person it touches.

This means that anyone, in any sector, engaged in any business, by adding a bit of pizazz to their ways, can become a creative entrepreneur.

You do not become a creative entrepreneur by being 50% creative and 50% entrepreneur. Nah. The math works like this; 100% creative. 100%entrepreneur. 100% creative entrepreneur. 100 to the power of 100 to the power of 100. Enough zeroes for the universe. 

Creative entrepreneurship is about monetizing a creative talent or skill

Back to money. Don’t try to avoid this. Creative entrepreneurship is about putting a monetary value to a skill, service, or product and launching it confidently into the marketplace.

Creative entrepreneurship is about making money. About owning it, sharing it, spreading it around. About making sure that more people have enough of it. About having a say in how it is spent around the world. Even if you are running a creative non-profit, it’s about money.

I repeat. You can’t run away from this. Without money or whatever its equivalent is in your world, businesses shut down. 

Photographers who set up businesses are creative entrepreneurs.
Most photographers who set up businesses are creative entrepreneurs.

Creative entrepreneurship is about structure

This means that creative entrepreneurship is also about structure. You cannot manage yourself, other people, or money effectively without structure. 

As creatives, we often move based on inspiration or when ideas hit us. 

Once you become a creative entrepreneur, you are saying you want to submit to some sort of structure. You are making a commitment to show up even when the inspiration is absent. 

You are creating a different entity that will be your business and operate separately from you, even if you are the only person it employs. This means it will have its own name, its own bank account, its own energy, and its own life.

Landscapers? Yes, we think they are creative entrepreneurs too.
Landscapers? Yes, we think they are creative entrepreneurs too.

Fungai is a writer, web developer, and creative entrepreneur. He is the founder of Artist Dynamix and is passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs use digital media to realize their full potential.