Samantha from A Thousand Yellow Daisies explores some of the questions to consider before you startup your creative business, including how you want to work, business name ideas, and choosing your business legal structure.
Freelance and start ups are one of the most challenging but rewarding career paths you could choose. It takes commitment, motivation and sometimes what seems like superhuman determination! Relying entirely on you, this path entails perseverance, hard work and often skills you never even realised you would need. But by working for yourself, you often find a great sense of achievement and pride in the work you produce and the success you gain. You’ll learn new skills, gain personal growth and work towards goals that really mean something to you on a personal level.
There is so much to learn and consider when planning to work for yourself. I am still learning myself, I don’t think you ever really stop, but I am thrilled to be able to share my knowledge, advice and experience. If you would like to learn a bit more about me, A Thousand Yellow Daisies, and my experiences that led me here, you can read about it on my blog. For now, here are a few things to think about if you are considering working for yourself…
Freelancer or Entrepreneur?
In the creative sector, the first thing you need to figure out is what you are… are you a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or both? You may be wondering what the difference is…
If your vision, your dream, is to build a large company, such as Cath Kidson or Laura Ashley, then you are an entrepreneur. You have a business idea, a niche, a way to fill a gap in the market. If you envision building something bigger than yourself then you will become an entrepreneur and business owner. However, if you just want to work for yourself, take on the design projects you want, and work your own hours, you are a freelancer. If your vision has no intention of growing to include other staff members or to gain a workload you cannot complete alone, then you are looking to become a freelancer.
Understanding the difference is hugely important and can affect the later success of your venture. Of course there is always the option to move from one to the other, or even be both.
You might start as a freelancer, taking on work for clients and selling your designs and products to customers. As interest in your ‘brand’ (your aesthetic and style) grows, you may become an entrepreneur, licensing your designs to other companies and employing a team to support you and design in your brand’s handwriting.
Or you might own a business, and outside of those business hours freelance for yourself rather than your business. You will need to decide whether you want the freelance service to always be you and you alone, or whether to incorporate it into your business as a service option.
For example, A Thousand Yellow Daisies is a retail company. We design patterns, which are then manufactured as products for sale. We also offer design services such as corporate design and personalisation/ bespoke designing. As this is offered under the business name and not my own name it is a business service. Therefore I am an entrepreneur and not a freelancer.
As with anything, there are benefits to both. As a freelancer the project is yours, no matter how large your company is, and the fee is all yours (find out more about self employed salaries and taxes). The benefit of running freelance projects through your company is once the business has grown you do not have to take on all the work alone. You can ask staff to help or complete a project, giving the business the capacity to grow further.
Choosing A Business Name
Working out whether you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur is quite easy once you know the difference. But that is only the start of the decisions you will need to make to define your business. Most importantly, you need a name! This in itself can be one of the most challenging decisions for a start up. The name you choose will affect the way people view your brand. There are lots of ways to get ideas for a business name:
- Look at what the other companies in your sector have as business names. You can then work through similar ideas to come up with something different but still fitting.
- Brainstorm/make a mind map/segment list all of the words related to your business, and any additional words that link to the initial ideas (including obvious things like what you do, and also things like your brand values). You may find a word(s) that is suitable for your business name, or it may spark a new idea. For example: Print & Press, Honest Burgers, Shoe Embassy or The Clothes Horse.
- Use your name (or someone important to you’s name/nickname/initials) For example: John Lewis, Riddell Doodles, Liv & Dom, or Phoebe Simpson Jewellery
- Use something personal to you. Using something with meaning can make your business feel special and connected to you. While in many cases people don’t realise the meaning behind your business name, it can create a fantastic and memorable brand, and a unique name may make you easy to find online. Personal names can come from memories, hobbies, people or places in your life*. For example: A Thousand Yellow Daisies, & Other Stories, Flory & Black or Cobalt Hill.
- There are also rules on business names that you can’t use.
*If you choose a personal name, remember that your customers may not know what you are selling, and search engines might not find you. This is fine for big brands, but can sometimes be an issue for startups when your target customers don’t know about you. If you are concerned about this, try adding what you sell after the name (for example London Ruby could become London Ruby Shoes), having a tag line (London Ruby, Handcrafted Leather Shoes), or having a very clear logo (although this last one won’t help with search engines!).
It’s a difficult process and will probably take you a lot of time, research, and brainstorming, no matter which approach you take. Remember the business name should reflect your brand ideals, so think carefully about any connotations that words could have, and how they may be perceived. Get feedback from friends and family, and practice saying the name out loud, you will be saying it a lot!
It is vital to check your name idea on Google, and on the Company’s House website, where you can search to find out if any other business already trades under a name. This is a must before starting trading, you do not want to be using someone else’s name! Sole traders do not have to register their name, so always do an online search on Google and social media for the name you want. You may also consider checking what your name means in other languages if you are planning to trade outside the UK now or at a later date.
Decide Your Business Legal Structure
Your business legal structure needs to be decided at the beginning of your journey. Sole Trader is a popular option for many small start-ups and is the easiest type of business to set up and manage. However, depending on your business, you may need another option such as a Limited Company or Partnership. You can find out more about business structures, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to set them up on the gov.uk website.
So if you think you are ready to work for yourself, take these simple steps to begin:
- Decide who you are: freelancer, entrepreneur, or both?
- What is your brand name?
- What legal structure do you need?
Now you’re well on your way to starting a successful business!
– Samantha, A Thousand Yellow Daisies
Do you have any questions or feedback? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or hello@athousandyellowdaisies.