Angel Field Festival Employability Session – ‘How to Start Your Own Business in the Creative Sector’

As part of the inaugural Angel Field Festival the Careers & Employability team hosted a workshop focusing on employability in the creative arts on Thursday 28th March.

The session was titled ‘How to Start Your Own Business in the Creative Sector,’ and was led by Kelly Forshaw – Managing Director of Jack All Productions. We were delighted to welcome Kelly on as one of the leading video content producers in the city.

Kelly said she started the company alongside her business partners after many years working in marketing and communications.

“We tell the client’s story.”

Kelly spoke of how the company uses their expertise in video production and PR to tell the stories of businesses and companies. “Some clients know what they want, some have no idea”

Kelly delved into the challenges she faced when starting a business. The first point she made was understanding the difference between cost and value. She said initially when pricing up their service for a client she was thinking only in the cost of tangible things such as equipment or travel expense, and that this a common mistake for creative businesses.

She stressed the importance of factoring in the value of your skill. Whether that be as a musician, composer, writer, designer, director etc – as a creative you have a skill that not everyone has. The analogy she used was of paying someone to paint your house. They wouldn’t charge just for the cost of paint, they also charge for their time and professional skill. She warned against creative skills not being as valued, and to know your value and ensure the client does.

“Add value to what you do.”

Kelly spoke of how you should always look to add value to your product/service to make you stand out and to make your clients as happy as possible. She realised they were creating videos for clients but many didn’t know what to do with it. They then offered a social media plan and targeted marketing which increased the range of their promotion, improved their package to clients and increased the amount of money they could make with a more premium service.

“What is it you can do that others can’t?”

Defining a unique selling point was another key challenge explored. Kelly said it was vital to search for what made your product or service different, why should clients to come to you out of everyone in your industry. She said it was important to know your audience, to know who you’re making your product for and how to let them know that.

“Make sure you’re the first person they speak to.”

The next key point was networking. Kelly admitted this can be tough and not everyone enjoys this aspect but if no one knows who you are then you won’t have any business. Kelly said the first place to start is within your own circle of friends. She admitted hesitations over putting herself out there, of setting herself up to fail, but that she had to get over those insecurities or she’d have no clients.

Kelly said if you can let your friends and social media network know of what you’re doing, they’ll likely come to you first over a random company as they’ll trust you. From there your business can grow.

Other bits of advice in this area centred on not being afraid to ask for introductions, putting yourself out there at networking events and being a nice person. She said asking people to go for a coffee and for advice is a subtle way to build relationships.

“Create a portfolio of what you do. Sell your story.”

Kelly touched upon marketing being an important factor in building your business. She highlighted social media as a key tool as it is free advertising and that you should let as many people as possible know what you do in as many different forms. She said the likes of photos and blogs will help build a picture of who you are and what you stand for and will help to sell you and your ideas, not just your product.

Kelly rounded out her challenges by examining contracts, payment and insurance. She said this is crucial in protecting yourself and your equipment and ensuring you are prepared for all circumstances.


“Ready. Fire. Aim.”

Kelly’s final advice touched upon taking the plunge and putting yourself out there. She said that when she first started she hesitated with many projects as she wasn’t quite sure if it was the right client, or if the content was ready and ended up missing out on an opportunity.

She said without being too gung-ho, often you’ve just got to go for it, take the chance, and refine as you go. Learn from experience and mistakes and make sure that next time you take that on board and change your approach. Every project or client is going to have drawbacks in some form and if you wait around for the perfect opportunity with no risks you’re just going to be left waiting.

The session was well received by the budding creative entrepreneurs who attended. One student said “She was so inspirational and really motivated me to start thinking about my own business.”

Thank you to Kelly Forshaw of Jack All Productions for such a motivational and eye-opening talk that has really benefited our students.

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