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Bread and butter tips for starting a creative business

Starting a business

When does your hobby become a business? How do you set up and register a business? What licenses and insurance do you need? You can find the answers to all these essential questions and more on The Australian Government’s ‘starting your business’ checklist.

Get an ABN

To access a number of work and funding opportunities (including Arts Queensland funding) you will need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

To get an ABN you need to register your business with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) – they also provide info on choosing your business structure, registering your business, record keeping and tax information.

Know the difference between a business and hobby

Will you be undertaking your arts practice as a hobbyist or as a business? The ATO has a helpful guide that explains the difference between businesses and hobbies as well as tools for hobbyists including a Statement by Supplier form you may need to complete if getting paid without an ABN.

Plan for your success

Effective business planning can assist you with understanding, communicating and achieving your goals. On our Arts Acumen page, you will find a list of business planning resources to help you plan for success.

Know your market

Before you begin a business, it is crucial to understand the market that you will be working in, including comparable businesses, competitors, audiences and trends. This will help you to plan your business, benchmark your success, identify your business’s unique selling point (USP), attract an audience and investors and maintain your relevance. A great place to start is researching similar successful companies and services locally and internationally and making connections with companies that you admire.

To see which artists and arts organisations have been funded by Arts Queensland visit our funding programs page. There are also great lessons to be learnt from the successful applicant’s case studies, which are published after their funded activity is complete.   

Promote yourself

Social media, public relations, marketing and promotion are key to growing your visibility, networks, audience and business. Check out the marketing and promotion resources available on Arts Acumen for some great tips and tools.

Tell us about your experiences and tips for starting your own creative business . . .