The ‘Creative Economy’ has been identified by Government as an important area for economic growth and critical as a driver for rebalancing the economy
- 1.5 million people are employed in the creative industries or in creative roles in other industries, 5.1% of the UK’s employment
Somerset has a vibrant and growing artistic and creative sector. Somerset Arts Week and local arts festivals such as the 10 Parishes in Wiveliscombe offer the opportunities for artists, writers, photographers, film-makers and the myriad of other creative businesses or individuals to showcase their work.
However, many creative people lack support to increase their confidence in business development and marketing and many do not have the time or expertise necessary to take advantage of new ways to bring their work to the attention of a wider public. Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for example – can be time-consuming but are vital to increase investment, sales and knowledge base.
It was against this backdrop that New Leaf Life Design developed the Creative Economy Business Coaching programme. Recognising both the need within the community and the potential it has to contribute to the Somerset economy Becky Wright approached Somerset County Council for funding via the Creative Industries Development Fund and this report shows how fruitful that partnership has been.
The project recruited 10 Somerset based visual artists and offered each 7.5 hours of one to one coaching, two evenings of group work and a full evaluation / action learning day. Five of the participants are shown in this video
In the participants evaluation it was cited that:
- Against all their objectives participants felt the coaching helped them achieve their aims. In most cases they felt it worked ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ well.
- The experience overall was overwhelmingly a positive one
- All participants said they would recommend the programme to someone in a similar position to themselves.
- The coaching programme helped participants most significantly in the area of marketing and both motivated them and gave them a more positive outlook on their work.
- Business planning skills were significantly improved, some businesses having a written plan for the first time following this programme
- All participants felt that the programme had a positive effect on their personal development
- The programme has helped raise morale, sees participants more positive and able to set personal development targets.
Some comments made on evaluations:
“The whole coaching process has been the single most important business exercise I have participated in. It has improved my own understanding of my own business, opened my eyes to ideas I had not considered but most importantly made me consider my own position within my working life and start to create plans and goals essential for creativity” Shane Whitehead Art of a Fine Nature
“ I would recommend this programme it helps to refocus and ensure your on the right track.” Emma Duke Driftwood Artist
“ Becky gives so much confidence and support and its been a pleasure to be part of this invaluable experience. Thanks for all your hard work and support.”
Helen Allcock notinthegallery.com
“All positives, no negatives… Time very well spent”
“I believe this is a great asset to other artists and would strongly recommend them to do this programme.”
“All Positives no negatives time very well spent…Having produced a business plan I now know the numbers and i am in a position finally to make informed business decisions.” Barnaby Adams Cuckooo Design Studio
“I can now recognise potential new areas to develop and the ability to envisage my designs and ideas on completely different products.” Lorna Siviter Illustrator
“ It felt very kindly and nurturing treating me as a creative individual to be treasured…” To realise that your business is only as strong as the energy you put into it and taking time out of making and doing art to set up systems eg IT Marketing, accounting, invoicing is time and energy well spent.” Liz Green Potter Yeovil
“I am more confident about dealing with the recession, I have a better profile and more connected to potential contracts…..
I definitely feel less stressed and more objective, I can take a step back and reflect in a positive way rather than being overwhelmed.” Bromwen Gwillim Public Artist
““An excellent experience that has really helped me and my business. I believe this is a great asset to other artists and would strongly recommend them to do this programme…..I feel very much more inspired and proactive towards my life goals and have increased my confidence dramatically.” Rob Ahob Goblin
“The experience of reflecting back with someone all my ideas thoughts and insecurities has been invaluable….I have been given specific time through the coaching to really consider my working life and goals. Being more confident about my work has allowed me to make plans, produce work and realise my market potential………The coaching has really kickstarted by business and the ideas I have for this, it has empowered to continue with my goals, I have a clear business idea and start up plan.” Helen Allcock notinthegallery.com
It is hoped that we will be able to reapply for this funding later this year and develop the work further. A BIG THANK YOU to all who took part and to Somerset County Council Creative Industries Development funding for half funding this work.