Guest Blog: Special Topics in Calamity Business – 10 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Indie Biz by Stephanie Fizer


Artist Stephanie Fizer is sharing 10 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Indie Biz today on the Guest Blog for Special Topics in Calamity Business. Stephanie has a new e-course she is offering called Flourish. It’s a 5-week course about turning your creativity into a full-time business and she is also offering one free registration in the course to one lucky Indie Fixx reader!

To win: Just leave a comment on this post about how you plan on your indie biz flourishing this year. Those who already registered are welcomed to enter as well with their registration being refunded if they win. This giveaway will end Monday, January 18th at 11:59 pm EST.


By guest contributor Stephanie Fizer

So you’re day job is less than satisfying and by night you dream of turning your creative passion into your full-time occupation. Before you take the first steps to make your dream a reality, here are some things to consider when starting your own indie business:

  1. Love what you do. This should be an easy one, because if you’re thinking of doing something fulltime, you probably already love it.
  2. Be prepared for long hours. Very long hours. With a day job, you work 8-to-5 and then you go home to relax. With your indie business, it’s hard to just leave work at work, especially when work is right down the hall and there is always something to do. But of course, it doesn’t feel so much like work when you’re doing something you’re passionate about.
  3. Be honest about your budget. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie, so before ditching your consistent paycheck, make sure you know how much money you need to pull in each month to cover both living expenses and business expenses.
  4. Know that you will probably spend a lot more time doing business-related things than you want to. Preparing shipment, answering emails, doing paperwork and running errands can take up a surprising amount of your time.
  5. If you’re not good with numbers and the thought of bookkeeping and taxes just scares you silly, consult with an accountant to make sure you are on the right track.
  6. Just because you make it, doesn’t mean that someone will buy it. Make a great product and then market it well.
  7. Be persistent. Success in your creative business may not happen overnight, so be patient and willing to work hard.
  8. Don’t be shy. Talk about your work constantly both online and off; your confidence in your work will be your best marketing tool.
  9. Be yourself. Don’t waste time trying to imitate the work of others. Remain true to yourself and your creativity and you will be your own greatest asset.
  10. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are so many things to consider and figure out when you are starting up a creative business, so when you run into a wall, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

About the contributor: Stephanie Fizer is a self-taught illustrator working primarily in digital media although she often adds handmade elements to her works.  Pattern, texture and lively color provide a strong foundation for her work which is appropriate for both the young and the young-at-heart. After years of being unfulfilled in an office job, Stephanie was able to focus full-time on her illustrating career and is now making time to help others achieve their dreams of turning their creativity into a business.  Stephanie is currently offering an e-course on this topic called Flourish.  You can also view her work at her Etsy shop or read more about her on her blog.



  1. I’d really like to get my business growing this year. I have been spending a lot of time trying to lay a solid groundwork for it and would love to take part in this course. The tips above are great. Thanks.

  2. I started my business six months ago and it’s grown better than I expected. I plan on 2010 being the year where I expect it to go further!

  3. I plan on getting my indie business to flourish this year by starting an indie business! Thank-you for this opportunity and for all of the great tips!

  4. I had a great 2009, and want to make 2010 even better! One of my goals to help things flourish is to be more orderly with my time. I’ve actually scheduled a day off(!) and a day for tasks that sometimes get pushed to the back burner. Hopefully this will make for a more productive 2010!

  5. I haven’t officially started a business yet, but I have many ideas floating in my head. It would be great to get a kick-start through this course!

  6. I need to start my business before it can flourish. But, I DO plan on starting one this year. It would be great to win this course, since I am trying to learn all I can to make it succeed!

  7. Wow, just discovered this blog and it’s great! This course sounds like a lot of fun. I was looking at business courses, but can’t fit them into my schedule. What don’t I want to do is the question! I’m got wooden toys going right now, but would love to work on some digital arts and make cards, as well as design some fabric for sock monkey dolls and make some French language learning aids too. Ok, I know I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, so, Stephanie, I really need your help!

    Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for the tips!

  8. I’m working on my marketing this year; updating my website for better SEO, and seeking out some new and targeted ad opportunities, as well as possibly some consignment opps for my pottery. Thanks for the opportunity – the course looks amazing!

  9. I haven’t started it yet, so I would like to get the info. to start so I can “flourish”. I could really use some good instruction on being an indie business owner.

  10. I’ve dying to sign up for this but I’m not sure I have the funds to spare at the moment, unfortunately. I’ve been doing freelance illustration work here and there since getting out of school, but mostly I’ve been stuck in the scenario she describes – soul-sucking day job, nights spent wondering how to turn doodling into a viable career. I’ve made a pact with myself that 2010 will be the year I get off my butt and be proactive about trying to make it happen. Right now I’m working on new promo cards and compiling an updated contact list. It’s sort of terrifying, but I guess most things worth doing are at first.

  11. I would love a chance to win the course! I’m creating my website right now and my big plans for this year are to get it up (check) and full of content (working on this one). I have been working towards this goal for sometime(at least several years and something always seems to come up to knock it out of the way and I’m forced to start again, so this is my year to shine. I’m determined to let nothing get in the way this year.)

  12. I am just planning to open my online shop and, although I’ve already been working as a freelancer and know what working at home means, improving my marketing skills would help me a lot. It may be a good idea to attend course like this!

  13. I’ve been a fan of Stephanie’s for a while and the most I admire about her is how she has broken out of the office job rut and pursued a very successful career doing what she loves doing. That is my ultimate DREAM. Juggling a full-time job as well as a stationery business is tough but I am determined to concentrate on it more this year and spend more time on it so my business will only continue to grow! Practice Practice Practice and never give up!

  14. I can’t decide if my indie biz is my blog or my blog + a product line to sell. I’ve got big plans for the blog’s growth, and plans for how to start making some product. But, wow, would I love some practical tips on the nuts and bolts of selling goods!!!

  15. I would love to participate in the flourish workshops! I have been doing research and working on developing a line of products. So, this year, my goal is to open my etsy shop.

  16. I don’t have my own biz, but I absolutely plan to help some others flourish by shopping indie and green! 🙂

  17. Organization! I think that organizing all aspects will help my lil business grow this year. We are talking Organizing everything from my workspace to my bookkeeping to my goals. 2010 is going to be a good year 🙂

  18. I’ve done little businesses locally
    with my work on and off for years with minimal success. Back at a regular job, and I am now interested in starting again, but this time expanding to a broader audience. To do this I need to learn the best and most current way of doing this. I’ve been to your
    blog, Stephanie, and you have great tips and a fun site. Thank you for
    your perseverance and your art.


  19. What a great post! I haven’t yet made the jump into my own business but it has been a dream for so long. I’ve been concentrating on building up a portfolio of work and learning how to flourish when I do make that leap!

  20. sounds like an awesome course! when i started my business last january, i had all intentions of also picking up a day job to go with it, but as the year went on.. i realized that this was what i wanted to do, so i’ve been working nonstop ever since trying to build what i have into my full time job. i’m constantly looking for new inspiration and ways to manage my business better. thanks for the opportunity!

  21. What a wonderful idea. I have been contemplating turning my creativity into a business for a while now. With the threat of redundancy on the horizon (end of March) now is the time for me to seriously consider taking the plunge. There are folk out there doing amazing things and an online course that helps people to get started would be more than welcome. My talent lies in just about anything involving fabric or wool. I love to make things for the little people in my life (I have 2 children) and have found that I can sometimes sell things! Making a business of my gift would be a dream.

  22. I’ve been wanting to get my business going for over a year now and hopefully this is the year! I could really use this course. I’ve been so overwhelmed with making it a full-time job and this e-course sounds perfect!

  23. I plan on helping my business to flourish this year by offering wrkshops to friends and neighbors. i find this helps to get the word out about what I do. As I give the workshops out of my own studio, people get to see where I work and what I make and shows them that I have dedicated serious time and energy into my creations.

  24. I’m increasing my time investment in my handmade business by 25% this year. I’m also experimenting with different forms of promotion and advertising. Cheers!

  25. I haven’t actualy started my business, so I guess I plan on starting with a flourish. I look foward to the Flourish topics on things such as writing a business plan

  26. This course sounds perfect! I know I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon – but that’s my goal. I want to have my own creative business, with my candles or something else! Good luck and happy work to all!

  27. Thank you so much for the tips! No.8 is so important, I think. Having your own, unique style that hopefully people will come to recognise and love!
    I have already signed up for Flourish, it sounds excellent!

  28. My indie bizz is for realz going to flourish this year! After graduating with a degree in art education into a not so great economy I plan on spending my newly found “free” time putting all I have into my own business.

  29. I received a nice camera for Christmas so I can take pictures of my newer pieces and FINALLY update my etsy shop. I plan on giving the shop a nice consistent look and possibly even breaking my plush and my jewelry into two seperate lines. Then I plan on sending out some press releases to get my name out there a little more 🙂

  30. Great post! Love talking about indie biz info and making the dream a reality. 🙂

    This year I am looking back on 2009 and how Dig Under Rocks grew from an idea to a lil baby business.. I’m making a list of what worked and what didn’t and what’s missing..

    I want to work on marketing and more consignment. So far I think consignment was my best in sales and use of my time.. compared to shows and the over saturated online market. Twitter and blogging have also been great and fun.. talking with the community has been very helpful! 🙂


  31. These are good tips! I’m an emerging artist with a background in illustration/graphic design for brand names… Just now striking out on my own. I have done all the suggested tips and feel that I wouldn’t be as successful today if I neglected any one of those! Good luck to fellow entrepreneurs!

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