Our #MVPtoVIP series celebrates the inspirational journeys of some of the fantastic founders in our Farillio network. This time, we're chatting to Carolyn Dailey, founder of Creative Entrepreneurs. Get to know her better below...
Tell us about your business and the problem it solves. What inspired you to launch it?
I’ve spent my career straddling the creative and business worlds.
Before starting my own company (somewhat by accident), I spent 20 years at Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) where I was managing director at their international headquarters in London.
Leaving in 2011, with great excitement about starting a new kind of branding agency, I felt naturally at home on the creative side, but I quickly realised I had no idea about the business side of starting up a new company. After all, I’d always worked at a big company.
I began to speak to friends who had creative businesses – design agencies, architecture firms, fashion houses, production companies – and found they all had the same experience.
Coming from the creative sector, they had no business training or networks and didn’t really know where to start to find the support they needed.
Every one of them said they just sort of muddled through, worked it out somehow, but made silly mistakes along the way and failed to reach their business potential as quickly as they would have liked to.
At the same time, I had many friends in tech and they were spoiled for choice any day or night of the week for networking, mentoring and business support events. The tech sector, I learned, is brilliant at nurturing their own to start new businesses. I wondered, ‘Why isn’t anyone doing this for the creative sector – I must be missing something.’
But, antennae fully sensitised and expecting to find the all-in-one solution for creative people, I never did.
The idea for Creative Entrepreneurs was born.
It’s a 360-degree platform to connect entrepreneurs in the creative sector to the resources, networks and inspiration they need to start and grow their businesses.
We do this through our website, live events and courses and our membership programme.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner?
The most challenging thing about being a business owner is prioritising time and knowing how best to allocate it when you’ve got a tiny team, limited resources and a never-ending to-do list!
It’s crucial for both the success of the business and your own sanity to have a very clear list of priorities in both the short and long term. It’s also important to remember not to feel like you have to do everything at once – in fact, that’s often detrimental to productivity.
What are you using Farillio for?
We’re very excited that we’re using Farillio both for our members and for ourselves!
That’s the whole ethos of Creative Entrepreneurs – we’ve had to learn everything from scratch – we are our first customer, as it were. And we want to pass on the awesome products and services that help us so much on to our members and wider community.
We love Farillio because our users particularly need legal help right at the beginning as they are IP-heavy. They need to protect their ideas with the correct legal documents at all stages of business, but they often won’t have the budget for a dedicated legal team or technical legal knowledge of their own.
We’re delighted to have partnered with Farillio to offer the platform to our members at a great discount, and we’re enjoying using the platform in house too!
We also love Farillio’s no-nonsense resources and content, which demystify the often-confusing legal landscape.
What’s the most important piece of legal advice you’ve ever needed?
At our early stage, it’s been understanding how to protect our brand and IP – so trade mark and also making sure we retain all rights to our IP in working with the great suppliers we work with.
It’s crucial for any company to get this right when starting out. But it’s especially relevant to us as we produce a lot of content, and so do our community.
What’s the next piece of legal advice you predict you’ll need?
As we look to expand, we’ll be hoping to fundraise and gain investment. This will be a totally new experience for me, and I’ve never dealt with the legal side of this before!
I’ll be keen to make sure I get as much advice as possible to ensure I navigate the legal side of it effectively.
When setting out on your own from the corporate world, what did you find the most challenging aspect?
Working in a lean startup environment couldn’t be more different from the corporate world.
There I had huge budgets and huge teams of highly talented people to take care of every detail. I could delegate to the maximum, keeping my time for things that required my judgement alone.
When you run a startup, on the other hand, you do everything, at every level of detail! We have a joke, when we have an issue and we don’t know who takes care of that – the answer is… Founder!
Things take longer than you expect, as you need to master the basics of every new aspect of business as it crops up – from finance to building your website to designing your product to mastering community outreach.
It’s extremely exhausting, but extremely satisfying as you are building something new from the ground up that has never existed before.
What is your ambition for Creative Entrepreneurs and the future?
We want to transform the way creative people think about business.
To let them see that, far from undermining their creativity or weighing them down with tedious detail, it’s actually the most powerful tool that lets them create sustainable businesses based on their creative passion. And when you don’t have to worry about paying the rent – that’s when creativity really takes flight.
And if you found this startup story inspiring, check out the rest of the Farillio blog to discover more