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What is a Creative Entrepreneur?

Written by:

Victoria is a business writer with a mission to help guide new entrepreneurs through starting and running their successful businesses.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

What is a Creative Entrepreneur?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably watched musicians and performers on YouTube and TikTok and wondered how best to label these folks in today’s economy. They’re not selling tangible products or services, so can they still be called entrepreneurs?

Yes, they can! These people belong to a category called creative entrepreneurs, or sometimes just creatives. They bear the risks and rewards of normal entrepreneurship but have the additional attribute of artistry as their business focus.

This guide explains the concept of creative entrepreneurship, highlights several types of creative entrepreneurs, and explains how you could become a creative entrepreneur yourself.

What is a Creative Entrepreneur?

successful young entrepreneur

According to the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, creative entrepreneurship refers to “the economic capacity of creative industries” and “businesses with an inclination towards arts and cultural heritage.” 

Creative industries generate intellectual or creative capital and entrepreneurs in this category sell their creations via ads, subscriptions or some other form of patronage. Essentially, creative entrepreneurs, such as musicians, comedians, and writers, use their inventiveness to create goods with market appeal. 

Keep in mind that a creative entrepreneur’s business differs from an innovation-driven venture. While it’s true that innovation requires creativity, an innovation-driven entrepreneur creates a never-before-seen product or service and focuses on scaling it.

A good rule of thumb for determining a creative entrepreneurial venture is asking whether the product would still be the same if it were made by someone else. Creative entrepreneurs add inherent value to their works through their skill or personality. For example, even if all of the notes and lyrics are the same, covers of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” never compare to the original.

Types of Creative Entrepreneurs

business associates discussing new project plan

1. Makers

Makers create a tangible product, such as a sculpture, a painting, or a piece of wood furniture. Each work tends to be unique and time-consuming to create. Makers can either take commissions or devote their time to making the pieces they want, confident in the product’s ability to sell.

2. Freelancers

Freelancers are creative specialists who sell their products or skills per job or per hour. Examples include web designers, programmers, writers, and photographers. Unlike makers, freelancers tailor each product to the client’s needs.

3. Tutors

Tutors are experts in their intellectual or creative field and base their business on imparting that knowledge to their clients. Unlike a math or science tutor, there must be a creative, subjective, or interpretive aspect to the subject of this sort of creative entrepreneur. Examples of creative tutors include dance and music teachers and cooking instructors.

4. Coaches

Coaches sell their achievements and lifestyle as a product and encourage customers to purchase guides and counseling sessions. Examples of coaches are lifestyle consultants, spiritual guides, and financial coaches. People who have become famous tend to transition to this type of creative entrepreneurship by writing books or creating podcasts to encourage fans to follow their path to success.

5. Performing Artists

Performing artists sell their performances based on the emotions and feelings they create. Though we might traditionally recognize only musicians, dancers, and actors as part of this crowd, nowadays this category includes comedians, Youtubers, and various streamers who rely on viewership.

6. Aestheticist

Aestheticists curate experiences and products to sell branded aesthetics to their customers. They might advise on certain products to use or create their own line of merchandise. Examples of aestheticists are makeup reviewers, tour guide creators, and interior designers.

It’s important to remember that these categories are not mutually exclusive – creative entrepreneurs may dabble in several categories during the course of their career. A musician could start as a performing artist, then transition to tutoring by giving music lessons and finally become a coach marketing their own success. 

Examples of Creative Entrepreneurs

group of people dicussing business in the office

1. MrBeast

Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast, earned $54 million in 2021 through his Youtube channel of the same name. His product? Comedy and entertainment through expensive stunts, such as his famous “$456,000 Squid Game in Real Life” video, which as of this writing had 300M+ views.

MrBeast is an example of a performing artist creative entrepreneur as his channel focuses on viewable entertainment featuring either himself or competing volunteers. He earns his money through Youtube ad revenue and sponsorships, and his wealth is an inspiration for all entrepreneurs looking to make it big.

2. Rihanna

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, or simply Rihanna, is one of the world’s most popular performers, with a net worth of $1.4 billion in 2022. From her humble beginnings as part of a musical trio in Barbados, Rihanna has skyrocketed to fame as a singer, actress, and businesswoman.

On top of being a performing artist creative entrepreneur, Rihanna highlights how creative entrepreneurs can dabble in other forms of entrepreneurship: she’s co-founded several brands and businesses, such as Fenty Fashion House, Fenty Beauty, Savage X Fenty, and the Clara Lionel Foundation.

3. Marie Kondo

The “Konmari Method,” created by Japanese lifestyle consultant Marie Kondo, was all the rage in the early days of the pandemic. This ideology is focused on the idea that your physical space should be simplified and streamlined only to include things that make you happy. It gained meteoric popularity in America thanks to Kondo’s Netflix series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

As a coaching creative entrepreneur, Kondo has focused her business ventures on imparting her advice through paid video courses, books, and Netflix series. On top of selling her own products, Kondo touts other companies’ products that match her minimalist lifestyle, showing that she is also an aestheticist creative entrepreneur. Her net worth was estimated at $8 million in 2021.

How Do I Become a Creative Entrepreneur?

businesswoman with planner

You don’t need years of experience or a fine arts degree to become a creative entrepreneur. If you have a bit of creativity and can effectively market yourself, with a little luck you could be on your way to success.

To start, identify your creative niche. Are you good at music? Graphic design? Humor? Develop a solid idea of what type of creative entrepreneur you are and your target market. Invest in some equipment and begin creating examples of your product to show potential customers.

Next, formally start your business. If you’re not sure how, Step by Step has a handy guide on how to start a business.

Finally, begin advertising yourself on websites such as Fiverr and Upwork. Hopefully, customers will be drawn to your creative talents and your business will go boom! 

A key concern for creative entrepreneurs is copyright and intellectual theft. Especially with the rising prevalence of AI software, taking credit for others’ work is increasingly easy. It’s a good idea to consider obtaining a copyright or trademark through the US Copyright Office to protect your works and style.


Creative entrepreneurs use their imagination and inventiveness to create and sell intellectual and creative property. There are many types of creative entrepreneurs, but they all rely on their own ideas as a crucial resource. 

If you have skills in a creative field or a magnetic personality, you might be able to become a creative entrepreneur and share your artistry with the world while making a pretty penny. With some hard work and a dash of luck, your creative vision could make you the next Marie Kondo or MrBeast! 


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What is a Creative Entrepreneur?