The Business Club
Are you serious about growing your craft or design business? Are you looking for practical, honest, real-life creative business training that’s easily accessible and created by true experts who know what it takes to grow a creative business themselves?
The Design Trust Business Club Library gives you immediate access to over 150+ online workshops, masterclasses and interviews on a wide range of business topics to improve your creative business skills. All the essential training you need in one place.
Every month we offer a new timely theme with at least 3 live lessons, plus regular Book Club, networking and co-working sessions to meet and learn from other professional creatives.
The Business Club is for busy & ambitious creatives who want to learn at their own pace. You can access our Business Club Library at any time you like and / or join our monthly live sessions, learning alongside more than 250 other professional designers, makers and artists from across the UK and abroad.
You can join The Business Club below – on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis:
the key facts:
- Immediate access to 150+ small creative business sessions, incl. workshops, masterclasses & interviews. Learn directly from experts & successful creatives who share how they do it.
- All sessions are 45 – 120min long. Quick but in-depth learning & inspiration to improve your business skills and knowledge.
- Wide range of creative business topics – all in one place!
- Outcomes: Get strategic & practical business training & inspiration to grow your craft or design business.
- Especially created for: Busy creatives who want affordable access to experts & professional business training.
- Time commitment: Really up to you! You can dip in and dip out whenever you need to (24/7), or join our monthly live sessions.
- No contract. Stop your membership whenever you like.
- Join more than 250 other creative professionals from across the UK and world.
The Secret Online Studio Sale session really inspired me … so I hosted my own! It was a great success…woohoo!! I emailed my list on Saturday 10am, and within 15 minutes most things had sold out! It was a great way to get new people on my email list. It re-invigorated my approach to marketing, brought in some extra cash and cleared lots of space in my studio! Thanks for the inspiration!Ceramicist Catherine Lucktaylor
I signed up to the Business Club three weeks ago. I wish I’d done it a long time ago! I’m slowly working my way through the videos. Each video is really quite revelatory, and I’m overwhelmed with ideas, inspiration and enthusiasm. I’m really looking forward to putting into practice everything I’m learning.Printmaker & textile designer Victoria Glover
Brilliant session! I’ve used Pinterest forever as an Art & Design teacher, but never for my business. This is something I am going to start today. Really useful information!Ceramicist Louise Condon
Learn at your own pace
Whenever you want to,
where ever you are in the world.
Are your lack of marketing skills holding you back from getting more online sales, commissions or wholesale orders?
Do you want to make more money from your creative skills & products? Are you getting fed up with undercharging but aren’t sure how to cost or price your work professionally, or how to position yourself properly and charge what you are worth? Could you do with a little boost in confidence too?
Do you feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done? Do you want to get more organised, set goals and create plans for your marketing, finances and for creative work?
Are you super busy? With limited time (and money) to boost your business & marketing skills?
That’s why we created The Business Club!
- For busy creatives who don’t want to waste their time with boring lectures or irrelevant, out-of-date business advice. The Business Club is for creative businesses with small budgets but with big ideas & dreams!
- To provide practical and strategic, easy-to-access and affordable online business training. Dip in-and-out of our Business Club Library to access more than 150 recordings, or join us live for 3 new sessions each month. Learn at your own pace – whenever you like, wherever you are in the world!
- To get you more organised and focused with our business & marketing planning workshops. Become more profitable and strategic with our finance, pricing & marketing workshops. Boost your marketing with our masterclasses & expert social media sessions. Sell more online by improving your website, branding, photography and drive better traffic with email marketing. Learn from gallery & shop owners how to sell wholesale. Get PR training from experts and journalists. For the full list of all the 150+ sessions & experts scroll down to the bottom of this page!
- For busy professional creative sole traders, freelancers and business owners. Learn directly from our handpicked speakers who are all successful creatives and experts from the world of art, craft & design.
- To get you into action to make your learning work in your own creative business. All brought to you with a dollop of humour & creativity to give your confidence a bit of a boost too!
- To learn & work with other creatives in our regular Business Club Book Club, co-working and networking sessions where we work together, ask questions & share knowledge.
- For honest and straight forward creative business training that you can implement in your own business and real life.
Are you ready to take charge of your own business development and grow your creative business step-by-step? Join the Business Club today.
what makes the design trust business club different?
- All your fundamental creative business training is in one place. We know it’s essential to connect the dots between the different parts of your business. So, we don’t just focus on marketing or Instagram, but bring it all together. Because we know that costing & pricing has as much to do with marketing & positioning yourself as with finance & money! So we talk about calculating your costs and what you can charge, but also how you can position yourself better with the right photography and branding. And how to build your confidence around money too! (That last one is the game changer!)
- You learn from real life experience & experts. We handpick our speakers to make sure they will share the best knowledge & experience with you. From successful creatives like ceramicist Sue Pryke, textile designers Rachael Taylor and Ptolomy Mann and illustrator Jo Scott, to social media experts, craft fair organisers, photographers, designers, curators, journalists, lawyers and more. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the full list of topics, experts and creatives)
- We walk the talk .Tap into our 25+ years’ experience (x2!) of working with 1,000s of creatives. With a proven track record, many successful product launches (incl. raising £18K in one day on Kickstarter!) growing our own business to 6-figures. Like you we are independent business owners who need to work hard to make our money. We also don’t get any funding and have to work creatively with limited resources. We will share how we do it honestly, so you can learn from our successes and mistakes as well.
- Our sessions will get you involved! There is much more to effective online training than watching a Zoom session! Online learning has become really popular in the last two years during and since the Pandemic and we know much of it is boring, not relevant and often more a sales presentation than a learning experience. Do you know that less than 3% of online students finish their courses? We have been teaching online for over a decade, and we know that you want to learn in different ways, talk with other creatives, and make time to reflect or plan how this new knowledge could work for you. We give you this space!
- We accommodate different learning styles. Some of our clients are very busy and want to be able to access any training whenever they like, and watch sessions more than once (a bit like when you read a book more than once … you get so much more out of it the second time!). Others prefer to join in with the timely live monthly sessions or our bi-monthly co-working sessions. Some members love the thoroughness of the two-hour-in-depth masterclasses while others prefer the easy-listening of the creative interviews whilst working themselves. There is not one way to grow your business and therefore there is not one way to learn! We constantly experiment with different formats and try to make our Business Club sessions as accessible and interactive as possible.
instant access to 150+ creative business training
plus 3 live sessions each month
Are you ready to boost your business & marketing skills to grow your creative business?
Simply choose your monthly, quarterly or annual Business Club membership below and join us today:
All our Business Club members get …
- Immediate access to over 150+ Business Club recordings in our Business Club Library.
- At least 3 live sessions around a certain topic every month.
- The chance to ask business questions or share your challenges or wins with us during the live workshops, our networking and Q&A sessions, in our private course hub or in our weekly newsletter.
- The opportunity to learn with other creatives, especially during our Eat The Frog co-working sessions where you can bring a job you have been putting off, our regular Q&A and networking meetups, and our Business Club Book Club sessions where we discuss a specific business book related to that monthly topic.
- Our weekly Business Club newsletter in their inbox to sign up for upcoming sessions.
- Special Business Club membership offers including 20% off our online courses.
what our business club members say …
I’m so delighted that I decided to join The Design Trust Business Club! I feel like I have an incredibly knowledgeable colleague in the room with me – who is filling in the blanks and keeping me company. I’m only a few weeks in and I’ve learned so much valuable information already!Graphic designer Joanna Usherwood of Urban & Wild
I’ve had business advice in the past but none of it has been as detailed, understanding or as useful as what I’m learning from The Business Club. It’s given me a new excitement about my business.Ceramicist Maria Wojdat
This was the perfect re-introduction to wholesaling for me. I have been toying with the idea for a while and now have the tools to work out how best to approach it.Textile designer Cassandra Smith of Cassandra Sabo Designs
is The Business Club for you?
The Business Club isn’t for everybody. It’s much better if it’s a good match so that you won’t be wasting your time or money. The Business Club is for creatives who are serious about wanting to grow their business!
The Business Club is for you if …
- You run a small creative business. You have been promoting and selling your creative products or services for at least two years – either online, directly through meetings or pitches, or at events. The Business Club covers topics specifically for growing businesses, not for very new businesses. And we expect our Business Club members to be busy and independent minded so you want to create your own learning paths and dip-in-and-out of the Business Club Library without too much handholding from us or others. (If you want more support then check out our online courses!)
- You are a creative professional. We work with product-based businesses, including craftspeople, designer makers, Etsy shop owners, illustrators, visual artists, stationery & print designers, photographers, graphic designers, fashion accessories, event organisers, shop owners, curators, small homeware & giftware brands. Most of our Business Club members are sole traders, freelancers or work in a partnership. Some are social entrepreneurs (which we love!). We also sometimes get lifestyle businesses, food or health businesses joining us but not every Business Club topic will then be that relevant to you.
- You are busy, independent-minded and ready to work on your business skills & knowledge. You want to learn, but more importantly you want to take action to improve your creative business. You know it’s hard work, and that it requires patience & commitment to grow your own business over time, but you are ready to put in the hours & some sweat and tears too. But wouldn’t it be nice to get inspiration from other successful creatives and work on specific business challenges or get answers to your questions to grow your business?
- You love learning & growing together with other creatives. Most of our Business Club members just focus on their own learning and there is not that much networking going on to be honest (there is no Facebook group or online forum) as most of our clients are simply too busy. But we always encourage members to speak up during the live sessions or to leave comments afterwards in the private hub. And during our co-working sessions, our Q&A networking and Book Club sessions there is loads of networking opportunities for busy creatives.
- You work fulltime or parttime. We have a wide variety of creative Business Club members at many different stages! You might have other caring responsibilities or manage a small team fulltime. We have members who sell very affordable items on Etsy to creatives who sell exclusive high-end commissions for thousands of pounds.
The Business Club is not for you if …
- You are thinking about starting or have recently set up a creative business. At this beginner’s stage you will need more training on what you want to do, who your clients are, costing & pricing your work, getting your first website & brand launched and so much more. The training in The Business Club is aimed at more advanced creatives and focuses on how to grow, sell online, sell wholesale or how to sell higher end or do commissions. In the beginning you will probably need more hands-on support, which we do through our specific online courses that you can check out here.
- You are not really committed to growing your creative business. If you are hoping that somebody else is going to make the big decisions for you, or are not prepared to put in the work to grow your business or want a ‘quick fix to get rich’ then the Business Club is not the right place. We are realists who provide practical and honest business training. We know what it takes and we will always encourage and inspire you to take action to grow.
- You need hand-holding to get into action. We are huge fans of accountability and know how important accountability can be to get stuff done! We often use accountability groups in our online courses and our Strategic Away Day Club exactly for that reason. Our Business Club is aimed at more independent creatives who are busy and who want to learn at their own pace, and focus on specific topics at certain times whenever it suits them.
MEET YOUR BUSINESS CLUB HOST
The Design Trust’s Business Club & Social media Manager
For the last 4 years Anne-Marie Shepherd has been the driving force of The Business Club as our Business Club Manager.
She selects The Business Club timely monthly themes, expert speakers and creative professionals. Anne-Marie hosts our Business Club workshops and interviews, runs our bi-monthly Eat The Frog co-working sessions and regular Q&A and networking events. She will also answer any of your business questions in our private membership hub.
She really loves to engage our members during the sessions, answer your questions (during the sessions or afterwards in our private hub) and to see what you will do with your new knowledge, skills & confidence!
Anne-Marie has been working with creative professionals and organisations for 20 years as a marketing, social media and event expert in the creative sector.
Want honest & practical business training to grow your craft or design business?
Got any questions? We are happy to help!
Press the arrow to get answers to your questions.
Who is The Design Trust’s Business Club for?
The Design Trust Business Club is for ambitious creative professionals who want affordable, honest, practical and easy-to-access business training from experts to grow their own creative business.
Our Business Club members create, design, promote and sell their own creative products and services, including commissions, (online) training, licensing and freelancing. Most of our members are designer makers, Etsy shop owners, illustrators, stationery designers, homewares and giftware companies, visual artists, photographers, and even some shops, galleries and event organisers.
We have members who sell at a wide range of price points (from small gifts on Etsy all the way to thousands of pounds worth of commissions for collectors or in the luxury sector).
Our members sell online via their own website or online market places such as Etsy or Not On The High Street.
They often sell or want to sell at events such as Craft Festival or trade show Top Drawer, or make money through creative income streams such as teaching workshops (in person or online), licensing of their designs, or sell to other businesses.
Most of our Business Club members have been in business for at least 2 years, but often for much longer! Our monthly topics are based around growing your creative business, including strategic planning and becoming more profitable, marketing and social media.
Our Business Club members are busy and very committed people. They often work full-time in their business, but we also have busy part-timers who have another job or family commitments.
Our members want easy access to relevant, timely training provided by specialists, or to get inspired by listening to successful creatives. They love to learn at their own pace, at choose their own topics to work on, at a time that suits them.
I am a new creative. Is the Business Club for me?
The Design Trust Business Club is especially for creative sole traders, freelancers and business owners who have been in business for two years or more, and are beyond the start stage.
The topics we discuss in the Business Club do not cover start up topics such as how to start your business, costing and pricing or how to start selling, but focus more on growth topics including business planning, marketing, selling online & driving traffic, finance and social media.
Also, we have found that creatives who are starting out might need a bit more hand-holding at the beginning. The Business Club format assumes that you pick and mix what you want or need to learn and focus on, and create your own learning journey, at your own pace.
If you are thinking about starting a craft or design business, or have recently started then we suggest you check out one of our online courses instead, as they provide more step-by-step guidance and accountability than the Business Club.
How does the Business Club work?
The Design Trust Business Club gives you immediate access to over 150+ online classes, workshops and interviews.
You can watch these practical and strategic sessions with a wide variety of experts and professional creatives, whenever you like, as often as you like, from your own computer from our easy-accessible Business Club Library in our private membership hub.
All the 150+ Business Club audio-visual recordings are grouped into themes such as business planning, marketing fundamentals, selling online. You can see the full list of the themes, recordings and the experts if you scroll down on this page.
Every month we choose a (timely) theme and invite at least 3 experts or creatives to discuss or teach on that topic. (except for August and December when we run fewer).
As a Business Club member you will get a weekly email from Anne-Marie Shepherd (our Business Club Manager) with info about upcoming and recent sessions. You can sign up for these online Zoom sessions if you want to join live, and ask the guest speaker questions. Or if you missed the session you can ask a question or leave a comment in the private membership hub on the page with the recording.
All our Business Club sessions are recorded and will be posted on the private Business Club hub within a few days. So if you are unable to join live you can watch the recording when it suits you.
We also regularly organise Business Club sessions to meet other like-minded Business Club members. Our Eat The Frog sessions have been popular to work on a job for two hours that you have been putting off for too long.
How can I make the most of the 150+ Business Club sessions?
You do NOT need to join all 30+ live sessions each year to make the most of the Business Club! (Frankly it would be a bit much!)
We recommend that you either:
- join the live sessions on topics that are relevant to you right now or the near future,
- or create your own learning ‘path’ on business topics you want or need to work on, such as selling online or wholesale, or creating a new brand. We highly recommend 90-day projects to focus on one topic specifically to move your creative business forward!
- or to simply dip in and dip out of the extensive Business Club Library of sessions whenever you want a boost of inspiration or need to work on a specific topic. Especially the interviews with the creatives are ideal to listen to while making!
- or join one of our regular Business Club Book Club, Q&A or networking, or our Eat That Frog sessions to take action, and to get to know other Business Club members.
To make the most of The Design Trust Business Club we recommend that you make regular time for learning and growing in your creative business. Set aside 1-2 hours each week to learn, and then 2-3 hours to take action and take deliberate steps to improve your business.
We believe in learning by doing. Watching the sessions is step one, taking action in your business is that all important step two!
What if I am not very tech-savvy?
We have made the Business Club as easy as possible to access. All you need is basic knowledge to navigate a website, and access to a computer.
At the heart of the Business Club is our private membership hub, which is a website that’s only accessible for our members. This is where you can access The Business Club Library with over 150+ online workshops, masterclasses and interviews.
On the homepage of The Business Club you will find the latest and upcoming sessions and monthly themes so you can watch them or sign up for them to join us live.
We’ll send a weekly email with the latest details of upcoming and recent sessions at the start of the week so you can sign up for the monthly live sessions.
When you register for a live workshop you will get a confirmation email immediately and a reminder too. You click the link in the email to connect live to the Zoom session, where you will be able to see and hear the guest speaker and Anne-Marie Shepherd, our Business Club Manager.
If you miss the live session then you can watch it afterwards in the private membership hub as all sessions will be recorded.
Is there a contract?
We like to keep things simple and transparent here at The Design Trust so there is no contract.
You can sign up for a monthly, quarterly or annual Business Club membership.
The monthly & quarterly membership automatically renews and you will pay on the same date every month or quarter. If you want to cancel your membership you simply stop your payment or you email us, and your membership will stop.
If you sign up for the annual Business Club membership then you will get access for 12 months. You will get a reminder 10 days before your new Business Club membership is due, so you can cancel it if you want to.
Big bonus: We have a FIXED PRICE policy for our Monthly and Annual Business Club membership, which means that the price of your membership will NOT go up*. This means that if you stay a member for a few years that your membership does not increase if we decide to increase the membership price. (Indeed some of our most loyal Business Club members are still paying only £8,- per month, which was what we charged in 2014 when we started the Business Club!) This is our way of saying THANK YOU to our most loyal clients.
*not valid for our special annual sale.
Are there any special Business Club membership perks? (Hint: Oh yes!)
If accessing 150+ online classes wasn’t enough …
If you join our Business Club membership then you will get a 20% discount on our online courses! Plus we regularly give you special offers from us or specially selected partners, and early or exclusive access to additional training too.
Al the details are on the home page of the Business Club, which you can access when you are a member.
I would like personal advice or coaching. Do you offer that?
The Design Trust specialises in providing online training and memberships for creatives in a group, because we believe that learning from each other is a crucial part to take action and develop your business.
We also want to keep the costs down as much as possible for our expert training. (Expect to pay around £100,- p.h. for professional business coaching!)
The Business Club especially is aimed at creatives who are self-motivated and committed to grow by themselves, and want easy access to a wide range of business topics and experts.
If you are looking for private advice or coaching then note that we only provide that as part of some of our online courses, such as Sell More Online.
Can I share the Business Club with somebody else?
Sorry, you can’t.
When you join the Business Club it’s for you only.
If you work in a formal business partnership then you can share it with your business partner, but please do not share with creatives who have not paid for the membership.
If we become aware that you have shared content with others then we will terminate your membership immediately and we will not provide any refunds.
Like you, The Design Trust is a small creative business and the Business Club is based on our 25 years+ experience and that of all the guest speakers and successful creators (we pay all of our speakers by the way!).
It’s full of our and their proprietary knowledge and copyrighted strategies. Please do not share it with others. You wouldn’t like it if others would ‘use’ your ideas either, would you?
I have another question ..
If you have got any questions about The Design Trust Business Club membership or any of our online courses then please email us on [email protected]
We are happy to help.
What you’ll learn
Rolemodels: Learning from Successful Creative Professionals
Creative Business Planning & Goal Setting
2.0Masterclass: ‘An intro to creative business planning & goal setting’ with Patricia van den Akker (2h14″)
2.3*NEW* Workshop: ‘Human: Goals and Planning for your Business’ with Sasha Glasgow of Frank + Feel (1h5″)
Time management & Getting Organised
Finance & Money
4.0Masterclass: ‘Financial goal setting, forecasting & management’ with Patricia van den Akker (2h28″) + templates
4.6Video Interview: ‘Ten Tips for Managing Your Money Now’ with Rosie Slosek of The Money Haven (1h07″)
4.11Masterclass: ‘From Manual Bookkeeping to Digital’ with accountant Alex Redmond of Artisan Accounts (1h05″)
Grow & Diversify Your Creative Business
Wellbeing, Confidence & Mindset
Creating a brand
Photography, Film & Video & Styling for your Creative Business
Selling Online & Websites
11.4Webinar: ‘How to write product titles & descriptions that sell’ with Patricia van den Akker (56″)
11.5*NEW* Webinar: ‘Is Your Website Ready for Sales? Categories and Keywords’ with Anne-Marie Shepherd (41″)
11.6*NEW* Webinar: ‘Is Your Website Ready for Sales? Are Your Images Working for You?’ with Anne-Marie Shepherd (35″)
11.7*NEW* Webinar: ‘Is Your Website Ready for Sales? Does Your Website Flow?’ with Anne-Marie Shepherd (47″)
12.0*NEW* Skill Share: ‘Scheduling Social Media Posts with META Business Suite’ with Anne-Marie Shepherd (17″)
13.0Masterclass: ‘Practical email marketing to boost your sales’ with Patricia van den Akker (1h35″)
Selling to Shops, Galleries & Trade
Selling higher-end creative products & services
Making the Most of (Virtual) Events & Trade Shows
Getting into the Press
17.8*NEW* Video Interview: ‘Being on Television – All That Glitters’ with jeweller Tamara Gomez (1h02″)
17.9*NEW* Video Interview: ‘Being on Television – Escape to the Country’ with designer Alison Bick (54″)
Design, Create, Produce & Manufacture
18.0Masterclass: ‘Create & launch your products & services strategically & successfully’ with Patricia van den Akker (2h33″)
Legal: Intellectual Property
Sustainable Business Practice