Creative-Bloc: Rachael Oku

Social enterprise that functions as a network and online membership club for freelance writers and editors

Name: Rachael Oku
Age: 26
Company: Creative-Bloc
Staff numbers: 1
Company description: Social enterprise that functions as a network and online membership club for freelance writers and editors
Tell us what your business does

Creative-Bloc is a social enterprise that functions as a network and online membership club for freelance writers and editors; sharing advice, industry tips, news and global job opportunities.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I’ve been commissioned and commissioning for about three years and know first-hand that there isn’t much help and information out there for writers. There’s no central hub for advice and jobs that doesn’t command a huge percentage of commission.

How did you know there was a market for it?

I know lots of writers and editors so I did my research before running with the idea. Writers are desperate for guidance and a platform where they can ask their peers questions and essentially get more work and tips on building a brand.

What were you doing before starting up?

I’ve been a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant for over three years. I have a background in fashion journalism and working for niche magazines.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Absolutely. I’ve grown up with the likes of The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den and not only dreamed of starting my own business, but appearing on similar shows in the future.

How did you raise the money?

I used some savings and a business credit card to build the site. All in, my seed capital was really small, about £8,000.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenges I’ve faced so far are managing cashflow and marketing. Solving the cashflow problem has been relatively simple in terms of reducing my overheads as much as possible and extending payment terms where relevant.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Writer membership is charged at £25 per annum, and employer membership is £900. Membership is free until 31 December 2012.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Genuinely it was realising that it’s alright to make mistakes and that I won’t get anywhere by being afraid of doing something wrong. Now that I trust my instincts and know failing isn’t the end of the world I can get on with it and give it my all.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

To commit to your idea and not look back. Once you’ve researched your market thoroughly the numbers don’t lie. You need to trust yourself, be prepared to work hard and hopefully have some fun along the way.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Travelling the world, employing a small team of talented people, having hundreds of thousands of members on Creative-Bloc and a few books under my belt.

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