How To Restart And Rejuvenate A Creative Business In 2022

I’ll start by saying it has taken me a lot of soul searching to get to this point where I can say that I’m restarting a business. There’s been a lot of lessons learnt from years of being freelance, running businesses, bouncing around the world and working in-house. With that came a fair share of success and failure. 

Going forward in this post-pandemic world, the need to create a business that works for me as opposed to me just working for it will take a lot of energy. It can be overwhelming to redesign a business, rejuvenate a brand, keep creative and rebuild.


As authors, Ryo Sanada and I have published books via Laurence King Publishing since 2008. Over the years we’ve tried to evolve the business into an illustration agency, a street wear brand, a stock image site, an art gallery and more.  It worked here and there, but nothing truly clicked so we fell back into our original work in the world of production and advertising.

Female Singaporean model wearing a Micke Nikander jolly skull teeshirt with the words Sickerbomb Skull Tees


The most successful brands and businesses have a clear focused narrative. This is more important now than ever - especially when everything about today’s world is in flux. With Stickerbomb, we are going back to the things that we love doing - publishing books and collaborating with artists. That is the focus and the goal is to make that work in a sustainable way. In the medium term we are also incorporating a service element around motion graphics, art supplying and animation with the caveat being we are artist first. 

What Went Right and Wrong Last Time

We had some great hires over the years but we also hired badly and grew in the wrong way.  We didn’t like the way we were going but we kept on pushing and didn’t have the experience to re-steer the ship. 

There was a lot we did right from building great global client relationships and encouraging the right culture and values to producing good work. But it went sour fast as we kept on saying yes to clients, took larger projects on board and chased payroll. With no focus and no back up plans, we jumped from area to area, product to product and client to client. This in turn effected our values, which affected new hires and it all destabilized (the business and my wellbeing) fast until I said enough is enough.

 You can read about that here.

One massive error also worth mentioning was at the management level we kept on stepping on each others toes. There was never clear boundaries in place and that can happen when both founders are creatives.  

New Business Plan - Keep It Short And Simple

Going forward we are aiming to keep it all simple which is easier said than done. We’ve done the multi page business plans and they have a place. We’ve had the investor conversations, we’ve been distracted by shiny big ticket clients. But what we need now is clarity and single mindedness. A summary, a clear idea of who we are and where we are going. A concise look at our competitors, an idea of how to market ourselves and how to economically stay afloat. With that knowledge in place we can sort out our services and our products and let the business work for us.  

Baby Steps / Small Goals - Track them! 

Stickerbomb as a brand has been around now since 2008 and we’ve sold around 300,000 books and have worked with around 300-400 artists. Approaching it now in 2022 as a rejuvenated business we have some attainable goals that once hit, we will celebrate and then see. But it is important to track those goals, understand why they got met and why they didn’t which will lead us to shape the next set of decisions.

Systems, SOPs and Templates

We had a few systems in place, but not nearly enough. Email templates and standard operating procedures help massively and moving forward, as a remote, online business, it is important to have SOPs. All of this goes against my personality as an artist but get it right, you save time and time is the most important thing we have. With our type of business it can be difficult outlining and documenting everything but google drive with a few documents outlining email templates, information sheets, job descriptions, contracts - this helps so much and stops you scrambling about being reactionary.

Being On The Same Page 

Goals, roles and responsibilities. This has been a consistent problem in my own businesses and its an issue I have seen in other businesses. Often it seems a bigger problem at creative businesses. Clear structured goals that are simple, with timelines and expectations are all very self explanatory but it needs to be put down in writing so you, the rest of your team, investors all those stakeholders know exactly what is going on. Things can happen fast when decisions need to be made and knowing everyone is on the same page goes a long way to ensuring success.

Building The Right Team

I’ve got this right and wrong a number of times already. It goes without saying having people vested in your business is the way forward and often when you chase payroll and profits you can make the wrong hires who don’t appreciate the values you have. For us, we refuse to have a bloated business, with staff members being carried by others. The studios I really admire are those small, nimble, creative shops that have their clear focus, have their philosophy and everyone has responsibilities. 


This is about what makes you happy. I learnt a bad habit from a friend very early in my creative entrepreneurial career and that was go harder than anyone else. We would never take days off and we would pride ourselves working late, going in early, working the weekends. It was a masochistic, pride orientated way of doing things and it never got him (or us) success. It just makes your tired, weary and bitter when you see other working smarter not just harder. So remember to socialize, celebrate


I’m writing this, not as a way to show people how to get exponential growth or to scale. It’s more for creatives and business owners like us who have done well, but never nailed it or smashed it out the park. It just a way to  help me and others understand what it takes to get your own solid business ticking and with that stepping it up is up to you and the decisions you make. 

If you are interested in working with us at Stickerbomb head over here to see some more info or you can email myself and Ryo directly >>

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