Can anyone start an animation studio featured image

Can anyone start an animation studio?

Thinking about starting an animation studio, but don't know if you can?

Starting an animation studio can seem like an impossible endeavour. According to FundSquire, around 20% of start ups are dissolved within their first year. Many animators with the perfect skills and experience will never go on to start their own studio. Why? The most common reason is that animators feel they’re not ready to take this daunting decision.
The reality? Starting an animation studio is all about mindset.
You’ll need experience and some basic skills to found a successful animation studio, but your mindset is what makes the difference. If you’re driven, have good people skills and tackle problems head-on, there’s no reason why (with experience) you can’t start an animation studio.

Starting an animation studio is for you even if...

You don't have a lot of money

A popular myth is that you need to be a millionaire to found your own business. You can found an animation studio starting from as little as a few hundred dollars. If you can’t afford it right now, consider if there’s any way you could put money aside for the future. Another option is to line up a well-paying client with starting your studio. That way, the earnings from your first production can help to fund your studio.

You’re not a marketing expert

Most animators don’t have experience in business management—and that’s okay. As long as you’re prepared to learn new skills, the information is out there. Your industry knowledge is much more important. A hired marketing team wouldn’t have the love and understanding of animation that you do, so use it to your advantage!

You don’t have the ‘right’ qualifications

One of the great things about starting an animation studio is that you only answer to yourself. There’s no CV or application form to fill out: just you, your team and your ability to produce great-looking animations. Of course, industry experience is an invaluable resource, but don’t let a lack of ‘official’ achievements put you off. If your studio is a success, no one will question your animation qualifications.

You might need more time if...

You don't have any animation studio experience

Although it’s possible to start an animation studio as an experienced freelancer, having studio experience is an advantage. An understanding of the studio environment will help you when it comes to starting an animation studio.
Previous studio experience can also help you understand what you don’t like. Was there a workflow that was inefficient, not enough energy focused on production, or a lack of organisation in past studios? Negative experiences can help you focus your business plan just as much as positive ones. Even if you’re a freelance animator, working for a studio can be just as helpful as having a permanent studio position.

You don't know any other animators

Starting an animation studio relies heavily on networking. Not only do you have to secure your first clients, you’ll need contacts within the industry to take on as part of your team. Networking comes hand in hand with experience. Whilst building your experience, reach out and keep in touch with any animators you work with. Building your network will pay off in the future when you’re looking for people to employ in your studio.

You don't have a clear business plan

There’s no time like the present to get planning. A solid business plan is essential before you start a studio. However, there’s no reason you can’t create one at the same time as working your current animation job. Although you can’t found a studio without a business plan, every animation studio starts out with an unplanned idea. If you want to start an animation studio, take the time to craft a solid plan and turn your present vision into a future reality.

Alternatively, check out Start A Studio’s FREE checklist for starting your own animation studio.

You don't know how to find clients

When you’re starting a studio, having potential clients lined up for the future is a huge advantage. The longer you wait to find clients, the more money starting an animation studio will cost you. Keeping in touch with previous clients and keeping them updated on your work is a good way to maintain contacts for the future.

Starting an animation studio isn't for you if...

You want to get rich quick

Whilst an animation studio can be a great source of passive income, success isn’t guaranteed. Starting an animation studio that provides income for years to come is a challenge. You might not see much growth in the first one, two or even five years of your business. Success takes time, and most clients prefer a passion driven animation studio than one that’s only interested in making a profit.

You struggle to take on multiple responsibilities

Start-up animation studios typically employ a smaller team of people. This means that, whilst your business gets off the ground, you’ll have to take on multiple roles. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Website design
  • Producing

As your business grows, you can employ more people and delegate tasks more easily. As you start an animation studio, however, you and your team need the skillset to juggle multiple tasks. Whether you want to start an animation studio or not, it’s worth building your skillset.

You don't enjoy leadership positions

Starting a studio requires a string set of leadership skills. Unless you’re planning to start a studio and have someone else run it, you’ll be in charge. If you feel you’re not suited to a management position, starting an animation studio probably isn’t for you. Not everyone suits a leadership position. Instead, focus your animation career on the roles and responsibilities that suit you.

Still unsure?

Starting an animation studio is a big deal, and requires a lot of thought. Check out our post on 5 Signs You Should Start an Animation Studio, as well as our post about How to Start an Animation Studio Today. Additionally, take our animation career quiz or join the animation career community at Start A Studio to start a conversation with likeminded people. If you feel like you're ready to start your own studio, check out our award-winning startup course.