IP expert Erica Wolfe-Murray on maximising your assets and generating unexpected revenue from things you already own

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The importance of working smarter, not harder is key for any founder to understand but during a cost-of-living crisis, it can be lifesaving. Entrepreneurs in the creative sector are bursting with unexpected ideas although whether or not they’re fully capitalising on their potential is something worth exploring. It’s an area that has become Erica Wolfe-Murray’s speciality topic, making her an in-demand advisor for all those looking to maximise the returns on their intellectual property.

As the founder and Managing Director of Lola Media Ltd, a company that specialises in helping individuals and organisations of all sizes boost their assets, Wolfe-Murray has gathered years of experience helping to rewire creative brains. She tells us:

“With Lola, I work across the creative, cultural and tech sectors helping them to innovate by using what they already own. That may be their intellectual assets or their business assets but it’s largely their intellectual property. Most creative companies don’t understand the fact that they own so much IP and they can do really inventive and crazy things with it.”

Over the past decade, Wolfe-Murray has helped a range of teams tap into the financial gold hiding in the concepts they already own via her work with Lola and her own creative career. From Disney and Harvey Nichols to Not On The High Street and Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre, Lola’s client list speaks for itself while also illustrating how the versatility of her work can be applied to creatives of any type. Wolfe-Murray explains:

“I’ve worked with everybody really, from award-winning playwrights and dance schools to creative and tech companies. A huge amount of them are on a service model or a model where they don’t understand how owning and managing their IP can potentially allow them to totally revolutionise their business. It’s really all about how you can build interesting and different revenues from what is effectively in your kitchen store cupboard.”

Having distilled this insight into various books and a podcast focusing on how freelancers and micro businesses can make the most of their own assets, Wolfe-Murray will be imparting her knowledge to individuals in person in early June. Creative Minds: How To Use Your IP as a Growth Enabler is a two-day workshop hosted by Wolfe-Murray that promises to help freelancers and small businesses think differently about the way they operate. For a sector that’s full of great ideas, used to being fleet of foot and actively encourages collaboration, the course is an opportunity to transform the way your creativity works for you. Elaborating on the left-field avenues that are open to creative thinkers, Wolfe-Murray says:

“Often as a creator, you’re your own worst enemy because you default to the discipline you know best. If you’re a documentary filmmaker, for example, you come up with an idea, turn it into a proposal and make a documentary but actually what you’ve done is lop off all the other potential areas that underpinning idea could have. What I try to get people to do is to think much more widely. Don’t default; step back into the original idea and look at all the different ways it can be applied,” she adds. “Often, you don’t need the expertise yourself because you can find collaborators which is something the creative sector is really brilliant at facilitating.”

Placing equal emphasis on innovation and thinking outside the box, Wolfe-Murray has helped reinvigorate the revenue models of a range of creatives. However, perhaps the most alluring aspect of her upcoming two-day course is that this type of thinking is arguably more accessible to younger companies. She tells us:

“That’s the brilliant thing about this, it’s as effective for a small micro-company or freelancer as it is for somebody like National Geographic. In fact, often, small companies can do it faster because they’re not stuck in their rut. I frequently use a diagram Walt Disney created which shows how multiple bits of IP all talk to each other to generate the Disney Corporation. I show it to tiny companies and tell them that they can do something like this too but on their own scale. If you widen how much IP you can generate out of your core idea, that could give you a 10-year plan and potentially even a pension. You can have all of these things from that one seed; it’s about getting them to recognise that they have the capability to do these things.”

When discussing future plans with a client, often Wolfe-Murray’s first step is to delve into their backstory. It’s here where she finds the unique history from which all of their opportunities and creative routes will emerge. She says:

“The last thing creatives ever use is the thing that’s completely unique about themselves. I try to help them understand that these are assets that are totally unique to their business, so if you structure your business inventively around your people, their stories, their past client knowledge and their myriad skills, you can set yourself apart from any form of competition. You don’t need to go for a unique selling point because the entirety of what you do is your USP.”

If learning how to maximise your assets and earn some all-important extra revenue during a tricky economic period is piquing your interest, then you can learn more from Wolfe-Murray first-hand in early June. Unpacking elements of the course, Wolfe-Murray says:

“They’ll get a basic understanding of how IP can work for them, and also an understanding of what their potential intellectual assets are, how to do audits on what they’ve got and use them in different ways. I also want to give attendees an ‘Intelligent Creativity’ methodology that allows them to see how one idea could effectively have a business plan for ten years and how you could have several of these running concurrently.”

What’s more, the course will close with a hands-on workshop, guaranteeing that each participant leaves with some practical advice that they can immediately implement. Wolfe-Murray says:

“I want everybody to contribute ideas to a person’s IP so they can really push their own thinking. Attendees will ideally leave with new thinking around their idea that everyone has added to. Ideally, I want people to go away from any engagement with me with something practical that they can do today that doesn’t cost anything, benefits their team and shifts their thinking.”

Join Erica in person at Creative UK’s Creative Minds from 5 – 6 June 2023, a two-day course to discover how to use your intellectual property effectively as a growth enabler. Deadline for applications is Sunday, 21 May 2023. Find out more and apply here.

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