Thinking about starting a business, but don't know where to begin? Maybe even a little afraid to start? Here's your step-by-step guide to start your own business, working from home and making your own rules in life! First, we'll start by repeating my favorite motivational quote (until it's burned into your brain):
It took me a LOT of time to come to terms with the above fact, but it's oh-so-true, and the sooner you accept it, the sooner you will overcome your anxieties and put your success first.
Let's start by breaking down the first steps. Here's your ultimate checklist for beginning your business:
- Perform market research. Study business news, read entrepreneur texts, educate yourself on what successful and failed brands have done, immerse yourself in your field of business and find out what has worked well for entrepreneurs similar to yourself.
- Continuing market research, look into what typical business people in your field charge their clients (or customers), any extra costs for materials, take note of who your local competition is and write down the things that set you apart (and lead with this in your marketing).
- Begin crafting your business plan. There's plenty of example templates around the web, like these.
- Work at drafting, re-writing and solidifying your mission statement and a set of values you would like your business to uphold. During this process, review other brands' statements. I decided I wanted a mission statement similar to REI, and not like eBay.
- Decide on your customer segments (the ideal client/customer--what do they look like? What is their age group? Occupation? Gender? Hobbies? Special traits?). This is who you will sell to.
- Storytelling to be used throughout your marketing needs to be conceptualized (Donald Miller's StoryBrand, or save thousands and hire me!)
- Review tax information re: country/state-specific requirements. For me in the state of Washington, I have to save at least 15-20% of what I make for taxes at the end of the year.
- File for your business license (most can be done online at either your state or country's government websites). This is when it gets exciting!!
- Launch your business website and social media accounts!
- Buy a notebook or software for documenting purposes. You'll want to document anything used for your business that you could possibly get back when you file your taxes (travel time/mileage, softwares, business computer, etc.).
- Set up a PayPal account and invoice service (PayPal charges far too much for their invoicing--I prefer Zoho) to make payments easy for you and your clients/customers.
- Consult a local accountant.
- Gather your mentors you've developed throughout the years and ask their advice/wisdom as you embark on this new adventure.
- Look for inspiration elsewhere. With my job in social media and digital marketing, I'm constantly watching my competitors (and friendly counterparts) to discover what works well for them. For my personal Internet presence, I am always curating content on my Instagram and following blogs that I love to see what makes them a success.
- Network like crazy! I landed my very first big client by requesting that she complete a casual, informational interview via email after finding her on Twitter. It took about 10 exchanges for us to sign on to a larger scale business partnership. It was meant to be!
- Stay innovative (and smart).
- Always continue your education! Attend conferences, webinars and stay up on the current trends in your business niche.
You're on the road to success! This is such an exciting time in your life, and the best thing you could ever do is embrace it, going into the land of possibilities head-first. Good luck!
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