The 4 Things You Need To Start A Business (HINT: It's Not Money!)
The overwhelm that comes with starting your own business can be intimidating. I'd bet that your head is swimming with questions that sound a lot like:
Where do I start?
How am I going to reach customers?
How much time is this going to take?
What should I do first?
What is going to make me money the fastest?
But, babe, I am here to tell you it's just not that hard! Honest!
Yes, building a business takes time and effort and more than a few late night brainstorm sessions, but most new business owners are only overwhelmed because of one thing: they're scared of the unknown.
But we're all scared to get our toes wet at first. Then when we finally jump in, we find out that the water just isn't as scary as we thought. In fact, it can be fun to explore all the brand new possibilities that weren't available to us on land.
And the good news for you? I've already done it! I've stood in those brand new biz babe shoes, and I can tell you from experience how to simplify your biz building strategy.
The even better news? You don't need a business loan, a wad a cash, or even a credit card to start your business. Really, all you need are these four things to get your business ready to make your first sale!
4 Things You need To Start A Business: Something To Sell
Let's be candid for a sec, you're doing this whole thing to make money right? So, first and foremost you need something for people to buy. Whether that's a physical product, a service, or even affiliate links for your fashion blog, you have to have a way to make money.
The best thing to do when you start your very first business is to stick with what you know and what you're good at. If you rock at calligraphy, start hand lettering wedding invitations. Maybe you just quit your accounting job, start bookkeeping for fellow small businesses. Or turn your hobby of painting into some extra cash.
One of the mistakes I see new business owners make all too often is trying something new or different right out the gate. But trying to learn how to make logos for clients while also learning how to run a business is sure to bring about a quick burn out. You can't be new and fresh to every aspect of your business- it just won't work.
So, find something you're bomb at- chances are you already have a pretty good idea of what it is you want to sell. Then go ahead and make it, set a price, and think about who would be your ideal client.
4 Things You need To Start A Business: A Place For People to Buy The Thing You Sell
No matter the thing you sell, you will need a place for people to buy it. Again, all in the spirit of owning a profitable business, babe! The type of thing you sell will determine the best place to showcase it based off of who will buy it.
In general, if you have a physical product (especially handmade items), Etsy is the way to go. The platform has solid built-in traffic so you have little leg work to do on your end to find customers.
For service based businesses, a website with your domain (I recommend squarespace) is usually preferred by clients. This way you can showcase your portfolio and create a brilliant client experience that is personal to their needs.
For a blog, you will need to have a website. When you're first starting out, creating a free site via wordpress or weebly is a great way to gain traction and get eyes to your site without the investment. You can always upgrade to a self hosted blog later (like my blog here on squarespace!)
4 Things You need To Start A Business: Make Your name Legal
When you accept money in exchange for that thing you sell, you will need to pay taxes- yuck, I know. That means that for each of those pretty checks with your name on it, you will need a legal way to document them against any expenses you make in the name of your business.
So, getting the name of your business registered with your county (or state, depending on where you live and how you file) will make this so much easier come tax time. There are a couple different ways to register your business:
DBA: This type of registration is for those of you who are the sole employee of your biz. DBA literally means "doing business as" and essentially just equates your name with your businesses name. In other words, you can accept a check made out to your name OR your business name and they will both fall under the same Tax ID (your SSN).
LLC: Registering your business as an LLC is a little more expensive, but it does come with some added benefits. All LLCs are granted limited liabilities in the instance that your business falls under a lawsuit. It also allows for you to register other companies under that LLC (creating an umbrella company). LLCs are also for those business owners who are in partnerships or wish to be incorporated. You are also given special tax status under an LLC.
4 Things You need To Start A Business: Collateral Items
These are the pretty things that will help you network and get word out about your business. Ya know, items you can slap your logo on and make your business look oh so profesh.
Logo: Before you can put on a logo on something you have to actually have a logo. You can create one yourself, or if thats not your jam you can hire a professional (Like me! Hire me!)
Business Cards: Vistaprint will print out 500 of these babies for less than 10 bucks and then you can start passing 'em out like it ain't no thang. Seriously, I give them to everyone. Waiter brings me the bill? Business card. Community board at the coffee shop? Business card. Inconspicuous spot on the counter at the grocery store? Business card.
Other items you might consider creating: T-Shirts, Email Headers, Facebook Cover Images, Car Magnets, etc.
Starting a business doesn't have to be a task list of a million and one things to get done. In fact, it really just boils down to 4 simple tasks that will get your biz off the ground and on the road to making money.
1. Choose something to sell
2. Make that thing available for customers to buy
3. Name your business and make it legal
4. Put that name on some shiz and let people know you exist!
BOOM. You are now a real-life working bad-ass business owner that can start making money! Go get 'em, babe!