5 Things To Do When Starting A New Business
I’ve been self employed for 5 years.
I decided to work for myself because I hated my job and I hated the thought of sitting inside a boring office at a desk for 8 or more hours every day. My boss was insane, I was bored, and honestly I just couldn’t take it.
Instead of quitting without a back up plan, I decided to start freelancing first to see if I could do it. I ended up doing well right away and I quit my job a few months later.
My freelancing career hasn’t been one of my dreams. It’s been a job like any other to be honest. I’ve enjoyed the past 5 years as a solopreneur but things are about to change in a major way.
I decided to focus on Brown Girl Bloggers full time earlier this year. I moved to Atlanta from the Bay Area and now that I’m all settled in I’m going full force ahead. Making this a “real” business instead of a side hustle is very similar to starting a business from scratch so I want to share some of the things I’m doing to become a more grown-up version of my business self.
Make A Plan & Save If You Can
Starting a business without capital is no fun. It’s hard to do everything alone and you usually have expenses before you bring in money. There are a lot of ways to get startup capital from business loans, family/friend loans, personal savings, and investors. Figure out which route you’re going to take because the money can make or break you and a lot of your ideas depend on the budget you’re working with.
If your budget is small (like mine), identify the area of your business that will bring in the most income and focus on that first. Start small and then build. Your plan needs to include how you’ll generate income and how long it will take. I recommend creating a business plan. It’s tedious but it will really help you flesh out your ideas.
Do The Operations & Financial Stuff Up Front
Are you going to be a solopreneur or own an LLC? Will you have an office? Will you hire employees? What is your company’s name? Do you have a bank account? An accountant? Are you going to bootstrap or take out a loan? Are investors interested in your business idea? Do you want investors?
These are the types of questions you should answer right away. In my case a lot will be changing. I’m creating an LLC, I’m changing BGB’s name, I’m focusing on an entirely different aspect of community growth, and I’m hiring employees. I had to do a lot of research and paperwork to make sure everything was kosher before I started operating and I’m still in the process.
I operated as a solopreneur when I was a freelancer which made everything easier but I’m no longer building a freelance business, I’m building a company and I need to act like it.
No matter the route you take please, PLEASE make sure your operational and financial books are in order. I recommend using Quickbooks when you start. Although it seems overwhelming, it isn’t and I’m telling you this as the least financially savvy person ever. I also recommend getting an accountant. It’s actually cheaper than dealing with problems from Uncle Sam.
Research, Test, & Then Research Some More
I hate researching if I can be completely honest. I much prefer to jump into things and see where they take me. It’s what I did when I started freelancing, but I didn’t feel like it was the appropriate action to take in this instance. I needed to know the pros and cons plus what to do so that I can generate income. I also have to hire people which means researching salaries and creating a realistic budget.
Whatever your new business venture is make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. There will always be twists and turns but you can be as prepared as possible.
A lot has changed and will continue to change in my business. I’m going into this with that understanding so I can pivot when necessary. I’m flexible with how my ideas may change, how the people I hire may change the company, and how my audience reacts. It’s scary but it’s going to be so worth it.
Know That Mistakes Happen
I think this might be the most important one. Please understand that you will make mistakes. Your mistakes will also cost time and money.
When you’re starting a business there are a ton of things you just won’t know and so many things you have to figure out on the go.
There’s also the chance that your business might fail. I know it’s not what you want to think about but it’s a real possibility with small businesses.
Make sure you come to terms with mistakes so that you don’t beat yourself up too much when it happens and instead you learn from them.
Do you have anything to add to the list?