You finally did it.
Leaving your comfort space to take the ultimate leap of faith, becoming an entrepreneur.
Now what? Coming up with a great idea is one thing, learning how to turn it into a business is another.
As you launch your small business, we wanted to share a few tips to help get you started.
Protect Your Genius.
Before running off to brand your business, verify that the name is available. Those in Harris County can check the Assumed Names database here.
For sole proprietors, filing a DBA ("doing business as") is the first step to creating a business identity. Once you've selected a name, download the DBA form before completing and submitting in person.
As you grow, consult with a legal professional to discover if you'll need to transition to a LLC or Corporation.
Protect Your Pockets
It's time to get real about finances by tracking and monitoring your expenses and sales. Keep your personal finances separate by obtaining a business checking account. You may be required to show your DBA, so be sure to have your documents in order. The amount to open will vary by bank so do your research. Those looking for an affordable option may be interested in BBVA's low $100 minimum opening deposit.
Once you start generating sales and income, you may want to consider a bookkeeping solution for invoices and expenses. Find out what works for you. Some can manage with spreadsheets alone, while others need more comprehensive options like Freshbooks or Quickbooks. There's also payment methods like PayPal (and others) that allow you to send invoices and receive payments. Be sure to research the fees involved to see which option works best for your business.
What We've Tried: After using FreshBooks and 17Hats, we currently use Zoho Invoice to submit invoices and process payments. Projects are managed through ClickUp, while Airtable works an easy to customize database. So far, so good.
Protect Your Domain
Once you've registered your business, it's time to obtain your domain. Sites like GoDaddy and others will let you check name availability. If your business name is too long or unavailable, try shortening or trying an alternative for your domain. Example: If JohnSmith.com is taken, Smith.com might be an alternative.
Once you've purchased your domain, be sure to note the renewal date to prevent your site from going down by mistake. The domain will allow you to create a business website once you're ready.
Protect Your Brand
You never know who you'll cross paths with. As a new business owner, networking will become an essential part of your day, so it never hurts to have a few business cards on hand. Thankfully there are tons of inexpensive options to assist. For those comfortable creating their own, or using a template, companies like GotPrint or VistaPrintoffer easy to make options.
Another option? Reach out to a local graphic design artist - in addition to supporting another small business - you may also develop a tangible professional relationship.
Ready to move into Social Media Engagement? Taming the digital beast is no easy task, but the first step is diving in and getting started. Those using multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) will want to use the same name across all for branding purposes.
Having trouble juggling accounts or posts? Plan ahead with tools like HootSuite or Buffer, which allow you to create and schedule social media posts for various sites.
Need more #TipsForCreatives? Tell us what you want to know at firstname.lastname@example.org