16 Steps to Start Your Business

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Man, almost nothing gets me more excited than brainstorming new business ideas or helping some one else to start their own business!

Well, except maybe chocolate.

Or a fancy coffee drink!

Or the idea of acting like a cat in public and watching everyone's super confused reactions! Like ... I really want to sit on my haunches outside a coffee shop or restaurant window while just meowing and gazing in longingly. Can you picture it?

Ehem.

For a more detailed step-by-step post on starting a profitable blog or online business, the be sure to check out this post right here.

Doooooo it.

Anyway!  

Today I'm sharing the 16 steps to start your business!

Sounds pretty damn exciting, right? I can assure you it is! ;-)

But wait ... don't have an idea for a business yet?

Don't sweat it, it's all good. :-)

I've got a free workbook to walk you through coming up with a profitable blog or business idea step-by-step! (Whether you have TONS of ideas of ZERO ideas.)

You can grab it below, yo!

Once you've filled out the workbook and you're clear on the purpose of your business and exactly who your ideal audience is, move into the next 16 steps!

Starting with ...

1. Choose a business model.

Do you envision your business being just you behind your good 'ol laptop, or do you envision having literally hundreds of employees some day?

It's important to decide what size business model that you dream of having.

Do you want ...

  1. Micro Business where it's just you?
  2. A small business where it's you and 1-15 employees?
  3. A large company that will expand to hundreds of employees and will eventually take over the world? (Although you can certainly take over the world by yourself too, or even the universe!)

However, it's really important to have a clear vision on the scope of your dream business before you begin! Even just an inkling.

2. Figure out who your ideal client is.

This one is so important!

What type of person do you envision selling your services or products to?

Get REALLY specific on this. The more specific you can be, the better!

Remember that free workbook above? It'll walk you through this too! :-)

3. Determine your start-up costs.

How much money do you need to get started?

My advice is to TRY not to go into debt if at all possible, although depending on what type of business you're starting that may be easier said than done.

Save money and start small though.

When I first started my photography business I saved money and then purchased the bare essential photography equipment that I needed. Sure it was super tempting to go out and buy a million different lenses, but I didn't lose money this way. I purchased more equipment as my business grew and I made more money!

4. Decide what amazing services and/or products you'd like to offer.

Again, be specific here!

Don't just answer something vague like, "Life Coaching."

What does that mean exactly?

What exactly are you offering to your ideal client to make their lives better?

Write down all of the specific services and/or products that you'd like to offer that fit within your niche. (Just brainstorm, nothing's set in stone!)

5. Choose your business name.

This part is fun! Make sure your business name fits who you are but also appeals to your ideal clients. Some questions to consider when choosing a business name are ...

  • Does this name fit you as a person?
  • Do you intend to sell this company? (Because if so, you probably don't wanna name it after yourself!)
  • Will you still like this name 5 years from now?
  • Are there any other well known businesses (or local businesses in the area) with this name already? (Don't forget to check!)
  • Is the domain for your chosen name available?
  • Will your name be confusing to others?

6. Register your business name!

Yeah ... this part isn't quite as fun as choosing the name, but you still gotta do it.

If your name is available you need to register it with the county clerk and have it trademarked at the state and federal levels!

7. Develop your brand.

Now THIS is where the fun starts ... I frigg'in love branding!!!!!

Ehem. No but really, it's so much fun.

Your brand is the visual face of your business. It should encompass who you are and what you're about. Your brand should be unique because your brand is YOU.

If you're into branding and design, you can go through this process with yourself.

And guess what?

I have a blog post right here to help you create your brand in 10 steps.

8. Create a business plan.

Yes, this is a must!!!

Write out your main goals for the year and then the specific actionable steps that you are going to take in order to achieve them.

Fumbling around without a plan is like trying to drive to a specific destination that you've never been to before without a dang map! It would be pretty hard right?

I've got a blog post to walk you through creating your plan step-by-step.

9. Decide on your pricing.

Ah yes, figuring out your pricing can be pretty dang confusing.

Are you going to charge by the service or by the hour? How are you going to price your products?  How much do you charge when first starting out?

Feeling befuddled about your pricing?

Check out this blog post for how to figure out your pricing!

10. Create your contracts and any other necessary documents.

You need contracts for anyone that you work with. I don't care if you're working for a friend- you always, ALWAYS need signed contracts!

They protect you, them AND your business. :-)

They make clear what exactly you've giving them, what's expected, how much they are paying you, when payment is due, etc.

Also don't forget to make things like pricing PDFs to send to potential clients as well as any other things you might need to communicate your services. :-)

11. Decide what payment system you'd like to use.

Since you will be swimming in money very soon, (picture Scrooge diving into his vault filled with gold coins!) decide how you will be accepting payment.

Cash? Checks? Credit cards? Here's some good online invoicing software:

Research your different options and then actually choose one, baby!

12. Create your Website + Blog.

Yes, you'll see that I put the two of those together. 

Welcome to modern times! Now adays, having a blog for your business, (as well as an awesome website,) is one of the BEST ways to marketing your awesome stuff.

Blogging allows you to connect with your audience, provide crap tons of value, educate your clients, differentiate yourself from everyone else and is a great place to show your sweet skills!

Plus blogging is really fun, let's be honest. (Yeah yeah, I MIGHT be a little biased.)

Check out this blog post on how to start your blog in a day! 

13. If you'll be doing any type of freelance service, write down all of your workflows.

This makes you more efficient AND it insures that you will give each and every client the same exact great experience! All savvy business bosses do it. :-)

Write down every single step that you will do with each potential client/client.

From the first e-mail to the cute card you'll send them in the mail to the note just to say "hi." Or if it's a project, write down all the steps you'll take to complete that project.

This will make you consistent AND efficient!

Pssst, I wrote a post on how to speed up your blog's workflow if you'd find it helpful!

14. Create your business goodies.

You know, the tangible goodies like business cards, stationary, letterhead, etc. (I secretly find this part really fun too!)

Go crazy! Just make sure to use your specific brand colors and fonts.

Want to make sure that your brand is strong, consistent and totally clear?

Then enroll in my free branding course here! 

15. Know your tax obligations.

Man ... just TYPING the words "tax obligations" sends a shiver down my spine!

This is the one part of running my own business that I despise but that is unfortunately mandatory. :::kneels down::: Why God ... whyyyyyy?

My best piece of advice: find an awesome accountant who can not only help you file your taxes correctly, but who can also educate you on how to keep track of everything throughout the year.

Hiring an awesome accountant is 100% worth it!

16. Launch your business, woo hoo!

You did the hard work. You put in a bazillion non-paid hours of your time feverishly getting everything together and now it's time to launch the crap out of your new business!

But even the launch needs a bit of a plan.

You gotta build up a bit of hype first, ya know?

In the weeks leading up to your launch, don't forget to spread the word over social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Share behind-the-scenes photos and explain some of the awesome services/products that you will be offering to make your ideal client's life better!

Get them excited.

And get you excited, too. You should be. It's the start of a new chapter!!!

Oh! And if your business is online-based, then you'll want to start (and begin growing) your emal list as soon as possible!

Yes, you need one. Trust me!

Don't put off starting it for months or literal YEARS like I did. (Doh!)

Why is having one important? Check out the start of this blog post right here.

To start growing your email list, you'll want to start by creating the perfect freebie.

And yes, I have a free thing to walk you through exactly how to do it step-by-step! :-)

It's the Ignite Your List challenge and it’s got a 4 part video masterclass series, specific action steps and extra bonus content that are all delivered straight to your inbox, baby! It'll walk you through how to do things like ...

  • How to create the perfect freebie to provide value and to attract the RIGHT people to your business (and straight onto your email list!) ;-)
  • The fastest ways to get traffic to your freebie (without using paid ads. BOOM!)
  • What to actually send your subscribers to build relationships and make sales 

You can get started below, yo!

Yes I like to make silly faces in my videos, why do you ask? :P

Aaaaaand if you found this post helpful, then you'd be the bees knees by sharing it on Pinterest! 

(What does the "bees knees" even mean?!)

Ehem. But I'd seriously appreciate it! :-)

To share on Pinterest, just hover over the photo below and click on the little "P!" 

Got any questions? Please feel free to ask away in the comments below!

xoxo
Allison