Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience doing what you love. There are many advantages in entrepreneurship such as having a flexible schedule, being your own boss and getting paid to do what you’re passionate about. Before you quit your 9-5 and dive into entrepreneurship, there are a few things that I wish I knew two years ago when I created Queens Conquer, that I’d like to share with you before you take the plunge and create your business.
Start Where You Are, Use What You Have
One of the hardest parts of starting a business is getting started! It can be very overwhelming having what seems like a million ideas in your mind and not sure where to start. Before doubt and fear creep in and convince you otherwise, take a moment and write down your thoughts. Write down your business plan and how you envision providing value for others. Ask yourself questions such as, “What problems will you solve? Who are you serving? How will you stand out from others in your industry?” Once, you can define these things you can move forward knowing the why of your business and what you’re working with moving forward.
Invest in Yourself
There are several things needed in order to start a business and one of the essentials is taking care of the legalities to protect you and your business. Once you decide on a name, do thorough research to be sure no one else is using that name.
Tip: Namechk is a great resource to use to check to see what’s available across different domains and social media platforms.
Register your business under a Doing Business As aka DBA name. Not all states require a DBA, but most do if you’re a sole proprietor and want to use another name rather than your real name or have an existing Limited Liability Company (LLC). Forming an LLC, is crucial to keep your personal assets separate from your business liabilities. With technology being at the touch of our fingertips, anyone can copy your logo, so invest in your brand and trademark your logo, not just in your state, but across the country to be safe. Also, be sure to copyright your products, workbooks, software, etc.
Tip: Create a business account and keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. Here’s a few apps to help you keep your finances organized, track mileage, invoices and more: Mint, Quick Books & Fresh Books.
Tell Your Story
Once you’ve chosen your name and taken care of the legalities, create a website to tell everyone what you offer and how you can help them! First, you want to purchase your domain, then create a website. If you have no HTML experience, you can create a template site from Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress to get started than can add custom features later. Start with one page at a time, write out your thoughts and add images to help tell your story. Be sure to update your site frequently with new blog posts, products, even updating your about page. This will all help to increase engagement and SEO. You can also integrate your social media on your website to connect with your community consistently.
Tip: To create digital and physical content Canva is a great tool to use for things such as e-mail newsletters, flyers, social media posts etc.
Secure The Bag
Now that you have a website, how do you get people to visit and purchase your products or services? Give yourself a monthly marketing budget that you strictly use for marketing purposes. Even if it’s $50, start small and promote your business to reach more people. This may include boosted social media posts, business cards, or photography and video services. These are all tax write-offs for your business, so know that it’s worth it in the end! Find out tax deductions for small businesses here.
Tip: Utilize online marketing services such as Google AdWords and Facebook & Instagram Ads to build brand awareness and leverage your social networks. Facebook & Instagram business tools are great features to take advantage of if you’d like more information on these tools comment below or e-mail me.
These are some things I learned in the beginning of my entrepreneur journey, that I hope help you. The biggest thing I struggled with was my business finances and taxes, so I definitely encourage to utilize those finance apps and also reach out to a CPA in your area.
Know that the first couple years you will invest a lot of time, energy and money in your business. You will make mistakes, fail, and learn what does and does not work for your business. The motivation will come and go, but remember why you started. Remember, you can’t do it all. Remember, to rest, not quit. Remember, to carve out time for your priorities. Remember, that consistency triumphs perfection.
I hope you find this helpful. What did you wish you knew before you started your business? Anything you’re struggling with related to your business? Comment below so I can help.
Much love & many blessings
Founder & CEO
Shoes: Vince Camuto
MUA: Cassie Yvette
Photography by: CJK
*I originally published this article on Naturallcurly in support of #smallbusinessmonth, with a few edits*