Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a Business
At the start of each of my companies, I’ve wished there was some magic handbook that told me everything I need to know. Especially when I first started my blog and had zero idea how the f*ck to do my taxes or what owning a business meant. But the truth is, there’s not. There’s no perfect way to run a company and every business will have different elements that lead to success or failure. There’s also tons of hands-on work that you won’t understand until you go through it personally. So while I wish I could provide that handbook, what I can do is share my stories and what’s worked for me. From how to build your community to what you’re probably doing wrong in your career, I have tons of business / blogging articles on this site, and today I’m covering some basics on starting a biz.
+ Set yourself up with an accountant ASAP or learn how to do your own taxes. They’re pretty different vs. working at a corporate job and you’ll likely be paying higher taxes as a small business – depends on your state, etc. so look into things.
+ Plan on working more than you ever have before. Let your family and friends know what you’re starting a business and that you might not be as available. It’s nothing to take personal, but in my experience, building a business is basically like having your first child. It’s BUSY. Let people know and they won’t be as offended when you’re consistently saying no to things.
+ Research. Paul helped me a lot with this when I was getting started but I will say I could have learned several lessons an easier way: by researching. Whether it’s about contracts, your taxes, different platforms, etc., spend some time learning before diving into things.
+ Play around with your idea before quitting your job. I know plenty of people who thought they wanted to start a certain business only to realize they were bored by it a few months later. I definitely suggest testing the water (while keeping your current job) to make sure it’s something you want to commit to. If you aren’t sure what your passion is, read Lauryn’s article.
+ Understand that you can start a business in a new industry. Here’s proof.
+ Set yourself up with a productive working environment. Now that you aren’t in a cubicle and your boss isn’t hovering, it’s tempting to get too flexible with your working situation (aka meeting friends for brunch 5x a week). If you need advice on working at home for the first time, here are my tips.
+ Know the difference between a contract worker and an employee.
+ Make a budget first. Know how much you need to make to break even, and then know how much you need to make to have a stable income. Also, obviously have some sort of savings or income while you’re starting your business so you’re not homeless.
+ Get organized. I love Google Cal and I have an entire content system in a Content Calendar. To me, being organized equals success so I don’t f*ck around with it.
+ Delegate! It took me years to be able to do this and now it’s the smartest thing I’ve done for my companies. I like to delegate what I don’t have time for or what someone else can do just as well, without me needing ot be involved. Let me know if you want to see a breakdown of what I delegate in life.
+ Assume that it’s going to be easier than your current job. It’s probably going to be 10x harder…but also 10x more rewarding!
+ Get caught up too much in the aesthetics. Believe me, I have always been obsessed with my site and IG looking cute AF but it’s not always the most important thing. Depending on your industry, your level of services is likely MUCH more important than how cute your site is. Focus on what’s important and fix things like your web design after some success.
+ Wait until things are perfect. Your idea will never be 100% perfect and neither will your plan. Have the bulk of your research and plan done and get started.
+ Forget about contracts. Hire the damn attorney to handle this.
+ Stop learning. Even if your business becomes successful, don’t get too comfortable. Continue educating yourself, pushing your business, and learning more effective ways to run your company.
+ Forget to schedule in your own vacations and time off. You’ll need it!
+ Trust everyone. You’ll come into contact with people trying to sell your shit you “need” for your business all the time. Be guarded with your company and trust your gut with those you work with.
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