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If you have a desire to start your own business, the first thing I would say is JUST DO IT. The process can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Even if it doesn't become your full time job, it can help you diversify your income.
Here is a brief overview of the basic steps of the process:
1. Choose a name for your business
- Make sure the name isn't already registered as another business in your state, or is trademarked. This can be done with a simple internet search. I would also check that the domain name is available at this time if you are dead set on one for your website.
2. Legally form the company
- I formed an LLC in Indiana. Which type of company to form is beyond the scope of this post (lots of tax implications), but consider reading a book like LLC for Dummies. I did, and it helped a lot. You will need to file paperwork with the state and get a registered agent.
3. Apply for an EIN number (federal employer identification number)
- This allows you to identify your company for tax purposes, and is needed for most financial aspects of your business.
4. Create a business bank account
- I shopped around until I found a local bank that offered free business checking accounts. The lower your expenses, the better! Remember, in order to maintain the liability protection that comes with an LLC you have to keep the finances of your business completely separate from your personal finances.
5. Make sure you have any business licenses or permits required for your industry
- Check your state Small Business Administration for more information on this.
6. Create an Operating Agreement
- An operating agreement is what it is called for an LLC. For a corporation, this is called corporate bylaws. This is a fundamental requirement for your business. It is essentially your internal rules. There are samples online if you want a starting point.
7. Establish an address
- You will need to receive mail! If you don't want to use your home and don't have a physical storefront, get a PO box.
8. Draft a company logo
- If you're not familiar with graphic design, this may be a daunting task. I used Fiverr, and found the process incredibly easy. I was able to get my logo designed for less than $10.
9. Create a website
- I now use Kajabi as my all in platform. It hosts my website, email list, masterclasses, online courses, and much more. It is affordable and allows me to streamline everything I need for my business into one single expense. 12/10 recommend.
10. Market yourself!
- There are a million ways to do this. Consider social media platforms, and make sure you focus on SEO (search engine optimization). If you're like me and have no idea how to do SEO, check out the services available on Fiverr to have a pro do this for you. I found Tailwind to be a great resource for more effectively using Pinterest.
Once you get started you will find there are a million things to learn... like social media strategies, affiliate marketing, legal considerations, etc. Social media is a great way to utilize free marketing. I use Canva to help create social content that is visually appealing and informative.
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