We all have those moments. The moments in which your mind drifts off and you dream about all the things you wish you could do for a living. Selling homemade crafts. Baking all day. Photography. Sailing lessons. Whatever floats your boat, you should invest the time spent on dreaming about your ideal business, into actually pursuing it. I understand that it can seem overwhelming, but now there are no more excuses because I am handing you an easy to follow step by step guide.
11 Easy Steps to Start a Business
Step 1. Go for it!
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
I have had this quote stuck on my bathroom mirror for a few years now, to remind me that as a mother, the stars very, very rarely align. Kids will be sick, laundry needs to be done and nappies need to be changed (usually when you are already late and just about to leave the house). Life happens.
You might have a talent, something that you are amazing at. A vision or dream to start your own business. Perhaps you love to sew or interior design? Whatever it is, take it from someone who gave it a go and succeeded, now is the time to start your business. Stop wondering, just give it your best shot. Life is too short to let the whispers of your heart go unnoticed. This does not mean you have to invest thousands or quit your daytime job and dive into this full time. Why not start slowly, and if it doesn’t work out, no harm was done.
But …what if it does? What if you are missing out on a career in the very thing you are best at doing? Just go for it.
“I am not sure where to begin” I hear you say? Good thing I’ve got the rest of the steps listed below.
Step 2. First Things First
The official ASIC page is a good place to start, with some great advice on Starting a Small Business.
Next, you have to Decide on Your Business Structure (a photographer would be a Sole Trader or if you and a friend start an online store together, it would be a Partnership). Research whether you will need to Register Your Business Name and last, but not least, Apply For An ABN. (It is free and you do not need a company to do this step).
Step 3. Set Up Your Email
A free Gmail account is perfect if you are starting small. It can take a while to find an available one, but free is free! Please keep it short and sweet.
If KidsPhotography@gmail.com is taken? Go for KidsPhotographyAU@gmail.com or email@example.com – so go for a location or add the word “contact” eg. firstname.lastname@example.org (I do not want to see this; kIDspHotoGraphY36748@gmail.com – Aaaaah!!! My eyes hurt! #insert-screaming-emoticon-here.
Step 4. Design a Logo
Please hire a Graphic Designer to do this for you. As a Graphic Designer myself, I BEG you, to get professional help. To get started with initial logo ideas, Free LogoMakr Tool is good, as it is an easy tool and free for a low res logo or $19 for a high res copy of your logo design.
Step 5. Create a Website
Everyone will have a different opinion on the “right” option, however, it actually depends a lot on what your business is about. Is it an online store or just for information purposes? I will narrow it down but know that there are many to choose from.
A professional can obviously build an amazing website for you, but to keep costs down when starting out, you can use a website building tool. Weebly is free, good and easy if you are happy to have their name in your domain (eg.www.kidsphotography.weebly.com)
For your own domain, (eg. www.kidsphotography.com.au) you will need to purchase one from GoDaddy for example. Don’t forget it is an additional fee of at least $8 per month to Weebly, to be allowed to use your domain and link it.
Personally, I have used Shopify for my online stores, however, the monthly fee is not cheap. I have found it worth every cent, as you receive great support, many customization options and apps.
If you are selling crafts, anything hand created, then Etsy is perfect. As it is a marketplace, it will ensure people actually find you on the web. True, it is not a website builder, but it offers you a place to list the handmade items you are selling, without needing to build a website. Etsy takes a fee from everything sold, but it is a great place to start, just to get your name out there. Consider their fee your advertising budget.
Step 6. Money, Money, Money
I promise I don’t work for them, but I honestly find Commonwealth Bank brilliant. Their app is amazing. For $10 a month, you will have a professional business bank account.
Paypal is well known and trusted. It can take a while to set up with them as a business, as they require quite a bit of information, but it is worth it in the end.
If you are collecting payments in person, then Square is the perfect little invention for you. It is a gadget that attaches to your smart phone to accept credit card payments. It costs only $19 (inserting card) or $59 (contactless).
If you need basic invoices, consider these free templates from Excel.
Step 7. Research Advertising
Advertising is pretty complicated. To start off with, word of mouth is your best, as it is free to do and people love to buy from someone they know. You will need to invest time into researching how they work, but if you get it right, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords can be game changers. Unless you do not know what you are doing, in which case the game will change for the worse very quickly. Money will be lost and tears of frustration will be shed. So ensure you do some research before spending the big bucks. You could consider Running a Workshop as it is a great way to get people interested in your business or products, whilst generating additional income.
Step 8. Join Social Media
Social Media is such a brilliant way for businesses to connect with customers and can really drive sales. It can really pay off to keep on top of it. This may surprise you, but many small businesses manage to use Social Media as their main way of generating website traffic. It is effective, and free. However, do your homework and get advice from others if you are new to social media.
There is some great info available online about setting up a Facebook Business Page, or Instagram Account, as well as a Pinterest Account. This will surprise you: Pinterest is the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits have the third highest average order value (more than Facebook)!
Step 9. Print Business Cards
Do not underestimate business cards. You will be surprised by how much business you can get from handing them out, when talking to people. As we are focusing on low budget options for now, consider a Vistaprint Business Card.
Step 10. Consider Insurance
It might be overkill for some small businesses, but you should at least chat to an insurance broker to work out if insurance is necessary in your case. You can compare various insurance quotes here. If, as a photographer, someone steals your camera at a wedding, and the bride finds out you lost all the photos, things could get ugly. Pondering that scenario, you might like to find a basic business insurance to cover you, after all.
Step 11. Go for It!
“You already said that.” Well, guess what, it is the most important step. Without actually going for it, it will never happen. Surround yourself with people that support you, and cheer you on. Stick some inspirational quotes on the wall to help you stay motivated and focused.
So there you have it, you have no more excuses to put off starting your own business. Success awaits, if you do what you are passionate about and work hard at making your dream business a reality. You’ve got this!
Author of Blog
Anja Venn has just launched Quirkshop, to help you find or list workshops. After quickly realizing as a new mum that no one praises you for changing nappies or doing your third load of laundry, Anja decided to get back into crafts and baking. Turns out, those get more likes. Quirkshop is for fellow mums (and other talented people) who miss creating things or want to earn additional income through workshops. Join Quirkshop now to share your talents with others or learn something new.