Starting a Business: A To Do List
So you finally decided to make the jump and start a business! Whether it’s a side hustle or a full time entrepreneurial leap, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s what we did!
The name game.
You have to have a name on day one because you have to buy domains and LLCs. We played the name game in our living room with a stack of index cards, a computer open to Power Thesaurus, and by looking up poetry and songs that spoke to us. Because we are sappy artists. But you can play the name game however you like. Just, ya know, get a name.
(And pro tip: before you fall in love with it, make sure the name is available for anything you need — like an Instagram handle or domain. It’s really sad to pick a name you adore and have to go back to the drawing board when you find it’s taken!)
Buy the names.
You will need to purchase the domain. There are several places including hosting sites like Squarespace. We bought ours on Namecheap.
Get an EIN
That’s an “Employee Identification Number” which is used by the IRS. You’re going to need to register your business with The Man in order to get a bank account. You’ll be able to do this for free online once your LLC has gone through. I highly recommend making an “Important Business Documents” Google Drive folder.
Make a business plan.
It’s good to have the foundations before you build a website or brand because you need to know who you’re trying to reach and what you stand for.
Here’s what we included in our business plan (to start!)
Executive Summary (elevator pitch)
Company Overview(who you are and what you aim to do)
Business Offerings (what you intend to sell and how)
Market Research (industry in your area and market for your product or service)
Marketing Strategy (how you will market your good/service)
Financial Plan ($$$$$)
We made our business plan by using the book Freelance, and Business, and Stuff by Amy and Jennifer Hood at Hoodzpah Design. This was our business and brand bible as we were going through this process. I’d especially recommend this book if you’re starting a creative business. It’s a lifesaver!!
Get a logo. Build a brand!
Having a logo is great— but the reason you need one is to represent your brand. When anyone asks about singular standalone logos, here at Mushaboom Studio, we start asking questions about applications and messaging and who you really want to draw in. A logo is the tip of a branding iceberg. It’s what people see the most, but there’s a lot of ice under the water.
Whether you DIY your branding or you get a professional to help (or a little bit of both), you have to make sure the assets you have work for what you need.
You will probably need at a minimum:
a main logo
a solid color logo
an icon and/or favicon
Build a digital presence.
You’ll want to create places where people can easily find you, understand what you do, and buy what you’re selling. Make it easy for them! Have a website built (or build one yourself) and make Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. If you’re not going to keep up with all of them, though, just go with the platform you think most of your audience uses and really put some time into getting useful information out there via social media.
We know starting a business can be an amazing and scary dream. Our advice: tell people what you’re doing and build a support system. If you’re a new business owner or creativepreneur, the best thing you can do is start finding mentors that you can go to and start using social media as a way to connect with business owners in your field. Having a community can make this process a lot less intimidating!
Find us on social media and don’t hesitate to reach out as you’re building your brand!