June 2, 2020
If you have a hobby, a passion, or a skill that you’ve always thought to yourself, “Hmm I wonder if I could actually make money at this?” but you have absolutely zero clue where to start, this episode is your bread and butter.
Or, if you’ve already started your business but you’re finding yourself stuck or struggling with what to do next, this episode is such a concise breakdown of each step to take in your business. It’s honestly great for anyone relatively new to running a business.
You’ll walk away from today’s show with 10 tangible steps to turning your hobby into a legit business in less than 3 months. Ready for a power punch of an episode? Let’s dive in.
1.Master your craft
Practice your booty off! Learn as much as you possibly can online. At the beginning it is great to get a mentor and learn as much as you can from them. Take courses, attend workshops, learn, learn, learn and then practice, practice, practice.
2. Get a business license
Although it can feel intimidating at first, this is really important from the beginning. It covers your butt and is required by law.
Go to your state’s secretary of state website to register your business officially.
Here’s a really quick overview: You can operate your business as a Sole Proprietorship OR register as an LLC. You automatically become a Sole Proprietor when you start your business unless you choose to register and file as an LLC.
Simply put: With a sole proprietorship, you use your own personal SS number, and file your business under yourself for tax purposes.
With an LLC, you’re given an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and your business is a separate entity from YOU as a person, which can protect you and your assets/business in the event of a lawsuit or anything similar.
We go over this in Episode 023 with Paige Griffith if you want to hear the step by step process to setting up your business legally. We’re not lawyers, so please go listen to that episode!
3. Open a business bank account
Open a new bank account as a business account. You can usually do this online and it’s CRAZY simple. You’ll either need your social security number or your EIN (depending on what business entity you are.)
Creating a business account will allow you to separate your business expenses and income from your personal.
Evie uses Chase and loves it for all of her business banking. Lindsey uses Bank of America. If you think you might move ever in the future, pick a bank that’s a national company.
4. Start tracking your business expenses + income.
This will make taxes SO much easier especially if you stay as a Sole Proprietor for a while.
Make sure you have all income from your business coming through your business account that you just set up. This allows you to clearly track your numbers from your business.
Quickbooks is a really great tool for small businesses.
Link your business bank account, credit or debit card, and online payment systems to a spreadsheet system (like Quickbooks) that can easily keep track and categorize your expenses and income.
The more you grow, the more vital it is to know your numbers, so start this from day one!!
Knowing the heart beat of your business (your expenses and income) and being able to keep tabs on this from the get go is incredibly important.
5. Create a brand.
This doesn’t just mean colors or fonts. While yes a visual brand is necessary for brand recognition. You do want to have cohesive color, fonts, and logos throughout your entire brand. But, it is so much deeper than that.
Creating a brand means showcasing who you are and who you serve. A brand is the core of your business. It is the core of everything you say, sell, serve, or create.
Your brand is how you make someone FEEL when they think about you or your product/service.
A brand is who you are, who you serve, and why they should hire or buy from you.
If there is no brand behind your business and you don’t give people a why, they are not going to buy. People buy what they feel will help them and what they love.
Strive to create personal connections with every single person who shows up on your doorstep, whether virtually or physically! When posting on social media or your website, answer the question, “how does my service or product make someone feel?”
6. Create a social media account that shows your product or services AND you.
Your brand IS YOU. Turn your personal Instagram into a business one! It is so much easier to share yourself when you are not splitting it two ways.
“People fall in love with people. Not graphics and logos.” – @quillandco.design
You are trying to create connections with other people, make them feel something, and relate to them. You can share both your product and YOU. You can interweave posts about you and what your product or service means to you. Invite people into a relationship with you. People will keep coming back for relationships, connection, and community. The more you can show up as a human being and yourself, you are going to make yourself and your company stand out.
Post regularly (ideally once a day) and post to your stories. Keep showing up.
7. Set up your product or service ANYWHERE you can.
This can even come before you build a website! Just offer your product or service SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE to start!
If you’re offering products you can use Shopify, Etsy, Big Cartel, or Society 6.
If you’re offering services you can use Thumbtack, People per hour, Upwork, Craigslist, Fiverr, or FB Marketplace.
8. Create a website.
Get a website domain. These are usually around $15 a year. Then, make yourself a super cheap website from a template.
We highly recommend ShowIt, but Squarespace and WordPress are also easy options!
If you can’t afford a web host at the VERY beginning, get scrappy! Use Instagram or Facebook to collect inquiries. Don’t go into debt for your business. Build slowly and invest in more things as your business grows.
Or, if you really want to invest and can afford it, hire a web and brand designer!
Go listen to episode #15 to hear specific strategies for your website if you’re building it yourself, or to help figure out if you should hire someone to do it for you!
9. Start a blog.
Start sharing even more about your product or service on your blog. People are enthralled with behind-the-scenes info. Share your creation process and show images of you on the job.
Offer value to your customers! Answer their questions and showcase your work! Share your life. Stop believing the lie that people do not care about the creator, the artist, or the business woman or man behind the business. People care about you and they want to know your real life. Let people into your life. Pull people into the human behind the business.
Share your work, value, and personal life. Blogs are vital. Start that now and do not wait.
10. Start building reviews.
People love reviews! From day one, the more word of mouth and positive reviews you can get, the better.
In the beginning, have family and friends write initial reviews for you. Offer more discounts to others to get even more unbiased feedback.
Here are a few places you can receive reviews: Facebook page, Google business page, your product or service host (i.e. Etsy, Upwork), and directly emailing you and you can post yourself!
Reviews can launch you forward as a business owner. Put a highlight on your instagram and add reviews there and put them all over your website.
None of this needs to be perfect and all of these things will take time. It won’t just happen overnight! Just START. If you tackle one thing per week, you can have a professional business up and running in 2.5 months!
Get out of your head and out of your own way. Go step by step!
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Code: HEART for 10% off your purchase
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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