The Entrepreneur’s Journey
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably in the beginning stages of starting your own business. This is truly an exciting time because the gears are moving and you’re already envisioning your success. While this part of the entrepreneur’s journey is a fresh dose of serotonin, it’s important to stay grounded and fully prepare for what lies ahead.
Starting a business can be broken down into a few steps that typically include figuring out a business name and determining what you’ll be selling. You can take a free course or read a book to guide you, however a lot of these helpful resources seem to forget a few core steps to take before you’re ready for the big launch.
If you’re ready to take control and be the best entrepreneur you can be, this article is for you.
Step 1: Make a Business Plan
Now, this is the first step, assuming you’ve already done the initial groundwork of coming up with a name. Your business plan should include the services you plan to provide, your pricing, how to get clients, and essentially any other piece of information that defines your business practices.
Not only does this serve as a great exercise to provide you with a better understanding of what you hope to achieve, but it opens the conversation for how you plan to do everything.
Step 2: Master Your Skills
The second step you need to take is to master your skills. Whether you’re providing a service or making a product, you want to make sure that you’re capable of producing quality work. There are a few ways to go about mastering your skills, so that you’re ready to launch your business.
Online courses have become extremely valuable for learning all types of skills. Whether you want to master Google Ads or completely learn a new trade, you have many options.
Start with free online courses. Some great websites are:
You can also find free courses from industry leaders or influencers. If you’re looking to start a career in digital marketing, Google Ads offers free courses, as well as Canva, Hubspot, and Wordstream.
All of these websites have longer, and more extensive courses that are paid. My recommendation is to always utilize free courses first to lay the foundation, and then spend the money for paid courses once you know the basics.
A menor can be a very valuable asset to you, when first starting out. Not only can a mentor show you the ropes in your field, but they can provide networking opportunities and experience. A mentor will also be able to point out areas of improvement and use that to help you hone in on your skills. They can also set boundaries and give you discipline in order to help you stay motivated.
You’ll want to make sure before investing in a mentor that you are a good fit for each other. After all, a mentor is essentially going to be there every step of the way during your journey. You’ll need effective communication between the two of you, and a clear understanding of the goals set. You need to feel comfortable talking to them and feel that your ideas are respected.
A business coach is a great option for someone who needs guideance and support . The difference between a mentor and a business coach is a mentor is someone that is a long-term resource. A business coach is typically more short term (think 3-9 months), while a mentor is going to be around for a few years.
It is most helpful to hire a business coach that is knowledgeable in your specific industry. For example, if you are starting a social media marketing agency, it would be beneficial to hire a business coach that specializes in helping social media marketing agency owners. Not only do they have the industry experience themselves, but they’ve dealt with all the processes involved with owning an agency.
Work With Other Businesses
Something that I highly recommend doing before you start a business is working with other businesses in your industry. I had worked with 3 marketing agencies as a freelancer before starting my own.
Not only was it a great way to dive right into the industry, but I also got to learn some things I would and wouldn’t do while running my business. I learned what programs and software I enjoyed using, and I also was able to get hands-on experience with each service I would eventually end up providing.
If you don’t want to be a freelancer or full-time employee for a specific marketing agency, you could just be a freelancer who provides marketing services. I also did a lot of freelancing and smaller projects that built up my portfolio.
Step 3: Perform Market Research
The next step you should take is to perform market research. You’ll want to look at other businesses providing the same services and get an idea of how many people seem to be interested in your industry services, and the average cost of those services.
All of this data will help solidify your business plan, as well as help you determine where you fit in, in all of this. For example, when I was first starting Halyn Marketing and BASICS, I made sure to see if there was a “spot” for me in those industries. I figured out my target audience, their pain points, and how other businesses weren’t serving them the way I could.
Step 4: Determine Financing Options
If we’re being honest here, starting a business is not cheap. Whether your business is solely online or you’re a brick and mortar business, you’re going to have startup costs. Some of these costs are your website and domain, business registration, seller’s permit, accounting software, inventory, and much more.
For Halyn Marketing, my start-up costs were as follows:
- Website domain name
- Actual website
- Website hosting
- 1 employee
- Business name registration
This came out to around $1,000 total for everything, which is fairly low for starting a business. Now, I could have skipped the business name registration but I knew that it would make me more official once I was set up as an LLC.
For BASICS, my startup costs were a lot more than Halyn Marketing. They were:
- Website domain name
- Website theme
- Shopify membership
- Packaging supplies
- Membership supplies
- Business name registration
- Clothing racks
- Ring light
- Photography equipment
And a whole lot more.
All in all, my startup costs were closer to $4,000. Yours might be a lot different than mine, but you should also be realistic with yourself.
Once you’ve calculated your startup costs, you’ll want to determine your financing options. For BASICS, I was able to qualify for a loan through my bank with very little interest. This is a risky option for someone without a steady stream of income and less than desirable credit.
For Halyn Marketing, I used the money I was making from freelancing and dipped a little into my savings account. Now, not everyone has savings accounts but it would be in your best interest to save up for these startup costs instead of accruing debt.
Step 5: Get Set Up On All Platforms
Now, this is something I really wish I had done before launching Halyn Marketing. It took me over 4 months to start creating consistent content on all social media channels, as well as producing quality blog posts. If I had done this sooner, I’m sure my following for Halyn Marketing would be a lot bigger than it currently is.
Depending on your business, you’ll want to be on everything ranging from Instagram to LinkedIn. This also includes building your website and taking care of any technical flaws that you run into. You have to trust me when I tell you how much weight will be off your shoulders when you have a smooth launch with no bumps.
If you want to take this a step further, you can have content pre-planned and created prior to launching your business. Personally, I prep content 30 days in advance so I’m not wasting time every day making an image, writing a caption, and then posting to 3 or more channels.
Time to Launch
Now that you’ve followed all steps, it’s time to launch your business! You’ll feel a lot better knowing all the technical steps are taken care of so you can focus on growing your business and getting clients.