Starting a business is so exciting. I should know. I’ve got one business, and I’m smack-dab in the middle of launching my second one.
Launching a business brings with it so many possibilities. And also so many decisions. The business name? The branding colours? Who are your clients? How will you serve them?
Another great thing about starting is the business is our fresh it is, like that first day of Spring.
A new business also comes with a few expenses. There’s your domain name and website hosting. If you’re selling a product you’ll need supplies and a way to get your products to your customers.
There’s also a whole lot of things that you think you need to buy when you start out, but actually you shouldn’t spend a dollar on (yet).
1. Brand New Equipment and Office Space
You’re a designer so you should start you business off right by buying all the top of the range equipment. New computer? Check. New ergonomic chair? Check. Boxes of pretty stationary for all your brainstorming? Check.
Hey, stop now!
When you start out you need to watch every dollar. Sure it’s tempting to buy all the top-of-the-line things you may need for your business right away. Look, I love Officeworks as much as the next girl.
But it’s silly to spend money that you don’t have on equipment if it doesn’t serve your primary purpose – meeting the needs of your clients.
If you can work just as well from the kitchen table on your laptop, then make do for now. Once the dollars start rolling in you can upgrade.
2. A Business Bank Account
Oh hey, you think, I’m starting a shiny new business. Which means I got to get me a business bank account and one of those credit card swiper doo-dads. Right?
Wrong. Look, once you get your business up and running then you’ll need a business bank account. But in the beginning, all you need is a way to keep track of what’s business spending and what’s personal. Get an online (free) accounting tool, or old-school it by circling things on your statement.
And everyone is comfortable using PayPal to pay for things. You can even get one of those little PayPal Here doodads for credit card payments if you sell at markets or events. When you scale up you’ll want to look at other payment options. But in the beginning, PayPal will do the trick.
3. A Fancy Logo and Pro-Website
Now I’m not going to tell you that spending money on a designer and website isn’t money well spent. A good designer is worth their weight in gold.
But you shouldn’t spend big bucks on a logo and pro-website before you even have your first customer.
Plan to spend money on this down the track once you have a better idea where you want your business to go and once you’ve made some money.
4. To Know It All
Okay, let’s get real here. How many e-courses and books on running a business have you bought before even thinking about your launch? Too many? Yep, I’m going to put my hand up on this one too.
You thought you needed to read about this and learn that before you could even think of finding your first clients, right?. But the truth is you don’t have to know everything before you get started.
Much like when you got your first job out of uni, your learning will actually be done on the job. It’s all very well to read Freelancing for Dummies. But the best way to figure out how to do things is just get out there and, you guessed it, start doing.
So What Should You Have to Get Started?
The right messaging.
You need to get really clear on who you are serving and what problem you are solving for them. And then make sure you are communicating that message. If you don’t figure this out then you’ll find yourself doing work that you hate for the wrong people, or worse, having no work at all.
A way to market yourself.
No I don’t mean business cards and an ad in the Yellow Pages. A basic website with details about what you do and who you do it for.
In-person networking events.
Join a few Meet Up groups in Melbourne. Get on Twitter and follow other people in your field and in related fields. Hell, tell random strangers in the street about what you do. Just get out there talk about your business.