What To Consider If You Want To Work For Yourself
If you’re thinking of starting a small business, side gig, freelance career, or ANYTHING that requires you to be making your income you are likely already overwhelmed with just the idea of it.
You know you want to try it, and you have an idea… but how and where do you start?
Having started 2 of our own businesses and helping lots of our clients with their own, we have some first-hand experience with those early days and have a laundry list of things to think about and act on when you're launching your own small business!
We're breaking down 6 key things on that list below, but keep your peepers peeled on our blog because we'll be publishing a more detailed and expansive list there soon!
Read on friend and take it step-by-step to reduce that overwhelm and get sh*t done.
1. Figure Out Your Why
Step 1: Write down your WHY on a piece of paper (or sure, put it in a note on your phone) and look back at it whenever you need a reminder.
The very first thing you need to do is have an idea for your business and know WHY you want to be offering this service or product. It’s crucial to have an understanding of the why behind your desire to start a business because it’s the one thing that will carry you through the months and years as you grow.
It’ll help you make decisions (like a guiding light saying “no, THIS is why you’re doing this! Don’t forget me!”) and it’ll also help you when things get tough and you want to throw in the towel and go back to your old job where someone else was paying you all the time and you had benefits.
Your why might not be anything grandiose either, it might simply be that you want to have a flexible lifestyle. It might be that you’re planning to have kids someday soon and you’d like to be able to work from home. It could be that you’ve noticed a big gap in an industry and have a desire to fill it or solve a problem.
Whatever your reasoning is, get honest with yourself, figure it out, and write it down somewhere!!
2. Plan Your Offerings & The Process By Which You Do This
What are you offering that will make you money and how are you going to be selling it?
Consider this the basis for your business model and think through the process customers or clients will be following to buy from you. You don’t have to have this completely figured out before you start selling (honestly you’ll learn so much once you do start selling that you’ll no doubt want to adjust things again anyway) but you should have a rough idea of how it’s going to go down.
3. Define Your Ideal Clients
Once you know your what and how, it’ll be time to consider who you’ll be selling to. Again, you won’t need to have this fully fleshed out right now and you’ll get to know your demographic even better over the first few months and years of your business, but you do need to have some idea in mind.
Check out this blog post here for a starter on defining your ideal client and check out our brand strategy workbook (from our sister company, Design Build Grow) for a more detailed guide!
When starting with this item, the main things to consider are why they will be buying from you and what you’re doing to attract them.
You need to know who they are so you can attract them to your business, but also knowing this will help you figure out if you need to adapt your approach in a specific way to get their attention or whether your personal style for doing things already does the trick.
4. Define Your Brand Values
Your brand values, simply put, are the things your brand cares about and getting these figured out early on is going to help you make other decisions down the road.
For us, our brand values strategic design, transparent and clear communications, collaboration, and supporting our communities.
How does writing this all down help us? They form the basis for our key messages and guide how our brand develops. We've basically said, these things are important to our people, they're important to us, and you're going to see them reflected in the ways we communicate and the actions we take as a business.
Deciding these can also help you make decisions around how your brand is visually represented or even what you name your business, so they're key to map out early on.
For more info on defining your brand values, check out this blog post here.
5. Create Your Brand Message
Once you know what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and what you care about, you can start to pull all of these elements together and develop your branded communications (and you will need all of those elements somewhat figured out to do this)
When we talk about branded communications, we're not necessarily talking about slogans or catchphrases (although you can definitely create slogans and catchphrases that get your branded messages out there), we're talking about the overarching themes and messages you want your content to be built around. Or, rather, what do you regularly want to emphasize to your audience and have them know about your business?
We want people to know that Salt Design Co. is strategic with our design. We don't just do things because they look pretty, we do them because they'll help your business grow. We also want people to know that building a business doesn't need to be as confusing or complicated as it might seem.
These are key messages that we reiterate over and over again in tons of different ways throughout our emails, blog posts, social posts, one on one. They are fundamental things that we want people to understand about us and by clearly defining them at the outset we can ensure that all of our communications remain focused and meaningful.
6. Choose A Name For Your Business
It might seem strange to suggest naming your business this far into the process, but we truly believe in the power of your brand strategy (which encompasses a lot of the first 5 items we just went over) and when we’re developing a name for a company over at Salt Design Co. we go through a brand strategy process first to ensure we know all the finer details of a company and can give context and personality to that name.
So with that being said, it’s time to add a name to your company! Consider whether you want to have a name that has conceptual meaning behind it, or check out this blog post on our sister site, DBG, for more tips on successfully naming your business!
This should get you going, but if you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or shoot us an email at email@example.com!
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