Starting a Business: Checklist

Welcome to Day #22 of “30 Blog Posts in 30 Days” where I (masochistically) am writing, you guessed it, 30 posts in 30 days. If this is something you’d like to do in July (thinking “10 Blog Posts in 14 Days” for folks new to crank out content), drop me a line!

NEW BUSINESS FTW

I’ve brought on four new clients in the last month, who have gotten extra serious about their side hustle and decided to really go for it.

Buuuuut, once this tough decision is made, it can be overwhelming to figure out where the hell to start. From naming a biz to buying a domain to an LLC, what is a gal to do???

Fear not, my fellow Amazon. I got you.

For my badass business babes, I’ve created a checklist on what to take care of when you’re starting out. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’m not a lawyer/CPA, but hopefully it’ll make this process less overwhelming.

Business name, Entity & Banking

1. DOMAIN: The first thing to do is pick a name for your business, and before you fall in love with that name, check to see if the domain is available (I like GoDaddy for this).

If you can’t get a .com or .co, try playing with the wording/spelling. I recommend buying a domain for a minimum of 2 years, and I always get the $7.99 privacy protection to avoid telemarketers/internet weirdos.

2. ENTITY: You’ll also probably want to create an LLC, or other business entity. Google “(state name) register a business” and see how much it will cost to register your biz. In Utah, it’s about $200, and in California, it’s around $900. Some folks choose to register a business in another state for tax reasons, but that’s something you’ll want to discuss with your accountant.

As for registering an LLC or S-Corp or B-Corp — ask your accountant. Post on Facebook and ask for accountant recommendations (specializing in new businesses), and pay for a few hours of their time to get things going the right way. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re at an entrepreneur mixer and everyone has horror stories YOU avoided by meeting with an accountant.

3. BANKING. I imagine your goal in starting this business is to make money, and to save you a headache come tax season, I really recommend setting up a separate business checking account. Credit Unions tend to be more kind to small businesses, so I’d recommend staying local. You don’t want to be stuck going through each line item on your statement to figure out what is a write-off and what was a drunk Amazon purchase.

Also, if you plan on accepting payments through PayPal, make a separate account.

MARKETING

My fave part of this journey is helping clients set up their marketing platforms. (Plug: I do this professionally!)

It is CRITICAL to reserve ALL social media handles for your business, even if you don’t intend on using that platform. To make this easier, I recommend registering new accounts with your business email (you can pay Google $5/month for professional email, or register a new free email).

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of platforms to reserve your business on:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook Page
  • LinkedIn Company Page
  • ProductHunt (for startups)
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • Medium
  • YouTube

WEBSITE and BRANDING

I wrote a post on choosing between website builders (or going completely custom).

Working with a designer to create a logo generally takes a minimum of 2 weeks, so keep that in mind. If you want a whole branding shebang (fonts, colors, word choice, media kit, etc) that normally takes 4–6 weeks.

GET ORGANIZED

When you start a business, it can feel like everything is always on fire (metaphorically). It’s important to be able to prioritize tasks, contracts and communication.

I use Dubsado for client intake and management, and Acuity Scheduling to book appointments. (I used to spend SO MUCH TIME emailing back and forth trying to find a time to work.)

For project/task management, you may want to use Trello or Asana — and Basecamp if there are more than 5 people working on business things.

I also can’t recommend getting a Virtual Assistant enough, if budget allows. Pay someone to organize your inbox, track projects, etc, so you can focus on steering your new business and growing it.

Appreciate this article? Give it a “💚”! If you find yourself needing more help with your small business or startup, drop me a line here, or creep on my Twitter in the interim.