Deciding to take the entrepreneurial path is an exciting and scary decision that a lot of us have made already or are considering! Or you may be like me and be a perpetual side hustler at this point in your life due to any number of factors. Either way, full time entrepreneur or part time, there are some important things to do when starting up whether you are blogging, doing photography, creating handmade good or promoting brands. Here’s a list of the things I’ve found to be most beneficial when launching your side hustle or business!
Decide on a name and buy your domain.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not going ahead and purchasing your domain. People think since it’s just a small side business, that they don’t need to claim their rights to their domain but it’s huge to go ahead and buy it, you’ll utilize it right away (if you follow step three) or will at least have rights to it in the future as your business grows. Even if you are planning to sell on Etsy or a similar marketplace, go ahead and purchase your domain.
Create a logo and branding package or hire someone to do it for you.
Branding is HUGE when you are trying to stand out in a crowd. If you are in the creative industry and have the knowledge and desire, create your own logo and branding package. Use pinterest for inspiration, create a mood board and pull from images that inspire you, from all categories – photography, design, fashion, etc. Anything that speaks to you can help you build your palette and typography elements. If this isn’t your niche, hire it out. You can find other entrepreneurs, on Etsy and on Creative Market, who specialize in logo design and branding packages. Also, searching on Pinterest will lead you to some standalone designers! It is well worth the investment (ranges from $50-$300 on the lower end) to hire someone who can create a package that gives your brand it’s identity. Make sure to work with the person and portray your business accurately so that they can create something that really speaks to your business.
Create a website or a landing page.
Having a website is essential in my opinion, even if you plan to sell on etsy or a similar marketplace. This is where your branding will speak for your business. If you offer a service, a clean, put together website will be the way you standout and look professional among your competition. It’s a place to show your portfolio is you are a photographer that is much more easier for clients to view exactly what you want verses your instagram feed. If you sell physical or online goods, having an online storefront will give a sense of security to your customers that you are here to stay and are more than just another etsy job. Have you noticed when someone buys something off of the Etsy marketplace, and you ask they where they got it from, their response is “I found it on Etsy!” there is no mention of the specific shop, Etsy gets the credit. This is why you need your own site and brand. If you are planning to sell on a marketplace and do not want to sell on a standalone site, creating a landing page with your domain is the best option. On this landing page you’ll include a little about yourself or business, a link to where they can actually shop, and a link to subscribe to your mailing list for future promos, etc. I’ll talk in a future post about the different website platforms and which one’s I have used!
Research photography and purchase anything that will help you take amazing product or styled photos.
For product photography: Great product pictures are SO important for your business. I’ll provide some additional tips in a future post but here is the breakdown 1) Natural light only. 2) White or neutral background. 3) Overall shot and detail shots. 4) Shot showing the product styled or in use. I’m a fan of using a DSLR camera but you can definitely use your iPhone camera as well if you do not have one. I utilize vinyl backdrops for some of my flat lays and product photos as well, you can find them by searching on Etsy here. There are so many product photography tips on pinterest, I recommend spending a day to sort through all of them and figuring out what works best for you and what you might want to invest in!
For Social Media Photography: If you are looking to promote brands and brand rep on your social media account, photography is huge as well – companies want to know they can count on you for beautiful pictures. Find a few accounts that you love and study their style and their poses and flatlays and try to mimic it, implementing your own style!
Open a separate business account and utilize an accounting program.
I’m a huge proponent of keeping business and personal expenses separate. We opened a separate business account early in the game and I’m so glad that we did. It made keeping track of expenses and income so easy, which in turn makes the tax process much easier as well. I recommend also setting up a bookkeeping service to keep track throughout the year as well. I currently use godaddy bookkeeping and have no complaints! You link your bank account to it and it even links to Etsy and tracks all of that information as well.
Hopefully all of that is helpful to you guys, no matter what type of business you are opening or hoping to start! If you’ve already been through this process, what additional tips do you have for others just starting their journey? Or if you’ve implemented any of these tips, how have they helped you? And let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to hear back from you guys.