Starting a business isn't easy. No one said it would be nor did I think it would be. I just had to say it "out loud," to you, my one reader, on this blog. What I'd like to do is to go over the advice I've been given throughout the past three months and then address each one.
1. "Hire an accountant." This is true, but without a paycheck coming in, I can't hire anyone for anything. I was diligent, I signed up for QuickBooks online and even got some training from a friend. My problem is that I don't understand the root of accounting, so when I login and QuickBooks is yelling at me in bright red letters: "187 errors!!!!" I just turn a blind eye and click Log Off. I finally called a local book keeper/QuickBooks pro yesterday who will look at my account and help me clean it up and get it going. Soooo, here we are. Accountant has not been hired, help has been hired. Baby steps.
2. "Hire an accountant." Not kidding. Everyone says this.
3. "Shower & get ready everyday." You'd think this would be easy but after getting ready for a job for almost 20 years, six of which were officially business casual (i.e. no jeans), it's kind of nice to work in my pajamas/workout clothes/painting clothes/extremely casual jeans & a T. All those years that I told myself, "it really doesn't matter what I wear, I get the job done" rings true.
4. "Build a strong banking relationship." I've had Chase before it was Chase. I got my very first bank account when I got my first job at age 15 at whatever bank it was in Terra Linda. Over the years, whatever-it-was turned into Washington Mutual which turned into Chase. I've been along for the ride. I wish someone had told me this sooner, before I got my new business checking and credit card, so I'll have to save this one for down the line. I can see the power in having someone in banking that you trust and who wants the best for your small business. I'll get there.
5. "Over communicate." This was really easy to do in a corporate job. Bumping into coworkers in the hallway and catching up on a project was a regular occurrence. Sitting at home, typing away is not a true substitute for those organic conversations. To avoid falling victim to "out of sight, out of mind" I need to start taking this one to heart. I promise I won't spam you, I just want you to remember I'm here.
6. "There will be high highs and low lows." Enough said there. Every week is a roller coaster, a week in which I need to keep sight of the overall health of my business and try not to get swept up in a bad week. Or a good week for that matter.
7. "Get insurance." For some, this may not be required, but for anyone who does anything on location (like my photography) this is imperative.
8. "Decide if you want to be a sole proprietor or an LLC." I didn't think about the pros and cons to each of these quite enough before I started the business. I think if I got to start over, I would have chosen LLC to separate my personal assets from my business assets. Thoroughly research each option and based on what you own and for liability purposes, decide what's best for you not just now, but think 5 years from now.
9. "Get a tax ID number (EIN)." I wish I had. Doling out my social security number on W9s is unsettling. Then again, if someone were to steal my identity, it's not like I have any money. I'm a small business owner.
10. "Hire an accountant." Seriously.