Before I start, I want to mention that these are the things that work for me in my business. Your business is probably much different, so take that into consideration.
Step one is to make your business legitimate. When it comes to getting an LLC, you can do it yourself. You just need to go to your state’s Secretary of State website, and they will have all the information you need on how to set up your LLC. You want to do this because if something happens and you get screwed for some reason, they can’t take your assets. They only have to deal with your businesses’ assets.
You will want to do this early on because, in the first of my business, I did everything through my personal bank account. When tax season came, I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Make sure you keep all of your receipts that you use for your business and make sure to get a debit and credit card for your business.
You can get QuickBooks Self Employed as an app on your phone, and you can also access it on a desktop. You can use QuickBooks to track all of your business expenses, and having that business bank account should make your taxes super easy. When you are itemizing your expenses, don’t ever put something in an “other” category. QuickBooks Self-Employed does have categories that you can choose from, and knowing which categories to choose can be a bit confusing at first. However, if you put anything in “other,” you’ll have to go back and redo them.
You obviously need a website when starting a business, so hire a branding and website designer if you’re not one yourself. If you are a branding or website designer, do it yourself! You don’t want people coming to your website thinking you designer it when you hired someone else to do it. If you absolutely must do your website yourself, do it in Showit and buy a template from a seasoned designer.
It’s only $5 a month to get an email with your domain in it, so suck it up and get one. It looks so much more professional than a Gmail email address. Use your Gmail for your personal email and get a branded email for anything related to business.
Later is an app (you can also use it on desktop) when you can plan out your posts, schedule then, etc. It makes your life so much easier. At first, I just used it to see what my feed would look like to make sure it looked cohesive. However, now, I try to take a day to schedule out my feed for a week or two. So now, when I’m really busy during the day, I have something ready to post. Your social feeds are not going to grow if you’re not posting and engaging, so later helps you stay consistent.
Having a blog on your site is great because you can share information, it adds links to your site so people can find you on Google, and it’s a great way to add value to your customers. If you are building a site in Showit, they actually use WordPress for their blogging, so you can schedule posts. You can site down one day and schedule out three posts, so then you don’t have to worry about it.
Instead of giving out your personal number, book your client calls with Calendly. Calendly is great because you can go and update your calendar for when you’re available and when your busy and then send a link to your customer, so they can choose times to meet with you. You can also connect your Calendly account with Zoom, which is a video calling platform. So now, when someone books a time, a zoom link is automatically generated and sent to them for our meeting.
Dubsado is a client management system, and it really takes care of everything regarding your clients. It handles everything from inquiry forms, proposals contracts, invoking, and it’s all done through Dubsado. You can set up automation and workflows that will save you so much time and energy. You can also set up reoccurring invoices with payment reminders so that you don’t have to worry about it; you just watch the money go into your account! It’s kind of difficult to set up in the beginning, but it’s so worth it.
Trello is really great, especially if you are a service-based entrepreneur. You won’t have to email your clients back and forth for things like photos or passwords. Everything is in Trello, so nothing is ever lost. My clients love it because it helps us both stay organized, and you won’t have to go searching for anything in your email ever again.
My recommendation is to do all your email marketing with Flodesk. I consider Flodesk the Squarespace of email design because it has really nice layouts, it’s a very intuitive platform, and it’s really easy for people who aren’t designers to create really beautiful emails. They have awesome fonts, design choices, and their layouts are super clean and easy to use. My favorite way to grow my list is by offering my pricing guide as an opt-in. I collect subscriber information, and potential clients get to see my pricing and packages. It’s a great way to get leads as well as grow your list.