Small Business Services

Starting a Side Business: 5 Things You Must Do

Maybe you’re just trying to bring in some extra income, or you’re turning a hobby into a part-time business. Or perhaps you’re trying to leave the 9-5 for your own schedule, your own brand, and your own dream.

Start your new venture off right. Here are some of the steps you should take when you begin to become your own boss.

Find a good accounting solution.

Make sure it’s one that’s well suited to your needs. You won’t necessarily use a lot of the features in a top-of-the-line small business bookkeeping system. You’ll spend too much money and be frustrated by the complexity. If you only need to create invoices and track expenses, for example, there are websites that will accommodate that affordably. Others help you estimate the quarterly estimated income taxes that you must start paying now based on your income and expenses.

If you’re unsure of your abilities to select a solution and learn how to use it, contact a financial advisor. These professionals are very skilled at assessing business needs, making recommendations, and training. You’ll most likely be a sole proprietor, but an accounting expert can also help you determine whether you should choose a different business structure for tax purposes.

Register for a sales tax permit if you’ll be selling products.

You’ll need to find out what your state’s specific requirements are and how you can register. You can find a link to each state’s information here.

Register for other business permits and licenses that your new venture requires.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) hosts an excellent site that contains links to information about federal and state requirements for specific types of businesses. You’ll also want to find out what types of business insurance you should have. The SBA is a good resource here, too.

Start building your brand. We sometimes think of “brands” as household names. Campbell soup. Tide laundry detergent. Diet Coke. But every business can work at creating and reinforcing a unique brand. It can consist of many elements, including:

  • Visuals. It’s important to be consistent here. You want to use the same colors and graphics on everything that comes out of your one-person shop, whether it be on social media, sales forms, business cards, or written communications. Don’t have a logo? You can have one designed for you for as little as $5 on com, for example. The site can help with other types of branding themes.
  • Customer service. Excel here, and your company will be associated with an exceptional customer experience.
  • Product and/or service quality. You’re small, so you have to work harder at providing superior offerings.

Watch out for yourself. Starting a side business means many more demands on your time. You’re less likely to succeed if you run yourself ragged and don’t look out for your own personal needs. Maintain balance in your life, and your little-business-that-could stands a better chance of flourishing.

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