This is a time to be excited, friend…because coming up with a solid business idea is half the battle of self-employment. All of us have things that we’re good at that could potentially make us money and give us freedom from a conventional 9-5, but taking one of those skills and creating a business plan around it can be a seriously daunting task. Which at this point, you already know. So let me be the first to congratulate you on figuring out a business idea, because this is a huge deal!
I remember when I finally realized what I’m passionate about and when I came up with my first business idea. It wasn’t always perfect (or anywhere close to perfect, for that matter), but every tiny little step was a step forward, and I was STOKED. Even before a single word is spoken to anyone about your new business idea, there are a few simple tasks that are extremely important to go ahead and do. It is a lot easier to do these things at the beginning than it is to wait until your business has already taken off. I know, I know, some of these may seem silly because you just came up with your business idea. But trust me, you’ll be so thankful to already have these tasks completed once your business starts growing.
7 Simple Things to Do After Deciding On a Business Idea
1. Come up with a name. Seems simple enough, right? Of course your business needs a name, but coming up with a name that encompasses your vision can be overwhelming. When I first started my business, it was just a blog. I wanted a platform where I could share funny stories and my DIY projects, so pretty much all the content was just my opinions on things. I knew I wanted something catchy and unique but self-identifying at the same time. One of my good friends in high school started calling me “Ed” (short for Eden) kinda as a joke, but it stuck (as most bad jokes tend to) and it actually grew on me throughout the years. In my friend circle, my family and my jobs, everyone calls me Ed…so it only seemed appropriate to tie that into the name of my blog.
Something that I did not do that I absolutely should have was to google the name I chose before choosing it. Well, let me back up: I did google the name to make sure that nobody else had it (they didn’t) and I checked with my website hosting service to see if the name was available as a URL (it was) but I didn’t dig any further than that. Low and behold, the thorn in my ass that is “Ed Said.”
Ed Said is a children’s “edutainment” project that has its own YouTube Channel. The videos are centered around a puppet who is obsessed with learning about healthy eating (this just keeps getting better, right?!) It has been around for a few years and was apparently pretty popular at one point. For the first 6-8 months, any time somebody would search “As Said by Ed,” what would pop up on the search results, you ask? That damn puppet! It was SO annoying, but because I didn’t know anything about SEO at the time…it may not have made a huge difference even if I did know about it before naming my site. But please, when you’re taking the time to pick out a name for your business, do some research and see what may pull up when people search you online. Thankfully for me it was just an innocent children’s channel, but what if it would have been something super inappropriate or offensive? Not the best for business, feel me?
My headache with “Ed Said” has since subsided. Because they haven’t been consistently uploaded new content lately, I was able to pretty quickly push it down in the search results. So now if you search “As Said by Ed” you’ll see my website, my popular posts, my social media pages, etc.
Once you have a name (or a few names) that are possibilities, do a quick URL search see what’s available. This can be done super quickly (and for free!) using Siteground.com.
Click here to go to Siteground.com – scroll to the bottom and click “domain names” to get started!
All you do is type in the URL that you want and click “search” – it will then tell you if the URL is available and make suggestions for similar URLs if it is unavailable.
Brief review: When you’re brainstorming possible business names, take time to do a quick internet search to see what comes up when you search the names you’re thinking about. Make sure nothing inappropriate/offensive is associated with that name or a similar name. Don’t worry too much about random things that come up (i.e. Ed Said) because once your business has been around for a little while and your SEO improves, that won’t be an issue.
2. Get a logo: Having a logo professionally designed can be expensive, and I COMPLETELY understand not wanting to spend a bunch of money before your business takes off…believe me. But this doesn’t mean that you should skip out on getting a logo all together. Brand recognition is a very real thing, even if most people don’t realize it. If I showed you logos from popular brands like Starbucks, McDonalds, Nike, Apple…you would be able to immediately recognize them and tell me which company they represent. The same goes for your business! Your logo is just as if not more important than the name itself, because customers will learn to associate that logo with your brand. Fortunately, there are some low-cost options when it comes to acquiring a logo for your business.
– Friends: Use your connections! Do you know a friend who is a graphic designer or is maybe in school for graphic design? Talk to them! You may be able to work out a deal where you promote their services to other people in exchange for their work, or maybe they have something they need that you can help with.
– Fiverr: If you haven’t heard of Fiverr, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes on their website today. It is amazing! There are thousands of creative minds who offer their services at reasonable prices…some starting as low as $5! You can browse the portfolios of all these designers, find one that you like and have a custom logo created for you!
– Canva or Photoshop: If you’re feeling really ambitious and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can always try to design a logo yourself using a design program like Photoshop or Canva.
Read more about things you can create for your business using Canva
3. Create a website with your chosen name: Once you’ve gotten your Googling on and made sure your business name doesn’t pull up anything too wild in the search results, you can now head over to Siteground and set up your business website!
I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day who has recently started a DIY business of her own, and when I asked her about a website she said, “I don’t really think I need one, yet.” Wrong. I go into detail about why your business needs a website in my post Why Your Business NEEDS a Website (even if it’s just your side gig), but the main reasons are these:
– Someone could come along and create a website with your business name, and then you’re screwed. Okay, “screwed” may be a little dramatic, but still – that would suck.
– If someone searches you online, they need to be able to find something that is representative of your business.
– I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone has a Facebook. A Facebook page for your business is a great thing to have (we’ll get into that in a second), but in my personal opinion, it isn’t enough.
Siteground is (once again, in my opinion) a great hosting company for a business website. The hosting is inexpensive (you can purchase hosting as a first-time customer for less than $5 a month!), Siteground is compatible with WordPress sites which are extremely customizable, and there are built in security options that you can choose to add to your site (these can always be added later if you want to save a little dough up front). Check out current Siteground rates here! There’s almost ALWAYS some type of sale or promotion going on for new users, so take advantage of promotional rates!
If you want some help setting up your website, check out my post How to Start a Blog on Your Lunch Break: The No BS Guide. Yes, it says how to start a “blog”, but it’s really a guide to starting a website in general. Check it out!
If you aren’t exactly sure what kind of content you should be posting on your website, download my FREE Kickass Content Cheatsheet below!
What to have on your website:
Use this cheat sheet when building your business website! This is a list of things that you should include on your website in order to get the most out of it. Download it now, refer to it later!
*If you’re already a Free Resource Library subscriber, you can download straight from there!*
4. Snag your name on ALL major social media platforms! Nobody expects you to be an expert in every type of social media as soon as you start your business. But for the same reasons that you should go ahead and create a website, you should go ahead and claim your business on social media. Wouldn’t it suck if a year from now, your business is thriving and you decide you want a Facebook or Instagram page, only to find out that someone has already created an account with the same name? UGH. Plus, social media is free – so the only thing you’re investing is five minutes of your time.
These are the major sites you should go ahead and grab:
Don’t end up like P. Diddy aka Sean Combs…please excuse the [misspelled] foul language. Also, pretty sure this was a joke, but still.
5. Create an email account: Admittedly, there was a point in time when I thought email would eventually die out…but as of now, it’s not going anywhere. Having access to your customers via email is essential to customer retention and driving sales. So even before you have your first customer, set up an email account through an email provider. When I first started my website, I signed up for email services through MailChimp because I was familiar with it, it was easy to use and above all else, it was free.
I have since stumbled upon MailerLite, which is a blessing from above. I used to use and endorse Mailchimp, but I switched a few years ago and have really enjoyed Mailerlite more. The main reason I switched providers was because, at the time, Mailerlite offered automation and Mailchimp did not, but Mailchimp has since added automation features. Some other popular email marketing providers are Constant Contact and ConvertKit which offer a ton of features, as well. Regardless of which provider you choose to create an account with, take the time to create an email account and start gathering email addresses ASAP!
Click here to check out all that Mailerlite has to offer!
6. Make business cards: Again, may seem like overkill when you just decided on your business idea, but I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of an old-school business card. I go into detail in my post How I Make $1,000 a Month Cutting Vinyls, but long story short, there is no easier answer to “so what do you do for a living?” or “do you know anybody who does _____” than to be able to hand over a professional business card. You can also include business cards in with your products that you’re selling, leave them at places around town (with permission, of course), or give them to your family and friends to hand out just in case someone happens to ask what you do and/or if they need a recommendation for services that you happen to offer.
Make sure your business cards contain the following information:
– Your Business Name/Logo
– Your Name
– Your Phone Number (if you want people to contact you this way)
– Your Business Email Address
– Your Website
Design these cards to fit YOUR needs and YOUR brand! Have fun with it and make it a reflection of what you want your business to be!
You can get professional business cards online for next to nothing. Even someone with zero design experience *raises hand* can create business cards and be proud of them. I always order through Vistaprint and their pricing is amazing, plus you can have your cards in a week or two! Sign up for their emails and they will periodically send coupons. Also, they almost always have commercials for business cards with a promo code at the end.
7. Start telling people: I mean duh, right?! When I first started my blog, I was embarrassed to tell people. What if they laugh at me? What if nobody ever reads it and everyone thinks I’m a giant tool? Just like business cards, don’t underestimate the power of good, old-fashioned word of mouth! As soon as I started telling people, those people started telling people and I saw my first boost in website traffic. Ask your family and friends to like/share your business page or hand out your business cards! Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be embarrassed.
Like I said, these are extremely simple tasks but they will have a big impact on your business in the long run! Download my FREE Business Startup Checklist and mark off the items as you go to help you stay on track!
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