Melissa is someone I greatly respect because of her outlook on life and passion for “living in the moment.” I’m humbled and honored that she asked me to share some insight on starting a business – something that’s very fresh on my mind but I’m in no way an expert on the details. Let’s keep in mind that I am a total ‘noob’ when it comes to this stuff – I just walked into the party (fashionably late of course) and I’m by no means an expert – so take what I say for what it’s worth. (NOTE FROM MELISSA: See, I told you, Matt rocks.)
Today I’m sharing:
Five Things to Pack for Your Trip down the Path of an Entrepreneur
A Unique Approach
I’m a web designer and an online marketing consultant/strategist. Whew, I think I might have finally nailed my elevator pitch – Mom would be proud.
But let’s be honest – I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel here – I didn’t discover plutonium or figure out if unicorns really do exist (one can only hope).
If you take a look at the services I offer, it’s pretty standard fare – and that’s OK. Understand, first and foremost, you’re more than likely not going to be offering an innovative product or service – it’s been done and there are other people out there doing it, and doing it well.
What you have is YOU – you are unique – you are different – and you can approach what you do in a truly innovative way. All you have to do is add a little personal touch, a little you – something that defines your “brand” and why people should be doing business with you.
Organized Legal Stuff
I know we all cringe when we think about signing legal documents and worrying about taxes. But, a critical part of getting your business off the ground is to make sure you’ve squared away the legal stuff. Should you do an LLC? An SCorp? Sole Prop? Each have their own benefits – set up a meeting with your accountant, explain the details and nature of your business and see what he has to say. To avoid being absolutely slammed with taxes and penalties, get this taken care of early – regardless of the direction you choose to go, the cost is relatively low and it’s quick and painless to set up. *Note, it also helps to marry an accountant.
A Bonafide Office Space
I don’t know about you, but trying to get work done lying on the couch wearing PJs watching Saved by the Bell reruns equals zero productivity (as awesome as that life may be).
One of the first things I did was to clear out the spare bedroom, bought a cheap desk, a comfy office chair, and a whiteboard – thereby renovating and rejuvenating the space to the “official” office of MattChevy industries (the white board makes it official).
Having this space really (really) does a lot for me and my productivity. I go so far as to “pretend” to go into the office – shower, get dressed, etc. Doing this and establishing some structure and routine makes everything much more “real” and that organization does wonders for my day to day tasks.
An Open Mind
You don’t know everything – let’s just go ahead and get that out of the way. You’re a lot better off once you realize that.
There are more than likely a lot of other people out there doing what you’re doing – don’t feel threatened by them, don’t immediately become competitive. Focus on YOU, focus on what you can and should be learning from other people and businesses that are seeing success in your market. Ask questions. Be willing and accepting of (constructive) criticism and be generous in providing other people your knowledge and know-how. Paying it forward, in the long run, will pay you dividends.
Above all, know and understand that what you’re doing now might not be what you’re doing six months from now. Be open and ready to adapt your skills and approach as time goes on. The market is constantly changing, you have to be prepared to adapt to new surroundings.
There’s a lot of talk about passion lately around the web – and honestly – it’s a grossly overused word – but when you’re starting a business – when you’re promoting yourself – you have to, no, you need to believe whole-heartedly in what you’re selling. That’s what people connect with, genuine passion and an individual or company who believe through and through in the value of their product or service.
Again, I’m not an expert here just a guy sharing some early observations. Good luck and God speed to all you freelancers and entrepreneurs out there. Collectively we’re going to make some amazing things happen in the next few years.
If you ever need any help or have any questions – for what it’s worth, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me.