Year-One Tips to Start a Business

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So you wanna start a business? 

Well, buckle up ‘cause it’s going to be one bumpy, albeit exciting ride. There are so many things to consider when you’re in GO mode. There are even more items you don’t even know you should be considering. 

Luckily, that’s why we tapped Kimmie Greene, Head of Communications at QuickBooks Self-Employed. As someone who is actively advocating for the self-employed with the goal of inspiring and mentoring people who work for themselves, Kimmie knows exactly what you should be paying attention to. Find out all of her tips and why you should love your taxes. Yes, we said love. 

Know Your Strength 

Understand your skills and what gives you energy, and find ways to focus on these things while uncovering opportunities to outsource areas that do not fuel your passions or may take longer. This may include finding a co-founder to partner with as you start a new business who has complementary skills, such as one person with product or services expertise, while the other is a finance or operations expert.

Build a Foundation 

Energy attracts energy. As such, life only gets busier as you’re starting a business. Often entrepreneurs try to “grin and bear it” through an early rough patch, expecting it will get easier in a few weeks, but then something else crops up. The reality is, something is always around the corner, so take the time upfront as you’re starting out to tackle the nitty gritty details that will set a strong foundation for future success. These often include naming the company and creating the brand, addressing legal details around starting a business, and establishing financial systems, such as opening separate bank accounts for expenses and income.

“Life only gets busier as you’re starting a business.”

Get Ready to Self-Promote & Shout Out Loud 

Starting a business means it’s time to sharing the news about your big idea. Tell everyone you know, encouraging them to spread the word and do it often. The more your network knows what you’re up to, they more you’re creating a community that’s ready to cheer you on and create connections to fuel future business success. So, don’t be shy – this may be harder for some than others, but grab a megaphone and go for it!

Find a Mentor 

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This is one of the biggest facets at Create & Cultivate. 

One thing that often gets lost as you start working for yourself is YOU. So, as you know your strengths, take the time to also think about areas where you might need an extra boost and find someone to help you. This may include a career or personal focus, such as talking to other business owners who have “been there, done that” or seeking out someone who may also face the challenge of balancing entrepreneurship with the demands of family. Mentors are not one-size fits all, so find the one that’s right for the areas where you could use some additional input and inspiration.

Ask What You're Worth 

All too often as people start a business they undersell their services in the name of building early momentum. Then, months or years later, they wonder why it’s hard to get paid what they're worth. Ask around what other people in your field may be charging for hourly work or how they think about pricing products. Set your goals for what’s realistic upfront. And then, as you’ve established and shared that rate with your clients or customers, you have the right to reduce that rate on a selective basis for say friends and family or a project that gives you real energy. That way, you stay in the driver seat and there are no surprises when a promotion expires.

“All too often as people undersell their services in the name of building early momentum.”

Love Your Taxes 

Yes, as the old adage goes, the only guarantees are death and taxes, but the truth of the matter is that taxes are a good thing, they mean you made money – woot, woot – and isn’t that the point beyond making your passions your career of starting a business in the first place. So, find the tools that make it easy to track deductions, report income and ultimately, pay taxes. Well done, you! QuickBooks Self-Employed offers up some amazing tools to make it easy to love your taxes by keeping track of mileage and expenses, as well as identifying potential deductions throughout the year to save you money. And then, come tax time, QuickBooks Self-Employed estimates your anticipated taxes and seamlessly integrates with TurboTax Self-Employed to file taxes quarterly, and finally at the end of the year.

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Make a Plan 

As if you didn’t have enough to do today, now you need to look ahead. Whether a business of one or leader of a team, it’s critical to take time to know where the business is headed in six months or a year. Is there an industry where you’d like to secure a client or a new revenue stream you’d like to stand up in 2018? Perhaps the goal is expanding into a retail space, renting an office, or hiring that first employee. More often than not, you can’t do it all, so head to a favorite lunch spot or bring your journal on a hike to think through and capture notes about your future plans. It may not be rocket science, but it’s also not magic, so it takes some time to make the future a reality.

“More often than not, you can’t do it all.”

Celebrate Your Wins

All too often, we’re on to the next thing before we even have a chance to take a pause, breath and raise a glass to the great deeds accomplished on any given day. This is so true in life as in business.

Do you have any special tips to share? Comment below!

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