Welcome back to the podcast! This is our first episode recorded live in the new year, which is super exciting. I want to say a quick thank you to all of you who tune in for these episodes! I love all of the feedback we get and I’m thrilled that you’re loving the episodes. You guys are the best! For this first episode of 2023, I wanted to talk about the first 5 steps your should take when starting a new business! I’ll be sharing my thoughts based on what I know and have experienced as a business owner – and what I might do the same (or not).
#1: Have a strong brand niche narrowed down!
Instead of seeing what sticks, I’d want to start my business with a strong brand already decided on. For example, you want to become a virtual assistant. Maybe you know your set audience already – women who run businesses who don’t have a team and are looking for their first hire. Instead of saying you ONLY want to do a certain task, you just know who your target audience is. As your business grows, it will evolve. My copywriter Kristina was like that. She started out doing a lot of tasks for us – email management, writing copy, answering students – and over time, realized she thrived in writing copy. Now that’s her focus and niche. So just know that those types of things will grow and evolve as your business does!
When I talk about this with students, the most important thing for a strong brand is to be consistent across the board. This will set you apart, even if you’re just starting out, and make you look more professional. Think about Taylor Swift (I love her!). She’s a great person to learn branding from. Whenever she releases a new album, everything that comes out is tied to that album’s vibe. From her social media to her website to the concert and what she wears. Everything is the same color, same mood, and vibe. Take that concept and be T-Swift in your own business. Be consistent. People will start to recognize you when you’re consistent. And just like Taylor Swift, you’re not stuck with that forever. Brands definitely change – but being consistent is the best way to start.
To sum it up: I’m a firm believer in personal branding that’s consistent. Know who you’re talking to and you’re going to get much further, much faster out of the gate.
#2: Set everything up legally.
The next thing to do when you’re starting a business is to set it all up legally! I will preface this by saying I’m not providing legal advice (not an attorney or accountant here!) – just speaking from personal experience. I encourage you to do your own research and check your state’s regulations, but setting a business up legally is super important to me. When I was setting up my business, I actually took a course that walked me through everything from the structure to the contracts I needed. For me personally, I opted to do an LLC. One of the biggest factors was that it kept my business and personal funds separate if something bad ever happened.
When I moved to South Carolina, I had to start a new business essentially because I couldn’t just transfer what I had. That stinks, but it’s okay! I was able to look at the state website and determine what I need. So, find that for your own state! For most places, you’ll have to file some sort of registration fee initially to open the business.
One of the other things I did right away in my business was to hire an accountant for my taxes. It gave me the reassurance that I was doing everything right and it was being filed correctly. Take the time to set things up right – contracts, payments, and all of those things. It matters. One of my favorite resources for contracts is the Legal Paige. She’s got some great stuff for us! Setting it all up correctly will help you in the long run so you don’t have to backtrack and fix things.
#3: Create a content calendar.
From my experiences in talking with other business owners, marketing is one of the biggest things they struggle with – and it’s key for growing your business. This will look different for every business owner, but most likely client-based referrals are going to make a huge difference in your business. Creating content is the other most important organic marketing method you’re going to want to be using. You need to create demand for whatever it is you do/offer. It doesn’t matter if your website is pretty – but creating the demand really matters.
Content marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started. There’s a difference between long and short form content. One of the biggest differences is that long-form content (like YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts) will last longer than a short-form piece. Long-form content is something that a potential client can stumble upon now or years from now. You don’t have to post it every day for it to be useful, like you do short-form content (i.g. Instagram posts). I encourage business owners to find one form of long-form content that they can consistently create weekly. Then you can do short-form more often. Make sure one of those is something you own – like your email list. If you want to learn more about content planning, check out our masterclass in the SK Shop!
#4: Invest in education.
I’m obsessed with education! I began investing in education early in my business so I could be a better photographer. Since then, I’ve joined masterminds and coaching programs to help scale my digital products. I love investing in education because it helps you get where you want to go faster. You don’t have to spend the hours trying to figure everything out – instead you have someone who’s been there helping you out! It can be a huge turning point for your brand.
I’m a huge fan of education that’s going to contain 1:1 components, like masterminds or coaching. Honestly, choosing what kind of education to invest in just depends on your goals and season of life/business. I have done a ton of online courses – so it really just matters what you’re trying to accomplish! Earlier on, I was trying to learn new skills – so going back to watch videos or reference them was helpful. 1:1 coaching or masterminds tend to have more accountability and feedback involved.
When choosing who to invest in, think about who you like listening to already – their blogs, videos, podcasts. Who resonates with you? Once you know that – and the goals you’re hoping to accomplish – you can decide which type of education to invest in from them.
#5: Offering what is most attainable.
Once you’ve gone through the first four steps to start your new business, start offering what’s most attainable to you. Think about what you have the capacity to offer right now, as well as what’s already being asked for. I’m a huge fan of starting with smaller paid products. It’s a nice way to validate what your audience wants from you! Sometimes starting with what’s most attainable isn’t what you want to wind up offering – and that’s okay! But, starting somewhere will help you get where you want to be much faster.
For me, I knew I wanted to wind up in business education. In the last few years, I’ve been focusing on Instagram resources because that’s what my audience wants and is attainable to create. We’re actually working on a new course on Instagram that will launch in April. Do I want to stay in Instagram education for ever? No. But for now, that’s what people come to me for – and it’s something I can help with. Eventually, I can be an educator that focuses on something else, but for now, it’s what’s attainable.
I hope that these five steps make you excited to start your new business!
If you’re listening and you have ideas about what to talk about next, please send in your requests! I really do want to know what you want to hear about in future episodes. Email me at [email protected] with your questions!! I can’t wait to hear from you! Don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, too. We appreciate all of the support and love!
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