What are you Waiting for? Let’s get Started!

What are you Waiting for? Let’s get Started!
You love decorating, you are the go-to person for family and friends…  Isn’t it about time to start a business doing what you love?  It begins with training with one of the talented trainers at The-DSA. You will love it but then you need to get down to business by following the next steps. Here are some guidelines to help you get started:

1. List goals and target dates: Determine what you want your business to be, how many hours you want to work, how many clients you hope to work with and most of all, how much money you need/want to generate. This will be the framework of your marketing efforts. Establish your launch date. Post the list where you can view to keep you motivated.

2. Select and file your business name and form of business: Consult with an accountant and attorney as to the best way to structure your business. The state you live in, your personal financial situation and your business vision will all impact your decision. Options include sole proprietor, partnership, and a variety of incorporating options, including LLC. If you are not incorporating, you will need to file an application for a Registration for Fictitious Name if you are not using your given name. Be sure to obtain necessary state, country, city, and municipality licenses required in your area. Spend some time on the Small Business Administration site at www.sba.gov for a wealth of information to insure your business success. This site will also show you how to contact your local SCORE and SBDC which are two free government agencies created to help entrepreneurs succeed.

3. Select and secure your domain name NOW for your website: Even if you do not plan on putting up a website soon, save your name or you will be disappointed when someone else takes it. Ideally, your DBA and domain name should be one and the same to keep your marketing message simple. Secure your domain name at www.godaddy.com for about $10 annually. Some things to keep in mind, if you select a name that is commonly misspelled, save the misspelled version as well. You can then have both directed to the same site. Once your website is established, be sure to have an email account set up that showcases your site such as joanne@thedecoratingandstagingacademy.com instead of joanne@gmail.com .

4. Develop your image or branding: Create the logo and font style that tells your story and establishes your business image. Try using our power word system to describe your business which will help you get an idea of the look you want to achieve.  Be consistent and use it on all marketing materials both printed and online.

5. Launch a website: If you are looking for someone to help you, we have special packages for our alumni, just ask!  Add a blog to your website to drive traffic to your site. (Yes, you will be blogging but don’t panic, just talk briefly about things that excite you).

6. If you are using your cell phone for your business line, make sure your message rings professional.

7. Open your business checking account: Add professionalism to your business by treating it as a business and not a hobby. Do not mingle business money in your personal account.

8. Send a Press Release: Need help creating a press release? Contact joanne@thejlwcompany.com to have a professionally prepared individualized press release written for you for only $50. Send to local media as well as posting it online in places like www.freepressrelease.com.

9. Secure Insurance Liability Policy: Begin with speaking to your homeowner’s agent and see if your policy covers anything for a home based business. Each states insurance laws will vary so you may have to make numerous phone calls. Request a minimum of a $1,000,000 policy that will cover you in a client’s home as well as other business needs you may have.

10. Establish your Rates: As you set your rates, understand  it will take you longer to accomplish a mission, so your hourly fee may be less to compensate for your learning curve. Pricing your services is something that will change as you gain experience and confidence. As your business grows, you will gain profit from other areas such as product sales and referral fees.

11. Practice, Practice and Practice: Sharpen your skills by perfecting your skills with friends and family. Select the people that you would never charge anyway.

12. Develop your twelve week marketing strategy: The key to a successful marketing strategy is to know what you want to accomplish. Then break it into consistent efforts. Your marketing may include blogging, newsletters, postcards, free presentations or workshops, as well as a variety of other things we will discuss. An over-sized postcard, such as those you may see at www.vistaprints.com, is a great way to introduce your business.

13. Add your business listing on The Decorating and Staging Academy website: http://thedecoratingandstagingacademy.com/add-your-listing/

Decide how to spend your first million!

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