Happy Hump DAY friends! (you have to say it like the camel on the commercial..)
Lets get right to it. So I now have a great idea and some great resources to boost my confidence. I joined the 4 week course at the azsbdc.net that explores the inns and outs of starting a business (Rocket business launch workshop series). They pointed out that at some point you will need to create a brand, protecting your ideas, yourself and your assets. After this course I was a little embarrassed I was meeting so many people who could potentially contribute to my success and I didn't have any proper contact info to hand out. I needed to brand myself, although a little preemptive, a lot of these things go hand in hand. While you can do one or none of these things (depending on your business) I wanted a joined branding front that would all reflect the same information and conformity across the board.
Take what I'm saying next with a grain of salt. You can easily pay someone to do these things for you, but I did a little extra work and research to save a HUGE amount of money. Do your research and see what works for you. An expensive business card doesn't mean you'll be successful, however, you do want people to know that your serious and not just working on a hobby.
Before ordering cards I had I had to think of a bigger picture, sure I could order cards with just my name and contact info, but why would someone want to contact me? This created urgency to address the following: 1) a name 2) a logo 3) a professional email 4) some form of professional social media 5) a website and... wait for it....5) business cards!!
Getting a name: First I made sure nobody else had my business name by checking with the corporate commissions office. Then registering and published an L.L.C is all laid out in a step by step process by the commissions office. The L.L.C. cost $85 and then I paid $40 to the Arizona Business Republic to publish and legitimize my name. An L.L.C is the most readily available way to protect your personal assets should you business go south. As for tax purposes you can always file later as an S-Corp that I don't fully understand but know is more of a tax break.
Getting a logo: This was SO fun for me. Having a logo (to me) legitimizes my business idea!! Again not that it means I'll be successful but DAMN does it feels good handing out cards. Ok-now I have rights to this name! One of the girls in my class recommended a place called 10alogo, where you can literally get a logo for $10!! I ended up spending $15 because it included text and an image. Their site is super easy to use. They ask you some questions about what you want (you can also upload images or sketches) then they send you a proof. I asked that they change one thing, then I had my logo! I've used my logo so much since then! Best $15 I've ever spent!
Getting an email: I feel like this is obvious but I'm saying it anyways. No your cute girly high school email is not appropriate. I once had an email that was kissesofaneskimo, cute right?!? Not for starting a business. You want your email to read firstname.lastname@example.org. To do so you have to first purchase a domain name. This is purchasing the ability to have your email tied to your business. Worst case scenario if you can't get the email you want, a generic Jordancamomile@whatever.com will work. So I went to register my domain name (tons of places like GoDaddy and Google offer this, I paid $12) and found that even though nobody had a business registered as "Salad Dash" there was a website with that domain name! I was so mad because it wasn't even a used website, it just said "under construction" so I had to make my domain name @saladdashAZ. I just found from a different class that there is a way I can get the other domain as well where GoDaddy in my case will walk me through it. Anyways, I got a professional email Jordan@saladdashaz.com.
Social media: Maybe your a millennial like me but I had NEVER used Twitter before. I found another class at the SBDC "growing your business using Twitter" and learned how not to look like an idiot but also how to efficiently create a targeted following. Once I got comfortable with Twitter I created an Instagram for my business and I just actually created a LinkedIn account (don't look at it I'm not done yet!). Again I'm creating uniformity and branding. I don't have a brick and mortar but I do have a few followers who are like minded and aware of me.
Building a website: With that domain name that I purchased I can now have a website, I just needed to find a host. I was referred to a website building class hosted by Weebly. This class did what I expected and walked us through starting a basic website. They offer free DIY sites that you can alter and publish again any time. I already had my domain name that I (painstakingly) had to re-rout to Weebly, from GoDaddy, but you can purchase a domain name directly from them. I actually pay a little more ($40) to get a few more features. I haven't used other site editors (i'm sure this is common) but I love that I can see exactly how many people are looking at my page everyday and where they're coming from. This helps me to see how effective my tweets and posts are. There was one day that I posted a picture of my beloved business cards and my site views tripled!
Ordering business cards!! Yes I am again geeking out on having cards. My favorite quote right now is the infamous "fake it till you make it". I may or may not have a running business yet but if I meet someone important that I need to keep a connection with, you bet your ass I will professionally present myself and hand him/her my beautiful card. They don't need to know that I'm in the planning stage and sometimes stress cry to my husband when I overwork myself. When the time comes they will remember the girl with red lipstick, long dark hair and my great (SUPER CHEAP) logo. I ordered my cards through overnight prints after some research on different places. They're not the cheapest but you can design your cards online yourself which I really like. You can play with thickness, matte, shiny, round edges, colors, full picture ect. and it keeps a tally of your order total as you go. I paid $34 for 100 matte white cards with round corners, my logo on the front and my name and contact info on the back.
TADA! Now I have 5 solid ways for people to get a hold of me or just keep an eye on me! It's easy to get out of control on cost ordering all of the cool new things and features but keep in mind your goal. I knew going in that my business cards will evolve eventually, so I just ordered 100 for now. I can easily order a new logo and design a whole new set of cards.
Please feel free to leave me comments, for some reason the text is going in white on white (I have a support ticket in) but I will still be able to see it. I would love to hear of what you're working on, did any of my tips help you?
See you next week!
I'm 26 years old and have always been a goal driven person. Growing up my parents always fought about money and struggled financially in general. I told myself at a young age that I would't let that happen. I believe strongly in working hard for what you want and have made myself very proud doing so.