10 Steps You Need To Do Before, During & After You Launch Your Business

10 Steps You Need To Do Before, During & After You Launch Your Business

10 Steps You Need To Do Before, During & After You Launch Your Business

Things Referenced

Step 1: Creating a Product or a Service

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #23: Emma from Hazel & Rose

Book: Will It Fly by Pat Flynn

Step 3: Branding

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #14, #15, #16

App: https://coolors.co/

How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone

Step 4: Websites & SEO

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #75

Blog Post: Wordpress vs Squarespace

Step 5: Photography

Brand Photography (headshot, lifestyle, product photos) & Promo

TCC Brand Photography

Step 6: Pricing

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #18 & #20

Step 7: LLC & Bank Accounts

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #22

Step 8: Customer Experience & CRMs

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #21

Dubsado.com (Use code TwinCitiesCollective for a discount)

Step 9: Networking & FB Groups

Podcast Episode Reference: Episode #54 Networking

FB Groups:

Think Creative Collective

Savvy Business Owners

Tuesdays Together-Rising Tide Society

Goal Digger Podcast

TCC FB Group

Step 10: Social Media

Reference: Ultimate Guide to Instagram


In this episode, I will be mentioning other podcast episodes that I've done, as well as some books and resources. So make sure to listen to this podcast, maybe not when you're driving, maybe you want to be sitting down and taking notes. Because I think that this is a good one to actually write down stuff for. So make sure to

listen to this very carefully. And I hope that you guys enjoy it. I've never done an episode like this, it's kind of a recap of some of the previous episodes we've done. And I'll just make sure that you guys know which episode numbers to check out when I mentioned them. So let's get started. So the first step you need to take when you're starting a business is creating a product or service. Obviously, this is the most important step is what are you doing? Why are you starting a business? What is the actual product, the end product? Or the service going to look like? If you're a photographer? What kind of photography are you doing? Are you going to be a wedding photographer? Are you going to be a product photographer Are you going to be a family photographer, just getting started, I highly recommend testing it out. Whether it's sharing it with friends and family, just offering it for free at first just to get your interest piqued and see if that's something that you actually want to do for the product, giving it out to friends. getting feedback, I think when you're launching a product, making sure that it's a legit thing that you want to do. And and that's at that point when you think this is something that I think could take off. That is when you want to start a business, not the other way around where you're like, I want to start a business and then try to come up with a topic. If you see a need and you think you can fill it, most likely there will be a space for you in the market. So that is number one is creating a product and figuring out how it's set up and how it works. The second step is once you have the product, you need to come up with a business plan. This is something that I personally have struggled with. Usually I come up with a product and then just start running and don't actually think about the process. But there is so many things that go into a business that a lot of people don't think about. One of the things that I've talked about on the podcast is money. So for myself, I've actually bootstrapped all of my businesses, which means I've funded it myself. And I've basically started very small. When I first started my very first business, I was a wedding video prefer. And I lately, just like people asked me to film my weddings. And I said yes. And then over time, once I started earning a little bit money, I would invest that back into equipment or things for the business, including branding. But I never actually took out any loans or funding, mostly because my businesses have been mostly service based. If it's a product or a physical space, you may need to actually take out loans or funding, I recommend listening to episode number 23. with Emma from Hazel Ambrose, she talks a lot about how she got the funding to have her space, she has a boutique. So if you're interested in actually building a brick or mortar store, that is something I would recommend listening to. And I recommend if you are starting a brick and mortar store to first start online, I think once you hit a large enough following online, that is when you start the brick and mortar not the other way around, I think you do have to build up to having an actual physical location versus just starting with that because I think a lot of people need to know who you are, and get excited about the fact that you're going into a store. One company I recommend looking at is a soda clothing, they are a local business, and they started all online selling Minnesota themed products. And they just opened their first location, I've been to it a few times. And it's really beautiful. And they've

spent so many times so many years building up their online brand to a point where they have the demand for an in person store. So you definitely need to think about if you want to be an online seller or an in person, seller, there's also options for doing local pop ups. If you're doing a product based business as well as different resources like selling on Etsy, selling on Shopify, getting your online business up and running first is what I recommend if you're doing products. If you're a service based business, if you haven't home office or someplace to work out of that is really helpful. Otherwise, there are things like co working spaces where you can go and work. There are places that you can rent to have your business, you don't always need to have a physical location when your service based business, you can kind of meet at coffee shops, all that. Another resource I recommend is the book will it fly by Pat Flynn. And that is a book all about looking at an idea and making sure it'll work kind of goes with number one of creating your product, but making sure that the actual business plan is is sound and something that you think will work. So will it fly by Pat Flynn is a great book to check out for that. One thing I also recommend with the business plan is how much time will it take and whether or not you're going to have other income. I am the kind of person that don't doesn't like being in debt. I don't like not being able to put pay my bills. So I always have if I need to i i agree go get go and get a job for a while, you know, and then if business takes off, then I you know, leave the job. There's a lot of different ways to make sure that you're not literally dying and not having enough money. Again, side hustling is another option, having a full time job and then doing it on the side. Most people start their businesses these days by doing side hustling. Okay, so the third step you'll need to take for starting a business. This is something we've talked about before we did a workshop on this, and that is branding. So once you have your business idea and your business plan, you need to figure out what this business is going to look like, like visually, as well as what is the feeling that it's going to invoke? Obviously, when people think branding, they think logo. Sure you do need a logo, but you also need a lot of other things. You will need imagery fonts, your colors, and basically the overall tone of your business. Is it going to be a happy business? Is it going to be kind of a darker, moody business? When it comes to how you feel about it? One thing that I thought about recently is think more about your customers than yourself, what are they going to be attracted to versus what you personally enjoy. When I was creating the Twin Cities collective branding with Allie redesign, which you can listen to her I think on episode, we have branding episodes 1415 and 16 of the podcast. One is with Melanie, one is with Alli and the others with Joe. Those are all great episodes about branding. But when I was meeting with Allie to talk about the Twin Cities collective branding, she had me create a mood board on Pinterest. And that was super helpful because I could pin different images that I thought would invoke what I want the Twin Cities collective to be. And I've actually told other people to do this too, because it helps them realize what they like, but also what they think their business should represent. So I pinned a bunch of greenery things that have to do with kind of the natural tones of Minnesota. And that was what we ended up doing. And that's why all of our imagery is is very much about me and about the greenery of Minnesota. So that's why our colors are dark green and light green. So that really helped represent what I thought that the tone of the actual business was versus what I preferred, which I love the color pink, but I was like that's not going to work for a group that has men and women in it. So I chose over what I liked, I chose what I thought that the group would enjoy. So having your fonts and colors. And again, fonts, I would recommend two fonts, colors, I'd recommend three to five. And they all kind of can go together.

I actually recommend the app coolers co I think it was called it's called if you just type in coolers app, you can actually help you come up with a color scheme. I've actually used that before, it's super helpful online tool. I'll leave a link to that. Another resource I recommend besides Episode Number 1415 and 16 is the book how to style your brand by Fiona Humber stone. This is an amazing book, if you are learning how to what branding is and the importance of it. I think that this that branding is probably one of the most important and overlooked steps of starting a business. It'll make you seem a lot more professional, and will just make you more memorable to people. I also recommend I'll talk about photography down the road. But I think that having also like a good headshot, as well as a logo is super important. All right, number four, setting up your website and online listings. So a lot of the times A lot of people don't set up their website right away, they set up a Facebook page or something that people can find them. For me when I first started January for designs, I set up an Etsy shop, which was great because I didn't have to pay for it as a shop. The only time I ever had to pay was for each listing. And I remember when I was first setting up my Etsy shop, I was afraid no one was going to buy my stock photos. I remember the first time I got a sale I like cried, I was so excited because I was like oh my gosh, somebody actually wants to buy this. Plus I I it's 20 cents a listing. And so I sell my stock photos at $10. And I've sold them at $10 since I started and the fact that I could actually pay for all those 20 cent listings was really exciting to me that I was like, at least they made somewhat of a profit. So setting up your website, I've talked about this in the past, I've written a few blog posts that I'll link about choosing a different which website you want to use. I prefer Squarespace, but what WordPress is a great option, Shopify is a great option. And also, there's a few other ones that I would recommend. I've recommended Squarespace because of the ease of use, it's really easy to buy a domain, which I recommend getting a really good domain, if you can, if you don't know what domain is, it's the it's the URL that you can own. There's ways to buy them for cheap on different websites. But I recommend getting something that people will remember, I recommend getting a.com if you can. And also just making sure that it fits with your brand. When you build your website, I recommend having a few different pages. And about page is super important getting the copy right about who you are setting up a services page. So listing all the things that you offer or a shop page, if you're selling products, that I this is kind of how I set it up in the menu about page services page, then you can add either like a blog page or something and then a contact page. Make it easy for them to to kind of go through your website and understand what they're doing. Also, for search engine results, make sure not to have like cutesy names for those things actually, right like services, blog contact, SEO we talked about recently in Episode 75. So if you want to go back and talk about keyword research, that is super important for setting up your website, what are people searching for in your actual niche and making sure that it all makes sense. There's a few other things you want to set up like your Google business account. This is great, because when somebody Google's your business, it'll show up on the right hand side, it will have a physical location, it will have reviews, it will have images, in addition, so you can actually even do that if you don't want to set up a website right away is setting up your Google business account. All you do is you actually I think you do have to have a physical location, I'm not sure you might just be able to have like a city. But I actually just redid mine, and I had it mailed to me the other day, and you just type in a code. And this allows you to confirm that you own the location that you're at, this could be your home, if you wanted to, and just have that be the location of your business. That's what I've done. And so it's easy for me to be able to have that space.

Start starting your blog is another thing you might want to do when you first launch your website is having three to four blog posts written this way, when somebody comes to your blog, they have a reason to stick around and actually enjoy some of the resources that you offer. So I recommend having something on there that is interesting, maybe setting up your freebie or your sales funnel. You might want to do that maybe a little bit later once you've kind of gotten set up and figured out what you're doing. But that allows you to get your email address listings, which I recommend setting up like a MailChimp account, which is free and getting that ready to go. Because that way, when people come to your website, if they leave right away, you've there's no point of having them because they'll forget about you. Once you get their email, you will be on the front of their mind when they get the email in their inbox, they'll remember you they'll remember God having gone to your website, they will probably want to continue to to follow up with what you're doing. So getting your website ready. I prefer Squarespace again, WordPress is great as well, it's a little bit harder to figure out. But it does have a lot of capabilities that Squarespace doesn't have. I will again link the blog post I've done about comparing the to the next one, number five for the steps that you need is photography. So I think a lot of people think they just need a headshot when they launched. But I highly recommend getting more brand photography than that. Whether it's product, photos, pictures of you working with clients, they don't even have to be real clients, they could be your friend, they could be people that are just posing as people. That because you want to show how your services work, you want to get some images of you doing that. Another great thing is also video. So if you want like a promo video explaining what you do, but I did want to mention that I actually now offer brand photography. So if you're looking for some images of yourself, whether it's at your workplace, or at mindmeld, I have a great studio that has a desk, and I have a lot of different props, let me know because I think that this is so important for every business is having great photos, especially for their Instagram, especially for all of those things that you need. I think that having the right photos in the online space today is a no brainer. And something that is not just something you should want, but something that you should actually need. And something that you you literally can't work without. So check out photography as an option for your business. And the next one is pricing your product. This is something I when I was going through the list of things that we needed to do for setting up your business. Honestly,

this is one that I was like, Oh my gosh, this is probably the hardest thing for me. And also the one that I feel like I need to do a future podcast episode on and that's figuring out like, what was the market research, what are people in your industry selling a lot of the things I've done in the past, no one else has really been offering them. So it's very hard for me to figure out pricing. And that's been very, very difficult for me. But I think that honestly, pricing is something that over time, you can get better at. At first, most people price pretty low, because they're starting out but you want to upset over time, especially if you're getting booked out. I think the biggest thing people freak out about is if they've been at a price for a long time, they think that if they up it, they'll lose a lot of their customers. But that's not true. If you're completely packed and you don't have any time to do anything else you can up your prices, because obviously you're getting booked out and you need to be able to, you can actually have less clients and charge more. So it's kind of the whole math of the thing, which again, a lot of creatives aren't interested in math, and I personally am not. But I know that that's a huge part of business is figuring out the money side of things. Another idea I have for that is also working with like a final financial advisor, and having a budget. We've talked about this in the podcast before last summer, episodes number 18. And 21 was about QuickBooks, and the other was about budgeting and working with a financial advisor. So this is great. If you are looking to get better at your money and figuring out all the things QuickBooks is a great resource for that as well. And I think that having all of that setup, and knowing where your money is, is important. That's something I struggle with. But I'm so pricing your product and figuring out the money is super important. Okay, number seven was setting up your business, figuring out if you want to become an LLC, and setting up your bank accounts. We talked with Winnie Reese, and episode number 22. She is a lawyer for creatives. And we talked a little bit about setting up your LLC, what the differences between that and a DPA which is doing business as when I first set up Twin Cities collective, I set up a bank account separate for each of the businesses I've ever had. Because then that way, if I make money for that business, it goes in that bank account. And then that's where I can actually spend money as well. I have an LLC for two businesses, and one of them I'll actually be letting go of because I'm combining my businesses. So I'll only have one LLC, for Twin Cities collective, you do have to renew those every year with the state. So that's something that I will be doing this at the end of 2018. Now a lot of people think, Oh, I can't start a business until I have an LLC. That's not true, you can start a business and eventually do it all see, especially once you start making more money, but you don't have to have one when you first start. I think it's a great way to kind of protect things. But I also feel like it's not 100% necessary. A few things I do want to mention about legalities. If you're sending money for businesses over Facebook, which allows you to send money, you can get in a lot of trouble. So make sure to actually use things like stripe or square, or things like at PayPal, those are much more safer to use for business transactions. I talk I'll talk about in the next point about them Sato and other CRM that allow me to have invoicing. QuickBooks also allows you to send money, there's a lot of options. But please don't use Facebook, you can get a lot of trouble legally, because they don't allow business transactions. So don't use Facebook to send money or even over, like texting, I don't think you can do that either. Or what's the other one bad mouth don't send business money overhead Mo, because it's easy to track from those businesses. And I know that there's a lesser fee, but it will cost you way more if you get caught doing that. I prefer stripe as my main one that I use, because it's super easy to go straight to your bank account. Okay, so the next one is setting up kind of how you work with clients and the customer experience or the client experience. I again used up Sato, I talked about this in Episode 21 of the podcast. This is a CRM, which is a Customer Relationship Manager, or client relationship manager. Basically what this does, it allows me to handle my contracts, my invoices, my

lead forums. So if somebody fills out a lead form, and it's about something that I'm offering, I can set up a workflow and up siloed to automatically send them an email back, whether it's the actual products that I offer, or just a follow up email saying thanks for sending me a message I'll get back to you as soon as I can. There's a lot of different options for websites, they also have their own scheduler that they're launching. So if you are using something like acuity scheduling, or calland Lee to set up appointments, you can also now eventually end up Sato use their own scheduling software. There's other options for a CRM, like honey book, and 17. I prefer dub Sato because they don't have any additional fees and their customer services amazing. So I recommend that another thing you might want to do if especially if you're a service based business is coming out with an intro packet. This is something or a welcome packet is what other people call it. This is if you are starting to work with someone, this intro packet helps them understand what they're getting into and what the actual entire customer experience looks like. I actually did an entire workshop online on this and it was super helpful to know what you should include in that. So that is something I recommend. So setting up your scheduling software, setting up the forums that you need, and then setting up maybe a workflow and all the packages that you offer. Getting able to invoice people with a some sort of software is super important, especially if you're doing a service based business. If you're doing a product based business setting up a Shopify Etsy account, anywhere that you sell products, setting up how you're going to ship the product, is it a digital product? Are you going to package the product in a certain way? Have you bought in the things that you need to send to people, I know that there's ways to go through the United States Postal Service to get different packages where you can send things, thinking about all that may be talking to people that have done it before and getting their advice on how to set up shipping is super important. or using a drop shipper. If you don't know what drop shipping is. That's what we're going to be using for our T shirts. We are actually just going to have the people at the business that we're ordering from ship it for us. It helps so much with everything on our end. And so that's really helpful. I really am excited to work with drop drop shippers. OK, so now that you have your business setup, now you need to start advertising. We've done a lot of episodes about marketing. And one of the things that you need to do for sure is to network. We talked about this with Jenna for an episode 54. We talked about different networking groups around town and how to actually network. So you definitely want to check out that episode. Another thing that helped me so much when I first started my business, was joining Facebook groups. Facebook groups have been so helpful. People in there are looking for different services you can offer yours, people are asking questions, it's a great way to gather ideas for blog posts. To even just make friends with people. Some of the groups I love are savvy business owners think Creative Collective. Some local ones, there's two sides together part of rising tide society.

Jenna culture is gold digger podcast insiders is one of my new favorite groups. There's a lot of really awesome groups that share a lot of information. Obviously, Twin Cities collective if you haven't joined that yet, we do post every single weekday and every week, they're the same. So you can kind of expect different ways to connect with people. Facebook groups, and networking is number nine. And then number 10 is social media. So once you have everything up on your website, now it's time to talk about your business on social media. We've talked about Facebook ads in episode number, 53, and 55. And many, many, many podcast episodes we've done about Instagram. So you can just kind of go through, we probably have at least 10 to 15 episodes just about Instagram. Those are what I think are the best ways to promote your business on a very quick scale. When it comes to short term content. I was gonna do another podcast episode about this, but I'm just going to do it right now. There's a few different ways to do content. And there's short term and long term. When it comes to short term, I think that the right options are videos, being a podcast guest sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as Instagram and Instagram stories, the more long term content methods that you want to do if you're trying to get things for search engine results, that's doing a podcast yourself blogging and using Pinterest, a lot of those take a lot longer to actually get results. But sometimes the results are way better than some of the short term things like Instagram, and Facebook, because the search ability of them. So if you're thinking about social media, and you want to get sales right now, go with the first group that I mentioned, creating some videos, being a podcast guest on something that's coming out this month, posting on social media where people see it today, like Instagram, or Facebook, we talked so much about this and all the episodes, I don't really want to go into it too much. But I recommend honestly with Instagram Stories is kind of the thing right now. I've really realized this over the past few weeks is people just love stories, they just do they just spend so much time on them. And I think stories are way easier, super super, so much easier, I think then actual Instagram, because with Instagram, you have to think so much about hashtags, you have to think about the quality photo, you have to think about all, there's so much more to think about when it comes to Instagram. But if you're wanting to build an audience, Instagram stories, I think is the easiest and most effective way to do it. If you're looking for more information on Instagram, especially on Instagram stories, we have our ultimate guide to Instagram, which is our online course. And this came out this summer. And it's a very, very intensive course it but it's very short. It's only about I think it's about three hours for the ultimate guide. And each hour is devoted to a different thing. So the first hour is on Instagram growth. The second hour is on stories. And then the third hour is on it TV, which is a brand new thing that's happening on Instagram. We'll see if that takes off. But I think it's really helpful to watch if you're interested in repurposing older videos that you've done in the past. So check out our online course for that because I think a lot of people are still struggling with Instagram. And I've created like a really easy way to follow and kind of set up your account the right way, with step by step videos that teach you exactly what you need to do on Instagram to really set you up for success. So those are the 10 things that I think that you need to take when you're setting up a business. If there's any questions that you guys have, make sure to email me Jenna at Twin Cities collective calm. I'm also looking for more podcast topics as well as potentially speakers. We are launching something this week called the business of the month. And with this sponsorship, we will have a guest speaker every month as part of that sponsorship. So I'm really excited about that. So if you guys want to reach out to me, join our Facebook group, take our online courses or listen to some old podcast episodes. I hope you guys take those steps because I've put out this is number let's see what episode is this? This is number 77. We've done 77 episodes about so many different topics. If you guys haven't checked them out, I highly recommend doing so. So thanks guys so much for listening the podcast today. I hope this has helped you when you're starting a business, and I'll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield. Make sure to click subscribe if you haven't already. And make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks again for Ian at Studio Americana for producing this episode, as well as Melanie Lee for designing the podcast art and thanks to Nicole I had less for the use of the song in the intro intro. Thanks so much again and I'll see you next time


Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

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