The last post, Starting a Creative Business – The Basics, covered some of the very basic steps you need to take or consider when starting your creative business. It was a short list meant to not overwhelm but rather, be a launch pad, a place to start.
Let’s look at some more beginner steps you can take to start your creative business.
Plan it out – Writing up a business plan doesn’t have to be a great big chore, a novel length document or even a days long process. Your business plan is a blueprint for your creative business. You’ll want to plan out things like; what your business will sell, who your customers are and where you will find them, what you need to build your business and get it found by customers and how much money you will need to launch. Don’t let the whole process overwhelm you and keep you from starting. Just answer those basic questions in short sentences and set it aside for a day or so to “simmer”. Come back and edit as needed and then proceed to the next step.
The tax man – Once you have most of the steps up to this point figured out you’ll want to get your EIN or Employee Identification Number. If you have registered your business as a sole proprietor you may use your social security number. You can register and get more information here. The EIN is a 9 digit number assigned to sole proprietors corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. Yes, you DO have to pay taxes on the money your business will earn.
If the product or service you sell is taxable, you need a state sales tax permit. You can do a google search for “YourState Department of Taxation” to get information about sales tax. In ohio the website is http://www.tax.ohio.gov/ and you’ll want to click on “Ohio Business Gateway” to get started. Almost everything you’ll need or need to know about tax forms and filing can be found on the web.
In the Zone – depending on the creative business you set up you may want to check with your local government to be sure there are no zoning restrictions or permits needed for the type of business you are starting.
Paper and Design – Now for a bit of the fun creative stuff you like to do. Once you get the legal stuff going you’ll be ready for business cards, stationary, brochures or other printable material. After all of that legal work and form filling out it’s time to choose colors, styles and designs that mesh with the brand you want to created. You can do research and plan this stuff out to the nth degree or you can just go with your gut and what you like. Your designs will probably evolve and change over time so don’t put too much money into the process at this stage. My advice is to get rolling and then re-evaluate in 6 months to see how you feel about your colors, logo, business cards and other design elements.
Checks and Balances – Now it’s time to set up a checking account and a records keeping system. You will most likely be able to set up a new business account where you do your regular banking provided you are happy with the services they offer. Don’t be afraid to shop around at various banks to see what they offer small businesses. Things like free checks and low balances without fees are a big deal for a new creative business owner. Also, a program like Quick Books or Quicken can save you hours and hours of checkbook balancing and invoicing plus, your tax professional will like you a lot better at tax time too.
By combining the list in Starting a Creative Business – The Basics and this article you will have 10 pretty easy steps to use to start your creative business. 10 steps. That’s all. Now that doesn’t seem so overwhelming now, does it?
Have you completed the items in the first list? Were you surprised at how easy it was once you go going?
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess