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Entrepreneurship. That one word encompasses so many different meanings, emotions, and thoughts, that it can be overwhelming. But how does one go about becoming one? For some, the direct sales route seems the most appealing → low risk, low buy-in, you get out what you put in. However, this system is not the only option out there. If you’re like me, you want to have a business that is solely yours, not tied to another party that will take a portion of your earnings.

How do you get started on creating your own business?

First things first: it starts with an idea. What do you have to offer, what skills can you share, what hobbies do you have that can be monetized? We’ve all heard the quote that goes something like, “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” Now, that’s certainly a great ideal, but the reality is, you do have to work at it.

[Read: How to go from Multiple Ideas to Gaining Clarity in 5 Easy Steps]

So, after you’ve given yourself plenty of time to come up with a potential business idea, it’s time to break it down. Here are some of the questions I’ve asked myself when I was first starting out, as well as questions some of my fellow business owners asked:

  1. Is someone already doing this?
  2. How can I differentiate myself from the competition?
  3. What niche or target market do I want to focus on?
  4. How will I market this?
  5. Will there be startup costs?
  6. How will I fund my business?
  7. Will this be full-time or part-time?
  8. Will my focus be in-person or online?
  9. What do I need to have in place before I launch?
  10. Should I offer case studies, launch specials, get beta testers, etc.?

From there, comes some of the fun stuff → branding. Since I’m a creative by nature, I love when I get to flex those muscles. What goes into branding? That would be your color palette, your logo, the emotions and feelings you want your audience to feel and/or experience, your messaging, and your imagery. Don’t worry, there are plenty of resources out there to help with this step.

What my clients have done is start with their colors. It’s important to select a palette that will speak true to your brand. Why is this so crucial you may ask? Branding is all about putting yourself out there online and making your work and products recognizable to others. With your color palette, it will immediately let your audience get a feel for you. Is your brand high-energy or low-energy? Is it calming and soft, or edgy and sophisticated? When you delve deeper into color theory, you’ll be amazed at how integral this is.

[Read: How to Choose a Target Audience]

Once you have your palette, creating your logo will be that much easier (whether you do it yourself or hire someone to create it for you). Font selection will also come into play here, but that comes down to personal preference more often than not.

The key thing to get right when it comes to branding, though, is your messaging.

You want to be confident, bold, and never waiver. For example, if your brand is soft, feminine, and pink, using language that is counter-intuitive to that can send the wrong message (unless, of, course, you’re going for that ironic motif).

Let’s check in real quick: (1) you have your business idea; (2) you’ve answered some very important starter questions; (3) you’re developing your branding. Now, it’s time to create your offer. Depending on the business that you want to have, that can range from a physical product development (like a candle or jewelry) to online offerings (like social media management or virtual assistant packages) to services (like coaching or cleaning services). Regardless of the industry, you want to break into, you can find valuable resources that can help you navigate exactly what you’re looking for.

Now that you have your offer, you’re nearly ready for market. One thing that is so important for business just starting out is target market research.

You need to know what your audience wants, what they’re willing to pay for it if they see a need for it, and what demographic of people are interested in it.

The simplest way to do this is to create a quick survey and post it to social media. If you’re part of various groups, share it there as well, and see what your responses are. Don’t have a strong social media game? Emailing the quiz to friends and family, asking them to share it with their circles is also beneficial. At the end of the day, if you’re getting responses, you’re getting the tools you need to perfectly package your new business and offerings.

[Read: 5 Proven Ways to Boost End of the Year Sales and Finish 2018 Strong]

Whew, okay; you’re at the home stretch! With all this amazing work done, it’s time to check the legal (not as fun) boxes of your business before you officially launch. What do we mean by that? Depending on the state and county you live in, you’re going to need a business license. Added to that, you’ll more than likely need a DBA (doing business as a name), even if you’re a sole proprietor. Most entrepreneurs start out as sole proprietors before deciding to incorporate. Once you have your business name and business license, it’s time to get your business account. Most banks offer this, and trust me: keeping your personal and professional finances separate is a MUST! You don’t want any nasty surprises from the IRS down the line should you keep them co-mingled.

Have you checked all the fun and legal boxes? Have you done your due diligence with your research? Do you have a fully-branded offering that’s ready to go? If you do, it’s time to launch! Celebrate the fact that you have not only taken an idea and turned it into an innovative solution, but you’ve taken the first step to becoming a true entrepreneur. Get ready for some equally tough and rewarding times ahead, but trust in the fact that if you can get to this point, you’re prepared for what is yet to come.

Thanks for reading. Do you have a business idea? What’s stopping you from going all out? Ask your question below and remember to share this post with a friend.

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