Okay, so you officially decided to start your own business. Woah! Congratulations on that. It might have been a frightening decision. And in case you’re still in doubt, you might wanna read this post about when to start an online business. Ready to rumble? Here’s the first I thing I did: planning! [Insert dancing banana emoji — DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THAT HAPPY FELLA?] Today I’ll share with you the ways in which you could start planning your business start-up. Oh, and did I mention my planner comes right your way in the form a free printable? Hurray!
Featured in these pictures: Moleskine agenda, Nuuna notebook (this will be my next one), Chain Twenty planner (free printable below), OPI nail polish, Calvin Klein men’s watch (similar), Drops cotton merino (natural + light grey).
Why planning your business start-up?
It feels kiiinda silly to explain this, because in the mind of a real plan-geek like me planning is everything. Raise yo hand if you can relate! But, besides all the pros of planning everyone already knows, I do feel the need to explain why to start with a planner before you’ve started your business. The most important reason being: because you need to think some stuff through in advance.
Like I had, you might have the idea you’ve figured it all out already. You know what you wanna do. You know what you need to arrange. You know what you have to learn more of… After all, you’ve dreamt about it for weeks, months, years (!), isn’t it? Well, let me tell you it ain’t gonna happen if you don’t put all of those things on paper and set deadlines. Unless you have the strongest of perseverance and no side jobs, studies, house hold, kids, money issues, or other distractions going on (who has that?). So go get that planner and start planning!
I love monthly planners and I love a minimal design. So I made my own monthly planner (pdf download)! It’s teeny tiny and simple, just how like it. If you want to plan a lot of stuff per day, you might need the Word version (.docx). This way, you can enter all your topics digitally like I do. The planner runs from September to December, just in case you happen to love it (and I might make a new one next year)!
What to plan?
I started planning at July the 1st, because it just feels right to start planning on the first of the month. Or on a Monday, like today. I didn’t have anything concrete yet, only the ideas in my head. Of course it depends on your personal situation, but for me it seemed like a good idea to fill the whole month of July with preparation activities. Here’s what I included:
- Business plan writing. Nothing works better to figure out what your start-up is gonna look like than business plan writing. I’ll probably write a separate post about this, but just make sure you reserve time to write and continuously rewrite a business plan. It helps to stay focused and provides more topics for your planner!
- Brand name brainstorm sessions. I didn’t have a brand name yet, and really found it hard to think of one or to decide on one. It’s so important and you can’t easily change it afterwards. So I planned one hour sessions to brainstorm with myself, multiple times. Just give yourself time to sleep on it.
- Logo design. A business plan usually includes a so-called Style Sheet, where you define everything about the style / vibe of your brand. Use this to think about a new logo, or pass it on to a graphic designer. In that case, plan time to find a designer that designs stuff you love.
- Hosting provider research. I gave myself a few hours to read as much as I could about other peoples’ experiences with hosting providers. Pay attention to reliability (duh), knowledge of WordPress, quality of the helpdesk, and options for expanding traffic. Oh, and all of that for a good price of course :).
- Photography research. A new site, new shop, and new Instagram accounts calls for more knowledge about photography. I planned some research sessions with my good friend The Internet and learned a lot from photography blogs. I also downloaded and bought books to be read in the future. #gottalearnmore
- Learn about webdesign. If you don’t know much about webdesign, WordPress, coding, or other digital stuff relevant to your start-up, plan time to watch some YouTube tutorials and teach yourself the basics. YouTube tutorials are the best for whatever you wanna learn. You’ll spare yourself a lot of frustration and it makes you understand the scope of options available for your website. In my case, this topic also included learning about Woocommerce, a plugin I will be using for my shop.
- Social media engaging sessions. If you already own (personal) social media accounts, use it to notify your followers of your upcoming start-up. This will built a community even before you launch your business. People who already know you are more likely to follow your new business’ social media accounts. #kickstart
I must admit, I really wanted to finish my whole July planning. But on Wednesday the 20th, I decided I figured out enough to get things started.
Might have had something to do with the glass of white wine in my hand. I had the name, I found the hosting provider, I longed for the new Instagram account, so I went for it. Oh and I was a bit afraid someone would all of a sudden steal my URL ‘:-). I could have decided to make a logo first, or to have my knitwear collection ready, but personally, I don’t mind figuring things out on to go.
The point where you stop planning your business and start actually doing it, is completely up to you. Just make sure to have the next couple of steps clearly in mind. And in case you’re in doubt about a career in handmade design, check out my five reasons to pursue such a career. Good luck!