So you’re thinking about starting your own business. We’re not going to lie. There is a lot that goes into it. It’s hard. BUT it's one of the most rewarding things you’ll do. So here is a checklist where we go over all the things you need to think about when starting a service-based business.
01 // Decide on Your Name
Now, this is one of the fun parts when starting your business! Here are a few helpful tips when you’re thinking through a name.
- Think through personal details and specific services you offer. Be careful though not to box yourself in. For example, if you chose the name “Luna Websites”, it will be hard to add on other types of services in the future that have nothing to do with websites like branding, Facebook ads, etc.
- Is it easy to spell? (As you can see we didn’t have this checklist when we were choosing our name haha)
- Is it trademarked? Search here to see if the name is trademarked
- Is the domain available? Search here to see if the domain is available
- Is the social media handle available? Search the name on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc
If all of this checks out, you have found the name of your business!
02 // Register Your Business
Depending on your state you will have to choose your business structure and then register it with your state. Most service-based businesses just starting out choose between a Sole-Proprietorship or an LLC as their business structure. Check out this article to find all the details on this
03 // Open a Business Banking Account.
Always keep your business and personal finances separate, even if you are registering as a sole-proprietorship. When someone pays you, have that money be deposited into your business account. When you want to then pay yourself, transfer the money from your business account to your personal. We suggest at minimum having one checking account and one savings account. The checking account is where all your invoices are being paid to and business expenses come out of. The savings account is where you can put 12-20% of your paid invoices for tax purposes. Research your exact state for how much you should be setting aside for taxes. To open a business bank account you will need your Business ID. This is something you get when you register your business. If you end up not acquiring a Business ID, you can open a personal checking account. You just want to ensure you are not mixing your business and personal finances all into one account.
- Look at services like Bench as a potential bookkeeping service
04 // Understand Your Services
What exactly are you offering? Think through the services you want to offer and what kind of container you want to offer them in.
- Containers could be things like Done For You, Do It Yourself, Coaching, Done in a Day, Done in a Week, Courses, Digital Downloads, etc.
- Not sure exactly what you want to do? Check out https://www.offertoimpact.com/ This is from a company we personally have learned so much from! This is one of their free challenges where they help you figure out a business you can start based on your passions.
05 // Decide On Your Tech Stack
What are you using for Project Management? Invoicing? Proposals? Contracts? File Storage? Website Platform? Email Automation? CRM? You can google each of these categories and you will find an endless amount of softwares. I’ll list what we use below for each of these categories:
- Project Management/Content Calendar - Airtable
- Business Health Tracking - Google Sheets
- Invoicing - Quickbooks
- Proposals/Contracts - Send PDFs via email and if we need something signed we use a portal called joinportal.io and we can request signatures through that
- File Storage - Dropbox & Google Drive
- Website Platform - Webflow
- Email Automations/CRM - ActiveCampaign
06 // Create your Branding
So much falls under this! Getting a professional brand allows you to begin establishing your brand credibility, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and increase your brand recognition. Here are three areas to think through when developing your branding:
Understand Your Business
- Why are you starting this business?
- What is your mission? (What do you want to achieve in the next 1-5 years)
- What is your vision? (What do you want to achieve in the next 5-10+ years)
- What values do you hold (that set you apart)?
- Who is your target audience?
- What do they love/not love?
- What do they value?
- What do they want as it relates to your offer?
- What is standing in the way of them getting what they want? (what is the main problem you are solving for them)
Discovering your Competitors and What Makes You Different
- Research competitors in your industry - look at local, national, and global competitors
- What are they offering? How are they telling people about this offer? What platforms are they using to communicate to their target audience? Is it clear what problems they are solving? Is it clear how they solve those problems?
- Now look at all your research about your competitors and look at your business. You will see a lot of similarities. But find the areas where you are different. This is where your USP is hiding. What are you talking about that they are not? What are you providing that they are not? Are you offering something in a different container than your competitors are?
- If you’re feeling a little stuck here, try the PB&J Method. A blog on this method is coming soon.
What does your branding look like?
- We suggest every business has at least a Master Logo, Primary Logo, Secondary Logo, Brand Mark, and a Tagline Logo
- Your Color Palette
- Your Fonts
- Create a Moodboard
- Shameless plug - check out our One Week Branding offer where we create all this and more for you in one week!
07 // Create Your Website
So you’ve done everything on this checklist and you now want to start showing your business off! Before you do that though, you need somewhere to actually send them. Somewhere that is clear, concise, and sells your services. Spoiler alert: it's your website. Your website is not a place to be cute and clever. Your website is meant to make you sales, so you want to build it with that perspective in mind.
The necessary pages you need
- Homepage, Service Page, Contact Us Page
The necessary pages that allow you to have a content strategy
- Overall Blog Page, Individual Blog Page, Overall Freebie Page, Individual Freebie Page, IG Links Page
After you go through One Week Branding with us, you get exclusive access to our service Two Week Website where we provide all the mentioned pages above and more. Send us an email or DM us on Instagram to learn more about this service.
08 // Choose Your Marketing Channels
Where are you going to market yourself and your services? Are you going to write blogs? Send Emails? Post on Instagram? Or Facebook? Or TikTok? Or Pinterest? Are you going to attend Networking Events? Or Farmer’s Markets? There are so many places you could show up. But here is the thing, be honest with yourself about which ones you can show up consistently in. You don’t need to be everywhere. Choose your channels. Be strategic. Be consistent. And you’ll see the needle move.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into starting a business. This checklist is a great starting point! Helping startups is why we started Luveaux. So if you have any questions or need support send us an email here or send us a DM on Instagram. We want to see you win in the goals you have set out for yourself, so let us know how we can support you in making that happen!
There are referral links sprinkled throughout this checklist. Any link that is a referral link is from softwares we personally use and support. If you sign up through our link we do receive a small commission :)
Does reading this blog make you want to level up your business? Let's huddle up and work together to get your business into victory formation!