On the Road to Entrepreneurship: Part One (What’s in a Business, Anyway?)

This series reviews my personal journey on becoming a business owner. I’m neither recommending nor suggesting you take the exact same steps I did. Rather, I’m sharing the story of how red vine came to be, including the trials and tribulations along the way. Read the full series here.

Entrepreneur.

Not a word I would have thought I’d use to describe myself…at least, not for a very long time.

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As life (and luck) would have it, I’ve been blessed with enough freelance work to be able to do what I love nearly full time. It’s led me to one major realization: I need to establish a business and really do this right. I found out pretty quickly that I’d need a business for a number of reasons:

  • Cover my butt. Let’s be serious, for any business, this is important.
  • Taxes.
  • Legality.

All in all, “starting my own business” isn’t so scary because it’s just a fancy way of saying “I need to do this right.”

Step 1: What is your business going to be? (and should you have one?)

That’s where things started, and ideas began flowing quickly. I already knew what I was going to offer for services, so “what my business was going to be?” was the easiest question to answer. For other businesses, that may be the hardest.

Not only is the type of business important, but there are a number of planning questions you should ask yourself before going any further. There are plenty of great resources out there for questions/guides to getting started with your business; simply Google “Should I start a business?” Here are some simple questions to start once you decide what your business is going to be:

  • Is there a need for this type of business in your area?
  • Are you able to do your business full time or part time? (In other words, are you able to have this as your only source of income?)
  • What type of startup capitol will you need?
  • Will you make (enough) money doing it?
  • What will your business plan look like?
  • What will your marketing plan look like?

Step 1, check.

Step 2: Is it just you? Do you need a team? Do you need employees?

Since my bread and butter is web marketing, I knew that the right team was one of the biggest factors for my new business. I can do the writing and marketing for existing websites, but I don’t actually build or design those sites. Luckily, I know some great developers and designers that I’ve worked with in the past and know do a kickass job. Step 2, check.

Step 2.5: No, really, do you need a team?

As a matter of sheer irony, my younger brother – who has an Engineering degree from the University of Maine Orono – decided that his true passions also lie online with web design and development.

Since I know, love, and trust him, we began talking about actually starting the business together, as a team. Step 2.5, check.

The next step? The dreaded name.

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