As a creative entrepreneur, you most likely started your business because you wanted to make money doing what you loved and be free of the nine-to-five grind. What you might not have realized is that at some point working on your business was going to be just as important, if not more important, than working in your business.
Following are seven tips for setting you and your business up for success. I would suggest knocking these out as soon as possible to build a strong foundation.
1. Find and hire an accountant.
As a self-employed entrepreneur, you’ll need guidance on multiple aspects of your business. For instance, you can take a lot of tax right-offs, and there is a good chance you would miss them as you aren’t an expert in this area. Do yourself a favor and please don’t try and do your taxes on your own!
Ask your accountant:
- If you need to file a DBA
- At what point you should create a corporation or LLC for your business
- What the tax-deductible items are for your industry
2. Hire a bookkeeper.
Managing your books on top of all of your other responsibilities as a business owner is not the best use of your time or energy! The best way to find a great bookkeeper is to ask around for referrals.
Ask your potential bookkeeper:
- what services they offer
- what their hourly rate is, and a if they’re willing to work for a flat rate each month
- what they need from you on a monthly basis
- what reports they’ll be sending you and how often
3. Keep your business and personal expenses separate.
When you’re just starting out, get a second checking account and credit card for all of your business expenses. It doesn’t need to be an official business account unless your accountant says otherwise.
Once you’ve incorporated and/or have team members and employees, it’s helpful to have a business banking account and credit card, so you can keep track of who’s spending what.
4. Find an attorney.
Make sure all of your contracts and legal documents are created and reviewed by an attorney. This includes your client service agreements and all language on your website.
5. Start building your team.
As your business grows, it’s important to create a strong team. This can consist of a VA, PA, or other administrative support, or possible a combination of these. Knowing how to leverage, hire, and train team members is a learned skill that can take a little time, so start early, even if you’re just hiring interns.
Speak with an accountant and/or a local attorney about best practices and how to classify your team members.
6. Look at your financial reports at least once a month.
I’m not a big fan of figuring out a budget. I would much rather come up with ways of making more money! That being said, I believe it’s crucial to know what your monthly expenses are, both personally and professionally.
7. Find someone to walk you through this process.
Though you, like many other entrepreneurs, may believe you should just “know” how to set up a business, this is not the case. I don’t know about you, but I was never taught any of this in school. There’s no shame in asking for help and actually getting support. It can streamline the process for you.