Are you a do-it-yourself type entrepreneur looking to transition into self-employment?
If you answered yes, then our Calgary Launch Lady DIY Entrepreneur Fast Launch Guide with Protips is for you!
All our protips and tricks are outlined below. To receive a one-page fast launch guide and get answers to your questions, give me a shout and buy me a coffee 🙂
Tammy Maloney, BA, MBA
+1 (403) 831-4503
STEP 1 – WRITE CONTENT FOR A 3-PAGE WEBSITE
To be successful like Apple, start with WHY YOU!
If you don’t believe me, watch this great Simon Sinek TED TALK.
PAGE 1 – WHY – Tell your story. Why are you the best? Why do you love what you do?
PAGE 2 – HOW – Write about each of your past relevant projects and include photos.
PAGE 3 – WHAT – Briefly describe your services.
PROTIP – This website content you’ve created is actually the foundation of any good business plan.
Step 2 – CHOOSE A LEGAL STRUCTURE
To put your personal assets at risk or not?
1 – INCORPORATION – PROS – protects your personal assets and your business name from being taken. Corporate tax rates are lower than personal tax rates. CONS – costs about $500 and corporate tax accountants tend to charge you more than personal tax accountants.
2 – SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP with TRADE NAME REGISTRATION – PROS – costs about $60 to register your trade name. This enables you to get a bank account and start operating. CONS – your personal assets and your business name aren’t protected. It can be complicated separating business and personal transactions.
PROTIP – INCORPORATING costs less when done at a registry (~$400 – $600) and not directly through a lawyer (~$1000).
PROTIP – Have an accountant estimate your total taxes as both a corporation and as a sole proprietor before you decide. Your corporate tax savings may cover the costs of incorporation and increased accounting costs.
STEP 3 – CHOOSE A NAME
It’s all about being at the top of a Google Search
1 – GOOGLE IT – Nowadays customers don’t even type in your website address. All they do is google words they remember about your company and look for it on the first page. This means you have to choose a unique and memorable name that doesn’t compete with other brands. Before you finalize your name make sure you google it first.
2 – ONLINE PRESENCE – If you can get the same name for your website, twitter, and facebook, you’ve hit a homerun.
3 – NUANS REPORT– If you plan to incorporate, you will also have to ensure your name isn’t already in use by obtaining a professional legal name search known as a NUANS REPORT.
PROTIP – A NUANS REPORT costs less when done online ($25) and not directly through a lawyer ($40). You can also save money with an online FREE NUANS PRE-SEARCH.
Step 4 – OBTAIN A BUSINESS LICENCE
Operating out of your home is an affordable way to start.
PROTIP – You don’t always need a business license to operate out of your home. Pay a one-time Class 1 Home Occupation fee of $54 to the City of Calgary instead. NOTE: This increases to almost $500 as soon as you have employees or clients coming to your house or start storing large equipment or vehicles in view of your neighbours.
Visit www.Calgary.ca/PDA or call 311 for more details.
Step 5 – COVER YOUR ASS
Like it or not you need good contracts and insurance in place.
1 – INSURANCE FIRST – Visit your insurance guy first. They will know of legal clauses that when included in your contracts will lower your insurance costs.
2 – LAWYER SECOND – To save money, it is best if you meet with a lawyer after you have researched and printed samples of all the contracts your business will need.
PROTIP – Some legal websites, such as http://www.lawdepot.ca, offer a FREE week to download basic agreements.
Step 6 – BOOKKEEPING and OFFICE SET UP
Every piece of paper matters.
1 – DIY vs. HIRE – If you are naturally organized, great with numbers, and love using mobile apps, you are an excellent candidate for DIY bookkeeping. If you aren’t, hiring a good bookkeeper lowers your overall annual accounting costs because they charge you less than a tax accountant to transform your piles of paper into accountant-ready financial statements.
2 – GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS – If you are going the DIY route don’t forget to set up your WCB, CRA, and GST accounts.
PROTIP – Do not underestimate the value of a shoe box! At a minimum, throwing every piece of paper associated with your business into one box will save you money and stress
Step 7 – MARKETING
Every day I’m hustling.
1 – ONLINE PRESENCE – Launch your 3-page website with your unique URL. Set up a company email. A Google G-Suite business account costs $5/month. Save your twitter and facebook addresses, but unless you are social media savvy don’t worry about using them to start.
2 – LOGO – Logo’s are great if you are trying to establish a global brand. For a small local business using an icon that represents your main services is often enough to start. You can buy them for as little as $2 or get them free in PowerPoint. Online graphic designers will do vector file logos for under $50. Local graphic designers can cost up to $1,000.
3 – MARKETING MATERIALS– To get started all you need is a business card with a tag line that clearly states what you are selling. Car magnets are also an affordable tool.
PROTIP – Don’t pay more than $50 to get 500 cards designed and printed.
4 – GET OUT THERE– Traditional forms of marketing no longer work. Today it is all about relationships. Go to where your customers are. Meet people. Build relationships. Collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs. Go hyperlocal and target a neighbourhood by becoming involved in your community.
PROTIP – BusinessLink.CA does free market research via email. It helps them if your know your NAICS codes. But research without the passion to put yourself out there can only go so far.
Step 8 – TAKE THE LEAP!
If you know who you are and what you bring to the table, give it a shot. You can always go back to working for someone else.
PROTIP – A business plan is great, but action is better. There is a reason tech companies launch a beta version first.