Photography: Ashley Slater Photography / Desserts: Holland Cakery / Florals: Bloom Floral Design / Venue: Felt Mansion
Starting a business can feel very overwhelming and the idea of running that business can be flat out daunting. Over the years of running our own businesses we have honed our skills, refined time management, distinguished areas that require a lot of energy and areas that don’t propel us forward. These are all things that come with time and experience-- and boy did we make mistakes along the way! We want to share a few goals for those of you launching into your first year of business. Maybe you’re already a few years into your blog or business—this is for you as well! Go through our checklist and see if there are things you’ve yet to accomplish. If so, put a plan into place to tackle them with a vengeance. Jot down your goals to help keep you accountable (us work-from-homers need all the motivation we can get some days!) This list will allow you to be very ambitious if you choose, and in turn begin booking clients you actually want, create beauty and expand your brand in the direction you want it to go!
25 Goals for Your First Year in Business
1. Create a website. If you want to hit the ground running and come out of the gates with a strong brand and voice we suggest Kathryn of Crème Brands, Lauren of Elle & Company, and numerous other designers. If you're looking for an entry level design, even Etsy has some great options!
2. Register a website domain (we suggest godaddy.com)
3. Blog at least 3 times a week. Consumers (read: clients and potential customers) crave fresh content. Give them a reason to return to your online space because they expect to see something new.
4. Create social media handles that align with your business and website name. Conflicting handles make it hard for people to find you. We want to make it as EASY as possible to connect so if possible, create all your social media handles with the same name.
5. Get your business name trademarked. We recommend Legal Zoom to get started.
6. Join a local group to network and get connected. We love the Rising Tide Society!
7. If you are a wedding industry professional, set up at least 2 projects within the year to build your portfolio and stretch your creativity.
8. Reach out to at least two bloggers, editors, etc. that you admire and connect with them, ask them how they started their businesses, what they've learned and more.
9. Attend a workshop. Our last workshop of the year is happening in southern California in October. Join us!
10. Set yourself up to pay sales tax. We recommend meeting with a tax professional, then paying quarterly sales tax to make sure you're not blindsided at the end of the year.
11. Find out if you need business insurance and get it if you do!
12. Create a workflow chart. Start by listing the process of your business. If you're a photographer, what is the order of operations? Book the client, collect signed contract and payment, send client welcome gift, engagement session, edit photos, deliver photos, etc. all the way until you deliver their wedding images. Then take this list and make it into a flow cart so you can check things off the list as you get them done.
13. Create an editorial calendar. This ensures you are organized with your blogging / newsletter schedule for the month! No frantic writing or scrambling.
14. Learn how to use a camera. Visuals are so important on the internet so learn how to take better photos to aid in reaching all of your goals!
15. Get debt free with Dave Ramsey (don’t get bogged down in debt to start your business!)
16. Begin posting at least 1 time a day to Instagram. Come up with a list of hashtags to reach potential clients, readers and customers, and use them in your first comment.
17. If you are selling a product, create an experience for the customer within your packaging and customer service. Creating these experiences leads to repeat clients and customer loyalty. This is true if you are in the hospitality industry as well. Make your business stand out from the rest of the businesses that are doing the same thing as you!
18. Seek out a genuine connection with someone in business you admire and can ask questions of. Finding a mentor is paramount in the early days (and beyond!) of business.
19. Try your hand at something creative that has nothing to do with your business or blog. Are you an interior designer? Try calligraphy. A painter? Try creating art with a different medium. We find the key to staying creative and avoiding burnout is to explore art and creativity in things we don’t normally try.
20. Create e-mail templates for communicating with clients (you can purchase ours for wedding photographers or interior designers here in our shop!)
21. Create your mission statement. (What is your goal? Why are you doing what you do? How are you going to achieve your goals?)
22. Explore the competition. We want to caution you in this one—it is important to stay current to trends and stay up to date on what is going on with industry peers, but we also want to stay focused on your road ahead, avoiding the ugly comparison trap.
23. Get a professional headshot taken. (We offer headshots at all of our workshops!)
24. Re-invest in your business. Use the money you make in the first months to get new gear, invest in a custom logo or website or purchase items that will increase efficiency.
25. Have fun! Seriously, this might sound cheesy, but if you aren’t enjoying yourself then you may not be in the right industry. Starting a business is no easy task and certainly not for the faint of heart—but if at some point you aren’t pausing as you click the shutter at a dream wedding, or place the final peony in a gorgeous bouquet, or pop in a handful of orders into the mail, to SMILE because you are doing what you love, then something needs to change.
Now tell us, what are some of your business goals?! And which of the goals from our list do you think are the most important?