In 2011 I unofficially started my graphic design business, Sugar Studios. I was working a 9-5 corporate job in advertising and felt bored and unfulfilled. Little did I know years later I would take my business full time, quit my day job and work from home while raising our son.
It wasn’t until then that I realized I wasn’t taking my business seriously enough. Once I made some major changes to my business including filing an LLC and creating a separate checking account, everything shifted and my business grew more than ever before.
You may think that you’ve already been taking steps to make your business legitimate. But if you’re not doing these six things, you may not be taking your business as seriously as you think.
1. Your Business Isn’t Registered
For years I went without an LLC and it had no impact. I had started using a contract with clients a few years into my business but soon realized that our home could be in jeopardy without making my business an LLC. It became one of those to-do’s that would carry over into the next month and the next, until an entire year went by. 🙈 I knew it was something I HAD to take care of if I was going to take my business seriously so I finally filed an LLC.
2. You Don’t Have a Business Checking Account
Similar to not having an LLC, I didn’t have a business checking account. For years I deposited my funds into my personal savings account to keep things separate. I didn’t have a business credit card or debit card. Any purchases for my business went through my personal account. When it came time to file my taxes, it was a confusing mess trying to figure out what was a personal expense and what was a business expense. Now I keep my finances separate and expenses related to my business comes directly out of my business checking account.
3. Your Business isn’t Branded
Not having branding for your business will stall its growth. Once you begin thinking about your business as a brand, it will be easier to connect with your audience and market your business. Branding isn’t just about your logo design. It’s about how you communicate with your audience, the story you share and design elements that tie it all together like your color palette, patterns/textures, stock images and fonts.
4. You’re Not Tracking Your Income and Expenses
Not having a clear view of your monthly income and expenses for your business is like running your business with a blindfold on. For years I had a rough idea of what my business billed each month and what my reoccurring monthly expenses were. Once I started tracking my income and expenses with a spreadsheet, I was able to clearly see how much money I made each month and made it my goal to top the last month.
5. You Don’t Have a Marketing Strategy
For years I ran my business without a strategy. When business was slow I would ramp up my marketing. When things were busy I would disappear and focus on my work. It was unbalanced and it didn’t help my business grow. After I took a year long maternity leave, I shut down my business which was a huge mistake. When I reopened my business, there was nothing but…crickets. I had nothing to fall back on, no plan, no marketing strategy. It was an awful experience that I would never want to relive. Having a marketing strategy means consistently posting on social media, blogging and email marketing. Keeping your communication with your audience consistent is a sign you are serious about your business.
6. You Haven’t Thought About Investing in Professional Services
Most businesses don’t grow to their highest potential without professional help. In my case, I sought out a professional photographer and a copywriter for my own website. It was the first time I had invested serious money into my business by hiring professional help. It was worth every cent. When you’re ready to seek professional help for branding, website design, copywriting, content strategy, SEO, social media marketing, photography or even business coaching it means you’re taking your business seriously.
What do you think of this article? Do you have any questions for me? Ask me in the comments box below!
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