Getting Started

Quick answers to 4 questions you probably have.

1. Do I need a business plan? It depends. If you're making products to sell on Etsy, no. If you're starting a small business and looking for funding, yes. A plan will help you define your business, goals, and market.

2. Can I do my own taxes? If you enjoyed doing them before, sure. But an accountant who specializes in home-based start-ups will save you money, time and brain space.

3. Can I keep my day job? Yes. Easing into your own business is the best way to start. I have first-hand experience with this (read an interview I did a in 2016 here). Time management is key. Putting in a 40-hour work week still leaves 128 hours... but don't forget to sleep.  

4. Do I need a home office? It's a good idea to have a dedicated space to work to minimize distractions. Use a spare bedroom, underused dining room or garage. Bonus: It's a tax write-off.

Things I Wish I Knew

1. It Gets Lonely. Unless you have a partner in your business, you working by yourself and making decisions alone. It helps to have friends on the same journey who can relate.

2. You Wear All The Hats. Besides the creating of your products or services, customer service, accounting, marketing and PR is all up to you, especially in the beginning. Tip: Define your strengths and delegate the rest.

3. Problem Solving. Don't let an obstacle stop you, adjust and work it out.

4. Don't Compare. Every business grows differently, so embrace your unique path.

5. Hire Slow, Fire Fast. The people you work with are an extension of your brand. Make sure they're a great fit.

6. Patience. Overnight sensations happen, but they're rare. Consistency, hard work and believing in what you do will get you where you want to go in the long run.

Branding 101

Naming your business is at the top of your to-do list. Here's a few tips:

1. Hi, I'm Kweli Wright. Consider naming your business after yourself. No one defines your brand better. Also, if you are considering offering a few different services or products, you don't have to be pegged down by one brand or another.

2. Brainstorm. Put yourself in customers' shoes. How will they see your business name? How do you want them to see it?

3. Is your brand name searchable and social-able? Think about how your name will look on social media. Is it too long to tweet? Is it already registered to someone else?

4. Get Visual. After you've nailed down your name, think about a logo. Style and color have personality. What do you want your brand logo to say?

PR Primer

Take great photos. There's no better tool than good photography to boost your product and brand. Thank goodness for smartphones. 

Collaborate. Make a list of people you know (and would like to know) who have small businesses. Look for like-minded partnerships outside your industry as well to reach new audiences.

Make social media friends. Instagram is a great place to start. Share posts from people you admire. The best engagement often comes from sharing someone else's product.