As a perpetual entrepreneurial daydreamer, HoneyBook’s Free “Business Fundamentals for Creative Entrepreneurs” helped me overcome my ignorance and fear of where and how to start. Comprising of three classes, the series clearly navigates the viewer through the daunting financial, legal and marketing jungles of starting their own business by providing clear steps, relevant resources and strategic planning all in one place.
Branding Strategies to Ignite Your Marketing
The first class, “Branding Strategies to Ignite Your Marketing,” by Ashlyn Carter, a copywriter and former publicist, shows you how to set yourself apart amidst all of the overwhelming marketing noise magnified by social media. Ashlyn provides sound business advice that new businesses often fall into the trap of wanting to capture everyone and everything, leading to a dilution of your finite efforts. Ashlyn advises creatives to “say no to good things so they can say yes to great things.” Part of transitioning away from this do-all mentality includes the soul-searching exercise of honing in on your position statement – who you are, what you do, how what you do is unique, and who you do it for. This will allow you as a small business owner to tell your story and laser your branding.
Ashlyn provides another gold nugget advice of asking yourself, “what is enough?” Essentially, determining your initial sales goals based on your personal financial needs alleviates the discouragement of your small business becoming a popularity contest, and gives you the stamina to steadfastly grow your company – brilliant!
Put Your Money to Work: Take Control of Your Business’ Finances
The second class, “Put Your Money to Work: Take Control of Your Business Finances,” by Dominque Broadway, a personal finance coach and finance expert, provides equally relevant steps, tips and resources. Apparently, 50% of businesses fail in the first 5 years; the most common pitfall – not preparing a thoughtful small business budget, which is the foundation of any business plan or business structure.
Particularly noteworthy was Dominique’s video on “Funding your Business.” I watched it about 3 times – who wouldn’t when it gives you the inside scoop on getting money from outside sources? Also, Dominique’s section on taxes and deductibles (to minimize those taxes) got me so excited that for a minute I thought I could deduct all my living expenses with the right justification. If there was a suggestion for improvement for Dominique’s excellent class, it would be to caveat it with how to deduct within IRS parameters to avoid hefty fines or going to jail.
Business Fundamentals for Creative Entrepreneurs
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Legal Steps Every Business Owner Should Take
My personal thoughts on the third class, “Legal Steps Every Business Owner Should Take“ by Christina Scalera, attorney and founder of The Contract Shop: Pull out you your notebook and start taking notes. If the legal labyrinth feels more like a black hole, Christina’s 13 videos demystifies it all VERY CLEARLY to HELP YOU MAKE THE RIGHT LEGAL DECISIONS for YOUR SMALL BUSINESS. For example, most creatives decide at some point to register as an LLC to limit their personal liability, but at what point should they consider filing an S Corp to minimize their taxes? Or, what are the legal tools to protect your small business? Answer: contracts, insurance, disclaimers, terms and conditions, and ambiguity (which I would never have guessed).
Particularly eye opening, and completely off my radar, was Christina’s video on handling dispute risks. Return policies I can understand, but receiving Cease and Desist letters would give me a heart attack. Luckily, Christina helps you mitigate those risks.
Overall, HoneyBook did an excellent job at bringing together and breaking down three challenging topics that plague all new American businesses into digestible, bite-sized clips. From practical information (e.g. business registration and registered agent costs, and business tax deadlines and the online filing system) to addressing often overlooked details (e.g. payment acceptance methods) to guidance on business names, trademarks, and DBAs) to tips regarding client communication and experience, the fundamentals are all there, in one place, to help creatives overcome confusion and fear, and turn their daydreams into realities.
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