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Starting Your Own Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

If you’re thinking about starting your own biz but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. Here, I’ve simplified the process of starting an online business to help you avoid overwhelm and set you up for success right from the start!


First Steps to Starting Your Online Business


Marketing bros and “online experts” may have you thinking you don’t have what it takes to succeed in online business. But I promise you, passive income and flexible schedules are more obtainable than you might think.


Building the foundation for your business is such a special time and you deserve to have fun doing it - don’t stress yourself out yet! By keeping things simple, you are allowing yourself the time, space, and clarity to be super intentional about the decisions you make.


The first five steps I recommend in building your online business include:


Registering Your Business with the State (LLC Formation)

Creating a Business Bank Account

Building a Branding Strategy

Choosing Your Website Platform

Crafting Your Offer



Creating an LLC


This is the first and maybe most exciting step in creating your soul-led business. The feeling you’ll get when seeing your business name printed in black and white for the first time is the trippiest, most exciting, most nerve-wracking experience you’ll have (till your first sale, at least).


To conduct business legally in your state, your secretary of state must approve you as an official organization. If you’re new to the business world, I’d recommend using an LLC Service company to help you out. They’ll not only take care of the official filing procedure but also keep you up-to-date on annual filings, provide a registered agent, if you’d like one, and ensure your business is always in compliance with state laws.


  • ZenBusiness

  • LegalZoom

  • TailorBrand

  • Northwest Registered Agent


Setting Up a Business Bank Account


Although this piece isn’t technically required (depending on your corporation filing), it’s a great idea to have a business bank account set up before you start conducting transactions. There are a few reasons why setting up an official bank account is the way to go.


Looks More Legitimate. Think of your own personal buying habits. If you are choosing to invest in a product or service, would you be more likely to send your money to an account named John A. Smith, or John A. Smith, LLC? It’s three little letters, but they make all the difference.


Tricky Taxes. Benjamin Franklin was quoted saying, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”. There is a slew of financial benefits to keeping your business and personal accounts separate, but your future self will really thank you when it comes to tax season. Placing all your transactions in one place will make it easier for the government to understand your process.


Accept Credit Card Payments. This is everything when it comes to online business. You want to provide your customers with the best experience possible, and making them jump through hoops just to pay you is not a cute look. Make the process as quick and easy as possible.


Easy for YOU. You’ve started a business to *add* to your life, not make things overly complicated. Keeping these two accounts separate will give YOU the best idea of what's going on in both pots.



Building Your Branding Strategy


While you’re waiting on your business filing to go through, it’s time to start thinking about the overall experience you want to provide to your customers. Do you want them to feel nurtured, taken care of, and protected? Inspired, energized, and motivated? Your branding should come through in every element of your business, from design, to copy, to offerings.


Don’t let this piece slow you down, though. It’s easy to overthink this piece, especially with every blogger on the planet sharing different strategies for choosing the perfect font pairings. Just follow your instincts and STAY CONSISTENT. You can always change the vibe as your brand evolves, but for now, it’s important to keep showing up in your customer’s feeds uniformly.



Choosing Your Website Platform


This is another step that can trip people up, unnecessarily–especially if you’re not confident in your tech skills. But take it from a girl with “Hippie” in her website name–it’s simpler than you think! These days, website platforms all offer pretty much the same functions. A quick Google search will give you lists of the main players and which functions they are all known for.


The first factor to take into consideration is your time spent learning the platform and getting everything set up. Personally, I knew I didn’t want to spend several weeks learning how to build a website, just to hope and pray I could find plug-ins to make it do what I wanted it to do. I chose Wix as my platform because A) I had experience building and maintaining Wix sites in the past and 2) Because I knew I could purchase a plan with all the features I needed, already built in (like e-mail marketing, automations, and a shop).


Sometimes when we’re just starting out, it all comes down to price, and that’s okay, too! As I said, most platforms offer many of the same features, these days. If you can get by on the cheapest (or maybe even free!) version of a website host, I say go for it! Again, you can always upgrade when you have consistent sales coming in.



Crafting Your Offer


Okay, now shit is really starting to get real. What are you going to sell to your customers? What medium are you going to pour your heart and soul into that will make a difference in someone else’s life? No pressure, it’s just like, the most important part.


This is not the place to cut corners. Happy customers become repeat customers and there’s no better way to make a customer happy than to under-promise and over-deliver. To create a successful offer, it’s important to really get into the mind of your ideal client and give them exactly what they are looking for. Keep in mind, if you wouldn’t spend money on a product, you should expect your future customers to, either.



Final Thoughts


Starting a business of any kind can be scary, overwhelming, and for many of us, seem totally out of reach. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not! In the Build Your Own Blog Course, I walk you through the step-by-step process of starting your own business.


This course is your roadmap to building an online business so you can start receiving payments, become your own boss, and finally quit your 9-5 as quickly as possible! From branding to legalities, this course has everything you actually need to build a business from scratch, made easy because the world needs more businesses like yours.


Meet your fairy godmother of online business

If you’re interested in starting your own business but aren’t quiteeee ready to invest (by the way, the course is $33.33 right now), check out the Free Resource Guide. You'll get 13 pages of articles, websites, and statistics carefully curated to help you make decisions in those first steps to starting your biz. Plus, you'll get a full check-list to keep you on track AND a nifty little gifty from me in there, as well!


Anyway, I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you’re in the process of building your own business, I’d love to hear about it! Gimme a hollar at haley@hippie-ology.com


So much love,

Haley

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