First and foremost, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!! Just in case someone hasn’t told you lately… You’re beautiful, you can do this, and you’re very much loved!
Today is March 8th, 2019 - it is my 10-year dating anniversary with my fiancé (a whole decade!!!) and International Women’s Day! What a day to celebrate! My fiancé plays a huge role in Sweet Thangs and I like to think I’m a girl boss, so writing this post today is very fitting.
I wrote in my last blog about why I became a freelance designer, and the reason I started Sweet Thangs wasn’t much different; I followed my dream. I have always been passionate about what I do and knew that the entrepreneurial lifestyle was for me. I love being able to create anything and everything without someone telling me I can’t. I enjoy having autonomy over my schedule, working from wherever, and challenging myself each day with new projects. However, I’m going to be brutally honest with you all, starting a business is also terrifying and hard.
January 2018 is when I started planning for my business launch, and I focused on all the fun things first. I researched the market, made a business plan, and built a brand identity. I had a blast branding, but coming up with the name of my business was a large task because I put a lot of pressure on myself to choose the perfect name. I wanted a name that had meaning - that way it didn’t only brand my business, but also tell the story behind it. I spent a good month brainstorming for about an hour a day. One night I decided to take a break from brainstorming, to scroll social media, and realized my phone went missing (cue panic attack). I grabbed Andrew’s (my fiancé) phone and typed in my number. The name Sweet Thang appeared on his screen and that’s when I knew. Andrew has been calling me Sweet Thang for as long as I can remember (he’s a movie quoter), and I realized right then the name couldn’t fit my business more perfectly. Sweet Thangs was perfect because it has two important meanings behind the name.
It represents my life and the person who fully supports my dreams
It represents what this business is all about; the sweet thangs in life (love, celebrations, and home)
After coming up with the ideal name, I crafted the logo - a heart-semicolon. A semicolon is used when you choose not to end your sentence, and today used to symbolize hope, survival and support. This heart-semicolon represents all of this, and to not stop doing the things you love. Three months in, and this was the high point of my business journey. Everything was finally falling into place and I was inspired and excited to get my business Online. Yet, sure enough, those feelings went on a roller coaster ride when making the business official.
To make your business official you (most likely) have to do the following:
Decide on your business structure (Sole proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, Cooperative)
Register your Business
Register for Federal and/or State tax IDs
Get a permit and/or obtain a Business License
Look into trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc.
Apply for a business bank account
Making my business official was the lowest, most confusing, and difficult part of my journey. I did this all on my own, and learning everything took a couple of months. My suggestion? Hire an expert to do it for you. Use your expertise in your business and let others help you with theirs.
Now let’s talk taxes. This is another boring, but important part of a business. I have been self-employed for a while now, and I have always done my own taxes with the help of QuickBooks Self-Employed. This is sponsored content, but I wouldn’t share it with you if I didn’t believe in the product. If you are a freelancer or are self employed, I highly recommend using it for book keeping and taxes. It has always been and still is my go-to. Check it out here if you’re interested. If you end up using it, let me know how you like it!
Finally, after more than 8 months of research, branding, and making my business official, my website went live! Now, almost six months in the business, I’m still on that rollercoaster ride. It’s not easy and I’m still learning so much, but with every low there’s always a high.
Below are things I wish I would’ve done differently, things I’m working on now, and daily thoughts for your amusement.
THINGS I REGRET
Rushing into things (waste of money!!!)
Bought my website at my high point in March, didn’t use it until September
Bought all this stuff I was told to get, haven’t used yet
Research. Research. Research. (Do this, but not too much)
Save the tax and business stuff for the experts - find someone you trust, it’ll save you so much time and stress
Researched the heck out of what I was going to make instead of just making!
Comparing myself to Others
Followers does not equal customers.
Everyone starts somewhere - trust yourself and your talents.
THINGS I’M WORKING ON NOW
Not charging enough to help people out. As much as I’d love to keep doing this, I can’t make a living off of it.
Taking time for myself
It’s OK to eat lunch or not answer emails after 6pm
Discovering new creative outlets
I have to pay how much for that? I need a part time job.
Those invitations are so much prettier than mine. My designs are crap. I suck. Oh my gosh, I got it. It’s stunning! I’m amazing!
This printer is stupid and never works. I LOVE you printer, you are the best!
People can be so mean. People are so sweet!
I have so much to do. I’m just going to look at my list of things while I stretch for a few minutes. Maybe I’ll just clean the apartment instead.
Starting your business is a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you get stuck, which is scary and a waste of money, but mostly it’s exhilarating, fun, and worth every penny!