Starting a Handmade Business: Tips for Tackling the Business Startup Tasks You’ve Been Avoiding

Friends, in all honesty, I have been avoiding talking about business startup tasks like the plague…

I am a procrastinator….and I really don’t like administration.

Even moreso, I don’t like telling people what to do.

And, most of all, I don’t like telling people to do things they don’t want to do.

But, trust me, you need to do this things.

(LOL I just remembered the infamous scene from the video of my son’s first birthday where I’m emploring his dad, “Don’t make ‘im do what he doesn’t want to do!” – in my, then, wicked thick Boston accent…which has gone by the wayside over the years, but that’s neither here nor there – I just didn’t want you reading my posts in a Boston accent. My son is 30 years old now and still taunts me, “Don’t make ‘im do what he doesn’t want to do!”)

Anyway, just know that I’m not enjoying this, but I’m telling you these tasks MUST be taken care of if you are going to have a legitimate business.

I’m going to try to make it as painless as possible, though.

First, I’ll gently share the list of things you’re going to need to take care of and then I’m going to give you some strategies to tackling the tasks in a way that doesn’t feel like torture.

Don’t panic…you’re not alone!

We’re in this together and I’m cheering for you. While I’ve completed these tasks for my own business each individual business and business owner is unique so everyone will address these to-dos in their own way.

It’s going to take some research on your end, but I’ll give you a bit of the basics to set you on the right course.

Tasks the Must be Completed to Transform from Hobbyist to Entrepreneur

1. Deciding on a legal structure for your business (contact account/lawyer for help with this),

  • Sole Proprietorship

  • Partnership

  • Limited Partnership

  • Limited Liability Company

  • Corporation (C Corp or S Corp)

Here’s a link to what the IRS has to say about these different business structures.




2. Registering your business – here’s a link to an article on three different routes to take to registering,

3. Registering for a sales tax license: state, county, city (how to do this will differ by state and region),

4. Registering for an Employor Identification Number – again the IRS is your go-to for this,

5. Finding out if you need a business license (each state will be different, check with Department of Regulatory Agencies),

6. Untangling the issues of business insurance and home insurance, especially if you will run your business out of your home,

7. Learning about compliance laws if you’re selling children or baby items. The Facebook group, US Safety Compliance, can provide invaluable help on this topic.

I know it’s a lot (or maybe you’re one of those who love administration – if so, go for it and get ‘er done – I confess my envy).

For those that have anxiety thinking about completing these business startup tasks and have already started fantasy-procrastinating, let’s break this down into workable chunks.

business startup tasks checklist

Chunking it Down

The typical maker is a creative and creatives tend to do their best work within the construct of chaos – and that often means procrastinating to the point of having no way out but to do the thing.

In this frame of mind, we do the thing as quickly as possible to mitigate the psychological pain it entails.  This is highly stress inducing, and, while sometimes helpful to the creative process, we aren’t creating, we’re administrating.

These tasks entail filling out forms, making decisions, making phone calls and attending to the most mundane tasks of business, but we can overcome any fear or anxiety that these things bring by managing our mindsets and taking each step in little chunks.

Here’s what has worked for me:

* Visioneering: Find a quite space, close your eyes and envision your big dreams for your business. Picture what it will be like a year or two from now when you’ve “made it.” How are you dressed? How do you feel when you walk in a room?  Breathe in that sense of pride in a job well done.

Do you feel it?

OK, then I want you to take 10 slow and deep breaths, in and out and just hold on to that feeling. With each breath, affirm your goals and dreams:

I deserve to have the business I dream of.

I have what it takes.  

It might feel hard to do these tasks right now, but they’ll be done soon enough and I can continue working toward my dreams.

This is going to be fun!

I can’t wait to have these checked off my list!

 I am an entrepreneurial rock star!

Great, are you feeling it? Confident, empowered?

Yes?

Alright, now we can move on to the next step.

confident woman

* Precommitting: Next, we’re going to precommit to these business startup tasks right now –  I know it sounds ridiculous, why can’t we just commit to it? Why do I have to PREcommit?

Well, because I said so. LOL

No really, sometimes commitment feels like a lot of pressure and I’m not about pressure…I’m about caring about you and your business.  Let’s just precommit to getting these tasks done, set a deadline and then work on getting there. How does that sound? Simply write out:

I, ___________________________, will complete the tasks on this list by ____________________________.

See, it’s that easy. Set whatever date you want, but remember that you’re business can’t really get moving until you do these things so please don’t wait more than a few weeks.

* Setting micro goals: OK, there are seven tasks on this list. It would take a whole day to complete them if you simply sat down and did it, but it would also be exhausting. So, let’s set micro-goals in order to make the tasks easier.

Let’s say that your precommitment date is two weeks out from today. What tasks could you complete each day leading up to the big goal day that would make that final day go more smoothly?

Some ideas are:

  1. research the various options for business types,

  2. talk to your lawyer and accountant about tax laws and business models,

  3. find out your city, county and state regulations regarding business licenses and tax licenses,

  4. print out the form to register for a FEIN,

  5. contact your local Small Business Administration, banker, or small business consultant to see if they have someone who can help you through the process,

  6. call your insurance agent to find out if you need separate or increased insurance on your home and business,

  7. join the US Safety Compliance Facebook group to learn about regulations for children’s and baby items,

  8. make a list of necessary phone numbers, websites, email addresses you’ll need to complete the tasks,

  9. print out any forms you’ll need.

  10. remind yourself that you’re doing awesome!

* Tackling those micro-goals FIRST: Each day, as soon as you start your work (but after your first cup of coffee….there must be coffee, right?), determine which of your micro-goals you will tackle and just do it.

No procrastinating.

No creating.

No, meh, I’ll just tack that onto my to-do list for tomorrow.

Prioritize and schedule one or two of these micro-goals for each day. Get them crossed off the list to-do at the begin of your work day (no matter what time your work day or night starts). Then, celebrate with a donut, an apple, a pat on the back…whatever works for you…and get on with your day.

Congratulate yourself for taking a step toward your goals and honoring your vision for your amazing future. Yay!

releasing

* Releasing: Release any tension, fear, self-doubt or self-contempt you’re feeling for not doing this process perfectly, for not doing it already, or for not wanting to do it now. Just take a deep breath, shake out your arms, jump up and down and decide what ONE thing you can do right now to further your goals.

Even better, decide how you can tie that one thing to something fun. Do you need to do your research at your favorite coffee shop? Would it help to listen to a podcast about business models while you go workout? Can you take a book into the woods and read up on compliace rules?

See…there are ways to make it fun – this is where you get to use that creativity!

Now, go do just that one thing and get on with your day.

You did it!

* Finalizing your Goal Day – OK, tomorrow is the day you do ‘all the things.’ Here’s how to make it a successful day.

  1. Decide where and when you will take care of business.

  2. Do what needs to be done to ensure that your time will be free of distraction and as comfortable as possible.

  3. Set out everything you need – remember those forms, websites, phone number, etc. that you had compiled.

  4. Grab your bank account information because some of these things will have a cost associated with them.

  5. Have a pen and notepad handy.

  6. Plan your celebration and then get a good night’s sleep.

awa

Now, to make all of this easier, I’ve created a printable worksheet that will walk you through each of these steps. Simple click HERE to print my Hobby to Business Transition Tasks and Goal Crushing Plan.

I understand that sometimes these mundane tasks are just so easy to push aside, but they’re important. You are important and your business is important.

So, let’s make a commitment not to delay any longer. You have a dream that’s waiting for you just on the other side of these few tasks….let’s get to the other side where success awaits!

If you feel this post has helped you, please show some love by sharing it and commenting below to let me know what I can help you with next. I’m so excited to see where your business is headed!




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