June 30, 2020
Do you dream of working full time in your business? Are you ready to take the steps needed to set yourself up for success from day one? Regardless of when you plan on transitioning from side hustle to full time, there are 5 things that I suggest doing before you take your business full time to ensure that you’re legally and financially covered and that you’re ready for all of the work that’s bound to come your way!
My #1 tip for taking your business full time is to treat it like an actual business. This means registering your business with your state and obtaining an EIN, which is like a social security number for your business. Registering your business makes it official in the eyes of the government. You’ll most likely want to register as a sole proprietorship or an LLC, the difference being that an LLC protects your personal assets in the event of any lawsuits and a sole proprietorship does not.
*Disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer and cannot offer legal guidance. However, if you’re looking for more information on business formation and registration, check out @contractcasey. She recently went live in the Calligraphers of Color Facebook Group and has a Business Formation Checklist that you can download from the group files!
If you’re thinking about making your business your full time gig, it’s super important to separate your business and personal finances. Once you have an EIN, you can open up a business bank account. I’d suggest doing so wherever you do your personal banking. In addition to a business checking account, you might also want to open a business credit card, so that you can keep all business transactions separate from personal ones.
Having a separate business bank account makes tax time and figuring out your income and expenses much easier! Once you have the bank account set up, you can quickly connect it to an accounting program like Quickbooks, so you can easily see how much you’re spending and how much you’re taking in.
Regardless of whether you have 1 client or 100 clients lined up, I highly recommend investing in a program that allows you to keep track of your jobs, create and send contracts and accept payments from your clients. I can’t stress enough the importance of staying organized and protected when transitioning from side hustle to full time. Having a CRM in place right from the start will save you hours of time and will set you up for future growth.
I use Honeybook in my business and cannot recommend it enough! The ease with which I can create and send proposals, automatically accept payments, schedule meetings and keep track of each job’s status has saved me SO much time. With the hours that it’s freed up for me to take on more clients, Honeybook pays for itself year after year.
If you’re interested in trying Honeybook for yourself, head here to start your 7-day free trial and, if you love it, get 50% off your first year!!!
Check to see if your desired domain name is available and if it is, invest in it! You don’t want someone else coming along and scooping up your ideal web address! Then, choose a platform that you’d like your website to live on. For example, my website is done through Squarespace, but other options include WordPress, Weebly, Showit, and Wix. I chose Squarespace because of their pre-designed, easy to customize templates that I could work off of (since I’m not a web designer) and the ability to integrate an ecommerce site, if needed. You don’t need anything fancy to start! But make sure that you at least have an image or two, an overview of what it is that you do, and a way for people to contact you if they’re interested in working with you.
P.S. It’s totally possible for you to DIY a gorgeous, professional website that gets your client’s attention and you don’t have to be a pro designer, or hire an expensive one! When I relaunched my website at the beginning of 2020, I was having trouble working off of Squarespace’s free templates to really get them to look the way I wanted, but I also wasn’t comfortable investing thousands of dollars in a professional web designer. I’m SO happy I stumbled upon Big Cat Creative and their Squarespace Template Kits! The Big Cat Creative Squarespace Template Kits walk you through the entire web design process step by step, and give you everything you need to create a killer online presence that you’re SERIOUSLY proud of
It was so easy for me to design the website of my dreams in JUST A WEEK! And the amount of compliments I got on it post-launch was well worth the investment.
If you’re in the market for a beautiful, professional website that you can DIY, I highly recommend checking out Big Cat Creative’s templates.
Okay, I’m about to get a little woo woo on you, but stick with me on this one. Once you decide that it’s in your heart to take your business full time, speak it into existence. Tell your friends and family your plans. Set a date for when you’re going to leave your current job—this gives you a deadline to work towards and it helps hold you accountable on all the things you need to get done before that date!
Call yourself a business owner and own that title with confidence. Say it out loud as often as possible so that when people ask what you do, you can tell them with confidence that you’re a creative business owner.
Fun fact, well over a year before it was going to happen, I decided that I wanted to leave my corporate job and pursue my business full time by the time I turned 30 on May 28, 2018. I had no idea if it was possible or what I needed to do to get there, but I set that goal and started speaking it into existence. I opened up to close friends about my dreams, I talked it over with my family, and the more I spoke it, the less crazy and the more achievable that goal sounded. And I’m so proud to say that I gave notice to my corporate job on May 19, 2018 and started working in my biz full time on June 8, 2018, just as I had planned! (Read more about that experience here!)
Looking for more encouragement to take the leap and follow your dreams? I recently chatted with the lovely ladies of The Live Fearlessly podcast all about quitting corporate America to follow your passion!
Have more questions about taking your creative business full time? Drop ‘em below or slide into my inbox!
And make sure you’re signed up for my creative business newsletter where I share business ideas and inspiration and tips every Tuesday! Sign up here and you’ll also get bonus freebies to help you prioritize pricing in your business!
You got this, babes! I’m here rooting for you every step of the way!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using my link, I earn a small commission. I only share about companies and products that I truly believe in and that I think will be of benefit to you and I never promote anything that I haven’t tried and loved myself!