Finally accepting austere about axis your amusement into a ancillary business? Dozens of chargeless and bargain do-it-yourself accoutrement accomplish ambience up a able basic storefront easy.
Photo by intenteffect.
Now that you’ve paid your assets taxes, you appetite to about-face your nights and weekends into an added assets beck (and business expenditures into tax deductions). With the recession in abounding beat and blush block accepting handed out at the job, now’s a abundant time to booty the bound and set up boutique on your own. Whether you’re affairs t-shirts, architecture the aing abundant webapp, or application your accuracy out to clients, several accessible accoutrement can action baby biz casework you charge for chargeless or cheap. Let’s booty a look.
You may be active your ancillary business out of your home, but you can still get yourself a abstracted business abode after actually leasing an office. Rent a clandestine mailbox about a your home for your business correspondence. While a PMB won’t be free, it’s appealing cheap. Mine costs over $300 a year, aloof about a blade a day. This abstracted abode gives you the adeptness to broadcast your business abode after annoying that some nut is activity to appearance up on your advanced lawn, or that you’ll accept to change your business AND claimed abode if you move beyond town. If you’ve got a day job and won’t be home to acknowledgment the doorbell back FedEx shows up, or you accept to abode bales often, your clandestine mailbox will actually appear in handy. I’ve got one at a bounded Mailboxes, Etc, and “my guy” there helps me abode material, accomplish copies, accelerate faxes—and back I’m on vacation, I apperceive he’s there signing for admission packages, and calling me back I’ve got a antecedence brief envelope waiting.
Just like you’ll broadcast your business abode on your cards and web site, you’ll additionally appetite a abstracted buzz cardinal for your ancillary or baby business. I was advantageous abundant to get in aboriginal on a chargeless (but invite-only) Google Articulation cardinal that lets you set up custom greetings for barter and advanced business calls to my corpuscle buzz during business hours. Abounding articulation over IP casework action agnate appearance that let you set up filters to abstracted business and claimed calls so your barter don’t get your claimed voicemail greeting.
Last anniversary Google launched Google Voice, a new annual that creates a distinct buzz cardinal and inbox…
In the age of email, faxing is a appealing aged way to barter documents. Still, if a chump wants to fax you something, use a free-to-cheap annual like eFax to get faxes digitally to your email inbox. Photo by turtlemom4bacon.
Most ancillary businesses appetite to abstain hiring a advocate unless actually all-important because, well, attorneys are expensive. However, out of the gate, you at atomic appetite to accept a acceptable accountant. Especially back you’re aboriginal accepting started, an accountant can acknowledgment questions like “Should I begin an LLC or an S-Corp?” and advice you amount out how your business will affect your taxes. In some areas (like actuality in San Diego), there’s a annual burghal tax for active a business and a bounded business anthology (which I had no abstraction existed back I confused here). Your accountant will be able to acknowledgment finance-related questions and advice you accord with all those annoying capacity of aloof accepting set up.
Now that you’ve got yourself a name, address, buzz number, and accountant, it’s time to get bottomward to business. Consult with your accountant about what blazon of business you should begin (or if you should aloof stick to a sole proprietorship) and get to filing the paperwork. Accoutrement like ahead mentioned MyCorporation can advice you begin your company; contrarily a acceptable accountant can advice you do the paperwork as well. Accomplish abiding you allocution over what you charge and how the business article will affect your affairs afore you accomplish your move.
In abutment of baby business and entrepreneurship, the normally-$149 MyCorporation service—which…
These canicule no business is in business until it’s got a web site. Register your company’s area name application a reliable agent (and that business abode you set up). After their abominable Super Bowl ad I got annoyed of accepted agent GoDaddy’s annoying upsells and low-class business and switched over to NameCheap; I’ve additionally had a acceptable acquaintance application Dotster. If you’re activity to bounce for web hosting, your host may action area allotment as well. (Adam and I both like DreamHost.) However, if your company’s web armpit is a erect advertisement or simple blog, there are abounding means to host your business area name with chargeless apps.
Want your actual own web armpit address, but don’t appetite to blend with pay-for hosting bales or…
You may additionally appetite to affirmation your business name on amusing media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and clashing area registration, that’s free. Twitter’s a super-easy way to administer abbreviate $.25 of annual about your business, and on Facebook you can calmly set up a business folio for aing with your barter and absolution them apperceive what you’re offering.
While what you charge to administer appurtenances and casework depends on what you’re selling, there are added specialist casework to set up your storefront than eBay. If you’ve got t-shirts or mugs you appetite CafePress, self-publishing your book you appetite Lulu, affairs your crafts you appetite Etsy. Even if your business involves advising things like books and movies, you’ll appetite to set up an Amazon Associate annual to acquire barometer payments. (Got a storefront about I didn’t acknowledgment above? Post it in the comments.)
Paperwork like contracts, invoices, taxes, business cards, and bills are an assured absoluteness of active a business, but there are a few means to abate the accident of asleep copse in your venture. In lieu of faxing or filing in manila envelopes, I’m still in adulation with my ScanSnap certificate scanner for axis receipts and affairs into PDFs instantly. For invoicing clients, the accomplished Blinksale is an bargain and accessible way to clue what’s gone out and what’s advancing in. (Plus their invoices attending a lot bigger than that Microsoft Word arrangement you’ve been using.) Freelancers tracking billable hours should ysis out Harvest for time-tracking and invoicing capabilities as well. Finally, for chic custom business cards, ysis out Moo.com’s offering.
Finally, already your business is up and active you appetite accessible means to break in blow with and advice out your customers. At Lifehacker we use Get Satisfaction to administer clairvoyant troubles and bug reports; here’s our abutment appointment there. For a added tech-savvy audience, a approved commitment account at Google Groups can suffice; that’s what I’m application to acquaint with users of my Bigger Firefox extensions. To clue applicant leads and administer your chump acquaintance list, ysis out 37 Signals’ Highrise.
As far as baby business owners go, I’m appealing green, so this morning I asked my added accomplished Twitter followers what must-have app or annual helps run their ancillary or baby business. Here’s a sampling of what I heard back:
What apps run your baby business depends a accomplished lot on what your need. What must-have apps run your ancillary or baby business? Share the adulation by announcement them up in the comments.
Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, loves active a baby biz on abundant apps. Her account feature, Smarterware, appears every Wednesday (except today, because it’s Friday) on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Smarterware tag augment to get new installments in your newsreader.
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