8 Steps to Properly Start a Business

You’ve heard it time and time again: the only way to take your financial well-being to the next level is to A) get promoted B) find a higher-paying job or C) break off on your own and find a way to make money outside of a formal employee-employer relationship...more commonly known as starting your own business.

A and B are fine options for most people, but for many of us there’s this constant drive to break out and try something on our own. Whether it’s Uber driving, or selling products on Amazon, or starting your own cupcake food truck, there are countless ways to break away from “traditional work” where one can make a living and do something they truly love.

Personally, I’ve always had this itch. I’ve always had a drive to keep an eye out and search for opportunities while I was working my 9-5. For example, before co-founding the digital strategy firm HZQ Consulting, I invested my time in creating an Amazon product on nights and weekends.

I wanted to write this guide because there’s a ton of information on how to start your own business “the right way.” I listened to them, absorbed them, and executed them--making a lot of mistakes along the way. In a way, this is a letter to myself 5 years ago. Hopefully, I can pass along some tidbits that will make your road less bumpy.

Here are my 8 steps to starting a successful business / side hustle:

Step 0: Find your idea

A business is not a foregone conclusion; you can’t just say “I’m good at X so I’ll start my own company where I get paid to X all day.” Businesses create value, so before you can even start with Step 1, you need to answer these three questions:

  1. What value can I create for others?

  2. Do I think people are willing to pay for this?

  3. How will I be different from others doing something similar?

Step 1: DO NOT skip to step 5 (or worse, step 6)

Once you've landed on an idea, you’re going to get super excited. At this point, many people (myself included) feel like they need to do “serious company things” or else people will dismiss their idea as just another crazy dream. Because of this, many jump straight into incorporating their company: creating bank accounts, logos, business card...you name it. Getting sucked into the “I need to be serious!” trap often leads to paying--and potentially wasting--hundreds to thousands of dollars all before they know whether or not they have a good idea.

If I could do it all again, I’d spend some time on steps 2-4 before shelling out the cash (and time) for all of the nice things that made me feel like a big bad entrepreneur. At this stage, it’s too early to even build a website! The most important thing to do is to spend your precious time and money talking to your future customers.

Additionally, you can not and should not be thinking about funding right now! This is something I see at HZQ all the time--great ideas stuck on the hamster wheel of “Well if I could just find someone to give me $50,000, then I can start.” No one should be willing to give you a dime until you have a good sense of whether your idea is viable or inert.

HZQ is here to help

No matter where you are in the process, HZQ is here to help you grow mighty. From helping you test your idea to taking established businesses to the next level, we have the experience and tools to help you do what you love everyday of your life.

Click the button below to schedule a 15 minute chat with us. We have a no hard sell guarantee. We just want to hear where you’re at in the process, lend any helpful advice, and see if we can be of service either now or in the future.


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