10 Steps To Starting Your Own Business In Australia

You should start your own business. Not exaggerating, or anything... but... You make the world's best cupcakes.

Everyone says so. Your neighbours, your best friend, your friends and their friend's friends. (I mean, even perfect strangers have said so!). You're talented, passionate and love to do what you do, so why shouldn't you start your own business?  Why actually not.

We often overthink things, or imagine things to be more complicated than they have to be. Thinking you need to draw up a 1000 page business plan just to sell some cupcakes? Mandy Hale said it best: "You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens."

If you just want to start a little business, with the bare essentials, you've come to the right place. We offer workshops to help you Start Your Own Business in a group setting. Or if you already know what you're doing, and are feeling motivated enough to do this, here is a checklist to get you started. 

10 Steps To Starting Your Own Business In Australia

1. Register your business

Have a quick read of the info on the official ASIC page, on Starting a Small Business.
You will need to Decide on Your Business Structure (for example as a photographer, you'd be a Sole Trader or if you're starting something with your bestie, it would be a Partnership). Confirm if you need to Register Your Business Name and finally, Apply For An ABN (this is easy and free! You do not need a company to do this for you)

2. Logo

I would strongly recommend getting a Graphic Designer to do this for you, (as a Graphic Designer myself, I BEG you, for crying out loud, to get professional help) but if you want a place to play around with initial logo ideas, this could be a good place to start, as it is a free and easy tool for a low res logo (or you can also purchase a high res copy of your logo design for $19). Brainstorm with this Free LogoMakr Tool.

3. Website

There are so many options out there. You can get a professional to build a website for you, or to keep costs down, you can use a website building tool. Weebly is good and free if you're happy with one of their domains (eg. www.examplecupcakes.weebly.com)
To have your own domain, (eg. www.examplecupcakes.com) you will need to buy a domain, for example with GoDaddy. You then also need to pay a minimum of $8 per month to Weebly, to be allowed to use your domain and link it.
Shopify is really good if you're running an online store, however, the monthly fee is not cheap, but personally, I have found it worth every cent.
And finally, whilst it is not a website building tool, Etsy is great if crafts are your thing. Being a marketplace, it will ensure people actually find you on the web. Again, this is not a website builder, but rather offers you a place to list handmade items you are selling. Etsy take a fee from everything sold, but is a great place to start, just to get your name out there. And you don't need to create a website - too easy!

4. Email

If you're starting out and want to keep costs down, just sign up for a free gmail account. Try to keep the name as simple as possible. It might take some playing around to find a name that's available, but free is free! eg. examplecupcakes@gmail.com is taken? Go for examplecupcakesAU@gmail.com or example.cupcakes.sydney@gmail.com - so go for a location or add the word "contact" eg.  contact.example.cupcakes@gmail.com (avoid random numbers if they aren't in your name, I don't want to see this, for example: eXaMpLeCuPcAkEs1209678@gmail.com - Aaaaah!!! My eyes hurt! #insert-screaming-emoticon-here)
If you're looking for something more professional, G Suite is good, for $60 a year, you'll get your own domain. eg. contact@examplecupcakes.com

5. Business Cards

Once again, if you're just doing this on the side for fun, go for a basic Vistaprint Business Card.
And with Vistaprint, you know there are always some sweet, sweet deals around, so check out Honey for any current Vistaprint Promo Codes.

6. Finances and Invoices

Just from personal experience, I find Commonwealth Bank brilliant. Their app is a dream. Who knew banking could be this good? For $10 a month, you've got yourself a professional business bank account.
Paypal is also a very good option, just make sure you have all the details and info they need from you, to get you started.
Wanting to collect payments in person? Square is a pretty neat little invention. Accept card payments with this gadget that attaches to your smart phone, and it costs $19 (inserting card) or $59 (contactless). 
For invoices, check out these free templates available from Excel.

7. Advertising

This is a whole world for itself, so you will need to work out what makes sense for your business. Word of mouth is your best bet in the early days, as it is free to do and people love to buy from those they know. But if you have time to look into how they work, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords are good (if you know what you're doing, otherwise it can be money down the drain! Friendly advice: do your research my friend!). 

Also don't forget to consider Running a Workshop. It's a fab way to get people interested in your business or products and can be great additional income.

8. Social Media

While it has it's positives and negatives, Social Media for businesses is a great and easy way to connect with customers and can also drive sales. Worth setting up and keeping on top of! Many small businesses manage to use Social Media as their main way of getting traffic to their website. Free and very effective, IF done well. Here again, it pays off to get advice and help to do this well.

Look into setting up a Facebook Business Page, and an Instagram Account, as well as a Pinterest Account . And before you brush off Pinterest, who knew it was the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits had the third highest average order value (beating Facebook)?

9. Insurance

Just throwing this one in, but you might need to chat to an insurance broker to work out if insurance is necessary for your little business. Compare insurance quotes here. I'm not a broker, so can't give you any advice. If someone chokes on your cupcake or has an allergic reaction, things could get ugly. So have a look into if there is a basic business insurance you could get, juuuust in case.

10. Just give it a go!

It can be super hard to stay motivated if you're starting something up yourself. You need someone to bounce ideas off, to keep the ball rolling. Consider teaming up with some friends who are also starting up, so you are keeping yourselves accountable. Also consider joining us for a workshop, we meet weekly and are mainly here to encourage you and support you. And to drink amazing coffees and have a chat. Check out our Start a Business workshop on Quirkshop.


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