Yes, it has already been a whole year!
Last week, spring break, marks one year since I finally took some action steps on a business idea that had been simmering for many years. To be fair, I had always felt that God was saying "not yet" up until that point.
If I am honest with you, dear friends, I am not as far along as I thought I would be. Like pretty much any creative endeavor I have ever undertaken, it is taking much longer than I expected!
But, in the spirit of optimism let me share the list of what I have actually accomplished.
Year 1 Review: Accomplishments
- I chose a name for my business.
And then modified it (after a period of mourning) when it wasn't available on Instagram.
- I bought my domain name.
I use Bluehost and recently had a great customer service experience with them.
- I registered my business as an LLC with the state of Michigan.
- I registered for an EIN from the federal government.
- I set up a separate business bank account and put money in there!
- I researched, chose, and applied for a business credit card.
I have a Capital One Spark Business card. Beware that not all business credit cards offer fraud protection, which I found surprising.
- I designed my own logo and established brand colors.
- I had professional headshots taken by Anna Ink Creative.
The experience felt like senior pictures for middle age but in the best way. She made me feel beautiful!
- I set up a personal Facebook page in order to have a business Facebook page.
- I set up a business Instagram account (which required the business Facebook page!)
- I designed my first season of Christmas card designs and related scripture prints.
- I set up my Etsy shop with the scripture prints.
This required mountains of Photoshop work and learning how to even make listings.
- I bought a much-needed new computer.
And then I let my husband work through the difficulty of transferring out photo collection to it. He also helped with technical things like formatting an external hard drive for back-ups.
- I made software decisions and purchases.
I subscribe to Adobe InDesign (the page layout program I know so well from years of use). I purchased Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo to replace Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop in my workflow. While there has been a learning curve, I would whole-heartedly recommend both as an extremely cost-effective way to do professional work. Designer could probably also be used for basic page layout purposes.
- I bought a WordPress theme (pre-made website design) from Pretty Darn Cute.
This also required me to buy and install Genesis. Then I installed the theme.
- I set up a website all by myself!
Which means I did technical website things that made me cry, sweat, google like a madwoman, and pray (God does know everything!). I also made lots of semi-educated guesses on what plug-ins to install (can I recommend the helpful people at WPBeginner?).
- I figured out how to make an email address using my domain name.
This was surprisingly complicated and don't ask me how to do it because I won't really remember. But it is possible!
- I started blogging on a regular basis.
Right now for me that means twice a week. That is about the rate I can handle. So even though I know more is better I am sticking with this schedule for now!
- I subscribed to a QuickBooks / TurboTax combo. Not because I owe taxes (yet) but because I want accurate accounting of the dollars I've invested into this business – for tax purposes.
- I set up an account with MailerLite so I can send professional emails.
I don't have experience with any other email companies but for what it's worth I have been very happy with MailerLite. I found it easy to learn. I think the designs are clean. And their customer service is out of this world. I real live human contacts you with clear answers via email sometimes in just hours!
- I started sending those professional emails (sign up here for occasional updates from yours truly!).
- And all along the way I overdosed on YouTube tutorials and webinars by various small business experts and coaches. I'll share my favorites in an upcoming post.
- And let me not forget I have made SALES!
Actual human beings have paid money for my art… including people who don't know me in real life. What a joy to have customers and communicate with them!
Everything is started!
All in all, I have said this was the year for me to lay the groundwork and get everything established. And that is exactly what I have done. All the things are set up and ready for me to build on going forward. I may not be in the place where all those things are being tended to quite as frequently as I would like but I am still pretty happy with my progress!
None of the links in this post are affiliate links. So I don't earn anything if you click them. I simply wanted to share what's worked for me!