Category: Side-Hustle Advice


How to Overcome the Intimidation of Starting Your Own Business

For my clients who’d like to start their own business, they often site intimidation as the reason why they haven’t done so yet. Specifically, the thing they say intimidates them the most is the logistics involved. Their fear is real. But the things they fear aren’t really that scary, especially once they start taking steps toward those things.

This was true for me when starting my own business. I didn’t know much about how to begin. Let’s face it, I didn’t even know the difference between an LLC and LL Bean! It all seemed very overwhelming.

But the important thing is, I started. I did a simple Google search on obtaining a business license. Then I checked out the County Clerk’s web site for instructions. Filling out the form took all of five minutes, and the fee was nominal. Done!

Next, I consulted a business coach on how to set up my business as an LLC. He showed me the steps, which weren’t too difficult. And now days, getting an employer ID number for your business is easier than ever through the IRS web site. Done!

With each step completed, my confidence grew!

It’s easy to let things like the alphabet soup of starting a business cause you to panic. LLC, P&L, and IRS can all sound very scary (especially that last one). But taking just a few minutes to research their meaning, or asking someone who knows about it to explain it to you like you’re a four-year-old, can greatly reduce your anxiety.

Tips for starting your own business

If your goal is to start your own business, you’ll also gain confidence by taking one step at a time. You’ll quickly learn you can figure things out as you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

But in addition to giving you a pep talk, I want to share some practical tips to help make the logistics smoother for you. If you already possess the necessary basic skills for starting a business, then the following advice will help you do so with less intimidation, and less headache.

1. Choose a good business name

Determine the best name for your business. Use one that doesn’t limit you from possibly expanding your products, service offerings, or location. Then check for the following:

  • Business name availability.
  • Domain availability. (Always get a dot com over a dot net or a dot info. And never use a hyphen in your domain.)
  • Platform handle availability. Make sure your business name’s handle is available on every social media platform you plan to use.

2. Select your business structure

If you already know what kind of business structure you want, get registered as such. While registering as an LLC is more expensive than registering as a sole proprietor, it’s much easier to do it upfront than to start as a sole proprietor, and then change to an LLC later.

Consult your accountant or a business coach on which structure would best suit your business.

3. Set up a bank account

Get a separate bank account for your business. You never want to mix your business income and expenses with your personal account.

4. Make it easy for customers to pay you

Set up business accounts through payment method platforms like PayPal and Venmo. This way you can receive customer payments quickly, and make it easier for them to pay you. Setting these up as business accounts under your business name, instead of as personal accounts, will make the IRS less suspicious of your transactions.

5. Keep a P&L

In the beginning you may not have the money to hire a bookkeeper, so you’ll need to keep track of your own income and expenses with a profit and loss ledger. It can be as simple as pen and paper, or an Excel sheet, with an itemized list of all your expense and income categories.

Then, you’ll want to keep a copy of every invoice and receipt to account for all the numbers you plug into your ledger. You’re required to hold onto these receipts for up to seven years in the event of an audit. (I know, the word audit sounds really frightening. But as long as you’re using your income strictly for business expenses, and you account for every penny, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.)

Even if you don’t have the money in the beginning to hire a bookkeeper, you will want to dish out the money for an accountant to assist you with your taxes. He or she will tell you what business expenses you can write off, and which ones you can’t.

What I’ve found easiest for me is to keep an Excel P&L myself throughout the year, which gives me a first-hand picture of how my business is doing. I update my P&L monthly. Then every year, I give it to my accountant at tax time for her to have when filing my taxes on my behalf.

6. Pay your estimated taxes

As soon as financially feasible, get into the habit of setting aside 15 to 20 percent of every receivable and every revenue stream. This is the estimated amount you will owe on the income your business generates.

Use this amount to pay your taxes every quarter. Paying taxes online through the IRS web site is quick and easy.

I suggest linking a business savings account to your business checking account, so you can move your estimated taxes to it. This will help you keep it separate from your revenue. You can quickly and easily pay out of this account via ACH, through the IRS web site.

Getting into the habit of taking the taxes off the top of each receivable makes it less painful than getting hit with a large tax bill at once. Doing so can even result in a tax refund!

Take it one step at a time

While the advice above may still leave you feeling unsettled or intimidated, I promise it will reduce your chances of facing something even scarier down the road. These tips really are much easier than they sound, and they will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Remember, the logistics of starting a business are not obstacles. They’re simply steps. Just take one step at a time and keep moving to the next step. When in doubt, ask your accountant, your lawyer, a business coach, or someone who’s been down this road before. But don’t ever be so intimidated you become paralyzed with fear and give up on your goal.

Related resources

Could You Pivot to Become a Good Freelancer if Necessary?

Does your future include becoming a freelancer? It’s very likely!

“By 2027, a majority of American workers won’t be traditional employees. And with the decline of the traditional employment model, benefits like health care, sick leave, and pensions will largely become a thing of the past. Freelancers are ahead of that curve…in building the new safety net.”

Rafael Espinal, President & Executive Director of Freelancers Union

Last week, I asked my readers to share with me how COVID-19 has changed their career plan for the better. I received two stories from freelancers thriving in the fitness industry, one of the hardest hit industries during COVID.

Freelancer Story #1

A former client emailed me to say he’s used his time during COVID to make some necessary and helpful changes to his fitness and health business. John used the personal branding methods I taught him, along with my model for virtual courses, to create online classes for his own clients. This has opened up a whole new way to reach people he wasn’t able to work with in person.

He’s recently introduced a six-part course on helping you develop mindful eating habits to find peace with food and weight loss. Check out his site at JohnHolley.com.

Freelancer Story #2

Seth and Megan are a married couple I first met when they were both working in the music industry. Seth was a touring musician, so he was already a freelancer. Megan had more traditional employment in the music industry. They both started their fitness business as a side hustle in 2017. But 2020 forced them to go full-time with it.

“Seth and I started Fitness Porter on the side with the goal of eventually transitioning it into our full-time income. But we recognized that when we only put part-time hours into it, growth was extremely slow!

“In late 2019, Seth decided to come off the road. At the time, Fitness Porter wasn’t making enough to support our family, so Seth started personal training at a gym. A few months later the pandemic hit, and the gyms closed.

“With the gyms closed, we enjoyed spending a majority of our time working on growing our business, which gave us momentum. At some point, we had the insane idea of letting go of our steady income and going ‘all-in’ on our business. It didn’t take us long to make the decision to let go of the financial security of a salaried job. We both agreed it was the right thing to do. We wanted to continue with the momentum the pandemic provided us.

“Our plan to grow our business is still evolving. We’re still working hard and leaning into the many hats it takes to be an entrepreneur. If it wasn’t for COVID, we would’ve never tasted what it’s like to work a business full-time. We wouldn’t have seen the results, and we wouldn’t have been brave enough to take the financial risk.

“Since COVID, we’ve had a significant increase in clients, and we’re diving deep into new areas of growth.”

Key take-aways

The key take-aways from these stories are important to remember.

1. Prepare for the future

As you can see from Espinal’s quote above, freelancing is not just a major trend, but a cultural shift in the workforce.

I have a dear colleague and friend who has dreams of freelancing. Her husband already freelances. Because of this, she feels it’s wise for her to stay in her current job with healthcare benefits instead of going out on her own.

But what happens if her employer decides in the next six years to stop providing benefits? Will it finally open a door for her she wasn’t able to open herself? More importantly, will she look back and wish she’d started investing full-time into her freelance business sooner? Luckily, she’s already started freelancing on the side. But like Seth and Megan, she won’t see full income results until she either decides, or is forced, to go full-time with her side-hustle.

One day, you may find yourself working as your own boss and paying for your own benefits, even if you never planned to. There is no one right way to make this career shift. But wouldn’t you want to be prepared? Now is the time to start thinking about what this will look like for you, and how you should pivot when the time comes. paNASH can help you with this.

2. Get on the same page

If you’re married, make sure you and your spouse are in agreement with your career plans, because your decisions affect them too.

Even if you don’t plan to start a business together, you’re going to need your spouse’s support, especially in the beginning when business is slow.

3. Know what to expect

As Megan said, there are many hats a freelancer and entrepreneur must wear. You don’t have to have a business degree to start your own business. But you also must understand this:  a skill does not a business make.

Along with the service or product you’re skilled to offer, you have to have some basic skills to market your business and to manage the financials of it. These can all be learned as long as you maintain flexibility, discipline, and a teachable spirit. Just don’t let the learning curve of running a business intimidate you.

4. Don’t let fear intimidate you

I’ve been there. I know how scary it is to take the leap of starting your own business. I left my full-time job with benefits in August of 2008, right before the Great Recession hit. If I hadn’t left then, I would’ve been too afraid to leave my job once the crisis hit.

But I didn’t let fear or the the lack of experience running my own business intimidate me. Instead, I learned from various sources what I needed to know as I went along.

Having been through this career pivot myself, I’ve been able to teach my clients what I’ve learned. As a result, I’ve saved them a little time and energy in starting their own thing. I can help you do the same.

5. Make your product or services accessible

Like John, there may be a time when you have to shift how you deliver your product and services so they’re accessible to current and future clients. This is where your creativity comes in.

Look at what others are doing to see what works. Determine how you can tweak it to your own brand. If a necessary shift requires a re-brand, paNASH can help! We can walk you through the same branding process we taught John.

This service is useful for anyone having to make a career change, even if they’re not starting their own business, but just changing jobs or industries. Whether you work for yourself or not, your skill set is your product, and you need to make it as accessible for as many opportunities as possible to continue making a living.

Need help?

If you need help preparing for the future of your career, figuring out how to become a freelancer, or re-branding your skill set, email me. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you!

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What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the importance of having a back-up plan if something disrupts your career. I shared about a past client of mine who was a recording artist with a unique story. His former career as a high school social studies teacher was disrupted by stardom in the music industry.

I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately, especially how the pandemic has disrupted his and other performing artists’ careers. But even if he can’t work right now due to COVID restrictions on live performances, I know he’ll be okay. Why? Because he had a plan B, which most recording artists don’t have.

What about you? Do you have a plan B if some event disrupts your current career? It’s a question you need to consider. As a result, I’m re-sharing my post from a couple of years ago to help you start thinking about a plan B (or C, or D) for your career.

My client’s story (originally published August 29, 2018)

It was 2011 and I was waiting for my new client in his publicist’s conference room. We were beginning the process of preparing him for his upcoming radio interviews.

In our first session he told me his life story, how he got to where he was, and what his future looked like. He was different from most of the other recording artists I’d worked with. His values and priorities were on a whole other level.

What was typical

He told me about how he grew up poor with humble beginnings, and how he’d always been passionate about music, with goals to pursue it as a career. Not an uncommon story among most musicians who eventually make their way to Nashville.

He was the first person in his family to finish not just college, but also high school. This inspired him to become a high school social studies teacher, something else he was very passionate about.

After college, he pursued teaching to support his music career goals. He did both until he couldn’t any longer.

His music caught on like wildfire. In fact, he was getting so many bookings and selling out so many venues, his music career completely disrupted his teaching career. He had to leave his students to fulfill his new obligations to his fans.

Again, this is not an unusual story or scenario for most recording artists as they begin their careers. Most start off doing something else to make a living until they’re able to afford to pursue music full-time.

What was different

But here’s where it gets different with this particular artist:  he said to me,

“When this whole music thing dries up, which it probably will eventually, my plan is to go back to teaching social studies.”

I had never heard a recording artist talk like this. Most get so caught up in their rise to fame and fortune they think it will never come to an end. They don’t think long-term.

In fact, most of them believe, and are also told by numerous music industry executives, if you truly want to make it in the music business you can’t have a Plan B.

The music executives’ theory is, if you have a Plan B, you’ll never be fully motivated to pursue the Plan A of a music career. They believe you’ll give up too soon and default to your Plan B before Plan A gets off the ground.

This client was the only artist I knew who didn’t fall for this mindset. He strongly disagreed and felt it was totally irresponsible not to have a Plan B. Like everything else, he knew Plan A will eventually come to an end.

He also told me something else I’ll never forget. In describing a recently sold-out show, one where Brantley Gilbert and the Zac Brown Band were opening for him, he said to me,

“To this day, there’s not been one stage I’ve walked onto that didn’t beat the feeling I got the first day I walked into a classroom.”

Talk about a mic drop!

Whether he realizes it or not, this musician is still teaching others in his role as an artist. There are so many lessons from this interaction and his statements I almost don’t know where to begin.

But let’s try to unpack as much as we can here.

1. It can’t be all about the money

It’s obvious he wasn’t doing any of this for the money. Everyone knows there’s very little money in education. And for someone willing to go back to education after a more lucrative career in music shows money isn’t a top priority.

As a career coach specializing in helping people pursue their passions, I can tell you if you’re pursuing something only for money with no passion behind it, it’s likely to fail. All the experts will tell you this. This includes business experts, successful entrepreneurs, other career coaches, and the ones who learned this lesson the hard way.

And not only is it likely to fail, you’re also likely to be miserable. If you’re not passionate about what you do and you find no meaning in it besides earning a paycheck, you’re likely to dread going to work everyday. This will wear on you over time.

2. You have to think long-term

Nothing lasts forever. You could be laid off tomorrow from your current job. Your business idea could take off like a rocket and then just as quickly crash and burn. My former client’s bookings could easily dry up since music fans’ tastes are fickle.

So then what?

While it’s important to learn to live in the moment, there needs to be a balance between living in the moment and considering the future.

One of the things I work with my coaching clients on is establishing long-term goals and helping them figure out how their passions can evolve with those goals.

Sometimes this requires re-evaluating and altering their short-term goals. And sometimes it may require them to alter their long-term goals.

3. It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan

As a result, you may need a Plan B to your Plan A, or even a Plan C to your Plan B.

These plans don’t have to be completely different from each other like they were for my former client. They could be something in the same industry but in a different role or function. Or something in the same role but in a different industry.

Back-up plans can be a great solution when you’re feeling stuck in your current career situation. I’ve helped many clients brainstorm and test potential back-up plans which eventually got them unstuck.

Do you see any other lessons here I missed? (If so, please comment below!)

What if something disrupts your career?

My former client had two very different careers he was equally passionate about. One disrupted the other much more quickly than he expected. And it could happen again some day. This happens to almost all of us, including myself.

What will you do if something disrupts your career? What will happen if you don’t have a Plan B to fall back on?

If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it may be time to consider the lessons outlined above, or even some career coaching for yourself. 

To find out if career coaching is your next best step, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Completing the form does not obligate you in any way.

Resources for when something disrupts your career

How to Market Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

The past several months I’ve written numerous blog posts covering topics related to doing a job search during the pandemic. This includes topics on how to create additional income streams when furloughed or laid off.

It also includes topics on how to show employers in your next interview that you’ve spent your time wisely during the quarantine. But before you can even land an interview, you’ll have to communicate this on your resume.

You may wonder how you can include a side hustle or other projects on your resume, or if you even should. Well, I already answered this question in a post from May 2018 entitled, “Should You Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

Should you include your side hustle on your resume?

The short answer to this question is YES. And there are certain ways to market your side hustle experience on your resume.

To learn how, I invite you to either read or listen to my post from 2018. From it you’ll find out:

  • How employers view side hustle experience.
  • How it makes you marketable.
  • And how you should market it on your resume.

Stay tuned for more relevant job search topics designed to help you be as successful as possible during these uncertain economic times.

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Additional resources

3 Ways to Gain Control Over Your Career in a Recession

The past few weeks have been difficult for a lot of people. There are people who are sick from the coronavirus and missing their family members. Others have been working from home, or worse, been laid off. And we’re all facing a looming recession.

There was so much “white noise” on social media last week you may have missed my previous posts, including three different ways to help you gain some control over your career in these trying times. In case you missed it, here’s a compilation of those three things you may find useful now or in an upcoming recession.

How to gain control over your career amidst layoffs and a recession

Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to continue working from home during this coronavirus quarantine. But perhaps you haven’t been so lucky.

Some folks have been told not to report to work. And since their job doesn’t lend well to remote work, they’re having to use precious vacation or sick days. Or worse, they’re being laid off.

If this is you, or could possibly be you in the near future, you probably feel like you have no control over your current career or job situation.

But, there are some things you can do to help you feel a little more in control, and can help you be better prepared in the event of a job loss.

1. Stay in control by updating your resume the right way

If it’s been a while since you last updated your resume, now is a good time to do so. It’s definitely more productive than spending your time watching Netflix while quarantined!

I’m sure there are several things you need to add to your resume since you last updated it. Which means you need to make room for those new things.

So how do you know what to get rid of to make way for the new info? I have several free videos, including one entitled:

What NOT to Share On Your Resume: 13 Things You Should Delete Immediately

You may not realize it, but there are probably some things on your resume that are hurting your chances of landing a job interview. They need to go! Find out what they are before you send your next résumé out by watching the video.

Once you’ve updated your resume, you have a chance of getting a free resume critique from paNASH. Details are available in the video.

2. Be prepared to become a freelancer during a recession

Even if you’re still able to work during the coronavirus quarantine, whether from your office or from home, let me ask you something:

Are you prepared to be a freelancer if forced to?

Think about it. If you lost your job tomorrow and couldn’t find another one right away, would you be able to pick up and start making some extra money?

Do you already have some other streams of revenue in place, like freelance work or a side hustle?

I’ve previously written about the importance of having multiple streams of income. You can’t rely on only one stream because it could evaporate tomorrow.

I’m not saying this to cause you to panic. Instead I say it to help you feel more productive and a little more in control of your current situation.

How to create multiple streams of income

Here’s what you have some control over. Sit down and make a list of skills you have that others would pay you to perform because they lack those skills. Also add to your list anything you own that others might want to rent on a short-term basis.

Decide which items on your list will take the least amount of time to start earning the most money.

Then, get the word out. Use your current social media profiles to do this. And join platforms you’re not already using. Start with the ones that make the most sense for your product or service.

You may be surprised what kind of response you get.

Forced to be a freelancer

Recently, my hairstylist’s husband was in between digital marketing jobs. Although he received several interviews and offers, the offers weren’t financially feasible based on his experience and the potentially long commutes.

While holding out for something more financially feasible, he took some home improvement jobs as a side hustle since he’s good at this sort of thing.

When one side hustle opportunity was completed, another one came along. Then it got to the point where he had so many side jobs to choose from it made more financial sense to make this his full-time gig!

He’s now making more money doing home improvement than he would’ve if he’d stayed in digital marketing.

Need help becoming a freelancer?

If you need help with the steps of starting a side hustle or work opportunity for yourself, let me know. I’ve successfully transitioned to working for myself and have helped several clients do the same.

3. Getting laid off? The #1 thing to ask for when you leave

Getting laid off is difficult and scary. It’s happening to so many people right now due to a recession caused by the coronavirus. It can make you feel like your career and your life is out of control.

On some occasions you can convince your boss or company that you’re worth keeping around. Such as when you’re able to show your past contributions to the company and the savings of letting you work remotely, using hard data. Hard data gets people’s attention.

But if your data doesn’t outweigh the data that supports letting you go, there’s still something you can negotiate.

Outplacement counseling

You can always ask your company to provide or include outplacement counseling in your severance package.

Outplacement counseling is simply another term for career coaching or job search assistance. It’s set up to help you find your next job more quickly, and to make a smoother transition to it.

Many companies already offer it in their severance packages. I know this because I’m often one of the people they pay to provide such a service for their employees.

Take advantage of outplacement

If your company already offers outplacement counseling, take advantage of it! I’m always surprised at how some people just toss this benefit aside. Their company has already paid for the service, yet some employees think they don’t need it.

Even if you don’t think you need outplacement counseling, use it! If you already have another job lined up, use it to help you prepare for your first year in your new job.

Career coaching isn’t just for helping you find a job. It’s also for helping you succeed in your next job and building your career. And everything discussed in your coaching sessions remains confidential. It will never be shared with your past employer.

Ask for outplacement

If you’re getting laid off due to the coronavirus, and your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling, ask for it! What do you have to lose at this point?

If your company needs convincing, help them understand how it not only benefits you, but also their business. It protects the company’s brand and reputation. It mitigates the risk of litigation. And, it provides them the opportunity to do the right thing for their employees.

If your company agrees to pay for the service but doesn’t have anyone to provide it, tell them you know someone! Feel free to have them email me, Lori Bumgarner, at lorib@yourpassioninlife.com. I’ve provided outplacement counseling to hundreds of companies’ employees over several years, especially during times of recession.

Additional help when getting laid off

If your company says no to offering outplacement counseling, there are still some free and affordable resources here at paNASH, starting with paNASH’s on-demand programs and free career success videos. Click here to receive free access to the following videos:

Control what you can during a recession

Knowing what you can’t and can control means the difference between feeling panicked and empowered. Hopefully the tips and resources provided here will make you feel more empowered. I look forward to helping you navigate these uncertain times in your career!

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