Tag: career 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.

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Limiting the Jobs You Apply to Is Healthy For Your Job Search

When looking for a job, it can be tempting to apply for a lot of open positions. After all, shouldn’t you cast your net wide, especially if you’re in a desperate situation? The answer is no, not typically. So what should you do instead? I suggest a better use of your time is to curate and apply only to jobs that make the most sense.

I’ll speak about how to determine which ones make the most sense in a moment. But first, I want to talk about why curation is both an important and necessary step in your job search.

Why you should curate job postings

There are so many jobs listed in various online job boards. You could spend an unhealthy amount of time with the online application process. This is not always time well spent. Especially given how 80% of the workforce found their jobs through networking, not applying to jobs.

This is why I tell my clients they should spend only 20% of their job search answering job ads, and 80% networking. But most job seekers have this reversed.

As a result, you should limit your job applications to a manageable amount, so your time is freed up for more networking efforts.

Also, being selective in the jobs you apply to shows focus. I’ve previously written how applying for a lot of different jobs, especially different roles within the same company, can signal to employers a lack of focus. They often view this as a huge red flag.

How many jobs should you apply to?

Allow me to use some similar language from Justin Whitmel Earley’s book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. He talks about the importance of curating the media we watch as one way to foster healthy habits. While he’s referring to media consumption, I’m going to refer to job applications.

So then, how many jobs should you apply to? It’s up to you to decide what your limit will be. “The point,” Earley says, “is to determine some kind of limit that forces curation.”

You can’t apply to every job listed in your field, but you should apply to some, perhaps even many. However, you also must curate them, instead of allowing the online job boards that care nothing about your career to curate them for you.

Earley says, “The good life doesn’t come from the ability to choose anything and everything; the good life comes from the ability to choose good things by setting limits.” You can substitute the word “career” for the word “life” in this quote, and it would still ring true.

Unlimited choices lead to “decision fatigue.” But limits, however, provide freedom. In the case of a job search, this could be the freedom to meet new people and grow your network, or discover opportunities not yet advertised.

By limiting and curating certain job ads, you improve your ability to make good career decisions.

What kind of jobs should you apply to?

Earley says, “Curation implies a sense of the good. An art gallery has limited space on the wall, so its curator creates shows to make the best use of that space according to a vision for good art.”

I recommend you develop a vision for good opportunities. The jobs it makes most sense to apply to are the ones meeting at least some of the following criteria:

1. Jobs matching at least 65 to 75% of your “must-have” requirements for a job. This will help you stay realistic without settling.

2. Ones where your skills match at least 65 to 75% of the qualifications. Remember from my previous post, “How to Know If You Should Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For,” job ads are written like wish lists. It’s unlikely there’s a candidate who checks every single box.

Where you might lack a particular skill, you make up for it with the ability to learn quickly, or with other assets such as emotional intelligence.

3. Jobs listed on LinkedIn or a company’s web site, instead of those listed on a big job board where the market is saturated and the postings are questionable.

4. Those your networking contacts have referred you to. This is the most effective way to apply for jobs. Therefore, you should spend much of your time building relationships with your contacts.

Conclusion

You may currently be in a situation where you feel like you have to find anything, and fast. But keep this in mind: by not being selective enough to curate a good list of job opportunities, you might find yourself right back in the same situation a year from now. This can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Is this really what you want?

It’s time to take a healthier approach so you can be more successful in your job search, and ultimately, your career.

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Do You Want to Take the Work Out of Networking? Here’s How

Networking can feel like, well, let’s just say it, work. Just the thought of it can trigger a sense of dread for a lot of people. This is especially true for introverts and job seekers currently unemployed. Because networking can often feel awkward and fake, it therefore feels like work.

But there are some ways to take the “work” out of networking so it doesn’t feel so laborious. Keep reading to find out how.

Taking the “work” out of networking

1. Change your mindset

Instead of thinking about networking as work, start thinking about it instead as “netweaving.” I heard of this term when reading an article by producer and photographer Michael Kushner.

Kushner explains:

“There is a fine line between networking and netweaving. Are you making these connections to advance yourself, or are you creating an environment where everyone can succeed? What establishes the difference is your intention.”

Networking should never be about what you can get from someone. Instead, your intention and approach should always be about making it a win-win for each party. (See my post, “How to Stop Networking for Good Contacts and How to Be One!“)

In addition, your intentions should be genuine. I’ve personally experienced people approaching me with a so-called win-win situation. But in looking closer, they weren’t being genuine.

For example, in one instance, it was obvious the other party was using empty flattery. In another, a contact was using one of her own clients as bait, to lure me into something only benefiting her other client and herself. Therefore, I declined each of these networking proposals.

In the second example, I politely and tactfully called her out on it, because I’d known her long enough to be able to do so. When I did, she admitted it, and showed appreciation for my forthrightness and said she found it refreshing. We were able to be honest and gracious with each other, which strengthened both our reputations within our network.

Not only do I encourage you to be genuine and intentional in your own “netweaving” efforts, but also to be discerning of those who aren’t. You don’t have to say yes to every meeting or proposal. If you do, this is when networking becomes work. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Use your time wisely

Take an inventory of all the different types of networking you’ve done in the past. This can include:

  • attending large networking events
  • conducting one-on-one meetings or informational interviews
  • connecting through LinkedIn
  • attending conferences or industry events
  • joining professional associations
  • volunteering
  • serving on committees
  • etc.

Ask yourself:

  • “Which ones am I more skillful at doing?”
  • “Which ones do I enjoy the most?”
  • And, “Which ones have had the most success?” (with success being defined as all parties benefiting from the connection).

Spend the majority of your efforts on those that meet the above criteria, while occasionally incorporating a couple of the others so you don’t let yourself get too comfortable. As a result, you’ll see more genuine success, and feel less overworked.

More resources:

How Can Career Coaching Help Me if I’m Not Currently Looking For a Job?

The other day I heard from a previous potential client. We had originally spoken last fall about his desire to look for another job, but then he decided to stay with his current company to try to make it work. Now he’s reaching back out because this approach hasn’t turned out as he’d hoped, and he’s now reconsidering career coaching.

Did you catch that? He wanted to try to make his current career situation better, yet originally declined career coaching. Does this make sense to you? Probably, if you’re like most people who think career coaching is only beneficial when conducting a job search. But it’s not.

In fact, career coaching is helpful for all aspects of your career, such as improving your current work situation so it’s less miserable, getting promoted or changing roles within your company, starting your own business, considering retirement or semi-retirement, and much more.

Trying to do any of this without the help of an expert is a lot to put on yourself. Why go it alone?

How career coaching can work

To illustrate this point, let me tell you about a client of mine. I’ll call her Kate. Kate first came to me because she was unhappy with the department she was in at her current company. She didn’t mesh well with her co-workers in this department, and she wasn’t getting to do the type of work she enjoyed most. But she also wasn’t ready to start a job search yet.

Over the course of Kate’s coaching package, we looked at various options for her. This included exploring whether she should consider a new job search or not. We also explored the feasibility of starting her own business.

But first, I helped Kate brainstorm ways to have conversations with her supervisor about the option of carving out a role more in line with her skills and passions. We worked on this throughout her coaching package.

While doing so, we also focused on how Kate could start her own business doing what she loves, first as a side hustle, then eventually as a full-time gig if nothing panned out or things didn’t improve at her current company.

Kate began taking the steps to start her own side gig, and then COVID hit. As a result, she had to table her business idea.

In this time, the conversations she’d been having with her supervisor, along with taking the initiatives I suggested she should take at her job, led to the ideal role for her in a different department at her current organization.

When I last saw Kate, she was much happier in this new capacity at her current company. She was thriving because she was working within her skill set, and with a new group of people who appreciated those skills.

Are you running from something, or running to something?

Kate still plans to grow her own business idea slowly in the form of a side hustle, in case she ever decides to go full-time with it. But she feels less pressure now to do so. This is because she started with career coaching prior to considering a job search, before she knew exactly what her next step should be.

Kate told me she’s glad she didn’t wait until she was so fed up at her current company that she decided to start a job search. She knew if she had, she’d be running away from something instead of running to something.

Don’t wait to get started with career coaching

Don’t wait until you’re desperately running away from something to talk with a career coach. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself running in all different directions, with no real direction at all.

Let paNASH help you find the direction of your next turn in your career path. Click here to get started and schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Or, help yourself to some of paNASH’s online video tutorials. These will help you get your footing in your current situation and properly pace yourself for the next step.

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Why Your Career Decisions Require Focus, Patience, and Passion

When working with clients, I spend a lot of time delving into the deeper issues involved in career decisions and the job search. I’ve written several posts on this topic as well.

Today, I want to share some “oldies but goodies” with you. If you’re new to this blog, I hope you’ll find them refreshing. If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll see it never hurts to be reminded of these topics. Repetition helps improve memory and learning.

How to make good career decisions

1. Don’t follow your heart

You might think since my work emphasizes helping people pursue their passions, I’m telling them to just follow their hearts. This is far from the truth! In fact, following your heart can actually lead to trouble.

To better understand how pursuing your passion is different from following your heart, check out my post titled, “‘Follow Your Heart’ is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice!

“Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-Post)

2. Get focused

You can’t expect to find the right job without having focus. Applying to jobs without really knowing your goal can lead to some very poor career decisions.

Learn how to get focused in my post, “Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search.”

Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search

3. Seek career advice that’s different from the same old, same old

In addition to providing some tried and true career guidance, I always strive to bring more to my clients with out-of-the-box career advice. This approach helps set them apart from their competition. It’s advice you won’t get with most other career coaches, or from a simple Google search on the topic.

Get a taste for this out-of-the box guidance with my post titled, “Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You.”

Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

4. Be patient

Learning to be patient is a difficult thing to master. In fact, it’s a lifelong learning process. Each time we fail, we’re given more opportunities to become more patient.

To improve your patience with your job search, check out my post, “How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs.”

How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

5. Try some proven life and career hacks

When your career or job search feels out of control, focus on doing the things within your control, while letting go of the things you can’t control. This will help you better prioritize your job search and career decisions.

For eight simple hacks, see my post titled, “How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career.”

How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career

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