Q&A: Starting a Business?
So you want to start a business? Here are a few tips!
Recently we've gotten a few questions about how Handzy started and if we have any advice/tips for someone who is thinking about starting their own business. We can't really advise you on the who or what of your business (that's for you to figure out!) but we'd love to share the when, where, and how of Handzy with a few tips for ya! If you are reading this because you are thinking about starting your own biz, we are stoked for you and we already know that you can do it! Keep reading!
Where To Start:
Handzy started in a small, cheap warehouse because it was the easiest place for us to start. BUT that might not be the easiest place for you to start. Maybe you start your business out of your apartment, a co-working space, your mom's garage, the shed in your backyard, a coffee shop or somewhere else I haven't even imagined! That's okay! Opening a shop for us was always the dream, but when we started Handzy, we were just two girls a year out of design school with no business experience. Looking back, we were not ready to jump into running a retail shop. Maybe you are ready. Maybe you have found the storefront of your dreams and if you have that's awesome—start your business there! The point is you don't have to have it all figured out. Find a place to "go to work" and get to work. Day 1 of working at Handzy (in the warehouse) we had no money, a few graphic design clients, and a list of to dos that we just made up that day.
Tip: Remember that every person's situation is different and every business is on its own unique path.
When To Start:
For us, the answer was "now!" but your answer might be different. When we started Handzy, we didn't have it all planned out. We knew we wanted to work together, that we'd make our own products, and that we'd call our business Handzy. For us it made sense to go for it because we had an amazing support system, roofs over our heads, no kids and really nothing to lose. Your situation might be (and probably is) different than ours and that doesn't mean that you can't start a business. If your answer can't be "now!" that's totally cool!
Tip: Make a list of what you need to have in order before you can start your business. Then set a realistic goal of when you're going to have all of those things checked off your list. Get after it.
How To Start:
When we started Handzy we had no clue what we were doing or how to start a business. We just went to work everyday and figured out something to work on. For us, that work was making products to sell at our local craft fair or reaching out to anyone we knew to see if they might know anyone who needed graphic design work. If you've never started a business before chances are you will not know how to start a business so no worries. In our case, we could figure out how to make work for ourselves but we couldn't figure out how to become a legit, law-abiding business (set up our LLC correctly, pay taxes, do accounting, the list goes on) so we reached out to our local SCORE (the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors) chapter to get connected with a FREE business mentor. Our mentor helped us (and is still helping us) with the business side of business ownership. Having his help was a huge relief and he got us started down a good path. You might already know about taxes and how to create a legal entity. If you do—that's awesome! What else do you need help with? Do you know anyone who knows how to do that thing or someone who might know someone who knows how to do that thing? Sit down with anyone who knows more than you do and ask some questions. Take notes.