This moment in history is unlike any time before it with its endless opportunities and the technological tools that are accessible to women who want to start businesses — especially online businesses that allow women to work from home.
Now more than ever, it's possible to leverage online tools to reach a global audience, sell unique products and services and achieve success from anywhere in the world. Regardless of your industry or business idea, there are two big things that you MUST do in the first week of your business operation as a womanpreneur: create an epic website and form a legal business entity.
#1: Create a Website
So how in the world can you create a website in just one week if you don't have development skills? Two words: website builders. There are some amazing website builders out there with professional looking templates such as SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly. They all have free plans and are incredibly easy to use. As your company grows you may want to hire a web designer for a more customized and optimized website — for this we recommend WordPress — but if you are just starting out, save your money and go with one of these aforementioned companies.
Here are some basic tips for creating a professional looking website:
Keep the design simple and modern.
Too much text overwhelms the customer. Create content in bite-sized pieces that can be easily digestible and allows the eye to travel to important parts of the page and copy.
Put your call to action button front and center to draw the eye. And, don't be afraid to test copy. Some words that work great are "you and "you're" for personalization and "now" or "today" to convey a sense of urgency.
Test your website with friends and family to make sure it's user-friendly and appealing. Send it around in an email and invite open and candid feedback.
Have your logo on every page to reinforce your branding
Provide a real address and contact information to prove that you are trustworthy and give visitors a chance to reach out and get ahold of you.
Once you have your website up and running, it's important to draw people to it and prove your expert skills or the quality of your products. A weekly blog with search engine optimization (SEO) keywords is a great way to create an audience, promote your company and get visitors to your website by moving you up Google's ranking lists.
#2: Legally Form Your Business Entity
Your business isn't official until you file as a legal entity and once again the Internet has made a complicated task super easy. You have the option to create all of the documents necessary to form your business entity and file them yourself, but many business owners choose to select an online formation company because it limits mistakes and takes the guesswork out of forming your business correctly with your state. As a small business owner, one of your best bets is to form an LLC or Corporation to protect your personal assets, increase tax benefits, make partnership tasks such as profit distribution more simple, and have minimal compliance requirements. Here are the basic steps to form an LLC:
Choose a unique business entity name. It's important to know that if you file for a DBA — Doing Business As — name for your business, this doesn't mean that the name is actually filed and reserved with your state unless you form an LLC or Corporation. It's also a good idea to trademark your business name. You can do so by visiting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
Include your name and address and those of your co-owners which are called "members" in an LLC. If you are the only owner of your business, then you are the only member.
Since each state has different guidelines, some require a statement of purpose for your business and some do not. In general, this is basically your company's mission statement and shows that you are willing to be in compliance with the tax laws and other regulations specified by your home state in exchange for liability protection.
If you live in a different state than where you want to establish your business, then you need to appoint a registered agent who has an address in the state in which you are doing business to receive any legal documents.
File your Articles of Organization (otherwise known as Certificate of Organization or Certificate of Formation). This is a document that needs to be filed with the secretary of state in order to form your business.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and is used to identify a business entity. It's free and you can file online. The IRS can tell you if you state requires one for your business.
With all of the tools that innovative companies are providing on the Internet such as website builders and online formation companies, you can start your business up in no time with minimal cost... and all of this can be done in just one week and then you'll be well on your way to kicking off your career as a womanpreneur.
Paul is a freelance writer, small business owner, and British expat exploring the U.S. When he’s not politely apologizing, he enjoys hats, hockey, Earl Grey Tea, mountains, and dogs.