The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tough time for each of us in different ways. Some people have lost their jobs, while others have lost their lives. We stand together in prayer for all families that have been affected and impacted.
When life gets tough, it’s often hard to stay positive and look for silver linings, but they are out there:
- First, we put our trust in God to carry us through. There is no better bright light than what God provides to us each and every day.
- Second, we hear time and time again how these weeks at home have given parents the GIFT of TIME with their children. During “normal times” many parents are so busy that they wish for just one spare day or extra hour with their kids, to read a book, to sing a song, to go for a walk, to play a board game, and so on. God has granted that wish.
- Third, we now have more time for ourselves, to sleep, to read, to pray, to learn, to exercise, and maybe even to focus on our God-given talents.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”1 Peter 4:10
We have no idea what the future holds, but we suspect that these weeks away from the office and jobsite might motivate some people to shift in a new direction. If we face facts, we know that plenty of people don’t even like their job, their boss, their coworkers, or their tasks. They aren’t excited to get up in the morning, they don’t want to go in, and they don’t feel appreciated when they’re there.
So when it’s “time to go back” we think quite a few people will respond by simply saying, “Ugh.” If that’s you, maybe this is a good time to evaluate your talents, discover your passions, consider working for a different organization, and / or consider starting a business that features your God-given talents. (Yes, if you wanted, you could work for a new organization that actually excites you, AND you could start a small business as a “side hustle.”)
We’ve created the following guideline to get you started:
- Pick a business name. Keep it simple, but make it memorable. Try to make “what you do” part of the name.
- Make sure the name is not already in use by doing a free search online through your county’s clerk’s office, and the state’s franchise license board.
- Get a free business phone number from Google Voice. If you are not renting an office space, consider using a PO Box so that you are not advertising your home address.
- While your business name is still a secret, buy a good domain name for the business web site for about $12 per year. *
- Set up Facebook, Twitter and other Social Pages for the business.*
- Register the name with the county. This is around $35 and lasts about 5 years.
- Publish the name in the newspaper, if required. This is around $15 with smaller community papers.
- Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, so that you don’t have to use your SSN for business transactions.
- If you choose to make your business an LLC (talk to your accountant and lawyer about the benefits) consider a online legal service. Note that LLCs in California, pay an $800 annual state fee + Legal Paperwork, and then you have to re-do the county registration and newspaper publishing steps above.) UPDATE: An LLC may not be right for you, and you may choose instead to become an S-Corp, C-Corp, Sole Proprietor, or Partnership.
- Use the official paperwork from above to get a business bank account and checks with your business name.
*Faith in Marketing can help you!
Now that you’re “official,” it’s time to promote! Call Faith in Marketing at (858) 877-3733 and we’ll quickly create your:
- Color Palette and Branding
- Promotional Videos
- Flyers, Banners and Signs
- Business Cards
- Brochure or Magazine
- Vehicle Signage
- Community Event Display
- E-Newsletters with Constant Contact
Okay, next steps…
- Contact three small non-profits and offer your expertise, service, or product for free. Those non-profits have board members and donors who are your future clients.
- Write a press-release talking about how great you are, how great your company is, and how the non-profits benefitted by working with you.
- Make some business income goals and know the numbers. For example: In very simple terms, say you want to make $100,000 a year in profit. If 50% of your revenue covers expenses, then you need to bill $200,000. Assuming you’ll have two weeks of vacation per year, you’ll need to sell $16,000 gross per month, or $4000 per week, or approximately $100 per HOUR (at 8 hours / day).
- Make an effort to meet with one client per day, and one prospect per day, in person, even if just for a minute.
- Set up a network of friends and other self-employed people, and plan to meet with them as a group or small groups, once every two weeks for lunch. When you are self-employed, it’s important to remain social, get out of the house/office, see people, learn from others, etc.
- Contact local groups and offer to give seminars about topics you know well… you’ll be the expert!
- Talk to your accountant about your expenses such as office supplies, mileage, computers, coffee, desks, chairs, phones, etc.
- Remember to always collect payments on time, and to pay your vendors on time.
- Send real, hand-written, paper Thank You notes in the real, daily mail.
- Consider hiring a success coach or a trusted friend to keep you accountable, and to help you stay on task to reach your goals. Meet at least once a month, either in person or on the phone. Once per quarter, review what you have been doing and make adjustments as necessary.
If you do nothing else, do this:
- Write down your God-given talents.
- Write down WHO needs your talents.
- Contact those people directly, offer your great talent, and ASK for a project.
- Give them two business cards.
- Do a great job.
May God keep you healthy, and may we all seek to find the silver linings presented by this pandemic.