Sole trader – the four things you need to get started

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It’s time to fly solo! Woohoo! You’ve got an ABN and an email address and you’re ready to start making money! Slow down Tiger! Don’t even set foot out the door without these four things behind you.

A super hot headshot

Welcome to brand YOU. As you start getting set up you’ll find more and more situations where you need a professional looking photo of yourself that’s great quality. People like to see faces on social networks and websites to get an idea of who they’ll be dealing with. Also, if you’re sending out press releases about your business you’re likely to be asked for a headshot. If you take a day to get back to a journalist it might be too late. A professional photograph will set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but you’ll use it over and over again and you’ll be glad you have it to hand. So get yourself camera ready and smile!

A website that’s more than a placeholder

Paying someone to build your website seems like a big expense when you’re starting out. However, cobbling together something yourself without effective copy or a professional presentation is pretty much pointless. It won’t do you any good in search engines and it could actually drive away customers. There’s almost no point launching your business without a website that shouts from the rooftops just how amazing you are at what you do.

A business card and a slick LinkedIn profile

Ok that’s two things, but they work together. People will grab your business card then add you on LinkedIn and chuck the card out. (Unless they’re a hoarder like me… but we can discuss that over wine some time). LinkedIn is no longer just a website where you can post your online resume. It’s an incredibly powerful platform to get the message out to the people who know you for what you do. Make sure your profile includes your gorgeous headshot and a link to your sexy website and keep up your activity to remind your business contacts that you exist.

A plan

You’re a businessperson now! You’ve gotta rock what you do and you have to have organisation and structure in every day or it’s not going to be worth it. Write a clear business plan for yourself and revisit your practices and procedures often so that you can stay focused and keep your goals in mind. If you’re completely at sea you can work with a coach to guide you through the elements of business that you don’t understand. You’ll see a quick return on investment from a coach or business training program if you’re able to do things right from the start.   Those are just the top four things you’ll need! You’re also going to want to have stamina, tenacity and enthusiasm as well as a lot of your own personal elbow grease to turn a business into a success.

Do you have any other thoughts on what you need when you’re first starting out on your own?

Clea Sherman is a freelance writer based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Contact her for amazing business blogs, web content and more. Photo by Bart E

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