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Hi.

I’m Melissa. Welcome to my blog.

Curated Living is a resource designed to cultivate community, support artist ran businesses and inspire creativity.

5 Easy Steps to Starting Your Own Business While Keeping Your Day Job

5 Easy Steps to Starting Your Own Business While Keeping Your Day Job

If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that I started my own media company in late 2014. What you might not know is that within six months I was making enough money to support myself and quit my restaurant job. Doesn’t that sound amazing?! It was! I was super proud of myself. But this blog is about transparency. I can give you the insta highlights and avoid the failures, but that isn’t going to help any of us.

For starters, I had no idea how to balance my books. I could have learned, but instead, my self-sabotaging fear of money stopped me from paying attention to my finances. Unless you have already thoroughly mapped out your plan, saved enough cold, hard cash, and done all the emotional work it takes to to quit your job with benefits, then I’m going to tell you to keep your day job.

I did well, had a couple contract workers, and I made a lot of money... until I didn’t. Luckily for me, I’m actually really good at business (when it doesn’t involve me) which allowsed me to step into the career I have now. I literally talk to business owners all day and show them how to build their business using our software.   The thing about being a creative is that you are not only the visionary, but you are also the accountant, the marketer and the laborer.

When I started my first business I let my own insecurities dictate some of my business decision. For example, I didn’t have a deep understanding of how to keep the books. I just figured as long as the bills were being paid- I was good.  If I had followed the road map I’m about to share with you, I believe my venture would have been easier. To get started, here are five easy things you can do to get the ball rolling.

Write a Business Plan

Do not let this stop you! So many people sit on business plans like they are a resume or a cover letter. Business plans are suppose to evolve because you will evolve and your small business will need to adapt. Every start-up starts somewhere! It’s all about testing out what works and what doesn’t. As we go along, I’m going to add some more clickable links but for now… I need to launch this blog. So use this link for a super dry but very helpful outline from the U.S. Small Business Administration. (See it’s not that scary… one day we’ll have a niche, branded, interactive PDF)

Allocate Your Investment

Investment doesn’t only mean money, it means time. If you are working a full-time job and want to get something off the ground, the only way it is going to happen is if you schedule in time to hit your quarterly goals. For example, I have decided that I’m going to commit $500 of my salary to pay for a blog editor and misc things. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES am I going to incur debt for this project. However, my day job is demanding and I love it,  so I need to be realistic. My goal is to commit to 10-15 hours each week. The only ways that is actually going to happen is if calendar that shit . Right now.

Define Your Sales Channels

You must know how you are going to make money. I think this question is so much harder if you are a blogger or writer. Fine artists, at least, have their tangible creations as marketable products. I’d recommend beginning by picking two or three different channels. For example, if you’re a furniture maker, where can you sell your pieces? Online, art fairs, workshops...I would even say take to the streets with cool ideas for local restaurant and shops.

Define Your Marketing Channels

As artists, one of the most challenging business essentials can be marketing. Distribution is different than growth and production. You’re going to need a strategy for how you will highlight and publicize your work. Growing your social sites and your reputation will eventually lead to a growth in sales.

Plan Your Next Quarter

Set achievable goals, especially in the beginning. Achievable being the key word here. Start off with a big annual goal then only focus on the quarter at hand. Map it out month by month, and then check in with yourself weekly or even daily. No one here is allowed to hit burn out. Make sure you are also tracking your wellness time (excess wine, does not = wellness...more on that later)

Speaking of Quarterly goals, I’m going to be putting together worksheets and doing a deeper dive on these topics throughout the month. If you found this helpful please follow curatedliving.us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Sign-up for my newsletter here. This is probably coming in Q2 but will have exclusive tips on what apps I’m testing out for business/personal growth, budget resources, and much more!

A Studio Tour of Sacramento Artist Sarah Golden

A Studio Tour of Sacramento Artist Sarah Golden