How to Start a Business or Side Hustle

Thinking about or just starting a business or side hustle — congratulations! This is probably one of the most exciting and nerve wracking times of your life, which is why I’ve put together a list of tips and essential tools to help you hit the ground running from the start!

*All of the items below are things I’ve used and recommend. Please note though, some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission.

Decide on how you’re going to track your expenses

The minute you decide to start a business, you’re going to have business expenses. You’re going to want to track all of your business expenses, so when it comes to tax time you aren’t scrambling to find receipts and more money stays in your bank account.  I highly recommend using Quickbooks (use this link to get 50% off). It starts at $5 per month, and with the self-employed version you can track receipts, miles, and easily invoice and accept payments from clients.

Choose a Name

If copywriting comes easy to you, this step may be a breeze. However, if choosing a name for your business seems daunting I recommend this guide from Ashlyn Carter to help you start brainstorming. My business’s name, Advisori, is a play on our expertise, ADVERTISING, and what we are giving to customers, ADVICE based on years of experience placing millions of dollars in advertising.

Once you have a few ideas, Google the name to see if there are other companies out there with the same name. You want to use something unique. You may also want to check to see if any other companies in your state are registered with the name you have in mind.

Design a Logo

Some may say this step isn’t absolutely necessary for you to start, but having a logo can help you have a consistent brand image across your website, business cards, social media pages, etc. I recommend using Tailor Brands. You can create a logo in under 10 minutes and for less than $100.

Build a Website

There are three parts to building a website:

  • Purchase a domain + hosting
  • Software
  • Choosing a theme
Purchase a domain + hosting

Domain: Your URL address (example: www.advisorimarketing.com).

Hosting: What makes your website visible on the internet; it holds your site data. No website exists without hosting.

You can purchase your domain through things like Google Domains, GoDaddy, BlueHost or some software providers, like Shopify, allow you to purchase your domain through them. If you’re planning on using WordPress as your website software, you’ll need to purchase your domain and hosting from a third party like

Website Software

There are a lot of different platforms for building the structure of your website and what you should choose depends on the type of business you’re building.

  • Blogs: If you plan on using advertising to help monetize your blog, you’ll want to use WordPress. (.org not .com, learn more here about the difference) because it gives you the most flexibility, especially as your blog grows.
  • E-commerce shops: The only software you should use if you’re running an e-commerce shop is Shopify. Don’t think about using anything else.
  • All other types of businesses: I recommend using WordPress (.org not .com, learn more here about the difference) because it gives you the most flexibility. It is a lot easier to start on WordPress than try to move a site over to WordPress in the future. Additionally, if you think you might want to have advertising (such as Google Adsense) on your website, you’ll want to use WordPress. That being said, because there is so much flexibility, there is a little bit of a learning curve. Don’t worry though, there are a lot of blogs + YouTube videos to help you!

Other software options: Wix or Squarespace.

If you’re using BlueHost (purchase your domain + hosting) + WordPress, you can install WordPress with one click! Under “Website Builders” on your BlueHost home page, click WordPress. Once it is installed, you can access your WordPress site by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin.

Choose a Theme for Your Website

This is the fun part! Your theme is the layout and design of your website. If you’re using WordPress, I highly recommend looking at Studio Press (aka Genesis Themes). I currently use a Genesis Theme for Advisori’s website and have used them for other websites I’ve built. They are beautiful! You can find a helpful guide for beginners here! You’ll also receive a step-by-step guide specific to your theme after purchase.

When choosing a theme, make sure it is mobile optimized since the majority of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. This is very important and another reason why I recommend Genesis Themes!

After you purchase a theme, you’ll need to upload it to your WordPress site. Login to your WordPress site at www.yoursitedomain.com/wp-admin. Click on “Appearance” >> “Themes”.

Once in your themes, click “Upload” >> “Upload Theme” >> “Choose File” >> “Install”. If using a Genesis Theme, make sure to upload the Genesis Framework first then your theme.

Set-up Your Business Email Address

One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a business who has theirbusinessname@gmail.com. It is incredibly unprofessional. The best way to create an email address for your business is my using Google Apps, now know as G-Suite. You need to set-up your website before setting up your email address because your email address will be @yourdomainname.com.

Choose an Email Marketing Service

No matter what type of business you’re in, you will want to start building your email list from the get-go. Building an email list is important because YOU OWN IT. It is not subject to algorithm changes on social media platforms like Facebook Fans or Instagram Followers, and it will come in handy when you’re ready to start advertising your business.

An email marketing service provides a place to store people who are on your email list and send emails to your list instead of using your personal email. MailChimp is probably the most well known, and it is free until you reach a certain number of subscribers or want additional services like automation. However, if you’re wanting to build an online business (courses, memberships, etc.) I highly recommend ActiveCampaign.

Create Social Media Pages

Social media is a great way to connect with current + potential customers, share your story, and build your brand. However, you’re not going to accomplish any of that by just having a page. You have to be consistently active on the page/account and interacting with your followers. When decide which social media platforms you want to use think about which ones your customers and potential customers are most likely to use, and which ones you are likely to be consistently active on.

Purchase Business Cards

Now that you have a business name, logo, website, email address, and social profiles created, you need to share them! One of the best ways to build your business is through referrals and personal contacts (people buy people!), so as old school as it might be, you’ll always want to have business cards. I personally like moo.com.

Connect with Potential + Current Clients

If you’re building a service business, like Advisori, you’re going to need a way to easily book meetings with clients. I recommend using Acuity for scheduling appoints and Zoom for hosting conference and video calls. These two services connect easily to each other, so when someone books an appointment on Acuity a meeting number on Zoom is automatically created. It is amazing!

Announce You’re Open for Business!

This is not the time to be shy!

  • Email your friends + family.
  • Announce on your personal social media profiles.
  • Share your business social media profiles with your friends + family.
  • Invite your friends + family to your social media business pages.
  • Send out a press release to local newspapers, magazines + business publications.
  • Shoot it from the rooftops!
Start building your marketing plan and finding customers/clients with Facebook & Instagrams. Checkout the free training below that can help you get started!
how to start a business or side hustle