7 Tips for Starting a New Business

What We Learned While Establishing Ruby + Citrine

Aspiring business owners: This advice is for you! 

First off, starting a business is going to be overwhelming, but if you hold on and get a good grip on the reins, the rewards are worth it! 

Here are 7 big lessons we’ve learned after one year as Ruby + Citrine — even after years of professional experience and over 10 years of experience as independent business owners! (Did you know we both had our own businesses before we decided to join forces and form Ruby + Citrine?!)

An accounting calculator on a yellow table top
An accountant can help keep your business running smoothly

1. Get an accountant.  

Hiring an accountant is about much more than keeping up with your books. It’s about analyzing how your business is spending money, getting solid financial advice for tax purposes, and keeping detailed records. They also know all the current tax laws to help you keep more money in your pocket!

Oh, and you should expect to pay them well. This isn’t an area of business you can afford to skimp on. 

At a minimum, we recommend hiring an accountant to set you up the right way on QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Xero, if you’re expecting revenue of $45k or more each year — that way you’re able to take care of the everyday expense tracking but don’t have to pay for the maintenance. 

If you expect somewhere in the range of $100k+ of revenue, then we’d recommend hiring someone to look at your quarterly statements and ensure you’re on track and paying your quarterly taxes. 

This is ESSENTIAL. Don’t forget that every dollar you make, “Daddy IRS” is going to come seeking a piece. 

Even if you only stick with an accountant for the setup process, at least you’ll have someone who knows your name to call when you have questions or concerns. We’ve found that hiring an accountant that we can trust has helped us maximize our profits, keep more money in our pockets and keep us from becoming another cautionary tale.

Three people chatting at an event
Networking introduces you (and your business) to others.

2. Network.

We don’t mean go to every event and mingle to add more people to your list of acquaintances. You should meet new people, but you shouldn’t approach networking superficially. These people you meet have lives, interests and hobbies that may give you a better stake in developing a lasting working relationship. They’ll remember you more if you took an interest in them than if you’re only interested in your business.

Graphic designers looking at computer screen
Hire people with the right skill sets and a desire to learn and grow.

3. Hire the right people.

As an employer, you should set clear expectations for yourself and your team. As a leader, it’s your job to guide them. However, there are some things you can’t teach. 

It’s not enough for someone to have all the hard skills required for the job. (For us, an example of a hard skill might be advanced experience with Adobe PowerPoint and Illustrator.) The right people for the job also have the soft skills to back up their education and experience, including things like time management, communication skills, and a collaborative spirit. 

Also remember, you don’t want to hire the SAME person for every job. Take a real look at how you want your workspace to be balanced. You may have a preference for personality and skills but then you are limiting yourself and your team by not hiring people that will add to a well rounded mix. 

Two people jumping into a backyard pool
Close your laptop, turn off your phone, and step away!

4. Give yourself some time off.

The best way to avoid burnout is to take a break, and get some rest. It’s not about whether you deserve it. It’s about whether you want to reach your long-term goals. 

Feel selfish about taking time for yourself? We permit you to ignore that feeling. Relax, when you take time off, you’re allowing your creativity tank to fill up again. 

Whether you schedule a vacation, take half days on Fridays during the summer, or both, we know you’ll be more productive and focused when you’re able to slow down and get crystal clear on your priorities.

Frustrated woman looking at laptop screen
We learn from failure.

5. You WILL screw up. Embrace it.

In business, as in life, your mistakes aren’t losses. As much as it feels like it in the moment, every loss is a chance to learn and grow. Plus, mistakes are unavoidable. 

Accept it and be intentional about regular assessments of your wins and losses. That way, even when you lose, you’re gaining experiential wisdom that brings you one step closer to another major win! 

Some of our biggest losses have made way for bigger and better things. 

Woman holding phone with overlaid speech bubbles
Be willing to ask for advice — and willing to offer help.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You may be surprised at how often other professionals in your industry are willing to pass down advice. 

When you adopt a community over competition perspective, we’re all better for it. 

Whether you’re a solopreneur, the CEO of a startup, or a serial entrepreneur — when you work well with others, you’re more likely to grow.

One day, when you’ve taken their business advice, you’ll be able to pass on that wisdom to another generation of startup visionaries, too!

In our own industry, this is especially true. If you think about it, no one has ever dreamed of becoming a presentation specialist (well, at least no one we’ve met!); people fall into the gig. The only way we continue to fill the industry with new people is to make some space for those after us. 

We should be welcoming and engage with the younger generations. It all goes back to networking, fostering good faith and keeping your status in your industry. 

Delegating concept
Learn to delegate.

7. If someone can do it better or faster than you, let them.

As a business owner, your time is your most valuable asset. When you use it wisely to complete the tasks that only you can do, you’re able to optimize your productivity by delegating to others with more experience. 

We could spend a long time talking about this, but here’s the biggest idea to remember. Invest in the right people to help your business grow, and you’ll get further than you ever would alone. 

What’s next for your startup/small business? 

Like a thrill-seeking roller-coaster enthusiast, you’re an entrepreneur. You’re in it for the highs and the lows – even when you experience those two extremes in the same day or hour! 

You can use these 7 pieces of advice to help you remain level headed while your business spins around you. 

Need help making your startup look professional, interactive, and second-glance worthy? Our team of talented designers is ready to help! 

If you have any business advice for startups that we didn’t mention, you can find us on social media to tell us! And if you have any questions for us, you can do that, too. We’d love to hear from you!

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Alex Alcantara

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