In October 2010, I took an idea that had been tickling the back of my mind for months and finally brought it to the light of day. That idea: to start my own small social media services company.

The decision to start my own small business involved having my eyes wide open at some points, and squeezing them tightly shut at others. That’s because while I dove into the wealth of research and educated decision-making to be done, I had to forcefully refuse and reject the fears and doubts that came knocking. This has not been a “leap” of faith for me, but a walk, a determined decision to keep taking one step after another to see my ideas bloom and grow.

So what prompted me to take that very first step? Well, it reminds me of a Jeff Foxworthy joke – only this time applied to entrepreneurs.

You might want to start a small business if…

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  • You have a passion for something – be it photography, cake decorating, fixing cars, etc.
  • You want to share that passion with others, through services or sales.
  • Friends and family know you as the “expert” in something, and come to you as a resource.
  • You feel confident in your knowledge and experience.
  • You are willing to invest a lot of time and at least some money to see your idea come to life.

All of the above were true in my case, and each helped me take that first step in determining that I wanted to, could, and should start my own business. Once that decision was made, a whole path of further steps and decisions opened up in front of me.

What should I name my company?

I relied on my experience building and branding blogs (which are, oftentimes, businesses themselves) and followed these simple rules for choosing a name. Specifically, that it should:

  • Be descriptive or representative of what is provided
  • Have longevity and not be attached to a fixed place or moment in time
  • Lend itself to a clever tagline and/or associated graphics
  • Be cohesive with other work you are known for or wish to associate with it

How will I organize my company?

The differences between sole proprietorship, LLC and a corporation can be mind-boggling. After determining that I had very few assets that needing protecting, and realizing I would be less likely to get my business off the ground if I felt stymied by technicalities, I opted to organize as a sole proprietorship.

I made several phone calls to state and county agencies, then talked with other local small business owners, and discovered that all I needed was to file DBA (Doing Business As) paperwork with my county clerk to register my business, and I was on my way.

This process will obviously be different for each small business owner, but the key is to do that research, make those phone calls, and keep taking each step forward.

Now what?

A decision was made. A name was chosen. Paperwork was put on record. I am a small business owner. Now what? That’s the journey I will be sharing with you here on Small Business Bonfire, and I hope you’ll join me.

What about you? Have you started your journey? Tell me about it!

Image credit (map): pontuse
Image credit (green light): asifthebes