How To Start A Business Without Really Trying

About two months ago, I was driving my car on my way to the garden store, and a little voice in my head said, “I don’t want to work for anyone anymore.” I don’t get urgent messages from my inner self all that often, so it seemed important that I think hard about that.

On the surface, I had a pretty flexible situation. I was a freelancer/contract worker at a small brand consultancy. Given the economic climate, I had recently been exploring alternative opportunities, both in consulting and corporate marketing. Nothing really inspired me. And the place where I worked had a cool name, and I had spent the past year doing nothing but represent myself behind that name. That had been a big, serious commitment. And I really liked the guy I was working with. But.

On a Monday, I “quit”. And then I started to think that I didn’t want to be one of those people who just had a business card with my name on it. I’m a brand consultant, after all! I wanted to look–and be–professional.

So I started thinking about setting up an LLC. The web, as always, provided a massive amount of information, especially about the relative merits of the LLC versus being simply “self employed”. And there were lots of companies out there that would do the paperwork for me, for what seemed to be not a lot of money. After some comparison price checking, I selected Incorporate Fast. They lived up to their name!

The major challenge, of course, was the name. Naming is terribly hard because it seems like every real word has been taken. But my little voice reminded me that the word “synthesis” was representative of what I do, and kind of intriguing. I tried to register “Synthesis Group”. Sadly, although it was clear in New York State, the US Tradmark Office said it was too close to “Synthesis International Group”. Happens all the time. Not to be deterred, I decided to amend it slightly to “Synthesis Plus”. Bingo! A real word that wasn’t just my name, that could be registered!

A friend of mine, who has had his own business for years, told me that I now needed a “hosting service” that would give me an email address and domain. He recommended Network Solutions. I found them online, and once again, after putting yet another significant charge on my credit card, we were underway. Then, the dreaded search for a domain name. Can you believe it? Both SynthesisPlus.com and SynthesisPlus.net were totally available for the princely sum of $9 each. Needless to say, I scooped them up.

Upward and onward to the need for a computer. We have four computers in the house, but not one of them could really be used exclusively for my work. Plus I had been working on a Mac for 8 years, and our best computers were PCs. Thanks to my husband’s research, I found a great company in Oregon, PowerMax, that sells used Macs. I managed to find one that didn’t totally break the bank, and put in the order.

I will not bore you with the horror of trying to install an upgrade of our existing Windows for Mac software. Suffice it to say that it didn’t work, and if I wanted help from Microsoft, then I would have to pay to even speak to a human being. Since I had ordered iWork with my Mac, I decided to try to live Microsoft free. Yes, it can be done!

While all this was happening, I was suddenly getting calls about some potential work. I had a name, but no logo, and no templates for documents, and no existing boilerplate credentials, and no past proposals that I could turn to. The Mac Pages, which is their version of Word, was a lifesaver. It lacks some of the technical functionality of Word, but (of course), it creates much more beautiful documents. It’s also very easy to save as Word or Powerpoint so that those trapped in Microsoft can read my documents, and when they send their docs to me, it’s a breeze to swap them out to iWork.

It’s exactly 4 weeks since I first decided to create an LLC, and I have three proposals outstanding. I have some fabulous logo designs to choose from, and a sense of accomplishment and new-found energy that surprises and delights me.

There is much more to be done, of course, like get a website up and running, decide how long I want to work from home, and if I want to hire people to work with me, but that will come in time. Now, excuse me, I have to get back to work.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How To Start A Business Without Really Trying

  1. Hi Carol, congratulations on taking that big step to starting your own venture! We are glad you chose Network Solutions to help you with your hosting needs. Please let @netsolcares know if we can be of any further help as you start your new (ad)venture! Also we have lots of useful tips and resources for small businesses at http://www.growsmartbusiness.com

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.
    LOL,

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