Cart before the Horse?
I have no income from my online gig yet. I’ve had some freelance web and graphic design jobs over the past few years that were insignificant and all paid in cash that I of course added to my miscellaneous income on my tax forms. My full-time job is ending soon. My expenses are low as I live alone in a small rented cottage with no debt and the typical monthly expenses of rent, phone, internet, web & podcast hosting, food. I can survive for 3–4 months on savings without panicking. I do not like to worry about money, or where it is coming from. I’m slightly nervous, but I can tell you that I have been working on my side gig for years knowing this day was going to come when I had to take the leap and kick it into gear. Until now it has been putting in the grind work and the slow and steady stuff. I find myself needing to go into business and marketing mode and self-promote what I have to offer. I know my strengths and skills and talents, but I honestly do not have them wrapped up in a bow ready to sing out loud that I am for hire. Business experts would call me a fool and tell me I am not ready as I cannot define my target market and I have no product and basically I have no clear business model or plan. Yet, there is a calmness and clarity in me that I cannot explain, but I believe I know exactly what I am doing and what I want to accomplish and for the first time for as long as I can remember, I am trusting myself 100%. I can do this and I will do it. I have a knot in my stomach and about lost my mind the other day in Yoga because the Monkey Chatter was going berserk, but I have to try.
I like things clean and simple. I don’t want to play the freelance game of doing everything under the table and then backpedaling when the overwhelm became too much. I also want to know the rules of the game before I start playing, so I bit the bullet and hired an attorney that I knew was affordable (as far as lawyers go) and he specializes in setting up small businesses. $350 later and I am an LLC for as long as it takes and now I know exactly what I need to do. I was confused before I went in and now I realize it’s not so complicated. I spent another $100 for a half hour meeting with an accountant who told me exactly what I needed to do to stay on the up and up. For under $500, I now have a clear understanding of how my business is structured legally and how to keep my income and expenses organized so tax time is a breeze.
Going official with my One Man Band took one day (3 hours total) and $450 investment. I can now set up a business bank account and credit card and run all income and expenses through Mike Murphy, LLC. I run my own business now.
I am a business owner. No, really, I have a certificate to prove it. When I paid the lawyer and accountant, the knot in my stomach grew, but so did my pride. I am proud that I am making an investment in myself. I struggle with self-deprecation and giving myself enough credit, but I have a gift and a voice that can impact people and I have to give it an honest shot and going into business for myself is how I intend to do it.
My biggest hurdle in business is me. I can be a real jerk to myself. I am finding ways to keep pushing myself and slowly starting to love myself for who I am. Legalizing my one man band was as much about productivity and efficiency as it was about creating a positive mindset. I am building a business and embracing self-awareness simultaneously. I’m doing what it takes in my unique way to move forward.
Mike Murphy, LLC is open for business. #moveforward.