14 steps to start your own business
Updated: Mar 29
"What's in a name?" or "Why I called my proofreading business The Blue Pencil."
Hi, I'm Deborah, I'm The Blue Pencil based in Newbury, Berkshire in the UK and I provide proofreading, editing, and copywriting services to authors and small businesses.
When I graduated from the Proofread Anywhere course, I had to start the next challenge of building a business from scratch. I'm no stranger to being self-employed as my husband and I have run a successful landscape gardening business for over 30 years. (If you want to learn more about what Jason creates for his customers, visit his company's website Taylor Made Landscape Design Ltd.) But I decided to learn some new skills and reinvent myself. That's what you do when you turn fifty, isn't it? Ina Garten, Patricia Field, and Shonda Rhimes are just three inspirational women achieving great success after fifty.
How do I start?
Setting up a new business can be complicated and time-consuming. There are many steps and they all can seem to take forever, especially when you are doing them on your own. How often have I lamented "I hate being my own IT department!" Take your time, talk to colleagues and friends who know your area of business and research a lot. There are many great resources online and you can get instant access to it at a click of a mouse. Below are fourteen steps that I have put together from my research.
14 steps that you can take to create your own business:
Brainstorm and refine your business idea
Pick a business name
Create a professional website
Conduct market research
Write up a business plan
Create Social Media accounts
Choose a legal structure
Secure capital and cash flow
Check out competitors
Brand your business, logo etc
Apply for tax IDs, licenses and permits
Set up an accounting system
Get business insurance/s
Market your business
Branding your business - how do I do that?
When it came to branding my business I did a lot of reading and also listened to a great podcast by Louise Harnby and Denise Cowle on How to choose a name for your proofreading or editing business. They take you through the process step by step, with brain-storming tips and tricks. The one takeaway point that stuck with me was allowing your business name to grow with you as you expand. If I called myself Deborah Taylor Proofreading, that would limit me in the future to including editing and copywriting services. I would have to rebrand and make changes to any publicity materials, business cards, social media, LinkedIn profile, and website. This piece of advice led me to the decision to have a company name that didn't have mine in it. After some thought, and a glass of wine, or two, I had a short list:
Refine & Review
The Blue Pencil
Parentheses are a pair of punctuation marks that are most often used to add additional nonessential information or an aside to a sentence. Parentheses resemble two curved vertical lines: ( ). A single one of these punctuation marks is called a parenthesis. I thought that there might be some good visual positives to this name when it came to logo design etc.
Wordsmith is a person who works with words. especially : a skillful writer. I liked the crafting element to this name. I could almost see a blacksmith figure, but instead of hammering out metal, they were hammering out words.
Refine and Review the combination of these two words would immediately describe the action of what my business would entail.
I took a poll from friends and family and the winner was The Blue Pencil. However, they did all ask me, "Why blue?" Was the colour significant? The colour blue often symbolises serenity, stability, inspiration, or wisdom. It can be a calming colour, and symbolise reliability. Well, all of those reasons were great and backed up their (and my) choice, but it wasn't the actual reason. "A blue pencil is a pencil traditionally used by a copy editor or sub-editor to show corrections to a written copy. The colour is used specifically because it will not show in some lithographic or photographic reproduction processes; these are known as non-photo blue pencils." - Wikipedia. I have a background in photography, print and design and the idea of using the term linked to the original printing process appealed to me. It felt right. I think it is so important to trust your gut feelings.
"What's in a name? That which we call a blue pencil, by any other word would smell as sweet." - sorry Shakespeare!
So there we have it, a simple answer and solution to my new company's name and branding. With the help of Canva's tools I created my logo, and I was on my way to starting my own business.
By reading, researching and talking to my peers I worked my way through the fourteen steps to start my own business. And you can too.
If you would like to know more about what I can do for your business, perhaps refine that next newsletter, or polish up your first novel click the button below to get in touch and tell me more about your project. I would love to help. Or, tell me about how you chose your business's name.