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Starting a Business (advice appreciated)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of starting a new business, and could use your friendly advice about how to set it up.

I love working in administration and I am very good at it. My speciality is "Office Cleanup" where I get an administrative office back on track after some bad hiring/firing decisions have left the office in a mess.

My business would be freelance: I get hired to go into the office, organize all the paperwork, files, receipts, and set up accessible, sensibly-labeled files. Then I organize the files on the computer(s) - (I work with Macs only). I will set up simple Excel documents, if needed, to make any financial information coherent and up-to-date.

I will also create a Job Book, which includes instructions for the job and all forms needed to do the job. Each form will include 1) a blank which can be photocopied (with the computer file location noted on the bottom footer so it can be printed out), 2) a computer document template which is ready to be filled out and sent or printed, 3) an example of the form filled out, and 4) instructions and contacts for getting the information to fill out the form.

The boss will get a copy of the Job Book (very important) to keep in his/her office.

With this job book, you can pull any person off of the street and they would be able to keep the job going. Part of my services will be to assist in hiring the new administrative person.

That's the basic idea. I pretty much know the price to charge but I was hoping you guys might help me with the legalities, etc., of starting a business like this.

My first thought is a lawyer... I'd need a legally-binding contract drawn up with agreement on the price how I will be paid. Also, I will need to find which sites, magazines, buildings, to advertise. What else?

What do you think? Any advice?

post #2 of 8
My first thought is you need to be Windows compatible. I don't know many (in fact I can't think of one) office that runs Macs. Yes, many of the windows programs (like office) are available on Mac but there can be formatting and compatibility issues going from one to the other. Trust me, I use both and have had problems.

Legally, the first thing you'll want to do is set up a sole proprietorship (is that a word?) I'd see about limited liability as well but as a sole proprietor I don't think that's an option. Additionally, your contracts will need to detail what work you will be doing in exchange for payment. You might want to outline the services you plan to offer and price them all separately and remember to be open to negotiation. The contract is there to protect the client as well as you. They want to make sure they get what they are paying for.

That's all I can think of for you. You might want to look into creating a formal business plan but as an independent contractor I'm not sure how important that is.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Wow, all the offices I've worked in have had Macs... maybe I'll see if there's enough work for Macs-only. That's a good point to consider, though. I guess I'd need some kind of confidentiality clause, too, if I'll be working with others' finances. Good ideas, thanks!
post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
Wow, all the offices I've worked in have had Macs... maybe I'll see if there's enough work for Macs-only. That's a good point to consider, though. I guess I'd need some kind of confidentiality clause, too, if I'll be working with others' finances. Good ideas, thanks!
Maybe that's a difference between here and there. I would love it if more people here ran Macs!
post #5 of 8
I have never worked in an office with Macs here or in the UK

Definitely a confidentiality clause and something to protect you should your hiring of the employee go wrong

Insurance, as a comtractor you would be responsible if you crash their computer while working on it etc
post #6 of 8
I would say a good gues is 85% of businesses use Microsoft to maybe 4% using mac and the rest linux, unix or mainframe

That's a guess, but as I do network infrastructures i can safely say that has to be close. I'm sure some businesses use Macs for laptops, but not for office hardware. it's WAY too expensive and just isn't mainstream in business.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Let's assume I get enough work with Mac offices... any other other suggestions or encouragement?

It's good to know these things! Please the ideas coming!
post #8 of 8
Well since I am self employed......

Make sure you have a good business name-it can be catchy or just your name with something on the end that informs people of your services.

There is that Linkenin(?) website that you might want to check out. From what I gather its like Facebook for businesses.

Try advertising on Craigslist but you might get a bunch of responses from other businesses that what to sell you stuff.

Try to get the local newspaper to feature a small article on your business??

Volunteer your services at some non-profits/charities to obtain some practice and exposure??
Make sure you get some nice business cards-remember you can get printing on both sides.
I would look for an insurance agent who handles small businesses to find out hat type of business insurane you need. If you are buying any larger piece of equipment-a nice laptop for instance you need insurance. I have liability insurance -these days a one million dollar policy is a must have. Dedicted phone for business calls?? My cell phone voice mail message refers only to my business name.

I have some names of some book you might want to look at?? PM me for names....
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