Starting up a side business is still definitely on my mind. As I mentioned last week I am considering offering accounting and tax services. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and working on a business plan. I think it would be challenging and rewarding to run my own business. I’ve always had the entrepreneurial itch. This would be a great way to combine my technical skills with my passion. Too fun! I’ve had some significant realizations about starting a business. I’m still not sure if I will end up going for it. I’ve managed to roughly estimate the start-up costs and they are not terrible but there are a lot of other things to consider. Here’s what I’ve determined so far:
1) It’s all or nothing
Should I decide to start this business, I would need to form an LLC, obtain insurance and register with my state board of accountancy. Working as a CPA is no joke and it has risk. In my research I discovered that many self-employed CPA’s have liability insurance to protect themselves from existing and emerging exposure. I couldn’t really get an estimate for the actual cost of this insurance. I would probably have to call an insurance company to get an actual quote.
The CPA firm industry is regulated. Obviously I plan to comply with all the laws upfront. If I start this business I would need to register with my local start board of accountancy and comply with their rules and regulations as well. From what I can tell, compliance is going to be the largest start-up cost associated with this business. Not going to lie either – this process is intimidating!
I think I took one marketing class in undergrad and to be honest I am not sure how to do this whole marketing thing. From what I’ve gathered, most CPA’s get their business by word of mouth. They don’t seem to spend a lot in this area. However, as a newbie, I will need to do something my first year. I would definitely develop a nice website for starters. I’ve researched a few of the local firms around me and I’ve been shocked when I see their websites. A lot of them are very dated and don’t provide a lot of value in my opinion. Maybe that’s just not what they use to bring in customers? I don’t know but seriously, most of the websites I’ve seen are professional but they look like they haven’t been updated in 10+ years. Dated layouts, graphics and feel.
I know I will need to do something more than just a website. Some other suggestions I saw were place an ad in the newspaper, send out a local mailer and join your local chamber of commerce. I really wonder how difficult this is going to be to acquire new customers.
3) Will this conflict with my day job?
This is an area that I need to explore more. I have no idea if my current employer has a policy for employees pursuing other interests? I don’t think it would be an issue per se, but I do sometimes wonder if they would have anything to say about it. Could I get in trouble for starting a business like this? Would I need to disclose this business venture to them? This will require further research on my part.
In addition, I wonder how much work I could take on before it would interfere with my day job? While I love the idea of self-employment, I am in no rush to get there. I have a good job, with good pay and benefits. I need to have a long-term plan of how to determine when that “right time” would be to leave my current job if that day ever came. That’s assuming my business is a major success and growing rapidly. Obviously I don’t expect that to happen but I want to have a plan in place so that the decision will be easy.
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