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I Started a Business and It Was Surprisingly Easy

How I made a startup official.

I think almost everyone dreams of doing something big with themselves or by themselves (to a degree) as they grow up. "I'm going to open my own gym." "I want to run my own restaurant." "I'm going to become a dental floss tycoon." You know, the usual hopeful successes. What I've felt is that most everyone uses it as a mental escape from their current situation. In my own analytics (from nowhere except the randomization of my thought process), about 70% of these are pipe dreams. People want it, but they don't really plan on going for it. So what's interesting is that I never once in my life thought to myself, "I'm going to partner up with someone and start a Motorsports Marketing business." Yet it happened.

It started just like I'd assume any side gig works. I did freelance design post-grad to keep myself afloat- and by "afloat" I mean, I was able to buy gas for my car and keep my gym membership going while I ignored and silenced every call from an 800 number: aka my creditors. An opportunity arose when a friend who formerly worked in Motorsports Marketing was asked independently to make up a Sponsorship Resume for a racer friend. Knowing I had nothing but time and a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, he asked for my help and I accepted with no thoughts about the matter other than I knew I was helping a friend.

A sponsorship resume in the racing industry is a paramount little piece of paper to the racer whose name graces the top margin. This is how they receive funding to enter races, acquire gear, machines, suits, etc. Racing in any sport isn't cheap. Imagine running your daily commuter into the ground constantly and expecting any troubles that arise to be paid for out of pocket. Then you add in safety equipment. You catch my drift. Sponsors are important (unless you're loaded).

Creating a unique solution that differed from the usual sponsorship resume (a black and white, single-spaced word document possibly sprinkled with some bullet points- slap some low res photos of you racing your machine and nothing more) wound up feeling like we really had our hands on something. We also kept getting calls to produce more. Here is where we decided- hell, let's think up a name and make a Facebook business page.

Anyone can make a Facebook business page with a minimum requirement of 5 minutes. In another 5 minutes you can link a business Instagram account and you're pretty much officially official. We had clients sending money to our personal Paypal accounts and it was alright. We made up a little stack of side cash. The more we talked about how successful we could really be, what more we could offer our market, etc., the more real it seemed like it was becoming. This is where, I went rogue and said, "f*** it, I'm gonna make us legit."

We had the social media accounts, but we needed to be organized and "official." I spent an entire day creating business specific accounts for us to utilize to help us run as smoothly as possible. Here were the essentials:

Office 365 personal domain emails: $20 for the domain/ $4 a month per email (we had two).

Office 365 is arguably the best platform for business communication. The emailing is seamless, easy to read and access, you are given up to 5 device downloads of Microsoft Office, the planner is an amazing task scheduler, the calendar makes it easy as pie to make meetings and appointments and the mobile app is simple to operate.

Paypal for business: Free with a 3.2% fee with every payment

Paypal is the most trusted online payment platform there is and for a good reason. They're secure as hell and a household name that people trust. Also, you can have someone pay you through their secure server without actually having an account. Also, you can get Paypal business debit cards to keep your expense account separate from anything else. A no brainer for me. The payment fee was a little high for us, but I will continue and explain how we plan on fixing that.

Wave financial app: Free with 2.9% fee +.30 with every payment.

Wave can handle ALL of your finances if you want them to. Even payroll with additional fees. You can send customized invoices, receipts, connect your paypal account or any account and they can log the transactions made. I got Wave to stay organized on all money coming in and going out for any reason. Most importantly: what we made from customers and what we spent that's tax deductible. I plan on using Wave to process our payments once we get it set up. The larger the payments, the more money we'll be able to keep in pocket with the 2.9% fee and extra .30 cents.

The last thing I needed to do was make the business legal. Since our services weren't included in the list for our state to legally register, all we needed was a business tax EID. This was the simplest process and I was floored, because the IRS is traditionally, nobody's friend- am I right? All we needed was to declare a main partner for the IRS to send anything official to and their social security number and it was over: instant tax EID number. We were "officially official."

Here we are now, APEX Motorsports Marketing: specializing in sponsorship resumes and a real, recognized business (at least recognized by the IRS). I was incredibly surprised at how easy it was (and cheap) to get started. Our next venture is to get a website up and running and we can't wait.

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