Have you set up your business structure yet?
Whether a real storefront or an online business, don't even THINK about starting until you've hit these points first!
Note: I’m not a lawyer, accountant or anyone in the position to give legal or financial advice. Do your research, hire your own legal and financial advisors, and set yourself up right! I happen to like this simple checklist from legalzoom because it’s both succinct and informative. Check it out!
Do you know the cost of doing business? Consider these hidden little costs before they take you by surprise:
Below are the average costs involved in running an Online Business. Costs change all the time, so make sure you budget according to the products and services you pick for yourself. Let me know if you’re paying for something you don’t see in this list!
- Website development (varies. Anywhere from $250 and up)
- Web hosting services (provide security monitoring, backups, updates, etc.)
Between $50 and $200/yr for shared hosting, MUCH more for dedicated server hosting ($300 - $10,000/yr)
o Upside of shared hosting: It's inexpensive and provides the server security (NOT website security, which is different) and framework to get your site up and running relatively quickly. Depending on the hosting provider, you can enjoy a well-performing site, even with thousands of daily visitors.
o Downside of shared hosting: You are sharing resources with many other websites. If they get an unusually heavy traffic boost, your site may slow down significantly. If they send email in a way that results in an email provider blocking that IP address, you will be affected, too (which is why you need an email marketing service like MailChimp, AWeber or Constant Contact, for example.)
- Typical premium WordPress theme cost: ($60 - $100)
- Typical Website Security Software cost: ($10/mo)
- Plugins: In WordPress, you can get many free, but some have nominal monthly fees that can really add up! Typical plugin budget: $100/yr. For premium plugins: $500 and up/yr.
o Ecommerce software (WordPress has Woo Commerce, which is free)
o Your payment gateway (PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, others.):
§ They typically charge 2.6% +.30 for each transaction, which is a fee passed on from the major credit card companies.
§ Additionally, they may charge a monthly service fee (can be $25 per month)
o Bank fees: You will require a Merchant account. Depending on the bank, that may cost about $25 per month, and if you fall below a certain balance, they may charge an additional monthly service fee.
· Ongoing website maintenance cost: Whenever you want to enhance, upgrade, or modify your site in any way.
o Do-it-yourself: Free, but extremely time-consuming.
o Potential average cost for a developer to maintain your site: About $950 per year (includes 24/7 security monitoring, backups, updates, etc. plus peace of mind, which is priceless)
· There may be more costs, depending on what services and features you offer on your site.
· Accounting fees: You can deal with all the tax paperwork yourself, or hire a good CPA for quarterly and annual filings.
· Legal Fees: Legal services come in really handy when drafting legal disclaimers, contracts, policies, and getting advice on complex legal scenarios. I happen to like Legalzoom for the basic contract forms.
· Speaking Costs: If you plan to be a speaker, there are event hosting costs, travel, etc.