My Entrepreneurial Story and the Business Tools I Can’t Live Without

I recently partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts and the Girl Scouts of America for an Instagram campaign. It got me thinking about my days as a Girl Scout and how it led to my entrepreneurial journey.

Yes, I was a Girl Scout, and my first business adventure was selling cookies door-to-door!

I receive many questions from my readers regarding entrepreneurship and how I got started with my business. Long story short, my mom was an entrepreneur, and my “chores” around the house were to staple marketing materials, put labels on envelopes, and shred documents. It taught me at an early age how to hustle and be creative with the resources available.

Throughout my career, I made sure I was learning new skills that would enable me to one day embark on my own journey. One day I will share my career journey, but for now let’s start with the basics!

Today, I’m sharing a few tips and tricks for starting a business and tools I use everyday.


The Top Tools Start-up Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Do Business Without


How to Start a Business

I went from Girl Scout to Girl Boss and the journey wasn’t predictable. I’m risk averse so corporate America sings to me with a sonnet of beautiful safe words like PTO, Health Insurance and pension plan.

I never thought my blog would one day become my business!

For me, I decided to treat Brickellista like a full-fledged Fortune 100 company.  I was used to working in corporate America, so setting up my company in a way that was familiar to me was incredibly helpful.

I took a traditional route and made sure to hire experts to point me along the way.

Here’s my initial path:

  • Step 1: Go to SunBiz.org (or your State government)  to file all of the necessary paperwork to incorporate the business.
  • Step 3: Visit the IRS website to get an EIN number… it’s like a businesses Social Security number used for taxes.
  • Step 4: Hire an Accountant along with the above step there are certain write-offs allowable for each business. An accountant will help with initial business setup and to help you understand how to manage your expenses.
  • Step 5: Hire an Attorney to assist with legal paperwork. I review A TON OF CONTRACTS so it helps to have an expert give you counsel. I also filed a Trademark with the US Patent & Trademark Office. You can file these yourself, but there are a few nuances that make the process headache worthy, so it helps to work with a professional.
  • Step 6: Decide how you are going to organize your business. For me, business plans are a away with the clog, so I prefer to create a powerpoint presentation with my target client a.k.a reader. I give this reader a voice and personality, and make sure I always speak to them when creating content and products for the blog.
  • Step 7: Budget. Create a budget for EVERYTHING! I have a love affair with Excel (I used to be an analyst) so keeping a detailed breakdown of my moolah is so important.
  • Step 8: Feed your brain I love reading about business and here are three books I recommend to ANY entrepreneur.


Stay Sane with Time Blocking

I am a HUGE fan of time blocking and will literally carve out time for everything. Including walking Zoey, lunch breaks, etc. On my planner, I’ll pick 7 priorities for the day and list the Top 3 Priorities at the top of my planner. Priorities 4-7  will go on the top four lines of my to-do list.

I use this planner and this timer

I start with my most important tasks first, ALWAYS.

Before I go to bed, I will list my top priorities for the next day.

The number 7 came from Richard Branson who said he sets 7 goals to complete for the day, every day. This provides motivation to follow through with the commitments on your list.

Example of today’s list of seven?

  1. Draft & Edit my weekly newsletter
  2. Write a blog post
  3. Redline contract for a Brand Ambassador collaboration
  4. Choose 60 photos to edit from Laurel’s photoshoot
  5. Finalize quarterly editorial calendar
  6. Return 200+ unread e-mails
  7. Clean out inbox

I will budget my time each day for each project and try to minimize interruptions while I work. I use a timer to make sure I stick to the time buckets, and even set time for walking breaks.

Caveat: I won’t use my phones timer function because I don’t want to be distracted with notifications. Instead I use this cute timer to keep my day on track.



My Planner

For your convenience I linked my planner, time cube, money book, to make life easier for you! I would check out a planner which integrates a to-do list and scheduling in one page. I also like that my planner has a gratitude section which I fill out everyday.

For me it’s important that my planner it’s in my work bag and is light weight. Some people prefer a larger planner they keep on their desk. Again find what works for you.

I linked a few planner options above that divide the day with priorities. Check them out.



Online Project Management

Once of the tools I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT is ASANA. It is project management to the extreme, and I break everything down to a granular level.

I recently hired an intern, and having her on ASANA has helped me keep track of her projects without micromanaging. I am able to assign her specific tasks for each project and include a due date and time. The platform also automatically sends reminders when a task is near a due date, so I don’t have to.

The best part about ASANA is that it has an app, and I receive notifications whenever a task is completed. Sigh of relief? Why yes, thank you, I’ll take it!

For my company I use the free version of ASANA, and it works for me thus far! As the blog continues to grow, I am certain I will add advanced features.

For now, I’ll stick to the K.I.S.S method and keep everything simplified.


The Top Tools Start-up Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Do Business Without


Online Invoicing

In 2018, I signed up for a great online invoicing platform called Viewpost. I am OBSESSED ::Oprah voice:: with keeping track of my invoices and making sure companies pay me on time.

Viewpost makes everything SUPER simple. It sends you a notification when the invoice has been received, opened by the receiver, and when payment is on the way.

I also signed up to accept credit cards, and Viewpost keeps merchant fees low and offers a flat fee of 2.9%.

Prior to Viewport, I was using PayPal, and I am not knocking PayPal (people love it!), but personally I find Viewpost offers more streamlined options for invoice tracking.

Plus, I can export everything to Quickbooks or Excel, and create pivot tables galore! Woo! Who doesn’t love pivot tables? Anyone?



When thinking about your business it’s important to analyze how you personally manage your daily tasks and budget. For me, I like everything simple, simple, simple. I also like my employees to be efficient too. Overall, I’m a fuss free kinda girl when it comes to business.

I would research these options and see how simple they are to implement! Hopefully this article will motivate you to start your own business too!

Did I miss any tools? Share the love if you have any tools that help save time! Love researching new options.  Leave me a comment below.

XO,
EV


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