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A candid business advice to a friend

Author: JC, Last updated on 2022-03-30
Recently a friend contacted me for some business advice.

Normally I avoid giving free advice since I don't want people to simply "pick your brain". But anyhow, since this is a long time friend, I thought I would help her a bit.

She is currently working in a big American corporation, afraid of layoffs, she is thinking to start her own consulting business.

Below are her questions and my answers, hope this would be helpful to you as well...

1. As an independent consultant, do I need to get a business license?

Not necessarily, you can operate as a sole proprietor, basically it is like a consultant.

2. I need to build a business website, based on your experience, do you think WordPress will be good enough?

Yeah, I would use wordpress, it is good enough to demonstrate your expertise and for marketing purpose.

3. Do you have a recommendation about the webhost company? which one do you use?

I am using Linode, they provide you with a raw server. So I installed my own software on their server.

For you, I'd say some wordpress hosting company is good, for example, bluehost, hostgator or siteground.

4. Do you ask you clients to sign a contract?

Yeah, I have a simple agreement, not contract though. For projects over $1000, I would ask them to sign the agreement.

5. Do you charge your clients in advance via Paypal?

For smaller amounts, yes, they use PayPal.

For bigger projects like over $1000, I ask them to pay me directly through check or bank transfer, or venmo.

6. Do you do your own invoice/accounting work? Do you hire someone do it for you?

Yeah, I do my own, because I like doing my own finances, that way I have 100% control.

So far I haven't found some CPA who is familiar with online based businesses. A lot of CPAs are for brick and mortar businesses, they are not familiar with online businesses.

~~~

So that's about it. I will share more stories, business tips and my business update next time.

Dedicated to your success!

Jian

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