A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Start the Business and Get Paid What You’re Worth

The Coach Next Door - Jenna Zeng
7 min readJan 13, 2023

2018 — I can’t remember the month. I was sitting at my desk in the sales office of the gym I worked in. My manager came in to chat about goals and targets and asked what I was guaranteeing that day. The only thing that I could guarantee in that moment was that I was in the middle of trying to devise a plan to escape this desk I suddenly felt chained to.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my job. It was the kind of job with people who quickly became friends and a place that I spent more time at than home. I had the job of going out and finding clients to bring back into the gym and sell them a membership. And I was good at it.

However, 10 minutes prior to my guarantee chat we started at I was talking with my manager about my pay increase: it was time to cash in all my hard-earned work and get a raise. Now I’m not sure what increase I was looking for at this time, but this certainly was not it. It was insulting.

In the same breath as being told that I was preforming well, hitting my goals and growing as a valued member of this team, I was told that my wage increase would be ten cents per hour. Wait, what the…?

Huh — was not expecting that offer. I was mad. Unreasonably so? Perhaps. And maybe I sound entitled, but this experience sent me down into a rabbit hole of thoughts…

How could I pour all my time and effort into a job that failed to see my worth. And how was this small amount offered after all of the gruelling work? Was this what I should expect for the rest of my career for 40+ years?

This experience left a sour taste in my mouth and it wasn’t going away.

So I started a business. And I sucked at it initially. Zero experience and all of the expectations of immediate success. Ha! 26 year old me was funny.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Starting a business — any business

Starting a business can be a complex and challenging process, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

Here is a step-by-step guide (I wish someone had layed out for me when starting) + ideas for easy to start businesses with minimal costs + free resources below to help you get started:

  1. Develop a business idea: The first step in starting a business is to come up with a business idea. This should be something that you are passionate about and that you have the skills AND resources to pursue.
  2. Conduct market research: Once you have a business idea, it’s important to conduct market research to determine the feasibility of your idea. This includes understanding your target market, assessing the competition, and determining the potential demand for your product or service. Beta tests are your best friend.

3. Create a (stupid) business plan: A stupid business plan is a detailed document that outlines the goals and objectives of your business, as well as the strategies and actions you will take to achieve them. These will change and evolve, and we call it a stupid business plan because you’ll likely look back and think “man, that was stupid.” It is important to create a business plan before you start your business, as it will help you stay focused, organized and forward thinking.

4. Choose a business structure: There are several different business structures to choose from, including sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Each type of business structure has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the one that is right for your business. We chose to incorporate ours.

5. Register your business: Depending on your business structure and location, you may need to register your business with the government. This typically involves obtaining a business license and registering for taxes.

6. Obtain financing: Starting a business often requires certain amount of capital. There are several options for obtaining financing, including loans, grants, and investments. Try to avoid spending your own money.

7. Set up your business location: Depending on your business, you may need to secure a physical location for your business. This could be a storefront, office, or warehouse, depending on your needs. If you can, save costs and stay home at the beginning!

8. Build your team: As your business grows, you may need to hire employees to help you run and manage it. It is important to carefully consider your hiring needs and the skills and experience of potential employees so they can compliment the exisiting skillsets on the team. One piece of unsolcited advice: is to avoid paying yourself in the early days and spend that money to hire someone (that hire will (hopefully) make you more money).

9. Launch your business: Once you have completed all of the necessary steps, it is time to officially launch your business. This may involve developing a marketing plan, creating a website, and introducing your products or services to the market. Buckle up because the ride is about to begin!

"If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman

10. Ready, fire, aim: Starting a business is just the beginning. Adaptation and trying new things will be a constant in our business. It is important to continually assess the performance of your business and make adjustments as needed in order to grow and succeed. Don’t kill yourself over perfection. Try something and if that something works, then do more of it, if not, then scrap it.

Business owner to potential new business owner

Case study: Between my husband and I we’re still doing 3/5 of the ideas listed below and we’ve been decently successful at making the money we know we’re worth (bye-bye pay caps and someone deciding your wage) + allowing us the freedoms to travel the world (when we want and for however long we like) with our tiny human in tow.

Anyone else want to apply for this kind of job, too?! I hear there’s an opening with your name on it. ;)

Business Ideas to Make You MORE Money and Cost you LESS Overhead

1. Freelance writing, editing, or proofreading: If you have a way with words and a good eye for detail, consider offering your services as a freelance writer, editor, or proofreader. You can work from anywhere, set your own rates, and choose the types of projects that interest you.

2. Lawn care or landscaping: If you have a green thumb and enjoy outdoor work, starting a lawn care or landscaping business might be a good fit. You can start small and gradually expand as you build a client base.

3. Personal training or coaching: If you have a passion for fitness and helping others, becoming a personal trainer or coach can be a rewarding career. You can work with clients at their homes, in a gym, or online, and set your own schedule.

4. Event planning: If you enjoy organizing events and have an eye for detail, starting an event planning business could be a great fit. You can plan everything from small parties to large corporate events, and work with clients to create a memorable experience.

5. Cleaning or organizing: If you have a knack for cleaning and organizing, consider starting a cleaning or organizing business. You can offer services to residential and commercial clients, and work with them to create a more efficient and clutter-free space.

In this new world literally anything is possible in terms of cretaing your dream job.

Free resources for you to structure your business from start to sales

This is cool — my business partner and I teamed up over our Christmas break to create a how-to guide on starting a business.

We wanted to rewards the action-takers of this world and lend a hand to those who need a little boost to get started. Because I know we certainly could have leaned on a support system and struggled a little less had we found the right people/ supports initially.

Choosing to start is hard and it can feel like a hallway that keeps on getting longer and longer as you run towards your goal.

Photo by runnyrem on Unsplash

So need some help? Why not, eh? (Oops my Canadian is showing!)

Click this link for your access.

In short, get out there and do the dang thing. A year from now you’ll be thankful you started today.

Don’t miss my next wild business articles for 2023! — sign up for my Medium email list.

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The Coach Next Door - Jenna Zeng

A bubble tea obsessed, toddler mama and a mindset coach. I'm here to support with all things and personal development & parenthood.