Congratulations! You did it! No more assignments, no more exam cramming and no more trying to juggle work and clinic hours. You’re a fully fledged naturopath, wellness coach, nutritionist or whatever amazing talent you are bringing to this world. Now thats done its time to start helping people and living your dream, by starting your own business but where the heck do you start? Right here!
Get real with yourself. What’s your end goal?
What’s your niche? What makes you different from every other practitioner?
Once you have established a clear identity of yourself you will find it much easier to explain it to others.
This is also where you need to workout the identity of your business. This includes your logo, colours and overall feel. Choose something that represents you and what your business is about. Perhaps you will need to enlist the help of a graphic designer or maybe you have some inner talent to unleash. Either way, make sure it’s professional because your identity is the first impression your client’s will get, so make it a good one.
Consider the information on this page from the ATO to help establish whether you are planning to run a business or a hobby.
Make it legal
It’s simple and can be done for around $99. When you’re choosing your business name consider a few points:
- Is it relevant to my business activities?
- Is it trying to be ‘cool’ and if so, will the name still make sense in a few years?
- Is it too long for people to remember and will it make a good website address?
- Is it easy to pronounce and understand?
- Is it memorable?
- What words do people Google when they are looking for a business like mine?
- Are there businesses with a similar name? Will I be fighting them for google rankings?
ABNs and GST
Do I need one? Don’t I need one? What about GST? Tax is a tricky thing so here’s what I know.
If you operate a business in Australia then you need an ABN. It’s free and it will allow you to buy things a trade/wholesale prices. You will also need an ABN if you are planning to have a .com.au web address ie www.thewellnesswanderer.com.au
Apply for one on the ATO website
You must be registered for GST if your annual GST turnover is $75,000 or more. If you think you are going to hit this limit in a financial year then register for GST.
If you are working with people then getting insurance quite frankly is a must. But what insurance is relevant and how much do you need?
There are many types of commercial/business insurance and it really depends on the nature of your business, where you’re working from and it’s structure. Some to consider are:
Public and Products Liability (otherwise known as Legal Liability)
These are generally sold together and can’t be split. Generally, most people opt for $10million worth of cover as this is generally the minimal acceptable level. I say generally because you need to choose a level of cover that suits your needs.
Public liability covers you for damage to a third party person or third party property. What does that mean?
Say for example you have a client in your office and as they walk in they trip over your laptop cord and break their leg. Or perhaps you are visiting a client at their house and you break their new glass coffee table. Those are just examples, your insurer will have inclusions and exclusions but you get the jist of it.
Products Liability covers damage to a third party person or property caused by the product you supply. So, say you bake a ‘nut free’ cake. You label it as ‘nut free’ and someone who is allergic to nuts buys it. This person then goes into anaphylaxis because, turns out you used almond meal and forgot! (ops!) Perhaps you make your own tonics and elixirs and someone becomes ill after consuming it- this is also Products Liability.
Side note: Some insurers will offer an extension of liability called Treatment Risk, this means they may be able to extend cover for the treatment you are providing to your client. I.e the massage a massage therapist performs.
This really depends on the insurer and its very important you explain clearly what your business does. Every insurer has strict guidelines on what they can and cant insure, don’t take it personally if they decline you, it just means they don’t have a licence or product to cover your activities. Also, don’t lie. The last thing you want is a lawsuit on your hands with no insurer to back you up.
Professional Indemnity covers the advice you give and the professional services you provide (services in which you receive a fee for). It covers the legal costs and damages that you may incur if you cause injury or financial loss to someone and they decide to sue you.
For example, you treat someone with a specific herb and they have an allergic reaction and decide to sue you for negligence.
Fire and Defined Events
If you work out of a shop or office and have ‘stuff’ then you probably want to get it covered. Think about everything in your office- your books, furniture, treatment table, computers and stock. If you were to lose everything in a fire or event how much would it cost to replace everything? That is the value you need to insure for. If you rent the property and are not sure what you need to cover then check your lease agreement.
You will also be able to add on theft, glass and accidental damage to your policy once you have fire and defined events. Check with your insurer.
If you own the buidling you’re working out of then you will need to get that covered also (if it’s not already)
Portable and Valuable/ General Property
Do you have an iPhone? iPad? Laptop? Do you take these items away from your home or office? Are they primarily used for business? If you answered yes to these questions then you may want to consider taking out portable and valuable cover. Items are generally covered anywhere in the world for theft or damage. Check with your insurer for the specifics.
What if I’m working from home? Doesn’t my home insurance cover that?
If you have client’s coming to your house or hold a lot of stock (thousands of dollars) then you will need to speak to your home insurer. Many companies will exclude cover for business related clients coming to your house because it conflicts with their cover in the event of a claim. Whip out your home insurance PDS (Product Disclosure Statement) and have a quick read through the liability section. Yes, it’s tedious but if its in the PDS then its gospel.
Personally, I think it’s better to keep your business liability separate from your home liability. That’s just me.
Ok! Phewof, that was a lot of information! Hopefully now you are ready to go ahead and get covered. You may find that you need to speak to a broker because of the type of cover (mainly because of the professional indemnity) that said, AON does offer online quoting for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity online for the allied health field.
Join a professional body or association
Most insurers require you to be a member of a professional body or association relevant to your field. If you’re not yet a member then check out this list of associations.
If you’re in business then you need to have an online presence. That’s just the way it is these days. If you’re not online then essentially- you don’t exist.
Register your domain name
Your domain name should be the same as your business name. It’s important to maintain consistency so you can build a web-footprint for your business. I use VentraIP Australia for my domain names and hosting (I’m not affiliated with them). I prefer to keep it all in one place because it makes setting everything up much easier.
Set up a website
If you’re setting up a website then you should be using wordpress.org. It’s the best platform for achieving a professional website and it has the ability to grow and change just as your business does. You can install wordpress.org from the cpanel in VentraIP.
Choose a website theme that suits your business. Why are people coming to your site? What is it that you want them to do? Is it to book an appointment or is it to read your content? Once you know the answers to these questions then you can build your site around the answer. Everything you do should have the client in mind.
Most website views are on mobile devices so make sure you choose a theme that is responsive- that means the webpage adjusts to the size of the screen.
Social media is a great way to get your business out there. Clients love to see the person behind the brand so don’t be afraid to get personal. Facebook pages and Instagram are great ways to build a following. Think about what you like to see on Facebook and Instagram. What gets your attention? What are you getting out of it? If you put yourself in your client’s shoes then you will get the best results.
Ok! so thats it! Hopefully this has helped you get on your way to starting your dream business. If you have any questions then comment below and I’ll answer the best I can. Good Luck and remember that you have something unique to bring to this world. Nothing will ever sound the same coming from you so don’t be afraid to share your gifts, there is always room for one more.
Disclaimer: This article is intended as information only. It is a collection of my own life experience and research. This article does not take into account your specific circumstances so it’s important to do your research and find out what is relevant to you.
This article contains affiliate links that I may receive compensation for. That said, I don’t recommend things if I don’t use them.