Side Checks Podcast

Your Basic Toolbox For Starting A Business

October 23, 2023

I'm Amy! I'm a small business educator who got hooked on entrepreneurship after starting a cleaning business in college. Since my Clorox days, I've built many businesses. I've sold businesses. And I've helped small business owners do the same.


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Discover the basic toolbox for starting a small business and what 3 pillars you need to focus on at the beginning.

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Starting A Small Business

Today when you are thinking of starting a small business, you have so much information available to you. Such as creating a website, legally filing your business, pricing your products, marketing on social media, and so much more. 

Everywhere you look, there is information there for you to consume. 

So if this is true, then why do we constantly feel overwhelmed at the starting line? It’s because we are focused on so many tasks when starting a business when we should only focus on three.

When you are starting a small business, there are 3 major areas you should focus on. This will help you truly start your business. Start now, get fancy later.

Three Pillars of Success For Starting A Small Business

The basic toolbox for starting a business is comprised of three areas; the first is creating your offer. The second is creating an internet home for that offer. And the third is building an audience to find your offer.

  • Your Offer
  • An internet home for your offer
  • An audience to find your offer

These are the basic building blocks of getting your offer up and running and if you accomplish all three, you can start your business sooner and upgrade and expand on things as you go. 

In this episode, I am going to walk you through these three areas and we are going to talk about what you need in order to simply start your business. 

We are keeping it simple, getting fancy later, and getting your business up and running so you can feel like a superstar and not so overwhelmed. 

Creating Your Offer

The first thing you need when starting a small business is an offer. An offer is a general term we use for the thing you are going to sell. This can be either a product or a service. 

Don’t have a firm offer in mind? Tune into this episode of Side Checks for my strategy!

However, if you do know what you want to sell or do, or at least for the most part, you want to begin by focusing on this and refining it. Use this checklist as an example.

  • Does this offer solve a specific problem? If so; what is that specific problem?
  • Is this offer desired? AKA Is there a need for this offer?
  • Would your offer provide a clear transformation or result for people? 

If you have a service in mind, run that service and how it would work by a handful of others and ask for feedback.

If you are selling a product, see if you can create a prototype and physically allow others to try it or enjoy it. Ask for their feedback. 

Get very specific about what is included in your offer. List is all out on paper. This may look like travel time, your hours, material costs, and more. 

Listing everything out will help you determine how much it costs you to create your offer and from there, you can price it with confidence. 

BONUS TIP: A tip I have for you when it comes to creating an offer and getting your business up and running is to create one offer at a time if you can help it. 

With some businesses, having a small, medium, and large package size makes sense. However I would still consider this as one main offer, even though the sizes of the offer are different, the main contents should remain the same. 

Creating one offer at a time will simplify your business and make it easier to add on offers once you see how your first one is performing.

Giving Your Offer An Internet Home

Okay, so you have an offer. The next thing you want to do is to create an internet home for your offer.  Click here to see how website templates can save you time and give you a stunning website.

Your internet home can be a website or a landing page. And remember our slogan for this episode, keep it simple and get fancy later. 

When you’re just starting your business, you honestly don’t even need an entire website. A landing page can actually suffice really well. These are my favorite landing page templates.

The difference between a website and a landing page is that a website allows you to browse and navigate through different pages using a menu that’s going to direct you to different areas. A landing page is one page on the internet that doesn’t give you the option to click over to another page. The goal of a landing page is that you continue scrolling and do not leave that page. 

No matter what your business looks like, it needs an internet home. No matter if you’re selling products, online services, or local services. Having an internet home for your business should be a priority and should be the first stop for interested customers to look and learn more.

What your internet home should include:

  • What your business does
  • Where your business is at (if it’s not remote)
  • Who your business is for
  • A brief bio about you (if you wish!)
  • A space for your offer and a call to action to purchase/join/inquire
  • How to get in touch
  • A lead magnet (see next section!)

If you already have a website for your business, revisit it and ensure it covers these areas. Anything more might be adding undue stress in getting your business off the ground. 

And if you haven’t created any type of internet home for your business yet, explore how to get started right here.

Finding An Audience For Your Offer

Your audience is a group of people on a platform that you can control. This is generally our email list. 

An email list is a great way to grow your business, market your services, and truly connect with those interested in what you do. Read more about email marketing here.

To begin growing an audience for your business, aka an email list, aka a group of interested folks on a platform that you own, you will want to create a lead magnet. 

A lead magnet is a free offer that you give away in exchange for an email address. You’ll want this offer to be a small taste of your main offer. Create your first lead magnet for free right here.

When you create a free lead magnet for others to download, a few things will happen. 

The first is, you are attracting and welcoming someone into your business that’s genuinely interested in what you’re doing. If they are interested in the contents of your free lead magnet, they should be interested in your main offer. Remember, you made your lead magnet a taste of your main offer. 

The next thing that will happen is the subscriber can be introduced to your business via a Welcome Series. A Welcome Series is a sequence of emails that flow immediately after they download their free offer. You can deliver your lead magnet and create a Welcome Series with Flodesk and save 50% your entire first year.

These emails can introduce you, and what you do, and even go on to talk about your main offer. Showing up in someone’s inbox like this has proven to be one of the most effective forms of marketing out there. 

Lastly, that subscriber doesn’t just go away. Instead, you get to nurture that subscriber over time.

If You Don’t Have An Offer

In summary, the three pillars of success you want to focus on when starting a business are; creating your offer, giving your offer an internet home, and then finding and attracting people for that offer. 

Each of these pillars requires some work and some hustle. However, if you focus only on getting these three things accomplished, you will feel more organized and less overwhelmed compared to doing #allthethings.

Plus, after these three things are done, your business can be up and running, and dare I say making money, as you go on to work on the next phase of business, enhancing and getting fancier. 

Now I spoke earlier about if you do not have an offer in mind. Or if you don’t have it very dialed in. This is normal and I have a suggestion for how to narrow down your business ideas.

Episode #30 of Side Checks runs you through my 30-day strategy for using free lead magnets to grow an audience first, before creating an offer. In this episode, I go on to mention how this audience can even help you determine your offer.

Let’s review an example:

Let’s say you want to start a business working with new moms. However, you don’t know what you want to offer.

You can create three lead magnets instead. Maybe one is a checklist of everything a mom needs to have in her hospital bag. The second one can be tips on breastfeeding. And maybe the third is the 10 tips for nesting and organizing your nursery. 

Each lead magnet pertains to new moms. However, each one touches on a different skill set you have for new moms.

And after promoting them like crazy, you’ll be able to gauge interest and discover what area moms are more interested in. From here, you can begin honing in more on your paid offer. 

Starting A Small Business Today

Starting a small business is just that, starting. Let go of the pressure to have it all completely figured out and perfect at the beginning.

When we begin to feel overwhelmed at the thought of implementing #allthethings, we actually get less done.

Instead, I want you to give yourself some grace and focus on these three areas. Identifying your offer, giving that offer an internet home, and creating a lead magnet so you can begin growing an audience for your offer.

If you do this, you will get your business off the ground faster and with fewer headaches. 

And if you’re ready to hit the ground running with your small business idea, explore Off The Ground In 12 Weeks.

Off The Ground 12 weeks is my signature program for aspiring business owners looking to create their offer, give it an internet home, and begin growing their audience all by following a custom step-by-step blueprint from me to you. 

And as always, keep on hustling, because you are doing great.

I'm Amy Schmidt

Hi there!

I'm a small business cheerleader, strategist, and course creator who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000.


I'm Amy Schmidt, your new business strategist!

I'm a small business development and sales strategist who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000

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