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Altrui is born – starting a new business

Altrui Consulting is born!

I’m very excited. Altrui began as a way to invite people who wanted to “pick my brain” to pay for my time and experience. As I decided to leave my career in nonprofit fundraising I became excited about being able to support all types of causes and organizations making the world a better place. So in October of last year I introduced Altrui to the world.

Every day I learn something more about owning a small business. So this post is about that. I’ll get back to fundraising and relationship building in the next post I promise!

You start with an EIN. That’s your social security number for your business. In a google search make sure you end up on the IRS page so you don’t pay a company a ridiculous fee to create something that is free. Yes free. And it takes less than five minutes.

In California I had to publish my new business in a newspaper for four weeks. That process was pretty easy. There are other things you will need to do that might be specific to your field. In mine, nonprofit consulting, I had to also pay a fee to the state of California. And apparently that’s the case in 38 states!

You’ll want a separate business bank account. For easier tracking of expenses, get a business debit card too. Then get some type of online system for your taxes. This was all new to me, and I learned as I went. Some days I’d be at my desk and sit in awe as I realized another thing I had to or should do. As a sole proprietor, I have to make sure taxes, social security and medicare are all paid. Having always been an employee, I had never even considered that.

Connect with other people in your field. Ask questions. Join a local chamber of commerce. Ask more questions. Meet for coffee with other small business owners.

As important as all of the legal items you need to consider are, what I have learned in the first few months of Altrui is that having had a website and social media presence when I started allowed me a chance to get in front of so many people right away. From a business perspective having a website potential clients or customers can go to makes them a little more comfortable in thinking about doing business with you. When I introduced Altrui back in October, I had Altrui on Twitter and LinkedIn. As I continued learning and growing I decided to create Altrui space on Facebook and Instagram as well. It takes time to grow these and to create good content, and that time has been worth my while.

While working on social media I had business cards made and a name tag made with my Altrui logo. I worked with a company I had met at my local chamber of commerce and soon realized that having someone who could help me with promotional items was important. Next up is a new business card and table-top banners.

If you’re new to all of this, I think the best advice is to really figure out the tax and legal part (find a great accountant), while remembering why you are doing this and tapping into your passion for what you’re doing. Don’t let anything get in your way. Don’t be afraid of asking for help or saying you don’t know.

For those of you just starting like me, I wish you the very best. Let me know how you’re doing!

Thank you for reading!

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