How We Got Started + 5 Tools To Help You Launch Your Startup
The internet is a place where pretty powerful things happen. It’s where we met, where we talk day in and day out, where we became best friends, and it’s where we decided to merge our businesses and launch Hello Brand Collective!
It all started one afternoon when Katelyn was beyond frustrated with trying to tweak a code for a client’s website but couldn’t quite get it, so she decided to post in a Facebook group asking for some help. Nicole was the first to comment and offered to help! We chatted back and forth till we got the code perfect, and pretty much haven’t stopped talking since (no seriously, we literally haven’t had a day go by where we didn’t talk).
We quickly felt like we could trust each other and (at first) consistently chatted about our businesses. We both had branding and website design businesses in similar niches, we both struggled the same ways, we both had the same goals and intentions in mind, and we always joked about how if we had met each other earlier we wouldn’t done this together.
Our personalities mesh so well together and we are still constantly in awe at how much we share in common. We’re not just talking about our fave colors & latte flavor, we are similar down to our goals, values, humor, verbiage, style, outlook, and lifestyle.
One day we hopped on chat and said enough was enough - we HAD to do this together. We honestly feel like we were meant to work together! Nicole’s strengths are Katelyn’s weaknesses (and vice versa) and we both have so much to learn from one another, which made this decision so natural for us.
So we’re sure you’re still wondering… how did we do this? What steps did we take to get where we are? We are sharing what we did to get started, along with 5 business tools we used to start our business. Let’s dive in.
What we did first:
Our business plan
As brand strategists, we know the importance of figuring out your brands mission, vision, audience, and niche before you worry about your aesthetics. We came up with both a short term and long term plan in order to strategize how to get there.
Our brand assets
Once we had our business plan, brand mission/vision, and niche solid, we began tackling our brand identity. We literally crushed our brand identity in a day or two, because once that vision is solid, executing it takes no time!
Our separate businesses
We then announced to our separate design business that we will be shutting down and merging. We threw cover pages up on our websites letting everyone know how to contact us while HBC’s website was in the works. For social media, we each had Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook Pages, and Facebook groups for our businesses, so we had a lot of re-organizing to do in order to get things in place. We decided to start fresh with our audience and make all new accounts for Hello Brand Collective.
Nicole decided to dissolve her business with New Jersey state, while Katelyn amended hers. Katelyn changed her businesses legal name to Hello Brand Collective and added Nicole on as a 50% partner. From there, we found a time Nicole could fly down to Florida and add her to the bank account! We also hired an amazing accountant to figure out business taxes and expenses from the start to avoid getting backed up.
Tools we use & love
This is our go-to communication tool! Every morning we hop on zoom and pretty much work together from 9am till around 4pm! We love that we can invite clients and prospects to join meetings seamlessly, record our meetings for future reference, and share our screens when we need to!
We needed a system we could organize alllllll our content, have task lists, and store all our business plans + ideas. At first, Asana was our startup tool for this, but as we used it we realized we needed something more customizable and flexible, so in came Airtable! AT is our jam, we fell in love with it before we even knew what we were doing. We honestly hold everything in AT from our content calendars, expense sheets, to-do lists, client projects, and more!
Who doesn’t love Google Drive?! We love that we can quickly access documents, collaborate on folders/docs simultaneously, and share documents with no problem. We also really love that Google Drive offers Google Drive File Stream which allowed us to actually embed our Google Drive account to our desktops on our computers! We can access the drive any time and save files directly from our computer to our drive - it’s honestly been a game changer!
We could talk your ears off about how much we love this CRM system! Our entire client process is streamlined from the moment a lead fills out a form to the emails sent to them at the end of their project. Contracts, invoices, questionnaires, and timelines are all organized here. They have an amazing feature that gives each of your clients their own personal client portal they can log in and out of to access their project-specific documents. Seriously guys, Dubsado does it all for us!
This is the tool we’ve used from the start to plan our Instagram feed, captions, and hashtags. We love this app because it’s mobile AND desktop friendly, is easy to plan content, and is verified through instagram so it can autopost our content if we want it to!