Exactly the question asked on a VA forum sometime ago and here is my answer:
- Find an accountant to get the advice that is needed regarding legal requirements for your business.
- Apply for whatever licenses or register whatever you need to do legally regarding the tax dept for your region.
- A business name can wait till you’ve gotten started – it’s not necessary and you can legally operate under your own name if you wish.
- Get business cards made up – doesn’t have to be a real lot, even just a couple hundred, but so you have something to give out to people you meet face-to-face.
- Set up a website – there are easy low cost options for doing this using blogger or wordpress or other systems out there.
- Purchase a domain name – they are low cost and one that reflects your name is fine for now. If you later decide on a business name you can buy a new domain and get that pointing to your website as well.
- Develop a signature block for online connection with people – that’s like your online business card.
I wouldn’t rush it when it comes to business names, logos or other things that could change 6 months down the track once you have a better idea of what you want to do and where you’re headed.
Start finding local business networks so you can meet local businesses in your area. This will have two particular reasons – 1, you can learn from others who have been in business in your area for awhile, and 2, you’ll meet potential clients. Most business owners need some sort of admin assistance.
After you’ve been in business for awhile you’ll get a feel for what you like doing and what you don’t and from there you might start deciding upon a niche or set of services you prefer to provide. At that point a business name may well come to you.