Week 6 Reflection (B250)

This past week has been incredibly insightful and frightening at the same time. I learned about choosing a legal structure and understanding taxes. There was a lot of information to absorb as I studied various websites for hours trying to understand exactly what I need to do in order to keep my website legal and risk free.

I found this website very insightful for the state of Tennessee, which is where my location will be based out of:
http://www.tn.gov/ecd/topic/how-to-start-a-business

On step 2, it lists each legal structure and it looks at the pros and cons of each option. This website also gave me a good foundation of the requirements for starting a business. It is a trustworthy source because it is a .gov website. I think that it is so important to get information form a reliable source because it could save you from conflict down the road.

Here is my thought process while researching these topics (for personal, future reference):

Licenses, Permits, and Special Regulations

Business licenses- My city requires that you get a business license if you gross more than $3000 a year in receipts. I don’t expect to make more than $3000 in a year.
http://www.murfreesborotn.gov/index.aspx?NID=133
DBA- This article recommends that I get a DBA because the name of the business (Boho and Basil) will be different than my legal name.

https://smallbiztrends.com/2012/03/does-your-business-need-a-dba.html
Permits/ Special Regulations- None that I can find

Income Tax

Federal income tax-

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/business-taxes
State income tax- There is no state income tax in Tennessee

 Sales Tax

State- If you sell more than $4800 a year in revenue, then you’re required to register your business for sales tax. I don’t think that I will make that much so for now I do not need to register for sales tax. However, I will still need to register my business for taxes (http://www.tn.gov/revenue/article/register-with-revenue). The cost is $15 and I am in classification 3.

 

https://revenue.support.tn.gov/hc/en-us/articles/204309679-I-m-setting-up-an-online-business-in-Tennessee-Am-I-required-to-collect-Tennessee-taxes-
National- My business is not known as a nexus and therefore does not require me to include sales tax.
https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/learn-about-business-laws/online-business-law/collecting-sales-tax-online
Local-Same as above with the state tax. I will not be making enough to have to pay sales tax in my county.

 

There has been a lot of information to take in, but I feel confident in moving forward with this business and the legal structure.

Week 4 Reflection (B250)

At the beginning of this class, I assumed that I would build my website from the ground up using HTML/CSS. It offers so much more flexibility in designing a website. I find drag and drop websites frustrating as they limit what you can truly do. In fact, that is one of the reasons I got interested in majoring in web design and development. However, I simply do not have the time to do this so I have decided to use a website builder.

With all of the website builders out there, it may seem like an easy task to get a website up and running. I have learned from this week that this isn’t always the case. There are so many different websites to choose from that it is kind of overwhelming. The most important things to consider when choosing a website builder is how much you are willing to put into the website. Some website builders are free but that restricts the resources you could be getting. Websites like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly provide you with a program that makes it easier to start an online store or any type of website. They also provide things like domain names and additional storage. I have decided to choose Squarespace as my website builder and host. I will discuss what I learned throughout the process.

While searching for a website builder, the three most important things that I looked for were price, flexibility with design, and level of difficulty. The price of the basic online store package is $26 if you pay annually. This seems like a very steep price compared to other site builders however, there is a 50% student discount. There are so many tools that come with this plan that will be helpful with starting an online business and I think it will be worth the price. Squarespace is known for its flexibility with design. You start by selecting a template that can be changed however you want. It also provides you with a mobile ready site which is very important for an online store. Overall, Squarespace seems very simple and easy to use. They offer 24/7 support and have said that they will respond to emails within an hour.

Choosing a host was a simple task for me because Squarespace will host the website that is built. In the future, when searching for hosts, I will need to look for a host that provides a domain name and offers a large amount or unlimited storage.

Even though it was difficult to chose the right website builder and host, I look forward to moving on with building this website and hope that my decision will be beneficial to me.

 

Week 3 Reflection (B250)

I feel more confident this week that I will be able to get my business up and running within the next few months. This week we have learned all about how to choose a wholesaler or manufacturer, and we have learned the difference between affiliate marketing and drop shipping.

When choosing a business model for an online business, it is important to think about what you really want to get out of it. Considering your goals, wants, and needs will help you to arrive at your business model. If you would like to sell a product, it is important to decide if you would like to store inventory. Storing inventory can be a hassle if you don’t have the place to keep it. You also run the risk of having a surplus of products and over spending. In my opinion, this type of business model would be difficult for a beginner and it is one that I don’t have interest in.

For the brokers, manufacturers, and wholesalers assignment, we looked at a case study following three people who would like to sell sunglasses online and keep an inventory. They were smart to select sunglasses because they are small and easy to store and ship. They found two different wholesalers to buy their product from; alibaba.com and lawholesaledist.com. I created a rating scale in Excel with the categories price, location, and website. I gave each website a ranking from 1-10 based on my own opinion. Here is my chart:

supplier

I had a difficult time selecting either company but in the end decided that Alibaba, the international broker, would be the best option.

The main factor that swayed my decision was dependability; Was the company easy to contact? Did it have good reviews? Was the website up to date and easy to navigate(this one was a big one for me)? Alibaba had the best website with visually pleasing designs, quick links, and helpful ratings for each product and company. However, the loading time of the website was very slow which made it difficult to look for what I really wanted.

LA Wholesalers had a lot of information about each product but no reviews and typos in the descriptions The design also seemed very outdated which caused me to wonder if it was still a functioning business. Website design is such an important factor to consider because it shows a lot about the character of the company. It can show that they are up to date with new customers and are good at managing all aspects of their business in an efficient way. Alibaba was the most appealing in this category because their website felt secure, trustworthy, and up to date on everything.

The group had the goal to “buy, inventory, and sell online.” They have not suggested any time constraints for this business so the time of processing their inventory probably wouldn’t matter as much to them. It would also cost less to ship from Alibaba because of the bulk pricing. Alibaba would be the best choice for this group based on their goals and needs.

For the second assignment, we looked at the differences between a affiliate marketing business and a drop shipping business. Here are some helpful articles that I used for my research:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/articles3/drop-shipping-ecommerce.htm

http://affiliatetip.com/affiliate-newbies/

Based on my research, I decided that drop shipping would be the best for this group. With drop shipping, there are many resources to teach them how to start their website. One of the biggest positives of drop shipping is that they do not need to carry inventory. Instead, they can select a wholesaler to supply them with their products online. The wholesaler will sell the product to them for a low price and they can choose the price of the product to sell to the customer. This is promising because they can determine the prices that will bring in their income. The biggest downside to drop shipping is that they will have to handle the customer service for their company which could take up a lot of their time.

With the skill set and goals of the group, it is easy to see that drop shipping would be the best way for this group to gain the experience that they need. Amy can find the creativity that she desires by finding a target audience and having flexibility in the pricing of their items. Joe can get the experience of finding wholesalers that are reliable and fit their company. Trevor will be able to advertise their company through his marketing skills. They also won’t have to deal with the hassle of inventory which would be ideal if they decide to sell guitars.

Overall this week has given me the confidence that I need to move forward and select a business model and idea for the project that is due next week. I look forward to finally getting things started.

 

Week 2 Reflection (Business 250)

I can easily say that I have no business experience whatsoever. Everything that we learned this week was brand new to me. The idea of this course is intimidating, but I know that I will gain much knowledge from creating my own business online. I will admit that I have had a few sleepless nights trying to decide on a business to create. There are many opportunities out there that it is hard to narrow it down to just one thing. The activities that we have done in the past week have put my mind at ease knowing there are ways to choose a business.

Our first activity that we completed, “Business Model and Idea Generation,” helped me to gain a better understanding of the various business models. From the list of various business models, I learned about which business models fit the idea of an online business. Some of these include the brokerage model, advertising model, merchant model, and affiliate model. A business can select more than one of these models to bring about their purpose. It seemed that many of my classmates were split on the decision of selecting a business model or product first. My decision was changed by many comments on the discussion board and my own experience in selecting my business idea for this course. Ultimately, I decided that choosing a business model first would be the most beneficial choice because it would be easier to find a product to fit a specific model instead of the other way around. However, I learned from this article that it is important to first brainstorm your goals, skills, and target market. This can help to make a difficult task seem much easier.

I found the second activity “Demand and Competition” enjoyable because I like seeing trends and comparing statistics. Using Google Adwords, we were able to compare Chess to Snowboards as a product idea for a business. We compared the competition and the total number of searches for each topic. Snowboards had the highest competition and monthly searches while chess had a low to medium competition and low monthly searches. I personally felt that selling snowboards and equipment would be a better approach for a business because of the demand. However, I can see why chess would also be a good option. With low competition and a lower cost of purchasing chess boards, it would be an ideal business for the beginner who has little experience. When I select my business, I would like to use Google Adwords to help me in the process but I hope that I can learn more of the tools that are used in the program to make my decision. Some of the data that was returned seemed inconsistent and hard to base my decision on those two factors alone.

Even though I still feel intimidated by starting my own functioning business online, I am more confident that I can find a business model and product that will work for me and my skills. In order to select that business, I know that I need to sit down and have a brainstorming session where I can get all of my ideas on paper and sort out the goals and skills that I have for this website.

Portfolio


Project Corrections/ Time Spent:
Brochure- 30 Minutes
Webpage-30 Minutes
Business Identity Project-1 hour

Total: 2 Hours

Description: The purpose of this assignment is to create a portfolio in InDesign that showcases all of my work from this semester in Visual Communication 130.

Process(programs, tools, skills, Focus principles):
1. I first began by viewing previous portfolio examples and by researching portfolios on Google. I knew that I wanted to create something simple that wouldn’t distract the viewer from my projects.
2. I set up an 8.5 by 11 document in InDesign with 21 pages. I then used Adobe Illustrator to create the blue brushstrokes seen on all of my pages.
3. I inserted the Illustrator files into my portfolio on the master pages. I also added page numbers to the master pages.
4. I then added in the titles in my selected typefaces and I inserted the files of my projects to see how they would look.
5. I filled in all of the sections for the description pages.
6. I made corrections to some of my projects. The layout wasn’t changed in the portfolio because I had linked the files of the projects and updated the links.

Critique Process:

I received critique from my husband Joel to remove some extra brush strokes that I had added previously. He told me that I should keep it simple so that it didn’t take away from my projects. I edited my files in Illustrator and updated the links in InDesign.

Message: My message was to show my progress that I have made in this class.

Audience: Potential clients and employers

Top Thing Learned: Using master pages in InDesign is a very useful skill that saves a lot of time and can make a project look very unified.

Color Scheme and Color Names:
Monochromatic// Fountain Blue, white, and black

Title Font Name and Category:
Chasing Embers// Script/decorative

Body Copy Font Name and Category: 
Pragati Narrow// Sans Serif

Thumbnails of any Original, Unedited Images:
N/A

Source of Each Image:
Images and graphics used for this project are my own.

Brochure Project

page1

page2

Description: The purpose was to design a brochure for a company.

Critique Process:

I critiqued Christine Winward and Lisa Wharton. I also received critique from Christine Winward, Lindsay Handley, and Mckenzie Farnsworth. The critiques I received were to add more margins to the body copy, change the color of the bottom strip, and to change the weight of certain fonts. I did most of these but decided to keep the bottom strip a solid black color because it looked better with the logo and the images.

 

Video:

Web Page Mockup Project

webpagemockup
DESCRIPTION

Design a homepage for a website using Photoshop to create a mockup.

PROCESS (Programs, Tools, Skills, FOCUS principles)
1. For this project, I decided to use my friend’s jewelry business called Boho and Basil. If you are in need of some really pretty, handmade jewelry, hop on over to her Etsy page.
2. I began by sketching out 3 ideas that I had come up with after researching how to create an effective webpage.

sketch

3. I chose the sketch that had the best layout and began to create a wireframe in Photoshop that was similar to my sketch.
shapemap
4. Once I finished my wireframe, I was able to add in all of my content.
5. One of the hardest things for me was keeping all of my layers organized but once they were organized, it made it a lot easier to arrange the content how I wanted to.
6. In the end, I was very happy with how my webpage turned out.

CRITIQUE PROCESS
I received critique from Brooklynne Noe who told me to make the tone of all of my images a cooler color so that it all looked cohesive. My friend Arianne recommended that I move the cart logo to a different place. My husband Joel suggested that I space out the images in my gallery a little bit more evenly.

MESSAGE
To entice viewers to buy unique jewelry.

AUDIENCE
Anyone who likes handmade pieces of jewelry and likes to shop online.

TOP THING LEARNED
It is important to keep the layers organized when you begin to design.

COLOR SCHEME & COLOR NAMES
Analogous // Teal, Blue, Indigo

TITLE FONT NAME & CATEGORY
Beyond the Mountains // Script

COPY FONT NAME & CATEGORY
Futura // Sans Serif

THUMBNAILS OF ANY ORIGINAL, UNEDITED IMAGE(S) USED IN THE PROJECT

rings basilshrinky whiterockphoto-1450297166380-cabe503887e5texturescom_fabricwool0003_m

SOURCE OF EACH IMAGE (website name and hyperlink)

Rings
Earrings
Necklace
Rings on Hand
Texture
Social Media Icons
Logo Original