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16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time — STEP 9: Invest in Your Image
June 13, 2024
Computer with colorful sticky notes stuck to it, the screen reads "Identity"

Thinking about starting your own business but still need your full-time job? You’re in luck. SCORE and The UPS Store partnered to create the “16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time” eBook for people just like you. It offers detailed steps on how to start your dream business.

In step 9, we will cover how and why to invest in your professional image.

If you need a refresher of the eight previous steps, here they are: select a business; create a business plan; establish goals; choose your marketing methods; figure out your finances; know the rules; how to set up your office and business licenses, taxes and insurance.

Even if you’re starting a business at home, you want to make your startup looks professional. With simple solutions, you can make your business seem well-established, credible, and, most importantly, successful!

Here are some tools to help you create a professional business image:

Business card and other print marketing materials: Your business card can make a big impression, sometimes as important as that first handshake. Make your business card unique to you, your business, and your industry. Consider unusual shapes or sizes, or perhaps use a different texture or 3-D effects. The possibilities of making a special business card are endless.

Buy professionally designed business cards and other printed materials, like brochures and fliers. Printing them on your home printer probably won’t give you a clean, finished look. Your local business service center can help you create professional-looking printed marketing materials.

Business phone: Obtain a separate phone number for your business. Most smartphones let you host more than one phone number. Be sure to record a professional voicemail message. You can even change the ringtone for business calls, so you answer those in a professional manner.

Business email: Ideally, use an email address linked to your website domain, such as YourName at If you don’t have a website yet, a Gmail address is also acceptable. Remember to pick a professional-sounding email, such as YourBusinessName at, not GuineaPigsAndGerbils35 at or another inappropriate username.

Full-service business mailbox: Using a full-service business mailbox provides a more professional image than a home address. Plus, a business mailbox keeps important mail, such as checks, bank statements, and packages, safe when you’re away from home. 

Professional-looking product packaging: Quality packaging can also make a big impression. Are your products carefully wrapped in their boxes? Pay attention to the box design, the filler inside, and the fonts and colors on the label.

Document and data management: Are you able to access all data and customer files away from the office? Take advantage of cloud storage to secure your data online. Also invest in a backup solution that automatically backs up your data: Carbonite, Mozy, and SugarSync are popular options.

You! Invest in your personal appearance. Dress professionally, and keep your business vehicle clean inside and out.

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Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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