lady startup

Lady Startup Group Therapy: "What are all the things to do when starting a business? I can only think of like... 4 things."

Commonwealth bank
Thanks to our brand partner, Commonwealth bank

I accidentally stumbled into the wild world of business a year and a half ago. It wasn't exactly the plan, but when our old pal COVID reared its ugly head and chopped my income and hours in half, I had to think on my feet.

Paired with my best friend (who conveniently happens to be an incredible graphic designer), we decided to put our brains together and brew a business that could serve a whole heap of lady startups who were looking for help with their branding and content. 

In one afternoon, during a meme-stuffed back and forth on WhatsApp, we made it official by deciding on the name 'Studio Wednesday' — a rom-com-cute nod to the day we first met. 

As a total business noob, I thought we'd knocked off the biggest and trickiest milestone of deciding what we were going to be called. I rewarded myself with a coffee, and thought, 'how cool, I'm now officially a business owner'.

... except, I wasn't. 

Because, turns out, there's a whole heap of very important, serious and legally-binding things you need to tick off before you can actually call yourself a business owner and function as a legit company.

This tick list at the time was a big, blurry mess and my co-founder and I found ourselves running into hurdles in those first couple of months, because we definitely weren't doing things in the right order. Or any order at all, really.

BUT 👏 I 👏  DON'T 👏  WANT 👏  THAT 👏  FOR 👏  YOU.

So I'm going to retrospectively walk you through the right order of very important things you need to do when you're starting a business. There will be a hearty mix of mushy emotional decisions and do-this-to-avoid-accidentally-going-to-jail tasks to tick off, so grab a large cappuccino and let's get into it. 

1. Once you've decided on your business name, register it as an official Australian business.

This is the digital-business equivalent of sticking a flag in the sand and claiming that patch of land as your own. It marks that this name is yours, and it's the official name of your Australian business. 

It's really easy to do, you just need to head to ASIC and follow their steps — but I will flag one thing first. Sometimes your business name that you operate with may be taken already. Ours was, and so we had to think of an official alternative to roll with. We opted for 'Studio Wednesday Corp', and I recommend doing something similar if you hit the same hurdle. Pop a 'Co', 'Corp', or 'Pty Ltd' at the end if you need!

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2. Set up your business bank account.

We did this step a bit too late, and ended up having the following business set-up costs spread across personal bank accounts and it was super messy to tidy up at tax time. So, if this feels really early to be opening a business account, let me tell you: it's never too early.

You need a pot of cash to assign to costs like buying your domain, website template and any equipment. And while these often don't come with huge price tags, they are business costs, so should be coming out of your business account. 

Listen to this episode of Lady Start Up Stories, all about money. Post continues after podcast.


We had quite a few questions when deciding on a bank for Studio Wednesday, so to get you over the stumbling blocks we hit, I chatted to a finance expert at CommBank to suss out the details for you:

What's the actual difference between a personal and a business account?

The way these banks run in the everyday sense, are pretty similar — so there's no confusing interface — but there are some benefits that can make life a heck-tonne easier. Things like:

  • Getting insights and data on your business, with tailored tips sent directly to your inbox — which clues you up on the money side of your business without you even realising. 
  • You can opt in for real time alerts to tell you when your merchant sales have settled, if your account is overdrawn or if you’ve received a payment. This is a GENIUS perk, because when you're up to your eyeballs in invoices and are trawling through emails to find out who you need to chase up for an invoice, you'll be craving this benefit.
  • You can sync the account with your accounting software to streamline your business bookkeeping. Again, a flawless perk that will save you hours each week — and remove a whole lot of human (read: me) error.

CommBank's Business Transaction Account is a typical go-to for many Aussie lady startups who are looking for all of the above perks. It has a $0 monthly account fee option and provides unlimited electronic transactions, which is perfect for growing businesses. 

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Do people externally know if you're using business account?

Having a separate account for your business allows for cleaner accounting, making it easier to manage cash flow and complete business activity statement reporting. So your accounting software, bookkeeper (if you have one) and the tax man will know you're operating out of a business account. Also, it'll make it ten times easier when you inevitably expand, because you can also link your account to a business credit card, or use it to apply for finance.

Slightly more frivolous perk: You can maximise tax deductions when you have all of your business costs coming out of a business account. It will also come across WAY more professional to both your suppliers and customers, because it's all streamlined from a fancy-pants business account.  

3. Buy your domain.

Okay, now you have your business name and bank account, it's time to lock in your digital assets — the first and most important being your website. CommBank’s nifty guide can also help you out here, but here’s how we did it. 

If you're an online business, this will be your equivalent of a storefront, so make sure you get the URL that makes the most sense.

Again, like with the business name registration, you might need to get a little ~creative~ with your domain as the most obvious ones could be taken already. However, if you go to sites like GoDaddy or CrazyDomains and type in your ideal URL, it will helpfully spit out some similar options for you to choose from. 

A bit like this:

What it looks like when you try to buy a domain. Image: GoDaddy + Mamamia.  

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Because we've already nabbed our ideal URL of www.studiowednesday.com.au, it's showing me the .co and .net alternatives, as well as different ways to present the business name itself. 

My hot tip: It's always recommended to go with the most simple and straightforward version of your URL, and if you're planning on going global, opt for the .com variant. However, if you know you're only going to be operating out of Australia and selling to Australian customers, then .com.au will improve your Google ranking Down Under!

4. Secure your Instagram handle.

As we know, social media is seriously important for brands, and so having a handle that represents yours is key. While you don't need to worry about posting straight away, you need to lock in your handle so no one else steals it!

Be sure to follow the same formula as you have for your domain, and go for the most obvious handle or have it match your URL. For example, If your URL is studio-wednesday.com.au then make your handle @studio-wednesday.

5. Pick an email provider.

Once your business is registered and you have a functioning domain and Instagram account, it's time to create a professional work email. There's no right or wrong platform to go with, but I'd recommend selecting a provider that you're already used to — so you're not having to navigate piece of software that's completely foreign to you.

We opted for Gmail because we knew how to use it already, and we wanted to set up a shared Google Drive so we could easily share files back and forth to each other. But I know lots of other businesses who operate with other email providers and use storage platforms like DropBox or WeTransfer. 

6. Write a mini business plan. 

I know this sounds incredibly formal, but spending some time mapping out what you want to do with your business will give you the lazer focus you need to stick with it through the hard times. It doesn't have to be extensive, but just follow these prompts to nut out a guideline for your start up:

Step 1: Set out your strategic vision, such as vision statement, unique selling prop, target market and an explanation of your product or service. 

Step 2: Set out the details such as structure, competitors, SWOT table, goals and milestones, and financial forecasts.

Step 3: Make necessary changes. When you come to the end of your plan, make sure you’re happy with it, and change where needed. 

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Step 4: Put the plan to work. Use your finished business plan as a guide to running your business and update the plan as circumstances change — which they will! Because running business is a wild ride, folks.

The legends over at CommBank also have a great resource to use when trying to figure out what every good business plan needs. 

7. Set up accounting software.

Even if, like me, you feel somewhat allergic to finance and money management, you simply cannot ignore the necessity for this one.

Having one central spot for your incoming and outgoing finances will save your bacon in tax time and make it super easy to hand over to a bookkeeper or accountant if you decide to outsource to one. 

8. Nut out the budget you need to keep your business running smoothly.

Now you've ticked off all the to-dos it's time to see what all of this is going to cost, as this is going to turn into your regular business expenses that you need to keep on top of.

  • Your domain yearly costs
  • Your website host subscription costs
  • Your accounting software subscription
  • Any bank account fees
  • Any storage subscription costs
  • Bookkeeper and accountants fees (if you've recruited someone to help you out)

Most of these costs will be known to you from the second you sign up, and are either paid monthly or annually.

So, start saving and getting prepped ahead of ticking off your launch to-do list!

In the process of kickstarting your very own business? CommBank has tonnes of resources to help you through every step of the journey. 

From their starting a business checklist and plan, all the way to their Business Transaction Account with $0 monthly fee options, they've got your back — ready to support you for a brighter future. For more information, check out their website

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking financial advice before making any decision based on this information. The target market for this product will be found within the product’s Target Market Determination, available here.

Before signing up, view the Terms and Conditions for the Business Transaction and Savings Accounts, CommBank’s  Financial Services Guide and the Electronic Banking Terms and Conditions.

Feature Image: Studio Wednesday + Mamamia. 

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Commonwealth bank
CommBank is committed to supporting Australian businesses and to help build a brighter future for all. Get the support, expertise and solutions you need to set up your business with CommBank. The Business Transaction Account has a $0 Monthly Account Fee option giving you the peace of mind to separate your personal and business finances. Just one way CommBank can help get your business up and running in no time.