Assuming you will start from home and billing is not apart of your business, honestly, you really don't need much. You have your skills, your resources, and your clients. Besides coming up with a name for your business, your logo, computer, fax, phone, letter head, business cards, supplies, and all that jazz .... You really only need to talk to your lawyer, establish a tax id, you could even use your ssn, have them do all the legal documents, such as insurance, and also have them review and/or draft up your client contracts. You may also hire an accountant/bookkeeper if you wish. The only other thing is marketing/advertising unless you are operating by word of mouth. The only other option is hire a business consultant to help create a business plan and stick by it to ensure maximum growth of your business. As your business grows, if you add employees, choose to rent space and all that, that's a matter of contacting the right people to put it into place. (lawyer, realtor, contact your city/county for occupancy permit, utilities, phone lines) Then you'll also need to look into payrolls, benefits, 401K, and all that not so fun stuff. I'm sure you can google "starting a small business check list" or something similiar and that can definitely help you.
I recommend taking a few small business courses at your local community college. Starting a business is easy, keeping it thriving and successful in the long term is the hard part. It takes a lot of work and a very serious, dedicated, and organized person. I find a lot of people get burned out quickly or things can go great for a while, but as soon as the client's demand change (and we all know they change at the blink of an eye), things can get rough.
Good luck to you. E-mail me if you wish.
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