Discuss your candidacy with close friends, colleagues and family.
Think and discuss the impact (time, energy, money, personal dynamics, etc) of being a public servant will have on the people close to you.
Ask people who know you well about what they think of your potential candidacy.
Discuss what kind of help they can provide you should you run.
Explore the reach of your network.
A good practice is to create an excel spreadsheet that includes everyone you know – from childhood and family friends to relatives, friendly neighbors, colleagues from all your previous and current jobs, members of any professional associations or alumni groups you belong to, and so forth. List their addresses, phone numbers and other contact details. Have additional columns with sample headers such as “will they vote for me,” “will they donate to me,” and “how much can they donate to me”. This will form the basis of your “Rolodex”.
Get your finances in order.
Ensure that your taxes (personal and business) are in order.
Be prepared to disclose your financial interest.
Think about the impact an elected officer’s salary may have on your financial wellbeing.
Review your online presence.
Do an internet search of yourself to see what information is out there about you and consider how it can be beneficial or not to your candidacy. If the former, consider incorporating it into your messaging. If the latter, create talking points to address the issues and pivot to positive messaging.
Look through your social media accounts and posts and make sure what is available to the public about you is professional and what you want to put forward as a candidate.
Start thinking about how you want to tell your story.
What is it about you in your personal and professional life that makes you a strong candidate? What is it about your life that makes you the right person for the job? Think through these questions and write down your biography.
Think about how you’d answer the question “why you, now, this seat” – why are you running for office? Why should people donate to your campaign? Why should the voters choose you?
Talk to people involved in politics.
Seek out and talk to the political players in/out of your district – these include current representatives, county officials related to the party, former candidates, activists and organizers, union members, elected officials, organizations like Her Term, etc.
Understand the demands of an elected officer’s working hours.
If you are gainfully employed at the moment in the private and nonprofit sector, discuss and document any agreements you make with your employer about your candidacy and its impact on your current work.
Know what you will be spending money on – staffing, physical appearance, high-resolution professional photos, travel, website, domain URLs, graphic design, direct mail, digital presence, door-knocking, vote-builder, training, etc.