July 2016

4 Things You Need To Be Doing In Your Online Business

Starting an online business is hard work. You have about 100 hats you wear and switch between regularly, and even if your business is your passion, there are still parts of it that don’t exactly fall under the “your favorite way to spend time” category. There are so many things to do that it can feel completely overwhelming all the time and you end up just spending hours on Pinterest or Twitter instead of really doing the essential work that needs to get done in your business. I know the feeling, trust me. That’s why I wanted to talk with you about the four things you absolutely NEED to be doing in your online business above everything else.


DEVELOP A VISION FOR YOUR BIZ + BRAND

In the very early stages of your business, or if you are realizing it’s time to buckle down and do things right, you need an overall vision for your business. What I mean by this is that you basically create something like a promise, a challenge, or a statement that explains exactly what you see your business doing in a “big picture” kind of way. Why does that matter? Because that’s going to help you figure out your “it factor” or what differentiates you from everyone else. You don’t want to just be another coach or copywriter or social media maven, you want to make a statement that you are going to be the best, the most influential, the most game-changing whatever-you-are and that clients or customers will see results because you know whatever it is that you know. 

I like to think of a brand vision as a promise, personally. When I help clients develop a vision for their brand and their business I often ask them to think about what they can ensure they are going to give to clients or customers with their services or products. What can we promise to deliver that will change their lives in some way?

If you don’t have a vision for your business you’re going to constantly be playing a game of catch up. You won’t have a clear end goal to create a path towards and instead will just be helplessly slinging ideas at the wall hoping something sticks. Don’t wait your time, energy, or money with that.

If you need more help discovering your brand vision (and other foundational pieces of information for your business) check out my eBook Branding 101: Building Your Base. Learn more by clicking here.


MAKE REAL CONNECTIONS

This is a tricky area to navigate because it’s easy to spend too much time on social media and use it as a distraction/procrastination tool. I’ve mentioned before that you should stick to a social media schedule to avoid this, BUT, I also think utilizing time on social media to develop real relationships is vital to success.

A lot of my clients, especially in the beginning, came from referrals of peers and friends that I had made through being active on Twitter. Later, I got really active on Periscope, and saw a huge boom in my business due to the connections I made during that time.

Social media’s biggest benefit is the ability to foster relationships with people in your circle. (Tweet That!)

The value of masterminds or just a business bestie is invaluable. This online business world is crazy, emotional, and hard – it feels awesome to have someone in your corner who just gets it.

The easiest way to get started on social media is to get active in a few related Facebook groups and in a Twitter Chat or two. Those are both great places to find like-minded business owners who value building friendships and fostering community. . 


START YOUR EMAIL LIST (LIKE, YESTERDAY)

New online business owners are so excited about their actual product or service that they forget to focus on long-term growth right away. This is a marathon, people! As soon as you possibly can, start growing your email list. Include opt-ins in your blog posts, have a free email course or challenge, write an awesome newsletter… whatever you think you can do and maintain to get subscribers coming in – DO IT!

I wrote a post a while back about creating your opt in that might be helpful to you if you feel completely lost about this area. The point is, whatever it is that you do, just make sure you are collecting the contact information for people who are interested in what you do. Those are warm leads for future product or service launches – which means money and growth for your business.

The absolute best part about an email list is that it is yours. Social media comes and goes – one day Periscope is everything and the next day it’s Snapchat and the next it’s a new app… all the time you spent gaining followers ends up being pointless as soon as that app isn’t the cool thing anymore. Email addresses though? Those are like gold. You can directly reach people that have already shown an interest in you. So the sooner you start collecting, the better!


GIVE + CREATE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES

The last thing I really need you to focus on implementing immediately into your business is giving the best possible experiences to your audience, your clients, and your customers. In any sort of marketing or advertising, word of mouth will ALWAYS be the best option.

Giving a great experience ensures people spread the word about you (and grow your business quickly). (Tweet That!)

This is true for all forms of business and I am sure you know of a local store or restaurant that skyrocketed to success because of word of mouth advertisement. You can have that success too. The trick is that you do everything with your brand vision in mind and that you do it well. This is your business, so you must want a stamp of 100%-grade-A-quality on everything before it gets sent, posted, or shared. 


I know that it feels stressful and scary sometimes owning or starting a business. The results can be so amazing, rewarding, and fulfilling once you get there and by following and implementing these four strategies I know you can! 



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


The First Three Steps To Starting Your Online Business

Starting an online business is an exciting venture. By diving in and developing the idea into a full-blown small business you can gain so many things. For me things like freedom, financial security, and creativity were essentials and something I wanted to plan for and around. For you it might look like: more time with your family or to travel, ability to earn limitless income and grow quickly, a way to do work you are passionate about and give back in some way, and so on.

Getting started with your business is overwhelming. Terrifying, actually. You either fall into the category of being highly motivated but not a lot of ideas or you have too many ideas and are getting decision paralysis. Wherever you are on that spectrum is the perfect place to get started.


WHAT EXCITES YOU?

First things first, figure out what makes you excited. What makes you happy? What are you going to be content working on into the wee hours of the morning and then waking up early to do more? What gets you wiggling in your seat because you are so freakin’ pumped to share? What do you feel like you could easily talk about for hours and hours and still want to talk about more? 

This might be a huge list of a lot of unrelated topics, or it might be on specific, obvious thing. Neither is wrong! My list could look like: design, wine, art history, travel, yoga, etc. Just take some time and brainstorm about what lights a fire under you – even if you don’t immediately see a way to monetize that, that’s fine. I’m a strong believer that we can all make an income doing something we love and are passionate about, so I truly believe you can too.


HOW CAN YOU MONETIZE?

Once you’ve developed some ideas of things that are really passionate about we need to develop a way to monetize that and formulate an actual business. This is where it really helps to start thinking in the way of “problems” and “solutions.” Businesses solve problems for people. They offer solutions. So your business will need to do the same. 

During this next phase of starting your business, think through the list and start to associate problems you might have had or others might have with the topics. For example, if you totally L-O-V-E wine, what are some pain points surrounding that? It can be an expensive hobby to jump into for starters. It can feel overwhelming, a bit snobby and hard to understand. You can be confused about food pairings. You might not even know the proper technique for drinking wine, let alone storing it or serving it. How can you, with your knowledge and experience and love of this topic begin to resolve these issues for someone?

Maybe you offer an “introduction to wine crash course” that simplifies understanding the different regions wine comes from and the profiles of different grapes. Or maybe you offer one on one coaching lessons that allow clients to work with you individually to understand wine pairings better. Maybe you write an eBook about all the common ways people mess up serving, storing, and drinking wine.

I don’t think you necessarily need to figure it all out in this step, but just start generating ideas. The hard decisions come later, but in the beginning the emphasis should be on really creating a lot of opportunities or paths to go down and giving yourself options, time for reflection, and an open mind.


HOW DO YOU GAIN MOMENTUM?

Like I just said, you probably won’t come to any definitive decisions yet, but once you’ve come up with a few different paths that you feel enthusiastic about, I want you to shift your focus to actually gaining traction as a business and growing.

The biggest thing that has helped my business to grow has been blogging and social media use. These are what I recommend to strategy clients to implement into their business and what I am going to recommend to you too.

How does that help? Well for starters, blogging is phenomenal for SEO purposes as you should be blogging about things that pertain to your business. It also promotes authority in that it showcases your value and expertise. It lets potential clients know that you are a resource and that you do have something worth their time and money. Social media is good as a way to build and foster relationships with your audience creating an authentic and natural place in their lives as a blog and business they find reputable and worth following.

But how else can you gain momentum? Things like hosting challenges on Instagram or a mini series on Periscope are fantastic ideas to get your name out there more regularly and build up recognition. 

At this stage in starting your business you probably haven’t fully settled on a particular path, but I do think it’s wise to spend some time planning and doing a little research of avenues you might be interested in using to gain that momentum. This is a way to further explore topics you might be interested in and see just how viable they are as a business, as well as challenge yourself to think through things you’ll actually be doing in your day to day and see if the work still excites you. 


MOVING FORWARD

I titled this post in a way that showcased these three steps as the first steps to starting your online business because I find that it is easy to get an idea and just run with it. But taking time to fully explore your multiple passions and ideas and see how they could actually become a business is something that will create more lasting success. Once you’ve completed these ideas, you should move into really honing down on one idea and going through the process of figuring out your why, who, and how.

This is something I cover in my eBook Branding 101: Building Your Base. I highly recommend checking it out once you’ve worked on some of the initial ideation phases because it will help you hyper focus and figure out how to start implementing real strategies to setting up your business for success.



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!