You’ve finally did it! You took the leap to starting your own business.
It’s scary and accelerating all at the same time.
If you have determined your niche, target audience, and price points – gold star!
You are ahead of most.
If not, you may want to save this post for now and return to it once those have been figured out (just a thought).
Either way, let’s pretend like you are ready to go and have done the research, homework, and prep.
Three Must Haves to Get Started
Every business needs these basic essentials:
- A website
- A social media platform
- An Email Marketing System (or EMS)
There are a few more tools we will go through but let’s start with these three.
First, put your checkbook/bitcoin/credit card away. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars on your first website.
You, your business, and your brand WILL change over time. Are you the same person you were 5-10 years ago?
The same goes for your business.
As you take on clients (or produce goods/services), your mindset will evolve. You will learn what you love and loathe.
Once you find your groove and know your calling, THEN invest in a site.
Few things to note:
- Do the research when looking for a web designer.
- Ask for their portfolio.
- Get examples of live sites they have designed.
- As for a breakdown of milestones/payments/turn-around.
- Most important – clarify the number of revisions AND what is included in the final product.
Side note: I currently have a colleague building a site with a company recommended by her business coach. $3000 later and the last email she was given provided instructions on how SHE could add the items to her site.
For $3000 – that site should have been ready for launch, out of the box setup – no assembly required!!
In the last 12 years, I have redesigned my site four times and have changed my business name three times! Could you image if I paid someone to keep up with my changing vision? Can we say expensive!
Want to have full control? Start with a shared hosting program on SiteGround, Bluehost, WPEngine, LiquidWeb, or GoDaddy with WordPress as your website platform (there are others that you will find listed on the Resource Page but I recommend WordPress for those just starting out.
WordPress is one of the easiest site building programs on the market. You can even build on your own site on .com and migrated it over when you are ready to self-host.
Social Media Platforms
The most important thing to remember in terms of social media is this: You do not have to be everywhere.
If you don’t know where you should be, start by creating profiles on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Setup a program such as HootSuite, Buffer, Socialbee.io, or Later and post valuable content once a day.
This is very important – don’t just post anything – not everyone can gain millions of followers from a picture of an egg.
Monitor your engagement, take about 30 minutes to an hour a few times a week to interact across all platforms and cross promote. After 30 days, check your website traffic analytics to see who/what is creating followers, leads, and/or traffic.
Stick with those platforms and shelf the rest.
Why Worry About Social Media?
The primary purpose of social media is creating online proof and presence as you build your brand.
Launching a new course? By having a Facebook account – you can create Facebook Ads to build leads on it and Instagram.
Want to create a visual temptation of the product you offer? Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for you.
Social media allows you to build up the organic growth of your website and captivate potential leads with personable, behind the scene posts, and real time engagement.
Email Marketing Systems
You’ve setup the website, you’ve created your social media platforms, now how do you communicate with potential leads and more importantly, how do you keep them from going cold?
Free systems like Mailchimp or paid sites like ActiveCampaign or ConvertKit (the two I recommend for business just getting started) allow you to create automations to continuously interact with your audience.
Your standard indoctrination campaign on needs to be 3-5 emails, spaced 3 days apart initially, growing to a space of 5-7 days, and ending at 10 days.
These emails allow you to funnel your leads into more qualified leads and finally paying clients/customers.
You can also use this to send newsletters, company updates, flash deals, and more.
Website, social media, and EMS are the three things you need straight out the gate.
As you continue to grow, you will want to enlist these other tools and many more:
- CRM – Allows you to monitor the process of a deal – from opt-in to closing. Most
CRMs provide email marketing systems but the majority of EMS are not CRMS. MailChimp is solely an EMS. This is used more for the sales portion of your business.
With a CRM, you can monitor follow-ups (calls, emails, meetings), and feedback. If you have multiple individuals on your sales team, they can use a CRM to make notes that are seen by other team members.
- Shopping Cart/Payment Processing – Some need both but for those attempting to minimize at the beginning and prefer to process manual payments (i.e. invoicing), using systems like PayPal and Stripe will get this done. When you are ready for a more robust system, give Authorize.net a try.
- Task Management System (TMS) or Project Management System (PMS) – As the business grows, so will your ideas and personnel. To keep everything (and everyone) organized – systems such as Asana or Trello are perfect for project organization and staff assignments.
- Webinar Programs – Many newscomers stick with Facebook Live (or performing Facebook Live using Be.Live’s free option). As their audience grows, a paid option such as Zoom Webinar, WebinarJam, and GotoWebinar, allow an intimate setting with an exclusive audience.
For those of you who have not heard, LinkedIn is going LIVE!!! You can sign up for the beta program here (it is currently invitations only so you have to apply).
- Scheduling Software – Consultations are a must for most online businesses. Whether they are as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour, free or paid, potential clients want the opportunity of face to face (or voice to voice) to ask questions, have concerns addressed, and be reassured the monetary investment you are requesting is worth it. There are so many scheduling options but Calendly and YouCanBook.Me remain free favorites (again – a few more are listed on the Resource Page).
- Membership Site – Not everyone will need/build a membership site but it is the favored source of recurring revenue and evergreen content. If you decide to build a class, start with Teachable’s free option or try MemberVault’s Forever Free program.
If you want to pay and have a WordPress site, AccessAlly is hands down the best program I have ever had the pleasure of using (and the customer service is PHENOMENAL!)
We have referred to it a couple of times but take a peek at our Resource Page for even more recommendations.
We wish you nothing but the best with your future business!
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