“Where do I start?” is a question I hear from many of my clients
Starting an online business can be overwhelming, and I can sense that feeling of overwhelm radiating from my clients. They have a valuable service, and their customers love it, but they struggle to earn money from it. How do you thrive online? They often hear about the latest marketing tactics or hacks from other entrepreneurs, like creating a funnel or hacking the latest Instagram algorithm, but these can be unsustainable. Sometimes they throw themselves into it like a match struck with fiery intensity, only to be out a few seconds later. It was exciting, and it had potential, but it was not sustainable. It is important to them to be genuine and authentic, and upon reflection, those ‘3 tips’ to go viral on Instagram just felt off.
Your online business is a bit like gardening
I like to use the metaphor of a garden to help my clients understand the process of building an online business. You have a vision of a beautiful garden with plants that bloom all year, a water feature pond, and a relaxing bench to rest on. But right now, you don’t have any of that, just the vision. Then someone suggests you add a windmill to create power and make your garden more attractive. Garden windmills are great, but what you really need to do is start small and build up your vision. Till the soil, make a flower bed, choose some plants, and plot out where they’re going to go. These small steps will bring your vision to life, and as you build your garden, you will learn what plants work best, what you love doing, and it will be an enjoyable journey.
Online business is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!
Start here to build your business online and thrive online
So, where do you start? There are a few parts to your online business that will need attention, but it doesn’t have to feel like work. Think of it as sharing what you love, what you find valuable, and what you want to contribute to others.
Start with these 4 steps:
First, review your homepage and make sure it focuses on the benefits of your service rather than just the features. Does it clearly convey what you do and how you can solve your customer’s problems?
Second, consider creating a Google business profile to build up some trust with potential customers. These profiles are free to set up and offer a fantastic way to gather reviews. Online reviews are trusted almost as much as asking a neighbour for a recommendation. If you don’t have a website, do this anyway. Read my article about why your business needs a Google Business Profile.
Did you know that reviews are a key element of social proof and a meaningful way to build trust and credibility online.1
Third, create an offer, sometimes called a freebie, that you can give away in exchange for an email address. If you already have a freebie set-up, then think about a low-ticket item that you can sell on your website so that people can get a taste of what you do without spending a lot of money. For instance, if you have a webinar recording, could you edit it and create a workbook to go with it and sell it?
Finally, start reaching out to your email list. It doesn’t have to be like the newsletters that fill up your inbox and annoy you. It can be an authentic and friendly expression of your work. Create a welcoming and informative newsletter that shares something your customers want to know. Maybe it’s once a week, or maybe it’s once a month. Just start somewhere. There is no secret formula because no one’s audience is just like yours. Make a plan to share your work and then see how it resonates, ask for feedback and adjust.