Just getting started with your first online business? Feeling completely overwhelmed and slightly lost?
Yep, that's totally normal. In fact, if you weren't feeling like that I'd say it was a bit weird...
You're surrounded by information and yet, you haven't got a clue what you should be doing or where your focus should be.
Let me help 🙂
There are basically 5 priorities that you should have right now and in this post, I'm going to break each one down for you. I'm nice like that...
Grab yourself a cuppa and a pen and paper and let's get your online business rolling...
Set Up An Online Business in 5 Steps
Step 1 - Your Mission Statement
In a nutshell, you need to work out what problem your business is solving, who you're solving it for and what result that's going to give them.
So for example, here's mine... I want to help as many people as possible to create a thriving online business doing what they love so that they can quit their 9-5 for good.
It's really important to get clear on these 3 elements right from the start of your business. You need to know the purpose of your business, you need to know who your target audience (or ideal clients) are and you need to know what tangible results you are promising people. Those facts are going to be what drives a lot of your decisions - they'll impact your products and services, your messaging, your branding and your marketing.
If you're still a bit hazy on the details then spend some time getting as clear as you can. There's nothing to say that things won't change as your business grows, but the clearer you can be from the start, the easier you will find every other part of your business set-up and subsequent growth.
Step 2 - Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Yep, if you're setting up a business, you're going to need something to sell! 😉
Whether that be a product or service, now is the time to get clear on the details. What will be included? How will people purchase it? What will it cost?
Don't get bogged down in this stage. DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. This is your Minimum Viable Product - it's not the Perfect, Polished Product! Get it out there and then you can tweak and perfect as you go and as you get feedback.
This is also a great time to do a bit of audience research. If you've completed step 1, then you know who your ideal clients are - so find some and ask for feedback on your product/service idea. Is it something they want? Would they be prepared to pay for it? Don't make the mistake of assuming your audience wants something just because you think they need it...
Step 3 - A Website
If you're creating an online business, then you need an online 'home' for that business. You need a website.
Now that can feel a bit scary - especially for the non-techies among us. But I promise you, getting your first website set up is actually pretty simple! I'm a big WordPress fan and I've written a post about the things you should consider when you're first getting started.
You'll want to decide on your business name and to check that you can purchase the appropriate domain name for your site.
You'll need to decide where to get your site hosted (don't go for the WordPress.com hosting if you're setting up a business - it will be too restrictive for you.)
You'll need to choose a theme that will determine the basic look and feel of your site (don't over-think this! Done is better than perfect, remember!)
You'll also want to create your key pages:
Your About page which tells customers about you and your business.
Your Products/Services Page - giving potential customers more info on what you offer and how they can get their hands on it!
Contact Page - Allowing people to get in contact with you
Check out this post for more info on the basics you'll need for your website. :)
Step 4: Email Service
Did you know that the average return on investment for email marketing is $44 for every $1 spent? Not bad eh? Email is where the magic happens. You get to reach people directly in their inbox, to speak to them on a more personal level and to build a relationship that is more likely to end in a sale.
Building an email list tends to be one of those things that people put off - either they feel they're 'not ready' yet or they just have other priorities and don't see the value that an email list brings.
DON'T MAKE THAT MISTAKE!
Your email list will be one of your most valuable business assets and the sooner you start growing it, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits.
There a several email services that you can choose from. Mailchimp is a popular beginner service because it's free and simple to set up. My personal fave is Aweber. It has a bit more functionality than Mailchimp so it grows with you and your business.
Once you've chosen your service and got your first list set up, you'll want to create a lead magnet. That's a free gift that you can use to entice people to subscribe. A simple lead magnet to get started with might be something like a checklist or template that will offer your ideal clients some kind of quick and easy solution to a problem they're facing. Check out this post for some more examples and inspiration when it comes to creating a great lead magnet.
Step 4: Social Media Accounts
There's no ignoring it. You need to be on social media - and the sooner the better. Social Media is one of your key tools when it comes to promoting your business and increasing your visibility. It's also where you'll start to build relationships, create community and get your voice heard.
TOP Priority is your Facebook business page. I don't actually recommend trying to be active on all social media channels when you first start out. Quite the opposite in fact - doing so will spread you too thin and there's no faster way to hit overwhelm than to try to gain momentum on half a dozen channels and see nothing happen...
Facebook can't be ignored though and whatever your other social preferences, you need a page for your biz. Get this set up, add a nice cover image and don't forget to link it to your personal profile. That's one of the main ways that people will find you!
Other than that, I would just focus on one other channel for now. Think about where you feel most comfortable, where you're most likely to find your ideal clients and perhaps where you already have a following...