If you Google “How to start a successful online business?” you’ll get over a billion answers. Go on, try it. I did! With all of this information though, how do you know what the best advice is to start to build your own online business?
Let’s first talk about meeting your expectations because it often can look like people are getting overnight success. That they’ve popped up a website and all of a sudden they’re earning 6 – 7 figures and sunning themselves on tropical islands (you know, when we were last allowed to visit tropical islands). But the truth is, starting an online business takes time and drive to get it to become profitable. While you might be seeing your friend’s gorgeous new website on their IG and stunning pictures all hashtagged with #sixfigureentrepreneur – remember you are only seeing the surface… and let’s just say IG filters have a bit to answer for.
So what is it actually going to take to build your successful online business?
Build a saleable product
If you want to make money online, you actually need a product to sell! Sounds simple, right?
For service-based business owners, this is often the biggest mistake they make and wonder why people aren’t buying from them. The way I normally explain this to clients is, you need to be able to put a barcode on your forehead.
I made this mistake when I moved from my bookkeeping practice into only consulting, I did have a service to offer so I wrote a Work With Me page and waited for the bookings to roll in.
The biggest problem with this plan is, people don’t know what they are getting! We want to have a clear understanding of what we are purchasing but if you only have an offer on your website that says; ‘work with me for 2 hours’ your audience isn’t actually going to know what they are getting. 2 hours of your time, OK, but what does that mean for them?
So, if you are wanting to sell your products and services, make sure your clients have a product they can virtually pick up, scan that barcode, and know exactly what they will be receiving.
Have an online home
Social media is not your home. You want to invite the right people to your online home – one you own – so you can get to know them and they get to know you.
Think of social media as a dating service. It’s a good place to start meeting and greeting your audience but you aren’t there just to virtually meet people for a moment, you want a real relationship. So, therefore, you want to invite the right person away from social media and all the other profiles to your own space online. When you have a website, you can introduce yourself in your About page, share stories about business and life on your blog, and then ask them if they want a second date on your email sign up.
The most important reason you want to build your own home and direct your traffic there, is you own it. Social media can close down at any time and also dear old Mark seems to be doing a lot on his platform to only show you what he wants you to see!
Build a brand
Ok firstly, a brand is not your logo. It’s a component of your brand but having your logo, brand colours, and fonts organised doesn’t mean you have a brand set up.
I’m going to be really honest with you here, I haven’t really been working on this very well in my business. It’s really easy to stick with what you are selling, your expertise. It’s safe there. But building a personal brand is stepping outside of your comfort zone.
But it has to be done.
People want to know who you are, they want to know what your values are, to see if they are going to connect with you. Now my biz bestie has been reminding me for a long time that I need to go and create my Brand Foundations. As as I’m writing this blog for you I’m also heading over and buying her Brand Foundations Workbook to make sure I’m going to be a whole lot better at this, very soon.
Grow an audience
The reason I love online business so much is because I can pick and choose how, where, and when I’m showing up. But here is the secret, you do actually need to show up!
Building a website is not going to create an online business because to run a business you actually need to be making money! That means you need to be getting out meeting people and inviting them back to your home. This is where your social media is a good place to start.
You don’t need to be on all social media platforms, ask your target audience where they hang out and start there.
Last week I was updating my strategy around social media. There are a lot of changes with IG releasing Reels and also TikTok etc. I can understand the attraction to get onto the latest platform and have a big play, but I decided my goal is to do what I’m doing and do it well. To stop being distracted by shiny new socials toys, to not put my energy in all the places, because it’s just watering down my impact. I also give myself space to change!
Also, I love the art of repurposing content all over the socials but the biggest learning curve I’ve realised is that the consumer on social media does the consuming in different ways depending on what platform they are using at the time. I love that you can share content directly to multiple platforms but to keep the user experience high I’ve been tweaking the content to be more aligned with the platform I’m posting to.
Create your profit streams
Can you believe I’ve waited till now to say you should be creating your Profit Streams?! I know it’s halfway down this list, but the reality is that it takes time to get all the pieces together to get you into a position to start building your profit streams.
When I’m working one on one with clients we actually don’t start this process till week 4-5. I’ve found over time if we are working on our Profit Streams straight away those profit streams are rushed, they aren’t on brand, and honestly, the client doesn’t share the content because it just doesn’t feel right!
Oh, and also we actually need to have products to sell so that our profit streams actually lead somewhere! Want to learn more about Profit Streams – check out Money For Jam here.
Understand your numbers
There are 2 sets of numbers you should be looking at – your finances and your stats.
Each Friday I have a date with myself to be checking in on my finances, I review my weekly income and expenses, reconcile my bank account, and follow up on any missing payments.
Then, each Monday is check-in time with my stat tracking. I check with my analytics on my website, Google, carting system, email marketing, and social media. I want to see what is working and what might need a little more love.
This is also the perfect time to learn what you are loving, there is no point in me writing content for you unless you are going to resonate with it. So I check all these platforms to see what you are engaged and loving and then ask myself, what else can I share with you?
The reason why I have these 2 dates (and I think you should too) is because they are non-negotiable. Sometimes it might need to be moved if I have a client or am stepping away from the office but every week these must get done. It allows me as the CEO of my company to stay in control and have the knowledge to be making decisions about how to run my business.
Now, I’ve been terrible with this in the past and have been working towards creating more consistent content for you. Can you tell?
The more consistency you have in your business means the more people are going to see you! It doesn’t have to be hard – you can start with a blog a week that you repurpose multiple times into content for your social media. Then, as you become more comfortable with the process and create workflows for your content you can decide if you would like to add another element or maybe refine what you are doing. The choice is yours, but it starts with deciding what content you want to be concentrating on, creating that content and then doing it every week.
Learn and keeping moving forward
Finally, it’s time to realise we don’t build our first website and all of a sudden have a successful and profit.able business. It’s OK to make mistakes along the way. My lovely coach Lorraine Hamilton actually just sent a quote this morning that says – there is no failure, only feedback.
There are going to be times when you stuff up, you might work with an awful client or send a newsletter with no link, not be able to bring on your co-host on a webinar and have to change platforms halfway through (shoutout to everyone who witnessed that happen to me!), release content that wasn’t edited, build a program that doesn’t sell.
These are all things I’ve done and I’ve learned some (hard) lessons from. It happens to the very best of us. It’ll happen to you. And it will be OK. Because then, you’ll keep moving forward.
About Lauren June
Hi, I’m Lauren, and just in case you haven’t yet figured it out, a “picky plate” is a charcuterie board. However, there’s only so many blogs you can write about charcuterie boards, so here are some other good bits of advice, education, and inspiration I’ve picked up on the tractor ride we call life.
I took the life lessons delivered by COVID and Endometriosis and re-evaluated my career as a business strategist, decided to live life by example, and shed the sticky skin of hustler and empire building.
My hope for you is you find something to soak up and perhaps implement in amongst my stories of profit building, dog mothering, and productivity inspiring, all while trying to make a baby and renovate our faux farm propert
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