Hey and welcome to episode 2 of the Free and Fearless podcast.
You’ll now learn the steps you can take to find a business idea and turn it into a profitable venture (while still working full-time).
All this can happen in your free time and without any prior experience in digital business. But make sure you don’t skip a step as each of these is a stepping stone to doing things right and actually making money as an online business owner.
I’m choosing this topic, out of so many others I can cover, for the second episode of the podcast, because people constantly contact me and whether it’s to ask for blogging advice, coaching, personal development, content creation or else, I see they usually lack this – they aren’t sure how to turn their passion into an actual online business. Or maybe they are passionate about many things but aren’t sure which of these can be turned into something serious, profitable and which provides value to others.
Many of my course students, for example, are already bloggers, influencers, coaches or freelancers, but they don’t really know the business part of it.
They aren’t sure what’s the difference between doing something online as a hobby and then earning a bit from it and having clients, and actually becoming a business owner and doing the real work.
So, I’ll now cover the main elements of an online business, regardless of the model you choose. Each of these is important and skipping a step might mean not being able to grow or maintain your business.
Especially now with the pandemic, it’s more necessary than ever to not just do random things online, but actually create something sustainable, recession-proof.
That might mean evergreen content, entering another niche, making your business more flexible, providing a different kind of service, or packaging your knowledge and creating digital products. There’s a lot we can do.
For now, let’s just see what it takes to actually start a real online business.
All the things I’m about to share with you today can be found in a checklist I created for you. Grab it for free below:
Listen to the episode below:
- [3:37] 4 questions to ask yourself to come up with the right business idea
- [5:46] How to launch your website and why it matters
- [8:13] What is personal branding
- [9:37] How to keep your brand consistent
- [11:22] Getting started with your content strategy
- [13:17] Ways to promote your content
- [16:08] The next steps of turning your passion into an actual business
- Free business checklist
- How to start a blog [guide]
- How to register your business in the US [blog post]
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Stock photos
Phase 1: Find a profitable business idea
- What are your skills?
- What are you passionate about?
- Is it profitable?
- What problem are you solving?
Phase 2: Launch your website and build your brand.
To build a website you need to get a domain name, host your site with a reputable company and install WordPress.
The next aspect of your online business is branding. Now, that’s a big big topic and there are so many things to cover about it and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of episodes focused only on growing your brand, but let me just mention a few key things.
So, everyone online (and in life) has a personal brand, whether they’re aware of that or not.
Your online presence is the broader term, and it consists of everything you do online. All your actions, the roles you play, the information you share, the interactions – these shape who you are in the eyes of other people.
If you want to be taken more seriously, connect with influencers, find prospects for your business, or get hired as a freelancer, you need to take control of your personal brand.
Personal branding means marketing yourself as a brand. And the good news is you can always do something to improve your branding.
A website is the foundation of an online business and all you’re trying to achieve online. Every design element on your site, image you use, article you publish, update you make, feature you add, and monetization method you test becomes part of how you’re perceived,
To do that right and make people connect with your brand, you need to define it clearly and then make sure it’s consistent. Here’s what I mean by that.
One of the mistakes those just starting out in business make is not having a clear definition of who they are and what they do.
But how can you position yourself in a crowded niche if you yourself can’t summarize that in 30 seconds?
You need to be recognizable, to have a unique value proposition, to tell your target audience what they want to hear so that they can be sure you’re the person to do business with. And to also keep it short and sweet.
The brand identity is first formed in your mind. Feel free to ask friends for ideas, get feedback, research your competitors, find out what you can do better, and go do it but by adding a personal touch so you can stand out.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to truly grasp the ‘why’ behind the brand you’re trying to create. If you don’t do that early on, your business journey will take much longer.
Here are some things to do about your brand:
- Use the same colors throughout your site, images, products, etc. Use a free tool like Canva to create all kinds of graphics for your brand. Articles with images get 94% more views!;
- Create a logo and a tagline for your blog to stand out;
- Write an amazing About page sharing your story, what you’re all about, who you can help and why;
- Be on every social media channel where your dream client or reader is and get active. That’s a way to connect with your audience and other business owners, build a following and create brand awareness;
- Make professional photos of yourself and add them to your website and social media;
- Once you have some clients or even blog readers and email subscribers, ask them for feedback and display these testimonials on your website to build trust.
All elements of your brand must align with the big idea behind it, the content you create and share, the products you sell, the person you are.
Brand consistency leads to brand recognition, and – ultimately – brand differentiation.
A mistake many bloggers make when it comes to their brand identity is that they change directions too often. That confuses their readers and people stop paying attention at some point.
There’s a reason why some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world have stuck to one logo and one slogan for decades. Once you get into your readers’ heads, you want to keep it like that and only give them more of what your brand has to offer.
Phase 3: Content creation and marketing
I’ll dive deeper into the topic of content creation in another episode but for now, just keep putting out content consistently.
You need to be on the platform that feels right for your business, to make sure you’re publishing each piece with your dream client in mind, and even create a publishing schedule and stick to it so your audience can always know when to expect updates.
As a blogger, that might mean 1 long-form article weekly and 1 email to your subscribers.
As an influencer, that might be 5 IG posts a week and daily stories.
As a coach trying to grow your business, you can publish content both on your blog, Instagram, or anywhere else where your dream client is spending time online.
In all these cases, you’re teaching, you’re providing value for free and creating the content your people need to learn. Usually, it’s the basics of the categories you cover while your paid offers such as 1:1 coaching or digital products are where you show people some advanced strategies, or give them an actual program to follow that will guarantee them results.
Now, what about promoting that content?
Well, one of the biggest mistake content creators make is publishing something and waiting for things to happen.
But that can be discouraging, especially in the early days. There won’t be any blog traffic, social media followers, email subscribers, revenue, or comments. But you still need to show up every week and publish something valuable.
You also need to spread the word about it, though. Luckily, there are so many ways to do it, even for free, and over time you’ll find the ones that really give you results so you can do more of them.
Getting better at marketing and sales is crucial for your business. Don’t worry if you aren’t good at these. You’ll learn as you go.
In addition, you can exchange links with blogs of similar size, create linkable assets such as infographics, and guest post on other platforms.
And here are some examples for content promotion on social media:
- share blog posts on every social media using hashtags and the right description. Make sure you create a different kind of post for each platform. I mean, you can’t use the same text, visual and other details for Twitter and Facebook. Each channel has its own audience and they like their content in a certain way.
- For Pinterest, create a beautiful graphic, give it an optimized description so it can rank and pin it to your most relevant board.
- For each social media platform, create a different graphic to go with the post. Use Canva.com to do it in the right size, quickly and by choosing one of the many templates they offer.
- Don’t just post this once and forget it. No, each blog post can turn into multiple Twitter quotes, IG stories and posts, a Facebook Live, have different Pin designs for each article and add them to different boards while testing descriptions and hashtags.
- You can also consider paid advertising, such as Facebook ads.
- Influencer marketing is another thing that can lead to a lot of traffic and sales, but it might cost you a lot.
I can keep going but you get the point. Spend even more time promoting content than you do creating it.
Phase 4: Register your biz, manage your finances & track success
So, I know if you’re new to this, all that information can be overwhelming. That’s why I turned it into an easily digestible checklist which you can grab here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you leave a review on iTunes and definitely send me a DM on IG @letsreachsuccess to let me know what you think and ask any question you have about online business.