After years of trying nearly every Project/Task Management Tool out there (Asana, Trello, Notion, Evernote and More) I can without a doubt say that ClickUp is currently the best project management tool I’ve ever used. So much so that I invested in the yearly subscription (and I never do that).
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You ma read my Disclosure Page here and thank you for your support.
Like it’s competitors Trello and Asana, ClickUp is a Cloud-Based Project-Management Tool. Since 2018, ClickUp has been rising in popularity for small-business owners because of its value and commitment to becoming the “One App to Replace Them All.”
And while that tagline might seem a bit too ambitious, to those of us who have been around for a while and (tried many of ClickUp’s competitors), one can easily see how it could be possible.
In fact, in the past year alone, ClickUp has launched features that have made the use of many other tools in my business (Google Docs and Calendar for example) nearly unnecessary.
What makes ClickUp unique from my perspective is that it’s not just the project management arena that it , they’ve also thrown their hat in the ring with big-name task management tools like Todoist and ‘second-brain’ note-taking apps like Notion and Evernote.
My ClickUp Review: Comparing to Trello, Asana, and Notion
You simply cannot beat the value of what you (and maybe your team) will be getting for your investment. Just on available views alone (like Calendar View, Board View, and Timeline View) you’ll get more bang for your buck with ClickUp, plus a few extras ( like Goals, Dashboards, and Automations). In fact, to get the same basic features in Trello or Asana, you’ll have to upgrade to Trello Gold ($10 per user/mo) or Asana Premium ($24.99).
This ridiculous pricing disparity is what drove many online business influencers to seek out ClickUp in the first place in recent years, fueling it’s popularity.
The robust catalogue of features ClickUp boasts (and continues to rollout) are amazing. Whether it’s native features like the Template Center or Docs or ‘ClickApps’ which you can toggle on or off to suit your preference, the ways to customize your experience using ClickUp feel endless.
Some of my favorite features include: WIP (Work In Progress) Limits, Custom Fields, The Template Center, Email and Automations, and I feel like ClickUp puts out new feature releases faster than any other platform.
But even with all the features, what I’m surprisingly most excited about is their commitment to hearing (and listening) to their users’ feature requests. I’m actually sort of a nerd about checking their Feature Request/Roadmap to see what’s on the horizon.
I really can’t compare Trello and Asana with ClickUp on this feature because neither have a native document/note-taking feature built in. If you want to have documents, you are still going need to use Google Docs or Microsoft for this.
However, like many millennials, I fell in love with the ability to create a ‘second-brain’ in Notion in early 2020. But since being diagnosed with ADHD, I now realize that Notion was just me looking at my ADHD-brain on a screen.
Even worse, because (again, like most millennials) I became obsessed with trying to create the perfect ‘Notion Aesthetic’ (aka make it look pretty), it became another ADHD-fueled distraction and no real work was actually getting done.
That’s because Notion is really just a note-taking app that you can build task-management features in to if you’d like (i.e. add checklists, etc.), but its main purpose is not for productivity (and their development team has been very clear that they never intended it for it to be or intends for it to be in the future).
So, if all you really need to do is take notes, then Notion is probably for you. But if you actually want to get things done, you’re going to need a lot more productivity features that reinforce discipline and accountability.
What I love about ClickUp Docs is that I still get most of the same note-taking ability as Notion (without all the fancy styling) but I can actually do something with my thoughts such as turn notes into tasks and have a place to roll-up and view all those tasks on a daily basis via Home.
ClickUp Features I’m Hopeful For
Now I’ve rambled on about ClickUp’s amazingness. But this wouldn’t be a fair review if I didn’t share changes I’m hopeful for in the near future.
I mentioned this earlier, but in 2020 ClickUp had announced that they would be revamping their Home screen at the first annual Level Up Conference. Home was supposed be renamed Inbox and have the ability to add widgets creating a personalized dashboard-like view.
And while home was revamped to add the Calendar, it never fully rolled out in the way many users anticipated. I’m guessing this was caused by a mix of 2020 well… being 2020… and many users requesting that ClickUp slow down their feature rollouts. I know for me personally, this would be huge game-changer, and I’m still hopeful for this feature by 2022.
This one I do have to give to Trello, because their advanced automations are top notch. I personally would love to see more advanced automations (such as date and time-based automations) in ClickUp.
It wasn’t until recently, (when I started using Kanban Methodology in my business) that I wanted to have two important automations: (1) Archive all Complete Tasks every Friday at 11:59pm and (2) Label all tasks marked ‘To Do’ with [x] priority every evening. These two automations would be wonderful for automatically ‘resetting’ my Kanban Board daily/weekly.
It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it would be a plus and is a feature I failed to take advantage of when I used Trello. Now, if you’re ready to start using ClickUp like a pro, then check out my workshop ‘The ClickUp Class’which includes access to my ClickUp Marketing Templates for just $19.00.
Ready To Master ClickUp?
Access ‘The ClickUp Class’ my comprehensive training on how to use ClickUp like a pro as a Solopreneur plus gain access to my 35 ClickUp Marketing Templates!
In this post I’m going to show you exactly how to start an online business with no money! Well, virtually no money. Nothing in this world is free, but it is possible to start an online business for fairly cheap.
In fact, I started my first business for less than $300 and my first clients paid me a total of $3000, that’s a 233% ROI.
And I’m proud to say, not much has changed since 2016 (in fact, it’s probably even more affordable)! So let’s get started with how you can build a profitable business for less than a year’s worth of Starbucks Lattes.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You may read my disclosure page here.
Start The Right ONLINE Business
First thing’s first: starting the right type of business. There really are a so many ways to make money online but some are just not long-term financially stable, and will cost you a lot more money up front to get started. So I never recommend that you start anything that will require you to stock or distribute inventory.
This will usually eliminate most MLM’s or product-based eCommerce businesses. There’s just too much risk and stress if you can sell the products. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend starting anything that’s going to require a high educational investment. Most good Coaching Certification programs will cost you at least $2000.00. Even with a payment plan, if you can’t make your money back within the first 6 months, it might not be worth it.
But don’t worry, there are tons of other profitable online business that you can start with very little investment if you don’t have the skills needed.
In many cases, the most affordable business you can start online is a service-based business. This means taking whatever skills and knowledge you have currently (Social Media, Web Design, Administrative Assistant, Project Management, HR, Legal, Writing etc.) and turning that into ‘Done-For-You’ Service Packages!
To get up and running quickly, serviced-based consulting is the way to go. And look, you can eventually move into coaching or ecommerce when you’re ready both emotionally and financially!
Think about what skills and knowledge you currently have and love to do. If you’re a little shaky on your skills check out awesome platforms like Udemy, CreativeLive, and Skillshare. I first learn to code taking courses via Udemy for $10.99.
Business License: $150.00/yr
Easily the biggest expense you’ll have up-front, but necessary if you intend to get a business bank account (which I do recommend) or hire on contractors (which you may want to later on).
Head to your local county administration offices and do this in-person rather than using a 3rd party legal firm as it will save you money. Even if you’re not quite sure what you’ll need, they usually have all the forms necessary and will help you get everything set up. They’re a bit nicer than the DMV (eye-rollllll).
Brand Photography: Free
Use your phone on Portrait Mode.
The computer processors in smartphones are phenomenal these days! There’s no need for you to invest hundreds of dollars in a brand photoshoot in the beginning stages of your business, but, having good quality photos that (a) prove you’re a real person and (b) show you are professional are still necessary!
Head outside to the nearest hippest area (cafe, park, mixed-use development) in your neighborhood (don’t worry about on-lookers) get a couple of vertical shots and a couple landscape (horizontal) shots which you can use for your website initially.
If you’re nervous about taking your photo, check out Sorelle Amore, she’s a travel photographer who started a movement she calls The Advanced Selfie University. Her channel has amazing tutorials on taking selfies including confidence, posing, and staging your shots!
Logo Design: Canva $14.95
Take full advantage of the minimalist movement when it comes to branding. A simple Wordmark logo that is just your name in an elegant font (even if it’s not a script font) can actually speak volumes for your business and save you some money.
And even though I have the tools and exprience to create a professional logo, I actully just did my most recent one in Canva. Canva is a graphic design tool that I use daily in my business and while they have a free version, I do use the pro which costs $14.95/mo.
Now it’s time to get your website set up. You’ll need a Domain Name, WordPress Hosting, and Professional Email Address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. This is so your potential customers can contact you and you don’t have to feel like a loser using your gmail account ( I’m talking to you email@example.com ;).
I know a lot of people have been wanting to try all-in-one website builder like Squarespace or Wix, but I’m going to strongly suggest that you don’t for a two reasons:
Customization – These providers are template based so when you choose your template you’ll go with what you have (even if you buy 3rd party templates) and change the fonts, colors, etc. but the actual layouts and many of the design features… what you see is what you get unless you know how to code.
Integrations – WordPress is the most widely used website platform in the world. Therefore, it integrates with a lot. This means as you start to grow your business and you want to do things like host courses or sell products, instead of having to use another platform, you can build it right on your site.
Website Design – $49.00/year
Back to customizing your site. I’m a huge fan of using a page-builder theme like Divi by Elegant Themes (this site is built with Divi). However, for the purposes of keeping costs low, you may want to go with a less expensive alternative like Elementor Pro.
Page-builders give you the flexibility to build your website the way you want it, without the dread of needing to code. They’re usually drag and drop and come with their own library of customizable page templates. You can add or delete elements and get your site looking the exact way you want it!
I suggest the following five (5) pages for all online business owners: Home, About, Blog. Services, Contact.
And I know what you’re thinking: But what if I don’t want a blog!! Short Answer: You need a blog! We’ll talk about why in another post!
Lastly, I’ll recommend you have a CRM: Customer Relationship Manager. These extremely useful tools are perfect for mapping out your entire client experience!
From sending quotes, contracts, and invoices– to creating a client portal so you can communicate on project details; these all-in-one platforms help keep you sane while making the customer journey seamless. Which is critical for gaining referrals and creating Customer Lifestime Value (meaning they keep coming back!).
Set up your CRM and embed your contact form into your Contact Me page on your website!
Great CRMs to consider are Dubsado, Honeybook, or 17Hats which all cost less than $40.00/mo.
So there you have it, total start-up costs: $260.00!
Pretty slim investment if you ask me.
And if you’re now wondering how you can turn that tiny investment into a live-able salary, then go-ahead and get started on these things and then come back to my channel to learn more about getting your clients and building your confidence!
READY TO START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?
Then you need my 35-Page Workbook/Workshop for Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs. You’ll learn exactly how to plan and organize your first online business. Get started by clicking below.
If you’ve turned in your resignation (or are very close to doing so) and have been wondering, “What do I do now?” Good News! I’ve put together this comprehensive list of Profitable Online Business Ideas for 2021 (and beyond) just for you.
It’s important to note the ‘and beyond’ piece here because below I also explain why some online business ideas just didn’t make the cut. This is so you don’t end making the mistake so many new entrepreneurs make when they first start exploring online business.
I’ve taken the time to break this list up into (6) Categories (so as not to overwhelm you), plus I’m linking to some places I can definitely recommend for getting started. Be sure to download your Purpose to Profits Workbook to help you kickstart your journey!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can find my full disclosure page here.
It was really important to me when putting this list together that I was clear on my qualifications for ‘profitable’. I’ve been doing this for a while now and I’ve seen so many women get scammed or start businesses that are not sustainable and extremely vulnerable to economic recessions.
I don’t want to see that happen to you, so I’ll be upfront in saying that certain types of businesses are just not going to be on this list such as MLM, Online Survey, Transcription, Face Mask eCommerce, etc.
Instead, this list is about sustainable businesses that can replace your Corporate Job now and in the future. If you’ve been researching ‘how to make money online’ you should always be suspect of:
Jobs that seem ‘too good to be true’ i.e. ‘make $100/hr taking surveys online’.
Jobs that require you to stock inventory that you have to sell i.e. literally all MLMs.
Jobs that are based on a short-term ‘trend’ i.e. selling face masks.
Legitimate and Sustainable Online Business Ideas
That being said, there are plenty of online business ideas that are not only legitimate and sustainable, but in-demand (now and in the future). Here’s why:
They require you to know or learn an always in-demand skill (i.e. Coding, Marketing, Photography etc.).
They don’t require extensive (or expensive) education (i.e. Certifications that usually take less than 6 mo).
They allow you to have multiple streams of income (from 1:1 or Consulting to Digital Products, your in-demand skill can be monetized in many ways).
They allow you to have flexibility (since you won’t have things like inventory etc. that you have to manage).
They have extremely low start-up costs (most of the ideas on this list will cost less than $500 to start – especially if you already have experience from school or work).
Okay, I won’t drag on any longer (I mean really, what is this, recipe blog?…)
The difference being Web & Graphic Designers usually design the front end of websites and applications. Everything you see as ‘pretty’ on the front end, they create what are called mockups or wireframes using tools like Adobe Photoshop or XD, etc. Think of them like home decor experts, but for the internet (they make sure everything looks good and makes sense for the user).
But don’t take it lightly. I mean how many times have you clicked away from a website or deleted an app because the design was terrible or difficult to navigate?
Also it’s worth noting that Web Development is so high in-demand that it’s unbelievably cheap to get professional certifications with many companies like Google, IBM, and more launching their own programs increase the qualified candidate pool.
This blog post takes a lot of time and energy to write. Now, while I love writing (so it’s easier for me than others) many business-owners hate it! And will pay a handsome fee to have someone with more time and skill write all of their content for them. If you worked in the marketing department, graduated with an english or marketing degree, or simply just love writing – this could be an extremely viable online business for you.
Digital Marketing has its own category exclusive of because it’s so broad. And that’s one of the things that I think makes it both amazing and overwhelming for people who are interesting in getting into the field. Technically, any skill having to do with content (i.e. text, video, audio, images, etc.) can be monetized in some way. This is why digital marketing is perfect for those who enjoy creative (less analytical) work.
Please note that when I mention Photography, this could be either work you do for a business/company or it could be digital products you sell like Stock Photography (which is also really in-demand right now).
Arguably one of the most positive things that came out of 2020 was that everyone looked around and realized they don’t have everything together in their lives. Not even a little bit. Which is great for you if you feel called to help them do so! Coaching is another dynamic industry that is going to keep growing as people have continued seek out holistic alternatives to traditional therapy models.
And make no mistake, Coaches are not therapists! As coaches, it’s your job to help others feel empowered to make the changes in their life themselves. So if you’re the type who needs to take control, this may not be the business for you.
There are a lot of moving pieces to running a small business. From Legal to Accounting, these are all necessary components but most don’t have the knowledge, skills, or time to do them. This is why Freelance Administrative Fields average between $50 – $150/hr.
If you’ve worked as an accountant, lawyer, administrative assistant, etc. in your corporate job, and genuinely love what you do but not who you do it for…then starting your own freelancing business might be the perfect solution. It’s perfect because it provides you with more variety plus flexibility over your income and time.
If something on this list has piqued your interest and you’re read to get started, you can grab a copy of my Purpose to Profits which includes a 35-Page Workbook and 45-Minute Planning Session!
PURPOSE TO PROFITS WORKSHOP
Need to get organized a create a plan to grow your online business? Then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of this 35-Page Workbook + Planning Session. It includes everything you need to get started on your journey!
If you googled “How To Start An Online Business From Home” and landed on this post, I have to assume that you are part of (or very nearly close to being a part of) the Great Resignation (or you’re just too through with your corporate job). Either way, Welcome my friend!
After years of working in HR I easily predicted that you’d be here one day. I’ve also been building my online business since 2016 because I was exactly where you are today way back then.
That being said, good news, I’m not going to try and talk you out of it! The fact is, if you’ve landed on this post, your mind is likely more than half-way made up. You just need to figure out the logistics. And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you do below in six simple steps.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can find my full disclosure page here.
If ever there was a prime time in the history of the internet (nee the world) to start an online business it would obviously be right now. A time when so many people have been forced to be at home and realize that life outside of the daily grind they had conditioned themselves to believe is ‘normal’ actually does exist.
However, starting an online business is more than just a better way of life for you and your family. It’s also the greatest personal development journey you will ever take! You will be called to step out of your comfort zone and surpass the limits you’ve probably never realized you placed on yourself.
Income Control. There is a reason companies only ever give up to a 5% Pay Increase – they budget for inflation to essentially keep you in one income bracket. When you have your online business (especially as a solopreneur – which is definitely possible) your income is dependent on you, not what your boss thinks of your work or what the company says they can pay you.
Lifestyle Control. Prior to everyone and their mom (literally) quitting their corporate jobs, most of us got into this because we wanted to do two things: Make Money and Travel The World. A true online business (where you don’t have to manage inventory) allows you to work from anywhere in the world.
Cost Control. It’s so freakin’ cheap to start an online business, why the heck wouldn’t you? Compared to a brick and mortar business, or a product-based business the start-up and maintenance costs are incredibly low. If you’ve been thinking it would cost too much to get started, it’s probably because you’ve been programmed to believe owning a business is expensive.
What does it take to start a successful online business?
I know every YouTuber, TikToker, and Instagrammer makes this look so easy. I won’t lie to you like that! It’s hard work, but so is watching your boss who can’t do s&^% without you get paid six-figures+ just because they’ve been around forever.
Here’s the white hot truth:
In the first 6 months at least you will work just as hard as you would a corporate job, but it’s honestly a ‘choose your hard’ kind of situation, and basically comes down to would you rather be putting in 60 hours for yourself or someone else?
This industry will easily pull out the deepest emotional baggage you carry and present itself at the weirdest times (like when you have to mention pricing on a discovery call or when everyone on Instagram is having ‘5-figure launches’ and you’re still struggling to close a sale).
But if you can commit to overcoming these mindset blocks and staying true to your path, eventually you find your way, and your confidence level skyrockets (and so does your income).
So, if you’re ready to put in the work no matter what, then follow these six steps listed below. Also, don’t forget to download your FREE Online Business Roadmap, it has these steps listed below along with checklists, resource list, online business ideas, and more.
THE ONLINE BUSINESS ROADMAP
This 14-Page workbook includeds: Roadmap, Checklist, Resources List, Online Business Ideas, List and more. It’s perfect for aspiring online business.
Your niche is the area that you will specialize in (for example, my niche is Business). Your business type has more to do with how you will work with people (for example, my type is Coaching). Your ideal client is who you want to with (for example, my ideal client is women). All together I am a Business Coach for Women.
I believe there are 3 primary business types and they correspond with 3 primary business income streams (which we’ll talk about later): Serviced-Based (i.e. work you do for others), Coaching (work you teach others to do for themselves) and Influencer (work you do that works for you).
How do you decide what’s right for you? Here are some tips:
Think of your passions, skills and knowledge, the ideal type of lifestyle you want to have, and what is currently (and in the future) in demand by your possible ideal client (aka What do they need help with? – Note: This does not mean what you think they need help with, its what they actually want you to help them with).
It’s very important that you consider the type of lifestyle you want to be living because not all online businesses are created equal. If you want be traveling (hopefully soon) then don’t start an e-commerce store where you’ll have to manage inventory. Likewise, if you don’t want to be on zoom calls all day every day, re-think that 1:1 Coaching Business.
A word on ‘Niching Down’: Your goal is to find the sweet-spot. You don’t want to be so broad that you alienate your audience because you’re unclear who and how you help. But you don’t want to be so narrow that you box yourself in and suffer from burnout because you only talk about the same stuff.
In the online business industry, where on average you only have about 7 seconds to capture someone’s attention and trust branding is pretty important.
From your colors, logo and fonts, to your copywriting and images, you’ll want to make sure everything aligns and truly portrays you and your business’ values.
Get a good brand photoshoot, this doesn’t have to be too expensive but you do want professional photos done. Google Lifestyle Photographer or Personal Brand Photographer to find people in your area. Also, consider reaching out to your local art school because many talented photographers will do photoshoots for less money as they build their portfolios.
Save time and money by using a graphic design tool like Canva Pro to design your logo and brand guidelines. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. In fact, minimalistic is most popular right now. If in the future, you want to upgrade to a professional brand design by all means have at it, but this comes with a huge caveat from your de facto business coach:
You are NOT (I repeat NOT) to get so hung up on your branding that it becomes a crutch that prevents you from moving forward in your business. It’s easy for your ego to overpower you with thoughts of perfection. But before you start changing your logo again, consider your real motive. Is it that your brand doesn’t feel aligned or is it because you don’t think you’re good enough?
I’ve spent so much time messing around with my brand before I realized it wasn’t my brand that I didn’t like. It was me. I had to do the work to fix my confidence first.
SIDE NOTE: Legalizing Your Business
A small note on legal business stuff (because I know it’s on your mind ? ). Setting up an online business is far easier than a brick and mortar business, but every state (and some counties) have their own guidelines. The easiest (and most economical) way to get started is to drive right down to your Local County Clerks office and file the paperwork in person!
Here are some things you should know (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or Accountant, so you should always check with them first):
LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship: This usually comes down to Taxes and Liability, it’s different for each state so double-check yours.
Tax Filing Requirements: Yes, you still have to pay taxes (knowing this will also help you determine if filing as an LLC or Sole Proprietorship is right for you). Typically (again double-check) you need to pay both Self-Employment Tax and Income Tax. For example, here in GA, Self-Employment Tax is 15.3% and on top of that you will pay up to 5.6% Income Tax (Depending on your earnings). Also note that in some States/Counties you may also need to charge sales tax on your offers or products so double-check.
Bottom line on Legal Stuff: Never be afraid to ask questions and pay your taxes!
THE ONLINE BUSINESS ROADMAP
This 14-Page workbook includeds: Roadmap, Checklist, Resources List, Online Business Ideas, List and more. It’s perfect for aspiring online business.
Often referred to as offers or products (even if they’re not physical products). Your income streams are exactly how you’re going to make money in your online business.
Earlier, I mentioned the 3 Primary Income Streams you can have but I’ll repeat it anyway: (1) Work you do for others, (2) Work you teach others to do for themselves, (3) Work you do that works for you.
The beauty of starting an online business is that you will never be limited as to how you can make money! I strongly advise that you have all three income streams in your business in some way. Here’s how:
Work you do for others: This could be service-based work like Web Design, Freelance Writing, Social Media Management, etc. OR it could also be Done-For-You Digital Products (Templates, Spreadsheets, Swipe Files).
Work you teach others to do: This could either be coaching (either 1:1 or Group/Mastermind) or Digital Courses and Workshops. If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, you can still become a coach. For example, my client Krissi is a Freelance Writer who also teaches other women how to start their freelance writing business.
Work you do that works for you: This includes monetizing content you create. The most common ways to do this are: Affiliate Marketing, Brand Sponsorships, and Ads Revenue. You could either join affiliate networks (like Share-A-Sale) or reach out to companies directly and your unique affiliate link. Then you create content (blog post, youtube, etc.) and share your affiliate link, when someone purchases with your link, you get a percentage of the sale.
One of the problems I think many new entrepreneurs make is that they limit-themselves because they are so conditioned to believe there is only one ‘right way’ to make a living, so they always default to just 1:1 or 1 to Company type of income streams.
This is extremely dangerous as many are learning during this current recession. Don’t be too overly dependent on any one income stream because when the financial chips are down your business is subject to other’s wallets.
Step 4: Marketing Plan
Welcome to how you’ll easily spend 70% of your time as a business owner: Marketing Your Business! I feel this needs to be made clear because most of you will come to the table with absolutely zero marketing experience and just try to ‘wing it.’
I’m cringing at the thought of you wasting so much time and money starting a Facebook Group, dancing on Reels, and Cold DMing people because some some ‘Influencer’ told you it was the ‘fastest way to grow on Instagram’. This is called spaghetti marketing and here’s why it happens to good entrepreneurs:
You want a lot of money really fast, by doing as little work as possible.
So-called ‘marketing influencers’ prey on this vulnerability and tell you it’s totally possible.
When it turns out to be not as possible as they alluded, your confidence drops and you start looking for the next influencer who can help you make ‘6-Figures in 6 Months’.
Ahhh, I know this song and dance so well I could execute every step with my eyes closed!I wish someone would’ve told me what I’m about to tell you right now: Marketing is not hard! It’s all about numbers and consistency.
That being said, you do need a plan. But the plan should never be based on trends but rather basic marketing principles that have stood the test of time (and the economy):
First, you need to understand the stages of the buyer journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Then, you need to have a plan for how you will lead your ideal clients through each stage; this is your marketing plan!
Your marketing plan Attracts your ideal client (aka ‘the buyer) to the Awareness Stage. Then, it Nurtures them during the Consideration Stage, and finally, it Converts them into paying customers at the Decision Stage.
In order to create a strategic marketing plan you need to know two things: (1) What you will be selling (aka promoting) and when; and (2) what content you’re going to create (i.e. Blogs, Podcast, YouTube, Social Media, etc.) and when in order to Attract, Nurture, and Convert.
From there it’s all about consistency to build trust and increase your audience size. Now could your plan include creating Reels? Of course, but at least you’ll know why! This is what real strategic marketing is. You can get started crafting your marketing plan with my Purpose to Profits Workbook which includes a Marketing Plan template.
SIDE NOTE: Actually Launching Your Online Business
Before we discuss how to keep your clients coming back for more, let’s pause for a second to talk about opening the doors for your online business. This does not need to be some big ol’ pomp and circumstance. Two simple posts are fine:
(1) An about you and your business post.
(2) A ‘Now Booking’ or accepting clients post.
Once you’ve done one or both of those on social media you can start executing your marketing plan. Okay, back to our regular programming.
Step 5: Customer Service
You’ve opened the doors to your business and maybe you’ve landed your first client. Yay! But before you start popping champagne, I’m going to challenge you to do something very few new entrepreneurs do (let alone do well) and that’s think long-term.
A term you might not be familiar with is Customer Lifetime Value – basically this means how often your customers either continue to buy from you and/or refer you to others.
The longer and more often they stay with you, the more their value goes up (and your income). This goes to show that keeping your customers (clients, students, etc.) happy pays -big time! Start thinking like the CEO you are and create wonderful client experience from the beginning. Here are some things to consider:
Set up a very clear client on-boarding and off-boarding process. This was something I truly struggled with in the beginning and wish I’d set up earlier. You could buy or create a client on-boarding guide or create an onboarding video for example.
Send a welcome or thank you gift. Never underestimate the power of small acts of kindness. Your clients will love that you took the time to actually mail them something.
Have a fair customer service policy and practices. Consider when and how you are going to be available for questions that come up. What is your return and refund policy? And how will you get feedback or testimonials?
Be good to your customers, it’s part of your Brand as well. For most online businesses that fail, the reason is usually (in someway at least) related to a poor customer experience practices.
Step 6: Scaling Your Business
If you’ve reached this step, it means that you have been maintaining consistency with your marketing plan and finally have enough (hopefully too much) consistent work to warrant hiring and setting up scalable sales systems.
Now as soon as I mentioned scaling, I’m sure the first thing you thought was, “How long will it take me to start making money consistently?” Honestly the answer to that question is an enigma that has eluded us business coaches for years.
Some people start an online businesses and knock it out of the park in less than a year. Yet, for some of us (yes, you read that correctly) it can take years for various reasons (usually the reason is related to Mental Health/Mindset).
However, if you put in the work to overcome your challenges, you too will reach this stage in your business. Once you do, be sure to:
Get real about the actual help that you need. I know that so many people will encourage you to hire a VA or Business Manager first. I’d strongly suggest you hire someone who can take care of your most time-consuming and cumbersome tasks first. For example, if you have a YouTube Channel, invest in a video editor first because this can save you hours of time.
Set up systems for scaling. This is the perfect time to set up a more complicated sales funnel that might include tripwires, upsells and downsells. But don’t get too complicated with things. Consider how your offer/products/services all connect with one another. If you have a course that you offer, is there a digital product that could enhance the experience?
Start thinking about the legacy of your brand. Is now the time to write that book or launch that product-based business? How can you expand and give back to your community? These are all things the CEO considers as the business grows. And yes, you are the CEO, regardless of what type of business you have.
I know how difficult it can be to get started on your entrepreneurial journey. Often we’re met with societal pressure and guilt. But it’s time to let that go and learn how to overcome fear of starting a business.
I’m not saying just quit your job etc. Nope, instead I’m encouraging you to explore the part of you that you’ve always known existed and take the right steps to create a business you love.
TIP #1: ACCEPT YOURSELF
I think one of the hardest things you’ll have to do is learn to accept yourself and the fact that you want to do things differently than your parents or grand-parents.
It can honestly make you feel anxious and guilty, especially if you have toxic family members.
So it’s important to learn to focus on your emotional needs and living the life you ultimately want to live. Know that it’s okay if you don’t have a traditional job. As we’ve seen from The Great Resignation of 2021, many other people are waking up to the fact that they want and deserve more.
TIP #2: PREPARE FOR THE LOOKS
When you decide to start a business, the first thing you can expect is ‘the look’ from people who are scared to do what you’re doing. This is normal. Most people are living life according to their ego, which tells them to fear what they don’t understand.
But the truth is, most won’t understand your decision, and for a really long time, most won’t even understand exactly what you do all day. They don’t think writing blog posts and recording videos is ‘real work.’
Again, this is the conditioning that we’ve all be subject too since early-childhood. The reality is, no, you’re not crazy and yes, what we do is work (often it’s even harder work than a traditional job).
Ready To Start Your Online Business Journey?
Then grab your Purpose to Profits Online Business Planner. This 30-Page Workbook will help you create a plan of action to build a profitable online business even if you’re brand new !
There are way more of us in the world than you might think. When I was first starting out, I was so shocked to learn that people were making money online and traveling the world. It was like opening a magical cabinet to the Land of Narnia.
I realized, “These are my people!” And it felt good to know that I wasn’t alone or weird.
Whether it’s a mastermind, membership community, or local group, you need to find like-minded people who can support and guide you on your journey.
I’m going to be honest, when you start a business, you are going to face failure. It just comes with the territory.
But it’s not a bad thing! If your fear of starting a business is related to a fear of failure, I’d encourage you to start seeing failure in a new light.
Learn to embrace the lessons that failure is trying to teach you and be flexible. Strive for progress and setting standards of excellence, not perfection. Eventually, failure becomes something easier to manage and adjust to.
I’m Shannon Gurulé, BCC, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Breathwork Facilitator. I help women break free from the confines of their limiting-beliefs and manifest the life they deserve with Integrated Coaching® + Human Design.
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