You’ve just gotten your gumption up to start that business! Congratulations!
So, now you’re probably wondering how to start getting in front of people. Naturally you’re thinking your first step is to get online with a website, right?
Well, that’s a great first step, but there are actually a few things you need to do before a website! (And a great deal more steps in between, but we’re just talking about the very basics here and without any legal advice…that’s up to you to obtain!)
Just Start Doing the Work
There are some necessities you’ll need in place before you bring that business online in order to be seen as the professional you are. Let’s talk about them. And let’s also acknowledge any links within this article that have a * are affiliate links, and I may receive something in return at no additional cost to you, but do know that I only recommend what I’ve used and trust.
I really encourage you to just start if what you do doesn’t require you to have a license or other legal things taken care of with your town, city, county or state. (I’m not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice, please.) Getting some practical experience will help you begin to figure out who your ideal client is (the person you’d most want to work with – the characteristics, personality, age, sex, etc.)
Give Your Business a Name
Next, or alternatively, start thinking about naming your business. I went the generic route and added what I do to the end of my name to keep things simple. Not really original, and in my case, it leads to a lot of people mispronouncing my name. (It’s Trish-a Eye-Shum since we’re talking about it, but if you get it wrong, no worries, most people do.)
There are some things to take into consideration when you’re thinking about business names. (I talked about domain names a bit before in the Facebook or Website post and in a video or two in Simply Launched Facebook group for DIY website.)
- Use a tool like Namechk to see if the domain and social media links are available for your business name idea. (Then get them if they are. You can buy through a place like GoDaddy or NameCheap.)
- Before you go all in write the business name out as a url. Does it inadvertently spell something undesirable? (um, like be careful if the first word ends in ‘as’ and the second starts with ‘s’…write it out and you’ll see what I mean.)
- Also it’s probably a really good idea to make sure, even if it’s not trademarked, that no one is using something similar, especially if they are in the same area of expertise as you. Nothing like people typing it in wrong and giving someone else their business, or suddenly receiving a cease and desist letter in the mail…
Know What You Offer
OK! Now you have your domain and have been able to secure it on all your social media platforms and you have been starting to already work with people, what else do you need before getting that website?
You need to know what you offer! You could probably slap up a home and about page and do ok, but you still need to tell your reader what you offer.
Create a write up of at least your basic offer to start, a reason why your reader would want to work with you. You can build on this as you grow. You’ll likely want to include:
- A description of who your offer is for
- What the reader can expect
- How long they can expect it for
- The cost or investment
Of course, knowing what you offer is just the first step. You’ll need to plan out all the details of how you actually *do* the offer in order to have a professional business, but that’s not for me to explain!
Create Your Website
Now, at this point you might think you’re ready to just jump into having a completely professional website just with what you’ve already pulled together. You can. At this point I’ll touch on two scenarios:
The DIYer who will pull together a website that they think looks nice. They will generally stop at this point and start to work on obtaining clients.
If this is you, yay! You’re on your way!!
(If you’re just reaching this stage you can read more about some resources I recommend to DIY here: https://triciaisham.com/first-steps-website including hosting and a video to watch!)
I’d like to challenge you to keep moving. Develop at least a mini-brand for your business. You already have a story of why you started. Take it a step further and make sure your site looks cohesive with a nice color palette and consistent fonts.
Do some research to learn more about your ideal customer…their likes and dislikes…so you can start really tuning in to their needs with your offerings. And make a plan to revisit your website in another six months to a year, when you have a more firm grasp on your ideal client and are in a position to show up in front of them with a professional brand and website reader to reach even more people.
Want to hop on a call and talk about having a mini branding session with me? It’s something I usually reserve for those whose websites I’m building, but reach out if you’re interested and I’ll share details.
The business person who is either non-techy or who wants to invest their time and energy in building their business rather than learning about how to develop a brand and website.
If this is you, Awesome! You’re off to a great start and really have your head in the game!
While going about growing your business, start to get really firm on why you do what you do, develop your story.
1. Start looking at sites you love making note of what you really like about them
2. Start looking at competitors and make note of what sets you apart from them
I’d like to challenge you to start thinking about how you really want to show up on line. What feelings do you want your reader to feel when they land on your website? What colors and images do you think they will relate to?
Then reach out! Sooner rather than later!
Let’s talk about how we can get you online professionally, looking like the amazing pro you are! Whether you’ve already worked with a brand designer or strategist or not, developing a website that’s unique to your business and your individual needs is your next step!
Now, I’m sure if you’re business savvy at all you realize there is way more that goes into starting a business and getting online that these few steps. I’ve run into a couple of people within the last three weeks wanting to get their websites up and running, but they hadn’t considered what needs to be in place first. Hopefully thinking about these few things will help get your wheels turning and generating a list of your own.