5 Steps to Starting an Online Biz

Are you just starting up your business and you feel overwhelmed by information overload?

Are you growing your business and feel like all the tasks you need to incorporate seems nearly impossible for a one-woman show?

If this sounds like you, don't worry my friend - three months ago I was in the same boat as you. And though I haven't arrived in the least, I've taken steps. Some small and some big.

Today I'll walk you through everything I've done up until this point (just five steps) to show you that this online biz deal is definitely manageable and you can do it too!

Remember: No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch!

Website Set Up

First off, you need to create your home online.  If you haven’t already, start with deciding on a business name and choosing a domain.  Need help? Check out these articles: 5 Tips to Naming a Business || Choosing a Perfect Blog Name

Now it is time to purchase that domain name.  Before purchasing a domain name though, I suggest that you use namecheckr  to see if you can use your domain name as your social media handles as well.  Don’t know where to purchase your domain?  Google Domains as well as NameCheap (this is an affiliate link, if you click it and purchase something I will make a small amount of money from it to help fund this site). offer affordable domains.

After you’ve purchased a domain it is time to decide what platform you’ll be setting up home on!  You can use a platform that hosts your content for you such as Squarespace.  Or you can use a platform such as Wordpress and own your hosting through a content management service such as Siteground (this is an affiliate link, if you click it and purchase something I will make a small amount of money from it to help fund this site). 

Once all of that is done, set up your website with these basic pages:
   +Home Page
   +About or Start Here Page
   +Contact Page
   +Blog Page

For my business, I knew that I wanted to reach women and help them to take the plunge and build their businesses.  I tried to do a play on words such as boss, entrepreneur, etc. But for me, nothing stuck or seemed original.  The word build came to me and the rest is history.

I’m very well versed on Blogger but knew that it lacked the professionalism I wanted for my online biz.  I’ve created a few sites on Wordpress a couple of years ago, and it just wasn’t for me.  It was too complicated.  Especially at this point in my life where I don’t have much time dedicated to customization - this would definitely not be a smart option for me as I’d probably still be tweaking the appearance of my site.  Enter the beauty that is Squarespace.  It’s just a breath of fresh air.  I’m so happy with this choice!

Most of my social media handles are SheBuildsBiz, however that name was taken on Instagram so I inserted a dot (.) between Builds and Biz.

The four basic pages of a website (listed above) were very easy to set up in Squarespace.  I didn’t focus on customizations, that part can be saved for later. I focused on have a site that was easy to navigate, simple and easy for my readers to connect with me.

Social Media Set Up

Most definitely create accounts for every social media platform you want to use.  I’ve set up accounts for She Builds on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.  

If you’re a take the bull by the horns kind of gal - you may just boss all the social media platforms at once.  If you like to take things one step at a time (like myself), you might focus on one platform and then add on as you’ve developed workflows that work for you for each platform.  It never hurts to learn how to be seen on different social media platforms.  I encourage you to find a free course on the platforms you are focusing on building and apply what you’ve learned to your social media strategy.

My first focus was Pinterest.  Melyssa Griffin raves about the traffic she receives from the platform and so I wanted that to be my focus.  I worked through a free email course which helped me learn how to organize my account and switch it from personal to business.  Being a #momboss I still have a few things that I need to update on my boards, but the growth I’ve seen the first quarter is outstanding.

Once I felt like Pinterest was under control I started to share more on Twitter and engage on the platform more.  I really enjoy Twitter and wish I would have started sooner.  I’ve been using the free Buffer plan to schedule my tweets which has helped me stay active on there when life happens!

If I could re-do the first quarter, I would have started with Twitter first, it is easier since it isn’t visually centered, though now visuals definitely add value on twitter.  In my opinion it is an easier and quicker set-up than Pinterest.

In this last week I just started out with the Tailwind App (this is a referral link, I will receive credits to my own account if you purchase through this link) trial to schedule Pinterest posts.  More to come on that later.

Email Marketing Service Set Up

If you’ve read any online biz or infopreneur 101 articles on the web, you already know that your email list is one of the most important things to have! If you’re hearing this for this first time. Let me let you in on a lil sum sum - it’s important.  Why? You don’t own your social media following on twitter, pinterest, feedly, bloglovin’ etc. 

However, you do own your email list.  It goes where you want to go!  So start it NOW.  Start with MailChimp.  It is easy.  It is free for the first 2000 subscribers.  And if you’re hesitant because you have to pay for the autoresponder feature in MailChimp, you got it all wrong girl! [related post: How to Deliver an Opt-In Freebie for Free]

When I first started She Builds I started with the Get Response email marketing service.  While I think it is a great service, the interface takes some time to learn.  Time that I didn’t want to devote to it.  Also - the work flow process of creating content upgrades, uploading it to Get Response, synching everything together, creating a clickable graphic, etc was just a very long process.

I decided to switch to Mail Chimp and I couldn’t be happier.  I use the tutorial above to deliver my content upgrades and opt-in freebies and the biz life is much much more smoother.  When my biz is ready to transition to a more “grown up” email marketing service, I will prepare ahead of time with templates and workflows so that the process I endured before will be streamlined and I can work more efficiently.

Blog Post Templates

I cannot stress to you how important it is to set up post templates.  Creating high value content takes time and alot of effort.  The last thing you want to do is try to creatively think of a pinnable design for your blog post image.  

Creating a few go tos that you can easily change out the stock photo, color scheme and/or text will save you a lot of heartache and help you to publish that amazing post sooner, rather than the next day when the creative side of your brain is functioning.

I totally slacked on this one when I first started creating content for She Builds.  I found myself hurrying to create a graphic on Canva and not being consistent with branding colors or fonts.  I didn’t take the time to develop a style or guide for my images so they weren’t cohesive and hard to recognize as I created more content.

After I took the time to create a “look” to my blog post images, people have mentioned that they are recognizing my images more often and can tell an article is from She Builds before they look for description information in pins.

Library Gallery Templates

If you have an online biz where you create content, providing a library to house upgrades is a great way to grow your list.  You can offer the resource library as an opt-in freebie, or a bonus to being apart of your tribe (and on your list).  Even if you feel you aren’t there yet (who makes the rules anyway), it would be a great idea to start including this in your content flow process.

Some freebies will be complete workbooks with cover pages while other freebies may be just a quick one page cheat sheet or checklist.  Creating a separate image for the library gallery helps with your visual branding strategy, staying consistent and having a professional look.

I took the time to create a simple template for my library gallery images.  All of the the images are square.  The images have a rotation of my brand colors and variations of shape elements (boxes and frames).  Also, the images have the same clear, easy to read font.  

She Builds Resource Library Gallery

Have you started your biz, or are you wanting to?  I know it can be very overwhelming to start and your brain is probably overloaded with information and you don’t know where to begin.  Don’t worry girl, I was there once.  We all were there once.  But you’ll get through it!  And I got just the ticket. 

I created a chronological, comprehensive checklist of what you can accomplish over the next three months to get your business up and running.  You don’t have to follow it in order (rule breaker!), but this after my first three months, this is how I would tackle on starting a biz from the ground up!  Enter your deets below to get the checklist (in the post submit thank you box)!! And of course, if you’re already a biz building subscriber, you can just head to the resource library and download it now!

NOTE: Link to the checklist will be in the thank you note after you click GIMME THE JUICE!

THINGS I NEED TO WORK ON.

Because let’s be real, we all mess up.  We all put tasks we don’t want to do on the back burner until it is absolutely necessary.

I haven’t set any goals or written a business plan.
Dumb.  I know, you don’t need to remind me.  Especially having a marketing degree, you would think this would be a no-brainer for me.  And while, the plan is in my head, I know that it would be much better if I took the time to write it out and really clarify what it is that I want so that I can ensure that I’m keeping on the path.

I’m not always consistent sending out newsletters and it needs a name.
I know I need a list, and I have a one (that is growing, yay!) - but I need to work on it.  First off, I need a name for it.  Right now, my header is She Builds - The Email, which is consistent with the headers on my website - but you know.. I can do better than that.  I need a name, but I’m not feeling the funky cool vibes to come up with something unique and fresh. You got something in mind? Let me know!! Secondly, I do well sending out newsletters for a few weeks, and then I just feel like I have nothing “added” to say. What I’m trying to say is that I need to work on a content plan for my list since I have nothing to funnel them through - YET!

I don’t have any online biz/blog besties.
Guys, I’m super lonely!!  No, I’m not - but just a little.  I’ve been working on community and talking with others on twitter, but I just haven’t found that “click” yet, you know what I mean.  So I’ll continue reaching out and I’m sure I’ll find my little circle of friends that I can bounce ideas off of and have productive conversations with so that we can BUILD together!

LOOKING AHEAD

Traffic is increasing!!
I’m super pumped for the next quarter!  This past month my traffic has increased greatly and it is only going to get better the more I’m able to promote and try different methods to driving traffic to my site.  

In March I increased the amount of sessions on my site by 117% from the previous month.  Users? 140% and Page views? 101%.  

NO - I don’t have astronomical numbers.  But I’m starting from somewhere and working my way up.  And I’M STILL LAPPING EVERYONE ON THE COUCH!  Don’t be on the couch girl.  Get up and get started, what are you waiting for?

Sprucing up my top posts!!
With the increase in traffic, I am visiting my top posts from Google Analytics (and Pinterest Analytics) and looking to see that those sites are optimized for email conversion (building my list).  I want to make sure there is a great content upgrade connected to those, see if any information is outdated and looking to see if there are any trends related to the topics that are coming down the pipeline.

Customizing my lock screen!!
I just found out I can customize my lock screen, which I use for my resource library (exclusive access to my subscribers (sign up in the sidebar)).  Shortly I’ll be working on customizing that!!

Launching my free branding e-mail course!!
I’m three lessons away from finishing my branding email course and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m shifting from content writing mode to launching mode and thinking about how I want to do this.  I’m not in a rush.  I want it done the right way.  So I’m taking my time, but the end is near and I can’t wait to launch it.  

Some things that are in play (discussion mode) are the possibility of changing my email marketing service or starting to pay for the one I’m using (MailChimp).  Landing pages in Squarespace is a definite yes as I’m not ready to invest in LeadPages.  I’m contemplating the visuals for it and would really like to have some headshots taken for the landing page. Know a photographer on the cheap in Hawaii?? Get at me!

Early stages of my first paid product!!
It’s high time that She Builds starts to prepare to make her own money! (Yes, I’m a side hustler).  I am in the very very early stages of creating my first paid e-book and e-course.  Regina Anaejionu wrote an article about how to turn a blog post (or series) into a book and I am using that as my inspiration for my e-book - and now that I think of it, my course as well. http://byregina.com/blog-post-to-book/

Don’t forget!  If you want to know what steps you should take over the next three months to get your business off the ground, download my comprehensive checklist below! (link to the checklist will be in the thank you note after you click GIMME THE JUICE!)