Looking back to just over 3 years ago, I had no idea what starting an online business entailed. I certainly never imagined, that I’d be living through the current crises paired with its economic impact & be able to say that I have created an online business that is thriving.
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It all started with a dream of being able to work & adventure from wherever I choose & now, tucked away in my Wild Working office base in the East Sussex countryside that dream has become my reality.
For my first ever blog post here on the SoulMadic creative digital business blog, I’m sharing the steps that I have taken to run my business online, including the key factors that have helped my online business to grow.
Starting An Online Business Begins By Aligning With Your True Purpose
It all starts with your soul & doing what makes you truly happy. I can honestly say that aligning with my true purpose & sharing from my heart has not only made my journey so far much more enjoyable but more successful too.
Tapping into your true purpose, however, isn’t as easy as it may seem. When starting my online business the biggest obstacles that I came across were mental barriers – whether it be other people doubting me or me doubting myself, the blocks were real & quite frankly at times, made me feel as though I was continually hitting a wall.
When & only when I was honest with myself about what I truly wanted to achieve, what I wanted to be putting out there & how I wanted my message & brand to impact others – that was when I not only saw my business start to flourish but was when I, as an online entrepreneur, started to grow too.
Before Starting… Establish The Need
Ok, so now you are armed with your crazy or maybe not so crazy idea for your online business it’s time to delve deeper into what people actually want.
I’ll throw off an example here to help…
Example – You have a passion for photography & you’re pretty damn good at it but there are loads of photographers out there right – so how do you stand out from the crowd?
Solution – Do your research, what’s current? what are people going crazy for right now? how can what you are offering fill people’s needs?
Let’s say you really love to take beautiful macro pictures of flowers & you also have a passion for writing poems. At the moment there’s a lot around a certain ‘C’ word & people longing connection. Your offer could work with this well, throughout your online content you could share uplifting poems along with beautiful images to help spread some cheer, content like this will test what works well & what doesn’t. From here you’ve given yourself the opportunity to tailor your product or service to meet people’s needs, meaning when you are ready to sell it will come across a lot more naturally.
The key is taking your passion & aligning it with what people want – always remaining flexible, as with an online business you need to move with the times.
Niche, Niche, Niche
This drove me crazy when I was first starting out as I mostly got “you just need to find your niche” – I remember thinking to myself, that’s it, just that! Haha, honestly though it’s true, key point I missed in the beginning though is my niche was me – which means, yep, you guessed right….
You are your niche!
Look only you can do you in the way that you do, regardless of anything else, including the competition – you are your USP (unique selling point). As for the people that will buy from you, the more you can hone down exactly who they are the better.
So to recap – know exactly what your online business offers, in the way that only YOU can offer it & know exactly who will be taking you up on that offer. It will take time to establish & may, in fact, it probably will change but knowing your niche at all times is vital!
Online Business Strategy
It doesn’t have to be overly fancy but you should most definitely have a strategy. I like to break mine down into three key areas…
I do this because looking at what you need for your new or growing online business, for example, a new website or a digital marketing plan from purely a financial point of view will guarantee burnout.
Starting & running my own business online has been one of the most incredible but also one of the most difficult things I have ever done. This is because I have put my own time, my own money & my own energy into it – creating a strategy that encompasses these three key aspects ensures that I am more realistic about what I can achieve & the time frame in which I can achieve it which in turn helps me to…
Plan better for my business
Hit my income targets
Budgeting For Your Online Business
One of the biggest mistakes that I made when I first started out was not extensively planning when it came to money for my business. As mentioned above I now always plan around my three key areas – time, energy & money but understanding how to make money work in business is something else completely.
For a start, I would recommend doing extensive research into business cash flow – including chasing new business, invoicing & online tools that will get you paid.
As a new online business owner, you will undoubtedly have a lot to think of, especially if it is just you – along with creating, marketing & admin, having a solid plan in place for the cash that flows in & out of your business & understanding how that happens will not only help your business to grow but it might just save you some sanity.
Some of my favourite business finance tools are…
Transferwise – my borderless bank account which has allowed me to receive multiple currencies with no set-up costs & minimal fees Get up to £500 of fee-free transfers when signing up via SoulMadic.
Square – a payment gateway that I use for people to purchase my products or services securely with all major credit cards. Activate a Square account through SoulMadic & receive free processing on up to £1,000 in sales during your first 180 days.
Xero – accounting software that I connect to all of my business bank accounts – it has helped me massively with understanding & controlling cashflow
Go Cardless – I use this for direct debits with clients, integrated with Xero invoicing it makes a powerful duo as once an invoice is raised a seamless system collects fees on the invoice due date.
Consistency Online Is Key
Good quality content delivered in a clear & consistent way will help your business to grow online – yes, it is that simple!
Always aligning with your niche & just being, well, awesome you, will ensure that what you are putting out there remains unique. It gets a bit boring hearing this again & again but people really are seeking authenticity in the online space – we are now well into 2020 & this has never been truer.
Being online consistently, however, can be exhausting, not to mention overwhelming – be sure to check out the rest of my digital tool kit where you’ll find everything that I use – from getting organised, email marketing, social media & more, it’s all there!
Stay In Touch With Your Clients & Community
Without a doubt, it is more difficult to maintain relationships & build trust with clients or customers that you have never, or may never meet in person. I run my business entirely remotely, largely thanks to the online tools that are available to me but perhaps & maybe even more importantly because I have learned to work with these tools so that they work well for my business & serve my clients & community.
My clients span across the globe, most of them I have never met. I check in with clients, I am clear about how & when they are able to contact me & I encourage honest & open communication at all times – this has built trust, which is especially important with everything being done online.
Feedback & Follow-Up
Feedback is what has helped my business to grow, in fact, my inspired digital marketing business The Green Thread has been built entirely through great feedback & referral.
Following up with customers & clients will cause a chain reaction. This is the method that I use…
Firstly – summarising the service the person has received.
Secondly – clarity on what else I offer as moving forward should they wish to use my services again they know what those services are & where they might fill a need (hint, hint, at this point you will have background information so can tailor accordingly).
Lastly – I always ask people how they have found their experience. I also ask them to leave me a review either on Facebook, LinkedIn or both – I use all reviews on my websites so that anyone visiting knows exactly what people say about working with my me & my business.
NB – To add here, if you have regular clients, for example on a monthly retainer, be sure to ask them within the first couple of months if they are happy with the service they are receiving & ask them to leave you a review.
This tried & tested method has worked for me & I’m sure, something pretty similar has worked for countless other online business owners too.
Be Prepared To Invest & Scale Your Online Business
Investing in your online business can be scary, when I got the stage where I could actually afford to start doing this I naturally had my doubts about what I should invest in – was I making the right decision? was there something else, something I was missing?
Following the steps above will hopefully help you to prepare for what you need to invest in & when. As for doing so, yes, it might be scary but is it worth it?! Absolutely.
I try not to view it as only investing in my business but in myself too. Since I have invested in my online business I have reaped the rewards & am looking to the future, where I can continue to work entirely remotely. I will keep multiple income streams for added stability but most importantly I will continue working in a way that is aligned with my true purpose – or as I like to call it, the SoulMadic Way.
Let’s get a convo going – If you have any questions about anything I have covered here or have anything that you’d like to add yourself there’s a comment box at the bottom of this page where you can do just that. Alternatively drop me an email at [email protected]
Starting or growing your creative digital business begins with tapping into your soul’s true purpose!
The SoulMadic soul alignment journal will help you to work with what you truly desire in 5-steps…
1. Kicking it off with your soul wishes vs energy focus.
2. Delving deeper into your time, energy, money focus by using my tried & tested soul bubble technique.
3. Dive into the shadows by gaining a deeper understanding of working with your fears & frustrations.
4. I’ll guide you through setting out a plan to nourish yourself with your chosen soul food.
5. Finally, because you deserve it, we will work through your soul investment plan to set you off on the next steps in living your dream life.
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