Episode 42: What to Focus On In Your First 3 Months of Business
What to Focus On In Your First 3 Months of Business
Today I’m giving you the breakdown of what to focus on in your first 3 months of business.
So you can avoid the mistakes I made by doing #themost but getting lackluster results.
I want to give you a sense of direction, not a GPS, to help you focus on the most important things that will allow you to make money in your business.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
The three key areas you should be focusing on when you first start your business
What I highly recommend not doing when you first start your business
Warning: Do not follow these steps IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE 3 PILLARS OF A SOLID BUSINESS IDEA. Please, don’t go chasing waterfalls.
What are those three pillars? You must know who you are serving, the problem you are solving, and the promise that you are making. I spend a lot of time here with my one-on-one and group clients because it is so vital. I want you to do the same thing. Get clear on your person, your problem, and promise.
If you’re not strong on the pillars, then pause. I want you to go back and clarify. Listen to the following episodes:
Promise me, you’ll only continue reading if you are actually solid on your business pillars. Pinky promise…
Alright, let’s talk about your first 3 months of business.
The three areas to focus in your first 3 months of business are:
Presence here simply refers to the space(s) where your ideal customer can access you. A.k.a. your web presence.
This will be your website, your social media pages, your email address. Even if you are opening a brick and mortar store, or you have a studio, you may not have the capital for your physical space yet. That does not mean you cannot create a distinctive presence to “greet” your ideal customers.
First, build you #basic website
Your website is a going to be a B-A-S-I-C but beautiful website. Basic meaning, you don’t need super fancy design. The strategy here is that when your ideal customer learns about you, you have a space where they can learn more about what you do and how they can keep in contact with you.
I will walk you through all the mechanics of email marketing, opt-ins, etc in future episodes. But you are not really at that stage right now.
There are three pages you must have on your website:
An About Page where your ideal customer can learn who you are, what you care about, and how you’re going to help serve them
A Sales Page where your ideal customer can learn exactly what product or service you’re offering
A Blog/Podcast/Video/Portfolio page. Regardless of what you’re using, you have to be able to give your ideal customer a sense of what it would be like to work with you. That’s why, regardless of industry, you create a blog or podcast or etc. If you have a custom tours and vacations business, then you’re going to create a portfolio or blog documenting the places you’ve been and the tours your design.
On every single one of those pages there needs to be places for your ideal customer to leave their name and email address. Without going too far into email marketing, email marketing after all of these years, after all the fancy things like Facebook and Snapchat, is still the number one way for businesses of all sizes to drive sales.
When someone gives you their email address, they are saying “I’m liking what you’re putting down, I’d like to keep knowing about you.” There is higher engagement, trust, and relationships with email over social media.
So on your website, you have a space to collect email address.
Creating your web presence early on serves two purposes. I just talked about how important it is for your ideal customer to be able to learn about who you are and how you work.
But it’s also important because when you share your new business with your friend and family, this is the place where you can tell them to direct people who are interested.
Your website is essentially your digital business card that you’re sharing with your networks.
Additional Items for Your Website
High Quality Photos of Your Beautiful Face: Tell me the last time you trusted someone whose face you did not see? Ya feel me? Get your face all over your website. For the first few months, I hid my face only on my bio page on my website. It wasn’t until this season of the podcast that I put my face on the podcast art. Why? Because I didn’t want to seem self-absorbed. But the problem I created for myself was that I was not building trust with the people who were coming across my work. This is why you need to put your face on your website in multiple places.
Human Sounding Writing. My tip on writing website copy, a.k.a. what you read on a website, is to describing what you do, what you believe, and how you’re different out loud first. Record yourself and then transcribe what you say. That’s what I do. It’s really easy to try to sound like other people or your idea of “professional” which essentially leaves you not sounding like you. In my group coaching program, I have everyone read each other’s website copy to make sure it is clear and human sounding. If you have a trusted friend or family member to read what you’ve written, get their feedback. Not on the business aspects. Just on the “does this sound like an understandable human voice?”
Put Your Values Everywhere! This is a major mistake I made and I’m still correcting in my business today. Let your story, your values, and your why shine so brightly on your website. I’m going to do a whole other episode on how to strategically showcase your values. But let me tell you this: I was really struggling on standing out in a seemingly crowded field. And the more and more I shared my values, the better I was breaking through to my ideal person. Not everyone, but my person. And that has been a complete game-changer in my business.
In your first 3 months, deliver value to as many of your ideal customers as you can for free or discounted prices.
I really wish I did this more when I first started my business. I didn’t, which means I missed out on building an audience, improving my skills, and getting testimonials.
Here’s why I want you to engage a.s.a.p.:
If you’ve never actually used your creative gifts professionally, you can easily feel like a total and utter fraud. Well, maybe you always will. But you can stop doing so by going out there and getting your feet wet immediately. Also, you get to improve your skills in realtime.
While you won’t be making enough to replace your full-time job just yet, you will get invaluable testimonials which you then use to get more sales. You can leverage your experience for more opportunities by adding them to your portfolio. You can also ask the people that you’ve worked with for referrals. Word of mouth marketing continues to be a key driver of so many businesses.
You get out of the false belief that making money only happens when you have a hoard of people banging down your door. The only way you get people banging down your door is by going to a select few FIRST. You can start gaining traction in your space ASAP. You can start serving ASAP. You can start using your gifts ASAP. And by doing so, you will build an audience of people who want to work with you.
If you’re a makeup artist and your ideal client are curvy brides who absolutely love makeup, then you’re going to try (operative word try) to work with as many curvy brides as you can and offer a free session or discounted session. If you’re designing gorgeous journals and stationery (which if that’s you, hit me up!), how can you share a mockup with someone you know loves bullet journaling?
Engage. Engage. Engage.
Establish your authority as a problem solver for your ideal customers.
If you heard the word “authority” and peed a little in your pants, that’s okay. “Who me? An authority?!” Yes you, an authority. When I say authority, I really mean your point of view, your chops, your ability to deliver for your customers. I don’t mean expertise among the experts. Because you’re not there yet. I simply want you to showcase why you have the authority to solve your customers problems. You don’t need to be a star among stars to solve people’s problems.
We all, me included, love the confidence of experience. We all love the confidence that comes when we’re on the stronger end of a comparison. But it feels terrible to be humbled. It feels terrible to be an amateur, a beginner, or not as skilled as someone else. I still worry if I will always feel inadequate compared to some of these much more experienced business gurus out here. The answer is probably yes. Honestly. But that does not mean I am not helping the people I want to help.
I started my podcast when I felt 0.01% prepared to start. Go back and listen to the first episode. I recorded it using my white iPhone headphones, I was so frigging scared. I think I did 1000 takes before I finally gave up and just stuck with one. There are still people who listen to that first episode and share how impactful it was for them.
You can deliver your power and your authority right where you are.
Pretty is pretty, but it doesn’t mean it’s powerful. You can be powerful with your work even with the junky equipment you have, the lack of space, the short amount of time. With your ticks and hang-ups. You can deliver your power and your authority right where you are.
I want you to understand that the discomfort of being a novice is not a punishment. And the pleasure of being an “expert” is not a reward. It is not a prize. It is simply a part of the journey. The more and more you can keep breathing through the discomfort, keep your head up and not succumb to self-pity and self-deprecation, the more you can share your incredible gifts that make you enough of an authority to solve your customer’s problems.
Establish authority even if you don’t have as many years of experience as the people who are well-known in your field. Just showcase what you do know to your ideal customers. They are the ones that are going to pay you, not the experts.
That means if you’re a photographer, share your photos everywhere on your website. Sharing them on group Facebook pages. Create every single week, even if it’s photos of your neighborhood. If you’re make hand-lettered stationery, showcase your work like it’s nobodies business. Show your future customers why your work is the answer to their problems.
There you have it friend. Establish your presence, engage with your ideal customer, and establish your authority.
intro and outro music: danosongs.com
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