Last December, 2010, I decided to embark on a new business. I became a blogging consultant for entrepreneurs who wanted to use the WordPress blogging platform. I have been loving every minute of it. I’m appreciative to the approximately 25+ customers that came to me; mostly referred from several people I met last December at a business conference for an organization I belong to called CEO Space.
Although I’ve accomplished some major milestones in my life, I had not found a business that truly fit the ideal lifestyle that I had imagined in my dreams.
I’m not a millionaire yet. This is due to the fact that I haven’t charged what I’m truly worth up to this point. It’s a girl thing. However I wanted to build a body of work first. This last year has truly been a learning experience for me. It seems that every day I figure out how to do something new. It’s stimulating and very cool.
What has been wonderful, is being able to work on fabulous projects with extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs, professionals, or other small business owners.
Entrepreneurs, in particular, are a bit different than the type of business owners you meet at local chambers. They tend to be dreamers and see the big picture. Their work focuses on creating an ideal lifestyle of freedom and self expression. I find their energy exciting and stimulating to be around.
Of course, there have been a few disappointments in my first year of business. Sometimes I would setup a blog for someone and they never ran with it. It just sat there empty. I wanted to say, “Come on! Write some posts. See where it takes you. You may be surprised at the response you get.” There was always the excuse. “I got busy doing other things.” Oh well, at least I tried.
I only had one defection. I had set up a neat looking blog for a client and had put quite a bit of work into the project. I had definitely not charged enough for the amount of work I actually did. The client decided she wanted something a little different but had not clearly communicated that to me. She ended up getting someone else to do a redesign that I could have easily done myself, had I known what she really wanted. When you’re in a creative business, that’s bound to happen though. Note to self: Be extremely clear on what your client needs and wants, and make sure to get paid what you are worth.
I also did some bartering, which is cool if what you are getting in return is something you need. However, there were times I felt I was giving more in terms of time and services that went beyond the actual barter. Note to self: Put everything in writing. Be clear on what you are offering and what the value is. If you do a barter, make sure there is an even balance, and if not, charge for additional time spent.
Success in blogging takes consistency, strategy and many times trial and error. It is a very powerful marketing platform when taken seriously. Website traffic does not come out of the air. You get it when content that people are searching for gets found on the Internet. If you are able to monetize what you do, and create passive income from blogging, via products, Ebooks, tele-seminars, affiliate products or services, etc., you will never have to worry about what is going on in the economy as long as what you are offering is marketable.
I think the problem with many entrepreneurs is that they have not clearly defined what they are offering. You know what a plumber does, right. He (or she) fixes leaky pipes. It’s pretty straight forward. If your offering is too esoteric, potential clients do not get why they should plunk down their hard earned money to take advantage of your services.
Pricing is also a big issue. I often see online entrepreneurs going a little overboard on what they expect clients to spend. When the economy is bad, most people will be more prone to go for necessities first, rather than frill. It’s a good idea to offer people a range of pricing opportunities to fit various budgets. Sometimes a $3 EBook will make an online entrepreneur more money than a $997 service fee. A small monthly subscription will often attract people who become super fans, if what you deliver is worthy. Once they are in your corner, and firmly believe in you, this paves the path to up-sell a bigger ticket item such as that $997 coaching program you want to promote. Success online does not happen overnight. It takes patience and nurturing.
One of the biggest joys I’ve found from working online, is the low cost of overhead involved. That is a big plus for me compared to what I was spending on a monthly basis to network and motivate the troops . . . so to speak. I had worked in direct sales successfully for quite some time. One company was a network marketing model and another was not, but still commission based. There were many costs involved with both. Instead of spending more time networking than actually working, as I did before, I now network strategically, and sometimes just for social reasons because I’m definitely a people person.
When starting a business seriously look at the profit margin. Online marketing allows you to work smarter and make more if you cut down on unnecessary expenses. A blog is normally much less expensive to operate than a traditional website, for an entrepreneur on a budget. It looks sharp, and has has endless potential as far as monetizing it goes.
In my first year of business I have surprised myself on what I’ve learned that will make me more valuable in the future.
In addition to merely setting up and configuring blogs I’ve learned to:
- Move sites to new hosting accounts
- Set up affiliate marketing systems
- Set up and/or work with several shopping cart systems
- Add a forum to a blog
- Work with an array of WordPress plugins
- Set up a Clickbank affiliate marketing accounts
- Set up Secure Ebooks
- Copy protect content and keep things cool with the FTC.
- Create Landing Pages
- Upgrade WordPress and plugin versions and live through the panic attack that ensues when an error message comes up.
- Migrate a Blogger blog correctly to WordPress
- FTP large media files such as audios and videos.
- Work with auto responder and email marketing systems
- Set up sales funnels (such as when someone does a tele-seminar and wants listeners to receive a free gift after they opt in to their mailing list)
- Theme CSS customization (Thank you StudioPress and Thesis themes for awesome support forums)
- and much more.
Not bad for a baby boomer, professional voice over actor, who didn’t realize she had some “techie” in her right brain.
In the past year I’ve also had to travel across country to help out with family and did not experience a single hitch that affected my business because it’s virtual. In fact, I’m taking off soon to babysit my parents for a couple months. I’ll still be available to service my customers and new clients on the Internet as easily as I would from home.
I’m looking forward to another fun and stimulating year in business and want to thank all who have made it possible. You are awesome!
Need help with your WordPress site? Contact me HERE. I’d love to help you fulfill your dreams. Happy Holidays!