As the New Year sets in, one of the BIGGEST goals I've seen many creatives chat about is finally taking the time to turn their big idea into a new business. You're excited, motivated and know for sure that 2017 will be the year that you begin making major moves. Now, where do you start? Like many goals, the lack of know-how or uncertainty of exactly how to get started can easily turn one big goal into just another New Years resolution. To ensure that you're putting action behind that new idea and that you're starting on the right path, I've created a list of necessary must-haves that your business will need in order to thrive this year and for years to come.
These business necessities are what I wish someone would have told me wasn't worth skimping out on when I first began to take this brand seriously. While I have no regrets, if I could start from scratch I would have definitely taken specific elements like branding and niching down more seriously than just chatting about my trips to Target and just calling myself a blogger.
If you've been searching the internet for tips on starting your business, then I'm sure that you've come across more than one post or video telling you that you need to "niche" down. If you rolled your eyes at those posts, then let me be the one to tell you that clearly defining your brands focus is KEY to starting a profitable brand! For one, you simply don't want to be all over the place with the content you create. And two, having a specific "niche" helps you to target the right people and is the basis of carving out your own spot in your industry.
So where do you start?
Ask yourself what you're good at, what you actually enjoy doing and what you're passionate about. Are there any similarities between those three? If so how can you use that to help your audience? To walk you through the entire process, I've created this free exercise called "Finding Your Sweet Spot" that takes you through figuring out your brands niche!
ALSO WATCH: I HAVE A BRAND, WHAT NOW?
ACTION STEP: Take 20mins to think about what your brands focus should be.
if starting a new business is your goal for this year, then start with this blog post
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
You have your brand focus, now WHOSE life do you want to impact with it? Figuring out your "who" isn't something that should be skimped out on! Not only will it help you to shape your brand but it will also help you to consistently create better content, be more relatable and also create incredible services and products. DO NOT skimp out on this step. While your audience may evolve or change overtime, it's important to get clear on who you want to help in this moment.
To get started, I've created this free worksheet for you (you don't have to opt-in to get it!)
ACTION STEP: Spend 30mins. getting clear on WHO you want to target and how you will use your brand focus to help them
YOUR BRAND MESSAGE
Your brand message clearly explains to your audience who you help, the transformation you take your audience through and exactly how you help them through it. For example, my brand message is "I help creative women ditch fear, gain clarity and begin making money doing what they love through self-guided classes" or "I help creative women live their life and create their business on purpose through actionable content and one-on-one coaching". This brand message or statement can easily serve as your "elevator pitch" or as your social media bio. Most importantly, it effortlessly tells your followers and potential clients or customers who you are and exactly how you can help them.
ACTION STEP: SPEND 15MINS. CRAFTING YOUR BRAND MESSAGE. WANT SOME FEEDBACK? FEEL FREE TO HOP OVER INTO MY FB GROUP!
It may be common sense, but in this day and age you're going to NEED a professional online presence in order to build a profitable brand. It makes me cringe to not only see amazing products be sold on a sub-par website but to also see amazing people promote themselves without having a online home or website to send their audience back to. At a minimum you should focus on:
- A clean website that clearly states who you are, what you do and space for you to begin selling products (I use Squarespace for my site and LOVE it)
- Your own domain
- Consistent brand colors (Adobe Color is an amazing tool!)
- Simple logo
- Professional headshots
- Consistent images (sales promo, quote graphics, blog post graphics, etc)
Please keep in mind that no website will ever be perfect and that it is not necessarily important to invest in an expensive custom design right from the start. Make sure that as you're building your visual brand that you dont put TOO much focus on making it perfect while neglecting some of the other important business factors like content or monetizing.
ALSO REFERENCE: Lauren of Elle and Company Design has a ton of great blog posts for creating your visual brand.
ACTION STEP: SPEND 20-30MINS LOOKING OVER YOUR SITE FOR THINGS THAT YOU CAN UPDATE TO BETTER FIT YOUR BRAND AND ATTRACT THE PEOPLE YOU WANT TO HELP
One of the biggest factors of my brands success has been the content that I create. Whether you decide to blog or create video, the content you create is going to be ESSENTIAL for you prove to your audience and your industry that you actually know what you're talking about. Great content builds trust, and if you want your audience to potentially buy from you then they NEED to be able to trust you. To begin creating great content, start with this:
- Create around everything you WISH you knew about your industry before you got started
- Create around everything that you CURRENTLY know about your industry
- Create around your audiences biggest pain points. (This is why it's important for you to get clear on WHO you want to help)
When in doubt, always aim to solve your audiences biggest problems. Great content is helpful content that holds information that your audience can actually implement into their own lives. Still unsure WHAT to create? Try asking or surveying your audience
ACTION STEP: TAKE 30 UNDISTRACTED MINUTES TO BRAINSTORM NEW CONTENT IDEAS.
ready to finally turn your idea into an actual business? focus on these 7 necessities!
You're not actually considered a business unless you are making money. And in order to make money you HAVE to have something to offer your audience. So what ways can you begin making money from your online brand? You can use what you know to create:
- An e-course
- A book
- A one-on-one or group service
- A e-book
- A live or pre-recorded masterclass
- A physical product
- A membership program
The possibilities are endless! The key to creating a product that your audience will actually be willing to purchase, is to show them EXACTLY how to solve one of their biggest pain points. That can be showing them exactly how to create better content step-by-step or taking away their frustration by building their website for them. If you're starting out, I would start with either offering a small easy to purchase product like an ebook or offering a service that can easily be turned into one or multiple products later on.
ACTION STEP: LOOK BACK AT THAT LIST OF CONTENT IDEAS, WHICH OF THOSE IDEAS COULD YOU EXPAND ON TO TURN INTO A NEW PRODUCT OR SERVICE?
All of the above will be pointless if you think one time is enough. What separates good brands from great brands is their drive to consistently do what they need to do to make sure that their brand is being seen. My biggest tip for staying consistent is to plan ahead, especially when it comes to content. Without a great plan you leave room for excuses and lack. Sit down at the beginning of every month and plan out the type of content you will create for the entire month and then outline it and actually put it into your calendar. This not only saves time when you sit down to begin creating but it also free's up more time for you to focus on other aspects of your business.
ACTION STEP: SPEND 20 MINS THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO DAILY IN YOUR BUSINESS AND CREATE A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE. GO AHEAD AND PUT EVERYTHING INTO YOUR CALENDAR SO THAT YOU'RE NOT FUMBLING WHEN THE TIME COMES.
Of course, I don't want you to begin building this incredible brand and not let me in on what you're doing! In the comments feel free to let me know the type of business you plan to launch in 2017!