Holly Christie, sitting in a chair, leaning forward, smiling at the camera.

Starting out in business is equally exciting and overwhelming. It’s fantastic that you’re going to set out on your own. There are so many bonuses to entrepreneurship. You can keep your own hours, you get to do work you love, for clients you enjoy working with. It can all be brilliant.

Just as every job has its upsides, it also has downsides. These can include having to do all the things in the job plus take on the role of marketing department, accounts departments and any other back-end jobs, singlehandedly.

Here is everything you need to know when starting a business: 

Get a website

You may hear people say ‘just get started with a Facebook page’ or Instagram account. This advice used to work but over the years the Social Media platforms have changed their algorithms, page reach has gone down and it’s much harder to grow an audience than in the old days. For one, there are less people on Social Media these days, well less of your target audience anyway. There’s also the issue that you don’t own your Social Media platforms so your posts can be removed at any time, your pages deleted and all your work and audience building has gone. When you have your own website this doesn’t happen. Also with your own website you can take your ideal client on exactly the journey you want them to go on and you can style it any way you like. No trying to fit banners or images into certain sizes to suit the platform, or write your text in a certain number of characters.

Identify your ideal client early on

When starting out in business the biggest gift you can give yourself is to work out who your ideal client is. You probably already have an idea now but writing it down will massively help. It will help you to know who you’re writing to when you’re creating content for both your website and Social Media and it will inform the rest of your marketing materials in terms of images, colours and photography. Once you’ve worked out what your business will be and how you’ll deliver the product or service, then work on who you’re going to be working with and delivering it to. You’ll be surprised how much knowing who your ideal client is, will help you to make decisions and market effectively to them.

Personalised branding is essential

When you start out many people will tell you to create your branding yourself to save costs. With tools like Canva giving the tools to make this an option it can be tempting. However, investing in your own branding doesn’t have to cost a fortune but it will pay for itself over and over. The reason for this is it’s not just a logo, it’s your whole brand identity. When you work with a professional to create your brand identity they’ll take into account what you like and want to get across to your potential clients, but also what your ideal client is looking for and would like to engage with. You’ll also have elements of your logo that you can use across Social Media and your website, plus an entire colour palette to build your brand with. Your brand designer should also issue you with brand guidelines so you know how to work with the elements to make the most for your investment. Personalised branding can be from as little as £249 or if you’re on a tight budget, you can check out our Simply Sites brand shop where a logo and brand guidelines start from £97.

Write for your ideal client, not for you

This can be a hard one because we’re all so close to our own businesses, it can be the norm to write using industry terms, or what we would want to hear if we’re buying our product or service.

This can often be our downfall because we need to put ourselves in the shoes of our ideal clients and when we’re as close to our business as we are, it’s hard to do that.

I will always recommend working with a copywriter as they’re trained to look at what solutions our services or products are offering and how to present these to your ideal client. Often making the offer irresistible along the way!

If you can’t afford to hire a copywriter to write all your website copy, consider booking a copy consultation with one where you meet on Zoom, work out the messaging together, they’ll give you loads of tools and tips to help you along the way and even review and edit your website copy for you once you’ve written it.

If you’d like a recommendation to a brilliant copywriter we have a few who we’ve worked with over and again, and who wrote my websites, drop me a line, I’d be very happy to recommend them.

Be consistent with your images

In an ideal world you’ll have a start up budget for your online presence and this will include a photoshoot where your photographer can nail the brand story you’re wanting to tell. If you can’t afford a brand photoshoot, have some professional headshots done and we can mix those up with stock imagery. It’s important to get the stock imagery right and therefore, if this is a route you’d like to go down, I recommend you mention it to your branding designer so they can look out some images and styling for you.

If you’re feeling camera shy and aren’t ready for a brand photoshoot consider having something that represents you. Amy Newlands creates customised Mini-Mes, a cartoon version of you. I used these for years (with a couple of headshots of me on the website), she can add in any props and your brand colours so they’re totally unique to you.

If you’re working with a photographer ask them for a consultation on what to wear prior to the shoot and aim for colours which are either in your brand colours or ones that complement your branding.

Network, network, network

To begin with your network will be limited and it’s really important you get yourself out there. If you’re happy to meet in-person then check out your local networking opportunities. As well as private networking groups, there are often opportunities run by your local council or borough so it’s well worth checking out your local chamber of commerce.

If, like me, you’re not a fan of in-person networking then take your networking opportunities online. Join local business groups on Facebook, start building your network on LinkedIn and consider a membership group from an experienced coach.

When networking be sure to support the others’ too. You don’t have to invest in their business, you can leave them a comment on LinkedIn, interact with their posts. Recommend them to others’. Some of my best collaborations and my favourite people to work with have come from LinkedIn.

Start a mailing list

A mailing list is going to become your biggest asset as people willingly join it and want to hear from you. The more disciplined you become with writing emails, the better your writing will be and the more engaging it will be to your ideal clients. Don’t delay, get started! With free email providers like MailerLite, start building your list now. Offer people the opportunity to sign up, via Social Media and your website. Shout about it often and get writing! Even if you only have your Mum and yourself on the list to begin with. In the early days my email list started with me and my sister. Since then I’ve sent thousands of emails to hundreds of people and every Friday people know they can expect to hear from me in their inbox., The bonus is, because I get to showcase my expertise to them each week, when they’re looking for a website or mentoring, they contact me.

Invest from early on

When you first start up there may not be a lot of spare money and you won’t necessarily be able to keep up with more established businesses who have marketing and other budgets in place. If you do have a little money to invest, even if it’s just £20 per month, which you can put into a subscription like Calendly or Canva or Zoom, invest it and use it to get that little bit ahead.

Most importantly, get started!

I don’t blame you if you feel a little like a rabbit in headlights. Getting started can feel like a huge task and  many people waste time perfecting and procrastinating on an idea. The more you procrastinate and perfect, the bigger a task it becomes and can cause you to end up in a freeze state, where you never really get started. In the meantime, your competitors are putting themselves out there, getting ahead and winning the business!

If you'd like some help getting started, whether it's with a website or you think you may benefit from my Mentoring service, book a free, no-obligation call with me using the button below and let's get started!