I first came online in 1998. I’m a psychologist by training and I built myself a really ugly one-page website, and I learned how to market it online such That I got psychology clients from the internet. The psychology profession was pretty traditional when it came to marketing then, but one of the reasons I went on line with it was because I was incredibly shy and introverted at that time. I was just out of graduate school and I knew I needed to get clients, but i felt ill-equipped to go out and network face-to-face. So I was looking for a different way to attract clients into my business and the internet allowed my to do that in a way I was more comfortable with.
I built my practice to over six figures in less than two years. As I did that I also became interested in doing coaching, so I put up another website for that, and I built another six figure business from that in a couple of years. And by then people were really interested in what I was doing to attract all these clients from the internet. So I was telling them “You need to this, you need to that…” but it turned out that they didn’t want me to teach them how to do it – they wanted me to do it for them.
So around 2003 I started offering online marketing services for small businesses. I’ve been fortunate in that I have been able to work with some very well known celebrities in the personal development field, and now I balance that out by working with conscious business owners or heart-centered entrepreneurs, people who have a message they want to share and who maybe need a bit of help with the technologies in terms of how to get it our there. So what I am know more for now is in helping people build their communities and then better monetize them more efficiently.
When you first start out in business you tend to have more time than you have money. So that is a good time to go out to the communities that you are part of already – your local referral source, and that are in your local area. That’s the fastest way to build your business at a time when you need to get clients quickly.
Then, when you have a few clients, and you may now have more money, that is the time to take your business online and let the technology do some of the heavy lifting. But just be aware that it can take six months or more before you start seeing some results. It may feel like you are putting out a lot of content but not getting much in the way of feedback. That’s not what you want when you first start out and so the face-to-face networking will get you those initial clients much faster.
People spend thousands of dollars that they don’t have on a website that nobody visits. Sometimes people feel that spending money legitimizes their business – by committing words to a webpage it makes their business feel more real – sometimes more real than it actually is. That’s very normal to feel like that.
But we have to be able to walk before we run, and for most business owners a simple four-page website that includes a homepage, a services page – which is about what you offer – a page about you and who you are, and a contact page – those are really the only four pages a beginning website really needs to have.
Keep your design costs down, because although it may look nice that is not what convinces people to work with you. I always recommend a self-hosted WordPress website because that will give you the maximum flexibility in terms of future growth and is easy for you to update yourself.
What truly makes a business a real business, though, is having something to sell – having people to sell it to – and having a way to collect money. Its what I call the “three-legged stool”. And, if you notice, you can have all three of those things without having a website. The key is to test your idea on a small scale and then when you know there’s a real business there, then you can start to invest more in your online presence and marketing.
Favorite Books: Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want by Dave Lakhani; Man’s Search For Meaning – Victor Frankel
Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest? Click here to download it.
Favorite Resources: Dropbox.com; shareasimage.com (create social media memes); picktochart.com
Hear the full interview below.
Rachna Jain’s Top Tips For Getting Started Online
Guest: Rachna Jain – ProfitablePopularity.com
I’m the author of Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us: Your In-Depth Guide to Profitable Popularity. I’ve been working online since 1998, and have built three distinct multi-six figure businesses since that time. I work with small business owners who want to use the internet to grow their communities and become more profitable. I’ve been quoted in more than 500 major media publications, including Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Washington Post- among many others. I’ve been on NPR and also on NBC’s Today Show. I love being an entrepreneur because I get to create from my ideas. In my free time, I am a novice jewelry maker, potter, mosaicist, social dancer, and digital photographer.
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