You know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Starting a business online where you share your wisdom about wellness (and get paid in return) isn’t going to be free, either – you know that…
BUT – and this is brilliant news – the ‘barrier to entry’ for you now in terms of cost, time, and learning curve is basically disappeared.
Thanks, internet technology!
GONE are the days of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a website. Technology is on the side of entrepreneurs with a passion and a message to share to a hungry audience.
This post walks you through the tools you’ll need to get started, how much you can expect to spend, the pros/cons of various options for you, and at then end I’ll share my recommendation about what I'd do if I had to start again.
Here’s what you’ll need to get up and running – in order of importance (and what you should set up FIRST)
(having a domain name means buying/reserving a URL like thedavidwhite.com, or whatever you want)
This is first and most obvious, but I want to make a few quick & important points here so you don’t deal with the same troubles I had when I first started out.
DO NOT pay more than $20 per year for your domain (and that’s probably more than most domain registrars will charge) – and if you’re offered a whole bunch of upsells around security and email integration, don’t take it.
That's usually a good way to end up paying for stuff that you can get for free from somewhere else (like an email address), or don't need.
(Lawyers be damned, I’m saying this too) A lot of the companies who sell URLS will sell your email address to marketers and your inbox will be flooded with spam marketing. If you want to use them, don’t give them your primary email.
Looking at you, GoDaddy.
The best domain registrars (the people you purchase your URL from) to consider are iPage and BlueHost.
We’re not in the dark ages any more – the time for hiring someone to code your website for you at HUGE expense has passed.
(As has the time for coding, I suppose)
There are so many website options available for new entrepreneurs, and here’s a quick insight into the minimum features you’ll need to get started:
- A Home page to welcome your new visitors that briefly gives insight into what you’re about, what you do and what you have to offer
- Some place to put content like a blog, videos or a podcast
- An “About” Page that tells your audience about what you’ll do for them (and a little bit about yourself)
That’s all you need to get started, basically!
Options range from the obvious free WordPress templates (which is the platform used by a huge majority of websites on the internet) all the way up to custom-built, done-for-you sites that can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Don’t pay that much for a website!
Also up for consideration are:
Wix (which will cost around $10/month)
Weebly (around $10-$30/month)
SquareSpace (around $18/month)
Generally speaking these paid options are all largely equal (but not the same), and don’t get my recommendation as they can progressively get more and more expensive as you expand your operations – and they cost money every month.
Find yourself a good WordPress template and setup guide on Google!
What you definitely DON’T want to have to do is build a simple website, realise that you want a bit more functionality or a few more features, and then have to start from scratch with something more.
One more thing: I absolutely promise you that the most important thing about your website isn’t how fancy and expensive it looks, but what you put on it in terms of content and messaging. If you don’t believe me, email me and I’ll show you examples of average-looking sites owned by people (who make a fortune) with huge and loyal customer bases.
You’ll want to begin building a ‘subscriber base’ as soon as possible by collecting email addresses from your followers and fans - and a CRM software is where that magic happens.
A CRM can be as basic as allowing you to email your subscriber base and setting up simple autoresponders - all the way to far more complex tasks like creating funnels and building campaigns to automate your marketing, analysing data and statistics, managing Ecommerce…
There’s a LOT to learn on this front, and a LOT of things that you could learn, so it’s best to start simple until you really, really need more.
To get functional, find something that lets you create a simple autoresponder and send email 'broadcasts'.
MailChimp is one of the most common and easy to use (it’s free to begin and your monthly cost will scale as your mailing list grows). Vertical Response also warrants a mention.
Generally speaking, this shouldn’t be a huge ongoing expense for your business until you’ve started to grow to having an audience of thousands.
Once you ARE gaining traction, however, more advanced options like Ontraport, InfusionSoft and AWeber are worth investigating (and cost a few hundred dollars per month) . There’s too many amazing things that they do to list here, but as soon as you’re making money spend a bit more here!
A business isn’t a business without customers – it’s simply a hobby.
After you’ve set up your site, delivered some valuable content to your followers and started to build your following you’ll want to sell some products and acquire some customers!
That requires exchanging your wisdom for money – which means you’ll need someone to collect that on your behalf (via a checkout page that charges your customer’s credit card) and send it your way.
Generally speaking, when charging credit cards this is done on a flat fee plus percentage of each transaction – so if you sell a product that’s worth $100, you’ll be charged around 30c and 3%.
Paypal is the most common and basic option here – and one of the easiest to use. Google Wallet is growing and Payza is also worth investigating.
If you are working with customers who you charge on a per-session or –consult basis, you’ll want to have the option to invoice them – which you can do with the providers mentioned above.
That covers the basics in a nutshell – but here’s a hot tip for you.
I've tried just about all the options above (with one or two exceptions), and I've found that they can all be hugely useful and hugely frustrating in different ways.
Two things that are DEFINITELY going to take up the most amount of your time are designing your website, and then getting everything to integrate and talk to your other softwares.
BUT.... There is something that fixes all that.
It's called New Kajabi - which is what I use now and recommend evangelically (and no, if you sign up I won't receive a dime).
It starts at about $99 per month (I think) - and it does everything mentioned above - emails, product hosting, payment accepting, easy web design - EVERYTHING (except for giving you a domain name), and it's awesome. If I had to start again, I'd use New Kajabi.
(They weren't around when I started, which shows you how fast the internet changes and grows)
Anyway, I don't want to sound like I'm writing an ad for them - I'm not affiliated with them in any way so I won't harp on any more - but if you're really ready to get started, I recommend you check it out because I think you'll save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration.
Bottom line - yes, this is a process that costs money, requires some learning and will confuse and frustrate you.
That's normal - you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
i asked over a dozen successful online health business owners, marketing experts & business consultants if they'd share their BEST advice with you on how they'd suggest you build your following and grow your mailing list....
And they were really helpful! Click below & I'll send you a copy of their answers in a PDF called "Ask The Experts: How To Build A List"
The founders of companies like Undergound Wellness, Holistic Wellness, The Earth Diet & The Institute for Nutritional Endocrinology want to share with you how THEY think you should start to build a list - let me know where to send your copy of the "Ask The Experts: Build A List" resource!