In 2016, because of external circumstances in my life, I had to turn my years of experience into an online business. I had been working in branding and as a designer for over 8 years, however, it was all done locally. I built a business that was created entirely through reputation. One client would always easily lead me to the next. While I was designing websites for clients, mine was a static platform that was there as merely a reflection of my portfolio, nothing else. I had zero online strategy and practically zero online presence.
And yet, only 1 year later, in a new country and in a new online market, I had built a successful 6-figure business. Building a profitable business online is a process that can be very fast if you are capable of making the right moves. I'm not going to lie though, it does take a ton of work and a lot of self-doubt. But, what I have learned is, with the right strategy and process, you can turn your experience into a brand that attracts the right clients at the right price.
In order to give you clarity on how to go in the right direction, I created for you this pretty cool Online Business Plan guide, taking you through all the details you need to know in order to build a profitable online business. Here's the thing, most people don't have a business plan at all. And while I'm not suggesting you should present it to a board of directors (unless that's something you actually have to do), what I do want is to help you gain clarity in terms of the different parts involved in building your business. Whether you are literally starting out, or have been in business for years and want to give yours more structure and planning. Make sure you download it here.
Here, I will share with you the 5 keys to turning your experience into a profitable online business.
define your offer
When I decided to relaunch my business, I knew exactly what I didn't want to do: I didn't want to spend all my time designing brochures or invitations. These were some of the things I had done in the past in my business. For me, it was essential cutting out the areas I didn't want to do anymore and focusing on what I wanted to be exclusively known for: branding.
Look at what you have the most experience in and bring it into your business. Now, with this, I'm not suggesting at all that you can only do what you have experience working in your 9-5. Because that can actually be far from the case. My client Katie, for example, from The Simple Life Pattern Company has a ton of experience sewing. You see, she's a mom to 4 little girls, and has always loved to create beautiful clothes for her. So, she turned her experience into an online business that allowed her to work from from home. Actually, I talk about her in more detail and how she was able to make a huge increase in her income with one simple change, right here.
On the other hand, you might have a ton of experience in your field and are ready to turn it into an offer.
However, I do want to warn you, you don't have to make a decision that will be the only one for the rest of your life. It will likely change and evolve over time. That's just what happened to me, for example. When I began my online business, I only offered branding and web design. As I have grown my business, I have begun incorporating marketing trainings for my clients as well, as I always want to set them up for success.
Whatever your case may be, start by defining what your offer will be and let it grow from there.
identify what makes you unique
One of my biggest strengths has always been the capacity to discover what makes each person or business absolutely unique. This is one of the things I focus on the most with my clients. The reason for this is that once I launched my business online, I was inundated with so. much. competition.
Because previously my business had been created entirely based on referrals, I didn't have to worry about competition. However, having a business online is on another level. But, this isn't meant to scare you, in fact, it's just the opposite. What you want to do is find reasons why people should hire you or buy from you above anyone else. Finding what makes you unique is what will make your audience choose you over someone else. Period. How long you have been in business won't matter. So, you could literally be launching your own business and still quickly captivate clients because you are quickly showing them what about you is so special.
Again, this is something that I go into a ton of detail here. I love explaining this better because I find that it's so important and essential to get this right. Finding your differentiating factors and value proposition can literally make or break your business.
So, for example, with Sarah, she was all about bringing together her knowledge in network marketing, as well as her beliefs around soulful alignment with your business and audience. Because of this, we built a website that was able to reflect her her style and personality. These are all things that are fundamental to making you stand out from everyone else.
One thing that I have found, is that understanding what makes you unique can be the biggest confidence boost for your business. It gives you the clarity to know without a doubt what about your business is something your audience can't find anywhere else. And, if you think you have nothing unique to offer, trust me, you are completely wrong.
discover your ideal audience
Of course, the next part that is fundamental to building a profitable business online, is discovering exactly who your ideal audience is. Now, here's where a lot of people get it wrong and why most businesses fail. Most people think that their audience is anyone willing to buy from them, when in reality that's not who it is at all. You want to make sure you have total and absolute clarity on who your audience is and specifically what it is that they want.
The reason for this is that the more that you are capable of connecting with your audience, the more likely you will be to sell to them. And, more than selling, it's about truly captivating them and connecting with them through value.
The truth is, this will change over time as well. The reason it changes is that as you progress in your business, you will realize more and more about your audience and start niching down. You will start narrowing your clients down to the specifics. The more specific you are, the better. Why? Because it means that on one hand you will be speaking directly to them, and on the other one, you will be creating solutions to their problems.
If you don't know exactly what their problems are, how do you know who your audience is? Another thing is understanding what your audience really wants, and this can be a tough one to understand. The reason for this is that you aren't selling your product or service, what you are selling is an outcome, a benefit or a solution to their problem. So understanding what that is on a deeper level will absolutely give you the clarity to connect and generate content and offers that will build the "profitable" part of your business. Simple, right?
I guide you through defining your audience in the Online Business Plan. Have you already downloaded it?
building your brand
I can't emphasize enough the importance of having a brand that is there to build your credibility. And sure, it's what I do and what I'm great at, so of course I'm going to tell you that this has been crucial to my success. But, the truth is, it has. Building a complete brand experience that is recognizable and consistent has been one of the biggest contributing factors to my success.
And, it's not just me. I can share with you example after example of how building a brand has transformed the lives of my clients. For the sake of this, I will share with you Beth's story.
Beth had spent over a decade working in Human Resources for other companies when she decided to launch her own business online. Building a brand that was capable of reflecting her as a trusted and credible source was essential and crucial to her success. You always want to make sure that your website and brand in general have the capacity to reflect your value. This is one of the things that I love talking about the most.
You see, we are extremely visual as human beings. That's the absolute truth. I'm sure you have made judgements many times about things just from the way they look. And that's okay! Because when we are getting to know someone, specially a business online which we might never meet in person, we want to make sure we are showing the very best version of ourselves. Make sense? This is your ultimate way of building your credibility.
But, you do have to understand that building a brand isn't only about having a beautiful logo and a great looking website. It's about creating a complete experience that gives a clear indication of who you are. It's about positioning yourself as THE trusted source. Anytime I see people tagging me on Facebook when someone is looking for a branding expert, I know that I have done things right. Or seeing someone casually mention you like this, using exactly your words? That's branding.
a killer marketing funnel
Finally, the last part to turning your experience into a profitable online business is making sure you have an impressive marketing funnel. This is something I have obsessed about in the past year. So, what is a marketing funnel? A marketing funnel contains all the stages of a lead's journey from their first interaction with your brand to their ultimate conversion.
In other words, this includes everything from how you look to how you communicate to the specific strategy to make sure people are coming into your business --and turning it profitable.
Here's the important thing you need to know: there has to be consistency in everything that you do. Bringing together your offer, with what makes it so special and unique, to making sure you communicate it effectively with your audience while having a brand that reflects your quality.
This is where most people get it wrong. You might have an incredible offer, but no strategy to get it out there. You might know exactly who your audience is and what they need, but no way of proving your value. This, right here is the reason I ended up adding it to my services. Because having a marketing funnel that is working for you is that one thing that might make or break your business.
Something that was crucial for my own success in building my own business was making sure there was an actual strategy behind everything I did. Sort of winging it without any clue to the results that action might have, could give you short-term results, but not sustainable success. Make sense? The reason why my business has been growing consistently month after month for the past year has been because of strategy.
I have had clients that come to me completely lost in terms of branding and then go on to have great success because together we also create a marketing strategy that will get them the consistent leads to build a successful online business. Again, I talk about the importance of the marketing funnel and the 3 essential parts you need to make sure you are doing to get it right in this training, make sure to watch it!
So, that's it! Those are the basic and most important steps that I took in order to take my years of experience in branding and turn it into a profitable and successful 6-figure online business within a year. Looking back at the steps and strategies I took, I can honestly say that it would be impossible to have success without making sure each and every single one of them work together and in alignment. After all, you can have an incredible business, but without marketing, it's difficult to be sustainable. Make sure to download the Online Business Plan as it will guide you into defining every single one of the things I mentioned here.