Last week, I revamped both of my main websites myself using new themes. It took many late night hours, but since I’m not ready to hire a web designer just yet, it was the next best thing. As I was getting the new sites all set up, I kept muttering to myself that the next time I change my blog designs, they will be totally customized and blinged out by a creative professional.
But what I have right now? It’s good enough.
My websites allow me to present a professional online presence to the world and also bring in a steady stream of income to my business. Through both of my main websites, clients can book personal, business or career coaching sessions with me, customers can purchase my nonprofit career advice book or the The 31 Day Reset Workbook. Organizations can find detailed information about my speaking services.
When you’re starting a business – whether it’s full-time or a side hustle, there can be this internal pressure to wait until everything is “perfect” for you to launch your product or service out into the world. And if you can’t afford a $2,000-$4,000 custom website just yet, this means a lot of waiting. It also means a ton of missed exposure and income opportunities.
When I first started earning money as a speaker, I had just created my first professional blog on Blogger. My website URL was not the shortest, nor the prettiest: fromthepipeline.blogspot.com. I used the basic Blogger theme with my signature colors – blue, gray and white. (And I must really love that color combo, because after five years, those are still the same colors I use for my website and business cards!)
Of course, if you come to me for advice about blogging or building your personal brand online, what I’ll tell you is how to professionalize your web presence, for sure. But if you’re not at the point yet where you can invest any cash into self-hosting your website or buying a set of decent business cards (I use Vistaprint – new customers get 250 cards for free!), then my best advice would be to simply start today with what you have right now.
“Start by starting.” – Meryl Streep
Starting might look like:
- Setting up a website on a free blog platform like WordPress (best option) or Blogger to showcase your product or service.
- Telling everyone you have said website – via an announcement email to your family and friends or an update on your Facebook page.
- Getting free business cards from Vistaprint or making your own business cards, flyers or brochures at home with your printer. And passing them out to everyone you meet.
- Attending in-person networking events in your area that are free or low-cost. Try ones that are hosted by young professionals groups, places of worship, nonprofits or universities.