In September 2015 I launched my first online business as a Virtual Assistant, Shareworkers. I designed and followed this process for a simple DIY online launch.
- Create an Email list.
This is an ongoing business building task. Keep a spreadsheet list of potential customers up to date email address as your sales funnel. To be used going forward for other promotional emails, seasonal events, etc. Sign up for a free account with Mailchimp to send out mass emails, it’s easy to use. Download your LinkedIn connections, find out how here. Gather email addresses for all friends and family and any colleagues, business contacts, social media contacts. This is your opportunity to make an impact so utilise every contact you can find (ok maybe not ex’s).
- Design your website.
I taught myself how to build a WordPress website by following Tyler Moore’s video on Youtube. It was a very start. stop. steep learning curve process that took me several painful weeks but I learnt a lot. Later I discovered that using a theme is the way forward. Now I use DIVI theme because it is fully responsive (works on mobile phones) and easy to use. Top tip – Lay out the website pages like a family tree if you have sub pages before you start. Designing the brand, writing the copy and sourcing the images takes much longer than you think it will. Oh and don’t even bother with a website unless you’re going to get it listed on Google because no one will find it. Google analytics (tracks visitors to your website) and Yoast plugin (measures SEO search engine optimisation) and are free and should also be installed as soon as possible. SEO is another ongoing task with a website.
- Set up social media.
Two or three platforms are enough, it doesn’t look good if your page or posts are years out of date so they need to be maintained. Utilise the same logo and branding as your website, Canva is a great free simple design resource for social media headers. I decided Shareworkers would have a presence on: Facebook for connections with other Virtual Assistants and Networking, LinkedIn for potential clients and Twitter for keeping a finger on the pulse.
- Write launch content.
Write the content for your website, I wrote a blog post ‘What The Floppy is a Virtual assistant and do you need one?’ to clarify what Shareworkers was all about, to explain the Virtual Assistant industry and to promote my new business with a sense of humour. I used Canva for graphics to illustrate my points and kept the copy short so my audience didn’t lose interest.
- Launch! Launch! Launch!
Write an email newsletter including the first few lines of, and then a link to, your blog post. Use a free Mailchimp account to send out to multiple email addresses. Post the blog on your social media channels. Post it a lot of times on Twitter because you can get away with it.
- Post Launch
Twiddle around endlessly tweaking your website. 9 months later decide to re-brand and change the whole website. Rewrite the copy, change the images and become a marketing consultant instead. Well that’s what I did. It’s easy to change your mind online and it’s a great way to learn.