Is it time to go out on your own?

You have had this desire to start your OWN business.

It has probably been a thought that has lived in your head rent-free for quite some time, maybe even years!

What an exciting thought too—getting to do business exactly how you want to, be the boss you’ve always wanted, and modernizing running things! Plus, the freedom of making your own hours, working from wherever you want…The list is endless…But the steps between dreaming about it and doing it, might not be as exciting. Truth is, it’s overwhelming! How does one get all the things together and what are even all the things needed?! Today, I’m giving you the cornerstones of starting and growing your business. The only reason it feels overwhelming is because it is a lot, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you have a road map, taking you from start to finish, you can make it happen. One thing at a time and before you know it, you will have a running business.

Ready?

These are the things you need to start your business:

Foundation + Clarity

Before even starting to build your business, website and all of that other stuff.  You need the most powerful tool to success, CLARITY. 
If you start with the end-goal in mind and open to enjoying the process, whoa you are in for a treat! 

It’s important to ask yourself:

  • What is your end goal?
  • Why are you wanting to run a business online?
  • How can you make a greater impact?

The last one, may sound like “extra credit,” like this is something people do when they already have a successful business. Here is a little secret – this is how you create a successful business. It’s the true reason you run your business.  Beyond handling your day-to-day business, you get to make a greater impact on your clients, team and community. Every business starts small, and so will yours – but that’s not where it has to stay. Think about that! 



Offer + Pricing

You might have a few different ideas on how you want to offer your service, or heck even multiple ideas of what type of service you want to offer. Deciding on what that is and how much to charge is crucial! It needs to fit with your target audience but what you might not have thought about is, that it also needs to fit your way of living or how you want to live.

To figure that out you can use multiple different tactics, you can look at how other similar service providers set up their offerings and see how you can make it your own OR go back to those thoughts on how you would run your business if you had your own. For pricing, one of my favorite ways to look at this challenge, is to reverse-engineer it from how much you need or want to make a month!



Values + Brand Creation.

When you are just starting out it can be tempting to work with everyone. I get it, and right as you start you should, it will show you who you want to work with, but more importantly, who you do not want to work with.  In the beginning (or honestly at any time), it can be easy to forget that we are in charge, we get to make the rules and that’s one of the big joys of running your own show. This corner stone is very important. More important than you might think right now,  because the clearer you are on how and with whom you do business, the easier e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g will be.



Website + Online Presence

Probably one of the first things you think about when you start your business is that you need a website and online presence.  Yep, that is the today’s truth. Having the previous bullets clear first will make this process a lot easier. First step with an online presence—get your domain! Then simplify all your thoughts to the least necessary.  The website should not be an obstacle to get going, it should be a ticket to learn about and grow your business!



Marketing + Content

This is the one most of us don’t want to think about… because you are starting your business to offer your expertise and service, yep I know. But the kicker is if you have no customers or clients, you have no business. Sorry to be harsh, but you need to learn to sell your services and let the world know about them.  Selling can be fun if you do it the right way. There is a plethora of ways to market, so research different methods and then focus on the one you actually like.  (Just make sure your ideal client likes to receive content that way).



Tools + Optimization

Once your business is up and running, there are many different tools that can help you simplify life, to make it user-friendly for your clients (yeah, you can finally be truly tech forward). My favorite time-saving trick is noticing the patterns and tasks I repeat and turning them into templates and SOPs! Once you have a rhythm with your business, you will find this saves a lot of time!

 

Who am I kidding, it is all still a lot!

 

You want a little extra help to get it nailed down?
Well, I’m glad you asked! The thing is, I’m launching a program January (perfect start to the new year), where I dive into the details of all this, and guide you through each corner-stone.

So, if you have been wanting to make your business and website happen, but aren’t sure where to start or need some support to actually follow through. You are in luck! You, me, and a community of like-minded individuals will jump into this together and get you up and running.

If you know of a friend who has been talking about starting a business forever, to the point that it is annoying. Do them (and you) a favor and forward this note to them, it will be the best support you can offer them! 

Are you ready?

Let’s go,

Building & Maintaining a Strong Reputation

Do great work. Have integrity. Genuinely care about your clients.

If you ask me, that is the recipe for building and maintaining a strong reputation.

How did I get to this?

I believe it’s a combination of a few things.

For starters, I work with my innate gift of communication and design, my upbringing teaching me to follow through on my word, and lastly, recognizing how the incredibly lucky amount of support from my family and friends has encouraged me to want to pay that support forward.

I am a people person and have a deep fascination of human behavior, which is pertinent in branding and user experience, but also within the service industry and working with directly people. I have developed active listening skills and the ability to pinpoint peoples extraordinarily qualities, which is a serious magic trick.

building a strong reputation doesn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure.

I moved to California in the end of 2008 and started my business 2009 as a side gig. I didn’t have much of a plan, I just knew I liked design and the computer was a grand tool to experiment with it.

By 2014, my side gig turned into a side hustle that had me working 24/7 and I wasn’t living a healthy work-life balance. So, I did what any sane person would do; I gave my two weeks’ notice at my “real” job with no plan.

I remember asking myself, “Um, what do I do if the clients don’t keep coming like they have…?”

Then 2017 came and new life circumstances gave me a fresh start. These experiences were extremely challenging and were filled with frustration, tears, and a lot of time searching, listening, reading, and thinking.

During the very slow and long process of building up my company, I had built a reputation with my clientele of doing branding + websites differently, and my audience stood out in a saturated market. I gave everything I could to my clients (and a bit more) and I genuinely cared about how they did.  

I still do this today, but with a much clearer process, improved work, and even more care and enthusiasm of how I can be supportive to my clients and their growth. 

When you do great work, have integrity, and genuinely care about your clients you also build the most important element of relationships: trust.

My clients know they can trust my company, our work, and what we can do for them.

With clarity and intention this can be done faster, but this was my long journey to realizing what really matters. 

Do great work + do what you say you are going to do + genuinely care about it

This is the recipe to doing what you love for a very long time!

It’s such a gift and when work is a fun – whoa, life is good!

The importance of a mentor

I don’t know about you but, I tend to think I can do everything myself.

My logical mind knows that’s not true and now I am way better at looking and asking for help. 

Building my business as an independent graphic designer who didn’t (well, couldn’t really) think further than the next month to now running a team of five has been a life changing and major shift in how I look at almost everything business related.

And nope, I have for sure not done that all by myself. I have mentors to thank.

Mentors that I talk directly to and mentors I “spy” on.

Both types of mentors have been valuable to my growth, personally and professionally.

As you might know, I have always been an athlete which means I have always had a trainer or a coach guiding me. This was an instrumental part of realizing I needed one for business too. Why on earth would I try to figure everything out on my own when there are so many that have so much insight to offer?

Then the big question, how do you find a mentor?

Yes, sure there are lots of coaches out there, but which one should you connect with? I didn’t want a certified business coach, I wanted someone who has done what I want to do. I wanted to be guided by someone who knows my field and the struggles that come along with it but has figured out a way to make it happen.

Here’s what I did:

I took a step back and thought about the type of people I like to be around, those who I could learn from, and made a conscious decision to surround myself with those who are adding value to my life.

But where to begin when finding a mentor at this point in my career?

Look no further than my favorite professional tool, LinkedIn. I looked up a few different people in my field who had extensive experience and reached out to a few individuals asking if I could meet up for a coffee chat. To my surprise, one said yes!

I joined communities with like-minded folks.

I researched podcasts that would be beneficial and started listening as much as I could, when I was walking, training, cleaning the house, anywhere, anytime.

My greatest mentor, my father, has been the biggest bonus in my business journey. He is an entrepreneur enthusiast, has been a businessman his whole life, and worked in a field like mine. Growing up, I thought of him as dad flying around the world for work but didn’t really know the gift I had right in front of me. Then when I was on the hunt for people to learn from it hit me like a ton of bricks, and what an eye-opening experience that was!  

Not only do I get a gold mine of knowledge and objective opinion a call away at any time, but I also got closer to my sweet dad which probably is the best gift I could have ever asked for. I know I’m extremely fortunate but perhaps you have somebody around you that you haven’t seen in that way before.

When you start opening up to the knowledge that is already out there, get ready for some big shifts.

When is it time to grow your team?

The time is now!

By hiring somebody, if only for a couple of hours a week, is an investment in the growth of your business. Even though you are handling everything fine on your own right now, at one point you may want to grow or take vacation without bringing your work with you.

In all honesty, it is impossible to be great at everything in your business.

Also, I’m sure there are few things you don’t enjoy doing anyway.

Those are the things you can start getting help with!

The stuff you constantly dread doing and wish somebody else could do for you…

Yep, that is the stuff you don’t need to do, instead you can have somebody help you with it.

If you’re reading this and saying, “I can’t hire somebody right now!”, I hear you.

You don’t need to hire somebody full time, or even part time. There are plenty of people who would love to just get a few hours here and there, maybe they have multiple clients they are working a few hours for.

In other words, hiring somebody as soon as possible for just 2 hours a week, to do the little things you don’t love will relieve an incredible amount off your plate.

The “I can do it better myself” mentality will only take you so far. Even if it takes more time to teach them how to do it, remembering that hiring is an investment in your future, as well as your business, and the long-term success of both.

It is also good to train your mind not to think about everything you need to do on your own, as that can create a lot of stress and later build up to spreading yourself too thin. Rather, remembering to hand off tasks because things become too much will set you up for success.

Does hiring someone have to be costly?

Hiring somebody for just two hours doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are plenty of options and tools out there to help you find people either locally, domestically, or internationally.

By getting help with the stuff you don’t love for two hours a day or week means you will get two more hours to focus on the stuff you enjoy and are good at. 

Slowly but surely, you are working towards focusing on the stuff you do the best while letting others do what they are good at.

What are the things you dislike doing?

The Value of Attitude + Perspective

I just came back from a trip to Ivory Coast, West Africa.

The whole trip was fantastic in so many ways. I truly believe it is a gift to experience other cultures as it challenges you to look at things from a different perspective. 

I mean, who says what you are doing is the right way of doing things?

Just because you have always done something one way does not mean you need to keep doing it that way.

A new perspective can bring a lot of gratitude to surface, especially when visiting a developing country.

If you stay in your “world”, oftentimes known as your comfort zone or bubble, you will limit your challenge of thinking differently.

However, you don’t need to travel across the world to alter your perspective, to challenge your comfortable way of thinking.

Let’s think about it, when is the last time you joined a group of people who are vastly different from you?

Or when was the last time you decided to give something new a chance?

For me, I felt majorly challenged in Ivory Coast.

In addition to a culture that was vastly different from mine (a combination of living in Sweden and the United States), the challenges expanded far beyond cultural differences.

I was immediately challenged by the terrible infrastructure issues, found myself eating foods that I would not normally consider eating (and probably wouldn’t have, if I knew what I was eating) in ways I would not choose how to eat the food.

I felt sad by the non-existent waste system and lack of cleanliness, stressed by the non-existing traffic rules and awful about the obvious signs of corruption, and felt feelings of guilt as I watched children play soccer on a dirt field without shoes.

I felt remorse as I watched so many people with very little opportunity live in poor conditions, and it was difficult to communicate with others whose culture and language I do not understand, all while being consistently sticky from mosquito spray.

Despite these challenges, my experience was absolutely incredible!

Because really, at the root of all experiences is your attitude.

Your attitude is formed by your willingness to accepting a challenge and how you decide to act.

It’s no secret we had issues, saw sadness, and ran into problems every single day, but if instead of looking at these obstacles as barriers, viewing these experiences as opportunities to learn, help, and grow allows the uncomfortable to become comfortable.

Just because something is difficult does not mean there is not beauty in it.

It was fascinating to see how people used their creativity to make money and how they moved through traffic with the unspoken rules of honk and go as you please. Rather than questioning these unorganized traffic rules, I learned this was their way of working together to get through life.

Although many things in life are out of our control, how we choose to see and interact with the world, our perspective and attitude, are the largest impacts on how we experience life.

I met amazing, warm, and hard-working people, saw incredibly beautiful nature, was blown away by colors and designs, ate fantastic food, became excellent at maneuvering in a chaotic city, and developed a newfound patience and appreciation for rules and opportunities.

Most importantly, Africa reminded me of the value of perspective and attitude.

You Can Do Hard Things

I have a few sticky notes on my desktop, one saying “You can do hard things!”.

Silly? Maybe, but whatever helps you push through challenges. A little reminder like that works for me and maybe it would for you too!

Whatever you must do to tackle the uncomfortable stuff.

I don’t know about you, but there has been a lot of uncomfortable stuff in my life lately, like a lot… to the point where I’m wondering, what’s going on?

But then I’m reminded that life’s hurdles come and goes in waves. I’m not sure if that is scientifically proven or not, but if not, I’m sure it could be!

As the true optimist that I am, that can only mean one thing, that soon there will be a wave of goodness coming my way! 😉

But let’s be real, what’s hard?

We set up these imaginary boundaries in our heads, yep, they are “homemade” imaginary boundaries.

Like:

  • “I can’t jump from a high rock because I’m afraid of heights.”
  • “I can’t public speak because people might think what I say is irrelevant.”
  • “I can’t make that phone call because they might tell me no.”
  • “I can’t charge more because who am I to charge that much?”
  • “I can’t grow my business because I just don’t know how.”

Well, I’m here to tell you (and me) this a bunch of BS! You can do hard things!

You made up those boundaries, so you can also throw them out the window and make new ones.  It’s actually a simple choice. 

Instead of doubting yourself and making excuses, try this:

  • Take one more step and you will be jumping.
  • Find another audience who resonate with you.
  • Push one more button and wait until they pick up.
  • Increase your prices.
  • Reach out to somebody who has grown a business before.

One of my favorite things to watch and support is when people around me do really hard things. I know they can do it and all that is needed is a bit of encouragement and a reminder that they can do hard things. That reminder can be anything from a sticky note, mentor, friend, or family member who knows your homemade boundaries are simply that, homemade. 

On the other side of those boundaries are beautiful achievements:

A sense of accomplishment, growth, and the realization that these boundaries were all made up in your head.

Now imagine what else you can do!

So, today, I simply want to remind you (and me) that you can do hard things!

Not only can you, but you should.

Can You Build a Brand on Your Own?

Believe it or not, I often recommend building your brand and website on your own…!

You might wonder why, I of all people would suggest that… I’m about to tell you.

When you start out, you don’t need a flashy website, a visual identity that is spot on, or unique messaging designed to fit you and your audience just perfectly. It’s a “nice-to-have”, at that point.

Yes, I said you do not need all that.

In the beginning you just need to start. Which on its own is not an easy feat, but that’s it.

Start with A DIY website.

Maybe have a logo on it, then go out there and figure out what you are doing, how you do things, and for who, THEN hire somebody to help you communicate that. Not the other way around [unless you have heaps of money laying around that you just need to get rid of, because it is of course very helpful! 😉 ]

I often see people hiding behind fixing and editing a website to be just “right” before they can go out and sell their goodness… yeah you know what I’m talking about, I know you have done it too.

Smiling, it’s ok, it’s also a time to think and define what you are doing and how. Just remember to not do it for too long because clarity comes from acting…not thought.

Oh, have I done that? Yes, of course. It’s even trickery when you are a brand designer and own an agency, ha, but the same rules go for me. Being aware of the excuse, [yes, it’s an excuse] can get you to change direction quicker though.

So today, I’m hoping I’ll nudge you into action, with your maybe not so perfect set up, and let you know that you can do it on your own.

Well, you don’t have to do it fully on your own.

There are lots of great tools and support out there, which brings me to something exciting! I have been working on this idea for quite some time, understanding why we make excuses for ourselves.

Sometimes you need to let things marinate, get the right experience before you can release something you are really excited about into the world. I have finally carved out time to create a course to help folks who aren’t ready to work with a professional still get fabulous guidance and support! 

The truth is, there is just sooo much to know about setting up your business online – so much.

This course is something I wished I had way back when I got going, it’s a collection of all the goodness I have learned in the past decade or so.

Launch w/ Ease will not only teach you how to set up your brand and website, but also how to build your business with confidence so you can start making money.

The best part – I will be there alongside you during the whole process to support, because without support…ugh, it makes things everything a whole lot more difficult, that’s a fact.

So, hey! If you are interested in learning more about this lovely course of mine, please click here, or simply sign up below, and you will be the first to know when it’s available!

Be the first to Launch w/ Ease

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If you are not interested, no worries!

I still hope you take action on whatever you are working on, put it out there and share your goodness with the world!

 

A Photoshoot Brings Your Website to Life

DO YOU WANT YOUR WEBSITE TO LOOK 10X BETTER (IF NOT MORE)?

Simple trick: Have a photoshoot.

It is seriously such a big difference if:

1) You have real photos versus stock photos (although in some areas great stock photos can work like a charm!)

2) If those photos are great, you are much more ahead of the game.

I work with a lot of different photographers, and I’m always just as excited and anxious to get the photos because the quality of them will make a tremendous difference.

You can think of it like sourcing the best ingredients for cooking a meal… you know the difference on a store-bought tomato and a home grown one… yeah, it’s like that!

Today I thought I would give you some tips on how to set up a great photoshoot.

FIRST, FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.​

  • You can ask a friend for recommendations
  • Search Instagram using hashtags, and easily get a spread of delightful photos so you can see if you like their style
  • If you are on a budget, ask a photography student
  • Or simply just ask a friend who has a creative eye

Type of photos

  • Client meeting –  invite a client (or ask a friend to act like a client) and have him/her dress appropriately – colors, style etc. – then set up a meeting with them portraying exactly how it would be in real life. The point of a photoshoot is to let your potential new client get a sneak peek into your world, who you are, and how you do things, so be authentic.
  • You at work – you at the computer, in your office, at your desk, etc.
  • You working – you with a notepad, pen, on the phone, researching, etc.
  • You communicating –  you on the phone, video conference, talking to co-worker, etc.
  • Filler photos – they should not have you in them, or you in focus, but rather portray your essence. It can be a blazer on a chair, big jewelry, glasses, fun socks, nice car or watch, a glass of wine, etc.
  • Family if family is part of your life bring them either in focus or out of focus
  • Pop of brand color incorporate your brand colors in accents like an armchair, wall, plant, flowerpot, pen, bag etc.

Technicalities

  • Horizontal images: Because we are shooting for a website, horizontal images work better. I know it is tempting to do vertical photos for bio/head shots, but I would suggest shooting horizontal, so you have space next to you, and the images will fill up the computer screen. If you don’t need the entire image, you can always crop it to fit. Having space next to you gives more depth as well as a perfect opportunity to lay a call to action on top of the photo
  • Interesting angles: Shooting at slightly unexpected angles makes for a much more interesting shoot and immediately takes your site to another level
  • Lighting: Great lighting is essential. You want it for removing shadows, illuminating your face, etc. You can also use lighting in a creative way, for example if some sunlight is coming in creating a ray on your desk etc. Lighting can take your photos to whole other level.
  • Negative space: Negative space is, actually, positive 😉 What negative spaces means is that you have empty space around you/the object.  As mentioned above, it’s a great place to lay text over the photo, but it also gives the viewer breathing room and a sense of space.

What to wear

  • Wear what you would wear when meeting with a client
  • Brand colors: Dress in something that has your brand colors or complementary to your brand colors. However, you do not want to go overboard (unless that is your thing). Using subtle placement makes the photoshoot natural while reminding the user of your colors.
  • Multiple looks: If you can, shoot in a couple different outfits. Changing up your looks is as simple as swapping out your blazer, changing your blouse, or putting on a new pair of shoes! It will give you better variety for the site, give it more life, and it is fun!

Where to shoot

  • Your office – If it is on brand and looks nice
  • Office-like space – Find a space you like visually, can be a coffee shop, hotel lobby or co-working space. It’s okay that it’s not your space. What you are doing is creating the experience of working with you and if it’s not exactly where you would work that’s totally fine.
  • Home – Depending on what kind of work you do, or how you work with your client, you can just shoot in your kitchen, your patio, etc.
  • Outdoors – Shoot in a park, city scape, beach, hiking trail, biking to work etc.

I HAVE CREATED A GUIDE FOR YOUR PHOTOSHOOT, DOWNLOAD IT BELOW!

Extra goodies

It can be a little uncomfortable if you are not used to being in front of the camera, so make sure to have fun. I recommend candid lifestyle shoots; they are more genuine and comfortable. Perhaps bring a friend who can help with the shoot, provide their perspective, or just make you feel at ease.

I also recommend, checking out the location beforehand so you are comfortable know what to expect. Being comfortable in your environment will make your photoshoot run smoothly and be more fun!

Whether you have a friend or photographer shooting, optimizing your time is thoughtful.

Have fun!!

I hope this inspires you to get in front of the camera!

Procrastination is overwhelming. Here’s how I overcome it.

It's no secret, procrastination is overwhelming.

As I write this, it’s my dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!!). Because of his big day, I, of course, called him and sang. He smiled on the other side and told me while giggling that I was the first to sing for him. In all honesty, he probably meant that I was the first to sing for him that horribly… yeah, I can’t brag about my pipes really, but oh well, done is better than perfect!

Which brings me to procrastination and to do things even if it feels uncomfortable or not being ready for it. My dad has always encouraged me to take action (so it’s basically his own dang fault he got a horrible birthday song in his ear ;)!

I believe taking action is one of the biggest challenges we have as business owners. It’s so much easier to fill the day with organizing things, fiddling with designs on an IG post vs. doing the work that really matters.

Slight backstory, I’m one of those lucky lucky people who happen to have a father who is also my business (and life) mentor. He has run his own businesses, worked for huge corporations as well as small ones, has a brilliant mind and a big heart, and he has been my greatest influence on how I run and do business.

The number one thing that he would say when I call and ask if I should do this or that…is: Gor De, with his sweet slightly countryside accent.

Gor De, is Swedish for “Do it“ or “Just take action“.

It’s such an easy concept but sometimes, oh so difficult to execute.

He has always encouraged me to try and see how it goes. You can’t do more than mess up.

Procrastination only happens if you are not clear on what you should do or if it’s something that is uncomfortable to do.

So, this whole procrastination thing is really a change in mind set.

Here are some ideas to train yourself to “Gor De”, or “do it anyway”, when you feel like you would rather be in your comfy socks, wrapped up in a soft blanket in front of the bustling fire
  • Have a sticky note on your computer or your bathroom mirror with a reminder of taking action, of doing it anyway. Or a sign, like me, with my dad’s saying on my office wall.
  • Be clear on where you want to go and why. Having clarity feels so good and makes doing uncomfortable things quite a bit easier.
  • Schedule your stuff! Set aside a day, some hours to do what you need to do. Don’t just put it on your to do list, actually put it on your schedule and block out the time. More importantly, when somebody asks if you are available at that time to do something different, the answer is no. Whoa, for me that’s a tricky one. Because “it’s just my own stuff” but it is so important to take care of your own stuff.
  • I like to see change visually…might you be one of those too? For example, I have listed how many articles/videos I want to do this year. When one is done, I make a mark on my paper calendar, so I can see I’m one step closer to completion.
  • Because of my athletic background, I might be slightly competitive, so I like to turn most things into a sport or game. For example, last time it took me two hours to write x, next time, maybe I can do it in 1.75hrs instead…! Keeping track of time, amount, or anything tangible to see improvement makes doing tough things more fun!
  • Do it with a friend! Monthly Marketing day, work out, schedule social media posts. When you meet up with somebody you have one more person to keep you accountable. If you are anything like me you might enjoy team working a tad bit more!

The biggest thing is integrity, the only true cure to procrastination.

If you say you are going to do something, do it. Whether it’s for you, a client, or somebody else, you can practice that every day. Start with the little things like making the decision to making your bed every morning, showing up on time, to only doing phone calls on Tuesday etc. and stick to those decisions!

And as my dad would say, if you mess up, just do better tomorrow.

I hope this inspires you to find some ideas to take action or just Gor De, comfortably or not.  Small steps, in the right direction, is all you need.

Don’t Forget to Change Your Oil! Website Maintenance Recommendations

Keep your site up to date.

Website maintenance recommendations are coming your way. But first, let’s remember the work it took you to get there and why you need to maintain your website in the first place.

I know, getting a website created and set up is a big deal…from figuring out your niche and your offerings, getting your message just right, doing a fancy photoshoot, establishing your new visual identity to display all over your website. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really an exciting time! And it’s even more exciting when it’s time to open the doors and let the world know you are here!

I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but I do want to keep it real. I don’t have babies, but I imagine it being sort of similar (except the website reveal is most likely a lot less painful)! You plan, prep and get set up for the special day. Baby arrives and there’s lots of joy and excitement, but then…the real work starts. It’s sort of the same with creating your business and launching your website. It’s super exciting, but then…the real work starts. (Not a good metaphor? Hit reply and let me know).

Now it’s time to “nurture” that business so that it grows and prospers.

You need to make sure the website is working for you, so that people are actually coming to your site. You do this through networking, blogging, podcasting, socialmediaing (that might not be a word, but it is now), YouTubing, speaking, advertising, stapling posters to the community board, etc. When you start growing your business you will also inevitably want to update your site as your business goes through different changes. i.e. changing your offers, adding services, adding pages and so on. All of this can be fun, if you set it up that way. What might be a little less fun is making sure your site is up to date and secure so you can keep serving folks through your site.

Think of it this way…

You get oil changes every 5,000 miles,

You clean your teeth every 6 month or so,

You visit the doctor annually to make sure you are healthy,

Your smartphone has a bunch of apps that need to be updated so they run smoothly.

 

Similarly, this maintenance is needed for your website. It needs to be up to date to run smoothly. It needs be as secure as possible. And, it needs to be backed up just in case something does happen.

If your site is on WordPress, here is a “little less fun” list I would recommend you take a look at, or have a professional take a look at for you:

  • Back up your site
  • Research Theme vs WP versions for compatibility so it’s safe to update
  • Backup WordPress, theme, custom CSS rules and other possible items
  • Update your copyright if it’s passed another year
  • Update plugins (in correct order)
  • Clean out any unused plugins
  • Check that forms and links work

 

Lastly, make sure your site handled all the updates without losing any information or displaying in a funky way.

It’s pertinent to stay on top of this, because you have put in a lot of work to get here, and I know you don’t want to have to deal with your site being down. It’s not only time consuming but could be very costly.  If you don’t stay on top of updates you are opening the doors to unwanted guests, like hackers and malware. And before you say it, I know your site doesn’t have anything valuable on it (like credit card information) and it’s just a small informational site, but the sad truth is…it doesn’t matter anymore. For some odd reason that I don’t know or understand, people like to go in and break things anyway.

To end this post on a good note, make sure to stay on top of your oil change, teeth cleaning, smartphone updates and website check-ups, and I promise you that life will run a little bit smoother (at least in those areas)!