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My 1st Online Business Journey
Have you ever thought about starting your own online business?
I started my first business back in 2009. It was called Candles-n-Creations and I had such a large vision for my business. This was around the time that everyone was looking for safer alternatives to paraffin wax. I made handmade soy candles and tarts, had one fundraising opportunity and sold retail and wholesale through my website.
I then met someone online that was selling her candle business, along with her client base which included email subscribers and social media followers. I combined both candle businesses and created Primitive Kountry!
As I sit here writing this, I’m realizing how much I miss my business. I love making candles and tarts and seeing the excitement on someone’s face when they open and smell my product for the first time. This is giving me the motivation to start making some again:)
I was trying to grow my business but I wasn’t really profiting much and I didn’t have a great business platform. In all honesty, I had NO idea what I was doing with my first adventure.
I have never gotten over the desire to start my own online business. My degree is in teaching and I love the creative side that a blog has to offer. I can create lesson plans, offer tips and resources, create printables and help others focus on structuring their lives around living more simply and intentional. There is something so exciting about this!
Here are 5 tips to help you grow a successful online business
1. Build a strong blogging platform
I cannot stress this enough! Looking back I realized that I wasn’t prepared to start Candles-n-Creations or Primitive Kountry. I basically had an idea and went with it. It became a sink or swim mentality. I was getting burnt out because I felt like I just kept spinning my wheels with no true focus in mind or a platform to stand on. Do your research, there are PLENTY of helpful blog posts on how to start a blog and how to actually achieve success doing it. Use Pinterest as a starting point, you will find a lot of great blogs and resources. This is something that I didn’t have access to when I started my first business journey.
Personally, I took Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blogging Academy course to help me build a solid foundation. Her course only opens once per year. It is pricey but in my opinion, it is so worth it! I believe with Ruth’s course and the other strategies that I implemented helped my blog to become successful. When you purchase her course you are invited to a private facebook page. This is where I really started networking and meeting my blogger friends.
If you can’t afford Elite Blog Academy right now, my friend Suzi from Start a Mom Blog created a Blog by Number course to help you start and grow your own blog.
2. Look at your business as a “business” and not a “hobby”
I knew right away through my research that if I wanted to be successful at this and make money, I needed to spend money. Could I have done all of this with minimal start-up costs, maybe?? But there is a system, a certain structure to successful blogging that I don’t think I would have known about had I not done my research and invested money into my business. Not to mention, I wouldn’t have met the people that I have; making such strong connections and networking opportunities with other blogger friends. They are not your enemies, it’s actually quite the opposite. The blogging word has changed and us bloggers are networking and connecting together to reach out and provide our reader’s with what they are looking for. It has become less about the blogger and more about serving others.
3. Make your blog about others, not yourself
Say what? That’s right, successful bloggers are offering their readers something that is in demand and useful to them. I’m not saying you can’t ever write about yourself but the focus has to be on your readers. Ask yourself what you can create or write about that would benefit your readers in some way, what are they looking for? What do they need help with? How can you help them simplify their life? At Our Missional Family, we offer several different things; Everything from lesson plans/activities, bible study to recipes and home management. Click here for a FREE list of blog post ideas to get you started.
4. Create “Pillar” Content
I know, that used to be foreign to me as well until I realized how beneficial this is to the growth of our websites. What exactly is pillar content? For starters, this post that you are reading is pillar content. It is in-depth content that focuses on a specific topic. It is content rich information that never grows old. Others will be able to access it for years to come. Unlike, a topic you post that will change in a couple days or weeks. Remember, it’s not the number of times you post on your blog per week, it’s more about posting good, rich, meaty content. I try to post to Our Missional Family 1-2 times per week. The content that I write takes me a little bit longer than just piecing together something that takes 5 minutes, but in the long run, it is so worth it. You also have to proofread your post several times, find a picture that is worth putting in your blog post (to make it Pin-worthy) and you have to make sure all of your keywords, descriptions, and meta tags are good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I use FREE stock photos from Unslpash, Pixabay, and Pexels for my blog photos. You will also see some original pictures on my site that I personally took.
5. Create a simple and functional blog layout
It’s one thing to have a cutesy design but it’s another to create a blog with a simple and functional layout. When I first started my blog I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like. I installed WordPress, purchased domain hosting through Bluehost, purchased Genesis and downloaded my theme from Studio Press. I quickly realized that without coding knowledge, I was not going to get my site to look the way I wanted it to without hiring someone. My husband is a contractor, we were talking one day and he was describing how he has no desire to build the structural part of a house, the framing. Even though he can, this is not where his passion lies. He would rather build and create the entire inside of a house. That’s how I felt about the design of my blog. I didn’t want to take another six months or longer trying to make my site look the way I wanted it to. I was worried that I would get so frustrated and burnt out by the time it was time to write content that I wouldn’t have any desire. I was ready to get started creating things for the inside of my blog. That’s when my husband and I decided that it would be best for me to hire a designer.
Where do I go from here?…
Well, first and foremost, I am so excited for you! You may be feeling a little scared and excited all at the same time. Trust me, this is completely normal. I’m here as your biggest cheerleader; it takes another blogging friend to really appreciate what it takes to build your business from the ground up. You might be nervous about telling others about your blogging journey, this is also completely normal. No one knew about my journey in the beginning except my husband and kids. Even now when I tell people what I do they get a puzzled look on their face. What most people don’t believe is that you can actually make money blogging. It takes a lot of work and dedication. It also doesn’t just happen overnight. But I’m here for you. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did. There’s no reason to re-invent a wheel that has already been invented. There are so many resources out there now to help you on your journey. At Our Missional Family, I will provide you with the steps you need to become successful. I am also just an email away if you need anything or have questions. email@example.com
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE daily schedule printable! It will help keep you organized when starting your online business!