For a while, I have worked in the writing business. Last weekend, I had this strange urge to go outside my personal brand. Not that my personal brand isn’t fun to work on, but I haven’t had a lot of success with conversions.
No – I’m not going to quit blogging. However, I did feel the need to switch my focus a bit.
So, I started my own company – BizScript SEO. In three days, I built the website, posted job listings for open positions, and conducted my first ever interviews as a boss. Let me tell you, I really thought someone slipped me some kind of magic energy pill.
How I managed to knock all of that out in 3 days? Well, my background in website development and freelancing (being my own boss) definitely helped. But, mostly, I think it was the idea of doing something that might actually make me some money.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea I came up with for the business – creative, SEO-driven website and social ad content services – but I really loved the prospect of doing little work and making more money.
So, I figured, as I try to make this business a reality, I would share (a) what I did to get started and (b) what my next steps are. I’m pretty interested to know if I can actually pull this off. With my research and business model, I actually might be able to.
Until then, I plan on just continuing to share with you guys on how it’s going, the issues I run into, and how I do it from beginning to end.
I have read so many blog posts on how people made $20k or what their business expenses look like. However, I’ve never read a blog post where the blogger/business owner literally had ZERO dollars as they were writing it.
Well, let me tell you, my bank account is pretty empty. So, I guess there’s a first for everything, right? Anyways, let’s get down to what you’re really here for: how I got started.
Every money-making thing starts with a lucrative idea.
Okay, I know. That’s pretty obvious. If your idea isn’t lucrative, then it won’t make money. However, I think a lot of people, when they start a business, aren’t really thinking about the money. They’re thinking about how much they love their idea and how great it will be.
While excitement over your idea is a must, so is understanding how you’ll make a profit. I have seen firsthand how passion can be completely trashed and stomped on when a business is going down a bottomless pit of debt.
As much as we may all hate it, you’ve got to have money to keep your awesome idea up and running. That’s just life.
So, when you are coming up with your business idea, the first step is to think about problems. What are some problems you constantly have issues addressing? Next, ask yourself what you are really good at that most people aren’t. Is that something others would pay for?
Your idea should encapsulate what people need, as well as what you have good knowledge on. Notice I didn’t say expertise. I personally think it’s okay for you to not know everything about your idea.
If you follow the business model I am, then your primary responsibility will be research and management. You will learn about your niche and market every day. Don’t let not-knowing keep you away from a good opportunity.
Building your website
So, I’m not going to be labeling these as steps, because I believe everyone works a little differently. Personally, because I have a long history of building websites and website content, I found it ten-times easier to build my brand, mission statement, etc. as I built the site.
This is also why it only took me three days – or, at least, that’s my guess. I did everything simultaneously. I’m not someone to really take things one step at a time and have a low tolerance for patience (I’m working on it).
If you’re not a crazy multi-tasker like I am, don’t stress it. Take it easy and don’t rush. Start with a blank piece of paper if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Then, just jot down some “must-haves” for your business. Your website will be one; your web content another.
There are smaller variables for your website, however, that you will need.
I built my WordPress website upgrading my GoDaddy hosting to two sites rather than one. If you are unfamiliar with what “hosting” is, it’s basically a little cloud that holds your websites. At least, that’s how I think of it.
Website.com has a more technical definition:
Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet.
Yeah, so, basically a little cloud. I nailed it.
Getting a host is relatively simple and fairly inexpensive. I believe I pay $12/month for both The Jinapher and BizScript SEO. If you are interested in using GoDaddy to host your website/business, click here.
Unless you are a coding wizard, I don’t suggest you attempt building your website without a template. I have always used Theme Forest for this service. They have thousands of website templates to choose from.
Because I use WordPress, I simply clicked on their WordPress section of templates and searched for the perfect one.
Prices on templates can range from very cheap to quite expensive. The things to look for are (1) great reviews and (2) great responsiveness, meaning your website will look great on desktops and phones. My template ended up costing me $40 which is pretty average.
I made sure the theme also had great social integrations. I wanted to be sure there were plenty of ways for people to share BizsScript SEO’s posts and services.
After you do some training on your template and how to use it, you’re ready to start writing some content.
Shameless promo – you can hire my new company to do this for you.
Start by making a little outline of your pages on a piece of paper. For me, I knew I wanted to have an “Our Services” page, as well as a “Contact Us” page, to start out with. However, as I began writing my “Our Services” page, I quickly recognized it would be more of an “About Us” page.
While I wrote, I drafted BizScript SEO’s mission statement, general services, and some call to actions. Again, I’m very familiar with all those sorts of things. I’ve been doing them for years. If you can’t do it, then don’t stress about it. Just get a general idea put in place and let someone else help you.
If you’re looking for help in developing your brand and marketing strategy, go here.
Once you have your business name figured out (which you probably decided as you were coming up with the idea and content), you can buy yourself a domain.
A domain is a URL. And, just FYI, sometimes the domain you want is already in use. That means you can’t have it! So, I actually recommend you check for your domain before you get graphics work, such as a logo, done.
I bought my domain through GoDaddy. It just made sense, considering I already hosted through them. They also have a built-in domain checker as your buying. The domain for BizScript SEO only cost me $8, because no one else was using it. The higher priced your domain is, the more likely someone has bought it and is now selling it, rather than it being up for grabs.
Personally, unless you’re an established brand and you can’t undo your branding, don’t buy a domain name that’s already taken. It’s expensive.
Deciding on a Business Model
Right, so like I said, these may seem out of order. This is just the order in which my brain thought, and it ended up getting shit done. So, I can’t complain. But if you need to do these things in a different order, that’s totally up to you.
It’s all personal preference. However, your business model is more than that. It’s the thing that will make you money.
The business model I am using is actually a business model I learned about through Matt Laker. You can watch the exact same video I watched here. It’s called the “Upwork Business Model”. If you’re unfamiliar with Upwork, it’s a freelance platform. You can either hire freelancers on it, or you can apply to jobs on there as a freelancer.
For forever, I’ve done the latter. I’ve applied to jobs, did the work, got a good review and moved on. I never thought of Upwork as a “tool”, until I watched that video by Matt. Now, I use Upwork as a tool for hiring my employees, as well as searching for my competitors (and leads). With a quick search, I can see who is looking for the services BizScript SEO does.
For the business model, it’s all about doing as little work as possible, while maintaining quality and a decent profit margin. That’s the dream, right? It’s easier said than done. Or is it?
There are three positions to fill based on Matt’s example business model: an assistant, a sales associate, and one or two people to actually do the work. He further mentioned you can add a Project Manager down the road, which would truly take all the work off your hands.
For this model to work, however, you have to have your pricing model aligned correctly. You’ll want to dedicate 20% of your profit to your sales associate and another 20% to your workers. For your associate, you can easily use college forums and boards to find assistants willing to work at a lower hourly rate than most. For example, on Upwork, I discovered about five different assistants willing to work at $3/hour.
It will take some research, but finding your workers and your assistant will be relatively easy (depending on your niche/business idea). Because my new business deals with writing content, I knew I would have little to no problem finding some freelance writers. They’re everywhere.
The real struggle I have found is hiring a sales associate, so much so that I’m considering training myself and doing it myself. See, in order for any part of this business model to work, you need leads. If you aren’t experienced in sales, like me, then getting those leads becomes tricky. You must do extensive research, starting with local businesses and working your way out through LinkedIn and other social networks.
Then, the trickier part is learning how to properly pitch your business and get clients. Having a sales associate would surely make all of this easier. However, I’ve not found someone so far that is willing to only work on commission. If by chance you’re reading this, are in sales, and don’t mind working on commission, shoot me an email.
Pricing Your Services / Analyzing Your Competition
So, I’ll be honest with you. This is actually where I currently am in the process. I’m trying to figure out how to properly price my services and compete with other content writing businesses.
The first thing I found to be helpful was finding out who my competitors are. This can be achieved through Google. Basically, approach the situation as if you are your ideal customer. For example, someone looking for BizScript SEO may search, “Best website content,” or, “Who can I hire for better content writing?”
So, I searched those kinds of key phrases, and I checked out the websites that popped up on the first page of each search. Most of my competitors didn’t have their prices on their website. I had to request a quote to be emailed to me, but what helped me most was seeing how they grouped different writing services together.
When you’re building out your services web page, you may think you’re being pretty darn specific. However, you know more about your services, so you may summarize without realizing you have. Visiting my competitors’ sites, I realized I’d done exactly that.
Though you don’t want to treat your customers like they are idiots, you do want to keep in mind that they’re coming to you because they don’t know. You want to take an educational approach to your services and the prices attached to them. Even if your prices seem reasonable to you, you will still need to justify their worth to your customers.
That’s all I have for this week. I’m currently building my pricing model. Then, I will be updating my services page to make it more specific. I hadn’t been doing this, but I will this time around – I will make sure to take before and after screenshots of my website. That way, you can have a visual representation of the changes I’ve made.
I’m thinking next week I can also go over the WordPress Plugins I’ve had the most success with, as well as the specifics of my pricing model.
If you liked this post, be sure to share it! I’m really excited to be going on this adventure, and I’m especially excited that I took the time to write this post. I think this could be super beneficial to entrepreneurs like me who just don’t know where to start.
I know this post was a tad disorganized, so feel free to comment below any questions you have about anything. I will do my best to answer them.
Talk to you next week! Subscribe to my newsletter to be notified when the next post goes live.