career

There are 6 non-negotiable things you need to start any business & succeed online. This is how I did them.

GoDaddy
Thanks to our brand partner, GoDaddy

I’ve been working in communications for years – not the IT, telcomm kind but the writing kind, where you sit in front of a laptop all day, crafting words to share stories. 

I’ve been doing this with all sorts of brands, forever. And now, I’m venturing out on the side, putting my experience out there independently.   

A whole new challenge. 

And, as any business owner knows, it ain’t easy getting started. Especially as a new parent, with a baby throwing in a few curve balls along the way. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been conjuring up a lot of support. From the fellow ladies of Mia Freedman’s six-week Lady Startup (LSU) February course to contacts shared by friends, to the support crew behind my website builder… I’m not really ‘on my own’. 

There’s a whole network and suite of tools out there guiding me – and anyone looking to build their own business. 

Here are six steps I took, to help you get started. 

1. Purchase your domain name.

After months – years – of pondering what my concept is and how to ‘label’ my service, I decided that having a website was the best way for me to just get going. 

I used GoDaddy to buy my domain, but doing this took me a few goes: there are so many writers out there, and so many names taken. Every comms related name I could think of was snapped up. Ahhh. 

I remember going back to my ‘why’ (thanks Mia): To help organisations build a stronger sense of community for their employees. Which helped. But even that name, ‘Camaraderie’, was taken. 

So I selected one of GoDaddy’s suggestions instead: www.camaraderiecomms.com. I chose to go with '.com' rather than '.com.au' just so I could be open to working for clients outside of Australia eventually, and not wanting to limit myself. That name I chose was going for $9.95 (to last two years), which I added to my shopping cart. Basically online shopping for business. 

2. Match your domain with a professional email.

There’s nothing quite like a slick new business email to go with a new business name. (Goodbye @gmail and @hotmail days) I always thought this part was hard, but turns out, it wasn’t. 

As part of the domain name registration process with GoDaddy, I had the option to create an email address to match my domain name (I chose Microsoft Email Essentials from GoDaddy for $4.95, which was the best value). It didn’t take long at all to download Outlook to my phone. 

Within minutes, I had my own professional email: [email protected] Perfect.

3. Build your website.

Onto the big one: creating the website. 

I kept putting off this part as I knew this would need a big chunk of time in one go. But, as we were told in LSU, this was pretty doable in daily 30-minute increments over a week. 

Still using GoDaddy, it offered everything in one package, and so I chose my plan and template. I did find the prompts quite handy and overall experience more intuitive than other website builders I’d started on, and only got stuck a few times on minor things that I ended up working my way through. 

I initially avoided calling the helpline because again, I thought this would take hours, but the reps (GoDaddy Guides) were warm and helpful. By this stage, I had a lot more confidence working my way around the site and spent some time playing around with fonts and colour schemes and, in true style, hours on the copy (the less words, the harder it gets, trust me). 

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I remember finding it really helpful being able to see the website come to life in real-time, tinkering away in the back end.  

4. Keep your customers and clients safe. 

Content and website navigation I know… tech hosting, not so much. 

After speaking with other business owners and techies, I was told a hosting solution for my website is a non-negotiable. New territory for me. 

The hosting solution helps with speedy page loading – and service uptime, if using ecommerce – to avoid missing out on potential clients, customers or business. It also ensures visitors are protected while on your site. Something I literally hadn’t thought about. 

I did wonder if this applied to me given my website is more a central repository of my services rather than an ecommerce platform, but decide I’m not up for having any data hacked or stolen. Also, Google now recognises www.camaraderiecomms.com as a safe site to visit (yay!), now that I've got an SSL Certificate installed, meaning any users clicking through to my site won't get that 'not secure' message in the URL address bar.

5. Start your marketing. 

So here we are. 

The online presence is live, and it’s time to put it all out there (eek, the nerves!). Something that doesn’t come easy to many of us – as I heard so many times across the LSU community. 

I started with something I knew well: Instagram. Only because it felt like the easiest thing to do. 

I created a new account and integrated that link into the homepage of my website. I then moved on to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Sounds scary but it was actually very simple. 

I selected keywords that most suited my offering: communication, consulting, community. Based on the location of my clients (everywhere), I then got taken through a strengths test of sorts to make sure all my copy was search friendly. 

Thanks to the SEO prompts, I updated the title of my landing page to Camaraderie Communication rather than just Camaraderie, because having the main keyword in my title, I was told, would help bring my biz up higher in Google search. 

The rest of the copy was up to scratch, apparently. Woohoo, the relief. I remember being quite overwhelmed with all of the marketing options – it helped to start with what I knew, and to then take baby steps into new areas.  

6. Get on with it. Work anywhere, anytime. 

Okay, so now to actually get the business going. As part of my GoDaddy package, I purchased Microsoft 365 Premium which threw me as I hadn’t used Microsoft for years. 

It did take me a while to get used to Microsoft again, but in an exciting way, exploring all the shiny new features I hadn’t seen before: the inbox, the calendar with an inbuilt weather forecast, and the detailed to-do lists – which I’m now using every day. 

One of the challenges I have (don’t we all) is juggling parent life with work life and side hustle life. 

So, having everything synced up has already made it super handy to just access everything in one go: my emails, admin, contacts and any docs like Word and Excel. And to be able to access at any time, from anywhere… like when I’m walking my baby girl in the pram (one handed…). Wait, is that a client email?!

Over to you. A world of start-up support is out there.

GoDaddy
Whether you want to start a business or a side-hustle, or simply strengthen your current business online, GoDaddy has your back. With everything you need to get your business online, from domain names, matching professional email, hosting and comprehensive security. Plus, GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing is a website building tool (with loads of customisable templates) that helps you create a professional website that is free to set up! And, their GoDaddy Guides are there 24/7, on the phone, to help every step of the way.