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).