Start A Business Steps: Documenting the start-up of an online service business.
Start a business steps series: Introduction
Hi, I’m Mz Fitz. Domestic Misfit and dreamer and explorer of jobs that can be done without leaving the house.
After staying at home with 2 young boys for almost 7 years now, the countdown is on until my youngest starts Kindergarten.
So this is the documentation of my mission to start a freelance health and medical writing service by the time both my children are in school. Too many start up stories only include the highlight reel. I hope you find this real-time journey inspiring and uplifting.
Why plan out Start A Business Steps?
February 2022 (The start of the Australian school year) feels like a long time away. In fact just long enough that I could procrastinate on my ideas a little longer. I know that deadline will come looming sooner than I think though. So I can spend more time daydreaming about possibilities and watching YouTube videos of people killing it doing their own thing. Or I can get on with it.
This isn’t my first attempt at an online business. I’ve tried many different ideas over the past few years. Content marketing, affiliate sales, multi-level marketing and health coaching. I made a bit of money here and there, but nothing every stuck. I don’t think my heart was really in any of those ideas. I was just copying what appeared to be bringing others success. So I never did any kind of serious planning before.
You know the old saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” This time I’m making a plan and I’ll be sharing the steps that I follow as I go.
Steps I took to start a business: Week 1
If you’re following along wanting to start your own online business, this series assumes you already have a rough idea of the kind of business you want to have. If you’re still in the dreaming and ‘finding your thing’ phase, check out this blog post then sign up for the free resource below to start making some discoveries.
Still Figuring Out What You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
You’ve always wanted to have your own online business. This trouble is you don’t know where to start. Download the FREE “Find My Thing” discovery kit and begin your journey from dreamer to business owner.
Step 1. Business Plan (boring I know, but hear me out for a sec).
I put together a business plan. I know a lot of people don’t use these anymore, especially if you don’t need to apply for finance to get up and running.
However, even in the first week, I’ve already found it useful to refer back to while I’m planning and creating. I used a fill in the blanks template that helped me get clear on the problem I solve, target market, customer communication channels, competitors, finances and the top three actions I need to complete before I start taking on clients.
I have to be honest, I’ve spent time and quite a lot of money working through this process with business coaches before on other projects. Coaching or a short business course might be something you find useful if you’ve never written a business plan before. However, today I’m sharing the free option I used.
I went to the Australian Government Business website and downloaded a free business plan template. Then I spent about an hour filling it out. If you don’t want to use the Australian website, then simply Google the “business plan template” and your country to find your local equivalent.
2. Digital Brand Guide
The government business website mentioned above also has free marketing resources. However, I wanted a specific guide for online business. I found it in this free workbook from AdRoll. I actually have no idea what their paid service is, but the free resource section is solid.
I downloaded “The Ultimate Guide to Building a Digital Brand” workbook. This is a very comprehensive (read long) workbook, that I can chip away at as the weeks go on.
During this first week I decided on a value proposition (what makes my business different, what would make customers choose me over a competitor) and performed a SWOT analysis (Looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in my own business as well as for businesses providing a similar service).
3. Online Presence.
Some people don’t want to launch into the online space until they have all their ducks in a row: complete website, content plan, products, on-boarding process, etc. all set.
Personally, I enjoy people’s start-up stories, struggles, wins, failures, lessons and all. Also I’d like to add an alternative voice to the ads I’m always seeing from business gurus wanting to sell their secrets – “I’ve made all the mistakes. Learn from me and start making money this week. No skills, audience, or product required”.
There may be a few unicorns out there that achieve this, but for most of us, we need to go through that learning ourselves.
So, I thought I would share my own start-up story. I have this blog and I’ve started sharing some of the process on Instagram. This way when I launch, some people will already know I exist, and hopefully, I will have developed some relationships to help me kick off successfully.
Starting your own business but don’t care to create an entire website yet? You could start with social media page or YouTube channel where you publish content and drive traffic to a simple landing page (you can create for free with a lot of email providers). Here you can collect emails to start selling your products and services.
Free Tools for Start a Business Steps Series
- Business Planner – Australian Government Business Website.
- Digital Branding Workbook – AdRoll
4. Identify The Gaps
After messing around with various forms of internet business models, I believe I’ve finally found my thing. For years I thought that my very specific Medical Science degree was useless without a laboratory to work in. It turns out I can use it to provide a service from home. That is, taking scientific health gobbledygook from academic studies and turning it into something reader-friendly. Otherwise referred to as health and medical writing.
I’ve only ever done this kind of writing academically, so I figured it would be a very good idea to do a Continuing Professional Development course (I chose Health Writer Hub) and start building a portfolio of different writing styles.
Starting a business at home is also a bit of a mindset game. Even when you’re making progress, self-doubt and imposter syndrome will make repeated, uninvited visits. So I’m also starting my first week of business-alignment-mentoring with the lovely Caroline Lynda.
Over To You
If you’re reading this because you’re starting your own online business or thinking about it, I hope you find some of these ideas and resources useful.
Do you have a skill or special interest that you’d love to turn into a business but you’re not sure how? Unfortunately I don’t have an answer to sell you. Also, I can’t promise you it will be easy.
What I can tell you is that the best way to work out your ‘thing’ is just to start trying stuff.
Make some space for brainstorming right now. Download a free Mental Load Lightener and get those to-dos out of your head immediately. Then, once your brain is free to get creative, you can use this simple PDF to record those sparks of inspiration as they come.
Lighten Your Mental Load
Trying to remember all the things? It’s almost impossible to create with all that noise going on inside your head. Make room for magic with the Mental Load Lightener.
Are you in the early stages of starting your business? Pop a short message about what you do and where we can find you in the comments below.