So you finally bit the bullet and are starting your own online business, but have no idea what steps you should take first. Your first thoughts may be to advertise your talents all over the web, but it takes a lot more than that. There are steps you should take first so you can ensure your success later, and no, that doesn’t mean announce to the world on Twitter that you now have your own business. Slowly build up your business first, get your feet wet, and then get the word out once you feel more secure and settled in what you’re doing.
It’s okay if you’re feeling unsure at first; everyone does when they are starting something new. However, as time goes on and you get more experience, the more you’ll know what you’re doing. Do your research and start focusing on your current skill set – as you get more work you’ll continue to develop skills which you can put emphasis on later. There are a few other ways to make your business great and professional, so you can shine on the web.
Set up a work email and website
This may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people leap forward without putting together a solid work email and website. A nice website doesn’t have to break the bank, either. You can get the basic package for your website and learn how to build it with an easy template that includes instructions or support on where to start. Fit everything you need on just one or two pages. Often a clean cut website will speak for itself without having multiple pages to visit. Having a contact email with the name of your business as opposed to having a Gmail address is also wise. A professional work email address and website says a lot about who you are and the company you represent, even though you are not representing yourself.
Set up a virtual office space
If you travel a lot and don’t necessarily need an office space in one city, consider setting up a virtual office space. Depending on where you live, setting up a virtual office space in New Jersey, for example, will get you the prestigious address you need to help set a professional face to your clients.
Ask for references to put on your website
Whenever someone is just starting a new business, it’s important to get references from the few clients you have had. It’s okay if you only have a few people that’ll write up a reference, it’s better than none.
Have them focus on the services you’ll be providing for your new business since it wouldn’t make sense to have them comment on other tasks you completed for them, especially if it doesn’t pertain to what you’re doing now. As you begin getting clients don’t be afraid to ask them for a good word after you’re done completing the project for them. The more references, the better, though you will eventually only just want to keep up the strongest references on your website.