Women, Spirit & Money: Five Simple Solutions You Need to Start an Internet Hub for Your Side Business


By Sherri L. McLendon


First steps for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their big ideas, hobbies or interests into a small business they can operate on the side.”


In western North Carolina, aspiring entrepreneurs often want a side business housed on the internet so they can live and work anywhere they like. Still others want extra income that won’t interfere with the day job, takes no start up money, can be done in their spare time, is enjoyable, and brings in money. Some of these persons usually have one or more big ideas they’d like to run by me, because they know I’ve built my growing, sustainable business from zero.


So, in the spirit of the shoestring entrepreneur, here’s what to do when you have little or no money to allocate to start up costs, but you want to see your big idea get off the ground.


1. Focus Before You Take A Single Step


The first thing many business coaches will tell you is to get a logo and a website up and running. So picking a business name, grabbing the web address, and finding a designer becomes a priority. But before you run around spending money you may not have on a fancy setup and five versions of gadget.com, stop, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and focus.


Tip: Focus your side business on a particular thing others want to learn, know, or do which will solve a problem they’re experiencing.


2. Write it Down, Capture Your Thinking


As you develop clarity, start writing. You’ll need a notebook for this part, because you’re going to make notes about your thinking. Divide your thoughts into sections:


a. How you came to know what you know (the story of your journey)


b. Why others care about knowing, learning, or doing what you have already discovered


c. How does what you can teach them make their life better or solve their problem


d. What they need to do in order to work with you


When you can answer these questions, you are ready to create a basic web site. If you have to choose, invest in a custom web address, but wait to hire a web designer. Many basic sites, like Google’s Blogspot, work great, report to Google’s search engines, and are easy to use and share.


Tip: Add a custom site later, when the business can support it. But if you’re starting from zero out of necessity, low or no cost options make plenty of sense.


3. Build it, But Don’t Expect Them to Come - Yet


The days of putting a small business on the web and waiting for people to find it are gone. Today, you have to find a way to invite others into your world. A web presence is a hub for your business activities online, and is therefore a useful tool for this purpose.


Grab your trusty notebook, edit your best thoughts, and type your responses into your web template. Decide what to leave out instead of trying to put everything in.


Tip: Layout your simple site logically. Make a clear offer. Add photos which help tell the story of what you do and how it helps others. Ask someone else to give the site a test drive and make certain all of it works.


4. Invite People Into Your World


When you invite others into your world, choose to greet them with a gesture of goodwill. Be interested in what they have to say, and leave them better than you found them. Use a signup box for an introductory gift which initiates a relationship. My favorite free email auto-responder is “Mail Chimp.” It comes with instructions and room to grow. Over time, send your community lots of relevant content so open rates remain high.


Tip: Craft a simple sample that represents what it’s like to work with you and deliver it to your visitors.


5. Become the Genuine Article


Blog posts or articles are always short, about 500 words, and address one aspect of a problem you’re helping solve. The end of the article contains a short description of what you offer and contact information. As you continue to share your thinking, and learn more ways to increase your audience, your client base will undoubtedly grow.


Tip: If you have trouble coming up with topics, Hubspot has a free blog topic generator that creates five current titles to keep you focused and moving forward.



Sherri L. McLendon

Sherri L. McLendon

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a conscious business coach and marketing public relations specialist with Professional Moneta International, at www.professionalmoneta.com. She’s currently completing her book, “From Zero to Shero: How to Start from Behind, Get Ahead, and End Up a Winner in Your Business,” based on her own successes as a global online entrepreneur.



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