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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Business
 

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Business

May 16, 2019

Starting a business or find yourself spinning your wheels? You might be making one of these three mistakes. I’m sharing the worst three mistakes I made in the first eight months of having my business and how to avoid them if just starting out.

Prefer to watch, instead of read? I’ve got you boo. Scroll down to watch a quick 5 minute video!


I made a lot of mistakes, I mean I think it’s part of the game, but my goal - to help you avoid some of the worst.

In fact, today on the blog I’m sharing 3 mistakes that I’ve made so you can hopefully avoid them (or at the very least stop doing them now) in your own business.

I’ve been in business 3 years so one mistake a year right? WRONG! And if we’re being honest most of them happened the first 8 months of business.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. BUILDING MY FIRST WEBSITE

It’s like the entrepreneur plague! You want to be official so you spend so much time building a website no one is going to find. Seriously, no one will know it exists and no one will just stumble on it in the beginning.

Unless you are trained in SEO and implementing on your new website the odds of people finding you via search is super slim.
Entrepreneurs spend all their time and money in the beginning building a business when they should be spending it on social media to build a community - which is FREE btw!

If I were starting over I’d spend 8 months building a following on social media (just one), talk to people, discover my voice and then build my website!

2. NOT NICHING DOWN

Major facepalm on this one. No joke I use to call myself a Freedom Coach - what does that even mean? I was trying to be too much in the beginning and struggled to effectively attract and communicate with anyone.

When I finally got specific in focusing on branding and even more specifically around storytelling everything became more clear.

If I were starting over I’d take time to REALLY think of what gap and market I wanted to fill in the online space. And I’d keep going deeper and deeper until I could clearly communicate what I do! This right here can be the difference between your first client and the struggle bus.

Want help with this? Grab my free niche guide here.

3. BRANDING DONE WRONG

In the beginning, I was so lost. I did it ass backward and dove right into researching other brands in my industry and deciding on the aesthetics. Do you know what happened?

I spent 8 months building and then scrapped it all! It in no way reflected my message or story and therefore freaking sucked.

If I were starting over I’d define my niche, learn more about my audience (social media), tap into my story, define my messaging AND THEN choose my visuals.

I did this btw - months later and as a result, I’ve not had to redo my brand in 3 years, just elevate it as I grow as a person! Now I teach other entrepreneurs how to do the same.

Want to learn more about my journey and sign up for my Netflix-style masterclass where I’m sharing a complete Roadmap of the steps I took? You can watch this video on your time here.

Please share your biggest takeaways from this blog post and how you’re going to implement this information in your own business!

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry

P.S. Are we connected on Instagram? No? Well lady what’s happening here we’ve got to fix that. Come hang out with me on my favorite social media platform. Follow for inspiration and send me a DM to know we’re connected.

 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


New Entrepreneur Shopping List
 

New Entrepreneur Shopping List

April 12, 2019

New Entrepreneur Shopping List - Starting your business can be overwhelming, especially when you see all the options available to you in regards to systems and products. I’ve made it super easy in this post to give you my top recommendations for new entrepreneurs so you don’t have to waste time searching the internet. Plus, you’ll get some freebies from these amazing providers as well!

Starting a business can be super overwhelming. You can go from “Wohoooo, this is happening!” to “Holy Sh*t! Where do I even start!”

There are countless options on the internet that you can use for list building, sending emails, collecting leads, housing your course, accepting payments, designing, etc….

Seriously, that list goes on and on and on.

When I started my business not one single person told me what I should be investing in for my business. I was bootstrapping my buns off so I did a lot of research to find the right platforms that worked for me and my clients. Now three years later I’ve come to love a few specific platforms and tools and recommend them to all my clients.

So I thought why keep them to myself - so many of you need this information in your back pocket.

If you’re a new or aspiring entrepreneur read on for my Ultimate New Entrepreneur Shopping List!

1. Kajabi

If I had known about Kajabi from the beginning of my business it would have saved me so many freaking headaches. Now, we are working on moving all my stuff to Kajabi because it can do #allthethings. Kajabi is an amazing platform that allows you to house your website, grow your email list, house your courses and accept payments.

Some of my favorite features in Kajabi are:

  • Course Creation

  • Membership Sites

  • Email Marketing

  • Lead Generation (including landing pages)

  • Automation (i.e. sales funnels)

  • Webinars

  • Accepting payments

It’s now my #1 suggestion for entrepreneurs because it’s that good. The best part is even if you don’t have a course or membership site now you can grow into it. Now, I know it might seem like a scary investment right out of the gate, but when you add up all the individual platforms trust me you’ll spend just as much and end up switching later. You can test out Kajabi for 30 days for FREE.

2. Email Marketing

If you’re really bootstrapping or currently loving your website provider, you still need a strong email marketing platform. A community is everything when you are starting out and you NEED to be connecting with them beyond social media.

Creating an email list allows you to stay in contact with your audience, build trust with them through consistency and ultimately sell your offers and products, so this is an area you can’t skimp. I love Convertkit because it gives me the high-level segmenting (like Kajabi) without a major price tag.

If you’re looking for an email platform that can grow with you, I highly recommend. Get a free trial here.

3. Roadmap to Freedom

Shameless plug? I think so. Look, I’ve been doing this business thing for a few years now and if there is one thing I see so many entrepreneurs missing it is a step-by-step plan that supports them from start to finish.

I know if I had this at the beginning of my business I could have grown even faster. And this step-by-step plan does not mean starting on social media - that’s a big fat NO!

It’s following the 5-step roadmap to build a solid foundation, community and so much more. I’m sharing this exact roadmap in my upcoming masterclass, sign up here.

Want to learn more about the Roadmap to Freedom program that has helped so many women creating a thriving online business that allows them to make money on their terms and create a life bigger than their dreams? Head here: brandmerry.com/freedom

4. SmarterQueue

It’s no secret that social media is one of the best free tools for growing your business. It’s important when utilizing these platforms (think Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook Groups and more) that you are consistent.

If you’re currently flying by the seat of your pants and coming up with content every day you’re going to get overwhelmed super quick AND if you’re posting your content once and then letting it drift away into the social media black hole you’re wasting time.

Enter SmarterQueue! SmarterQueue allows you to pre-schedule your content across multiple platforms and evergreen your content, meaning you can recycle your posts every few weeks so your great content is actually seen.

You need a social media scheduler for your business and your sanity and SmarterQueue is my favorite. Test out SmarterQueue for 30 days

5. Trello

And finally we get to my favorite topic...organization! Remember when I talked about flying by the seat of your pants and how that just doesn’t work?! Well, there is an easy and free fix to this and it’s Trello.

Trello allows you to create boards for your business, organize tasks, evergreen recurring tasks, communicate with team and so much more.

I don’t go a freaking day without utilizing my weekly Trello board and have boards for all areas of my life, including our full-time travel schedule. Read more about how I use Trello in my business.

And did I mention it’s free? There is literally no reason for you to NOT sign up. Sign up for Trello

There’s a lot of information, tools, resources, etc in the online space (mine included), but it really comes down to finding something that works well for someone else, testing it for 30 days and making modifications.

Trust me when I tell you I’ve done the testing and these are my top recommendations and shopping list for new and aspiring online biz owners.

Reminder: If you’re just getting started I highly recommend Kajabi so you don’t have to piece it all together and can create a platform that grows WITH YOU!

Please share your biggest takeaways from this blog post and how you’re going to implement this information in your own business!

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry

P.S. Are we connected on Instagram? No? Well lady what’s happening here we’ve got to fix that. Come hang out with me on my favorite social media platform. Follow for inspiration and send me a DM to know we’re connected.

 
 
Michelle Knight_ headshot copy.jpg

Hey there, I'm Michelle Knight

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I'm a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. I created my own business just after having my first baby and while working a 9 to 5.

Within one year I left my 9 to 5 and created a 6-figure business. Now I spend my days as a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs, raise my little boy and travel the world with my little family of 3.

MORE ABOUT ME ↠

BRANDING

BUSINESS Tips and TOOLS

Travel

Time mangement

Self-worth love


TOP POSTS TO ENJOY!


How to Add SEO to Your Squarespace Website

How to Add SEO to Your Squarespace Website

I know how important it is to drive traffic to your website if you have a blog. Otherwise, what's the point, if no one can actually see the content that you're creating? So today I want to support you in two pieces of the puzzle to improving the SEO on your website.

1. Content is Key

How to Add SEO to Your Squarespace Website | Squarespace tutorials, SEO for beginners 

Number one is your content. I am telling you that none of the cool features matter if the content on your blog and on your website is kind of crappy and ultimately if your audience doesn't want it, then they're not going to be searching for it, so it's really important that you put the majority of your energy on creating content that your audience wants. You need to know who your audience is and, more specifically, what it is that they're looking for online and then you create the content to meet that need.

Some of my favorite ways to find out what my audience is searching for are to step in their shoes and imagine what they're googling online. Now if you're like, I don't want to imagine Michelle, I just want to know specifically, so I ask them. Go ahead in a group, in a private community and ask them what they're searching for online or what specific questions they have about the industry that you're in. Another fun tip is to go to blog posts that are in a similar industry as you would see, what kind of comments are coming through the bottom, see what people are asking about, and then create content that meets that need. Or, go into a facebook group and see what people are asking about your specific niche and create content that again meets that need. I can't stress enough to you how important content is and if you're struggling with coming up with ideas, it is as simple as asking your audience, what can I create for you? 

Some of my biggest, most impactful, most traffic driven blog posts that I have are really specific, so the titles themselves need to be really specific as well. Some examples for you are "7 Tips For A Well Branded Photo Shoot" or "How to Convert Clients on your Website." Remember you. People are searching for the content that they need, so make sure that not only is the content amazing, but also the title is super descriptive and on point for what your audience is ultimately searching for.

2. Keywords

The second piece of this puzzle is my favorite thing to do, and that is adding keywords to your blog posts. Now, I do not suggest that it's just a keyword heavy blog posts, so it's just keywords, right? You're not actually giving value, none, no, no, no, no. Lead with value, but add in those key words that's going to tell Google, hey, that's what this blog post is about. 

Another really cool thing that you could do is add keywords to the images within your blog post. If you watch the whole Youtube video below, I actually dive-in to my Squarespace site and show you exactly what I'm talking about here. As a result, I saw this was having a big impact on my SEO. You'll see I have a ton of images in my blog post. I have videos, I have all kinds of things. One of the things that I absolutely love to do is to go in and edit the image. Once you upload your image, you'll see a place for file name, update your file name, make your file name, the name of your blog post, or maybe a key word that is in relation to your blog post. This helps Google rank your content. So they're pulling all the different pieces from your website, including your images, so update your file name. It's as simple as seriously just clicking on here and typing what ever you want. I don't have captions underneath my photos, that you guys can see, but I do have things written. Again, giving google more to work with, with my site. Again, I show you exactly how to this in the video below, so be sure to watch if you're not sure what to do!

Bonus Tip

I'm going to give you guys one more bonus that I absolutely love. At the end of all my blog posts throughout my website, I have a lot of personal information, and I have a signature. This is another amazing space to add a little bit more seo to your website. You can go ahead and just type in your title right or maybe the name of your business. So for me, I type branding and business coach, and then I can also go into design caption below and you'll see branding and business coach. Okay, so this helps. This helps you rank on Google for your title. It helps Google know who you are, what it is that you do specifically. And again, all I have to do is do not display caption and hit apply. So fun little tip for you in improving SEO. Using images on Squarespace, making these small changes to the content that you're creating and the SEO that you are adding to your website in the form of keywords can have a big impact on your brand awareness. 

Can I get an "A" for driving traffic to your website with zero ad spend? That's like the entreprenuers dream, but I also understand that coming up with content, coming up with ideas is kind of daunting. So I have a really cool free resource for you that you can grab here: https://brandmerry.lpages.co/content-creation-training/ 

It's how I map out 30 days worth of content and as little as 30 minutes, there's a really cool bonus video that kind of walks you through my process and they're really easy spreadsheet that you can use in your own business to kind of categorize what content you're going to create and plan it all out in advance. It's going to help you overall in your business, if you can start streamlining these practices now. 

You can watch the whole video for a more in-depth tutorial of this with several bonus tips below!

Head over to Youtube and be sure to like and comment on the video while you are over there to help more people see this information ↠ https://youtu.be/H39rEQNWBdw

And as always please share and comment on this blog post, I love connecting with you!

Branding and Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 

 
Branding and Business Coach | Branding Coach | Business Coach | Michelle Knight of Brandmerry 

Michelle Knight is a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs who are struggling to gain visibility and traction to take their business to the next level. She works with her clients to dive deep into their story so they can create a brand and message that positions them as an expert and allows them to create their desired income to free up time in their schedule for what matters most. Learn more >>

 
Personal Branded Website: 3 Must-Have Pieces to Grow Your Audience

Personal Branded Website: 3 Must-Have Pieces to Grow Your Audience 

Personal Branded Website: 3 Must-Have Pieces to Grow Your Audience | Brandmerry | Branding and Business Coach

Today I'm gonna talk to you about your home base, also known as your website. One thing that I wanna get out of the way in the very beginning is that, you do not need website to start selling. You do not need a website right off the bat. Too many entrepreneurs spend hours and days and weeks and months (if you're like me) building this beautiful website, doing this beautiful launch, and then you're just expecting people to come. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work out that way.

However, when the time does come of you to create your website, when you're feeling really grounded in your story and your messaging and your ideal client, I wanted to give you three things that are definitely needed on your home base.

1. Your Story

This is not going to come as a shock. I literally want your story on every single page of your website. So, on my website, you can find out more about my story on my homepage. I have a whole entire page dedicated to my story. On every single product or course page, you know a little bit about me. It's also integrated into my blog, as well as all the different moving parts of my website. There's a reason for that. It's because as online entrepreneurs, we want to build trust. We want to make friends with our ideal client. There's no faster way to do that, than sharing your story, sharing your truth, so that people feel like they already know you and get you and understand you right away.

There are so many different ways to do it. I always recommend having a solid page dedicated to your story, and I don't hold back with my story. I love going into beautiful, beautiful detail and taking my clients on a journey, which I think is very very important. But sharing it on other pages can be very small. You don't have to go into great, great detail, but it's really important to always have something about you, who you are, your truth on the different pages of your website.

2. Consistency 

So, we're building on this whole trust factor, right? We want our audience to trust us from the get go, that is what allows them to invest. Not only in themselves, but also in our businesses. Consistency is really important, because nothing breaks trust than inconsistency. In the online entrepreneur world, if you're a service-based entrepreneur, you probably know about lead magnets, which we're gonna be talking about in just a second.

One of the key things we talk about is, if you're running a Facebook ad, and you're sending people to a landing page, you want the ad and the landing page to be consistent. You don't wanna break that trust. Well the same goes with your website. If someone lands on your homepage, and then they go to a work with me page, it needs to be consistent. And then they head over to the blog, continuing that consistency. So, you're taking your ideal client on a seamless journey around your website. Leaning more and more about who you are, what you have to offer, all of the fun little resources and things that you put together for your audience.

A couple key ways to do that are through choosing your fonts, being consistent with your colors, being consistent with your photos, and being consistent with your emotions, which I talked to you about in the last video. If you haven't watched that yet, go ahead and watch it right here. You will understand a lot more about emotion after watching that video. But that is going to help you choose these pieces that allow your brand to be consistent. The other piece that people sometimes miss out on, is their messaging and their copy. So, making sure that your language and your voice is very consistent on the different pages all through your website. And a little bonus tip, do yourself a favor and just carry over that consistency onto social media as well.

3. Call to Action 

Some sort of engagement. We often miss out on this on our websites. With the way social media is working today, if you were utilizing Pinterest, you're getting traffic onto your website, people are finding you via Google, maybe they're finding you through your Facebook group, a Podcast that you recently did, right? People are finding us all different ways online, that we really wanna give them the opportunity to continue learning from us, to continue building that trust and that connection with each other.

I always recommend on every page, yes, I said every page, there is some sort of call to action on your website. I'll give you a couple of examples that I absolutely love. On my homepage, brandmerry.com, I have two of my top free resources, and a way that people can connect with me in Authentic Brand Builders. So, they can join my email list, and join my private community. On my story page at the very bottom, we have a call to action for a freebie. One of my top freebies, and to work with me.

Obviously, on a work with me page, the call to action is work with me. And on my blog, on every single page, I even have some sort of free offer. So, I am giving my audience tons and tons of value and giving them the opportunity to continue building this relationship off of the website. You wanna have a way to capture your audience, keep and build their trust, and then carry on that relationship so it can lead to future sales. It's really really important. It could be something as simple as a workbook or a PDF. Here's a video I recorded on finding the right free offer for you

But what I highly recommended you do, is give away a gift. Give something of value, something that is totally on brand for you, but don't just ask for an email address. I really believe gone are the days of saying, "Sign up for our newsletter." People want an email with value, right? If they're gonna give away their email address, which we all know is like writing someone a check, right? Our emails are very important to us, we want to give them something in return. Do yourself a really quick favor, put together a PDF or video or something that's really on brand, plaster it on your website, giving them the opportunity to continue to learn from you, and build that relationship and connection.

IF YOU WANT TO WATCH THE ENTIRE VIDEO WITH SOME BONUS TIPS WORKED IN YOU CAN DO SO BELOW!

Head over to Youtube and be sure to like and comment on the video while you are over on Youtube to help more people see this information ↠ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZtt2PM4GbI&feature=youtu.be

And as always please share and comment on this blog post, I love connecting with you!

Branding and Business Coach 

 
Branding and Business Coach

Michelle Knight is a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs who are struggling to gain visibility and traction to take their business to the next level. She works with her clients to dive deep into their story so they can create a brand and message that positions them as an expert and allows them to create their desired income to free up time in their schedule for what matters most. Learn more >>

 
What to Include In the About Me Section of Your Website

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN the ABOUT ME SECTION OF YOUR WEBSITE

Besides the actual services you offer, the About Me or My Story section of your website is hands down the most important piece! Why? Because it's all about the trust factor when selling your services or products and if people don't know a single thing about you, besides your title, they definitely aren't going to trust you.

The key to an About Me that resonates with your audience is sharing your story (are you surprised I said that? probably not!). While, in the past, it might have been a place to copy and paste your professional bio, it is now an excellent platform to share your why, purpose and the nitty gritty about your story.

If you want to see a more in-depth explanation of How to Uncover Your Story go here >>

But just to recap:

1) Identify the three major transitions or chapters of your life (this is your new About Me).

Writing your About Me section for your website doesn't have to be overly complicated, it's just storytelling right? I'm sharing with you the three key pieces to uncovering your story and six ways to make your About Me section become a top converting page on your website!

2) Identify the connector between your transitions (this is the theme or general message of your About Me).

3) Identify how you want your audience to feel when reading your About Me (this helps you determine where to add emphasis and what photos to choose).

The general setup of your About Me page should clearly explain, to your audience, where you were, where you are now and how you got here. It is designed to inspire your audience, relate to them on a very personal level and show your vulnerability so you can begin to build trust.

Your About Page should be at minimum 2-3 paragraphs touching on the important points, but I have found a longer, more descriptive story really captivates your audience. If you want to check out an example go here  >> READ MY STORY

Aside from sharing your story, there are additional key pieces to include to make sure your About Me turns into a high-converting page on your website:

A beautiful banner

This is the first opportunity to grab your audience with a beautiful tagline and photo, that clearly represents your personal journey.

Photos of you throughout

This allows you to give a visual representation of your journey and to have your audience feeling something. This is one spot on your website where the photos don't necessarily have to be professional because a more personal feel does better.

Bolded text

As I mentioned earlier, it is important to highlight the parts of your story that are VERY important and you want your audience to remember. What could you share that would have them clicking for more? Always just assume your audience is spending 15 second on your webpage (cause that is totally the average) and you want to tell them a great preview with your bolded text.

YOUR HOOK

An excellent place to add your hook, you know the thing you do for your biz, is near the end. If you follow the structure of storytelling and pain a picture of where you were, your transitions and finally where you are now, you set yourself for an amazing opportunity to share your business.

Call to Action

Your About Me is an excellent resource to transition people to your services or products. Add a simple banner or button to the bottom of your story giving them next steps. Here is an example of mine

Your FREE OFFER

Don't overlook this opportunity to get people on your list. Remember, you've been sharing your truth and if they are still reading at this point, they probably already trust you at some level or at the very least want to learn more. Not only are you growing your list, but it's someone who already knows your story - major win!

Did you love the information in this blog post? If so feel free to grab my free website checklist below and share this blog post!

Branding and Business Coach

P.S. You don't want to miss out on my 3 Simple Steps to a Client Converting About Me Page! It's a complete free resource for you and you can GRAB IT HERE: brandmerry.com/freeaboutme


Branding and Business Coach

Michelle Knight is a Branding and Business coach for female entrepreneurs who are struggling to gain visibility and traction to take their business to the next level. She works with her clients to dive deep into their story so they can create a brand and message that positions them as an expert and allows them to create their desired income to free up time in their schedule for what matters most. Learn more >>