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Why you don’t exist without a website in 2018

Several months back, I went to a meet-up organized by the lovely Marja with WE Club here in Amsterdam. The theme was “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting A Business”. It was a super interesting evening with tons of helpful tips from the speaker, Agata Zborowska, and advice from all the We Club ladies in attendance.

However, the biggest and most shocking revelation of the night came when Agata offered up the 3rd mistake: “Thinking you have to set-up your perfect process before you start”. The discussion quickly turned to online presence and she then asked who in the room of around 30 female business owners had still not launched their website. Around half of the room raised their hands!

My jaw dropped, literally and figuratively, at the thought of it. All of these great business owners who had just shared moments before their unique and interesting businesses with everyone were now admitting that they had little or no online presence. Marja asked for my opinion on how essential websites are and I stated clearly, “There is no excuse not to have your website online in 2017”. I immediately thought, hmm…maybe that was too harsh, but I still totally stand by that statement.

In the time of DIY website builders like Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, etc., I could not fathom how these business owners did not have a website. At the end of the meet-up, Agata came over to me and revealed that, every time she gave that talk, over half the room would say the same. Shocking! I came home that night and spilled to my husband about it, in disbelief. It stuck in the top of my mind for days after the meet-up. The more I thought about it I realized I had met dozens of other biz owners who had the same issue.

So, why do I care so much about this?

The cold, hard truth is that, in this day and age, without a website or at the minimum an Instagram or Facebook page your business does not exist. Unless you’re running some killer offline campaigns; but let’s be honest, most are not. When you hear about someone’s business, what’s the first thing you do? For me, it’s googling their name or their business and seeing what rises to the top. If I can’t find a website or at least a social media profile on the first 2 pages (and that’s generous because people usually only check the top half of the 1st page), then I can’t learn more about it, follow their progress, or even properly contact them. I will likely forget or lose interest completely.

So, I really started trying to pull this whole thing apart. Why weren’t these ladies putting their websites out there? What was the point holding them back? According to Agata, it mostly had to do with perfectionism at it’s finest. That, in general, we tend to wait for our services, branding, whatever to be ‘finished’ before putting a website out there.

“Perfectionism is Self-Abuse of the Highest Order” – Anne Wilson Shaef

I know this is definitely something I have struggled with in the beginning of my business. Although my website was the first thing I put up, I’ll admit that I spent those first few months sitting on my ideas; too fearful to share or sell them because I was sure I needed more time to work it all out. I’m making steps now every day, but the fear is real. It’s something I have to work towards daily. My affirmation each morning is to work on things that will help me launch ASAP and then refine over time. Because the truth is that your never done and it will never be perfect. Which is also beautiful because it means you’re constantly growing, improving, and evolving what you do.

I heard once on the Being Boss podcast that the business you’ll have in 5 years will be completely different from the business you have today; whether you like how you’re running your business right now or not. Either way, it will be different. That’s freeing, right?! That totally put me in the mindset of ‘just F-ing launch the thing and change as you learn and go’.

So, do you have a website yet? Is perfectionism the only thing holding you back from putting your website out there? There might be a little more to the story…

A simple website doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg

I also am fully aware that the average investment for a full website project with an agency or professional web design team can be shocking. Between €3-5k is not something you spend when you’re already feeling unsure or not ready. Then, the alternative is often that you feel like you should try and build it yourself. It’s possible to build your own simple website at the cost of about €15-20 euros per year.

I fully believe that most people with time, effort, and some research can put together a one-page site with a contact form on their own. DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress .com (not .org), Shopify, etc. have amazing documentation and help sections that can guide you through the process. You will definitely need to make time for this and dig in, but it’s absolutely possible to have some kind of landing page for yourself within just a few days of work.

You don’t want to get your hands dirty…and that’s fine

If you’re still not able to do it, what’s that final little piece holding you back? Most likely, it’s a total lack of desire to dig into the technical piece and/or a feeling of having absolutely no idea where to start. And, that is 100% valid! There are many pieces of this whole business puzzle that we just do not want to get involved in on our own.

In this case, my final piece of advice to leave you with here is to hire a digital marketer, like myself, who can do a simple website build for you. This will generally run you about half or even a third of the price of an average website build (like I mentioned above). You’ll have a very simple website with 1-5 pages, that you’re able to run on your own, and use as a starting off point. This process will help you in so many ways. First off, you’ll exist! Additionally, you’ll be inspired by the process to start thinking about where you’d like to grow with your online presence; maybe you want to add a blog, shop, etc.

No matter what you do, just do it

No matter what avenue you choose to take, I implore you…please don’t wait with creating your online home! Your businesses are beautiful and deserve to be seen. Don’t deny potential customers the chance to find you and use your services. Cause girl, you are worth it!

 -A

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