Setting up your website is daunting. There’s so much to think about:
- What am I doing to put on it?
- How much is web hosting?
- What’s my design going to look like?
- Am I going to need a blog as well?
And never mind developing your actual business (setting up your processes, devising your marketing, etc.)
I’ve been there.
And yeah, those early days really are a complete nightmare!
Should’ve hired my own supporters
It’s one thing getting your website together.
It’s another when you’re showing your work to a peer along the way – just to get some advice – and they aren’t supporting you.
That was where I was, back in early 2013, while waist deep in a very early version of this website. I was so waist deep that days and nights blurred and I didn’t sleep very much.
I was working on EVERYTHING: how to communicate my brand, getting some content down, finishing the web design…
The lot, all at once.
I was determined to get the whole thing finished, because I knew launching my business officially was going to be next.
And yet, to the various “supporters” around me at the time, though, my actions were viewed as ludicrous.
“You’re trying to be too perfect,” I was being repeatedly told.
“It’s better to just get work now, leave your website for later,” came other dissenting voices.
“You don’t need a website to start a business,” bleated even more.
Easy for them to say.
And it is easy – because it’s not their company after all. They’re not the ones risking any stakes.
They’re not the ones putting their business life on the line.
I disagreed with them all the way.
Because the way I saw it, I was launching an actual business – not a website. The website was the platform for the business. I knew getting everything set up in advance would save me a lot of time from having to work on it later.
And this being an online business, it had to be, you know, online.
Why later is not better
For one thing, you’re automatically undermining your business out of the gate.
You can’t take advantage of finding work both on and offline.
You need to talk up your business more and lack an online “back up” to send interested parties to.
And even if you have no clients, the fact you’re willing to put yourself out there, by demonstrating your knowledge, can often be a powerful statement by itself.
Because you never know who might be reading. Your content might be enough sway to get you a first job.
Hand on heart, I totally believe your website needs to launch at the same time your business does, no exceptions.
Website hosting and design costs are affordable these days.
You don’t need to brand yourself perfectly as you start out.
Getting some rough content published isn’t that hard, because it can always be adjusted.
If time is a problem, then outsource it.
But it’s not really the present day costs you need to be worrying about. It’s the future impact you’re making each day you don’t get your website out there.
In fact, there are 4 ways you’re affecting your fledging business in this future sense:
Spending money you didn’t intend to spend
As much as self-employed is both risk and reward, it also takes up a lot of your time.
And once you start bringing in clients, your business priorities will quickly change. Whatever you were working on before will be overtaken by the ongoing needs of your clients, it’s only natural.
Which means that, any free time you have left, that you may have set aside to work on your site, will be under constant threat.
You may end up needing to hire other service providers to get the job done for you. Web designers, copywriters, content writers… they all cost a lot of money. Costs you could’ve avoided beforehand.
Giving the wrong impression about your business
Saying “I don’t have a website right now” is not only sort of embarrassing to admit, it also implies something you don’t want to imply: that you don’t care about your customers.
A website exists for forging future relationships. It’s the place you invite strangers to come view your expertise and portfolio and check you out. It exists to convince prospects you’re worth trusting and doing business with.
Not having a website is the same as saying to your prospects “I’m not interested”.
Talk isn’t just cheap. It’s worthless
Networking in-person still has a vital place in the art of business. And preparing a sales pitch, one that’s well-written and eloquent, is still essential.
But post-pitch, it will mean nothing, if you can’t back up your ideas online. You can’t be searched for. There’s nothing on the web to back up your claims.
You’re also assuming anyone whose heard you speak will remember everything you’ve said. It’s not always likely.
But the worst impact of all is
You’re currently losing clients.
You’re missing out on opportunities to gain work.
You’re losing out on being talked about online, even if you’re not being talked about offline.
You’re throwing away money you’re working hard to get from just talking.
If your competitors or industry rivals already have a website, where do you think your prospects will go?
Even if your competition doesn’t do exactly what you do, you can’t be sure your solution-hungry prospects are going to hang around.
You need to grab them fast.
Time to change the future
So how do you course correct from no website to yes website?
Simply ship and start proving your mettle online, even if you don’t feel ready.
And though the early days of putting your website together will be stressful, they’re worth it for the eventual pay off.
You’ll have a physical site you can start evolving, as your new business evolves.
You’ve got actual copy you can build upon.
A website is tangible proof of your business philosophy in action. No more having to explain why you’re different to your rivals – instead, let your website help you do the talking.
Isn’t that, in itself, worth going live for?