Four areas of your biz to up-level before building a new website
One issue I see when people start to uplevel their business is they put the cart before the horse. They build the nice shiny pretty things, like the new website, before they have a good foundation for those things to live on.
I so get it... honestly this has been one of my biggest struggles as I’ve built my own business over the years. One of my strengths as a designer is that my brain starts creating a mental image of what a brand will look like as soon as I start working on it.
Starting businesses comes easily to me, and because building websites is something I do for people every day I would get a spark of an idea, change my whole business model, build a new website, and have upleveled my whole business before I even knew what value I was bringing to the table.
It was always gorgeous, but it was rarely profitable.
Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs over the years, and have brought in coaches and masterminds to help me learn to work with both my strengths and weaknesses. I've learned to slow down and invest in the right things, in the right order, to build a solid, beautiful brand that actually attracts clients.
By the way, if you’re just getting started, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a website right out of the gate. This is 2018. You should definitely grab your domain name as soon as you know what the business will be called, and from there you’re a hop skip and jump away from setting up a basic Squarespace or WordPress site that you can build out later.
But, when you reach the point that you’re outgrowing that basic website, where the magic you offer the world is starting to solidify and you want to reach those dream clients, when you’re ready to uplevel your business, there are four big areas you need to think about before plopping down money on a shiny new website.
Business Coaching / Mentoring / Mastermind
A business coach/mentor/mastermind will help you really hone in on what your specific magic is. This is very important.
It’s nearly impossible to grow a business in a vacuum, trust me, I’ve tried. You need people who can come come alongside you and hold you accountable, and you need people who have been there and done that who can guide you past the real scary parts.
If you’ve never worked with a coach or been part of a mastermind I highly recommend doing one or both of those things before you invest in professional branding or a fancy new website. You’re going to get more clarity around what your particular special sauce is, plus you’ll have a chance for someone else to step inside your offerings and funnels with fresh eyes to make sure they’re working for you.
Doing some extra work up front will help the money you invest in your branding + website go a lot farther.
Your Logo and Brand Image
Once you feel like you’ve got a handle on where you want your business to go, and you’ve spent some time ironing out your offerings, processes, and strategy with a coach or mentor, you need a creative direction.
This is the stage of the game I meet a lot of my clients in. They know where they’re going, they know how they’re going to get there, but the look and feel of their business still doesn’t quite represent who they’re becoming.
We work together to develop the actual brand image that will attract the clients they really want to work with, then those fonts, colors, and imagery can be extended out into all the places their business touches - like their website and collateral.
Great brand photos
I read an article by Ash Ambirge recently that said something along the lines of “You cannot have an amazing site with average pictures, but you CAN have an average site with amazing pictures”. This might sound super strange coming from someone who designs websites professionally, but it’s so true.
My favorite is when clients have their brand photo shoot during our time together, that allows me to influence the final photos with their brand colors and style, and even to get certain shots that I know will look great on the website.
If you have to choose one thing to start with, it’s totally okay to invest in some good headshots first and do your branding and website later.
Pro tip: If you have your branding pics taken before working with a brand designer, try to keep the color palette either neutral or bring in colors you know you look amazing with or will likely have in your future branding. You want these to be classic, not trendy.
Copywriting or copy editing
Your website may be the only interaction you have with a potential client. It needs to be clear and concise, but it also needs to appeal to your ideal client, feel like you, and be a sales machine. That’s a LOT to ask from a few pages of copy!
Hiring a professional who has experience writing sales copy can mean the difference between filling up your client calendar and struggling to connect.
Even if you’re an excellent writer it doesn’t hurt to have another set of eyes look over your website content.
When I work with clients who have invested in these four areas and come to me already having a handle on their copy, great photos (or an upcoming brand shoot), and a clear direction for their business, I’m able to bring that vision to life creatively in a way that feels like abs-o-lute magic.