How to Start an Online Business

I'm not a pro at this, and I certainly don't have a lot of years under my belt but I will say that I've been able to not work as a pharmacist (yet haha) and become an online nutrition coach. I really do get a lot of emails not just about how to become a coach but how did I get an online business going, and so I thought I'd give you a few tips. 

First, the beginnings of the instagram was an accident. I simply posted what I loved, hash tagged some things, and people started wanting to follow. However, when I got that initial growth, I remember asking bigger pages "How do you grow?" and their answer "Oh you know, just post quality content and people will come." 

That's a load of horse bullcrappy on the side of the road. I have many friends who have no interest in growth and you know what, they don't grow. They have absolutely beautiful pages and beautiful content and photos, but they don't grow. 

I'm going to start with growth on instagram because honestly that's the new thing, and then I'll go into how I made this my income. 

Let's start with the easy one: 

MAKE YOUR ACCOUNT PUBLIC

So, if you really want to be big on instagram, I can tell you how to do that and to make enemies very quickly. Find people with the same topic as you, spam them with comments on every single one of their posts, follow them (to later unfollow them), and kiss you know what on the daily. I'm talking like EMOJIS to the extreme in their comments and do it mostly on the biggest pages relevant to your topic so more people can see your comment, click on your page, and go follow you. WHOMP. Not a fan. I would literally rather someone do a #WCW every week then do that. That brings me to another one:

FEATURES ON BIGGER PAGES

This isn't just going to be something that happens overnight. I don't have a problem with this, as we all want that moment of when some page with 1 million followers features you and your page explodes. You can pay for these, and yea it's kinda lame to "pay for followers" however I've seen many many people on pages that they have paid for and if they have a business, I don't judge them. It's just like McDonalds on your television paying for ads. You want more exposure, so you pay to have it. There's nothing wrong with that. But, there are free ones too (this happened to me a lot in the beginning). Hashtag their specific hashtag (probably for a long time on multiple pictures) and one day they may pick your photo to be featured. 

Growth is slow and steady. I've been at this game for 2years, and while I have almost 50k, I have had to actively work on it. 

BE GENUINE AND MAKE FRIENDS.

Like, just be nice but not nice just to get a dang follower. If you like something, then like their post. If you want to comment, then comment. Don't just comment just to say something but if you genuinely think someone is beautiful in their selfie, then tell them. Reach out to people and make friends. Ask people to do collaborations with you. Making friends in your topic of interest should be effortless because connecting through social media is a beautiful thing. Everyone is looking for growth to be honest, so if you become friends, then just be like "Yo girl, wanna feature each other?" There's nothing wrong with that. I hate when people are like "I don't even care about followers" while they SPAM MY COMMENTS and have like 250k. {I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU} I will say this though, be reasonable. If someone has 100,000 followers and you have 2,000, maybe aim for someone more with your following. It's not that there is a hierarchy but there most certainly is on instagram. It's annoying, and I hate it too, but the girls with 400K are not going to even answer my emails. However, I have 50K so if I message someone with 50K, they are going to want to collaborate with me. At 10K, I reached out to those with like 8-15K! :) Make sense?

FIND YOUR NICHE

This is important for business. If you want people to come to you specifically for whatever you are offering them, then you have to be different. This is a mistake that I made in the beginning. I watched what others were doing and tried to emulate that. But, um, if you are a smaller page, then they are not going to go to you. Point blank-it doesn't matter if you are smarter, prettier, or whatever, whoever has the biggest following almost always wins. That's the sad truth of social media. People trust the numbers.

My niche-I'm a marathon runner that lifts who used to compete. I also have had a lot of success with reverse dieting myself and other people, so that's what people come to me for. I also am very open about my faith.

They want to be lean, but eat a lot. They want to be able to run but also maintain muscle. They may be Christians and feel like other girls are too sexual for them. They want to be able to lift but also become a runner. Market yourself to a specific group of people in your particular subject matter.

DON'T BE GREEDY/SELFISH. 

You want to grow. We know that. We all do. Emailing someone bigger with this long spill of how wonderful you are and how they should feature you is not instagram etiquette. Don't comment asking them to follow you or feature you (just NO). And don't make friends with me with motives in mind. It's so sad that it has come to this, but it sure has. People will befriend you only because they are after your following. It's happened multiple times to me. SEE.YA.LATER. But also, on the off hand, don't be unwilling to participate in collaborations because you think you're too cool. Don't be spammy. No one likes a spammer, but if you genuinely like the other people then collaborate with them! The internet is a HUGE HUGE space. It's a HUGE world. You aren't taking away your business by telling people about someone like you.

NOTICE TRENDS

A good example of this is I noticed that if you have words on a photo, it looks like an ad and people HATE ads. They aren't going to like that photo no matter how well done it may be. People like selfies more than they like professional shoots. It's sad but true. People like sexuality but they can forget that with me. I'll take my losses on that. 

STICK WITH YOUR TOPIC

If you have a fitness page, your page needs to be about fitness. Throw in the once in a blue moon life picture but otherwise, make that a separate page if you want to post those. If you are interior design, post houses and your work. If you are a fashion blogger....fashion. It seems common sense but I feel many times people want to show off their real life but people honest to goodness don't care. I wish they cared but they just don't. I have an app that tells me when people defollow me. Every single time I post friends on my instagram that's unrelated to fitness, I lose hundreds. It's ridiculous but the truth.

START A BLOG 

This was a big one for me. People have to know where your content. They have to be able to trust you and see what you are about. When people visit my page, they are able to reach basically everything they need to know to be successful, but they are missing a few missing pieces where I come in. You have to let them know that you are someone that can be trusted, and honestly someone to be loved. When someone gets a large following, people start to really love them for who they are (normally or maybe hate them). People want to know about your life and who you are as a person separate from what your business is. They want to see your family, friends, and fun things you are doing so be open with your life which seems contradictory to the other. You have to be creative. Post friends if it has to do with fitness. Talk about your life, but only on your blog and only if it's actually interesting. That actually leads me to another point ... 

BE TRANSPARENT

Yes, you can make it on social media without telling one ounce of your outside life. But, that's no fun for those following you. If I'm following a page, I love to hear about their life. I love to see the struggles that they go through because we can all normally relate. On the other hand, don't be "Miss vulnerable" because the "Woe is me" thing is such the new trend. Everyone is like "Ohhhh look at me. I struggle so muchhhhh. Come follow me because I struggle." We all know the games (or at least I do). Don't play the games  in annoying ways. Just be transparent when you feel it's appropriate.

So, how do you make this a business? Honestly, growing on a social media platform is huge. You have to have some space that is your own whether that be instagram, youtube, or facebook. Once you establish one, you need to get active on the others. Like all of them-pinterest, twitter, facebook, snapchat, blog, instagram, youtube, garmin connect...I CANNOT KEEP UP. It can be exhausting but the more you market yourself and the more exposure, the better. 

POST OFTEN

Stay active on social media. That's a must. When you disappear even for days at a time and you are trying to make this an income, people become quickly disinterested. You always need something new to offer. You always need something to post. I'm always thinking of new pictures. I promise you I'm not THAT obsessed with my fitness life and my ab selfies. But the truth is, people want to see it and theres always new people visiting my page, so I rotate through different types of pictures and content. 

START WITH ONE

I made this a status a few days ago, but if you want to become a coach (or anything for that matter), start with one customer. Pour everything into that one person. Write out a business model but don't think about that. Be good to that ONE person. Whatever you create for that one person, pour your heart into it. It's a ripple effect. If you treat people well, more people will talk and more people will come. Like, be genuine though. It's hard to say "Be nice to get customers" because that's not what I mean. I just mean BE A GOOD HUMAN GEEZ. haha! 

SPEND TIME ON YOUR PRODUCT

You might have to hire a graphic designer, but make your product well. I've gotten lots of comments about how organized and well done my programs are. I'm not bragging about this. I just simply spent more time making it more than a word document. People notice that stuff. Change your product as the times change, your knowledge base changes, or the new trends change. 

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

Lastly, don't expect growth overnight. Like I said, I've been trying to make this my income for over a year now. There are so many ideas that I have and more ways to get more exposure, more ways to market my blog and not just my coaching, but it takes time. You want to do things slow and well versus fast and chaotic. If you grow to 100K overnight, you probably wouldn't be able to handle the volume, so just be patient and keep at it. Don't give up. I don't know if I'm ugly or what (I'm kidding and not fishing for compliments) but I grow slowwwwwwww (until recently I've been growing faster). I don't get as many likes on my pictures as a lot of people (less engagement) and y'all better believe it makes me second guess myself. But, if I had given up at 10K, I wouldn't have almost 50k now. It will come but just continue being a good human, producing good quality images and products for people to look at and buy and make the money an afterthought. 

I hope this helps because I know I wish someone had given me these tips long ago. I have had to pick them up along the way because no one is willing to share about growth. Again, maybe I'm just not cool enough to follow but I've had to work at mine. Haha!!

With love and entrepreneurship, 

Katie 

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