How many times have you come up with a brilliant business or product idea that really excited you? How many times did you let it pass because you felt you didn’t have the finances, experience, or market know-how to turn it into action? You are not alone and too often women, in particular, brush off their ideas out of fear or perceived inadequacies.
When faced with limited resources, there are ways to create a DIY plan for giving your passion a chance. It’s not an easy road, but get ready for the challenge – and also the rewards!
Don’t Sell Yourself (or Your Idea) Short
When I came up with the idea for ‘Over Coffee’, a niche social network for people to share their stories, insights, and memories from sharing cups of coffee, I was elated. Something inside me started to catch fire and light up, but doubts and uncertainties also crept into the picture. However, the more I talked to friends, family, and colleagues, the more my doubts slipped away and I gained more courage to take the first steps. Taking small first steps, such as purchasing a domain name and writing a one-page summary of your vision, can actually go a long way in making your idea a more concrete reality.
Once you have the name and concept, don’t stop there. These days, you don’t need to have a lot of money or knowledge on web design or programming to pull off a quality website. For easy, well-designed, and inexpensive options, look at Wix. It gives you the whole package of a domain, hosting, and ability to customize web design layouts. No coding necessary and they have wonderful support staff to help you through any challenges. If you want to get slightly more advanced, you can browse hundreds of different WordPress or Joomla templates at Forest Theme. Prices here can vary from free to £56 pounds. If you’ve never set up a personal blog or seen the “backend” of a website, you may feel worried that you’re not “techy” enough. However, there are so many simple tutorials on YouTube and never be afraid to reach out to others for help, whether online or in person.
Having a website will give your idea a more concrete home and your excitement and confidence will climb as you continue adding content and pages to your business website.
Sometimes, “Competitors” Can Be Your Best Allies!
However, it’s not just the coffee community that is welcoming and helpful. When I started another venture with girlfriends in the online personal finance niche, we found that other finance and women lifestyle bloggers were open to collaborative ideas. Their Facebook groups are much larger than the coffee groups and they tend to have an effective exchange system. On a daily basis, you can exchange facebook likes, comments, tweets, and even simply visit each other’s website to increase the Alexa ranking. It’s all based on mutual trust and one person’s success can also mean the success of another person’s website. Such networks are invaluable and can help give you both the support and boost needed to make your business website grow in popularity, interaction, and social likes. Whichever field you are in, make it your business to find and build a network of support.
Search, Pitch, Write and Repeat
Make yourself a press release. That’s right! These days, you don’t need to be a promising start-up, established company, or even have a major breakthrough in your business in order to send out a press release. While it always helps to work with an experienced public relations professional, sometimes that simply is not possible. There are numerous lessons, examples, and also free (or inexpensive) press release distributors online. Write 2-3 different kinds of press releases about your launch, plans for the business, and what might make your idea newsworthy. Send it out to different distributors around the same time and make sure to include a link back to your website and/or social accounts.
Guest posting is also an excellent way to establish yourself in the niche. The relationships you have built with your peers can provide you with relevant guest posting opportunities. Search for other related bloggers, webmasters, and local papers. Seek out websites that have a “contribute” or “write for us” section and offer topical content that will engage their readers. Be sure to include an author bio that also links back to either your website and/or social profiles. This will help build your name and brand, giving you more credibility in the eyes of your target audience – and in Google’s search results pages.
Reaching out to journalists takes a great deal of time, effort, and perseverance. Be prepared for a lot of no replies or rejection. However, don’t lose motivation or faith in your business idea. Instead, go to places where reporters are actively looking for help! HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a free website where journalists from big name media outlets to smaller niche news sites seek out experts on article topics they are looking to publish. Browse the queries of reporters, and if you think their story is a good match for your business and growing knowledge of expertise, reply to them and get the ball rolling.
Remember, if you feel that business idea smouldering, don’t let it go to waste. Whether it comes to full fruition or becomes a part-time endeavor, you can bring it to life. Everything listed in this article is either a free or inexpensive resource. The real fuel comes from you – putting in the hard work and staying the course!