A step-by-step guide and checklist for how to start an online business with no money. It includes my best tips for how to turn your ideas into a side hustle, make money blogging, and make money from home. #bloggingtips #startup #bloggerThis post is the second half of our Start a Business series, where I’m covering how to start a business with no money and only your laptop, an idea, and a workspace.

In the first part of the series, we covered the steps involved in launching. You defined your people, brainstormed future products, and created a working online brand.

Here’s the post again, in case you missed it:

Part 1: How to Start a Successful Blog with No Money (Part 1).

Today, we’re bringing things full circle and closing the loop. I’m drilling down on the two paths that will get us past launch and into the Growth, Hustle and Profit Phases of the DIY-Your-Business Blueprint.

#SIDENOTE This series is a deep dive into the four phases of the DIY-Your-Business Blueprint. I’m peeling back the curtain on each phase and sharing the specific steps to accelerate your growth and get to the next level as quickly as possible.

If you remember, in path #1, your focus is on building a platform BEFORE you launch your product. Here’s the sequence:

  1. Content
  2. Traffic
  3. Subscribers
  4. Product

Path #2 includes the same steps, only we’re switching the order of things and creating a product first and content last. Because the sequence is reversed, we’ll also look at different techniques for driving traffic and building your platform.

To make it extra easy for you, I’ve created a business plan template you can customize for your biz! Just click the image below to grab it.
Grab your Creative Business Plan Template so you can get started mapping out your freedom biz and reaching your goals!

Grab Your Creative Business Plan Template

PLEASE NOTE: In order to be able to edit and customize it yourself, when you’re viewing the template go to File and Make a copy, or you can simply download it as a Word doc or copy and paste it to your favorite program!

Let’s dig into path #1.

Path #1: building your platform first

Step 1: First, Create Content

When you’re starting your own business with no money and building your brand from the ground up, you need to be a content machine. Here’s what you’ll be creating in step #1:

  • Blog posts
  • Free resources
  • Share images
  • Videos

It’s a no-brainer that the foundation of your content will be blog posts, but before you dive in and start writing, let’s look at how we can bridge the gap between free content and your future products or services, right from the beginning.

First: Blog Posts

You know where I’m headed here, right? Even at the earliest stages, you need a strategy for blogging that goes beyond driving traffic.

While you can blog about anything you want, it’s a whole lot smarter to have an end goal for each post. You want to form content funnels that will ultimately lead people to your sales funnels.

If I’m losing you here, don’t worry about sales funnels just yet. We’ll get to those after you create your product (if you’re curious, this post explains them in detail).

My take on content funnels vs sales funnels:

Content funnels: Content on your website (blog posts, images, freebies)
Sales funnels: Content outside your website (webinars, email marketing, etc)

Content funnels initiate the relationship with your crew, and sales funnels seal the deal. This is where those earlier brainstorming sessions will pay off. When it’s time to sell your products, you’ll be one step ahead of the game, you ninja-planner, you. ????

Speaking of planning, how do you map out content funnels?

Great question! First of all, make sure you write blog posts around the products you will (or do) offer.

For instance, my readers are interested in learning more about:

  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Business

These topics (or themes) become content buckets, and I use a simple Google Docs spreadsheet to come up with post ideas and future products for each subtopic.

Here’s what the worksheet looks like:

best business to start with no money

Now, if you’re thinking How can I even think about all of this when I haven’t even created my first post or product? It’s too much!

I get it! Seeing your ideas on paper, before you create them, can be overwhelming. This is one of those times where you don’t have to have everything set up on day #1.

Remember, all we’re doing at this step is making sure that the content you’re about to create aligns with your future goals.

You already have ideas about what products and services you want to offer, which means you have an end goal. Understanding how to start a business with no money means you need to keep that end goal in mind at all times.

A blog post is the first step readers will take on their journey to your end goal. Planning your content like this is crucial to make sure you lead them down the right path.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Here’s what I suggest:

Pick one product idea from your spreadsheet as your focus (meaning that this will be your first product). Change the other product ideas to a light gray font color, so that they’re barely visible and don’t distract you. These are product ideas for later on – down the road. Keeping them on your spreadsheet is just a reminder that any blog posts you write around have a confirmed purpose.

Free Resources

Here’s what our content funnel looks like with free resources (or content upgrades) added into the mix:

how to start an online business with no money

Can you see how free resources bridge the gap between your free content and products or services? Lovin’ it!

Over on our spreadsheet, we need to add another column so that you can figure out what free resources you want to offer for each post and product.

For example, here’s what my spreadsheet looks like now:

starting your own business with no money

Aim to make each free resource:

  • Targeted – Speaks to one specific person and address their most pressing pain point.
  • Easy to Digest – Short and simple enough to implement in one day. Checklists, cheat sheets, and swipe files work well.
  • Simple – Provides the simplest steps to get from A to Z. Covers one topic rather than multiple topics.
  • Actionable – Gives people simple steps they can move forward with and see results.
  • Build trust – Establishes your authority and primes people to buy from you in the future.
  • Spark Curiosity – Offers enough to ignite curiosity without giving away the farm, meaning that they open a door to future products.
  • High value – Provides real value that people would actually consider purchasing.

Let’s say you’re a fitness expert. Maybe you create a blog post about the five superfoods for weight loss. In the post, you include a Five Foods to Never Eat guide that people can download. The free guide will ultimately lead people to your paid 30-day weight loss program. Make sense?

What program should you use to create an Ebook or cheat sheet?

I’m glad you asked! I’ve always been a fan of InDesign. Having said that, the other day I tried Canva and was amazed at how easy it was to create this beautiful Ebook template:

what kind of business should I start?

First, I uploaded a background image to use on the cover. Then I added elements and fonts from Canva’s library. Once I was happy with the cover, I designed a second page to use as a template for all my interior pages:

businesses you can run from home

As you’re working in Canva, your drafts and templates will be saved to the dashboard, so you can always refer back to them and edit. When you’re happy with your Ebook, cheat sheet, or checklist, save it as a JPG or PDF, or share directly to social media.

Related: How to Build Your Blog Audience and Traffic

Share Images

I’ve used Canva, PicMonkey, and RelayThat to create blog post share images. Of these, I’d say Canva and RelayThat are the easiest (RelayThat is lightening fast – this in-depth tutorial will get you started).

Each of the tools has pre-made social media templates, so you don’t have to worry about sizing.

RelayThat

It doesn’t get easier than this! Choose a square (Insta), tall (Pinterest), or wide format (FB and Twitter). If you’re looking for Twitter headers, Facebook covers, and Pinterest board covers, RelayThat’s got templates for those too.

To change the size of your post, click on a new template and RelayThat will automatically update your design. All you have to do is keep on clickin’ until you find a design that makes your heart dance. 🙂

You can also use the “remix” feature to reposition your text on-demand. No more manually shifting elements around, trying to figure out the alignment. Woohoo!

simple business ideas

 

To remove the RelayThat watermark, you’ll need to upgrade from free to pro, which is $25 a month.

#ONMYWISHLIST I’d love to be able to change the dimensions of a given template, which is where Canva comes in…

Canva

Like RelayThat, Canva has pre-made templates for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. What makes Canva so powerful is that you can create custom templates for any size you need.

For example, you may want to extend the length of your pin. Easy peasy. What about that Ebook we created? That was a cinch too.

Speaking of which, we still need to add the Ebook to your blog post. With Canva, you can create a button image to make your Ebook stand out so that people know what to expect when they download it.

Here’s an 800 x 350px button image I made with Canva:

how to make money with no money

 

HEAD’S UP. Facebook and Twitter sizes can vary for the tools listed above. For instance, In RelayThat, a wide post is 1200 x 630px and in Canva, the size is 1024 x 512px. That’s perfectly okay. Just make sure that your Facebook/Twitter images are at least 1000px wide and use a 2:1 ratio.

Here are my recommended share image sizes:

  • Facebook, Twitter: 1000 x 500px (2:1 ratio)
  • Pinterest: 800 x 1200px (or longer)
  • Instagram: 1080 x 1080px

I’ve got the full scoop on social media images sizes here.

#PHOTOSHOPRULES Yessiree! With Photoshop, you can customize your stock images – which is a big deal when it comes to Pinterest.

The reason is that Pinterest can SEE your images (or thinks it can!) and will interpret your pins based on what it sees. When the algorithm comes across two pins using the exact same image, things get a little wonky and Pinterest doesn’t know which one to display. Not cool, friend!

So what’s the workaround?

Use Photoshop to make stock photos undeniably Yours by retouching, splitting, airbrushing, changing colors, and so on.

Ready to get started with Photoshop? Check out this tutorial.

STEP #2: Next Up, Get Traffic

Ahhh, traffic. Me like. ???? My four top traffic sources are Google, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook Groups.

Google

For the past six months, I’ve been focusing HARD on search engine optimization, yo. I know many bloggers rely on social media alone for traffic, but top bloggers like Jeff Bullas and Pauline Cabrera get the bulk of their traffic from Google.

I figure there must be something to it, so SEO it is…

#GOSEO It takes a little while to kick in, but well worth the effort, in my book.

Since I started focusing on search engine optimization, I’m seeing more and more traffic from Google and attribute it to these three things:

  1. On-page SEO
  2. A high number of social media shares
  3. Links back to my posts

#2 and #3 are related. While having a high number of social shares isn’t a direct ranking signal, it does impact SEO indirectly.

Here’s how:

more people sharing = broader audience = more potential backlinks

The other SEO thing I’ve started doing is guest posting and commenting on high-quality blogs. With each guest post, I include a link back to one of my posts, and when possible, I include a free offer in my bio to encourage sign-ups.

Curious about what makes a blog “high quality”? There’s a handy tool called the Moz Domain Authority Checker that will give you the domain authority (DA) for any website.

easy business to start

A high DA is a fancy pants way of saying This website is predicted to rank well on Google. DA’s range from 0 to 100, with higher numbers meaning better quality. When I’m looking for guest post opportunities, I aim for websites with a DA of at least 30.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Bloggers

Pinterest

Creative niches (bloggers, fashion, beauty, weddings, design, DIY, etc.) can get a lot of traffic from Pinterest.

With the right combination of . . .

  • Eye-guzzling graphics
  • Sexy headlines
  • Keywords and hashtags

. . . you can get thousands of repins.

One thing worth mentioning is that my Pinterest page views took a MAJOR nose dive a while back. Out of the blue, just like that, my traffic started tanking.

2.4 million, to 2.3 million, to 2.2 million, all the way down to 1.6 million page views in 6 weeks.

I went crazy trying to figure out what was going on. Want to know what I learned?

Here are some mistakes I was making:

Mistake #1: See the Pinterest share button on the image below?

business ideas

 

Share buttons make it easy for people to repin your post, and believe it or not, they have a lot to do with your traffic.

The mistake I made was to replace my Shareaholic plugin with Social Warfare and forget to activate the share button.

So instead of making my posts easy to share, I was making it harder. Please don’t make this same mistake, friend! Make sure you add share buttons to your posts and images.

Mistake #2: I had a handful of pins that accounted for most of my traffic, until one day they peaked and hit the end of their shelf life, meaning that they weren’t so viral anymore. 🙁

This is really more of a lesson than a mistake . . .

There’s this thing called “post fatigue” – much like ad fatigue – where people get tired of seeing the same images over and over. If you think about it, once people have clicked on your pin, they’re not as likely to click twice.

So what can you do?

Check Google Analytics (Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages) to find the top 15 posts that drive the most traffic to your website.

Once you find them, here’s what you want to do:

  1. Create more pins for those posts. Some bloggers create up to eight pins for each post.
  2. Write more blog posts around the same topics. Posts that get traffic are topics that people want to know more about.

Mistake #3: I was sharing ALL of my pins through BoardBooster and Tailwind, even ones with very few shares and repins.

Out of pure frustration, I tried an experiment where I stopped sharing my “lonely” pins and started sharing ONLY pins that were the life of the party. I also started using Tailwind Tribes, and stopped sharing other people’s content as much.

Voila! My traffic and page views have started coming back, slowly but surely.

Twitter

Twitter is similar to Pinterest, meaning it’s what I call a “high-tolerance posting platform.” You can Tweet. A. Ton.

The reason that Twitter is my #2 source of traffic is because I have a large following and tweet between 30-40 times a day.

Sound like a lot?

Top bloggers post every 15 minutes, just sayin’. In fact, I think that’s the key to success on Twitter:

Make sure you share fresh, new content to balance out your evergreen content.

By evergreen content, I mean posts that are re-shared with a tool like SmarterQueue.

Now, you may be thinking How can I possibly tweet 40x a day? I only have a handful of posts!

I hear ya! As a new blogger, it can be hard to get traction from Twitter. Keep in mind that as your audience grows and you create more content, you’ll see the rewards of your hard work as you increase your posting frequency.

I also pin a tweet to the top of my page, like this one:

what business to start

Because more people see pinned tweets, they tend to get more traffic, retweets, and likes than other tweets. My pinned tweets always direct people to a blog post with a free resource or a landing page with an opt-in.

#ALWAYSBETESTING: One thing I’m going to try is using multiple tweet images for each post. I figure if I vary tweets the same way I vary my pins, people won’t get tired of seeing them over and over. I’ll keep you posted on how it works!

Related: 6 Insider Secrets for Driving Tons of Free Traffic from Twitter

Facebook Groups

I’m a member of ~30 groups and always share my posts on promo days for a nice bump in traffic each month.

Facebook groups are easy to find by viewing Groups in the left sidebar. From there, you can either Discover Groups or enter a keyword and filter the results by groups. Once you’ve found a few, make sure you play nice and make a note of the group rules, so you don’t get banned!

I use a spreadsheet to track promotion days for blog posts, products, freebies, and social media.

Here’s what my spreadsheet looks like:

best businesses to start with no money

 

Psst…I just started a Facebook group and would love, love, love for you to join.

Even though an online business is an easy business to start, building your platform and audience take time and serious effort.

When it comes to social media, you have to be prepared to put in the time every day, especially when you have a small (or no) following. If you’re ready to up your social media game, this post is a good read. I also recommend repurposing blog posts into other types of content so that you can share them on multiple platforms.

Related: How to Promote Your Blog Posts Effectively on Social Media

Step #3: Get Subscribers

Whew! You’re doing great! Totally crushing how to start a business with no money . . .

The next step is to level up your mailing list.

You’re already “gifting” your legendary freebies to readers (step #1 above). Now, it’s time is to set up your email system and create landing pages.

Some good options for email marketing providers are:

  • ConvertKit
  • MailerLite
  • MailChimp

And for landing pages, you can use:

  • The default templates provided by your email service (some offer them, some don’t).
  • LeadPages to build beautiful, high-converting landing pages (that’s an affiliate link).

Email marketing providers

I’ve experimented with a lot of email providers, including Aweber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and ConvertKit.

Hands down, ConvertKit is my favorite. I’ve even got a full tutorial on how to use ConvertKit to grow your business if you’re ready to get started.

Should you use ConvertKit too?

Great question! I say: Pick the tool that’s easiest for you to use. Ease-of-use was my top reason for choosing ConvertKit (yep, another affiliate link, but hey, I only recommend products that I use in my own business).

As I mentioned, if your email provider has landing page templates, it’s a win-win. We need those landing pages. 🙂

Other than that, make sure you choose one with high deliverability (aka: emails will make it to the inbox). I know both MailChimp and ConvertKit do, not sure about MailerLite. Please share in the comments if you use MailerLite. I’d love to know!

Landing pages

You may be thinking Why do I need landing pages? Can’t I just use a sign-up form in my blog post?

I’m so with you! That’s exactly what I thought. The whole landing page thing had me stumped for a while. I thought landing pages were optional, meaning that I could choose to use them or not.

I had it all wrong. Here’s why we need landing pages:

  • We can drive traffic to our blog posts AND landing pages, which means we have the potential to 2x traffic + sign-ups.
  • By embedding a Facebook pixel on each landing page, we can retarget people who visited the page later on.
  • There’s a chance people might read through the entire post and still not see the freebie. With a landing page, they won’t miss it.

Here’s a landing page I created for my free resource library:

easy startup business

See how there’s ONLY info about my free gift? No buttons, graphics, or text to take your attention away from the call to action. That’s the beauty of landing pages.

There are other ways to grow your list, including:

  • Webinars
  • Giveaways
  • Guest posting
  • YouTube videos
  • Facebook Live

Engage with your subscribers

Before we move on, I want to point out one thing that’s super important:

Try, try, try to email your subscribers once a week (especially important when you have yet to create a product). I know it’s hard, but if you can commit to once a week, you’ll be rewarded with increased sales later on.

The last thing I want is for all your hard work to go down the drain because people don’t hear from you – and then forget who you are.

Here’s the thing:

Some people will sign up for your free resource and peace out. We’ve all done it. It’s going to happen. And it’s perfectly okay.

It’s actually what you want!

When I first started building my list, I’d email my subscribers once a month (I’d tell myself it was only ten days, haha).

Part of the reason is that I’m a numbers junkie. I like to count, and I LOVE to count up.

Every time I’d email my list, I’d get dozens of unsubscribes which would freak me out, in a you’re-messing-with-my-numbers kind of way.

Now I understand that unsubscribes are a healthy way to keep your list clean. After all, if people aren’t interested in you or your business, they won’t open your emails, which means your email open rate will go down. We want that baby UP, UP, UP. With me?

The other reason for my infrequent emails was because I didn’t know what to say…

Sound familiar?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Send an email each week with a link to your latest post, podcast, video, etc. Try to infuse your email with a story to make it interesting.
  • Every other week or so, send an exclusive tip or freebie, just for your subscribers.
  • Use a few emails to interact with people – find out what interests them and what topics they’d like you to cover, and so on. Psst…This is a great way to come up with new product ideas.

Which brings me to…

Step #4: Create a Product

Whew! We’re just about there. You’re doing great.

Once you have 1,000 subscribers, it’s time to create a rough draft version of your product.

This is where we fill up the money bucket. Woo!

Note: When I say “rough draft,” know that this can mean anything from a landing page with information on your service or product plus a place for people to request more information and get a free resource while they wait . . . to a sales page that describes your product and pre-sells it . . . all the way to a full-blown, complete course ready for students.

By now, you should have a good idea of what products people would be interested in based on what they’ve downloaded.

Do they match your earlier brainstorming? If so, high five!

If they don’t match, or if you feel a bit flustered about which product to create, I recommend getting feedback from your subscribers about the challenges they’re facing and the types of products/content they’d like you to cover.

Bryan Harris even recommends emailing a segment of your subscribers your product idea and asking for feedback.

Let’s say you’re a graphic designer and want to create an InDesign course.

Your content funnel from step #1 above might look something like this:

easiest business to start with no money

The people who downloaded 10 Ways to Work Smarter in InDesign have raised their hand and expressed interest in InDesign.

Your next step is to email them some details about your product idea to get their feedback.

You can even ask for pre-orders from subscribers who responded. If you do this, it’s good to know how many pre-orders you’d need to validate your product idea.

What tools to use to create your products?

For courses, I use ScreenFlow to record screencasts (with both a Plantronics headset mic and a SmartLav lavalier mic) and PowerPoint to create my slides.

Then I upload everything to Teachable, which is a hosting platform for courses.

starting a business from home

What I love about Teachable is that all I have to do is focus on creating content. Teachable takes care of payments, enrollments, and other details.

If you decide to create an Ebook or other digital product, I recommend using InDesign for the design and SamCart for e-commerce.

Now, we need to connect your free resource to the product:

Back to the sales funnels I mentioned earlier, yo. Sales funnels are a biggie, and I cover them in more detail in this post.

Wrapping it up

At this stage, it’s time to revisit both your product hypothesis (based on feedback and other insights you’ve picked up) and your brand identity. Refine all of it . . . colors, fonts, social media templates, bio, descriptions, messaging . . . everything.

In the growth stage of your business, your brand is VERY important.

Think of it this way:

Would you rather pull up in a tired old Ford Escort or a brand new Porsche 911? No brainer, right? It’s important to provide people with an amazing ride, and much of that is conveyed through your blog design, tone, and messaging.

The same way that wearing the right clothes helps people define you, your online brand speaks volumes about who you are, what you stand for, and ultimately, why people should take notice.

Psst . . . If you’re ready to brand like a pro, the Build My Brand Toolkit will help you do it. To learn more about Build My Brand, click here.

Have I convinced you to start a business yet? Click the image below to grab the business plan template so you can map out your success path.
Grab your Creative Business Plan Template so you can get started mapping out your freedom biz and reaching your goals!Grab Your Creative Business Plan Template

PLEASE NOTE: In order to be able to edit and customize it yourself, when you’re viewing the template go to File and Make a copy, or you can simply download it as a Word doc or copy and paste it to your favorite program!

In my next post, I’m going to walk you through Path #2. See you there!

by

Are you selling 1-1 services to clients and want to grow and scale your business? You’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’re going to give you the roadmap from trading hours for dollars to scaling your income beyond your time.

But first, there’s an important distinction we need to clarify and that is…

The difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur

We think Seth Godin defines it best:

“A freelancer is someone who gets paid for her work. She charges by the hour or perhaps by the project. Freelancers write, design, consult, advise, do taxes, and hang wallpaper. Freelancing is the single easiest way to start a new business.”

Entrepreneurs use money (preferably someone else’s money) to build a business bigger than themselves. Entrepreneurs make money when they sleep. Entrepreneurs focus on growth and on scaling the systems that they build. The more, the better.”

Which one are you? Which do you want to be? Maybe it’s not clear?

The reality is, that “entrepreneur vs. freelancer” is not an entirely black and white thing. You can be one, or the other, or something in between…

  • Some freelancers aspire to evolve into entrepreneurs 
  • Others want to reach higher (paid) levels of freelancing

Seth Godin describes himself as a “freelancer” despite being a top marketing authority and author of countless books everyone in his niche can quote by heart because he still “does the work.” 

The goal for an entrepreneur, on the other hand, is to no longer “do the work.” (That’s not for everyone and that’s… ok!)

For example, we know many service providers who find immense pleasure “in the doing” and have no desire to stop doing those things – but that does NOT mean you can’t scale your business.

We actually consider ourselves hybrids — something in between. We love helping people 1-1 and rolling up our sleeves and doing the work, but we also make money while we sleep. 😉

(What can we call people like us?  Maybe Freelancepreneurs?

This is the journey from serving 1-1 to 1-many

Whether you aspire to be an entrepreneur or simply to add passive revenue streams to your “done for you” services in order to scale, there are four distinct stages self-employed business owners must go through. 

In each, there are common characteristics, problems, objectives, and opportunities. What you need to focus on to level up to the next phase will depend on which stage you’re in. 

Let’s dive in so you can see where you’re at and how to move forward… 

Stage 1: Explore

In the explore stage, you’re transitioning from conventional employment to working for yourself. Or maybe you’re right out of school and the thought of working for “the man” isn’t an option, so you set out on your own and look for clients rather than a job.

(Just a pause here to say HECK-YEAH-RIGHT-ON-YAY!)

You have marketable skills and expertise and you view self-employment as the path to living life on your own terms.

YOUR CUSTOMER

At the explore stage, your first order of business is to get clients — any clients — who need your skills.

MARKETING

Your first move will be to tap into your personal network and tell everybody about what you do. You also might use a freelance marketplace (e.g. Upwork) or job boards to get gigs.

Once you book your first clients, if you do a great job for them, they’ll tell other people about their experience and you’ll start getting client referrals. 

You’ll start building a portfolio, testimonials, and case studies and that will lead to more work.

But, you’re not in full control of who you attract and you don’t always feel 100% confident you know where your next client is going to come from. Because of that, you say yes to most of the opportunities that come your way.

You probably have some basic marketing assets — social media accounts, a website or portfolio, business cards, etc. But you don’t have much time or energy to do all that much with them. Mostly they exist so you can look profesh and so people have a way to find and get in touch with you.

You spend very little time doing marketing tasks and as much time as you can doing billable work.

PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

At this stage, you may not have strong client boundaries and instead, are focused on making them happy (so you can get referrals). 

You’re likely learning lessons about all the ways clients can test your boundaries and struggling with things like scope creep, texts and phone calls on the weekends, and not getting feedback or payment on time.

You probably commiserate about crappy clients with your colleagues.

YOUR OFFERS

If you are capable of doing it and somebody is willing to pay you for it, you are putting it on the menu and saying yes. You likely have a laundry list of services and deliverables on your services page. You create custom project quotes for each client or you bill by the hour for tasks you do for them. 

Leveling Up from Stage 1 to Stage 2

Get clear about your zone of genius

Start thinking about the work that really gets you into a state of flow. When you’re making money and feeling fulfilled in whatever it is you’re doing — when time seems to fly by — what are you doing exactly? 

This is what we call “the work you’re meant to be doing.” 

Get better at describing your expertise

Think about ways you can be more specific in the way you talk about what it is that you do.

Take a look at your marketing messages and think about the words you use to describe your work with people you meet — then make sure you’re communicating in clear language the type of work you want people to come to you for. 

If you can’t describe it in the time it would take you to travel between floors on an elevator, they’re not going to remember it and come to you when they need it…. so work on that.

Get clear about your ideal client

Think about the clients you enjoy working with most. What are their common characteristics? What about them makes the working relationship satisfying? Then, think about how you can get in front of MORE of these people.

Set boundaries and enforce them, this is important

In order to be efficient and profitable with what you’re doing, “people-pleasing,” “going above and beyond,” and “letting things slide” are not good ways to go about things.

Create good contracts, keep track of what you’re spending your time on and create some rules around that time, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when something doesn’t serve you.

And most importantly: Make time for marketing and market your business with consistency. If you are not planting seeds and building awareness and trust, you’ll never be able to pick and choose who you work with and the type of projects you take on.

Choose a content type: written, audio, video, or visual (whichever plays to your strengths and comes easiest for you) and create as much as you can.

Then, choose a social media platform and share that content consistently. (Check out our Content Calendar System which will help you do that in a fraction of the time)

If you’ve not been consistent with marketing, this is going to feel like a distraction from your billable work — but in order to level up, you need to start putting your own business first on your priority list.

Grab this free download to have tons of ideas you can take action on. 👇

Stage 2: Master

You’ve been at it a while and you feel pretty confident this self-employment thing is gonna work out for you. (Hurrah!) You’ve learned some lessons and you’re starting to think about which direction you want to take things.

CUSTOMER:

You’ve had some experience working with lots of different types of clients and you’re beginning to notice patterns — some of your clients light you up and work feels effortless and others are a pain in the arse and more trouble than they’re worth.

You’re at the stage where you’re starting to get clear about who your IDEAL client is and who you DON’T want to work with. You start recognizing red flags and run the other way when you spot a “bad apple client.”

You may find that you’re most happy working with people from a particular vertical and you start to network with people from specific industries.

MARKETING:

Because you’re getting clearer about who your ideal client is and the type of work you want to do for them, you become more focused with your marketing messages.

You’re creating content designed to attract a specific type of customer and showing up on social media consistently. You also take steps to make sure your content is discoverable in search — whether that means Google, YouTube, Itunes, or Pinterest.

PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

You are beginning to understand that establishing and enforcing boundaries is a huge aspect of doing client work.

You have processes in place, you’ve established policies, and you work with contracts always.

You have a system for vetting clients — you know what questions to ask and what to look for before saying yes to the work.

OFFERS: 

Because you’re getting clearer about the work you want to do and who you want to do it for, you begin creating packages that describe this work. Your bulleted list of capabilities is replaced with more specific offerings.

The way you speak about your work starts moving beyond “WHAT” you do and starts focusing on “HOW” you do it — the benefits of your offers and the special sauce you bring to the table. You create a unique value proposition.

Leveling Up from Stage 2 to Stage 3:

A lot of freelancers make a respectable living in stage 2 – in fact, you might coast here for quite a long time before even thinking about making a change. 

Just a word of advice about that: it’s easy to get stuck in the “it ain’t broke, so why fix it?” trap. 

Remember things can EASILY change out there — your competition can change, your marketing platform algorithms can change, and you may find yourself in a situation where what always worked before doesn’t work anymore. 

Make marketing a priority.

Even if you’re so busy you think you don’t need marketing.

Create a clear vision for your future

This is a stage where burnout can easily creep up on you. You get busy reacting to what’s in front of you and get stuck on the feast or famine roller coaster.

If you’re not steering your business ship toward work that fulfills you, you may wake up one day and your exciting self-employment adventure feels more like a job you’d rather avoid.

If you feel BLAH, uninspired, exhausted, or you’re questioning what the heck you’re even doing, this is just a signal that it’s time to level up and everyone goes through it.

You may invest in courses and books and coaches to try to find your way forward and get unstuck — and while all of these things are good, and can even help you get the clarity you need, ultimately it will be up to YOU to take the leap.

What we’ve found is that people get STUCK trying to find answers outside themselves rather than having a good, honest gut check and accepting what’s not working and creating a clear vision for the future. We’ve seen people circle around themselves for YEARS

Get outside your comfort zone

Moving past your stuck points at this stage requires doing some serious mindset work and getting comfortable with going outside your comfort zone.

Think about the things you need to let go — whether tasks (yes, it’s time for you to hire a VA), clients, service offerings, or something else. We all do things that aren’t serving us anymore (it’s a moving target!), and leveling up is as much about recognizing that as adding new strategies and tactics to the mix.

Most of all, work on feeling confident in your highest value — really get to the bottom of what that is, and when you do, OWN IT.

Stage 3: Expert

This is one of the most EXCITING stages of being self-employed. 

When you’re ready to move past being an order taker and doing anything you’re capable of doing for any-ol’-body and start designing service offerings that attract the right people to you to do the right work, you’re in the EXPERT stage.

You are focused on getting to the bottom of where your HIGHEST value is so you can create offerings that will reward you personally and financially.

You begin to design your marketing, offers, and messaging around your ONE THING: that one thing you want to get famous for. And people start coming to YOU because for them, there can be no substitute — it has to be you.

This means you are finally operating in your zone of genius which means you’re fulfilled in your work and able to command more money in less time.

YOUR CUSTOMER

You are VERY specific about your target customer and you know everything about them. You know what keeps them up at night, you know what they desire, and you know what they need.

When you create marketing messages, you speak directly to them — you speak to their pains, obstacles, struggles and you talk about the transformation they want too… and you’re the one to help them get it.

MARKETING

Your marketing gets more focused and you’re connecting the dots between your content and sales.

You create a system to attract clients on autopilot, and they come to you because you have the solution they need and you’ve been building trust at every step of their journey.

You’re creating sales funnels that guide people to your offer using conversion tools like webinars, email sequences, and free courses.

You feel confident you know your client pipeline will always be full and marketing becomes soooo much easier because you’re focusing on your strengths, the people you want to attract, and the offers you’re guiding people to.

The content you create revolves around establishing your expertise and building authority: you might write a book, host a podcast, write guest articles in high-profile publications, run webinars, and/or give speeches.

You move beyond social media and focus hard on building your email list because you know this is where trust and sales are won.

OFFERS

You narrow down your service offerings so you’re exclusively operating in your zone of genius and switch from hourly to fixed/value pricing. You create systems and processes so you’re becoming more expert and more profitable the more you do this work.

No recreating the wheel with each and every client and no spending time doing custom proposals or doing the long, drawn-out sales process of back and forth emails and free discovery calls. You have a bullseye offer and people come to you for it.

You stop trading dollars for tasks and start selling solutions and pricing those solutions based on their value, not time spent.

At this stage, you may create a product (digital course, book, etc.) to not only attract high-ticket clients as a low-risk way to take the first steps with you but to make passive income.

You may reinvest that additional revenue in larger-scale marketing campaigns or growing your team — you’re thinking like an entrepreneur now and foregoing short-term gains in order to scale.

PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

At the EXPERT stage, your business is your #1 client. You know that every minute you spend serving clients 1-1 that you are not being compensated for is an opportunity cost for your business… so you stop giving things away for free.

You spend that time instead on tasks that help you grow, scale, and create consistency such as improving your processes, training your team, and creating marketing systems that keep you moving toward making more money in less time.

You’ve got crystal clear boundaries in place and you know how to enforce them. You feel empowered to say NO. A lot. And you do.

And once you get a taste of being more in control of your business? You might not want to stop there… 🙂

Leveling Up from Stage 3 to Stage 4

In order to transition from serving clients 1-1 to scaling your business by creating 1-many services and digital courses and products, it’s imperative that you become very protective of your time — you will need it so you can devote a large percentage of your time to marketing and product development.


Grab our free Value Ladder Planner to help you rock the Expert stage!

Stage 4: Scale (Entrepreneur) 

At the SCALE stage, you’re ready to stop trading hours for dollars and move from serving 1-1 to 1-many. If you do continue 1-1 work, you now charge much more for less time spent

You’re focused on creating systems to become more efficient and profitable, and you’re pivoting to selling more 1-many programs and/or digital courses and products. 

CUSTOMER

Your target customer MAY shift here, and you’ll likely need a strategy for reaching more than one audience.

You’ll find that a client who wants a done-for-you or done-with-you service and is willing to pay a premium price is not the same customer who’ll sign up for a course or group program so they can learn how to do it themselves. 

At the scale stage, you’ll need to recalibrate your thinking about your target audience and marketing strategies to reach more people.

MARKETING

By now you’ve fully embraced the fact that strategic marketing is where you must put a large % of your time and attention in order to scale. 

Your focus moves toward paid traffic, product and/or service launches, and setting up evergreen funnels. Your focus is on authority-building (getting famous for your one thing ramps up) and building your audience and visibility online and of course, your email list.

By this stage, you’ve got a pretty great marketing machine already in place, but you’ve got some gaps you need to fill and you’ll actively seek out programs or experts to help. 

You’ll focus heavily on watching your numbers and optimizing every step of your funnel to maximize conversions and margins. 

OFFERS

You’re continuing to improve your process for delivering your services and packing them with loads of value so you’re able to charge more in less time. 

Because you’ve created systems around delivering these services, you’re ready to train others to implement (or at least help).

You’re making the kind of choices that free you up in order to keep the business moving forward. 

At this stage, that means much of your time is spent creating and/or launching digital products or hosting 1-many programs and automating the sales process around those offerings. 

PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES

At this stage, your business is your #1 best client and you’ll streamline customer service. 

You’ll create policies for things like how you’ll handle refunds, complaints, or questions and outsource those tasks to your team. You’ll have onboarding and offboarding processes in place, and every step of your client’s journey will be predictable and as much as possible, automated. 

Even if your goal is to stay a one-person business or keep your consultancy small, you’ll know when a task is better outsourced and where your time is most valuably spent.

Once you have a system to scale, the sky’s the limit!

So, where are you in the entrepreneur journey? 

Freelancing, self-employment, entrepreneurship — whichever word feels right for you — is a journey. If you’ve spent time comparing YOUR journey to someone else’s, we hope this has helped you realize that evolving from one stage to the next is a process and it’s okay to be where you are.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll get there! Don’t try to leapfrog — take a look at what needs your attention TODAY and make one change at a time. You got this!

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If you want to attract clients to your business, you know that means getting visible with them online.

And when we think of all the ways we can get visible, it probably looks something like this:

👉 Sharing things on social media
👉 Having a stunning brand identity and beautiful website
👉 Creating content for a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel
👉 Networking with people in online communities

You may call these activities building brand awareness or online marketing, but it doesn’t really matter what you call them — they’re things we engage in that allow clients to see us, like and trust us, and eventually, buy from us.

*Record scratching sound.* Hold up.

Let’s rewind for a sec and go back to the part where we “allow clients to see us.” Because I think what doesn’t get said often enough is that it takes courage to be seen.

And I don’t mean it takes courage to set up a Facebook page and post things to it. I mean it takes courage to truly be seen for who we are, to tell the world about the amazing gifts we have to offer, and to really–I mean really–put ourselves out there.

Gulp, right?

Want more visibility? Then you can’t play it small. You gotta show up in a way that sets you apart, that’s memorable and gets your audience telling their friends about you. And that? Usually means stepping waaaaaay outside our comfort zones.

Which is objectively terrifying.

But that’s why you’re here and we’re gonna work through it. 😉

The secret to getting more visible: having the confidence to be seen

What I want you to know right up front is that having the confidence to be seen in a much bigger way doesn’t come naturally to most people. I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur who isn’t holding themselves back in some way and making themselves smaller than they’re capable of.

One of my favorite questions to ask my clients, colleagues, and even myself is…

What are those things you KNOW will get you more visible with the right people but you’re just not doing them?

We all have those things. They’re there in the back of our minds, those fleeting thoughts we quickly suppress that start with, “I should really_____.”

  • Host a workshop
  • Attend a conference or networking event
  • Give a speech
  • Lead a Facebook group
  • Get on Facebook live and share a tip
  • Create and promote a webinar
  • Connect with influencers in my industry to see if there’s a way we can collaborate
  • Reach out to prospects and invite them to get on a call
  • Start a blog, podcast, YouTube channel
  • Write a book

What is YOUR thing?

What’s holding you back from doing it?

What things are you doing instead that aren’t doing a damn thing to help you move forward?

In other words…

What Does Your Comfort Zone Look Like? 

As soon as those thoughts about “what we should be doing” appear, we quickly push them to the back of our minds and focus on something else. Some activity that feels safe. An activity that’s not going to get us visible...

👉 Checking analytics, seeing how many new followers and subscribers you have.
👉 Reading blog posts that promise the secrets to achieving our goals.
👉 Taking yet another course.
👉 Checking out the competition… man, they’re killin’ it.
👉
Getting completely overwhelmed, shutting it all down, and turning on Netflix.
👉 Doing busywork
👉 Fussing and fiddling with things that aren’t ultimately that important
👉 Procrastinating

Let’s be honest: these are all things we all do to avoid doing the scary things. So those things you know you need to do? That’s for later. That’s for when you “feel motivated and ready.”

(Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not a thing.)

Let’s get to the heart of what’s really going on here, shall we?

The Most Common Ways Entrepreneurs Hold Themselves Back

I want to dive into some major ways I see my fellow entrepreneurs hold themselves back (and the ways I hold myself back, too). As you read through them, and where you recognize yourself, I want you to ask yourself… “If I could overcome this limiting belief, how would that change the game for me?

Deal?

Then, I want you to visualize your future business and in turn, your future life

How is it different? What would you be able to do for yourself, your family, your community–even the world–that you can’t do now?

#1 Imposter Syndrome

The symptoms:

  • You feel like everyone else knows more than you do
  • You feel like if you put yourself out there in a bigger way, you’ll be exposed as the fraud that you are 
  • You attribute any success you have to luck–that somehow you’ve fooled people into believing you’re more capable, talented, and/or intelligent than you really are

Fun Fact About Imposter Syndrome: It’s most prevalent among high-achieving people.

How Imposter Syndrome Affects Your Visibility:

  • You may feel uncomfortable with self-promotion
  • You may feel anxiety about sharing your views or work
  • Or you may struggle with imposter syndrome’s cousin, perfectionism

Here Are Some Ways To Cure Imposter Syndrome

#1 Take the focus off of yourself 

Instead, think about the people you can help. You are capable of helping others even if you’re only one step ahead of them, so you don’t have to wait until you’re the leading expert in your industry to get out there and help people.

They need you to show up. They need to hear from you. What they don’t need is for you to be perfect, a leading expert, a guru, or a ninja.

(And by the way, you become an expert through practice and experience.)

#2 Recognize when your ego is playing tricks

It’s helpful to be aware of the stories you tell yourself because our ego means well and tries to protect us, but that doesn’t make the stories we tell ourselves true.

When you catch yourself thinking, “Who am I to put my voice out there? Somebody else is already doing it better!” that’s your ego being a trickster.

You are enough. Today. Right now. So see #1 and do something to get more visible with the people you can help.

#3 Remember that the most successful people you know are feeling the exact same way

It’s easy to think that everyone else has it all figured out, but they don’t.

When someone achieves success in one area, they move on to the next challenge. As soon as they conquer Imposter Syndrome in one area, a new one crops up.

“Who am I to do this thing? Somebody else is already doing it better!” starts all over again.

Conquering Imposter Syndrome is a process. It all starts with being aware when it’s holding you back–that’s probably your signal that it’s the very thing you need to get over in order to get visible.

#2 Comparisonitis

The symptoms:

  • You feel like everyone else is so much further ahead than you there’s no way you’ll ever catch up
  • You have a hard time articulating your own unique strengths and value
  • You feel envious or inadequate when you see what other people are doing

How Comparisonitis Affects Your Visibility:

  • You’re tempted to mimic what others are doing and wind up with a knock-off version of someone else’s brand
  • You don’t attempt things because you won’t be great at them in the beginning
  • You’re unclear about your own direction and value, so your brand message isn’t unique to you  
  • You feel intimidated to express yourself because somebody else has already said or done it better

Fun Fact About Comparisonitis: It’s more common today than at any other time in history thanks to social media

We rarely get to see the:

  • Struggle
  • Insecurity
  • Failure
  • Mistakes
  • Embarrassing moments
  • Obstacles

Here Are Some Ways To Cure Comparisonitis

#1 Give yourself a personal challenge

What could you accomplish if you really put your mind to it?

Imagine your future-self one year from now: you’ve dedicated yourself to learning or mastering a thing and you applied regular, consistent effort toward that achieving goal.

Where could you be?

That’s the vision you want to hold in your mind, and when you want to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to where you were a month ago, six months ago, a year ago.

Recently in my own life, I had to check myself and do this very thing…

It was one year ago that I set a goal to learn the Croatian language within 2 years. Each morning, I pull up a Croatian news site and try to read an article and it takes me an hour. I don’t understand half of it and I just want to cry!

But when I read a story that’s at my current level? I wiz through it with ease. I rarely have to look up words and I comprehend exactly what’s going on.

Could I do THAT a year ago? Heck no, not even close. And when I think about it that way, the frustration disappears and I just keep on doing what I’m doing. Comparing my 1 year spent with the language to readers who’ve had 20+ years with it is not going to help me get where I want to be.

Said another way…

Keep your eyes on your own paper and keep going.

#2 Celebrate your micro wins

We don’t give ourselves credit. When one person signs up for our mailing list it’s like, “Ugh, only one person signed up for my mailing list, Julie has 50,000 people on hers!”

Celebrate that one person who raised their hand and said, “I like what you have to say and I want to hear more from you.”

That’s not a tiny thing, that’s a BIG HUGE THING, so celebrate the hell out of it.

Those micro wins are signals that you’re on the right track and tell you that you need to keep going, double down, amplify.

Big wins don’t just happen. They’re an accumulation of hundreds and thousands of micro-wins along the way.

#3 Practice gratitude

Be grateful for what you have now. For every person who trusted you enough to hire you or buy from you, for every person who followed you on Facebook or visited your website… be grateful for them. It’s too easy to look at our stats and forget that there are real people attached to those numbers.

The more grateful you are for the people who have raised their hands and said “yes,” the more people will be attracted to you and say “Yes! Me too!”

#4 Conduct this “IT’S OKAY TO GROW AS YOU GO” experiment 

One thing we forget is that people don’t start out being super-mega successful. They start at step one. But for some reason, people insist on comparing their step one with someone else’s step 1000!

Gosh, just stop doing that! 😉

Here’s something you can do. Step inside the Wayback Machine over at www.archive.org and search for your business or brand heroes. Go back in time and see where they were in the beginning…

Here’s one of the internet’s leading thought leaders, Marie Forleo. This is how her website looks now — BEAUTIFUL!

But back in the early days when she was just getting started, it looked very different…

What she teaches her students about running a successful online business comes from the experience of building a successful online business. The things she advises people to do with their websites today are the things she was doing all wrong in the beginning.

Even Marie Forleo didn’t have it all figured out on day one.

It’s okay to grow as you go.

I don’t think less of Marie because she didn’t come out the gate with a perfectly polished internet empire. In fact, I respect her more for keeping her brand and domain name the same so we can see the evolution.

#3 Fear of Failure

Ooof, this is a biggie. Ready?

The symptoms:

  • You’re afraid of what other people will think
  • You actively avoid disapproval, criticism, the “thumbs down vote”
  • You avoid situations where you’ll be judged
  • You fear looking stupid or making a fool of yourself

I’m just going to say it. Fear of failure is just another way to say you’re prideful. It’s great to be proud of yourself when you accomplish things, but it’s not very helpful when it comes to tackling something new.

It can stand in your way of doing something because you fear you’re not going to be universally praised for it and that’s only going to hold you back. (You already instinctively know that, right?)

Fun Fact About Criticism: The only things that aren’t criticised or judged are things that ARE. NOT. SEEN.

How Fear of Failure Affects Your Visibility:

  • You’ll play it safe (which is actually not safe at all)
  • You’ll say NO to the very things you should be saying YES to
  • You’ll feel stuck or ashamed because you know what you need to do, you’re just not doing it

Here Are Some Ways To Cure Fear of Failure

#1 Get yourself a vision that makes you tingly all over

I mean really go for it and be specific. “I’d like to make more money” isn’t gonna cut it. Envision your future business and life transformed in a way that gets you psyched.

When I struggled in my business a few years back when I first moved abroad, the only goal I really had was to get work and pay my bills. I think a lot of us get stuck there from time to time and we forget to DREAM.

It was when I really got clear about how I wanted my future life to be that things started turning around for me, and I started applying relentless and consistent effort toward achieving those goals.

I wanted to make more money, yes, and to get out of the “feast or famine” lifestyle… but I also imagined things like:

  • Retiring my husband so he can focus exclusively on making art
  • Purchasing a seaside home and art gallery on the coast of Croatia
  • Having the ability to take extended vacations and travel
  • Feeling rewarded in my work because I’m doing the things I’m meant to be doing and helping great people

These are all things that are far more important to me than any one person’s opinion on the internet.

My dream is to do this every day — visit Saša’s art studio where he’s doing what he’s meant to be doing.

Notice the trick? Motivation. Get yourself some great motivation and fear just simply can’t stop you.

#2 Accept that you’re just not going to be for everyone 

And you shouldn’t try to be! Trying to appeal to everyone means you’ll say the same recycled things everyone else is saying and that’s not going to help you build a brand that gets noticed or get you visible with the right people.

But you’re for someone, and they need you to show up.

#3 Practice the art of being vulnerable 

I can tell you that being vulnerable–putting yourself out there and being unafraid to reveal that you just don’t have it all figured out — is one of the most liberating things you can do.

Not only that, it’s effective marketing. People don’t respond to stiff, perfect, corporate robots… they respond to humans being humans. We’re all in this and it ain’t always easy or perfect.

When you have a chance to let your expertise shine? Do that. But don’t be afraid to share stories about areas you struggle with.

An expert isn’t someone who knows everything. An expert is willing to say, “You know, I’m not sure, I don’t have any experience in that area so I can’t speak to it. But I can look into it and give it some thought.”

Ironically, by being transparent and real and imperfect, people are more likely to trust you.

#4 Conduct these “EVERYONE WITH ANY AMOUNT OF VISIBILITY IS GOING TO GET CRITICIZED” experiments

The Amazon Experiment

Go to Amazon.com and pick any book, your favorite book, a classic or a bestseller… Look for the one- or two-star reviews. Here’s one:

Imagine if the author had been afraid of reviews like this and decided not to publish the book at all.

What a pity that would be, because this is the book…

The YouTube Experiment

Go to YouTube and search for your favorite inspirational speaker…

I guarantee that you’re going to see “thumbs down” votes. Imagine if they stopped giving speeches because they were afraid of those?

Brené Brown is a personal hero of mine and she’s had a big impact on the way I view the world. I’d be so upset if she let her haters stop her because I need her!

The people who need you are the ones who count, not the critics.

The bottom line is that if you’re not getting criticized on the internet, it’s because you’re INVISIBLE.

I used to let this fear hold me back BIG time and over the years I’ve had to push myself past this mental roadblock.

I’d love to tell you that nothing bad will ever happen and nobody will ever say anything critical or unkind. THEY WILL.

But when it happens, know that you’re in control – it’s called hide, ban, and delete.

It will sting at first but then it won’t.

If you keep your eye on the prize (the future life you want) and stay focused on all the people you’re helping, you’ll eventually get to the point where you can shake and laugh it off. I pinky promise.

So, what are you going to do to get more visible?

I hope this has helped you figure out where you’re holding yourself back, and if you recognized yourself in any of these areas that you’ve realized: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Now go out there and do those things you know you need to do, I’ll be cheering you on.

Please leave me a comment below if you have a story to share, I’d love to hear it!

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6 Amazing Resources for Female Entrepreneurs | Looking for places to connect with other savvy entrepreneurs and bloggers? This post is for you! Grab a coffee, get inspired, share stories, and learn strategies to start a business and make money from home. #entrepreneurship #startupAs a female entrepreneur, it can often feel like you’re on your own without any support — especially in industries that are dominated by men.

Fortunately, there are many online communities and networks you can join to connect with like-minded women in business and learn, collaborate and share.

We’ve compiled a list of the top six websites and resources for you right here. Read on to become empowered and inspired.

1) The Female Entrepreneur Association

The Female Entrepreneur Association is a great place to start if you’re a female entrepreneur looking for wisdom and support.

Founded in 2011 by Carrie Green, this international online hub for women in business is dedicated to inspiring and empowering female entrepreneurs through sharing advice and resources. It’s now one of the largest global communities for female entrepreneurs, with 650,000 women currently in their network across over 67 countries and over 500 industries.

The Female Entrepreneur Association has even won awards for its tireless work motivating and supporting thousands of business women across a variety of industries. Their weekly videos share tips and ideas for growing your business, giving plenty of help with everything from branding to productivity to finance. There’s a healthy dose of honesty in there too; blog posts don’t shy away from the difficulties of running your own business.

If you want to get additional access to educational online courses, valuable resource bundles, live Q&A sessions and more, you can also join the FEA Members’ Club for a monthly fee.

2) Women Who Startup

Women Who Start Up

Women Who Startup is a startup learning community for female entrepreneurs and innovators. It gives women in business a space to network, collaborate and learn from each other, as well as a platform to showcase and discuss their business ventures.

Becoming a member involves a yearly fee, but means you’ve got access to a supportive community of  industry experts and inspirational innovators.

For non-members, you can still gain access to insightful blog posts, a free newsletter, and the Women Who Startup Radio. Here you can listen to podcast episodes featuring interviews with female thought leaders and business founders.

Women Who Startup also holds regular “basecamp” events in Colorado and Arizona where they welcome a guest speaker to share her entrepreneurial story to inspire and educate aspiring female entrepreneurs.

Being successful in business by yourself is tough. More often than not, you need other people’s help or wisdom to thrive. This could be anything from a building a small but loyal community of customers around a niche product (like Lashstash’s Ashna did), to creating your own network of fellow female entrepreneurs and freelancers that help to support and guide in a particular industry.

Following a similar route, you can act as moderator and guide conversations on a site forum, as well as invite guests to open discussions and write blog posts.

3) The Middle Finger Project

The Middle Finger Project

If the tagline “for babes with balls” doesn’t draw you in, you may want to look away now.

The Middle Finger Project is a fiesty, feminist, alternative online resource for female entrepreneurs who want to do things differently.

Originally started by Ash Ambirge as a blog, this quirky site is now used internationally by female entrepreneurs with a sense of humor who are bored with the status quo. If you like your content sassy and strong, then come here for a regular dose of funny but informative blog posts.

The Middle Finger Project also includes online courses and workshops that cover everything from creative writing for the internet, to writing your own contract to learning how to boss sales calls.

Whether you’re starting up as a freelancer, buying an existing website to rebrand and elevate, or are planning to get profitable with your blog, The Middle Finger Project is an awesome place to start looking for good-humored inspiration.

4) The Boss Network

The BOSS Network is an awesome place to go for inspiration, motivation and to hang out with other female entrepreneurs.

“BOSS” stands for “Bringing Out Successful Sisters.” Their mission is to promote and encourage the professional growth of multicultural women in business — primarily African American female entrepreneurs and professionals.

Founded by Cameka Smith, The BOSS Network has grown into a supportive community where female entrepreneurs can network and build meaningful relationships, helping them to grow their success and independence.

They host networking events, seminars and regular workshops for their members (who you can join for a one-off fee). By signing up, you can also access useful resources and advice on their database, connect with successful women and promote your own business.

Non-members can still access the BOSS Blog, where you can read posts highlighting inspiring business women, discover tips and tricks, and learn all about BOSS Network’s regular events.

5) Lioness

Lionness

Lioness is a digital magazine that describes itself as “Kick-Ass News, Knowledge & Community For Female Entrepreneurs”.

Founder Natasha Zena realized that female entrepreneurs were totally lacking in resources and networks where they could learn more about launching and growing startups, and exchange business tips and best practices. All the business magazines at the time were marketed towards men and felt like they excluded women.

Thus, Lioness Magazine was born.

Since then, it’s gone from a small local publication to a global-reaching publication for female entrepreneurs. You can head here for helpful articles, advice and educational resources on a range of topics — from the ideation phase of your startup to scaling your business model. Whatever stage of your personal or professional life you’re at, Lioness has wisdom to share.

For a little bit extra, you can buy a subscription to the magazine that gives you access to ebooks, guides and podcasts.

6) SheWorx

SheWorx is a leading global platform for female leaders and entrepreneurs. If you want world class coaching and access to events and a 20,000-strong community of women, this is the place to go.

SheWorx empowers women to build and scale successful companies by putting the focus on a judgement-free environment. Women in business are encouraged to collaborate and support each other rather than see one another as competition.

This mentality is reflected in the platform’s core values, known as the “Triple A values”: Altruism, Ambition, and Action.

The global platform was founded by CEO Lisa Wang, previously a gold medal gymnast who turned her hand to elevate female entrepreneurs around the world. SheWorx creates amazing opportunities by hosting community and networking events, fundraising bootcamps, leadership coaching, and pitch and presentation training.

It’s not hard to see how, in just three short years, Wang has created a community of over 20,000 women. Pretty awesome.

Of course, there are many more out there, but these are six of the best places to go for like-minded female entrepreneur wisdom. Browse through each site’s content and find out which stories resonate best with you.

If a platform really feels like it is talking a lot of sense and is on the same wavelength as you and your brand, then why not join as a member? You’ll have the chance to learn, network and collaborate with other women in business and your success could skyrocket as a result.

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