If you're a creative person looking for small business ideas to help get started on your next venture - this post should definitely help.As a professional SEO and content marketer - who started out in journalism and copywriting - I've got over 20 years' experience working in the creative industries as my own boss.And one thing's for sure, if you're willing to work hard and be entrepreneurial - the creative small business lifestyle can have many rewards (not least financially).So let's have a look at the types of ventures that are ideal for creative people who want to live life on their own terms... Quick Navigation 1. Photography2. Event Planning3. Renting Storage Space4. Interior Design5. Furniture Making6. Graphic Design7. Bed & Breakfast8. Catering9. Craft Baking10. Landscaping Services11. Walking/Biking Guide12. Tutoring13. Music/Art Lessons14. Blogging 15. Website Design16. Clothing Alteration17. Social Media Management 1. PhotographyIf photography is your passion, then perhaps it's time to take this passion to the next level. Professional photographers are always in demand, especially if you niche down. Whether it's weddings, corporate events, family portraits or local festivals, talented photographers capture the essence of these events forever. You can build this business from home with few costs as well.2. Event PlanningIs planning and organisation your forte? Then you can try your hand at event planning. As an event planner, you’ll manage the logistics of coordinating major events. Perhaps you can begin by planning your friends’ birthday party or your dad’s retirement party before scaling up? Pull off one great party and soon word-of-mouth recommendations will do the rest. 3. Renting Storage SpaceIf you live in a city or built up area and you've got a secure space not being used, you could always rent it out for storage. We live in a world where people just have too much 'stuff' - so letting storage space is big business. Perhaps it's time to give that garage or workshop a tidy up and get it listed locally?4. Interior DesignIf you love designing interiors, why not turn it into a source of income? Start with a friend or someone from your personal network and use that work to find better business opportunities as an interior designer. You can even partner up with your local furniture stores and manufacturers for a commission. It means they can bring you new projects to work on too. 5. Furniture MakingTake your love of working with woodwork to the next level by opening a business crafting custom-made furniture. You could also offer a repair service for existing pieces of wooden furniture that require renovation. Get a website going to market yourself in your local area and this one could be a winner.6. Graphic DesignThis is a good business opportunity for those who love art and design - and who also know their way round an Apple iMac or similar. With a little training, you can start a graphic design business with minimum expenses - and build up a portfolio of designs for friends and family first. Your main investment would be the Adobe Creative Suite,
Jan 22, 2020
Entrepreneurship is hard. Mastering online marketing is perhaps even harder. But as a time-strapped small business owner you knew that already right? Yet here’s the thing… If you can’t translate the success of your bricks and mortar business to a wider audience of the right people online – then at some stage your competitors will steal your market share. Who knows, it may even be another local business that does it. That’s why every successful entrepreneur needs to learn some pretty specific and very important skills during their career – in order to make their company a success on the Internet. These top skills will not only help to set you apart on the Web, by enhancing your online traffic, leads and sales – but will help you build a brand that stands the test of time in your industry. So what are these essential skills entrepreneurs need? Let’s dive into a list of the key traits that will place you among the most successful online entrepreneurs in the world. Listen To My Show On The Entrepreneurial Skills [toc] 1. Positioning Smart small business owners know that niching down will help them stand out online, rather than going too broad with their positioning. However counter intuitive it may sound, there’s more money to be made by catering to a smaller market than…well, everyone. Identifying a niche market requires an entrepreneur to adopt a marketer’s mindset, so you can focus on your potential audience’s pain points – their needs, wants and frustrations. Positioning your business to solve these problems will give you a great foundation to build upon. Niche targeting has much to do with empowering your online authority and sales. By getting your positioning right from the outset, you’ll convert more of your web visitors into customers as you grow your traffic. Recommended Reader Resources How To Create Strong Brand Positioning In Your Market<a href="https://liquidcreativity.com.au/marketing-positioning-guide/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow ...
Jan 15, 2020
When it comes to getting more traffic, leads and sales – content marketing is the low cost and highly effective way to build your small business online. Research your target audience, build your customer avatars then create and execute a documented content strategy. That’s it in a nutshell. The benefits of content marketing for your business are many and varied – but all of them will positively impact your bottom line. Let’s have a look at them… Listen To My Show On The Benefits of Content Marketing Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… [toc] 1. Better Brand Recognition Content marketing is hands down one of the best strategies to make your brand stand out online. A lot of markets are maturing and becoming saturated, so buyers are naturally more cautious about what they purchase. By consistently delivering quality content that builds trust and authority with your target audience, you’ll ensure your brand is always at the forefront of their mind. 2. Increased Search Engine Traffic If you regularly create and promote high quality content based on longtail keyword research using a tool such as KW Finder or Ahrefs, over time you’ll benefit from higher rankings in the major search engines – and in turn be rewarded with higher organic traffic. Sounds simple right? It kind of is – but you need to be persistent and consistent. 3. Enhanced Social Media Reach If your content satisfies a need or solves a problem, your target audience will definitely share it on the major social media platforms. This means other people you want to reach will also like, share and link to your content over time. If you always focus on creating and sharing high quality content – either yours or someone else’s – then your social media reach should grow quite quickly. 4. More Credibility Want to look like the expert you actually are? Then let your customers know it, with content that shows how on the ball your business is. A series of blogs showing your knowledge of your product or sector will set you above any competitors who aren’t demonstrating their authority. You’re educating, entertaining and establishing expertise all at once. 5. Increased Conversions Your website content – and particularly your blog – reaches your customers in the research stage of their buying journey. The chances are, potential customers will find you because they’re searching for a specific answer. If you know your market, you’ll know why your customers come to you and what they’re looking for – so simply create content that addresses this. If you can satisfactorily answer their questions in your content, they are more likely to convert from researcher into purchaser. 6. Teaches You To Listen The very act of researching your target audience, customer avatars and conducting competitor and keyword research – helps you connect with your core prospects more deeply so you can answer all their questions. The feedback you get through this process will help you become better at listening to what your customers really want from you – which is why inbound marketing is such a high value strategy. 7. Unmatched Cost-Effectiveness We don’t want to sell content writing ...
Jan 8, 2020
Welcome to the show. In this episode I’m going to be making some recommendations on the marketing blogs you should read in 2020 – based on my experience of either reading their stuff for years, being on their email lists or interviewing them for my podcast (or all three). Listen To My Show On Marketing Blogs Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… Featured Blogs There are so many online marketing guru’s out there – but in my opinion many of them don’t know what they’re talking about. So by all means make your own choices too, but be aware there are a lot of smoke and mirrors being used on most of the marketing blogs you’ll find online. That’s not the case with this selection though. These are the good guys who actually practice what they preach and can genuinely help you grow your business on the Internet. So let’s dive into the list in no particular order…. Backlinko Gotch SEO Authority Hacker Fat Stacks Blog Yaro Starak Content Marketing Academy Smart Passive Income Create and Go Ahrefs Income School Content Champion In Conclusion: 11 Marketing Blogs You Must Read In 2020 So there are my choices. I like other marketing blogs too but these are my absolute favourites that would fit into a short, snackable podcast. If you pushed me on what my absolute best blog is at the time of writing – then I’d have to say Fat Stacks Blog. I love Jon’s business model, blog writing style and emails – and in an ideal world I would do what he does for a living. Easier said than done 🙂 While I’ve had some success with affiliate sites in the past, I’ve always found transitioning from client work to a publishing model to be very hard in terms of replacing the lost income. It seems like a big gap to leap between the two business models, but I’m not giving up yet. Watch this space in 2020 and thanks for listening. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Watch The Video Podcast Subscribe, Rate & Review The Content Champion Podcast Thanks for listening to the Content Champion podcast throughout 2019, we look forward to serving you with some great shows in 2020. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to iTunes to leave me a rating and review. You can also subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode – and please ...
Dec 25, 2019
Welcome to the show. In this episode I’m going to discuss my top five marketing tools of 2019. I’ve not really talked about my marketing stack before – but that’s long overdue because I quite simply couldn’t run the content marketing and SEO campaigns that I do for clients and my own projects if I didn’t use marketing automation. So in no particular order, here are my best tools of the year – that I absolutely cannot do without on a daily basis… Listen To My Show On Marketing Tools Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… 1. Active Campaign For email marketing and automations based on tagging people’s interests, I absolutely love Active Campaign. I’m slightly obsessed with creating automation workflows in this software, and I’ve got so used to its interface and layout that I couldn’t even entertain using anything else. It does have its drawbacks – for instance I find editing emails within automations to be clunky – but when used in combination with lead capture software such as ConvertBox, then this is the only email marketing stack you’ll ever need. I’m on a $50 bucks a month plan at the moment, and that’s sufficient for my needs in terms of automations and campaigns, so give it a go yourself if you need an email marketing provider or are thinking of changing from another solution. 2. ConvertBox This brings us neatly onto my next choice – ConvertBox. Describing itself as the new, more intelligent way to convert your visitors – it really is the new, more intelligent way to convert your visitors. ConvertBox helps you create email signup slide-ins, popups and exit intent forms that use advanced segmenting and targeting to convert more of your site traffic into email subscribers. That sounds fancy but what I really like about this software is its easy-to-use and intuitive interface, the personalised nature of the messaging – and also the fact that the design of the various conversion boxes and elements is refined and doesn’t scream, ‘I’m doing some marketing’ at your prospects. I went for their lifetime access pricing which is a few hundred bucks at the time of writing, so I’d get in on this fast as I think this offer is running out very soon. 3. Ahrefs Next up is my SEO tool of choice, Ahrefs. I use this literally everyday and find it to be the Swiss army knife of SEO software. From website audits to keyword research and link analysis – and everything else in between – I choose to stay with this tool because I trust the quality of their data and the size of their backlink database. Over the last few years I’ve alternated between their lite and standard plans – and although it can get a bit pricey as you go up the service levels – don’t forget you are paying for the integrity of their data, which is really everything in SEO terms. One feature of Ahrefs that has really impressed me this year is the site audit. I used to use SEO Optimer (which is fine) and a mish-mash of other tools – but I’m finding the data this produces to be really insightful. The best thing I can say about Ahrefs is that it’s a bit of an SEO oracle – in that if I find a great keyword or some link data in another tool (such as KW Finder which is also great), then I always double check it in Ahrefs just to be sure. 4. Gmail I started using Gmail in anger at the start of this year – not I would add in anger at Gmail itself, but at the host of other useless email platforms I’d failed with previously (Mac Mail you’re guilty as charged). I think I pay about $5 bucks a month for the G Suite version of Gmail, which means I can use my own Content Champion domain as part of my email address – and I can honestly say since I did this I’ve...
Dec 18, 2019
In this episode I’m delighted to be discussing how to write SEO content with world renowned SEO expert, Nathan Gotch. Let’s dive in… Listen To Nathan’s Show On Writing SEO Content Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… Nathan’s Backstory I got my start in SEO in 2012 when I was still in college. I was just your average college student trying to figure out ways to make money. I discovered that one of the best ways to make money at that time was to start a blog. I had no skillset at that point – the only thing I really knew how to do was throw a baseball. So I decided to start a baseball pitching blog. That ended up being the breeding ground for learning how to do SEO. I was hooked after that and started creating website after website just to figure out how to get better and how to get results more consistently. I was honestly not even interested in making money. I just enjoyed the process of ranking websites and driving traffic to them, so eventually I got pretty good at it and I was able to drive results consistently. Then I started to take on clients and do client SEO for a couple of years, and that was pretty successful. But then I got really burned out and needed a different way to diversify my income, because I can’t handle just working with clients for 100% of my revenue. So then I built out a white label services division, which serves other SEO agencies and digital marketing agencies. Then I also built out my SEO training course, The Gotch SEO Academy, which has now been my focus for the last two years. I actually haven’t been working with clients at all – but I’m starting to experiment taking on a few clients again here and there for some future plans. But my main focus for the last couple of years has been Gotch SEO Academy and I’ve grown that to over 700 students now. I definitely think focusing on this has helped me a lot, but I do feel I’ve been missing out on some opportunities to help people in other ways outside of just training – so that’s what I’m starting to dive back into as well. Nathan’s Questions Before we dive into writing SEO content, can you tell us your back story please? Tell us about your current business, Gotch SEO? OK, so what is SEO content and how can it help us? You follow a 9 step SEO content creation process, so let’s go through each stage in order – looking at an overview of each stage… Find your keywords Qualify your keywords Select a keyword based on competitor analysis Establish your search intent strategy Develop your content strategy Create your content Optimize your content Publish Repeat Thanks for coming on the show, can you remind us where we can find you online? The PS Question (subscribers only) – Nathan gives us a great answer to my final question… Featured Resources Gotch SEO Gotch SEO Academy <a href="https://www.gotchseo.com/seo-content/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow ...
Dec 11, 2019
In this episode, I’m going to look at how to write perfect headlines for your blog posts. Let’s dive in… Listen To My Show On Writing Headlines Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… The Importance of Headlines Headlines are crucial – whatever type of content you’re producing. In fact, advertising legend David Ogilvy said that “on average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” The Inverted Pyramid In Journalism When I was at journalism college in Birmingham in the late 1990’s, I learned about the importance of writing good headlines in the context of the inverted pyramid. Established in 1845 when Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, the inverted pyramid was a new way of passing important messages and breaking news from one point to another – by loading all the most important details and key information on the front end of the story. This of course starts with a great headline. Reading the newspapers and news websites (especially the tabloids), will help you learn how great headlines are written. Newspaper headlines include all the most important information up front, written in an enticing way that encourages you to read more – the headline then segues into the introduction or lede of the story (l-e-d-e), which covers the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of the story in the first couple of paragraphs. In turn, the lede entices the reader to move on to read the important elements of the story in more detail (with quotes, statistics, eye witness reports etc), and then the article finishes up with other general background information and supplemental details at the end. So we see that in this context, all the information in the inverted pyramid is hierarchical in importance – and all flows from the headline itself. Here are some examples of journalistic headlines and first paragraphs. Firstly from the BBC website: Theresa May calls off MPs’ vote on her Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May has called off Tuesday’s crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it. Secondly from the New York Times website: U.N. Approves Sweeping Deal on Migration, but Without U.S. Support More than 160 countries adopted a sweeping international accord on migration on Monday, after the United Nations secretary general robustly defended against the “myths” and falsehoods that critics had directed at the deal. How Website Visitors Read Headlines In terms of blogging then, great headline writing and having an article structure based on the inverted pyramid is ideal for the digital era of short attention spans and a hunger for fast food information. In this context, you may have already seen the Nielsen Research study about the F shaped pattern of how people read websites – scanning from top to bottom right to left (reading the headline first to create the top horizontal line of the F). Then scanning down and across from left to right in the middle of the page to get other essential information (forming the second horizontal line of the F), to finish reading down the page for all the supplementary details as the vertical stem of the F reaches the bottom of the page. This is literally the inverted pyramid formation in action on a web page – so there’s a direct relevance here. Headlines In Google The increasingly sophisticated Google algorithm is also geared for this inverted pyramid model too, especially for information based searches – with search intent realised in headlines and first paragraphs through relevant keywords and related phrases,
Dec 2, 2019
On today’s show I’m pleased to be discussing small business website conversion mistakes with experienced copywriter and website consultant, Gill Andrews. Let’s dive in… Listen To Gill’s Show On Website Conversion Mistakes Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… Gill’s Backstory My story’s probably a typical one. I studied, I got a job, you know, like a normal person is supposed to do. I was working as a software developer and an IT consultant for five years and I couldn’t say I wasn’t unhappy, I kind of didn’t notice. You just think, okay, that’s what people are supposed to do. Then I went on maternity leave and had my son, and after three years I was getting bored – so I started a blog. At first my blog had nothing to do with copywriting or websites, but I was trying to get it to rank so it would attract more visitors, so I learned so much about how a website is supposed to work, and how you get people to come to your site and stay to take action. So for two years I was doing that and then it was time to decide whether I was going to go back to work. And I was like; “I don’t want to go back, this is so much fun, I’m connecting with people.” At that point I had already started giving advice to my friends and other bloggers about websites, copywriting and design. I then realised that so many things I know other people don’t, so there was a demand for my knowledge. And I decided not to go back to work. I was lucky that I didn’t have to earn full income right away. This would have not been possible because I was completely unknown. Nobody knew me. I was in Germany, I’m not even in an English speaking environment, so I had to build everything from scratch. But thankfully these two years with my first website prepared me to set things up properly. From the very beginning I had a plan for how I was going to acquire customers and what I need to put on my website. I had very little time because I had a small child who was still at home – who only went to kindergarten one and a half years into into my business. So I had to be very focused – but after year two I saw that it was really working out and I was really happy that I’d taken the step into running my own business. This was unexpected even for me – if you’d told me 10 years ago that I would be doing this then I’d thought you were crazy. But it’s been really fun. Of course sometimes there are struggles – but you are your own boss. You have to decide on your hours, on your focus, on what you do for your clients. And that’s really what I love. It’s so much better than working for some big company where nobody actually cares and you don’t get to see the difference you’ve made. Gill’s Questions Before we dive into small business website conversion mistakes, can you tell us your backstory please? Tell us about your current business and the services you offer to clients? There are many similar mistakes we’ve both seen being made on client small business websites – errors that can really hurt your conversion rates and the overall success of your business. So I’d like to go through the most important ones today: Unclear or too clever copy (how to spot + fix it) No credibility enhancers (or they’re too weak) CTA not working out of context Not utilising above the fold space Visual clutter Too many links in the navigation Thanks for coming on the show, can you remind us where we can find you online? The PS Question (subscribers only) – Gill shares a brilliant answer to my final question…<b...
Nov 27, 2019
In this episode I’m discussing the ‘Coffee Cup Close’ 5 step sales process to help you get more clients – with entrepreneur, software creator, agency owner and founder of multiple businesses, Zach Anderson. Listen To Zach’s Show On The Coffee Cup Close Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… Zach’s Backstory I’m actually a college dropout who turned into a serial entrepreneur. Most recently I started a company called Reputation Loop about five years ago, and we sold it in February, 2019 to a private equity firm out of Silicon Valley. This is actually my second company that I’ve sold in the last 12 years. So I really like building things. I utilise a lot of systems and process doing that and just creating businesses is kind of what I enjoy. I’m not from a formal education background or anything like that. So I just put hard work to the test and figure it out as I go. Since I sold Reputation Loop, it gave me a chance to actually sit back and reflect on what I enjoy about everything and what I’m doing. So I’m just getting right back into it and building a new piece of software, called Ringbot, that’s kind of designed around the same concept. All of the software that I build is designed for marketing agencies to white label and then sell to their customers. So I’m just building another platform that’s focused around that and more into the lead generation or conversion tactic for local businesses – or pretty much any website that accepts phone calls. The new software is about putting call widgets and things like that on websites, so that when people are in their most opportune time to engage with the actual business, they can be encouraged to actually contact them at that time so that you can increase your conversion rates. Zach’s Questions Before we dive into the ‘Coffee Cup Close’ sales process to increase conversions, can you tell us your backstory please? Tell us about your current business interests? OK, for 20 years you’ve been using the same documented 5 step sales process to close new business – let’s go through each step: A phone call or form fill comes in – you use a scheduler to set a time to go through your sales presentation on Skype or Zoom, and you can include some pre-screening questions The presentation – your slide deck is 20 slides long, and educates your potential client on your service process and benefits – then discovers their business goals Proposal – you send a generic proposal with a video screen share going over the main points – and also send some testimonials Next day, you email asking if they have any questions about your proposal – and on the same day you send a handwritten note with a Starbucks gift card inside Ask for the sale – 9 times out of 10 they get back when the handwritten note arrives, at which point you ask for the sale You tweak this system as you go along to increase conversions don’t you? Why is having a documented sales process so important – it gives you confidence doesn’t it? Thanks for coming on the show, can you remind us where we can find you online? The PS Question (subscribers only) – Zach shares a great answer to my final question… Featured Resources RingBot Reputation Loop Calendly
Nov 14, 2019
Welcome to the show. In this episode I’m discussing content marketing with WordPress (for beginners), with Internet Marketing expert Andy Cabasso of OffSprout. (To get a 25% discount use code ‘Champion’ at checkout). Listen To Andy’s Show On Content Marketing With WordPress Want your episodes to look this good? Try Smart Podcast Player… Andy’s Backstory Years ago I was in law school, realising that I didn’t want to be a lawyer – and a buddy of mine was freelancing and looking for his next project, and looking into building a business. We had been talking about this and I was applying to jobs that I didn’t want to get – and I was noticing that most of the law firms that I was reaching out to, if they had a website, they were terrible. So we talked about building websites and starting a business around that. Together we started this company called JurisPage that was an agency focusing specifically on the niche of law firms. And that ended up becoming incredibly successful, largely thanks to our content marketing. Having that legal background and a focus on the legal niche helped us build the brand around that. So we built a ton of content focusing on this audience – and we grew tremendously. Within three years we got acquired by another larger company in the legal industry. Since that acquisition, we’ve been focusing our time now on OffSprout, which is a white label website builder specifically for agencies. We has been looking for tools to make creating websites easier – and we decided to just build it ourselves. Andy’s Questions Before we dive into content marketing with WordPress for beginners, can you tell us your backstory please? Tell us about your current business OffSprout? WordPress now powers over 30% of the world’s websites, why is it such a successful CMS? Why is WordPress so effective for content marketing in particular, especially for startups and small business owners (SEO, blogging, social media etc etc)? Amongst some web designers there’s a certain snobbery about WordPress – why is this (loss of control creatively, hosting, security and updates issues etc)? Despite there being 1000’s of out-of-the box themes for WordPress, designing a truly original site with it can be hard, can’t it? Give us an introduction to WordPress page builders and what we can achieve with them? What sets OffSprout apart from its competitors in the WordPress page builder industry? What have you got planned for OffSprout in the next year? Thanks for coming on the show, can you remind us where we can find you online? The PS Question (subscribers only) – Andy gives a brilliant answer to my final question… Featured Resources OffSprout (To get a 25% discount use code ‘Champion’ at checkout). JurisPage WordPress Yoast WP Engine
Nov 13, 2019