From Personal Brand to Profit: A 9-Step Guide to Turning Your Passion into a Business.
You have the charisma to attract an audience or a community that supports what you do and enjoy your contribution. And now, you want to turn that influence into a business.
The minute you decide to formalize and make it official official, you will find yourself mentally in an entirely different arena. Opportunities will open for you just as you start to think of your personal brand as a business and not just a side gig.
To help you navigate your journey of launching and growing an online business, review these simple easy-to-follow steps including tips, tricks and links to get you started.
Step 1: Mindset
But first, you must make sure you have adopted the proper mindset that will guide your path and ensure you stay committed to your goal.
I am sure you have heard of this concept of mindsets before.
Mindset is an established set of attitudes that impact how you approach life and assess situations.
Among the various mindsets, the growth mindset is one often talked about. The growth mindset is the most important one to adopt in order to be successful. This mindset is often aligned with the “abundant” mindset.
A growth mindset is the tendency for people to believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work.
With a growth mindset, you try harder, you want to learn new strategies, and you seek out feedback when you are stuck. Those with this type of mindset also believe that resources are not fixed and limited to a few in the world.
The growth mindset is akin to the abundant mindset which believes the opportunities are never dried up.
The limited or scarcity mindset is the opposite of these. This mindset believed that there will never be enough of something. Having limited money and resources triggers the scarcity mindset. Scarcity can preoccupy your brain so much that you cannot focus on the opportunities before you that are great and that may be the path to abundance.
As a result, the scarcity mindset leads you to overly prioritize the pressing needs at the expense of your longer-term needs. You get stuck in this cycle of short-term thinking and in the longer-term, you end up worse off.
Before you advance, make sure you have adopted a positive mindset, entrepreneur mindset and/or the growth mindset because with these mindsets, you will more likely stay focused on your path and keep going even when there are hiccups. Shed any limited mindsets that may be holding you back.
Now, you are ready to launch and advance to step 2.!
Step 2: Phone and Website:
You’re ready to start your brand new business! If you didn’t know it, you can get a professional website and business phone today. That’s right in one day.
But do you really need a website in 2023 and beyond?
While social media has eliminated the need to have a website, no doubt, you may be limited in opportunities you can accept unless and until you have one. Several B2B (business-to-business) brands, companies, partners will simply not advance a potential partnership or collaboration if you do not have a website.
A professional looking website still carries the heavy weight of professionalism.
The good news is that you can have a new website and a new phone number today!
You will get instant credibility by using your own domain alone. With Dreamhost, you have our own domain name for the cost of a venti latte. And if you get one of their monthly plans, a domain comes with it free .
Even though I find Dreamhost the best platform for beginners on a budget (you can pay like $5 per month on some plans) I think that you get better customer service going with GoDaddy because there is someone 24/7 available to help you in case your blog disappears off the Internet or shuts down for any reason. The slightly additional cost of GoDaddy comes with this extra customer service.
I go into detail on why I prefer Go Daddy on this blog post!
Next, when you’re ready to take interested clients and potential leads by phone, head over to Google Voice and get a free local telephone number.
With Google Voice, you can screen calls, listen to messages online or from your phone, set up a personal greeting and everything for FREE.
Before, it was looked upon as suspect but now, so many consultants, independent contractors, lean startups, organizations and other nonprofit entities use Google Voice, it has become an industry standard.
So be proud of operating a lean machine and take advantage of the free tools available out there that will help you make your presence online in no-time!
Step 3: Get a Physical address
If you anticipate doing reviews as a creator, you may not want packages sent to your home address and risk having that personal identifiable information out there.
Also, if you decide to set up your business as a corporation, LLP or LLC, if you put your personal home address on the forms when organizing your business, it becomes public record. Having a separate business address helps shield your personal location from the web.
You can get a post office box for packages, and because some vendors don’t deliver to PO box addresses, you can get a UPS store box or similar account.
These accounts let you use the address of the store as your address and list your box number as a suite. They can cost as low as $100 per year, depending on where you live.
Step 4: Create a Filing System
To really separate your business from your personal self, create a separate file box for your online creator or digital business related documents. This should be a physical file, though you can have a digital one or app-based file as well. You can purchase a file box from an office supply store. I like this one that is sold on Amazon.
For creators or creative businesses, I suggest creating the following tab categories: Media Kit, Ad Network Contracts, Vendor Contracts, Payments, Invoices, Formal Organization documents, Licenses, Insurance documents, Ad Network Payments, Phone records, Travel and Conferences, Contests, Domain and Hosting, Loans or Investors.
Having a file category already set up for these items when they come up will make you more likely to file them away properly. You’ll need these later come tax time, if there is a contract breach or you later want to get an investor.
Step 5: Set up a Business Banking
In the beginning, you can escape all of the annual fees associated with a traditional business checking account at a bank, by looking into some online banks.
A lot of online only banks do not require a minimum deposit, and do not have things like overdraft fees, check fees and more.
A low cost or free way to manage blog expenses and profits is to set up a PayPal account to hold payments and make expenses. You can track finances through it too. There are various free desktop and mobile small biz applications you can also use.
Step 6: Protect Your Personal Assets
If you anticipate spending a lot of time creating content, quickly growing an audience or community or talking on controversial topics like politics, you may want to insulate yourself from potential liability from comments or subjects you talk about on your content.
Or if you have a business and do not want any potential lawsuit judgment that can attach your personal assets, like your home, clothing and vehicles, it’s best to separate the business.
An easy way to do this is to start treating your online presence as a separate business. I do not recommend you put your family name in the business and I shared why on this 10 minute podcast.
You can go to your state’s tax assessment website online and register a fictional or trade name. It usually costs about $50 or so and requires you to have a registered agent or live in the state for service of process purposes. The registered agent can be a relative or friend who lives in the state.
Also, there are several companies that will be your registered agent for a small fee.
Setting up a trade name tells the world that your online personal brand or company is an entity. This entity can also be used in case you want to open a separate business checking or savings account for the business. You also can use the business to get various small business tax credits and write offs later come tax time.
Talk to your accountant about that, but keep and track all receipts for all blog purchases and revenue so you can take advantage of tax savings options.
Next, consider getting a rider on your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy for as low as $60 a year.
The insurance protects your personal assets just in case you are sued. Hopefully, you avoid defaming others, publishing personal information or untruths and screen commenters to make sure they do not do the same.
Step 7: Productivity and Workflow
In order to manage your business with existing personal obligations, school, part time or full time work and other interests and commitments, having a system to manage it all is essential.
And you don’t necessarily need that much time because there are so many tools, apps and resources out there that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you and a lot of them are free!
There are ways to shortcut anything and get anything done you need from a personal logo, to getting sponsors for your website to getting traffic from Pinterest on auto pilot.
Step 8: Start learning the business side of things
I’ve put together a creator’s marketing and legal bundle with a half dozen agreements, vetted by an attorney, which will save you about $10,000, it would cost you to have these drafted by a professional just for you.
Get the legal templates here.
There are lots of free tutorials available too.
Step 9: Step Start Creating and Selling
You do not need anything to start creating content as an influencer or content creator or to as a business using social media to drive traffic. Your smartphone is all you need.
When you are ready to upgrade your basic tools, you can start with those I’ve curated here.
And if you start making digital products like ebooks, itineraries, consider Canva as a resource. Professional graphic designers have released over 100,000 templates. It’s free but I highly suggest upgrading when you can because there are benefits for branding and giving you access to high quality stock photo and graphics, background removers and more.
There are various platforms where you can sell your course or digital products.
A lot of creators don’t just earn money from ads, they also create and sell products, real and digital ones. While Etsy is traditionally for handmade products, a lot of online entrepreneurs and bloggers sell digital products like templates and planner sheets via Etsy.
Etsy charges just .20 to list and takes a small commission off sales. Consider signing up for an account when you’re ready to start selling!
Hope these tips are helpful!
Jay Jay Ghatt, Instructor, YouTuber, Social Media & PinterestMarketing Educator