SHOULD I BUY IT?! And prepping content (podcast)

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Spending money on a new business can be really hard! I talk about my ThriveCart purchase and why I bought it, even though most software already has a built-in shopping cart.

I also talk about why a great checkout experience is essential, why I create content BEFORE I have a site, and the trouble with choosing a business name in a crowded niche.

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Resources mentioned

I mention the following resources in the podcast when I talk about my software choices.

Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning I will receive a commission if you purchase via that link (thanks!) – see my disclosure here.

ThriveCart – yes, it’s pricey! But it’s a one-off, and as I discuss in the podcast skimping on software can be false economy as it can pay itself back really, really quickly.

Here’s proof – this is the income just from my $7 bump offer during my 2020 summit. One single feature paid back 2.5x the price in a few months 😲

Heartbeat – brilliant community-focused platform with courses, events, and fantastic features.

Namelix – my favourite business name generator.

Business Idea Blitz – my free online course that helps you nail your perfect (and profitable) business idea. Quickly, without the analysis paralysis!

Transcript

Hi, I’m Kelly Kotanidis, and welcome to Online Business from Scratch where I am taking you behind the scenes as I build my online business from scratch to a full-time income while making sure it’s a great fit for my traveling homeschooling life. I’ll be walking you through everything I do and why so that you can follow along and build your own flexible online business quickly and efficiently.

So, in this update, it’s the 30th of November. I technically haven’t started my new business; I’m just thinking and planning. But I’ve made a little bit of progress. So, it was Black Friday last week, and I bought a ThriveCart Pro account because it was on sale. I used it for years for my last business, so I knew that it would be worth it, but it was still a bit painful. It cost just under $1,000 Australian dollars. I know if you’re starting out, that seems like a lot, but it is a one-off cost, and I know from experience that decent software can pay itself back very, very quickly.

Here’s a real-life example of this: When I bought ThriveCart for my homeschooling business, I used it to launch a paid summit a month later. Now, ThriveCart has really great features like bump offers. So, that’s where you’ll get to checkout, and there will be a little box saying, “Hey, if you add this extra thing on now, it’s really cheap.”

So I decided to experiment with that, and I added a $7 bump to that first summit. I didn’t even plan it, but when I was setting up checkout, it asked me if I wanted to add one, so I said, “Sure, why not?” And I spent about 20 minutes setting it up for an existing mini-course, and I ended up making over $2,400 just from that little tick-the-box at checkout during the summit launch.

So Thrive Cart paid itself back and more really, really quickly. And, the mini-course was the first unit of my full course, so I would have also sold more full courses as a result, but I didn’t track those specifically.

Learning moment here: When you’re agonising over a purchase like ThriveCart, it’s really useful to ask what it can do specifically for your business. Why is it worth getting it?

For ThriveCart, you can ask questions like, “What features does it have that will help me sell more?” Like the upsell and downsell and bump features. Or, “Will it make it much, much easier for people to buy, so more people will buy?”

As another example, I’m pretty sure I’ll be using Heartbeat as a course and community platform, and they only have Stripe as a payment processor. That means that every person who intends on using PayPal then finds out that it’s not available and they’ll have to put in their credit card details, is a person who has their checkout experience interrupted. They may be worried about the security of their credit card details and feel more comfortable with using PayPal, and some of them will ditch the purchase because of that, which means that while my intention would be to save money by using the inbuilt checkout and not buying something else, it would end up costing me money in the long run.

And I have found that that’s an ongoing problem with many small businesses that I work with. They don’t want to pay for something like Thrive Cart; they’re setting up as cheaply as they can, so they use the very basic checkout method included in their software, or they stick a PayPal button on their site. But it’s a false economy because people ditch checkouts very, very easily.

You’ve probably had experiences where you’ve planned to buy something, but you haven’t followed through for some reason. If checkout is confusing for people or it’s hard for them in any way or they get that unpleasant surprise like not being able to use PayPal and that’s where their money is, then you’ll lose that sale. And that adds up really, really quickly.

Basic checkouts are okay if you’re testing an offer or you’re just starting out. But when you have an actual finished product up for sale, it needs to be as smooth and easy as possible for people to buy it. And if you can add a little extra to each sale like I mentioned with ThriveCart’s bump feature, you can increase your sales and total income with barely any extra effort because if people are already there buying your thing, they’re much more likely to buy a related thing at the same time if you can offer it to them easily.

So apart from spending lots of money, the other big thing I’ve been doing this week is writing. I’ve hit the stage where the audience research I’m doing is sparking lots of great ideas for posts, the sorts of free content that will be really useful to people and also show them what I do, bring traffic to the site, lead to my courses, get the right people on my email list, all the stuff I’ll need for an actual functioning business.

I’ve just been running with that. I’ve been spending a couple of hours a day writing and researching and adding images, and I have three quite in-depth posts fully drafted and good ideas for adding really high-quality lead magnets or freebies to attach to two of the posts. So I’m feeling really good about that.

It’s not something I’d been planning to do right now, but I’ve had the ideas so I’ve just run with them. It was fun to ride the wave of initial interest because I find otherwise I put the idea on my whiteboard, and then two weeks later after I’ve been looking at it for a while, it feels boring, and it is much, much harder to do. I find it better to strike while the iron is hot.

I’m still doing it all in Google Docs. I think this is really important when you’re starting, and I mentioned this in the last episode too. Once you start putting things on your site, you have to organize your site and set it all up properly, and you’ll be tempted to spend a lot of time formatting and basically just stuffing around. Now, all that stuff will need to be done eventually, but your content is much, much more important. And it’s a bit like choosing software; you don’t know exactly what will be right for you until you can actually start using it. At the moment, I don’t know exactly how my site should look because I’m not using it. So I’m getting all my content planned and drafted just in Google Docs so I can really just focus on the content for now and making that really good. And when I have my first three or five posts all edited and ready to go, then I’ll worry about getting it into WordPress, and I can focus on creating post templates.

Right now, I have no idea what I should put on my homepage or my about page. And if I tried to make them, I would just get lost and overwhelmed. But once I have this foundational stuff down, then creating them will be much, much easier.

Because I know I’ll have to start thinking about site appearance soon, I’ve just been taking note of sites that I like the look of for either their colors or their layout, and I’m saving them in a swipe folder on my computer. I save the entire webpage, and that way, if they decide to shut down or change their branding, I still have an accurate record. So when I’m ready to look at site appearance, I already have a folder of ideas to refer to. I’m not starting completely blank.

This is a really important thing for me to do because I know from experience that choosing colors and fonts and layouts is something that I can stuff around with for a really ridiculously long time. It derails me in the worst way possible. And my special skill in graphic design seems to be choosing a color palette, making two things with her, then deciding it looks horrible and doesn’t work, and then doing that over and over again until my site has 265 different colors and no coherence at all. It makes no sense. I love color; I dye stuff; I sew stuff; I crochet stuff. I’ve worked a lot with color and pattern, and in real life, I think I’ve got a decent eye for it. But when it’s on the screen, I just can’t make it work for me. So, I really need to make sure I keep myself moving in that area.

And, finally, names. So, I’m still thinking about that. I have a word list of stuff I like. I’ve been using a business name generator, but the problem is finding a domain name that’s not already taken and that a similar business isn’t using, and that’s quite hard. All the terms that I think, “Yes, that’s great,” you know, someone’s already using it, or it’s a premium domain and it costs $40,000. So that’s a downside of getting into a relatively crowded niche, the good names are already taken.

A few years ago, I bought dyediy.com for the standard price of around $15 per year, and there is no way I would get a six-letter domain with what I’m doing now. But I’m just kicking back and waiting and just having faith that something will turn up when I need it.

And that’s it for my business preparation for now. I’m focusing on working at people want, creating core content, and basically just working out the foundations. I’m only doing it when I want to, when it’s enjoyable, and it’s been pretty fun so far. So that’s a really good sign too that it suits me as well. If you got to the stage where you drafted three posts and you were thinking, “Oh, I’m so over this already,” that could be a red flag that you’re doing the wrong topic. It could also mean you’re doing the wrong format, but that’s probably a subject that deserves its own episode.

Don’t forget about my Business Idea Blitz mini-course where I will walk you through choosing the best topic for your online business. It’s free, it’s short, but you will get results quickly so that you can know if your topic is a winner, and you can start moving on with your planning and building your own online business. There will be a link in the show notes, and I would love you to join in and share the idea you develop and see you turn it into an actual business.

Thanks so much for listening; I will be back sharing my next steps very soon. I’ll see you then.

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Got any questions? Feel free to to drop them in the comments below.

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