A simple beautiful life is all about keeping things simple and focusing on the essential ingredients of a good life. This simple philosophy can apply to working online too.
The online working world can be an overwhelming place to spend time because it is a vast and relatively free place; therein also lies its great value.
You have the power to keep your visits there as simple as suits you. The digital world is also a flexible and personal public space, so you can tailor your online creating to your lifestyle, needs and goals, by keeping your focus on simplicity.
Creating work that lights you up online can be such a good idea for many reasons. Besides making money, over time, the entrepreneurial path can lead to transformational personal growth and a life filled with inspiration.
Starting an online business does not have to be complicated and it does not have to have all the moving parts from the get-go. You can dip your toe in by starting small, and simply, and then grow when necessary.
Many people have started side hustles in these uncertain times, and many have made a lot of money doing so. Demographics and geography are not very important online, so this world is available to many of us, right from home.
How Does It Work?
Let’s say you have started to write a blog and you wish to sell a digital course you have created.
You write some blogs around the subject of your course. You then create content on social media along a similar theme and offer something related, of value, for free, in exchange for an email address. You then email those that sign up – your ideas, advice, inspiration, and eventually an offer to buy your digital course.
But first – you create and send your creations out into the online world. One of the most essential ingredients to blogging is creating real, relatable, useful content for those readers who need or want it. For me, and many others, this road is not a guaranteed overnight path to success, but it is a transformational journey!
If You Want To, Just Start
If you want to create online and reach the online world, just start. It really can be very simple. A blog is one of the simpler and more accessible, ways to begin.
I started the simple beautiful life blog 6 years ago. I wrote blog posts and added to them, took things away and updated parts and rearranged pages, experimented with new skills, played with the posts and the website, and learnt from creating and editing my work.
But I didn’t ever share it.
I wasn’t ready to share my tentative thoughts and lessons and private life, simply because of who I am, and I’m okay with that.
At the time I knew nothing about online marketing or blogging, copywriting, images, data analytics, pixels, SEO or making a living online. My blog served its purpose, which was as a guide to my experiment of changing my lifestyle. And I am still, always learning, about all those things above and many more.
In 2020 when the pandemic shut down one of our businesses, I decided to steer my blog towards a business and so signed up to learn digital skills.
If you have been toying with the idea of starting an online business – just start. It can grow as it needs to and you will learn what you need to learn as you go.
There are 4 essential ingredients you will need. Please note that this is not an affiliate post, just a summary of my experience:
- a website to call home
- a social media presence
- an email service provider (ESP)
- the right mindset
1. Essential Ingredients – Home
Your website is your online home. It is like the foundations. It is your brand’s home, and the place visitors can come to learn more about you. It should include a picture of you and a bit about what drives you to be here – your desires and values. Importantly this is where your blog lives.
When I started my blog in 2015, it was primarily to serve as a guide. When I decided intentionally to create a simple and beautiful lifestyle for my family, I felt a written record could serve as an accountability tool for me and be useful for others wishing to pursue a simpler life. Also, I enjoy writing things down.
Blogs can shift and change as we do. When I set out, I wanted to create breathing space by decluttering physical clutter, and I wanted to create headspace by simplifying our days. I wanted to be more mindful about our finances and our diet, and I also wrote:
I want to be open to other changes that may happen as the journey evolves.
This is what has happened as my online journey has progressed; other changes. This blog continues to record events, but now I also share about my business, skills I am learning, my new directions, ideas, challenges I set myself, and things I consider useful and valuable.
In the end, it might end up as a record of one woman’s personal evolution, online. Our journeys can be inspiring for others, so perhaps mine will resonate with readers who need to hear my message about self-focus.
Keep It Simple
I like to keep everything simple, but there are a few things you will need. Again, these are not affiliate links, and you can choose what you use because there are many great alternatives. That said – I would strongly recommend using WordPress for your website:
- a domain name, which you can purchase online. I purchased mine at Godaddy.
- somewhere to host your website. I use Afrihost.
- a website creation platform. I use WordPress.
Later you can install plugins and automate processes, but first, get started writing and get to know yourself, your style and your ideal community – that is, who you are writing for.
2. Essential Ingredients – Sharing
Social media is the place you can share glimpses of yourself, your life and your personality. It is where you can share your ideas, opinions and your business offers. Here you can chat and show pics, entertain, educate and be you, lightly.
Your aim is to catch the attention of your ideal community – those people who like the stuff you put out, and who could benefit from your work.
While social media is a good way to share your message and your gems with the world, always be mindful that it is a tool. It is up to you to use it in a way that suits you and your business. You are always in charge.
Always seek a balance on social media. Spend more time creating original useful, relevant content, and engaging with others than mindlessly scrolling feeds that do not resonate with your brand or business.
Whether you decide to grow organically or with paid advertising, grow you will.
Keep It Simple
You will hear this advice everywhere, but really – focus your time and energy on one social platform at first!
My focus is on Instagram. It is where I choose to spend the most time naturally, and where I consider my ideal community to be spending their time too.
In the past, I tried out various social media channels as different training insisted I use the channel where they had found success. What happened? I ran out of steam and delivered a lukewarm offer across every channel.
I started on Instagram and linked my posts to Facebook, which I have started to use again more recently. I then created a Pinterest account and a Youtube channel. I thought I should have a Twitter account and even unwillingly set myself up on Linked In. I will spare you the links!
My advice is to find a social place where you naturally go and where you think your audience will be, and just start creating good quality, relevant, and useful content. Commit to this platform for a good while, as good things take time (and it is unlikely that you will connect with your 10000-strong tribe overnight… but you might…).
3. Essential Ingredients – Connection
Email is the golden thread that connects you with those people who are already interested in what you have to say. This is how you stay in touch, regularly with your inner circle.
Emails are still the best way to connect with those who have raised their hands, given you their email addresses and agreed to keep in touch. You can connect with these tribe members on a more personal level because your relationship is one step deeper than on social media.
The way you invite your social media followers to join your email list is by offering them something of value in exchange for their email address. This could be a free guide or checklist, a video, audio or mini-course. Whatever you want to give them, it should align with what you want to share with people.
Because these special people have chosen to let you into their lives and are giving you some of their precious time, I feel that we should be mindful of this and try to send quality in exchange.
Email is the most engaging way to stay connecting and to offer your skills, thoughts, or advice to those you serve.
Email your tribe once a week with a link to your original content in your latest blog post.
Keep It Simple
When I first started emailing people, it was for a different company we ran and I used Mailchimp. When I started turning my blog into a business I signed up for AWeber, and recently as I moved towards creating a digital course, I have changed over to Convertkit.
Have a look and choose the one you like, because this is your business and you will be the one using the tools to send out your valuable work.
You can always change further down the line, but I find Convertkit to be simple and easy to use.
4. Essential Ingredients – Mindset
Mindset is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, but it encapsulates that part of your work that is vital to your sense of success – however you measure success. It is the stuff of which you are made, your attitude, your mental make-up and your ethos.
Your mindset is your engine, your coach, your set of necessary tools – when creating personal, meaningful work online. Once you begin to create online, you have stepped into a wonderful, expansive and ever-unfolding path leading back, to you.
You will get to know yourself, your personal stories, your challenges and your natural skills. Your self-awareness is likely to increase as you travel your entrepreneurial road because you will always be widening your comfort zone. With that, your self-confidence will increase and you may even experience clarity about your life purpose. All in all, it is a very worthwhile journey.
‘I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.’Dr. Seuss
Commitment and consistency are the most essential ingredients of the game. Working online is a voyage of discovery! It is a long game. Overnight success stories abound, but be warned, for most of us, success comes, as always, from consistent effort sustained over a long time.
There will be ups and downs. You will be busy. There is always more to do. You will at times be lonely. You will sometimes want to quit. You will have good days and challenging days. You will have to accept that change, constant learning and adapting will be part of your life. You will challenge yourself in ways you could never expect, overcome hurdles, evolve and grow.
Self-Awareness As An Essential Ingredient
I started with affiliate marketing, so I recommended other products and services for commission. It didn’t, however, resonate with me as a complete business model.
As part of this original affiliate-centred entrepreneurial journey, I challenged myself to get to know myself again, and I started to discover my passions and values.
As it turns out, I am more motivated by making people feel better than by earning commission, so I couldn’t ever sound truly authentic in my affiliate messaging.
This is the self-awareness that resulted from some much-needed self-focus. My self-awareness is now what guides me to create for others and evolve for myself, and others. It is also the reason much of my message to my ideal community is about the importance of self-focus.
I changed direction in my business, and my focus is now on course creation. This resonates more with me, and this is where I feel I can make more of a difference, at the moment. The joy of working online is that nothing is set in stone and our businesses can change as we evolve.
So Much Growth
Starting and owning a digital business is a journey, which will demand you stay the course.
You will require all the essential ingredients that build strength of character and a rich life, because they don’t always come easily and you will have to put in the effort:
- staying power
These are some intangible aspects of a good life, and I love this list, because our focus is always on quality of life.
Quality Of Your Life
The chances are that you will base your blog on your life experience or at least part of your life. So you still need to keep living your life and having new experiences and gathering stories and learning lessons to share.
Commit to your blog, but remember first to commit to your life. Get to know yourself by spending time on and by and for yourself. With this knowledge, choose your priorities and create a good quality of life by living around the essential ingredients of your life.
Look after your external health and internal self. Remember your loved ones and your life goals. Live intentionally, and create a rich, interesting life, so you have great stuff to write about!
Have fun, and enjoy the process of experiencing and learning and creating, and always remember why you are doing it all.
So – why are you?
In conclusion, the simplest way to start working online is with a blog, and starting one can be simple. Here are your essential ingredients of working online:
- buy a domain name
- have it hosted
- set up a WordPress website
- start writing
- choose a social platform and share what you write
- offer a way for people to sign up to your emails – with a valuable freebie
- choose an email service provider and send regular emails
Your mindset and self-awareness will increasingly play a role in this, so spend some time getting to know yourself again. Write, meditate, take care of yourself, and watch yourself and your life expand.
If you would like some simple guidance about getting intentional with how you spend your days – I created a freebie for you called Scattered to Serene. Here it is, for you.
As always – thanks for reading.