Setting up your own online media business is a very exciting prospect. Do it right and you can not only increase your earnings but improve your quality of life. But whether you want to set up a business as an aside to your day job or are planning to go freelance full time, it’s important to get the basics right. Here I outline the fundamental starting points that will put your new business on the path of success straightaway…and how you can do that for free…
* Do your research. With the internet, there’s never been an easier time to check out what competitors are doing. If you are a writer don’t be put off by the fact there appears to be a lot of competition when you look. But at the same time don’t assume it will be enough to just copy what others have already done. These days you need to focus on what is different about you and ensure there is something about your business that makes it stand out from the rest.
* Start small.. Don’t invest any money at the start. Some people starting out in business are so caught up in the idea of having their own company they rush around buying new office furniture to convert the spare room or splash out commissioning fancy website design. But the great thing about the media industry – whether you are a journalist, novelist, PR consultant or TV producer – is it’s possible to start up your business for nothing.
* Take advantage of freebies. Test out the demand for your new business idea by setting up a website for free on WordPress.com or Moonfruit.com. If you gain more visitors to your site, and therefore your business idea seems to work, then you can employ a professional web designer. The first month I started up Sell Your Story UK I had 26 visitors (they were kind family and friends!) but by the second month that number had already grown to 600 and so I knew I was on the right track.
* Get yourself onto social media.. Setting up a Twitter account, Facebook and linkedIn is all free – and can be used alongside your free website to increase your profile on the internet.
* Learn everything you can about search engine optimisation (SEO). Too many people set up a website and think that’s it – then wonder why they hardly get any traffic (visitors.) You can pay to advertise on Google sponsored listings (Pay Per Click or PPC) and it can bring instant traffic – but the drawback is that it can soon prove far too expensive for a start-up business. So initially at least you need to invest your free time, rather than money, learning how Google works. Then you need to find ‘links’ – other websites (like this one!) that you can advertise or post on – that will give you a do-follow working link (worth a google – for example Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter links are no-follow) back to your site. Yes it is time consuming but lots of good links from well regarded sites will eventually push your site higher up the rankings.
* Get your accounts in order. It’s worth remembering the taxman is responsible for making the most small businesses bankrupt. It’s therefore very important to open a separate business bank account from the outset. Many creatives hate doing the business side of their jobs – but remember that is what business is about! You are in business to earn money. So you must be business-like from day one and keep records of every penny you earn and spend. Remember even if you are earning money on the side of your day job, you need to declare it. And it’s worth remembering that roughly a third of everything you earn should be set aside for tax (and not spent on shoes…)
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Have you recently set up a media business? Find out how you can gain a profile and publicity on Sell Your Story UK: here.
Sell my Story website Featureworld has been registering a record number of hits recently!
Firstly my story about Natalie’s little pot of eczema cream caused a frenzy of purchasers beating a path to her door. This story appeared in the Daily Mail. Natalie and daughter Lula, for whom Natalie orginally made the cream, then appeared on ITV’s Daybreak. Following this they were featured in the Sunday Express this weekend. I have also gained them further deals with two huge weekly women’s magazines.
Natalie said: “After the story appeared we did almost half a year’s normal business in three days. We have been inundated. Alison warned me when she took our story on that we would see a huge surge in business. My only mistake was not listening to her as we have worked absolutely flat out to ensure everyone has got their pots.”
Myself and the Daily Mail also took huge volumes of calls and emails about Natalie’s cream, which due to publicity gained by Featureworld, she now hopes to sell in a huge store such as Boots.
Meanwhile, Mary’s story about how she has devised a diet for hairloss – and which has also appeared through Featureworld in the Daily Mail (and shortly to appear in a top women’s mag) – has also meant record numbers of visitors to her website. And from 7th April Mary’s new book, My New Hair, will be available. Her brand new book is full of diet plans to treat alopecia and baldness is available with a special pre-order price here.
Dr Bryan Beattie
Dr Bryan Beattie came to me with his story about the new test he is pioneering to predict which babies will be born prematurely. Since this story appeared in the Daily Mirror and on ITV’s Daybreak, Bryan has seen an upturn in sales for the test, available from his private clinic, Innermost Secrets.
Other recently sold stories: Sell Your Story Archives
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