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At a Roadblock?

Leadership & Inspiration

Joshua Davidson wrote this article

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You are reading a guest blog post by Erin Feldman.

Remember the first time you were starting up your business? All your creative juices are overflowing; your ideas don’t seem to run out. There’s one great idea after the other!

Since you’re reading this, I assume you’re stuck on a roadblock. You’re in a rut. Your fountain of ideas had run out. You’re looking for ways to get your business out of its plateau.

It’s entirely normal to lose focus or to run out of ideas, but it doesn’t mean the end for your business. There are many aspects in your startup that need help, and help is what you’ll get here in Chop Dawg!

Just to give you an idea, I’m an entrepreneur who started at the bottom with almost nothing on hand. I may have the knowledge to run a business, but with my student loans taking a toll on me, I decided to call it quits and start building my own clothing boutique for activewear.

The Internet isn’t the same as it was before five years ago. Everything was hard and costly. I would always reach breakeven, and there were times that I just want to quit. Year by year, everything changed. Literally, everything became easier to manage and build up.

As a business owner, here’s the road I’ve taken in the past few years:

Website Set Up and Maintenance

I used to sell clothing online via 3rd party sellers like Amazon, but when I wanted to change, I decided that building my own website was the right direction to take. It was expensive, especially that I don’t have much to sustain and purchase everything you need to have your own e-commerce store.

And I went all out and fussy with the design. I was young, I wanted a girly website on WordPress because it’s one of the most popular “stuff” on the Internet. I know how my website should look like!

Fast forward to 2014, I threw away that girly spunk of a design and actually listened to my designer and developer. I did my research. I read guides, blogs, and more. That’s why I chose to go with an e-commerce platform since for someone like me who’d prefer to do things on my own. Since you’re the owner of the website, it is a must that you know how things work.

Back then, I went after everything cheap on the list. Cheap domain, hosting, and anything. You get what you pay for, but again, research. Here’s a good, positive guide on cheap web hosting plans not influenced by revenue, but based on actual tests performed by these guys. I recently chose a different hosting plan with their recommendation, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday as I had multiple experiences of downtimes during important sale dates ⎯ something I didn’t even consider in the past. I just thought that my brand wasn’t just fit enough for the American taste.

Inbound Marketing

When I had that awfully girly website, I had absolutely no idea how to market my products. I offer high-quality yoga apparel for less, so I thought that going to each studio and talking about my website will do the trick. Well, it’s not.

I thought of giving out flyers! It didn’t yield too much attention.

Offer free yoga sessions? I almost got harassed by a student on the way home. Good thing I know Judo and I did one nage-waza on the poor guy.

My e-commerce site was doing so-so. I was out of ideas. No list on the Internet can answer me or give me what I need to jumpstart my dying business. It did help me pay my loans but that was all to it.

I don’t have a great website, but when I snuck my head into Twitter, guys were talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even Inbound Marketing. Those were the times that I considered a new site platform and I’m starting to dabble in social media. This SEO thing worked wonders for my website.

Because I also became aware of Google Analytics, I got to see a lot of things that was entirely new to me. Around this time, I hired some of my friends to help me market my business, and they came up with a game plan of SEO and Social.

We started with SEO before we went with social media. 2015 didn’t give much and I was a bit disappointed, but come 2016, I saw positive changes in my dashboards. To simply put it, near the end of 2016, we already earned twice the amount that we earned in 2015. SEO and social media worked wonders, but it did take time.

A glimpse of our 2016 in review:

google-analytics-1

google-analytics-2

This is for our US clients alone. (not bragging). This data has already been segmented, excluding spam data.

In a nutshell, here’s what we did:

• Invested time in SEO. After all the SEO is dead articles I’ve read every year, this is something you should still be investing on. SEO isn’t something you do to fool search engines. Think of it as helping search engines find and understand your website. If they saw how valuable your site is, how it performs well, it will award you with ranking points that can help your website gain organic visitors.

• Made friends. No man is an island. Find the right people, network, and make deals. We built friendship, partnerships with offline yoga studios. We looked for more opportunities in other markets and suppliers. Joshua has a remarkable article on The Power of Leverage and he revealed his secrets on how he worked on Chop Dawg to gain so much traction in a few years’ time.

• Created good guides. Content is indeed, king. I had the wrong notion that my store should be similar to a department store, where people look at my wares, decide if it’s good, then purchase it. We created a blog about yoga, about having an active lifestyle. We made great guides on healthy diet choices and it really paid off. We were given the chance to see how our content helps our buyers decide and purchase the things they want. Robert Mening’s guide on How to Increase Website Traffic is a mega guide for those who’d love to know what to do with content to increase traction.

• Social media outreach. This wasn’t the last thing we did; we have been doing social media ever since, but we were doing it wrong. We were very passive even though we were posting a lot of yoga quotes here and there. We didn’t create engagement; we didn’t create enough noise. We preferred getting in touch with people through email. Until we had more guys on board, and they helped us change how we interact and get in touch with our customers on social media. Guys, there’s no shame in talking to your customers on social, whether they’re just being chatty or complaining. To make it simple, want to grow your company? Care about your customers. Want your company to be influential? Produce results first.

Savasana for Startups: The Easiest but the Hardest?

Savasana in yoga is also known as the Corpse Pose. Yes, it’s just lying down at the end of a yoga session, for 10 to 20 minutes.

This is also applicable in running a startup. You may have high spirits, high energy levels, but also take a time to rest. Take time away from work. While I’m not saying have a vacation every now and then, I’m saying that rest is an important factor. This doesn’t only benefit you, but also for your team.

Savasana is said to be the “hardest” pose as distractions can be a creep in during rest. Work will always find its way to disturb your rest. Resting your mind and keeping work away from your thoughts prevents burn out. A well-rested person can work better than someone who’s under stress all the time.

While working, avoid being distracted by non-work related things. Focus on work, and reward yourself with rest afterward.

Roadblocks shouldn’t be considered as a dead-end. Rather, it should be a sign that you need to take things slowly, regroup, and kick ass once again. Our little guide might not be too much, but if you try to dig in deep with every aspect, you’ll find out that there are more things to do to keep you and your startup team, busy.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in running your startup? Share it with us in the comments and we’ll help you ease out the knots!

About the writer of this guest blog post: You can find Erin doing a Baddha Konasana somewhere in La Jolla Cove. Problems with student loans made her interested to sell clothing online. Her own yoga boutique is now five years old, and she’s debt-free.

Are you interested in writing a guest blog post for our readers here at the Chop Dawg blog? Email us at Hello@ChopDawg.com!

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