Making the decision to start a side hustle or launch a main hustle is momentous. It’s a big deal. Breaking away from the corporate shackles, slaving away for others’ gain, the rat race, being held back from unleashing your creative power, it’s time to take control of your life.
Starting a business from scratch, on your own terms, creating a path that is truly yours, and making your own footprint in the world. The prospect is exhilarating. Definitely worthy of jumping around the room! It’s time to turn dream into reality. Until…
Until you sit down, put pen to paper, and start to realise everything you need to go through to actually get your business off the ground. Then it starts feeling overwhelming. This is too hard, who am I kidding? Budget, business structure, business registration, IP, legals, insurance… Then there’s marketing, to ensure your target audience gets to know about the existence of your firm – and you. Branding, profile, website, social media, content, databases. There’s one of you and a million things to do.
But it doesn’t have to be. It requires checklists and knowing what to do yourself and when to bring in the experts. Should you DIY marketing or should you bring in the experts?
Do you go down the DIY marketing route and do as much as you can yourself, or do you just bring in the experts? Or, do you keep the idea of starting a business as a beautiful dream and always think about how your life could have been different? P.S. I’m not going to let that happen!
When it comes to legal marketing, there are certain DIY marketing tasks that are no brainers, These are tasks that you already know you will DIY because you have the know-how or you can access the information easily to then action. Things like setting yourself a budget, obviously. Depending on the structure of the business you decide on, you may also do the the business registration and the legals yourself, if you work in that area. Handy!
Legalite and LegalVision are both great firms for small business legals, FYI. Just saying, no associations with them, they’re just awesome.
There are other tasks, however, that require more thought as to whether you choose to fry your brain and DIY, or not. Perhaps they are doable but harder to DIY because of your lack of knowledge on the subject. Things like marketing. Branding, website, social media, profile, content. Marketing can be DIY, but how effectively can you do it vs a pro?
DIY marketing involves getting skilled up. Learning everything you need to know to then action takes time. You’ll get Google tired from all the searching you’ll be doing. You can attend courses, seminars, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, subscribe to blogs. Heck, you can go on Facebook or Instagram and learn a lot. There are a lot of ways to learn nowadays, as it turns out! But, do you have the time to?
This is a question to ask yourself – would you prefer devoting your time solidly to learning all things marketing, potentially months on end (never ending tbh)? Or, in the early days, would you want to be wearing multiple hats, spreading your time across a range of tasks that need to be done, rather than just on marketing?
This could come back to time, urgency, family commitments, Netflix commitments, or whether you want to be across everything now so that, later on, you are gleefully up to speed.
If you have chosen to become a jedi marketing expert and you are getting that Google search degree in marketing, you now feel comfortable and confident enough so perhaps you choose to DIY things like your website, content and social media. But, will this newly and rapidly acquired knowledge equip you with the skills you need to effectively implement your marketing to a standard you expect? And, will you be monetising what you know?
The dreaded budget. Your budget can be a strong determining factor. Or, is it? Are you bootstrapping or do you have loads of cash to splash? Don’t let it be THE factor that sways you one way or the other.
Whether you have a marketing budget that Apple would kill for, or you’re bootstrapping, your budget shouldn’t give you a one track mind as to which path you choose. Think about long term. Will you need to know what you are learning today in the future?
If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with the life you don’t want.Kevin Ngo
If DYI-ing, ask yourself what you will be doing a few months down the track when money is coming in. Will you be happy with the foundations you have created? Most likely, no. You will be spending money to go back and re-do the website and its content, at least.
There are a lot of wrong DIY paths. Paths that can cause real issues down the track. Issues that will cause rage inside of you that you never knew existed, make you question your existence, or even force you away from your Netflixing.
When you are starting out, not only does it seem like there’s a lot on your checklist, it also seems like it’s going to be pretty impossible to get it done in this lifetime.
So, back to the point. How do you know whether to DIY or bring in the experts? As the old adage goes, variety is the spice of life. Mix it up a little and do both.
Without a checklist, starting a business can feel really overwhelming. You can start on one task, get distracted so start on another, then another, than another! Before you know it, you have a handful of half finished tasks sitting in front of you. Argh, where to next?!
If that’s you, here’s a checklist of marketing items to keep on your bedside table. You’ll find it handy whether you are launching 6 months down the track, recently launched, or you’re 6 months or a year in.
Sure, you know you need a website. You know it’s important to have a website that showcases you or your firm’s services, the who, what and why. But, do you know the best platform for you, how many pages you need, what the pages are, the layout, the best images to use, the colours?
There is help at hand.
Here are some budget website building platforms to consider –
SquareSpace and WordPress are the most common platforms for law firms websites. SquareSpace and Wix are easy to use, straightforward, and intuitive. WordPress isn’t user-friendly to start out with, but it has more capabilities should you decide to grow and scale.
You may choose to DIY your website with SquareSpace or Wix. It may take a little extra time to build and you will need to consider your branding, content, layout, and images, but they are very easy to use, have drag and drop features and are designed for those with little to no knowledge. Should you hire an expert in later on, though, you will be transferring everything over to WordPress, which will lead to higher costs with the double up of work.
Out of the three, WordPress would be most recommended. It is harder to navigate around initially, and it looks scary when you first log in, but you will gain the knowledge to add plugins and maintain the website quickly. There are also plenty of WordPress pros who build websites that are very reasonably priced.
(We’ll be expanding on this in a future blog post, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure you do.)
As with your website, this could be DIY. You may already know the colours and fonts you want so you can create a simple logo using Canva, and develop your own brand board.
After years of study and experience, experts will obviously have the design skills to skillfully craft a branding package for you. Pricing does vary from designer to designer so it’s worth shopping around and finding a pro that suits your budget. Branding is time consuming and finicky. Re-branding a year in, while exciting, will add to your costs and will require more of your time – all over again.
If you don’t know where to start, get in touch and we can point you in the right direction.
This ties in to your branding. Having photos taken might be the last thing on your list, but you will need some professional shots, at least for your website. You’ll find, before too long, that you will need images of you for social media, for content, for so many places you hadn’t thought of. It’s worth building a library of quality shots that you can use for the next few months.
Whether you get a professional photographer or not, you need a quality camera. If you want to DIY, get a friend to take the shots, find some cool backdrops in your city. Some examples are cafes, wall art, by the water, in a park, in your office… You can easily edit on Canva or Photoshop. Did you know Airbnb offers experiences, in addition to homes? If you search experiences in your city, there are always photo shoots for around 2 hours at really reduced rates. The photographer will take shots of you in scenic locations and then edit the images before sending them to you digitally.
Social media sounds really easy. Post some pictures and inspirational quotes and boom, millions of followers. Not quite. Having a plan or strategy, is essential.
You’ll spread yourself thin creating and managing profiles for all the social media channels, and providing adequate content and engagement. Especially early in the process, it’ll eat your time away. Choose one or two platforms to begin with and consider your purpose for each.
Which platforms do my clients use?
What type of content do I like creating?
Why am I choosing this platform?
What message am I wanting to send using this platform?
What is my goal in using this platform?
LinkedIn is great for professionals and, as lawyers, you’ll find a wealth of connections instantly. Connection isn’t enough though, it’s all about engagement. It’s not just us saying that, it’s the social media algorithms too.
You may choose to DIY the content, but you will find it beneficial to get a pro in to set up each channel and develop a strategy with you. Set the direction from the get go.
Facebook and LinkedIn are great for video content, and Instagram is more image based but moving towards video, fast. So, the tip here is to incorporate video into your marketing strategy. Did you know that your audience is 64% more likely to purchase after seeing a video? Video has impact and social media platforms are focussing more on video marketing. It’s easy to DIY, all you need is a mobile phone or laptop.
With Facebook, join groups that are relevant to you and your business, and engage. ‘Engage’ means providing insightful comments, replying to posts with handy hints, and sharing your knowledge. This allows people in the group to get to know you, and allows you to build trust. It’s a simple, no-fuss and proven method to promote you and your business. It’s so easy to do, you’d be a fool not to.
Content is another one that you could DIY if you are a native of the language of your website. It’s worthwhile knowing that your website’s content will need to be SEO optimised. But, no one will know your business and services better than you, so you could draft the content and then work with an SEO expert to tweak it.
You’ve been working for a while, so you would already have an incredible list of contacts. You may not realise how valuable this list is. Start compiling those emails. Building an email list is absolutely essential. Email marketing is incredibly effective so there’s no time like the present to start that email list.
You will find many of your professional connections on LinkedIn. It is an incredibly powerful channel to connect with people.
The value of content is three-fold. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your experience, knowledge and expertise. It also allows you to show your personality and who you are. Finally, it is great for SEO. Content comes in the form of blogs, articles, videos, newsletters, email blasts, white papers, social media posts.
If you have your website and you have started creating content, the SEO cog will kick start on its own. Your digital fingers need to infiltrate the search engines without external intervention, such as an SEO pro, in the beginning.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.Nelson Mandela
Starting a business is incredibly exciting! You are moving towards living a life on your own terms, and in the way you want! Deciding whether to DIY marketing or bring in the experts comes down to cost, efficiency and time. It’s important to consider a variety of factors and not just focus on cost. While you may think you don’t have the budget to bring in an expert on day 1, think about a year in and whether you will be happy with your DIY job.
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Let’s grow your hustle!
Hi, I’m Simran, and I’m here to help savvy new coaches and service-based business owners start and grow a profitable business and land clients with intentional action and strategy.
And, I am here to help you catapult your online visibility with confidence and authority, while being authentically you.
If you want to work with me, find out more about my coaching services.