Education methods and the way people earn an income are being completely rewritten. I love helping people stand tall and make a brand for themselves, allowing them to take charge of their own life. In this post, I talk about how to build an online platform, including the tools you need to make it happen.
Many people are taking the leap and becoming their own boss. When you’re the one calling the shots, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, create stuff, make important decisions, and, not least, grow your income. Online entrepreneurship is a great career option for both the young and the experienced to pursue if they’re tired of the old ways.
I know how it feels. I’m in love with the freedom that comes with being my own boss.
I love how many ways there are for someone to plant a seed and grow a passive income. You can plant several seeds, in fact, and build a recurring revenue system that feeds your bank account on autopilot every month.
In my concept of Self Mastery, I teach people not only mindset and spiritual strength but also various methods to replace the old ways of earning a living.
Because most of the souls that I coach are people “waking up” and craving a higher purpose, they often need a new way to earn a living.
You might be surprised, but building a brand and income is now easier than ever.
It’s 2018, and there are a shitload of tools and services that makes building an online platform pretty slick.
I recommend setting up a website with WordPress, using the Divi theme to build it so you can design most of the content yourself. Then use ConvertKit to collect your visitors' emails so you can build your tribe of followers.
[tweet_box design="default" float="none"]It’s 2018, and there are a shitload of tools and services that makes building an online platform pretty slick.[/tweet_box]
That’s the start of it all, and the minimum you should have in place.
When I coach and train people on how to build an online platform, I have a set of go-to solutions. I use these tools and services myself, and that’s why I recommend them to my readers and followers.
If you don’t have a website yet, I always recommend starting there. That’s simply because your website will be your main hub that you own and can design to function how you want.
Don’t bring your customers to a noisy café (Facebook). Take them home to your zen garden (your website), where the focus is on serving them.
Some people believe they can build a business using only a Facebook page or Instagram account. And that can work out well for a while, until the platform changes. Worst case scenario, you might lose your followers. Since it’s not your platform, you can’t change much other than your own content stream.
You also can’t customise or add email sign-ups and payment forms to social channels (in general), which you need if you want to look professional. Make sure you are thinking about your future when building your online business.
As I mentioned earlier, I recommend using WordPress when you create your website.
You MUST have heard of it. Most websites run on WordPress now. But when I say WordPress, I don’t mean WordPress.com. Instead, install WordPress on a server using your own domain so you get a clean install running the way you want it.
I’ll tell you how in a moment.
What domain provider should I use to start a website, you ask? Well, there are only two providers I recommend.
One.com, located in Denmark, is a good option if you want a cheap and simple setup. It’s not crap, but One.com is affordable because it’s shared hosting. That means the servers’ capacity is shared among other domain owners. It’s a good hosting provider for startups, and they have some of the best email interfaces I have seen.
With One.com, you get both a domain and hosting in one package. When you sign up for a domain and hosting using either of these providers, you can install WordPress automatically and have your website ready in a few minutes.
I started working as a web designer when designers were primarily using HTML coding. Holy crap. It’s NOT like that now.
You can design and create the sexiest website in town by using the Divi WordPress theme from Elegant Themes. It’s a drag and drop visual website builder, and I use it for all my personal and client websites now.
Divi is a slick and customisable WordPress theme that will make you look good.
There’s no reason for you to pick another theme if you want things to go fast and look good at the same time. Divi also comes with a bunch of free templates, so you can create your about us, contact, blog, home page, and more with one click.
Not only that but people have built all kinds of plugins and add-ons for Divi so you don’t have to customise the website yourself.
Once upon a time, you may have heard about MailChimp. Yeah, it’s the big weird monkey that’s been the go-to service for sending email newsletters.
Not anymore. I used it once, then I found out about ConvertKit.
I fell in love right away, like so many other hotshot names and bloggers in the industry.
And for good reason.
Last week, one of my regular clients asked me to set up an email form on her Shopify online store. She wanted to send email newsletters to her buyers.
She talked about using MailChimp when she wrote to me, but I said I can’t recommend using their service. I told her to try ConvertKit instead. She refused. After a week went by, she emailed again asking how the hell MailChimp works!
ConvertKit is the simplest email marketing platform that I know of. It’s professional, fun, simple, and damn effective. Trust me, you want this.
There are two main methods I talk about when explaining how to charge payments for online services.
Sometimes you need both, like I do.
Sometimes you want to send an invoice to clients. Other times, you want clients and private users to pay for monthly recurring services, or make a one-time purchase. In that case, you need a payment form on your website.
You can also set this up yourself.
Invoicing for online services or selling online products is easy. Try FreeAgent (invoicing + accounting), Invoice2Go (invoicing only), or WaveApps (invoicing + accounting). With each service, you can send your buyers and customers PDF invoices.
If you want to give your customers the ability to pay you with a credit card, the options above support Stripe. Stripe is the industry standard for credit card payments and is supported by most platforms. Setting up a Stripe account is free, and Stripe has no monthly fee.
As for embedding payment forms on your website, I have been VERY picky about the way things look. I also need an online payment form that allows me to send PDF receipts to my buyers, especially for those clients who make monthly recurring payments.
For this, I use ThriveCart, which is getting damn popular. If you are lucky, by the time you read this post there may still be an open (limited) lifetime access purchase of ThriveCart before they fully launch.
This is the last thing you should consider when building your online platform. When a visitor comes to your brand-new WordPress website, you should make sure they’ll want to hear more from you.
If you do that, they can then register on your email opt-in form using ConvertKit, which will automatically send your visitor something they want.
…maybe a picture of your aunt, picking apples naked in the garden?
Could you offer a free consultation call? Or could you offer a PDF guide, roadmap, e-book, online course, maybe a picture of your aunt, picking apples naked in the garden?
Just kidding—checking if you’re still with me.
Be creative with your freebie opt-in. What do you know a lot about, and who do you want to help? Make something useful for those people and have them join your email list to get it.
Want another tip? Or maybe you’d like several, packed with some ready-made to-dos on exactly how to build an online platform and create your business?
If you’re looking for a business partner to make sure you stay on track, then we should talk.