The Best Mistake I Ever Made

 The Best Mistake I Ever Made


“Honey, we’re relocating!” … silence from me as the words sunk in.

My first thoughts were: what about my job and what will I do All DAY LONG? I mean, I understand what it means to be a supportive wife or mother, but I need to work.

We dove into this next chapter together, anchored by my husband’s career in a new country, and not surprisingly I dearly missed my career.

I spent that first year abroad in a sea of ups and downs, trying to rekindle my career as a project manager. I knew I needed to break away from what was familiar to me. So I decided to launch a portable online business. This turned out to be a lifesaver.

The business formula is genius, because it moves with me. And we move a lot! The best part is I keep my income and the self esteem that comes with contributing to our joint finances. I’ve made some good mistakes along the way that I’d like to share.

Mistake #1: Generalize Instead of Specialize 

I’m a coach. Initially I cast a wide net to potential clients claiming, “I love coaching women who want to change their life, but don’t know how to begin.” Great statement. Clear. Understandable. But it was way too general. The clients didn’t show up. I learned that if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.

Take Aways: 

· Find the niche you love, and create a specific intention statement.

· Research your competition. How crowded is your unique arena. It may take a little work to enhance your skills in order to specialize, but it’s worth it.

· The key is to differentiate yourself. In my case, I specialize in coaching people through country relocation and building a life as an expat.

Mistake #2: Over-Focus on a Website Versus Online Presence

I built my own website. Spent a ton of hours on it and loved the process. But as an entrepreneur, this was a mistake. When you’re just starting out, you don’t need a fancy website (or to spend a lot of money hiring a professional to build one for you).

Take Aways:

· A landing page and social media presence will do just fine. A landing page is a single page where you can explain your mission, product or services, testimonials and brief biography.

· Social media is the way to meet your community. Choose two channels and keep your content on-brand.

Mistake #3: Being Whatever, Whenever Versus Timely & Intentional 

Social media can be intoxicating. It’s all about visibility. Plus it’s fun to be expressive and share miscellaneous life events, blogging on this topic or that. But, if you’re using social media for your business, it’s important to stay on-brand. You risk losing credibility if your messaging is all over the place.

Take Aways:

· A content strategy is essential. Do your posts align to your brand? Are you publishing on a fairly consistent schedule? Work with a partner to brainstorm topical areas that will help position you as an expert and map out a month-long content plan.

An Example: Here’s an example of how I strategize content for my own business. First, I determine the incentive for my community. For example, I’ll offer a FREE workshop on How to reinvent yourself abroad. During the weeks leading up to the event, I strategically discuss the topic everywhere (Instagram, my blog, FB), sharing tips and positioning myself as an expert.

This way I’m generating interest and gathering more attendees. This guarantees that 1) I have the right potential clients in front of me and 2) I’ve established my credibility on the topic and genuinely want to help them succeed.

Go for it 

You have absolutely nothing to lose in launching an online business. I wasted precious time trying to shoehorn my old job into my new life abroad. I didn’t believe people would pay me for an online-based coaching service. I was wrong. When you take action anything is possible.

Before you go, please make sure to download my guide on Finding 3 Areas to Focus on When You're Just Starting Out an Online Business.

Sara Ottoboni
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