WP BFFs – I am SO excited to introduce you to my next Woman to Watch, Christine Boudreau of FriscoLifeCoach.com!
Christine and I *met* in Nathalie Lussier's 30 Day List Building Challenge Facebook group and we instantly connected, bonding over each other's story and our mutual drive to help women find confidence to get what they want out of life.
Christine is an amazing and dedicated coach. She has a knack for bringing clarity and action to those random ideas that are tumbling around in your mind. And I absolutely love her slight southern accent 🙂
As a former tech exec, Christine knows how complicated and expensive websites used to be and recognizes how WordPress is changing the game by making it cheap and easy enough that you can afford to not be perfect.
Read on to learn more about Christine, why “tweakness” is her weakness – and get some bonus biz coaching you won’t want to miss!
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I launched FriscoLifeCoach.com in 2013 because I felt called to serve women who struggle with finding and defining themselves. Because I lived through my own awakening. I ditched a successful yet unfulfilling corporate career to pursue my life purpose.
My life purpose is to help women find their life purpose, resolve + evolve past emotional scars, and live the life they were meant to live.
It’s about allowing fear and vulnerability to break you open to find juicy nuggets of truth and authenticity. And then living that truth with the white-hot intensity of 1,000 suns.
What do you feel makes your audience/readers special?
Their honesty, passion, and courage to face their fears and overcome obstacles to achieve their highest potential.
These women work tirelessly at corporate jobs sacrificing their souls. They want out of the rat race and want someone to show them the way.
Some are career-abandoning moms who want to use their brains to create and add value beyond the scope of their families.
These women all have one thing in common: They know they are capable of much more than they are currently doing. They feel the internal desire to propel themselves into more meaningful work. They need a nudge – sometimes a gentle push and shove! – to get them there.
Has anything surprised you about creating a website?
Yes! So many exciting changes occurred in web development since I started in this space nearly two decades ago!
I’m a former tech executive, and I led teams of engineers and designers who built websites for some of the largest companies in the world. I started managing web development in the late 1990s pre-Google, pre-iPhones, pre-social media, pre-high-speed anything.
The interwebs was a completely different place back then. Off-the-shelf code didn’t exist for some of the common website functions like shopping carts, credit card processing, etc. We literally led from the cutting edge of technology and created the wheel. And it cost a ridiculous amount of time and money to do it!
However, today, I’m shocked at how simple and affordable it is to create a website with web-in-a-box products like WordPress. If you can build a PowerPoint presentation or a Word document, you can literally construct a website in a matter of minutes.
And it’s free! Thanks to open source software. In the 1990s, proprietary software led the pack. Companies never released their code. Fast-forward to today, and the benefits of open source software ooze from many applications. It’s incredible that you can assemble a website today for practically free – using a great open source content management system (CMS) like WordPress plus plugins, extensions, and add-ons.
How long did it take you to create your WordPress site?
Minutes. Ok, maybe an hour – tops.
When I say that, I mean the initial set-up, i.e., buying domain name (I used GoDaddy.com), buying hosting (I used BlueHost.com), porting domain name to host, installing WordPress, buying/installing a theme (I used StudioPress), and setting up an email subscription service (I used MailChimp).
Shopping for and deciding on a theme took the longest.
Well, that’s a lie.
Deciding on a domain name took the longest – for sure. Days and days of brainstorming and researching. (But I’m a sucker for analysis and tend to get stuck there too often!) In the end, I don’t love my domain name, but you just gotta pick something and go with it, or you’ll never launch.
As Apple Fellow Guy Kawasaki writes in The Art of the Start, “The hardest thing about getting started is getting started…. Remember: No one ever achieved success by planning for gold. You should always be selling – not strategizing about selling. Don’t test, test, test – that’s a game for big companies. Don’t worry about being embarrassed. Don’t wait to develop the perfect product or service. Good enough is good enough. There will be plenty of time for refinement later. It’s now how great you start, but how great you end up.”
Start with a domain name. You might have to get creative. Lots of domain names are taken. Consider search engine optimization (SEO) and your client’s perspective. What does your target market Google when they are searching for your product or service? What are the words they use? Try to put those words in the domain name. Use Google AdWords and Keyword Planner to help brainstorm ideas.
If you can’t decide on one name, consider buying your top choices. For example, I also purchased ChristineBoudreau.com (I recommend everyone buy their name), ChristineLifeCoach.com, and a few others I liked. You can always point other domains name to your primary. For example, ChristineBoudreau.com and ChristineLifeCoach.com point to FriscoLifeCoach.com.
Having said all that… Tweaking and refining the site – that took some time. Many weeks. Partly because websites constantly evolve. You never “complete” your website. You always make changes and modifications. If not, your site looks stale and static.
But mostly it took weeks and weeks because I like to tweak. Tweakness is my weakness! 😉 I’m a perfectionist. I struggle with “good enough.” So… do as I say and not as I do!
Did you hire a graphic designer or did you create your own graphics?
I’ve never paid anyone to create graphics. And maybe it shows! 😉 For this iteration of my website, I’ve managed to get by on my own DIY skills. I’m a control freak by nature and enjoy expressing my creativity. So I create most of my graphics using free tools like Picmonkey.com.
However, at some point, I will hire a designer for things like a logo and business cards, I will most likely turn to crowd-sourcing sites like 99designs.com for resources. If I need a specific task completed (versus needing multiple creative solutions), I’ll use elance.com or odesk.com
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Do it, and do it now. When you dissect the reasons folks give for delaying the start of their business, you find fear. Don’t let the fear stop you.
On the flip side, don’t get into this industry for the money and expecting to be a millionaire over-night. It takes work to be successful. Which is obviously true with anything.
When you are an entrepreneur – especially when you’re a soloentrepreneur – all the work is your responsibility. Everything rests on your shoulders. If you didn’t write a blog post today, there is no one to blame but you. You cannot find enough hours in the day to get it all done. The to-do list overwhelms even the most seasoned time manager. But the work is beyond rewarding.
My point is – understand your motivation for starting an online business. If it includes your gifts, passions, and values, then don’t let the fear stop you. Because as famed executive coach Richard Leider says, your purpose in life (or what career you should pursue) is equal to your gifts, plus your passion, plus your values. Or more simply put:
G + P + V = C
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
Start sooner. Duct tape my ego, lock it in the trunk, and let a higher power drive. Fear paralyzed me for a long while. Fear is from the ego. Ego has never once given you good advice.
Ironically, I know myself very well. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I usually overcome my analysis/paralysis mode. I typically know how to outsmart my Negative Nancy voice.
Except this time.
This new business venture felt more personal. I felt more vulnerable than ever before.
I thought, what if my former colleagues laugh at me and my mission? Creating robust, complex computer systems for Fortune 500 companies is a far cry from self-help gurus and life purpose junkies. What if I fail? What if I burn a bridge and can’t go back to the (false sense of) security of corporate America?
My mantra: Say a prayer. Hit publish.
How fast did your audience grow? How many visitors/subscribers do you have?
Initially, my audience grew very slowly. Partly because I flew under the radar for many, many months while I tweaked and refined the site. I hung out with my old friends Analysis Paralysis and Not Good Enough far too long.
But also because businesses don’t have hockey stick performance. Meaning that while projections in business plans tend to look like this:
The reality is business performance looks more like this:
In fact, I haven’t conducted an official hard launch or grand opening yet. I’ve quietly operated in the background and yet have gained a steady following.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
Yes, this is my only job. I quit my day job to launch this business. The reason is that I purposely made financial choices early in my career that today allow me to focus solely on running my business today.
And I got lucky.
I was poor growing up so hoarding money comes natural to me.
In other words, I’ve always lived below my means. When I got the big paycheck in corporate America, I never up-sized to the big house or fancy car. I stashed the cash so I would have a F**k You Fund.
Meaning, I dreamt of telling the boss: F YOU! I dreamt of working for myself. I knew corporate America wasn’t forever for me.
Yes, I climbed the ladder, but I was a horrible employee. I was disruptive, argumentative, and forceful. I was nearly fired countless times. And I consider those some of my biggest accomplishments. ☺
Almost being fired proved to me that: (1) I was in the wrong place, and (2) I needed to be my own boss.
But that’s me.
Maybe that’s not how you do it. The point is to do it. You have to find your way.
Maybe you forgo the TV and web surfing at night to work on your blog. Maybe, like Shannon smartly suggests, you start on your lunch hour. Maybe you take a few vacation days, hunker down, and get started.
Just do it.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
I started my email list when I launched the site, and I manage it via MailChimp. Email subscribers are the largest source of potential income for an online business. So set up your email subscription service immediately. And set it up to scale and grow. Start your business expecting to be huge. Build your site to handle that growth.
How do you promote your site?
Rather quietly (and free!) via email campaigns, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn primarily), and forums. I’ve tried Pinterest and Instagram, but I find my audience is not currently active on those platforms. You have to go where your audience is. Where do they hang out online? Go there and join the conversation.
The only service I pay to advertise my business is PsychologyToday.com. It has been a steady source of referrals.
Do you earn money from your site, and if so, how? Affiliate marketing, ads, products, etc.? Did you intend to earn from it when you launched?
My business plan defines services and products as primary sources of revenue. Affiliate marketing and ads are secondary and tertiary sources of revenue. My intention is to grow my business through the sale of products and services. I’ve never focused on ads or affiliate marketing. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on those things; it’s just not my business model.
Who are your favorite bloggers right now?
James Altucher of JamesAltucher.com
Business and life advice. He tells his story in a vulnerable way. And what a story! He’s made and lost millions. You learn from him. It’s great.
Nathalie Lussier of NathalieLussier.com
Lussier created NaturalFoodsWitch.com with wild success. She now teaches online wantrepreneurs how to follow in her footsteps.
Melissa Culbertson of BlogClarity.com
Great advice on blog/web design and marketing. Culbertson is the author of Blog Design for Dummies, which I highly recommend. My copy of her book has dog-eared pages, highlights, sticky notes, and the like plastered all through it. It literally sits on my desk within arms reach of me all day. I refer to it so much that it never makes its way back to the bookshelf. Her in-the-trenches perspective and writing style feels like a favorite colleague whom you sit around with brainstorming ideas.
Of course, Shannon Mattern of wp-bff.com. ☺ I’m not just saying that because I’m a guest blogger. I genuinely believe Shannon simplifies the mystique of building a WordPress website. I appreciate her cut-to-the-chase style. Perfect for the WP newbie or technophobe.
Elegant Themes Blog at ElegantThemes.com
Besides offering elegant, premium WordPress themes, ElegantThemes.com also offers a blog with straightforward WordPress advice. Plus social media, email subscription, and web design tips and tricks.
Seth Godin at sethgodin.com
Marketing God, Guru, and Genius. Author of eighteen international bestsellers. A staple of any business person. Heck, a staple of any person. Buy all of his books. Read them twice. Then read them again.
Brian Clark at CopyBlogger.com
If content is king, then Brian Clark is a content God. He’s a serial entrepreneur who founded StudioPress (awesome WP themes). CopyBlogger teaches you how to create quality copy/content. Brian’s been featured in some of Seth Godin’s books. Enough said.
See!! I told you Christine's awesome!! You need to go to her site RIGHT NOW and check out how you can work with her.