Laurel Brown Media: Women-Owned Online Businesses on SiteGround
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Now, we introduce you to Laurel Brown – the self-taught web designer and developer behind laurelbrownmedia.com. Laurel started her web design and development agency dedicated to helping small businesses prosper online. Laurel has helpful advice for others who want to take the same journey as a designer and developer.
One Failure Can Lead To a New Opportunity
We need to rewind a bit to get to the heart of how Laurel got into web design and development. She had another business before starting Laurel Brown Media. Even though she didn’t have any experience in website building, she opted to create her own website for it. Beginning as a hobby, she gradually expanded into designing websites for her friends who owned small businesses. After her first business came to nothing, Laurel saw her newfound interest in web design and development as an opportunity to start over.
Speaking about her mindset of trying again with another business, she explained, “this other business failed massively. Nothing can be worse than that. So let’s try it again. That’s why I decided to go for it.” She discovered the intersection of value and passion in web design, which laid the foundation for starting her small agency.
Selling Services Online
While e-commerce grows in popularity, service providers, such as web agencies, are confronted with the issue of selling intangible “products” like their time and knowledge. So how is one supposed to start selling their services online?
As with every business, you must first define your niche. Consider where your service fits in the market and how you may differentiate yourself from the competitors. Are you going to specialize in one service or offer various services? Who is your target audience? Take into account every detail from gender, age, income level to career, education and spending patterns.
Laurel, for example, focuses on web design and development for small businesses. She also provides graphic design and copywriting services to complement her business. Interestingly enough, Laurel’s earliest clients were predominantly female. It seemed like her clients were relating to her because she was just like them – a female who runs her own business.
Once you’ve identified your niche and target audience, you need to drive traffic to your website. Your freelance or agency website serves as your online professional representation. Expert website designer Laurel shares that a website builds credibility. Having a website shows people that you are a real business with valuable services or products to offer. When people research their desired products, your website will likely be one of the first things they look into. And to this she points out, “It’s just so important to have a website because if you don’t, someone else does.”
More and more of a company’s sales happen on their website. Regardless of the industry, most customers will first visit a company’s website before making a purchase, even if the business does not have an online store, mainly for credibility and product/services research. Consequently, having a strong website presence can substantially impact the success of your business and help you generate more income.
Setting Up Your Clients to Success
When designing a website, it is critical to consider the client’s interests. Laurel advises designers to put their preferences aside and listen to their clients to get a pretty good idea of who they are and what they are trying to share with the world.
As a website designer, Lauren admits to feeling like she’s empowering business owners to take control of their online presence, including managing their websites, so that they can evolve on their own.
When it comes to multi-site development and management, freelance developers and agencies need to consider a partnership with a trusted hosting provider that meets their needs. Laurel trusts SiteGround with many of her web projects. She points out that SiteGround performance optimization tools really win her over during our conversation.“There’s a lot of amazing site tools that I feel like other hosting companies don’t have.”
Furthermore, SiteGround allows freelancers and agencies to access and manage all their sites from one dashboard. With our service, web creators can add collaborators to a site such as designers, developers, content creators, each with their own and limited access. If you build sites for clients but want to continue maintaining the site after handing it off, you can choose to stay on as a collaborator when the main site management has been transferred to your client.
To maintain professionalism, you need to do things right from the start till the end. Incorporating a smooth handover process will bring many benefits to you and your clients. Delivering a finished site is a nice experience, and transferring ownership is simple with SiteGround’s Transfer Ownership tool.
Seeking Change in the Web Development Industry
As a small business owner in the web development industry, it’s hard to be noticed when everyone is fighting for that attention. Laurel believes that having more collaboration would be a remedy to this. She knows firsthand how it feels to start on your own, working by oneself and not having any support system or community.
Eventually, over time, she found a stronger support system. As soon as she started to work with other creative, supportive people like web developers, SEO experts, graphic designers, she really felt a sense of relief. It was like she could learn much easier and work so much better, since she was around people who shared her work.
Owning a Successful Business
When it comes to creating websites, the pure joy from her work comes from knowing a website can have such a huge impact on the business. If someone gets a client because of their website or sells a product because of their website, it makes her feel part of their success.
To be successful, Laurel believes that you need to be dedicated, motivated, and passionate about what you’re doing. Your idea needs to ignite you. She wakes up every day and she’s excited about her work. She also reminds us that people should take care of their mental health, balance rest, and be business owners.
We all know that tons of great women want to build their own creative agencies. What is your advice for these aspiring entrepreneurs? Tell us about it in the comments below, and keep an eye out for more women-owned business stories!