A month ago we discussed how Local Influencers get started in online business. Today, I want to talk about the skills needed to be successful in this space.
Don’t worry if you don’t possess one of the skills yet; they can all be learned. Take the time to evaluate where you are with each one and the ones you need to focus on as you build your online business.
But first, what is a Local Influencer?
As we teach new digital entrepreneurs, we encourage them to begin their search for clients offline, in their local area. Look around for small businesses in your area that have some or no online presence, and seek to help them first. On top of helping your local economy, these clients are also more willing to accept your help once you demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart.
You win their trust through positive influence, leading to the second part of the name. When I started, I hosted frequent seminars and webinars for businesses in my area and taught them the basics of web design and SEO. I did this for the low cost of zero dollars. The currency I was after wasn’t money, but the trust and respect of the business owners around me.
As I offered a wealth of knowledge for free, more and more business owners showed interest in my paid services. This led to my first few clients outside the low-hanging fruit of friends and family members.
This is how every Shark should start an online business. You become a hometown hero while building your clientele. That’s a win for everyone, but how do you know if you have what it takes to become a successful Local Influencer?
It starts with building these skills.
ALSO READ: How Local Influencers Keep Clients Happy
Focus on these skills to speed up your success.
Take a look at the list below and determine where you honestly are with each skill. This will show you what to focus on as you begin your journey.
1. SEO and/or Web Design
Though some people begin their digital marketing business with social media or search engine advertising, I believe those skills should supplement the core skills of SEO and web design. This has to do with the fact that most local businesses don’t have an attractive or appealing website and fewer still have their content optimized for say, Google searches.
As you begin your journey, pick one of the two and get really good at it. I started out with web design myself, initially building a website for a friend for relatively cheap. As I learned more about web design, it dovetailed naturally into SEO to get people more traffic to the sites I built for them. Others have succeeded by learning SEO and then partnering with someone else who knows how to design an attractive website.
Note: this doesn’t mean you need to become a charismatic extravert. What I mean here are the mechanics to the interactions you’ll need to succeed in online business. This includes emails, cold calls, texts, answering questions, and everyone’s favorite, customer service and conflict resolution.
You don’t have to be born with a silver tongue to learn the best ways to navigate these pieces of communication. You should, however, pay attention to how more established entrepreneurs communicate and learn accordingly. Here is an example of a format you could use.
Good communication could mean the difference between retaining a client, or having them move on. Or, it could make the difference between a negative review and a positive one.
In our experience working with thousands of digital marketing students, we’ve found that few natural entrepreneurs are also natural at delegation. We certainly weren’t at the beginning of our respective journeys. Sometimes, we’re afraid to trust someone with a task. Other times, we think we can’t afford to bring in a subcontractor. Over time though, we’ve found that people tend to rise to the level of confidence you place in them, and that delegation frees up more time for you to multiply your income rather than incrementally adding to it.
So, delegate tasks as soon as you can. This could be outbound prospecting, client communication and reporting, regular emails to your audience, social media management, you name it. Free yourself for critical decisions and tasks that only you can do, which are fewer than you think.
Most of us have heard the statistic that 80% of startups fail, and digital business is certainly no exception. But for digital entrepreneurship, I’ve found that it mostly has to do with discouragement rather than practical pitfalls.
When you begin, 80-95% of people you reach out to will decline to hire you, or not even respond at all. You will have to start working for a lower rate than the 7-figure-a-year gurus that you see on your Facebook timeline. If you’re transitioning from a traditional 9-5 job, you will probably miss working around other people, and the predictable paycheck you get from it.
These are valid difficulties that tend to leave us feeling discouraged. The best thing to do is to acknowledge your disappointment, or loneliness, or desire to quit, and make an honest decision with yourself about how you will respond to each situation as it comes. It’s also much, much easier to do this in the context of a community of like-minded individuals working toward similar goals. That’s why we highly recommend you stick around to learn with us, and join our Facebook community if you haven’t already.
With these skills, you’ll be ready for the journey to Local Influencer. Keep serving your local businesses, over-delivering, and maintain a teachable mindset. We’ll see you at the top!
FURTHER READING: Top SEO Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now