From idea to online presence, the 8 steps that will start you up
How do you go from the idea phase to having something up and running? It’s not trivial and it can be a steep process, unless you’ve already done it in the past and you already know what to do.
So here’s a detailed framework that will move you from having an idea, deciding it’s a good idea, and work towards executing it.
Step 1: Have a great idea
Sounds easy, but we all have good ideas every day. James Altucher has a great post on how to have great ideas. I recommend reading it.
My advice is:
- Keep a list of all the good ideas you have. You don’t need to list the so-and-so ideas. Maybe one day you don’t have a good idea, maybe some days you have an idea after another. Even if the idea sounds crazy and you don’t really know how to execute on that idea, add it to the list.
- Let other people ideas join your ideas, combine them to come up with something unique.
When you have an idea that you think it’s great, even if you can’t wait to work on it, let it sleep on your ideas list.
Step 2: Let your inner self work on the idea
Sometimes you have that great idea that you can’t stop thinking about. If you think too much about an idea right when you have it, you’ll end up being sucked into it and you won’t have a good perspective.
So, my suggestion and something that works for me is first writing everything I am thinking about the idea, in order to remember everything, then I’ll force myself to let the idea stay on the ideas book for a few days, without thinking about it, and get my enthusiasm fade away.
After a few days I’ll go back to my ideas book, I’ll read the idea, think about it, and if it still turns me up, I’ll write down everything I can think about it: the vision, the doors that the idea will open, what would be the next step, add some sketches, add links to related online resources, quotes, and everything.
Then I let it sleep again.
Even when you’re not directly thinking about something, the mind works on it tirelessly.
Bring it up a second time after a few days. Still sounds great? That’s an idea worth working on!
Step 3: Find a good name
Come up with a good name for your idea. By now you’ll already have some name ideas. You’ll want to first search that name on Google, and find if there is someone already using it, in which case it’s often a good idea finding another name, to avoid brand collision and all sorts of bad things in the future.
Now find a domain name that suits your name, it does not need to 100% match, but it’s a good thing if it does.
The namecheckr.com website is great at that. You can enter a brand name, and it will tell you if the .com domain name is available for you to register.
For example when I had the idea for Fire Up Your Shop, I entered the name in the box and I found that fireupyourshop.com was available.
I highly recommend going for the .com domain, avoid .net and other top level domain, like .shop, even if you’re effectively register a domain for a shop, because .com is really popular and people associate a website with .com, and they will always try that if they don’t remember how to reach your site.
It’s a common story that businesses, once they reach success, pay a lot to buy the .com domain.
Often it’s not available, but you can get a variation of that. For example I remember when basecamp.com was basecamphq.com. They since bought basecamp.com when they had enough money to make it worthwile.
Never ever buy a premium or already existing domain name (e.g. don’t spend more than 10$ on it) before you are already making tons of money with it.
The namecheckr website will also lookup the most popular Social Media websites and find if your username is available. Don’t go too crazy about it, but it’s nice if it’s available as your domain name.
For every idea that I persue, I might take a whole day writing down good domain names that are available, scratch the ones that I came up but are not so good, and iterate on the process.
I like writing them down in a list, repeat them all over the place, and find the one I fall in love with.
It’s important because if your idea proves to be successful, you’ll live with the name for as long as you can. Changing the name in the future is certainly possible, but not really recommended.
Step 4: Register the domain name
If you want to use Shopify, you can also buy the domain through them, to make things simpler, even though you’ll pay a bit more and you’ll not be able to do some things in the future, including having a real email address, but just a forwarding alias. This means that if you register a domain through Shopify, you can have a email@example.com email address, people will send emails there, you’ll receive them at your already existing email address (say, firstname.lastname@example.org), but you’ll not be able to reply with that same email address, which is not really nice but can work to start.
Step 4: Get an email address
After you have bought the domain, create a email@example.com and a firstname.lastname@example.org email addresses. You can start with an email alias forwarding to your existing email address, to avoid having to set up the email client or having to use your hosting webmail. Keep things simple when you start.
Make sure the email address works by sending yourself an email. This is important to register the social media accounts later.
Step 5: Create a logo
A logo defines your idea personality, and you’ll use it literally everywhere, so it’s super important. You don’t need to spend thousands on your logo.
I like to design my own logos because I enjoy the process.
If you have no idea and no design taste at all, you can get someone on Fiverr do a logo for you. It’s quite straightforward, you go to the Logo Design category and you pick one with a portfolio that you like, buy it, submit your idea and requirements, and wait.
Step 6: Create a tagline
A tagline is a brief description of your idea. For example, the Fire Up Your Shop 🔥 tagline is:
Helping people sell on Shopify
In 5 words I defined the goal, the mission of the project and you have a very good idea of what I do.
A tagline is important because you will write this everywhere. On your website, in the social media bios, on every forum profile, etc, so make it nice and brief.
Step 7: Register the relevant social media accounts
Now that you have with your domain name, your email address, a logo and a tagline, you’re ready to create the social media accounts.
Start with the most important ones: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
On Twitter and Instagram, create a profile for your brand. When asked for the email, use the email you just created, not your personal one.
On Facebook you’ll create a Facebook Page, with your existing profile, not a user account.
Step 7: Register on Gravatar
Create a Gravatar account for the email@example.com email address, and upload your logo.
When you’ll post to some forums and blogs, they will use the Gravatar image, so you’ll want this to be filled to prevent them to show an empty image.
Step 8: Start executing on your idea
This is the point where you finally start executing on your idea
Whatever you are going to do, you need great content to stand out. Be it products, blog posts, pictures, whatever, you need something to attract people to you.
I for example started with this simple Medium blog, and I just redirected my fireupyourshop.com website here.
You can choose to create a Shopify shop, and just focus on creating your amazing products, taking pictures on Instagram, or setting up Facebook or Google ads.
Or you might choose to step into the existing communities that you target and engage with them, in a non-spammy way, and introduce them to your content and your brand.
In any way, you need to do something and step out in the world.
I hope you had a good read, and you found out a couple things you can do to start up in the right way! If so, please recommend or share it.
Please comment below if you have something to add or ask.
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