A couple months ago, I realized it was time.
For about a year and a half, I’d been walking a line between my old work identity (freelance writer) and a new one (content coach). I was doing the thing that a lot of my clients do – hold onto the past while exploring what it could be like to pivot more strongly toward a specialty.
It’s a great way to try things out without too much risk.
But after walking that line for a while, hanging on to that older thing starts to feel less like a lifeline – and more like a tether.
It’s like being trapped in the middle of a Venn diagram, and yearning to move completely into just one of the circles so you have more room to breathe and grow.
Instead of being one thing to some people, and something else to others, and yet a third combination with a random few, you want to just be that one best version of yourself all the time, dammit!
Anyway, somewhere around early March (which happened to be my 40th birthday, which I’m sure had nothing whatsoever to do with this) I realized I was ready. I wanted to stop pretending I was still taking some writing clients, and fully commit to my new role.
And since I am my business, I can just decide and then voila! Magically, it is so. (One of the many reasons I love working for myself!)
But the problem was that it didn’t feel done. It didn’t feel like anything had changed, because that decision was only in my head.
To make it real, I had to re-write my website copy.
I had to totally overhaul my home page, my About page, and get rid of the content that focused on freelance writing.
Now, you might expect that this is something I did overnight with my eyes closed because, well, it’s what people pay me to help them with.
But it took weeks! It was a long process that included:
- Drafting whole pages, scrapping them, and starting all over.
- Picking the brains of random people I met who happened to fall within my target market (including a psychiatrist I marched alongside at an anti-gun-violence rally, and an attorney I was seated next to at a friend’s birthday party).
- Experimenting with a bunch of awkward elevator pitches at a conference I attended.
- Poring over the research provided to me by an SEO consultant I hired.
- Waffling over what to call myself (coach? consultant? advisor?), and what to call my clients (freelancers? entrepreneurs? self-employed?)
- Doing some soul searching about how to integrate my own personal story into my business story.
- Drafting, revising, and drafting some more.
- Asking for feedback and revisions from peers in my coworking space.
- Putting everything on my website and then doing more revisions there based on layout and design issues.
It was a lot of work. But I knew that re-writing my website was the exercise I needed to do in order to work out all the kinks so that I could articulately and confidently communicate about my business.
And now that it’s done, it feels so good. I no longer have that icky feeling that my website is misrepresenting me to the world. I’m more excited to send potential clients to my site, and to do the outreach and marketing tasks necessary for getting new clients. (After all, what’s the point of outreach if I’d be sending prospects to an outdated website?)
In a nutshell, I’ve done all the groundwork so that selling will be easier.
So… who is your really website for?
Of course your website is a marketing and selling tool. Of course it’s for your clients. They need to see that you’re legit and they will certainly judge your business based on what they see there.
But before it’s for them, it’s really for you.
For businesses like ours that don’t have a tangible product to sell, our website is usually the most concrete expression of our business. And writing the copy for it is our chance to clarify – for ourselves – what the hell we’re doing, who we work with, and what makes us stand out.
Like I say in my new website copy (yippee!):
“If you don’t have your messaging nailed down, nothing else works."