How to build your business online with Pamela Wilson of BIG Brand System

Pamela Wilson, Online Business Coach
Founder, BIG Brand System

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE for

How to Build Your Business Online

You have a vision! I want to help you get your expertise to the people who most need it. Here’s how to build your business online. 

I’m Pamela Wilson. 

If you want to bring your decades of knowledge to an audience who needs it, this resource is for you.

I’m going to show you how to build your business online one step at a time. You’re going to build an online business you love to own and run.

 

If you want to sell t-shirts on Etsy, go for it — but you won’t find what you need here.

This page is for people in mid-career and beyond who want to build a business based on their expertise.

Ready to finally understand how to build your business online? Let’s do this!

 Bookmark this page in your browser so you can return to it as you build your business online.

Go directly to How to Build your Business Online: The Step-by-Step Guide.

How do you bring your existing expertise online?

Your storefront? It’s a website when you build your business online. 

The product or service you sell? It’s created by you — and it’s based on a lifetime of hard-earned expertise.

Since I brought my expertise online,  I’ve published three books, spoken on stages around the US, and delivered hundreds of live presentations to thousands of online learners.

That’s what building your business online does for you!

More importantly, an online business helps you find the exact people you want to serve — wherever they are in the world.

Since I founded BIG Brand System in 2010, I’ve generated revenue for myself and my family. I have traveled the world while running my business.

And now I can even say I’ve navigated through a pandemic — and generated more revenue in a quarantine year than I had the year before.

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Why do online businesses fail?

I know — it might seem strange for me to include this section. But I want you to avoid what happens to most people when they try to build a business online. 

You know the #1 reason people fail?

They try to do too much at once, feel overwhelmed, and give up.

Online business is confusing. Plus, it’s way too easy to compare your early online business results to  someone else’s results after they’ve spent years building their online business.

If you’re not careful, you’ll give up before you’ve given online business building a fair try.

How can you avoid falling into this trap?

Read on.

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What are the main components of an online business?

An online business where you share your hard-earned expertise with people who need it requires three things:

  1. A website with content that establishes that you’re a trustworthy authority
  2. An email list where you reach out directly to communicate with your audience
  3. Something to sell!

You could sell almost anything that can be delivered in an online environment. Examples:

      • A service, like coaching, consulting, design, copywriting, speaking, workshops, etc.
      • A product, like a course, an ebook, a series of guides.


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Which online businesses are easy to create?

Start small. Iterate. Go BIG.

Go from the idea phase to the testing phase quickly with these easy-to-create online businesses:

  • A 1-page website that offers coaching or consulting. This simple offer doesn’t demand that you grow a huge email list before you start earning income.
  • A simple website that invites people to sign up for a live course. Sign up customers then deliver a course live, answering questions along the way.
  • A minimum viable website that shares your services. Establish your expertise on your Home page, share who you are on your About page, and give people a way to reach out for help on your Contact page.

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How can I cut through the online confusion?

Did you know that department stores are designed to keep you from easily finding the exits? They want you to keep circling their sales floor so you find more things to buy.

The internet feels like this too — so much information that feels designed to confuse you.

I get it! And I have great news for you.

After years of coaching smart people who were struggling with how to build a business online, I developed a methodical, overwhelm-free approach that makes it easier. It’s called Plan & Grow BIG.

Online business are built in four stages. Each stage builds a foundation for the next one.

When you focus only on the milestones for the stage you’re in today, you’ll make progress much, much faster. Plus (bonus!) you’ll feel a whole lot less overwhelmed in the process.

Take my Focus Finder Quiz to pinpoint your business stage

It’s a fun way to pinpoint which Plan & Grow BIG business stage you’re in today. 

Scroll down and answer a few quick questions. At the end, I’ll share the business stage I think you’re in right now so you can use the rest of the resources on this page.

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What business stage are you in today?

How to build your business online using this page

1. Identify the stage you’re in: Take the Focus Finder quiz above to identify your business stage.

2. Read the information below once: Familiarize yourself with the four stages, PLAN, BUILD, IMPLEMENT, GROW.

3. Tackle the milestones for your stage only: This is the secret to making progress fast! Follow the steps below and complete each task. Use the links for additional information about the topics covered.

Refer to this page whenever you’re moving to a new business stage. Make it your companion for your online business building journey!

How to Build Your Business Online — STAGE 1

The PLAN Stage

PLAN stage path
YOUR STAGE 25%
In the PLAN stage, you’ll lay a firm foundation for your online business.

The PLAN stage is exciting! Everything is ahead of you. There are so many different directions you could take your online business and making these initial decisions can feel daunting.

Read on for resources that will help you in the PLAN stage.

How to build your business online: The foundational PLAN stage
How to build your business online when you know your ideal customer

Pinpoint your ideal customer

Who will your online business serve? 

Take some time to describe who they are. Think about their current challenges, too. How do those challenges impact their lives?

Resource: Create an Eye-opening Ideal Customer Profile [Free Worksheet]

Choose your brand style

The earlier you build a recognizable brand, the better. Building your brand early will allow you to begin using the power of time to build brand recognition.

Will you use a personal brand or a business brand? Learn about the difference between a personal brand or a business brand so you can choose the option that works best for you.

Resource: Should You Build a Personal Brand or a Business Brand?

Choose your business name and tagline

Your brand consists of two parts: your verbal brand and your visual brand. Start by creating a verbal brand.

Your verbal brand starts with your business name and tagline. The links below will help you create them:

Resource: How to Choose a Business Name You’ll Love Today, Tomorrow, and 5 Years from Now

Resource: How to Write a Terrific Tagline [Free Tool]

Choose your brand colors and brand fonts

Your visual brand consists of your brand colors, fonts, logo, and overall style. The links below will help you create a simple-but-impactful visual brand.

Resource: 5 Free Tools for Getting Your Brand Color Palette Right

Resource: Brand Fonts: Why Some Website Typeface Combinations Look So Stunning

Free workshop! Watch my Visual Marketing on-demand workshop

How to build your business online: create a basic visual brand
How to build your business online: The PLAN stage

Begin planning your first online offer

You don’t have to have all the answers about what your online business will offer at this stage. Start with a simple plan and answer these questions:

  • Will my offer be a product or a service?
  • Who will my offer serve and how?

Resource: Stop Burnout Before It Starts with This Simple Product Strategy that Grows Your Business

ARE YOU READY TO GRADUATE FROM THE PLAN STAGE?

When you hit these milestones, you know you’re ready to “graduate” to the next stage, BUILD.

You understand your idea customer

You’re 100% clear about who you want to serve, their current challenges, and how you can help them.

Your basic branding is in place

You have a business name and tagline you love. You have branding basics like fonts and colors selected. You’ve made a decision about a logo — either you invested in one, or you’re using a word mark logo.

Your offer strategy is planned

Planned is the operative word here. You won’t know for sure if the offer you have planned will work until you BUILD it (in the next stage) and IMPLEMENT it (in the third stage).

For now, make an educated guess about what you’ll offer based on what you know now.

When you hit these milestones, it’s time to move into the next stage — BUILD. Keep going!

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Want help in the PLAN stage? Learn more about my BIG League program for people who are in the early stages of building an online business.

Tell me about the BIG League

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BIG League program for online business builders: logo

How to Build YoUR Business Online — STAGE 2

The BUILD Stage

BUILD stage path
YOUR STAGE 50%

Profitable online businesses begin their lives in the BUILD stage.

In the BUILD stage of your online business, you’ll create a website — a place where future prospects and customers will discover your information and your offers.

It’s the first tangible thing you’ll create as you work on how to build your business online.

Read on for resources that will help you in the BUILD stage.

How to build your business online with a map of your website

Build your initial website

BIG Brand System is a self-hosted WordPress website. WordPress serves up all the content, and the visual style of the site is supplied by a WordPress theme. I recommend this website solution.

Don’t over complicate your site: You can get a minimum viable version of your website created in under a week.

Resource: How to Publish an Amazing Minimum Viable Website in a Week

See the sections below for guidance on building a website for your online business.

Design your Home page

Your Home page is the front door to your online business and you want it to be inviting.

State how your business offers value to the site visitor right at the top of your homepage.

Resource: How to Create a Homepage for Your Online Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

Resource: Homepage Design Ideas: How to Make Money from “Hello”

 

Write your About page

When new site visitors land on your website and like what they find, they’ll visit your About page to learn more about the people behind their new favorite website.

Surprise them with an About page that’s about … them!

Resource: The 5 Essential Keys to a Tantalizing ‘About’ Page

Tips: Share how your business serves its customers. Once you talk about why your customers are the reason you do what you do, then pivot to sharing information about your business qualifications, mission, and your team.

Create your Contact page and make your site live!

Site visitors will use your Contact page to reach out and ask questions, make queries, etc. Don’t put your email address here —  use a form that sends messages to your inbox securely. Once you have your Contact page ready, you can make your website live. That’s right — you can launch a site with just these three pages!

Don’t over think your site — create these pages and make it live so search engines begin to find it.

The next two pages aren’t essential — but they’re nice to have as soon as you can add them.

How to build your business online with a great contact page
How to build your business online with a content page on your website

Add a Content page

It’s smart to publish regular content so search engines can send the right people to your website.

Your content may be a blog, podcast, or video series. Search engines love fresh content, so publish regularly.

Resource: How to Make Content Marketing Fun (and Much Easier)

Learn more about how to use content marketing to build your audience of customers in my books, Master Content Marketing and Master Content Strategy.

Free workshop! Watch my Content Profit Formula on-demand workshop

Create a lead magnet and build an email list*

A lead magnet is a valuable gift you deliver in exchange for their email address. Share valuable information, engaging stories, and your best offers with your email list.

Resource: How to Create a Lead Magnet in an Afternoon [Start with the Free Template]

Resource: Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Connect, Deliver, and Profit in the Inbox

Resource: Anatomy of the Perfect New Subscriber Welcome Email Template

*Offer a service? Focus on building a referral network.

 
How to build your business online with a first offer

Build your first offer

Don’t build an elaborate, time-consuming first offer without doing a small test with a smaller version of it first. (I call this your “Smart Start” version.)

What can you create that’s relatively simple — but delivers a valuable transformation to your ideal customer? Build that.

Resource: Minimum Viable Product Examples: Build the Core of Your Online Business This Month

 

Add a Commerce page

Online businesses feature commerce in some way. It could be a store with products, a page with services, a way to book appointments.

This page is where you’ll make your offer — and start earning revenue from your online business.

Resource: Use These 3 Magic Words So You Can Instantly Write Sales Copy That Builds Your Revenue

 
 

ARE YOU READY TO GRADUATE FROM THE BUILD STAGE?

When you hit these milestones, you know you’re ready to “graduate” to the next stage, IMPLEMENT.

Your website is built and launched

You’ve pulled back the curtain on your website and it’s live! Your three essential pages — Home, About, and Contact — are in place. Your Content and Commerce pages might be ready now — or you’ll get them ready soon.

You’re attracting prospects 

You’ve created a lead magnet that steadily builds your email list over time. If you have a service-based business, you have a process in place for attracting prospects to your business.

You’ve built something to sell

You have a product or service ready to use to convert people to customers.

The next stage, IMPLEMENT, is where you’ll start to test your plans and see how the offer you’ve built holds up. Expect to make changes — online business is all about iteration and adaptation.

When you hit these milestones, it’s time to move into the next stage — IMPLEMENT. Keep going!

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Want help in the BUILD stage? Learn more about my BIG League program for people who are in the early stages of building an online business.

Tell me about the BIG League

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BIG League program for online business builders: logo

How to Build YoUR Business Online — STAGE 3

The IMPLEMENT Stage

IMPLEMENT stage path
YOUR STAGE 75%

The visible, vulnerable, and profitable stage

In the IMPLEMENT stage you’re going to find out if what you’ve planned and built is going to actually work.

You’ll have some successes and some failures. Guaranteed. That’s part of the process!

I can help you navigate the ups and downs in my Offer Accelerator program.

Read on to learn what to focus on as you get your offers in front of the people who need them.

How to build your business online in the IMPLEMENT stage

Focus on engaging with your future customer list

Most online businesses need a robust list of thousands of people to make their offers to because only a small percentage will actually buy.

At this stage, you should explore innovative ways to grow your subscriber list — think webinars, guest posts, challenges, etc.

Resource: How to Build an Email List: The Fast and Slow Methods

“Launch” your new offer

“Launching” refers to the process of getting a product or service in front of the right people in a way that makes them sit up, take notice, and buy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create an offer, put it on a sales page, and sit back and watch people buy it?

The online space is too busy for that to work. To get the right people to notice and buy your offers, you have to throw a party!

Resource: The 3 Stages of a Stress-Free First-Time Product Launch Plan

How to build your business online with an offer launch

Optimize your sales page

Your online sales page is a 24/7 sales force for your offer!

It must engage your site visitor from the headline all the way down to the call to action.

Sales pages are tailored to individual offers — but there are some essential elements they all need in order to sell your offer. Fortunately, I have a powerful resource that will help!

Resource: Start Making More Sales: Remember This 5-Step Recipe for High-Converting Sales Pages

Brush up on your numbers

In this stage, you want to get nice and comfortable analyzing your results so you can learn from your numbers.

Open and click rates on your emails, website analytics, and sales conversion rates are just a handful of the data points you’ll need to understand.

There’s power in those numbers! One big advantage of building your business online is that you’ve got access to data that will help inform your decisions.

How to build your business online when you know your numbers

ARE YOU READY TO GRADUATE FROM THE IMPLEMENT STAGE?

Prepare yourself — the IMPLEMENT stage can last for a long time. You’ll be doing a lot of experimentation and will gather important feedback during this stage.

You’ll respond to that feedback with new and better offers, more effective marketing, and a growing email list to market to.

When you hit these milestones, you know you’re ready to “graduate” to the next stage, GROW.

You develop at least one offer that converts reliably

It’s not enough to just to have an offer at this stage. You need to have a hit offer!

Once you know what your prospects respond to, you can put the full weight of your promotional efforts behind it in the next stage, GROW.

You have an email list of ~5,000 people

Your mileage may vary, but once you grow your list beyond the first few thousand subscribers, increasing the number of people you can make offers to adds serious firepower to your promotions.

Your online business is your primary source of income

You may have started it as a side gig, but now your online business supports your lifestyle comfortably.

Ready to leverage your success? Let’s move on to the next stage, GROW.

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Want help in the IMPLEMENT stage? Learn more about my Offer Accelerator program — it’s for you if you’re creating and optimizing your online offer. 

Tell me about The Offer Accelerator with Pamela Wilson

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How to Build YoUR Business Online — STAGE 4

The GROW Stage

GROW stage path
YOUR STAGE 100%

The thrill of growing beyond your wildest dreams

The GROW stage isn’t the end — it’s the beginning of a world of potential for your online business.

You have planned, built, and implemented. Now you’re seeing the fruits of all that hard work.

You can choose to double down on what’s working — adding in things like affiliates, advertising, and team members so you can grow your BIG. You may also decide to add lines of business. Here’s how I help people who are in the GROW stage.

Extend your reach

Your focus in the GROW stage will be to get your offer in front of new groups of people. Here’s how:
  • Paid traffic: Social platform traffic ads; Pay Per Click (PPC) ads; retargeting ads to reach people anyplace they gather online.
  • Joint venture presentations: Present your product or service to a colleague’s audience.
  • Affiliates: A marketing program for people who to promote your offer in exchange for a commission.
Resource: Do You Have the Courage to Grow? Presenting 6 Joint Venture Examples That Boost Your Email List and Profits

Improve conversion rates

There are lots of ways to make more sales when you make an offer online. You can:
  • Tweak your pricing
  • Improve your launch process
  • Update your email and sales page copy
  • Add bonuses to your offers
Don’t tweak everything at once. Test patiently and methodically until you hit on a winning combination.
What works today may not work in a few months, so plan to revisit this task regularly.
How to build your business online when you focus on conversions

Add revenue streams

As you dial in what’s working well, you may uncover some unmet customer needs.

One result? You may decide to add complementary products or services to your existing lines of business.

This is a wonderful way to grow your business!

Over time, you may decide to retire some offers and develop new ones. This is a natural result of working closely with your idea customers. For more on how to be smart about your growth, read on.

Cycle through the stages with each new offer

The Plan & Grow BIG approach to building a business online isn’t linear — it’s circular.
You can use this approach to start your online business — and to keep it growing over time.
If you arrive at the GROW stage and decide it’s time to develop a new line of business, develop your new offer using the PLAN stage. Then move on to BUILD, IMPLEMENT, and GROW.

HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN THE GROW STAGE

Here’s a secret:

You may move through the PLAN, BUILD, IMPLEMENT, and GROW stages for the rest of the life of your business. As you develop new lines of business, the frustrations, fears, and milestones in these stages will become familiar — even comfortable.

Here’s how you’ll know you are rocking the GROW stage:

You’re reaching beyond your own email list

You’re actively working with joint venture partners, cultivating affiliate relationships, and using advertising to expand the reach of your online business.

You’re officially a  conversions nerd

You’re “nerding out” on all things related to conversion optimization. You get waaaay too excited when your numbers inch up 0.5%. You’re always looking for new ways to optimize your current offers.

You’re building additional streams of income

You’ve got at least one successful product or service under your belt and now you’re developing new ones.

You may be adding to your team because you need help

It’s a sign of growth! Your business has grown to the point that you can’t — and don’t want to — do everything yourself. You’re dealing with the challenges of managing people, whether they’re contractors or employees.

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Want help in the GROW stage? My  Offer Accelerator program is perfect for you if you’re optimizing your online offer. 

Tell me about The Offer Accelerator with Pamela Wilson

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How to Get Help Building Your Business Online

Congratulations! You’ve read all the way through this massive resource for how to build your business online.

You’re committed — I can tell. Here’s something to keep in mind as you go forward …

This information only works if you apply it.

Bookmark this page so you can refer back to it and explore the resources as you need them.

You now know more about how online businesses are really built than most of your friends and colleagues.

But to use your newfound superpower, you have to work your way through all these stages.

I’m here to help.

Are you just starting out?

If you’re in the PLAN and BUILD stages, you can get education, guidance, and training inside my BIG League program.

Click here learn more about the BIG League

Are you working on building online revenue?

If you’re in the IMPLEMENT or GROW stages, you’re a great candidate for my Offer Accelerator program. You’ll create and optimize a high-value offer that creates consistent online income for your online business. Get all the details and apply at the link below!

Click here apply to my Offer Accelerator program

Don't MISS a CRITICAL STEP

Get the complete roadmap and checklist to build your business online. Share your info below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.

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