Recently I had an interesting interaction with a colleague. She had announced a few months ago that they were offering her services as a freelancer for Video Design / Editing . Having worked in that industry for years with a large portfolio of top-tier clients, she was a natural fit and sure to succeed!

So where did it all go wrong?

This is a simple case study about some of the common pitfalls when starting your own offering, whether you’re an independent artist or starting your second company. If this situation sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone! Navigating the tricky world of where business meets technology, where marketing meets people, can be a rough see!

If you need help with your marketing or web presence, including social media marketing, contact us today!

Domain Name

First of all, she had a brilliant personal brand, which was spunky yet serious, and would have served well.

But instead of securing the domain name and other common web properties (one of the first things you should look at), she just set up a quick Wix website using her name / personal website. Especially with an uncommon spelling of her name, it was a strong disconnect from the brand and made searching for it hard.

I wanted to help her succeed, so I purchased the domain name, and setup a redirect to her personal site. Instead of just a simple redirect, I created an interstitial (which you can still see at, but it was an easy way to remember and follow up with her, if you caught her brand via conversation or were searching for it.

Market Research

In addition, I helped setup an important part of how your brand is shared and seen across the internet: OpenGraph. Originally created by Facebook, it’s become the de-facto standard for the previews you see when you share your link on SMS, Facebook, or other platforms.

Her original link to her personal site, had a cut-off picture, no description, no name showing on it. Powered by Wix! Hooboy.

I had created this and sent it to her, but her phone doesn’t use ‘Chat’ features / doesn’t show a preview:

There are tons of little things that go into making sure your brand really pops. Especially if you’re planning on Social Media Marketing / gaining traction for your brand — doubly so for a high-end design brand — knowing how it will show up is vital!

Specificity of Offering

So we finally had a chance to catch up and discuss all this. I was excited as I have some ideas for video that I want to create, and was hoping to maybe trade some web design work, or buy her services for some commercial video and music videos.

But by this time, only a few months after setting up her site, she was already on to the next project. The next project was also regarding video, but she narrowed her offering to exactly one thing: Memorable Montages. Perfect for Bar Mitzvahs or retirement parties, where the video is actually mostly a slideshow of photos.

In one sense, this was good — to identify a specific offering you have, put a price on it, and market it to target audiences. But in another sense, it sabotaged her entire business! Since she was ONLY offering one thing, it precluded the flexibility which is sometimes required when starting your own business. So any talk of commercial or music video work was cut off at the knees, since she no longer offers those services.

The best way to maximize your leads is to define your overall scope or industry, and then offer specific packages or offerings within that framework — not outside of it as a separate offering. Check out my Pricing page as an example!

In addition, her branding on this new offering was completely dry and lacking any of the personality of her personal brand. While it may appeal to the more straight-laced shoppers, which may be an important target demographic for this item, it removed a large Unique Selling Point — her! You’re not just paying for a Memory Montage, you’re paying the best, local, brilliant designer to bring her unique skills to the table. Now it looks like you may as well be ordering it off of Etsy or from some dropshipping site in China.

Sales Funnel and Design Considerations

I decided to give it a shot and sign up on her contact form, to start the ball rolling. But that’s when I hit a number of ‘roadblocks’ on the sales funnel side of it.

On her Contact form, you have to choose a package. A package? What package? So I had to back out of the contact form, after I already put my email address in, to find her packages page. A click later and I found it — but there’s only one package there! Oh, wait – there are little ‘slider’ like buttons. But I can’t see all the packages at once, I have to slide back and forth to see them.

Market studies have shown time and time again that, listing multiple items and suggested items, increases consumer confidence and gives them choices to explore all your offerings — not just seeing the first one and possibly missing the small buttons.

I didn’t make it back to her contact page, since again I was actually looking for commercial video. First lost sale!

What Next?

When it’s time to get serious about your offering, it’s prudent to make sure you have a clear vision and precise execution. Don’t settle for a bad domain name ending in .net, don’t let your Personal Brand go to waste, and don’t guide people away from your contact form if you’re serious about getting leads!

Quantum Leap Chicago can help you hurdle over these common stumbling blocks and ensure your vision and offerings align with your goals. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!

With over 20 years of Webmaster experience, Christopher “Owen” Owens
is a proud Chicago transplant who can help you with all of your technical
needs — whether as a first time business owner, or for supporting / growing
your existing business.
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