It is difficult to be in any sort of business these days without a website.
Some websites are easy to maintain in that they are quite static and require little change i.e they are merely a page for folk to visit to get directions or contact details. My website is a little more complex in that not only does it provide information, but it has an e-commerce element also. For the uninitiated this means folk can buy yoga , classes, pay for a retreat , or indeed their whole yoga teacher training online . Lovely when it works!
On the face of it , this all looks straight forward
But it requires a membership aspect to it, and this is where it gets tricky . Having worked for years with a Mailchimp platform for emails etc. I had a few hundred folk already on my email list. But then, to get them to be part of the membership on the web site I had to ask everyone to sign up again . Of course some will and more won’t, so in a catch twenty two, not wanting to loose those who are on the database, yet at the same time trying not to have two databases, and then make sure that those who have signed up on the web site don’t have to jump through too many hoops and not piss off people, I have to go figure .
Of course the glitches on the website only show up through usage, and as my website has just been completed around the start of July and the studio is closed until September there has been not much traffic on it . But the few bookings that have been done through it, seem to take more than one or two steps . This is a concern to me and I am not sure how to fix it . I know people are easily put off if it takes too long to purchase something.
This post here is my first venture into actually making my own changes on the website and I am understandably nervous . I am working on what is known as a cloned page , I take an earlier blog post , make a clone (copy) of it and simply write over the top . .
It is idiot proof…isn’t it?
So I make a start today, open up the admin section of my website and having scraped together a little resolve go to work . Immediately I am presented with two options , which look very urgent presenting me with a dilemma .
The first tells me that there is an upgrade for WordPress the software that I am using to build the website on , that I must upgrade for security reasons at once. I look at the instruction manual presented to me by my web designer and of course there is nothing there about it. I start to follow the links and it tells me that an upgrade will change all the files on my website . I am caught like a rabbit in the headlights I don’t know what to do. Should I chance the one click upgrade ? I decide not to chance it , you know I like a bit of a risk , but this is six months work that could disappear, so I send off an urgent email re: same, to web designer and decide to ignore it for the time being .
The second message I received which is, to inform my administrator that my website is no longer safe and that I need to get a certain type of security certificate . Well I am the administrator and I haven’t a bloody clue what to do. Send second urgent email off to web designer and decide to do something relatively safe, that is to update my blog , which is what I am doing right now !
So as I await some sort of reply from my ever patient web designer I look over the list of changes that I want to make on the new ‘website’ knowing that already somethings are out of date.
Keep it simple stupid !
During this time of Covid my yoga business moved from being studio based, to totally online, you might like to read my earlier blogs about some of the carry on I got up to, around this . Now that we are back to” normal ” what ever that means , I have to move my yoga teaching back into the studio with all the resulting changes that have to be made on the website.
In actual fact , I am now offering a blended model for awhile, that is most classes will be available online and in studio at the same time . This is to try and keep everyone happy . But don’t forget my website has to be adjusted accordingly and that I am restricted to twelve folk in the studio, so some folk will be booking Zoom yoga classes online and some will be booking live yoga classes at the studio . It is a real headache to figure it all out.
I sometimes wonder would I be better off without a website and just keep it simple by working with email , whats ap and bank transfers ?
Though, despite all this I encourage anyone who has a business idea to go for it .
I have been over thirty five years in business
And even with all of my accumulated experience, training, and drive I find it gets more difficult every year maybe that’s just an age thing.
The number of skills required to make a living for being self employed are enormous . I am in great admiration of anyone who sets up their own business and makes a living from it because it is not easy .
On the upside I love being self employed . I love the independence, the freedom and the creativity of making a living from something like yoga, something that I am passionate about that also grants me a way, to get by in life . I feel very privileged that it has worked for me .
So I encourage anyone who has a business idea to go for it . You will work very hard and long hours , your business will be a series of ongoing problems to be solved , all of which the buck stops with you . You will make your own decisions and live to witness the success of some ideas and the abject failure of others. In this day and age you will be constantly ups-killing your digital and accountancy acumen, your people skills, your professional skills and so on.
You will do things you never thought you could do , like editing the back round information for a website , which I am doing right now . You will wonder should you retire like all your friends , but then realise, you love what you do so much that you do not want to retire. What could be better than that?