Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Krista Miller owner of Krista Rae. She offers custom WordPress development and design strategy for brand and web designers and has been in business for two years. Kirsta hails from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. An interesting fact about her business is that she started out offering web design and really quickly realized it was not her thing. So she switched over to offering development instead and hasn't looked back!
Krista has graciously provided an insightful peek into her business and opened up about what has worked for her and what hasn't. Keep reading to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I decided to start my own business almost on accident. In December of 2014 I randomly decided to start a craft blog as I was teaching myself to crochet. I was amazed with all the other blogs out there and for some reason it felt like the thing to do. After a whopping two months of that I got super bored and decided to let it go. Around the same time, I started following John Sonmez who talks a lot about how important it is for developers to have their own online brand. Thanks to a great course he offered, I got my own website up and running where I was talking about being a female in the tech industry.
Through a whole lot of Pinterest searches, I ran across content from people teaching you to make money through your website. Specifically, Mariah Coz had just started teaching people how to make income through courses. I jumped straight on the bandwagon and attempted my first course launch. With two people on the VIP list, it didn't go well, but I learned so much. A few months later, I realized that I could make money in the creative industry with the same skills I used every day at my full-time job and that's where my current website and business was born.
What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?
When I was first starting out, I did absolutely everything by myself. I was afraid to reach out to people because I didn't think anyone would want to hear from someone who was as new as I was. Since then, I've seen the insane power of making connections and how much it can accelerate growth. If I'd have known that right away, I would have been able to give my business a bit more of a jump start.
What is the most common website mistake you see small business owners make?
The most common website mistake I see small business owners making is not putting any real thought or strategy into their site. They might loosely base it off of what they see other people doing, but they don't think about how those things relate back to *their* personal goals. If someone else is doing web design for coaches and you're selling products, having a website similar to theirs is a sure way to guarantee that it's not nearly as effective as it could be.
What has been the most effective strategy you've used for gaining new clients?
The biggest thing I've done to get new clients is build relationships and make new connections. Last I checked, about 80% of my clients were coming to me through referrals, which is huge. If someone is looking for a developer in a Facebook group, it doesn't take long for several people to chime in with my name. And sure, I'm good at what I do, but those people wouldn't take the time to refer me or give me a shoutout if we didn't have some kind of personal connection.
What has been the best financial investment you've made in your business?
The best financial investment I've made for my business are the coaches I've worked with. I've now worked with two business strategists and one life and business success coach. While the investments can be a little terrifying, it has paid off for me every time to let someone with a ton of experience get an inside look at my business and point out the areas I could improve. For example, I'm not sure I ever would have realized that I was better at targeting designers as my audience, rather than general business owners, if one of those coaches hadn't looked at what I was offering and pointed it out.
What has been the biggest game changer in your business?
The biggest game changer in my business, besides the connections and coaches I already mentioned, was a live course I took in October of 2016. The course was Be Booked Out by Halley Gray and it taught me everything I needed to know to really zoom in on my ideal audience, craft services that they would want, and launch them in a way that leaves me booked for months at a time. It was quite the investment, but I wouldn't be where I am today without it.
What is something you regret or wish you had done differently in your business?
Something I wish I'd had done a bit differently is being pickier about the people I collaborate with. On a few occasions I've done webinars with people I barely knew or even larger collaborations with people I've been close with that haven't gone well. It's important to hold yourself back from getting over-excited about something and really evaluate whether or not you and that person would make a good team. I've always learned to start with some type of smaller collaboration before diving into something that generates income or is ongoing.
What's your favorite business book, blog, or podcast?
My favorite business podcast is The Strategy Hour from Think Creative Collective. I love that they don't hold back information and don't waste time chatting about random stuff, while still making it a blast to listen to.
How do you rest, recharge, and find inspiration?
This is something I'm not the greatest at. I'd like to say that I take random days off during the week or go for walks in the middle of the day to free up space and make time to be creative. Buuuut that's not how it is around here. I have gotten pretty good at taking nights and weekends off of work, which helps a lot. Now when I get to Monday I'm usually excited to dive into work, rather than tired from all the extra tasks I checked off over the weekend.
As far as inspiration, I think I'm lucky to be a naturally driven and determined person as well as someone that can easily identify actionable tasks out of goals I want to accomplish. So my form of inspiration comes from thinking of a goal I'm working towards and identifying the steps I need to get there. A more logical and nerdy approach than most probably use ;)