I’ve been a little bit quiet on here and social media for the last few weeks. I can finally show you the reason why: Smart Steps to Australia has now launched!
It feels a bit (OK, a lot) scary – like letting your baby out into the world. This has been a dream in the making since September last year and it has come such a long way since the initial idea my hubby had about me writing a simple ebook about the admin involved in getting settled in Australia (I suspect he may wish he’d never even suggested it now!)
I know I promised to give you the juicy details on getting this business off the ground so here’s a recap what has been happening for the last few weeks since I wrote this post about setting up a digital business .
Back in May, I had a photoshoot with Brisbane-based branding photographer Renee Shea to get some family pictures to show off the amazing lifestyle over here (like the one below), as well as to get some new profile pictures of me. Finding a photographer proved harder than I expected – I was looking for natural and relaxed images rather than the standard posed headshots as I HATE smiling and posing for the camera. Plus I wanted somebody who could just as easily take business shots as they could work with young kids who aren’t interested in having their photos taken – two very different things!
Renee was great at helping me work out what style of photos to go for – it was all about how I wanted people to see me and the brand and that had bearing over everything from what time of day we took the pictures (we went for late afternoon/early evening to get the lovely golden light) and what textures and colours I should wear to make me look approachable (we went for purples, blues and greens).
We had a fun afternoon at Margate Beach. The kids weren’t really interested in posing for anything but they had fun playing and doing their own thing so it worked fine. I love the shots we came out with – I usually hate photos of myself but the fact that I love the profile pictures that Renee took of me proves how talented she is!!
Angie B Studios (who also designed the cover of my book – Don’t Panic! A Practical Guide to Twins, Triplets and More) did an amazing job creating my logo – slightly retro, curvy and cool – it’s just what I was hoping for.
Then I handed that over to my lovely website designer, Jan Henry, and she has interpreted my vision for the site perfectly, using Renee’s photos as a backdrop. I’d love to hear what you think of it – please hop over and leave me a comment!
I went through the budget for setting up the business in this post a few weeks ago, but there have been a few more costs over the last few weeks.
Latest costs for setting up Smarts Steps to Australia
I decided to buy Plann (formerly Plan your Gram) an Instagram planning app which just cost a few dollars and is available for Android and iPhone. It was created by somebody who also did the Blog Society Digital Bravery course, so I decided to support a fellow alumni. I haven’t done much on Instagram for the business so far – I was waiting for my branding to be set up so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into using it over the next few weeks. So far though, Plann is proving really easy to use and very straightforward and I like that there are no ongoing fees with it as I don’t have the budget for that right now.
As I wanted to include video on my site, both on the public facing pages and in the premium membership portals, I decided to buy Vimeo Plus so that my videos don’t show ads and so I have the option of making some of them private (YouTube gives an option to not list your videos but people can still share these links with others). This cost A$69.95 for the year.
I bought Memberpress as my membership plugin. I did lots of research on my own and in Facebook groups and this kept coming up as the best choice, then when when my web designer also suggested it I was confident I’d made the right choice. As my content won’t be in a course format, Memberpress should work OK as a stand alone plugin without using an additional course plugin too. Watch this space as I haven’t started using it so am not sure how user friendly it is (although my designer assures me it is easy to use!) This cost A$137.66 for the year.
I also decided to buy a direct domain name for my new closed Facebook group so that I could easily direct people to the page. I decided to name the group to explain what it is about rather than give it my business name. The Facebook group is called Move to Australia (so you can search for that group name in Facebook and request to join, or you can find it via this direct URL Move to Australia Community. If you’ve ever considered migrating to Australia, I’d love to see you over there.
After looking into a few different options for video editing software and doing some free trials, I ended up buying Wondershare Filmora for A$67 as recommended by my friend Steph from Renovation Baybee. It’s really easy to use and after a day of playing around with it I was able to create the slideshow video that I put on my homepage of my new site.
My site also has an Amazon affiliate shop (which means I list Amazon products on my site and if people click to buy them they are redirected to Amazon to checkout and have their order fulfilled). I quickly realised that just running the free Woocommerce plugin wasn’t going to do everything I needed. The problem was that I could add the images and description to my site but if the Amazon seller withdrew the product or switched it for something else, it wouldn’t update my website. I found this out a couple of days in when I clicked into something I’d uploaded and saw a totally different product and price to what was being promoted on my site. After doing some research, I decided to buy Prosociate which makes it easier to create an Amazon affiliate site and should keep info updated. I bought the unlimited sites option at A$80 (a one-off cost with no annual costs involved). I’m currently setting this up so I’m hoping it turns out to be user friendly and does everything I want it to! So far though the support had been fantastic as I had problems getting the plugin activated with Amazon and they replied to my emails quickly and eventually logged in to my WordPress account to check it was all working properly. During my research I’d read their support wasn’t great but this was definitely not my experience.
So that’s the lot. There’s still a few more things that I want to buy (like Convert Kit for my emails, Co-schedule for my content planning and Edgar for my social sharing) but for now I’m happy with my investment so far so won’t be adding to my costs until the site starts to generate an income. I also have SO MANY ideas in development for this business – this idea is just going to grow and grow and I’m really excited about what the future holds.
If you’ve ever considered moving to Australia, no matter how seriously (of even if you’re just looking for some motivation to follow your dreams), then I’d love for you to come follow me. You can follow Smart Steps to Australia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and join my closed Facebook group Move to Australia.
And please don’t forget to let me know what you think of my new site! It’s scary stepping away from the readers here who I know and trust – this is unknown territory for me, kind of like being the new kid at school. It would really help to see a few friendly faces over there 🙂