small business

8 Steps to Having Your Own Website in 5 Minutes or Less!

I get asked all the time about how to “get started” in business. So many people get “stuck” out of fear or not knowing exactly what to do, or how to do it. How to set up a website is probably the most frequent question I get asked, so I decided to provide a step-by-step guide for the easiest way to go about owning your own domain on a hosted solution.

The most popular and flexible site setup that most business owners use is WordPress (.org, not .com – you see a quick view of the WordPress differences). Ready to get your WordPress site up and running in minutes? Follow the steps below, where I hold your hand and show you exactly what you need to do to get your very own site up and running!

Pinterest_1_8 Simple Steps to  Having Your Own


Step 1:

Click Here To Set Up Your Hosting Account, obtain Your New Domain name, or to Transfer an Existing Domain name

Your domain name is your website name (for example, mine is and your hosting account is where your website will be reside. The benefit of owning your own domain name is that it’s yours – you keep it and everything on it!

I recommend Bluehost for the following reasons:

  1. They are a proven hosting company, and I use them myself.
  2. They give you a free domain name when you sign up to host your site with them.
  3. Their customer support has been good to me.
  4. They are located in the USA.
  5. Their websites load fast (which is important to me)
  6. They have a money-back guarantee – you don’t love them, you get a refund!
  7. Because I am a VIP partner of Bluehost, you qualify for the discounted, lowest rates offered!


Step 2:


After you click here to start, click the green button that says “Get Started Now”, as shown below (along with the discounted price as low as $3.95/month instead of the standard $5.99 you’d pay if you didn’t use my affiliate link)




Then select the plan you’d like to go with, as pictured below:



Step 3:

Next, choose your free domain name, or transfer your existing domain name and place your order

WP_Bluehost_3 WP_Bluehost_4



Step 4:

Bluehost will send you an email that contains all of your login information. Using your Login information, log into your new Bluehost account, where you’ll be taken to your dashboard. This is where you will install WordPress by clicking on “Install WordPress”




Step 5:

Click the green “Install” button, then choose the domain you just registered or transferred






Step 6:

Click the “Show advanced options” box and fill in the title, username, and password. Your title will be the name of your site (mine would be

IMPORTANT: The username and password will be what you use to login to the back-end of your blog (your WordPress dashboard), so be sure to save it in a safe place! You’ll need this information again, shortly!





Step 7:

Wait for Bluehost to install WordPress on your server (Bluehost will let you know when it’s complete)





Click the ‘View Credentials’ button on the top right




Step 8:

Finally, you simply click on “Admin URL”, which is located below the green box, and enter the WordPress login credentials you created previously (see step 6), as pictured below.

This will then take you to your WordPress dashboard, where you create your pages and post blog articles, or anything else you’d like to incorporate on your site!

Congratulations! You now have your very own site!



Did you find this post helpful? Please share if you think it might be helpful for others, too! What else would you like to see me write about to help you simplify your business adventures? Comment below and let me know!

Networking Tips for Introverts


Are you a small business owner that struggles with growing your business? Or you thinking about starting up a small business, but fear getting out there and building your network? This can be especially true for introverts, although the advice I’m going to provide you with will work for anyone – introverted or not!

There are several ways an introvert can successfully network, but the most important way to be most confident and successful is to prepare for networking in-advance. You can do this be preparing a “go to” list of questions that would be generic enough to work almost anywhere. Most people love to talk about themselves, so all you really have to do is be a good listener and know how to ask questions. When you take an interest in others, they most often take an interest in you, as well.

In-line at the grocery store? No problem. At a convention or summit? No problem. You can cater your questions to be a bit more specific if you know a bit about the other people that will be there (such as a specific industry conference, where you can ask industry-specific questions), or you can ask some generic questions, such as:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • What do you love most about what you do for a living?
  • How long have you worked there?
  • What is your biggest challenge in your line of work?
  • What is it like working there?
  • Where do you work?
  • How long have you been in that line of business?
  • How did you learn to do such and such?
  • Do you have any mentors? How did you find meet them?
  • Do you work every day? What are your workdays like?
  • How many people do you work with?

As with anything in life, being prepared removes a level of uncertainty and discomfort, so just prepare in advance and network like a rock star!

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PR 101: 5 tips on media for the small business owner

Guest Post by Kristine Meldrum Denholm

Today is a fun day where I’m hanging out over at Kristine Meldrum Denholm’s site! After you read her guest post here, come on over to and join me! 

5Tips for press


When writing an article for a family-friendly magazine a couple years ago, I offered a small store the chance to tell me about their business: what was their top seller? Easy, right?

Wrong. They did not return my call. Worse, they followed up with an email demanding to know just what I was doing, and why did I want to know about them? When I responded how I liked their store on a recent visit with my daughter– and was working on a story about the best places in the area for kids (hint-positive story here)– they refused to follow-up.

I wanted to say: this is free publicity for you! Your name gets mentioned! But now your suspicion makes me suspicious! Are you a front? Do I need to write a different article here?

Once in a while as a freelance journalist, I encounter this. It only happens about once every 50 times I call (the bigger companies have PR departments, and many SBO’s are extremely PR savvy), but when it happens, it leaves me stunned. Yes, I have a journalism degree and spent over a decade in media relations prior to my writing career, but it still surprises me when owners ignore fundamental PR. How could a SBO pass up an opportunity to be branded as an expert?

Answer: they do not know basics of PR. They think of media as 60 Minutes with a camera. They don’t realize most writers and reporters are informative, not investigative; they’re doing useful stories such as how-to pieces. So today I thought I’d offer a little free media advice to the small business owner who does not have a PR person, on how to be more media savvy, bringing you more attention for your brand.


Here are 5 quick tips:


It’s all about the audience. Think of your target customers and their needs, not your needs. How can you reach them? What might they read or listen to?  Make your media list first. Research names, editors, email addresses. Yes there’s major media like network affiliates, but don’t forget bloggers, online publications, magazines in your niche, trades, community newspapers, parenting magazines, city cable channels, custom publications designed for a specific company (for instance, your hospital’s magazine), non-profit newsletters. Whatever your target customers are consuming should be on your list. (And btw, please do not make the mistake of cutting your advertising budget.)

Introduce yourself to the media. Email an idea they might want to cover, or let them know you can be a source should they be doing any stories on xyz. Also, Chamber of Commerce in some cities holds media days when you can meet several reporters. Spend time on a good press release or email, but make sure it’s well-written, concise. Or, hire a public relations professional to do your press release. Either way, don’t waste media’s time: newspapers, websites, media are short-staffed & stretched thin.  The key is, begin to build trust and rapport.

Build it, and they will come.Focus on genuine building of relationships first with media (do not forget social media, an important element of any communications plan.) Engage. If you’re going to set up a LinkedIn account and company page, check your LinkedIn email! I’ve approached sources on there and did not receive an answer until a week later—by then I had moved on and found someone else to speak. I still see companies and individuals throw something up on social media and then not interact with their audiences at all. Think of your own personal page: your FB friends know it’s a two way street, you respond to their comments because it’s a conversation. You don’t talk at them, you talk with them. Make it the same way with your public page. How can you be of service?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Have a special event; invite your media list. Or stage a free workshop for the community, offering your expertise, and invite local media and bloggers. You want a buzz. Pictures of pets, kids (with permission of parents) are good for community papers and sites. Our homeowners association recently had a poster-making party for kids when an issue threatened our neighborhood’s health, safety and environment. We had the kids hold up their homemade posters. I took a couple pictures, wrote a blurb and sent it into the local papers, which covered it, and one used it on the front page. Those kids became the face of the issue.

Be the expert that you are (only if you are). Sign up as a possible source at HARO ( (and then check it.) There, media post requests for sources, and if one fits your expertise, you send the reporter a note as to your qualifications as a source. Warning: I’ve used it several times as a writer for a story and have gotten emails from sources who don’t have the expertise. (I don’t use them then.) I have also found outstanding sources this way. Many reporters say they get inundated here though. If you say you are an expert, please be one. So instead of saying, “I am the finest chocolate seller around,” tell them about when you were awarded the Best Chocolate in competition at the county fair, and your last customer drove 100 miles for your quadruple chocolate fudge, and you get up at 3 am to make it, and photos are available. #




Kristine Meldrum Denholm is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in USA Today Sports, Sports Weekly, Balanced Living Magazine, Police Magazine, parenting magazines, and dozens of other magazines, newspapers, publications, and sites, as well as an author in Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Dog’s Life. She is also a writer for websites and a writing coach based in northern Virginia. Say hi at or

Why Focusing on Innovation is Killing America

by Jodie Marzett, of

Innovation alone isn't enough

Innovation alone isn’t enough


If you believe that jobs are created by innovation, and that innovation is what drives our economy and business growth, you may want to rethink your position. Before you grimace and stop reading – hear me out.

The model most believed is that inventing new ideas results in new businesses, and from those new businesses comes the creation of new jobs. While this sounds exciting, the reality is that jobs and economic growth come primarily from entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have customers, and those customers create more new jobs, resulting in economic growth.  In fact, all inventions require an entrepreneur to turn that invention into a product or service that has customers willing to buy it. Innovations without customers are worthless, right?

I equate this to lack of planning. If you have a great idea, and you turn your idea into a reality – a tangible “thing”, but you have no plan beyond building that “thing” (how are you going to sell it, market it, ensure it is solving some problem that exists in the market, etc.), then you just wasted an awful lot of time. If you haven’t thought through your entire business model BEFORE you start innovating, you’ve likely wasted a whole lot of brain power. Why? Because, once your amazing innovation is created, you’ll have to run around trying to figure out whether or not anyone will actually pay money for it. What if you find that people are not willing to pay for your amazing invention? Or what if you waste another year simply trying to market your new, already-built “thing” before you start seeing any sales or revenue from it? So many people waste that precious up-front time in planning things all the way out first, before they waste their time. Time is a non-renewable resource that, once gone, you can never get back. In fact, time is more valuable than money itself, because you can always make money back, but time – once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Innovators are creatives, and I firmly believe that the world needs them. It’s just that, far too often I see people jumping to build “the next big widget”, when they haven’t clearly thought through who will actually even USE that widget. Is it really something people even want? What do they have NOW that they use, and will the widget address their true problem, or is it just a band-aid to their problem? Before a creative innovates a solution, they better make sure someone else hasn’t already solved the same problem, but a different way (and often times, a better way). They also better make sure they understand the root cause – what the real problem actually is, instead of trying to solve “symptoms” of an overall problems (the typical “band-aid fix”). This holds true regardless of industry, too! It doesn’t matter if you are in the public or private sector, the saying “build it and they will come” is a risky one, at best, and more often than not it is simply a failed approach.

So, it isn’t that we don’t need innovators. Instead, to truly push us forward, we need innovators paired with entrepreneurs that are true project managers – people who understand the value of solid, up-front planning. So many organizations have “strategies”, and what they believe to be “solid plans” to achieve their strategies. What they don’t realize is that, without understanding every single action needed to achieve that plan, it isn’t a viable plan. Without understanding every single resource required to perform those actions (be it money, time, personnel, skill sets, training, facilities, etc.), they don’t actually have a viable plan – they have nothing more than a “wish”. Let’s look at this in the form of an example, shall we?

If you were taking a road trip to Disney World, you wouldn’t do it without having a plan in place, would you? For example, what gear would you pack for your trip? How many people will be traveling in the car so you can decide between driving your Honda Fit (small) or your Honda Odyssey (large)? How much money will you need to pay for gasoline on your drive? Does your car need to be serviced before you drive out? Which roads will you take to get there, and how long will it take you? Where are you starting from? Where will you be finishing? Will you have one or two hotel stops along the way, or drive straight-through? Will you bring food along for hte drive, or just plan to stop at restaurants along the way? In other words, you may not have written down every single detail, but you have a complete plan – and when you don’t, you become frustrated, irritated, and the trip itself becomes less enjoyable. The same scenario holds true in business. If you don’t have a crisp and clear plan that captures who is doing what, when they are doing it, what they are doing it with (equipment, money, people, etc.), what process they are doing it within (governance and decision-making), chaos ensues. Sadly then, not far behind that is a decrease in moral. You may claim to be an “agile” organization, or a die-hard PMI Framework follower – it doesn’t matter. If you aren’t following a plan (it can be iterative, and should be), you can’t get there. Not without a lot of retrying and inefficiencies along your path.

My point? Pair the innovators with proven entrepreneurial project managers (no offense, but simply having a “PMP” behind your name doesn’t make you a “proven” PM) to have a feasible plan for bringing those amazing innovations out into the public and private sectors. The goal is to benefit REAL customers, who will get REAL value from the end results, and who would find the value great enough to pay for it. These combinations are the power that generates jobs and spark economical growth – you cannot focus on just innovation alone, or we’ll all fail.