• Writer for DDI on Medium

How A Website Makes Money In Uncertain Times

If life has taught me anything, it’s how to roll with the punches. Because you can be on top of the world one minute doing what you love, and in a heartbeat that narrative can be re-written by circumstances beyond your control. But despite the fear uncertainty brings, you certainly don’t want to fall apart and miss the silver lining to rebounding, that you don’t get when being in a comfortable situation.

“Dealing with loss”

There is no getting around it, just face the facts that your world as you know it has changed and understand that it's important to allow yourself to process how you feel about that because I promise you it will only manifest itself down the road in some destructive form or fashion if left unaddressed. With all my endeavors, it still took me two years to come to terms with losing my main source of income in 2017. The domino effect of many lay-offs devoured wonderfully the profits of many small businesses, forcing them to close their doors. But even though, it still came as a shock when it arrived on our doorsteps.

It’s natural, I guess, to experience withdrawal from sudden change. It's almost like a drug addict going cold turkey when you love what you do. But, if you let it, working through the ebb and flow of life can also be very scary with the weight of your responsibilities mixed into it, encouraging a barrage of questions such as, “How will I keep paying on my child's university fund? What if I lose custody of my daughter, or how will I eat?” So you feel like you’re in a blind spot at first. But something truly hopeful happens (which you’ll treasure in the days ahead) when you use that fear as a stepping stone rather than a millstone.

“Perspective matters”

Leadership aside, my big “ah-ha” moment came when I understood why those I served under the company I worked for still needed me: from graphic design to photo-copying legal documents in a timely and confidential manner. On significant levels, their ability to systematically do their job takes a hit when our doors close, and, on such short notice, with no provisions made for their inconvenience, the possibility that they might just be willing to continue getting graphic design services from me came into view. But, with my location threatening efficiency, I had to find a way for them to not just see my work, but place orders, and pay me for services rendered.

Bottom line? If I wanted to make money, I had to get a website, register my business, and set up a business banking account with online banking. It took me a while to get these things in place, but that’s how Laughlin & De Gannes Ltd became my first big client and stabilized my income long enough for me to build my services to a more profitable place where I’m able to work with new and better clients.

In hindsight, my goals were definitely myopic at first. I don’t think I honestly cared about new clients or even half the things I care about now. It just goes to show where the right perspective can take you, when you’re focused.

"The needs of those you serve have only changed form. You just got to figure out what that form is and you’ll come out on the other side of this situation stronger, and ready to take on that next phase of growth in your life.
The worst thing you can do right now is to consider yourself a failure when things happen that directly affect you that’s genuinely out of your control. That type of thinking begets more self-loathing and it’s impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when your mind is in such a state."

-Ciji Shippley

“Make up your mind to go ALL the way”

I’ve encountered many people who consider themselves business owners but are truly hobbyists at heart. In the grand scheme of business, they want to be taken seriously, that is to say, paid what they are worth, but don’t want to pay the price to come into it. But, to compensate for not having the answers, a simple course or hiring a professional can afford them, buzz around those doing the investing, to DIY things they simply aren’t trained to do, hurting themselves in the long run. When I realized going into business for myself was my next step, I decided to invest $5000.00 TTD to acquire the knowledge necessary to survive the online world. And while it took me a while to learn this, the tools required me to have more than just a website. It also meant getting intimate with who I served so I can articulate myself without annoying or pissing off the end-user, and creating a standard process around how I deliver my services, to build my efficiency over time which as it turns out also allows me to secure a profitable income for myself.

But before making these types of decisions, you have to first know you’re going all the way on this next phase of your life. It can’t be just about making quick money otherwise, you’ll fall prey to crazy strategies that reduce your cost so you “MIGHT” increase the volume of clients to make the money you truly want over time — a tactic quite a few local small service business owners default to when they can’t get clients to pay them their worth in full, upfront! With The One-Page, I’ve helped my clients work around the headache of feeling like ‘you need to do free work first before you get paid’. I’ve also created a group that specifically focuses on how The One-Page accomplishes this. Feel free to stop by if anything in this article resonates with you personally, and lend your voice to a growing community all looking to make money online in Trinidad and Tobago.

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB **Sign up to receive these weekly articles in your inbox if you’re not quite ready to work with me yet. And please share my article if you liked it


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