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If you are an introvert who wants to have more clients knocking on your door to work with you without having to use video, then your website can be what directly draws your ideal clients to you. Sometimes the strategy you are currently using on your website may not be working to your advantage, and other times you may be relying on other platforms to attract your clients to you in ways that are draining you. Why not let your website do the work for you by making the first impression when someone comes to your website for the first time? With the right strategy, your website will draw your clients to you. There are a few things you should know first. Let’s get started.
Our guest on the podcast today is Web Designer Michelle Pontvert. She has 15 years of design experience, specializing in empowering female coaches, consultants, and service providers with websites that work for them, their future clients, and their growing businesses. She now balances 1:1 client work, digital products, and being a hands-on mom to her energetic toddler.
In this episode, Michelle and I dive into:
On this winding journey of entrepreneurship, Michelle started her career in film. She began as a set designer because she loved the creativity that it allowed her to work with and be a part of. Among all of the glamour was the logistics and planning, which she loved as well. While working in Hollywood on some pretty big name shows, she began to feel that her life was just working fourteen to fifteen-hour days. She never knew when her next project would start, and it was burning her out.
She ultimately decided to leave that career behind when she got the opportunity to move to France with her now-husband, who is French. She had all of these skills from working in film, telling stories visually, and all the logistical skills. Still, she wasn’t sure what to do until she worked in some marketing departments for small businesses in Paris and internationally. She naturally kept falling into working on their websites, which happened repeatedly.
Once she became pregnant with her son, she was let go from her job at the time, so again, she had to figure out what to do next. She was at a turning point where she could either keep being the employee with someone else’s rules or create her own business that would fit her lifestyle, especially with a newborn at home. She built her business around her son, which has been the theme of her work. She loves working with other women who are doing the same thing with their lifestyles. She aims to make her products and services faster, easier, and less of a drain on her clients as they lead a busy life outside of work.
The people that Michelle sees doing best with building their own websites are the people who will enjoy the process of learning it anyway. If you’re leaning into your strengths to design, to deal with tech, to write, to put all of that together, and not let it take over your entire business and take you away from the things that are earning you money, then DIY-ing can be an excellent option for you.
If you go the DIY route but feel the need to change things constantly, rather than doing the work you need to do to market the business, you are procrastinating by messing around on the website. It can be hiding from other things you should be doing, or sometimes you are using a tool you don’t fully understand. There’s no reason to be in your website every day. Even if you’re blogging, you don’t need to be on there daily. There are other things you can be doing to grow your business.
If your strengths don’t lie in those areas of design, tech, planning, writing, and all of the things outside your zone of genius, and you would instead focus on the clients, then outsourcing that design piece and getting someone who knows what they’re doing, and doing it quickly for you. That way, you free up your time to work on all the other stuff that brings cash into the business is the right way to go. There is no exact time to hire, but Michelle thinks that is a good gut check to have for yourself if you are thinking about it.
If you’re going to do it, do it right. Michelle believes you should either invest the time or the money to get it done right.
To look at it another way, you should ask yourself what you want to achieve with the website. What do you need it to do? Once you have your list of things you want to be able to do, such as:
Once you have those answers, you can start narrowing down the platforms that will help you do that. Then you can begin to get more information about how those platforms differentiate and decide from there. Along with Michelle, she says that many web designers who have specialized in one platform or another will be open to telling you if the platform you chose is the right fit for you. Michelle says not to be afraid to ask in Facebook groups for their opinion on whether it is the best platform for you based on your choice. They may have a preference and mainly do it that way, but at least you hopefully then have some resources from that person to help you keep going with your DIY project. Just get clear on what you’re trying to do with the tool before going down the rabbit hole of googling all the different options.
Something Michelle finds important is that you make it a partnership. You are essentially contracting out for someone to create your online presence or your home online. Getting that fit right is going to be really important. If you have figured out the platform they specialize in, that helps narrow it down. Michelle would encourage you to talk to a couple of different designers to get a sense of their process, how they work, how hands-on or hands-off they are, and how that fits into what you’re envisioning for this process. If you’re set on getting your personal touch on every piece of this website, and the designers you’re chatting with have a streamlined process that only has one round of feedback, that’s probably not the best fit.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking to get your website done and find an expert you trust, you want them just to put it together the right way for you. If that’s the case, 12 rounds of revisions will be draining for you. You will likely get stuck in decision fatigue, which will not be a great result for you either. Finding these things out can be helpful.
If it is a good partnership, they will have your best interests in mind. They will lead you in the way that they genuinely think it’s going to serve you best. Still, you need to feel comfortable to honestly share with that person what you want and how it is you want to present yourself because they can only give you a result that’s as good as the conditions you gave them. If you don’t provide them with enough context, it’s tough to design out of thin air.
It can be so hard to get out of your own head when you’re creating your website, and especially as a personal brand when you are the business as a coach or service provider. Michelle encourages you to step away for a second and realize that this website is actually for that client. It’s not about you, what you have to say, and how you want to show up.
It’s really about meeting that person who’s looking for you and having them self identify that they are in the right place, that you have what they need, and that this is how it could help get them the solution they’re looking for.
That mindset shift of making the website about your client instead of you shapes how you write your website, lay out your website, figure out all of the tech, and how you figure out all of your SEO. It’s something Michelle sees go wrong so often that a website is just covered with statements like I do this, I help that, here are all my fancy credentials, and nobody cares when they have an urgent problem that they are looking for a solution to. Stepping into that person’s mindset of where they are at when they come onto a website and how you can help them figure out if you’re the right person for them will serve you best as you build out the rest.
The training that Michelle is doing for the upcoming Introvertpreneur Summit is all about your website and how it should be able to make the first impression for you, especially as an introvert. She will be sharing actionable ways to get your website to do a lot of the conversation starters for you, which helps you break the ice with people during that first interaction.
For Michelle, it takes a lot of pressure off of her when she makes that first early conversation with new people, or new leads, knowing that they have already got context around her. They already know that they like her approach, that they like her in some way, and it makes that whole conversation and whole relationship so much easier. She will be diving more into that for the training at the summit. It’s about leaning into your strengths and finding ways to make that work for you. Your website is just one of those tools that can help you bridge those less comfortable things and just use a tool to find a way to be more at ease. Your website isn’t that hard to get working for you. There are many strategies and technology in place, but it isn’t that hard to just implement a specific strategy to bridge that gap to make the first impression if that’s what you ultimately need your website to do. It’s about having that goal in place and then figuring out how to achieve it with the resources you have.
Michelle gave many actionable and powerful tips on website design for any DIY-er who wants to build their website themselves and those who entrust the professional to get the job done. She spoke about her background in set design to becoming a web designer, how to know whether you should hire a professional or do it yourself when building a website. We also discussed what platform to use when building a website and what criteria to use when looking for the perfect web designer to fit your needs. These website elements are essential for service providers and coaches and letting your website make those first impressions for you, especially as an introverted entrepreneur.
If you want help on your DIY journey to building your website, check out Michelle’s mini-course, Build With Me, as she follows alongside you to build it out in just 5 days. She also has other freebies, resources, and tips on her website and Instagram. Michelle is a powerhouse as a web designer, so feel free to reach out to her.
[1:30] Michelle’s background in set design for film and tv to making the leap into website design
[6:01] Which will work best for you: hiring a web design expert or going the DIY route by yourself
[10:13] Figuring out which website platform is best for you and what your needs are
[11:44] Finding a web designer based on certain criteria if you know that going the DIY route isn’t for you
[17:26] Website elements to consider for coaches and service providers
[20:52] Michelle’s upcoming presentation topic for the Introvertpreneur Summit about letting your website make those first impressions for you
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!
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