Don’t Make A Website For Your Business Til You Read This

Lemme guess. You’re SO psyched about starting your new business and you’re totally ready to go. You start thinking about logo design, and tag lines, and websites. In fact, you’re OBSESSED over logo design, and taglines, and websites. You feel like this is the obvious first step.

Nevermind that you’re totally stuck with the rest of your business. You don’t know what to write about on your blog, or how to position yourself, or how to explain what you actually sell. You’re writing and re-writing all  your content because you’re not sure if it sounds right.

And you have about 10 potential taglines that you could use, and you’re obsessed with choosing the perfect one, and it’s stressing the crap out of you. In fact, you’re in tagline choosing hell and it’s holding you back from doing anything else in your business (been there – I spent months agonizing over the perfect logo and tagline, and it totally held me back from actually moving forward with my business. I even went to far as to pay for logo design and business cards for a business I didn’t even really have yet. I figured that was how to start a business. I was dead wrong).

So I’ll get right to the point.

You likely need to back it up a lot.


Unless your business is super solid and you are crystal clear on what you do, who you work with, and how you do it, any efforts to build a website or come up with a great logo are a massive waste of your time.


Here’s why: Whatever you create won’t mean anything to anyone unless you are clear. You will end up creating a run of the mill website in a sea of other run of the mill websites, and no one will find you, or give a damn. Not to be mean… but it’s kinda how the internet works.

But the good news is that if you just slow it down a little, you can get the clarity you need to move forward confidently with your new website.

Here are the pieces you MUST be clear on before you can create anything in your business, especially a website:

WHAT you do.

WHO you do it for.

HOW you do it.

Until you know these 3 things inside and out, you’ll be hard pressed to have anything in your business feel easy.


WHAT you do:

Literally, what do you do? If you’re a coach, saying ‘I coach people” isn’t enough. What problem do you solve? What do you offer people that they can’t get somewhere else? This is where you get to blend all your past expertise and training with what you really LOVE and care about, and smash it all up into something that actually helps people achieve some kind of result. Make it tangible and easy to understand. Don’t say things like “I empower people to live their most authentic lives”. What the hell does that really mean anyway? Being specific and clear is the key to creating website content that people actually pay attention to. Make sure you talk about tangible results that real people can identify with.

WHO you do it for:

Your ideal clients – who are they? And more important, what do they need from you? You need to get all up into their heads and get clear on what they are wanting in regards to whatever problem you are solving for them. When you do this, you’re able to get super clear on your website and in your tagline, because you can speak directly to this person instead of having to guess about what they want to see. Don’t go around saying you can help everybody. No one will listen. And trust me, you don’t want to help everyone. Be picky and let yourself ONLY work with the people that excite you. Rule everyone else out. Yes, it means you might lose potential clients, but it will pay off by getting you known for what you do among your target group of people. Be specific about WHO your people are, and them market directly to them. It sounds basic, but it’s probably the one thing that will make writing for your website SO much easier. In fact, it will make EVERYTHING in your business so much easier.






HOW you do it:

What methods do you use to help people with their problems? How do you get them from where they are to where they want to be? I love the analogy of a bicycle wheel. If you picture a wheel, you have your WHAT/WHY at the hub. The bigger picture message that you give a crap about. The thing that you help people with. And then you have all the spokes that radiate out from the center hub. These are all the ways you work with people and bring your message to the world. There could be an infinite number of ways, but I’d recommend you choose just a few to start with. Do you coach? Do you lead retreats? Do you teach? Do you sell things? Be clear about exactly how you work with people to get them their results, and your job will be SO much easier because people will actually understand what you do.

If you’re doing it all backwards and trying to build a website before you have clarity, you’re wasting your time and money. This is a challenge for coaches in particular, because we go through coaching school thinking our business will be “coaching”, when in fact coaching isn’t really a business in and of itself at all. If you’re a coach and you’re like “What the hell does she mean? What am I supposed to do then!?”, you might want to check this out.

And for everyone else – I urge you to get clear before you jump into business training and business building. It’s the only way you will actually create something that gets noticed.

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PS. I teach a class called Uncage Your Business that helps you solve all of this (including how to package it all up and create killer content that gets you clients) – click here to learn more.


  1. minimadesigns on July 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    As a custom web designer and strategist, I wholeheartedly agree – while I think it is critical that you get your domain name and put up a placeholder page/site to capture emails, I think way too many people “start before they’re ready” and end up spending thousands of dollars when they’re not clear on their actual business. I’ve seen this happen over and over with coaches who haven’t honed in on their offerings and audience. When you’re bootstrapping your business (most coaches and solopreneurs) it makes sense to invest wisely – and if that means putting the fancy website off for a few months you’ll be better off – otherwise you’ll end up creating multiple sites and wasting your investment.

    • Rebecca Tracey on July 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      minimadesigns THANK YOU for saying this! I always wonder what you web people do when you have clients who are SO not clear! (PS – your new strategy is to send them to me! hehe)

  2. dalerog on July 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I think you are so right.  I’m using my blog as a website until I’m clear about my WHAT – WHO – HOW!

    • Rebecca Tracey on July 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      dalerog yes!! And you can use your blog as a project, as a way to test out what feels right and what brings you energy and what resonates with your readers. It will all mould organically into what it is meant to be!

  3. AllisonBraun on July 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    haha love this Rebecca!  I remember back in the day I was so obsessed with finding a business name and logo so I could get business cards and my website up.  Thank goodness my coach snapped me out of it!  I would have been stuck with a natural health consulting business called Moksha lol.  As important as a website is, you don’t need it to start.  Starting first will save SO much time and energy.

  4. NathaliePoulin on September 8, 2013 at 1:03 am

    I love to write, and I know I’m great at it. My ‘WHAT’ is copywriting…for…I don’t know yet. I haven’t made it that far. I’ve chosen WHAT I want to do, but I haven’t figured out anything else. 
    I really admire what Alexandra Franzen does, but I don’t want to be like her because I want to be like me.
    I want to help people write content for their websites, people who don’t have a way with words, who are starting new businesses. I want to help people find their flavour. (<—Possibly great tagline?)

  5. marindajvr on December 6, 2013 at 6:07 am

    So much of this!!!

  6. Margo on July 9, 2015 at 10:02 am

    As a web designer- I cannot agree more! I’ve had a few clients who are brand new to the online business world and want a website right out of the gate without having any actual experience. Obviously it’s great to have a website- but you need to be clear about a lot of stuff first or you’ll just end up wanting something totally different in 6 months!

  7. Maya Gangadharan on July 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I LOVE THIS EXERCISE!!! It is so helpful on so many levels. For now I am also relying on my blog as my website but hopefully by the end of the year that will change. Good to do this work right now so that whole process will be easier. In a previous business I spend $5k on a website design package and then figured out that the business wasn’t right for me. Yikes—that was an expensive lesson!

    Here we go:

    WHAT: I help my clients heal their digestive systems so they can get relief from issues like weight gain, hormonal issues, food and environmental allergies and “tummy troubles”.

    WHO: I work with women in their 30’s and 40’s who think of themselves as health conscious but are frustrated and confused. They have some basic health knowledge—-they’ve read The China Study to The Paleo Solution and everything in between—-but nothing has given them lasting results from their health challenges. They’re highly motivated and they’re not afraid of making changes and sticking to those changes if they see results.

    HOW: I use symptom analysis and (in some cases) a functional evaluation to determine where the digestive system is not working. From there, I help these women choose the foods, supplements and lifestyle changes that will correct the problem.

  8. Brittany on July 9, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Oh my goodness – this could not have come at a better time for me! I’ve been stressing for MONTHS over this stuff…it has been a nightmare!!! I love dalerog’s comment and I think I may just use my blog for now!

  9. Alanna on July 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    I wish I had read this before I spent the money on a website and photos!! I love what I have and I know the clients will only come to me when I’m clear. This will take time and with effort. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. I’m spreading the word to all the newbie coaches out there – save the money and do the homework first!

  10. Melissa on July 10, 2015 at 6:11 am

    I’m very clear on my ‘who’ and she is me.

    I am a woman in my mid 40s, married with a child and I have a successful career in IT. I am looking for ways to diversify my income and free my time to be able to work when I please and have more time with my family. I want multiple streams of income so I don’t have to rely on the soul destroying IT job as a regular means of income. I will work 8 hours in a day if that is what is required but I will do it on my own terms.

    I have created a free WordPress blog and that is currently how I am working through more clarity on the what and the how. I am getting clearer on both of these questions but there is still work to do. As I go down this learning path, I am using social media to generate a following of like-minded people by sharing my own thoughts and that of others.

    Whilst I juggle the ‘professional working day’ (in IT, it’s not a 9-5 day but more like 08:30 – whenever the days job is done), I come home, kiss my child and get back to my future (Opportunity Bytes). I remain optimistic and usually motivated. The future is bright and your great advice in your blogs, Rebecca is so very much appreciated.

  11. Selam Debs on July 30, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I am the creator of Selamlovewellness, as wellness biz where I act as a Yoga teacher and Reiki specialist. I created the Yoga Youth Program geared towards parents who are interested in integrating Yoga, mindfulness and meditation techniques into their child’s life to build confidence, self-awareness and socially conscious leadership. I also offer Yoga and Reiki classes to adults who are interested in becoming physically stronger, as oppose to losing weight, as well emotionally and mentally more at peace.
    The yoga youth program is offered through In-school programs, after school programs, workshops, summer camps & privates filled with conscious movement, mindfulness, breathing and self-reflection techniques to help develop strong characteristic traits, compassion, agility and the inspiration to want to make a difference in their community and world.

    Eeek, I thought I had his figured out, but now reading it over I am not too sure this all is concise, clear, and “sellable.” I would love your feedback Becca! Xoxo

    • Rebecca Tracey on July 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      This sounds super cool Selam! What I might do would be to separate the two niches and focus on just ONE on your website so that your marketing is clear. It sounds like the adult yoga would make a better fit for online marketing (my guess is that you pitch directly to the schools and camps). I would make a one page website or landing page for info about your school programs, or have it as just one tab on your main website. This way you can focus your online marketing to adults (and casually mention your kids programs here and there so the adults can go check them out)

      let me know if that doesn’t make sense. Love what you are doing!!

  12. Lisa McClendon on September 25, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Ok. Here we go……

    WHAT you do.
    I equip people with the tools to balance their lives.

    WHO you do it for.
    Women who work inside and outside the home who wear multiple hats, who are workaholics, overwhelmed and under loved.

    HOW you do it.
    Pillow Talk sessions for women called Briefcase and Aprons.
    Online blogs
    One on one balance sessions
    Books (Already written one, The Proverbial Girl. Teaches girls how to make better choices.)
    Lady Play days

    Becca, I’d love your feedback. Am I on the right track?

    • Rebecca Tracey on September 26, 2015 at 8:07 am

      This is a great start! I’d love to see you flesh out “balance” more — what exactly does that mean to your women? How will balance look in their lives? What specifically do they want more of? Are they walking around saying “I want the tools to balance my life”, or are they describing it differently?

      These are great questions to ask to start researching your target market 🙂

      • Lisa McClendon on September 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

        I’m on it. Be clearer and less vague. I’m on it.

  13. Leisa on March 10, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    This is a wonderful post. I struggle so much with perfectionism too. I think sometimes you just really have to jump in and get things done. “Just do it” like Nike used to say.

  14. Sarah on March 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    You are so right – one thing I’d add though (which is something you taught me) is that it’s all very well theorising and conceptualising the WHAT, WHO and HOW but sometimes you just have to go out and work with people to get that clarity. Keep engaging and working until you find the types of people you like working with, until you figure out you methods, until you refine exactly what results you can get people. Business evolves. Mine has gone from ‘helping people start in business’ to ‘coaching on the deep inner mindset stuff that actually affects the business’!

  15. Lynne on May 1, 2016 at 7:27 am

    This is really great advice for first timers…don’t rush…when everything is clear…the what, who, and the how, then you can go right ahead…if not everything will just be a waste of time!!! So right!!!

  16. FRANCes on June 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog. I am a personal assistant and a professional organizer – specializing in helping overwhelmed managers to use efficient office systems(technology and paper), help them to form productive work habits and organise their entire office systems. Do you recommend I put both services on my website or just one? Thank you