If you’re a small business owner, you probably think a web design agency is way beyond your budget. But we have a soft spot for small business and we honestly believe that everyone deserves a great website.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are facing challenging times. Now that you can’t rely on a physical store, many entrepreneurs are turning to the web to boost or diversify their income streams. Businesses need websites like never before. But can you really get a professional website on a small biz budget?
It turns out, you can, with the right guidance and advice. That’s why we’ve created new affordable packages that give you the option of saving money by combining our agency expertise with some do-it-yourself (DIY) website-building.
How exactly does that work? Is it really that easy to collaborate with experienced web designers? Don’t take it from us. The best way to know if this option is right for you is to hear about it from one of our past clients.
Read on to discover how we helped Reana Selody Joubert, Certified Reiki Master, natural holistic healer, and the owner of Tender Heart Healing. You can also read all about our work for Tender Heart Healing in this Original Ginger case study!
Lisa, our Creative Director, sits down for a call, to talk about the process and what it was like to work with the experts at Original Ginger.
Lisa: How are you, Reana?
Reana: I’m very well thank you, Lisa. Thanks for having me.
Lisa: I’m so happy to talk with you today. We’re just going to get right into it. Let’s talk about how you started doing what you do.
Reana: Well, it’s a bit of a story. Throughout my life, I felt akin to nature and the natural healing arts. After retiring from two careers I decided to follow my passion and take an apprenticeship in earth medicine, commonly known as shamanic healing arts. I also became a Reiki Master and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist.
Lisa: Wow, so this was like discovering your calling?
Reana: It really was. But as we get busy with our careers, we tend to push it aside. When I retired a second time, I decided to do what I’m really supposed to be doing.
Lisa: And that’s when you started Tender Heart Healing.
Reana: Yes, it was.
Lisa: What are the services Tender Heart Healing provides? Let’s talk about that for a moment.
Reana: Initially, I started in Reiki, with a focus on healing animals. Later, I branched off into helping and healing people. I discovered through my Grief Recovery practise that people need access to someone who they could speak to and trust. So, I developed a program called ‘Heart Harmony’, where I help people discover their own authenticity, their voice, their limiting patterns, and old beliefs. This allows them to reset themselves and discover their new story. To trust themselves again.
Later, I learned to work with Tibetan singing bowls and expanded into crystal healing bowls. I also offer sound healing. I discovered a practice called shinrin–yoku, which is a Japanese form of “Forest Bathing”. I offer that as well as the Grief Recovery Program.
Lisa: So, you started your business, Tender Heart Healing because it was a calling for you. But there was obviously a problem you were trying to solve from an organization and business perspective. What was happening with the launch of your business – what were some of the initial obstacles you faced?
Reana: The biggest obstacle was to get my business out and recognized. I wanted to control my message and to build a website. I went the DIY route, which was a huge learning curve. It took me 3 ½ months to learn a platform and system – to learn the language. Even though I had some computer skills, it did not provide me with what I needed to build a website. I had no design background that would be applicable to a website. And content writing? I can write manuals, but not content writing for a website. On top of that, I also don’t have a marketing background. I was ill equipped to put myself on the web in a professional way.
Lisa: There is a skill in writing from a marketing perspective, a specific tone. Most people don’t recognize that you need those skills.
But, let’s back up a moment and talk about the possible solutions that you considered. You talk about DIY software platforms where you can build your own website and use drag n’ drop. Were those the solutions you were looking at?
Reana: Exactly. I don’t have a technical background, so I went for the easiest route. I have limited funds, and this was all I could afford at the time.
Lisa: Right. Are DIY platforms as easy as they say they are?
Reana: To a certain extent. I was able to use some of my skills. However, there is a steep learning curve when you do your first website.
Lisa: Even though you had a DIY platform, you came to Original Ginger. Your business needed to launch a website, but were there other things you were looking for, to do it properly?
Reana: I found that my original website didn’t have the tone or voice that I wanted. Content writing is very important, and it was one thing I lacked. Design was a very important element that needed to be addressed. I didn’t realize that there were background functions to include for search engine optimization (SEO). I lacked marketing and branding knowledge. That was another reason why I ended up coming to Original Ginger.
Lisa: When you say branding, you refer to brand logo, visual design, website design and then of course your brand messaging, which is the tone or ‘personality’ of your business. In your business that would be very important. How did you realize that what you had done yourself wasn’t working? And what specific services did you require from us?
Reana: I realized I didn’t have the breadth or the reach of potential clients.
Lisa: You weren’t getting traffic and people weren’t converting. They weren’t calling.
Reana: I was happy with the clients that were coming to me. However, now that I’ve launched different offerings, I needed to reach a broader audience.
Lisa: And maybe reach a more targeted audience. You had originally met us at a Ginger & Java workshop for small business owners. Is that correct?
Reana: The coffee was great, but the content that you and Todd presented on both of those occasions impressed me. You spoke about your background – you had been in business in large companies and then you decided to relocate to Fort Langley. What really impressed me, was your accessibility. Your customer service was really what brought me back to you, along with your professionalism and expertise. I can’t say enough about that.
Lisa: We really appreciate that you have trust in our agency. We have had a very good response to the Ginger and Java’s for sure. You probably found us online during the Ginger & Java promotion. Is that why you chose our agency because we were already somebody that you knew? With the expertise to help you with your branding and your website?
Reana: Absolutely! I am a firm believer in supporting local business and the two-way trust that I gained from the coffee meetings (consultations) really resonated with me. How inviting your website was, how generous you were, even online, your newsletter and several articles just solidified my decision to work with Original Ginger.
Lisa: Well, it’s good to know that people are reading those articles. So, I’m glad to know that was helpful to you. We began working with you on a brand logo, on strategically written content (both for people who visit your site but also for search engines) and giving you design that you could use yourself. Now your project was quite unique because you chose to leverage our expertise to accomplish certain goals, but there would also be certain DIY aspects. Let’s just talk about that for a moment. During the project, what did you see as your role and what did you see as our role because it was a very unique arrangement.
Reana: Yes, it was. I’m very grateful that you were able to take me on as a DIY’er. Otherwise, I would have had no clue where to go. I found your questionnaire very insightful, asking me about what drove me, my expectations, my thoughts, and beliefs. It was key to guiding me and giving you a foundation to work from. But I think what you were searching for was my unique voice.
Reana: I needed to find what was important to me as a healer and how you could portray that. I really felt your role was to take that information and create the content with my voice.
Lisa: With your story.
Reana: Yes, tell my story. And select images that would depict and translate that into a feeling. Something that said, “I can trust this person and the work that she does.” That’s what I felt your role was. To take all my information and translate it and tell my story as if you were speaking with my voice.
Lisa: We always find it interesting going through that process because every client is unique. They have something unique to say and obviously we need to set them apart from everyone else. We must understand who you are to do the best job possible. In your case, it was design and content.
Did you find it helpful to have an agency recommend some tools for you? In your case, you had already been using a DIY platform. But what we discovered was that maybe it wasn’t the best one for you to use. If you were going to use a DIY platform to do your own website development, you wouldn’t necessarily know what to look for. Did you find it helpful to have us guide you?
Reana: Absolutely. For me, it really showed your expertise and your professionalism.
Lisa: That’s good to hear. We normally are a WordPress shop. It’s a great development platform. But it’s also great for our clients and for their customer experience. But, when budget is an issue, a DIY arrangement with us can often work best, and with you, that was the case. You were going to do development yourself. While we did the research, to figure out the best platform for you, from a marketing and SEO perspective. In the end, I believe we found the ideal platform.
Were there obstacles that you had to overcome during this project? Was there anything that made the project more difficult for you?
Reana: I speak my language as a healer, and you speak your language from a technical perspective. The only issue was gaining that initial trust that you would be able to capture that through content writing. Learning technical terms and functions was also a big challenge.
Lisa: Okay, so having a step by step guide.
Reana: Yes, hands down that really helped a lot.
Lisa: Something that we say to our clients is, “you have to trust the process. It’s going to get you where you need to go”. How do you feel the project was managed from a time perspective? Did it meet your expectations?
Reana: Yes, Lisa, it did. There were times I was wondering, ‘how am I going to get this done in time?’ I give you kudos on a personal level because you made things very clear, even when I was waffling in decision making. I didn’t come into this with many expectations because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. In the end, you exceeded any expectations that I could have had. I ended up with a beautiful website because of it.
Lisa: We always love to hear that. Thank you. Were there other valued results you received from working with OG during the project?
Reana: Yes, COVID-19 came just when I was launching my new website. However, when I notified my newsletter and blog contact lists, I received lovely remarks from people, “I love your website”. Because of it, I’ve had new clients come on board.
Reana: Unfortunately, I’ve had to temporarily close. However, I have some ideas where I can support people on my website. I have full confidence that once things settle down, we’re going to light the world on fire!
Lisa: Yes, I think having that online presence is a BIG deal for many people during a time like this. It’s important for any business to have that online presence. Not only to try to attract the right target audience, but also to send outbound communications. Do you feel that you learned a lot during the project?
Reana: I think that’s an under statement. I’ve gained knowledge, skills, perspective and respect for those who have your expertise.
Lisa: It’s good for people to hear from someone like you, who has gone through this process and come out with a successfully completed project. You can give some insight into what they might expect from working with an expert agency like ours. Another thing that people often ask is, “do you feel that you save time and money by working through the process with an expert?”
Reana: Absolutely! It’s that old adage, “you have to spend money to make money.” The value is absolutely there.
Lisa: Of course. Peace of mind.
Reana: Yes! Not everybody is an accountant. So, if you’re not an accountant, you hire one. Same thing with web design. If you don’t have the expertise to develop a website, write content, do proper design, marketing, and branding, you hire someone.
Reana: This was definitely the right decision for me.
Lisa: People who go through our Brand Discovery process or our full Brand Strategy process often say that it gave them clarity around their brand. They were uncertain about their business from a service offering perspective. Did the project make you think differently about your business?
Reana: A couple of things. It validated my service offerings; they were the right things to do at the time. That wasn’t an easy decision. That was a two-year project, especially with Heart Harmony. What it did was make me feel I had ownership of what I was doing. It validated who I was as a healer. That spoke volumes to me. I’ve been in business for four years; this was an upgrade.
Lisa: That’s so powerful, what you said. Maybe you didn’t feel as powerful before the process?
Lisa: Were there things you learned during the project that bring a huge value to your business? One key thing that you learned?
Reana: The main thing was “leave it to the experts.” Yes, it’s fine to do the grass roots. But if you want to do it properly and do it well, you can’t do it alone
Lisa: But maybe you had to go through that process, to realize that you needed to work with an agency like ours. An agency can be more specific about what it is you need help with. But, it’s not a bad thing to have gone through that initial exploration on your own.
So, what challenges do you think others might find? What would be your advice to other people?
Reana: In choosing your agency?
Lisa: No, just going through the journey you’ve gone through.
Reana: When I started, I wanted the big bang for my buck. That set the process going. If someone has the financial means to go with an agency, it saves a lot of headaches, a lot of time. You can launch your business, new offerings, or new products, right from the onset. Whereas, with DIY, it’s easy to get into it, but it’s a long, drawn-out process. For instance, I never had appreciation for SEO or the background information one needs to have. And that’s something that would be a real challenge for anybody starting off as a DIY’er. It’s easier to hand that off to someone else.
Lisa (laughs): You don’t know what you don’t know.
Reana: Exactly. Technical language… I didn’t know what “Brand Essence” was. It challenges a person. If this is truly what you want, do it right the first time. Whether you want to go the DIY route, like I did, and access the expertise at OG or have you guys build a beautiful professional website, which of course, you’re fully capable of doing.
Lisa: We do try to be very flexible, so people can work with us in the way that works best for them. Like we did with you. How did you feel about your business at the beginning of the project? And then how did you feel about your business at the end of the project?
Reana: At the beginning of the project, one reason I asked for your guidance, assistance, knowledge, and expertise, is that previous websites lacked flow. I looked at other websites and wondered how to achieve that within the platform that I was using.
Fast forward to the end of the project, when I applied what I had learned from you step by step into this new platform, I fell in love with it. lt made me feel the way I wanted it to feel. With the hope that other people would feel it was a place of gentleness, a sanctuary, whether it be for Reiki or Heart Harmony, or one of the other modalities. That’s really what I feel has been conveyed through our collaboration.
Lisa: And for your business that’s obviously very important, because it’s such a personal service you are providing, helping people through their own healing journey. I’m happy that you felt that way by the end of the project. At the beginning, you must have had some reservations. Am I doing the right thing working with an agency? Am I spending my money wisely? What went through your mind when you first started working with us?
Reanna: I guess one reservation would be: Would you be able to say what I wanted to say in a gentle tone, in softness, in feeling? Would you be able to translate what I’m trying to convey?
Lisa: Understandably. I think that’s a reservation many people have at the beginning. It’s an investment in your business. You probably wonder, “are these the right people who can get me where I need to go?” On a scale of 1 to 10, how daunting did it feel to launch your business when you were working on it alone as a DIY’er?
Reana: It was a 10. It was scary!
Lisa: Then on a scale of 1 to 10, how daunting did it feel to approach the project with the help of an agency like OG?
Reana: About a 2. It was a matter of trust. That trust was built when we first met at the coffee sessions a few years ago.
Lisa: Mhmmm. At the Ginger & Java’s.
Reana: Yes, the Ginger & Java’s.
Lisa: We hope you felt comfortable coming to us, asking us questions about the process, why we do things a certain way, what should I be doing here? And we hope we made it easy by taking you through a step by step process? It lifts the burden from your shoulders and lets you feel confident that things are going to be done right. That’s the biggest reason you would work with an agency. So, how do you measure success from a brand perspective and a business perspective? How are you measuring success now?
Reana: Really by comments I’ve received. I had one previous Reiki student who said, “I just love your website! I want to take all your modalities.”
Lisa: Wow, great!
Reana: With your guidance and regularly scheduled OG consultations on how to write a good blog, I had other great comments as well.
Lisa: You did?
Reana: I had another student say, “I’m so glad you sent out this information.” But it was really your step by step guidance that helped me create that blog in that format. Despite the challenges of COVID, that’s how I would measure success – positive comments and feedback from my students.
I’ve also received enquiries and new clients. They were new clients I didn’t have before. When they completed their intake form, I asked, “how did you find out about me?” Well, it was through the internet, my new website. That’s also how I would measure success.
Although we’ve taken a break because of social distancing and the close contact required to access my services, we are waiting for things to settle down, then we can resume our Reiki Programs and our Heart & Harmony programs.
Lisa: You talked about your blog. A blog is a great tool for any business. Not only for brand awareness, but brand personality and for relaying important information. You are not just selling goods and services. You’re actually sharing information, so they can decide if you’re a person they want to work with at Tender Heart Healing. For you, we also did some additional consulting sessions where we were able to walk you through the anatomy of a blog post. How to write with keyword phrases that get you traffic and how to speak more directly to your target market. It’s nice to hear that you could attribute some of your success to the branding, content writing, design and consultations that you’ve had with us.
Would you recommend this process to other small business owners considering launching a new business or who are considering the full DIY route?
Reana: Yes! I would highly recommend it. Before I met you, I was overwhelmed. It was very touching, knowing you were a big brand agency and that you would even consider taking on a DIY’er.
Lisa: We take on all types of clients, from a solopreneur to a large brand.
Reana: And there again it goes back to accessibility. Your patience and guidance and background expertise… you convey it in a very concise way. I highly recommend that if you don’t have the time, but you’ve got the money, absolutely have OG build your website and all the goodies that go with it.
But from what I’ve received: the tips, the careful thought. I’m at a loss for words really.
Lisa: We like to have happy clients. We want to know that we made a difference. It’s part of our Manifesto, “What we do and how we do it matters to us.” And it’s when we talk to clients and do these interviews that we find out how clients feel about us and the process. It’s a great way to determine what we’re doing well and what needs to be worked on. Then, we pass it onto our team. We are a boutique agency. Our team members really do put their heart into every project and we’re really glad when we have a happy client.
We want to congratulate you on the launch of your new business. How does it feel now that you’ve launched your new brand and website – obviously COVID-19 is a bit of a fly in the ointment. But, congratulations! How are you feeling about the launch?
Reana: I wish we weren’t on the phone. I would be able to show you my big smile.
Reana: I’m incredibly happy. I can’t wait until the dust settles with COVID-19, so more people will be able to see my website. I have confidence that what I have to offer is being displayed in a beautiful way…. and a heartfelt way…. and it carries my voice and my intentions out into the world.
Lisa: You did a great job implementing the design assets we provided, and the logo and the written content. You developed that yourself. We just gave you the tools and the guidance to do it. Right now, as we are speaking, even during the turmoil of COVID-19, I’m looking at your website and I feel very calm. I’m seeing the visuals and the wonderful colours, and it is a very calming place to go… and to read about all the different things you do for people. We’re going to share you with the world in our newsletter and our blog.
Reana: Thank you! I’m deeply grateful for all that you’ve done for me.
Lisa: So, what’s next for Tender Heart Healing? Just waiting for the dust to settle?
Reana: Once things are settled, I’ll be open, but I look forward to supporting my potential clientele and those who happen to drop by my website with more blogs that contain tips on how to heal yourself and how to navigate through this difficult time. You know, it’s not all about the money. It’s what we can do for others. How we can pay it forward.
Lisa: Very true.
Reana: We’re all spiritual beings with a human experience. We need to see how we can help one another. That’s really what it’s about.
Lisa: That’s a good message for the world right now. I’d like to thank you for joining us today.
Reana: You’re very welcome.
Thank you again, for joining us Reana. It was a pleasure working with you! We’d like to thank our guest today and we highly recommend that you check out her new website at www.Tender Heart Healing.com.
We’ve also got a transcribed version of this interview, so go ahead, and take a look at some of the design and content. We hope you’ll tune in again, with more insightful interviews with other Original Ginger clients.
Wishing you all a safe and healthy journey. And if you’re a small biz owner looking for some guidance on how to successfully DIY or if you just want to leave the website building to us, then feel free to contact us and we’ll help you find the right solution.