Interview with Vibeke Web Designer & Online Business Consultant

female entrepreneur, niche

Get used to the idea of showing your real personality online. This will not only make you more visible among the rest, but it will attract the kind of clients and followers that you most love being connected with.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what inspired you to start your own business?

I used to be a “normal person”, actually quite happy and compliant as an employee most of the time, not thinking much of starting my own business. My career journey alternated between positions in the hospitality industry and working as a personal assistant in the corporate world. I’m amazed myself sometimes how life takes its turn, because thanks to a couple of consecutive lousy employment situations, I was suddenly motivated (in the running away fashion, rather than running towards) to do something on my own.

In my last job I was utterly miserable. I felt my best skills were wasted, I couldn’t work according to my values, and my boss was a bit too keen on being served coffee (I was not). I more and more just wanted freedom to work with something that made me happy, and I wanted to be able to decide my own way of doing things, and connect with people who I would enjoy working with.

Although I initially intended to start an Admin Support business, I mostly ended up helping my fellow entrepreneurs with their websites, until that became a full-time livelihood. I like to sort and figure out the kind of stuff that usually stresses out a non-techy person, and I love to explain whatever they need in a way that is easy to understand for them

What I realised when I became a self-declared geek, is that I was actually the unofficial tech-go-to person in all my previous jobs. I was the (crazy) one happily figuring out jammed printers, unruly email programs and weird things happening with someone’s PowerPoint presentation.

And hey, today, here I am, the website geek, helping women build their websites, and creating communities and events to support female entrepreneurs. I’m so grateful, and quite satisfied (grinning) that this is what I ended up doing, because I just really love it.

I’m originally from Norway, but I love languages and new experiences, so through a period of 8 years, I lived in 5 different countries, ending up in Barcelona, Spain, where I have been since 2006.

female entrepreneur, niche

Do you plan to compete in the global market place? Or do you have a niche market?

Yes, I have a niche and I love it: Coaches and female entrepreneurs.

Since my first steps learning about how to run a business online, I understood the advantage of choosing a target market, and decided to take that scary step and narrow down who I would work with. Business life is definitely easier when you know exactly who you are talking to, and where your clients may be found. It also comes with the benefit that you are seen as an expert in your chosen niche. So, yes, I am in the global market, as in I work online with women from all over the world, but my niche is very defined.

Why coaches? I’m very attracted to topics around self-development, psychology and focusing on solutions and positive aspects, so I tend to have a great connection with coaches, therapists, health and wellness people etc., and I keep attracting them into my life, so it became a natural choice.

Why only women? Because most women approach business in a different way than men. We are “new” at business, but the traditional male-influenced way of doing business doesn’t always sit right with us, so we want to share our experiences and feelings with other women, and I feel very strongly about creating safe spaces and environments where women can do this, and feel empowered to do things the way it feels right for them.

What tools/tips do you have for women to become more visible online?

Work on overcoming the fear of judgement, first of all. Get used to the idea of showing your real personality online. Be different! This will not only make you more visible among the rest, but it will attract the kind of clients and followers that you most love being connected with. It’s very unlikely that anyone is going to be horrible to you, so go for it, because it’s very likely that your words will inspire someone else.

Start out with small practices, get out of your comfort zone and if it’s too hard on your own, try to find a business buddy to do it together with. In my online communities I have mini-video challenges sometimes, as it’s easier to practice in a small group. When the ladies see that everyone else stress about the same stuff, it all becomes much more relaxed and fun. We feel very self-conscious at first, but it gets easier. Just keep doing the baby steps!

And ditch the perfectionism (says one who is still working on that… ).

Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

I believe more and more that women are best of when we follow our intuition. The tricky part is to learn the difference between “this is not the right strategy/formula for me” and “I’m just a bit scared, but this is what I need to do”.

I always say to be wary of following (unsolicited) advice. Lots of wannabes and advice-givers love to tell you what you “have to do” to be successful. A formula that worked for someone else, but is not aligned with your way of doing things, will often not work for you.

My experience is that what we initially feel like trying out, is what works in the end (after trying everyone else’s advice, and getting back to square one). You do eventually learn to trust your feelings. If it feels wrong, it usually is. If it feels right, try it, even if some people will try to convince you otherwise. It’s not a big deal to try something, find out that it’s not quite working, and then change your mind. Your own “failure” learnings are very valuable.

Also I think it’s important to remember that everyone’s path is different. You learn as much about yourself as about how to run a business when you start out as an entrepreneur, so let it develop at the pace you can keep up with it.

What developments do you see in the digital marketing sector?

I feel that things are getting more real, bit by bit. We are moving away from “being sold to” in show-off ways, and going towards a more natural way of attracting the clients that we work best with.

Online we’re bombarded with so much similar stuff today, everyone wanting a piece of our attention, so we get blind to standard marketing and sales slogans in the ads.

The tools we use are getting more advanced and user-friendly, but the messaging is getting more simplified and focused on achieving authentic connection.

We gain more attention when we show up to truly connect with the people in our niche, rather than the professionally practiced sales pitch, and this happens by showing up with your own unique personality, being authentic and at the same time bring great value to your followers.

Where can readers find you online?

  • My Gorgeous Geek Web Design Website for anyone who wants to learn more about me or need help with websites:
  • My two good-vibe Facebook communities, that any business lady is free to join:
    • My international one Biz Ladies focuses on helping ladies with website questions and any topic related to running an online business.
    • My local one Female Entrepreneurs Barcelona, connecting us Barcelona business ladies and aims to provide support and an easy way to stay connected between in person events.

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