How to start a digital marketing business?
For those that don’t know you, who are you and can you kind of explain what you do and how you do, help people online?
My name is Crystal Witter
. I am an entrepreneur. I have a number of businesses. Outside of that, I am a full-time content creator/digital marketer and small business mentor. I help individuals start and launch their businesses online
. And even if they have a physical business, I help them to market their businesses more effectively and successfully.
I’ve helped my mentees increase their profits and increase their sales online. I showcase the tools that make business development and business creation easier. I focus on different areas of business: the setup, the marketing, and the growth of a business. When I started my first business at 19 years old, I didn’t know what was going on. It was just trial and error. I made a lot of mistakes. The goal right now is to use online tools and different platforms to help people not make those mistakes and to help people thrive in the area of business—particularly online.
How did you start your own online business journey?
I started back in 2009, but I was not an influencer. I was not trying to help anybody do anything, I was just doing what every regular person was doing—showing pretty pictures. Two years ago during COVID, I was inspired to take a leap into exploring how a business operates online.
From there, I was still not in the market. I was still not trying to help anyone. I was just figuring it out on my own. But last year, I began my leap into digital marketing and became a full-time content creator. Prior to that, I was working a corporate job but yearned for flexibility.
I started to build my Tiktok account in April of 2022 and I blew up. I made content that resonated with my audience, content that was very helpful. I have four businesses and I was sharing my experience and how I run my businesses. I was sharing the mistakes I’ve learned, the things I wish I knew differently, and the resources that I wish I had when I just started.
In doing so, I built a community and from there different brands and companies in the entrepreneurship or small business niche started reaching out to me to do paid collaborations. And I was like, what? Is this a thing? From there, I started making more money than at my corporate job and knew I had to cut something out—and it wasn’t TikTok!
I decided to quit my job and focus full-time on content creation and has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Now, my aim has changed a little bit. I’m helping other people become content creators and monetize their skills and expertise.
How did you market yourself online to grow a dedicated following?
The most important thing I did was add value. When I think about any niche, let’s use travel as an example, I provide content that helps people find a problem to their solution in traveling. I talk about the resources I’ve used in traveling. I talk about different hotels I’ve gone to because I know that’s what people are looking for on social media.
When I think about creating a new TikTok account, I always think: “What value can I add? What can I help somebody to do? What problem am I trying to solve?”
For the most part, TikTok isn’t about you. You’re trying to help people solve a problem. One of the last videos I created was about about moving to a new country. I’m Jamaican and came to Canada in 2016. I’m showing other people how to do the same thing as people who want to go to school all over the world. Providing value to your audience is the first step.
Authenticity is also a big part of growing your community online. You can’t always replicate a trend. You have to put your own personal touch to content creation. People want to see themselves reflected in you, so you have to be authentic. You have to show up as a real person. Be yourself and provide value because that’s all people are looking for.
It’s funny. I was reading the other day about someone saying TikTok is the girl “Google.” People are less focused on Google and are using TikTok rather as a search engine. And how you navigate that platform is how you grow. If you are looking for answers, you can be the person to provide those answers. That’s how I look at social media, and that’s how I’ve grown.
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What are some essential skills and knowledge that aspiring digital entrepreneurs should have before they start their business?
One is to understand the issue you’re trying to solve because creating a digital business is providing a solution to a problem.
I know Flick does that tremendously. People are struggling to write content for their videos. Here comes Flick with its AI Assistant, and it helps you to come up with ideas to create content on. It’s simple. What’s a problem people are having, and what can you create to address that problem?
The other thing is to understand your own values. Your own “why.” Before starting a digital business, ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it a personal experience? Are you passionate about it? Because if you’re not seeing results in the digital field immediately, you want to give up. But if you’re passionate about it, that will motivate you to continue, regardless of your growth.
Another thing to think about if you’re serious about being an entrepreneur in the digital space is to have a business plan. I’m not talking about a 25-page business plan, I’m talking more about a one-page business plan that talks about the main components of business. What are your value propositions? That way, when you’re coming up with an idea, you think about what makes your business digitally stand out from other people. You’re going to want to think about your audience. What does that person look like? Not just demographics, but what are the issues that you’re trying to solve for them? What do they need? You also need to have knowledge of the resources that will make your life easier.
I don’t think people should start a business thinking it’s all just making money. Making money is very important, but there are important steps that people oftentimes miss. People don’t do a lot of research into their markets. People don’t understand the issue that they’re trying to solve.
Research, having a business plan, and knowing your “why” really are some skills and knowledge I would recommend people have before starting a business.
Mackenzie: You definitely need to know your target audience. I think that’s so crucial when it comes to opening up any business, not just digital. You need to know who are you targeting? What are their pain points? How are you helping them with those pain points? Because if you don’t know that, you don’t know who you’re talking to. And then your branding looks so messy and everybody’s confused—even you.
In the beginning, I had a problem showing up online when I first started. I was trying to be so many different things until I was like, no, I’m confused looking at my page because I was talking about too many things. It was not reaching my target audience. It’s really important to find your voice and not try to be everything to everyone. Choose the right niche based on your passions, your skills, your expertise, and things that you actually care about.
How did you establish and grow your own personal brand and what tips can you offer others to do the same?
The first thing I did was get laser-focused on my niche. Once I selected one main theme, I was able to find myself and create a voice around being a business mentor and an expert in helping other people launch and recruit their businesses.
Outside of that, I focused on my strengths. I stand out well through my personality. What you see online is what you get in real life—outgoing, natural, and not trying to replicate other people. It’s the personality, how you show up, the confidence you create, and how you exude.
It’s important, when building a brand, to identify a personal style a stick to it. Whenever anybody sees me on their For You page, they know this is Crystal’s style. I know her face is centered in the video. She talks with her hands. She wears cool black and white glasses. That’s a pull factor. When I come up on the FYP, people see my glasses and they know it’s me.
A big thing that I think is important is to not get disheartened when it comes to growing online. There are more people on TikTok than there were a year ago. There are so many more people than there were two years ago. Don’t pressure yourself.
Identify your niche. What’s something you’re passionate about? What skills do you have? What makes you happy? And also what can you get paid for? If you need help figuring this out, you can use AI to help you. Go into Google, use Flick, or use ChatGPT and see what their recommendations are.
More likely than not, you’ll find something that will align with you.
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What advice do you have for people who are looking to produce content online consistently?
Develop a content plan. When you’re starting out you might feel overwhelmed, but if you have a content plan, it will help you post consistently. Consistency is one of the important areas in helping you to monetize because if you’re not consistent, it will be very difficult to grow.
The other recommendation I would have for people who really want to take content creation seriously, but they’re in their beginning stages, is to focus on providing value instead of going viral.
Because when you’re not going viral consistently, you’re going to feel demotivated. Some content creators have been making content for years and they haven’t gotten to 100,000 followers. That does not mean you’re not monetizing. It’s just different strategies.
The other component that I would recommend is finding the tools that make your work easier, like Flick. Something I struggle with is posting on multiple platforms. With Flick, it helps me repurpose content on different platforms
. By using the right tools, I’m alleviating my struggle.
Another area I would focus on in the beginning is to aim to perfect one platform. This has worked for me, and this has worked for my clients. I would highly recommend it. Find a platform that works for you or that you most prefer. Put together a strategy and post content consistently.
You have to put out content in order for people to find you. I’ve had multiple conversations with my clients or mentees and I say, “You want people to buy from you?” They all say yes. And then I ask, “You want to make money on social media, right?” They all say yes. And then I say, “But you’re not showing up!”
If you’re not showing up and you’re not being consistent, you’re not going to be successful.
Want to learn more and follow Crystal on social? Be sure to follow her over on Instagram and TikTok!