I mentioned in the last post that I would update you as to what positive comments were received and how many obstacles i overcame to arrive at that particular and compliment-worthy place.

Very happily for me, this week has brought about an overwhelmingly positive response to this website. The comments have ranged from "fantastic" to "AWESOME!!!" with a smattering of "excellent" and "well-done" 's (and the like) thrown-in for good measure.

Truthfully, I didn't anticipate building the site, integrating the booking system and configuring accounting and payment portals at any stage of business planning. How did this happen? I was told that it would be too difficult and would need the following specialists:

  • designer (yes, I did have tremendous help here hence amazing branding!)
  • developer - NO 1: almost, but kept slipping off the radar - also, never got to "fixing a price." NO 2: offered initial set-up, hosting, but suggested that the integrations would need to be handled by an additional developer that knew coding in a myriad of languages. NO 3 was just wanting to have an entry point back into conversation with me which ultimately led to being "advised" that I need to "build and ongoing relationship" with a development agency that knew coding.
  • sys admin - all of the above volunteered a preferred "domain registrar" but set-up was done without any hand-holding as inboxes closed over Festive Season.

So, time was spent looking at domain registration, Wordpress, 10+ booking platforms, 5+ payment solutions, 3 accounting packages. This was painful. What made matters worse is that every "specialist" (as above) told me to look at something different to that which I had just decided upon. Suffice to say I was not only confused and dismayed, I was also becoming frustrated and bored (never a good combo for a woman.)

Eventually, I bit the bullet and thought "ENOUGH!"

I registered the domain (ran into a whole heap of "broken template" issues and far-too-many support tickets) but a lovely "pod-leader" finally came to my assistance, offered an apology and organised a direct telephone number. Remedy. Tick.

I had already seen the style of template I wanted to use and sourced the "best-of-breed" Squarespace who just happened to have their hosted business-offering resting on Dyn infrastructure (5*). Not only that, but the 2 x live-chats thus far have been so informative, intuitive and on GMT rather than EST. Tick.

Next to decide on a booking platform. I had chosen BookingBug but waiting 8 days to a response from an account manager was very telling. Sent enquiry forms to a couple of others in sheer desperation and was incredibly surprised when Timely called me back within the hour. Seriously. Am so impressed with the on-going level of customer service here that although their system doesn't do exactly everything I require at this precise moment I am still choosing them. Massive tick...with gold star.

This change in booking system also meant change in payment portal. Worldpay (very expensive) Stripe, iZettle and Square were all contenders but in the end PayPal was opted for. Slightly higher in transactional commission but professional and built for SME's. Which meant that I could tie the whole shebang together with Xero accounting (package to be determined) and a very sweet (and punctual) account manager.

And finally, the unexpected digital element, Google Apps for Business. Now they really know how to do business. I signed-up. Got stuck. Sent an enquiry / session request. Sent another...and had a call, with scheduled callback (same lovely American lady based in Ireland) for handheld set-up of mailboxes. Then emails from two different team members. Impressive.

In amongst these 5 core components I set-up and implemented GA (if it moves, track it) and Mailchimp (integrated to accept addresses from website, booking, and accounting). Oh yes, indeed.

So, I made it. Just.

Still "tweaking" here-and-there but almost fini.

What are my thoughts now? "Well done!" I could have done without being sent from online pillar to digital post by chaps (yes, they were all men) and wasting 5-6 weeks (honestly) but in hindsight I have a system that performs to my exacting standards, looks the way I want it to and has already gleaned some "top-notch digital" nods all by my own (feminine) doing. Tar-dah!

If you are wondering what on earth I am going on a session at and let me know your thoughts.

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