Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry I want to answer a question I get a lot. It goes something like this, "How did you learn how to start your own business? You know, how did you learn how to be a business owner?" I'm so far into the business ownership journey that sometimes I forget to back up, way up, to the very beginning. If you've spent years working as a teacher or lawyer or nurse, how do you learn how to do something else? It can sound a little daunting, right? Personally, I started by heading to...where else...the Internet! I did online research, took online courses, and found a whole bunch of podcasts on the topic of starting your own business. Before I get into more detail about these, allow me to make a quick aside. I want to mention that I do have an undergraduate degree in business but it didn't help much...ok, like, at all. Similarly, I've heard business school graduates with MBA degrees say the same thing. High level business school education at universities prepares you to work high-level corporate jobs - it doesn't really prepare you to be a small business owner. Why is that important? If you don't have a business degree, please do not let that deter you! You can do this!
Ok, let's get into it. Be so very thankful that the Internet exists right now at this moment in time! I'm sure it was a lot harder to start a business 30 or 40 years ago when the Internet wasn't the wealth of free information it is today. Just search "how to start an online business" in Google and you'll be bombarded with ads for days to come from teachers offering webinars on the topic. And honestly, that's how I initially found all the helpful courses, podcasts, articles, etc that guided me on my business journey. I'm not joking! Go Google it and you'll see exactly what I mean. At the beginning stages, you won't need to spend a dime on educating yourself about business ownership (seriously!). Many of the teachers in this area offer free webinars to woo you to take their paid online courses, and you could probably spend 12 months straight taking free webinars and studying free guides if you wanted to. There literally is that much information available out there. Don't believe me? One of my favorite teachers offers a guide of 322+ free business tools and resources (click here for it)!
Once you get sufficiently overwhelmed with all the information and teachers out there (and you will), find the teachers and teaching styles that resonate with you. We all learn differently and we all have different goals. Some teachers focus on service-based businesses (like career coaching) and some focus on product businesses (like jewelry) and some are in between. Once you find a couple teachers who resonate with you, just dive in! Go to their websites, read their guides, watch their videos, go down the rabbit hole! Get lost in it all. Youtube videos, podcasts, blogs, books, webinars, Instagram Lives, articles... digest and learn as much as you can.
Here's an important tip: if you start to go down these rabbit holes and you don't enjoy it, that's a red flag. For me, personally, I could listen to podcasts about starting a business, growing a business, and general entrepreneurship all day long. It truly does interest me. It's nerdy of me to admit, but I'd rather watch an interesting one-hour webinar on digital advertising than a show on Netflix. And this should be you during the start-up stage in particular... you should be craving knowledge and soaking it all up. If you aren't - if you're finding it boring, draining, and uninteresting - business ownership might not be for you. Why? Because owning a business primarily revolves around growth strategy, marketing strategy, website data and analytics, etc. If you don't like this part, it's going to be an up-hill battle. Let me put it a little differently - the "fun" part of my business, you know, the jewelry-marking part, takes up maybe 20% of my time. That means 80% of my time is filled with other business-related things. I think some people go into business ownership with false ideas of their day-to-day schedule. For example, if you want to open an online art business, don't expect to spend most of your days creating gorgeous paintings. Most of your time, especially in the beginning, will be spent on the "business side" of things. So, if that doesn't sound fun, save yourself a lot of heartache (and money!) and admit to yourself that business ownership is probably not the best fit for you. That's totally ok!
I'm sure you're waiting for me to list my favorite resources, so here they are:
- Marie Forleo
- Her videos are gold! It's probably easiest to start with her video series on YouTube. She has a podcast too (which I think is the video content turned into audio). I enjoy her perspective so much that I enrolled in her B-School Course which wasn't cheap, but was honestly the best investment I ever made in my business. Her website is https://www.marieforleo.com/
- Jenna Kutcher
- She offers a ton of great content online, in both video and blog format. She also offers paid courses. I took her Pinterest for Business course recently and I thought it was well done. She has a podcast too! Her website is https://jennakutcher.com/
- Amy Porterfield
- Amy has been teaching for a long, long time. I've never taken any of her paid courses, but I've listened to some of her free webinars. For me personally, I found her later in my journey when I was too advanced for her most popular courses. She also has a podcast! Her website is https://www.amyporterfield.com/
- Beth Anne of Brilliant Business Moms
- Ok, I'm not a mom and you might not be either, but don't let it bother you. I really find her to be a great teacher - she is far more practical than anyone else I've come across. I took her Facebook Ads Intensive course and I am a Facebook Ads ninja because of her! You have to apply to the program to be accepted and she only does it a few times a year. Worth it's weight in gold. Here's her website: https://brilliantbusinessmoms.com/
- Kaity Griffin
- Kaity is a Google Ads teacher and she knows what she's talking about. She presents information in a quick and easy way. She can boil down hard topics into digestable bites. Here is her website: https://kaitygriffin.com/
- Marie Forleo's podcast
- Jenna Kutcher's podcast called Goal Digger
- Amy Porterfield's podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy
- Rick Mulready's podcast called The Art of Online Business (don't start here first - this is more advanced)
- How I Built This with Guy Raz (unlike the above, you won't learn practical advice here, but you'll learn how other businesses started and grew which is very helpful and inspirational too)
There you have it! Start with this smaller list and you'll naturally stumble upon so many other teachers and resources. If I can leave you with one last tip it would be this: you have got to learn and come to understand marketing, especially digital marketing (such as advertising on social media platforms). If no one knows about your business, it doesn't matter how great it is. People can't buy from businesses they don't know about. And in today's saturated online marketplace, you have got to learn how to navigate marketing. On a positive note, digital advertising has never been cheaper. It is so affordable to advertise online. I think there's no wiser way to spend your money than by investing in at least 2 or 3 online courses that deal with marketing once you've surpassed the stage of reviewing all the "free" information out there. For example, take Amy Porterfield's email list-building course and the Facebook Ads Intensive.
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