One of my biggest mistakes in my business life—and I’ve been in the online world since 2010, when I wrote my first-ever blog post—was thinking that somehow I had to figure everything out myself. This is why it took me forever to sign up for B-School. If I could go back and do it differently, I probably would. Here’s what I know now.
When I started out, I tried to figure it all out myself.
It made sense in the beginning: I was super broke. I had $100,000 in student loan debt and I was working an entry-level salary job in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the world. I took on extra jobs in the evening to make enough money to buy groceries from the local Trader Joe’s, and stuffed every penny I could towards those dreadful student loans.
I was wary of education, of programs, of courses, of spending more money (I’d already sacked away a hundred grand towards education and couldn’t stomach more). Also, the online world of courses were just starting out. It was a lot to think about and to figure out.
So I spent a lot of time trying to learn everything myself.
I spent time trying to figure out WordPress, to build a website, to learn how to design for the online world. My site crashed more times than I could count, and once got hacked by the worst naughty image site spammer and I was SO embarrassed because I had porn all over my site and didn’t know how to fix it.
I probably spent at least 5 years learning all on my own, trying.
In those early days, I hacked my way through it and learn on my own.
There are a lot of advantages to this way of doing your work.
In the beginning, it can really help you master a lot of skills that you might need to learn. It helps you get scrappy, savvy, and experienced.
For me, I learned a ton about web design, and I was able to build several websites and launch a communications business and consultancy because of it. Learning how to do things with your own two hands? Priceless.
But sometimes it’s too much to do it all by yourself. Or, you need to learn quickly, and you need to figure it out fast and not waste too much time. That’s when a guide or a structure course can be a huge game-changer.
My problem? I took that pattern and made it into a habit.
Where I failed was thinking I’d always have to do it all myself.
I’d always figured it out by myself before, I thought. So why should I go and learn from someone else? For some reason, I would easily buy books, but courses? I had a major block around buying them.
And by the time I was 5 years into blogging, I was too embarrassed and a little ashamed about the things I didn’t know (Facebook Ads? No idea. Instagram? WTF. I just like pretty pictures. This has to be a thing too? What am I supposed to know? Ugh!) And for many, many years, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to get a good opt-in onto the sidebar of my website.
I’d write blog posts that would finally see hundreds of eyeballs—a few even went viral!—but all that traffic to my website, it was a waste.
It was useless.
I didn’t capture anyone’s email addresses, and I had no way of finding them again.
The opportunity cost of all those years, and all those eyeballs? I wonder how much bigger my email list would be today if I’d signed up for a program like B-School back in the day.
Going viral doesn’t matter if you don’t have a way of staying in touch with someone and talking to them again.
How much do all those lost leads cost me?
I don’t know. I almost don’t want to think about it. I had so much traffic, and I didn’t really do anything with it. In fact, it took me a long time just to learn how much I didn’t know.
So, when I decided to go all-in with Startup Pregnant towards the end of 2017, I asked myself: what are some of the most strategic moves I can make in 2018 to take this business to the pros? To make this business not just a freelance blogging site but a real, true, genuine business for me and the people I want to serve?
I decided to go all-in, and really call in the experts to help me level up.
B-School was a no-brainer.
But still, the skeptics showed up. Not just in my brain, but in real life! “Do you really need B-School?” friends scoffed. “Don’t you know all this stuff already?”
I do. I know a lot. I’m proud of all of the things that I’ve learned. In some regards, B-School taught me that I do know a lot—about half of the material I’m so glad to see is stuff that I’ve picked up along the way.
But it took me several YEARS. When I could have learned it in several WEEKS.
I sign up for courses and programs that teach me what I want to learn. I am not too proud AT ALL to share that I love learning from the pros. I’ll even pay a premium for people who create really great content and make it easy and efficient to learn, and go above and beyond in delivering quality.
What’s it worth to you to learn something quickly versus struggle for years to figure it out on your own?
What I wish I could go back and tell myself is that sometimes you can spend money wisely and learn exactly what you need from someone. In those early days, I needed to hack my way through it and learn on my own. But in the second and third year?
A few strategic purchases really could have catapulted me way further.
Last year I made a few key investments in my business.
The first was upping my business and marketing game with Marie Forleo’s B-School.
The second was working on my mental mindset and expanding what I believe to be possible about my life and my life’s work.
The third was hiring contractors and setting up my workflows and operations to really dial it in as a business owner.
Oh, and I also made a big investment in my family, too! I got pregnant in January 2018 and we brought our second baby boy into our family.
Yup, I signed up for B-School in March when I was in my first trimester. Those of you that know how tiring pregnancy is, you know that’s saying a lot. I signed up so I could lay in bed, watch videos, fill out worksheets, and figure out how to make strategic, smart moves in my business. I was too tired to keep randomly guessing and experimenting. I wanted a roadmap, I wanted the smarts, and I wanted to take my business seriously.
If you want to sample Marie’s work, she has a free training program available until March 1st, and doors to B-School (her paid program) will open on February 19. I am a proud partner and affiliate of this program because it really helped me level up across my websites, communications, and profit clarity for all of my business projects. One of the things I like most is that teaches the basics in a way that’s digestible, easy to understand, and hyper useful for businesses.
The free training program is open through the end of February, and honestly, people say that they get a huge value out of just the free training program alone, So even if you’re not going to do B-School this year, do check out the video series (there are three of them) in her introductory video training program. She walks people through the 6 pillars of online business, the 13 keys to success that every small business owner should know, and common mistakes and excuses entrepreneurs make that don’t have to hold us back if we look honestly at where we are.
B-School opens tomorrow, February 19th, if you want to sign up and join the program.
PS: When it comes to me, you, and B-School, please know that there is zero pressure for you to feel like you have to do it, because you should one-hundred-percent do what your business needs and what you need, and YOU will know if it’s the right time and fit, not me.
PPS: If you didn’t know this yet, I am a proud affiliate partner with Marie and that means (1) I have gotten a tremendous value out of the program, and (2) I will be offering my own form a bonus for people who join the program through my link. You have to sign up for B-School with my link, however (so pay attention to that), and yes, I do get paid if people join B-School because they want to learn from Marie and work with me.
These training videos, however, are free and open this February, and her work is deeply generous and helpful so feel free take a sneak peek and do the exercises even if B-School is not the thing for you. I always learn a ton from her and I’m re-doing B-School again this year, just to squeeze more goodness out of the program, and yes, build my business to the next level.—
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