How I’ve Built My Business, Part I
Do you want to start a business? Are you trying to figure out how other people built theirs so you can do what they did?
I never went to business school. I don't have an MBA. But I've built a successful online business and have a global brand because of what I've shared below.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
To be honest, I did go to business school, but only for a semester. I sat in Dr. Chonko's Introduction to Business class my freshman year at Baylor, and I learned something key. To summarize, I learned,
“Don't lie, cheat or steal, and don't do business with people who do.”
I never studied accounting. I never wrote a business plan. And, I never understood why people pronounced the word finance like finANce.
But I did start a business a few years ago, and I've been profitable almost the entire time. Though I did use some personal funds to buy a domain, get a hosting account, and enroll in a few training programs, almost every aspect of my business has been self-funded.
While I don't have a multi-million dollar business with dozens of employees, contractors, or virtual assistants, I do have a business that generates tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and which allows me to work from wherever I want with whomever I want.
I thought that by sharing how I've built my business, you could start your business too. I believe entrepreneurship will make you a better person and that everyone should start a business at least once in their life.
If I can help you start your business, I will, at the very least, feel like I've done my part in making the world a better place. I also have an 8-week training program that walks students through every aspect of starting an online business. You should check it out here.
Built (Am Building) My Business
In full disclosure, this should be titled, “How I'm BUILDING My Business.” The work isn't done yet.
I Started With What I Had
I built my business by starting with what I had, and that wasn't much. Back at the beginning of 2012, I'd never purchased a domain, I'd never heard of WordPress, and I didn't even know web hosting was a thing.
I also didn't have most of the tools I use all of the time these days. If I'd had a Resources Page, it would have been blank.
But I did have an intense desire to improve my station in life. I did have a desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. And, I made the time to learn, create, screw up, and do the other things on this list.
I Did Things Bad at First
I built my business by doing things badly at first. My first website was ugly. Actually, my first 3-4 sites were pretty bad. My first domain name was a
mistake learning experience. My first blog posts were poorly written, and I didn't even know what a landing page was.
When you first start something new, learn to become comfortable with the feeling of falling down. Tell yourself it's ok to be bad when you first begin.
When we first start walking we fall all the time. But we have people around us encouraging us, helping us, and telling us it's ok to keep trying. Starting a business is a lot like learning how to walk, that's why you should hire a coach or join a mastermind group.
I Failed Forward
I wish I could sit here and tell you that every mistake led to discovery, but I can't. But the wise man doesn't look where he fell; he looks where he stumbled. Luckily, I stumbled a lot, so I had a lot of places to look.
Looking back on my times working for “the man,” I remember feeling miserable a lot. Work took its toll, and I was grumpy and angry a lot of the time. These negative feelings kept pushing me to improve and move forward. So, every time I failed, I was motivated to pick myself up, shake it off, and move forward.
Every experience holds a lesson. We just have to be diligent enough to look for it.
I Read, Studied, and Improved
One year I read 18 books on personal development. I can't count the number of podcasts I listened to.
Read books written by smart people. Study the lives and actions of the entrepreneurs you admire. Take lessons from every source and improve on what you're doing. Do things badly at first, and keep getting better.
I Woke Up Early & Stayed Up Late
I built my business by waking up way earlier than I had to, and by staying up later than I should have. I sacrificed sleep so I could put in the work.
Before I got fired in January of 2014 (one of those unplanned events that made a HUGE impact on my life), I would wake up three hours before I had to be at the office. I would read books like Think and Grow Rich, The Millionaire Fastlane, Good to Great, and Exit Strategy. Each morning I'd read, listen to podcasts, and write content for my blog.
After work, after spending time with my wife, Ashley, I'd do the same things until late at night. I sacrificed time then so I could do what I do now – coach entrepreneurs and write books.
I Tried New Things
I built my business by doing things that might not work. Over the past several years, I've tried new tactics, tested new strategies, and demoed lots of software. Each of the things I tried or tested years ago helped me build the business I have today.