Your first year of business naturally brings on a whole host of things you have to learn about… even when you thought you knew your stuff.
Disclaimer: I do tend to be a know-it-all but even so…
I had listened to podcasts, read books, read blogs, taken notes vigorously during countless free webinars – not just about marketing but about starting and building a business – for OVER TWO YEARS before leaving my corporate career to start my online marketing agency.
And yet, here I am, one year later, feeling like I’ve gone through an incredible learning vortex of sorts just in the last 12 months, much more intense than the previous years.
So in lieu of my 1st Year in Business Anniversary Month, I compiled a list of all the learning resources I’ve tapped into within my first year of business:
Full disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps support this website.
Ash Ambirge’s BOSS Course – This was the only course I purchased in my first year of business and honestly, the only one I needed.
As its web page states front and center, it’s “THE MODERN-DAY BUSINESS BIBLE FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE MEANT FOR MORE” and that’s exactly, to-a-tee what it is.
In fact, I’ve not only taken the course once, but THREE TIMES over the course of the last year. The first, I focused on my first business, JAM Marketing Group. The second, I focused on my second venture, Marketing in Yoga Pants. The third, just recently, as I decided to re-evaluate the direction of JAM into its second year.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Ash Ambirge… how do I say this… YOU’RE IN FOR A TREAT. She swears. She tells it how it is. Her brand involves the middle finger and the word unf*ckwithable. (Just warning you.)
And she’s my online business hero. Period.
Ash Ambirge’s GIRLFRIENDS Community – Now that I’ve professed my undying affection for Ash, you should know I also adore her private, paid community of like-minded business women (and a few men). This Facebook Group has been my very first online “home,” where I’ve felt like a BOSS, but also have been able to meaningfully connect and engage with hands-down amazing people on the internet.
Rising Tide Society, Scranton Chapter – The Rising Tide Society is a global network of creative business owners, engaging and learning in the spirit of their core mantra, “Community Over Competition.”
Apart from the global network, there are local chapters all across the globe that provide a tight-knit community both online (within a Facebook Group) and in-person (via a monthly meetup called “Tuesdays Together”).
I attended my first Tuesdays Together meetup in October 2016 and was instantly hooked. Remember, I’m from a super small town, so any opportunity I had to connect in-person with people that actually understood what the heck I was doing with my life… I was ALL about.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve been able to engage with my local chapter’s members, provide two live trainings to them, and become dear friends with a few. I even traveled to Texas in May with three of my chapter’s members!
I’m admittedly addicted to listening to podcasts, as many of you know. I listen to about 20 episodes a week from various podcasts and genres.
But in light of the topic of My First Year in Business, I’ve compiled a short list of podcasts that I recommend for a business owner specifically within their first year of business here.
Here’s a catch-all list of the books I read within my First Year of Business, in the order I read them, and a short (brutally honest) snippet about what I thought of it:
GIRLBOSS – I’m not a fan of the author in real life as she is today, but very much enjoyed reading about her scrappy start-up story.
Think and Grow Rich – Snoooooze fesssstttt.
Talk Like TED – A little outdated at this point.
The 12-Week Year – Smart, easy read. Didn’t employ its suggestions, though.
The One Thing – I can see where this book’s process would be highly beneficial for business people wanting to get focused. But at the time, I felt restricted by it. I was brand new with SO MANY creative ideas and potential projects and possibilities that the book was a downer.
The Four-Hour Work Week (audio) – Loved it. Devoured it on 1.5x speed.
The Originals (audio) – Interesting stories about people that came up with truly original things.
Profit First – Speed-read the first half to get the jist before realizing I was already, unknowingly, managing my money in the way the book suggested. Score!
Big Magic – THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ. Not an exaggeration. I think this should be required reading just to be a human. No joke.
Ash Ambirge’s Middle Finger Project emails and UFG emails – Once again, I can’t get enough of Ash. She built her entire empire on her writing and thus, her emails are mind blowing day in and day out.
Clarity on Fire – Kristen and Rachel of Clarity on Fire Coaching send out thoughtful blog posts every week and I’m always excited to open them. Their perspectives on the topics they write about are appreciated and (my favorite part) they don’t just write, but they also voice record their posts… so it’s kind of like listening to a podcast… and we alllll know how much I love those things.
NEPA BlogCon 2016 – I attended NEPA BlogCon in October 2016, both as a speaker and an attendee.
I had attended the same conference the year before (2015) as an attendee and had gotten so much value from it – actionable writing and blogging techniques, as well as inspiration. It was also where I first met Ash Ambirge, my online business hero, as you’ve gathered already in this post.
When I attended in 2016, less than two months after starting my business, it was an entirely different experience. For one, I was speaking at the event, so energy was HIGH. I also walked away with less actionable techniques and inspiration, but more confidence. I hadn’t learned anything new, per se, but I did learn that I knew my stuff and I was well-equipped to continue into this world of online entrepreneurship at least having a good grasp on content marketing and blogging.
This specific event is local to Northeast Pennsylvania, so it’s not a viable option for many of you. But there are many small, local conferences like this in areas at least across the US worth looking into if you’re a newbie business owner.
What I learned the most from…
Doing the work.
I won’t get on my high horse to tell you how Doing The Work has helped me learn in my first year of business.
But if you take just one measly thing from this blog post, let it be that, at the end of the day, doing the work to make your business “successful” is where the learning actually happens.
And next week… IS THE BIG ONE.
Next week is my 1st BUSINESS ANNIVERSARY WEEK! And you better believe I’ll be celebrating hard.
In fact, I’ll be celebrating by sharing with you all of my WINS from this year! (Yes, I’ve documented them.)
And BONUS, I’m going to share with you how I document my big and small WINS so at the end of every week, month, and year, I can feel like I’ve accomplished something.
It’s going to be that epic. See you then!