When you’re building an online business, there’s this phase in the beginning that we ALL go through. It’s the Learning Phase.
It’s that place where there is so much you don’t know, that you don’t even know what you’re missing.
It’s that place where even when we get the “theory” of how to do something (like build an email list, SEO a blog post, put out a video blog… take your pick) we struggle to understand the best way to execute it in our own business.
So what do we do? We watch endless free webinars. We read countless blog posts. We spend hundreds in books, thousands in courses, and a huge chunk of time learning more.
And we still can’t make it work.
The truth is, you don’t need a million different books and courses. You just need a good solid foundational knowledge of how to run an online business, and someone to help you apply it to your own situation.
This is exactly where I was in my entrepreneurial journey when I found Marie Forleo’s B-School.
I was working my full-time corporate job and desperate to get out before my son started Kindergarten. I wanted to be there to give him his afternoon snack at 3:30 – not serving a fast food dinner when I got home from work at 6pm.
I wanted to volunteer at his school as needed, and not worry that we wouldn’t have enough vacation time left to visit my parents later that year.
And I also wanted a fulfilling career doing something that I loved and that mattered.
I needed help to get my business running and I needed it fast.
B-School Enters – Stage Left
I used my bonus money that year to pay for B-School. I’m not gonna lie. It was BIG. I don’t spend that kind of money at the drop of a hat. I will never forget what my husband said when I asked if he was OK with the purchase. He said, “If this is what you need to make your dream happen, then go for it.” For him it was that simple. And so I did.
Armed with the attitude that “this is going to work #thatisall”, I dove into the B-School materials with a vengeance. My perspective on business began to transform right from the first module. I watched every video twice. I spent time completing every worksheet. I listened to all of the Q&A calls, although I never asked a question myself. I never needed to because someone else always asked it first. I participated in the B-School community and made real and lasting connections with other online entrepreneurs from all over the world. I watched the people who were more successful than me and learned from what they did. And my business started to grow. Fast. (Or as fast as it could considering I was working full-time and had a three year old).
I joined B-school in March of 2013.
My last day of work at my corporate job was February 28th, 2014.
By that time I had five part-time contractors working for me: two web designers, a social media manager, a Virtual Assistant, and a Public Relations manager. I had been running a full-time business and working a full-time job for the past 10 months. The icing on the cake? I was laid off as part of a merger, I didn’t even have to quit. Knowing that the layoff was coming just added more fuel to the fire, because I was NOT going to get another job.
So Why Did B-School Work When Other Things Didn’t?
That’s the big question, right? Why did this course make the difference for me when all of the other research and learning didn’t? Well, here is why I think B-School made the difference for me.
1. B-School isn’t just the ABC of doing business. It’s about the spirit of doing business.
I’m very big on ethics in business. In my website design business, about half of my clients come to me with horror stories about designers taking their money and disappearing, or leaving their website vulnerable to hackers, or just not doing it right. For me, that is inexcusable. I also have a problem with people who lie about their success. We are all at different stages in our entrepreneurial journey, and there is no real gain in lying about what you’ve accomplished. Well, you might scam someone out of their money, but that’s not a business. That’s a con.
But I digress…
Marie Forleo believes that one of the keys to building a successful business and life is to be truly authentic to who YOU are. Finding your own voice and creating your own spin on things is a common theme throughout B-school. As is helping and respecting the other B-Schoolers you interact with. As the B-school community has grown to over 12 thousand members, Marie and Team Forleo have worked to actively keep the community positive. The 2015 class of B-School will have a smaller group just for them and I think it will be a very safe and positive place for the new B-Schoolers to learn and grow.
The positive message of “be authentic” and “value yourself” and “do the right thing” are very rare in the business world. But oh so important! I want to live a life that I’m proud of and that means building a business that I’m proud of as well.
2. The B-school Community
I’ve mentioned that there is a B-School community. Let me explain what that means, because it means more than just those three words.
Building an online business is not the same as building a business in your local community. Yes, you still need to register your business name and make sure you’re collecting taxes etc. But the way you operate – from employees to marketing – is entirely different. While I am a member of several absolutely amazing women’s groups and entrepreneur groups locally, it’s not the same.
There is a certain kind of synergy that comes from interacting with a group of high-performing people who are all operating on the same basic philosophy of business. We are all at different stages, we all put our own spin on the concepts, but there is a level of understanding that runs through each one of us. When I bring an issue to the B-School community, I don’t have to explain myself so much. My issue is understood with a minimum of explanation and we can get right to the helpful advice part. People commiserate with my failures, cheer my successes and we just rally around each other when we need it most. I can get that with other groups, but it’s an entirely different kind of synergy than with my fellow B-Schoolers. So many people have tried to explain how the B-School community is unique… somehow I think you’ll never really understand until you’re a part of it.
B-School opens for registration once a year, and once you’re in – you’re a B-Schooler for life. For the past several years I’ve recommended B-School publicly. Several of my friends joined on my recommendation and they still answer the phone when I call, so I think we’re good. (Just kidding, they LOVE B-School like I do!)
B-School enrollment for 2015 is over, but you can can still join my mailing list to get articles, event notifications and special deals on the things you need to build your business.