Do you want to know what I know about starting a business?
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nil.
I think there’s a thing with different tax forms and maybe some other kind of thing about being my own boss. That is all.
Here is a dramatic re-enactment of my own business plan for Cents, Sense & Sensibility (No Underwear Gnomes were hurt in the filming of this re-enactment).
As you can see, I could probably use some guidance on making my blog into a business. In my hour of need, I turned to Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit (affiliate link). But let’s rewind a little bit:
In the Beginning, There Was No Light
A year or so ago, I picked up the $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau after a friend recommended it to me. In it, Chris interviewed 50 of the most interesting ‘start ups’ and profiled how these entrepreneurs built their businesses without the benefit of fancy degrees, venture capital, or lofty office towers.
I fell in love. I was moved. I was inspired. I wanted to do something bigger with my life than show up at a place for forty years in exchange for a small pile of money that would hopefully see me through my retirement years.
Then I forgot about it and set my alarm for 7:30am on Monday morning. But I believe it planted seeds. Fast forward a few months and I came across an article on how to start up a blog. Up until then, I only had a vague idea about the purpose of blogs. I thought people started them so they could be shouty and opinionated about current events and Hollywood starlets (a la Perez Hilton). Long story short, I was wrong.
Okay, Now There’s a Little Light
I started my own blog about personal finance. The more I read, the more I realized I was missing the bigger picture. I didn’t just have to scrimp and save pennies or work eleventy –seven jobs to pay down my debt faster; I could cultivate something of my own. I could start my own business.
This is Chris Guillebeau’s rallying cry. The author of $100 Start Up challenges us to reclaim our lives and forge a new path. He tells us that people all over the world are striking out on their own and creating successful businesses with nothing more than their profitable passion and a laptop.
I had no damn idea how to do this, as the Underwear Gnomes “case in point” ‘ed for me. I mean, I thought I could manage some of the practical stuff like filing taxes and opening merchant accounts but I was less confident with the “business” stuff. I wanted to learn more.
I didn’t want to get an M.B.A. or read crusty tomes on tax law theory but I was determined to find a way. I decided to take a leap and buy Chris’ Empire Building Kit. In it, he teaches people to build a lifestyle business through 365 mini-lessons, in addition to the video, audio, and written interviews and case studies. I’m going to work through the next 52 weeks and use myself as a Guinea Pig for the next year.
Out of respect for Chris’s work, I’ll only be summarizing what he shares in his program. In each post, I’ll put together some actionable steps for those following along that I’ve put into practice myself. Join my Empire Building science experiment here every Friday.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Empire Building Kit, go here (also affiliate link).