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In my first 6 months as a entrepreneur, I spent nearly $36,000 on training.

I was scared to death.

It sounds ridiculous, I know.  If I was so scared, why did I spend so much money?

Because I was scared no one would discover me. Scared I couldn’t sell to those who did.  Scared I couldn’t sustain success once I had it.

I made the mistake of attributing the various problems and set-backs I encountered as an entrepreneur to a lack of knowledge rather than the normal ups-and-downs that are inherent when doing something for the first time.

I’m not gonna lie to you: that mistake turned out to be huge, one that has nearly put me out of business.

But it’s also a fear that I see driving a lot of other new entrepreneurs.

And it’s easy to justify your continued spending when other successful entrepreneurs, usually selling a course of their own, talk up how much they invest in themselves.  They imply you can spend your way to success.

I say: invest in yourself, yes.  But especially in the beginning, you must do it wisely, thoughtfully, and cautiously.

As the saying goes, do as I say, not as I do.

Out of the dozens of courses and mentorships and premier membership circles I’ve enrolled in, there are only two that more than returned their investment. In fact, it was these two courses that led me to gross around $48K this year in my business, and secure another $54K in contract work.

That’s a 40-fold return on investment–in just one year.

In this post, I’d like to show new or on-the-fence small business owners how to get the help you need, without putting yourself in serious debt.

I’m calling it the Minimalist MBA, but it’s even better than that.  Because rather than teaching you everything, it provides just what you need to get started.  If you listen and implement these lessons, you’ll be making good money in no time.

Experts Academy by Brendon Burchard

If you wanted to share your life’s story and knowledge with the world (and get paid for it), how would you begin?

I was lucky.  Someone recommended Experts Academy to me early on, and I was blown away by the free training (like in this video).  I took pages and pages of notes, because the devil really is in the details.

  • How do you build a list when you don’t already have one?
  • How do you talk about your product without coming off like a slimy salesperson?
  • How do you set up all the technical stuff?
  • What’s the sequence and timing for a launch?
  • How do you form partnerships to really spread the word about your business?

I haven’t taken every entrepreneurship course out there (though it sometimes feels like it), so I can only compare this with what I know.  This is the course that helped me put all the pieces in place and start making real money right out of the gate.

It provides both big picture strategy with day-to-day details (do this, then do that). Without this course, my business would have been a money suck rather than a money maker.

As Jonathan Fields once said

Entrepreneurship ain’t easy. But, for those drawn to it, it also ain’t optional.

If you are one of those people, then I argue that Experts Academy isn’t optional either.

Be aware that the course only opens once a year, so if you miss this enrollment, you’ll have to find your own way for another 12 months.

Guest Blogging by Jon Morrow

When I first started blogging, I daydreamed about being discovered.  I thought some big name blogger would fall in love with my blog, share it with the world and in so doing, raise me up into the ranks of the A-listers.

After 8 months, I had maybe 200 subscribers and my benefactor was still nowhere to be found.

Until I discovered Jon Morrow.

Jon’s course taught me two very critical lessons:

  1. Even though I was already a pretty good writer, I needed to learn how to write for online audiences
  2. It was much easier to network among top bloggers to get guest post opportunities than I thought

Here’s why this is so important: because as an introvert, the idea of individually chasing down clients held no appeal whatsoever.   Instead, guest blogging allowed me to build my community through the sharing of ideas instead of overt sales pitches, something I was a lot more comfortable with.

It worked brilliantly.

My blog was recently listed on Problogger’s 15 Bloggers to Watch in 2013 list because of guest posts and networking.  I made $22K on my very first launch because of a single, strategic guest post that introduced me to nearly 1200 potential clients.

Jon also offers some great, free training.  Keep in mind, guest blogging does not require you to have a blog yourself.  You can combine Jon’s “content marketing” with Brendon’s value sequencing and do very, very well.

Still scared?

Here’s the thing: the fear never goes away.  I’m still as scared about failing and becoming a small business statistic as I was when I started.

The trick is to learn just enough to get over the paralysis, and then trust in your ability to innovate from there.  If you’re mentally ready and just need advice on tactics, the above courses have you covered.

But if you’re struggling to get up the courage to launch a business (or pursue any other big dream), if your real problem is psychology more than strategy, then I recommend you wait on those other courses and instead consider Jenny Blake’s Make Sh*t Happen.

It’s a 10-week course that leads you to action–action on anything you deeply care about, like starting a business.  As Jenny says,

Making Sh*t Happen is about doing things in an authentic way that resonates with the very core of you are — not who society or anyone else wants you to be. You can either Make Sh*t Happen for your ego and for others — as I did for many, many years — or you can Make Sh*t Happen for YOU.

Now, unlike the other two courses, this is not one I’ve taken personally.  But I know Jenny well: she did a fantastic webinar for my No Regrets clients, and she’s given me some good advice when I felt like giving up.  I have no hesitation recommending her.

The other big difference is that Jenny’s course involves a lot of active coaching, while the other two rely on you learning the material on your own.  Different learning styles appeal to different people.

What’s right for you

Knowing what education you need versus what your fear is driving you towards is tricky.  My advice is this: If you have the courage to just jump  in and get started on your business, then do that first.  It’s free and experience is a great teacher.

However, if you haven’t had any traction within the first month or so, you probably need help.  You also don’t want to wait too long to get the basics, or you’ll take those failures personally and quickly lose confidence in yourself and your ideas.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to take in a lot of information before making a decision, I highly recommend one of the above courses.  Start with the free information, see if that’s enough, and if not, then you can take the next step.

If you’ve ever dreamed about starting a business, this is the best way to get started.  Is it expensive?  Well, yes, initially.  But these are programs that I can absolutely vouch for in terms of value.  In the long run, they paid me many times over what they cost me.

But knowing cost is an issue, I’d like to offer a BONUS for those who are really ready to act on their Minimalist MBA.  I’m also offering a free 2-hour webinar with me.  In it, I’ll share with you all my big take-aways from the courses above, show you how I implemented the advice in my own business, and give you tips for getting your own business off the ground.

I have never shared these behind-the-scenes details and honestly, I probably never will in a public forum.  I’ll fess up on lessons learned (the good and the bad), and thus dramatically reduce your spin-up time.   Just send me a receipt showing that you’ve enrolled in one of the above courses, and I’ll send you the details on how to participate in the webinar.

Obviously, none of these courses are required for starting a successful business.  What they offer is just enough to get you rolling, without weighing you down with too many options, too much information, or a bunch of debt no new business owner needs.

So what are you waiting for?

Get growing.

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Please note that I am an affiliate for all 3 courses, which means I earn a commission on sales through these links.  I only promote courses I have taken myself and believe to be of significant value for my readers.  I’ve also paid a heavy price in separating the wheat from the chaff, and I’m happy to spare you that.  If you have any questions about these courses and whether they might be right for you, feel free to ask.

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4 Responses to The Minimalist MBA: Smart Investments for Your Budding Business

    • On
    • January 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    • C.R.
    • Said...

    I give my advice for the readers of this blog. Think about how to invest your money and how to invest your time.

    Think things through. Many mistakes I have made, are simply because I have not thought and asked the right questions. Mostly issues have been pretty elementary, not requiring to be a genius. Some hours with pencil and paper and own concentrated thoughts had been enough.

    I wish I had know my own advice earlier.

    I am still making bad choices, but I am paying attention and putting in effort to improve.

    • On
    • January 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm
    • Christian
    • Said...

    Great advice! It’s so tempting to “spend your way to success” because as you said, new entrepreneurs are prone to tons of fear and self doubt. When I first launched my business I considered hiring a “professional” to build my website because I wanted to be viewed as legitimate. I really did not have the money to invest in this and it turned out to be a blessing. I created my own, really decent website that receives good traffic all by myself. You have to trust your gut, not your fear. If an investment seems to good to be true, than it most likely is. One other thing I’d like to mention is that even if you do have money to make wise investments, you still have to DO THE WORK for it to pay off. Sounds simple but I can show you lots of books and cds that I have bought in the past… collecting dust.

    Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

  1. Very much appreciate your honest sharing, Jen. Must say Brendon’s course is appealing. As for Jon Morrow – well – he’s the best!

  2. A great post for the beginning of a new year with new plans and a fresh start.

    When I started to set up my new business I did the opposite. After spending money on a personal coaching course and qualification and splitting up from my husbands I had no money. So I tried to get all my information for free. I then went around in circles, got really confused and wasted so much time and so money while I earned nothing. What helped me find my starting point, and my way forward was a course by Jon Morrow and Johnny B Truant which was incredible. I followed this up with Jon’s guestblogging course. Both are unbelievable value for money and without them I wouldn’t have the business I have.
    So yes be careful of what you spend where, but some investment is more cost-effective than none!

    And Big Congrats on the well deserved Problogger accolade!