Celebrating 20 Years In Business

And other August Milestones

Before this month comes to a close, I want to acknowledge how awesome August is in the life of Michelle. I’m celebrating  FOUR major anniversaries.

FIVE years ago, my first book hit number 1 on the Amazon Bestseller list.

TEN years ago, a number of things happened.  I quit my corporate sales training job, built out my speaking business and expanded my marketing consultancy.  AND I started working with Kelly Anderson at Startup Princess (and got my first social media account). I ran my own agency and promotional products company not the side for years, but this year, with a baby in tow, I went on my own and built partnerships that changed my business and life forever.

FIFTEEN years ago, I married my husband. Good Stuff.

TWENTY years ago, I started my first business, Doodads Promotional Products.  It was 20 years ago this month when I started my entrepreneurial story.  This business isn’t my life’s mission, but it’s run “in the black” every year since it’s inception and it has funded EVERY other of my business ventures.  When I needed to produce and record my first speaking event, I sold more pens, mugs and t-shirts to pay for the production company.  When I needed a new website for a new venture, I sold some folders and CD cases to a long time client.

I don’t promote this business anymore, but I do try to keep existing customers happy and 100% of my business comes from repeat customers or referral each year.  I’m still grateful for this company that practically raised me.  I was 19 when I started it.  Doodads taught me about business to business marketing.  It taught me about tangible marketing and campaigns.  It taught me about systems and hiring help so that I could focus on revenue generating activities.  It taught me about competition and differentiation and that people weren’t just buying a pen, they were buying me.  It taught me about customer service and it taught me about myself. I have said many times, owning a business is the best personal development tool EVER.

So, in these final hours before it’s September, I acknowledge the Augusts of my life.  Without which I would be monumentally different.  Too bad I didn’t do anything incredibly awesome this year so that I could add to this list in five more years for the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25.  LOL

Here’s to August!

Book Review: Year of Yes

Year of YesAuthor: Shonda Rhimes (writer of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice & How to Get Away With Murder)
Medium: Listened on Audible (which I highly recommend. It’s read by the author. And I listened on 1.5 speed and got through in a Jif!)
Recommended by (and then lovingly pestered by): Tiffany Peterson

Thoughts: This is the first book I have actually started and finished in 2 weeks in a long time. I have about 40 half consumed books on my nightstand, in my kindle app and on my audible. But I finished this one. While MY problem is that I should probably say “NO” more, what is magical about this book is the way she tells stories. I think all of my speaker friends should read this book (listening to this book is actually better) so you can see how she craft stories, uses track backs, and invites you in a very, very real way. Also, in full disclosure there is language in this book.

What I liked is that she’s real. She’s vulnerable and unlike other “Year of” books, she doesn’t go in chronological order, she just shares the things she learned. I liked that approach.

Sidenote: This is where we’re going to get a little dramatic. Back in the mid 2000’s when personal blogging took the world by storm, I was a very late adopter. Busy with the career, then a baby I enjoyed reading other people’s but was nervous to do one of my own. I wanted it to be a little different, and so I wouldn’t start until I had a good idea. One night in 2008 while lying in bed after watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I realized that all the show titles were actually songs. One of the things I loved about the show was the soundtrack. That’s when I started blogging. With my first post called “Even The Nights Are Better” and I talked about having my baby boy and that I wouldn’t trade sleepless nights for anything. My blog was called “The Best of Times” and I subtitled it “Our Family Soundtrack”. Listening to this book and how she loves music and dancing reminded me that Shonda Rhimes got me blogging. So there’s a useless bit of trivia for you. Speaking of things my ears can’t handle, I stopped watching Grey’s about the same time Private Practice started. But I’ve always appreciated her craft and I keep up by reading show synopsis because Shonda really does “lay track” masterfully on the air and in print.