Back to Fundamentals

Back in the late 1990’s when blogs were first starting to reach the public consciousness, they really were just web logs (thus the term blog). For most folks, they were a form of online journal that in some cases were shared with the public.

Back in July on my knitting blog I shared my insights from reading Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist. Because I purchased his second book, Show Your Work at the same time and I found such value from the first one, I quickly devoured it as well. Since the formation of this blog, now several years ago, I have been struggling to define and then build a new B2B venture based on my knowledge and expertise. The reason is simple: “helping small business owners” is just too vague to turn into a practical, useful business. Then it occurred to me – I need to take Austin’s advice and show my work!

The Future of the Blog

For the next year I am planning to use this blog in a more historical mode. I am going to journal, in public, about the activities around starting a business from scratch (or in my case, pretty darn close to scratch). This will include trials, tribulations, successes, failures and everything in between.

Because I have started a number of businesses, I view myself as the leader on the jungle trail with the machete in hand. I have an idea of where we are headed and I know where some of the major pitfalls are, but I also know I am bound to take a wrong turn or make a serious misstep now and again. My hope is some of you will follow along behind in my path. If it makes your path easier, then a small goal of mine will have been accomplished.

My motivation for doing this is simple: I love helping people find solutions to their problems and gain the confidence to take their next step on their own journey. I also suspect that the process of documenting the “first year” will also prove valuable to both myself and others in the future.

So often when an internet business guru becomes famous and/or successful they try and share their formula. Even when they are honest and talk about the 2, 5, 10, or more years it took to become an “overnight success,” what happened in the early stages is rarely, if ever, shared in much detail. My hypothesis is that those years and what happened in them are possibly more critical to their success than the knowledge they are sharing at this point in time.

The reality is that most of us struggle with remembering accurately the details of what came before. As such, something that might have seemed to be of minimal importance at the time is not remembered or shared. But what if that event was actually pivotal in the bigger success? Thus my commitment to “show my work” over the next year as I strive to move from a vague concept toward a focused, functional, and successful business.

For now, my goal will be share weekly about what I did, what appears to be working, where I am struggling, upcoming plans and any other observations I have throughout the process. The blog will be my business journal or web log if you prefer. If you would like new posts to pop into your inbox, just give your information below and you will be set.

The Future of the Newsletter

Taking a recommendation from Chris Brogan, my newsletter will be different than what I write on the blog. It will most likely be related information, but more in depth and focused. Chris’ theory, which resonated with me, is that in exchange for their email address, newsletter subscribers should get your very best content.

Quite honestly I am not exactly sure what that means for me at the moment. But I promise to bring my A-game.

While brainstorming with my VA (virtual assistant) she had an idea that really resonated with me. The basic concept would be to take something I struggled with recently and delve into it deeper in the newsletter. On the blog I talk about my experiences, then in the newsletter I apply it to a broader experience to help others how to work through a similar challenge in their own business. This could include all sort of formats including worksheets, curated articles from around the web, case studies, product reviews, or mini-classes.

Obviously this will take some time to fully develop, but that is part of the whole process that I am documenting!

If you have signed up for my newsletter in the past, you are still on there. But if you suspect this new, slightly weird idea for a newsletter might be of the slightest use to you on your business journey, then I invite you to sign-up here (ETA – this has become the Weekly Course of Action). My guess is I will send something weekly, eventually. But don’t be surprised if I am not quite there at first!

The Future of GwenBortner.com

Ultimately that is what this is all about. I know I have a lot to offer, it is just a matter of figuring out what is needed by you. That may result in a new name, different products, or a complete re-branding. As I gain clarity, I promise I will share it.

To begin, let’s get to know each other bit. Take a moment and share your business (actual or concept) and where you see yourself on the journey in the comments below.