Today is one year since the launch of my company, The Next Step.
As someone who has been entrepreneurial since 2004, having had tons of failures (and some successes) seeing this company grow and grow and grow beyond my wildest expectations has been amazing.
What brings success? I have said many times before that this iteration of my entrepreneurial journey is so different because I have just now with this business branded with me – my ideas, insights, lessons and words. This probably could NOT have been done too much earlier in my professional entrepreneurial career because how much did I have to share in 2004? Not as much as I have now with 13+ years of teaching on the college level, 15+ years in Corporate America and 12+ years as an entrepreneur. I have found my voice and my voice is helping people take the next step.
Over 2000 people a week are on my site and my conversions are healthy (in my opinion) – some of these folks hire me to help them take the next step (thanks!) and others just promote me and connect me with others who decide to hire me.
On Entrepreneurship & Teaching:
I took my concepts and ideas around entrepreneurship and how it helped me in my corporate career to be entrepreneurial and wrote a book about it and then expanded to the next book in the series on going from zero to launch so you too can learn how to execute on your own business OR decide to be the boss of your career. You can learn more about that here Entrepreneur-ING.
I have a limited time entrepreneurship course offered through Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning
on this topic and have continue to speak and teach others on how to execute on their dream of starting their own business.
Also, I am a skilled and experienced educator available to teach online and in-person at universities, programs and through my own online learning classroom - find out more about that here Educator Expertise.
On College and Career Readiness:
In the course of this business launch, I moved quite naturally into College and Career Readiness workshops, training and more. I have branded myself as an expert in this field for the Staten Island area schools.
I have written two books in the college and career readiness series, too and have been hired already at local schools and by city agencies to bring my unique blend of lessons, real talk and experiences to motivate and prepare students for their big next step into college and career. Just some of the feedback from my students are showcased in my Testimonials Page.
On using books to be an “expert”
I started writing books in January 2016 and by May 2016, I had 4 published. I am definitely working on more books as I think this sets me apart as a local expert. I will share more about how I wrote the books in that timeline and how people who read them are amazed at what they learn soon in a coming blog post. Also, I am considering creating audiobook format for my books, too. You can learn more about my publications at The Next Step Publishing.
On helping people take the next step
My core business is and always has been around helping people take the next step and along with that amazing client base via my social media, LinkedIn and more I continue to help people and create new product offerings for them around branding themselves. With my amazing, insightful and creative techniques, each person who hires me gets astounding marketing materials about them to use to get hired, noticed and more. Learn more about my Branding Expertise.
My Next Step
I will continue to grow this business and potentially be hiring some help within the next few months. I have a robust pipeline and more to come with my true focus around college and career readiness, helping people take the next step, and entrepreneurship and teaching.
Gift for you:
I am running a limited time coupon for my branding specializations with 25% off for my new and loyal clients! This offer is only good until 8/2 so act fast! Sign up here for my special One Year Anniversary Savings for YOU.
Special thank you to everyone who reads my content, shares it, learns from me, follows me and hires me! Happy Hunting!
Continue to learn with me via this blog, YouTube Channel, books and on Twitter & Instagram @thenext_step123.
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I feel like this anniversary came up quicker than I expected. I continually talk about how I launched in July 2015 but I definitely have been slow to the uptake that we are now in July 2016 and that I am almost at my one year since launch.
I am thinking about ways to celebrate this milestone. I have been moving quite quickly in terms of promotion and client building though I keep feeling compelled to build more clients and to promote my business more and more. I am definitely out there as an entrepreneur. Sometimes, feels like too “out there”. I promote my business and also focus on trying not to throw too much spaghetti at the wall waiting to see what will stick. Meeting with my SCORE mentor made me focus more on revenues.
Sometimes, I feel so driven to just promote, promote, promote as much as I can and other times I think to myself that since I am already “out” there, maybe I do not have to push as hard but I even "work" on vacation (check out image below).
I do this, though, because I am very passionate about what I do. Just taking a look at the 12-months of archives on my blog and the amazing topics I share about helps me to remember that the promotion I do is really for the people I help be college, career and professionally ready for their next step.
In July 2015 when I launched, I started with blogging about other articles and sharing my thoughts and by September I was creating all original content. By January 2016 I began writing my books and as of May, I have 4 books published and more on the way. (Check out my books below --> order books here).
I have helped countless clients Brand themselves or just create rocking Resumes for their next step. I have created new product offerings based on my clients’ needs like the one-on-one Resumes and LinkedIn products which I wrote about on improving product offerings. I have trained 250 students on college and career readiness and look forward to training and preparing many, many more.
I have had various speaking engagements and look forward to more. All of this is not too bad for just one-year out of the gate (plus the previous 15+ years as entrepreneur, educator and executive).
I will be announcing soon my plans to celebrate my one-year anniversary – I am thinking a one-day flash sale for my products and services… still thinking though.
Any thoughts on what I can do to celebrate one year in business as The Next Step? Share away!
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To check out why over 2200 people this week have learned with me, see my website video here:
As an entrepreneur, you learn that there are times of “feast and famine”, as I was discussing yesterday with my SCORE advisor, Mr John Amodio.
SCORE is the “counselors to America’s Small Businesses” and is really an amazing resource for small business owners like me. I also am lucky enough to be part of the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and have mentioned in the past my meetings with the organizations for help with planning my next steps (no pun intended). You can see the posts on it here and here.
Yesterday’s session was awesome – not only because Mr Amodio is my defacto editor - (Blogger’s Note: He has read my first two books and given me the feedback that the books are great, very conversational and he found the edits I need to make of the few typos – did you find them, too?) but also because he had some amazing insight into how I am building my company and what I should DO and what I should AVOID.
When you own your own business, it can be challenging to identify what to give away for “free” and what to “charge” for and we discussed focusing on revenue so that this venture can continue to grow and scale.
After yesterday’s meeting, I started jotting down my “to do” list which this Project Management Professional (PMP) had not done in a long time (sorry, end of school year was insane, as I posted about here). See, I feel the need to apologize because I truly do need to make to do lists – it is part of who I am.
I also drafted up a “wish list” and am considering mapping out more formally my financials and also thinking about some angel investors for capital – I have been bootstrapping this entire organization since July 2015. I do have revenues and am quite proud of my revenues but I also know that with the help of SCORE and other advice that my revenue will be growing over the next 6month to a year. With the potential growth in revenue, there are definitely some investments I need to consider now in order to scale my business to be ready for this influx of growth.
We spoke yesterday about the main drawback to being a small business based off of my own expertise and it is all about scheduling. At some point, with the multiple potential proposals I have all over this city, I might have to prioritize and turn things down (I think). There are only so many places one person can be in a given day…
This is truly a good problem to have, though.
We also strategized about my potential online learning offerings which I started building out on my website yesterday and sharing about on social media to help give more focus on my books, lessons and teaching skills and also to make my business able to help the maximum amount of people to take their next step.
As a small business owner and a woman, it can be hard to ask to be paid but I am learning that this is not only a woman thing – it is hard as a business owner to be out there and to be so open about what I am building and how. At the same time, it is through teaching my lessons that I learn – through sharing this content that I gain followers, readers and more. This point is driven home again and again when I check out my website stats. This week has set a record for my website in terms of unique visitors (and potential clients).
On Monday, 744 people were learning with me on my site – this was a record for my website as I had never gone above 600 people before in one day. 744 people is a LOT of people. On Tuesday, I had 400+ people, which is not too bad either. I do not spend $1 on advertising (yet), although this will change as I continue to work on my wish list and financials. As I write this blog post at 8:39am on Wednesday, 87 people have been on my website already…
Thanks so much for reading, sharing and learning with me! I look forward to helping you take your next step.
If you are interested in reading my books, please check them out here. Happy Hunting!
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My online learning planning announcement
My To do and wish lists...
Content and Creation on being an entrepreneur and using content to share my lessons with clients, students and more
I was very busy this weekend both in entertaining children (hello summer vacation and planning for the weeks ahead without routine) and in building and creating content for my small business.
On Saturday alone I made over 5 videos for my YouTube channel and this is after a brief hiatus because I just got too busy. I posted about how the end of the school year kicked my behind and when I had a moment to review my goals and plans for the business, I realized it had been almost a month since my last vlog (video) to go with my content.
I truly believe my words are powerful but my delivery and personality is something that just adds to building my business and my expertise in terms of my business focus: college and career readiness, one-on-one Career help with my branding packages, Entrepreneurial Training / Small Business Consulting and of course my books The Next Step Publishing.
I am placing some videos below to share with you - please make sure you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel .
So much to do today and this week:
Videos about Content Creation, Entrepreneur-ING books, College and Career readiness series:
And finally made some videos about my books:
Lisa Vento Nielsen