Building The Company Of The Future
We're gonna talk about building the company of the future, now, not like in a Disney Epcot Center kind of way. (audience laughing) We're gonna talk about building the company of your future because the company of your future has to start now. It doesn't start when you hit a certain milestone. It doesn't start when you hit a certain income bracket. It doesn't start when you've got a certain number of to-dos down or procedures down in your Asana or your Trello. It starts now, here, today, and the reason I tell you that and the reason we're starting here is because I did not start there when I started. This is not me. I have never looked like this, but I have certainly been in this position with my laptop on my bed. It was the closest thing I can find to, like, a before. (audience laughing) It's a very generous before. (audience and Tara laughing) So, anyhow, I started my business wanting to be a blogger. I just, blogging was, I started my first blog back in 2004 on Xanga. You search for ...
Bonhoeffer Chick, you can probably still find it; at least, the last time I searched for it you could. Yeah, I started blogging in college. I started blogging about theology and culture and politics, just all the things that I was interested in and engaging at the time and, you know, back in 2003 and 2004, it was still really exciting that we could find out news and information and trade ideas on the internet. Wow, I feel really old, right now. (audience laughing) But, yeah, so I was part of that kind of first wave of bloggers, although, you know, I only really stuck with it for 6 months, 9 months. I loved it, though. I loved it and I kind of quit blogging right around the time that I went to work for Borders Books and Music which is where Shannon and I know each other from. You'll find out more about Shannon, here, little bit later, but I, you know, as I kind of thought through like where my career was going, what my next steps could be as my time at Borders Books and Music came to a close, as I became a mom, I came back to blogging and I came back to the blogosphere to realize that people were making money at this. And it was a huge revelation that I might be able to write for a living, not write for this company or that company, not find a job as a writer or communication specialist, but write for me and get paid for it. And, at the time, I had become a stay-at-home mom, also seems like a lifetime ago, now, and I was looking for just a way to contribute a little bit more to the family finances. Honest-to-goodness, at the time, I was hoping for a couple hundred dollars a month, right. How many of us have started businesses hoping for a couple hundred dollars a month? (audience laughing)
Yes, so, yes! You guys here! And, I'm sure those of you out online, as well, and you get you get started in that mindset, right? And, you start asking yourself that question: what would it take to make a couple hundred dollars a month? And so, I started in that mindset and I started making a couple hundred dollars a month. And, over time, I asked myself, well, how can I make a couple thousand dollars a month? And then, how could I make more than that? How could I make five figures a month? How could I make six figures a year? These were numbers I could not have possibly dreamed of as a religion major and a retail manager, you know? I've told this story many times, so if you've heard it before, I'm sorry, you're hearing it again, but I really, really thought that might be earning capacity as an individual was gonna top out somewhere between $35,000 and $40,000 a year and that's fine. And, also, I realized so much more was possible as I got deeper and deeper and deeper into blogging, into serving customers, into realizing the opportunity that was available in this crazy new economy that we find ourselves in today. And so, my goals really started to change. It wasn't $200 a month anymore, it wasn't $2,000 a month anymore, wasn't even $20,000 a month anymore. It was how can I make $50,000 a month, $80,000 a month, $100,000 a month? And yet, at the same time, my vision of myself didn't change. I still thought of myself as a blogger. Maybe, you know, it evolved to I thought of myself as a podcaster or a video educator, but that role for myself in my business didn't change. So, I'm gonna stop with my story, now, and ask you to think about your story. And, if you're with us online, I would love for you to share with me your stories as well. You can find me on Twitter @TaraGentile and this is perfect that it we're coinciding with the rollout of 280 characters for everybody, right, (audience laughing) because you can tell me more of your story, now, in one Tweet. I haven't tried it yet. Has anyone tried it yet? No, okay, sorry, quick aside (laughs). So, find me on Twitter @TaraGentile, find me on Instagram @TaraGentile, share with me your own reflections on these questions. But I went to each and everyone of you to think back to when you started your very first business or even before you started your very first business, to when you first started to have that hunch that independent work might be the way you wanted to go, that you could create a living for yourself, again, whether that was $200 a month, $2,000 a month or more, what did that look like to you?