Two simple words that when acted upon will make a massive difference in your life.
That was the advice I had just given to a client, and it was advice I had followed myself back in 2012 when I clicked PUBLISH for the first time on this website.
My second “strength” according to Strengths Finder 2.0 is Context, which means I look to the past for potential answers to solve current problems. I'm reflective and like looking back to see how I can improve in the future.
It's something we should all do. After all, decisions made in the past are how we arrive at our future. It reminds me of the famous quote from Winston Churchill.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
So as I reflected on the advice, I had just given, and how those two words – Just Start – have impacted me and my journey, I began to think about my recent history (2012 – 2014). I wondered what would have happened if I had not decided to Just Start.
My (very) brief history
I started this website in 2012 with one goal in mind; rank higher than the other 4 Ryan Rhoten’s. You can read about that HERE.
Two years later; I am now the first return on Google when you search for my name. That didn’t happen overnight. It took time and persistence.
Along the way, I discovered this critically important thing called online reputation management, and my focus began to change. I began to see a bigger picture. I started to see possibilities that I would not have noticed if I hadn’t chosen to Just Start.
2012 was uneventful for this website. I only posted about ten times, but with each post, I gained confidence. Confidence in my ability to create. Confidence in my ability to overcome obstacles that were in my way. I wanted to quit many times. I did twice. But something inside told me it was worth it to keep going. So I did.
The more I struggled, the more I looked for answers. I wanted to know “who is doing this right,” meaning this online “thing.” I wanted to know so I could replicate their efforts. It was through this research that I discovered an entire online community, unlike any community I’ve ever seen before. This community had common interests, shared goals, and a genuine desire to help each other succeed.
This community lead me to take a huge step. I paid to attend Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker’s 1 Day Business Breakthrough (1DayBB).
I did this despite not have a business in which I could experience a breakthrough. Why? Because it felt like the right thing to do and I knew I needed to Just Start. Why not start with a couple of experts.
(Picture from 1dayBB.com)
While I didn’t experience a business breakthrough per-say, I did experience a personal one. Hanging out all day with like-minded people, discussing how we can each help each other achieve our various goals was life-changing.
I met some truly remarkable people on that day. That was July 12, 2013. Those awesome people introduced me to more awesome people. Before I knew it, I had surrounded myself with awesome people. All eager and willing to help. All givers.
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
It’s true. My average went way up. Why? Because I chose to Just Start.
The people from the 1dayBB lead me to attend my first ever “paid-for-by-myself” conference in October of 2013; The Financial Bloggers Conference a.k.a. FinCon. FinCon was life changing again.
I wouldn’t know any of these people and would probably still be playing video games five nights a week if I hadn’t decided to Just Start.
2014 in one word: Implementation
2013 was a year of learning for me. Learning about all of the different puzzle pieces. Learning what networking is all about. Learning what, I am capable of doing. Learning how to learn. Learning that great things happen once you push past the fear of the unknown.
2013 made it possible for 2014 to be a year of implementation for me. It was the year I dumped out all of the puzzle pieces of knowledge I had been collecting since 2012 and started to put together the puzzle. As a result, I had a great 2014. Here are some of my accomplishments for 2014.
Released my first online course NOTE: This course was sunsetted.
In February, after four months of effort, I released the Personal Branding Blueprint online course to the world. The course is designed after my experience with an executive coach and will take you through the process of understanding, defining, and leveraging your brand. A 3-step process, I refer to as Perceive, Believe, and Achieve.
The course consists of 8 videos. I had never made a video before. Or an online training course. Now I use the course as the basis for all of my coaching programs. It can also be purchased separately for those who desire to move at their own pace.
DIY Website Guy Course Released NOTE: This course was sunsetted.
A lot of my clients express concerns about starting a website. “It’s too technical,” “I don’t have the time,” etc. So to combat those arguments, I created the DIY Website Guy online course. If you believe it takes a long time or a great deal of technical knowledge to build a website, watch this video. You can get started in less than five minutes using the affiliate link below the video.
The course consists of 13 step-by-step videos to walk you through the process of creating a website using WordPress. It’s bundled with the Personal Branding Blueprint, but you can also get it at the DIY Website Guy for free in exchange for your email address.
Became a Udemy instructor NOTE: This course was sunsetted.
For those not familiar, Udemy is an online learning center consisting of hundreds of courses on a variety of topics. Once you set up an account, you can immediately purchase classes that interest you.
After some debate and validation from my mastermind group, I became a Udemy instructor in the middle of 2014. I repurposed the Personal Branding Blueprint course for the Udemy audience by removing some of the bonuses and videos that come included when you buy the course on this site. I removed the DIY Website Guy course as well.
Attended two conferences
In January, I attended the New Media Expo (NMX) for the first time. Talk about overwhelming. The conference is big, but because of its size, it draws in everyone. Tons of learning opportunities but the best part is the MeetUps and networking.
In July, I attended the first ever and the world’s only Podcast conference. The Podcast Movement conference, co-founded by my friend Jared Easley, was in a word…awesome. The only conference by podcasters for podcasters was one of a kind event that united podcasters from all over the world. It’s a great conference. I highly recommend going this year, even if you are not a podcaster.
Why? Because when I attended, I wasn't a podcaster either. I went to learn, network, and hang out with friends. I thought I might want to start a podcast someday but had no intention of doing so in 2014. Or so I thought.
Solidified my message
One question I was asked over and over at the Podcast Movement conference was, “What’s your podcast about?” A logical question considering the venue. Of course, I yammered and stumbled over the answer every time I had to give it.
The good thing about this is that the constant practice (and frankly the fear of not wanting to sound too much like an idiot) helped solidify in my mind, my message, my audience and what I wanted to talk about on my podcast. I didn’t know it at the time.
The BRAND New You podcast released
At the podcast conference, Mark Mason from the Late Night Internet Marketing podcast “made” me commit to having an episode “0” up by Thursday the week following the conference. He took down my information and added a “call Ryan” appointment to his schedule for the following Thursday.
Naturally, I thought about it from that point on. I reflected on what I had been telling people it would be about and more importantly, what I was implying it would not be about.
The next time I was asked about my soon-to-be-released (maybe-never-released) podcast, this came out of my mouth: “I help GenXer’s understand how to use personal branding and social media to impact their careers.”
I have no idea where that came from. A moment of clarity, maybe but it was what I had been thinking and is now the copy on the podcast. It released on Christmas day. Subscribe and listen. You might create a BRAND new you as a result.
Opportunities and Challenges
Despite the success or maybe because of it, there are opportunities for improvement that I will be striving to accomplish in 2015. I plan to post my 2015 goals soon but, for now, know that they fall into three buckets; consistency, marketing, and self-doubt.
I need to put out more content, consistently. That’s it. But the reality is, if I want to impact as many people as I can with this site, I must be more consistent in my message and putting out great content on a regular basis. I’m working on that now and will tell you my exact goals soon.
It’s one thing to market someone else product. It’s quite another to market your own. Yet,that is why I created my products, to begin with. I have two great courses that can help change people’s lives right here on this site, yet not many people know about them. Why not? Because I’ve been hesitant to broadcast them to the world for reasons I will discuss next.
I’m letting the cat out of the bag here. Doing so might help me overcome my doubts. If not, you’re getting the raw stuff right here. Since I started this site, I’ve been afraid people at my day job will find out. Worried that when they do, they’ll hate it and then tell others they hate it. Rational, I know.
I also doubt that I have what it takes to make this business work. That is a struggle for me. Not because I don’t have the business knowledge, but more because I don’t know exactly what to do next. I’m winging it and making it up as I go. Someone will figure that out and probably call me out. The internet trolls do that you know, why not co-workers?
I remind myself that “haters gonna hate.” That doesn’t always help. But you know what does help? Motion.
[Tweet “Motion has a way of overcoming fear and doubt. Just Start.”]
It has for me. When I feel doubt coming back like it wants to do, I’ll remind myself what it takes to move forward. What I need to do.
I need to Just Start.
QUESTION: What is stopping you from Just Starting? Let me know on Twitter @RyanRhoten