Now Open: An Online Business School for Creatives wanting to Learn Business

online business school

The Start of Something New

About 6 months ago, I launched my first online course as a side project. And it went really, really well. So well in fact, that we were profitable after 24 hours. However, four months in, I made a hard decision to close my online course even though we were making money. There were two main reasons.

First, I wanted to focus on improving the course content with the feedback that I received from the initial launch. Second, I wanted to make sure that I provided different methods to learning, because as a student, we all consume information different ways. So we decided to integrate more videos, gifs, live-streams, and yeah, also workbooks, and short form writings.

And then a great idea came to me!

MasterYearOne.com

Instead of creating this one course, why don't I build an online business school to teach entrepreneurs and the creative community specific business skills at a discounted rate. (That's when MasterYearOne.com was born) So instead of paying thousands of dollars for a bundled program that are really broad, long, and you may not finish; led my team to focus on creating an online business school that cost less than $99 to start, and are more specific to what you actually want to know.

And I'm happy to announce we've finally Re-opened!


Here are the first 3 courses that's NOW live on our website: 

 

1. How to Survive Your First Year of Business (FREE COURSE)

 

2. Jumpstart: Finding Your Next Great Business Idea

 

3. The Lean Incubator: Launch Your Business Idea off the Ground


5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do For Self Development

personal development, 5 traits

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do For Self Development

One of the biggest problems I notice with entrepreneurs is that they spend so much time in their business that they forget to spend time on themselves. The thing that many entrepreneurs fail to realize is that you are your business. If you don’t take the time to invest on your own development, your business can only go but so far. 

It's also important to note that your growth is not a one time thing and you should be constantly striving towards stretching yourself each and everyday. You’ll need to continue to educate yourself, build relationships that can help you, and use the right tools in your business. 

Let’s take a look at five easy ways to invest in your self development which will have a tremendous affect on the success of your business:  

 

1. seek Mentorship

One of the best ways to shortcut your decision-making "trial and error" is by investing time in finding and taking advice from a mentor. This isn’t a new concept but it is most certainly time-consuming to set up. It will require an initial investment of potentially weeks or even months of cultivating a relationship but will allow you to easily seek out advice and guidance from someone that has been in your shoes, hopefully multiple times before, allowing you to make better decisions, faster.

Depending on the challenge I'm facing, I have a few mentors I can go to. Having a mentor has really helped me tremendously. I'm able to get advice on the specific thing I'm going through. I don't always listen to their advice but having that sound board before you make a critical decision for your business can save you a lot of time and money.

 

2. Read More Books

I don’t care what you read, just read. It’s a great habit to form and you can truly learn something from any book you pick up. Normally, half the books I read are around the industry I'm currently, the other half consists of self-help books and leisure. The variety helps me in growth areas of my business and myself. The industry books provide me more insight around the history of the industry, seeing companies that have failed and understanding why they failed, so I don't make the same mistakes. While the self-help books help me explore what I'm capable of, and where my limitations lie so I can smash through them. 

 

2. continue building on your learnings

Outside of books, you should continue building on what you already know and the things you don't know, consider investing in them. I learned this the hard way when I became an entrepreneur. I thought I could just teach myself everything (and I could.) But it may take me a lot longer then just asking someone that specializes in it. The decision always came down to learn it myself (which could take weeks or months) or I could learn it in a few days if I just decided to pay someone for their service. Since I didn't want to pay someone, I wasted so much of my time trying to convince myself I could learn it in a few days and in reality all I did was take time away from my business and making money. The most important thing you can take away form this article is, stop thinking you can do everything and learn to invest in things that will take you a lot further, such as online courses, services, coaching and digital/physical products.

 

4. Build a network

As you know, developing your business network is essential in growing your company. Well, developing your personal network works the same way. The best way to build a valuable personal network is to first identify personal growth areas. Once you're able to identify the areas you need to develop to be that person in your vision, finding the people to surround yourself becomes simpler. Like, finding a mentor, cultivating a solid personal network takes time. The more you put yourself in opportunities where you can meet new people, that could possibly help you, the more likely you are to build a solid network. (*Note: building a valuable network is not a one way street.) 

 

5. Cultivate Wellness

From the time you wake up to the time you go back to be, somewhere in between there needs to be time blocked out for improving your relationship with yourself. I know, I get it, you don't even have time to eat and you want me to find time for myself. Yes, believe it or not, your business will only go as far as your body allows it. 

I remember plenty of times where my body would give up on me and I would crash for a few days. That wasn't even the worst part. The worst part was that it took me an additional few days to reboot and then a few more days to be productive again. Originally, I thought I was saving time thinking I didn't need a break from being an entrepreneur but instead lost so much time and money because I didn't have else in place to take me away from work and focusing on my health. Whether you set some time aside to walk, go running, or simply moving around. Find ways to cultivate wellness in your day if you want to be successful in the long term in your business.

 
What are ways in which you're investing in your self-development? What are some things you've discovered about yourself or your business in doing so?

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How much should you spend on personal development?

personal development

The Time Invested is Related to your Success

If you’re really honest with yourself, I’m sure you would agree that you don't know everything about the business you're in. There may be one thing you're really good at but those others areas are not areas of strength. 

Being an entrepreneur means you should be constantly learning. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to deal with these changes and react so you can stay in the game. 

There are a lot of other reasons why personal development is important, 

Regardless of the type of business you are in, the environment is always changing. You need to learn to adjust to the current situation and always continue to learn new ways to do so. If you’ve been handed a new task that is a challenge, take a course to get an upper hand. If you’re building a business, hire a coach or support team to help you learn how to tackle your to-do list effectively. Many people consider success to be a high net worth, when in fact increasing your personal net worth is equally as important. However, you go about continued learning, be sure to create a plan and stick with it. Read the book, take the course, hire the coach, you’ll be glad you did.

Successful entrepreneurs know the value of self development and make it a part of their everyday lives. Regardless of the type of business you are in, the environment is always changing. Entrepreneurs must be ready to always learn new things in order to keep up with the fast-changing trends. 

It’s the difference between the losers and the winners that wake up at 4 a.m. personal development will double if not triple your income. 

We can all benefit from practicing daily personal development. The rewards are huge for those who invest the time to grow mentally.

Next time you wonder why you have not achieved your goals, think about how much time you dedicate to your professional and personal development and growth. Maybe you’re not doing enough to achieve what you desire. Nowadays, there are many ways to learn, either in person or online. 

The time invested is related to your success

Whatever your profession, trade, or business may be, from the moment you decide to engage in it, you need to learn everything about your field. Educate yourself, get trained, read, and do research; everything can be a valuable tool that will lead you to success. You should always take the time to do it and make it a habit; the more time you spend investing in your success, the sooner you will start to see results. Do not make excuses. You will eventually gain the ability to impact lives and achieve the best results.

Why Personal Development is the Best Investment You'll Ever Make

Since leaving my job to pursue an entrepreneurial life full time, I noticed that I spent so much time in my business that I didn't spend any on my growth or personal development. Another thing I noticed is that time because so important to me because there wasn't much of it. 

Not long after beginning on your entrepreneurial journey, especially if you’re working a 9-5, you may notice your time is in short supply. 

I’m a strong believer that personal development is the best investment you could ever make as an entrepreneur or small business owner. 

Personal investment is crucial. Even big corporate companies invest in their people. When I decided to walk away from corporate America to pursue entrepereneurship full time I realized after a few months to be successful as an entrepreneur I needed to invest in myself. The benefit for working for a big company is that they take care of personal development for you, so you don't have to worry about it - they made sure to send you to trainings, conferences, and etc. 

For years, I’ve been a self-leadership advocate—encouraging those around me to invest time and money in their personal growth, while practicing the same habit myself.

The concept is solid—if you want to grow, you need to invest in yourself.

Why Personal Development Is Critical for Entrepreneurs

If you want to grow, you need to invest.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and do the math.

 

I reckon newbies can get caught up in learning and not taking action, but I obviously believe it’s important. 

 

The question I often ask clients who come to me saying their business is not making money is : “Are you investing in yourself and your business?”.

Strangely enough, their answer is often “no”.

How do you expect people to pay for your products or services if you’re not willing to invest in yourself? If you’re stuck in your business but not willing to hire a coach, how do you expect to ever make great leaps?

Investing in yourself (whether via programs, courses, coaching or MasterMind) is essential if you wanna to create a thriving business.What many entrepreneurs don't understand when building a company is that you're in the business of serving others and the more your improve yourself, the more you have to offer to others. Think of the impact you can make when you have the knowledge to make better judgement calls for your client or customers. The best entrepreneurs know that they're not good at everything, so instead of trying to teach themselves everything, they invest in themselves to accelerate the process. 

The legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development. What is he trying to say? Think of it this way. The more you invest in your development as an entrepreneur the higher your cieling rises and the more likely you'll achieve massive success. For example, your favorite professional athlete had to invest thousands of dollars over there lifetime to continue to get better for the next stage. They invested in equipment, coaches, trainers, camps, AAU tournaments, and much more! They didn't just wake up in the NBA, they had to work hard each step of the way and invest in themselves. The more they did, the more likely there chances became at continuing to advance in their careers in high school, college and finally the NBA.

 

 

How Much Should You Invest in Your Personal Growth Every Year?

The 3 Percent Formula makes it easy to budget self-leadership, and it scales—so your investment grows alongside your tangible success.

The most profitable 20% of companies in each field typically set aside 3% of their revenue for training and development—and the investment pays off.

 

Read: 5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should do for Self Development


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How to Drive Audience Engagement with Instagram Stories

How to Drive Audience Engagement with Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories just changed the game on Instagram

If you don't already know, I'm here to tell you that you need to get on Instagram's new feature "Stories". First of all, it's not going anywhere. Did they copy? (Maybe, yeah, but so what).  It's time for you to stop playing and get it together. You keep discrediting the new tech features that continues to appear (no pun intended). You're unsure how you're going to market to your current audience, and you most certainly haven't even began to think about how you're going to reach people that's outside of your current friend group. What’s so great about Stories? And how can you use it to accomplish your goals?

I'm here to tell you why Instagram's Stories feature is here to stay and how brands can leverage it to get more exposure and drive more engagement. 

How Does it Work Exactly?

Instagram Stories are a new way for users to share pictures that a user might not want to remain on their profile indefinitely. Instead, Stories are shared with followers at the top of the regular feed and are deleted automatically after 24 hours. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

If you’re not familiar with Snapchat Stories, Instagram’s new feature will seem completely fresh. It’s a slideshow of photos and videos that you can add to throughout the day, with each addition expiring 24 hours after it was posted. These stories don’t clog up the main Instagram feed, which looks the same as it always did. At the top of the app, you’ll notice a new bar with your friends’ profile photos and a plus sign icon in the top left corner. Tapping on the plus sign lets you create a story, and tapping on a friend’s profile photo lets you view their story. You’ll know a friend has updated their story because a colorful ring will surround their profile photo in the top bar.

How are Brands using Instagram Stories?

After exploring stories for the last few months I started to notice different ways brands are now taking advantage of this new feature. Using the stories format, brands have opportunities to connect with their audience and visually inspire them with their brand stories. 

How are Instagram Stories different from Snapchat?

Well first, let me tell you how they are the same. Both platforms run on the same idea (obviously we know Instagram may or may not have copied snapchat directly). Simply put, you take a picture or short video and post it under your profile, where your followers—all of them, or a select group, depending on your settings—can watch it for a span of 24 hours. Regardless both are super powerful platforms - but let me tell you the two biggest reasons why brands are engaging more with Instagram over snapchat.

Built In Audience

Unlike snapchat, you already have a built in audience as soon as you create your first of many "stories" on Instagram. (I don't understand) Great let me explain - With Snapchat you're only limited to certain segments and one of them is your friend group. There's a challenge in building up a snapchat audience. 

In addition to the built-in audience on Instagram, you also have the opportunity for increased discoverability. The content you produce on Snapchat needs to be promoted regularly across other channels or else no one will see it. Or you must follow someone on Snapchat to discover his or her content. On Instagram, there are hashtags, geotags, and the Discover section to increase your chances of being found. Also, Instagram Stories are also searchable and appear publicly on a profile if a profile is set to public. Snapchat content can disappear into the void unless someone knows exactly what to look for.

So I'm basically saying, If you have an active audience base on Instagram, you should jump on Stories quick! 

Metrics

One of the most underrated features, that you need to be paying more attention to is the Instagrams Analytics feature. With Instagram Analytics, you can learn more about how your posts are performing and discover which type of content gets the most Instagram engagement! And that's just the beginning! Instagram also allows you insight into your audience lives, how old they are, and when they’re most frequently engaging with your content. This is important because you can now build strategically without guessing whose seeing or engaging with your posts. 

Now, How Can I Use Instagram to Drive Engagement?

There are many ways to increase engagement on Instagram, but I'm going to focus on two main areas that I use often, which cost nothing and I believe are the most effective: Instagram Live and Stories. 

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is the new ability to stream, in real time, from the Instagram app. Your community will then get a notification saying that you're "live" which just means you're now the host of your own life, event, t.v show, tutorial, etc. The possibilities are endless in the ways you can use "Live" but since I'm building a brand I use Instagram Live as an incredible way to increase website traffic & sales. 

Tips for a Successful Live Stream

Have A Clear Purpose

Like we mentioned above, think of your live stream like a mini-show, podcast episode, or blog post come alive. Have a clear topic and points. It helps to bullet things out ahead of time to keep yourself on topic. Remember that people are popping on and dropping off all the time, so it’s helpful to quickly recap your points from time to time.

Keep it Concise

I think live streams can be long or short, depending on the topic, and what your audience wants and expects from you. But most times people are not going to dedicate 20-30 minutes just to watch you. So make sure to get your point across in half the time.

Involve Your Audience

Ask questions and tell viewers to comment with their answers. Respond to them and make your stream as much of a two-way conversation as possible.

Send Them Somewhere Else (Call-to-Action)

As with all social media, the goal is to get someone to take the next step with you. Social media might be where someone discovers you or first engages with your brand, but you need to get them back to where you do business. Send them to one of your freebies or opt-ins. Comment with, or mention, a short link to a specific blog post that complements what you are talking about. Use your live stream to gain leads.

Tell a "STORIES"

Most recently, I created a series of "stories" that received a lot of engagement (below). (Everyone was in my dms asking me how I did it). Most of the dms were from people I didn't know. The most important aspect of "stories" is actually telling a story. Great story telling is one way to differentiate your brand. Story telling allows you to connect and engage with your audience on a deeper level. Because I know the brand that I've built, I was able to tell a story that my audience would understand, share, and simply love. Before you create a series of stories, really stop and think who are my audience and how will they relate to my content.

How was I able to reach people I didn't even know?.. You can now use hashtags and geotags directly on your Instagram stories. This allows other users to search for you or watch stories of certain locations. These new features on "stories" opens up your brand to a whole new audience without spending a dime.

Below I've included my personal Instagram "stories" that everyone seemed to love! As you can see below, I made sure once I created a great story, I made sure to tag users, add geotags and hashtags. 


Are you experimenting with Instagram Stories? What do you like? What don't you like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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What I Learned My First Year in Business

What I learned my first year in business

Mentally and physically drained

I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into and why I thought it was a good idea. Then on top of that, I decided to start another side project – little did I know it would be so successful so quick. There comes a point when you have to re-evaluate all the things happening around you and from there try to make the best decision for you. Arriving at this point a few months ago made me realize how hard it was to work a full time job while trying to start something impactful on the side.

About a year ago I began HouseofFofanah.com with the goal of trying to provide business education to creatives looking to start businesses. The idea came about because I had spent time around so many designers and creatives that were great at their art but not so great at the business side of things. It was shocking to me that in design schools they give you the tools to create but not to sell your creation.

When I launched HouseofFofanah.com for the first time it was just me. Shortly after, I brought on another person, and another, and soon it was about 6 people. It was a great time because we were getting so many viewers on our newly built platform. Each person on the team had a different background and brought a lot to the table.

This was the first virtual company I began. Well, what exactly do I mean? The idea has been around for a long time. (Thank you Buffer for the inspiration. Read this great article by them talking about why they completely ditched having an office.) A virtual company is when you don’t really have a physical location; instead all the members on your team get to work remote from the comforts of their home and the flexibility of their schedule. There are many pro’s and con’s with not having a physical location. The first is cost related; When running a business the most expensive thing you’ll most likely be paying for is space/rent. The other pro is the fact that you don’t restrict talent to a certain region and in fact can hire the very best. However, there are also cons to running a virtual business. For example, sometimes it’s better to meet in person when you’re building a company culture, especially in the beginning.

Early Challenges

Personal Challenges

It’s understood that when you’re starting a company there are many challenges and obstacles along the way. I mean we were only a few months old and naive to all the difficulties that would come about. First, I’d like to just talk about some personal challenges. I was working a full time job that had me there about 60-70 hours a week (This is not a joke, welcome to consulting life). Spending that amount of time at work I didn’t even have time for myself let along friends and family. Most times I found my back against thew all and missed birthdays (sorry guys), weddings, and other important events to my friends. With all that going on I forgot to mention I was trying to run a start-up on the side trying to manage a team of six (which would later grow to a team of 16 with our summer internship program that would bring in 10 interns).

@@The personal challenges I guess you can say were my doing. What I was trying to do wasn’t physically possible.@@

(Sometimes I get this idea in my head that I’m indestructible.) Well, I learned my lesson.

Besides my own personal challenges there were also team challenges. Instead of diving deep on this topic I just want to focus on some of the key areas we struggled in and where other start-ups tend to as well. The areas where we experienced the most difficulties were around personal development, growing too quickly and accountability and responsibility.

Let me explain..

Personal Development

One of the greatest formula to a successful company (this can be found in any company you can imagine) is the ability to develop their people. What do I mean by this? Think about all the training programs provided before your start your new job. And even before you accepted the offer you saw just how polished individuals became overtime. There were workshops, development trainings which all tied into personal development. As a new start-up there are many opportunities out there that are even free to attend. It’s always important to keep your eye out for them to send your team (and even yourself). Another thing you should think about is establishing a mentorship network and an advisory board. Both will help in terms of receiving guidance and direction but also wisdom and experience in guiding your company and providing input for your people. Lastly, think about weekly check-ups. (Yes, i know the last thing on your mind is your people, but investing in them is the greatest thing not only for them but for the company.)

Growing too quickly

Yes, this is a thing! And I see it happen all too often. This is how it usually happens:

You share your idea and others express interest. They tell you they’re willing to help in any capacity. You take on the individual because you believe you need but in reality have know defined role or on boarding processes highlighting their responsibilities and etc. (Sidetone: the more people you have does not mean the more legit your company will be; not even close)

Defining roles and Accountability

Often times the missing link between an idea and execution that mostly goes missed is having well defined roles. It’s import to make sure people know and understand what’s expected of them, as well as who is in charge. It’s absolutely critical that roles are defined as the company and team grows. Miscommunication is common in start-ups that don’t really have defined roles and when things don’t get done it’s hard to track it back to who was accountable.


What mistakes have you’ve made when starting a business or thing you’re working on improving? I’m really interested in learning more and engaging in the comments below.


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