Books don’t sell themselves.
Like so many authors before me, I only learned this lesson after publishing my first novel. And when book sales dried up, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about business, sales, or marketing.
Thus began a multi-year self-education in business fundamentals.
The internet offers no shortage of opportunities to learn about business building strategies and tactics. Online courses, podcasts, ebooks, workshops and communities abound, many promising to help aspiring entrepreneurs reap the rewards of “passive income” easily and quickly. The “quit your job and follow your passion” hype is nearly ever-present amongst this racket, and it didn’t take long to realize determining who to learn business from was going to be nearly as difficult as developing and implementing the knowledge itself.
Then Fizzle came into the picture.
Fizzle.co is a membership site for creative entrepreneurs looking to build a business around something they care about. In addition to over 40 courses on the fundamentals of business, Fizzle includes an active forum where a vibrant community of entrepreneurs engage and support one another on a daily basis.
Rather than promising the quick path to wealth and riches, the marketing copy on Fizzle’s home page offers only “Honest online training… and a community of entrepreneurs who won’t let you quit.” It’s a humble approach to sales copy in a niche otherwise filled with hyperbole.
Fizzle members are affectionately known as “Fizzlers” and many of them are seeing startlingly success.
Lawyer and entrepreneur John Corcoran of Smart Business Revolution has grown his business in leaps and bounds since joining Fizzle several years ago, and he continues to offer support and advice to new Fizzlers in the community forums.
“It’s important to surround yourself with people who are similarly building their businesses and who believe in you,” says Corcoran. “So often, in our day-to-day life, we’re surrounded by people who don’t understand what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. It helps tremendously to have other aspiring entrepreneurs around us who encourage us, especially when we have setbacks.”
Fizzler Julia Tunstall of A Bar Above shares a similar sentiment. “I used to agonize for hours or days, Googling stuff and over analyzing everything,” she recalls. “Now I’ll go to Fizzle and search the forums first. It’s so much faster than being stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ mode. There are so many smart people in there.”
In addition to the community support, Fizzle offers high quality training courses focusing on the fundamentals of business. Everything from choosing a business idea, to setting up a website, to having customer conversations gets covered in the course catalogue. Fizzler Andy Pardue of Great Northwest Wine found the courses particularly helpful. “The video lessons are invaluable,” he insists. “I still think about how I set up my podcast by simply following Caleb’s instructions [in the Podcasting Fundamentals course].”
When speaking with Fizzlers, the topic of “fundamentals” often comes up. As content marketer and copywriter Bea Kylene Jumarang explains, Fizzle taught her, “Business comes down to a few basic things: knowing the people you serve and then having a solid process for getting in touch with them until they trust you enough to form a buying relationship.” Much of what is taught in the Fizzle courses is based around this simple premise, but, as Jumarang notes, “Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it comes easy.”
Jarratt Horton also stresses fundamentals when asked about his biggest Fizzle take-away. “The challenge isn’t working out how to do it; the challenge is focusing your efforts for a sustained period of time and working towards a single goal.” After struggling with multiple ideas, about twelve months ago Horton decided to pick a single business idea to focus on exclusively. “I started as a complete beginner, but fast forward to now and I’ve developed specialist skills and knowledge in my chosen field.”
Like many Fizzlers, after much learning and hard work, Horton is starting to see results. “I’m on the right path,” he says, enthusiastically. “I wake up with a burning desire to keep working, keep improving, keep pushing forwards. Everything has built slowly, but looking back I can see the benefit of continued focus and effort. I’m still working my day job, but I’ve built a solid platform that I’m hoping to grow into a sustainable full time income in the next year.”
While Horton’s goal of leaving his day job is shared by most Fizzlers, former Fizzle employee Barrett Brooks suggests what’s being taught at Fizzle is about more than just money.
“Entrepreneurs with a mission, or a connection to the meaning behind why they do what they do in their business, are much more potent than entrepreneurs just trying to make a buck,” says Brooks, a former student of Seth Godin and a strong proponent of socially conscious businesses. “The pursuit of money will only carry you so far as an entrepreneur, but the pursuit of a mission, doing something because you believe it should exist in the world or solving a problem because you believe it should be solved, is so much more powerful than anything else.”
My own entrepreneurial journey has been a surprising one, full of twists and turns. I came to Fizzle as an fiction author hoping to learn how to sell my novel to readers. Today, in addition to authoring five books, I run a successful ghostwriting business, as well as an author coaching business. Every day, I help people get ideas out of their heads, onto the page, and into reader’s hands. I’m generating revenue doing work I love, and I’m doing so in an honest and ethical manner.
I’m confident my business, like so many small businesses being built by Fizzlers, will continue to grow and flourish thanks to the strong foundations Fizzle has taught me.
Interested in joining the Fizzler ranks? You can sign-up a free two week membership here.
(This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse here.)
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