I am so relieved to be writing this post because I’ve been scared for a really long time. It is complete BS when people jump up and cheer about their new company’s launch, telling you how great they feel. Because what’s really happening, to any sane entrepreneur, is that they are terrified.

Quistic is an online learning site where people can build skills to create stable, fulfilling careers. It’s the natural result of all the conversations and events we’ve had together on this blog.

Here’s what I want to happen: Every one of you should try a course, because I really think you’ll like it.

At first I panicked that I was not doing online courses the way everyone else does. But I received effusive feedback about how much people love my video seminars, and then I realized I know how to make online learning feel like a party instead of a lecture. That’s when I decided to make a company out of it.

When I was testing if Quistic would work as a company, I had some of my friends sell Quistic-style courses to their communities, and it went really well. I did this furtively, of course, because I’m scared to do anything in front of you that will fail. I know that’s lame. I know that rock star entrepreneurs say they embrace failure and failure is actually growth and all that. It’s just that they are not saying it while they’re failing. They’re saying it from their yacht in the Bahamas with their hot model wife crawling all over them.

And also, let me just add that entrepreneurship is so overly glorified that all those hot model wives also have their own startups. Apps, usually. Just something small, to talk about at cocktail parties. In Vail.

The time when I get mean is when I’m scared. That’s how I know I need to launch. Because any minute now I’m going to start naming names for all the apps of wives of investors I know.

But I can’t do that because if I’ve done anything right so far it’s been to become the queen of fundraising. And also, I’ve been the queen of hiring. Here’s what I did. I coach all these people who are totally amazing but for various reasons they are underemployed. I keep a running list of them in my head and I hired a bunch of them for this company. It’s been a great experience because I already know all their secrets because I coached them, and they already know all my secrets because they read my blog, so I have a company with no BS because we have nothing to hide.

Well, there has been a little bit of BS. The BS in my company is me making excuses for not launching our site. First, I told the team that we are making good money anyway, with products that do not require a consumer web site. This is true. And also, we’re doing online events with impressive companies, like this one with Philips. So we are making good headway with no web site.

So my co-workers left me alone about how we are not launching.

Then I told them we had to not launch because part of getting to the next round of funding is having steadily building revenue from all the courses I’ve been running as test cases. So we didn’t want to have too much revenue in September. “Trust me,” I told them. So they did.

Then, toward the middle of October there was sort of an intervention. It was as if I was not going to work and instead staying home shooting heroin. Except that really I was writing blog posts about not launching instead of launching. The team couldn’t take it any more.

Alex said, “I’ve seen a lot of startups launch and the ones that fail are crushed by the eccentric perfectionism of the CEO.”

Emily said, “I feel like I’m in a hostage situation.”

Cassie said, “I think you need me to call you each hour today to make sure that you’re on track to publish your launch post tomorrow.”

That last comment was particularly deflating because I’ve spent pretty much the last month calling Cassie every day making sure her sales will come through. I keep telling her she needs to take more responsibility for hitting weekly revenue goals.

So maybe the reason I’m finally announcing the site is so I can go back to being the person who tells everyone else they need to get their work done on time.

But I think the real reason I’m finally announcing this site is that everything I do is more fun when I do it with you. I came up with this company idea because of all the ways I tried to make money from my blog, the online courses were not only the most successful but they also made the most lasting difference among community members.

I have a grand idea that this community will lead the way for how to build skills and have fun in a career that does not destroy your life but rather makes it fulfilling. Our community has been forward thinking on a lot of levels, and I think online learning will be one of them.

So, here’s hoping I meet a lot of you in the classes. And here’s the link to my new company: Quistic.

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110 replies
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  1. Biron Clark
    Biron Clark says:

    Congrats on the new company! I clicked through and checked out some of the course descriptions- it looks really good.

    I think the first one that grabbed my attention was “Be Great at Salary Negotiation”.

    Good luck growing this business in the future =)

  2. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Congratulations and the best of luck to you on your new company. I really hope I can participate, I feel I could take every class.

  3. Helene Taylor
    Helene Taylor says:

    Congratulations! It’s great to have people around you who hold you accountable and get you to act. One of the great reasons to have a team! Good work to your team for getting you to launch!

  4. Sukeina
    Sukeina says:

    Congrats Penelope! Love the concept and the name–I’m curious to know how you came up with such a great name. Please do tell!

  5. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    Congrats! don’t forget to update your Bio to: founded Brazen Careerist and 3 other startups…. :)

    I would like to take 3 of your courses but $195 a pop is tough for me right now. Still unemployed. If I could pay in two installments instead of one, that’s doable.

  6. Kathy Donchak
    Kathy Donchak says:

    Penelope,

    Congrats – this is a concept that is so needed. Love the clean design – looking forward to taking a class. Cheers to you and all of us that will benefit from your latest passion!

    Kathy

  7. Eric
    Eric says:

    Hello P’,

    Congratulations for your launch !

    Browsing at your website, a question poped up in my mind.
    I started following you when I was a twentysomething. Today, I am a thirtysomething and I still see you targeting the twentysomethings.

    Is there any target group transition planned in your mind or do you plan to continuously targeting twentysomethings and embracing Gen Z’s expertise instead of Gen Y ?

    Personnally and selfishly, I would love to see you acknowledging that your today’s expertise is about 30’s. I always feel a bit awkward seeing your 20s banners like “this is not for me anymore” while I still can highly relate to a lot of blog posts you are writting.

    I think what I want to say is that I feel a discrepancy between your ads and your blog’s content.

    Or maybe it is only me. I cannot say for sure.

    Anyway, again, congratulations and best wishes for your new company !

    Cheers,

  8. Katy
    Katy says:

    well it was a nice surprise to see you and Maria teaming up on the design class. I found her blog years ago, and I’ve separately emailed both of you on this problem I have with launching my design-related business.
    I just couldn’t figure out what the hell I am trying to accomplish so I couldn’t bit the bullet and buy coaching or pay Maria to pick the colors for my furniture line. I felt like I was throwing myself at an impossible business idea.
    I want to buy this class because it’s both of you in one place (yay!) but I still feel frozen. Will this class involve how to decide if your business idea even has legs? Before you spend any more of your life and $$$ on it?

  9. Anita
    Anita says:

    Congratulations! I am already thinking of taking one of the classes, but would like to sign up as the date gets closer. Are you going to add a newsletter or an email list to notify people of new courses? I would love to see that added.

  10. Catherine Cheugh
    Catherine Cheugh says:

    Hey there! Congratulations on the new site. Tres cool! Been reading your blogs for a while and either love them or hate them, which means you’re doing it right! Good luck with the new venture — the site alone makes me want to sign up for everything.

  11. Erin Allred
    Erin Allred says:

    Adding my congratulations! Seems like a natural progression :) and a wonderful fit. I see the classes fit your target demographic but then wonder selfishly, what about mine? I’ll email you about one-on-one coaching.

  12. Cyndi Richards
    Cyndi Richards says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I am so excited for you, and for me actually! I’ve wanted to hire you for coaching for a long time, but haven’t been able to afford it. With the offering of these new courses, I can definitely justify taking one as I can afford them. I love the way your brain works and am so appreciative for your ideas and thoughts. Looking forward to taking my first course!!

  13. Beth Morley
    Beth Morley says:

    Congrats Penelope! I absolutely adore you and I would hire you to coach me in my career if I wasn’t already content with my own path. Amazing. Rock on sister!

  14. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Congratulations! Like your comment about Cassie, its a treat for me to watch your life unfold venture after venture.

    That’s a genius hiring strategy and nice to meet the team. Hope you enjoy every success.

    As for the website itself, I agree with most of the other comments although for me I do find it a bit-corporatey and missing some of the charm of the website. Having done a few of your seminars, I know if a new one would come up, I never sign up straightaway, but I usually know if there’s a good chance I will do it. Then I keep going back every so often reading the comments of people signing up – as if to get even the most prudent part of me excited about it. So far for me that’s missing from the website – the idea that the party is starting even before the course begins.

    But overall,the concept is great, would have loved to have been a fly-on-the-wall watching you pitch for investment. No doubt will be joining you again for a seminar sometime.

  15. Ru
    Ru says:

    I love the design! Could I ask who did the photography on the thumbnails of those courses? I can see all the thought that went into illustrating each course to pull you in and sign up.

  16. Laura Hamilton
    Laura Hamilton says:

    Quistic is a really cool concept. I definitely think that there’s a market for more tactical and startup-oriented classes (as opposed to the academic classes offered on Coursera and EdX).

  17. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    When I saw the post title I got excited. I couldn’t even read the entire post before I scrolled down to find the link to jump over to the site.
    Useful, relevant and needed!!! Yay!

  18. Shari Arciaga
    Shari Arciaga says:

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I can’t tell you how many times, when someone has asked me about how to advance in their career, I have referred them to your blog. But your blog can be equal parts overwhelming and distracting to the young careerist. So now I can direct them to Quistic. And then to your blog to be distracted. Thank you!

  19. Deena
    Deena says:

    Penelope,
    I love both the concept and content of the new company. The website is clean and elegant.
    I do, however, really miss your blog posts.
    Will you find the time to write for the masses again?

    ~Deena

  20. John
    John says:

    Penelope:

    Should someone who is not in their 20s, or even 30s, but has already had a career and then left it and wants to return and maybe strike off in a new and different direction (surely you can relate to that!) take your course?

    Thx.

  21. Jijon
    Jijon says:

    FANTASTIC! Congratulations and full celebration to you Penelope and your team.The site looks great — easy to get around and clear. Elegant, simple, creative learning is what I see. Courses are fascinating and I look forward to getting involved. Thanks for the suggestion, Craig. I think this is something we really need. Stay tuned for that…Generally, it’s such a treat to get suggestions from you guys. It’s hard to notice everything when you are in the thick of it. You guys are a great source of ideas. I really appreciate it.

  22. Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher says:

    Hi Penelope! Love your new business idea, and since I took your blogging seminar a few months ago, I’ve launched a business to help high school kids brand themselves for college (I emailed you during the seminar, not sure if you remember). It’s going well and I would love to take your coaching class next month, but there’s no way way I’m entering credit card info into a pop-up window. Do you have a more obviously-secure way to pay, or a coupon code for a devotee like myself? :-) Best of luck with the new business…your blogging seminar + HubSpot + The Icarus Deception has changed the trajectory of my life.

  23. Olivier
    Olivier says:

    I worry that Quistic sounds too much like “quixotic”.

    OTOH I loved the contact page where you don’t try to hide your unfashionable location but proudly display a Google Maps of your farm. Three cheers for Darlington, WI!

  24. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I really like it. I think it’s a great looking site, love the topics, and online education is really starting to have a moment right now.

  25. NB
    NB says:

    What is the difference between a small business and a startup? This company seems like it could be considered a small business. Curious why you identify it as a start up and how do you define the difference? I guess raising investor money, targeting fast growth, and hoping to be acquired quickly by a tech giant are some differences I’ve read about. Just curious why you prefer to be involved in start ups and don’t really consider small business.

  26. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    Congrats on the new Business Penelope. I’m sure it was a very stressful putting everything together and preparing for the launch. It will be nice to hear how your new website does over the next several months.

  27. S Templeton
    S Templeton says:

    I had a look at your new site and it looks really good. I look forward to checking it out in the near future.

    Good luck with this new company.

    Regards
    Simon

  28. Adriana Zoder
    Adriana Zoder says:

    I took your course “Reach your goals through blogging” and applied all the advice you give in building my latest blog post. I got 7 times the comments, as well as new followers and a hateful comment, besides all the positive ones. To me, that’s a good sign. And I was scared to post, but that’s how I knew I was on to something. Thank you!

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