My personal hygiene is holding back the growth of my startup.

This month I am teaching a course: Get the Guts to Start Freelancing. If you are sick of me promoting my courses on this blog, then please note that this is not the post where I am promoting this course. That’ll be another one. In this post I am going to tell you that the course is four days and I will probably not change clothes for any of the days.

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The world of entrepreneurship is typically one of black and white. Magazine covers are full of people who have given up their lives to grow a billion dollar tech company. And the phalanx around those people are the entrepreneurs who want to sell a big company themselves. Which means long hours, huge tradeoffs, and participation in a hard-core boys club.

In that view, entrepreneurship is only for an intrepid few. They are young with no responsibility, or they are rich, with a huge paid or unpaid support system. But I think there is a much more broad way to think about entrepreneurship.

Here are four models for entrepreneurship that no one talks about. See if you find something that’s a good fit for you. Read more

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. Read more

I fired Melissa.

We were bickering all the time. And she was saying I’m impossible to work for and I was saying she’s impossible to manage. The problem is I’m a mad raving lunatic about making sure that people who work for me like working for me.

When Ian, the guy who I was going to do a company with but then ended up not doing a company with, asked Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh for references for me, they said I was loyal and caring and they both gave me so much credit for helping their careers and it just made me really really happy. I want to know I am making peoples’ lives better.

So when I told Melissa I was going to launch a company, she asked what her job would be, and I said, “Nothing. You are not in my company.” Read more

I stay up way too late at night running numbers for my new company. It’s incredible—me doing spreadsheets of financial projections—because I have dyscalculia, which means I was in special ed math and cannot do simple arithmetic, even now. But if you ask me how many people will take three or more seminars over the next four years, I can tell you the math I did to make that projection. Five-year projections come easily to me.

It’s just that I stay up all night doing it.

So when Matthew wakes me up to deal with pigs, the first thing I think is no. Not that I say no. He almost never asks for help with the animals, because I have no idea how to farm and we live next door to his parents, who have both been farming their whole lives, so of course when there is something important to do he asks them and not me.

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I’m driving to the Madison airport to pick up Ian, my new partner in my new secret startup. I’m wearing the sunglasses that Melissa’s boyfriend said make her look too rich and too Type-A. The glasses are perfect for today.

I am also wearing a new, green shirt that I got at JC Penney. Did you read about how the new CEO overhauled women’s fashion and alienated all the loyal customers? This makes me think it’s okay that I like the shirts they sell. (Or used to sell—since he just got fired for selling clothes I like.)

I email Melissa a picture of me driving with the shirt on. Then I call her. Read more

Melissa says to me, “The reason you’re not writing is because you’re hiding. And if you hide something from blog readers you can’t cope. So you don’t write.”

I tell Melissa, “If you’re going to move to New York then David should put some of his huge salary in your bank account.”

Melissa says, “Don’t change the subject when you can’t face reality.” Read more

One of the first things I wondered about the Farmer when I met him is why he was even reading my blog.

He told me, “I’m an entrepreneur.”

I was hooked. I had no idea what he was talking about. But I could see that I was going to learn a lot from him, and nothing gets me going like a steep learning curve.

That was five years ago. Today, I read all the farming magazines that come to the house, I sit in on meetings with the seed salesman and the accountant who specializes in farms. The Farmer has a rule that I can listen but I have to wait until the end for questions, because people in the farm community are too nice to tell me when I’m asking too many. “But you are,” he tells me. “Just trust me that you are.” Read more

This is a webinar on how to get an idea for a business and launch it. It includes four days of of video sessions and email-based course materials. You can purchase this workshop for anytime, on-demand access. The cost is $195.

Get access now.

I’m giving a webinar on how to get an idea for a business and launch it. And, you’ll be pleased to know that I have never had a lot of money when I launched my businesses, so I’ll teach you how to launch a business the same way: with very little money.

I give lots of big speeches about entrepreneurship, but they are always closed to the public, so blog readers rarely hear them. Also, I do a lot of coaching sessions for entrepreneurs, evaluating their  ideas, getting them out of slumps, helping them raise money—all the stages of a business. And I keep thinking that so many of the calls are the same that I should do a webinar about the most frequent issues.

So the webinar will be one week long: October 15 – October 19. I’ll do a live video each day about how to launch your own business. At the end of each session I’ll take questions, and the last day will be all questions—you can ask me anything, live, and I’ll answer. If you miss any of the sessions, you can listen to the recording on your own schedule.

The cost of this webinar is $195. You can pay the fee via PayPal to penelope@penelopetrunk.com.  I’ll send you a confirmation and an introduction to the webinar which will include some fun initial reading and instructions for accessing the videos.

Download now!

Here are the topics we’ll cover: Read more

Last month I gave a speech at the Natural Products Expo in California, and I took my son with me. Everyone’s an entrepreneur in my family, and my son’s first thought was that this would be a good way to expand his egg business. He knows the eggs he gets from our chicken coop garner a high price from natural food types.

“This isn’t where you sell regular food,” I tell him. “This is more like a convention for processed natural food. People can charge more money for processing eggs than selling just the eggs.”

“Maybe someone can process my eggs,” he suggested. Read more