This year’s recap
I will look back on 2018 as a year of courage. I published She Engineers and left the corporate world to found this startup. I traveled around the country to share my story and have met some amazing, inspiring men and women. I’ve learned a whole lot about book marketing, building a website, blogging, and creating content. It’s been both awesome and scary to be able to go “all in” on my dream this year.
Successes to Celebrate
As you can tell from the recap, this has been a year of major transitions for me, and all-and-all I’m pretty happy with it. Two of the biggest successes I’m celebrating are:
1. Publishing She Engineers in January.
2. Resigning from my corporate job and starting Engineers Rising LLC in July.
I’m not even sure my husband believed me when I said I’d be going “all in” on my own company by the time school ended in June. As the end of May approached, I certainly started to question myself. After a solid book launch (1000 downloads the first week!), my book sales numbers were not performing consistently at all, and I wasn’t able to focus on automating systems to help with this challenge (such as advertising) due to continued requests for speaking engagements. I quickly learned that the significant preparation involved to get this particular introverted female engineer comfortable presenting to a roomful of strangers - in addition to my regular employee workload - was almost overwhelming. However, I trusted one my mentors when she said this gets easier with practice (she was right!).
As usual, I tend to be overly optimistic on timelines, but my last day as an employee was the last day of June. So, two weeks after school ended isn’t too bad in my book.
For some people, resigning from a corporate job would immediately be cause for celebration. For me, this was literally one of the hardest decisions I’d ever had to make. From the outside, leaving a well-paying, fairly secure engineering job that I was good at seemed crazy. I am a very risk-adverse person, and I remember when I started working I was 100% convinced that nothing on this earth could ever convince me to start my own company (there’s a story there for another day, but I won’t get into it here).
Yet, after the book came out, I have never felt happier and fulfilled than when I was helping other female engineers. It was easy to talk about what I had experienced and how we could change the narrative. And, when - after every talk I gave - an engineer came up and told me I really needed to get this message out to everyone, it was then I realized the impact I could have that went far beyond individual engineering project outcomes. It was then I realized that I was put on this earth to help other female engineers slog through the world that is a male-dominated engineering cultures, and share the practical tools I had learned throughout my own career to help others succeed on their own terms.
Failures and Lessons Learned
My biggest failure this year was not launching the She Engineers pilot course. I vastly underestimated the amount of time I would spend creating the engineersrising.com website, creating content for the website, volunteering, and doing preparation for speaking events.
On the volunteering side, I became a moderator for the American Society of Civil Engineer’s online community Collaborate in August. Additionally, the ASCE PA Infrastructure Report Card was released in November, where I playing a significant role in the release for the Central PA section. This included prep and training for media interviews (one of those is available online HERE) as well as meeting with local legislators afterward. I really feel all of these things both helped expand my network and helped me significantly in becoming more comfortable in public speaking situations, but they were also time-consuming since I was practicing some new skills.
I had originally planned to launch the She Engineers pilot course in October, but something had to give so I decided to push the launch to 2019. I did spend a lot of time in September and October mapping out all the learning outcomes and modules. So, all that’s left is really getting the course site up and running and we’ll be ready go.
I thank this community for your patience since some of you signed up for the waiting list months ago. It’s coming, I promise, and is going to be my big focus in the first half of 2019. If you want to join the wait list, please sign up HERE. I am purposefully keeping the pilot course group small in order to allow a lot of one-of-one interactions and mentoring, with a maximum cap of 20 engineers since I’ll be personally leading this group. Those spots will open first to those on the waiting list, and may very well fill with this list only. If that happens I won’t open up to the larger community until the course opens a second time.
New Skills I’ve acquired
Continual learning is something that makes my heart sing. I am a serial learner, and love a good deep-dive into subjects of interest. It will come as no surprise that this was a year of learning and skill acquisition.
The #1 skill I’ve acquired or improved is public speaking. I have presented some in the past, but when the book came out, I was surprised at the numerous requests to speak. I spoke to students, young professionals, and audiences that included all ages and levels of engineers. I traveled to more states this year and met more new people than I had in the previous two years combined to share my message.
The #2 skill I have been improving is marketing. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that new entrepreneurs need to learn this skill. I’ve never had a class or any training in marketing, so I knew this was a skill “hole” going in that I needed to learn. Tapping mentor networks, I focused on those in my extended circle who are doing this right – taking their online companies from start to multi-million dollars within a decade. For me, right now I’m learning the most from Chandler Bolt at Self-Publishing School (I’ve completed four of his programs in the last two years), and Russell Brunson at Click Funnels.
There are many that have helped me in large and small ways along this journey so far. I want to give a quick shout-out to a few people or companies that have helped me launch She Engineers and Engineers Rising LLC in the right direction. Since I have to keep legal happy, please note that my thanks to companies or individuals does NOT imply that they support or have approved any material on my website. This is simply a heart-felt “thank you” for your help on the journey.
My family, and particularly my husband – Words cannot express how much I love you and how grateful I am for your support. I could not have written the book or started this company without you.
The myriad of folks at the American Society of Engineers – Including Ben (my first post-book interview!), Tirza (Collaborate community coordinator), Alexa and Emily (PR training), and countless others (I’m sorry in advance for those I forgot to list!). I’m honored to be able to volunteer with an organization that helps engineers have a bigger impact in the world.
Chandler, Sean, and the team at Self-Publishing School – I believe the SPS community is the most supportive, helpful, and knowledgeable communities on the internet. It’s one I am aspiring to with my own community someday. I have purchased four (yes four!) of their courses in the last two years, and each one has helped me take something I was “stuck” on to the next level. Writing and publishing a book, marketing, business planning, building a platform, and just general peer support on the many days when writing isn’t coming easily. I especially want to thank Marlena and Susana, the ladies who I met more than a year ago through SPS’s Book Based Intensive weekend, and who have been providing guidance, support, and encouragement in our Mastermind group ever since.
Russell Brunson, or whomever had the idea for the Click funnels One Funnel Away Challenge – I am admittedly a marketing newbie, and although I’d been playing with moving my landing pages to Click funnels I had not made the leap yet due to the expensive. When I signed up for the OFA Challenge, I thought I was just going to learn how to use Click funnels. Instead, I got an entire crash course in marketing techniques, and how to properly tell a story. This is stuff I’ll be going back to again and again.
The Mirasee Team – Your business bootcamp was eye-opening for me in terms of planning out a long-term successful business models, and the personal business plan review/discussion at the end helped me map out my goals for the next few years. This course was the 4 week MBA crash-course I needed to understand revenue, cash-flows, and why even the greatest idea in the world will fail if you don’t have the right business model for your market.
Vanessa Horn and Team – Thanks for helping me mind map the outcomes and modules for the She Engineers pilot course. I’ll let you know how it goes when it launches in 2019!
2019 will be the year of “Courses and Content.”
In 2019, launching the pilot course is my top goal to accomplish in the first 90 days of the year.
I will continue to speak at venues where I think I can provide an exceptional value for my audience, and continue to build online content.
I aim to more regularly and consistently post new content than I did in 2018. My goal is to post something new (a blog, a video, etc.) at least twice a month while I’m launching the pilot course, and moving to at least once a week in the second half of the year.