Lessons Learned in Business: The 25th Anniversary Edition

This year marks the 25th anniversary of FSB Associates. What started as a one-woman (me) shop from our spare bedroom has grown into a dream small business with a fabulous staff working around the country, and a roster of thousands of amazing clients. While our plans for a celebration at BEA had to be shelved and our planned parties in New Jersey and San Diego will have to wait, we are still thrilled that we’ve been able to celebrate such a milestone, albeit remotely. 

We were the first to promote books on the web, and over the last 25 years, we have continued to evolve and thrive. Two years ago we launched our biggest innovation, by launching a proprietary platform for building author websites called Pub Site. Because of the success of Pub Site, our two intelligent, creative, and hard-working daughters Syrah and Aliya, have now joined the company. Hence setting the stage for the next 25 years (I hope).

None of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of John Burke. Truly the best partner in life and business, John is the true asset of FSB (although I like taking all the credit).

Thank you to everyone who has helped make the last 25 years such a success…the authors and publishing colleagues who have trusted me to bring their books to the world, plus my fabulous staff who took my vision and ran with it. Anna Sacca, Michelle Fitzgerald, and Julia Sutherlin are extraordinary partners and it is on their shoulders that we continue to grow even doing a pandemic. 

I have been thinking about the lessons I have learned along the way in business and life. Here is my take, maybe it will protect you from some spills and skinned knees. 

  1. Know what success means to you. It is not what it means to others. It took me decades to figure this out. 
  2. Being busy and being profitable is not the same thing. For many years, we found ourselves running on a hamster wheel without having the time to consider if the work we were doing was profitable. 
  3. Be honest always. 25 years have brought a lot of ups and downs, but facing challenges with honesty has always been the right call. Be honest with your staff, with your clients, and most importantly with yourself.
  4. Don’t Borrow Money. If you can help it, don’t borrow money. Grow your company from cash-flow. You will be grateful when a recession or a pandemic hits. 
  5. Keep every promise. Really, even the small ones.
  6. Be on time, always in every way. This rule has served me well in everything I do. It shows respect and is the easiest way to earn trust.
  7. Know when to quit an idea. You can’t be brilliant all the time.
  8. Never stop learning and evolving. If you are still doing what you did 5 years ago and in the same way, you are not evolving. 
  9. Focus. Nobody can do everything well, define your niche, and master it.
  10. Value your time. It’s the only way others will too.

Having your own business is awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion for their work and willing to work for their dreams. Go forth and learn lessons of your own. It is not an easy ride, expect sleepless nights, and be ready to face every fear and every insecurity, but at the end of the day, there is nothing better than living an authentic, flexible, brave, scary, passion-filled life.

Over the years we have worked with some wonderful people and I am grateful for their friendship and business. We couldn’t have done it without any of you. I am utterly grateful for each one of you. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please join the discussion on my Facebook page

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