Photo of ornate apartment building doorway on Central Park West, taken by Joana Miranda

As the Empire Building Kit wraps up a year’s worth of informative small business building and lifestyle directed tips, Chris Guillebeau, the program’s author, is focusing on the various successes of some of the “Emperors-in-Training” who embarked on the course.  So far, some of the more memorable entrepreneurs I’ve “met” are the creator of a DIY printables greeting card business who went from earning $200 max a month to over $1200 monthly allowing her to quit her day job; and, a business coach who earned $247,000 in her first full year online.  (In my book that classifies her as an Empress…forget the “in-training” part!)

However, even more fascinating to me was the story of Brett Kelly, the creator behind Evernote Essentials.  The fact that I’ve never heard of Evernote (a combination desktop application and internet service) didn’t change the way Brett’s story resonated with me.  After spending about 18 months learning, loving, exploring, and (in Brett’s own words) “abusing” the program, he felt that he probably knew it better than anyone else around.

Needing a bit of a financial boost for his family, Brett saw an entrepreneurial project in writing an Ebook about Evernote to be sold online.  He brainstormed the topics he’d write about; the longer he brainstormed, the longer the list grew.  So did his confidence in being able to provide answers about the program.  However, Brett also came to the realization that writing about another company’s product could lead to the sticky area of logo, trademark and other infringements.  To cover his bases, he contacted the company to see what kind of restrictions might be placed on his project.  Much to his delight and surprise, Evernote was excited at what he was doing, had wanted to do something similar, but didn’t have a person in place to do it.  They gave him their full blessing.

Fast forward 6 months later to when Brett was ready to launch his Ebook and had shown the draft copy to several family members and friends.  As a courtesy, he also asked Evernote if they’d like to see the draft.  Not long after, he got an email from the CEO asking if he’d be willing to speak on the phone, and – you guessed it – Brett was offered a job at the company.

But the story gets better!  Brett went on to launch his Ebook, and within 11 days the Ebook reached the sales figure that he had quietly told himself in his mind would make worthwhile all of the work he had put into the creation of the Ebook.

That figure was $10,000.

As I mentioned, I’ve never even heard of Evernote (or Brett Kelly).  However, I can identify with liking to do something SO much that you read everything you can find on the subject, you pour your heart and soul into doing it, and you wonder –

What if…?

In just about 3 weeks, I’ll be wrapping up my own year-long journey through the EBK.  My story isn’t going to be making the headlines in the EBK, but I’m proud of my own journey nevertheless.  I’ll share the highlights in Week 52!


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