Throwback Thursday: Indie Business Network Launches, January 16, 2000

If you missed last week's Throwback Thursday, sharing some of the life changing experiences that compelled me to leave the “safety” of a “secure” job to start the Indie Business Network, you can get it here. This week, I take you through the first steps I took launching the business, and share some of the best business advice I can give you. Let me take you back to January 16, 2000, the day the Indie Business Network website launched, back then as the Handmade Toiletries Network. The only thing I did that day, other than launch the site, was publish a newsletter. It was hands down the best business decision I ever made. Here's a screen shot of the “masthead” of the first issue.


I suppose I should credit my training as a journalist for instinctively knowing that content would ultimately make or break every online business in the universe, regardless of size.

Click to Tweet This! –> Publication of quality (or not) content will make or break every business, regardless of size.

When the newsletter was first published, there was not a single subscriber. People found out about it through an email group. Each time I published an issue, I let them know, and they came and read it. Eventually, the word spread about what I was doing, and the Indie Business Network was on its way.

Everyone I knew thought I had completely lost my mind. I avoided teling my father for months and when I finally did, my mother had to practically pull him off of me. (My father was not violent; he was just terrified that his daughter had made the dumbest decision of her life.)

I was undaunted

Why was I so confident? Because I had something to say.

Even back in 2000, I knew that a branded content marketing strategy was critical for an online business.

The newsletter was the only thing I did the day I launched the website. Today, I teach fundamental marketing principles to my members and clients, and together, we are populating the Internet with content that entertains, inspires, and yes, leads to sales.

I have always known that content is the new packaging.

If you'd like, you can read my first online newsletter at this link.

Why you should archive your newsletter.

Publish a Weekly Newsletter

Not a monthly newsletter.

A weekly newsletter.

That is the best business advice I can give you.

And fill it with the interesting stories of how your business works and grows, and ideas to help your customers live happier and more healthful lives.

Your newsletter will be one of a kind because no one has your story but you.

Click to Tweet This! –> Success Tip: Your online newsletter has no competition because no one has your story except you!

If you don't have a newsletter, but you have a blog, make sure your customers and prospects know how to subscribe and receive weekly or daily updates.

Use an email newsletter to tell your story to the world every week, and if you do this consistently, you will never lack for prospects or customers. What's more, you will sharpen your skills as a leader, and no matter what happens with the business you have today, you'll be able to start another one tomorrow, and be successful at it.

Coming Up Next Week …

Next week, I'll share our first real media feature, which took place less than a month after we launched. Subscribe to our blog by RSS feed for email (in the yellow box in the upper right corner) so you don't miss it.


1. Do you have a newsletter? How often do you publish? Does it help you gain new customers and sales?

2. What newsletter service do you use, and why?

3. If you had to choose between a blog and a newsletter, which would you choose, and why?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.