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10 Skills and Traits Possessed by the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

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successful entrepreneur

You wonder how they do it, how they are able to build their businesses from the ground up efficiently and fledge it to the best to structure your business, and even talk to mentors. Unfortunately, the results aren’t as spectacular. However, you keep trying.

To be a successful entrepreneur, there are skills and traits that you have to possess. These traits are beyond your credentials and they determine how your business will move to the next step. These skills determine if you get funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, strangers, or your family and friends.

Here are the 10 skills and traits you need to possess:

1. Leadership skills

Do you possess good leadership skills? Do people like your leadership and does your leadership style inspire change? As a business owner, you must be able to manage your employees and the teams involved.

Businesses that are meeting their goals and aspirations have gotten where they are because of having leaders with the capacity to guide the businesses through the different challenges, but still come out on the other side having achieved what they set out to do. Being a great leader means that your employees work with you, question your moves at other times, and basically communicate well with you just to ensure that your business reaches its goals.

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

2. Excellent communication skills

For you to get the end product you had in mind when starting, you should be able to clearly communicate your goals to all the teams involved in the production and processing process. An entrepreneur needs to understand their employees, know their strengths or weaknesses, then help them use these effectively, making the business and the employee better. This is only possible through communication.

Communication must be two way and you should also listen. Good written and spoken communication skills are important out of the business establishment as well. Communication is integral when looking for funding, when handling complaints from customers, or when negotiating new deals.

3. Ambition

To change the world with your business, you need to have ambitious projects. Ambitious projects are often referred to as the disruptive ventures. To get on top of things and the industry, yours should be the project that will disrupt the society’s status quo.

As an entrepreneur, your ‘holy grail’ is a product or a service that will shake up the industry radically. This includes the ability to change the way people view things, interact or label things.

4. Risk taker

An entrepreneur is the definition of a risk taker. Business growth depends on your ability to dive into the future of uncertainty while embracing all the challenges and the problems that will cross your path. You should be willing to risk your money, time, and other unknown factors. To deal with these risks and the unknown, you should set aside resources, bandwidth, and plans to deal with the unknown.

5. Fearlessness

You cannot run a business when you are afraid of every turn you are about to make. Being a risk taker requires a fearless spirit. There will be scary moments, but your ability to maneuver and win over the fear is the power that will propel you and your business to greater heights.

6. Ability to listen to your gut instincts and to trust them

There isn’t one successful entrepreneur who faults or regrets trusting their instincts. In a normal consumer life as well as the business world, you have to listen to that little voice and step out when your gut says so.

As a result of the impressive results reported by entrepreneurs who always trust their instincts, gut instincts have been dubbed the sixth sense. This sixth sense is very powerful and you should be able and willing to trust and rely on it. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the team thinks.

7. Visionary

You cannot take on the entrepreneurship bull by the head and ride it without falling over or getting it to trample on you if you have a solid vision in mind. Perceptive and creative business visionaries tend to twist normal views, distorting reality and eventually change the way people see the world. To be in the top entrepreneurial league, you should be able to cultivate these visions in your mind so as to make the big breakthroughs, which could never be envisioned by an ordinary person.

“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey

8. Motivation and passion

The most important trait ingrained in successful entrepreneurs is passion in what one does and the motivation to hit the big business storms every day without giving up. Because of passion, you will stay up late to complete unfinished tasks, wake up earlier for your customers to get their deliveries in time, work endlessly on the same thing without getting bored, willingness to make the business better and stronger, and the ability to be in love with that which you wake up to, every day. Without this and the internal motivation to make things work, you will not succeed in business.

9. Tech savviness

You don’t have to be a pro in all matters tech and programming but in this digital age, you should have the least possible capacity to market your products or services online and to connect to your customers, competitors, or suppliers through social media platforms. Digital marketing is crucial and you should do some basic SEO. You should also use the company’s and your personal social media platforms to build and enhance your business brand.

10. Good financial management skills

You need to manage your money. Even when you have a CFO, you still have to control things and help in making business decisions concerning money. Besides financial management, you must have the ability and the capacity to raise funds. To get investors interested in your business, you should be able to show them what you have and what their investment can do for your business.

In conclusion, the success of your business depends on these skills and traits. A rapidly growing business is one that is not only disruptive, but also one that leaves a positive impact in society. Your goal in business shouldn’t just be raising a lot of money, but you should have the vision to change things around to benefit the whole society.

What skills are you lacking in and how are you trying to fix them? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Isabella Rossellini is the managing director of a renowned tech firm. Melanie gives extensive business advice to startups all across the world and you can learn more from her through her blog. You can also check out recent article on debt consolidation and for more information on business management and funding.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pawsoe S

    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:48 am

    What a wonderful article for start-up group like ours. Thank you so much Isabella R.

  2. John Olah

    Feb 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I lack leadership skills. I was selected as class leader and removed the next day. I tried to fix it by reading John C. Maxwell’s leadership books. I also read about great leaders like, Bill Clinton. I have also learnt about seo and marketing in recent years.

  3. Esan Oluwaferanmi

    Feb 28, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Isabella for this insightful post.

  4. Ewen Munro

    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Great list, Isabella! 😉 #keepgrowing #keepcreating

  5. Edward

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Hi Isabella. Thank you for this list of entrepreneurial skills. I have just started my own entrepreneurial journey, and I agree with the above points. One aspect I do have to work on is trusting my instincts and go with what I believe is right.

    Many times I have had excellent ideas but did not trust myself to follow through. Only to discover after a certain amount of time that somebody else has started what I planned to do and was making a success of it. I think this has happened to many people before. You have to trust your instincts sometimes and just go with it.

    Thanks again.

  6. HomeOfficeGenius Adam

    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    This is a great list. I think #5 is really what it all comes down to though. Either you are too paralyzed by the fear to go out and get what you want, or you really are fearless enough to just do it.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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The Absolute No No’s Of Social Media: Break These And Everybody Tunes Out.

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Everyone talks about what to do on social media. No one talks about the things that don’t work. What not to do is where the recipe for success on social media lies.

I’ve spent the last 12 months getting more engagement on social media than ever so that I can spread more good in the world.

Here is my absolute list of no no’s for social media:

 

Too much self-promotion.

“Here’s a selfie with the Alibaba founder.”

“Here’s me at blah blah blah exhibition.”

“Here’s me taking a break after working so hard.”

This nonsense doesn’t work. It’s all about you and it comes across as self-promotion. I still want you to share photos of inspirational people you met. I still want you to talk about taking a break and the places you’ve visited. I still want you to share events you attend.

There’s a subtle difference though – share the lessons and value these experiences gave you rather than sharing your ego’s proximity to them.

“Make your social media posts about how you can help and add value rather than putting your name on everything and trying to sound important”

 

Tagging people without permission.

Ever seen one of those posts where there are twenty names at the bottom that are tagged?

Ever wondered why you’re tagged in someone’s post who you’ve never met?

This careless tagging occurs because the originator wants to reach more people. They think by tagging strangers with lots of followers, they’ll reach more people and get more attention for their ego.

“Tagging without permission is rude and doesn’t work”

I want you to tag people and reach more people. I want you to do it with respect. How?

Reach out and tell the person you’re going to tag them first and why the post is relevant to their audience. Don’t be lazy and tag them because they’ll do nothing and most likely unfollow you. Also, don’t overdo it. Aim to tag three people or so instead of twenty. Less is more.

 

Linking out.

If I only teach you one thing it’s this: Don’t link out.

In plain English, this means that you should avoid posting a link that takes people off the social media platform they are viewing your post on. For example, if you’re on Facebook, don’t put a link in your post that takes me to YouTube.

Always post natively.

In plain English again, post your content directly on the platform. Instead of linking to YouTube, upload the video to Facebook directly.

 

Scheduling doesn’t work as well. It’s all about live.

We’ve all used software like Buffer to schedule posts and make people think that we are content machines that write something new every 2.5 hours and then upload it at peak times of the day.

The algorithm that runs a lot of these social media platforms and decides who see’s your content has figured out the game. Live, original content that is unplanned will always get priority. Try doing things on the fly. Upload your content in real time. Better yet, create your content in real time.

 

Polished is getting old.

Joel Brown taught me this lesson. One day, he was getting ready to shoot a video in the park. He was going to get a haircut beforehand, so he looked good for the camera. Laziness took over and he decided to shoot the video on his iPhone, with messy bed hair.

This video got lots of engagement because he shot it in a moment of passion and it was unpolished.

We’ve all seen the polished YouTube videos with perfectly positioned product placement, special lighting and high definition cameras. All of this pre-preparation kills the idea and the creativity that is attached to it.

Try being raw.
Try being authentic.
Try keeping it simple.
Try to avoid the temptation of becoming a gear/technology junkie.

 

Be original (thoughts on resharing).

I get people I work with all the time saying “How do you get so many people to engage with your posts?” I then click their social media profiles and look at their own posts. Every one of them is a reshare of someone else’s content.

At least 70% of the posts you put up should be original. Just resharing someone else’s stuff is boring. Create original pieces. When you reshare, put some detail around why you liked the content and how it helped you. Make your resharing personal.

You can’t just regurgitate other people’s content and then expect to get noticed.

 

Don’t post the same piece on every social platform.

Every social platform has a different voice and different functionality. Creating one piece of content and then sharing it on every social platform doesn’t work.

For starters, focus your attention on one or two platforms. Go deep on a few social channels rather than going wide and posting on many.

 

The time of day.

Consider the time of day when you post but don’t be obsessed with it. Good content will get people sharing it regardless of when it’s posted. Great is great and the time of the day won’t change that.

With that said, early shares of your posts is important for gaining traction and getting the social platforms algorithm to let you be seen by more people. Consider avoiding times like Sunday nights when people are having family dinners and not on social media.

 

What you’re forgetting is what not to do.

So to wrap all this up, it’s what you don’t do on social media that will elevate your success to the next level. Breaking this list of no no’s will see the social media platforms you’re posting to limit your audience. Play by these rules, and you’ll have more engagement than you can poke a stick at it.

Use this engagement to do good in the world.

 

PS.

I don’t shoot videos of me driving in a Lamborghini or taking selfies with Oprah. I’m just a humble guy from Australia who’s living the dream, working hard and trying to inspire all of you to do big things, and use social media to elevate your message.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pawsoe S

    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:48 am

    What a wonderful article for start-up group like ours. Thank you so much Isabella R.

  2. John Olah

    Feb 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I lack leadership skills. I was selected as class leader and removed the next day. I tried to fix it by reading John C. Maxwell’s leadership books. I also read about great leaders like, Bill Clinton. I have also learnt about seo and marketing in recent years.

  3. Esan Oluwaferanmi

    Feb 28, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Isabella for this insightful post.

  4. Ewen Munro

    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Great list, Isabella! 😉 #keepgrowing #keepcreating

  5. Edward

    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Hi Isabella. Thank you for this list of entrepreneurial skills. I have just started my own entrepreneurial journey, and I agree with the above points. One aspect I do have to work on is trusting my instincts and go with what I believe is right.

    Many times I have had excellent ideas but did not trust myself to follow through. Only to discover after a certain amount of time that somebody else has started what I planned to do and was making a success of it. I think this has happened to many people before. You have to trust your instincts sometimes and just go with it.

    Thanks again.

  6. HomeOfficeGenius Adam

    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    This is a great list. I think #5 is really what it all comes down to though. Either you are too paralyzed by the fear to go out and get what you want, or you really are fearless enough to just do it.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurs

The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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