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3 Dangers You Need To Be Aware Of As An Entrepreneur

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Starting a business is not easy. From ideas to implementation, there are struggles that cloud our minds day in and day out. You are taking a risk. A huge risk. You are laying everything on the line so you can get yourself and your family out of the rat race, once and for all.

Decisions must be made at a pace that makes light speed look slow. Calls need to be made and people need to adhere to a schedule you are proposing. Checking in with this person and that person. Making sure your outsourcers are completing tasks on time, every time. So many things to do, with so little time to accomplish everything you need in any given day.

So, it goes without saying that you need to be on point. You are the entrepreneur and there are challenges, from the outside, that present themselves daily. You are a rockstar, and you quietly slay the outside challenges, one by one.

Little do you know, as time goes on, you are unintentionally creating challenges that are on the inside. Inside of what, you say? Inside your mind. The mind is the battlefield where all entrepreneur wars take place. It is not in the boardroom or the high rise. No, it’s within your mind. That little space between your ears. The smallest piece of entrepreneurial real estate. Yet, by far, the most valuable.

These are 3 dangers that need to be exposed and defeated:

1Indifference

Most who set out on the entrepreneurial path start something that they love to do. Love brings passion, and passion brings motivation. When these three ingredients are added together, a successful business can be created. However, if you get to the point that you feel as though you are just going through the motions, that’s when the opposite of love can set in. This opposite is indifference.

Having indifference means that nothing is concerning to you and you have lost interest or motivation. This is a dangerous spot to be in, because once you are there, it’s hard to get out. You will struggle to get up to see what the new day can bring for your business and it will be harder to maintain your fresh vision.

Continual love for what you do and being a student of your passion are the antidotes for this debilitating issue. Keep your love strong and keep learning, they both will take you a long way.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

2. Procrastination

Procrastination is when you are purposely avoiding important procedures that you need to take care of so you can enjoy things that have no direct bearing on your business. Not confronting this danger can only cause it to lead to a habit.

This is why goal setting is so important. Short term goal setting can keep you aligned with the projected long term outcome for your entrepreneurial journey. Daily checklists allow you to navigate through your day, accomplishing what you deem most important. Just don’t get too scattered, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Where the focus goes, the power flows.

 

3. Complacency

Complacency can set in if you feel that you are above others and think that you have arrived. You will know its presence if you start to take things for granted, or if you start doing less of the things that made you successful in your past. The only good thing about complacency is that it usually comes after having some sort of success. Other than that, you need to package it up, put a bow on it, and ship it out… fast!

Defeating this mindset doesn’t have to be hard. Go back to the drawing board and write up your purpose. If your purpose is to be of help to more than just yourself, that’s a great purpose that can combat complacency. Your “why” is the penicillin to the complacency flu.

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” – Trent Reznor

We all know that starting and building a business can have its challenges. The outside challenges, that we have no control over, are enough to bring on many sleepless nights and countless frustration. Isn’t it to our benefit not to add our own challenges? Ones that we can control? I’m confident that you know the answer.

Which danger will you defeat? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Jake Widmer runs a blog by the name of Massive Impact University. This is a place where you can get your vision back to become that leader, entrepreneur, and family man or woman that you've always dreamed of being. There, you will learn how to turbocharge your desires, no matter how big or small they are, in order to create a breakthrough in your relationships and finances. Join him at Massive Impact University  or connect with him through his Facebook.

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1 Comment

  1. Evan

    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Jake,

    Nice post here!

    I’ve learned #1 the hard way by starting businesses for the money, which isn’t the best way to go. You’re right that passion easily sparks motivation and helps you get whatever you really want most.

    I think a good one to add to this would be understanding not to work yourself like crazy, because we really want our projects to work and push hard.

    Keep it up!

    – Evan

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Entrepreneurs

Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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Positivity & Self-Ownership: Your #1 Factor for Success

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Leaving a reliable 9-5 job and risking a steady, biweekly paycheck to live out a dream and pursue a totally different lifestyle can be terrifying. However, there is no reason to fear, aspiring entrepreneur! (more…)

Cory Young is the founder of BCC Interactive, a Philadelphia digital marketing agency with expertise in expanding businesses through search engine marketing. Cory has 10+ years experience crafting successful customized digital marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Evan

    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Jake,

    Nice post here!

    I’ve learned #1 the hard way by starting businesses for the money, which isn’t the best way to go. You’re right that passion easily sparks motivation and helps you get whatever you really want most.

    I think a good one to add to this would be understanding not to work yourself like crazy, because we really want our projects to work and push hard.

    Keep it up!

    – Evan

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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Entrepreneurs

The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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