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3 Little Known Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

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Last year, I caught a lucky break. I was working a dead-end job at a bank and hated every minute of it. Until one day, I sent an email to one of my favorite online marketers on a whim. I pitched him an idea for a new product to build and sell.

He liked the idea so much that he hired me as a contractor, on the spot. I quit my job and it felt amazing. Until I realized one huge problem: I was completely unqualified for the job. I was a data-driven, numbers geek with zero writing or sales experience. Yet, I was hired to do marketing that would be seen by millions.

So over the next 16 months, I asked everyone I knew and respected how to become a world-class marketer, fast. And it worked. I went from an excel whiz to a professional copywriter who’s sold millions of dollars worth of products online.

One of the biggest keys to my success was reading books. But not just any books. It had to be the best. There are a long list that you’ll find almost anywhere for entrepreneurs and marketers but there are three books below that not very many people know about but it can change their life.

Here are three must read books that very few people know about:

1. The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It. Every Time by Maria Konnikova

maria konnikovaWords have power. And depending on the words you use, you can express:

  • Extreme happiness (“Thank god for this!”)
  • Your love for someone (“Will you marry me?”)
  • Or your deepest regret (“I want to die.”)

People have gone to war over words (The Declaration of Independence). And people have been inspired to stand against the world for a cause they believe in (“I have a dream” speech). It’s clear that words can inspire, convey life-changing thoughts, and express deep emotion.

But they’re also the exact tools con artists use to thrive. And in the book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time, you get a glimpse into the world of how con men use stories, words, and emotions to rip off the masses.

Note: I do not think marketers should read this book to do any scamming or manipulating of their own. No. The reason marketers must read this goes much deeper. It gets into how to inspire others to take action. Consider this: the only thing that separates a con man from a great salesperson is intent.

For example, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is known as the bible of conmen, but it’s also considered a staple on the shelves of all successful business people. See how it gets tricky?

The book is packed with jaw-dropping stories. But one of my favorites involves Victor Lustig (the man who sold the Eiffel Tower — twice!) and Al Capone (one of the most famous mobsters of all time).

I won’t spoil it by giving away the details. But let’s just say the con man (Lustig) is one of the few people who ever deceived Capone and lived to tell about it. You have to check it out.

“We aren’t robbers, you and I. To rob a fool, you don’t need knives: Just flatter him, tell him sweet lies, And he is yours for life” – Maria Konnikova

2. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Your Shit Together By John Carlton

John CarltonJohn is a copywriting legend. He pioneered many of the marketing tactics we take granted today. Some say he’s the most ripped-off copywriter alive. In fact, a lot of modern day ads are blatant plagiarism of some of his most successful pieces.

Even still, Carlton doesn’t care. You can steal his words, but you can’t take his swagger and deep understanding of what makes people buy. And that swagger and psychology shines through in his copy. Try reading something he wrote without feeling something well up in your chest and stir you to act.

I’d recommend reading this one with an eye to 2 things:

1. His style. You can soak up his years of marketing knowledge just by giving this one a close read. It’s spunk combined with direct response combined with vivid imagery, and it’s artfully done.

2. How to start your own business. This book is a great guide for getting started as a freelancer, business owner or even an employee who’s going to take control of their career destiny.

Carlton’s been around the block a time or two, He’s gotten a few scars. And rather than make the same mistakes he made, you can get some of those lessons directly from this book. Get it now and get your stuff together.

 

3. Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others By Andrew Sobel

Andrew SobelAndrew Sobel is a high-ranking business consultant who regularly gets in front of billion dollar executives. His secret? It’s not fancy tricks or cheap sales tactics. Nope. It’s a simple concept we’ve all been using since we were kids: asking questions.

Selling is not about cramming your product down the other person’s throat. It’s about catering your solutions to your prospects exact needs. How do you uncover those needs in the first place? Well, Sobel proves that one of the best and only ways to do that is asking good questions.

And the 200+ questions Sobel presents in this book have all been tested at the highest level of sales (where the decision can take up to 6 months) and millions of dollars are at stake. While this book contains tons of answer-eliciting questions, it’s also a masterclass in storytelling.

“Every interaction is an opportunity.Every action has an impact.Every moment is a choice.Are you choosing the impact you want to have?” – Mindy Hall

Have you read any of these books before? Which ones? What did you think? Leave your thought below!

Rob Allen is the founder of Swipe Tribe, where he shows aspiring marketers and small business owners how to increase their leads, conversions and sales with copywriting. You can get his checklist of the 33 best books on copywriting, sales, persuasion, and psychology here.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for these recommendations – I added them to my reading list. I’m super excited to dive into one of Carlton’s books, as he is an influential copywriter, and one of the best today. Since Gary Halbert has passed, he’s been remarked as one of the best copywriters alive, hands down.

    I think what you’ve got going on at Swipetribe is intriguing as well; I just opted in for your list. Looking forward to hear what you’ve got on copywriting, influence, and persuasion. These are some of the most basic but NECESSARY things to learn if you wanna sell anything to people who need and want it.

    Keep up the great work bro

    – Evan

  2. Jhon jaka

    Aug 12, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for these book recommendations..

  3. Tim Denning

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Rob thanks for these book recommendations. I think the first book is the one I want to read the most and I have just got it from Amazon. Thanks for the heads up and for your extensive summaries.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain’s efficiency and you your business. You can gain so much knowledge from people who have been there and done that, and these people can help you to avoid the pitfalls that so many fall victim to. I have heard about so many books and I read so often just to keep my brain top notch. Thanks for sharing these books. They seem great and I will put them on my to read list.

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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creativity

In today’s era, the production and exportation of varied products to international markets are growing bigger, all thanks to the excessive industrialization and globalization that enfold multiple industries. It makes it easy for people to access products whenever and wherever. As for consumers, they now have access to different kinds of products in different types and quality ranges.

To such a great extent, what should an entrepreneur like you, do in a market bombarded with a myriad of products? How will you supply and manufacture a product in markets filled with so many choices to choose from and with consumers who already have their trusted preferences?

A creative mind can answer all of these questions. Creativity aids you on how to ameliorate your existing business practices. A brand might be popular among the consumers and well-established, but there will always be room for improvements and corporate lessons for them. The power of creativity will help you come up with unique ideas and deliver innovation into existing practices.

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

There’s a lot of people who correlate creativity with self-expression and a product of inadequate restraint which may have the ability to bring chaos. Leadership, on the other hand, is all about control and order. It’s probably the reason why most people perceive entrepreneurship and creativity as a fickle combination.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who think that it only takes number-crunching and practicality skills to run a business successfully, you better think again! Take heed that creative thinking is a significant factor in good business acumen. The absence of creativity may lead or put your business in a stagnant mode.

In fact, the study conducted by Adobe and Forrester Consulting reveals that 82% of companies in the U.S believe that there’s a strong connection between business results and creativity. Furthermore, companies who actively advocate for creativity perform better than their competitor regarding competitive leadership, market share and revenue growth.

Still doubtful? The following 5 reasons explain why creativity is a good drug for entrepreneurs:

1. It Cultivates Innovation

When you conjure something and attach your name to it, you want to assure that it doesn’t only justify the expectations of customers, but also outdo them. You need to be careful and guarantee your product or service will be useful.

While it’s difficult to see this from the beginning, things will get clear once the sequential steps unfold and the idea is starting to materialize. It is the phase where you’ll realize the difference between innovation and invention.

A unique idea is an invention itself, but a unique and serviceable idea is an innovation. If you want to innovate, you need to look at the same thing differently and be creative. All of these will help you combine usefulness into a unique idea.

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

We always carry the belief that we’ll survive different life battles through intelligent thinking. But it’s not until we grow old when we realize although intelligence is a crucial quality, we need to possess creativity also as a necessity.

However, one sad fact remains – most businesses and educational institutes still put more weight on intelligence in comparison to creativity. Perhaps, it could be because intelligence is easier to manage and measure, while the latter is hard to spot.

There’s good news though. The trends are changing, and many companies finally discern that they need creative people to grow their empire.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. It Encourages People to Think

We’re now living in a world where creative problem solving is becoming one of the best ways to alleviate organizational issues. Creative problem solving works best when you have a highly-focused and disciplined ways of thinking.

Humans by nature have two modes of thinking, namely: convergent and divergent. We can either do one or both modes.

Convergent thinking is a highly analytical mode and aims to conjure a precise solution for a particular problem. The best examples of convergent mediums are computer systems, mathematical and accounting software and other data sources that yield accurate results.

On the other hand, divergent thinking is a mode that develops creativity through considering different possible solutions for the same problem. To make sure that your company gets the best resolution, you need to incorporate both modes of thinking by giving attention to divergent pathways.

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

Organizations can only utilize half of their employees’ potential if they don’t encourage them to be creative. It’s just fortunate that employees now realize there’s a well of creative ideas and information that are untapped and dormant at all levels.

Tapping these resources may involve a complex process such as solving performance-related issues, creating new financial strategies, enhancing processes, making them more profitable and efficient, or innovating to stay on top of the competition.

5. It Can Be Developed

Although most people believe that creativity is innate, many see creativity as a renewable resource that you can learn and tap anytime. All of us are born with a thought process and creative potential which can develop and reinforce as we grow.

For instance, learning new skills or inculcating new hobbies is an excellent way to test and hone your inherent creative skills. It’s also an efficient way to teach your mind to think in such a way that leads to creative thinking.

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.” – Jeff Bezos

Gone are the days where entrepreneurs need to analyze and make decisions according to hard facts only. The most progressive leaders don’t just settle down on hiring creative people for their team, they also train to make themselves creative and harness more usefulness and novelty in their ideas. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough factors for you to give more emphasis to this aspect of entrepreneurship and upgrade your prospects and business acumen.

What makes you creative? Share with us some stories below as we want to hear them!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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How to Build an Unstoppable Mindset According to These 5 Popular Entrepreneurs

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If you ask any of the top entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur for that matter, they’ll tell you that the one quality you need to become successful is mental toughness. Becoming mentally tough is probably something you’ve already heard about before in your life. It’s something that seems easy, yet most people take it granted. They’d rather think about it than become it.

There’s a difference between thinking that you’re mentally tough and living mentally tough day in and day out.  Mental toughness will only get harder as you advance as an entrepreneur. There’s never an escape and either you’ll become a shield or it’ll knock you down and you won’t ever be able to recover.

When you think about the tough challenges in front of you today, they’ll seem super easy to overcome a year from now. But that only happens if you become mentally tough. You know you need to become mentally tough by now, yet it’s not enough to know without application of the process.

How exactly do you become mentally tough in your life? These 5 entrepreneurs and performance coaches share exactly what it takes to become mentally tough in your life:

1. Tony Robbins

According to Tony Robbins, becoming mentally stronger is like lifting weights. Over time, you will become stronger. No one starts off in the gym with an amazing physique because it happens over time.

However, becoming mentally stronger is more than just becoming stronger. It’s linking your pain and pleasure together. If you feel more pain than pleasure, you won’t perform an action. But if you derive pleasure from a certain action, then you’ll take action. The more action you take, the more mentally tough you’ll become.

Most people try to avoid pain. They’d rather live an average life than take risks which could bring them more pleasure. When you try to avoid pain, you’re not becoming mentally tough.

You need to stop and think about what’s stopping you from taking action? It’s almost always because you believe when you take that action you’ll receive more pain than pleasure. Your goal should be to take action even if there’s pain associated with that action, because that is how you become mentally stronger.

How do you think about procrastination? You’re giving up your mental freedom. You’re giving into pleasure because you only procrastinate when you want to avoid pain.

2. Grant Cardone

According to Grant Cardone, becoming mentally tough starts with having courage. Each and everyone one of us has the courage to live the best life possible but the majority of us don’t want to take advantage of it. Much like Robbins, we’d rather play it safe than absorb more pain in our life.

You already have courage. Because courage comes from the heart. It’s an innate instinct. If something was happening to your loved one, you’d get the courage real quick to rectify that situation. It’s there, you just have to harness the power on your own.

When you become mentally tough, you’re giving yourself the ability to risk it all. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Then you learn from it! It’s that simple, you don’t have to over-complicate it.

Do something today in spite of the fear you feel. Ask out that girl you’ve been thinking about or make the tough call you’ve been putting off. It’s these seemingly small actions you take each day that will allow you to become more mentally tough in your life.

As you continue to take more risks, you will be proud to be alive. You weren’t put here to live an average life. You were put here to take massive risks and live life to the fullest.

“Approach every situation with a whatever-it-takes-mindset.” – Grant Cardone

3. Eric Thomas

According to Eric Thomas, becoming mentally tough starts with not getting comfortable. Once you become comfortable in your life, you’re no longer going to go after your dreams. You’ll feel content with where you are and won’t want to push further. Your goal should be to improve each day, even if it’s only a small amount.

You must believe wholeheartedly in your dreams. Thomas said that he never talks to anyone before 1pm who aren’t 120% all in on their dreams. This allows you to get unnecessary negativity out of your life. There are millions of people who want to become successful but aren’t, why? Because they didn’t give everything to achieve their dreams.

To become more mentally tough in your life, it starts with changing your routine. If you can get up each morning at the same time, including weekends, you will become mentally tougher, it’s a given. I recommend checking out the book, Miracle Morning. This book is a great start to creating a morning routine for yourself.

The last thing Thomas said is where you put your focus, energy flows. If you think you can’t do something, then you’ll never be able to. But if you put your focus on achieving a desired outcome and will stop at nothing to achieve that outcome, then you’ll eventually achieve it.

4. Ben Newman

According to Ben Newman, becoming mentally tough starts with changing how you think. Ben has worked with numerous athletes and can attest on first hand that they can’t rely solely on their talents. Having talent can only take you so far.

To change the way you think starts with re-framing your mindset. If you’re up against a competitor whether in business or in sports, are you going to give up even if they’ve always been better than you? You shouldn’t because that’s what losers do.

Being from New England, it breaks my heart, but do you think the 2007 New York Giants thought that they couldn’t beat the Patriots even though they already lost previously in the season? They didn’t; they were mentally ready and didn’t count themselves out, no matter the opponent.

Start to focus on solutions instead of problems. People complain all the time but aren’t willing to find a solution. Why? Because it’s easier to complain than find a solution. If you want to become mentally tough, you can’t be like most people. You need to become a rare breed. You must be someone who no matter how much adversity they face will continue to take on the fight.

“The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and treat yourself lovingly. Do not self-destruct.” – Ben Newman

5. Patrick Bet-David

According to Patrick Bet-David, becoming mentally tough starts with taming the voices inside your head. All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, each have good and bad voices inside of us. To become mentally tough, you need to block out the bad voice. When you can sense it arising inside of you, you need to push through. That’s the only way you will defeat that negative voice.

Bet-David would say that each of us needs a purpose. When you don’t have a purpose, there’s no chance of you becoming mentally tough. You’ll give into every day temptations and call it quits when you could’ve kept pushing. Developing mental toughness means you push yourself further than even what you thought was possible.

The last piece of advice Bet-David had was to think about how you’ll feel if you don’t go after your dreams? Will you be happy twenty years from now knowing you didn’t follow your dreams? It’ll be quite the contrary. You have the option and choices each day to determine how your life will be and mental toughness will help guide you.

Mental toughness is the essential quality in those who are successful and unsuccessful. Due to this, tell us how you develop this unstoppable mindset? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Reasons Your Business Is Failing and How to Relight the Fire Under You

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Are you stuck in a rut with your business or your life? Are you wondering what could be causing this feeling of being stuck? It’s so common for people in this day and age to feel comfortable, and stop pushing themselves, so how do we jumpstart our lives and get moving again?

Here are 5 steps to help light a fire under you, and get you moving towards your goals again:

1. Lack of Vision

Before you started your business, it was just an idea, a thought in your head that seemed impossible. As you put time and effort into this idea, it was within reach, and now you have it. But what happens next? You made it to where you wanted to and now there is nowhere else to go. This is not true though because although you have reached your vision, it doesn’t mean you can’t think even bigger.

A lot of businesses stop growing because the people who run them don’t know what to do after they reach their goals. Instead of being happy you reached your goal, set new ones. Think bigger until your company has reached a level that you are comfortable leaving and letting someone else run it.

2. Lack of Why

Do you remember why you started your company? If not, how do you think you can keep your company moving forward? Start by thinking back to when you first started your business and try to remember why you wanted to start. Now that you have your original reasons for starting the company, check off how many of those you fulfilled and how many you can still work on.

Now think with everything that your business has given you, what do you want your business to stand for moving forward? Do you want your company to make you money, make a difference, or change the world? Whatever you want your company to be doing, as long as you have a reason for keeping your company going.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

3. No Accountability

Do you have a ton of good ideas but can never follow through? Perhaps, you aren’t being held accountable! You need to follow through with what you say. If you continuously say you are going to expand your business, network, or even something as small as getting employees lunch and don’t do it, no one is going to trust your word. If people can’t trust your word, how can they trust your business to get the job done? Start by getting an accountability buddy, coach, or even setting consequences for yourself.

4. Low Standards

People can have low standards in almost everything; places to live, relationships, and even business. If you can’t hold your product, customer service, and reputation to a certain standard, people won’t want to work with you or buy your products. Why would you want to go somewhere, or work with someone, who doesn’t hold themselves to a standard that reflects their work ethic?  

Having low standards can be a symptom of a lack of vision as well. When you can’t imagine what you want your business to look like, how can you hold yourself to a higher standard? So We can hold ourselves to a higher standard by knowing what our time is worth and realizing how much we are investing into a product or client.

If you are spending an hour on something, will your hour be worth 10 dollars or 100? How much effort you put into that specific project will reflect how much you get out of it thus as you understand the value of your time, your standards will rise.

5. No Passion or Pain

What pushes your business?  Are you driven by your passion, or are you being pushed by the pain or pressure? When we are put under pressure, it is amazing what people can do, and when people are passionate about something, many put as much as they can into what they are working on.

Yet, when we start to get comfortable or start to lose the passion we once had, we start to stand still. We begin to not move forward, so why would our business move forward?

Reigniting your passion can be tricky. Try and remember what gave you the initial push to start your passion, and consider what you are passionate about now. Putting the pressure on is as simple as setting a goal, calling up your accountability buddy and setting real consequences for yourself.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

Will you let your business sit stagnant any longer, or will you reinvent your vision, find a why, hold yourself accountable, raise your standards, and reignite your passions? Getting your business and your life to move forward is something that you have to put effort into every day. If you want to succeed, you will have to keep pushing yourself and move forward every day.

How do you push yourself in tough times? Let us know by commenting below!

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5 Commandments You Need to Follow to Build Your Freelance Business

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how to build your freelance business

For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.

Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.

While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.

If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:

1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job

What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.

Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.

You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.

Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.

2. Be Available As Much As Possible

You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.

There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf

3. Be a Communication Machine

Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.

Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:

  • WhatsApp
  • Viber
  • Skype
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • ClearVoice

With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.

4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others

While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.

For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.

Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.

While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.

5. Stay On Track With Taxes

I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.

99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.

You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.

Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.

Are You Ready?

In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.

What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Important Facts You Need to Know About Motivation

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Whether you are trying to lead a team of employees, teach a child, or even get through your own workday, staying motivated is key. Nonetheless, this isn’t always as easy as waking up and deciding to be motivated. (more…)

Kurtis Brase is a professional journalist. Now, she works at EssayPro as a writer and editor.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for these recommendations – I added them to my reading list. I’m super excited to dive into one of Carlton’s books, as he is an influential copywriter, and one of the best today. Since Gary Halbert has passed, he’s been remarked as one of the best copywriters alive, hands down.

    I think what you’ve got going on at Swipetribe is intriguing as well; I just opted in for your list. Looking forward to hear what you’ve got on copywriting, influence, and persuasion. These are some of the most basic but NECESSARY things to learn if you wanna sell anything to people who need and want it.

    Keep up the great work bro

    – Evan

  2. Jhon jaka

    Aug 12, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for these book recommendations..

  3. Tim Denning

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Rob thanks for these book recommendations. I think the first book is the one I want to read the most and I have just got it from Amazon. Thanks for the heads up and for your extensive summaries.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 9, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Reading is one of the best things you can do for your brain’s efficiency and you your business. You can gain so much knowledge from people who have been there and done that, and these people can help you to avoid the pitfalls that so many fall victim to. I have heard about so many books and I read so often just to keep my brain top notch. Thanks for sharing these books. They seem great and I will put them on my to read list.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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creativity

In today’s era, the production and exportation of varied products to international markets are growing bigger, all thanks to the excessive industrialization and globalization that enfold multiple industries. It makes it easy for people to access products whenever and wherever. As for consumers, they now have access to different kinds of products in different types and quality ranges.

To such a great extent, what should an entrepreneur like you, do in a market bombarded with a myriad of products? How will you supply and manufacture a product in markets filled with so many choices to choose from and with consumers who already have their trusted preferences?

A creative mind can answer all of these questions. Creativity aids you on how to ameliorate your existing business practices. A brand might be popular among the consumers and well-established, but there will always be room for improvements and corporate lessons for them. The power of creativity will help you come up with unique ideas and deliver innovation into existing practices.

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

There’s a lot of people who correlate creativity with self-expression and a product of inadequate restraint which may have the ability to bring chaos. Leadership, on the other hand, is all about control and order. It’s probably the reason why most people perceive entrepreneurship and creativity as a fickle combination.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who think that it only takes number-crunching and practicality skills to run a business successfully, you better think again! Take heed that creative thinking is a significant factor in good business acumen. The absence of creativity may lead or put your business in a stagnant mode.

In fact, the study conducted by Adobe and Forrester Consulting reveals that 82% of companies in the U.S believe that there’s a strong connection between business results and creativity. Furthermore, companies who actively advocate for creativity perform better than their competitor regarding competitive leadership, market share and revenue growth.

Still doubtful? The following 5 reasons explain why creativity is a good drug for entrepreneurs:

1. It Cultivates Innovation

When you conjure something and attach your name to it, you want to assure that it doesn’t only justify the expectations of customers, but also outdo them. You need to be careful and guarantee your product or service will be useful.

While it’s difficult to see this from the beginning, things will get clear once the sequential steps unfold and the idea is starting to materialize. It is the phase where you’ll realize the difference between innovation and invention.

A unique idea is an invention itself, but a unique and serviceable idea is an innovation. If you want to innovate, you need to look at the same thing differently and be creative. All of these will help you combine usefulness into a unique idea.

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

We always carry the belief that we’ll survive different life battles through intelligent thinking. But it’s not until we grow old when we realize although intelligence is a crucial quality, we need to possess creativity also as a necessity.

However, one sad fact remains – most businesses and educational institutes still put more weight on intelligence in comparison to creativity. Perhaps, it could be because intelligence is easier to manage and measure, while the latter is hard to spot.

There’s good news though. The trends are changing, and many companies finally discern that they need creative people to grow their empire.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. It Encourages People to Think

We’re now living in a world where creative problem solving is becoming one of the best ways to alleviate organizational issues. Creative problem solving works best when you have a highly-focused and disciplined ways of thinking.

Humans by nature have two modes of thinking, namely: convergent and divergent. We can either do one or both modes.

Convergent thinking is a highly analytical mode and aims to conjure a precise solution for a particular problem. The best examples of convergent mediums are computer systems, mathematical and accounting software and other data sources that yield accurate results.

On the other hand, divergent thinking is a mode that develops creativity through considering different possible solutions for the same problem. To make sure that your company gets the best resolution, you need to incorporate both modes of thinking by giving attention to divergent pathways.

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

Organizations can only utilize half of their employees’ potential if they don’t encourage them to be creative. It’s just fortunate that employees now realize there’s a well of creative ideas and information that are untapped and dormant at all levels.

Tapping these resources may involve a complex process such as solving performance-related issues, creating new financial strategies, enhancing processes, making them more profitable and efficient, or innovating to stay on top of the competition.

5. It Can Be Developed

Although most people believe that creativity is innate, many see creativity as a renewable resource that you can learn and tap anytime. All of us are born with a thought process and creative potential which can develop and reinforce as we grow.

For instance, learning new skills or inculcating new hobbies is an excellent way to test and hone your inherent creative skills. It’s also an efficient way to teach your mind to think in such a way that leads to creative thinking.

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.” – Jeff Bezos

Gone are the days where entrepreneurs need to analyze and make decisions according to hard facts only. The most progressive leaders don’t just settle down on hiring creative people for their team, they also train to make themselves creative and harness more usefulness and novelty in their ideas. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough factors for you to give more emphasis to this aspect of entrepreneurship and upgrade your prospects and business acumen.

What makes you creative? Share with us some stories below as we want to hear them!

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How to Build an Unstoppable Mindset According to These 5 Popular Entrepreneurs

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If you ask any of the top entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur for that matter, they’ll tell you that the one quality you need to become successful is mental toughness. Becoming mentally tough is probably something you’ve already heard about before in your life. It’s something that seems easy, yet most people take it granted. They’d rather think about it than become it.

There’s a difference between thinking that you’re mentally tough and living mentally tough day in and day out.  Mental toughness will only get harder as you advance as an entrepreneur. There’s never an escape and either you’ll become a shield or it’ll knock you down and you won’t ever be able to recover.

When you think about the tough challenges in front of you today, they’ll seem super easy to overcome a year from now. But that only happens if you become mentally tough. You know you need to become mentally tough by now, yet it’s not enough to know without application of the process.

How exactly do you become mentally tough in your life? These 5 entrepreneurs and performance coaches share exactly what it takes to become mentally tough in your life:

1. Tony Robbins

According to Tony Robbins, becoming mentally stronger is like lifting weights. Over time, you will become stronger. No one starts off in the gym with an amazing physique because it happens over time.

However, becoming mentally stronger is more than just becoming stronger. It’s linking your pain and pleasure together. If you feel more pain than pleasure, you won’t perform an action. But if you derive pleasure from a certain action, then you’ll take action. The more action you take, the more mentally tough you’ll become.

Most people try to avoid pain. They’d rather live an average life than take risks which could bring them more pleasure. When you try to avoid pain, you’re not becoming mentally tough.

You need to stop and think about what’s stopping you from taking action? It’s almost always because you believe when you take that action you’ll receive more pain than pleasure. Your goal should be to take action even if there’s pain associated with that action, because that is how you become mentally stronger.

How do you think about procrastination? You’re giving up your mental freedom. You’re giving into pleasure because you only procrastinate when you want to avoid pain.

2. Grant Cardone

According to Grant Cardone, becoming mentally tough starts with having courage. Each and everyone one of us has the courage to live the best life possible but the majority of us don’t want to take advantage of it. Much like Robbins, we’d rather play it safe than absorb more pain in our life.

You already have courage. Because courage comes from the heart. It’s an innate instinct. If something was happening to your loved one, you’d get the courage real quick to rectify that situation. It’s there, you just have to harness the power on your own.

When you become mentally tough, you’re giving yourself the ability to risk it all. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Then you learn from it! It’s that simple, you don’t have to over-complicate it.

Do something today in spite of the fear you feel. Ask out that girl you’ve been thinking about or make the tough call you’ve been putting off. It’s these seemingly small actions you take each day that will allow you to become more mentally tough in your life.

As you continue to take more risks, you will be proud to be alive. You weren’t put here to live an average life. You were put here to take massive risks and live life to the fullest.

“Approach every situation with a whatever-it-takes-mindset.” – Grant Cardone

3. Eric Thomas

According to Eric Thomas, becoming mentally tough starts with not getting comfortable. Once you become comfortable in your life, you’re no longer going to go after your dreams. You’ll feel content with where you are and won’t want to push further. Your goal should be to improve each day, even if it’s only a small amount.

You must believe wholeheartedly in your dreams. Thomas said that he never talks to anyone before 1pm who aren’t 120% all in on their dreams. This allows you to get unnecessary negativity out of your life. There are millions of people who want to become successful but aren’t, why? Because they didn’t give everything to achieve their dreams.

To become more mentally tough in your life, it starts with changing your routine. If you can get up each morning at the same time, including weekends, you will become mentally tougher, it’s a given. I recommend checking out the book, Miracle Morning. This book is a great start to creating a morning routine for yourself.

The last thing Thomas said is where you put your focus, energy flows. If you think you can’t do something, then you’ll never be able to. But if you put your focus on achieving a desired outcome and will stop at nothing to achieve that outcome, then you’ll eventually achieve it.

4. Ben Newman

According to Ben Newman, becoming mentally tough starts with changing how you think. Ben has worked with numerous athletes and can attest on first hand that they can’t rely solely on their talents. Having talent can only take you so far.

To change the way you think starts with re-framing your mindset. If you’re up against a competitor whether in business or in sports, are you going to give up even if they’ve always been better than you? You shouldn’t because that’s what losers do.

Being from New England, it breaks my heart, but do you think the 2007 New York Giants thought that they couldn’t beat the Patriots even though they already lost previously in the season? They didn’t; they were mentally ready and didn’t count themselves out, no matter the opponent.

Start to focus on solutions instead of problems. People complain all the time but aren’t willing to find a solution. Why? Because it’s easier to complain than find a solution. If you want to become mentally tough, you can’t be like most people. You need to become a rare breed. You must be someone who no matter how much adversity they face will continue to take on the fight.

“The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and treat yourself lovingly. Do not self-destruct.” – Ben Newman

5. Patrick Bet-David

According to Patrick Bet-David, becoming mentally tough starts with taming the voices inside your head. All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, each have good and bad voices inside of us. To become mentally tough, you need to block out the bad voice. When you can sense it arising inside of you, you need to push through. That’s the only way you will defeat that negative voice.

Bet-David would say that each of us needs a purpose. When you don’t have a purpose, there’s no chance of you becoming mentally tough. You’ll give into every day temptations and call it quits when you could’ve kept pushing. Developing mental toughness means you push yourself further than even what you thought was possible.

The last piece of advice Bet-David had was to think about how you’ll feel if you don’t go after your dreams? Will you be happy twenty years from now knowing you didn’t follow your dreams? It’ll be quite the contrary. You have the option and choices each day to determine how your life will be and mental toughness will help guide you.

Mental toughness is the essential quality in those who are successful and unsuccessful. Due to this, tell us how you develop this unstoppable mindset? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Reasons Your Business Is Failing and How to Relight the Fire Under You

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Are you stuck in a rut with your business or your life? Are you wondering what could be causing this feeling of being stuck? It’s so common for people in this day and age to feel comfortable, and stop pushing themselves, so how do we jumpstart our lives and get moving again?

Here are 5 steps to help light a fire under you, and get you moving towards your goals again:

1. Lack of Vision

Before you started your business, it was just an idea, a thought in your head that seemed impossible. As you put time and effort into this idea, it was within reach, and now you have it. But what happens next? You made it to where you wanted to and now there is nowhere else to go. This is not true though because although you have reached your vision, it doesn’t mean you can’t think even bigger.

A lot of businesses stop growing because the people who run them don’t know what to do after they reach their goals. Instead of being happy you reached your goal, set new ones. Think bigger until your company has reached a level that you are comfortable leaving and letting someone else run it.

2. Lack of Why

Do you remember why you started your company? If not, how do you think you can keep your company moving forward? Start by thinking back to when you first started your business and try to remember why you wanted to start. Now that you have your original reasons for starting the company, check off how many of those you fulfilled and how many you can still work on.

Now think with everything that your business has given you, what do you want your business to stand for moving forward? Do you want your company to make you money, make a difference, or change the world? Whatever you want your company to be doing, as long as you have a reason for keeping your company going.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

3. No Accountability

Do you have a ton of good ideas but can never follow through? Perhaps, you aren’t being held accountable! You need to follow through with what you say. If you continuously say you are going to expand your business, network, or even something as small as getting employees lunch and don’t do it, no one is going to trust your word. If people can’t trust your word, how can they trust your business to get the job done? Start by getting an accountability buddy, coach, or even setting consequences for yourself.

4. Low Standards

People can have low standards in almost everything; places to live, relationships, and even business. If you can’t hold your product, customer service, and reputation to a certain standard, people won’t want to work with you or buy your products. Why would you want to go somewhere, or work with someone, who doesn’t hold themselves to a standard that reflects their work ethic?  

Having low standards can be a symptom of a lack of vision as well. When you can’t imagine what you want your business to look like, how can you hold yourself to a higher standard? So We can hold ourselves to a higher standard by knowing what our time is worth and realizing how much we are investing into a product or client.

If you are spending an hour on something, will your hour be worth 10 dollars or 100? How much effort you put into that specific project will reflect how much you get out of it thus as you understand the value of your time, your standards will rise.

5. No Passion or Pain

What pushes your business?  Are you driven by your passion, or are you being pushed by the pain or pressure? When we are put under pressure, it is amazing what people can do, and when people are passionate about something, many put as much as they can into what they are working on.

Yet, when we start to get comfortable or start to lose the passion we once had, we start to stand still. We begin to not move forward, so why would our business move forward?

Reigniting your passion can be tricky. Try and remember what gave you the initial push to start your passion, and consider what you are passionate about now. Putting the pressure on is as simple as setting a goal, calling up your accountability buddy and setting real consequences for yourself.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

Will you let your business sit stagnant any longer, or will you reinvent your vision, find a why, hold yourself accountable, raise your standards, and reignite your passions? Getting your business and your life to move forward is something that you have to put effort into every day. If you want to succeed, you will have to keep pushing yourself and move forward every day.

How do you push yourself in tough times? Let us know by commenting below!

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5 Commandments You Need to Follow to Build Your Freelance Business

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For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.

Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.

While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.

If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:

1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job

What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.

Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.

You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.

Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.

2. Be Available As Much As Possible

You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.

There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf

3. Be a Communication Machine

Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.

Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:

  • WhatsApp
  • Viber
  • Skype
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • ClearVoice

With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.

4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others

While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.

For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.

Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.

While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.

5. Stay On Track With Taxes

I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.

99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.

You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.

Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.

Are You Ready?

In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.

What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!

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