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4 Reasons Entrepreneurs Fail and How You Can Avoid Them

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4 Reasons Entrepreneurs Fail and How You Can Avoid Them

So you know you want to go the route of the entrepreneur, blaze a trail and help people along the way. But how? You’ve heard the often quoted stat that 90% of all new businesses fail within the first five years. But what causes these failures? If you know what to expect then you can plan how to steer clear.

Here are four reasons entrepreneurs fail and how to avoid them:

1. Trying to do it alone

The story of the lone individual, working tirelessly in a garage (or at a laptop) and becoming a self-made millionaire is just that, a story. No one makes it alone. According to multimillionaire entrepreneur Jordan Harbinger,The best people in any field always get coaching.

You need a coach. It’s possible you have a mentor at this point. A mentor is often someone from your recent past, such as a college professor, manager from a job you’ve had or a friend who is a little further along the life journey than you. are A mentor offers free advice, allows you to bounce ideas back and forth and encourages you. Mentors are people of value in your life. But a mentor is very different from a coach.

You pay a coach for their expertise. Generally a coaching relationship is for a specific number of sessions over a defined period of time, along with some communication between sessions. Although a coach will encourage you, that’s not the primary focus. A coach looks at where you are, helps you discover where you want to be and walks you through the process to get there. The best coaches give you very practical steps to reach your goals, then hold you accountable for taking those steps. Your coach will push you further and faster than you thought possible. They will do more for you than any mentor because, in part, the success of the coach is dependent on a satisfied client. Clients who succeed with the help of a coach are exceedingly happy.

“Sometimes you have to do what you don’t like to get where you want to be.” –Tori Amos

2. Quitting instead of pivoting

Let’s make this very simple. Most new businesses don’t fail due to lack of cash, a poor market or a bad location. Most new businesses fail because the owner decides to quit, when what they should do is pivot. There was a time, not that long ago, that Apple was about to go bankrupt. The company had been losing money for a dozen straight years and poured over $100 million dollars into a failing product, the Apple Newton. By early 1997, Apple was in serious trouble. Had Apple stayed on the same path they would have faded into oblivion.

But that didn’t happen. Today Apple is worth over $700 billion. Why? Because Apple pivoted. They hired back one of the original founders (Steve Jobs) who cut the Newton immediately, made a deal with the previous enemy (Microsoft) and reinvented both the categories of portable music players and cell phones (with the iPod and iPhone). Many other amazing devices followed.

When you are in the midst of what you think is the end, it’s probably not. It may be the end for a particular idea, method or product, but it’s only the end for your business if you quit. Entrepreneurs who succeed know when to pivot.

 

3. Expecting they’ll love everything about being an entrepreneur

Most entrepreneurs are excited about the idea of working for themselves. They assume that every hour of every day will be filled doing creative and fulfilling work. When that’s not the case they often stop trying and look for the thing that will allow them to have every day and hour filled with creative work. The process repeats itself over and over. It’s a futile pursuit.

The good news is that many hours will be filled with doing creative and fulfilling work. The bad news is there are things you’ll still have to do that you don’t love. Successful entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author Jon Acuff recommends every budding business owner create a “grit list”. These are the 10 things you absolutely despise doing, but must be done anyway.

I won’t belabor this point. Just know that while building your business you still have to do some things you don’t enjoy. Create your grit list of these things – then next to each one write down the value they bring to your business.

 Why do I have to fill out an expense report? That’s not my dream. You have to fill out an expense report because expense reports must be filled out.” – Jon Acuff

4. Not having a plan

You need a plan for your business. Not a 10 year all-encompassing plan. Those never work out. A plan for the next year. Perhaps as long as 3 years. The plan should have goals and action steps. It’s as simple as that. Then write it down. Your odds of accomplishing the goals on your plan go way up if you write it down.

On a personal level I had a recent business that was failing. Do you know what I did? Hired a coach, created a plan, pivoted when my coach suggested it and did what needed to be done. Did it work? Yes. If not you wouldn’t be reading this article.

 

Creating a successful business has no secrets. It’s really not about avoiding the wrong things, it’s about doing the right things. If you’ll hire a coach, pivot when necessary, know that some things just must be done and have a good plan then you’ll find yourself in that small group of new businesses that have wild success!

Which one of these four things do you need to implement into your business strategy to help your business?

I help people develop amazing relationships and love what they do every day. I'm a writer, speaker and coach and you can read my articles on great sites such as the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, the Good Men Project and Lifehack. Happiness in life and passion in your work are my goals. Meet me at TroyStoneking.com and Troy Stoneking on Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Hunter

    Mar 2, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I feel that I have been guilty of doing all of these things. I think that the hardest part of letting people in is being afraid that they will not understand my thought process or plan. With that comes the fear that they may try to convince me to change my idea or to do it a different way. The worst case possibility is if they try to explain that the idea or concept will not work at all. Pivoting instead of quitting applies to all aspects of our life. It’s like doing homework. If I can’t find the answer in my textbook, I can either give up or I can seek it elsewhere or ask for help.

    I feel that the last two go together. An important part of the plan that most people overlook is how they will deal with the aspects of entrepreneurship that they don’t like or can’t cope with. Entrepreneurship comes with the intended difficulties and long hours, but many people don’t consider the emotionally stressful and taxing side of it.

    This was a good reading and a great thought provoker. I enjoyed the read and look forward to more. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Stephen Osoko

    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Awesome post. Trying to do it all alone was definately something I felt was the way to success in my early days however I’ve learned that you need some help along the way, be it from mentors, fellow entrepreneurs etc.Once again, great post!

  3. Robb Gorringe

    Nov 26, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Hi Troy,

    I like your recommendation of the “grit list”. It’s so true. There’s just some things that you’ve got to do.

    I also enjoyed what you said about having a plan, but making sure its not too far out ahead. 1-3 years is best. I tend to agree. Sometimes our goals are so “dreamy” that they’re as unreachable as outer space.

    Great article,

    Robb

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Thank you Robb. Man, those “long term” plans are just WAY too far out for me…and I suspect most other people as well. I appreciate your kind comments!

  4. Shaf

    Nov 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    You know I generally renegade online article advice on success and development as rehashed politically correct content that provides zero value – because most of the Internet is like that. I thought the same about this site when I saw feeds on Facebook. Today I read through some articles like this one and have to say this site is different. You did hit on finer points that makes a difference on the path to building a business… and also in many aspects of life

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      Thank you Shaf. I do my best when I write, speak, consult and coach to make things as practical and concrete as possible. If it’s not actionable it’s not worth sharing.

  5. Addicted 2 The Grind

    Nov 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Often times people fail because they are not willing to put in the work. If you work hard and smart you should see results. (#2 ^ ) Most people do quit to early because they don’t see the results fast enough. You have to be patient and put it the work. Great Post

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      You nailed it. I’ve been guilty of slacking off myself…more times than I care to admit! We have push through. Thanks for the great input!!

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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!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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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!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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4 Steps to Take Right Now to Snap Out of Your Funk

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How to get out of a funk

Maybe you’re spending sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed, or perhaps you’re sleeping in until noon. Maybe all you hear are the sad songs, and all you think of are the terrible things that are happening. (more…)

Edwin S. Soriano, Executive Life Coach, Trainer, Author of "You Can Be Happy Again" book. Over the past ten years, I've helped thousands of people create positive change,  permanent transformations in their life. We do this through life coaching, training, books and online content. I help CEOs, Entrepreneurs and business leaders develop their people as a key strategy for growing their business. Learn more at www.edwinsoriano.com and www.winningcoaching.net .

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Hunter

    Mar 2, 2016 at 2:40 am

    I feel that I have been guilty of doing all of these things. I think that the hardest part of letting people in is being afraid that they will not understand my thought process or plan. With that comes the fear that they may try to convince me to change my idea or to do it a different way. The worst case possibility is if they try to explain that the idea or concept will not work at all. Pivoting instead of quitting applies to all aspects of our life. It’s like doing homework. If I can’t find the answer in my textbook, I can either give up or I can seek it elsewhere or ask for help.

    I feel that the last two go together. An important part of the plan that most people overlook is how they will deal with the aspects of entrepreneurship that they don’t like or can’t cope with. Entrepreneurship comes with the intended difficulties and long hours, but many people don’t consider the emotionally stressful and taxing side of it.

    This was a good reading and a great thought provoker. I enjoyed the read and look forward to more. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Stephen Osoko

    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Awesome post. Trying to do it all alone was definately something I felt was the way to success in my early days however I’ve learned that you need some help along the way, be it from mentors, fellow entrepreneurs etc.Once again, great post!

  3. Robb Gorringe

    Nov 26, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Hi Troy,

    I like your recommendation of the “grit list”. It’s so true. There’s just some things that you’ve got to do.

    I also enjoyed what you said about having a plan, but making sure its not too far out ahead. 1-3 years is best. I tend to agree. Sometimes our goals are so “dreamy” that they’re as unreachable as outer space.

    Great article,

    Robb

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Thank you Robb. Man, those “long term” plans are just WAY too far out for me…and I suspect most other people as well. I appreciate your kind comments!

  4. Shaf

    Nov 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    You know I generally renegade online article advice on success and development as rehashed politically correct content that provides zero value – because most of the Internet is like that. I thought the same about this site when I saw feeds on Facebook. Today I read through some articles like this one and have to say this site is different. You did hit on finer points that makes a difference on the path to building a business… and also in many aspects of life

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      Thank you Shaf. I do my best when I write, speak, consult and coach to make things as practical and concrete as possible. If it’s not actionable it’s not worth sharing.

  5. Addicted 2 The Grind

    Nov 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Often times people fail because they are not willing to put in the work. If you work hard and smart you should see results. (#2 ^ ) Most people do quit to early because they don’t see the results fast enough. You have to be patient and put it the work. Great Post

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      You nailed it. I’ve been guilty of slacking off myself…more times than I care to admit! We have push through. Thanks for the great input!!

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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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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Entrepreneurs

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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Entrepreneurs

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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Entrepreneurs

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!

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