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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

5 Powerful Confessions From Entrepreneurs Who Never Went to College

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How important is college education for most of us? Can an entrepreneur become successful without a college diploma? Let’s see what secrets remarkable entrepreneurs may reveal to us about the way they survived without college.

Looking back at the experience we gather from the most powerful and famous business people, there’s more often a plus rather than a minus in becoming successful without a college degree.

1. Abraham Lincoln

“All I have learned,I learned from books.” – Abraham Lincoln

One of the 8 U.S. presidents who started as entrepreneurs and the only one who received a patent, Abraham Lincoln never went to college. In fact, he was not the only U.S. president who didn’t do it. 7 more presidents didn’t attend college as well.

One of the most striking confessions is that he valued books more than anything else that can educate. Proving that books were his teachers, Abraham Lincoln also acknowledged that his best friend would be a person who could give him a book he hadn’t read before.

No wonder, every entrepreneur with self-respect should read books. Abraham Lincoln proved that self-education is, actually, what makes us more powerful than we are. The 16th president of the United States invented a tool to lift riverboats over sandbars without a diploma as an evidence of his smartness.

2. Walt Disney

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” –  Walt Disney

The father of Mickey Mouse, the first animated feature film in the world, and Disneyland founder, Walt Disney considered books as a treasure as well. However, because of his inattentiveness and constant drawing, Disney dropped out of high school.

Thus, his stronger motivator was failure. Working on Snow White, one of his most successful projects, Walt lost nearly everything, ran out of money, and almost went down the drain. But that was one of the lessons that helped him become the king of cartoons.

3. Richard Branson

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson

A risk-taker with over a $4 billion fortune and the founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson left school at the age of 16 to start his first business – Student magazine. Despite the fact, that he faced dyslexia during his school years, he managed to take a chance in his hands and do what he wanted.

Although, Richard says he has no secrets to hide, he still confesses that he works hard, smart and does it with fun. The power of doing is a secret ingredient to success, according to Branson.

4. Milton Hershey

“My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know, but because of their insatiable need to know more.” – Milton S. Hershey

The founder of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation and a philanthropist, Milton Hershey changed 6 schools, because his family moved very often and, eventually, he left school after the 4th grade to become an apprentice to a printer. Later, he found his passion in candy making.

His idea about business success is not in knowledge, but in the desire to know. Motivation and curiosity can lead you to the unknown realms and open them with ease, if you are ready to experience changes. The only question is to what extend your need is insatiable.

5. Coco Chanel

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

Being taught sewing by nuns, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the only fashion designer to have been put on the 100 most influential people of the 20th century Time magazine’s list, never went to college. Her daring ambitions gave her strength to become one of the most successful designers in the world.

According to her words, the secret of success isn’t in knowing. Quite the opposite – it’s in unawareness. Virtually, it’s unknowing of the fact that failure is a must-be in business. And here’s when fear comes next after you think of a possible fiasco. Without knowing, there’s no fear. Consequently, you’re not afraid to stumble and fall, because you do not know it’s initially programmed.

What unites all these outstanding entrepreneurs? Except for the absence of a college degree? It’s the ability to acknowledge what actually ruled their success. And that’s not college education. Educators, professors and teachers who strive to make college education more proactive and productive can never substitute the inner power of a budding entrepreneur.

Have you met any entrepreneurs who never needed a college degree to become what they are now? Share your experience in the comments.
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How to Lead a Virtual Team: 6 Essential Tips You Need to Know

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The rules have changed. You don’t need an office. You don’t need investors. You DO NOT need permission!

Today, anyone with a good idea (and an addiction for success) can start their own business. Within a matter of months you can build a six-figure business. It takes dedication and commitment, as you already know, but another vital ingredient many forget about in the beginning (I know I did) is to involve others.

You cannot do ‘this’ on your own. You need a team, but once again the rules have changed. You don’t need an office. You don’t need local people you ‘see’ each day.  There’s a new kid in town.

Introducing Your Virtual Team:

Virtual assistants… freelancers… location independent workers… there’s an entire generation who don’t wish to play by yesterday’s rules. The likes of Buffer and Infinitus have built seven-figure companies with no headquaters. Big name entrepreneurs like Michael Hyatt are building teams with no boundaries. The opportunities for a go-getting success seeker like you are vast.

But, building your virtual team is dangerous. There are many pitfalls to building a virtual team. Lucky for you and me there are MANY people to learn from. People who have been there and done it, and who offer advice so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they have. I’ve asked a selection of experts who know all about the right and wrong way to build a successful virtual team. This is what they say:

1. Chris Ducker: Create your 3 lists to freedom

“To save yourself time and money, create a list of: things you hate doing everyday, things you can’t do yourself, and things you shouldn’t be doing. This creates a blueprint of what your virtual team should work on, and allows you to effectively manage it.”

As founder of ‘Virtual Staff Finder’, Chris Ducker has helped entrepreneurs lead a balanced lifestyle for many years. What his ‘3 lists to freedom’ offers is your starting point, because it forces you to consider all the tasks you do (and could do), and hone in on what you should do. From there you can ensure your virtual team grows in a way that will save you time and make you money.

2. Erlend Bakke: Insist on a daily update

“My best tip is the daily update. This is what I ask them to send me: enter date and hours worked in total. What they did today. Two challenges encountered. Three questions they have for me. I have my three CEOs send me this update on a daily basis. It has saved me many hours over the past six years.”

This tip from the founder Mr Outsource, Erlend Bakke, is gold. You build a team to save yourself time, so the last thing you want is to chase updates, or have your team inundate you with questions. Instead, insist they update you each day with these key details. This allows you to stay in the loop, make necessary changes, and to do so without wasting your precious time.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan

3. Erin Blaskie: Create a solid backup plan

Create solid back up plans for if the worst case scenario were to happen. I had grown my own company to over 70 clients, and leaned on a few sub-contractors to help fill in the gaps. While this was great for clients to have that one-stop shop, it left me in a precarious situation when my lead web designer disappeared suddenly.”

As one of the early pioneers of virtual assistants, Erin Blaskie has seen the highs and lows of building a virtual team. A key component is to think how you can scale your operations at all times, and not rely on one (or a few) single person.

4. Kimanzi Constable: You shouldn’t let anyone have complete access to every part of your business

“Make sure you understand what you’ll give your virtual assistant access to and what you should give them access to. You shouldn’t let anyone have complete access to every part of your business.”

As a lifestyle entrepreneur and globetrotting consultant, Kimanzi Constable has built an ever-growing virtual team over the last few years. But he raises a good point, because you need to consider who has access to what in your business; and why. Failure here can have grand consequence, as Kimanzi found when one of his VA’s did the dirty.

5. Natalie Sisson: Share your business vision with your VA

Share your business vision with your VA, as it gets them on board with the bigger picture of why they do what they do. It also gives them ownership over their role, as they know what we’re trying to achieve as a team.”

After over a decade of travelling the world, Natalie Sisson built her Suitcase Entrepreneur community with the help of a virtual team. As she says, it’s important to help your team appreciate WHY they do what they do. Your aim isn’t to build a team, it’s to create a culture.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

6. Ari Meisel: Make the experience as rich as possible

Embrace asynchronous communication such as slack, and video messaging with Fika. Make the experience as rich as possible for people who are not in the same room as you.”

As an outsourcing advocate for many years, Ari Meisel built Get Leverage to provide his clients the virtual assistance they need. He appreciates the importance of communication, especially when you’re communicating with people in different rooms, countries, and continents.

There are an array of tools to communicate face-to-face these days, so don’t only speak to your virtual team over email. Involve them. Speak with them. Create an experience that leaves them feeling valued and part of a “real” team (not a virtual one).

The possibilities are endless for today’s success-seeking entrepreneur. A virtual team provides you the freedom you desire and the opportunity to grow. But there’s a right and wrong way to build one. After reading this post, I hope you understand how the best-of-the-best build theirs.

What are some of the ways you have built a great team for your business? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make During Their First Year

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Would you consider selling 500+ million books a success? Of course you would, and it takes a rather creative and smart individual to achieve it.

JK Rowling is one of the most successful and celebrated authors of all time, but before her Harry Potter series grew into a global phenomenon, 12 publishers rejected her. Even the world’s most successful people fail. They make mistakes and suffer setbacks.

Such adversity never ends, not even when you reach the top. But it’s during your early stages when you suffer the most, because you only know what you know.  However, what if I told you there was a way to avoid many of the mistakes most people make. What if there was a way to avoid all that heartache, so you can fast-track yourself to the front of the line.  There is, and it isn’t as hard as you might imagine.

The smartest thing any new entrepreneur can do is to learn from other people. Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from other peoples’? Why suffer, when they have already created a solution to turn such failure into success?

This is what I did when I interviewed 160+ successful people for my latest book, ‘The Successful Mistake’. I dove into their biggest mistakes so you don’t have to make them.

Stop trying to do everything on your own. Nobody built an empire on their own. You need to involve others, and you need to build a team. Erin Blaskie tried to do it all by herself when she first created her virtual assistant business.

She found success. She had happy clients who loved her work. Yet it soon became too much, and the once high-standard that set her apart began to slip. Those clients jumped ship, and it left Erin exhausted. You cannot do this on your own. You need help. Don’t fight this, embrace it.

How To Fix This:

Think about all the tasks you do during an average week, and choose ONE to outsource. Over the next few days, find a VA who can do this work for you. Hire them next week. Start the process and never look back.

It’s easy to say yes. Saying yes feels good. On the outside, yes is a good word, because yes means more work and money. But the truth is, yes brings nothing but danger.

When Greg Hickman first started his business, him and his co-founder said yes to everyone. After all, their mobile marketing agency could potentially help any business, so they said yes to a restaurant… a bar… a barber… a golf course… and anyone else they could get a meeting with. Yes felt good, but ‘yes’ built zero traction. They tried to help too many people, and in the end helped nobody.

How To Fix This:

If you don’t have a customer avatar, you need to create one. This ‘single’ person is who you serve. Say yes to them, but no to everyone else (no matter how tempting it is).

Mistakes happen. Sometimes they are your fault. Sometimes they are not. No matter, there’s little point in playing the blame game. Brian Foley did when he first created BuddyTruk, and it remains one of his biggest ever regrets.

Despite a lot of investment, time, and effort, the first iteration of their innovative app fell short in every area. Brian and his cofounders were angry at the developers. They expected better, and they blamed them for this failure. But as they dove a little deeper, they realised there was more to the story. This failure arose, not down to incompetence, but due to poor communication.  Blame didn’t come up with a solution, but facing the issue head-on did.

How To Fix This:

The next time something bad happens, don’t blame anyone (especially yourself). Accept the mistake. Seek lessons from it. Communicate with your team. And then move on.

Fear is a part of life. Everyone has it, and no amount of money or fame removes it. But those at the top never let fear do their talking. Whereas those at the beginning of their journey often do. Debbie Millman did when she graduated college. She had dreams and ambitions, but she feared she wasn’t good enough; that the sensible option would be to get a job, climb the ladder, and do what ‘most’ people do.

She built a great CV and career, but Debbie continues to look back and wonder what she could have created if she pushed her fear to one side.

How To Fix This:

Do something that scares you today. Like Noah Kagan does, go to a coffee shop and ask for a 20% discount. The more you face your fear, the easier it is to overcome it.

 

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5 Unique Ways Entrepreneurs Are Approaching Work in 2017

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Today’s entrepreneurs know that if they want to attract the best talent, they must offer the best work culture. It only makes sense. We’re moving out of the industrial economy and into a more knowledge-based economy.

Additionally, according to Fast Company, the freelance economy is on the rise. This opens the door for workers who come in for some projects but not others. And it paves the way for new technologies to be embraced in the workplace. That being the case, entrepreneurs need to design a job environment that better fits with these and other trends.

The following five trends highlight some of the ways entrepreneurs are bringing a unique approach to the workplace:

1. Remote Teams

According to Help Scout, remote teams offer their employers some pretty significant advantages. Remote workers are typically more engaged in the work process AND they log more work hours than their traditional counterparts.

How is this possible? Firstly, these teams have learned to communicate with one another better. This skill set actually developed because these workers couldn’t talk to their co-worker directly. Instead, they had to learn to communicate clearly via media like email, Skype and Slack.

They also don’t get interrupted as much due to the asynchronous nature of their work. Basically, this means that when these workers log on to work, they work, and they work together.

It also seems that working together his another benefit: These team members actually feel a greater bond with one another than more traditional workers do. This may arise from shared work projects and shared values.

2. Work Retreats

Work retreats feel like a working vacation, and in many ways, offer your workforce the benefits of a vacation.

However, an article on the Entrepreneur website points out that work retreats can be so much more. These work-away-from-work vacations encourage entrepreneurs and their employees to look at work problems differently.

Much of this mental shift has to do with the change in work environment. Company bosses headquartered in big cities like New York or Chicago may want to ask their workers to take a weekend in the country. Additionally, many people, entrepreneurs included, view thinking time as downtime. However, truth be told, many people need some downtime: This allows new ideas to take form.

Often ideas can’t come forth while employees face general work responsibilities. (This also explains why people get so many good ideas in the shower: They’re relaxed enough to let things come together.) Finally, employees with different skills and talents get the opportunity to come together in one place and to brainstorm. This often leads to breakthroughs that wouldn’t happen any other way.

“That perfect tranquillity of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.” – Aphra Behn

3. Unlimited Time Off

Doesn’t unlimited time off just sound awesome? Of course, it does. This is one of the hottest and most unique workplace trends of 2017.

While it’s easy to believe that employees with unlimited time off (or unlimited vacation days) will never come to work, most of these programs have some parameters. Usually, the employee in question must get all of his/ her work done before taking the time off. He/ she must also check in with the boss about it.

That said, these programs offer employees and employers some excellent benefits. For one thing, employees aren’t left with vacation days they don’t use. On the flip side, employers aren’t paying for unused vacation days. And vacation gives employees and employers the time they need to recharge their mental and physical batteries.

As discussed, taking time away actually improves creativity and problem-solving abilities. Relaxed employees are productive employees in the end.

4. Hacking Health

Entrepreneurs concentrating on employee wellness and growth will have an advantage over the business owners who don’t.

In addition to offering programs like yoga and gym memberships, some entrepreneurs are taking things a step further. They’re embracing practices like fasting, office saunas, and nootropics to help employees live better and boost brain power at the same time.

While it may seem a bit… odd – to forego food in favor of brain supplements, the effects are beginning to pay off for company’s like Nootrobox. CEO Geoff Woo told Business Insider that, “[he and his employees often fast for] 36 hours.”

Fasting has a slew of health benefits, having been used for thousands of years to improve health and spiritual connection. Research suggests that fasting slows aging, increases the amount of Human Growth Hormone in the body, and reduces insulin sensitivity.

Coupled with the latest nootropics like Modafinil, and various nootropic blends (called “stacks”), Nootrobox employees are supercharging their daily productivity.

Workplaces that embrace these kinds of wellness program can reduce absenteeism as well as help to attract new talent. It also helps bolster employees’ health, which reduces the need for doctors’ visits. This lowers insurance premiums.

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” – Buddha

5. More Gig Economy Workers

Entrepreneurs and employees both can benefit from the rise of the gig economy. The gig economy is a term that describes how companies are shifting from hiring employees to hiring contractors. The workplace in 2017 (and beyond) will be a mix of these two types of workers, according to Forbes, a full 93% of companies embrace this change.

And why not?  It’s good for both entrepreneurs – especially ones running startups – and employees. For the entrepreneur, it means only hiring workers when he/ she needs them.

This prevents employers from having to keep an employee on the payroll he/ she can’t afford. It also allows the entrepreneur to grow as a company because this business owner doesn’t have to do without services that he/ she needs.

The workplace in 2017 is going to change drastically. The savviest entrepreneurs keep up with these trends by embracing them. If you’re trying to revitalize your workforce, think about implementing one or more of these programs. You may just find that your bottom line improves and your company culture becomes happier and more productive to boot.

Have you ever managed anyone? If so, what programs or opportunities did you present in order for them to want to work with you? Let us know by commenting your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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How to Share Your Vision and Ideas With The Super Wealthy – Kevin Harrington

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Kevin-Harrington

Kevin Harrington is an American entrepreneur and business executive. Harrington is the founder of “As Seen On TV”. Kevin has appeared on the television series Shark Tank and has launched over 500 products resulting in more than $5 Billion in sales worldwide.

 

Listen to this Addicted2Success episode to find out how you can share your vision in the most effective way

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 60 million lives in the last 4 and a half years.

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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

5 Powerful Confessions From Entrepreneurs Who Never Went to College

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How important is college education for most of us? Can an entrepreneur become successful without a college diploma? Let’s see what secrets remarkable entrepreneurs may reveal to us about the way they survived without college.

Looking back at the experience we gather from the most powerful and famous business people, there’s more often a plus rather than a minus in becoming successful without a college degree.

1. Abraham Lincoln

“All I have learned,I learned from books.” – Abraham Lincoln

One of the 8 U.S. presidents who started as entrepreneurs and the only one who received a patent, Abraham Lincoln never went to college. In fact, he was not the only U.S. president who didn’t do it. 7 more presidents didn’t attend college as well.

One of the most striking confessions is that he valued books more than anything else that can educate. Proving that books were his teachers, Abraham Lincoln also acknowledged that his best friend would be a person who could give him a book he hadn’t read before.

No wonder, every entrepreneur with self-respect should read books. Abraham Lincoln proved that self-education is, actually, what makes us more powerful than we are. The 16th president of the United States invented a tool to lift riverboats over sandbars without a diploma as an evidence of his smartness.

2. Walt Disney

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” –  Walt Disney

The father of Mickey Mouse, the first animated feature film in the world, and Disneyland founder, Walt Disney considered books as a treasure as well. However, because of his inattentiveness and constant drawing, Disney dropped out of high school.

Thus, his stronger motivator was failure. Working on Snow White, one of his most successful projects, Walt lost nearly everything, ran out of money, and almost went down the drain. But that was one of the lessons that helped him become the king of cartoons.

3. Richard Branson

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson

A risk-taker with over a $4 billion fortune and the founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson left school at the age of 16 to start his first business – Student magazine. Despite the fact, that he faced dyslexia during his school years, he managed to take a chance in his hands and do what he wanted.

Although, Richard says he has no secrets to hide, he still confesses that he works hard, smart and does it with fun. The power of doing is a secret ingredient to success, according to Branson.

4. Milton Hershey

“My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know, but because of their insatiable need to know more.” – Milton S. Hershey

The founder of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation and a philanthropist, Milton Hershey changed 6 schools, because his family moved very often and, eventually, he left school after the 4th grade to become an apprentice to a printer. Later, he found his passion in candy making.

His idea about business success is not in knowledge, but in the desire to know. Motivation and curiosity can lead you to the unknown realms and open them with ease, if you are ready to experience changes. The only question is to what extend your need is insatiable.

5. Coco Chanel

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

Being taught sewing by nuns, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the only fashion designer to have been put on the 100 most influential people of the 20th century Time magazine’s list, never went to college. Her daring ambitions gave her strength to become one of the most successful designers in the world.

According to her words, the secret of success isn’t in knowing. Quite the opposite – it’s in unawareness. Virtually, it’s unknowing of the fact that failure is a must-be in business. And here’s when fear comes next after you think of a possible fiasco. Without knowing, there’s no fear. Consequently, you’re not afraid to stumble and fall, because you do not know it’s initially programmed.

What unites all these outstanding entrepreneurs? Except for the absence of a college degree? It’s the ability to acknowledge what actually ruled their success. And that’s not college education. Educators, professors and teachers who strive to make college education more proactive and productive can never substitute the inner power of a budding entrepreneur.

Have you met any entrepreneurs who never needed a college degree to become what they are now? Share your experience in the comments.
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How to Lead a Virtual Team: 6 Essential Tips You Need to Know

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The rules have changed. You don’t need an office. You don’t need investors. You DO NOT need permission!

Today, anyone with a good idea (and an addiction for success) can start their own business. Within a matter of months you can build a six-figure business. It takes dedication and commitment, as you already know, but another vital ingredient many forget about in the beginning (I know I did) is to involve others.

You cannot do ‘this’ on your own. You need a team, but once again the rules have changed. You don’t need an office. You don’t need local people you ‘see’ each day.  There’s a new kid in town.

Introducing Your Virtual Team:

Virtual assistants… freelancers… location independent workers… there’s an entire generation who don’t wish to play by yesterday’s rules. The likes of Buffer and Infinitus have built seven-figure companies with no headquaters. Big name entrepreneurs like Michael Hyatt are building teams with no boundaries. The opportunities for a go-getting success seeker like you are vast.

But, building your virtual team is dangerous. There are many pitfalls to building a virtual team. Lucky for you and me there are MANY people to learn from. People who have been there and done it, and who offer advice so you don’t have to make the same mistakes they have. I’ve asked a selection of experts who know all about the right and wrong way to build a successful virtual team. This is what they say:

1. Chris Ducker: Create your 3 lists to freedom

“To save yourself time and money, create a list of: things you hate doing everyday, things you can’t do yourself, and things you shouldn’t be doing. This creates a blueprint of what your virtual team should work on, and allows you to effectively manage it.”

As founder of ‘Virtual Staff Finder’, Chris Ducker has helped entrepreneurs lead a balanced lifestyle for many years. What his ‘3 lists to freedom’ offers is your starting point, because it forces you to consider all the tasks you do (and could do), and hone in on what you should do. From there you can ensure your virtual team grows in a way that will save you time and make you money.

2. Erlend Bakke: Insist on a daily update

“My best tip is the daily update. This is what I ask them to send me: enter date and hours worked in total. What they did today. Two challenges encountered. Three questions they have for me. I have my three CEOs send me this update on a daily basis. It has saved me many hours over the past six years.”

This tip from the founder Mr Outsource, Erlend Bakke, is gold. You build a team to save yourself time, so the last thing you want is to chase updates, or have your team inundate you with questions. Instead, insist they update you each day with these key details. This allows you to stay in the loop, make necessary changes, and to do so without wasting your precious time.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan

3. Erin Blaskie: Create a solid backup plan

Create solid back up plans for if the worst case scenario were to happen. I had grown my own company to over 70 clients, and leaned on a few sub-contractors to help fill in the gaps. While this was great for clients to have that one-stop shop, it left me in a precarious situation when my lead web designer disappeared suddenly.”

As one of the early pioneers of virtual assistants, Erin Blaskie has seen the highs and lows of building a virtual team. A key component is to think how you can scale your operations at all times, and not rely on one (or a few) single person.

4. Kimanzi Constable: You shouldn’t let anyone have complete access to every part of your business

“Make sure you understand what you’ll give your virtual assistant access to and what you should give them access to. You shouldn’t let anyone have complete access to every part of your business.”

As a lifestyle entrepreneur and globetrotting consultant, Kimanzi Constable has built an ever-growing virtual team over the last few years. But he raises a good point, because you need to consider who has access to what in your business; and why. Failure here can have grand consequence, as Kimanzi found when one of his VA’s did the dirty.

5. Natalie Sisson: Share your business vision with your VA

Share your business vision with your VA, as it gets them on board with the bigger picture of why they do what they do. It also gives them ownership over their role, as they know what we’re trying to achieve as a team.”

After over a decade of travelling the world, Natalie Sisson built her Suitcase Entrepreneur community with the help of a virtual team. As she says, it’s important to help your team appreciate WHY they do what they do. Your aim isn’t to build a team, it’s to create a culture.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

6. Ari Meisel: Make the experience as rich as possible

Embrace asynchronous communication such as slack, and video messaging with Fika. Make the experience as rich as possible for people who are not in the same room as you.”

As an outsourcing advocate for many years, Ari Meisel built Get Leverage to provide his clients the virtual assistance they need. He appreciates the importance of communication, especially when you’re communicating with people in different rooms, countries, and continents.

There are an array of tools to communicate face-to-face these days, so don’t only speak to your virtual team over email. Involve them. Speak with them. Create an experience that leaves them feeling valued and part of a “real” team (not a virtual one).

The possibilities are endless for today’s success-seeking entrepreneur. A virtual team provides you the freedom you desire and the opportunity to grow. But there’s a right and wrong way to build one. After reading this post, I hope you understand how the best-of-the-best build theirs.

What are some of the ways you have built a great team for your business? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

5 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make During Their First Year

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Would you consider selling 500+ million books a success? Of course you would, and it takes a rather creative and smart individual to achieve it.

JK Rowling is one of the most successful and celebrated authors of all time, but before her Harry Potter series grew into a global phenomenon, 12 publishers rejected her. Even the world’s most successful people fail. They make mistakes and suffer setbacks.

Such adversity never ends, not even when you reach the top. But it’s during your early stages when you suffer the most, because you only know what you know.  However, what if I told you there was a way to avoid many of the mistakes most people make. What if there was a way to avoid all that heartache, so you can fast-track yourself to the front of the line.  There is, and it isn’t as hard as you might imagine.

The smartest thing any new entrepreneur can do is to learn from other people. Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from other peoples’? Why suffer, when they have already created a solution to turn such failure into success?

This is what I did when I interviewed 160+ successful people for my latest book, ‘The Successful Mistake’. I dove into their biggest mistakes so you don’t have to make them.

Stop trying to do everything on your own. Nobody built an empire on their own. You need to involve others, and you need to build a team. Erin Blaskie tried to do it all by herself when she first created her virtual assistant business.

She found success. She had happy clients who loved her work. Yet it soon became too much, and the once high-standard that set her apart began to slip. Those clients jumped ship, and it left Erin exhausted. You cannot do this on your own. You need help. Don’t fight this, embrace it.

How To Fix This:

Think about all the tasks you do during an average week, and choose ONE to outsource. Over the next few days, find a VA who can do this work for you. Hire them next week. Start the process and never look back.

It’s easy to say yes. Saying yes feels good. On the outside, yes is a good word, because yes means more work and money. But the truth is, yes brings nothing but danger.

When Greg Hickman first started his business, him and his co-founder said yes to everyone. After all, their mobile marketing agency could potentially help any business, so they said yes to a restaurant… a bar… a barber… a golf course… and anyone else they could get a meeting with. Yes felt good, but ‘yes’ built zero traction. They tried to help too many people, and in the end helped nobody.

How To Fix This:

If you don’t have a customer avatar, you need to create one. This ‘single’ person is who you serve. Say yes to them, but no to everyone else (no matter how tempting it is).

Mistakes happen. Sometimes they are your fault. Sometimes they are not. No matter, there’s little point in playing the blame game. Brian Foley did when he first created BuddyTruk, and it remains one of his biggest ever regrets.

Despite a lot of investment, time, and effort, the first iteration of their innovative app fell short in every area. Brian and his cofounders were angry at the developers. They expected better, and they blamed them for this failure. But as they dove a little deeper, they realised there was more to the story. This failure arose, not down to incompetence, but due to poor communication.  Blame didn’t come up with a solution, but facing the issue head-on did.

How To Fix This:

The next time something bad happens, don’t blame anyone (especially yourself). Accept the mistake. Seek lessons from it. Communicate with your team. And then move on.

Fear is a part of life. Everyone has it, and no amount of money or fame removes it. But those at the top never let fear do their talking. Whereas those at the beginning of their journey often do. Debbie Millman did when she graduated college. She had dreams and ambitions, but she feared she wasn’t good enough; that the sensible option would be to get a job, climb the ladder, and do what ‘most’ people do.

She built a great CV and career, but Debbie continues to look back and wonder what she could have created if she pushed her fear to one side.

How To Fix This:

Do something that scares you today. Like Noah Kagan does, go to a coffee shop and ask for a 20% discount. The more you face your fear, the easier it is to overcome it.

 

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5 Unique Ways Entrepreneurs Are Approaching Work in 2017

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Today’s entrepreneurs know that if they want to attract the best talent, they must offer the best work culture. It only makes sense. We’re moving out of the industrial economy and into a more knowledge-based economy.

Additionally, according to Fast Company, the freelance economy is on the rise. This opens the door for workers who come in for some projects but not others. And it paves the way for new technologies to be embraced in the workplace. That being the case, entrepreneurs need to design a job environment that better fits with these and other trends.

The following five trends highlight some of the ways entrepreneurs are bringing a unique approach to the workplace:

1. Remote Teams

According to Help Scout, remote teams offer their employers some pretty significant advantages. Remote workers are typically more engaged in the work process AND they log more work hours than their traditional counterparts.

How is this possible? Firstly, these teams have learned to communicate with one another better. This skill set actually developed because these workers couldn’t talk to their co-worker directly. Instead, they had to learn to communicate clearly via media like email, Skype and Slack.

They also don’t get interrupted as much due to the asynchronous nature of their work. Basically, this means that when these workers log on to work, they work, and they work together.

It also seems that working together his another benefit: These team members actually feel a greater bond with one another than more traditional workers do. This may arise from shared work projects and shared values.

2. Work Retreats

Work retreats feel like a working vacation, and in many ways, offer your workforce the benefits of a vacation.

However, an article on the Entrepreneur website points out that work retreats can be so much more. These work-away-from-work vacations encourage entrepreneurs and their employees to look at work problems differently.

Much of this mental shift has to do with the change in work environment. Company bosses headquartered in big cities like New York or Chicago may want to ask their workers to take a weekend in the country. Additionally, many people, entrepreneurs included, view thinking time as downtime. However, truth be told, many people need some downtime: This allows new ideas to take form.

Often ideas can’t come forth while employees face general work responsibilities. (This also explains why people get so many good ideas in the shower: They’re relaxed enough to let things come together.) Finally, employees with different skills and talents get the opportunity to come together in one place and to brainstorm. This often leads to breakthroughs that wouldn’t happen any other way.

“That perfect tranquillity of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.” – Aphra Behn

3. Unlimited Time Off

Doesn’t unlimited time off just sound awesome? Of course, it does. This is one of the hottest and most unique workplace trends of 2017.

While it’s easy to believe that employees with unlimited time off (or unlimited vacation days) will never come to work, most of these programs have some parameters. Usually, the employee in question must get all of his/ her work done before taking the time off. He/ she must also check in with the boss about it.

That said, these programs offer employees and employers some excellent benefits. For one thing, employees aren’t left with vacation days they don’t use. On the flip side, employers aren’t paying for unused vacation days. And vacation gives employees and employers the time they need to recharge their mental and physical batteries.

As discussed, taking time away actually improves creativity and problem-solving abilities. Relaxed employees are productive employees in the end.

4. Hacking Health

Entrepreneurs concentrating on employee wellness and growth will have an advantage over the business owners who don’t.

In addition to offering programs like yoga and gym memberships, some entrepreneurs are taking things a step further. They’re embracing practices like fasting, office saunas, and nootropics to help employees live better and boost brain power at the same time.

While it may seem a bit… odd – to forego food in favor of brain supplements, the effects are beginning to pay off for company’s like Nootrobox. CEO Geoff Woo told Business Insider that, “[he and his employees often fast for] 36 hours.”

Fasting has a slew of health benefits, having been used for thousands of years to improve health and spiritual connection. Research suggests that fasting slows aging, increases the amount of Human Growth Hormone in the body, and reduces insulin sensitivity.

Coupled with the latest nootropics like Modafinil, and various nootropic blends (called “stacks”), Nootrobox employees are supercharging their daily productivity.

Workplaces that embrace these kinds of wellness program can reduce absenteeism as well as help to attract new talent. It also helps bolster employees’ health, which reduces the need for doctors’ visits. This lowers insurance premiums.

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” – Buddha

5. More Gig Economy Workers

Entrepreneurs and employees both can benefit from the rise of the gig economy. The gig economy is a term that describes how companies are shifting from hiring employees to hiring contractors. The workplace in 2017 (and beyond) will be a mix of these two types of workers, according to Forbes, a full 93% of companies embrace this change.

And why not?  It’s good for both entrepreneurs – especially ones running startups – and employees. For the entrepreneur, it means only hiring workers when he/ she needs them.

This prevents employers from having to keep an employee on the payroll he/ she can’t afford. It also allows the entrepreneur to grow as a company because this business owner doesn’t have to do without services that he/ she needs.

The workplace in 2017 is going to change drastically. The savviest entrepreneurs keep up with these trends by embracing them. If you’re trying to revitalize your workforce, think about implementing one or more of these programs. You may just find that your bottom line improves and your company culture becomes happier and more productive to boot.

Have you ever managed anyone? If so, what programs or opportunities did you present in order for them to want to work with you? Let us know by commenting your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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