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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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Awais Afzal

    Jul 18, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Everyone fails at first glance. But sometimes we need someone who can really help us and teach us where we actually made mistakes. The young entrepreneur should always pay attention to another successful entrepreneur as how they manage their things and takes a decision. But it comes gradually. So a one should always have some patience.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 Productivity Tactics to Help You Win as a Creative in Your Online Business

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The shift in business has made online entrepreneurship as easy as visiting your local grocery store. The possibilities are endless and the variety is abundant. As creative entrepreneurs, your mind is always powered on flying through hundreds of ideas, thoughts and visions at any given moment. It’s the Jekyll-Hyde of being overwhelmed with too many ideas or a drought of none.

Online business is both a blessing and curse in that, you can reach a wider audience while getting caught up in the noise of your competitors keeping you from being competitive.

Here are the 5 productivity tactics that will help you win in online business as a creative entrepreneur:

1. Create Before You Consume

As a creative, you’re wired to look to the world for inspiration. With social media at our fingertips it makes it easy to get caught up in what our competitors are doing falling victim to comparison syndrome. Start your day off by journaling and using an outlet to release your creativity that’s been bottled up through the night. Only once it’s been released should you then consume the content of others for inspiration. The idea is to only absorb what will help you and not get caught up in the quality of their work to yours.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Silence Your Creativity

The blessing and curse of a creative mindset is our inability to switch it off. We often get so consumed in striving for our goals that we missed all the signs leading us to burnout. We then hit a wall that stalls us for a few days, weeks or even months. Dedicate time every day to doing something non-creative. Go for a walk, meditate, get lost in a book and let your mind relax to refill your creative juice tank.

3. Lean On the Right Support

It’s so easy to get caught up in doing everything on our own. You hold massive visions and goals for your life that others simply won’t understand. The beauty about that is, we all do. Take that first step and reach out to others in your network or invest in a coach or mentor who can keep you from getting deep in your negative thoughts and motivate you to keep pushing through. Support is crucial especially for a creative entrepreneur. You need someone to communicate your vision to and help you create strategies to achieve it.

4. Invest in the Right Tools

Having the right tools can make or break your creative career. Tools don’t have to be a heavy financial investment. Some of the best tools you can use are free. Find the ones that work for you to keep you on track, organized and productive. A hangup many creatives encounter is their ability to lose track of time. The Pomodoro Timer is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping you on track to achieving your goals.

It has three time options, a 25, 10 and 5 minute setting with the 5 and 10 minute settings being used for necessary breaks before restarting the 25 minute timer. Another tool popular among creatives is Trello. It allows you to tap into the Type A personality while still owning your Type B. These are just a few of the many available to you.

“Productivity is never an accident, it’s the results of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Establish a Healthy System

What makes entrepreneurship fun for creatives is their ability to tap into the world around them for creativity at any given moment. Where this becomes a challenge is they often neglect their own self-care to fulfill their creative big-picture vision. Start by dedicating 30 minutes to yourself every morning to relax, enjoy the calm and ease your mind into the day. This will allow you to create a steady and consistent flow throughout your day instead of jumping right in and burning out quickly.

What do you use that helps your productivity as an entrepreneur? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

8 Tips for Launching a Business on Amazon

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Launching a business on Amazon can either seem like a breeze or the most daunting goal you’ve ever set for yourself. Neither is entirely true, but it’s safer to think the latter than the former. The market is indeed very competitive, but it’s by no means a gargantuan task to get you started. While there are comprehensive guides available that’ll walk you through each step (see below), there are a few things you should be aware of before you take the plunge.

Here are 8 tips for launching a business on Amazon:

1. Take one step at a time

It’s important to take it one step at a time when it comes to building your business on Amazon. The key to a happy life, according to psychological studies, is to have low expectations. That’s not to say that your ambitions shouldn’t be sky-high. Things will take time.

For example, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business on Amazon won’t be either. Fortunately, there are handy online guides that’ll teach you how to build your empire step by step, even if you’re on a budget.

2. Invest in low-ticket products

It’s tempting to go for products with a big price tag because they often yield a large profit margin. Beginners are not advised to take this route, however. Why? Because you can wave goodbye to that large profit margin if you only have a small stock purchase budget to work with.

You need to buy in bulk from the manufacturer if you hope to knock down the price and increase your profit margin. Going for low-ticket items will allow you to negotiate with the manufacturer, as you’ll be buying hundreds of things rather than tens of them. Buy products that match your buying power, and then move up the ladder from there.

“If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Don’t play the undercutting game

Many entrepreneurs build their business by undercutting the competition. That’s not a good strategy for a budding business, because your budget and sales volume probably won’t allow for it. You’ll be competing with the big boys (sometimes even Amazon themselves) who buy in vast quantities and therefore have very favorable buying and shipping costs.

It would be better if you instead focused on competing on quality of service rather than price. Feel free to knock yourself out in the undercutting game later, once you can afford your warehouse.

4. Avoid branded products

It’s challenging to make a profit out of selling branded products, such as Apple or Nike. The game of branded goods is exceptionally competitive, and you’ll quickly find yourself in the deep end — just like if you compete on price.

While there is a chance you can stumble across branded goods on clearance, even these will be difficult to get rid of on Amazon. It would be better if you instead spent time developing your business brand.

5. Avoid cheap imitations

Don’t be fooled by Chinese factories on Alibaba that claim to sell branded goods. They’re usually cheap knock-offs that’ll only hurt your seller rating on Amazon. It’s no secret that China produces many imitations, and you don’t want to risk being caught up in a criminal case.

Some of the most sought-after fake products are electronics. Ask yourself if you’re going to risk your imitation product blowing up in the face of your customers is worth the extra profit margin.

Big brands are also aware of the fact that factory workers in China are tempted to sneak out a few iPhones to sell for their private gain. Naturally, the companies monitor these factories to make sure that doesn’t happen.

6. Put your money where your mouth is

Anyone who’ve scrolled through the job listings on sites like Craigslist will know that there is an abundance of offers that are too good to be true. Work from home and make all the money in the world with no up-front investment.

Guess what? Cliches like “it takes money to make money” and “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” are all true. Launching a business on Amazon will require you to budget for your products, shipping of your products, your Amazon seller account, product photography, graphic design, online marketing, and other expenses related to running a business.

7. Don’t do everything yourself

It can be tempting to save money by taking your product photos, designing your logo, create your Facebook ads, and filing your accounts. After all, there are loads of free YouTube videos on how to do these things yourself. Don’t do it.

Chances are the result will scream amateur hour. Your friends might be impressed, but your customers won’t be. Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on your business and not in it. If you can’t afford to hire professionals to accomplish these tasks for you, then wait until you can. Your time is better spent working in your field of expertise.

“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.” – Jeff Bezos

8. Commit to lifelong learning

If you think industries are changing rapidly out there in the real world, then wait until you learn about online businesses. Reading this article is just the start of your learning curve.

Amazon is just a platform, but even so, there are many things you have to stay on top of. You have to know about carving out a niche, ranking well on Amazon, advertising your products across social media channels, and improving your online reputation.

Never stop learning because the landscape is changing every year, if not every day. Make sure to read up on basic Amazon business tutorials, and subscribe to relevant blogs to stay up to date.

Starting a business on Amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than starting a business from scratch. The online platform is already built for you, and Amazon has warehouses in which to store your goods. It’s possible to do it from home with a laptop and an Internet connection — but you need capital to get your business off the ground.

Have you thought about or launched a business on Amazon? If so, let us know what your experience is down below!

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7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

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5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The One Crucial Ingredient for Success That Motivation Can’t Give You

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Some people say motivation is literally the only thing you need to be successful. They say it is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals. But is that really true? A lot of content is produced online that’s aimed to motivate and move you into massive action in the hopes that you’ll finally become successful. (more…)

Janette Getui is a mumpreneur and prosperity guide devoted to showing others how to produce more freedom and opulence in life. She is the co-founder of Bold Beautiful Blissful U and hosts transformational prosperity retreats and masterminds. Known to many as a powerful modern day mystic who has been able to prove through her own journey from the heart of poverty in an African slum to the abundant beach lifestyle that she gets to enjoy in Europe, that overcoming poverty consciousness, limiting beliefs and low self-worth is the fastest way to produce new beginnings and unfold a rich, blissful destiny. Her PH.D in overcoming harsh conditions and mind mastery make connecting with her worthwhile especially if spiritual and financial freedom matters to you. Get her free gift e-book that will enable you to unlock your version of heaven on earth.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Awais Afzal

    Jul 18, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Everyone fails at first glance. But sometimes we need someone who can really help us and teach us where we actually made mistakes. The young entrepreneur should always pay attention to another successful entrepreneur as how they manage their things and takes a decision. But it comes gradually. So a one should always have some patience.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 Productivity Tactics to Help You Win as a Creative in Your Online Business

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The shift in business has made online entrepreneurship as easy as visiting your local grocery store. The possibilities are endless and the variety is abundant. As creative entrepreneurs, your mind is always powered on flying through hundreds of ideas, thoughts and visions at any given moment. It’s the Jekyll-Hyde of being overwhelmed with too many ideas or a drought of none.

Online business is both a blessing and curse in that, you can reach a wider audience while getting caught up in the noise of your competitors keeping you from being competitive.

Here are the 5 productivity tactics that will help you win in online business as a creative entrepreneur:

1. Create Before You Consume

As a creative, you’re wired to look to the world for inspiration. With social media at our fingertips it makes it easy to get caught up in what our competitors are doing falling victim to comparison syndrome. Start your day off by journaling and using an outlet to release your creativity that’s been bottled up through the night. Only once it’s been released should you then consume the content of others for inspiration. The idea is to only absorb what will help you and not get caught up in the quality of their work to yours.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Silence Your Creativity

The blessing and curse of a creative mindset is our inability to switch it off. We often get so consumed in striving for our goals that we missed all the signs leading us to burnout. We then hit a wall that stalls us for a few days, weeks or even months. Dedicate time every day to doing something non-creative. Go for a walk, meditate, get lost in a book and let your mind relax to refill your creative juice tank.

3. Lean On the Right Support

It’s so easy to get caught up in doing everything on our own. You hold massive visions and goals for your life that others simply won’t understand. The beauty about that is, we all do. Take that first step and reach out to others in your network or invest in a coach or mentor who can keep you from getting deep in your negative thoughts and motivate you to keep pushing through. Support is crucial especially for a creative entrepreneur. You need someone to communicate your vision to and help you create strategies to achieve it.

4. Invest in the Right Tools

Having the right tools can make or break your creative career. Tools don’t have to be a heavy financial investment. Some of the best tools you can use are free. Find the ones that work for you to keep you on track, organized and productive. A hangup many creatives encounter is their ability to lose track of time. The Pomodoro Timer is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping you on track to achieving your goals.

It has three time options, a 25, 10 and 5 minute setting with the 5 and 10 minute settings being used for necessary breaks before restarting the 25 minute timer. Another tool popular among creatives is Trello. It allows you to tap into the Type A personality while still owning your Type B. These are just a few of the many available to you.

“Productivity is never an accident, it’s the results of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Establish a Healthy System

What makes entrepreneurship fun for creatives is their ability to tap into the world around them for creativity at any given moment. Where this becomes a challenge is they often neglect their own self-care to fulfill their creative big-picture vision. Start by dedicating 30 minutes to yourself every morning to relax, enjoy the calm and ease your mind into the day. This will allow you to create a steady and consistent flow throughout your day instead of jumping right in and burning out quickly.

What do you use that helps your productivity as an entrepreneur? Comment below!

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8 Tips for Launching a Business on Amazon

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Launching a business on Amazon can either seem like a breeze or the most daunting goal you’ve ever set for yourself. Neither is entirely true, but it’s safer to think the latter than the former. The market is indeed very competitive, but it’s by no means a gargantuan task to get you started. While there are comprehensive guides available that’ll walk you through each step (see below), there are a few things you should be aware of before you take the plunge.

Here are 8 tips for launching a business on Amazon:

1. Take one step at a time

It’s important to take it one step at a time when it comes to building your business on Amazon. The key to a happy life, according to psychological studies, is to have low expectations. That’s not to say that your ambitions shouldn’t be sky-high. Things will take time.

For example, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business on Amazon won’t be either. Fortunately, there are handy online guides that’ll teach you how to build your empire step by step, even if you’re on a budget.

2. Invest in low-ticket products

It’s tempting to go for products with a big price tag because they often yield a large profit margin. Beginners are not advised to take this route, however. Why? Because you can wave goodbye to that large profit margin if you only have a small stock purchase budget to work with.

You need to buy in bulk from the manufacturer if you hope to knock down the price and increase your profit margin. Going for low-ticket items will allow you to negotiate with the manufacturer, as you’ll be buying hundreds of things rather than tens of them. Buy products that match your buying power, and then move up the ladder from there.

“If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Don’t play the undercutting game

Many entrepreneurs build their business by undercutting the competition. That’s not a good strategy for a budding business, because your budget and sales volume probably won’t allow for it. You’ll be competing with the big boys (sometimes even Amazon themselves) who buy in vast quantities and therefore have very favorable buying and shipping costs.

It would be better if you instead focused on competing on quality of service rather than price. Feel free to knock yourself out in the undercutting game later, once you can afford your warehouse.

4. Avoid branded products

It’s challenging to make a profit out of selling branded products, such as Apple or Nike. The game of branded goods is exceptionally competitive, and you’ll quickly find yourself in the deep end — just like if you compete on price.

While there is a chance you can stumble across branded goods on clearance, even these will be difficult to get rid of on Amazon. It would be better if you instead spent time developing your business brand.

5. Avoid cheap imitations

Don’t be fooled by Chinese factories on Alibaba that claim to sell branded goods. They’re usually cheap knock-offs that’ll only hurt your seller rating on Amazon. It’s no secret that China produces many imitations, and you don’t want to risk being caught up in a criminal case.

Some of the most sought-after fake products are electronics. Ask yourself if you’re going to risk your imitation product blowing up in the face of your customers is worth the extra profit margin.

Big brands are also aware of the fact that factory workers in China are tempted to sneak out a few iPhones to sell for their private gain. Naturally, the companies monitor these factories to make sure that doesn’t happen.

6. Put your money where your mouth is

Anyone who’ve scrolled through the job listings on sites like Craigslist will know that there is an abundance of offers that are too good to be true. Work from home and make all the money in the world with no up-front investment.

Guess what? Cliches like “it takes money to make money” and “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” are all true. Launching a business on Amazon will require you to budget for your products, shipping of your products, your Amazon seller account, product photography, graphic design, online marketing, and other expenses related to running a business.

7. Don’t do everything yourself

It can be tempting to save money by taking your product photos, designing your logo, create your Facebook ads, and filing your accounts. After all, there are loads of free YouTube videos on how to do these things yourself. Don’t do it.

Chances are the result will scream amateur hour. Your friends might be impressed, but your customers won’t be. Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on your business and not in it. If you can’t afford to hire professionals to accomplish these tasks for you, then wait until you can. Your time is better spent working in your field of expertise.

“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.” – Jeff Bezos

8. Commit to lifelong learning

If you think industries are changing rapidly out there in the real world, then wait until you learn about online businesses. Reading this article is just the start of your learning curve.

Amazon is just a platform, but even so, there are many things you have to stay on top of. You have to know about carving out a niche, ranking well on Amazon, advertising your products across social media channels, and improving your online reputation.

Never stop learning because the landscape is changing every year, if not every day. Make sure to read up on basic Amazon business tutorials, and subscribe to relevant blogs to stay up to date.

Starting a business on Amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than starting a business from scratch. The online platform is already built for you, and Amazon has warehouses in which to store your goods. It’s possible to do it from home with a laptop and an Internet connection — but you need capital to get your business off the ground.

Have you thought about or launched a business on Amazon? If so, let us know what your experience is down below!

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7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

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5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

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