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5 Commandments You Need to Follow to Build Your Freelance Business

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

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

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

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

1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job

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

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

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

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

2. Be Available As Much As Possible

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

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

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

3. Be a Communication Machine

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

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

Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:

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

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

4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others

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

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

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

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

5. Stay On Track With Taxes

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

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

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

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

Are You Ready?

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Wade Harman is a freelance writer helping brands create more action with their content strategy through the use of psychology. Wade is also an app developer, focusing on freelance writing, to push more business to your door with the use of his mobile app. He’s an avid fisherman, Star Wars fan, and a pepperoni man. Shout to him over on social media if you have any questions.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Guilty Pleasures to Cut Out Immediately if You Want to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

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Admit it, you admire the mansion, you covet the sports car, you dream of that private jet or owning that marvelous yacht. To make matters worse you see your boss owning all of these and living the “good” life.  Deep down you envy your wealthy boss because you wish you could have his possessions.

These feelings and thoughts are all too familiar to wantrepreneurs. But to tell you the truth, you probably will never own any of these. Why? Because most people today lack focus.

Studies shows that more than ever, young people are dreaming of becoming entrepreneurs, build magnificent businesses and fire their bosses. Yet many younglings settle for the cubicle lifestyle.

You see it’s not that these younglings lack talent; not at all. It is simply because there is too many distractions. The previous generation had less distractions which made focus so much easier. However, all is not doomed for this generation if they simply learn how to cut through the noise and learn how to focus like their predecessors did.

Here are 5 guilty pleasures you should cut out today if you want to be a successful entrepreneur:

1. Friends

Have you noticed how small the circles of the most successful and wealthiest amongst us are? Yes they socialize a lot, have a lot of acquaintances and know tons of people. Yet they deliberately minimize their circle of real friends to a select few.

Why is that? Because they realized that they do not need too many people in their personal lives. Having a plethora of friends isn’t necessarily a good thing, it actually reeks of disaster. It is best to have a handful of trustworthy, helpful friends than a bunch of leeches.

Choose your friends wisely, and also choose friends that you can trust.” – Elyn Saks

2. Video gaming

I place video gaming high on this list because to me, it is the number one killer of success. The video game industry is booming at an alarming pace. Shockingly, 95% of boys and a staggering 94% of girls play video games.

Video game designer Jane McGonigal argues that our workplaces could learn a lesson or two from the consequences/rewards systems in gaming. “The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy,” said McGonigal, the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future.

“Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”

While this statement is highly alarming, it is indeed true. After a long day at work who would want some more stress by trying to develop a product or service or thinking of starting a business? It is easier to indulge into video gaming than worry about the harshness of real life.

To tell you the truth, if you desire to be successful the first thing you need to do is throw out that gaming console and focus on some business ideas. Make a business plan, incorporate the right partner, network and learn as much as you can.

3. Too many self-help books

I personally love books and I enjoy a good self-help book now and then. Yet, I know there is no book that can present itself as the manual to live a happy and successful life.

Imagine a stranger walking up to you vilifying your entire existence, telling you countless times that you’ve been living your entire life wrong and that the only road to happiness and success is to be and do just like he/she did, then silently takes off. Wouldn’t it be confusing?

I recommend everyone read self-help books as a form of inspiration or entertainment not to find life’s answers. Nobody can tell you what to do, how to think and what your personality should look like.

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” – Thomas Edison

4. Excessive partying/television

Successful people rarely go clubbing. You might see them at social events here and there but they make sure to keep a balance life. More than just socializing they are focused on their next big venture. Even social events are utilized as networking vehicles. Cut the crap, party less and focus more on that which you wish to achieve.

Too much television: the TV is such a poisonous distraction. Television really offers nothing of substance, yet many of us transform into couch potatoes for hours watching shows.

Many successful people have reportedly admitted to not watch or even own a television for it doesn’t bring any usefulness to their lives.

5. Your hobby

There is only one thing that Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Elon Musk, Michael Jordan and countless others have in common. They turned a simple hobby into a lucrative professional career.

It is noticeable that most successful people immersed themselves fully through countless hours of hard work and transformed a simple hobby into a lucrative career. The key here is to focus on earning a career on your God-given talent instead of just treating it as just another hobby.

How badly do you want to succeed? Are you willing to cut out certain parts of your life which provide no benefit to you? Let us know how you feel in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Starting A Website - Blogger

Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap? (more…)

Vanya Lazarova is a certified professional coach, specializing in helping people create their life's work by starting with purpose and authenticity. She loves writing, reading, psychology, philosophy, arts and all forms of self- expression. She co-founded a personal development podcast called "The Coaching Journal", where she offers thought provoking concepts to empower people intentionally design the life they want to have. You can find more about Vanya and the work she does on her website www.LiveAuthentic.net and at her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Guilty Pleasures to Cut Out Immediately if You Want to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

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Admit it, you admire the mansion, you covet the sports car, you dream of that private jet or owning that marvelous yacht. To make matters worse you see your boss owning all of these and living the “good” life.  Deep down you envy your wealthy boss because you wish you could have his possessions.

These feelings and thoughts are all too familiar to wantrepreneurs. But to tell you the truth, you probably will never own any of these. Why? Because most people today lack focus.

Studies shows that more than ever, young people are dreaming of becoming entrepreneurs, build magnificent businesses and fire their bosses. Yet many younglings settle for the cubicle lifestyle.

You see it’s not that these younglings lack talent; not at all. It is simply because there is too many distractions. The previous generation had less distractions which made focus so much easier. However, all is not doomed for this generation if they simply learn how to cut through the noise and learn how to focus like their predecessors did.

Here are 5 guilty pleasures you should cut out today if you want to be a successful entrepreneur:

1. Friends

Have you noticed how small the circles of the most successful and wealthiest amongst us are? Yes they socialize a lot, have a lot of acquaintances and know tons of people. Yet they deliberately minimize their circle of real friends to a select few.

Why is that? Because they realized that they do not need too many people in their personal lives. Having a plethora of friends isn’t necessarily a good thing, it actually reeks of disaster. It is best to have a handful of trustworthy, helpful friends than a bunch of leeches.

Choose your friends wisely, and also choose friends that you can trust.” – Elyn Saks

2. Video gaming

I place video gaming high on this list because to me, it is the number one killer of success. The video game industry is booming at an alarming pace. Shockingly, 95% of boys and a staggering 94% of girls play video games.

Video game designer Jane McGonigal argues that our workplaces could learn a lesson or two from the consequences/rewards systems in gaming. “The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy,” said McGonigal, the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future.

“Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”

While this statement is highly alarming, it is indeed true. After a long day at work who would want some more stress by trying to develop a product or service or thinking of starting a business? It is easier to indulge into video gaming than worry about the harshness of real life.

To tell you the truth, if you desire to be successful the first thing you need to do is throw out that gaming console and focus on some business ideas. Make a business plan, incorporate the right partner, network and learn as much as you can.

3. Too many self-help books

I personally love books and I enjoy a good self-help book now and then. Yet, I know there is no book that can present itself as the manual to live a happy and successful life.

Imagine a stranger walking up to you vilifying your entire existence, telling you countless times that you’ve been living your entire life wrong and that the only road to happiness and success is to be and do just like he/she did, then silently takes off. Wouldn’t it be confusing?

I recommend everyone read self-help books as a form of inspiration or entertainment not to find life’s answers. Nobody can tell you what to do, how to think and what your personality should look like.

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” – Thomas Edison

4. Excessive partying/television

Successful people rarely go clubbing. You might see them at social events here and there but they make sure to keep a balance life. More than just socializing they are focused on their next big venture. Even social events are utilized as networking vehicles. Cut the crap, party less and focus more on that which you wish to achieve.

Too much television: the TV is such a poisonous distraction. Television really offers nothing of substance, yet many of us transform into couch potatoes for hours watching shows.

Many successful people have reportedly admitted to not watch or even own a television for it doesn’t bring any usefulness to their lives.

5. Your hobby

There is only one thing that Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Elon Musk, Michael Jordan and countless others have in common. They turned a simple hobby into a lucrative professional career.

It is noticeable that most successful people immersed themselves fully through countless hours of hard work and transformed a simple hobby into a lucrative career. The key here is to focus on earning a career on your God-given talent instead of just treating it as just another hobby.

How badly do you want to succeed? Are you willing to cut out certain parts of your life which provide no benefit to you? Let us know how you feel in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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