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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

Stefany Liefeld is a content strategist with a knack for marketing. A wild introvert who likes to observe life and the universe from as many angles as possible. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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Entrepreneurs

The 21st Century Entrepreneur’s Guide to Attracting Ready to Buy Customers

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Unlike some decades ago, the number one challenge entrepreneurs face is not figuring out a perfect name for their startup or getting overwhelmed at the point of bringing the startup to life. Rather, the major challenge of startup founders nowadays is attracting their first (or next) sets of qualified, always-willing-to-buy customers.

Whether you run a local e-commerce store, or offer consulting services, the need to get well-paying customers (or clients) who will appreciate your work and refer your brand to others can’t be over-emphasized.

A 2016 report by UPS Connect, show that the main focus of 72% of small business owners is increasing their revenue. And if you are among the seventy-two percent of entrepreneurs, then you need not spend hours upon hours anymore in the quest for a trusted “guidebook” with hacks and tips for attracting qualified customers. Good news is, in this article, you’ll discover four infallible, actionable steps to attracting the class of customers you desire.

Ready for the long, smooth ride? Here we go:

1.  Get a byline in relevant publications

Believe it or not, people of the 21st century aren’t always willing to take out their wallet and make a purchase from a brand that shows up out of the blue. In most cases, these potential customers would prefer to buy a product of lesser quality from a “known” brand, than to purchase that of a high quality from a brand that isn’t familiar to them.

So, to avoid being bypassed by qualified customers, you need to get your name out there on relevant publications (with a sizable number of readers) in your industry. And the good part is, as a startup founder with a long, unending to-do list, you don’t have to stress about creating these web content (or articles) yourself. Like the 64% of B2B marketers who outsource writing, you can always hire a ghostwriter to get the job done.

Whether you do the writing yourself or a paid writer does, the point here is you need to get your name out there. Although this step might seem somewhat insignificant at first, the fact remains that it’s a positive leap towards attracting the customers your startup needs.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin

2. Start a blog

This is the 21st century, where the rate of internet users, smartphone users, and general web surfers have tripled (if not quadrupled!). According to HubSpot, 82% of marketers who blog, see positive ROI from their inbound marketing. Also, 45% of marketers, according to one report by SME, say blogging is their most important content strategy. So, by starting a blog, you won’t only increase your chances of gaining new, qualified customers, but also strengthen your chances of keeping the existing ones. And you don’t have to spend ages contemplating what should (and shouldn’t) get published on your blog.

Are there questions existing customers ask often? Are there challenges you feel most people experience while using your products? Or, are there video guides, case studies, infographics or other forms of content you believe might help strengthen your overall marketing effort? Then these are great ideas that could fill up your editorial calendar.

3. Make your business visible

Tons of businesses are established every single day. So, to avoid being outweighed by several other startups in your industry, you need to create a concrete social base. This doesn’t mean you should get your brand on every single, existing social media platform on the web. As a 21st century entrepreneur, all you need do is to identify a few places your ideal customers spend the most of their time.

Are you in the food & drinks, fashion & beauty, or personal development space? Then you should spend more time on places like Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus. And if you are in the B2B industry, then you should focus on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Research by CMI show that 66% of B2C marketers agree that social media is an effective platform for content marketing. So, social media isn’t just a tool that could help keep you on the radar of potential customers. When used the right way, it could also trigger a spike in your level of engagement and sales—thus, resulting in more revenue for your startup.

“People don’t buy from a website, they buy from people. Let them see who you are.” – Mark Schaefer

4. Go the extra mile

In some cases, what’s needed on your part to attract the attention of potential customers is a “mouth-watering” deal—one your competitors can’t dare to contest! This can come in several forms. If you run an e-commerce store, for example, you could offer free shipping services to customers who opt-in for certain high-priced products. If you offer freelance services, say graphic designing, you could deliver graphic designs in various variants without demanding extra fees.

Whatever approach to which you present your “insane” deal, just make sure it’s juicy enough to entice potential customers, compel them to make a purchase, and then propel them to speak well of your brand to their friends—who have the tendency of becoming customers too.

Growing a business is never a day’s job but, unlike startup founders of past centuries, the 21st-century entrepreneurs aren’t “towel throwers.” The truth is, attracting one’s first (or next) group of qualified customers is no small task. By following the steps outlined above, your startup will, in no long time, boast of a large, solid list of loyal customers.

Which of the steps highlighted above do you intend to take first? Share it with us below!

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Entrepreneurs

Love: The Most Essential Element of a Successful Entrepreneurial Couple

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Building a business with your spouse as both your romantic and work partner is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a couple. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With the divorce rate swaying anywhere from 35-50%, married couples already have their work cut out for them when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. Now throw in trying to start a business with your spouse and that work becomes even trickier.

When it comes to being a successful entrepreneurial couple there is only one essential element: love. Just like building a business together, love in marriage requires dedication, time, energy, and excellent communication skills.

Many entrepreneur couples are categorized as “high risk” for divorce and here are the top reasons why:

1. Business Partners Only

In healthy relationships, couples need to be able to communicate about any topic under the sun. It’s how you bond, connect, and learn about one another. However, if all you are talking about is work then you start to create a relationship barrier.

Entrepreneurs can lose their marriage identity when they view their spouse as more of a business partner than a romantic one.

2. Not Making Time for Each Other

If couples with a 9-5 workday need to practice a regular date night, the same should be doubly true for entrepreneurial couples. As entrepreneurs, your “shift” can start as early as the break of dawn and not end until you go to sleep at night – 7 days a week! It’s great to be passionate about your business, but you cannot put it ahead of your marriage and expect your relationship to survive.

“If you put your spouse first, your marriage will last your lifetime.” – Mel Robbins

3. Financial Stress

Being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean you are going to start out or end up being successful. One of the biggest issues with entrepreneurial couples is the financial stress that comes along with building your own business.

Research analysis done by the Bureau of Labor Statics in the United States found that of the businesses started in 2011, only 3% of them made it to their fifth year. Small business failure largely has to do with lack of experience, neglect or fraud, and lack of funding.

Furthermore, research done By Wells Fargo found that 77% of new businesses relied on personal funds to start their company. These harrowing statistics can fill a marriage with anxiety. Not knowing how you are going to pay your bills or when your next paycheck is coming can add a tremendous amount of stress on a marriage.

4. How to Show Love in Marriage as Entrepreneurs

One of the many positive sides of being a married entrepreneurial couple is that you have a freedom that most other couples don’t have. You don’t have to deal with higher-ups, you don’t follow orders. Not only do you get to be together every day, but you have the freedom to travel wherever the wind takes you.

Here’s how to take advantage of your amazing jobs and show love to each other every day:

1. Have fun together

Part of what makes marriage so enjoyable is that you’ve partnered up with your best friend in the world – and never forget it! Being friends as well as lovers and business partners means you should be having fun together regularly.

2. Leave work at work

This can be hard to do, especially considering that as entrepreneurs you don’t have a set schedule, but it is in the best interest of your marriage to create one. Set a schedule and stick to it. Once you are off work, power down your smart devices (for at least an hour) and spend some much-needed quality time with your spouse.

3. Be Patient with Each Other

Starting up a new business takes a lot of time, has many challenges, and isn’t going to be successful overnight. Similarly, you and your spouse are going to find a lot of reasons to snap at each other as entrepreneurs. Showing patience will do wonders for keeping love in marriage.

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

4. Take up a New Hobby Together

Healthy relationships benefit when couples have activities in common outside of their shared responsibilities. Taking up a new hobby, such as learning an instrument, language, dance, or sport can help you both bond closer together and strengthen your marriage.

5. Date Night

A couple’s weekly date night will show up on nearly every ‘how to have healthy relationships’ list for a good reason. Spending at least one night a week together outside of work will help you both get back to basics and connect on an emotional and physical level.

6. Share Your Feelings

In order to be wonderful spouses and business partners to one another, you’ll have to be honest, and part of that honesty means facing your hopes and fears together. Be willing to be vulnerable, humble, and honest with your spouse about your feelings regarding business and love.

7. Express Appreciation

One of the best things couples can do to maintain healthy relationships and love in marriage is to show appreciation for one another each and every day. Tell your spouse the things you love and appreciate about them.

You can tell your spouse you love how they always know how to cheer you up, how they are always there for you in times of distress, or because they always put their dishes away. Whether it’s big or small, always let your partner know what you love about them. Being married entrepreneurs has its own unique set of challenges. Don’t let your love of business get in the way of your healthy relationships.

Cultivate love in marriage by making time for each other regularly, laughing more, expressing appreciation for your spouse, and by leaving work at the door. By doing these things you will strengthen your relationship both in love and in business.

What is the most challenging part about growing your relationship with your partner while running a business? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Entrepreneurs

6 Fears That Keep You From Starting Your Own Business

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They say life is too short to live with regrets, and this is applicable to everyone. Unfortunately, only a few people live by this philosophy. If you ask why – the answer is people are too afraid to pursue their dreams.

People, over the years, have buried their ambitions because they are too afraid to try. No wonder most people in today’s world hate their jobs. There are plenty of individuals who have thought of starting their own businesses but have always taken a step back because of intimidation. Surprisingly, it’s not an isolated incident. People across the globe are afraid to start their ventures.

Here are 6 fears that are keeping you from starting your own business:

1. Not knowing where to start

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that they don’t know where they should start. This is one of the reasons that stop them from launching their own business venture. Even if they find the courage to take the risk and begin a business of their own, it does not end well in most cases.

It is recommended that you should consult an established entrepreneur. Since the person is already familiar with the various aspects of entrepreneurship, he/she can provide you with enough insight about the startup culture and tell you where you can start your journey as an entrepreneur. You will still have to make a significant amount of effort to be successful, but at least you will know that you are on the right track.

2. Receiving criticism for your idea

A lot of people are not willing to work on their startup idea because they are afraid of what people are going to say. The fear of criticism is real, and over the years, it has made thousands of people give up their dreams of doing something extraordinary. Just because a person has ridiculed your idea does not mean it is trash.

Before you can start your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to filter people’s opinions. Some people are going to criticize you no matter what. Because of this, your job is to focus solely on your work.

“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

3. The fear of failure

Overcoming the fear of failure is perhaps the most challenging task for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. No matter how many preparations you make, there’s no way ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of the startups shut down within the first four years of being a business.

While most people consider the fear of failure as the biggest challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity to better yourself. There is no bigger motivation than the fear of failure. If you are able to channel that motivation into positive efforts, setting up a startup will only be a matter of time.

4. Not receiving the funds

For the sustenance of a business, you need three things – an idea to start a business, manpower to execute the idea and significant amount of funds to ensure all the operations are proceeding as planned. Unfortunately, the third element is the hardest one to come by. Most people cannot start their venture due to the lack of funds.

It’s ok to be a bit skeptical about the funding, but you won’t know the real worth of your idea unless you approach investors. The chances are that you won’t get approval in the first few attempts, but you need to keep trying. Approach different venture capitalists with your idea and work on your presentation. If your idea is unique and brilliant, it will be recognized.

5. Not seeing significant ROI in the sector

If your business idea serves a field that is not very popular in today’s society, there are chances that you will hear a lot of negative comments about it. If there is no return on investment in the area you are planning to operate in, it will be really difficult to convince the investors to spend money on such an idea. If you also believe that there is no ROI in the chosen sector, then it is ideal to scrap that idea and come up with another idea that assures one’s ROI.

However, if you believe the idea is going to work and it may also generate significant ROI over time, then you need to think of other ways to convince the investors to make an investment on your project.

“How long should you try? Until.” – Jim Rohn

6. Being afraid of taking risks

Good ideas can come from anyone. It does not always have to be a Harvard student or any tech guy in a turtleneck to come up with a billion-dollar idea. Even an average person can start a venture (which has happened before) and set examples. But sadly not everyone has the guts to get out of their comfort zone.

You need to understand one simple thing, if you continue to do the things that you usually do, you will end up receiving the same results that you have been receiving for the past few years. No one has ever achieved anything great by playing it safe. So if you are willing to lead a prosperous life, you need to make the hard call and get out of your comfort zone.

Starting your own business can actually be quite intimidating if you don’t have any experience of running a business, however, you need to start somewhere to reach the goal you have set for yourself. So it is wise to take the leap of faith and start the venture you have been planning. If it works, you will be closer to your goal, and if it does not, you can at least learn from it and make a better attempt next time.

Which one of these fears resonates most with you, and how do you plan on overcoming it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Are You an Entrepreneur? This One Step Will Make All the Difference

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There’s a quote I saw once, “It’s not about having more money, but living life on your own terms.” For you and I, and any aspiring entrepreneur, this is precisely why we let go of a false stability of the corporate world only to find ourselves navigating the turbulent and uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. This is why we spend our days at co-working spaces and feed our caffeine addictions.

We want the freedom to call the shots.

But this freedom isn’t all, it also isn’t enough. For most of us, a powerful desire to express our own voice—that which is deeply within us—is what guides us into the world of  entrepreneurship. Some do it by developing a product or an idea, others by transforming the way we do things, and a few by finding a cure to a social or physical ailment. In each case, this inner desire stems from a greater purpose, and it is the clarity of this purpose that is essential to our success—and the success of our venture.

Just take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs that came before us. They each had one thing in common: clarity of inner purpose. Before they figured out their “what,” and “how,” they found their “why.”

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

Take Steve Jobs, for example, he was driven by a desire to impact the world at the intersection of creativity and technology. Today, Apple is not only the most financially valuable company, but also deeply revered for this very impact. I am typing this essay on a MacBook Pro while listening to music through my AirPods.

Or take Richard Branson, whose purposeful passion for adventure and turning ideas into reality led him to create an empire encompassing over 400 companies. He knew why he was doing it, whether when playing tennis at his island in the Caribbean or investing in space exploration.

In the social and political realms, there are entrepreneurs, too. They’re the people who envision a world in a different light and pursue that path, or witness an injustice, and seek to right it. For example, take a look at Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birth anniversary, millions celebrated around the world. His “why” was to help his fellow kin break from the shackles of apartheid. Such was his clarity of purpose that he spent 24 years in a prison, patiently maintaining the vision of a free and equitable South Africa.

Is your “why” as clear?

Not knowing our purpose in life is like taking a train ride without knowing why we are there. While the ride may be enjoyable at times, the lack of clarity—of not knowing “why” we are there—will inevitably cause confusion, discomfort and fear. (And we know what fear does to promising ventures…it kills them.) We cannot predict who will join us on the train, the detours we might face on the trip, or even when and where the train will stop, however, we can be deliberate in knowing why we are there and making the most of it.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

Purpose is what gives us meaning, contentment, and a drive to stay up late at night, wake up early, and spend countless hours making things happen amid obstacles and after others think we have gone mad. It is this same purpose that keeps us sane and gives us the willpower to stand up, brush ourselves off, and keep going each time the going gets tough and when we fail (note that I did not say *if*, but *when* we fail).

So, let me ask you: what is your purpose? How would you describe it in a single sentence? If you had to, could you do it in one word? If you aren’t sure, there’s no shame in saying so. There’s only shame if you don’t do something about it. There are many ways to answer the question, “why am I here?” and even more ways to live that answer out. Sometimes, it takes us time to live out the questions only to find the answer when we least expect them.

Take the time to find yourself, you’re worth it.

You’ll also be glad you did it. Knowing your “why” will help you answer questions about your life. It will also help you arrive at the clarity of why your venture exists and what it is meant to do.

Our inner purpose is the main driver and the critical founding block of a meaningful human experience. Without identifying your passions and clearly understanding your purpose, your odds of success will diminish. More importantly, your odds for happiness will plummet. As someone wise once said, “this world needs more people who come alive.” Entrepreneurs are, by definition, meant to be those people. Take the time to find your purpose, and then live it out through your entrepreneurial ventures. I promise, that step will make all the difference.

How do you become self-aware? Comment below!

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Life

15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

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All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals tooWhat makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed upThings you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about itHave some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect


Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.

Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

We don’t need more; we need less to destress

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

<<<>>>

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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Entrepreneurs

The 21st Century Entrepreneur’s Guide to Attracting Ready to Buy Customers

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Unlike some decades ago, the number one challenge entrepreneurs face is not figuring out a perfect name for their startup or getting overwhelmed at the point of bringing the startup to life. Rather, the major challenge of startup founders nowadays is attracting their first (or next) sets of qualified, always-willing-to-buy customers.

Whether you run a local e-commerce store, or offer consulting services, the need to get well-paying customers (or clients) who will appreciate your work and refer your brand to others can’t be over-emphasized.

A 2016 report by UPS Connect, show that the main focus of 72% of small business owners is increasing their revenue. And if you are among the seventy-two percent of entrepreneurs, then you need not spend hours upon hours anymore in the quest for a trusted “guidebook” with hacks and tips for attracting qualified customers. Good news is, in this article, you’ll discover four infallible, actionable steps to attracting the class of customers you desire.

Ready for the long, smooth ride? Here we go:

1.  Get a byline in relevant publications

Believe it or not, people of the 21st century aren’t always willing to take out their wallet and make a purchase from a brand that shows up out of the blue. In most cases, these potential customers would prefer to buy a product of lesser quality from a “known” brand, than to purchase that of a high quality from a brand that isn’t familiar to them.

So, to avoid being bypassed by qualified customers, you need to get your name out there on relevant publications (with a sizable number of readers) in your industry. And the good part is, as a startup founder with a long, unending to-do list, you don’t have to stress about creating these web content (or articles) yourself. Like the 64% of B2B marketers who outsource writing, you can always hire a ghostwriter to get the job done.

Whether you do the writing yourself or a paid writer does, the point here is you need to get your name out there. Although this step might seem somewhat insignificant at first, the fact remains that it’s a positive leap towards attracting the customers your startup needs.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin

2. Start a blog

This is the 21st century, where the rate of internet users, smartphone users, and general web surfers have tripled (if not quadrupled!). According to HubSpot, 82% of marketers who blog, see positive ROI from their inbound marketing. Also, 45% of marketers, according to one report by SME, say blogging is their most important content strategy. So, by starting a blog, you won’t only increase your chances of gaining new, qualified customers, but also strengthen your chances of keeping the existing ones. And you don’t have to spend ages contemplating what should (and shouldn’t) get published on your blog.

Are there questions existing customers ask often? Are there challenges you feel most people experience while using your products? Or, are there video guides, case studies, infographics or other forms of content you believe might help strengthen your overall marketing effort? Then these are great ideas that could fill up your editorial calendar.

3. Make your business visible

Tons of businesses are established every single day. So, to avoid being outweighed by several other startups in your industry, you need to create a concrete social base. This doesn’t mean you should get your brand on every single, existing social media platform on the web. As a 21st century entrepreneur, all you need do is to identify a few places your ideal customers spend the most of their time.

Are you in the food & drinks, fashion & beauty, or personal development space? Then you should spend more time on places like Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus. And if you are in the B2B industry, then you should focus on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Research by CMI show that 66% of B2C marketers agree that social media is an effective platform for content marketing. So, social media isn’t just a tool that could help keep you on the radar of potential customers. When used the right way, it could also trigger a spike in your level of engagement and sales—thus, resulting in more revenue for your startup.

“People don’t buy from a website, they buy from people. Let them see who you are.” – Mark Schaefer

4. Go the extra mile

In some cases, what’s needed on your part to attract the attention of potential customers is a “mouth-watering” deal—one your competitors can’t dare to contest! This can come in several forms. If you run an e-commerce store, for example, you could offer free shipping services to customers who opt-in for certain high-priced products. If you offer freelance services, say graphic designing, you could deliver graphic designs in various variants without demanding extra fees.

Whatever approach to which you present your “insane” deal, just make sure it’s juicy enough to entice potential customers, compel them to make a purchase, and then propel them to speak well of your brand to their friends—who have the tendency of becoming customers too.

Growing a business is never a day’s job but, unlike startup founders of past centuries, the 21st-century entrepreneurs aren’t “towel throwers.” The truth is, attracting one’s first (or next) group of qualified customers is no small task. By following the steps outlined above, your startup will, in no long time, boast of a large, solid list of loyal customers.

Which of the steps highlighted above do you intend to take first? Share it with us below!

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Entrepreneurs

Love: The Most Essential Element of a Successful Entrepreneurial Couple

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Building a business with your spouse as both your romantic and work partner is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a couple. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With the divorce rate swaying anywhere from 35-50%, married couples already have their work cut out for them when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. Now throw in trying to start a business with your spouse and that work becomes even trickier.

When it comes to being a successful entrepreneurial couple there is only one essential element: love. Just like building a business together, love in marriage requires dedication, time, energy, and excellent communication skills.

Many entrepreneur couples are categorized as “high risk” for divorce and here are the top reasons why:

1. Business Partners Only

In healthy relationships, couples need to be able to communicate about any topic under the sun. It’s how you bond, connect, and learn about one another. However, if all you are talking about is work then you start to create a relationship barrier.

Entrepreneurs can lose their marriage identity when they view their spouse as more of a business partner than a romantic one.

2. Not Making Time for Each Other

If couples with a 9-5 workday need to practice a regular date night, the same should be doubly true for entrepreneurial couples. As entrepreneurs, your “shift” can start as early as the break of dawn and not end until you go to sleep at night – 7 days a week! It’s great to be passionate about your business, but you cannot put it ahead of your marriage and expect your relationship to survive.

“If you put your spouse first, your marriage will last your lifetime.” – Mel Robbins

3. Financial Stress

Being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean you are going to start out or end up being successful. One of the biggest issues with entrepreneurial couples is the financial stress that comes along with building your own business.

Research analysis done by the Bureau of Labor Statics in the United States found that of the businesses started in 2011, only 3% of them made it to their fifth year. Small business failure largely has to do with lack of experience, neglect or fraud, and lack of funding.

Furthermore, research done By Wells Fargo found that 77% of new businesses relied on personal funds to start their company. These harrowing statistics can fill a marriage with anxiety. Not knowing how you are going to pay your bills or when your next paycheck is coming can add a tremendous amount of stress on a marriage.

4. How to Show Love in Marriage as Entrepreneurs

One of the many positive sides of being a married entrepreneurial couple is that you have a freedom that most other couples don’t have. You don’t have to deal with higher-ups, you don’t follow orders. Not only do you get to be together every day, but you have the freedom to travel wherever the wind takes you.

Here’s how to take advantage of your amazing jobs and show love to each other every day:

1. Have fun together

Part of what makes marriage so enjoyable is that you’ve partnered up with your best friend in the world – and never forget it! Being friends as well as lovers and business partners means you should be having fun together regularly.

2. Leave work at work

This can be hard to do, especially considering that as entrepreneurs you don’t have a set schedule, but it is in the best interest of your marriage to create one. Set a schedule and stick to it. Once you are off work, power down your smart devices (for at least an hour) and spend some much-needed quality time with your spouse.

3. Be Patient with Each Other

Starting up a new business takes a lot of time, has many challenges, and isn’t going to be successful overnight. Similarly, you and your spouse are going to find a lot of reasons to snap at each other as entrepreneurs. Showing patience will do wonders for keeping love in marriage.

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

4. Take up a New Hobby Together

Healthy relationships benefit when couples have activities in common outside of their shared responsibilities. Taking up a new hobby, such as learning an instrument, language, dance, or sport can help you both bond closer together and strengthen your marriage.

5. Date Night

A couple’s weekly date night will show up on nearly every ‘how to have healthy relationships’ list for a good reason. Spending at least one night a week together outside of work will help you both get back to basics and connect on an emotional and physical level.

6. Share Your Feelings

In order to be wonderful spouses and business partners to one another, you’ll have to be honest, and part of that honesty means facing your hopes and fears together. Be willing to be vulnerable, humble, and honest with your spouse about your feelings regarding business and love.

7. Express Appreciation

One of the best things couples can do to maintain healthy relationships and love in marriage is to show appreciation for one another each and every day. Tell your spouse the things you love and appreciate about them.

You can tell your spouse you love how they always know how to cheer you up, how they are always there for you in times of distress, or because they always put their dishes away. Whether it’s big or small, always let your partner know what you love about them. Being married entrepreneurs has its own unique set of challenges. Don’t let your love of business get in the way of your healthy relationships.

Cultivate love in marriage by making time for each other regularly, laughing more, expressing appreciation for your spouse, and by leaving work at the door. By doing these things you will strengthen your relationship both in love and in business.

What is the most challenging part about growing your relationship with your partner while running a business? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Entrepreneurs

6 Fears That Keep You From Starting Your Own Business

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They say life is too short to live with regrets, and this is applicable to everyone. Unfortunately, only a few people live by this philosophy. If you ask why – the answer is people are too afraid to pursue their dreams.

People, over the years, have buried their ambitions because they are too afraid to try. No wonder most people in today’s world hate their jobs. There are plenty of individuals who have thought of starting their own businesses but have always taken a step back because of intimidation. Surprisingly, it’s not an isolated incident. People across the globe are afraid to start their ventures.

Here are 6 fears that are keeping you from starting your own business:

1. Not knowing where to start

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that they don’t know where they should start. This is one of the reasons that stop them from launching their own business venture. Even if they find the courage to take the risk and begin a business of their own, it does not end well in most cases.

It is recommended that you should consult an established entrepreneur. Since the person is already familiar with the various aspects of entrepreneurship, he/she can provide you with enough insight about the startup culture and tell you where you can start your journey as an entrepreneur. You will still have to make a significant amount of effort to be successful, but at least you will know that you are on the right track.

2. Receiving criticism for your idea

A lot of people are not willing to work on their startup idea because they are afraid of what people are going to say. The fear of criticism is real, and over the years, it has made thousands of people give up their dreams of doing something extraordinary. Just because a person has ridiculed your idea does not mean it is trash.

Before you can start your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to filter people’s opinions. Some people are going to criticize you no matter what. Because of this, your job is to focus solely on your work.

“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

3. The fear of failure

Overcoming the fear of failure is perhaps the most challenging task for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. No matter how many preparations you make, there’s no way ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of the startups shut down within the first four years of being a business.

While most people consider the fear of failure as the biggest challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity to better yourself. There is no bigger motivation than the fear of failure. If you are able to channel that motivation into positive efforts, setting up a startup will only be a matter of time.

4. Not receiving the funds

For the sustenance of a business, you need three things – an idea to start a business, manpower to execute the idea and significant amount of funds to ensure all the operations are proceeding as planned. Unfortunately, the third element is the hardest one to come by. Most people cannot start their venture due to the lack of funds.

It’s ok to be a bit skeptical about the funding, but you won’t know the real worth of your idea unless you approach investors. The chances are that you won’t get approval in the first few attempts, but you need to keep trying. Approach different venture capitalists with your idea and work on your presentation. If your idea is unique and brilliant, it will be recognized.

5. Not seeing significant ROI in the sector

If your business idea serves a field that is not very popular in today’s society, there are chances that you will hear a lot of negative comments about it. If there is no return on investment in the area you are planning to operate in, it will be really difficult to convince the investors to spend money on such an idea. If you also believe that there is no ROI in the chosen sector, then it is ideal to scrap that idea and come up with another idea that assures one’s ROI.

However, if you believe the idea is going to work and it may also generate significant ROI over time, then you need to think of other ways to convince the investors to make an investment on your project.

“How long should you try? Until.” – Jim Rohn

6. Being afraid of taking risks

Good ideas can come from anyone. It does not always have to be a Harvard student or any tech guy in a turtleneck to come up with a billion-dollar idea. Even an average person can start a venture (which has happened before) and set examples. But sadly not everyone has the guts to get out of their comfort zone.

You need to understand one simple thing, if you continue to do the things that you usually do, you will end up receiving the same results that you have been receiving for the past few years. No one has ever achieved anything great by playing it safe. So if you are willing to lead a prosperous life, you need to make the hard call and get out of your comfort zone.

Starting your own business can actually be quite intimidating if you don’t have any experience of running a business, however, you need to start somewhere to reach the goal you have set for yourself. So it is wise to take the leap of faith and start the venture you have been planning. If it works, you will be closer to your goal, and if it does not, you can at least learn from it and make a better attempt next time.

Which one of these fears resonates most with you, and how do you plan on overcoming it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

Are You an Entrepreneur? This One Step Will Make All the Difference

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There’s a quote I saw once, “It’s not about having more money, but living life on your own terms.” For you and I, and any aspiring entrepreneur, this is precisely why we let go of a false stability of the corporate world only to find ourselves navigating the turbulent and uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. This is why we spend our days at co-working spaces and feed our caffeine addictions.

We want the freedom to call the shots.

But this freedom isn’t all, it also isn’t enough. For most of us, a powerful desire to express our own voice—that which is deeply within us—is what guides us into the world of  entrepreneurship. Some do it by developing a product or an idea, others by transforming the way we do things, and a few by finding a cure to a social or physical ailment. In each case, this inner desire stems from a greater purpose, and it is the clarity of this purpose that is essential to our success—and the success of our venture.

Just take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs that came before us. They each had one thing in common: clarity of inner purpose. Before they figured out their “what,” and “how,” they found their “why.”

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

Take Steve Jobs, for example, he was driven by a desire to impact the world at the intersection of creativity and technology. Today, Apple is not only the most financially valuable company, but also deeply revered for this very impact. I am typing this essay on a MacBook Pro while listening to music through my AirPods.

Or take Richard Branson, whose purposeful passion for adventure and turning ideas into reality led him to create an empire encompassing over 400 companies. He knew why he was doing it, whether when playing tennis at his island in the Caribbean or investing in space exploration.

In the social and political realms, there are entrepreneurs, too. They’re the people who envision a world in a different light and pursue that path, or witness an injustice, and seek to right it. For example, take a look at Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birth anniversary, millions celebrated around the world. His “why” was to help his fellow kin break from the shackles of apartheid. Such was his clarity of purpose that he spent 24 years in a prison, patiently maintaining the vision of a free and equitable South Africa.

Is your “why” as clear?

Not knowing our purpose in life is like taking a train ride without knowing why we are there. While the ride may be enjoyable at times, the lack of clarity—of not knowing “why” we are there—will inevitably cause confusion, discomfort and fear. (And we know what fear does to promising ventures…it kills them.) We cannot predict who will join us on the train, the detours we might face on the trip, or even when and where the train will stop, however, we can be deliberate in knowing why we are there and making the most of it.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

Purpose is what gives us meaning, contentment, and a drive to stay up late at night, wake up early, and spend countless hours making things happen amid obstacles and after others think we have gone mad. It is this same purpose that keeps us sane and gives us the willpower to stand up, brush ourselves off, and keep going each time the going gets tough and when we fail (note that I did not say *if*, but *when* we fail).

So, let me ask you: what is your purpose? How would you describe it in a single sentence? If you had to, could you do it in one word? If you aren’t sure, there’s no shame in saying so. There’s only shame if you don’t do something about it. There are many ways to answer the question, “why am I here?” and even more ways to live that answer out. Sometimes, it takes us time to live out the questions only to find the answer when we least expect them.

Take the time to find yourself, you’re worth it.

You’ll also be glad you did it. Knowing your “why” will help you answer questions about your life. It will also help you arrive at the clarity of why your venture exists and what it is meant to do.

Our inner purpose is the main driver and the critical founding block of a meaningful human experience. Without identifying your passions and clearly understanding your purpose, your odds of success will diminish. More importantly, your odds for happiness will plummet. As someone wise once said, “this world needs more people who come alive.” Entrepreneurs are, by definition, meant to be those people. Take the time to find your purpose, and then live it out through your entrepreneurial ventures. I promise, that step will make all the difference.

How do you become self-aware? Comment below!

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