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5 Powerful Confessions From Entrepreneurs Who Never Went to College

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

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

1. Abraham Lincoln

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

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

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

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

2. Walt Disney

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

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

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

3. Richard Branson

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

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

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

4. Milton Hershey

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

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

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

5. Coco Chanel

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

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

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

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

Have you met any entrepreneurs who never needed a college degree to become what they are now? Share your experience in the comments.

Clair Ray – Sociology and Psychology researcher and freelancer at Ultius, polyglot and coffee addict. I began tutoring German and French to college students on University campus. Later, I completed two years of Arabic and received, eventfully, a degree in Early childhood Development. A tutor and teacher for over seven years, I've been creating classes and lessons applying various teaching methods engaging all learners. Connect with me on Twitter.

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  1. TK

    Aug 6, 2017 at 5:00 am

    “The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson This is practically the motto I roll with ever since. Works for me, apparently worked for Branson too. Great advice.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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The 3 P’s of Irresistible Leadership: Passion, Persistence, and Panache

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If any of you reading this have ever studied the theoretical underpinnings of leadership, you will have come across several theories such as the great man theory and charismatic leadership theory. Over the decades, leadership has evolved more from an art of telling people what to do to that of subtle influence, suggestion, and rendering by example. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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1 Comment

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  1. TK

    Aug 6, 2017 at 5:00 am

    “The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson This is practically the motto I roll with ever since. Works for me, apparently worked for Branson too. Great advice.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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Entrepreneurs

The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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