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5 Reasons Why the Best Entrepreneurs Use Their Companies to Serve Others

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Today, being a “lifestyle entrepreneur” is the trend, and everyone wants to create a vehicle which will make them profit so they can have a beautiful, comfortable, and easy going lifestyle. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but the greatest creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders of all time thought and still think much bigger. They aren’t bought into the often times painful, lonely, and difficult entrepreneurial way of life solely to better their own situation and circumstances. There’s a greater purpose for them.

Amidst our culture constantly telling us to look out for ourselves and go after what we want in order to achieve happiness, if you study those who actually are living life abundantly and to the max, you will see there are much bigger truths.

Now I’m not saying it’s healthy to live in extreme self-denial only seeking the best interests of others and never taking care of yourself. However, building a business is bigger than just yourself because it brings others into the picture.

If you look at some of the most well known, well respected, most impactful leaders and entrepreneurs, you see that they are more concerned with living an outward focused life. They desire to use the gifts and skills they’ve been given and the businesses they have developed to help others.

Here are a few reasons why they use their companies and skills to greater serve instead of greater gain:

1. They know the best way to leave a legacy is through service

Once you’re gone, no one remembers you by how much money you made, but by how many people you loved and helped. No one says on their deathbed “I wish I would’ve grown a more profitable company” but there’s many who say “I wish I could’ve helped more people and had more people in my life who I truly deeply cared about and who truly deeply cared for me.”

The best way to leave a mark on this earth is through how well you love people. Entrepreneurship is a phenomenal vehicle to do this, because it allows people to be innovative, to solve problems for others, and to leverage financial gains to make a significant difference in other people’s lives. It all starts with the heart and the character of a person, and when those are in the right place, the power of entrepreneurship can take those intentions far.

2. They know focusing on serving others is actually more profitable than focusing on profit

It’s simple, the best way to make money is to figure out what someone’s problem is or what they want, and create something that’s more valuable to them than the money they have in their pocket.

So by simply having a mind set that is focused on making the lives of others better, you will inherently figure out how to grow a better, more monetarily lucrative business. Focus outwardly, not inwardly. With this being said, if you’re only focusing on giving to and helping others just so you can receive in return, is that really genuine generosity? Will you be fulfilled in your business long term?

“When you help others feel important, you help yourself feel important too.”- David J. Schwartz

3. They change by helping people so they desire to help others more

Loving and serving others is the best way to grow. The main reason we are on this earth is to be in relationships. Everything else is supplemental to our relationships. Because of this, when you build a business around helping people, not only will you change their lives, but your life will change. Getting to know other people, learning their stories, caring for them, and loving on them, shapes us.

Just because money is involved in business doesn’t mean you can’t build a business to help people. It doesn’t have to be a non-profit to be highly impactful either. The most impactful entrepreneurs know that living this outwardly way is an amazing adventure and that they will experience radical inner growth through it. Who doesn’t want to go on an adventure and grow?

4. They’re aware that if you live for the applause, you’ll die from the lack of it

Those who want to build a business, or a personal brand, or become an influencer solely for the attention and validation will wither. They will live a roller coaster of a life. When the people are praising them, they’ll be doing awesome, but when their audience is gone or is in opposition to them, they won’t know where to turn or how to respond.

On the other hand, when an entrepreneur or a leader has a mission, and a reason to serve, impact, and love other people, they’re so focused on a greater purpose that the outer noise doesn’t matter. They know that insecure people need to be served, but that secure people are free to serve because they know who they are. Don’t live for the applause, live for others.  

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. They know it’s the most fulfilling way to run a business and to live life

Whether you’re an entrepreneur making millions of dollars, or a person with a dead end job barely scraping by, living a life that is focused on serving, caring for, and loving others is the most fulfilling one a human being can live. Greatness is not about power or authority, it’s about service. You’ll never regret taking extra time or putting in extra energy to serve someone, but you’ll likely regret not doing so.

The most loved and well respected people who have built businesses, lead the masses, and changed the world know they’re never too big of a deal to serve anyone. We’re all the same. When you can operate from these principles not only will your business have a better chance of flourishing, but you’ll be much more satisfied in your work, your relationships, and in your life.

You don’t have to be famous or even running a profitable business to implement these truths into the core values of how you operate. Our inward focus usually leads to outward deterioration. Our outward focus usually leads to inward growth. Due to this, be focused on others, be different from the masses and be in services to others.

How do you add value to other peoples lives? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Austin Damon founded a digital marketing agency that helps companies grow their revenue and brand awareness allowing them to have more leverage and influence in their markets. Additionally, he helps freelancers establish and grow 6 figure digital agencies so that they too can help more companies flourish. Austin is dedicated to empowering leaders and entrepreneurs to greater impact, love and serve others.

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  1. Tamiko

    May 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Powerful. Thank you for the reminder.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Why Perfectionists Cannot Be Entrepreneurs

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Perfectionists have high standards for themselves and for others. In an office environment, as employees, they take their responsibilities seriously and never complete any task or project without double-checking even the minutest detail to ensure that it is perfect. They can be irritating to others, too, because they expect the same perfection from their co-workers.

When a perfectionist who has been amazing on the job decides that they want to strike out as an entrepreneur, there are personality traits that can really work against success. Knowing about these in advance may help a perfectionist avoid some of these pitfalls.

Here are five of those pitfalls:

1. I Have to Do It Myself

Perfectionists believe only they can complete a task or project exactly right. Due to this, they operate in two ways:

  • If they have a team with specific tasks, they will micro-manage every step of the way. Having done this myself, I can confirm that this is exhausting.
  • They don’t employ or outsource anything, because they must control every aspect of their businesses and spend whatever time is necessary to complete every task themselves. They must feel in control or things will go wrong.

The problem of course is that, as business tasks and processes expand, the perfectionist finds himself grappling with an ever-expanding list of tasks to perform. At some point, he “hits a wall,” because there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Ultimately, this means that there will be tasks not completed exactly right, and this is a “killer” for the perfectionist.

The solution is not an easy one. It will require admission that no one can be “perfect” in every facet of a business. For me, it was the accounting function. If a perfectionist can pick just one facet of the business that must be tasked to someone else, this is a major first step. After that major first step, it will gradually become easier to task out other facets. It’s gradual, and it is a process.

2. Inability to Accept Feedback

Because a perfectionist truly believes only they can “do it right,” when positive or negative feedback comes along their defenses are immediately activated.

Perfectionists have difficulty admitting any weakness. While most entrepreneurs seek advice and counsel from others as they develop their business plans and steps toward a launch, perfectionists tend not to seek advice, believing again that only they can make the process work. They must strive to develop the perfect product or service, no matter how long that may take.

One famous perfectionist was Steve Jobs of Apple. He wanted control of every aspect of product development and insisted that every employee come to him for approval of every detail of a new product innovation. He was unrelenting and known for bursts of anger, often firing employees at will, and that led to his removal from the company at one point. However, he did have a transformation of sorts after he was brought back in to revive Apple, and his perfectionism did modify, especially after he became ill.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

3. Perfectionists Delay Launches

When a perfectionist decides to strike out on his own, he develops a product or a service for which he believes there is a customer base. He develops a business plan and establishes timelines, just as most would-be entrepreneurs do.

The difference between perfectionist and non-perfectionist entrepreneurs is this: the non-perfectionist is willing to develop an MVP, launch it, test the waters, and modify and improve that product or service as they receive feedback and data from marketing and sales efforts.

The perfectionist, on the other hand, cannot launch a less-than-perfect product or service. They fear rejection and failure. There will always be something that can be improved in some way. The result is that a launch is indefinitely delayed and so are marketing plans and the development of a customer base.

4. Perfectionists Suffer from Lack of Balance

Because of their obsession with both doing it all themselves and being perfect in everything, perfectionist entrepreneurs will find themselves increasing their work hours and spending every waking hour on business-related activities. Ultimately, they will sacrifice social activities, time with family, vacations, and even small previous pleasures, like a lunch or dinner out or shopping. They avoid phone calls from friends, forego meals and sleep, and often suffer from insomnia and chronic fatigue.

In short, work becomes the perfectionist’s entire life. These long, unrelenting hours, often combined with stress because of the never-ending list of tasks, lead to burnout. And when burnout is reached, it’s impossible to function effectively. The signs of this include inability to focus and forgetfulness – something that a perfectionist cannot tolerate.

“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green

5. Perfectionists Will Lose Their Creativity

One of the key ingredients of successful entrepreneurship is creative thought and problem-solving. This is how new products and services are developed or existing ones improved along with how new and unique marketing strategies are developed.

When perfectionists are so focused on those tasks at hand and dealing with the fear that things will not be perfect, they lose their ability to think “outside of the box.”

Even though Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, he was able to back off at times and to “dream” of what could be. This drove Apple to new heights under his returned leadership and his change in mental approach.

It’s not that perfectionists cannot be successful entrepreneurs, it’s that they have to work to accept that “done” can actually be as good or better than “perfect.” “Done” means that the company is launched; it means that products are out there and that marketing strategies are beginning to bring in customers. Often, the beginnings of this kind of success will modify a perfectionist’s behavior going forward. And the additional bonus is that the entrepreneur may actually find time for social and family time again.

Has the need to be perfect ever stopped you from accomplishing something you truly wanted? If this is true, let us know in the comments below how you overcame your perfectionism and kept moving ahead.

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Leadership and Life on Mars: Elon Musk Offers 3 Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

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Five, four, three, two, one — blast-off. Elon Musk is headed to Mars… eventually. The space-loving billionaire discussed his dreams of going into space and even life on Mars during the 2017 International Astronautical Congress.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” he said.

For many business leaders, believing in a future beyond their own hypothetical stars is what drives them forward each day. And with the majority of rapidly growing companies looking to increase their hiring this year, according to a January report by the team at Spark Hire, 2018 Growth Hiring Trends in the United States, leaders need more inspiration than ever to build up their talent and create a brighter tomorrow for their companies.

These 3 lessons from Elon Musk will help you map out long-term goals, learning and development opportunities, and even succession planning:

1. Creating goals for the future

You want your team to look toward the future of your company and believe it isn’t stagnant — nor are their careers. For employees to dedicate 100 percent of themselves to their roles, they need to see plans for the future. Even more important, they should be involved in the planning process. You wouldn’t create a civilization on Mars without consulting the first travellers, would you? Their opinions, expectations, and needs would be key factors.

Give your team the same opportunity to plan for their careers by developing an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Challenge each person to make a business plan for their current or future role at the company. Ask them to lay out where they see the company in five years and how they’ll help it get there.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great” – Elon Musk

2. Don’t make work about one miserable problem after the next

A difficult leadership lesson many of us learn early on is admitting our company has problems. The more important lesson is knowing how to efficiently and effectively overcome those problems, then move on.

The inability to do this results in employees hopping from one miserable problem to the next. After a while, employees become overwhelmed, and it’s impossible to believe the future will be better than the past.

Of course, work can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, so the key here is giving your team the tools to rise above problems and work smarter. When a problem occurs, jump into a team meeting or call to quickly resolve the issue. This shows employees you’re always available to help, which keeps morale high.

Afterwards, brainstorm ways to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again. Have employees note what they feel went wrong and how it can be resolved. Immediately implement these changes to show you’re focused on improving their work experiences.

3. Let them know you’re working to improve their lives

The negativity in this world is overflowing. Work should be a place where employees feel safe to be their genuine, creative, dreaming selves. Every leadership lesson should point back to employees knowing they’re important to the company’s success and that they belong. This is crucial for retention and attracting top talent.

According to a 2017 Globoforce report, Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance, and Life at Work, you can do this by focusing on your team as people who have lives outside of work. In fact, 54 percent of respondents said they would like more opportunities to celebrate life events — such as having a baby, getting married, or buying a house. Additionally, 90 percent of workers who celebrated more than five life events said they feel like they belong in their company.

“And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” – Elon Musk

Let employees know you care about their lives outside of work by celebrating their life events. If possible, give each person a day off for their birthdays and offer benefits to support important life events, like paid parental leave policies.

Which one of these lessons could you use most in your life right now? Let us know in the comments below so we can be of help!

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6 Ways to Knock Down a Door, From A Former Mr. World Canada

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Image Credit: Gordon Clark of Gordon Clark Photography (Pictured Frankie Cena)

A friend of mine introduced me to Frankie Cena a week ago. I spoke with him on Skype and listened to his story. How one person can achieve so much at a young age, against so much adversity blows my mind and he has a lot to teach you in this article.

As a child, Frankie Cena was happy but also underprivileged and unsatisfied. The cooperative housing unit where he lived kept him close to his family and fed his love of the spotlight—sharing a room with his sister, and performing for all the neighbours who’d stick around to hear.

But it also left him wanting more: more for himself, more for his family; more excitement and more opportunity; more chances for him and the people around him to become whatever they wanted to be.

At 26, Frankie’s desire shows few signs of ebbing. He’s the founder of a speech and debate academy, where he works together with his mother and sister. He has over 200 students whom he mentors inside and outside the debate room.

And in a debate circuit traditionally dominated by private schools, Frankie’s student-body cuts across social class, helping diversify Canada’s roster of international award-winning debaters.

He’s tried to redirect his newfound revenue back into the community that made him. Recently, he gave a 2018 dollar New Years prize to a local woman with down syndrome; and another 24,000 dollars in scholarships to several Burnaby students.

But Frankie is also a proud showman. In 2012 he was crowned Mr. World Canada and represented his country at the Mr. World Pageant in 2012—at 5’ 6”, the shortest contestant in the history of any major male beauty pageant.

He went on to win the competition’s talent portion, singing for millions; to co-host Mr. World 2014; and, in 2014, to join the hosting team for the even larger Miss World Competition. In 2017, Frankie was hired to help create and host the all new, Miss World- “Head to Head Challenge” a platform which gave viewers an in depth look at the 120 Miss World Contestants.

Now I can’t say I know anything about these types of competitions but that’s impressive. Between debate, performance, and his obsession with reality television, Frankie’s interests may seem far-flung.

But to him, chasing so many disparate things is just a part of discovering who he is, and doing justice to the people who fought so he could be there.

The advice that Frankie gives that helps so many people around the world is this:

“Whenever one door closes,” he likes to tell his students, “knock it down.”

Here’s what I learned from Frankie:

 

1. Find Your Passion—Then Chase it Down.

  • If you are not in love with what you’re doing, stop doing it. Almost no one has been successful doing something they do not love.
  • Love gives us creativity and energy, and the power to be ferociously positive after failure. Frankie has met a billion smart, charismatic people around the world who are doing nothing, because they do not know what they love to do.
  • To find their passions, Frankie tells people to do the Eat, Sleep, Poop Test. If when you’re doing something, you don’t think about eating, sleeping, pooping, or anything other than that thing—then that is what you’re meant to do.

 

 2. Cherish Every Person and Every Moment

  • When the moment that makes your dreams come true hits you, you’ll never see it coming. So keep your eyes and ears open, always. Cherish, value and engage with every moment and person because you don’t know what they’ll offer you.
  • When someone asked Frankie if he wanted to be Mr. World Canada, he had no idea that he’d eventually become the host of that international competition, or a face of Miss World—that’d he’d soon be a presenter for an audience of millions. His only thought was—“Let’s see where this takes me.”

 

3. Be “That Guy.”

  •  Give everything, not just what you were hired for. Show that you’re there for the vision, not just for yourself—and that you’re vital to making it all real.
  •  At Miss World Frankie went above and beyond to do more work, talk to more people, and make an impact on more areas and levels than was expected of him. Those around him knew that he would go above and beyond to meet the needs of the organisation and their collective ideal.

 

4. Don’t Be a Donald

  • The days of arrogant, selfish men, puffing out their chests and exploiting the people around them, are numbered. We’ve learned to see overconfidence for what it is: theatre, dishonesty, a cover-up for incompetence and abuse. Kindness and honesty inspire trust and suggest authenticity. They’ll propel you much farther.
  • Surrounded by chiselled, statuesque men, Frankie knew that he probably couldn’t compete, at Mr. World, based on the typical standards of a male beauty pageant. So he did what he knew he could do well: he projected happiness and kindness. He got to know the other contestants, the chaperones, the cameramen, the producers.

“They wanted him back not necessarily because he was the most talented or the best host, but because he had an aura that people had faith in”   

 

5. Learn to Fail Well

  • Any failure, in the big-picture of your life, is nothing but a split-second detour. But in our world of instant gratification—of Facebook, of Twitter, of having everything at our fingertips—they tend to take an outsize importance. We get sad and moody and refuse to move on from failure. But you will have a million failures in your life. And if you fall apart whenever one happens, you won’t have much time left to try again.
  • Frankie has had to swallow rejection on a daily basis. He has heard “you’re not good enough,” “sorry, not this time,” “close but no cigar”—at debate and public speaking competitions, during X Factor auditions—more than he can count. But if he or his students let those failures slow him down, they wouldn’t have had the time or the energy for any of their victories.

 

6. Dream Big

  • If you limit your aspirations you will limit what you can visualise, and hence what you can produce. And it’s not enough just to dream every once in a while.Dream consistently and constantly—and set your standards so high that you make a habit of being absolutely excellent.
  • When Frankie would talk about coaching, he’d claim that his students would one day be the best debaters around. When he’d talk about becoming a singer, he’d tell people he’d be bigger than Bieber. And when he’d talk about hosting television, he’d say he’d outdo Ryan Seacrest. Because he knew that if he didn’t see himself in those positions, no one else ever would.

<<<>>>

 If you’d like to connect with Frankie then visit http://frankiecena.com/

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Finding the Right Business: 5 Things to Consider When You Have a Product Idea

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There is a massive difference between having a product idea and setting up a business. First and foremost, you need funds to kickstart the operations. Even if you are able to convince investors, there’s still a long list of tasks that you need to accomplish in order to establish a business, so how do know if the business is right for the specific product (or service) you have come up with?

There’s no particular tool to pinpoint the right business for a particular product (or service) idea, however, you can evaluate a few significant elements to learn if the business makes sense to the market it is targeting.

Here are the five areas that you need to consider while deciding the right business for your idea:

1. Acknowledge your strengths

Before you can even pitch your idea to the investors, you need to acknowledge the strengths you have. The success of a business often banks on the strengths of its owner. So it will be better if you choose a business that reflects the greatest strengths you possess.

Businesses often push people to move out of their comfort zone and grow individual skills, but if it’s in a totally different domain, it may not be wise to pursue that option in the first place.

2. See if your idea adds any value to the consumer

Your product (or service) idea may sound amazing to you, but that does not mean everyone in the market will like it instantly. You need to evaluate whether the product or service you are planning to market has any value to the consumers or not. If yes, then you can set up your business model after that. If it does not, it will be better if you start working on a separate idea.

It is better to face the facts in the earlier stages than setting up a business and finding out that consumers have rejected the product entirely. You can conduct a survey or even look at the latest trends to learn what the people need and how the product (or service) of yours can fit into their lives.

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”Howard Schultz

3. Pick the right market

If your product is a premium sports car, but 95 percent of the market consists of daily wager, perhaps the idea won’t bring you any success. Due to this, choosing the right market becomes a necessity for the business. Analyze your product idea and figure out who are the potential consumers for the product.

It’s not possible to set up a business if its target market is not defined. If you want to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur, you must identify the market and tailor your product as per the requirements. In most cases, it is the market that guides the operations of a particular business.

4. Identify your financial limitations

You need to be very mindful of the finances while setting up a business. A study conducted by Harvard Business School suggests that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. It clearly suggests that even if you have funds, the chances of succeeding are still very slim. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the failure of the startups is their lack of financial management skills.

Once you develop the product (or service) idea, it is better to determine the cost of setting up the business, when you can start turning a profit and how much funds will be enough to run the business for at least a year (before the next round of funding). The chances of landing a venture capitalist are quite low, so it will be wiser to start a business within your financial abilities.

“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

5. Look at the bigger picture

If you are looking for the right business, you set up something that serves a long-term trend, not a short-lived gimmick. The fidget spinners, which were quite popular in 2017, have already lost their charm. Similarly, if your business is based on such things, it may not be the wisest thing to do.

Your aim should be to establish a long-term business, which will be relevant even after 5 years. The challenge is to look beyond all the hypes and gimmicks that are unnecessarily hogging all the attention for the time being. However, if your product or service idea has the potential to stay in the market for long, it will be better if you build a business that can capitalize on that.

Starting your own business from scratch is certainly not child’s play, and one wrong decision can jeopardize all the planning that you have done for your product. Take your time to pick the right business as you can start as a small business in the beginning before expanding. You will be glad to know that more than half of the businesses in the US fall under the category of small business.

Have you started your own side-hustle or business? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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  1. Tamiko

    May 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Powerful. Thank you for the reminder.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Why Perfectionists Cannot Be Entrepreneurs

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Perfectionists have high standards for themselves and for others. In an office environment, as employees, they take their responsibilities seriously and never complete any task or project without double-checking even the minutest detail to ensure that it is perfect. They can be irritating to others, too, because they expect the same perfection from their co-workers.

When a perfectionist who has been amazing on the job decides that they want to strike out as an entrepreneur, there are personality traits that can really work against success. Knowing about these in advance may help a perfectionist avoid some of these pitfalls.

Here are five of those pitfalls:

1. I Have to Do It Myself

Perfectionists believe only they can complete a task or project exactly right. Due to this, they operate in two ways:

  • If they have a team with specific tasks, they will micro-manage every step of the way. Having done this myself, I can confirm that this is exhausting.
  • They don’t employ or outsource anything, because they must control every aspect of their businesses and spend whatever time is necessary to complete every task themselves. They must feel in control or things will go wrong.

The problem of course is that, as business tasks and processes expand, the perfectionist finds himself grappling with an ever-expanding list of tasks to perform. At some point, he “hits a wall,” because there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Ultimately, this means that there will be tasks not completed exactly right, and this is a “killer” for the perfectionist.

The solution is not an easy one. It will require admission that no one can be “perfect” in every facet of a business. For me, it was the accounting function. If a perfectionist can pick just one facet of the business that must be tasked to someone else, this is a major first step. After that major first step, it will gradually become easier to task out other facets. It’s gradual, and it is a process.

2. Inability to Accept Feedback

Because a perfectionist truly believes only they can “do it right,” when positive or negative feedback comes along their defenses are immediately activated.

Perfectionists have difficulty admitting any weakness. While most entrepreneurs seek advice and counsel from others as they develop their business plans and steps toward a launch, perfectionists tend not to seek advice, believing again that only they can make the process work. They must strive to develop the perfect product or service, no matter how long that may take.

One famous perfectionist was Steve Jobs of Apple. He wanted control of every aspect of product development and insisted that every employee come to him for approval of every detail of a new product innovation. He was unrelenting and known for bursts of anger, often firing employees at will, and that led to his removal from the company at one point. However, he did have a transformation of sorts after he was brought back in to revive Apple, and his perfectionism did modify, especially after he became ill.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

3. Perfectionists Delay Launches

When a perfectionist decides to strike out on his own, he develops a product or a service for which he believes there is a customer base. He develops a business plan and establishes timelines, just as most would-be entrepreneurs do.

The difference between perfectionist and non-perfectionist entrepreneurs is this: the non-perfectionist is willing to develop an MVP, launch it, test the waters, and modify and improve that product or service as they receive feedback and data from marketing and sales efforts.

The perfectionist, on the other hand, cannot launch a less-than-perfect product or service. They fear rejection and failure. There will always be something that can be improved in some way. The result is that a launch is indefinitely delayed and so are marketing plans and the development of a customer base.

4. Perfectionists Suffer from Lack of Balance

Because of their obsession with both doing it all themselves and being perfect in everything, perfectionist entrepreneurs will find themselves increasing their work hours and spending every waking hour on business-related activities. Ultimately, they will sacrifice social activities, time with family, vacations, and even small previous pleasures, like a lunch or dinner out or shopping. They avoid phone calls from friends, forego meals and sleep, and often suffer from insomnia and chronic fatigue.

In short, work becomes the perfectionist’s entire life. These long, unrelenting hours, often combined with stress because of the never-ending list of tasks, lead to burnout. And when burnout is reached, it’s impossible to function effectively. The signs of this include inability to focus and forgetfulness – something that a perfectionist cannot tolerate.

“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green

5. Perfectionists Will Lose Their Creativity

One of the key ingredients of successful entrepreneurship is creative thought and problem-solving. This is how new products and services are developed or existing ones improved along with how new and unique marketing strategies are developed.

When perfectionists are so focused on those tasks at hand and dealing with the fear that things will not be perfect, they lose their ability to think “outside of the box.”

Even though Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, he was able to back off at times and to “dream” of what could be. This drove Apple to new heights under his returned leadership and his change in mental approach.

It’s not that perfectionists cannot be successful entrepreneurs, it’s that they have to work to accept that “done” can actually be as good or better than “perfect.” “Done” means that the company is launched; it means that products are out there and that marketing strategies are beginning to bring in customers. Often, the beginnings of this kind of success will modify a perfectionist’s behavior going forward. And the additional bonus is that the entrepreneur may actually find time for social and family time again.

Has the need to be perfect ever stopped you from accomplishing something you truly wanted? If this is true, let us know in the comments below how you overcame your perfectionism and kept moving ahead.

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Leadership and Life on Mars: Elon Musk Offers 3 Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

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Image Credit: Solar Tribune

Five, four, three, two, one — blast-off. Elon Musk is headed to Mars… eventually. The space-loving billionaire discussed his dreams of going into space and even life on Mars during the 2017 International Astronautical Congress.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” he said.

For many business leaders, believing in a future beyond their own hypothetical stars is what drives them forward each day. And with the majority of rapidly growing companies looking to increase their hiring this year, according to a January report by the team at Spark Hire, 2018 Growth Hiring Trends in the United States, leaders need more inspiration than ever to build up their talent and create a brighter tomorrow for their companies.

These 3 lessons from Elon Musk will help you map out long-term goals, learning and development opportunities, and even succession planning:

1. Creating goals for the future

You want your team to look toward the future of your company and believe it isn’t stagnant — nor are their careers. For employees to dedicate 100 percent of themselves to their roles, they need to see plans for the future. Even more important, they should be involved in the planning process. You wouldn’t create a civilization on Mars without consulting the first travellers, would you? Their opinions, expectations, and needs would be key factors.

Give your team the same opportunity to plan for their careers by developing an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Challenge each person to make a business plan for their current or future role at the company. Ask them to lay out where they see the company in five years and how they’ll help it get there.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great” – Elon Musk

2. Don’t make work about one miserable problem after the next

A difficult leadership lesson many of us learn early on is admitting our company has problems. The more important lesson is knowing how to efficiently and effectively overcome those problems, then move on.

The inability to do this results in employees hopping from one miserable problem to the next. After a while, employees become overwhelmed, and it’s impossible to believe the future will be better than the past.

Of course, work can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, so the key here is giving your team the tools to rise above problems and work smarter. When a problem occurs, jump into a team meeting or call to quickly resolve the issue. This shows employees you’re always available to help, which keeps morale high.

Afterwards, brainstorm ways to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again. Have employees note what they feel went wrong and how it can be resolved. Immediately implement these changes to show you’re focused on improving their work experiences.

3. Let them know you’re working to improve their lives

The negativity in this world is overflowing. Work should be a place where employees feel safe to be their genuine, creative, dreaming selves. Every leadership lesson should point back to employees knowing they’re important to the company’s success and that they belong. This is crucial for retention and attracting top talent.

According to a 2017 Globoforce report, Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance, and Life at Work, you can do this by focusing on your team as people who have lives outside of work. In fact, 54 percent of respondents said they would like more opportunities to celebrate life events — such as having a baby, getting married, or buying a house. Additionally, 90 percent of workers who celebrated more than five life events said they feel like they belong in their company.

“And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” – Elon Musk

Let employees know you care about their lives outside of work by celebrating their life events. If possible, give each person a day off for their birthdays and offer benefits to support important life events, like paid parental leave policies.

Which one of these lessons could you use most in your life right now? Let us know in the comments below so we can be of help!

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6 Ways to Knock Down a Door, From A Former Mr. World Canada

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Image Credit: Gordon Clark of Gordon Clark Photography (Pictured Frankie Cena)

A friend of mine introduced me to Frankie Cena a week ago. I spoke with him on Skype and listened to his story. How one person can achieve so much at a young age, against so much adversity blows my mind and he has a lot to teach you in this article.

As a child, Frankie Cena was happy but also underprivileged and unsatisfied. The cooperative housing unit where he lived kept him close to his family and fed his love of the spotlight—sharing a room with his sister, and performing for all the neighbours who’d stick around to hear.

But it also left him wanting more: more for himself, more for his family; more excitement and more opportunity; more chances for him and the people around him to become whatever they wanted to be.

At 26, Frankie’s desire shows few signs of ebbing. He’s the founder of a speech and debate academy, where he works together with his mother and sister. He has over 200 students whom he mentors inside and outside the debate room.

And in a debate circuit traditionally dominated by private schools, Frankie’s student-body cuts across social class, helping diversify Canada’s roster of international award-winning debaters.

He’s tried to redirect his newfound revenue back into the community that made him. Recently, he gave a 2018 dollar New Years prize to a local woman with down syndrome; and another 24,000 dollars in scholarships to several Burnaby students.

But Frankie is also a proud showman. In 2012 he was crowned Mr. World Canada and represented his country at the Mr. World Pageant in 2012—at 5’ 6”, the shortest contestant in the history of any major male beauty pageant.

He went on to win the competition’s talent portion, singing for millions; to co-host Mr. World 2014; and, in 2014, to join the hosting team for the even larger Miss World Competition. In 2017, Frankie was hired to help create and host the all new, Miss World- “Head to Head Challenge” a platform which gave viewers an in depth look at the 120 Miss World Contestants.

Now I can’t say I know anything about these types of competitions but that’s impressive. Between debate, performance, and his obsession with reality television, Frankie’s interests may seem far-flung.

But to him, chasing so many disparate things is just a part of discovering who he is, and doing justice to the people who fought so he could be there.

The advice that Frankie gives that helps so many people around the world is this:

“Whenever one door closes,” he likes to tell his students, “knock it down.”

Here’s what I learned from Frankie:

 

1. Find Your Passion—Then Chase it Down.

  • If you are not in love with what you’re doing, stop doing it. Almost no one has been successful doing something they do not love.
  • Love gives us creativity and energy, and the power to be ferociously positive after failure. Frankie has met a billion smart, charismatic people around the world who are doing nothing, because they do not know what they love to do.
  • To find their passions, Frankie tells people to do the Eat, Sleep, Poop Test. If when you’re doing something, you don’t think about eating, sleeping, pooping, or anything other than that thing—then that is what you’re meant to do.

 

 2. Cherish Every Person and Every Moment

  • When the moment that makes your dreams come true hits you, you’ll never see it coming. So keep your eyes and ears open, always. Cherish, value and engage with every moment and person because you don’t know what they’ll offer you.
  • When someone asked Frankie if he wanted to be Mr. World Canada, he had no idea that he’d eventually become the host of that international competition, or a face of Miss World—that’d he’d soon be a presenter for an audience of millions. His only thought was—“Let’s see where this takes me.”

 

3. Be “That Guy.”

  •  Give everything, not just what you were hired for. Show that you’re there for the vision, not just for yourself—and that you’re vital to making it all real.
  •  At Miss World Frankie went above and beyond to do more work, talk to more people, and make an impact on more areas and levels than was expected of him. Those around him knew that he would go above and beyond to meet the needs of the organisation and their collective ideal.

 

4. Don’t Be a Donald

  • The days of arrogant, selfish men, puffing out their chests and exploiting the people around them, are numbered. We’ve learned to see overconfidence for what it is: theatre, dishonesty, a cover-up for incompetence and abuse. Kindness and honesty inspire trust and suggest authenticity. They’ll propel you much farther.
  • Surrounded by chiselled, statuesque men, Frankie knew that he probably couldn’t compete, at Mr. World, based on the typical standards of a male beauty pageant. So he did what he knew he could do well: he projected happiness and kindness. He got to know the other contestants, the chaperones, the cameramen, the producers.

“They wanted him back not necessarily because he was the most talented or the best host, but because he had an aura that people had faith in”   

 

5. Learn to Fail Well

  • Any failure, in the big-picture of your life, is nothing but a split-second detour. But in our world of instant gratification—of Facebook, of Twitter, of having everything at our fingertips—they tend to take an outsize importance. We get sad and moody and refuse to move on from failure. But you will have a million failures in your life. And if you fall apart whenever one happens, you won’t have much time left to try again.
  • Frankie has had to swallow rejection on a daily basis. He has heard “you’re not good enough,” “sorry, not this time,” “close but no cigar”—at debate and public speaking competitions, during X Factor auditions—more than he can count. But if he or his students let those failures slow him down, they wouldn’t have had the time or the energy for any of their victories.

 

6. Dream Big

  • If you limit your aspirations you will limit what you can visualise, and hence what you can produce. And it’s not enough just to dream every once in a while.Dream consistently and constantly—and set your standards so high that you make a habit of being absolutely excellent.
  • When Frankie would talk about coaching, he’d claim that his students would one day be the best debaters around. When he’d talk about becoming a singer, he’d tell people he’d be bigger than Bieber. And when he’d talk about hosting television, he’d say he’d outdo Ryan Seacrest. Because he knew that if he didn’t see himself in those positions, no one else ever would.

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 If you’d like to connect with Frankie then visit http://frankiecena.com/

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Finding the Right Business: 5 Things to Consider When You Have a Product Idea

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is a massive difference between having a product idea and setting up a business. First and foremost, you need funds to kickstart the operations. Even if you are able to convince investors, there’s still a long list of tasks that you need to accomplish in order to establish a business, so how do know if the business is right for the specific product (or service) you have come up with?

There’s no particular tool to pinpoint the right business for a particular product (or service) idea, however, you can evaluate a few significant elements to learn if the business makes sense to the market it is targeting.

Here are the five areas that you need to consider while deciding the right business for your idea:

1. Acknowledge your strengths

Before you can even pitch your idea to the investors, you need to acknowledge the strengths you have. The success of a business often banks on the strengths of its owner. So it will be better if you choose a business that reflects the greatest strengths you possess.

Businesses often push people to move out of their comfort zone and grow individual skills, but if it’s in a totally different domain, it may not be wise to pursue that option in the first place.

2. See if your idea adds any value to the consumer

Your product (or service) idea may sound amazing to you, but that does not mean everyone in the market will like it instantly. You need to evaluate whether the product or service you are planning to market has any value to the consumers or not. If yes, then you can set up your business model after that. If it does not, it will be better if you start working on a separate idea.

It is better to face the facts in the earlier stages than setting up a business and finding out that consumers have rejected the product entirely. You can conduct a survey or even look at the latest trends to learn what the people need and how the product (or service) of yours can fit into their lives.

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”Howard Schultz

3. Pick the right market

If your product is a premium sports car, but 95 percent of the market consists of daily wager, perhaps the idea won’t bring you any success. Due to this, choosing the right market becomes a necessity for the business. Analyze your product idea and figure out who are the potential consumers for the product.

It’s not possible to set up a business if its target market is not defined. If you want to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur, you must identify the market and tailor your product as per the requirements. In most cases, it is the market that guides the operations of a particular business.

4. Identify your financial limitations

You need to be very mindful of the finances while setting up a business. A study conducted by Harvard Business School suggests that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. It clearly suggests that even if you have funds, the chances of succeeding are still very slim. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the failure of the startups is their lack of financial management skills.

Once you develop the product (or service) idea, it is better to determine the cost of setting up the business, when you can start turning a profit and how much funds will be enough to run the business for at least a year (before the next round of funding). The chances of landing a venture capitalist are quite low, so it will be wiser to start a business within your financial abilities.

“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

5. Look at the bigger picture

If you are looking for the right business, you set up something that serves a long-term trend, not a short-lived gimmick. The fidget spinners, which were quite popular in 2017, have already lost their charm. Similarly, if your business is based on such things, it may not be the wisest thing to do.

Your aim should be to establish a long-term business, which will be relevant even after 5 years. The challenge is to look beyond all the hypes and gimmicks that are unnecessarily hogging all the attention for the time being. However, if your product or service idea has the potential to stay in the market for long, it will be better if you build a business that can capitalize on that.

Starting your own business from scratch is certainly not child’s play, and one wrong decision can jeopardize all the planning that you have done for your product. Take your time to pick the right business as you can start as a small business in the beginning before expanding. You will be glad to know that more than half of the businesses in the US fall under the category of small business.

Have you started your own side-hustle or business? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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