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5 Simple But Overlooked Ways to Stand Out From Your Competition

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You’re an entrepreneur. You’re working on your side-hustle aspiring to be one soon. You’re a dream chaser who thrives on freedom. But what makes you different from the thousands of other entrepreneurs launching their businesses with a laptop and an internet connection?

While the title and the aspirations behind wanting to be an entrepreneur may be the same, no two entrepreneurs are equal. How do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you become a smart entrepreneur in today’s crowded marketplace?

Here are 5 ways to be a stand out entrepreneur:

1. Don’t be the hero of your story

You’re crazy about your product or service. It may be ‘one-of-a-kind’ and get your customer from A to Z in half the time. As fabulous as it is, stop tooting your own horn. Don’t play the hero who’s waiting to swoop in to rescue your customer.

Donald Miller, Founder of Story Brand says ,“Your brand is not the hero of the story, your customer is. When your brand stops playing the hero and starts playing the role of the guide in your customer’s story, you’ll see dramatic results.

Articulate the value of your brand and products by keeping your customer or client at the center of it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why does the customer need your product? Reflect the customer’s challenges or desires back to him.
  2. How will it work? Describe the change the product will create. Every product or service has to create a change in your customer. E.g. From scared and intimidated to confident and in control. From overwhelmed and desperate to relaxed and stress-free
  3. What exactly does your product or service do? Finish with the facts. This is where you bring your customer full-circle and let them know about the benefits and features of your product.

This is a simple formula you can use for your product descriptions and sales and landing pages.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Be an entrepreneur who makes money in their sleep

Those were the words of Richard Branson. Because that’s the dream right? To live the laptop lifestyle. To post pictures from Krabi or Phuket. To work in your pyjamas and bunny slippers from home.

But in reality, most entrepreneurs are freelancers or one-person run companies. They think that working for themselves means being an entrepreneur. They trade time for money.

But this is a model that won’t sustain itself over the long run. If you cut down your hours, you cut down your revenue. If you have sick days, your work suffers.

Your business depends on you for its survival. There’s no denying that most entrepreneurs start off with this model. It’s a necessity when you’re still trying to find your footing.

But smart entrepreneurs don’t get stuck in the ‘time for money’ wheel of trade. They have a vision of how to break out of the cycle and make plans to scale. Their vision for their business is bigger than them.

 

3. Determine how much energy you have

We live in a society where asking for help is a sign of weakness and being busy and doing everything yourself is a status symbol. You’re no less of an entrepreneur by getting help. There is no shame in outsourcing elements of your business.

You don’t have to keep ‘crushing it’. Ask yourself:How much time and energy do you really have? And what do you want to do in those hours?

When you know the size of your energy basket and the size of your tasks, you find that it’s easier to choose what to do and what not to do. You become aware that saying yes to one task means saying no to something else.

Have a clear picture of tasks that grow your business and tasks that maintain your business. Once you get clear on these, determine what your major time drains are.

These are most likely business maintenance tasks like bookkeeping or website fixes. See if you can outsource these so that you have time to work on tasks that grow your business. Smart entrepreneurs are aware of their limits. They know when to step back and get help.

 

4. Focus on being different, not better than your competitors

Be different because you’ll never be better. Once you start to compete on ‘better’, you’ll have to add features and benefits to stay in the race. When everyone starts to compete on these, it boils down to who can offer the cheapest price.

The marketplace is flooded with similar products. Just have a look at the number of courses helping you build a profitable blog.

Start analyzing your competitors and gaps in the marketplace and try to find a way to be different. Smart entrepreneurs know how to position themselves in an already crowded marketplace.

“It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” – Hans Hansen

5. Sell promises

Your brand is not so much what you say it is, as what your customer says it is. What story do they tell themselves by consuming your products and services?

It’s the perception of your brand in their mind that makes them listen to you or buy from you.

People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. And when they do buy, they buy because of the identity your brand gives them. The promise your brand offer gives.

Brand story strategist Bernadette Jiwa says “Because people don’t want to ‘do’ they want to ‘be’. They want to be less busy and more productive, less alone and more connected, less fearful and feel more safe.” Smart entrepreneurs sell promises rather than features and benefits.

Let these points guide you in your business. Align yourself with the true definition of who an entrepreneur is. Because once you do that, you’ll be unstoppable. You’ll be a stand-out entrepreneur.

What do you currently do to stand out from businesses in your industry? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Meera Kothand is a certified email marketing specialist, blogger and a self-professed email nerd. She blogs over at MeeraKothand.Com where she helps bloggers and solopreneurs create authentic blogs and businesses minus the sleaze to build an unmissable online presence and to make an impact online? Click here to get started.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Abdulwasii Ilyas

    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I know I can’t be better than any anyone. So, first I try to be me and then regularly improve on that to become a better version of “me”.

  2. SYLVESTER IKECHUKWU

    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

    It’s a mind-blowing write-up,As for me and my co-founders ,we did take the disadvantages of our forecast competitors turning them into our Advantages ,thereby taking off being our competitors to been different from them and what they do…i.e.Tradetack.com on e-commerce services…especially in africa.

  3. ROGER

    Dec 26, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Intriguing. ROGER

  4. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hey Meera,

    Fantastic advice contained in this brand strategy/differentiation article! The main takeaway I got is demonstrating the ideal customer and how they get the huge benefits (promises) out of what you’re selling.

    Too many people focus on image ads, and even large corporations simply put ads in front of people that have no call to action or time-constraint. This is why I’ve learned so much about direct response and I see it as a very longevity-focused business strategy.

    Thanks for the gold nuggets and actionable points you provided

    – Evan

  5. Meera

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Tim, absolutely! And that’s something I learnt the hard way. I think almost everyone starts off wanting to be better. And passive income….it takes a lot of work to put in place those funnels and systems but it’s well worth the time and effort to start off on the right foot. Thanks so much for your comment Tim!

  6. Yury Gerasimchuk

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:15 am

    great article! very thoughtful points

    • Meera

      Jun 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Yury!

  7. Tim Denning

    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Meera thank you for sharing your advice. There were so good thought- provoking points you mentioned. Passive income as the single biggest way to build your income. Your last point makes a lot of sense. Trying to be better than your competitors can be hard so being different seems much easier.

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Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Friends

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

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

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

2. Video gaming

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

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

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

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

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

3. Too many self-help books

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

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

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

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

4. Excessive partying/television

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

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

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

5. Your hobby

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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

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

1. You are not easily contented

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

2. You are a control freak

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

3. You are a born risk-taker

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

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

4. You like making your own money

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

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

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

6. You are an introvert

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

7. You are passionate

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

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

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

8. Confidence is your success mantra

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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

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

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

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

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

 

Downsides of starting a website:

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

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

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

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

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

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

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

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

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

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

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

Here’s what’s changed:

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

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

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

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

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

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

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

 

Remember this.

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

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

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

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

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

 

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

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

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Be different instead of better.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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

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

Numbers don’t lie

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

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

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

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

1. The email trap

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

2. Health

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

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

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

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

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

3. Oxygenate your body

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

4. Confirmation email

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

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

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

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

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

5. Chunking

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

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

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

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

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Motivation

Whenever I Am Fearful Of What People Think, I Do This.

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I’ve had some days recently where I’ve been plagued with that question “What will people think?”

“If I say that, will people hate it and could it ruin my career?”
‘If I say the truth and people dislike it, could that ruin an upcoming opportunity?”
‘If they don’t like it, will I ever get another chance?

Whenever I find myself becoming fearful of people’s opinions, I do this:

 

I compare their opinion to my mortality.

This is the main hack so let’s start with this. Whenever I find myself worrying about what people think and how it may affect my success, I remember that in the scheme of things I am only on this Earth for a short amount of time.

Anything that I say will likely be forgotten pretty quickly. People are so caught up in all the troubles of their own life that they don’t have space in their mind to remember all of my flaws and silly moments. So if people are highly unlikely to remember, then who cares what people think?

Comparing opinions to your own mortality is a fantastic way to get a reality check. This way of thinking always gets me out of my head. Death is a good motivator that will make you take action and not get caught up in your head trying to win a war against opinions.

 

I’d rather try for greatness than never know because of fear.

Being paralyzed by people’s opinions stops you from ever reaching your full potential. You end up second-guessing yourself and not taking certain actions out of fear for what people may think. You can’t enter their mind and steal their thoughts (not yet, anyway) so you’ll never know for sure.

Maybe people love what you said. Maybe what you hypothesize they’re thinking is wrong. So the truth is you’ll never know for sure.

“What I do know for sure is that greatness is within all of us and it can only be unleashed when you stop giving an F”

Greatness is achieved when you say what you think, you take vulnerable actions, you’re authentic and most of all, you don’t hold back. People’s opinions are holding you back and they don’t matter. What matters is your opinion of yourself.

 

What matters is you tried.

And your critics probably didn’t. By not being held back by opinions you end up trying things that you’d normally not do. Here are some of my own examples:

  • I went to a high interval training workout class. Normally I wouldn’t because I’m currently unfit, but because I don’t care what people think, I did it anyway and loved it.
  • I entered a public speaking competition and won against very tough competition. Normally I wouldn’t but I told myself that I can say cool stuff too.
  • I took a long plane trip overseas. Normally I wouldn’t because I have a fear of flying but because I’ve now flown enough times, flying is actually fun.
  • I started this whole blogging thing. Normally I wouldn’t of because I used to hate writing and found it dead boring. I thought people would think what I had to say was dumb. Then I discovered my passion for blogging and now it’s what I’m known for by millions of people

How much success are you leaving on the table by being shackled down with the opinions of others? Just do what you love and if people hate it then screw them. They’re obviously not your target audience or don’t get your unique talent. Giving it a go will show you more than doing nothing.

 

I think about not living my dream life.

If people’s horrible opinions of you are weighing you down, then try this reverse hack: Think about what would happen if you didn’t live your dream.

Whenever I second guess myself about giving a talk, I think about what would happen if I never discovered this whole inspiring others gift that I had secretly hidden inside of me.

When you weigh up in your head the difference between people’s thoughts of you, and living your dream life, you’ll find your mind always pushing towards the later. Use this super-sized hack to destroy your fear of opinions.

 

I remind myself of what the great’s do.

If fear of public reticule is holding me back, I think in my mind about what the greats would do. Would Steve Jobs let someone tell him that his phone needs more buttons?

“Would Martin Luther King let someone tell him that black people’s rights don’t matter and to stay at home today by the warm fire? Not in a million, trillion years”

So if the greats wouldn’t allow opinions to stop them in their tracks, why the heck would you?

 

I think of what I’m doing in comparison to the world.

An excellent way to put your actions and the opinions about them into perspective is to compare what you’re doing with the world. If you say something stupid in front of your co-workers, in the scheme of things, does that one event change the rest of the world?

Does your little mistake really matter compared with the billions of other mistakes that are happening at the same moment? Probably not.

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Abdulwasii Ilyas

    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I know I can’t be better than any anyone. So, first I try to be me and then regularly improve on that to become a better version of “me”.

  2. SYLVESTER IKECHUKWU

    Jan 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

    It’s a mind-blowing write-up,As for me and my co-founders ,we did take the disadvantages of our forecast competitors turning them into our Advantages ,thereby taking off being our competitors to been different from them and what they do…i.e.Tradetack.com on e-commerce services…especially in africa.

  3. ROGER

    Dec 26, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Intriguing. ROGER

  4. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hey Meera,

    Fantastic advice contained in this brand strategy/differentiation article! The main takeaway I got is demonstrating the ideal customer and how they get the huge benefits (promises) out of what you’re selling.

    Too many people focus on image ads, and even large corporations simply put ads in front of people that have no call to action or time-constraint. This is why I’ve learned so much about direct response and I see it as a very longevity-focused business strategy.

    Thanks for the gold nuggets and actionable points you provided

    – Evan

  5. Meera

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Tim, absolutely! And that’s something I learnt the hard way. I think almost everyone starts off wanting to be better. And passive income….it takes a lot of work to put in place those funnels and systems but it’s well worth the time and effort to start off on the right foot. Thanks so much for your comment Tim!

  6. Yury Gerasimchuk

    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:15 am

    great article! very thoughtful points

    • Meera

      Jun 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Yury!

  7. Tim Denning

    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Meera thank you for sharing your advice. There were so good thought- provoking points you mentioned. Passive income as the single biggest way to build your income. Your last point makes a lot of sense. Trying to be better than your competitors can be hard so being different seems much easier.

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Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Friends

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

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

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

2. Video gaming

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

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

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

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

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

3. Too many self-help books

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

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

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

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

4. Excessive partying/television

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

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

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

5. Your hobby

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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

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

1. You are not easily contented

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

2. You are a control freak

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

3. You are a born risk-taker

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

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

4. You like making your own money

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

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

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

6. You are an introvert

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

7. You are passionate

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

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

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

8. Confidence is your success mantra

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Starting A Website - Blogger

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

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

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

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

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

 

Downsides of starting a website:

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

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

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

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

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

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

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

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

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

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

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

Here’s what’s changed:

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

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

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

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

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

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

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

 

Remember this.

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

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

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

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

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

 

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

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

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Be different instead of better.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Entrepreneurs

The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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

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

Numbers don’t lie

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

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

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

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

1. The email trap

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

2. Health

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

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

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

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

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

3. Oxygenate your body

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

4. Confirmation email

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

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

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

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

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

5. Chunking

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

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

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

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

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