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5 Ways You Know You Are Ready To Be An Entrepreneur

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Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Some are waiting for perfect timing. Others have a need for security. But the most common reason is the wrong mindset.

If you want to step out you’ll have to conquer all of the above. Entrepreneurship is neither simple nor easy, but for you it may be necessary to your sanity.

Here are 5 ways to know you are ready to be an entrepreneur:

1. You don’t fit in

If you are working in a job and making good money then you should be happy. That’s what all the normal people think. “Just be glad you have a job.” But you aren’t glad. The thought of working at the same place, with the same people, on the same schedule for the next 20 years is enough to make you ready to throw in the towel.

Having a job doesn’t work for you. It’s not just that you don’t fit in, it’s that you don’t want to fit in. If you don’t fit in working for someone else, then it’s time to work for yourself.

 

2. You think differently

Apple made the phrase “Think Different” into the calling card of a generation. For you thinking differently means that your mind is constantly solving problems. Ideas for new ways of doing things come to you unbidden. You can’t understand why everyone just keeps moving along the same path without considering how it could be improved.

Sometimes you wake from a dead sleep with a new plan and have to write it down. When someone comes to you with a dilemma or you see an unsolved situation on the news you start brainstorming. Your mind tends to jump from topic to topic, always looking for the innovative answer. If you think differently then you may be ready to become an entrepreneur.

“Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs

3. You’re always pushing for change

Facebook used to have a simple mantra for developers, “Move fast and break things.” Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently updated the motto to deal with bugs in code, the principle is still valuable. You’re the one at work who keeps giving the boss new ideas. You know there is a better way and you won’t be happy until you try it.

Most of your family has told you more than once, “Just leave well enough alone” or “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Seriously. It drives you crazy. Well enough is ridiculous. You want the best possible! If you’re always pushing for change then maybe it’s time to become an entrepreneur.

 

4. You can’t stand having a ceiling

You have a manager. They have a manager. Next possibly a president or CEO. Perhaps your corporate infrastructure is more complex. The point is you’re not the person at the top. You want to make the decisions, call the shots. Your need to push for change keeps getting thwarted by people above you. Then there is your pay. It’s controlled by a union, on a pay scale or what is “applicable for the job description.” Don’t even think about asking for a raise that is above market average.

Look around you. Check out the people making the great money, running things their way. They don’t have a ceiling and neither should you. Becoming an entrepreneur can blow through any ceiling.

 

5. You know it’s possible

You’re the crazy one. The one who has tried 3, 4 or a dozen different things. Your friends and family have bought more network marketing products from you than they’ll ever admit. You’ve read the books, gone to the events and listened to the podcasts.

Your mind is primed for the top. Think and Grow Rich is on the book shelf and you’re following Sir Richard Branson on Twitter. You are in entrepreneurial social media groups, attend entrepreneur meetings and shop local businesses just to help another person following their dreams. You don’t just have belief, you have knowledge. Time and hustle are all you need for success. If you know it’s possible to have your freedom then it’s time to become an entrepreneur.

There is no security in this earth, there is only opportunity.-General Douglas MacArthur

There are a thousand reasons to stay in a safe, secure, stable job. Except you know that there is no such thing.

If any one of the items listed above is true for you then you may be ready to become an entrepreneur. But if two or more are true then you almost certainly are ready. If you don’t pursue your dreams you’ll only have yourself to blame.

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

I help people develop amazing relationships and love what they do every day. I'm a writer, speaker and coach and you can read my articles on great sites such as the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, the Good Men Project and Lifehack. Happiness in life and passion in your work are my goals. Meet me at TroyStoneking.com and Troy Stoneking on Facebook.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Manoj Bhatia

    May 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Yes. The 5 ways truly go with the life i currently live. I’m already on the journey and already started a website (www.stunningalways.com ) on health, technology and travelling with focus on being an entrepreneur in years to come.

  2. joshuaiboro

    Mar 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    good to know this

  3. Tanya

    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Absolutely, feels like I’m suffocating otherwise!

  4. Lovey

    Feb 14, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Awesome article…My journey as a serial entrepreneur has literally just begun…I’m so looking forward to finally living my dreams of love and motivation.

  5. Annette Thomas

    Feb 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Wow! These are just a few, I could add: be authentic!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts Annette! Being authentic is going to be a critical part of your success, whether working for an organization or becoming an entrepreneur. Well said!

  6. Charlene Rhinehart

    Feb 5, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Thanks for the sharing this information, Troy! I identify with most of these points. When your heart is exposed to the possibilities of what you can accomplish, your heart won’t be satisfied with anything less. Entrepreneurship is a great path is you are aiming to pursue those impact cravings that won’t leave your side.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      You are very welcome Charlene! You speak truth in your comments. Once you’ve noticed the bars of your prison you can never be satisfied again. Time to bust out!

  7. Ayodeji Okufi

    Feb 2, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I’m always pushing for change, I always want to do things differently, I think differently.
    I get new ideas frequently and not being able to implement them is rather frustrating.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Ayodeji it sounds like you need to begin the process of making your own way in the world. You can do it! If you need my help drop by my site by clicking on my name above this comment.

  8. stephen osoko

    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Can’t stand having a ceiling!
    I love that.
    In college the teachers are always telling us of our post grad wages and how low they will be.
    I refuse to accept it!
    I know that I am capable of more and will achieve more.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Glad you love that point Stephen! I don’t need anyone setting limitations on me and no one should set them on you either. I believe you WILL achieve more! If I can help in any way just click on my name at the top of this comment so we can connect.

  9. Chase

    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Perfect timing for me. I have spent the past 2 years at a company and thought I had it made. The voice inside of me kept telling me to pursue my passion of real estate. I have spent years studying the habits and mindset of successful people. Reading and applying what I learn to my life. So I’ve decided to jump out of the box of a company and provide for myself. Thanks again for the article.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      YES! You are welcome for the article Chase and I’m glad you have decided to pursue your passion! Congrats on already taking the initiative to change your mindset. If I can help in any way just click on my name at the top of this comment so we can connect.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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personal brand experts

Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurs

The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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scaling your business

There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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7 Steps to Building Real Relationships With Influencers

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building relationships with influencers

They say your net worth is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. This is also true for your level of influence, where your “net influence” is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. So how do you build a network of influential people and start becoming an influencer yourself? (more…)

I’m Sina Fak. I believe the greatest businesses in the world are creating something more than just a product or service. My mission is to understand the motivations behind human decision and work with people and organizations who are out to make the world a better place.  You can learn more about me on my website and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Manoj Bhatia

    May 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Yes. The 5 ways truly go with the life i currently live. I’m already on the journey and already started a website (www.stunningalways.com ) on health, technology and travelling with focus on being an entrepreneur in years to come.

  2. joshuaiboro

    Mar 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    good to know this

  3. Tanya

    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Absolutely, feels like I’m suffocating otherwise!

  4. Lovey

    Feb 14, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Awesome article…My journey as a serial entrepreneur has literally just begun…I’m so looking forward to finally living my dreams of love and motivation.

  5. Annette Thomas

    Feb 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Wow! These are just a few, I could add: be authentic!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts Annette! Being authentic is going to be a critical part of your success, whether working for an organization or becoming an entrepreneur. Well said!

  6. Charlene Rhinehart

    Feb 5, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Thanks for the sharing this information, Troy! I identify with most of these points. When your heart is exposed to the possibilities of what you can accomplish, your heart won’t be satisfied with anything less. Entrepreneurship is a great path is you are aiming to pursue those impact cravings that won’t leave your side.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      You are very welcome Charlene! You speak truth in your comments. Once you’ve noticed the bars of your prison you can never be satisfied again. Time to bust out!

  7. Ayodeji Okufi

    Feb 2, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I’m always pushing for change, I always want to do things differently, I think differently.
    I get new ideas frequently and not being able to implement them is rather frustrating.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Ayodeji it sounds like you need to begin the process of making your own way in the world. You can do it! If you need my help drop by my site by clicking on my name above this comment.

  8. stephen osoko

    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Can’t stand having a ceiling!
    I love that.
    In college the teachers are always telling us of our post grad wages and how low they will be.
    I refuse to accept it!
    I know that I am capable of more and will achieve more.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Glad you love that point Stephen! I don’t need anyone setting limitations on me and no one should set them on you either. I believe you WILL achieve more! If I can help in any way just click on my name at the top of this comment so we can connect.

  9. Chase

    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Perfect timing for me. I have spent the past 2 years at a company and thought I had it made. The voice inside of me kept telling me to pursue my passion of real estate. I have spent years studying the habits and mindset of successful people. Reading and applying what I learn to my life. So I’ve decided to jump out of the box of a company and provide for myself. Thanks again for the article.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Feb 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      YES! You are welcome for the article Chase and I’m glad you have decided to pursue your passion! Congrats on already taking the initiative to change your mindset. If I can help in any way just click on my name at the top of this comment so we can connect.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build A Personal Brand According to These 5 Well-Known Experts

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Building a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can build a personal brand for free if you’d like.  I’ve researched some of the top entrepreneurs and personal branding experts in the world and I want to share with you how they were able to build their personal brand.

If you follow and I mean really follow the advice given by those listed below, there’s no reason that you can’t build a personal brand.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is CEO of VaynerMedia and Vaynersports. He’s invested in companies such as Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and Venmo. Gary is 4-time New York Times Best Seller. He currently has an Instagram following of 2.5m followers.

According to Vaynerchuk, your personal brand is your resume. What are you putting out into the world? What you put out in the world is how others will perceive you. Are you providing value in the world? A personal brand is not hard to cultivate when you want to help others.

Your personal brand is free. This can go back to what are you putting out in the world? You’re living your personal brand every day with the beliefs that you have.

Gary clarified that putting your thoughts out into the world doesn’t mean that you’re being disrespectful. If you have an opinion, then share it, but always think first as to how others will react. An opinion might be on the topic of entrepreneurship whereas it’d probably be beneficial to stay away from politics.

Create more content. When you’re creating content in the world, you need to be yourself. People like authenticity. What are you doing today to get yourself known? Are you writing for a blog or speaking to an audience? When you consistently create content, you will get known.

2. Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, creator of Grant Cardone TV, CEO of four businesses, and currently has over $400 million worth of real estate holdings. Grant has an Instagram following of 534,000 followers.

Cardone states that a personal brand should be defined as the thing you spend the most time doing. The five things that you do the most defines your personal brand. If you watch TV, then that’s who you’ll be known as. But if you’re someone who reads or starts businesses, that’s also what you’ll be known as. The choice is up to you.

You should never follow the rules. Grant posts way more than any other person I know on social media. He isn’t following the rules. Some people may hate him for it, but he doesn’t care. If posting more gets himself known, then he will do it.

What do you stand for? Your personal brand should be built around what you stand for. What do you believe in? Whatever you stand for, you should live it every day.

Look at strong companies and see what they do. How were they able to build their personal brand? Think of companies like Starbucks and Amazon. You can conceive their company’s brand to create a personal brand for yourself. When you think of them, aren’t they positive thoughts?

“Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison” – Grant Cardone

3. Josh King Madrid

Josh or JetSetFly is a tech entrepreneur, marketing specialist, and founder of Team Jet Set. He was ranked as one of the top Influencive influencers of 2017. Josh is also the host of The Dropout Degree  podcast show. At only 19, he has a social media following of over 100,000 followers.

Josh uses tons of video content like Youtube and Snapchat when building his personal brand. Video is more personal than a quote post. You can hear the person talking to you as if they were right next to you. You don’t always have to use video content, but you should incorporate it into your posts.

Josh shows that if you want to build your brand and take your influence to the next level, that “Content Is King and Marketing Is Queen”. If you want to exceed at the next level online, you might want to hire a professional photographer and videographer to take photos and videos for you.

Remember, the quality of content you put out has a direct impact on how people will think of you. When building a personal brand, don’t take any shortcuts. Hiring a professional doesn’t have to be expensive. You could find a friend at first or you can hire a professional and do a couple of sessions at once and have content that’ll last you months.

Josh, along with Gary Vaynerchuk, agree that it comes down to getting yourself known. Josh does this through being featured on different articles online, growing his social media following, and by his podcast. To get yourself known, you need to do big things, and that doesn’t start with sitting on the couch. Start to connect with others by producing valuable content and your brand will start to grow faster than you ever thought.

4. Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a former pro athlete turned New York Times Best-Selling Author and podcast host of The School of Greatness which is ranked as one of the top 100 podcasts in the world. Lewis has an Instagram following of 438,000 followers.

When building a personal brand according to Lewis, you should find someone who inspires you and you should ask to work for them while you pay them. Yes, they don’t pay you. You pay them to work for them. Think about all the people who would like to work for free, this allows you to separate yourself from the crowd.

When you’re working with this person, you can learn how they built their personal brand by their habits and how they carry themselves. It’s only a matter of time before you act like them.

You should find one platform and build up that platform. In the beginning, it was LinkedIn for Lewis. He’d spend six hours per day on there. When building a personal brand, you can stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to start with one platform and master it.

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is education and growth.” – Lewis Howes

5. Casey Adams

At 17, Casey is an author, brand specialist, and speaker. He has an Instagram following of over 112,000 followers.  According to Casey, you need to impact people. The more of an impact that you make on people, the more people who will follow you. Just impact one person per day and it’ll add up.

Casey also preaches about the power of the DM, also known as direct messaging. Casey has been able to network and engage with high status individuals by consistently DM’ing these individuals and providing value, which in return has built his brand massively.

Engage with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or small following. You should comment on other people’s pictures and respond to comments on your photos. It’s the little things like commenting that add up.

Share your journey. With Instagram, you can document your journey from where you started. You’re showing the entire world your progress. What type of progress do you want to show them?

Who’s your favorite personal branding expert? Let us know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurs

The ABCs of Successful Breakfast Meetings

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “meeting”? Isn’t it usually a professional setting like an office filled with supervisors and your bosses in business clothes, a white board and a conference table? What if I tell you that when I think of meetings, I think of food? Not just any food, but breakfast and a huge serving of pancakes with your team?

Here are the top three things I swear by when it comes to the ABC’s of successful breakfast meetings and why I’m all for it:

A is for accountability

One of the top secrets to success is being accountable for your actions and to have someone over you rooting for you. I’ve always said that having a mentor is important because they help you see your vision more than anything else and they coach you to go farther than you’ve probably even imagined.

Here are two things that you can bet your mentor will go over with you over a successful breakfast meeting:

  • Business talk- Having everyone you’re accountable to around would mean getting stuff done over a meal first thing in the morning. As an entrepreneur with a go-getter mindset, what better way to start your day, am I right?
  • Mentorship- Not only do you get to go over everything involving business-talk, you also get to go over life as well. Over this breakfast set-up, your mentor not only asks how are your businesses doing but how are you doing in all areas of your life.

You could easily get used to that right?

“Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

B is for breakfast food

If accountability from your mentor as a young entrepreneur isn’t enough to convince you of breakfast meetings yet then how about actual breakfast food itself? I got your attention this time didn’t I? Energy is part of success and what energy fuels your body and mind first thing in the morning? That’s right. Breakfast food.

If you have  breakfast meetings often enough, you’ll get to build a list of restaurants in mind for the next one and if you’re a foodie, it’s all the better. Narrowing breakfast spots for their atmosphere to the menu is part of the fun. You get to decide which fits your team’s personality best.

From pho, to Downtown San Diego’s Breakfast Republic, to Sam Woo BBQ in Clairemont Mesa, these are just a couple of examples of my personal favorite local San Diegan breakfast spots.

Do you have a list of your own yet?

C is for community

One big topic I always talk about is the importance of being with others who are successful because it’s true what they say: you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with mediocrity, guess what? That will rub off on you.

I pride myself in being an entrepreneur, businessman and a leader. So that’s exactly who I surround myself with and people with those mindset of achieving greatness and striving for success in every aspect of life.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The community and the camaraderie alone is enough for me to suggest breakfast meetings to anyone. The atmosphere is charged with the whole team’s bouncing off ideas from each other. What’s more exciting than that to get you pumped up throughout the day?

Now I’m going to ask you: How do you view yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs to Build a Successful Business

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Starting a business can be a stressful experience. You don’t know if people will like your product or service. Is it something people really need? What about the competition? How do I hire the best talent? There is so much to do with so little resources that all these concerns can weigh you down, distract your focus and even cloud your judgment.

On the other hand, top executives in big companies, from Google to Goldman Sachs, are beginning to realize the importance of mindfulness to achieve their full potential. Worrying less about today’s problems and losing sleep over future obstacles can pave the way for mental as well as physical well-being, leading to better performance.

Mindfulness provides the clarity of thought, creative ideas and higher awareness required to make better decisions. It also alleviates the physical stress that stops you from giving your best. So how can it help entrepreneurs: the startups, small businesses and solopreneurs striking out on their own trying to change the world?

Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can apply mindfulness to bring order to their chaotic lives and realize their dreams:

1. Don’t be a sleep hero

Running a business is like running a marathon. You need to be able to put in your best effort for weeks, if not months, together. If you don’t get adequate sleep, you’ll feel tired quickly and your startup will suffer.

Sure, you may pull the occasional all-nighter but ensure that you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep every night. You may have read mythical stories of successful entrepreneurs who sleep for just 4 hours a day. But understand that it’s only one side of the story. Such people often make this up later by sleeping for a long time.

Lack of sleep will affect your cognitive abilities – you won’t be able to think clearly and make important decisions. Go to bed early. Wake up early. If you feel tired or sleepy, take a quick nap.

2. Escape your Inbox

Email is a great tool to communicate with people and grow your business, but it can hurt your productivity if you spend too much time on it.

Set aside a specific time (before you start your work, after lunch, or before you leave for the day) when you check your inbox everyday. Filter your mails into folders, prioritizing those that need to be answered the same day.

Also, avoid replying to all your emails. It’s wonderful to help others but not at the cost of your own focus and productivity.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Keep aside “Thinking time”

It’s easy to fall into a routine carrying out the day-to-day tasks required to run your business. Although it’s a good habit that helps you stay focused, you might miss the big picture if you don’t look at your business from a different perspective.

Devote at least an hour a week to thinking about the next steps, analyzing if you’re headed the right way and what can be done better. It’s essential to give your brain some space and time to explore creative ideas and discover the ‘Eureka’ moments.

4. Spend some time developing your beliefs

To drive your startup to greater heights, you need to truly believe in what you’re doing and know why you’re doing it. If not, you’ll get demotivated whenever you face an obstacle. In your life’s most challenging moments, it is only your belief that will pull you through.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford commencement speech, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Spend 15-30 minutes every week reminding yourself why you’re doing what you do. Write down a mission statement and keep it in your wallet. Read it whenever the going gets tough. It will help you calm down, and recharge yourself.

5. Regain your focus every morning

Focus isn’t about typing away at your laptop for hours, or spending all day in meetings. It’s a bigger commitment to yourself to see through a task and do everything it takes to make it happen.

Such focus is present with you at all times, even when you’re not working. It moulds your attitude, your way of thinking and even your approach to life. It guides you in the right direction and enables you to quickly spot and avoid distractions.

Spend some time every morning before work developing your focus through meditation or similar activities.

6. Avoid emotional decision-making

Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling super-high or low with anger, sadness, or anxious. Make these key decisions when you’re treading the middle path. Every business decision costs a lot of man-hours and money, so never hesitate to put off a decision until the next day unless you’re not feeling emotionally balanced about it.

7. Organize your office (and your mind)

Whether you have a proper office or just work from a laptop at cafes and parks, it’s essential to keep it tidy in order to be more productive. A well-organized and tidy office will not only help you get things done faster but also develop a space conducive for strategic, logical and creative thinking.

Start by decluttering your office space. Only keep things there related to your work such as books, files, office stationery, and laptops. Remove unnecessary items such as last week’s plates and relics that should probably be at your home.

Also, clear out extra stuff from your laptop and phone. Delete unused files and icons from your desktop, and remove unwanted apps from your smartphone.

“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” – D.H. Mondfleur

These tips will enable you to channel your efforts in the right direction and avoid getting overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Put aside some time every day to clear your mind and practice the above habits. Within 2-3 weeks, you’ll begin seeing results – an organized mind with a focused mindset to achieve its dreams. How do I know this? It has worked for me.

Which one of these tips did you find most helpful for developing your career? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Biggest Lie When It Comes to Scaling Your Business

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There’s a powerful, short paragraph in Rolling Stone’s recent profile of Elon Musk that resonated deeply for me: “Going to sleep alone kills me. Being in a big empty house, and the footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there – and no one on the pillow next to you. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that?

Like the scene in Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back and the all-powerful wizard is revealed to be a frail, old man, these 44 words reveals the essential lie at the heart of Elon’s brand of entrepreneurship: that you cannot have it all.

Below, we will look at what you should always focus on even during the challenging part of scaling your business:

The (Obvious) Key to Happiness

Just about every major study has shown that the #1 contributor to happiness is our relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet it’s shocking how easy it is for most people to forget that relationships, like plants, take nurturing in order to thrive and grow.

Musk’s work ethic has achieved legendary status – 100-hour work-weeks are his norm. Think about that. That’s 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Allowing 6-7 hours/day for sleep, and 2-3 hours/day for things like showers, commuting and eating. That leaves maybe an hour a day for spending quality time with the people in our lives or pursuing other passions.

Musk is held up as a role model because he’s been able to achieve financial success, massive impact, and perhaps most alluringly, fame.  It’s a perfectly acceptable model – we need more people solving the world’s biggest problems – as long as you understand the cost.

Yet most people believe they can have it all ranging from massive impact, fame, a loving family, friends, travel, and adventure. This is not the truth, and it’s something I bought into for many years.

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

Believing The Myth

I’m the father of 3 young kids and married to the love of my life. Like most fathers and husbands, I said (and believed) my wife and kids mean the world to me, but my actions belied my words.

For years I poured myself into my businesses. I brought on investors to my adventure travel company, and we expanded into new regions all over the world. Last year, I launched a program that would see us scale into every country on Earth by 2021. I launched new projects and businesses every few months.

I wanted the awards. I wanted the magazine covers. I wanted to speak on stages around the world. I believed the myth. I believed these things would make me happy, and with each passing month, my relationships with my wife and kids – and the other important people in my life – became more strained.

Some Things Don’t Scale

From the networks I belong to, and events I attend, I’m connected to many successful entrepreneurs, some running $100MM+ companies. In these circles, scale is unquestioned: scale is what entrepreneurs do, and the faster we can scale, the better.

Yet, the most important things don’t scale easily. As almost any entrepreneur can attest, revenue and profit often scale very differently, and fast revenue growth can – and often does bring profit down. It’s put a lot of companies out of business. That same growth creates crises and challenges that are messy, stressful, and not easy to solve.

I’ve asked dozens of my friends if they’re happier running their businesses now than when they were much smaller.  90% of the time, the answer is a begrudging no. Their businesses aren’t as fun to run. They’re working harder than ever. They’re spending less time with loved ones and doing the things they love.

What’s driving this push for scale?

Almost always, it’s a hungry ego at the wheel. It’s a quest for significance and a need for validation.I recognize this because it’s the trap that I fell into. About 8 months ago, I read Ryan Holiday’s excellent book, Ego is the Enemy. I began to see how so much of what I was chasing was driven by my insatiable ego.

Since then, I’ve been on a quest to better understand and work with my ego. The goal is not to remove or ignore my ego, but to acknowledge it and work with it in healthy ways, rather than be controlled by it.

When I finally decided to stop feeding my ego, it was like lifting a huge weight from my shoulders. I no longer chase the vanity things I once chased, and I’ve been way happier as a result. I’ve designed my life to be less in service of ego and more in service of others.

I got rid of our office and made my team fully remote (and used many of the tips in this article as a guideline) so that I could work from home and spend more time with my wife and kids. I scaled back my main business so that we could focus on profit instead of revenue and work less. I carved out time in my schedule to connect with friends and the people I want to connect with.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. I’m spending more time with my kids, and when I do, I’m much more present. I’m spending time deepening my existing relationships and fostering many new ones. I’m a much happier person, and my company is more profitable (albeit smaller).

“At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” – Crystal Woods

Scale is great, but…

I don’t want to totally write off or demonize scale. You can achieve incredible things at scale that you can’t when you’re a small company. Pursuing massive scale is perfectly acceptable and worthwhile, as long as:

        a) you’re aware of the price that you’ll need to pay and are willing to pay it.

        b) you’ve reflected deeply on the true motivations behind the goals you’re chasing.

Understand the price you’ll need to pay, exactly why you’re chasing massive scale, and you’re far less likely to achieve the wrong kind of success. You’ll be much happier along the way.

A friend recently posted the following words on his Facebook wall, after learning that his mom’s heart was only operating at 60% and he could be facing his last Christmas with her.

“She’s been through hell and I busted my ass every day to become something so I could provide for everyone around me. So I could give back and I finally “made it.” But money can’t buy a new heart, it can’t buy a couple more years, a couple more smiles, a couple more holidays, a couple more memories.”

Make sure your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

How do you make sure your priorities are in line while focusing on your career aspirations? Let us know by commenting below!

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