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6 Common Stages You Will Go Through When Becoming An Entrepreneur

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6 Common Stages You Will Go Through Becoming An Entrepreneur

Have you crossed that bridge yet? The one where you walk over to the entrepreneurial side (we’ve got cookies!)?

Or are you still looking at the wobbliness of the bridge itself? And at how crazy wild that river below is…And at all the alligators there waiting to get you…And you are still not risking it even though you can see the unicorns prance in fields of 4-leaved clovers and double rainbows stretch as far as the eye can see on the other side?

Ai, that sucks! But…it’s perfectly normal to be afraid of that giant step!

In fact, there are 6 stages that most people taking the leap from a steady job to entrepreneurialism go through:

 

Stage 1: Where you experience a nagging, gnawing knowing of something you’d rather didn’t

This is what happened to me; I was building the career I had always set out for myself. A career that included regular promotions, valuable lessons, great peers to work with and the accompanying great pay and car.

But, I also felt like I was continuously fighting political windmills and had to drag myself to work everyday even though on the outside everything looked just fine and dandy.

That’s when it started to dawn on me that this type of career was making me unhappy. But as it was all I knew and had ever wanted, I didn’t do anything about it for a long time and ended up (almost) burning myself out.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore” – William Faulkner

Stage 2: Where you’re afraid of the void

But this was my life. This was all built on the studies I had done. This was what my friends were doing. What was the alternative?

Slowly it came to me that freelancing might give me the freedom I so longed for (I know, not ‘proper’ entrepreneuring perhaps but still…big change!). But instead of already smelling the freedom, all I saw was a big black whole of nothingness (mainly money) coming up ahead and all I felt was a big swirling fear in my stomach.

 

Stage 3: Where you come up with a million excuses to NOT do it

Even though rationally I knew I could do this, and even though I really really wanted to do this, I still had a ton of reasons why this was such a bad idea:

  • I believed that deep down I wasn’t good at my job (hellooo impostor syndrome!).
  • I believed that because I have a non-traditional way of looking at a business, no company would ever want to hire me.
  • I believed that I had to do traditional sales stuff to get myself hired and I was totally allergic to that!

 

Belief systems…sigh…so useless!

“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer” – Nolan Bushnell

Stage 4: When it becomes undeniably clear that things need to change

So after a terribly long stint of being unhappy in my work, and therefore my life, I was ‘lucky’ enough to fall into a corporate reorganisation and that management had decided something that went way beyond what I felt was acceptable.

Through this, I finally got to that point where I could say to myself: NO MORE!

Ah, how liberating it felt to say NO to that what I didn’t think was acceptable.

Really, without that, I couldn’t have done it and finding my ‘NO’ is still pretty much the foundation from which I work and live.

Because when your NO is clear…everything else simply becomes opportunity!

 

Stage 5: Where you can finally see the puzzle pieces come together

It was a good friend and mentor of mine who helped me figure this out. I was complaining on how I would definitely go bankrupt and this was his reply:

Him: “Imagine a worst case scenario where you go bankrupt and have to give all your possessions to the bank: would that kill you?”

Me: “No, it’s all Ikea, Zara and thrifted anyway…”

Him: “Okay, so in that scenario, would you be able to walk the 20 kilometres from your place to mine?”

Me: “Sure!”

Him: “Would you be willing to work in my restaurant whilst sleeping on your brothers couch?”

Me: “Of course”

Him: “And will you then be able to save money for a ticket to Indonesia where you could probably find a diveschool where you could work as a divemaster (I love Indonesia and diving obviously) and business coach for food and lodgings?”

Me: “Euhm…well…probably…”

Him: “So if that’s your very worst case scenario…what are you complaining about?”

Me: “Euhm…nothing??? Damn…”

Entrepreneur

Stage 6: Where you take the plunge and start attracting opportunity

So I quit!

Two weeks later I had an amazingly well paid freelance job that gave me the financial opportunity to help my brother build his start up for 2 years AND still have enough resources to take another plunge for myself with my own business.

Now whether I got lucky or whether it was just the universe lining up exactly what I deserved for choosing myself (btw, definitely check out James Altuchers’ book on this!), I don’t know. And it doesn’t even matter!

I can only tell you that it felt really good to be there for myself. Still does!

And no, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows on the entrepreneurial side.

But it is freedom

And passion

And a rollercoaster ride that continues to keep me smiling…

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

So if you feel like you’re on that edge and that that first step is just too big remember that this is normal.

You can take all the time you need to go through your own stages, but, don’t lose that vision of where you want to go.

Also remember do not ever accept the unacceptable.


Your happiness depends on it!

Linda Coussement is a life coach, writer and documentary maker. She’s slowly travelling the world asking all sorts of people: “How is it to be you?” Get her 10-page workbook on how to turn your dreams into practical reality right here and/or connect with her on Facebook.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Nancy cripe

    Dec 5, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Spot on! I also went through each of these phases and made the jump 6 weeks ago. My first 6 weeks with out pay since high school. No regrets.

  2. Neha Singh

    Aug 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Great Article Lawrence! You have put together the points so well and convincingly. I truly believe that perseverance is one of the most important quality of being successful as an entrepreneur. And, you covered it so well in point #3 where you talk about excuses!

    • Linda Coussement

      Aug 14, 2015 at 5:36 am

      Thanks Neha that’s really kind (though it’s me, Linda, who’s written the article and not Lawrence) 🙂

  3. Ramesh

    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Great post. Bang on! I can relate to this completely. I have gone thru these stages myself .. taken the plunge ..currently in stage 6.
    In the end .. all I can say is overcoming your fears is the beginning.

    Regards,

  4. Online money maker system

    May 27, 2015 at 8:06 am

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  5. Mark Tong

    May 15, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Hi Linda
    The stages you describe really rang true to me in all the entrepreneurial enterprises I’ve tried (and am trying!). And none of this worked for me until I went after the opportunity I REALLY wanted, not the one I thought I SHOULD go for.

  6. Quinn Eurich

    May 14, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I keep telling #5 to myself (sans the whole diving thing) over and over again, because it’s so true!

    Great job Linda! Always a pleasure to read someone who’s been there and done it!

  7. Jamie

    May 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    You make it seem less scary! Yes, being an entrepreneur is tough, but it is tougher to live with the regret of not ever trying it! If at first you don’t succeed….

  8. Lynn

    May 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Linda,

    What an insightful post and timely post. A friend is right in stages #2 and #3 so I’ve sent this along to him for a read and hopefully it’s the inspiration he needs!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Ahw thanks Lynn! I hope he makes it through to the next stages soon!

  9. Faigie

    May 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I just read the latest INC magazine and in it they interviewed some really successfull young entreupeneur who said they ALL feel like imposters…so you’re in good company 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:26 am

      haha, that’s good to know and a great topic for my next blogpost actually 🙂

  10. Ann

    May 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    The article is spot-on! Anyone going through change experiences those points. I relate to #3.

  11. Rob

    May 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Linda- This is a great post. In my experience, a lot of the crippling fear comes from lack of clarity about how to proceed forward. The entrepreneur isn’t sure the idea is good enough and isn’t sure how to find out.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Yes that’s what I figured out just the other day too Rob!

  12. Therese Sibon

    May 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    wow … so my crazy is NORMAL? And of course – making steps to change your life is not guaranteed success – but it will guarantee movement which engenders change. As you so beautifully wrote – the decision lines up the universe as a support system.

  13. Angela

    May 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    So many of us experience this! Thanks for helping us feel less alone. And this quote is my new mantra: Because when your NO is clear…everything else simply becomes opportunity!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:27 am

      You’re right, I might just make stickers with that mantra and hand them out to coachees 🙂

  14. John Anderson

    May 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I feel like I hit all six stages at once. 🙂 Thank you for writing this wonderful post Linda.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Wow, that must feel like an emotional tsunami for you! The best of luck with it and thanks for the compliment!

  15. Kim

    May 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I think this scenario is probably way more common than we even think it is. It’s a scary thing and while it would be great if we woke up one day with the aha moment and the “Yes, this is the day,” feeling, in the end however we get there is good. Thank you. This resonated with me.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      You’re welcome! I would indeed love to wake up to that feeling but unfortunately, we have to create that feeling for ourselves and not just sit around and wait for it to happen!

  16. Helen McCarthy

    May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Thanks Linda for expressing what many of us who change tack feel. Great article.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Thanks for the compliment Helen! Change is scary and great at the same time, but in the end it’s the only way to move forward!

  17. Ethan

    May 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Hey Lawrence, you nailed it.

    All these stages seem to have an underlying fear. (Or is it the image?) It may be wrong, but this fear is what pushes entrepreneur hopefuls to actually act.

    I must admit reading this got me some chills.

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

      I’m sorry to give you chills but I’m taking it as a compliment 🙂
      Yes, fear is the entrepreneurs’ biggest hurdle, no matter what stage he/she is at! But it’s also the hurdle they’re willing to cross time and again because they know that they will profit from it, personally AND business wise.

  18. Linda Coussement

    May 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Thanks Lawrence! And yes, the unknown is indeed where most of our fears come from, which is funny because technically there’s not really anything to be scared of. I’m happy you made it to the other side and thank you for sharing!

  19. Chandraka

    May 8, 2015 at 4:25 am

    Absolutely amazing article. I want the writer to know that he has honestly helped someone make a huge decision. My story is very very similar to yours. Right after highschool I went straight to university and studied finance and went straight to work at a bank.

    It was all I knew and studied and wanted to go far in the bank. But I hated going to work everyday, hated it. I never had that excitement to get up in the morning. Like when your younger you get a new video game, you are so excited to start your day. I only had the feeling of dread going to work. But on the outside I was happy and I worked hard and was quite successful. Going in to my fifth year, I was feeling I needed to make big changes.

    I’m from another country and had an opportunity to start a business with my sister and her boyfriend in this foreign country. I was able to start the business while still working as he lived in the foreign country and we would ship various items for export where we are. This business has a chance for great success but to get it there, I need to be there and be more hands on.

    I was contemplating leaving my job at end of the year but during the middle of the year, a general manager at my bank who coincidentally was from the same foreign country offered me a serious promotion and an opportunity to learn from the best at their craft. This threw a serious curveball since I couldn’t leave and get this business off the ground if I took on this promotion.

    I’ve been thinking for a week what to do. Do I want this promotion and live a safe life or chase my wildest dreams and operate a successful business in a beautiful country and be able to travel more. It’s scary decision but your article has helped me to turn down the position. I already was most likely going to say no but this has helped. This incident has actually expedited the process and I will be leaving in a few months instead of at the end of the year

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Wow Chandraka, that really made my day!

      I’m so happy for you that you were able to make this decision and follow your heart and I’m happy for me that I was able to share this personal story (which was scary in itself) so that you could be inspired.

      If you ever get another bout of the shivers come find me on http://www.fromstartuptogrowup.com for a chat!

      All the best on your amazing adventure!

  20. Lawrence Berry

    May 8, 2015 at 2:30 am

    This is a great article, because it shares with others the tough road to taking a leap of faith into the unknown. I experienced the same things you have mentioned here, and I think the biggest thing that hold people back from entrepreneurship or chasing what they really want in life is the fear of the unknown. When traveling down a path less traveled its very scary but it takes a person to reach a breakthrough to change.

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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In today’s era, the production and exportation of varied products to international markets are growing bigger, all thanks to the excessive industrialization and globalization that enfold multiple industries. It makes it easy for people to access products whenever and wherever. As for consumers, they now have access to different kinds of products in different types and quality ranges.

To such a great extent, what should an entrepreneur like you, do in a market bombarded with a myriad of products? How will you supply and manufacture a product in markets filled with so many choices to choose from and with consumers who already have their trusted preferences?

A creative mind can answer all of these questions. Creativity aids you on how to ameliorate your existing business practices. A brand might be popular among the consumers and well-established, but there will always be room for improvements and corporate lessons for them. The power of creativity will help you come up with unique ideas and deliver innovation into existing practices.

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

There’s a lot of people who correlate creativity with self-expression and a product of inadequate restraint which may have the ability to bring chaos. Leadership, on the other hand, is all about control and order. It’s probably the reason why most people perceive entrepreneurship and creativity as a fickle combination.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who think that it only takes number-crunching and practicality skills to run a business successfully, you better think again! Take heed that creative thinking is a significant factor in good business acumen. The absence of creativity may lead or put your business in a stagnant mode.

In fact, the study conducted by Adobe and Forrester Consulting reveals that 82% of companies in the U.S believe that there’s a strong connection between business results and creativity. Furthermore, companies who actively advocate for creativity perform better than their competitor regarding competitive leadership, market share and revenue growth.

Still doubtful? The following 5 reasons explain why creativity is a good drug for entrepreneurs:

1. It Cultivates Innovation

When you conjure something and attach your name to it, you want to assure that it doesn’t only justify the expectations of customers, but also outdo them. You need to be careful and guarantee your product or service will be useful.

While it’s difficult to see this from the beginning, things will get clear once the sequential steps unfold and the idea is starting to materialize. It is the phase where you’ll realize the difference between innovation and invention.

A unique idea is an invention itself, but a unique and serviceable idea is an innovation. If you want to innovate, you need to look at the same thing differently and be creative. All of these will help you combine usefulness into a unique idea.

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

We always carry the belief that we’ll survive different life battles through intelligent thinking. But it’s not until we grow old when we realize although intelligence is a crucial quality, we need to possess creativity also as a necessity.

However, one sad fact remains – most businesses and educational institutes still put more weight on intelligence in comparison to creativity. Perhaps, it could be because intelligence is easier to manage and measure, while the latter is hard to spot.

There’s good news though. The trends are changing, and many companies finally discern that they need creative people to grow their empire.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. It Encourages People to Think

We’re now living in a world where creative problem solving is becoming one of the best ways to alleviate organizational issues. Creative problem solving works best when you have a highly-focused and disciplined ways of thinking.

Humans by nature have two modes of thinking, namely: convergent and divergent. We can either do one or both modes.

Convergent thinking is a highly analytical mode and aims to conjure a precise solution for a particular problem. The best examples of convergent mediums are computer systems, mathematical and accounting software and other data sources that yield accurate results.

On the other hand, divergent thinking is a mode that develops creativity through considering different possible solutions for the same problem. To make sure that your company gets the best resolution, you need to incorporate both modes of thinking by giving attention to divergent pathways.

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

Organizations can only utilize half of their employees’ potential if they don’t encourage them to be creative. It’s just fortunate that employees now realize there’s a well of creative ideas and information that are untapped and dormant at all levels.

Tapping these resources may involve a complex process such as solving performance-related issues, creating new financial strategies, enhancing processes, making them more profitable and efficient, or innovating to stay on top of the competition.

5. It Can Be Developed

Although most people believe that creativity is innate, many see creativity as a renewable resource that you can learn and tap anytime. All of us are born with a thought process and creative potential which can develop and reinforce as we grow.

For instance, learning new skills or inculcating new hobbies is an excellent way to test and hone your inherent creative skills. It’s also an efficient way to teach your mind to think in such a way that leads to creative thinking.

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.” – Jeff Bezos

Gone are the days where entrepreneurs need to analyze and make decisions according to hard facts only. The most progressive leaders don’t just settle down on hiring creative people for their team, they also train to make themselves creative and harness more usefulness and novelty in their ideas. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough factors for you to give more emphasis to this aspect of entrepreneurship and upgrade your prospects and business acumen.

What makes you creative? Share with us some stories below as we want to hear them!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build an Unstoppable Mindset According to These 5 Popular Entrepreneurs

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If you ask any of the top entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur for that matter, they’ll tell you that the one quality you need to become successful is mental toughness. Becoming mentally tough is probably something you’ve already heard about before in your life. It’s something that seems easy, yet most people take it granted. They’d rather think about it than become it.

There’s a difference between thinking that you’re mentally tough and living mentally tough day in and day out.  Mental toughness will only get harder as you advance as an entrepreneur. There’s never an escape and either you’ll become a shield or it’ll knock you down and you won’t ever be able to recover.

When you think about the tough challenges in front of you today, they’ll seem super easy to overcome a year from now. But that only happens if you become mentally tough. You know you need to become mentally tough by now, yet it’s not enough to know without application of the process.

How exactly do you become mentally tough in your life? These 5 entrepreneurs and performance coaches share exactly what it takes to become mentally tough in your life:

1. Tony Robbins

According to Tony Robbins, becoming mentally stronger is like lifting weights. Over time, you will become stronger. No one starts off in the gym with an amazing physique because it happens over time.

However, becoming mentally stronger is more than just becoming stronger. It’s linking your pain and pleasure together. If you feel more pain than pleasure, you won’t perform an action. But if you derive pleasure from a certain action, then you’ll take action. The more action you take, the more mentally tough you’ll become.

Most people try to avoid pain. They’d rather live an average life than take risks which could bring them more pleasure. When you try to avoid pain, you’re not becoming mentally tough.

You need to stop and think about what’s stopping you from taking action? It’s almost always because you believe when you take that action you’ll receive more pain than pleasure. Your goal should be to take action even if there’s pain associated with that action, because that is how you become mentally stronger.

How do you think about procrastination? You’re giving up your mental freedom. You’re giving into pleasure because you only procrastinate when you want to avoid pain.

2. Grant Cardone

According to Grant Cardone, becoming mentally tough starts with having courage. Each and everyone one of us has the courage to live the best life possible but the majority of us don’t want to take advantage of it. Much like Robbins, we’d rather play it safe than absorb more pain in our life.

You already have courage. Because courage comes from the heart. It’s an innate instinct. If something was happening to your loved one, you’d get the courage real quick to rectify that situation. It’s there, you just have to harness the power on your own.

When you become mentally tough, you’re giving yourself the ability to risk it all. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Then you learn from it! It’s that simple, you don’t have to over-complicate it.

Do something today in spite of the fear you feel. Ask out that girl you’ve been thinking about or make the tough call you’ve been putting off. It’s these seemingly small actions you take each day that will allow you to become more mentally tough in your life.

As you continue to take more risks, you will be proud to be alive. You weren’t put here to live an average life. You were put here to take massive risks and live life to the fullest.

“Approach every situation with a whatever-it-takes-mindset.” – Grant Cardone

3. Eric Thomas

According to Eric Thomas, becoming mentally tough starts with not getting comfortable. Once you become comfortable in your life, you’re no longer going to go after your dreams. You’ll feel content with where you are and won’t want to push further. Your goal should be to improve each day, even if it’s only a small amount.

You must believe wholeheartedly in your dreams. Thomas said that he never talks to anyone before 1pm who aren’t 120% all in on their dreams. This allows you to get unnecessary negativity out of your life. There are millions of people who want to become successful but aren’t, why? Because they didn’t give everything to achieve their dreams.

To become more mentally tough in your life, it starts with changing your routine. If you can get up each morning at the same time, including weekends, you will become mentally tougher, it’s a given. I recommend checking out the book, Miracle Morning. This book is a great start to creating a morning routine for yourself.

The last thing Thomas said is where you put your focus, energy flows. If you think you can’t do something, then you’ll never be able to. But if you put your focus on achieving a desired outcome and will stop at nothing to achieve that outcome, then you’ll eventually achieve it.

4. Ben Newman

According to Ben Newman, becoming mentally tough starts with changing how you think. Ben has worked with numerous athletes and can attest on first hand that they can’t rely solely on their talents. Having talent can only take you so far.

To change the way you think starts with re-framing your mindset. If you’re up against a competitor whether in business or in sports, are you going to give up even if they’ve always been better than you? You shouldn’t because that’s what losers do.

Being from New England, it breaks my heart, but do you think the 2007 New York Giants thought that they couldn’t beat the Patriots even though they already lost previously in the season? They didn’t; they were mentally ready and didn’t count themselves out, no matter the opponent.

Start to focus on solutions instead of problems. People complain all the time but aren’t willing to find a solution. Why? Because it’s easier to complain than find a solution. If you want to become mentally tough, you can’t be like most people. You need to become a rare breed. You must be someone who no matter how much adversity they face will continue to take on the fight.

“The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and treat yourself lovingly. Do not self-destruct.” – Ben Newman

5. Patrick Bet-David

According to Patrick Bet-David, becoming mentally tough starts with taming the voices inside your head. All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, each have good and bad voices inside of us. To become mentally tough, you need to block out the bad voice. When you can sense it arising inside of you, you need to push through. That’s the only way you will defeat that negative voice.

Bet-David would say that each of us needs a purpose. When you don’t have a purpose, there’s no chance of you becoming mentally tough. You’ll give into every day temptations and call it quits when you could’ve kept pushing. Developing mental toughness means you push yourself further than even what you thought was possible.

The last piece of advice Bet-David had was to think about how you’ll feel if you don’t go after your dreams? Will you be happy twenty years from now knowing you didn’t follow your dreams? It’ll be quite the contrary. You have the option and choices each day to determine how your life will be and mental toughness will help guide you.

Mental toughness is the essential quality in those who are successful and unsuccessful. Due to this, tell us how you develop this unstoppable mindset? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Your Business Is Failing and How to Relight the Fire Under You

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Are you stuck in a rut with your business or your life? Are you wondering what could be causing this feeling of being stuck? It’s so common for people in this day and age to feel comfortable, and stop pushing themselves, so how do we jumpstart our lives and get moving again?

Here are 5 steps to help light a fire under you, and get you moving towards your goals again:

1. Lack of Vision

Before you started your business, it was just an idea, a thought in your head that seemed impossible. As you put time and effort into this idea, it was within reach, and now you have it. But what happens next? You made it to where you wanted to and now there is nowhere else to go. This is not true though because although you have reached your vision, it doesn’t mean you can’t think even bigger.

A lot of businesses stop growing because the people who run them don’t know what to do after they reach their goals. Instead of being happy you reached your goal, set new ones. Think bigger until your company has reached a level that you are comfortable leaving and letting someone else run it.

2. Lack of Why

Do you remember why you started your company? If not, how do you think you can keep your company moving forward? Start by thinking back to when you first started your business and try to remember why you wanted to start. Now that you have your original reasons for starting the company, check off how many of those you fulfilled and how many you can still work on.

Now think with everything that your business has given you, what do you want your business to stand for moving forward? Do you want your company to make you money, make a difference, or change the world? Whatever you want your company to be doing, as long as you have a reason for keeping your company going.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

3. No Accountability

Do you have a ton of good ideas but can never follow through? Perhaps, you aren’t being held accountable! You need to follow through with what you say. If you continuously say you are going to expand your business, network, or even something as small as getting employees lunch and don’t do it, no one is going to trust your word. If people can’t trust your word, how can they trust your business to get the job done? Start by getting an accountability buddy, coach, or even setting consequences for yourself.

4. Low Standards

People can have low standards in almost everything; places to live, relationships, and even business. If you can’t hold your product, customer service, and reputation to a certain standard, people won’t want to work with you or buy your products. Why would you want to go somewhere, or work with someone, who doesn’t hold themselves to a standard that reflects their work ethic?  

Having low standards can be a symptom of a lack of vision as well. When you can’t imagine what you want your business to look like, how can you hold yourself to a higher standard? So We can hold ourselves to a higher standard by knowing what our time is worth and realizing how much we are investing into a product or client.

If you are spending an hour on something, will your hour be worth 10 dollars or 100? How much effort you put into that specific project will reflect how much you get out of it thus as you understand the value of your time, your standards will rise.

5. No Passion or Pain

What pushes your business?  Are you driven by your passion, or are you being pushed by the pain or pressure? When we are put under pressure, it is amazing what people can do, and when people are passionate about something, many put as much as they can into what they are working on.

Yet, when we start to get comfortable or start to lose the passion we once had, we start to stand still. We begin to not move forward, so why would our business move forward?

Reigniting your passion can be tricky. Try and remember what gave you the initial push to start your passion, and consider what you are passionate about now. Putting the pressure on is as simple as setting a goal, calling up your accountability buddy and setting real consequences for yourself.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

Will you let your business sit stagnant any longer, or will you reinvent your vision, find a why, hold yourself accountable, raise your standards, and reignite your passions? Getting your business and your life to move forward is something that you have to put effort into every day. If you want to succeed, you will have to keep pushing yourself and move forward every day.

How do you push yourself in tough times? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

5 Commandments You Need to Follow to Build Your Freelance Business

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how to build your freelance business

For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.

Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.

While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.

If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:

1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job

What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.

Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.

You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.

Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.

2. Be Available As Much As Possible

You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.

There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf

3. Be a Communication Machine

Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.

Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:

  • WhatsApp
  • Viber
  • Skype
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • ClearVoice

With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.

4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others

While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.

For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.

Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.

While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.

5. Stay On Track With Taxes

I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.

99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.

You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.

Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.

Are You Ready?

In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.

What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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29 Positive Quotes for Changing Your Life

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Positivty

Today’s world is full of negative energy.  Its important to take a break from the news & social media feeds to enlighten your mood and fuel productivity and inspiration.  This is a collection of quotes from people who have stayed positive in some of the most negative situations.  From homelessness & illness; to happiness, fulfillment and success.

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Joe Kleckner has a passion for all things motivation & self-development.  From blogs such as Addicted2Success, to the videos of Eric Thomas and Elliott Hulse, to the lectures of legends such as Tony Robbins.  This passion has landed him an internship with Addicted2Success. Follow him on Twitter & Snapchat as he journeys towards greatness, one day at a time.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Nancy cripe

    Dec 5, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Spot on! I also went through each of these phases and made the jump 6 weeks ago. My first 6 weeks with out pay since high school. No regrets.

  2. Neha Singh

    Aug 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Great Article Lawrence! You have put together the points so well and convincingly. I truly believe that perseverance is one of the most important quality of being successful as an entrepreneur. And, you covered it so well in point #3 where you talk about excuses!

    • Linda Coussement

      Aug 14, 2015 at 5:36 am

      Thanks Neha that’s really kind (though it’s me, Linda, who’s written the article and not Lawrence) 🙂

  3. Ramesh

    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Great post. Bang on! I can relate to this completely. I have gone thru these stages myself .. taken the plunge ..currently in stage 6.
    In the end .. all I can say is overcoming your fears is the beginning.

    Regards,

  4. Online money maker system

    May 27, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your site accidentally, and I’m shocked why
    this twist of fate didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked
    it.

  5. Mark Tong

    May 15, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Hi Linda
    The stages you describe really rang true to me in all the entrepreneurial enterprises I’ve tried (and am trying!). And none of this worked for me until I went after the opportunity I REALLY wanted, not the one I thought I SHOULD go for.

  6. Quinn Eurich

    May 14, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I keep telling #5 to myself (sans the whole diving thing) over and over again, because it’s so true!

    Great job Linda! Always a pleasure to read someone who’s been there and done it!

  7. Jamie

    May 8, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    You make it seem less scary! Yes, being an entrepreneur is tough, but it is tougher to live with the regret of not ever trying it! If at first you don’t succeed….

  8. Lynn

    May 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Linda,

    What an insightful post and timely post. A friend is right in stages #2 and #3 so I’ve sent this along to him for a read and hopefully it’s the inspiration he needs!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Ahw thanks Lynn! I hope he makes it through to the next stages soon!

  9. Faigie

    May 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I just read the latest INC magazine and in it they interviewed some really successfull young entreupeneur who said they ALL feel like imposters…so you’re in good company 🙂

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:26 am

      haha, that’s good to know and a great topic for my next blogpost actually 🙂

  10. Ann

    May 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    The article is spot-on! Anyone going through change experiences those points. I relate to #3.

  11. Rob

    May 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Linda- This is a great post. In my experience, a lot of the crippling fear comes from lack of clarity about how to proceed forward. The entrepreneur isn’t sure the idea is good enough and isn’t sure how to find out.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Yes that’s what I figured out just the other day too Rob!

  12. Therese Sibon

    May 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    wow … so my crazy is NORMAL? And of course – making steps to change your life is not guaranteed success – but it will guarantee movement which engenders change. As you so beautifully wrote – the decision lines up the universe as a support system.

  13. Angela

    May 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    So many of us experience this! Thanks for helping us feel less alone. And this quote is my new mantra: Because when your NO is clear…everything else simply becomes opportunity!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:27 am

      You’re right, I might just make stickers with that mantra and hand them out to coachees 🙂

  14. John Anderson

    May 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I feel like I hit all six stages at once. 🙂 Thank you for writing this wonderful post Linda.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 10, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Wow, that must feel like an emotional tsunami for you! The best of luck with it and thanks for the compliment!

  15. Kim

    May 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I think this scenario is probably way more common than we even think it is. It’s a scary thing and while it would be great if we woke up one day with the aha moment and the “Yes, this is the day,” feeling, in the end however we get there is good. Thank you. This resonated with me.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      You’re welcome! I would indeed love to wake up to that feeling but unfortunately, we have to create that feeling for ourselves and not just sit around and wait for it to happen!

  16. Helen McCarthy

    May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Thanks Linda for expressing what many of us who change tack feel. Great article.

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Thanks for the compliment Helen! Change is scary and great at the same time, but in the end it’s the only way to move forward!

  17. Ethan

    May 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Hey Lawrence, you nailed it.

    All these stages seem to have an underlying fear. (Or is it the image?) It may be wrong, but this fear is what pushes entrepreneur hopefuls to actually act.

    I must admit reading this got me some chills.

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

      I’m sorry to give you chills but I’m taking it as a compliment 🙂
      Yes, fear is the entrepreneurs’ biggest hurdle, no matter what stage he/she is at! But it’s also the hurdle they’re willing to cross time and again because they know that they will profit from it, personally AND business wise.

  18. Linda Coussement

    May 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Thanks Lawrence! And yes, the unknown is indeed where most of our fears come from, which is funny because technically there’s not really anything to be scared of. I’m happy you made it to the other side and thank you for sharing!

  19. Chandraka

    May 8, 2015 at 4:25 am

    Absolutely amazing article. I want the writer to know that he has honestly helped someone make a huge decision. My story is very very similar to yours. Right after highschool I went straight to university and studied finance and went straight to work at a bank.

    It was all I knew and studied and wanted to go far in the bank. But I hated going to work everyday, hated it. I never had that excitement to get up in the morning. Like when your younger you get a new video game, you are so excited to start your day. I only had the feeling of dread going to work. But on the outside I was happy and I worked hard and was quite successful. Going in to my fifth year, I was feeling I needed to make big changes.

    I’m from another country and had an opportunity to start a business with my sister and her boyfriend in this foreign country. I was able to start the business while still working as he lived in the foreign country and we would ship various items for export where we are. This business has a chance for great success but to get it there, I need to be there and be more hands on.

    I was contemplating leaving my job at end of the year but during the middle of the year, a general manager at my bank who coincidentally was from the same foreign country offered me a serious promotion and an opportunity to learn from the best at their craft. This threw a serious curveball since I couldn’t leave and get this business off the ground if I took on this promotion.

    I’ve been thinking for a week what to do. Do I want this promotion and live a safe life or chase my wildest dreams and operate a successful business in a beautiful country and be able to travel more. It’s scary decision but your article has helped me to turn down the position. I already was most likely going to say no but this has helped. This incident has actually expedited the process and I will be leaving in a few months instead of at the end of the year

    • Linda Coussement

      May 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Wow Chandraka, that really made my day!

      I’m so happy for you that you were able to make this decision and follow your heart and I’m happy for me that I was able to share this personal story (which was scary in itself) so that you could be inspired.

      If you ever get another bout of the shivers come find me on http://www.fromstartuptogrowup.com for a chat!

      All the best on your amazing adventure!

  20. Lawrence Berry

    May 8, 2015 at 2:30 am

    This is a great article, because it shares with others the tough road to taking a leap of faith into the unknown. I experienced the same things you have mentioned here, and I think the biggest thing that hold people back from entrepreneurship or chasing what they really want in life is the fear of the unknown. When traveling down a path less traveled its very scary but it takes a person to reach a breakthrough to change.

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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In today’s era, the production and exportation of varied products to international markets are growing bigger, all thanks to the excessive industrialization and globalization that enfold multiple industries. It makes it easy for people to access products whenever and wherever. As for consumers, they now have access to different kinds of products in different types and quality ranges.

To such a great extent, what should an entrepreneur like you, do in a market bombarded with a myriad of products? How will you supply and manufacture a product in markets filled with so many choices to choose from and with consumers who already have their trusted preferences?

A creative mind can answer all of these questions. Creativity aids you on how to ameliorate your existing business practices. A brand might be popular among the consumers and well-established, but there will always be room for improvements and corporate lessons for them. The power of creativity will help you come up with unique ideas and deliver innovation into existing practices.

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

There’s a lot of people who correlate creativity with self-expression and a product of inadequate restraint which may have the ability to bring chaos. Leadership, on the other hand, is all about control and order. It’s probably the reason why most people perceive entrepreneurship and creativity as a fickle combination.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who think that it only takes number-crunching and practicality skills to run a business successfully, you better think again! Take heed that creative thinking is a significant factor in good business acumen. The absence of creativity may lead or put your business in a stagnant mode.

In fact, the study conducted by Adobe and Forrester Consulting reveals that 82% of companies in the U.S believe that there’s a strong connection between business results and creativity. Furthermore, companies who actively advocate for creativity perform better than their competitor regarding competitive leadership, market share and revenue growth.

Still doubtful? The following 5 reasons explain why creativity is a good drug for entrepreneurs:

1. It Cultivates Innovation

When you conjure something and attach your name to it, you want to assure that it doesn’t only justify the expectations of customers, but also outdo them. You need to be careful and guarantee your product or service will be useful.

While it’s difficult to see this from the beginning, things will get clear once the sequential steps unfold and the idea is starting to materialize. It is the phase where you’ll realize the difference between innovation and invention.

A unique idea is an invention itself, but a unique and serviceable idea is an innovation. If you want to innovate, you need to look at the same thing differently and be creative. All of these will help you combine usefulness into a unique idea.

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

We always carry the belief that we’ll survive different life battles through intelligent thinking. But it’s not until we grow old when we realize although intelligence is a crucial quality, we need to possess creativity also as a necessity.

However, one sad fact remains – most businesses and educational institutes still put more weight on intelligence in comparison to creativity. Perhaps, it could be because intelligence is easier to manage and measure, while the latter is hard to spot.

There’s good news though. The trends are changing, and many companies finally discern that they need creative people to grow their empire.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. It Encourages People to Think

We’re now living in a world where creative problem solving is becoming one of the best ways to alleviate organizational issues. Creative problem solving works best when you have a highly-focused and disciplined ways of thinking.

Humans by nature have two modes of thinking, namely: convergent and divergent. We can either do one or both modes.

Convergent thinking is a highly analytical mode and aims to conjure a precise solution for a particular problem. The best examples of convergent mediums are computer systems, mathematical and accounting software and other data sources that yield accurate results.

On the other hand, divergent thinking is a mode that develops creativity through considering different possible solutions for the same problem. To make sure that your company gets the best resolution, you need to incorporate both modes of thinking by giving attention to divergent pathways.

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

Organizations can only utilize half of their employees’ potential if they don’t encourage them to be creative. It’s just fortunate that employees now realize there’s a well of creative ideas and information that are untapped and dormant at all levels.

Tapping these resources may involve a complex process such as solving performance-related issues, creating new financial strategies, enhancing processes, making them more profitable and efficient, or innovating to stay on top of the competition.

5. It Can Be Developed

Although most people believe that creativity is innate, many see creativity as a renewable resource that you can learn and tap anytime. All of us are born with a thought process and creative potential which can develop and reinforce as we grow.

For instance, learning new skills or inculcating new hobbies is an excellent way to test and hone your inherent creative skills. It’s also an efficient way to teach your mind to think in such a way that leads to creative thinking.

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.” – Jeff Bezos

Gone are the days where entrepreneurs need to analyze and make decisions according to hard facts only. The most progressive leaders don’t just settle down on hiring creative people for their team, they also train to make themselves creative and harness more usefulness and novelty in their ideas. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough factors for you to give more emphasis to this aspect of entrepreneurship and upgrade your prospects and business acumen.

What makes you creative? Share with us some stories below as we want to hear them!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build an Unstoppable Mindset According to These 5 Popular Entrepreneurs

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mental toughness

If you ask any of the top entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur for that matter, they’ll tell you that the one quality you need to become successful is mental toughness. Becoming mentally tough is probably something you’ve already heard about before in your life. It’s something that seems easy, yet most people take it granted. They’d rather think about it than become it.

There’s a difference between thinking that you’re mentally tough and living mentally tough day in and day out.  Mental toughness will only get harder as you advance as an entrepreneur. There’s never an escape and either you’ll become a shield or it’ll knock you down and you won’t ever be able to recover.

When you think about the tough challenges in front of you today, they’ll seem super easy to overcome a year from now. But that only happens if you become mentally tough. You know you need to become mentally tough by now, yet it’s not enough to know without application of the process.

How exactly do you become mentally tough in your life? These 5 entrepreneurs and performance coaches share exactly what it takes to become mentally tough in your life:

1. Tony Robbins

According to Tony Robbins, becoming mentally stronger is like lifting weights. Over time, you will become stronger. No one starts off in the gym with an amazing physique because it happens over time.

However, becoming mentally stronger is more than just becoming stronger. It’s linking your pain and pleasure together. If you feel more pain than pleasure, you won’t perform an action. But if you derive pleasure from a certain action, then you’ll take action. The more action you take, the more mentally tough you’ll become.

Most people try to avoid pain. They’d rather live an average life than take risks which could bring them more pleasure. When you try to avoid pain, you’re not becoming mentally tough.

You need to stop and think about what’s stopping you from taking action? It’s almost always because you believe when you take that action you’ll receive more pain than pleasure. Your goal should be to take action even if there’s pain associated with that action, because that is how you become mentally stronger.

How do you think about procrastination? You’re giving up your mental freedom. You’re giving into pleasure because you only procrastinate when you want to avoid pain.

2. Grant Cardone

According to Grant Cardone, becoming mentally tough starts with having courage. Each and everyone one of us has the courage to live the best life possible but the majority of us don’t want to take advantage of it. Much like Robbins, we’d rather play it safe than absorb more pain in our life.

You already have courage. Because courage comes from the heart. It’s an innate instinct. If something was happening to your loved one, you’d get the courage real quick to rectify that situation. It’s there, you just have to harness the power on your own.

When you become mentally tough, you’re giving yourself the ability to risk it all. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Then you learn from it! It’s that simple, you don’t have to over-complicate it.

Do something today in spite of the fear you feel. Ask out that girl you’ve been thinking about or make the tough call you’ve been putting off. It’s these seemingly small actions you take each day that will allow you to become more mentally tough in your life.

As you continue to take more risks, you will be proud to be alive. You weren’t put here to live an average life. You were put here to take massive risks and live life to the fullest.

“Approach every situation with a whatever-it-takes-mindset.” – Grant Cardone

3. Eric Thomas

According to Eric Thomas, becoming mentally tough starts with not getting comfortable. Once you become comfortable in your life, you’re no longer going to go after your dreams. You’ll feel content with where you are and won’t want to push further. Your goal should be to improve each day, even if it’s only a small amount.

You must believe wholeheartedly in your dreams. Thomas said that he never talks to anyone before 1pm who aren’t 120% all in on their dreams. This allows you to get unnecessary negativity out of your life. There are millions of people who want to become successful but aren’t, why? Because they didn’t give everything to achieve their dreams.

To become more mentally tough in your life, it starts with changing your routine. If you can get up each morning at the same time, including weekends, you will become mentally tougher, it’s a given. I recommend checking out the book, Miracle Morning. This book is a great start to creating a morning routine for yourself.

The last thing Thomas said is where you put your focus, energy flows. If you think you can’t do something, then you’ll never be able to. But if you put your focus on achieving a desired outcome and will stop at nothing to achieve that outcome, then you’ll eventually achieve it.

4. Ben Newman

According to Ben Newman, becoming mentally tough starts with changing how you think. Ben has worked with numerous athletes and can attest on first hand that they can’t rely solely on their talents. Having talent can only take you so far.

To change the way you think starts with re-framing your mindset. If you’re up against a competitor whether in business or in sports, are you going to give up even if they’ve always been better than you? You shouldn’t because that’s what losers do.

Being from New England, it breaks my heart, but do you think the 2007 New York Giants thought that they couldn’t beat the Patriots even though they already lost previously in the season? They didn’t; they were mentally ready and didn’t count themselves out, no matter the opponent.

Start to focus on solutions instead of problems. People complain all the time but aren’t willing to find a solution. Why? Because it’s easier to complain than find a solution. If you want to become mentally tough, you can’t be like most people. You need to become a rare breed. You must be someone who no matter how much adversity they face will continue to take on the fight.

“The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and treat yourself lovingly. Do not self-destruct.” – Ben Newman

5. Patrick Bet-David

According to Patrick Bet-David, becoming mentally tough starts with taming the voices inside your head. All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, each have good and bad voices inside of us. To become mentally tough, you need to block out the bad voice. When you can sense it arising inside of you, you need to push through. That’s the only way you will defeat that negative voice.

Bet-David would say that each of us needs a purpose. When you don’t have a purpose, there’s no chance of you becoming mentally tough. You’ll give into every day temptations and call it quits when you could’ve kept pushing. Developing mental toughness means you push yourself further than even what you thought was possible.

The last piece of advice Bet-David had was to think about how you’ll feel if you don’t go after your dreams? Will you be happy twenty years from now knowing you didn’t follow your dreams? It’ll be quite the contrary. You have the option and choices each day to determine how your life will be and mental toughness will help guide you.

Mental toughness is the essential quality in those who are successful and unsuccessful. Due to this, tell us how you develop this unstoppable mindset? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Your Business Is Failing and How to Relight the Fire Under You

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Are you stuck in a rut with your business or your life? Are you wondering what could be causing this feeling of being stuck? It’s so common for people in this day and age to feel comfortable, and stop pushing themselves, so how do we jumpstart our lives and get moving again?

Here are 5 steps to help light a fire under you, and get you moving towards your goals again:

1. Lack of Vision

Before you started your business, it was just an idea, a thought in your head that seemed impossible. As you put time and effort into this idea, it was within reach, and now you have it. But what happens next? You made it to where you wanted to and now there is nowhere else to go. This is not true though because although you have reached your vision, it doesn’t mean you can’t think even bigger.

A lot of businesses stop growing because the people who run them don’t know what to do after they reach their goals. Instead of being happy you reached your goal, set new ones. Think bigger until your company has reached a level that you are comfortable leaving and letting someone else run it.

2. Lack of Why

Do you remember why you started your company? If not, how do you think you can keep your company moving forward? Start by thinking back to when you first started your business and try to remember why you wanted to start. Now that you have your original reasons for starting the company, check off how many of those you fulfilled and how many you can still work on.

Now think with everything that your business has given you, what do you want your business to stand for moving forward? Do you want your company to make you money, make a difference, or change the world? Whatever you want your company to be doing, as long as you have a reason for keeping your company going.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

3. No Accountability

Do you have a ton of good ideas but can never follow through? Perhaps, you aren’t being held accountable! You need to follow through with what you say. If you continuously say you are going to expand your business, network, or even something as small as getting employees lunch and don’t do it, no one is going to trust your word. If people can’t trust your word, how can they trust your business to get the job done? Start by getting an accountability buddy, coach, or even setting consequences for yourself.

4. Low Standards

People can have low standards in almost everything; places to live, relationships, and even business. If you can’t hold your product, customer service, and reputation to a certain standard, people won’t want to work with you or buy your products. Why would you want to go somewhere, or work with someone, who doesn’t hold themselves to a standard that reflects their work ethic?  

Having low standards can be a symptom of a lack of vision as well. When you can’t imagine what you want your business to look like, how can you hold yourself to a higher standard? So We can hold ourselves to a higher standard by knowing what our time is worth and realizing how much we are investing into a product or client.

If you are spending an hour on something, will your hour be worth 10 dollars or 100? How much effort you put into that specific project will reflect how much you get out of it thus as you understand the value of your time, your standards will rise.

5. No Passion or Pain

What pushes your business?  Are you driven by your passion, or are you being pushed by the pain or pressure? When we are put under pressure, it is amazing what people can do, and when people are passionate about something, many put as much as they can into what they are working on.

Yet, when we start to get comfortable or start to lose the passion we once had, we start to stand still. We begin to not move forward, so why would our business move forward?

Reigniting your passion can be tricky. Try and remember what gave you the initial push to start your passion, and consider what you are passionate about now. Putting the pressure on is as simple as setting a goal, calling up your accountability buddy and setting real consequences for yourself.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

Will you let your business sit stagnant any longer, or will you reinvent your vision, find a why, hold yourself accountable, raise your standards, and reignite your passions? Getting your business and your life to move forward is something that you have to put effort into every day. If you want to succeed, you will have to keep pushing yourself and move forward every day.

How do you push yourself in tough times? Let us know by commenting below!

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5 Commandments You Need to Follow to Build Your Freelance Business

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how to build your freelance business

For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.

Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.

While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.

If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:

1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job

What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.

Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.

You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.

Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.

2. Be Available As Much As Possible

You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.

There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf

3. Be a Communication Machine

Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.

Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:

  • WhatsApp
  • Viber
  • Skype
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Slack
  • Asana
  • ClearVoice

With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.

4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others

While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.

For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.

Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.

While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.

5. Stay On Track With Taxes

I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.

99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.

You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.

Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.

Are You Ready?

In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.

What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!

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