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7 Bad Habits Every Entrepreneur Should Fix Right Now

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You came here just to make sure you don’t have any of those bad habits. Didn’t you?

But, to be honest with you, it doesn’t matter whether you have them or not. Most entrepreneurs do have them. But the good news is they’re extremely easy to fix.

Here are 7 bad habits that need to be fixed if you’re an Entrepreneur:

1. Not being patient

A lot of bad things can happen from being impatient. Here are a few examples:

  • Miss something important because you don’t have time to double check
  • Make stupid mistakes because you’re always in a hurry
  • Make bad decisions because you want to get it over with
  • Ruin your relationships with people because you speak without thinking

Those are just a few consequences. Hopefully I won’t need to mention anymore to convince you being impatient is bad.

Solution: Slow down, take a deep breath, think, then act. Remember that working too fast is actually counterproductive and will waste more time in the long run.

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill

2. Not listening

You’ll get more value from listening than talking. If you want to stay on top of your game you need to keep learning. And a great way to keep learning is to start listening. Not listening to what others say can cause you to miss out on a lot of important ideas and lessons.

Another advantage of listening is being able to solve customers problems. You can’t solve customers problems and create good products if you don’t listen to what your customers are saying. Most of the time they won’t tell you what they want. You’ll have to figure that out based on their deeper desires. And you can’t figure out anything if you don’t listen.

Solution: Listen to what people have to say. You never know, the next big idea could come from an 8 year old kid.

 

3. Lack of sleep because you’re busy

Sleeping is one of those things that you have to have time for. You can’t choose not to sleep. Personally, whenever I get my 8 hours of sleep, I perform much better than a night I sleep 7 hours on. In reality, staying awake that extra hour is a total waste of time.

Solution: Go to sleep. Sleep 8 hours. Schedule an 8 hour sleep slot in your calendar.

 

4. Thinking short term

This one results from impatience too. You want to make a quick buck. You just can’t wait. You want everything to happen now. So you work for now and forget the future. Instead of investing into something that pays you x100 in 10 years. You’re satisfied with the quick x2 ROI.

But here’s the thing, if you think short term, you’ll be in business for a really short term. Because while your competitors are working towards the future and with a potential of making millions or even billions of dollars, you’re sitting there worrying about a few thousand dollars that won’t last you another year.

Solution: Always look at things in the long term. Look ahead. What would the future look like?

 

5. Working without a direction

Working without a goal and plan is like shooting then aiming. You need to know your target, aim, then shoot. That means you need to know your goal, have a plan, then execute. There’s no need to write a massive 30 page plan. 1 page is enough, sometimes even less. When you work with no direction, you get nowhere. Eventually you’ll run out of fuel because you ended up in the middle of the desert with no map.

Solution: Identify your goal, create a plan, execute the plan. What do you want to achieve in the next 3 months? What steps will you take to achieve your goal? Now go and execute your plan in that time frame.

 

6. Taking unnecessary risks

Taking risks is good. It’s essential. Starting a business is full of risks. So you have no choice but to go through risks. However, taking risks that you don’t need to at all is plain stupid. I remember back in the day when I thought taking crazy risks was cool and everybody else were just cowards. Result? I failed badly, they didn’t.

While they spent a few days on research and setting things up. I’d just jump right in. Is that really what successful entrepreneurs do? No, all of them launch an MVP, test the market, do their homework, and are careful. The “go and take risks” advice is for people who are really scared to take risks. People scared to leave the 5-9 job. Not for adrenaline junkies. Adrenaline junkies will just translate that advice into “go and make a few suicidal moves.”

Solution: Take calculated risks. Test the market bit by bit.

 

7. Not Creating a Scalable System

Are you really an entrepreneur or a freelancer?

The difference is, entrepreneurs build businesses that can thrive without them physically being present. On the other hand, freelancers build businesses that can’t survive without them. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a freelancer. But, if you really want to call yourself an entrepreneur you need to build something that doesn’t need you.

Solution: Create a system that doesn’t depend on you. You can present yourself as the founder & CEO of a brand, but never become the brand itself. Unless you want to be a freelancer of course, then that’s fine. But, if you don’t then please separate your personal brand and your business brand – don’t mix them up.

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” – Peter Drucker

Don’t just hit the back button now. It’s time to take action. You’ve already shown interest in improving yourself. Now go do it. Get your notepad out and create a plan for change. It’s either now or never.

Do you remember the blog post you read last week? Did you act upon what it taught you? If you’re going to do the same thing with this one, then don’t expect your life to change either.

Which bad habit is destroying you? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Zak Mustapha is a marketer and the founder of Foolishness File on a lifelong mission to help entrepreneurs learn from other entrepreneur’s mistakes so they can advance faster than others. Download his free eBook: 3 Common Marketing Mistakes You Can Stop Making Today to Humanize Your Brand.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Joel S.

    Oct 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Good points. The one about patience really resonates with me. Haste DOES make waste, and if you try to put the cart before the horse, then you’re not going to get to far — and you’ll look pretty silly in the process!

  2. Adam

    Aug 7, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Great read! Just need to work on my patience and goals.
    My system is very duplicatable! Team of 250 in 3 months!
    Pretty proud of myself! Love this biz!

  3. Akash

    May 5, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Great Article Mustapha.
    Slpeeing less is really a bad habit, i suffered with my memory when i stuck to it.
    Thanks for sharing wisdom.

    • Zak Mustapha

      May 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Hey Akash,

      I’ve been there too. Whenever I started sleeping, I ended up doing more than when I stayed up for that extra 2 hours.

      Thanks for your comment.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entrepreneurs

5 Things You Must Have in Order to Succeed as a Freelancer

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successful freelancer

Up until about 3 years ago, I honestly had no idea what a freelancer even was. It sounded like a cool job title and I secretly envied people who could call themselves one. Didn’t they get to travel the world with a laptop and go sailing and sip margaritas beside some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet? Yup, I wanted to be a freelancer.

I wanted in on this action. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was sure I could pull this off, couldn’t I?

The Mystery Slowly Unravelled

And so began the digging and sniffing around. The more research I did, the more I realized this wasn’t for the faint of heart. I took in as many blogs and pdf’s as I could. I watched YouTube tutorials until my eyes bled. I took in everything I could about it.

I decided that I could easily become a freelance writer. I got good writing skills (did you catch that?) thanks to so many letters written to ex boyfriends behaving badly, and my journal. Yup, I could definitely be a writer.

So now what? Now the real work begins. So you want to be a writer, huh? Get ready girl. You have tons of work ahead of you. Little did I know.

Can’t I just tell stories?

I just wanted to write about all my crazy life stories ‘cause Lord knows I have a million. Surely someone will want to read them, no? Isn’t writing and blogging just about telling stories of how you had some ridiculous upheaval and how you overcame it? I can write about that until the cows come home.

I was determined to write these stories and send them out to anyone, everyone and no one. I hit up all the high authority sites right away. No small fry stuff for this girl. I have great stories and someone needs to read them.

“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.” – William Faulkner

Was I in for a surprise

Apparently not everyone wants to read your stories. Apparently not everyone thinks your stories are great. Apparently not everyone thinks you’re a good writer. I thought this freelance writing stuff would come easy. I can write dammit and I’m friggin’ good at it! They’ll see.

It just didn’t work like that. As I worked my regular full time day job as a hairstylist I continued to write my heart out, before and after work, determined to leave this life behind and become a freelance writer. Little did I know. 8 months of cutting hair and blogging for free taught me many many things about myself and the freelance world.

Here are the 5 things you better have if you want to make it as a freelancer:

1. Determination

You must be all in or all out. There is no in between. You can’t let up or stop for one single minute. You want to be a freelancer, you must give it 100%. This gig isn’t for half assers or sissies. Nope. Only the hardcore, diehard peeps with a strong deep desire for a life of freedom will make it here. There is no giving up. Ever.

2. Passion

If you don’t feel it, you won’t be able to do it. It has to come from deep down in your heart, soul and belly. The reason you want to do this must consume you (and the reason should be more than just money). You should be eating, living and breathing this passion you have to become a freelancer otherwise you’re already doing it for the wrong reasons and you won’t be happy. Trust me on that one.

3. Persistence

Never ever give up and don’t take no for an answer. If a million people say no to you, remember someone is going to say yes. If someone said no a million times keep at it. Figure out what you did wrong and polish up your skills (all the no’s will give you ample opportunity to do just that).

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E.L. Doctorow

4. Open mindedness

Stay open to learning new things. Stay open to networking and connecting with others. You will need to collaborate with other bloggers and people who are already doing this for a living in order to learn. You will need to throw your net out far and wide and take in all sorts of wondrous tools. Get ready to step way out of your comfort zone.

5. Confidence

This was a biggie for me. I was pitbull, determined to make it so no amount of no’s was going to get in my way. There were some days I honestly did feel like throwing in the towel (we all have days like that) but I would brush off my butt and lick my wounded ego and keep at it. Have confidence in your skills. Just because 10 people don’t want your stuff doesn’t mean there isn’t 10 out there who do! Remember that. You ARE good at what you do.

Do you have what it takes? Of course you do! It took me almost 9 months before I finally cracked the freelance world and another year to become a full time freelancer. There is no try and there is no giving up. I always tell people, if I can do it, so can you.

What are the obstacles you’re facing right now as a freelance? Comment below!

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5 Crucial Skills to Take Your Business and Relationships to New Heights

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business skills

Our personal relationships are very powerful and provide us with a crash course of exponential growth both personally and professionally. You learn an exceptional amount of information about who you are as a person, how you communicate, manage your emotions and discover traits you were blissfully unaware of.

Of course everyone wants to hear the beautiful love story you so often hear from others. Man and woman meet, fall madly in love, get married and live happily ever after. However, as we all know the fairytale ending is no guarantee.

I met a spontaneous, generous, successful and much older businessman and we dated for a short period of time. I was deliriously happy and determined for everything to turn out perfectly. As expected, he had mastered the art of knowing all the right buttons to push and exactly the right words to say.

I can compare this experience to a going for a long drive in the country. I was speeding down the highway of life, aiming to maintain my complete denial of everything happening around me. To the point that I missed every stop sign, damaged the car from all of the potholes I failed to navigate, and I had several minor accidents along the way.  You name it, I ignored every single red flag that was saying take a detour, choose a different road and look the other way, keep moving forward yet choose a different direction.

Unfortunately, it all came to a grinding halt, when the car burst into flames in the middle of a local National Park causing a wild bushfire. This analogy clearly illustrates the ending of this relationship and the danger of becoming obsessed with a personal goal to the point where it sabotages all your efforts to attain your goal and safely reach your destination.

The brilliant news is that this crash course of exponential growth led to pivotal business lessons that can also help you achieve outstanding results this year. The 5 key business lessons you can develop include:

1. Individual Connection vs Wolf Pack

Be mindful and understand the differences between communicating well with an individual and a team otherwise known as a wolf pack. Notice the differences in the communication, it can be very different. An individual interaction may be far easier than dealing with the wolfpack or vice versa. Pay attention when in both scenarios as it will be highly beneficial for professional career and help you to enhance both new and existing professional relationships.

2. Monumental Giving

Wow, I thought I was a generous person however I quickly realized I had more work to do in this area. This man raised a lot of funds for charities that were close to his heart both personally and via his businesses and he was very proud of his achievement as he should be.

What I liked the most however was the way he built the company culture although he was well renowned for his tough exterior, he did go out of his way to be generous to employees  at all levels within the company and he took the time to get to know them personally despite the number of businesses he was operating at any one time.

“Giving is the master key for success in all applications of life” – Bryant McGill

3. Fanatical Focus

Irrespective of the activity he was engaged in on any given day. From closing a business deal, speaking to a colleague or business associate, negotiating a lease to building his stock portfolio. He was unbelievably fanatically focused on that one activity and ensured that the activity was completed to a very high standard.

Anything less was deemed unprofessional and unacceptable. His unwavering focus was very valuable in making business decisions and closing deals, over delivering on budget, making quick decisions and maintaining relationships.

4. Beware of the ‘Little’ Things

We have heard it before, don’t stress or make a big deal about the little things. When you learn to manage your emotions effectively and allow things to occur rather than resist or get upset about it, life becomes far easier and enjoyable. It allows you to retain your energy for the important things in life and manage actual stressful situations as they arise.

5. Master Communicator

This man was extremely tough and very guarded however, he acted like everyone’s best friend. He understood a lot about how people communicate from their tone of voice, the words they say to how fast or slow they spoke, and he was a master at reading non-verbal communication in both men and women.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you are willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy

To build a powerful network in business, it is imperative to begin by learning the essentials in communication. Start by researching how to read body language and what various poses or facial expressions mean. By understanding others, you can also adapt your own communication style to become a ‘Master Communicator’ and rapidly improve your overall business results.

As we enter the start of the New Year, now is the perfect time to hone these 5 crucial business skills to take your business and relationships to new heights.

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5 Essential Elements You Need to Deliver a Spectacular Podcast Interview

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podcast interview

Podcasting is a phenomenon that millions of people gravitate to every day for information, inspiration, and entertainment.  According to convinceandconvert.com, 112 million people listened to a podcast at least once in 2017. There are many different types of podcasts that are out there to listen to, and one of the most popular formats is that of the interview podcast.

It goes without saying that an interview podcast consists of a host/hosts and a guest, typically an expert in a particular field, going back-and-forth in a question format to deliver valuable content for those listeners.  As a podcast host, myself and having done hundreds of interviews, not to mention the hundreds more I’ve listened to, there are five essential elements, in my opinion, that is essential to delivering an excellent podcast interview.

Here are the 5 essential elements you need to deliver a spectacular podcast interview:

1. Do Your Research

Nothing can kill an interview faster than when one party is not prepared for other, especially when that individual is the host.  It is vital that you do your research on the guest you are bringing on your show, not just to produce the most value out of your podcast, but to ensure that you get the very best out of your guest as well.  

Search their website, find out their most recent event, product launch, or topic they are “hot” on.  Also, know what motivates them and what they are most interested in offering to your listeners.  This is a show of professionalism and will garner respect from your guest and provide a traditional format to build your podcast show around.

“You just need one person to listen, get your message, and pass it on to someone else. And, you’ve doubled your audience.” – Robert Gerrish

2. Create Pre-Interview Rapport

Experts, influencers, and famous individuals typically have someone book them on shows, especially on podcasts. More times than not, there is a limited amount of interaction with the host and the guest before the taping of the podcast. By creating pre-interview rapport through social media outlets, emails and video chats, you can help build more familiarity with your guest and offer a more comfortable and relaxed interview. Some guests will be more accessible to create this type of rapport with than others; however, don’t stop yourself from trying.

3. Don’t Be Too Scripted

There is a difference between having a format versus having a script. Don’t be the podcast host that interviews their guests straight from a script. It will create robotic type answers from your guests and quite frankly, will be boring. At the same time, scripts can take away from the authentic emotion that interviews can provoke. This type of passion and raw feeling in the answers and even the question asking process, is essential to help the podcast stand out and keep the guest interested.

4. Be Yourself

Do not, I repeat, do not try to be any other type of podcast host than that of yourself. Your guest booked your show because of you, the kind of show you host, and because you have a unique audience that YOU can introduce them to. You aren’t Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas, or Gary Vaynerchuk.  They have created podcasts because of who they are and stayed true to their style of interviewing, and you must do the same. It’s ok to want to emulate the success of others but don’t do it to the extent of losing your voice.

“A podcast is a great way to develop relationships with hard to reach people.” – Tim Paige

5. Speak To Your Audience

Don’t just do an interview to do an interview. Make sure the interactions between you and your guest have your audience in mind. I have seen some hosts poll their listeners for certain types of questions they would like for them to ask the guest and, even set up some podcast episodes to be during a live format for instant guest to listener interaction. The podcast should mean just as much to your listeners as it does to you. That is how you know you are reaching your audience and creating the most impact possible.

I hope your podcast is already rocking and doing great however, if you feel you are missing an element to take your podcast from good to excellent, try implementing these five tips and become a first class interviewer.  This alone can help take your podcast to a whole new level.

What are some podcasts you enjoy listening too? Comment below!

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10 Things You Can Do to Build a Great Brand in the Digital World

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building a brand

Great brands are created by the love and affection of the people. When you care for your customers, it is reflected in your products and services. The most memorable and iconic brands are emotionally connected with their customers. Today, the internet is probably the biggest influence on how brands are built in the digital age.

Here are 10 things you can do to build a great brand in today’s digital world:

1. Stellar designs

The best brands are expressed by the most fluid designs. Attractive designs are important to woo and catch the attention of the users. Design is one of the most important facets of building a brand. It expresses your brand & influences the way consumers think about your company. It is also an effective way to stand out from the competition. Successful brands like Apple, Rolex, & Louis Vuitton, use designs to create a feeling of pride and exclusivity for their customers.

2. Delightful user experience for products & services

What makes top companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, & Rolex sell their products at top premium? It is a great user experience. When products and services are built with users in mind, it creates a delightful experience for users. It puts your brand on a higher pedestal, improves adoption, and commands user respect. The cost of delighting a customer is negligible compared with the price you pay when you disappoint them.

3. Communicate your higher purpose

The internet has made it easier for brands to communicate with the world. However, the ease of communication has also led to lot of noise. Great brands are able to tell stories that connect with people. They stand out from the crowd. They articulate who they are, what makes them different, their aspirations, why they exist and what they do for your customers. For brands like Nike, it was about honouring the athletes. Apple sparked great curiosity with the ‘Think different’ campaign.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

4. Customer service anytime anywhere

Customer Interactions and feedback are invaluable for shaping products and services. Today, the companies that use digital tools for improving customer service are surging ahead of their competitors. The idea is to provide interactive, fast and ubiquitous service across channels for customers. The customers expect a seamless transition between platforms and devices.

5. Be Social & build your tribe

Social media and the web have created a level playing field for companies around the world. The brands that are creating valuable content are growing their followers and reach. Content that is created to genuinely help the customers resonates with the users.

The best brands are not only building social communities, but also engaging with people in real world. The face to face communication strengthens the bonding and builds a loyal community that endorses products/services to others. How brands combine the digital and physical space is now shaping their fortunes. People want to be part of a meaningful community and the top brands are building them.

6. Personalized interactions with customers

Digitization is a great boon when it comes to customer interactions. Every interaction with your customer can be tracked and personalised. The ease with which the customers can interact with your company and get things done matters a lot. These seamless interactions are important across all customer touch points. Every interaction with the customer is a chance to build a relationship and a loyal army for the brand.

7. The right talent and teams

To build innovative products & services, it is important to attract and retain talent. It is important to build great teams. When teams are aligned to a long term vision of the company, the results are visible in the quality of the offerings. Your talent pool and teams represent their quality and commitment defines your identity. When teams are aligned to a common goal and purpose, they give their best and create amazing stuff that makes companies iconic.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

8. Digitized solutions & services

Reimagine the consumer experience when dealing with your brand. Digitization of services makes things easier for customers. For example, leading banks around the world have introduced digitised systems for getting customer feedback. Airports around the globe are using digital solutions to reduce customer’s time to clear immigrations and procedures. Several industries are now looking at digitization to make things easier for their consumers.

9. Improved outreach with digital media

With the rise of digitisation, it is easier for brands to reach out to their target users. The demographics of their target users like age, location, income levels, interests, can be specified to reach them. The campaigns can be designed to improve the outreach and have meaningful engagement with the prospects. How creatively a brand can spread its message to the target users can distinguish it from its competition. With digital media, brands can get global exposure and sales.

10. Thrive on value economy

In a crowded marketplace, it is easier to build credibility with value. The successful brands have deep rooted understanding of their customers pain points and goals. They offer solutions to these problems that are critical to their customers. For example, brands like Amazon have been so successful, because they have been able to provide incredible value to their customers by offering great discounts and seamless delivery of the goods.

Conclusion

Brands need to constantly ask themselves how their business will change and adapt quickly to serve their customers proactively. The consumer needs are changing fast. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past. Businesses need to evolve constantly to meet the needs of their customers. Brands are now leveraging digitization to take an integrated view of things, evaluate and take necessary actions for driving the changes to meet the consumer needs.

What are some other ways to build a brand online? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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29 Stirring Idris Elba Quotes

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Idris Elba Quotes
Image Credit | NY Daily

From his roles on major blockbusters such as Pacific Rim and The Dark Tower, to some of his smaller roles on shows such as The Wire and Luther; Idris Elba has demonstrated himself to be not only a skilled actor, but a diverse and adaptive one as well. From his rough origins in Northern London, Idris clawed & worked his way to become one of the most recognized actors in Hollywood. At one point he was sleeping in a van working as a doorman. During his journey, Idris Elba has learned a lot about life, success, and sticking to your passion. (more…)

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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Joel S.

    Oct 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Good points. The one about patience really resonates with me. Haste DOES make waste, and if you try to put the cart before the horse, then you’re not going to get to far — and you’ll look pretty silly in the process!

  2. Adam

    Aug 7, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Great read! Just need to work on my patience and goals.
    My system is very duplicatable! Team of 250 in 3 months!
    Pretty proud of myself! Love this biz!

  3. Akash

    May 5, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Great Article Mustapha.
    Slpeeing less is really a bad habit, i suffered with my memory when i stuck to it.
    Thanks for sharing wisdom.

    • Zak Mustapha

      May 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Hey Akash,

      I’ve been there too. Whenever I started sleeping, I ended up doing more than when I stayed up for that extra 2 hours.

      Thanks for your comment.

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5 Things You Must Have in Order to Succeed as a Freelancer

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successful freelancer

Up until about 3 years ago, I honestly had no idea what a freelancer even was. It sounded like a cool job title and I secretly envied people who could call themselves one. Didn’t they get to travel the world with a laptop and go sailing and sip margaritas beside some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet? Yup, I wanted to be a freelancer.

I wanted in on this action. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was sure I could pull this off, couldn’t I?

The Mystery Slowly Unravelled

And so began the digging and sniffing around. The more research I did, the more I realized this wasn’t for the faint of heart. I took in as many blogs and pdf’s as I could. I watched YouTube tutorials until my eyes bled. I took in everything I could about it.

I decided that I could easily become a freelance writer. I got good writing skills (did you catch that?) thanks to so many letters written to ex boyfriends behaving badly, and my journal. Yup, I could definitely be a writer.

So now what? Now the real work begins. So you want to be a writer, huh? Get ready girl. You have tons of work ahead of you. Little did I know.

Can’t I just tell stories?

I just wanted to write about all my crazy life stories ‘cause Lord knows I have a million. Surely someone will want to read them, no? Isn’t writing and blogging just about telling stories of how you had some ridiculous upheaval and how you overcame it? I can write about that until the cows come home.

I was determined to write these stories and send them out to anyone, everyone and no one. I hit up all the high authority sites right away. No small fry stuff for this girl. I have great stories and someone needs to read them.

“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.” – William Faulkner

Was I in for a surprise

Apparently not everyone wants to read your stories. Apparently not everyone thinks your stories are great. Apparently not everyone thinks you’re a good writer. I thought this freelance writing stuff would come easy. I can write dammit and I’m friggin’ good at it! They’ll see.

It just didn’t work like that. As I worked my regular full time day job as a hairstylist I continued to write my heart out, before and after work, determined to leave this life behind and become a freelance writer. Little did I know. 8 months of cutting hair and blogging for free taught me many many things about myself and the freelance world.

Here are the 5 things you better have if you want to make it as a freelancer:

1. Determination

You must be all in or all out. There is no in between. You can’t let up or stop for one single minute. You want to be a freelancer, you must give it 100%. This gig isn’t for half assers or sissies. Nope. Only the hardcore, diehard peeps with a strong deep desire for a life of freedom will make it here. There is no giving up. Ever.

2. Passion

If you don’t feel it, you won’t be able to do it. It has to come from deep down in your heart, soul and belly. The reason you want to do this must consume you (and the reason should be more than just money). You should be eating, living and breathing this passion you have to become a freelancer otherwise you’re already doing it for the wrong reasons and you won’t be happy. Trust me on that one.

3. Persistence

Never ever give up and don’t take no for an answer. If a million people say no to you, remember someone is going to say yes. If someone said no a million times keep at it. Figure out what you did wrong and polish up your skills (all the no’s will give you ample opportunity to do just that).

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E.L. Doctorow

4. Open mindedness

Stay open to learning new things. Stay open to networking and connecting with others. You will need to collaborate with other bloggers and people who are already doing this for a living in order to learn. You will need to throw your net out far and wide and take in all sorts of wondrous tools. Get ready to step way out of your comfort zone.

5. Confidence

This was a biggie for me. I was pitbull, determined to make it so no amount of no’s was going to get in my way. There were some days I honestly did feel like throwing in the towel (we all have days like that) but I would brush off my butt and lick my wounded ego and keep at it. Have confidence in your skills. Just because 10 people don’t want your stuff doesn’t mean there isn’t 10 out there who do! Remember that. You ARE good at what you do.

Do you have what it takes? Of course you do! It took me almost 9 months before I finally cracked the freelance world and another year to become a full time freelancer. There is no try and there is no giving up. I always tell people, if I can do it, so can you.

What are the obstacles you’re facing right now as a freelance? Comment below!

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5 Crucial Skills to Take Your Business and Relationships to New Heights

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Our personal relationships are very powerful and provide us with a crash course of exponential growth both personally and professionally. You learn an exceptional amount of information about who you are as a person, how you communicate, manage your emotions and discover traits you were blissfully unaware of.

Of course everyone wants to hear the beautiful love story you so often hear from others. Man and woman meet, fall madly in love, get married and live happily ever after. However, as we all know the fairytale ending is no guarantee.

I met a spontaneous, generous, successful and much older businessman and we dated for a short period of time. I was deliriously happy and determined for everything to turn out perfectly. As expected, he had mastered the art of knowing all the right buttons to push and exactly the right words to say.

I can compare this experience to a going for a long drive in the country. I was speeding down the highway of life, aiming to maintain my complete denial of everything happening around me. To the point that I missed every stop sign, damaged the car from all of the potholes I failed to navigate, and I had several minor accidents along the way.  You name it, I ignored every single red flag that was saying take a detour, choose a different road and look the other way, keep moving forward yet choose a different direction.

Unfortunately, it all came to a grinding halt, when the car burst into flames in the middle of a local National Park causing a wild bushfire. This analogy clearly illustrates the ending of this relationship and the danger of becoming obsessed with a personal goal to the point where it sabotages all your efforts to attain your goal and safely reach your destination.

The brilliant news is that this crash course of exponential growth led to pivotal business lessons that can also help you achieve outstanding results this year. The 5 key business lessons you can develop include:

1. Individual Connection vs Wolf Pack

Be mindful and understand the differences between communicating well with an individual and a team otherwise known as a wolf pack. Notice the differences in the communication, it can be very different. An individual interaction may be far easier than dealing with the wolfpack or vice versa. Pay attention when in both scenarios as it will be highly beneficial for professional career and help you to enhance both new and existing professional relationships.

2. Monumental Giving

Wow, I thought I was a generous person however I quickly realized I had more work to do in this area. This man raised a lot of funds for charities that were close to his heart both personally and via his businesses and he was very proud of his achievement as he should be.

What I liked the most however was the way he built the company culture although he was well renowned for his tough exterior, he did go out of his way to be generous to employees  at all levels within the company and he took the time to get to know them personally despite the number of businesses he was operating at any one time.

“Giving is the master key for success in all applications of life” – Bryant McGill

3. Fanatical Focus

Irrespective of the activity he was engaged in on any given day. From closing a business deal, speaking to a colleague or business associate, negotiating a lease to building his stock portfolio. He was unbelievably fanatically focused on that one activity and ensured that the activity was completed to a very high standard.

Anything less was deemed unprofessional and unacceptable. His unwavering focus was very valuable in making business decisions and closing deals, over delivering on budget, making quick decisions and maintaining relationships.

4. Beware of the ‘Little’ Things

We have heard it before, don’t stress or make a big deal about the little things. When you learn to manage your emotions effectively and allow things to occur rather than resist or get upset about it, life becomes far easier and enjoyable. It allows you to retain your energy for the important things in life and manage actual stressful situations as they arise.

5. Master Communicator

This man was extremely tough and very guarded however, he acted like everyone’s best friend. He understood a lot about how people communicate from their tone of voice, the words they say to how fast or slow they spoke, and he was a master at reading non-verbal communication in both men and women.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you are willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy

To build a powerful network in business, it is imperative to begin by learning the essentials in communication. Start by researching how to read body language and what various poses or facial expressions mean. By understanding others, you can also adapt your own communication style to become a ‘Master Communicator’ and rapidly improve your overall business results.

As we enter the start of the New Year, now is the perfect time to hone these 5 crucial business skills to take your business and relationships to new heights.

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5 Essential Elements You Need to Deliver a Spectacular Podcast Interview

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Podcasting is a phenomenon that millions of people gravitate to every day for information, inspiration, and entertainment.  According to convinceandconvert.com, 112 million people listened to a podcast at least once in 2017. There are many different types of podcasts that are out there to listen to, and one of the most popular formats is that of the interview podcast.

It goes without saying that an interview podcast consists of a host/hosts and a guest, typically an expert in a particular field, going back-and-forth in a question format to deliver valuable content for those listeners.  As a podcast host, myself and having done hundreds of interviews, not to mention the hundreds more I’ve listened to, there are five essential elements, in my opinion, that is essential to delivering an excellent podcast interview.

Here are the 5 essential elements you need to deliver a spectacular podcast interview:

1. Do Your Research

Nothing can kill an interview faster than when one party is not prepared for other, especially when that individual is the host.  It is vital that you do your research on the guest you are bringing on your show, not just to produce the most value out of your podcast, but to ensure that you get the very best out of your guest as well.  

Search their website, find out their most recent event, product launch, or topic they are “hot” on.  Also, know what motivates them and what they are most interested in offering to your listeners.  This is a show of professionalism and will garner respect from your guest and provide a traditional format to build your podcast show around.

“You just need one person to listen, get your message, and pass it on to someone else. And, you’ve doubled your audience.” – Robert Gerrish

2. Create Pre-Interview Rapport

Experts, influencers, and famous individuals typically have someone book them on shows, especially on podcasts. More times than not, there is a limited amount of interaction with the host and the guest before the taping of the podcast. By creating pre-interview rapport through social media outlets, emails and video chats, you can help build more familiarity with your guest and offer a more comfortable and relaxed interview. Some guests will be more accessible to create this type of rapport with than others; however, don’t stop yourself from trying.

3. Don’t Be Too Scripted

There is a difference between having a format versus having a script. Don’t be the podcast host that interviews their guests straight from a script. It will create robotic type answers from your guests and quite frankly, will be boring. At the same time, scripts can take away from the authentic emotion that interviews can provoke. This type of passion and raw feeling in the answers and even the question asking process, is essential to help the podcast stand out and keep the guest interested.

4. Be Yourself

Do not, I repeat, do not try to be any other type of podcast host than that of yourself. Your guest booked your show because of you, the kind of show you host, and because you have a unique audience that YOU can introduce them to. You aren’t Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas, or Gary Vaynerchuk.  They have created podcasts because of who they are and stayed true to their style of interviewing, and you must do the same. It’s ok to want to emulate the success of others but don’t do it to the extent of losing your voice.

“A podcast is a great way to develop relationships with hard to reach people.” – Tim Paige

5. Speak To Your Audience

Don’t just do an interview to do an interview. Make sure the interactions between you and your guest have your audience in mind. I have seen some hosts poll their listeners for certain types of questions they would like for them to ask the guest and, even set up some podcast episodes to be during a live format for instant guest to listener interaction. The podcast should mean just as much to your listeners as it does to you. That is how you know you are reaching your audience and creating the most impact possible.

I hope your podcast is already rocking and doing great however, if you feel you are missing an element to take your podcast from good to excellent, try implementing these five tips and become a first class interviewer.  This alone can help take your podcast to a whole new level.

What are some podcasts you enjoy listening too? Comment below!

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10 Things You Can Do to Build a Great Brand in the Digital World

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Great brands are created by the love and affection of the people. When you care for your customers, it is reflected in your products and services. The most memorable and iconic brands are emotionally connected with their customers. Today, the internet is probably the biggest influence on how brands are built in the digital age.

Here are 10 things you can do to build a great brand in today’s digital world:

1. Stellar designs

The best brands are expressed by the most fluid designs. Attractive designs are important to woo and catch the attention of the users. Design is one of the most important facets of building a brand. It expresses your brand & influences the way consumers think about your company. It is also an effective way to stand out from the competition. Successful brands like Apple, Rolex, & Louis Vuitton, use designs to create a feeling of pride and exclusivity for their customers.

2. Delightful user experience for products & services

What makes top companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, & Rolex sell their products at top premium? It is a great user experience. When products and services are built with users in mind, it creates a delightful experience for users. It puts your brand on a higher pedestal, improves adoption, and commands user respect. The cost of delighting a customer is negligible compared with the price you pay when you disappoint them.

3. Communicate your higher purpose

The internet has made it easier for brands to communicate with the world. However, the ease of communication has also led to lot of noise. Great brands are able to tell stories that connect with people. They stand out from the crowd. They articulate who they are, what makes them different, their aspirations, why they exist and what they do for your customers. For brands like Nike, it was about honouring the athletes. Apple sparked great curiosity with the ‘Think different’ campaign.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

4. Customer service anytime anywhere

Customer Interactions and feedback are invaluable for shaping products and services. Today, the companies that use digital tools for improving customer service are surging ahead of their competitors. The idea is to provide interactive, fast and ubiquitous service across channels for customers. The customers expect a seamless transition between platforms and devices.

5. Be Social & build your tribe

Social media and the web have created a level playing field for companies around the world. The brands that are creating valuable content are growing their followers and reach. Content that is created to genuinely help the customers resonates with the users.

The best brands are not only building social communities, but also engaging with people in real world. The face to face communication strengthens the bonding and builds a loyal community that endorses products/services to others. How brands combine the digital and physical space is now shaping their fortunes. People want to be part of a meaningful community and the top brands are building them.

6. Personalized interactions with customers

Digitization is a great boon when it comes to customer interactions. Every interaction with your customer can be tracked and personalised. The ease with which the customers can interact with your company and get things done matters a lot. These seamless interactions are important across all customer touch points. Every interaction with the customer is a chance to build a relationship and a loyal army for the brand.

7. The right talent and teams

To build innovative products & services, it is important to attract and retain talent. It is important to build great teams. When teams are aligned to a long term vision of the company, the results are visible in the quality of the offerings. Your talent pool and teams represent their quality and commitment defines your identity. When teams are aligned to a common goal and purpose, they give their best and create amazing stuff that makes companies iconic.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

8. Digitized solutions & services

Reimagine the consumer experience when dealing with your brand. Digitization of services makes things easier for customers. For example, leading banks around the world have introduced digitised systems for getting customer feedback. Airports around the globe are using digital solutions to reduce customer’s time to clear immigrations and procedures. Several industries are now looking at digitization to make things easier for their consumers.

9. Improved outreach with digital media

With the rise of digitisation, it is easier for brands to reach out to their target users. The demographics of their target users like age, location, income levels, interests, can be specified to reach them. The campaigns can be designed to improve the outreach and have meaningful engagement with the prospects. How creatively a brand can spread its message to the target users can distinguish it from its competition. With digital media, brands can get global exposure and sales.

10. Thrive on value economy

In a crowded marketplace, it is easier to build credibility with value. The successful brands have deep rooted understanding of their customers pain points and goals. They offer solutions to these problems that are critical to their customers. For example, brands like Amazon have been so successful, because they have been able to provide incredible value to their customers by offering great discounts and seamless delivery of the goods.

Conclusion

Brands need to constantly ask themselves how their business will change and adapt quickly to serve their customers proactively. The consumer needs are changing fast. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past. Businesses need to evolve constantly to meet the needs of their customers. Brands are now leveraging digitization to take an integrated view of things, evaluate and take necessary actions for driving the changes to meet the consumer needs.

What are some other ways to build a brand online? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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