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7 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

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As my online business has grown over the years, I have felt the need to get some additional hands on board. Since I am big on being flexible, I didn’t want to hire someone as an employee and then worry about giving them a place to work or being there to monitor them. I decided to try my hands at hiring a virtual assistant (VA). While I have hired and worked with many virtual assistants so far, I made some basic mistakes when I hired my first VA last year.

Below, I have shared the seven mistakes I made that one must avoid when hiring a virtual assistant:

1. Not having a clear role for your Virtual Assistant

When I decided to hire a VA, my decision was driven by getting some work transferred to the VA. The mistake here was that I did not think about the exact work I would pass on to him/her.

So, I came across a VA on Facebook and interviewed him. While he seemed like a great guy with a good attitude, he was low on the skills part. Nonetheless, I considered hiring him and then training him on the job.

If I had a clear role in mind for my VA, I could have avoided hiring the VA I did, as he didn’t fit my criteria. But since there was none, I made the mistake of hiring him.

2. Not asking for previous work examples

No matter how great a VA looks, without prior work samples, you have no way to gauge the quality of his/her work. As a rule, always ask for samples. In case the VA doesn’t have related samples, you can ask him/her to do a little sample work for you and then gauge the quality.

3. Not training your Virtual Assistant

When hiring a VA, you must know that it will cost you money as well as some time in the beginning. Unless you have hired a highly skilled VA who is ready to hit the road from the very first day, you need to spend time training him/her. Remember that your business and your way of working is completely new to the VA and you need to hold their hand for the initial few weeks.

Having said that, you’re only helping the VA in areas of your business and your work. You shouldn’t train him/her on basic skills such as email writing, or Excel.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself.” – Whitney Wolfe

4. Not using the right tools

You need to have a system to keep the work going smoothly when working with a VA. When you have a system in place, keeping track of your VA’s work, giving them feedback, and planning ahead is a lot simpler.

Simple things such as creating a Google Drive or Dropbox folder for the VA’s work, using tools such Google Sheets, Slack, and Trello can really streamline your work and save a lot of time.

5. Not giving clear instructions and timely feedback

Your VA can’t read your mind. If you don’t give clear instructions, you shouldn’t expect high-quality work from their end. As a best practice, it helps in being crystal clear in your instructions. While you may find this time consuming, it’s a lot better than to get something low quality in need to rework.

Also, it’s is important to review your VA’s work and give them timely feedback. For the first few weeks, you can opt for daily short check-ins. This becomes a lot more important when you’re working with someone in a different time zone. If you don’t correct them in something when they make a mistake, you risk wasting another day.

6. Not being patient

Even if you hire a perfect candidate, he/she is likely to take time to acclimatize to your business and your style of working. While it’s a good practice to keep a strict tab on the VA’s work, you shouldn’t expect them to start firing on all cylinders from Day 1.

A reasonable expectation should be to transfer your work gradually to the VA (over the next few weeks or even months), and train them appropriately. You need to be patient in the initial days and understand that your VA may slowly cope up and perform as per your expectations.

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” – Elon Musk

7. Not calculating the ROI

When you invest in a VA, you need to have a clear idea on what benefit you’re looking for. For example, would hiring a VA allow you to expand your business, or would it allow you to delegate some work and focus on more important stuff.

Whatever the benefit, you need to think about the RoI (Return on Investment). Evaluate whether having a VA will help in generating a positive RoI or not. If you can’t peg a number to it, analyze whether the benefit of having a VA justifies the cost or not.

What are some mistakes you’ve made in hiring a VA? Comment below!

Sumit Bansal is an online entrepreneur and a spreadsheet expert. He has been recognized by Microsoft as the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in MS Excel. He writes at ProductivitySpot.com and you can connect with him on Twitter. He has been featured on many blogs and publications including Problogger, Glassdoor, The Huffington Post, YourStory, and Indiehacker.

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Entrepreneurs

7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

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5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Millennial Multi-Millionaires Share Their Best 6 Tips on Starting a Successful Company

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It’s been known that millennials get a bad rep for being lazy and feeling as though they deserve success without putting in the work. This isn’t the case for Santiago Nestares Lampo and Benedict Dohmen. Both Santiago and Benedict are millennial multi-millionaires at the ripe age of 21.

The two friends had been coding until the late hours of the night while attending Dartmouth College. While working late into the night, they discovered a common problem, they both had aching backs.

Instead of brushing it off and pushing through the pain, the millennials decided to do something about it and ended up developing a pillow to help them sit with better posture and experience little to no back pain, thus the start of their million dollar brand.

Since expanding the back pain brand to 25 products and 8 figures in revenue, the two have applied these six tips to continue to expand their business:

1. Vision

Every great idea starts with a vision. For their company, Benedict and Santiago listened to what their customers said right from the start. They didn’t want to be another company churning out products for the heck of it.

Just because you think your customers will like a product doesn’t mean that they will. You need to make sure that when you’re creating a product or adding products to your current line that you ask your customers what they want. This is will help to create a product that people will actually want, saving you tons of headaches.

2. Engineer Profitability From The Beginning

While there are successful companies who got their start from venture capitalists, this doesn’t mean this is the case for all companies and certainly not the Benitago Group.

They wanted to know if they would be profitable from the beginning because it can be hard to measure when you’re using someone’s money. When you use someone else’s money, you may have to make a decision that brings in capital for the short term but isn’t beneficial for the long term growth of your company.

To grow their company, they also haven’t taken out a penny for themselves. They firmly believe in the concept of investing everything you make back into the company. This is paramount to fast growth as they’ve achieved it with Benitago Group.

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

3. Direct Impact

For Benedict and Santiago they wanted their company to have a direct impact right from the beginning. Money was a part of their success but it wasn’t what was driving the duo.

Combined with their vision, they wanted to start a company that would have a direct impact on millions of people. By creating products they’re constantly refining and going directly to the consumer, they can have a direct impact on people’s lives.

When you start your company, are you doing it to make money or are you doing it to help others? While the money is good, if you only start your company for the money and it gets rocky, you’re more apt to quit because you won’t care enough to stick with your company through the bad times. Money is bipartisan of any successful company.

If you build a product that can impact millions, the money will come.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

It wouldn’t be a smart idea to make decisions for your company without backing it up with rational information. Benedict and Santiago run their company like a startup firm instead of Corporate America where ideas have to pass through the ranks and can take weeks or even months before being implemented.

When you decide to track the statistics on your company, you’re able to get a sense of what move you should make next. Your emotions won’t be attached to your decisions because they will be backed up with logic and economic rationale.

5. Focus

As you grow, many distractions come along in terms of other business areas to expand to, etc. Dohmen and Nestares have both received many requests for consulting from smaller private companies to big conglomerates such as P&G, even at consulting rates far higher than top consulting firms like McKinsey. However, they’ve turned all such requests down with a commitment to focus all their energy on building Benitago Group.

There comes a point in any successful business where there won’t be enough time in the day. You have to decide what your focus is going to be on. The decision on what to focus on will ultimately come down to, “Am I growing my business?” If you’re not growing your business, the task isn’t worth your time.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

6. Strong Work Ethic

Benedict and Santiago don’t believe in the typical 9-5 work ethic. They mostly work 7 days a week from morning until the late evening. They expect full commitment from anyone who works for them.

Within their company, people who perform also get rewarded accordingly. It’s the perfect environment for the driven individuals who want to place a bet on themselves and want to see what they’re able to accomplish. The goal is to make people feel more human by giving them all the freedom and trust to achieve their potential.

By working extra hours per week, it allows them to get a leg up on the competition. If you want to start a multi-eight figure and beyond company, you can’t expect to work the same hours as everyone else and become successful.

A strong work ethic will take you to wherever you desire. Nothing can stop the person who has a strong work ethic with the resilience to overcome failure. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re willing to work smarter and harder than your competition, you will become successful.

Starting multi-million dollar companies with these tips should be simpler. Nonetheless, it’s not easy and at times you’ll want to give up. If you continue at it and continue to grind day after day, year after year, you can accomplish amazing things. Age knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or sixty-five!

What’s the best tip for success you’ve heard? Share it with us below!

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Yes, You Can Still Burnout Even if Your Business Is Your Baby

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“Follow your passion! Your work will feel like play! We promise!” is what we’ve heard from countless motivators, life coaches, best friends, and even parents. Their support of your dreams and passion is so necessary to help you get off the ground. Even when you feel like you did it all yourself, there is still a sense that there were countless people who needed to do just this one little thing to get you where you are.

It feels like a huge let down when your work doesn’t light you up the way you thought it might. I know exactly what that feels like to be successful but unhappy and overloaded with trying to keep up with the success I created.

Just trying to keep up can weighed on me like a ton of bricks that were toting around an enormous student loan for the heck of it. I was getting praised from all sides but every time a new patient contacted me, I’d die a little inside knowing that I didn’t have the time or energy to commit to more work.

Admitting that this happened to you is the hardest part.

It’s like telling everyone you’re getting a divorce from your high school sweetheart even though you two have always been known as ‘the couple.’ It’s breaking up something that other people have learned to believe in and rely on.

It’s inspiring to watch someone build a business and it’s crushing to watch it being torn down, even from afar. How do you admit, even to yourself, that this just isn’t it, even though you thought it would be? Even though it matches other people’s view of success from the outside? You stop for a moment and congratulate yourself on building something successful. Seriously, no matter what it feels like, building a successful business deserves a pat on the back.

Take a moment to soak it up. You recognize the hard work that got you where you are and you say thank you graciously when someone compliments you. You pay attention to harmony. Then, you use the information that you’ve gleaned from building this business to make your next move.

“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” – Rob Kalin

As an entrepreneur, forward movement is in your blood.

Instead of falling into a shame and blame cycle with yourself or anyone else involved in your business, you transform. You follow the breadcrumbs of what could come next and you take action to see what it will feel like.

You learn to follow your emotional reaction to your business building instead of the dollar signs. Your business transforms or is completely closed down and built back up as something different, and then you use your burnout story as inspiration.

You can share the process after it’s transformation, as a new part of your business practice and as a driving force for the good that you are now creating in the world. There is nothing more inspiring to people than a hero’s journey and every hero’s journey has a major challenge followed by a transformation. The thing that no one tells us about passion is that it grows and changes with us.

My focus went from medicine to Chinese medicine to burnout coaching – in my mind, all things on a continuum of the way that I like to talk to and help people. My passion of connecting with people and helping them heal is alive and well, but I don’t want to do it the way I used to nor the way I originally planned to.

Passion adjusts and grows as you learn and change.

I want it to grow with me, to transform alongside me as I mature and age. I realized when I don’t allow this, I burnout, over and over. Your commitment to one particular passion should last only as long as it lasts.

Everyone knows the longer you drag out a relationship, the worse the breakup is. Don’t propose to your business if she’s not the one you want to marry. Be honest with yourself about where you are and where you’d like to be. Make a list of the things that are working the way you like and the things that drain you.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

It’s always time to take the next step.

Maintain your forward progress, and keep your passion alive. At those first signs of boredom, take some action. Get a coach or coach yourself – but stay on top of your emotional reaction to your work.

Keep the fire lit by tending to it, and be sure there is enough wood already prepped to be thrown in. Have the tools ready: a poker, a shovel, whatever you might need but keep this at the forefront of your mind: once you let it extinguish, you have no choice but to build it up again from scratch.

It’s easier to keep a fire going than it is to build one.

This process can happen no matter how much you originally love your work. It’s easy to put on horse blinders and ignore the signs. The effort to build a business is gargantuan.

Keep that fire going by allowing it to change when it needs to and making sure you’re taking care of your business as much as your people. You weren’t wrong about your passion, you simply can’t know ahead of time how you’ll feel about doing anything in life. Clarity comes from action, as Marie Forleo likes to say.

If you’re at that point where you’ve found yourself to be successful but unhappy, don’t fret. You aren’t alone. I don’t know any entrepreneur who hasn’t been through this. The good news is you can use this as fuel, your passion can be reignited, and you can go on to recreate your business or create something new that is better than you could have even imagined.

How do you manage stress and the possibility of burning out? Let us know some tips below!

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35 Quotes to Inspire You to Live a Life of Contribution

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Contribution is defined as something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people or to help make something successful. May these quotes inspire you to make a positive contribution to the world so that you may help advance humanity to a greater level. (more…)

Asad Meah is the CEO & Founder of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin. He is a dreamchaser who has gained a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship and personal development over the past five years through self-education. His mission is to inspire millions of people to become entrepreneurs by awakening their minds to their greatness that resides within them. Check out his book on Amazon that will help you Awaken so that you may live your dreams!

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7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs

5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Millennial Multi-Millionaires Share Their Best 6 Tips on Starting a Successful Company

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Benitago group
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It’s been known that millennials get a bad rep for being lazy and feeling as though they deserve success without putting in the work. This isn’t the case for Santiago Nestares Lampo and Benedict Dohmen. Both Santiago and Benedict are millennial multi-millionaires at the ripe age of 21.

The two friends had been coding until the late hours of the night while attending Dartmouth College. While working late into the night, they discovered a common problem, they both had aching backs.

Instead of brushing it off and pushing through the pain, the millennials decided to do something about it and ended up developing a pillow to help them sit with better posture and experience little to no back pain, thus the start of their million dollar brand.

Since expanding the back pain brand to 25 products and 8 figures in revenue, the two have applied these six tips to continue to expand their business:

1. Vision

Every great idea starts with a vision. For their company, Benedict and Santiago listened to what their customers said right from the start. They didn’t want to be another company churning out products for the heck of it.

Just because you think your customers will like a product doesn’t mean that they will. You need to make sure that when you’re creating a product or adding products to your current line that you ask your customers what they want. This is will help to create a product that people will actually want, saving you tons of headaches.

2. Engineer Profitability From The Beginning

While there are successful companies who got their start from venture capitalists, this doesn’t mean this is the case for all companies and certainly not the Benitago Group.

They wanted to know if they would be profitable from the beginning because it can be hard to measure when you’re using someone’s money. When you use someone else’s money, you may have to make a decision that brings in capital for the short term but isn’t beneficial for the long term growth of your company.

To grow their company, they also haven’t taken out a penny for themselves. They firmly believe in the concept of investing everything you make back into the company. This is paramount to fast growth as they’ve achieved it with Benitago Group.

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

3. Direct Impact

For Benedict and Santiago they wanted their company to have a direct impact right from the beginning. Money was a part of their success but it wasn’t what was driving the duo.

Combined with their vision, they wanted to start a company that would have a direct impact on millions of people. By creating products they’re constantly refining and going directly to the consumer, they can have a direct impact on people’s lives.

When you start your company, are you doing it to make money or are you doing it to help others? While the money is good, if you only start your company for the money and it gets rocky, you’re more apt to quit because you won’t care enough to stick with your company through the bad times. Money is bipartisan of any successful company.

If you build a product that can impact millions, the money will come.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

It wouldn’t be a smart idea to make decisions for your company without backing it up with rational information. Benedict and Santiago run their company like a startup firm instead of Corporate America where ideas have to pass through the ranks and can take weeks or even months before being implemented.

When you decide to track the statistics on your company, you’re able to get a sense of what move you should make next. Your emotions won’t be attached to your decisions because they will be backed up with logic and economic rationale.

5. Focus

As you grow, many distractions come along in terms of other business areas to expand to, etc. Dohmen and Nestares have both received many requests for consulting from smaller private companies to big conglomerates such as P&G, even at consulting rates far higher than top consulting firms like McKinsey. However, they’ve turned all such requests down with a commitment to focus all their energy on building Benitago Group.

There comes a point in any successful business where there won’t be enough time in the day. You have to decide what your focus is going to be on. The decision on what to focus on will ultimately come down to, “Am I growing my business?” If you’re not growing your business, the task isn’t worth your time.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

6. Strong Work Ethic

Benedict and Santiago don’t believe in the typical 9-5 work ethic. They mostly work 7 days a week from morning until the late evening. They expect full commitment from anyone who works for them.

Within their company, people who perform also get rewarded accordingly. It’s the perfect environment for the driven individuals who want to place a bet on themselves and want to see what they’re able to accomplish. The goal is to make people feel more human by giving them all the freedom and trust to achieve their potential.

By working extra hours per week, it allows them to get a leg up on the competition. If you want to start a multi-eight figure and beyond company, you can’t expect to work the same hours as everyone else and become successful.

A strong work ethic will take you to wherever you desire. Nothing can stop the person who has a strong work ethic with the resilience to overcome failure. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re willing to work smarter and harder than your competition, you will become successful.

Starting multi-million dollar companies with these tips should be simpler. Nonetheless, it’s not easy and at times you’ll want to give up. If you continue at it and continue to grind day after day, year after year, you can accomplish amazing things. Age knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or sixty-five!

What’s the best tip for success you’ve heard? Share it with us below!

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Yes, You Can Still Burnout Even if Your Business Is Your Baby

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“Follow your passion! Your work will feel like play! We promise!” is what we’ve heard from countless motivators, life coaches, best friends, and even parents. Their support of your dreams and passion is so necessary to help you get off the ground. Even when you feel like you did it all yourself, there is still a sense that there were countless people who needed to do just this one little thing to get you where you are.

It feels like a huge let down when your work doesn’t light you up the way you thought it might. I know exactly what that feels like to be successful but unhappy and overloaded with trying to keep up with the success I created.

Just trying to keep up can weighed on me like a ton of bricks that were toting around an enormous student loan for the heck of it. I was getting praised from all sides but every time a new patient contacted me, I’d die a little inside knowing that I didn’t have the time or energy to commit to more work.

Admitting that this happened to you is the hardest part.

It’s like telling everyone you’re getting a divorce from your high school sweetheart even though you two have always been known as ‘the couple.’ It’s breaking up something that other people have learned to believe in and rely on.

It’s inspiring to watch someone build a business and it’s crushing to watch it being torn down, even from afar. How do you admit, even to yourself, that this just isn’t it, even though you thought it would be? Even though it matches other people’s view of success from the outside? You stop for a moment and congratulate yourself on building something successful. Seriously, no matter what it feels like, building a successful business deserves a pat on the back.

Take a moment to soak it up. You recognize the hard work that got you where you are and you say thank you graciously when someone compliments you. You pay attention to harmony. Then, you use the information that you’ve gleaned from building this business to make your next move.

“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” – Rob Kalin

As an entrepreneur, forward movement is in your blood.

Instead of falling into a shame and blame cycle with yourself or anyone else involved in your business, you transform. You follow the breadcrumbs of what could come next and you take action to see what it will feel like.

You learn to follow your emotional reaction to your business building instead of the dollar signs. Your business transforms or is completely closed down and built back up as something different, and then you use your burnout story as inspiration.

You can share the process after it’s transformation, as a new part of your business practice and as a driving force for the good that you are now creating in the world. There is nothing more inspiring to people than a hero’s journey and every hero’s journey has a major challenge followed by a transformation. The thing that no one tells us about passion is that it grows and changes with us.

My focus went from medicine to Chinese medicine to burnout coaching – in my mind, all things on a continuum of the way that I like to talk to and help people. My passion of connecting with people and helping them heal is alive and well, but I don’t want to do it the way I used to nor the way I originally planned to.

Passion adjusts and grows as you learn and change.

I want it to grow with me, to transform alongside me as I mature and age. I realized when I don’t allow this, I burnout, over and over. Your commitment to one particular passion should last only as long as it lasts.

Everyone knows the longer you drag out a relationship, the worse the breakup is. Don’t propose to your business if she’s not the one you want to marry. Be honest with yourself about where you are and where you’d like to be. Make a list of the things that are working the way you like and the things that drain you.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

It’s always time to take the next step.

Maintain your forward progress, and keep your passion alive. At those first signs of boredom, take some action. Get a coach or coach yourself – but stay on top of your emotional reaction to your work.

Keep the fire lit by tending to it, and be sure there is enough wood already prepped to be thrown in. Have the tools ready: a poker, a shovel, whatever you might need but keep this at the forefront of your mind: once you let it extinguish, you have no choice but to build it up again from scratch.

It’s easier to keep a fire going than it is to build one.

This process can happen no matter how much you originally love your work. It’s easy to put on horse blinders and ignore the signs. The effort to build a business is gargantuan.

Keep that fire going by allowing it to change when it needs to and making sure you’re taking care of your business as much as your people. You weren’t wrong about your passion, you simply can’t know ahead of time how you’ll feel about doing anything in life. Clarity comes from action, as Marie Forleo likes to say.

If you’re at that point where you’ve found yourself to be successful but unhappy, don’t fret. You aren’t alone. I don’t know any entrepreneur who hasn’t been through this. The good news is you can use this as fuel, your passion can be reignited, and you can go on to recreate your business or create something new that is better than you could have even imagined.

How do you manage stress and the possibility of burning out? Let us know some tips below!

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