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7 Small Steps For Entrepreneurs To Overcome Being Overwhelmed

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It’s inevitable. That disorienting feeling washes over you at the worst times. You have too much to do, you’re burning through cash, you don’t have much help, and others’ outsized expectations make your head spin and your stomach churn.

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a founder who hasn’t experienced the intense feeling of entrepreneurial overwhelm at one time or another.

The question isn’t how to get through this paralyzing feeling, it’s how to overcome it more quickly so you can focus and get back on track.

You have probably read or heard the same trite advice time and again. Get some sleep. Exercise. Meditate. Eat some fruits and vegetables. Take a break. Great advice, but not overly helpful.

I’ve interviewed and or coached over 200 Founding CEOs. Here’s 7 things that have worked for them:

1. Write down your why

Dan Shapiro, CEO and Co-founder of Glowforge, always starts his board meetings by reading the company mission, out loud. He says it annoyed his investors at first, but they gradually appreciated the constant reminder of the company’s why. They needed to be reminded regularly. So do you.

The key is to write it down and post it in multiple places. Use some index cards and tape it to your laptop, your bathroom mirror, the inside of your refrigerator, and or the dashboard of your car. You might be surprised how helpful it is to keep your mind focused on your mission in such a visible manner.

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

2. Discard your hidden distractions

Distractions rob us of our energy. They are like appliance vampires that are constantly plugged in and cost you big electric bills.

Put the book piles away, throw out the garbage, and shred piles of unimportant paper. Turn off watch chimes, email alerts, smartphone push notifications, Facebook, and the endless electronic noise that add up to pretty significant stress triggers.

Just get rid of the pointless physical and digital junk that surrounds you and you will start to feel better almost immediately.

 

3. Prune your people tree

We all have them. There are people in your life that take more from you than they give. They could be a friend, a relative, family member, or even an employee that creates that pit in your stomach every time you hear their voice or see their number appear on your phone.

Temporarily remove these people from your life. Let them know that you’ll be busy over the next 2-3 weeks and will be unavailable to meet, talk, or engage. Don’t accept that coffee appointment, lunch date, or Skype chat. Prune these people from your life, just long enough for you to regain your balance.

 

4. Banish your brain baggage

It’s common to be told to “talk to someone” when you are stressed or feeling overwhelmed. Fine advice, but not altogether helpful for entrepreneurs. What you need is help getting stuff out of your brain. As an entrepreneur you accumulate a bunch of junk in your head: new ideas, people to meet, tasks to complete, research to conduct, etc.

Get someone to facilitate just two 30 minute sessions with you. They ask you questions. They capture your responses on a flipchart or whiteboard. They take pictures of this info and upload it into your Evernote app.

It’s hard to do this yourself. You just need someone to help you clean out some of the brain junk and brain gems so they can find a temporary home outside your head while your mind rejuvenates. This works wonders.

 

5. Refocus your resources

Entrepreneurs are action takers. You like to take care of things yourself. You forget to refocus the resources around you to work on those things that you don’t like to do. When you have to spend hours on things that you don’t enjoy, it’s often a huge contributor to the snowball effect of overwhelm.

If you don’t have a huge team, ask a family member or friend for some temporary help. See if your co-founder can handle those tasks that don’t bring you joy. Find someone on your team who needs some professional development and really likes doing those things you hate. Just try to refocus your resources in a way that gets you working on what you love, even if it’s just one thing.

 

6. Switch up your surroundings

It’s truly amazing what happens when you work from a different location, even a different corner of your office. Your entire perspective begins to shift. Go to the lobby of your building. Use your phone as a hotspot and work from a park for a few days. Hang out on the rooftop. Set up shop at a local museum café. Work from your local library for a week. Coffee shop hop for a week. Meet with your team on the top of a local hill, mountain, pond boat launch, or even a sandy beach.

Just find unique surroundings that stimulate your brain differently long enough for your body and mind to relax, recharge, and remove the familiar sights and sounds that remind you of the typical places where overwhelm occurs.

“I think it’s important to get your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state – meaning surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do.” – Heidi Klum

7. Work your one small win

You crave traction. You long for progress. You just want some indicator that your business is headed in the right direction. Give it to yourself. Work toward one small win. Forget the big, lofty, disruptive goals that drive your every conscious thought. Get real and reduce the size of your expectations to one small weekly win that will tell your mind that progress is occurring.
Any number of these small steps can reduce entrepreneurial overwhelm. Implementing all seven will get you there quicker.

Which small step will you start to implement? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

What do you get when you mash up a decorated U.S. Army intelligence officer with a successful Corporate Executive and a successful Startup CEO? You get a guy named Todd Uterstaedt who is helping a new generation of Startup CEOs scale themselves and their companies. You can listen to these hot, purpose-driven Startup CEOs share their journey from Founder to CEO on Todd's popular podcast, “From Founder To CEO.” Join him at FromFounderToCEO.com and on Twitter @FromFounder2CEO.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Kristin

    Dec 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent advice and just what I needed to read today!

    • Todd

      Sep 29, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Glad it was helpful Kristin

  2. TomSwanson

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Distractions are anywhere around. I caught myself many times jumping from topic to topic and at the end I am at a completely different page than I started my research. I am trying to be up to date in regard with my work, but my curiosity and desire of learning new things is my biggest distraction.

  3. Kristie

    Jul 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I agree with pruning your people tree. There are days when I’ve spent an hour or more on the phone listening to someones problems when I’m supposed to be working. Not even realizing how negatively it effects my workday. It’s hard because people think you are always available because you work from home. But now, I have set hours 8-5 when I don’t answer any calls or emails that aren’t business-related. It has helped with my daily production tremendously!

  4. Todd

    Jul 17, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    My pleasure Tim.

  5. Tim Denning

    May 20, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Todd distractions for me are a big issue. Right now, instead of finishing my ebook I am here writing on your post when i probably shouldn’t be. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Do to Stay Motivated

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how to stay motivated

Being an entrepreneur is the American dream. It’s all about defining your success, paving your way, and living life the way you want. Many of us walked out of a comfortable job because we no longer wanted to be rats in the maze of an employer who manipulated us into fueling their dream. We wanted to create and follow our dreams. But sometimes there are days when you can’t seem to find the motivation to move forward, and that’s when you need a little boost in thinking.

One thing to remember is that there is no “magic solution” for success as a business owner. Every entrepreneur must find their way to create, manufacture, produce, and sell their products, services, and ideas. The way that you find yourself doing this may not be as unique as the concept you have for your business. That’s okay, as long as it works for you and creates the result you want..

As entrepreneurs, we are in a constant state of “flux.” We must always be evaluating, analyzing, and measuring our metrics and our success. We are often in competition with others, but we are always in competition with ourselves. We should always strive to be a better version of ourselves and our business than we were yesterday.

Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that the “daily grind” is what results in wealth and success. The dream is the glamorous part as it’s what keeps you looking toward your goals and keeps you working hard.

Nonetheless, for those days that the daily grind seems hard and your energy wanes, try these 5 tips to stay motivated:

1. Remember the goal and keep your eye on the ball

I like Mark Cuban’s analogy of entrepreneurship being like the game of basketball. In his book, How to Win in the Sport of Business, he points out that having a business is like winning a basketball game. You must always be watching what your competition is doing while keeping your motivation high. Keep your eye on the goal.

2. Do something every day that moves you forward

One of the frustrations of entrepreneurs is that they feel like they are not moving their business forward fast enough. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. So just make sure you’re at least doing one thing daily that moves you closer to your goals. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment when the going gets tough.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

3. Write down no more than six things to do each day

People sometimes overwhelm themselves by planning too many things to do in one day, and then they feel let down when they don’t get them done. If you limit your primary goals to six things per day, you are going to be more likely to achieve them.

4. Connect with other entrepreneurs and learn their tricks

This is not to say that you need to copy what others are doing, but simply get a sense for what keeps them going and motivated and share ideas. It can help you feel like you’re on the right track with support from others like you with similar goals.

5. Think of yourself as a captain

You are the captain of your ship. You’ll come across crashing waves, massive storms, rocks, and iceberg, but the way you maneuver around them will determine your fate. Always keep your eyes on the harbor and take pride in the fact that you’re in the top 2% of the country by sailing out on your own as an independent business owner.

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jen Sincero

A few other things to take with you on your journey

As an entrepreneur, the goal is what you’re working for, day-by-day, week-by-week because you’ll get there a little at a time. It’s about more than the goal because it’s about the journey. Life is a journey and so is entrepreneurship. The challenges we face as entrepreneurs only serve to make us stronger and better able to handle the storms we face on the sea of entrepreneurship.

Remember the payoff is incredible! It’s the biggest gamble of your life but when it pays off, it pays off huge! Remember the movie, “The Perfect Storm,” starring Richard Gere? He talked about being a swordboat captain and about how few people choose that life, yet the ones who did loved it. They enjoyed the solitude, embraced the challenge and it’s what kept them going.

How do you stay motivated on a daily basis? Let us know by commenting below!

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Entrepreneurs

You Have To Have A Side Hustle (Like Me With My Blogging) – Here’s Why

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This whole blogging thing you see me do is my side hustle.

It’s what I do when I get home from work.
It’s what I do when you’re at the pub with mates on the weekend.
It’s what I do when you’re watching House Of Cards.

Blogging is my side hustle because it’s what has transformed my life and what fills me with passion.
Blogging is my happy place and it’s how I serve the world.

Now many of you reading this have zero side hustle. You’re not passing go and collecting the $200 that comes with doing a side hustle daily. You’re missing out on everything that can come with building something for yourself.

I’m going to get to the point quickly. Here’s why you need a side hustle:

 

You’ll be stuck in your dead-end job forever.

Yes, what I just said is harsh. I said it because it’s true. You’ll never escape that job you hate and that pain in the ass boss that sucks all of your energy away unless you get a side hustle.

Start with what you like doing and then design a side hustle around it. Ensure that at least one action is taken every day. Then, let that momentum build into a side hustle.

Once you have momentum, the aim of the game is to let the side hustle take over from that dead-end job that makes you feel like crap.

 

You’ll never get to travel.

The world is such an amazing place (cliché I know).
There’s no point the world being beautiful and you hearing that cliché if you never get to enjoy it.

A side hustle is what you’ll eventually monetize so that you can work less and play more (i.e. travel).

Travel is one of the biggest regrets of those who are dying. You’ll never get to check back into planet Earth again so you may as well travel while you can.

Build that startup. Launch that website. Record that video. Or, in my case, write that blog post that inspires.

 

You’ll miss those family moments.

A side hustle is designed to give you time and allow you to do more of what you love. That’s what blogging does for me and the same can happen for you.

“Being consumed by a job you hate, so you can earn just enough to survive, so you can impress your boss and people you don’t care about, is the definition of failure”

I believe you can spend more time with your family. I believe you should feel inspired every day and do something that makes you happy. I believe that family is one of the few things in life that we’re destined to cherish.

Okay, that last line was a bit soppy for a bloke but who gives a rat’s – it’s true.

 

You’ll never get to experience the art of fulfillment.

Blogging gives me a sense of fulfillment. I feel like I have done something that matters to me and that matters to the world. If you don’t go and get a side hustle, you’ll never experience what it’s like to be fulfilled.

Being fulfilled makes you feel like the glass is always half full instead of half empty, or worse yet, looking at the glass as empty with a crack in the bottom that was caused by everyone else.

When you feel fulfilled, you find yourself wanting to do things for others. You find giving easier, you want to be a mentor, you want to perform charitable acts, and all round, life is good.

I want you to feel life is good too. That’s why I want you to get a side hustle amigo!

 

***Parting advice***

Oops….I nearly thought that headline read “parenting advice.” Now that would suck because I have no idea about that…haha

No one said this whole side hustle would be easy. You will need to work hard and you’ll have to take action. You may even need to do some soul searching and that’s fine too. My point is that you need to stop delaying and begin building something. The whole construction process I find is better than when you’ve built your side hustle.

It feels good to be in control and to serve others with your side hustle. I want that feeling for you too.

Go out and start your side hustle.

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

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Entrepreneurs

These 3 Warning Signs Predict Your About to Make a Big Business Mistake

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“Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” James Altucher said this, the multiple bestselling author, and a man who has failed (and overcome failure) more than most. The truth is, mistakes hurt.

Whether it’s your mistake or somebody else’s, it stirs all sorts of fears and worries within you. You start to question yourself. You wonder what will happen next, and what the worst case scenario may look like. Mistakes are NOT fun, but mistakes also play an important role in your growth and success. For as Albert Einstein once said, “a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

So assuming you don’t wish to play it safe your entire life, you must accept mistakes happen. Some mistakes are unavoidable; there to test and teach us. But what if I told you many of your mistakes were avoidable, and by looking in the right places you could spot them before they happen?

Most mistakes begin small; tiny little things that barely register in your day. But because you pretend they don’t happen, disregard them, or make poor decisions on the back of them, these little mistakes grow into big mistakes, which in turn develop into life-altering failure.

Certain mistakes are thrust upon you, and you cannot do much to avoid them. Yet many begin slowly, and by keeping your eyes open you can spot them before they happen. So if you notice any of the following, take note for a mistake may be near.

1. You Become Complacent

One of the biggest warning signs of all is when you grow complacent. You may enjoy the idea of an ‘easy life’, but the truth is you need a challenge. When it comes to growing a successful business, this is never more true. You need to remain motivated. Like a shark, you can never stop moving.

Such complacency lead to Thomas Frank’s biggest mistake of all. As he built ‘College Info Geek’ while still at university, he was always busy. Between studying, blogging, and marketing, he had little time to spare. So as his site grew, he decided to cut back on his studies and take fewer classes. This made sense, as more time spent on his business meant more chance of success. Yet with this extra unstructured time on his hands, Thomas grew complacent.

Instead of growing, his business plateaued. He didn’t feel as motivated, and it wasn’t until he got this motivation back that ‘College Info Geek’ continued its growth.

“If you look around, complacency is the great disease of your autumn years, and I work hard to prevent that.” – Nick Cave

2. You Get Stuck in your Own Head

Although you may surround yourself with people all day, this entrepreneurial roller coaster is a lonely ride. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, as you work on your ideas, your plans, and your growth. You become so fixated on your work that you shut yourself off to the rest of the world. You become blind to opportunity, mistakes, and everything else.

Take John Corcoran, the co-founder of Rise 25, and a man who has built his career around connecting with influential people. Despite building a successful career in politics, entertainment, and the tech scene, John desired more. He started his own practice, and got to work on his own version of the American Dream.

He worked so hard that he went months without networking and creating new connections. All those relationships he had built during his successful career slipped by the wayside. He condemned himself to a lonely entrepreneurial existence, and had little to show for it.

Sure, he was busy, but did he grow? No! John got stuck in his own head, and it lead to what he described as his biggest business mistake of all. This entrepreneurial rollercoaster is lonely enough as it is, so don’t make matters worse by getting stuck in your own head.

3. You’re Surrounded By “Yes Men”

“Yes” is a dangerous word. If all you say is yes, you’re sure to drown under work, responsibility, and commitment. Yet it isn’t only when you say yes that issues arise, because when you’re surrounded by a bunch of “yes men”, mistakes are often close. Scott Oldford experienced this as he became a well known “web guy” at a young age.

During a period when most of us plucked up the courage to ask that girl or guy to the dance, Scott made large sums of money and won prestigious awards. He had everything a teenager could want, including a group of people who told him what he wanted to hear.

Scott soon lost everything he built, as he began to believe his own hype. He had to start from scratch. Today, he’s doing fine, but only after he lost track of what matters. That’s what happens when you surround yourself with “yes” — it blinds you from what you need to see and hear.

“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton

Of course, warning signs like these won’t vanish mistakes from your life. Some are unavoidable. Some provide invaluable lessons you need to experience for yourself. But the sooner you nip these mistakes in the bud, the easier you’ll find your road to success.

I learned this from speaking to those who have been there and done it; successful folk at the top of their game. Don’t wait until you make your own mistakes. Learn from those who have been there and done it. And while you do, keep your eyes open for these three big warning signs.

Share with us a mistake you made and how you overcame it! Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

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

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

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

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

1. It Cultivates Innovation

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

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

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

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

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

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

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

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

3. It Encourages People to Think

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

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

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

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

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

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

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

5. It Can Be Developed

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Best Way to Create a Six-figure Startup From Scratch

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Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue. (more…)

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, business columnist and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is a digital strategist for Oberlo and blogs at JenniferXue.com. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and other international publications.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Kristin

    Dec 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent advice and just what I needed to read today!

    • Todd

      Sep 29, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Glad it was helpful Kristin

  2. TomSwanson

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Distractions are anywhere around. I caught myself many times jumping from topic to topic and at the end I am at a completely different page than I started my research. I am trying to be up to date in regard with my work, but my curiosity and desire of learning new things is my biggest distraction.

  3. Kristie

    Jul 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I agree with pruning your people tree. There are days when I’ve spent an hour or more on the phone listening to someones problems when I’m supposed to be working. Not even realizing how negatively it effects my workday. It’s hard because people think you are always available because you work from home. But now, I have set hours 8-5 when I don’t answer any calls or emails that aren’t business-related. It has helped with my daily production tremendously!

  4. Todd

    Jul 17, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    My pleasure Tim.

  5. Tim Denning

    May 20, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Todd distractions for me are a big issue. Right now, instead of finishing my ebook I am here writing on your post when i probably shouldn’t be. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Do to Stay Motivated

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how to stay motivated

Being an entrepreneur is the American dream. It’s all about defining your success, paving your way, and living life the way you want. Many of us walked out of a comfortable job because we no longer wanted to be rats in the maze of an employer who manipulated us into fueling their dream. We wanted to create and follow our dreams. But sometimes there are days when you can’t seem to find the motivation to move forward, and that’s when you need a little boost in thinking.

One thing to remember is that there is no “magic solution” for success as a business owner. Every entrepreneur must find their way to create, manufacture, produce, and sell their products, services, and ideas. The way that you find yourself doing this may not be as unique as the concept you have for your business. That’s okay, as long as it works for you and creates the result you want..

As entrepreneurs, we are in a constant state of “flux.” We must always be evaluating, analyzing, and measuring our metrics and our success. We are often in competition with others, but we are always in competition with ourselves. We should always strive to be a better version of ourselves and our business than we were yesterday.

Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that the “daily grind” is what results in wealth and success. The dream is the glamorous part as it’s what keeps you looking toward your goals and keeps you working hard.

Nonetheless, for those days that the daily grind seems hard and your energy wanes, try these 5 tips to stay motivated:

1. Remember the goal and keep your eye on the ball

I like Mark Cuban’s analogy of entrepreneurship being like the game of basketball. In his book, How to Win in the Sport of Business, he points out that having a business is like winning a basketball game. You must always be watching what your competition is doing while keeping your motivation high. Keep your eye on the goal.

2. Do something every day that moves you forward

One of the frustrations of entrepreneurs is that they feel like they are not moving their business forward fast enough. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. So just make sure you’re at least doing one thing daily that moves you closer to your goals. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment when the going gets tough.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

3. Write down no more than six things to do each day

People sometimes overwhelm themselves by planning too many things to do in one day, and then they feel let down when they don’t get them done. If you limit your primary goals to six things per day, you are going to be more likely to achieve them.

4. Connect with other entrepreneurs and learn their tricks

This is not to say that you need to copy what others are doing, but simply get a sense for what keeps them going and motivated and share ideas. It can help you feel like you’re on the right track with support from others like you with similar goals.

5. Think of yourself as a captain

You are the captain of your ship. You’ll come across crashing waves, massive storms, rocks, and iceberg, but the way you maneuver around them will determine your fate. Always keep your eyes on the harbor and take pride in the fact that you’re in the top 2% of the country by sailing out on your own as an independent business owner.

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jen Sincero

A few other things to take with you on your journey

As an entrepreneur, the goal is what you’re working for, day-by-day, week-by-week because you’ll get there a little at a time. It’s about more than the goal because it’s about the journey. Life is a journey and so is entrepreneurship. The challenges we face as entrepreneurs only serve to make us stronger and better able to handle the storms we face on the sea of entrepreneurship.

Remember the payoff is incredible! It’s the biggest gamble of your life but when it pays off, it pays off huge! Remember the movie, “The Perfect Storm,” starring Richard Gere? He talked about being a swordboat captain and about how few people choose that life, yet the ones who did loved it. They enjoyed the solitude, embraced the challenge and it’s what kept them going.

How do you stay motivated on a daily basis? Let us know by commenting below!

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Entrepreneurs

You Have To Have A Side Hustle (Like Me With My Blogging) – Here’s Why

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This whole blogging thing you see me do is my side hustle.

It’s what I do when I get home from work.
It’s what I do when you’re at the pub with mates on the weekend.
It’s what I do when you’re watching House Of Cards.

Blogging is my side hustle because it’s what has transformed my life and what fills me with passion.
Blogging is my happy place and it’s how I serve the world.

Now many of you reading this have zero side hustle. You’re not passing go and collecting the $200 that comes with doing a side hustle daily. You’re missing out on everything that can come with building something for yourself.

I’m going to get to the point quickly. Here’s why you need a side hustle:

 

You’ll be stuck in your dead-end job forever.

Yes, what I just said is harsh. I said it because it’s true. You’ll never escape that job you hate and that pain in the ass boss that sucks all of your energy away unless you get a side hustle.

Start with what you like doing and then design a side hustle around it. Ensure that at least one action is taken every day. Then, let that momentum build into a side hustle.

Once you have momentum, the aim of the game is to let the side hustle take over from that dead-end job that makes you feel like crap.

 

You’ll never get to travel.

The world is such an amazing place (cliché I know).
There’s no point the world being beautiful and you hearing that cliché if you never get to enjoy it.

A side hustle is what you’ll eventually monetize so that you can work less and play more (i.e. travel).

Travel is one of the biggest regrets of those who are dying. You’ll never get to check back into planet Earth again so you may as well travel while you can.

Build that startup. Launch that website. Record that video. Or, in my case, write that blog post that inspires.

 

You’ll miss those family moments.

A side hustle is designed to give you time and allow you to do more of what you love. That’s what blogging does for me and the same can happen for you.

“Being consumed by a job you hate, so you can earn just enough to survive, so you can impress your boss and people you don’t care about, is the definition of failure”

I believe you can spend more time with your family. I believe you should feel inspired every day and do something that makes you happy. I believe that family is one of the few things in life that we’re destined to cherish.

Okay, that last line was a bit soppy for a bloke but who gives a rat’s – it’s true.

 

You’ll never get to experience the art of fulfillment.

Blogging gives me a sense of fulfillment. I feel like I have done something that matters to me and that matters to the world. If you don’t go and get a side hustle, you’ll never experience what it’s like to be fulfilled.

Being fulfilled makes you feel like the glass is always half full instead of half empty, or worse yet, looking at the glass as empty with a crack in the bottom that was caused by everyone else.

When you feel fulfilled, you find yourself wanting to do things for others. You find giving easier, you want to be a mentor, you want to perform charitable acts, and all round, life is good.

I want you to feel life is good too. That’s why I want you to get a side hustle amigo!

 

***Parting advice***

Oops….I nearly thought that headline read “parenting advice.” Now that would suck because I have no idea about that…haha

No one said this whole side hustle would be easy. You will need to work hard and you’ll have to take action. You may even need to do some soul searching and that’s fine too. My point is that you need to stop delaying and begin building something. The whole construction process I find is better than when you’ve built your side hustle.

It feels good to be in control and to serve others with your side hustle. I want that feeling for you too.

Go out and start your side hustle.

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

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Entrepreneurs

These 3 Warning Signs Predict Your About to Make a Big Business Mistake

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“Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” James Altucher said this, the multiple bestselling author, and a man who has failed (and overcome failure) more than most. The truth is, mistakes hurt.

Whether it’s your mistake or somebody else’s, it stirs all sorts of fears and worries within you. You start to question yourself. You wonder what will happen next, and what the worst case scenario may look like. Mistakes are NOT fun, but mistakes also play an important role in your growth and success. For as Albert Einstein once said, “a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

So assuming you don’t wish to play it safe your entire life, you must accept mistakes happen. Some mistakes are unavoidable; there to test and teach us. But what if I told you many of your mistakes were avoidable, and by looking in the right places you could spot them before they happen?

Most mistakes begin small; tiny little things that barely register in your day. But because you pretend they don’t happen, disregard them, or make poor decisions on the back of them, these little mistakes grow into big mistakes, which in turn develop into life-altering failure.

Certain mistakes are thrust upon you, and you cannot do much to avoid them. Yet many begin slowly, and by keeping your eyes open you can spot them before they happen. So if you notice any of the following, take note for a mistake may be near.

1. You Become Complacent

One of the biggest warning signs of all is when you grow complacent. You may enjoy the idea of an ‘easy life’, but the truth is you need a challenge. When it comes to growing a successful business, this is never more true. You need to remain motivated. Like a shark, you can never stop moving.

Such complacency lead to Thomas Frank’s biggest mistake of all. As he built ‘College Info Geek’ while still at university, he was always busy. Between studying, blogging, and marketing, he had little time to spare. So as his site grew, he decided to cut back on his studies and take fewer classes. This made sense, as more time spent on his business meant more chance of success. Yet with this extra unstructured time on his hands, Thomas grew complacent.

Instead of growing, his business plateaued. He didn’t feel as motivated, and it wasn’t until he got this motivation back that ‘College Info Geek’ continued its growth.

“If you look around, complacency is the great disease of your autumn years, and I work hard to prevent that.” – Nick Cave

2. You Get Stuck in your Own Head

Although you may surround yourself with people all day, this entrepreneurial roller coaster is a lonely ride. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, as you work on your ideas, your plans, and your growth. You become so fixated on your work that you shut yourself off to the rest of the world. You become blind to opportunity, mistakes, and everything else.

Take John Corcoran, the co-founder of Rise 25, and a man who has built his career around connecting with influential people. Despite building a successful career in politics, entertainment, and the tech scene, John desired more. He started his own practice, and got to work on his own version of the American Dream.

He worked so hard that he went months without networking and creating new connections. All those relationships he had built during his successful career slipped by the wayside. He condemned himself to a lonely entrepreneurial existence, and had little to show for it.

Sure, he was busy, but did he grow? No! John got stuck in his own head, and it lead to what he described as his biggest business mistake of all. This entrepreneurial rollercoaster is lonely enough as it is, so don’t make matters worse by getting stuck in your own head.

3. You’re Surrounded By “Yes Men”

“Yes” is a dangerous word. If all you say is yes, you’re sure to drown under work, responsibility, and commitment. Yet it isn’t only when you say yes that issues arise, because when you’re surrounded by a bunch of “yes men”, mistakes are often close. Scott Oldford experienced this as he became a well known “web guy” at a young age.

During a period when most of us plucked up the courage to ask that girl or guy to the dance, Scott made large sums of money and won prestigious awards. He had everything a teenager could want, including a group of people who told him what he wanted to hear.

Scott soon lost everything he built, as he began to believe his own hype. He had to start from scratch. Today, he’s doing fine, but only after he lost track of what matters. That’s what happens when you surround yourself with “yes” — it blinds you from what you need to see and hear.

“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton

Of course, warning signs like these won’t vanish mistakes from your life. Some are unavoidable. Some provide invaluable lessons you need to experience for yourself. But the sooner you nip these mistakes in the bud, the easier you’ll find your road to success.

I learned this from speaking to those who have been there and done it; successful folk at the top of their game. Don’t wait until you make your own mistakes. Learn from those who have been there and done it. And while you do, keep your eyes open for these three big warning signs.

Share with us a mistake you made and how you overcame it! Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Case in Point: Creativity Is a Good Drug for Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

So, What’s In it For Entrepreneurs?

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

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

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

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

1. It Cultivates Innovation

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

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

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

2. It Leads to High Success Rate

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

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

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

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

3. It Encourages People to Think

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

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

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

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

4. It Harnesses An Employee’s Potential

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

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

5. It Can Be Developed

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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