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7 Ways To Become A Better Entrepreneur

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7 Ways To Become A Better Entrepreneur

We all want it don’t we? We want to get better every day!

No one wants to be the same for their whole life. In fact, if we do, we’ll just fall behind. We all know that friend who didn’t know as much as we did but got ahead of us quickly. It’s not because they were smarter, but it was because they improved themselves every day.

You too, can improve yourself if you follow these tested methods:

1. Jump outside

Not literally, but outside your comfort zone. You need to get a bit anxious. Without anxiety, you’ll just fall asleep from boredom. I’m sure you can relate.

On the other hand, too much anxiety hinders your performance levels. It will cause you to overthink, overreact and just ruin everything. I’ve seen this to be true in driving too; anxious people make dumb mistakes while driving. They panic over nothing, hit the brakes so hard over something that’s miles away. They swerve into the wrong lanes, and drive too slow which makes them become as dangerous as an idle obstacle in the road.

What you should do is have an optimal amount of stress. Enough to keep you alert and active but not too much as to ruin your performance – somewhere in the middle. Make sure to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. You will perform better and learn more.

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” – Denis Waitley

2. Hang one of those “Do not disturb” door signs

One minute distractions are longer than you think! You’ve most likely been in the same situation, someone knocks on your door while you’re in the middle of something and asks you for just a minute. The “minute” turns out to be 5 minutes.

Once that’s over, you take another 2 minutes to remember where you stopped. Then you get back to work and you’re still thinking of what they told you for another 5 minutes. In fact, you’re probably thinking about what they said for another hour and there goes your working time.

When working, make sure you lock your door, tell everyone not to distract you when you hang your “Do Not Disturb” sign on the office door. Also, make sure to put your phone on silent (not vibrate), flight mode or off.

 

3. Build a super team

Today’s most successful startups seem to be built by one person in the beginning but that’s not the case. Startups like Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Uber, Airbnb were actually built by a team of talented people. Although for Facebook you may see Mark Zuckerberg in the front, that’s just how the media makes it look.

But in reality there was a powerful team behind it. Facebook wouldn’t be where it is if Mark was the only person working on it, same with all the others.

Look for talented people who share the same vision. Vision isn’t enough to build a solid team and one person isn’t enough to build a successful startup.

 

4. Outsource like a maniac

Just because you have a team, doesn’t mean you should do everything. Even the best teams can’t do everything. Things like branding, copywriting, legal services, need to be outsourced. With the internet, you can now find a load of talented cheap freelancers online. When there’s something out of your skillset, just outsource it and let your team focus on what they’re good at.

 

5. Use a calendar, not a to-do list

Why not? Because to-do lists are actually procrastination tools! Let me ask you something, when you use a to-do list, what tasks do you usually do first? The easiest right? Because of the way to-do lists are structured, it makes you want to tick off tasks. It doesn’t differentiate between high priority and low priority.

You’ll check off those easy tasks and then leave the hard tasks in the end. The only problem is your energy levels are down now. It’s getting late so you put it on the next days to-do list and the process repeats.

What you should use is a calendar like billionaires do. Everything you write down on your to-do list should be transferred to your calendar as events. Make sure to schedule tasks that require mental effort first and physical later on. When you do this, you’ll know exactly what time you’ll work on each task and how much free time you have left.

 

6. Check if you’re on track

Are you sure you’re on the right track? Did you make sure your plan is working or are you just mindlessly executing? The problem with most people is that they don’t review their progress. They just plan out a “solid” strategy and then mindlessly execute it without checking whether it’s working or not.

If you want to be better than most entrepreneurs, then you should review your progress at least every month – preferably every week. Look at the data and ask yourself, “Am I getting the results I expected?” then take action accordingly.

 

7. Learn from other’s mistakes

Learning from your own mistakes should be an automatic response. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about learning from mistakes that other people made. Why? Because, you can’t afford to make every mistake in your life.

Your time in this world is limited and there are so many mistakes you could make. You can’t experiment everything and you shouldn’t experiment everything.  It’s a waste of time especially when other people have done those experiments before you.

It’s all documented on blogs, books, lectures, courses, videos and forums. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t learn from other’s mistakes. Walking through the minefield of life will be a lot easier when you have a map with the mines you should avoid. Not to say you won’t trip, but life will still be a lot easier than if you didn’t have one.

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” – Benjamin Franklin

Now it’s up to you whether you apply this stuff and improve or just hit the back button. It’s time to differentiate the true action takers from the readers. It’s time to improve and get better in a world where most people just talk and do little.

That leaves us with one question, Are you a reader or a doer? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Anurag

    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Great Points Zak. I have been told about these points in the Entrepreneur Development Program organised by School Of Inspirational Leadership. I have attended this EDP which is year long and consist of 5 different sessions focusing on different aspects of an entrepreneur’s life.

    I am feeling highly motivated and positive after attending their program. This article reminded me of the points discussed in those sessions.

  2. Sac

    Jul 18, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Man just when I thought I knew this ideas there’s always a better way to explain them and make me rethink about them! Thanks so much! I just posted to friends who always read but but do a little or nothing I hope they finally come on sense and begin a better YOU.

  3. Eli Seekins

    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    These are some great tips Zak!

    Stepping out of your comfort zone, and staying focused are both huge. I’m just learning how to use a calendar instead of a to do list, it’s a big difference. Outsourcing / delegating is also something I’m getting better at. I tend to want to do all the work myself, by I’ve learned to let go.

    • Zak Mustapha

      Apr 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Hey Eli,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, calendar is one thing that really changed my life once I started using. Of course, a to-do list is better than nothing, but once you start using that calendar everything will change.

      Outsourcing is something that you’ll gain from experience with working with people and identifying the right skills and people to outsource the job.

      Glad to hear you’re working towards your self improvement. And the most important two skills needed for enterpreneurs.

      1. Using a calendar to schedule your day and get stuff done.
      2. Outsourcing tasks to skillful people so you can focus on what you do best.

      Great stuff!

      – Zak Mustapha

  4. Evan

    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Zak,

    Great article here about being better than who you were yesterday. I really see that as the only main competition!

    I liked the part about always checking to see if you’re getting the results or not. It can take a critical eye to do this, but it’s absolutely necessary.

    Thanks!

    – Evan

    • Zak Mustapha

      Mar 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Evan,

      Yes, you do need a critical eye. It’s always best to have everything recorded and time yourself or measure your performance using technology. Hopefully, you shouldn’t go wrong there.

      Thanks for your comment.

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Entrepreneurs

Mastering the Mental Game in Your Business Is What Creates Breakthroughs

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mental breakthroughs

Such as in life, our beliefs about our organization shape the way it’s viewed. As time goes by running the company, we develop a story about it. This narrative becomes a foundation for what is and isn’t possible to achieve within our business.

The unspoken and unchallenged assumptions, deeply rooted in our frame of reference, are responsible for the majority of the decisions we make every day. Every action and event that unfolds thereafter becomes further evidence to prop up the argument about whatever we’re focused on at the time — either why we can or why we can’t.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Whatever we tell ourselves about what’s happening, we find a way to make it true. Whether we want loose ends to continue piling up unresolved or we want our ducks in a row marching forward, we take action — or inaction — to keep reality consistent with what we believe.

Unfortunately for us, we’re human beings. And as human beings, we have brains that are constantly looking for what’s wrong.

As a result, our perceived problems are often blown up into mental catastrophes. We gloss over what’s currently working and uproot it in favor of what may completely disregard proven processes or value alignment, but temporarily satisfies our most painful problem at hand.

We’re extremely quick to abandon what we’re committed to at the core for what we want resolved in the moment. Our team is often at the mercy of this destructive behavior, diminishing their trust to a degree that often cannot be reversed.

Until we gain control of the mental chatter of our minds, we’re helpless within our business. We may leverage our strong suits to generate results short-term but over time, we burn out, alienate our team, or both.

Here are three things to be cognizant of to help create a breakthrough in your business:

1. Challenge The Story

I like to think that running a business is 90% mental and 10% what you actually do. With all the areas of the business in need of mental processing prior to decision-making, your skills don’t matter beyond a certain threshold. The way in which you look at each area of your company drastically influences the actions you take in succession.

The cool part about it all is you get to choose — the empowering view or the limiting view. In reference to chasing dreams, I cannot remember the last time “being realistic” served anyone.

Running a business is all about venturing into uncharted waters. What worked to get you to $500K in revenue won’t get you to a $1M. What gets you to $1 Million won’t get you to $2 Million.

“You have to be willing to give up the good to go for the great.” – Jim Collins

Given the business will be different as it matures, we won’t be creating nearly as much as we’ll be discovering. And to discover, involves an inquiry. Challenge whatever you’ve told yourself about your business by questioning it. By putting more responsibility on you and your leadership. What were the top three things you were focused on when you started or took over the business? Are those three items still a focal point, or even still relevant? Given the size and condition of your organization now, what would the company benefit from the most by you honing in on?

2. Use Your Core Values As A Guide

One of the most valuable assets an organization has is its core value system. Typically made up of three to five irrevocable principles, the core values are a way to keep an outline of the business’ identity as it evolves.

Often times, especially in start-ups, we may find ourselves or team members confused on their ever-evolving and fluid job descriptions. The core values can clear the path of the work we don’t need to be spending our time on, paving the way for what will continue to move the needle.

Core values cannot be loose, cliche, or promoting. They must represent the truth of the organization and why it was formed. Without a strong core value system, the company will be reactive to the marketplace — not grounded in anything.

3. People First, Profits Second

This last piece requires the most patience on behalf of the leader. He must be committed to the growth and health of the business without it being at the expense of the growth and health of the team. A leader must never get stuck in their ways. They must never close their lid. The minute the leader is done learning and growing, the minute he becomes the choke-hold of the entire operation.

Putting people first solves this complication easily. And I’m not referring to abandoning a business plan to encourage fat salaries and exorbitant benefit packages. I’m simply referring to treating people like human beings. Getting the team’s opinion prior to making a decision that will impact them. Developing an inner circle of great thinkers within the organization you consider your partners. Asking people how they’re doing before requesting something of them first thing in the morning. Simple stuff. Not easy — but simple.

“One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But he must be open-minded during the process.” – Simon Sinek

As much discipline as it takes to execute and meet financial budgets, it takes twice as much to remain calm and encouraging with your team during times of hardship. Leaders that do this exude a sense of commitment, security, and optimism. Commitment to being kind to others, no matter how dire the straights may be. Security that the team is more than capable of handling the current challenge at hand. And optimism that what’s unfolding in the present moment isn’t failure, but merely a clue to the organization’s future success and prosperity.

What breakthroughs are possible for your organization if you master the mental game? What are you present to about your people, core values, and beliefs? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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3 Things to Look for When Choosing the Perfect Business Partner

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business partners

When it comes to online business, the majority of companies online are solo ventures. While it’s great to have the fortitude to strike out on your own, you immerse yourself into a pool of high-stakes poker where only a small few have survived. In order to keep the odds in your favor, it can be a wise decision to select a business partner who can double your chances of winning in this competitive atmosphere.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering how you’re going to find the perfect business partner, don’t worry, this is where serial entrepreneur and investor Evan Luthra comes in. Evan has successfully worked with hundreds different business partners, and has learned from experience how to immediately evaluate whether or not a business relationship will work. I sat down with Evan to talk about how you can start searching for a person who will make your business work right alongside of you.

Here are Evan’s three best tips for locating that person, making the relationship work, and shouldering an even load to encourage faster success:

1. Relationships Are Key

Evan explains the most important aspect of finding that perfect business partner is through the relationships you already have or are currently building. In essence, this only works if you can get along with the person in the first place. Mr. Luthra suggests looking at your current selection of friends before you start meandering into the wild blue for an unknown stranger. It is possible you already know and love your business partner.

The great aspect about creating a business partnership with someone whom you already have a relationship means both of you understand what it takes to make the relationship work. You possibly already know each quirk, likes, and dislikes.

Evan says, “Being friends means you already have a great relationship. Running a business together is nothing less than actually being married. I have reached a point in my life that I mostly do business with people I am friends with first.”

When a relationship is successful it means all of the necessary ingredients have fell into place naturally. For one, trust is an important aspect of a business partnership. If you cannot trust someone, chances are you shouldn’t invite them to start a business with you.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. Know How to Balance the Load

Next, it’s essential to find someone who can do what you can’t. In other words, if your strengths lie more behind the content on the computer screen and not so much in conversational aspects of the business, you would want someone who can compliment this in your branding.

Your business partner could be an outgoing person who everyone loves to be around. That makes your brand friendly and approachable. On the other hand, when these people come to your business website, they’re getting you’re conversational writing which couples together nicely and starts the most important aspect of the business model – building a relationship with your clients and establishing trust.

When you can work hand in hand and balance the load with the skillsets you have coupled with the skillsets your partner has, make sure you define this area not by what you have, but with what you don’t have and start from there. This is another great way to counterbalance workload and responsibility within the business as well.

3. Look For A Positive Mind

In this tough world of business, any successful person has at least one great failure story. You can never celebrate getting up if you’ve never been down. It’s not possible to stand on top of the mountain without going through the valley first.

From my conversation with Mr. Luthra, I detected a solemn look as we spoke about this topic for the piece. Evan politely explained while you are looking to succeed, make sure you understand how to learn from failure. Not only should you have a positive mindset about this aspect of your business, but your partner should also be cranially resistant when it comes to failure.

Knowing trial and error are a crucial part of your business is important. This allows both partners to gradually evolve their business by being realistic with their expectations. Evan explains, “My business partners knew to prepare for the worst and not dwell.”

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

The key is to stay positive, learn from your mistakes, and keep pushing forward. If you find a partner who can help you shoulder both the responsibility and the burden of a business it’s not long before you’re both seeing success.

Finding a perfect business partner is an art form. While the majority of online startups are usually “Me, Myself, and I”, you shouldn’t totally throw this idea out. The benefits vastly outweigh the negatives and there’s nothing like realizing there’s someone else out there with your goals and dreams.

When that happens, you metaphorically build train tracks, an engine, and the train cars. One set of engines may be in the front and the other set could be located in the back, but this makes no difference. The important part is, all engines are pushing in the same direction. It’s always nice to have someone help you pull the load.

What do you look for in a successful business partner? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Secrets Of Your Business Are Not That Secret.

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I was chatting to a distant friend about his business. I was asking basic questions like who did his videos, who was posting the beautiful Instagram photos and where he sourced talent from.

He then got pissed and said the following:

“So, you’re asking for my business model?” in a sarcastic tone.

I asked another question around whether he may know any good freelancers and he said: “You have a network, don’t you?”

Both responses show me one thing: he had a scarcity mindset.

I wasn’t trying to get the ancient secrets from thousands of years ago. The questions I was asking were out of curiosity more than anything.

 

Your business is not that secret.

I didn’t say this to my friend, although I should have. Most things about your business can be found out. His business model, for example, was easy to work out. He sells a course and does consulting. You only have to watch his videos to see this.

The people he employs are also easy to find if I wanted to steal them – which I don’t. All it takes is a Google Search and a bit of looking at his LinkedIn connections to work it out.

 

Hoarding information is ridiculous.

If my friend helped me then what he didn’t realize was that I could have brought him in. He could have actually been brought onboard as a consultant. I may have even used his services to help with producing videos.

“You lose more by hoarding your information than you do by giving all of it away”

 

Being sarcastic does not hide your scarcity mind.

The sarcasm I received from this friend was a cover for the fact that they are scared. Not wanting to share is the sign of someone who may have a scarcity mindset driving their decisions. This friend once told me that they wanted to buy a house in the next 12 months.

Maybe they saw me as a hindrance to that dream which is why they kept everything secret. What he forgot is that to get the house in 12 months, you need to work hard and collaborate. Trying to do it all yourself won’t get you that nice new house with a white picket fence in one year.

“Compounding your efforts through collaboration adds more value thus resulting in more money”

 

Cost of missed opportunity.

Given the outcome of this conversation, it’s fair to say I wouldn’t ask this friend for help again and will reconsider their friendship. It’s not because they didn’t help; it’s because the way they said no and the selfishness behind their intent doesn’t vibe with me.

Selfishness repels people from you and being sarcastic and overly blunt is unnecessary. The thing is, the people that act in this way forget about the cost of missed opportunity. What does this mean?

Simple: in the future, I probably won’t work with them again which means that they could be missing lots of opportunities. Only two weeks earlier, for no reason at all, I referred this person to a new client because I like their work. I didn’t ask for anything, it just felt like the right thing to do.

If given the option again I probably won’t make the same decision. By making foolish, selfish, short-term decisions, you affect your chances of getting opportunities in the future. This screws your dream of buying a house in 12 months.

 

Here’s the secret.

Most of your business is not that secret. Hoarding your ideas and connections like you’re the CIA will give you the opposite result you’re looking for.

People remember kindness, love, compassion and how you make them feel. Selfishness, sarcasm and a big ego doesn’t make anyone feel good.

The secret to business is there are no secrets.

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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Falling Out of Love With Your Business? 4 Ways to Rekindle That Fire Again

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how to fall back in love with your business

Time flies, and it’s easy to get caught in the mundane responsibilities of our business. Because of this, we tend to forget to love our business, and to love who we are becoming as I’ve personally experienced this myself. Have you ever thought of these difficult questions: What if you fall out of love with your business? What if you just lost it? What do you do to fall back in love again?

See, perhaps the best job in the world is to be one’s own boss. Even though it’s not that easy or as loose as it sounds, many people still jump into the bandwagon and try to come up with their own gigs. We’ve all heard it—how it’s better to not be an employee forever, and how you can serve people at a higher level if you have a business.

At first you like being the king of your time and being able to have the say on everything; however, when the realities of business ownership and management settle in, it’s also easy to just lose the zest for your business.

Imagine, you have to worry about financial management, employee retention, customer satisfaction, sales and most of the time, you even get to work on weekends as well. When your to-do list starts to lengthen more than usual, there will be times when all you want to do is shut yourself out and sleep all day.

If you need help falling back in love with your business, here are a few of my time-tested tips:

1. Mindset is key

The first thing that you need to do is to set your mindset right back on track. Ask yourself why you are doing what you do and what your business stands for. Or, if you want to amp up the purpose of your business, ask yourself, “what is the most important aspect of my job?” Another question I like is “How am I making other people’s lives better?”

Whether it’s giving jobs, solving complex problems, helping people improve their personal lives or providing above satisfactory services, you need to remind yourself what your purpose is. Take time to pause for a while and reflect on what we are there for. Usually it’s the daily drill that gets into us, and reflecting on our purpose re-energizes us back into taking those drills more seriously and purposefully.

“Anyone can train to be a gladiator. What marks you out is having the mindset of a champion.” – Manu Bennett

2. Declutter your head

Now, if you think that it’s the huge mound of tasks getting to you, start delegating some of the little ones to a trustworthy assistant or personnel. Pass some important but easy and time-consuming tasks like website maintenance, social media marketing and calendar scheduling off to an assistant. This will give you more energy and time to focus on the more important aspects of your business or future projects. Think of it as freeing up “brain space”.

A productivity funnel I swear by is something Tim Ferriss taught in his famous book “The Four Hour Work Week”. It’s eliminate-automate-delegate. Every once in a while, I ask myself about the tasks in my to-do list which I can just eliminate, then I automate the others, then for whatever is left, I delegate.

The residual tasks after that is just around 3-10 things (depending on how busy that day is) and I usually get it done in an hour or two of deep work. Then I feel good and productive along with being back on track. A lot of procrastination happens when we’re riddled with self doubt and loss of purpose, but you don’t have to go through that for very long.

3. Self-care and team development

Next, don’t forget to take some time off. Take a quick vacation (one weekend will do) to inspire yourself and perhaps generate fresh ideas and more innovative perspectives. Indulge your employees to these kinds of mini vacations once in a while as well. You can also hit two birds with one stone by going on a nice workshop where you can visit a new place for vacation, but also meet new people for possible prospects or additional guidance.

The change of environment will be good for you, plus you’ll come home with more actionable tasks. This has worked very well for me. In fact, I get some of my best business launch ideas when I’m on a massage table on a random beach resort!

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

4. Pat yourself on the back

Lastly, the best thing about having a good business, is that you also have the opportunity to see it through other people’s eyes. And which eyes are the best alternatives? Your happy clients. Review your testimonials, rekindle with an old client, and revive appreciations for your business.

For their time, you can ask these clients what else they would like to have from your offers, and how you can help them further. Don’t sell to them, just ask them how you can help them. It could even be a small introduction which will help them move the needle in their business too.

This kind of connection rekindles the initial feelings of fulfillment that you got when you first served them well. That feeling might have been years behind, but you can tap into the memory and make it work in your favor when times make you feel low.

What’s more, these revitalized connections can even spring new products and services, a fantastic upsell, and a fresh new perspective for your offers. Read old testimonials, get in touch with them and see how it goes. You might surprise yourself.

See, it’s not very difficult? You simply have to start with the right mindset and work from there. For a while, take your time off the numbers (sales, debts, etc.) and work on the heart of your business—the purpose. Once you get it right from there, the numbers will eventually concede.

Which one of these 4 ways can help you most in falling in love again with your own business or job? Let us know your comments and tips below!

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How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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avoiding burnout
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun. (more…)

Zachariah Bourne is the Author of the upcoming book "Blissed Out". He’s a writer for Success Magazine and Huff Post and Co-Authors articles with Jacquelyn Denissoff. As a producer, songwriter and artist living in NYC, he uses music as a way to spread the message of positivity to the world. Follow him on Instagram or go check out his YouTube.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Anurag

    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Great Points Zak. I have been told about these points in the Entrepreneur Development Program organised by School Of Inspirational Leadership. I have attended this EDP which is year long and consist of 5 different sessions focusing on different aspects of an entrepreneur’s life.

    I am feeling highly motivated and positive after attending their program. This article reminded me of the points discussed in those sessions.

  2. Sac

    Jul 18, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Man just when I thought I knew this ideas there’s always a better way to explain them and make me rethink about them! Thanks so much! I just posted to friends who always read but but do a little or nothing I hope they finally come on sense and begin a better YOU.

  3. Eli Seekins

    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    These are some great tips Zak!

    Stepping out of your comfort zone, and staying focused are both huge. I’m just learning how to use a calendar instead of a to do list, it’s a big difference. Outsourcing / delegating is also something I’m getting better at. I tend to want to do all the work myself, by I’ve learned to let go.

    • Zak Mustapha

      Apr 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Hey Eli,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, calendar is one thing that really changed my life once I started using. Of course, a to-do list is better than nothing, but once you start using that calendar everything will change.

      Outsourcing is something that you’ll gain from experience with working with people and identifying the right skills and people to outsource the job.

      Glad to hear you’re working towards your self improvement. And the most important two skills needed for enterpreneurs.

      1. Using a calendar to schedule your day and get stuff done.
      2. Outsourcing tasks to skillful people so you can focus on what you do best.

      Great stuff!

      – Zak Mustapha

  4. Evan

    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Zak,

    Great article here about being better than who you were yesterday. I really see that as the only main competition!

    I liked the part about always checking to see if you’re getting the results or not. It can take a critical eye to do this, but it’s absolutely necessary.

    Thanks!

    – Evan

    • Zak Mustapha

      Mar 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Evan,

      Yes, you do need a critical eye. It’s always best to have everything recorded and time yourself or measure your performance using technology. Hopefully, you shouldn’t go wrong there.

      Thanks for your comment.

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

Entrepreneurs

Mastering the Mental Game in Your Business Is What Creates Breakthroughs

Published

on

mental breakthroughs

Such as in life, our beliefs about our organization shape the way it’s viewed. As time goes by running the company, we develop a story about it. This narrative becomes a foundation for what is and isn’t possible to achieve within our business.

The unspoken and unchallenged assumptions, deeply rooted in our frame of reference, are responsible for the majority of the decisions we make every day. Every action and event that unfolds thereafter becomes further evidence to prop up the argument about whatever we’re focused on at the time — either why we can or why we can’t.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Whatever we tell ourselves about what’s happening, we find a way to make it true. Whether we want loose ends to continue piling up unresolved or we want our ducks in a row marching forward, we take action — or inaction — to keep reality consistent with what we believe.

Unfortunately for us, we’re human beings. And as human beings, we have brains that are constantly looking for what’s wrong.

As a result, our perceived problems are often blown up into mental catastrophes. We gloss over what’s currently working and uproot it in favor of what may completely disregard proven processes or value alignment, but temporarily satisfies our most painful problem at hand.

We’re extremely quick to abandon what we’re committed to at the core for what we want resolved in the moment. Our team is often at the mercy of this destructive behavior, diminishing their trust to a degree that often cannot be reversed.

Until we gain control of the mental chatter of our minds, we’re helpless within our business. We may leverage our strong suits to generate results short-term but over time, we burn out, alienate our team, or both.

Here are three things to be cognizant of to help create a breakthrough in your business:

1. Challenge The Story

I like to think that running a business is 90% mental and 10% what you actually do. With all the areas of the business in need of mental processing prior to decision-making, your skills don’t matter beyond a certain threshold. The way in which you look at each area of your company drastically influences the actions you take in succession.

The cool part about it all is you get to choose — the empowering view or the limiting view. In reference to chasing dreams, I cannot remember the last time “being realistic” served anyone.

Running a business is all about venturing into uncharted waters. What worked to get you to $500K in revenue won’t get you to a $1M. What gets you to $1 Million won’t get you to $2 Million.

“You have to be willing to give up the good to go for the great.” – Jim Collins

Given the business will be different as it matures, we won’t be creating nearly as much as we’ll be discovering. And to discover, involves an inquiry. Challenge whatever you’ve told yourself about your business by questioning it. By putting more responsibility on you and your leadership. What were the top three things you were focused on when you started or took over the business? Are those three items still a focal point, or even still relevant? Given the size and condition of your organization now, what would the company benefit from the most by you honing in on?

2. Use Your Core Values As A Guide

One of the most valuable assets an organization has is its core value system. Typically made up of three to five irrevocable principles, the core values are a way to keep an outline of the business’ identity as it evolves.

Often times, especially in start-ups, we may find ourselves or team members confused on their ever-evolving and fluid job descriptions. The core values can clear the path of the work we don’t need to be spending our time on, paving the way for what will continue to move the needle.

Core values cannot be loose, cliche, or promoting. They must represent the truth of the organization and why it was formed. Without a strong core value system, the company will be reactive to the marketplace — not grounded in anything.

3. People First, Profits Second

This last piece requires the most patience on behalf of the leader. He must be committed to the growth and health of the business without it being at the expense of the growth and health of the team. A leader must never get stuck in their ways. They must never close their lid. The minute the leader is done learning and growing, the minute he becomes the choke-hold of the entire operation.

Putting people first solves this complication easily. And I’m not referring to abandoning a business plan to encourage fat salaries and exorbitant benefit packages. I’m simply referring to treating people like human beings. Getting the team’s opinion prior to making a decision that will impact them. Developing an inner circle of great thinkers within the organization you consider your partners. Asking people how they’re doing before requesting something of them first thing in the morning. Simple stuff. Not easy — but simple.

“One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But he must be open-minded during the process.” – Simon Sinek

As much discipline as it takes to execute and meet financial budgets, it takes twice as much to remain calm and encouraging with your team during times of hardship. Leaders that do this exude a sense of commitment, security, and optimism. Commitment to being kind to others, no matter how dire the straights may be. Security that the team is more than capable of handling the current challenge at hand. And optimism that what’s unfolding in the present moment isn’t failure, but merely a clue to the organization’s future success and prosperity.

What breakthroughs are possible for your organization if you master the mental game? What are you present to about your people, core values, and beliefs? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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3 Things to Look for When Choosing the Perfect Business Partner

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When it comes to online business, the majority of companies online are solo ventures. While it’s great to have the fortitude to strike out on your own, you immerse yourself into a pool of high-stakes poker where only a small few have survived. In order to keep the odds in your favor, it can be a wise decision to select a business partner who can double your chances of winning in this competitive atmosphere.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering how you’re going to find the perfect business partner, don’t worry, this is where serial entrepreneur and investor Evan Luthra comes in. Evan has successfully worked with hundreds different business partners, and has learned from experience how to immediately evaluate whether or not a business relationship will work. I sat down with Evan to talk about how you can start searching for a person who will make your business work right alongside of you.

Here are Evan’s three best tips for locating that person, making the relationship work, and shouldering an even load to encourage faster success:

1. Relationships Are Key

Evan explains the most important aspect of finding that perfect business partner is through the relationships you already have or are currently building. In essence, this only works if you can get along with the person in the first place. Mr. Luthra suggests looking at your current selection of friends before you start meandering into the wild blue for an unknown stranger. It is possible you already know and love your business partner.

The great aspect about creating a business partnership with someone whom you already have a relationship means both of you understand what it takes to make the relationship work. You possibly already know each quirk, likes, and dislikes.

Evan says, “Being friends means you already have a great relationship. Running a business together is nothing less than actually being married. I have reached a point in my life that I mostly do business with people I am friends with first.”

When a relationship is successful it means all of the necessary ingredients have fell into place naturally. For one, trust is an important aspect of a business partnership. If you cannot trust someone, chances are you shouldn’t invite them to start a business with you.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. Know How to Balance the Load

Next, it’s essential to find someone who can do what you can’t. In other words, if your strengths lie more behind the content on the computer screen and not so much in conversational aspects of the business, you would want someone who can compliment this in your branding.

Your business partner could be an outgoing person who everyone loves to be around. That makes your brand friendly and approachable. On the other hand, when these people come to your business website, they’re getting you’re conversational writing which couples together nicely and starts the most important aspect of the business model – building a relationship with your clients and establishing trust.

When you can work hand in hand and balance the load with the skillsets you have coupled with the skillsets your partner has, make sure you define this area not by what you have, but with what you don’t have and start from there. This is another great way to counterbalance workload and responsibility within the business as well.

3. Look For A Positive Mind

In this tough world of business, any successful person has at least one great failure story. You can never celebrate getting up if you’ve never been down. It’s not possible to stand on top of the mountain without going through the valley first.

From my conversation with Mr. Luthra, I detected a solemn look as we spoke about this topic for the piece. Evan politely explained while you are looking to succeed, make sure you understand how to learn from failure. Not only should you have a positive mindset about this aspect of your business, but your partner should also be cranially resistant when it comes to failure.

Knowing trial and error are a crucial part of your business is important. This allows both partners to gradually evolve their business by being realistic with their expectations. Evan explains, “My business partners knew to prepare for the worst and not dwell.”

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

The key is to stay positive, learn from your mistakes, and keep pushing forward. If you find a partner who can help you shoulder both the responsibility and the burden of a business it’s not long before you’re both seeing success.

Finding a perfect business partner is an art form. While the majority of online startups are usually “Me, Myself, and I”, you shouldn’t totally throw this idea out. The benefits vastly outweigh the negatives and there’s nothing like realizing there’s someone else out there with your goals and dreams.

When that happens, you metaphorically build train tracks, an engine, and the train cars. One set of engines may be in the front and the other set could be located in the back, but this makes no difference. The important part is, all engines are pushing in the same direction. It’s always nice to have someone help you pull the load.

What do you look for in a successful business partner? Comment below!

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The Secrets Of Your Business Are Not That Secret.

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I was chatting to a distant friend about his business. I was asking basic questions like who did his videos, who was posting the beautiful Instagram photos and where he sourced talent from.

He then got pissed and said the following:

“So, you’re asking for my business model?” in a sarcastic tone.

I asked another question around whether he may know any good freelancers and he said: “You have a network, don’t you?”

Both responses show me one thing: he had a scarcity mindset.

I wasn’t trying to get the ancient secrets from thousands of years ago. The questions I was asking were out of curiosity more than anything.

 

Your business is not that secret.

I didn’t say this to my friend, although I should have. Most things about your business can be found out. His business model, for example, was easy to work out. He sells a course and does consulting. You only have to watch his videos to see this.

The people he employs are also easy to find if I wanted to steal them – which I don’t. All it takes is a Google Search and a bit of looking at his LinkedIn connections to work it out.

 

Hoarding information is ridiculous.

If my friend helped me then what he didn’t realize was that I could have brought him in. He could have actually been brought onboard as a consultant. I may have even used his services to help with producing videos.

“You lose more by hoarding your information than you do by giving all of it away”

 

Being sarcastic does not hide your scarcity mind.

The sarcasm I received from this friend was a cover for the fact that they are scared. Not wanting to share is the sign of someone who may have a scarcity mindset driving their decisions. This friend once told me that they wanted to buy a house in the next 12 months.

Maybe they saw me as a hindrance to that dream which is why they kept everything secret. What he forgot is that to get the house in 12 months, you need to work hard and collaborate. Trying to do it all yourself won’t get you that nice new house with a white picket fence in one year.

“Compounding your efforts through collaboration adds more value thus resulting in more money”

 

Cost of missed opportunity.

Given the outcome of this conversation, it’s fair to say I wouldn’t ask this friend for help again and will reconsider their friendship. It’s not because they didn’t help; it’s because the way they said no and the selfishness behind their intent doesn’t vibe with me.

Selfishness repels people from you and being sarcastic and overly blunt is unnecessary. The thing is, the people that act in this way forget about the cost of missed opportunity. What does this mean?

Simple: in the future, I probably won’t work with them again which means that they could be missing lots of opportunities. Only two weeks earlier, for no reason at all, I referred this person to a new client because I like their work. I didn’t ask for anything, it just felt like the right thing to do.

If given the option again I probably won’t make the same decision. By making foolish, selfish, short-term decisions, you affect your chances of getting opportunities in the future. This screws your dream of buying a house in 12 months.

 

Here’s the secret.

Most of your business is not that secret. Hoarding your ideas and connections like you’re the CIA will give you the opposite result you’re looking for.

People remember kindness, love, compassion and how you make them feel. Selfishness, sarcasm and a big ego doesn’t make anyone feel good.

The secret to business is there are no secrets.

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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Falling Out of Love With Your Business? 4 Ways to Rekindle That Fire Again

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Time flies, and it’s easy to get caught in the mundane responsibilities of our business. Because of this, we tend to forget to love our business, and to love who we are becoming as I’ve personally experienced this myself. Have you ever thought of these difficult questions: What if you fall out of love with your business? What if you just lost it? What do you do to fall back in love again?

See, perhaps the best job in the world is to be one’s own boss. Even though it’s not that easy or as loose as it sounds, many people still jump into the bandwagon and try to come up with their own gigs. We’ve all heard it—how it’s better to not be an employee forever, and how you can serve people at a higher level if you have a business.

At first you like being the king of your time and being able to have the say on everything; however, when the realities of business ownership and management settle in, it’s also easy to just lose the zest for your business.

Imagine, you have to worry about financial management, employee retention, customer satisfaction, sales and most of the time, you even get to work on weekends as well. When your to-do list starts to lengthen more than usual, there will be times when all you want to do is shut yourself out and sleep all day.

If you need help falling back in love with your business, here are a few of my time-tested tips:

1. Mindset is key

The first thing that you need to do is to set your mindset right back on track. Ask yourself why you are doing what you do and what your business stands for. Or, if you want to amp up the purpose of your business, ask yourself, “what is the most important aspect of my job?” Another question I like is “How am I making other people’s lives better?”

Whether it’s giving jobs, solving complex problems, helping people improve their personal lives or providing above satisfactory services, you need to remind yourself what your purpose is. Take time to pause for a while and reflect on what we are there for. Usually it’s the daily drill that gets into us, and reflecting on our purpose re-energizes us back into taking those drills more seriously and purposefully.

“Anyone can train to be a gladiator. What marks you out is having the mindset of a champion.” – Manu Bennett

2. Declutter your head

Now, if you think that it’s the huge mound of tasks getting to you, start delegating some of the little ones to a trustworthy assistant or personnel. Pass some important but easy and time-consuming tasks like website maintenance, social media marketing and calendar scheduling off to an assistant. This will give you more energy and time to focus on the more important aspects of your business or future projects. Think of it as freeing up “brain space”.

A productivity funnel I swear by is something Tim Ferriss taught in his famous book “The Four Hour Work Week”. It’s eliminate-automate-delegate. Every once in a while, I ask myself about the tasks in my to-do list which I can just eliminate, then I automate the others, then for whatever is left, I delegate.

The residual tasks after that is just around 3-10 things (depending on how busy that day is) and I usually get it done in an hour or two of deep work. Then I feel good and productive along with being back on track. A lot of procrastination happens when we’re riddled with self doubt and loss of purpose, but you don’t have to go through that for very long.

3. Self-care and team development

Next, don’t forget to take some time off. Take a quick vacation (one weekend will do) to inspire yourself and perhaps generate fresh ideas and more innovative perspectives. Indulge your employees to these kinds of mini vacations once in a while as well. You can also hit two birds with one stone by going on a nice workshop where you can visit a new place for vacation, but also meet new people for possible prospects or additional guidance.

The change of environment will be good for you, plus you’ll come home with more actionable tasks. This has worked very well for me. In fact, I get some of my best business launch ideas when I’m on a massage table on a random beach resort!

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

4. Pat yourself on the back

Lastly, the best thing about having a good business, is that you also have the opportunity to see it through other people’s eyes. And which eyes are the best alternatives? Your happy clients. Review your testimonials, rekindle with an old client, and revive appreciations for your business.

For their time, you can ask these clients what else they would like to have from your offers, and how you can help them further. Don’t sell to them, just ask them how you can help them. It could even be a small introduction which will help them move the needle in their business too.

This kind of connection rekindles the initial feelings of fulfillment that you got when you first served them well. That feeling might have been years behind, but you can tap into the memory and make it work in your favor when times make you feel low.

What’s more, these revitalized connections can even spring new products and services, a fantastic upsell, and a fresh new perspective for your offers. Read old testimonials, get in touch with them and see how it goes. You might surprise yourself.

See, it’s not very difficult? You simply have to start with the right mindset and work from there. For a while, take your time off the numbers (sales, debts, etc.) and work on the heart of your business—the purpose. Once you get it right from there, the numbers will eventually concede.

Which one of these 4 ways can help you most in falling in love again with your own business or job? Let us know your comments and tips below!

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