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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

8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Starting A Website - Blogger

Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

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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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Ways College Grads Can Embrace Entrepreneurship

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It’s never too early to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, yet when you graduate college, you might feel like you’re not quite ready to jump fully into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or perhaps you’d just like to get a more conventional job and save a little bit of money first.

Perhaps you’re already anxious to start your first business and you can’t wait to get it going. Whatever the case, you can lay the groundwork for your entrepreneurial endeavors early on.

Below are 5 ways new college grads can embrace entrepreneurship:

1. Get a Sales Job

No matter what line of work you’re in, you’re selling something. You’re selling yourself as well as whatever product or service you represent. This is especially true as an entrepreneur. If you don’t know how to sell, you’ll probably have a rough go of it at the beginning and selling definitely doesn’t come natural to everybody.

As a result, you could benefit from getting a sales job early on in your career. This will help you learn the ins and outs of sales, get comfortable with sales rejection, and learn how to persuade people.

If you already know what type of business you want to start, then aim to get a sales job in that industry. This will be even more powerful for you later on since sales is a grind. Nonetheless,everything you learn in the sales job will help you be a more successful entrepreneur later on.

2. Work at a Small Startup

It’s one thing to work at a big company where you feel like nothing more than a cog in a giant machine. It’s a whole different experience to work in a small startup where you interact with leadership everyday and can see how the business runs.

This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the leaders, and see a type of management style up close.

When you start your own company, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You can see things from the point of view of your employees as well as your own point of view as a CEO/founder type of figure.

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” – Michelle Obama

3. Learn Other Marketable Skills

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a general understanding of a lot of different skills such as copywriting, design, marketing, management, and sales. That way, when you eventually hire for those positions, you’ll know how to spot a potential rockstar employee who has the capacity to do a good job.

Spend some time learning marketable skills, and especially those that are related to the industry you’re most interested in. These skills may even help you get a freelancing gig, which we’ll talk about next…

4. Consider Freelancing

It takes discipline to work and build something on your own. For some people, that discipline is more difficult to develop than others. So, you should consider freelancing online. This will help you get comfortable working from home, and give you the first taste of online success.

Freelancing can add a nice chunk to your monthly income as well, which increases your financial runway and gives you more time to get your eventual business up and running. It’ll also help you potentially make valuable connections within your future industry, which will help accelerate your entrepreneurial success.

5. Move to a City Filled With Entrepreneurs

It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle of an entrepreneur until you’re around it and see it for yourself. So, you should connect with as many entrepreneurs as possible. This will help you understand things from their perspective and get you acclimated with the lifestyle. It’ll also help you determine what type of business you should start.

Luckily, there are plenty of cities in the USA where entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. You can start with any one of these 7 US cities that are great for young entrepreneurs.

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul V

The job market is more competitive than ever, and as a result, working for yourself as an entrepreneur is a smart long term move. It’s never too early to get started with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, even if you’re a new college graduate.

Whether you’re ready to start your first business right now, or you simply want to gain experience to jumpstart your career and lead yourself down a path towards entrepreneurship, these tips will help you make your goals a reality.

How are you making steps towards becoming your own boss one day? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

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Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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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

8 Obvious Signs You Were Built for Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs are not born but they cultivate the skills of entrepreneurship within them. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate, resilient, tolerant to ambiguity, have vision, flexibility, believe in yourself and be a rule breaker. These are just the few indications that an entrepreneur is growing inside you.

Here are a few unexpected signs that will surely help you in deciding whether you should go for entrepreneurship or not:

1. You are not easily contented

Normal people think of how to celebrate their victory after achievements but entrepreneurs think “What’s Next?” They are always restless and never satisfied with their achievements. They always crave for something new and are ready to take on new challenges.

2. You are a control freak

Entrepreneurs always love to be in charge of their work but at the same time, they need to maintain the balance between controlling business and letting the talented people around take the reins. If a person likes being in charge and can easily convince people to follow their vision, then they can be a good entrepreneur.

3. You are a born risk-taker

Nothing high can be achieved without the risk. Hence, entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers. If you love risk, entrepreneurship is likely going to be a great fit for you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. You like making your own money

A desire that you pay yourself for the accomplishments is a clear calling card of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs start with working for other people’s ideas for a fair salary, but after getting fed up they start their own business and work on their own ideas.

5. You don’t fit in the crowd

Successful entrepreneurs don’t lead a normal life. They are mostly drop outs, quit lucrative jobs, and do silly things simply because they want to live a life on their own terms. If you are a black sheep and always eager to do something out of the box, then entrepreneurship is your catch.

6. You are an introvert

Entrepreneurs are introverts and hence they recharge themselves in the best way by being alone. Being introverted means that you are more of an “ideas” person and are great at fostering a team environment. There are always certain entrepreneurial advantages that come from being an introvert.

7. You are passionate

Being a successful entrepreneur is not an overnight success. From lack of customers to profits, one has to face everything. Without an undeniable passion for your work, it will be very difficult to cross all the disappointments and hard times ahead. Pick any successful entrepreneur and you will find their passion for their work is the key to their success.

For once, let’s take the example of Atul Gupta, an Indian Born South African businessman who even after many failures in his starting days of business is currently the owner of almost all the sectors, be it mining industry, media industry in South Africa. His passion is the answer to all his failures and his competitors.

“You can’t fake passion.” – Barbara Corcoran

8. Confidence is your success mantra

Entrepreneurs always believe in their abilities and know that they can succeed, but they need to sell their idea and lead a team. In many cases, confidence goes a long way in each of these pursuits.

There are many different personality traits that help entrepreneurs become successful, and these are just a few of the possibilities. If you find any of these listed descriptions being relatable, it’s likely that you’re destined for work as an entrepreneur. Don’t wait any longer. Get out there and change the world!

How do you plan on changing the world? Tell us your dreams in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Before You Start A Website, Read This.

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Let’s face it, many of us would like to build something of our own. Maybe it’s a community, a platform, a brand, a charitable cause. No matter what you want to build, you’ll need an online presence.

Last week, I caught up with an infamous blogger whose passion it is to support equality amongst the gay community.

This conversation felt like dejavu. I seem to be getting a lot of people ask me about starting an online presence for the first time. Sadly, almost everyone I meet goes about it the wrong way. I too, just like you, had to go through this process once upon a time, so I’ve got some super cool, very simple tips that will help you.

 

Should you start with a website or something else?

This is the very first question you should ask yourself.

Benefits of a website:

You own it.
You control the look and feel of the site.
You can capture subscribers and get their email address.

 

Downsides of starting a website:

No one will find it initially.
You need basic skills to code it, or you must go back and forth with a web developer.
It takes time to build so you may give up too soon.
Maintaining it takes effort.

So there are pros and cons to having a website. In my situation, I got lazy and knew that I would give up if there were too much of a barrier to entry. I chose to do what I’m going to recommend next.

 

Consider leveraging someone else’s website or blog.

I’m one of those people that is not technical and just wants to get started because I know I’ll procrastinate if I don’t.

I chose to leverage someone else’s website which already has a massive following. I chose to join Addicted2Success and use there more than 3 million followers to find my voice. This a great option for you too.

 

Just getting started helps you find your way.

In the beginning, it’s hard to know what direction you will take. Your message, your voice, the topics you focus on, the people you work with, will all change. I found it best to get these things sorted out first before starting my own website.

As I’ve created content, I’ve narrowed in on the topics I write about which are now personal development and entrepreneurship. I’ve finally found my voice which is simple, a tad sarcastic, a little bit funny (says me LOL), extremely vulnerable, and again, hopefully authentic.

Using someone else’s platform works well before you start a website.

 

Social Media is challenging: here’s why.

In my experience, using most social media platforms to start now is one of the hardest ways. It’s not impossible; however, it has got a bit harder.

“The trick I’ve found if you want to start exclusively using social media is that you need to get on a platform early before the organic reach is destroyed”

Organic reach = the ability to have your content shown to people without the need to pay.

The other downside with most social media platforms nowadays is that you can only communicate with your followers through posts. Who gets to see these posts is heavily influenced by what’s good for the social media platform and not what’s good for you. Your creative freedom can be limited.

You also should keep in mind that on a social platform you don’t control the design or user experience whereas you do when you own your own website.

 

Now onto SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

In the old days, this was a big thing if you were thinking of starting a website. Now, it still matters although the game is changing. SEO came about because of Google and people using search engines. A lot of searches are not happening on Google anymore.

Here’s what’s changed:

People use Amazon to search for products.
People use Instagram to find things like restaurants because they can see pictures beforehand.
People find people using Facebook.
People find professionals through LinkedIn.
People enjoy video through SnapChat and Instagram Stories.

As you can see, there are now way more targeted places to search for things. When creating a website, one of the ways it will be found is through Google. There’s a lot of competition to appear and money is often required. It’s no longer so much about keywords, and more to do with the value you bring to a potential user. Measuring this value is becoming increasingly complicated.

 

One approach to consider before starting a website.

Find a platform you love.
Start on that platform first in any capacity you can.
Refine all the elements that make up the one big thing you want to start.

Once you get some traction in the form of followers and engagement, set up a landing page.

Landing page: a single website page that only has one button you can click.

Use this landing page to capture subscribers and begin the early stages of a website. When you feel you have reached the tipping point and you’re regularly getting what you set out to do, then, maybe think of starting a website.

 

Remember this.

Having a website means nothing if people can’t find it.
Having a website means nothing if you are not adding value.
Having a website means nothing if it’s not updated and looks terrible.
Having a website means nothing if you are not in it for the long game (years).

Don’t be so quick to want to set up a website. Really think about what you are trying to achieve. Consider your options and focus on the simplest path forward to finding your passion, your why and the way you can add value to everyone on this planet. Once you’ve nailed all of these, then maybe think about a website.

Alternatively, ignore everything I’ve said and you may find yourself right back where you started, quicker than you think (months even).

 

Instant gratification is the challenge.

“One reason people give up on their beloved website so easily is because we live in a culture that craves instant gratification. If we don’t see one hundred followers on the first day like our cousin Emmanuel, then we think we’ve failed”

 

What I’ve learned through this same process is that the early stages are quiet. Not much seems to be happening in the beginning. That’s because like I said before, you’re still finding your voice. You’re not going to be 100% congruent with all of the elements of your vision until you’ve got some runs on the board and seen what works.

That’s okay. Don’t make the world pity you; make the world see what you have to give through taking action for more than a short period of time.

 

A website doesn’t make you a baller.

There seems to be an element of ego attached to having a website.

“Let me break the bad news to you Johnny: Anyone can start a website and you’re not superior for owning one”

So now we’ve got that out of the way, focus again on what you can do for all of us who may become a follower of your mission. Find ways to inspire us all. That’s what makes you a baller.

 

Authentic and real trumps all (sorry I said the word trump).

Whichever direction you decide to take, know that more than any single element, telling a real story that is authentic will help you the most. People are tired of fake. A website that has a fake founder or a fake message is boring. We’ve seen it all before and no one is tuning into that station anymore.

 

Be different instead of better.

If I had a dollar for every person that told me they want to interview entrepreneurs, I’d be a billionaire. Doing what everyone else is doing and trying to be better doesn’t work. It’s hard and when times get tough, you’ll give up.

Instead, get inspired by something you love and do it differently. If you want to interview entrepreneurs, then maybe do it with your iPhone while riding around on a motorbike in different cities. Maybe dress up in a 1980’s tennis outfit and interview your beloved entrepreneur.

Just do the online thing in your own unique way without trying to be like all the wannabes. That’s how you stand out and have your own website one day that does get noticed.

 

Let’s wrap it up so you can get to work.

There are multiple options to consider before starting a website. Having a website is not the only way to build something of your own. You can use social, try a landing page or leverage someone else’s platform first.

A website is not a big deal anymore. Who you are, what you have to say and the value you bring is what matters – not your website.

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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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

5 Ways College Grads Can Embrace Entrepreneurship

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It’s never too early to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, yet when you graduate college, you might feel like you’re not quite ready to jump fully into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or perhaps you’d just like to get a more conventional job and save a little bit of money first.

Perhaps you’re already anxious to start your first business and you can’t wait to get it going. Whatever the case, you can lay the groundwork for your entrepreneurial endeavors early on.

Below are 5 ways new college grads can embrace entrepreneurship:

1. Get a Sales Job

No matter what line of work you’re in, you’re selling something. You’re selling yourself as well as whatever product or service you represent. This is especially true as an entrepreneur. If you don’t know how to sell, you’ll probably have a rough go of it at the beginning and selling definitely doesn’t come natural to everybody.

As a result, you could benefit from getting a sales job early on in your career. This will help you learn the ins and outs of sales, get comfortable with sales rejection, and learn how to persuade people.

If you already know what type of business you want to start, then aim to get a sales job in that industry. This will be even more powerful for you later on since sales is a grind. Nonetheless,everything you learn in the sales job will help you be a more successful entrepreneur later on.

2. Work at a Small Startup

It’s one thing to work at a big company where you feel like nothing more than a cog in a giant machine. It’s a whole different experience to work in a small startup where you interact with leadership everyday and can see how the business runs.

This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the leaders, and see a type of management style up close.

When you start your own company, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You can see things from the point of view of your employees as well as your own point of view as a CEO/founder type of figure.

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” – Michelle Obama

3. Learn Other Marketable Skills

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a general understanding of a lot of different skills such as copywriting, design, marketing, management, and sales. That way, when you eventually hire for those positions, you’ll know how to spot a potential rockstar employee who has the capacity to do a good job.

Spend some time learning marketable skills, and especially those that are related to the industry you’re most interested in. These skills may even help you get a freelancing gig, which we’ll talk about next…

4. Consider Freelancing

It takes discipline to work and build something on your own. For some people, that discipline is more difficult to develop than others. So, you should consider freelancing online. This will help you get comfortable working from home, and give you the first taste of online success.

Freelancing can add a nice chunk to your monthly income as well, which increases your financial runway and gives you more time to get your eventual business up and running. It’ll also help you potentially make valuable connections within your future industry, which will help accelerate your entrepreneurial success.

5. Move to a City Filled With Entrepreneurs

It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle of an entrepreneur until you’re around it and see it for yourself. So, you should connect with as many entrepreneurs as possible. This will help you understand things from their perspective and get you acclimated with the lifestyle. It’ll also help you determine what type of business you should start.

Luckily, there are plenty of cities in the USA where entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. You can start with any one of these 7 US cities that are great for young entrepreneurs.

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul V

The job market is more competitive than ever, and as a result, working for yourself as an entrepreneur is a smart long term move. It’s never too early to get started with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, even if you’re a new college graduate.

Whether you’re ready to start your first business right now, or you simply want to gain experience to jumpstart your career and lead yourself down a path towards entrepreneurship, these tips will help you make your goals a reality.

How are you making steps towards becoming your own boss one day? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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