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A 3 Step Guide to Build Brand Awareness Through Influencer Marketing

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have heard all of the recent fuss over influencer marketing on social media. These influential individuals could be journalists, bloggers, or even celebrities who heavily sway a potential customer’s buying habits – generally through social media.

The idea behind influencer marketing is to build up your brand’s presence and build relationships with popular individuals (influencers) within your niche. These individuals will then (hopefully) share your products or services to their audience, or simply give your brand a shoutout. As these individuals have a lot of trust built up behind them, this can be a massive sales-driving opportunity for a new and upcoming business.

Most of us have been affected by influencer marketing without even knowing it. I know I have made purchasing decisions based on what I have seen influential people sharing on Instagram. However, many entrepreneurs may not be actively trying to market to influencers on social media – meaning they may be missing out on a lot of potential.

Social media has expanded exponentially in the last few years. In fact, a recent study by Market Force Information concluded that social media spending will increase to $30 billion in the next five years. This growth in social media has also caused influencer marketing to skyrocket with it. As these tactics continue to work together, there is a lot of potential for you and your business to dive in and succeed.

“Influencer marketing at its core is about developing a real relationship to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you.” – Amanda Maksymiw

So how exactly can you get started in influencer marketing? Here is a quick 3 step guide to help get your feet off the ground:

1. Identify Your Target Audience

The first step in any new marketing endeavor is to identify what groups your products or services will cater to. Are your products and services targeted towards benefiting individual consumers or large scale businesses? These are important questions to ask, because there are many different options when it comes to managing customers. Understanding who your target audience is the first step in succeeding in influencer marketing.

2. Find The Influencers in Your Niche

Now that you have identified your target audience, it is time to find who is influencing their buying habits. This is the grittiest part of the whole process, because it can be tough to find the perfect influencer for your brand. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to go about this step.

One of the best ways is to identify what social media channel your customers are most likely to use, and simply use the search feature of that program. You can search relevant keywords or hashtags. This will allow you to find people who may be reviewing or talking about products that are similar to what you are offering.

Try it out. Do some digging, and come up with a list of five or ten influencers you would like to target. Now that you have a list, let’s move on!

3. Build a Relationship With Your Influencer List

Now that you have a list of influencers, it is time to get yourself in front of them. Otherwise, they may not even be aware of you or your brand’s existence. It is time to leave a lasting impression on them. You will want to send them a personalized email, introducing yourself and your brand with a beautiful pitch.

Within this pitch, you should include exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to review your product? Write an article on your website? Give you a shoutout? Be specific, and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

“Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

Keep in mind that nothing in life is free. Therefore, you may want to make a deal with these influencers. Perhaps offering to send them a trial or sample of your product for free, asking them to review it or talk about it in return. This one-time sacrifice could ultimately bring in hundreds or thousands of new leads and sales.

Overall, influencer marketing is a great opportunity for a new brand to gain some traction. It is important to give this a shot, and remember – don’t give up. Just because one influential person did not want to help, doesn’t mean the next one won’t. Use criticisms to perfect the perfect pitch, and get yourself noticed.

What tips would you add to help your influencer marketing? Please leave your thoughts below!

Taylor Tomita is a writer from Boise, Idaho who wants to help the small business and entrepreneurial worlds succeed. When not writing about business, Taylor is working with his personal website, Pedal Haven. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Keri Vandongen

    Sep 30, 2016 at 4:55 am

    That’s interesting about the projected rise in social media spending, Taylor.
    Yes it’s true that influencers can send a lot of traffic to new and pre-established businesses.
    I’ve read several blogs written by influencers with their suggestions for connecting with them.
    They definitely want rapport before any pitch or requests are made. What’s interesting is they have explicit often unwritten instructions for connecting with them. Only about 10% of requests get responded to.
    It’s like a mini-test. How much care and effort we put into personalizing our requests – reflects the care and effort we put into our products or services.
    ~Keri

  2. Adam

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Good write-up. I immediately think of Instagram and fitness people when thinking about using Influencers. It seems to be the most prevalent use of the strategy, at least from what I’ve seen. I’d be interested in seeing other examples in other industries to see how well it works.

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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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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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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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10 Part Action Plan for Writing Your Very First Book

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There’s no doubt that writing a book is an excellent way to bolster your credibility and establish yourself as an authority. A book can also help you spread ideas and is a mechanism for people to connect with you. It’s a self-contained product that you can monetize, but it can also be a vehicle to sell your products and services. In many ways, your book can be your ticket to new income streams and opportunities. (more…)

Brock Shinen has been guiding entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and creators for more than 13 years as an attorney, trainer, and strategic advisor. His passion is to see people and businesses transform by implementing smart, adaptable thinking leading towards economic and personal success. He is also the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Crush The Stops: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing Things.” You can also visit his website.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Keri Vandongen

    Sep 30, 2016 at 4:55 am

    That’s interesting about the projected rise in social media spending, Taylor.
    Yes it’s true that influencers can send a lot of traffic to new and pre-established businesses.
    I’ve read several blogs written by influencers with their suggestions for connecting with them.
    They definitely want rapport before any pitch or requests are made. What’s interesting is they have explicit often unwritten instructions for connecting with them. Only about 10% of requests get responded to.
    It’s like a mini-test. How much care and effort we put into personalizing our requests – reflects the care and effort we put into our products or services.
    ~Keri

  2. Adam

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Good write-up. I immediately think of Instagram and fitness people when thinking about using Influencers. It seems to be the most prevalent use of the strategy, at least from what I’ve seen. I’d be interested in seeing other examples in other industries to see how well it works.

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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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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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Entrepreneurs

The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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busy entrepreneur

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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