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Beware of The Trap of Entrepreneurial Success

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Building a successful company is what every entrepreneur dreams of and works towards relentlessly. Running a 6 or even 7 figure business is the ultimate goal of countless founders and entrepreneurs; it seems to be the answer to all problems. Yet, during my time working with business owners who’ve “made it,” I observed that entrepreneurial success is extremely glorified. Having clients/customers rolling in and high sales are (surprisingly) not the magic bullet to a fulfilling life, and as effortless as most people picture it.

In fact, it’s probably one of the most stressful and exhausting responsibilities one can ever take on and most entrepreneurs are not prepared for it. Getting a business up and running is one thing, but keeping it up in a sustainable way is a completely different thing. “Starting a business could make you rich. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied.” Charlie Wells wrote in an article for The Wall Street Journal.

When striving to achieve entrepreneurial success one should keep in mind that every opportunity comes at an opportunity cost. Problems don’t magically disappear, and as your business grows, it’ll come with a whole new set of challenges. Having no one telling you how to manage your time and where to focus means every decision is on you; Decisions that may have major impact on your company, life, and even your employees’ lives.

All of a sudden you have to learn how to lead a high-performing team and implement new systems while trying to keep a cool head to stay productive and balanced. The success of your company is still directly related to your performance as an owner and leader. No wonder burnout, chronic stress, and anxiety are some of the biggest problems accomplished entrepreneurs struggle with.

By building a company, you have to change the way you operate in it to increase the bottom line as well as your personal well being. In business, there is just as much stress with success as there is with failure. Unfortunately, many type-A entrepreneurs don’t want to get or have help.

Here are 6 Steps to getting your life back and finding joy in your work again:

1. Why did you start?

The first and most important question to ask yourself is “Why did I even start?” Oftentimes, when we set out to achieve a goal we lose ourselves in the process. What once felt like fun is now a drag.

Burnout is really the misalignment between your purpose, values, and the daily actions you take. Most entrepreneurs start their companies to create freedom and happiness for themselves, earn a good amount of money, and make an impact in the world.

If you find your life being controlled by your business, working 18 hour days and feeling trapped in a golden cage, examine if it wouldn’t have been easier to take a well-paying job with paid vacation and benefits instead of sacrificing your health, family, and sanity. Reevaluate your priorities and get back to your original intention, why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for.

2. Success addiction

Many entrepreneurs are in some form addicted to the high of accomplishment, to sprinting from goal to goal and achieving milestones they set for themselves. Being a type-A myself, I know how it feels to suffer for the sake of success, not being able to relax and enjoy the journey.

When your self-worth is tied to your achievements, you experience constant pressure and are very hard on yourself. Ironically, your goals don’t usually create emotional fulfillment in the way you expected. Finding purpose in achievement is what got you here, yet it’s emotionally draining and will eventually burn you out.

When you care more about how your life looks like than how it feels, you’re missing the point of true success. The second step of detaching yourself from your business and getting your life back is to explore what drives you. Realize that the accomplishment of goals is not success but how much you expand and who you become in the process.

“As entrepreneurs, we’re achievers! Every time we achieve something, we systematically move the goal post even further. What we don’t do is stop and celebrate our wins and acknowledge our accomplishments.” – Tony Robbins

3. Balance and Self Care

When your company grows fast, your life changes just as quickly and you may not have the time to figure out how to take care of yourself. Maximizing your mental and physical potential and making yourself a priority is crucial to your level of success as an owner and leader.

Practicing meditation, spending time by yourself to reflect and moving your body are essential components to a well-balanced life and sustainable business. Level up emotional intelligence and change your perspective towards stress in order to increase your resilience and ability to handle setbacks.

Connor Beaton, founder and CEO of Man Talks emphasises on the importance of living a balanced life “The key to feeling fulfilled is to approach your life from a broader, wholesome perspective. If professional success is your sole focus, other departments of your life – like relationships and personal development – will suffer.”

4. The Sweet Spot

Having meaningful impact, finding personal happiness and freedom and making great money are the three main components of a fulfilling business. Most entrepreneurs are thriving in one or two of these areas, while lacking in the third one, wondering why they feel frustrated, burnt out and unhappy.

The sole purpose of running a business isn’t to just make a profit but to also contribute positively to society. As Mark Williamson, author of Action for Happiness suggests, “People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression.”

Yet, on the other hand, owning and running a company that doesn’t support one’s personal values and only focusing on money and impact can get incredibly exhausting. Too many people are living other people’s definition of success, chasing the paper, but not the dream of freedom and independence.

5. Busyness vs productivity

Busy people multitask. Productive people focus. By the end of every day, ask yourself if you feel a sense of pride or exhaustion. When I started my own business, I fell into the trap of working way too many hours without making much progress. I learned that being busy does not equal productive.

Essentially time works similar to money, the more time is available, the more we spend. Surprisingly, when there is less time to get something done, we accomplish more because we’re forced to prioritize and focus on essentials. Therefore, make it a point to have work hours as well as off time and stick to it.

Taking off weekends and not working before 9 am or after 7 pm might be a schedule that you want to incorporate in your life. Your family and friends will be grateful to you for not using your phone during dinner or scheduling meetings during a weekend trip.

“Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” – Tim Ferriss

6. Leadership and Systems

Now, that you have a team working for you, learn to let go of detail, use your energy more wisely, and build systems that give you freedom. Think about the what, not the how. Structure your company so your systems and team take care of you, instead of you having to babysit every single little task.

“If you want to run a successful business you have to know how to play to your strengths. It’s pretty easy to micromanage everything.” The reason why so many entrepreneurs miss out on atomizing their processes is that they feel like there’s not enough time available to set things up properly. Yet, in the long run, they’d do themselves a favor by taking things off their plate and scaling faster while being less overwhelmed.

Even though entrepreneurial success is what so many dream of, the opportunity comes with a set of new challenges that need to be addressed. Running a successful company has to be learned and is not as easy as many would think. If you’re looking to create sustainability for yourself, your team, and your company, reevaluate the way you operate in the business and maybe even find support in restructuring your schedule, responsibilities, and thinking patterns.

Reaching another level in business requires you to shift your perspective in many aspects to stop working in the business and start working on it instead. You must learn how to work through people as well as setting boundaries for yourself that help you separate your life from your business.

Following these 6 steps is only the beginning of taking back your life. Remember to create freedom for yourself instead of being controlled by your business or you may be missing the point of true success while on the journey.

Have you thought of being an entrepreneur? If so, what do you want to do? Let us know below!

Katy Trost is an ICF certified coach specializing in working with type A entrepreneurs and founders on leveling up their performance, increasing their capacity to lead with greater impact and scale with more structure and less overwhelm. Her deep understanding of psychology and neuroscience combined with a passion for business and leadership enables her to facilitate deep, systemic change that profoundly transforms perspective, performance, and peace of mind. Born and raised in Germany, she has traveled the world for 4 years and is now based out of New York City. She has been featured on Addicted2Success, Thrive Global, Native Society, ‘The Best You Magazine’ and other publications. You can learn more about Katy and her work at www.katytrost.com and on her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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Entrepreneurs

What if Elon Musk Ran Your Business? 4 Lessons From the Real Life Iron Man

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The story of Iron man and Elon Musk starts when Robert Downey Jr. visited SpaceX headquarters miles away from the setting of the first Iron Man movie back in 2007. The actor was inspired to base his character on Elon Musk’s personality. Ashlee Vance writes in Elon’s biographyboth Musk and Stark were the type of men, according to Downey, who ‘had seized an idea to live by and something to dedicate themselves to’ and were not going to waste a moment.” (more…)

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5 Ways to Prepare for Your Entrepreneurial Journey

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There are many ways to get ready for entrepreneurship regardless of whether you’re ready or not. The migration to the unknown will take you through many places, emotions, and people. Your journey will be both easy and difficult, but hopefully in between, you prepare yourself with an expectation of helping people by solving problems. The quest that you are about to enter will be one to remember if you are willing to adapt quickly and not give up.

Arranging for this huge change in your life should be one of the most memorable expeditions that you will ever experience. Looking into the future and being able to lay out a road map for your entrepreneurial journey will definitely be beneficial. Though there will be challenges every step of the way, being prepared will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.

To help you get started, here are 5 ways to plan an entrepreneurial expedition:

1. Form Ideas By Visualizing And Writing Them Down

Before beginning your entrepreneurial quest, brainstorm to come up with many amazing ideas even if you never act upon each of them. It’s always a good thing to write them down on paper, computer or via a mobile device app such as Google Docs. An abundance of suggestions about your processes is better than none or even a few objectives that can possibly help in some way.

The key is to breakdown those ideas to come up with better solutions to move forward in your voyage. See what’s more in line with your mission and values to be effective for your core audience, products or services that you may want to create. Whether you categorize those ideas or check them off one by one, coming up with different concepts will be a great start to your journey.

“Creativity is contagious – pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

2. Begin A Pattern Of Consistency By Quitting Bad Habits

Repetitive actions can present their challenges but if there’s a way to make progress and eliminate bad habits that aren’t hindering your itinerary then keep doing them. Have you ever noticed that negative thoughts, lack of confidence, and no exercise regimen could negate persistence of not only your entrepreneurial journey but other goals as well?

Get your mojo or swagger back by committing to a life of constant and everlasting consistency by stopping eating bad foods, wasting your time with hours of playing video games, watching television and other things that will stall your progress. When you get rid of actions that are slowing down aspects of your life, you’ll begin to pursuing things to help you lay the groundwork for success.

3. Be Disciplined While Listening More

Another way to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey is by being in control of yourself while paying more attention to everything else. It’s quite common to focus on things outside of your realm and instantly become something other than what you see fit. Difficulties can arise if your focal point isn’t there and somehow an opportunity pass right by you.

Mentorship even from a distance from someone that you don’t know can be a key element as you learn the importance of your mission. Listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos of someone that has validated your idea is a great starting point as well. Mimicking them on some level can help you understand different phases that are ahead and how to deal with them.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

4. Work Effortlessly And Prioritize Your Time

You will have to work extremely hard with an emphasis on actual time value before pursuing your pilgrimage. We often hear about the results of hard work and it sounds cliche but when many other things are happening outside of your control, finding a way to manage your time can become difficult.

Most people will start off alone with zero help in terms of having a partner and putting in 100% effort. You will likely wear multiple hats as the visionary, programmer, marketer, content creator and so on. You may have to function with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep or even none at times while being respectful and cognitive of the time of others as well.

5. Persist Like There’s No Tomorrow While Planning For The Future

What’s in you? Nobody knows the answer to that question but you and the determination for reaching your destination as an entrepreneur. Whatever the answer is, you should be driven with an undaunted passion to pursue your expedition. Go after your dreams with a tenacity that you didn’t know was within your soul and keep pushing no matter what.

Be mindful that your strong pursuit can be done all while determining the proper destination of where you want to eventually end up. Never lose your focus admist numerous distractions that will happen. The emphasis comes from experience along with talking to other entrepreneurs who had similar occurrences at multiple stages of the process.

Put in the work early with the mindset of expecting obstacles and pushing forward pass them.  It will be tedious and preparing for a grind will make your entrepreneurial journey more understandable through tough times. You will be a lot wiser and better after all of the hard work whether it’s considered a failure or success.

Which one of the above 5 ways to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!

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7 Things You Need to Do to Grow as an Entrepreneur

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Startups are on the rise and youngsters are keen to launch their own business instead of a nine-to-five job. As simple as it sounds, opening a business needs patience and the right planning. Moreover, the profits gained can help you meet your financial obligations and realize other dreams.

Young entrepreneurs must learn the skills of investing money within the right channels as most startups fail because of a shortage of funds. Every entrepreneur has a chance to innovate, create new jobs and have an influence on society. It’s our responsibility to continually grow and push forward, usually beyond our comfort zones.

Here are the seven must-learn tips to grow as an entrepreneur:

1. Read Books and Articles

For many new entrepreneurs, your first mentors are usually found in the pages of books and blogs. Much often learned from the writings of others, and fortunately these days, people are sharing their experiences. A survey found that 88% of the world’s wealthiest people read for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. By comparison, only 2% of the overall population reads this much daily.

Read chapters in books, and articles to get new ideas and skills. Some ideas might not be directly relevant to what you’re doing these days however, it could come helpful a year or so down the road.

My advice is to search out those leaders and writers who resonate with you. You’ll understand when you’ve hit on something when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time and time again.

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato

2. Perform SWOT Analysis

Business students and old-school marketers should be very aware of mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). If you’ve never made a SWOT chart, write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in four quadrants on a piece of paper.

In reality, you’ll jot down a couple of notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, however despite the simplicity, if done right, a SWOT will shed light on crucial areas that require improvement. Most significantly, don’t shy away from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses isn’t fun however, no good comes from avoiding the fact.

3. Be Willing to Take Risks

It’s impossible to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen. See how many times you stand-up. Being an Entrepreneur isn’t that easy; it’s an up-and-down game like a business. Be willing to come up with new plans even when old strategies are working. It’s through such risks that your business will grow. You’ll learn and meet new partners or investors. Even so, the risks must be calculated. Doing the analysis and making consultations is vital in this case.

4. Open Your Eyes Wide

Many opportunities are arising in the business world every day. For instance, many companies are willing to come up with a mobile solution for a startup without charging immoderate prices. This info can only be discovered if you’re keen.

Before dismissing adverts from websites and mainstream media, conclude if they’re relevant to your business. Also, follow the events happening in the stock market and international business summits. You’ll find the opportunities which will take your business to a new level.

Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is possible if you learn, take risks, evolve, innovate, and stay motivated. You must be realistic regarding your abilities and watch the events that unfold in your world.

5. Lead the Way for Your Team

Young entrepreneurs need to encourage employees and provide help at every juncture. For any young entrepreneur who aspires to be a leader it’s necessary to be:

  • Honest
  • Ambitious
  • Courage and Risk Taking
  • Dedicated
  • A Team-player
  • An effective listener
  • An effective communicator
  • Able to inspire confidence
  • Positive

An entrepreneur who has all the attributes of a leader leads the employees to productivity. It’s essential that the team respects a leader. The hunger and aspirations of the leader to strive for success inspire the employees to put in that extra effort to be successful.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

6. Learn How to Keep Initial Success at Bay

Do not enjoy the shrubs of initial success for too long. Return to the drawing board and draw the future course of action. To move on to the next phase:

  • Utilize local and online channels to make hype for the services
  • Start expanding by hiring employees to enhance productivity
  • Cater to a good segment of the audience by providing various services
  • Re-invest the profitable revenue into new business efforts

Never let the initial success get to your head. The online platform is an ever-changing arena. Analyze what’s working and what new tactics can be utilized to strengthen the market base.

7. Find and Keep Business Partners

You will always go far if you have people to carry your hand during hardship in business. They’ll share ideas that have made them successful and provides you funds whenever necessary. Demonstrating that you are organized, capable, and serious is vital when nurturing such relationships. Keeping records, creating financial contributions to society, and attending forums are some of the choices worth trying.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll face many up-and-downs, risks, financial crisis, and many more. Be ready to face these problems if you want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t about making money, it’s about innovating new things and represent new concepts and ideas to the world.

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Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First

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Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.

How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.

If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.

By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.

Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:

1. See a problem. Solve a problem

All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.

2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer

In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.

If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.

3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels

If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.

4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.

All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.

Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.

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