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Here’s Why Taking Time Off Can Make You a Better Entrepreneur

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how to become a better entrepreneur

You’ve heard the saying, “make hay while the sun shines”, right?  It means that you should work as hard as you can, for as long as you can while the money is still on offer.  It makes some sense but workaholics and entrepreneurs who feel they have to keep pedalling hard to keep their business afloat, comfort themselves with this saying when, for the longest time they’ve not been able to spend any kind of time at home with the family, invest some serious recuperation time in themselves or even take a vacation.

Let’s take a closer look at that last one. A 2015 survey conducted by financial software provider Xero found almost a quarter of small business owners haven’t taken a vacation in two years.

So if you’re an entrepreneur who has been wanting to take a well deserved break or vacation (possibly the first in a long time) I’ve got a game changing business strategy for you.

Grab a big 12 month calendar and map out all the vacations you want to take, aim for 8-12 weeks. Schedule all of the below:

  • the overseas trip
  • the local trips
  • the school breaks
  • the summer beach camping trips
  • the long weekends that coincide with a public holiday
  • the long weekends that don’t coincide with a public holiday (come on you are a business owner after all!)
  • the birthday celebrations
  • the weddings
  • personal and professional development courses
  • business planning weekends – working ON your business, not IN
Why vacations and traveling is good for business

This is an inspirational process that will do wonders for you as a business owner. Most people plan out their vacations around their work. They hope there will be some spare time and money leftover for more trips each year.

But the problem is, there never seems to be enough time or money leftover! And sadly another year goes by with no time for play. The successful business people I know plan their work around their vacations, and I too have been doing it for the last 12 years.

Plan the year ahead by scheduling at least 8-12 weeks of holiday time. Work out where you want to go. Work out how much you need to save. And then reverse engineer your business to fund the lifestyle you want to live.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” – Doe Zantamata

Here are 4 reasons why it is important to plan out your holidays:

1. You are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel

The business journey is tough at times, long days, late nights, weekends. You’re almost always ‘ON’. Knowing there is some downtime on the horizon can do wonders for your subconscious and allows you to focus intensely on the task at hand.

2. Creates a good work life balance

Your family and friends will know when they can enjoy some good quality time out with you. If they know there is a good 10 weeks of planned down time, they won’t worry so much if you have to work late or work through a weekend here and there.

3. Gives you time to think

I have my best ideas when on vacation! I’m a big picture type thinker and getting out of the office (and sometimes the country) gives me some precious time to THINK BIG, THINK LONG TERM, THINK RADICAL IMPACT.

4. They ensure you have deadlines

Have you ever noticed how much you get done the week before, you’re about to take 2 weeks off? You somehow move mountains so you can switch off and enjoy the trip. You find a way to make it happen. That’s the power of putting vacations first.

Since my first real overseas trip at the end of year 12, I’ve been able to:

  • Salsa in the streets of Cuba
  • Find spiritual sanctuary with the sharmans of India
  • Volunteer in remote communities in Mexico, Brazil & Africa
  • Follow Carnival street processions in Rio De Janeiro
  • Eat the freshest sushi in the fish markets of Japan
  • Snorkel the Blue Hole in Belize
  • Ride elephants through the jungle in Sri Lanka
  • Endure nude Sauna in Sweden
  • Speak at an International Conference in Maui, Hawaii
  • Sip the finest Madeira Wine in Portugal
  • Get Bali Belly, Delhi Belly & Port Moresby Belly…
  • Follow the ancient INCA trail to Machu Picchu
  • Scoff pizza and beer in New York

I did all of this while building a successful investment portfolio and multiple businesses. In fact, it was those priceless experiences that fueled my own entrepreneur journey, and I’m confident that TRAVEL will do the same for you.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott

I truly believe it when they say, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” But how do business owners fund their Big Goals – like 8 to 12 weeks a year holiday? They get Cashed Up.

Here’s the process:

  1. Put Your Profit First – A percentage of every dollar that comes in, goes first into a separate bank account called your ‘profit war chest’.
  2. Every quarter, 50% of your Profit War Chest goes to –
    • 50% to Building a nest egg – I invest in cashflow producing assets like Shares, Property (Residential & Commercial) & Precious metals.
    • 50% Spreading your wings – You CAN drive that new car, enjoy regular holidays, eat out, drink that nice bottle of wine etc.
  3. Enjoy the holiday. Recharge. Open your eyes to the world. Be present with your family.
  4. Build a better business. Going on vacation leaves room for your team to make decisions and helps you see the gaps in your business systems and where the business still depends on YOU. Fix it.
Now I’m curious, where are you planning on going in the next 12 months? Share your travel plans in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

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Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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