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It’s Time You Know the Truth About Mental Health for Entrepreneurs

mental health

We live in a world where entrepreneurship is constantly glamorized. We see the lives of those fearless risk-takers and admire their drive to run off virtually no sleep in pursuit of their passion. It makes us feel alive seeing people who truly went for it. It inspires us and it motivates us beyond belief.

However, what we fail to see is their entire story. We compare ourselves to their hustle, yet we have no idea how they truly got there. This can cause us to develop expectations of what being an entrepreneur is which can be deceiving.

We fail to understand that there are countless paths to becoming an entrepreneur. While one person might forgo college to start a business, another could work decades in a business setting mastering their craft. You have to choose which path is best for you based on your own skills & passions.

Along my own path, I’ve learned that it’s great to be inspired, but to avoid comparing myself to successful entrepreneurs before I know their full story.

Mastering a plan of attack against these 3 key uncertainties will help you push forward through the unknown:

1. When it’s time to go all in

More and more people are pursuing a side hustle outside of their 9-to-5. With the internet, we have the power to connect with people from almost anywhere. This gives us a huge opportunity to put ourselves out there with potential customers.

Today, marketing is more about connecting with customers and creating an awareness of our company online. This presents massive opportunity for us to tell our story, but can also make us feel like we’re never truly doing enough.

The internet is still very undefined and uncertain. This makes it so that the timing on when to go all in on our business is also uncertain. When we feel like we’re not doing enough, this can quickly lead to depression. According to Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, one in three entrepreneurs lives with depression. If you’re experiencing depression, seeking help from a psychologist can help.

Addressing these anxieties is crucial to your well-being. Since there’s usually no linear path towards entrepreneurship, it can be harder to gauge whether or not you’re on the right one. It also pays to speak with role models who are where you’d like to be one day. They might tell you that they actually regret going all in when they did & that gradually building your side hustle is the right move.

While you can’t always take advice word for word, it can bring some clarity to the timing on your business. If you still have a great deal of uncertainty yourself, come up with a plan of attack. After all, uncertainty doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can look at it as a world of possibilities. Coming up with a planned regimen will help you to manage uncertainty to your advantage.

“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had — every day I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson

2. Fear of not working hard enough

When your mind is constantly telling you that you’re not doing enough, it can become exhausting. This, in turn, actually takes you further away from your dreams. This is why it’s vital to create a plan amidst the unknown outcomes that you face.

If you’re just getting started on your side hustle and have no idea where it will take you, creating a simple schedule can protect your mental well-being. Whether you decide to spend 5 – 10 hours a week on your side hustle or you know it’s time to go all in, it pays to set guidelines. Otherwise, worry creeps in where it doesn’t belong.

Another key business strategy is to only focus on 1 or 2 main things. Building a business involves wearing many hats. If you can get clear on which ones are the most essential in your current phase, you will have more energy to keep moving forward. This will make it easier to scale your business in the long run. Whether this takes a couple months or a couple years, having a systematic resolution during each phase will help you to succeed.

3. Fear of wasting time

We’ve all heard the statistics that over half of all businesses fail within the first year. Taking it further, you might be wondering if your side hustle is even worth all the work you put in. Dealing with all these worries can become debilitating. While countless articles tell you to go for your dreams, those dreams still need to pay off!

Whether your dreams allow you to have financial freedom or get you closer to your dream job, it’s important to get clear on how the steps you take today will benefit you tomorrow. If you feel like you could be wasting time, try honing in on your focus. Instead of trying to take over the world, decide to become a master in one thing at a time.

“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Taking it a step further, write down your dream life in a one-page summary. If the work that you’re putting in now could lead to that dream, then the next step is to decide whether or not it’s scalable. For instance, if you’re writing articles, decide to put out content for a certain number of months.

After a certain time period of sticking to this goal, you can check back in and reevaluate your current plan. But, remember good things take time. Be realistic on how you gauge the worthiness of your strategy. For example, if you want to get paid to write, but haven’t written many articles, consider building out your library of content first.

The skills you’re mastering now might help you perform better in your day job or ensure your company successfully executes on offerings in the future. It all begins with deciding to avoid comparing yourself to the glitzy version of entrepreneurship that only exposes a portion of the truth. Instead, decide to master what you can control – your mindset & the work that you put in.

How are you making sure your side hustle ends up being profitable for you? Let us know some of your tips and advice in the comments below!

Jessica Brewer founded Think Train to help entrepreneurs execute an online presence through digital marketing. Her passion lies in helping companies & individuals pinpoint their purpose & further this message via online mediums. Follow her on instagram @jess_l_brewer or check out her website at www.thinktrain.io to learn more.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. KAUSTAV GHOSH

    Jan 19, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Best article I have read till date, thanks for sharing.

  2. Sam Boghigian

    Mar 30, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with this post.

    I constantly worry about using every minute I can towards building my dream and I rarely feel as if I’ve done “enough”. It does get exhausting sometimes, but having patience and understanding that it is going to take years has helped me put my expectations into perspective and avoid totally burning out.

    Awesome article!

  3. Isaac Wechuli

    Mar 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

    true. i always feel that i dont work hard enough

    • Jess

      Mar 19, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      It’s a blessing & a curse. I’ve found it’s best for me to set a regimen & small goals so I can navigate through the uncertainty. Otherwise, you end up comparing yourself to the end goal when it takes a lot of small steps to get there!

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Entrepreneurs

5 of the Best Proven Growth Hacking Strategies for Your Business

best growth hack strategies for your business
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Tough competition can make growing a new brand seem near impossible, despite the hundreds of new companies that are created every day. Creative solutions offer the answer, allowing you to move in a positive direction with your brand start-up at an affordable investment. To achieve this, speed is the key. Growing your user base fast will allow profits to come in fast, too. This is what growth hacking is all about.  (more…)

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Entrepreneurs

5 Soft Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

soft skills for entrepreneurs
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There are countless components that go into building a successful company, but soft skills act as the fundamental building blocks of a functioning business. Hard skills are considered to be job-specific, whereas soft skills are interpersonal skills, like listening and communication. 

Nearly 93% of employers said that soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions. With the right blend of hard and soft skills, an entrepreneur is capable of great things.

Here are five soft skills that can help entrepreneurs scale their growth and lead successful ventures:

1. Confidence

A successful company starts from individual confidence. In order to motivate and inspire others, an entrepreneur must find reassurance in themselves. Other businesses and consumers will believe in your company if you consistently believe in yourself. 

Being confident also means becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable— taking risks will expand your business and place you above competitors. As an entrepreneur, and leader, it’s crucial that you not only possess confidence, but exhibit it throughout every step of your business ventures.

2.Self-Awareness

It is vital that an entrepreneur have a clear insight into their personality, especially their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts,and emotions. 

When an entrepreneur is self-aware, it can lead them to beneficial partnerships and agreements. Without good self-awareness, leaders become easily persuaded and spineless. Self-awareness also includes control. Becoming overly emotional, for example, can lead to detrimental impulsive decision making. 

“Self awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” – Debbie Ford

3. Collaboration

From the day we begin talking, the ability to work well with others is pivotal to any project. As an entrepreneur, it is important to recognize and understand your own responsibilities. To do this, you must identify your business culture and have tools on hand to manage mutually dependent relationships. 

Active listening inspires collaboration within teams and creates learning opportunities. Without open collaboration or sharing and discussing information, the success of your business is  limited.

4. Time Management

Time is the greatest equalizer. No matter who you are or what you do, we all have the exact same amount of time in the day. Successful management of that time separates the great entrepreneurs from the bad ones. 

Entrepreneurs have many responsibilities; they are often jumping between tasks, hopping on calls, and attending events. They also tend to make every decision within the business.

It is crucial for business owners to find an organization system that works for their company and their goals. Creating a long term road map of company ambitions is an excellent way to distinguish high versus low priority initiatives. Entrepreneurs should create prioritization systems that employees can follow each month, ensuring business targets are met.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins

5. Resilience

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, unexpected hurdles and setbacks are inevitable. The process of starting a business will not be perfect. What matters most is how you progress when the outlook seems bleak. Your ability to stay tough and weather the storm speaks volumes to your leadership— and will lead to a huge payout at the end of the day. 

Maintaining entrepreneurial resilience throughout rocky times will empower your employees while simultaneously building your credibility. Resilience will also inform potential clients and customers that you are willing to fight through thick and thin.

Soft skills are the backbone of every successful entrepreneur. While hard skills like financing and marketing are crucial to conducting business, soft skills provide the essential groundwork. Developing these soft skills will come with time, mindfulness, and an eagerness to grow. Take the initiative to prioritize these skills in yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can then cultivate those same qualities in your business.

Do you think soft skills tend to be more important than hard skills in today’s business world? Share your thoughts with us below!

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Entrepreneurs

The 7 Successful Habits of Entrepreneurs

habits of entrepreneurs

A while ago, I wrote an article on the 51 mistakes that can sabotage your business. However, that was one piece of the puzzle. You have to run your business well to be a successful entrepreneur, but, what’s more important is that you run yourself so well that your business follows suit. In order to do that, you need some good habits that can seriously boost your chances of success.

Here are the 7 must have habits that most successful entrepreneurs have:

1. Mindfully Meditate Everyday for At least 10 Minutes

Tim Ferris, who has interviewed thousands of world-class performers and entrepreneurs, says that the most common practice of all world-class performers is mindfulness meditation. There are different types of meditation, and each serves its own function.

However, mindfulness meditation is meant for controlling your mind so as to be able to focus more intensely on the task at hand. Higher focus equals higher productivity and becoming more effective at whatever you do.

Working in a distracted state leads to substandard work and also takes up more time. If you want to be able to get in the zone like most top-notch entrepreneurs, you need to mindfully meditate.

Now, there are some caveats you need to be aware of before you begin:

  1. Like medicine, mindfulness meditation has a minimum effective dose and that minimum is 10 continuous days for at least 10 minutes each day.
  2. Practice guided meditation before you try meditating on your own.

2. Read a Lot

Warren Buffett was once asked what the secret behind his wealth was. He pointed to a stack of books and said the secret was to read 500 pages like that everyday. Mark Cuban is also a voracious reader and spends almost 3 hours everyday reading in spite of being busy with his businesses. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also read a book every week.

Now, I am not telling you to read so much everyday but at least make an effort to finish 2 books every month. This is a very common habit among the top-notch entrepreneurs and as Warren says, “knowledge builds up like compound interest.”

Also try not to read on any digital medium except that of Kindle. In spite of it being convenient to read on your phone or tab or laptop, these devices tend to distract us with their notifications and push us to other procrastinating habits.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” – Roald Dahl

3. Keep the Phone Away, aka take a Digital Detox EVERYDAY

With multi-national companies all vying for our attention, we need to learn to use our phones less everyday. While it can be extremely tempting to open your phone while you are waiting in line or are taking an Uber ride, you should resist and embrace the boredom. This has two effects:

  1. It teaches you to sit through boring and monotonous tasks for longer periods of time and not get pulled away at the tiniest amount of distraction.
  2. It builds up your will-power and your discipline.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs try to do this and even successfully do this but they don’t build it into a habit. They do it once a week or once a month and think it will have a beneficial effect on their lives. Sadly, just like eating your vegetables once a week is a very stupid idea if you want to live a healthy life, taking a digital detox occasionally is useless.

4. Dump Coffee for Tea

Most Americans are heavy coffee consumers and can’t live their lives without coffee. But wait …The main ingredient behind coffee is caffeine which is a natural stimulant. If you take a stimulant regularly, your body adapts to the stimulant and you fail to get the benefits of coffee such as greater energy and focus which other non-regular drinkers get.

On the contrary, tea’s natural stimulant relaxes your body and enables you to put in more hours of work without the “crash” effect that coffee drinkers face. If you are up to the suggestion of making tea a part of your daily habits, I suggest you try out green tea which has 15% more caffeine than a cup of coffee. It also possesses l-theanine, which helps the consumer put in a greater state of focused awareness into his/her work.

But if you are a newbie tea drinker and can’t stand the taste of coffee (I don’t know how that’s possible though☹), try out flavored tea.

5. Sleep Around 8 Hours Daily

I think the most damaging piece of advice out there is sleep less and do more work. If you do that, all that’s going to happen is that you are going to wake up the next day feeling drowsy. The net result is that your productivity will suffer.

Also, the notion of early to bed and early to rise is not true as your biological clock may be differently tuned than that of others and your biological prime time may be late at night. However, don’t be too late to sleep as that hinders the DNA repair and as a side-effect your mental fatigue remains.

If you can’t get to sleep early, try to not use your phone or watch the TV or any sort of screen whatsoever, as the blue light can slow down your natural sleep cycle.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck

6. Take Cold Showers

You know what troubles most entrepreneurs? They’re good at planning yet it’s the execution part where almost all of them fall flat. It’s because the execution of ideas throws the harsh realities of the business world onto the face of the entrepreneurs, and they are forced to reconsider if they can actually ever succeed.

It is here that the winners get separated from the losers. And guess what separates them? Willpower. I have the best tactic to help you build it and it’s so simple too! Take cold showers early in the morning or late at night, when it is already chilled outside. If you live in a place that is hot, then this tactic may not have the intended effect on you.

However, try taking cold-showers in the winter. You will see that your brain makes all sorts of excuses so as to not go under the chilling water and if you succeed in pushing your brain to do the work, you will have succeeded. You are then, the master of your mind and not the other way around.

7. Plan and Review Daily

If you want to live a truly productive life and get things done instead of having a mounting pile of to-dos, you need to plan ahead. You need to divide your daily schedule into blocks of time and dedicate tasks to each block.

Parkinson’s Law states that the work we need to do stretches into the time we give ourselves to finish it. Therefore, if you need to get work done and don’t give yourself any time-limit or deadline, you will find your work stretching for enormous amounts of time and eating into the time reserved for other tasks.

However, when you first start planning, you will find most of your plans are utterly useless as most tasks will stretch far beyond the time you have allotted for them. This is where the second part comes along – which is to review the plans and reschedule them.

However, there is a particular style of reviewing and this is how you can go about it. First, you need to make a plan of what you intend to complete in a week and what you intend to complete in a day. Then, before going to bed every night, open your calendar and make a note regarding what you failed to complete today and how you will accommodate them into your weekly goals. This should be done before going to bed daily.

Now, it’s your turn. Share this post and spread the word. What’s the most important habit according to you? Do you have any such habits that you use? Let me know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurs

Build Your Business One Brick at a Time

building a business

A good friend and business associate once approached us asking for business advice. “I have $25,000,” he said. “How do I turn that into $50,000? Actually—wait, how do I turn one million into two million in one year?”

We looked at each other, and then we looked back at him and said “You don’t take a million and turn it into two million. It’s not that easy. There are no shortcuts in life, and there are no shortcuts in business.” We recommended he do things the old-fashioned way.

He understood—and we understood—that, of course, some people do double their money in the blink of an eye. It’s not impossible, but it’s incredibly risky. And it’s also not what we are about. We’re not promoting the Bernie Madoff model of Ponzi and phony, get-rich-quick deals; we all know how well that worked out in the end. Businesses have to have a real economic model that is built one brick at a time.

Start, Build, Sell

Growing your business is an incremental process: you start, you build, and you sell. You build more, you sell more. If you have a viable product or service that customers want, they’ll come back to you again and again. They’ll also tell their friends. 

Positive word of mouth is as important as the product itself, because it helps you continue to grow. As Albert Einstein once said (and Warren Buffet often quotes), “compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”

Buffet, known as the smartest investor of the past century, invests in management teams and products he believes in through his company Berkshire Hathaway. He is also said to only invest in products that he likes and uses, and that fall in his circle of competence. Therefore, as a big holder of both their stocks, you can assume he loves Coke and McDonald’s. He also eats and drinks both regularly. Keep his investment interests in mind as you build your business.

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

The Value of Viability and Balance

What kind of product or service you decide to build is important, too. You have to be insanely fortunate to have success selling an entirely unique product. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, but always remember it is easier to sell a product that is easily understood. When you’re just starting out, and even if you’re not, it’s much easier to sell something people completely understand rather than an avant-garde product.

Whatever you want to try in business, whether you have a brand-new type of shop or a nail salon in a strip mall down the street from another nail salon in another strip mall, the essence is the same: work harder, work smarter, and constantly improve.

One challenge you may find at this stage of your entrepreneurial journey is the difficult task of finding balance between preparing and over preparing. As you build and sell, focus on the details, but don’t let them overshadow your big picture.

Spilling the Oil

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes of a boy who wants to learn about happiness. The boy’s father sent him to the wisest man in the world: the sage. The boy traveled for forty days to reach the wise man, finally finding him in a bustling palace. When the boy asked for the secret to happiness, the sage responded by suggesting the boy take a walk through his palace and come back in two hours.

The sage had one additional request: he handed the boy a teaspoon with two drops of oil and instructed him not to let the oil spill as he walked the grounds. He toured the palace, his eyes never leaving the spoon. When he returned, the sage asked the boy if he had enjoyed the Persian tapestries and the intricate gardens, but the boy replied he hadn’t seen them; his eyes were focused on the spoon. Although he had spilled no oil, he had also seen none of the glories of the palace.

The sage refilled the spoon with two drops of oil, instructing the boy to savor the details of the palace. When the boy returned, he realized he’s spilled the oil, but he was able to describe in detail the colors, tastes, smells of the palace that were beyond his wildest imagination. The sage responded, “The secret of happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho

The same is true in business; keep an eye on both the details and the big picture—neither of which you can do if you’re cutting corners or letting the fear of making mistakes stop you from moving forward. Fail often and fail quick. Learn from your mistakes. And, if you are smart, learn from other people’s mistakes, too.

What was your favorite tip from this article? Share your thoughts with us below!

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