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The 3 Essential Steps To Becoming A Thought Leader

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We live in an age of overwhelming information. The world is full of people supplying it and others who are seeking it. People everywhere are desperate for solutions and fresh insight. Those people who are able to provide them with the strongest, freshest, most relevant, and even most radical ideas, practically hold the keys to success. The individuals with this level of influence are the thought leaders.

If you are seeking to be more influential in your industry, the good news is that you don’t have to be born a thought leader—you can become one. So how do YOU rise above the noise and reach that level of influence?

In order to propel yourself forward as a thought leader, you NEED to follow these three steps:

Step 1 – Define Your Mission

Like a soldier in battle, your mission is THE ONE THING that you are responsible for fulfilling at all costs. To be a thought leader, you must have focus on what your goal is—where you are making your thought influence and where you are leading people.

Defining your mission does three things:

  • It declares to yourself what you are doing and how you are doing it so that you can move forward confidently. It provides a target to help you be as focused and effective as possible. It channels all your effort and creates a positive flow of creative energy.
  • A mission helps guarantee success by removing distraction. A thought leader knows that if anything distracts them from their stated mission they will lose their effectiveness as an influencer. A mission helps them objectively judge if something is helpful or not toward achieving that goal of dominant influence in a particular area.
  • Missions that are well-defined let your followers easily place their trust in you. When somebody doesn’t know what they are doing or where they are leading people, they lose credibility. No one wants to follow someone who appears to be going nowhere.

As an example, to someone who might want to be a thought leader in the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they might define a mission similar to this: “My mission is to help people understand the value of SEO to their organizations and provide a clear roadmap for implementing it effectively.”

Such a statement will focus you the influencer and allow your followers to easily buy into your leadership.

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.” – Zig Ziglar

Step 2 – Determine Your Message

If your mission is how you are focused on helping people, your message is what you are going to tell them to get their attention.

Your message will consist of the following:

  • It includes your one core premise, or thesis; the singular idea that you believe everyone needs to know. This becomes your rallying cry.
  • A powerful message will include your personal story so people can see that you are credible to speak on the subject as well as to be empathetic to their concerns. It lets people know that you understand their struggle as well as have a solution for them. Your message helps you be relatable.
  • Your message should ideally be thought-provoking to bring about an entirely new perspective as well as include a sense of urgency that reveals the consequences for continuing in the same old patterns of looking at things.

Your message is your gospel of hope and personal testimony that it works. With it, you awaken people to their need or confirm to them that you understand and are the best person to help them through their struggle and find salvation.

The SEO thought leader might have a message something like this: “SEO is constantly changing and every organization must embrace an aggressive stance for it or succumb to those organizations who will. I have the keys to help you effectively implement the SEO plan you need to be successful.”

They would then follow by sharing their personal story of how they came to be so convicted regarding this stance and how they implemented it with great success.

“I have a message to give to the world, and I shall not be thwarted.” – Elizabeth Kenny

Step 3 – Develop Your Method

Your method is the structured system that you use to help your people understand and implement your message. Your method doesn’t have to be long or complex—the strongest methods are simple and easily memorable. An ideal method will have three to seven action points to follow.

Our SEO thought leader’s method will follow a very simple format such as,“Step One—Define your target audience’s greatest needs, Step Two—Create an SEO plan around the keywords they search for,etc.”

Until they’ve covered all of the steps necessary to realize the solution to their follower’s problems, each step is where their level of expertise will shine through with great insight backed by compelling evidence.

Although this format might sound overly-simplified, there aren’t a lot of influential thought leaders out there precisely because most people can’t distill a plan down to this degree and bring the amount of clarity necessary for it to be effective.

Great thought leaders overlay their action points by taking their thought-followers on a journey that looks very similar to this:

  1. Open their eyes to see how things have always been,
  2. Show them what that has got them,
  3. Reveal and prove that there is another way to think about that area (your way), and
  4. Show them how powerful the new way can be.

Who are your favorite thought leaders? Please comment below!

Aaron Force is a blogger from Seattle, Washington. He writes to help others live their most powerful life by allowing them to find their purpose, get unstuck, and impact the world. He can be found at www.aaronforce.net or at https://www.facebook.com/aforce01/.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ian Williams

    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Informative piece, Aaron! I especially liked the part about including your personal story and how this can help you establish credibility.

    • Aaron Force

      Mar 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Ian. The one thing that EVERYONE has is a story. Even if someone has dirt for money or nothing to show for their life they have a set of experiences that they can learn from and share with others. To be honest, that was the ONLY thing I had going for me when I started down this new road. Thanks again and I really appreciate your input

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8 Tips for Launching a Business on Amazon

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Launching a business on Amazon can either seem like a breeze or the most daunting goal you’ve ever set for yourself. Neither is entirely true, but it’s safer to think the latter than the former. The market is indeed very competitive, but it’s by no means a gargantuan task to get you started. While there are comprehensive guides available that’ll walk you through each step (see below), there are a few things you should be aware of before you take the plunge.

Here are 8 tips for launching a business on Amazon:

1. Take one step at a time

It’s important to take it one step at a time when it comes to building your business on Amazon. The key to a happy life, according to psychological studies, is to have low expectations. That’s not to say that your ambitions shouldn’t be sky-high. Things will take time.

For example, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business on Amazon won’t be either. Fortunately, there are handy online guides that’ll teach you how to build your empire step by step, even if you’re on a budget.

2. Invest in low-ticket products

It’s tempting to go for products with a big price tag because they often yield a large profit margin. Beginners are not advised to take this route, however. Why? Because you can wave goodbye to that large profit margin if you only have a small stock purchase budget to work with.

You need to buy in bulk from the manufacturer if you hope to knock down the price and increase your profit margin. Going for low-ticket items will allow you to negotiate with the manufacturer, as you’ll be buying hundreds of things rather than tens of them. Buy products that match your buying power, and then move up the ladder from there.

“If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Don’t play the undercutting game

Many entrepreneurs build their business by undercutting the competition. That’s not a good strategy for a budding business, because your budget and sales volume probably won’t allow for it. You’ll be competing with the big boys (sometimes even Amazon themselves) who buy in vast quantities and therefore have very favorable buying and shipping costs.

It would be better if you instead focused on competing on quality of service rather than price. Feel free to knock yourself out in the undercutting game later, once you can afford your warehouse.

4. Avoid branded products

It’s challenging to make a profit out of selling branded products, such as Apple or Nike. The game of branded goods is exceptionally competitive, and you’ll quickly find yourself in the deep end — just like if you compete on price.

While there is a chance you can stumble across branded goods on clearance, even these will be difficult to get rid of on Amazon. It would be better if you instead spent time developing your business brand.

5. Avoid cheap imitations

Don’t be fooled by Chinese factories on Alibaba that claim to sell branded goods. They’re usually cheap knock-offs that’ll only hurt your seller rating on Amazon. It’s no secret that China produces many imitations, and you don’t want to risk being caught up in a criminal case.

Some of the most sought-after fake products are electronics. Ask yourself if you’re going to risk your imitation product blowing up in the face of your customers is worth the extra profit margin.

Big brands are also aware of the fact that factory workers in China are tempted to sneak out a few iPhones to sell for their private gain. Naturally, the companies monitor these factories to make sure that doesn’t happen.

6. Put your money where your mouth is

Anyone who’ve scrolled through the job listings on sites like Craigslist will know that there is an abundance of offers that are too good to be true. Work from home and make all the money in the world with no up-front investment.

Guess what? Cliches like “it takes money to make money” and “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” are all true. Launching a business on Amazon will require you to budget for your products, shipping of your products, your Amazon seller account, product photography, graphic design, online marketing, and other expenses related to running a business.

7. Don’t do everything yourself

It can be tempting to save money by taking your product photos, designing your logo, create your Facebook ads, and filing your accounts. After all, there are loads of free YouTube videos on how to do these things yourself. Don’t do it.

Chances are the result will scream amateur hour. Your friends might be impressed, but your customers won’t be. Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on your business and not in it. If you can’t afford to hire professionals to accomplish these tasks for you, then wait until you can. Your time is better spent working in your field of expertise.

“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.” – Jeff Bezos

8. Commit to lifelong learning

If you think industries are changing rapidly out there in the real world, then wait until you learn about online businesses. Reading this article is just the start of your learning curve.

Amazon is just a platform, but even so, there are many things you have to stay on top of. You have to know about carving out a niche, ranking well on Amazon, advertising your products across social media channels, and improving your online reputation.

Never stop learning because the landscape is changing every year, if not every day. Make sure to read up on basic Amazon business tutorials, and subscribe to relevant blogs to stay up to date.

Starting a business on Amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than starting a business from scratch. The online platform is already built for you, and Amazon has warehouses in which to store your goods. It’s possible to do it from home with a laptop and an Internet connection — but you need capital to get your business off the ground.

Have you thought about or launched a business on Amazon? If so, let us know what your experience is down below!

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7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

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5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

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Millennial Multi-Millionaires Share Their Best 6 Tips on Starting a Successful Company

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It’s been known that millennials get a bad rep for being lazy and feeling as though they deserve success without putting in the work. This isn’t the case for Santiago Nestares Lampo and Benedict Dohmen. Both Santiago and Benedict are millennial multi-millionaires at the ripe age of 21.

The two friends had been coding until the late hours of the night while attending Dartmouth College. While working late into the night, they discovered a common problem, they both had aching backs.

Instead of brushing it off and pushing through the pain, the millennials decided to do something about it and ended up developing a pillow to help them sit with better posture and experience little to no back pain, thus the start of their million dollar brand.

Since expanding the back pain brand to 25 products and 8 figures in revenue, the two have applied these six tips to continue to expand their business:

1. Vision

Every great idea starts with a vision. For their company, Benedict and Santiago listened to what their customers said right from the start. They didn’t want to be another company churning out products for the heck of it.

Just because you think your customers will like a product doesn’t mean that they will. You need to make sure that when you’re creating a product or adding products to your current line that you ask your customers what they want. This is will help to create a product that people will actually want, saving you tons of headaches.

2. Engineer Profitability From The Beginning

While there are successful companies who got their start from venture capitalists, this doesn’t mean this is the case for all companies and certainly not the Benitago Group.

They wanted to know if they would be profitable from the beginning because it can be hard to measure when you’re using someone’s money. When you use someone else’s money, you may have to make a decision that brings in capital for the short term but isn’t beneficial for the long term growth of your company.

To grow their company, they also haven’t taken out a penny for themselves. They firmly believe in the concept of investing everything you make back into the company. This is paramount to fast growth as they’ve achieved it with Benitago Group.

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

3. Direct Impact

For Benedict and Santiago they wanted their company to have a direct impact right from the beginning. Money was a part of their success but it wasn’t what was driving the duo.

Combined with their vision, they wanted to start a company that would have a direct impact on millions of people. By creating products they’re constantly refining and going directly to the consumer, they can have a direct impact on people’s lives.

When you start your company, are you doing it to make money or are you doing it to help others? While the money is good, if you only start your company for the money and it gets rocky, you’re more apt to quit because you won’t care enough to stick with your company through the bad times. Money is bipartisan of any successful company.

If you build a product that can impact millions, the money will come.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

It wouldn’t be a smart idea to make decisions for your company without backing it up with rational information. Benedict and Santiago run their company like a startup firm instead of Corporate America where ideas have to pass through the ranks and can take weeks or even months before being implemented.

When you decide to track the statistics on your company, you’re able to get a sense of what move you should make next. Your emotions won’t be attached to your decisions because they will be backed up with logic and economic rationale.

5. Focus

As you grow, many distractions come along in terms of other business areas to expand to, etc. Dohmen and Nestares have both received many requests for consulting from smaller private companies to big conglomerates such as P&G, even at consulting rates far higher than top consulting firms like McKinsey. However, they’ve turned all such requests down with a commitment to focus all their energy on building Benitago Group.

There comes a point in any successful business where there won’t be enough time in the day. You have to decide what your focus is going to be on. The decision on what to focus on will ultimately come down to, “Am I growing my business?” If you’re not growing your business, the task isn’t worth your time.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

6. Strong Work Ethic

Benedict and Santiago don’t believe in the typical 9-5 work ethic. They mostly work 7 days a week from morning until the late evening. They expect full commitment from anyone who works for them.

Within their company, people who perform also get rewarded accordingly. It’s the perfect environment for the driven individuals who want to place a bet on themselves and want to see what they’re able to accomplish. The goal is to make people feel more human by giving them all the freedom and trust to achieve their potential.

By working extra hours per week, it allows them to get a leg up on the competition. If you want to start a multi-eight figure and beyond company, you can’t expect to work the same hours as everyone else and become successful.

A strong work ethic will take you to wherever you desire. Nothing can stop the person who has a strong work ethic with the resilience to overcome failure. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re willing to work smarter and harder than your competition, you will become successful.

Starting multi-million dollar companies with these tips should be simpler. Nonetheless, it’s not easy and at times you’ll want to give up. If you continue at it and continue to grind day after day, year after year, you can accomplish amazing things. Age knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or sixty-five!

What’s the best tip for success you’ve heard? Share it with us below!

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Why Smart People Think Beyond Reason to Make Powerful Decisions

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How long has it been since you’ve had a tough decision to make at work? I bet it happens regularly, if it is not on a daily basis. Sure, making decisions can be exhilarating, but it can also be draining. Sometimes dreadful.

Your pulse accelerates, you start to sweat, your mind jumps from one point to the next, hoping to settle on something. You really want to make the right decision for you, for your team, for your organization. But often times, it can be a tough call. You wish you had the perfect step-by-step recipe to get to the right decision. (more…)

Ginette Gagnon is a certified Team Performance Coach and holds a Masters in Management from Montreal, Canada. She works with entrepreneurs, high-potential executives and management teams around the world making her clients athletes in their respective professional discipline.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ian Williams

    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Informative piece, Aaron! I especially liked the part about including your personal story and how this can help you establish credibility.

    • Aaron Force

      Mar 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Ian. The one thing that EVERYONE has is a story. Even if someone has dirt for money or nothing to show for their life they have a set of experiences that they can learn from and share with others. To be honest, that was the ONLY thing I had going for me when I started down this new road. Thanks again and I really appreciate your input

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8 Tips for Launching a Business on Amazon

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Launching a business on Amazon can either seem like a breeze or the most daunting goal you’ve ever set for yourself. Neither is entirely true, but it’s safer to think the latter than the former. The market is indeed very competitive, but it’s by no means a gargantuan task to get you started. While there are comprehensive guides available that’ll walk you through each step (see below), there are a few things you should be aware of before you take the plunge.

Here are 8 tips for launching a business on Amazon:

1. Take one step at a time

It’s important to take it one step at a time when it comes to building your business on Amazon. The key to a happy life, according to psychological studies, is to have low expectations. That’s not to say that your ambitions shouldn’t be sky-high. Things will take time.

For example, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business on Amazon won’t be either. Fortunately, there are handy online guides that’ll teach you how to build your empire step by step, even if you’re on a budget.

2. Invest in low-ticket products

It’s tempting to go for products with a big price tag because they often yield a large profit margin. Beginners are not advised to take this route, however. Why? Because you can wave goodbye to that large profit margin if you only have a small stock purchase budget to work with.

You need to buy in bulk from the manufacturer if you hope to knock down the price and increase your profit margin. Going for low-ticket items will allow you to negotiate with the manufacturer, as you’ll be buying hundreds of things rather than tens of them. Buy products that match your buying power, and then move up the ladder from there.

“If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Don’t play the undercutting game

Many entrepreneurs build their business by undercutting the competition. That’s not a good strategy for a budding business, because your budget and sales volume probably won’t allow for it. You’ll be competing with the big boys (sometimes even Amazon themselves) who buy in vast quantities and therefore have very favorable buying and shipping costs.

It would be better if you instead focused on competing on quality of service rather than price. Feel free to knock yourself out in the undercutting game later, once you can afford your warehouse.

4. Avoid branded products

It’s challenging to make a profit out of selling branded products, such as Apple or Nike. The game of branded goods is exceptionally competitive, and you’ll quickly find yourself in the deep end — just like if you compete on price.

While there is a chance you can stumble across branded goods on clearance, even these will be difficult to get rid of on Amazon. It would be better if you instead spent time developing your business brand.

5. Avoid cheap imitations

Don’t be fooled by Chinese factories on Alibaba that claim to sell branded goods. They’re usually cheap knock-offs that’ll only hurt your seller rating on Amazon. It’s no secret that China produces many imitations, and you don’t want to risk being caught up in a criminal case.

Some of the most sought-after fake products are electronics. Ask yourself if you’re going to risk your imitation product blowing up in the face of your customers is worth the extra profit margin.

Big brands are also aware of the fact that factory workers in China are tempted to sneak out a few iPhones to sell for their private gain. Naturally, the companies monitor these factories to make sure that doesn’t happen.

6. Put your money where your mouth is

Anyone who’ve scrolled through the job listings on sites like Craigslist will know that there is an abundance of offers that are too good to be true. Work from home and make all the money in the world with no up-front investment.

Guess what? Cliches like “it takes money to make money” and “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” are all true. Launching a business on Amazon will require you to budget for your products, shipping of your products, your Amazon seller account, product photography, graphic design, online marketing, and other expenses related to running a business.

7. Don’t do everything yourself

It can be tempting to save money by taking your product photos, designing your logo, create your Facebook ads, and filing your accounts. After all, there are loads of free YouTube videos on how to do these things yourself. Don’t do it.

Chances are the result will scream amateur hour. Your friends might be impressed, but your customers won’t be. Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on your business and not in it. If you can’t afford to hire professionals to accomplish these tasks for you, then wait until you can. Your time is better spent working in your field of expertise.

“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.” – Jeff Bezos

8. Commit to lifelong learning

If you think industries are changing rapidly out there in the real world, then wait until you learn about online businesses. Reading this article is just the start of your learning curve.

Amazon is just a platform, but even so, there are many things you have to stay on top of. You have to know about carving out a niche, ranking well on Amazon, advertising your products across social media channels, and improving your online reputation.

Never stop learning because the landscape is changing every year, if not every day. Make sure to read up on basic Amazon business tutorials, and subscribe to relevant blogs to stay up to date.

Starting a business on Amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than starting a business from scratch. The online platform is already built for you, and Amazon has warehouses in which to store your goods. It’s possible to do it from home with a laptop and an Internet connection — but you need capital to get your business off the ground.

Have you thought about or launched a business on Amazon? If so, let us know what your experience is down below!

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7 Skills That Will Make You a Successful Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is all about fitting into various roles and standing as a potential leader to roll in a successful business. What it requires to become an entrepreneur is assessed differently by different people across the globe. Some consider passion as the primary quality, while others take selflessness as a measure. Regardless of this, entrepreneurship is a result of the innate desire to make a change for the better. This desire, when characterized with certain crucial skills, will bring a successful entrepreneur to life.

There are about 400 million entrepreneurs in the world and to stand out from the crowd, here is a list of key skills that an entrepreneur should possess:

1. Thinking outside of the box

Entrepreneurship signifies a creative approach towards work. Successful entrepreneurs think outside of the box and are adept at finding possibilities and value in places where others have lost hope.

In simple words, they begin their journey from where the world stops thinking. Almost anyone can start a business, but turning the tables and creating something out of nothing; that’s how an entrepreneurs mind works.

2. Excellent communication skills

A major part of your business journey will involve communicating and interacting with more and more people. Be it your investors, customers, or your employees, what and how you convey your message to them plays a great role in determining your success as an entrepreneur.

In addition, communication skills also include your potential as a listener. The more you are skilled to listen to others, the better you become at communicating your thoughts and ideas to the crowd. This exchange of ideas and thoughts, in turn, helps to step-up the ladder of success.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

3. Power to flip failure into success

Leading a business isn’t a cake walk, and the ups and downs are its never-ending parts. A crucial skill for an entrepreneur is to be prepared to stay calm in failures and take those times as opportunities to become better. They should learn to carve their mindsets to bring the best out of the worst.

4. Leadership qualities

Running a business is not just about monitoring the sales and profits, but it is more about leading a diversely skilled workforce to put their abilities to best use. True entrepreneurs possess exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead by example. They are self-driven and act as sources of motivation and inspiration for others.

This way they help in building a potential team by guiding them throughout their projects. Further empathy, passion, the ability to support their co-workers and a desire to keep learning are some of the entrepreneurial leadership qualities that one should possess to become a successful leader.   

5. Potential to change hats – ‘multitask’

Entrepreneurs are their own bosses, and being your own boss implies handling multiple tasks single-handedly. From the pettiest issue to something serious, everything has to be looked at by an entrepreneur.

The key skill of a successful entrepreneur is changing hats swiftly and transitioning from one role to the other without making a big deal of it. You may also call this as ‘organizational skill’- a skill that entrepreneurs should possess to manage and organize multiple tasks without being overwhelmed to streamline business operations.  

6. Money-management skills

How you manage your financial ins and outs matters a great deal in your success as an entrepreneur. According to recent studies, 29% of startups that failed stated ‘out of cash’ as their reason for it.

Entrepreneurs need to be well-versed in knowing how much, when, where, and why they are spending money. Keeping an accurate analysis of all your expenses is another crucial skill entrepreneurs should be adept at.

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

7. Ability to take calculated risks

One of the many qualities that contribute to running a successful venture is the ability to take calculated risks. Whether it is making a new investment or seeking a loan, entrepreneurs need to assess if their next step would bring a change for better or turn into a huge loss for their business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that taking risks is a part and parcel of their life. Hence, they know that in what circumstances taking chances will be beneficial to them.

If reading out all those skills made you resonate with your personality, then tighten up your shoe-lace to run the entrepreneurial race with the world.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group once said: “No two successful entrepreneurs are the same.” Hence, there’s a lot more to explore to set your future as a entrepreneur.

You need to find your way towards success, but the seven skills mentioned above are what you can use as the base or foundation to proceed further.

Which one of the above skills resonates most with you to succeed as an entrepreneur?

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5 Motivating Tips for Mompreneurs to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a woman entrepreneur may be one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but being a mompreneur (mom and entrepreneur) is more so. You have to live two demanding roles, that of a mother and an entrepreneur, simultaneously.

Choosing between breastfeeding a baby and taking an urgent client call is never easy. It may bring you down on your knees sometimes, urging you to trade one dream for the other. Nonetheless, you must hold on! Many successful businesswomen believe you can balance motherhood and entrepreneurship perfectly.

As you can’t give up contributing to the household income, you must find a way to balance the two roles. Here are five tips that will prove helpful:

1. Keep Honing Your Time Management Skills

As you will need to live a double life, you have to function at your maximum efficiency almost 24/7. Without impeccable time management skills, you will be wasting the time you don’t have. So, you need to keep improving your time management skills forever.

You should have a well-planned daily schedule every day, even on weekends. Also, make sure to plan your next day the day before. Thus, you will be able to distribute your time to all the tasks at hand. Make a to-do list using a planner that suits you.

How much time and energy will you require for completing a particular task? Will you have enough energy left to tend to the subsequent responsibility? Consider these two factors when planning the day. However, know that you can’t get it all done, and that is okay. No one can do it all to perfection. Perfectionism can be disastrous. That’s why you need to set realistic goals and have realistic expectations as well.

If you try to do it all yourself, you will probably end up messing it up and putting everyone else under a lot of stress. Because of this, include only the amount of tasks that are humanly possible to handle in a day, both, as a mother and an entrepreneur.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” – Stephen R. Covey

2. Avoid Mom-Guilt at All Costs

For many women entrepreneurs, mom-guilt is the biggest concern. Sometimes, you may not have the time to attend a soccer match on account of a string of important business meetings, or you may not be able to make time to bake cookies.

No one wants to flaunt dirty dishes and messy floors. However, all moms have kids that disobey or get in all sorts of trouble; and there’s always a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner. Even most full-time moms are unable to make it to every soccer game or bake cookies. Your life as a mompreneur isn’t going to be any different.

Guilt is a toxic emotion that can impair your performance on all fronts. However, as all your struggles are in your head, it is up to you to learn to say no to mom-guilt. Getting rid of mom guilt is not easy, but it is doable. The moment you stop thinking about it, you will not feel guilty as a mom nor as an entrepreneur.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

As mentioned in the first point, you can’t do it all. That’s why you should delegate personal as well as professional responsibilities to others.

For example, if you need some mommy time, you can hand over a few of your entrepreneurial duties to your deputy for the day. You can also delegate some responsibilities to your deputies on a daily basis. This will allow you to have more family time or concentrate on the most crucial tasks at work.

On the family front, you can get help from your partner. Talk to your better half about how he can help you. Chances are he will have a full-time job too. So, you will need to sit down and figure out how to share chores and parenting duties.

You can also have an extended help network from other family members and friends. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help you are getting from your partner or other family members. A simple “thank you” after they have put the kids to bed can go a long way.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Learn to Roll with It

Leading the life of a mompreneur is often messy and unpredictable. Despite your perfect planning, things may spiral out of control occasionally. You will fail to meet your daily goals from time to time, even though they are realistic. Being a mompreneur isn’t always glamorous.

You have to learn to roll with the punches life throws at you. Accept that you will miss a deadline occasionally or have your baby spit-up on your blouse while attending a client call. Once you accept this reality, you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Doing this will make not only your life easier, but also of those around you. Remember, acceptance is the key to professional and personal success.

5. Mompreneurs Need Me-Time Too

One can easily get lost in their attempt to find balance between being a mother and an entrepreneur. If you are working from home, the lack of separation between these two roles often makes it difficult to set aside some me-time.

However, you can’t afford to compromise your mental or physical health. You not only need enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to keep you going, but also solace whenever time permits. You can take up a hobby, visit a nearby spa or relax for a few minutes while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Just make sure to do it regularly. Make time for self-care in your busy schedule.

Being a mompreneur is no easy task. From keeping your time management skills up-to-date to setting aside some me-time, these five tips will help you become a successful mother as well as an entrepreneur. They will help you create a balance between these two critical roles.

Are you a mompreneur? What did you do to set up a successful business while changing diapers? Share your experiences in your comments.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Millennial Multi-Millionaires Share Their Best 6 Tips on Starting a Successful Company

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It’s been known that millennials get a bad rep for being lazy and feeling as though they deserve success without putting in the work. This isn’t the case for Santiago Nestares Lampo and Benedict Dohmen. Both Santiago and Benedict are millennial multi-millionaires at the ripe age of 21.

The two friends had been coding until the late hours of the night while attending Dartmouth College. While working late into the night, they discovered a common problem, they both had aching backs.

Instead of brushing it off and pushing through the pain, the millennials decided to do something about it and ended up developing a pillow to help them sit with better posture and experience little to no back pain, thus the start of their million dollar brand.

Since expanding the back pain brand to 25 products and 8 figures in revenue, the two have applied these six tips to continue to expand their business:

1. Vision

Every great idea starts with a vision. For their company, Benedict and Santiago listened to what their customers said right from the start. They didn’t want to be another company churning out products for the heck of it.

Just because you think your customers will like a product doesn’t mean that they will. You need to make sure that when you’re creating a product or adding products to your current line that you ask your customers what they want. This is will help to create a product that people will actually want, saving you tons of headaches.

2. Engineer Profitability From The Beginning

While there are successful companies who got their start from venture capitalists, this doesn’t mean this is the case for all companies and certainly not the Benitago Group.

They wanted to know if they would be profitable from the beginning because it can be hard to measure when you’re using someone’s money. When you use someone else’s money, you may have to make a decision that brings in capital for the short term but isn’t beneficial for the long term growth of your company.

To grow their company, they also haven’t taken out a penny for themselves. They firmly believe in the concept of investing everything you make back into the company. This is paramount to fast growth as they’ve achieved it with Benitago Group.

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

3. Direct Impact

For Benedict and Santiago they wanted their company to have a direct impact right from the beginning. Money was a part of their success but it wasn’t what was driving the duo.

Combined with their vision, they wanted to start a company that would have a direct impact on millions of people. By creating products they’re constantly refining and going directly to the consumer, they can have a direct impact on people’s lives.

When you start your company, are you doing it to make money or are you doing it to help others? While the money is good, if you only start your company for the money and it gets rocky, you’re more apt to quit because you won’t care enough to stick with your company through the bad times. Money is bipartisan of any successful company.

If you build a product that can impact millions, the money will come.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

It wouldn’t be a smart idea to make decisions for your company without backing it up with rational information. Benedict and Santiago run their company like a startup firm instead of Corporate America where ideas have to pass through the ranks and can take weeks or even months before being implemented.

When you decide to track the statistics on your company, you’re able to get a sense of what move you should make next. Your emotions won’t be attached to your decisions because they will be backed up with logic and economic rationale.

5. Focus

As you grow, many distractions come along in terms of other business areas to expand to, etc. Dohmen and Nestares have both received many requests for consulting from smaller private companies to big conglomerates such as P&G, even at consulting rates far higher than top consulting firms like McKinsey. However, they’ve turned all such requests down with a commitment to focus all their energy on building Benitago Group.

There comes a point in any successful business where there won’t be enough time in the day. You have to decide what your focus is going to be on. The decision on what to focus on will ultimately come down to, “Am I growing my business?” If you’re not growing your business, the task isn’t worth your time.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

6. Strong Work Ethic

Benedict and Santiago don’t believe in the typical 9-5 work ethic. They mostly work 7 days a week from morning until the late evening. They expect full commitment from anyone who works for them.

Within their company, people who perform also get rewarded accordingly. It’s the perfect environment for the driven individuals who want to place a bet on themselves and want to see what they’re able to accomplish. The goal is to make people feel more human by giving them all the freedom and trust to achieve their potential.

By working extra hours per week, it allows them to get a leg up on the competition. If you want to start a multi-eight figure and beyond company, you can’t expect to work the same hours as everyone else and become successful.

A strong work ethic will take you to wherever you desire. Nothing can stop the person who has a strong work ethic with the resilience to overcome failure. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re willing to work smarter and harder than your competition, you will become successful.

Starting multi-million dollar companies with these tips should be simpler. Nonetheless, it’s not easy and at times you’ll want to give up. If you continue at it and continue to grind day after day, year after year, you can accomplish amazing things. Age knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or sixty-five!

What’s the best tip for success you’ve heard? Share it with us below!

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