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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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Entrepreneurs

3 Principles Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

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When it comes to being an entrepreneur, there is often no “roadmap” or “blueprint” to get you exactly where you want to go, especially if you are just starting out. When I first began my entrepreneurial journey, I remember always trying to figure out what the “perfect” move was. I kept looking for the one thing that would make me massively successful right away. Instead, I learned that there is rarely one move that gets you where you want to be all at once. Most of the time, it’s a series of smaller steps that add up to your ultimate goal over time.

Sure, you will mess up at some point along the way, but all that matters is how you adjust and move forward. One strategy that can help you speed up the process is by learning from other more seasoned entrepreneurs and then applying those lessons to your own path.

Below are 3 key lessons that can help you put yourself in the best position to succeed as an entrepreneur:

1. Focus on What Actually Matters

As an entrepreneur, you are constantly bombarded by endless tasks, goals, people and problems that all seem to need attention at the same time. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Most people will try to balance everything at once, and as a result, they rarely get anything meaningful done.

The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, most of the problems you face do not really matter as much as you think they do. There will always be an unhappy customer, employees will fail at times or the product or service that you originally created may change. That is just part of the game. All that matters in those situations is how you move forward. If you get emotional, stressed out, and upset over every problem, you will never be able to move fast enough to overcome them. Eventually, they will eat you up.

Instead, you have to have the mindset of expecting things to go wrong. Understand that problems are inevitable and the faster you can identify the ones that matter, the faster you will be able to move forward. For instance, spending days debating a small design change in a new app is not important if you have not yet determined if there is a product/market fit first.

In other words, if you do not know if there is demand for what you are building, small design issues on the product itself should not be what you focus on. No successful entrepreneur got to where they are because they solved every little problem that they were faced with. They were just able to solve enough of the problems that mattered most in the long-run.

“Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines.” – Robert Schuller

2. Learn to be Self-Aware

You have to know yourself before you can be successful. Time is money and speed does matter, but making sure your business aligns with who you are trumps everything. Building a business around something you do not enjoy or are not good at is a losing battle no matter how fast you move.

As an entrepreneur especially, it is critical to know what you are passionate about. What would you actually like to do if you could do it all day? What are you best at? When you are able to understand those things and can combine them into something other people value, that is what makes you unstoppable.

This is not about loving what you do so it “doesn’t feel like work,” it is about loving what you do so you have the will to push past every obstacle that comes your way. Loving what you do makes the business worth it to you even when every external voice is telling you to stop. If you do not love it, you will eventually burn out. Plus, you will have wasted a lot of time going through the motions of doing something you resent, instead of building an empire based on something you love.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to anyone else is a complete waste of time, but we have all done it at some point in our lives. You think you should have that car or have received that funding or deserve that house. There’s nothing wrong with admiring a nice car or beautiful house, but comparing your life to someone else’s takes energy away from your own goals and only slows you down.

When you are just starting out, your time and energy are your biggest assets. Spending them looking at what other people have is wasting resources that you could be using to build your own dreams. That is why it’s important to understand what you want in life. Are you looking for short-term gains or long-term wealth? Do you want to have a job or own a business?

There is no right or wrong answer, it just comes down to who you are as a person. Once you figure out what you want, you have to be laser focused on whatever will get you there. Odds are, very few people in the world will want the same things as you, therefore, comparing yourself to them is useless. It wastes time and energy, creates distractions, and causes far more problems than solutions.

“The only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.”

Wrapping Up

The specific tactics to be successful are different in every business. The principles of successful entrepreneurs, however, are very similar across the board. You have to be able to recognize what matters and what doesn’t. You have to know yourself and understand what you are best at in life.

Knowing yourself will allow you to build a sustainable business that is aligned with who you are. Plus, it will also help you figure out what positions you need to hire for first to compensate for your weaknesses.

Most of all, you have to avoid comparing yourself to anyone else no matter how green the grass on the other side looks. Doing so is easy but is also detrimental to your own success. Time is our biggest asset. It’s a finite resource that we can never get more of thus the more time you spend envying other people the less you will have to build what you want in life.

I will admit, these principles are not always easy to apply. When it comes down to it, you will still make mistakes along the way. That is just part of human nature. Nonetheless, if you can start understanding these principles now, you will put yourself in a much stronger position to succeed and have a better chance of living life on your terms in the future.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on most and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Improving Your Brand Visually

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Visual branding is one of the key assets when it comes to presenting yourself to your audience. This way you are letting them know who you are and how they should perceive you. Let’s say that your page has a whole bunch of photos from your office showing how everything works behind the scenes, this will tell your visitors that you pay a lot of attention to making your employees satisfied. Or, if you use a lot of images of nature, along with some motivational quotes, your audience will see you as someone who wants to encourage and inspire others. The fact that images say a lot is why Instagram has become so popular as a business platform.

Basically, it is essential that you use visuals in order to present abstract ideas to your audience. Nothing shows what kind of a business you are better than the visuals that you implement and incorporate. It’s also all about color and font choices, text size, and the general feeling that your design brings about. Not only is all this essential for presenting your brand, it is also an area where you mustn’t make the wrong choices, as they will make your brand look unprofessional and leave a bad taste in the mouth of a visitor who comes to you hoping they would find a solution.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when trying to visually improve your brand:

1. Make an emotional connection with your audience

One of the essential ways of leaving an impression on your users which is going to last more than a day is to make an emotional connection with them. If you manage to do this properly, you will actually make them find pleasure in commenting on, liking, and sharing your content. This is where visuals kick in. The fact is that people are visual beings, and this kind of stimulation is what they respond to the most. So, if you present your users with images that will affect them, they will make the association between that emotion and your brand, and become loyal to you.

There are various visual elements that incite either positive or negative emotions. These are color, words, texture, style, shape, and usability. For example, if you focus on using symmetrical elements in your images, people will perceive a sense of order. On the other hand, if you focus on the opposite, you will incite feelings of uneasiness and chaos. If you are aiming at making people feel optimistic and happy, then you should think about using warm colors such as yellow, red, and orange. There is also the difference between close-up photos and those taken from a distance. The former feels more intimate, while the latter incites a feeling of isolation.

What you need to know is that happiness is the main factor which makes people share your content on social media networks. Therefore, you should focus on inciting this emotion and making your content go viral as a result.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals are everything

As we have ascertained, visuals are essential when it comes to your brand. An important feature of your visuals needs to be consistency. You want your users to feel like they have a relationship with a coherent brand, not a disconnected mess which they don’t know how to relate to.

Make sure that all your channels equally represent who you are. For starters, pick a color palette that is going to be unique to your brand design. Everything starts with your logo image. The way that it is colored and designed is going to impact the rest of your images and other design elements. Every post that you share should contain a color that brings your logo in mind. For example, Coca-Cola focuses on red and white, and you will notice that all of their posts include these colors.

When talking about your logo, it is essential that it is the same on every network that you use. It’s a representation of your company, and generally, the first thing that comes to mind when people think about your business. So be consistent, and make it memorable.

As for your images, consistency comes down even to using the same filters. If every photo has a different filter, your content will seem like it doesn’t really have a proper organization, and it will feel like your brand is a visual mess. Determine which filters fit your images the most, and then stick to them.

3. Use a different kind of visual for different audiences

Consistency is essential, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot use different kinds of visual elements in order to attract different kinds of audiences. Determine which kind of content works the best for a particular product or service that you are offering. Cause, in the end, different people prefer different forms of visual content. It can be photos, GIFs, infographics, macros, comics, videos, slideshows, quote cards, graphical data, memes, etc. Post them on different social networks and determine which are best suited for each platform according to the response.

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

So, as you have realized by now, your visual brand identity is more than just the images you use. It is, in fact, the sum of all your visual elements put up together for your audience to see. When they are grouped like this, they tell a story about who you are. What is essential is that this story can either acknowledge what your core values are or hinder them. Remember to remain consistent throughout all your channels, as if your brand is a single person dealing with all your users.

How are you making sure people know your brand and have positive feelings about it? Let us know some of your struggles or tips in the comments below!

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Age Is Just a Number: 7 Young Innovative Entrepreneurs That Made a Difference

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In today’s world, we’re surrounded by innovators and people who want to change the world. Whether it’s about the IT industry, medicine or just giving back to the community, the one thing you can be sure we’ll never run out of, are ideas and I’m sure you have some too. That being said, ideas sometimes are just not enough. What you need to have in your mind is a path. A clear path to get to where you can turn your idea into a reality successfully.

And that’s exactly what these 7 entrepreneurs have done at a very young age. If you were looking for some motivation to get yourself on track, this is it:

1. Jack Kim

At 16, Jack started Benelab, a non-profit Internet search startup. Jack was born in Korea but moved to the USA when he was just in sixth grade. During his freshman year of high school, Kim got into making websites to generate money online. After some practice, he decided to use these methods of generating money online for charity. That’s when he founded Benelab, with six other high school students.

A non-profit search engine designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Just like Google or Yahoo, advertisers pay money to display their advertisements on their websites. And all the income goes towards something good. Although Kim was unsure where Benelab would lead after high school, and is target of $100,000, you can see now that it’s still up and running!

2. Milan Kordestani

Milan, 19, is the CEO and Founder of Milan Farms. He established Milan Farms in early 2015 aiming to create an organic system to raise poultry and grow 100 % pure saffron. How it started was that Milan just wanted consumers to have a pure and honest option when it came to choosing products that went into their body.

He intends to provide an honest option to the consumer with complete transparency as to how the poultry was raised and how it comes to you. Although it’s still just a startup, Milan Farms has expanded to three separate farms distributing saffron worldwide and eggs all across the west coast.

Milan is currently focused on innovating and researching hydroponic, and aquaponics systems with growing saffron and experimenting on different salinity levels to ensure purity and quality of their crops. Now, that’s not something you see young kids doing every day, is it?

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

3. Catherine Cook

At the young age of 15, Catherine Cook and her brother Dave, 17 came up with the idea of developing a free interactive online version of a yearbook. They were flipping through their high school yearbook and were not able to get any useful information to find out if they recognized anybody. But it ended up as a terrible tool!

So they decided on making a much better tool to know people by putting it online. With the help of her elder brother Geoff, who is 11 years older than Catherine and was a budding web entrepreneur back then, they created MyYearbook.com in 2005, a social networking site based in Skillman, N.J.

They merged with Quepasa in 2011 which was a $100 million deal, $18 million cash and the rest stock. As yearbooks didn’t matter outside the US, the combined company was renamed to MeetMe to make their social discovery platform reach the world! Perhaps the next Mark Zuckerberg?

4. Rachel Zietz

Rachel Zietz founded Gladiator Lacrosse at 13, an online retail store. She was disappointed with the cost, quality and the lack of selection of existing product offerings. Her company was on track to top $1 million in revenue within less than two years of launching. She made a revenue of $10,000 from her equipment at a local tournament. Her sales reached $200,000 in the initial year.

Running her company doesn’t feel like work for her, she takes pleasure in it. Rachel also made it to Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 and Fortune Magazine’s List of Entrepreneurs Under 18. She has also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. So, if you’re having trouble finding clothes you like, why not just build a new brand?

5. Ben Pasternak

Ben, 20, born in Sydney, is the co-founder of the American technology and social media company called Monkey. It was launched in 2016, and acquired by Holla Ltd. in December of 2017. When he was in high school, he created two viral iOS games, Impossible Rush and Impossible Dial. He created Impossible Rush while he was bored in science class at school.

Benjamin Pasternak was described as a young innovator changing the world by Fortune Magazine and was also named one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016. As a teenager who cares about the world, he was included in Crain’s New York Business Magazine ’20 Under 20′ list. His app, Monkey, has been used to make over 1,000,000,000 calls and has over 3,000,000 users!

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky

6. Haile Thomas

When Haile was just 12 years old, she founded the Happy organization. Her father was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 so her mom began researching about how her husband can avoid taking medicines, as diabetes drugs have serious side effects. Haile started watching documentaries on nutrition. She also started cooking vegan meals with her mother. This paid off and her father’s health started improving greatly. This made Haile realize the value of healthy eating.

She then launched Happy, a youth health organization. The Happy Organization provides cooking lessons, informational workshops and summer camps for 6-13 year old kids. Haile Thomas is a vegan chef and youth health advocate. She has given TEDx talks and was even a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address.

7. Ollie Forsyth

Ollie was picked on by bullies in school for being dyslexic. Being bullied can destroy one’s confidence to the point where they want to end it all. On the contrary, Ollie dug deep to explore the energy to beat all the odds and become an entrepreneur. He started his first business, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop, at the age of 13. His shop turned over $18,700 in its first year which has doubled turnover every year! Now, come on, is that not a little motivating?

He co-founded another startup, UniBell – a university platform, where students buy and sell products at the university campuses. At the age of 16, he opened his second online shop, Charmou. Ollie currently has three businesses, an online gift shop Ollie’s Shop, fashion retailer Charmou and a sideline in classic cars.

So, what else?

Well, now it’s your turn. No matter the age, through creativity and innovation, anyone can become a success in business. Challenges can be overcome and the results are amazing as we see in each of the above entrepreneurs’ case. These young entrepreneurs have proved that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age.

Which of these young hustlers do you love the most and why? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads for Hustling Entrepreneurs

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Having been on Facebook for a while, you must have bumped into a couple of ads. And if you think like a true businessman, then you are definitely wondering how you can also put your ads out there. However, simply being able to put up a Facebook advertisement would not cut it, you would need to be able to create ads that are worth it.

To help you out in your attempt to make it big on Facebook advertising, we have come up with this ultimate guide. We hope this can help you get started with advertising with the most effective social media platform for marketing.

What you need to know about Facebook Ad Types

There are many ways on how you can make use of Facebook for advertising your brand. Facebook has come up with a number of different advertising tools that you can use for spreading the word about your brand and your product offerings. Knowledge of these tools will help you strategize what campaigns you can do using Facebook.

Here are the different types of advertisements that you would be able to do on Facebook:

1. Facebook Feeds

These feeds are where you can see posts from your friends, and pages you follow. Users tend to scroll along with this page in search of something interesting. Because of this, Facebook allowed the placement of in-feed ads.

It is a highly-recommendable ad type because a lot of Facebook users really do cross along the feeds, giving a high opportunity to be read. It is actually the first type of Facebook Ad that you should dive into before trying other ad types.

There is also a variety of in-feed ads for you to choose from: a photo post, a video post, or even a carousel post where you can post multiple photos or videos.  Another variety, canvas ads, is a new addition and is only available for mobile. Canvas ads are full-screen ads that are integrated into the Facebook interface, thereby eliminating the need to trigger the opening of a mobile web browser.

There are also lead ads, which allow you to get the email and name of a user to be able to download an e-book or something, but also right into the Facebook ecosystem. Finally, there are offer ads, which can even notify users in their email address that the offer will be expiring soon enough. This ad is free but you can pay to boost it.

“Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.” – Leo Burnett

2. Instant Articles

Instant articles are those content that would normally open an external website, but instead, opens a window from within the Facebook app, and opens it there. Instant articles help you bring website content into Facebook in an efficient manner. Ads can also be placed in the Instant Articles space.

Instant Articles is great in itself because content that would normally require a web browser can now be easily and quickly opened, and without leaving Facebook at that. Facebook allows you to monetize the use of your ad space, which means you can advertise on other page’s instant articles, and you can also earn for allowing other ads on your own instant articles. It is a good idea to learn more about how Facebook instant articles work so you can maximize its potential for advertising.

3. In-stream Videos

If you like playing videos on Facebook, then you should have bumped into video ads somewhere in the middle of a video. These in-stream video ads are usually 15-30 seconds long and may appear before, during, or after watching a video.

There are in-stream video ads that are non-linear, which means that the ad would not stop the playing of the video that the user is actually watching.  In-stream videos are great because it really gets the attention of the audience. It may sound quite irritating, but it really is an effective way to reach out to your potential customers.

4. Audience Network

A network of apps and websites out of Facebook, Audience Network allows you to share Facebook content outside of the platform. With this, you can also tap into the users of other apps and social networking sites.

Audience Network is basically a network of apps and websites that make use of content from Facebook, including ads. With audience network, you will be able to accomplish the following:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Reaching out to your target audience
  • Improving engagement with your target audience
  • Installing apps
  • Playing videos

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” Steve Jobs

5. Messenger Ads

Ads also find their way to the messaging system of Facebook. Facebook messenger can be integrated with messenger bots which can help provide to your potential customers the answer to the following functions:

  • Tell the product offerings of your business.
  • Provide discount coupons
  • Reach out to a potential customer who abandoned his cart

With an ever-increasing user base, messaging apps have in fact surpassed social media apps in number of monthly active users. If you’re looking to start using Facebook Messenger ads, you should take note of the three primary features of Facebook Messenger ads:

  • Messenger Destination – This allows advertisers to make ads that lead people from posts and ads seen in their Facebook Newsfeed into starting a conversation with your page within the Messenger app.
  • Messenger Home Placement – Ads can also be placed in the Messenger homepage, making it more prominent since users immediately see your ads when they open the app. The calls-to-action of Messenger Home Placement ads can be customized and compel users to install your app, shop on your e-commerce site, or get in touch and start a conversation with your page.
  • Sponsored Messages Placement – Considered one of the most straightforward ad types in Messenger, this ad placement actually appears as a message in the Messenger, and is effective in getting the word out about offers and promotions you may currently have.

With a number of different ways to utilize Facebook for advertising purposes, you might end up using the wrong tools for the wrong reasons without doing intensive research first, which may affect your organization. Effectively utilize Facebook Ads for your business with guides like this to help sustain your business’ growth and hit your targets!

What experience have you had using Facebook advertising? Comment below!

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You Don’t Have To Listen To Every Bit Of Career Feedback. Some People Just Don’t Get You And That’s Fine!

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I recently got rejected from what I thought was a fantastic career opportunity. I was told that I was “Not entrepreneurial enough.”

Those that know me well know that it’s probably one of the few things I’m good at. Many of my mentors who I told this story to laughed out loud.

These three words were career feedback and I was always led to believe that to ignore this feedback would be ignorant and stupid.

I pondered that thought for a few days and then had a revelation: “I don’t have to listen to every bit of feedback I get.”

 

Pissed off is a natural first reaction.

That’s how I felt after someone told me I was crap at the very thing I love and have dedicated most of my time to. Our brain wants to be angry and fight back. Our first reaction, though, is often not what we should pay attention to.

“Empty space and time to reflect is how we process career feedback for what it really is: an opinion”

Don’t let your first reaction dominate how you think about the feedback. Maturity that can come at any age will show you to question everything – even your reaction.

 

Some people just don’t get you.

You’re not their type, they don’t like you, you speak a different language or you may have different values. Not everyone is going to get you and what you stand for and that’s okay. In my case, I didn’t connect.

Buying into the circus that is me is not for everyone. If you don’t like vulnerability or breaking comfort zones, then you probably won’t like me.

If you’re not obsessed with big goals, doing the impossible and trying to improve just a little bit every day, then you probably won’t like me.

That’s okay and I forgive you. I don’t have all the answers and I’m far from perfect – like the rest of us.

Learn to accept that some people will never get you and what you’re about.

That realization is how we overcome career feedback that we may not agree with.

 

Sometimes it’s any excuse. The real answer is something different.

Feedback can be disguised by the truth. The truth is maybe there was someone else the whole time and I never had a chance at this career opportunity. Maybe it wasn’t me at all.

Sometimes feedback is given because the real reason is much harder to deliver. It’s not easy to say “Tim, thanks but we hired someone else and you were never in the running.”

Admitting you never even had a chance is something many of us would never want to say. Being brutally honest takes courage, and courage is not everyone’s kind of kebab with garlic sauce on top, sprinkles and chili flakes.

 

We all get rejected.

I nearly forgot this fact. Everyone gets rejected. In fact, right now, someone is being rejected.

Rejection is not limited to you and me; learning to deal with it will only help us, not hinder our ability to achieve success in any field.

“We’ve all got 99 problems and thinking you’re special will only create more pointless thoughts that won’t serve you or your goals”

 

You’re responsible.

The thing about career feedback is that you have to take responsibility. Maybe in my case, I didn’t deliver the message of how obsessed and skilled I am at entrepreneurship. Maybe I could have done a better job at explaining my entrepreneurial background and passion.

It’s highly likely that I am entrepreneurial enough for this career opportunity and that it’s not a lack of skill at play here but a lack of effective communication.

“Responsibility always trumps the blame game and it helps us grow more as a person”

 

There’s always one lesson.

Mine was to develop more skills in strategy.

Let’s stop for one second: I hate the word strategy. The other career feedback I got was to do more strategy yet that’s not a skill of mine and I have no desire to do lots of that in my career.

The key here is that there’s always a lesson from all feedback and it might not be the intended lesson that the giver left you with.

There’s either a great lesson in the feedback or a reminder in the feedback of what you stand for. Don’t let any feedback compromise your values and who you are.

 

You are good enough.

You just have to believe in yourself and eventually, the right opportunity will find you.

Don’t give up your hopes and dreams because of one rejection. Interrupt the story in your head that plays on repeat and focuses on anger towards another person.

Replace that story with thoughts of how you can do better and get to the next opportunity.

Through rejection and bad career feedback, you find your way to what you’ve always wanted. That’s the hack and it works.

I’m off to suck up the rejection and take my own advice. Much respect.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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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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Entrepreneurs

3 Principles Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

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entrepreneurship

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, there is often no “roadmap” or “blueprint” to get you exactly where you want to go, especially if you are just starting out. When I first began my entrepreneurial journey, I remember always trying to figure out what the “perfect” move was. I kept looking for the one thing that would make me massively successful right away. Instead, I learned that there is rarely one move that gets you where you want to be all at once. Most of the time, it’s a series of smaller steps that add up to your ultimate goal over time.

Sure, you will mess up at some point along the way, but all that matters is how you adjust and move forward. One strategy that can help you speed up the process is by learning from other more seasoned entrepreneurs and then applying those lessons to your own path.

Below are 3 key lessons that can help you put yourself in the best position to succeed as an entrepreneur:

1. Focus on What Actually Matters

As an entrepreneur, you are constantly bombarded by endless tasks, goals, people and problems that all seem to need attention at the same time. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Most people will try to balance everything at once, and as a result, they rarely get anything meaningful done.

The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, most of the problems you face do not really matter as much as you think they do. There will always be an unhappy customer, employees will fail at times or the product or service that you originally created may change. That is just part of the game. All that matters in those situations is how you move forward. If you get emotional, stressed out, and upset over every problem, you will never be able to move fast enough to overcome them. Eventually, they will eat you up.

Instead, you have to have the mindset of expecting things to go wrong. Understand that problems are inevitable and the faster you can identify the ones that matter, the faster you will be able to move forward. For instance, spending days debating a small design change in a new app is not important if you have not yet determined if there is a product/market fit first.

In other words, if you do not know if there is demand for what you are building, small design issues on the product itself should not be what you focus on. No successful entrepreneur got to where they are because they solved every little problem that they were faced with. They were just able to solve enough of the problems that mattered most in the long-run.

“Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines.” – Robert Schuller

2. Learn to be Self-Aware

You have to know yourself before you can be successful. Time is money and speed does matter, but making sure your business aligns with who you are trumps everything. Building a business around something you do not enjoy or are not good at is a losing battle no matter how fast you move.

As an entrepreneur especially, it is critical to know what you are passionate about. What would you actually like to do if you could do it all day? What are you best at? When you are able to understand those things and can combine them into something other people value, that is what makes you unstoppable.

This is not about loving what you do so it “doesn’t feel like work,” it is about loving what you do so you have the will to push past every obstacle that comes your way. Loving what you do makes the business worth it to you even when every external voice is telling you to stop. If you do not love it, you will eventually burn out. Plus, you will have wasted a lot of time going through the motions of doing something you resent, instead of building an empire based on something you love.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to anyone else is a complete waste of time, but we have all done it at some point in our lives. You think you should have that car or have received that funding or deserve that house. There’s nothing wrong with admiring a nice car or beautiful house, but comparing your life to someone else’s takes energy away from your own goals and only slows you down.

When you are just starting out, your time and energy are your biggest assets. Spending them looking at what other people have is wasting resources that you could be using to build your own dreams. That is why it’s important to understand what you want in life. Are you looking for short-term gains or long-term wealth? Do you want to have a job or own a business?

There is no right or wrong answer, it just comes down to who you are as a person. Once you figure out what you want, you have to be laser focused on whatever will get you there. Odds are, very few people in the world will want the same things as you, therefore, comparing yourself to them is useless. It wastes time and energy, creates distractions, and causes far more problems than solutions.

“The only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.”

Wrapping Up

The specific tactics to be successful are different in every business. The principles of successful entrepreneurs, however, are very similar across the board. You have to be able to recognize what matters and what doesn’t. You have to know yourself and understand what you are best at in life.

Knowing yourself will allow you to build a sustainable business that is aligned with who you are. Plus, it will also help you figure out what positions you need to hire for first to compensate for your weaknesses.

Most of all, you have to avoid comparing yourself to anyone else no matter how green the grass on the other side looks. Doing so is easy but is also detrimental to your own success. Time is our biggest asset. It’s a finite resource that we can never get more of thus the more time you spend envying other people the less you will have to build what you want in life.

I will admit, these principles are not always easy to apply. When it comes down to it, you will still make mistakes along the way. That is just part of human nature. Nonetheless, if you can start understanding these principles now, you will put yourself in a much stronger position to succeed and have a better chance of living life on your terms in the future.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on most and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Improving Your Brand Visually

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how to visually improve your brand

Visual branding is one of the key assets when it comes to presenting yourself to your audience. This way you are letting them know who you are and how they should perceive you. Let’s say that your page has a whole bunch of photos from your office showing how everything works behind the scenes, this will tell your visitors that you pay a lot of attention to making your employees satisfied. Or, if you use a lot of images of nature, along with some motivational quotes, your audience will see you as someone who wants to encourage and inspire others. The fact that images say a lot is why Instagram has become so popular as a business platform.

Basically, it is essential that you use visuals in order to present abstract ideas to your audience. Nothing shows what kind of a business you are better than the visuals that you implement and incorporate. It’s also all about color and font choices, text size, and the general feeling that your design brings about. Not only is all this essential for presenting your brand, it is also an area where you mustn’t make the wrong choices, as they will make your brand look unprofessional and leave a bad taste in the mouth of a visitor who comes to you hoping they would find a solution.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when trying to visually improve your brand:

1. Make an emotional connection with your audience

One of the essential ways of leaving an impression on your users which is going to last more than a day is to make an emotional connection with them. If you manage to do this properly, you will actually make them find pleasure in commenting on, liking, and sharing your content. This is where visuals kick in. The fact is that people are visual beings, and this kind of stimulation is what they respond to the most. So, if you present your users with images that will affect them, they will make the association between that emotion and your brand, and become loyal to you.

There are various visual elements that incite either positive or negative emotions. These are color, words, texture, style, shape, and usability. For example, if you focus on using symmetrical elements in your images, people will perceive a sense of order. On the other hand, if you focus on the opposite, you will incite feelings of uneasiness and chaos. If you are aiming at making people feel optimistic and happy, then you should think about using warm colors such as yellow, red, and orange. There is also the difference between close-up photos and those taken from a distance. The former feels more intimate, while the latter incites a feeling of isolation.

What you need to know is that happiness is the main factor which makes people share your content on social media networks. Therefore, you should focus on inciting this emotion and making your content go viral as a result.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals are everything

As we have ascertained, visuals are essential when it comes to your brand. An important feature of your visuals needs to be consistency. You want your users to feel like they have a relationship with a coherent brand, not a disconnected mess which they don’t know how to relate to.

Make sure that all your channels equally represent who you are. For starters, pick a color palette that is going to be unique to your brand design. Everything starts with your logo image. The way that it is colored and designed is going to impact the rest of your images and other design elements. Every post that you share should contain a color that brings your logo in mind. For example, Coca-Cola focuses on red and white, and you will notice that all of their posts include these colors.

When talking about your logo, it is essential that it is the same on every network that you use. It’s a representation of your company, and generally, the first thing that comes to mind when people think about your business. So be consistent, and make it memorable.

As for your images, consistency comes down even to using the same filters. If every photo has a different filter, your content will seem like it doesn’t really have a proper organization, and it will feel like your brand is a visual mess. Determine which filters fit your images the most, and then stick to them.

3. Use a different kind of visual for different audiences

Consistency is essential, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot use different kinds of visual elements in order to attract different kinds of audiences. Determine which kind of content works the best for a particular product or service that you are offering. Cause, in the end, different people prefer different forms of visual content. It can be photos, GIFs, infographics, macros, comics, videos, slideshows, quote cards, graphical data, memes, etc. Post them on different social networks and determine which are best suited for each platform according to the response.

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

So, as you have realized by now, your visual brand identity is more than just the images you use. It is, in fact, the sum of all your visual elements put up together for your audience to see. When they are grouped like this, they tell a story about who you are. What is essential is that this story can either acknowledge what your core values are or hinder them. Remember to remain consistent throughout all your channels, as if your brand is a single person dealing with all your users.

How are you making sure people know your brand and have positive feelings about it? Let us know some of your struggles or tips in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

Age Is Just a Number: 7 Young Innovative Entrepreneurs That Made a Difference

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In today’s world, we’re surrounded by innovators and people who want to change the world. Whether it’s about the IT industry, medicine or just giving back to the community, the one thing you can be sure we’ll never run out of, are ideas and I’m sure you have some too. That being said, ideas sometimes are just not enough. What you need to have in your mind is a path. A clear path to get to where you can turn your idea into a reality successfully.

And that’s exactly what these 7 entrepreneurs have done at a very young age. If you were looking for some motivation to get yourself on track, this is it:

1. Jack Kim

At 16, Jack started Benelab, a non-profit Internet search startup. Jack was born in Korea but moved to the USA when he was just in sixth grade. During his freshman year of high school, Kim got into making websites to generate money online. After some practice, he decided to use these methods of generating money online for charity. That’s when he founded Benelab, with six other high school students.

A non-profit search engine designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Just like Google or Yahoo, advertisers pay money to display their advertisements on their websites. And all the income goes towards something good. Although Kim was unsure where Benelab would lead after high school, and is target of $100,000, you can see now that it’s still up and running!

2. Milan Kordestani

Milan, 19, is the CEO and Founder of Milan Farms. He established Milan Farms in early 2015 aiming to create an organic system to raise poultry and grow 100 % pure saffron. How it started was that Milan just wanted consumers to have a pure and honest option when it came to choosing products that went into their body.

He intends to provide an honest option to the consumer with complete transparency as to how the poultry was raised and how it comes to you. Although it’s still just a startup, Milan Farms has expanded to three separate farms distributing saffron worldwide and eggs all across the west coast.

Milan is currently focused on innovating and researching hydroponic, and aquaponics systems with growing saffron and experimenting on different salinity levels to ensure purity and quality of their crops. Now, that’s not something you see young kids doing every day, is it?

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

3. Catherine Cook

At the young age of 15, Catherine Cook and her brother Dave, 17 came up with the idea of developing a free interactive online version of a yearbook. They were flipping through their high school yearbook and were not able to get any useful information to find out if they recognized anybody. But it ended up as a terrible tool!

So they decided on making a much better tool to know people by putting it online. With the help of her elder brother Geoff, who is 11 years older than Catherine and was a budding web entrepreneur back then, they created MyYearbook.com in 2005, a social networking site based in Skillman, N.J.

They merged with Quepasa in 2011 which was a $100 million deal, $18 million cash and the rest stock. As yearbooks didn’t matter outside the US, the combined company was renamed to MeetMe to make their social discovery platform reach the world! Perhaps the next Mark Zuckerberg?

4. Rachel Zietz

Rachel Zietz founded Gladiator Lacrosse at 13, an online retail store. She was disappointed with the cost, quality and the lack of selection of existing product offerings. Her company was on track to top $1 million in revenue within less than two years of launching. She made a revenue of $10,000 from her equipment at a local tournament. Her sales reached $200,000 in the initial year.

Running her company doesn’t feel like work for her, she takes pleasure in it. Rachel also made it to Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 and Fortune Magazine’s List of Entrepreneurs Under 18. She has also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. So, if you’re having trouble finding clothes you like, why not just build a new brand?

5. Ben Pasternak

Ben, 20, born in Sydney, is the co-founder of the American technology and social media company called Monkey. It was launched in 2016, and acquired by Holla Ltd. in December of 2017. When he was in high school, he created two viral iOS games, Impossible Rush and Impossible Dial. He created Impossible Rush while he was bored in science class at school.

Benjamin Pasternak was described as a young innovator changing the world by Fortune Magazine and was also named one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016. As a teenager who cares about the world, he was included in Crain’s New York Business Magazine ’20 Under 20′ list. His app, Monkey, has been used to make over 1,000,000,000 calls and has over 3,000,000 users!

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky

6. Haile Thomas

When Haile was just 12 years old, she founded the Happy organization. Her father was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 so her mom began researching about how her husband can avoid taking medicines, as diabetes drugs have serious side effects. Haile started watching documentaries on nutrition. She also started cooking vegan meals with her mother. This paid off and her father’s health started improving greatly. This made Haile realize the value of healthy eating.

She then launched Happy, a youth health organization. The Happy Organization provides cooking lessons, informational workshops and summer camps for 6-13 year old kids. Haile Thomas is a vegan chef and youth health advocate. She has given TEDx talks and was even a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address.

7. Ollie Forsyth

Ollie was picked on by bullies in school for being dyslexic. Being bullied can destroy one’s confidence to the point where they want to end it all. On the contrary, Ollie dug deep to explore the energy to beat all the odds and become an entrepreneur. He started his first business, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop, at the age of 13. His shop turned over $18,700 in its first year which has doubled turnover every year! Now, come on, is that not a little motivating?

He co-founded another startup, UniBell – a university platform, where students buy and sell products at the university campuses. At the age of 16, he opened his second online shop, Charmou. Ollie currently has three businesses, an online gift shop Ollie’s Shop, fashion retailer Charmou and a sideline in classic cars.

So, what else?

Well, now it’s your turn. No matter the age, through creativity and innovation, anyone can become a success in business. Challenges can be overcome and the results are amazing as we see in each of the above entrepreneurs’ case. These young entrepreneurs have proved that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age.

Which of these young hustlers do you love the most and why? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads for Hustling Entrepreneurs

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Having been on Facebook for a while, you must have bumped into a couple of ads. And if you think like a true businessman, then you are definitely wondering how you can also put your ads out there. However, simply being able to put up a Facebook advertisement would not cut it, you would need to be able to create ads that are worth it.

To help you out in your attempt to make it big on Facebook advertising, we have come up with this ultimate guide. We hope this can help you get started with advertising with the most effective social media platform for marketing.

What you need to know about Facebook Ad Types

There are many ways on how you can make use of Facebook for advertising your brand. Facebook has come up with a number of different advertising tools that you can use for spreading the word about your brand and your product offerings. Knowledge of these tools will help you strategize what campaigns you can do using Facebook.

Here are the different types of advertisements that you would be able to do on Facebook:

1. Facebook Feeds

These feeds are where you can see posts from your friends, and pages you follow. Users tend to scroll along with this page in search of something interesting. Because of this, Facebook allowed the placement of in-feed ads.

It is a highly-recommendable ad type because a lot of Facebook users really do cross along the feeds, giving a high opportunity to be read. It is actually the first type of Facebook Ad that you should dive into before trying other ad types.

There is also a variety of in-feed ads for you to choose from: a photo post, a video post, or even a carousel post where you can post multiple photos or videos.  Another variety, canvas ads, is a new addition and is only available for mobile. Canvas ads are full-screen ads that are integrated into the Facebook interface, thereby eliminating the need to trigger the opening of a mobile web browser.

There are also lead ads, which allow you to get the email and name of a user to be able to download an e-book or something, but also right into the Facebook ecosystem. Finally, there are offer ads, which can even notify users in their email address that the offer will be expiring soon enough. This ad is free but you can pay to boost it.

“Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.” – Leo Burnett

2. Instant Articles

Instant articles are those content that would normally open an external website, but instead, opens a window from within the Facebook app, and opens it there. Instant articles help you bring website content into Facebook in an efficient manner. Ads can also be placed in the Instant Articles space.

Instant Articles is great in itself because content that would normally require a web browser can now be easily and quickly opened, and without leaving Facebook at that. Facebook allows you to monetize the use of your ad space, which means you can advertise on other page’s instant articles, and you can also earn for allowing other ads on your own instant articles. It is a good idea to learn more about how Facebook instant articles work so you can maximize its potential for advertising.

3. In-stream Videos

If you like playing videos on Facebook, then you should have bumped into video ads somewhere in the middle of a video. These in-stream video ads are usually 15-30 seconds long and may appear before, during, or after watching a video.

There are in-stream video ads that are non-linear, which means that the ad would not stop the playing of the video that the user is actually watching.  In-stream videos are great because it really gets the attention of the audience. It may sound quite irritating, but it really is an effective way to reach out to your potential customers.

4. Audience Network

A network of apps and websites out of Facebook, Audience Network allows you to share Facebook content outside of the platform. With this, you can also tap into the users of other apps and social networking sites.

Audience Network is basically a network of apps and websites that make use of content from Facebook, including ads. With audience network, you will be able to accomplish the following:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Reaching out to your target audience
  • Improving engagement with your target audience
  • Installing apps
  • Playing videos

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” Steve Jobs

5. Messenger Ads

Ads also find their way to the messaging system of Facebook. Facebook messenger can be integrated with messenger bots which can help provide to your potential customers the answer to the following functions:

  • Tell the product offerings of your business.
  • Provide discount coupons
  • Reach out to a potential customer who abandoned his cart

With an ever-increasing user base, messaging apps have in fact surpassed social media apps in number of monthly active users. If you’re looking to start using Facebook Messenger ads, you should take note of the three primary features of Facebook Messenger ads:

  • Messenger Destination – This allows advertisers to make ads that lead people from posts and ads seen in their Facebook Newsfeed into starting a conversation with your page within the Messenger app.
  • Messenger Home Placement – Ads can also be placed in the Messenger homepage, making it more prominent since users immediately see your ads when they open the app. The calls-to-action of Messenger Home Placement ads can be customized and compel users to install your app, shop on your e-commerce site, or get in touch and start a conversation with your page.
  • Sponsored Messages Placement – Considered one of the most straightforward ad types in Messenger, this ad placement actually appears as a message in the Messenger, and is effective in getting the word out about offers and promotions you may currently have.

With a number of different ways to utilize Facebook for advertising purposes, you might end up using the wrong tools for the wrong reasons without doing intensive research first, which may affect your organization. Effectively utilize Facebook Ads for your business with guides like this to help sustain your business’ growth and hit your targets!

What experience have you had using Facebook advertising? Comment below!

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