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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

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Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Sharon Fishburne is CEO of the Sharon Fishburne Consultancy, which provides startups and SMEs with strategic marketing advice to take their businesses to the next level. An expert at marketing strategy, Sharon previously worked at number of the biggest global consultancies, including PwC, advising multinationals on their expansion strategy.

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  1. Amir Ayaz

    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Good article ….

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Entrepreneurs

Love: The Most Essential Element of a Successful Entrepreneurial Couple

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Building a business with your spouse as both your romantic and work partner is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a couple. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With the divorce rate swaying anywhere from 35-50%, married couples already have their work cut out for them when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. Now throw in trying to start a business with your spouse and that work becomes even trickier.

When it comes to being a successful entrepreneurial couple there is only one essential element: love. Just like building a business together, love in marriage requires dedication, time, energy, and excellent communication skills.

Many entrepreneur couples are categorized as “high risk” for divorce and here are the top reasons why:

1. Business Partners Only

In healthy relationships, couples need to be able to communicate about any topic under the sun. It’s how you bond, connect, and learn about one another. However, if all you are talking about is work then you start to create a relationship barrier.

Entrepreneurs can lose their marriage identity when they view their spouse as more of a business partner than a romantic one.

2. Not Making Time for Each Other

If couples with a 9-5 workday need to practice a regular date night, the same should be doubly true for entrepreneurial couples. As entrepreneurs, your “shift” can start as early as the break of dawn and not end until you go to sleep at night – 7 days a week! It’s great to be passionate about your business, but you cannot put it ahead of your marriage and expect your relationship to survive.

“If you put your spouse first, your marriage will last your lifetime.” – Mel Robbins

3. Financial Stress

Being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean you are going to start out or end up being successful. One of the biggest issues with entrepreneurial couples is the financial stress that comes along with building your own business.

Research analysis done by the Bureau of Labor Statics in the United States found that of the businesses started in 2011, only 3% of them made it to their fifth year. Small business failure largely has to do with lack of experience, neglect or fraud, and lack of funding.

Furthermore, research done By Wells Fargo found that 77% of new businesses relied on personal funds to start their company. These harrowing statistics can fill a marriage with anxiety. Not knowing how you are going to pay your bills or when your next paycheck is coming can add a tremendous amount of stress on a marriage.

4. How to Show Love in Marriage as Entrepreneurs

One of the many positive sides of being a married entrepreneurial couple is that you have a freedom that most other couples don’t have. You don’t have to deal with higher-ups, you don’t follow orders. Not only do you get to be together every day, but you have the freedom to travel wherever the wind takes you.

Here’s how to take advantage of your amazing jobs and show love to each other every day:

1. Have fun together

Part of what makes marriage so enjoyable is that you’ve partnered up with your best friend in the world – and never forget it! Being friends as well as lovers and business partners means you should be having fun together regularly.

2. Leave work at work

This can be hard to do, especially considering that as entrepreneurs you don’t have a set schedule, but it is in the best interest of your marriage to create one. Set a schedule and stick to it. Once you are off work, power down your smart devices (for at least an hour) and spend some much-needed quality time with your spouse.

3. Be Patient with Each Other

Starting up a new business takes a lot of time, has many challenges, and isn’t going to be successful overnight. Similarly, you and your spouse are going to find a lot of reasons to snap at each other as entrepreneurs. Showing patience will do wonders for keeping love in marriage.

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

4. Take up a New Hobby Together

Healthy relationships benefit when couples have activities in common outside of their shared responsibilities. Taking up a new hobby, such as learning an instrument, language, dance, or sport can help you both bond closer together and strengthen your marriage.

5. Date Night

A couple’s weekly date night will show up on nearly every ‘how to have healthy relationships’ list for a good reason. Spending at least one night a week together outside of work will help you both get back to basics and connect on an emotional and physical level.

6. Share Your Feelings

In order to be wonderful spouses and business partners to one another, you’ll have to be honest, and part of that honesty means facing your hopes and fears together. Be willing to be vulnerable, humble, and honest with your spouse about your feelings regarding business and love.

7. Express Appreciation

One of the best things couples can do to maintain healthy relationships and love in marriage is to show appreciation for one another each and every day. Tell your spouse the things you love and appreciate about them.

You can tell your spouse you love how they always know how to cheer you up, how they are always there for you in times of distress, or because they always put their dishes away. Whether it’s big or small, always let your partner know what you love about them. Being married entrepreneurs has its own unique set of challenges. Don’t let your love of business get in the way of your healthy relationships.

Cultivate love in marriage by making time for each other regularly, laughing more, expressing appreciation for your spouse, and by leaving work at the door. By doing these things you will strengthen your relationship both in love and in business.

What is the most challenging part about growing your relationship with your partner while running a business? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Entrepreneurs

6 Fears That Keep You From Starting Your Own Business

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They say life is too short to live with regrets, and this is applicable to everyone. Unfortunately, only a few people live by this philosophy. If you ask why – the answer is people are too afraid to pursue their dreams.

People, over the years, have buried their ambitions because they are too afraid to try. No wonder most people in today’s world hate their jobs. There are plenty of individuals who have thought of starting their own businesses but have always taken a step back because of intimidation. Surprisingly, it’s not an isolated incident. People across the globe are afraid to start their ventures.

Here are 6 fears that are keeping you from starting your own business:

1. Not knowing where to start

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that they don’t know where they should start. This is one of the reasons that stop them from launching their own business venture. Even if they find the courage to take the risk and begin a business of their own, it does not end well in most cases.

It is recommended that you should consult an established entrepreneur. Since the person is already familiar with the various aspects of entrepreneurship, he/she can provide you with enough insight about the startup culture and tell you where you can start your journey as an entrepreneur. You will still have to make a significant amount of effort to be successful, but at least you will know that you are on the right track.

2. Receiving criticism for your idea

A lot of people are not willing to work on their startup idea because they are afraid of what people are going to say. The fear of criticism is real, and over the years, it has made thousands of people give up their dreams of doing something extraordinary. Just because a person has ridiculed your idea does not mean it is trash.

Before you can start your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to filter people’s opinions. Some people are going to criticize you no matter what. Because of this, your job is to focus solely on your work.

“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

3. The fear of failure

Overcoming the fear of failure is perhaps the most challenging task for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. No matter how many preparations you make, there’s no way ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of the startups shut down within the first four years of being a business.

While most people consider the fear of failure as the biggest challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity to better yourself. There is no bigger motivation than the fear of failure. If you are able to channel that motivation into positive efforts, setting up a startup will only be a matter of time.

4. Not receiving the funds

For the sustenance of a business, you need three things – an idea to start a business, manpower to execute the idea and significant amount of funds to ensure all the operations are proceeding as planned. Unfortunately, the third element is the hardest one to come by. Most people cannot start their venture due to the lack of funds.

It’s ok to be a bit skeptical about the funding, but you won’t know the real worth of your idea unless you approach investors. The chances are that you won’t get approval in the first few attempts, but you need to keep trying. Approach different venture capitalists with your idea and work on your presentation. If your idea is unique and brilliant, it will be recognized.

5. Not seeing significant ROI in the sector

If your business idea serves a field that is not very popular in today’s society, there are chances that you will hear a lot of negative comments about it. If there is no return on investment in the area you are planning to operate in, it will be really difficult to convince the investors to spend money on such an idea. If you also believe that there is no ROI in the chosen sector, then it is ideal to scrap that idea and come up with another idea that assures one’s ROI.

However, if you believe the idea is going to work and it may also generate significant ROI over time, then you need to think of other ways to convince the investors to make an investment on your project.

“How long should you try? Until.” – Jim Rohn

6. Being afraid of taking risks

Good ideas can come from anyone. It does not always have to be a Harvard student or any tech guy in a turtleneck to come up with a billion-dollar idea. Even an average person can start a venture (which has happened before) and set examples. But sadly not everyone has the guts to get out of their comfort zone.

You need to understand one simple thing, if you continue to do the things that you usually do, you will end up receiving the same results that you have been receiving for the past few years. No one has ever achieved anything great by playing it safe. So if you are willing to lead a prosperous life, you need to make the hard call and get out of your comfort zone.

Starting your own business can actually be quite intimidating if you don’t have any experience of running a business, however, you need to start somewhere to reach the goal you have set for yourself. So it is wise to take the leap of faith and start the venture you have been planning. If it works, you will be closer to your goal, and if it does not, you can at least learn from it and make a better attempt next time.

Which one of these fears resonates most with you, and how do you plan on overcoming it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Are You an Entrepreneur? This One Step Will Make All the Difference

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There’s a quote I saw once, “It’s not about having more money, but living life on your own terms.” For you and I, and any aspiring entrepreneur, this is precisely why we let go of a false stability of the corporate world only to find ourselves navigating the turbulent and uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. This is why we spend our days at co-working spaces and feed our caffeine addictions.

We want the freedom to call the shots.

But this freedom isn’t all, it also isn’t enough. For most of us, a powerful desire to express our own voice—that which is deeply within us—is what guides us into the world of  entrepreneurship. Some do it by developing a product or an idea, others by transforming the way we do things, and a few by finding a cure to a social or physical ailment. In each case, this inner desire stems from a greater purpose, and it is the clarity of this purpose that is essential to our success—and the success of our venture.

Just take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs that came before us. They each had one thing in common: clarity of inner purpose. Before they figured out their “what,” and “how,” they found their “why.”

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

Take Steve Jobs, for example, he was driven by a desire to impact the world at the intersection of creativity and technology. Today, Apple is not only the most financially valuable company, but also deeply revered for this very impact. I am typing this essay on a MacBook Pro while listening to music through my AirPods.

Or take Richard Branson, whose purposeful passion for adventure and turning ideas into reality led him to create an empire encompassing over 400 companies. He knew why he was doing it, whether when playing tennis at his island in the Caribbean or investing in space exploration.

In the social and political realms, there are entrepreneurs, too. They’re the people who envision a world in a different light and pursue that path, or witness an injustice, and seek to right it. For example, take a look at Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birth anniversary, millions celebrated around the world. His “why” was to help his fellow kin break from the shackles of apartheid. Such was his clarity of purpose that he spent 24 years in a prison, patiently maintaining the vision of a free and equitable South Africa.

Is your “why” as clear?

Not knowing our purpose in life is like taking a train ride without knowing why we are there. While the ride may be enjoyable at times, the lack of clarity—of not knowing “why” we are there—will inevitably cause confusion, discomfort and fear. (And we know what fear does to promising ventures…it kills them.) We cannot predict who will join us on the train, the detours we might face on the trip, or even when and where the train will stop, however, we can be deliberate in knowing why we are there and making the most of it.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

Purpose is what gives us meaning, contentment, and a drive to stay up late at night, wake up early, and spend countless hours making things happen amid obstacles and after others think we have gone mad. It is this same purpose that keeps us sane and gives us the willpower to stand up, brush ourselves off, and keep going each time the going gets tough and when we fail (note that I did not say *if*, but *when* we fail).

So, let me ask you: what is your purpose? How would you describe it in a single sentence? If you had to, could you do it in one word? If you aren’t sure, there’s no shame in saying so. There’s only shame if you don’t do something about it. There are many ways to answer the question, “why am I here?” and even more ways to live that answer out. Sometimes, it takes us time to live out the questions only to find the answer when we least expect them.

Take the time to find yourself, you’re worth it.

You’ll also be glad you did it. Knowing your “why” will help you answer questions about your life. It will also help you arrive at the clarity of why your venture exists and what it is meant to do.

Our inner purpose is the main driver and the critical founding block of a meaningful human experience. Without identifying your passions and clearly understanding your purpose, your odds of success will diminish. More importantly, your odds for happiness will plummet. As someone wise once said, “this world needs more people who come alive.” Entrepreneurs are, by definition, meant to be those people. Take the time to find your purpose, and then live it out through your entrepreneurial ventures. I promise, that step will make all the difference.

How do you become self-aware? Comment below!

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5 of the Best Tips for Starting a Business From Scratch

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Starting your own business is the dream for many, but actually doing it and getting your idea off the ground can be an incredibly intimidating process. Statistics which suggest 50% of small businesses fail after five years could be enough to deter any potential entrepreneur from taking the leap from employment to self-employment. However, many entrepreneurs fall before the five-year mark due to a lack of research and a lack of experience. There’s a wealth of great tips and advice out there that if you listen to carefully, you can avoid many of the pitfalls where people tend to get stuck.

Here are a few tips to start your business from scratch:

1. Plan

It might not be one of the most exciting bits of advice, but it is one of the most crucial. As the famous Benjamin Franklin quote goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”, which holds very true in the world of start-ups. It can be all too easy when starting out to get carried away with your business idea and rush into the launch process.

Nonetheless, building a business plan will not only help you create a strategy for launch and the future of your business, but will also help you secure that potentially all-important investment and/or bank loan.

Your business plan will ideally cover 3-5 years of business, lay out your business objectives, market research, detailed financial forecasts, opportunities for the business in the future, highlight direct competition to your business, a marketing strategy and a business management plan. Taking time to create a plan will give you direction and goals to use as a benchmark for your success.

2. Identify What You’re Good At

Before launching your business, it is important to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and act accordingly. Identify your skills, such as management, bookkeeping or product design along with your weaknesses such as marketing or public speaking. This will give you a good foundation to start with.

If you are good at product design but bad at accounts, take the lead in the product development process, but find someone you can trust who can help you with the accounts side of things. Working to your skills and that of those who can help you will set you up for a much better chance of success when your business really gets going.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn vos Savant

3. Be Smart About Your Finances

This might sound incredibly obvious, but with so many things to consider as an entrepreneur it can be easy to overlook the most important aspects of business. Your finances are the lifeblood of the business so it’s crucial to have someone who knows what they’re doing. Keep your financial projections realistic and monitor how likely you are or aren’t to meet them.

If you are going off target, ask yourself why, what needs to change and how you’re going to change it. There is also a lot of help out there for start-ups in the form of loans, grants and investments. Think wisely if you are to go for loans or investment – do you really need it? What is the interest rate and will you be able to afford to pay it back? How much of your company are you willing to give away?

4. Build a Marketing List

Marketing is one of the most important elements of your business – if people don’t know about you, you’ll have no business. Along with your business plan, it’s vital that you put a strong marketing strategy in place. When starting from scratch, it’s important to build brand awareness and a list of warm leads.

Capturing potential customers’ emails – with their consent – via social media marketing or on your site via contact forms, will provide you with a great way to announce your company’s official launch. Using leads in email marketing often proves to be an effective and cheap way to not only get those first few orders, but also to get your customers coming back time and time again.

“You don’t want a huge list.  You want an engaged list….the gold isn’t in the list anymore, it’s in the engagement.” – Scott Stratten

5. Find Mentors

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and stressful experience. However, it doesn’t have to be because there are many business mentorship programs out there along with great networking events in a huge variety of industries at which you can meet potential mentors.

Finding someone who has experience in business in the same or a similar industry to yours can prove to be priceless. A mentor is not only there as a sounding board for your ideas or frustrations, but also to foresee issues in your business which you may have overlooked, guide you in the right direction, help you to avoid the pitfalls they fell into and review your overall business plan.

No two businesses are the same and no two entrepreneurs follow the same path to success, but there are few things everyone can do to turn the odds in their favour. Planning properly in advance, making realistic financial projections, doing your market research, building a marketing list and finding successful and relevant mentors will all set you up for a much better chance at success in the future.

Which one of these tips do you think will help you more in starting a business? Let us know your thought below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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25 Confucius Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live the Best Life Possible

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Image Credit | The Great Courses

Confucius was an exceptional teacher and philosopher that founded Confucianism which can be described as a way to govern your life. (more…)

Armando Quintana III is a current master’s student and one of his main goals is to be a physician. He mentors high school and college students along with giving them speeches on alternative ways to reach success, and aims to educate people as a future physician on the natural healing powers of the body. He can be reached through social media at @armandoq3 or his website at mfmanifesto.com.

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  1. Amir Ayaz

    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Good article ….

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Love: The Most Essential Element of a Successful Entrepreneurial Couple

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Building a business with your spouse as both your romantic and work partner is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a couple. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With the divorce rate swaying anywhere from 35-50%, married couples already have their work cut out for them when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships. Now throw in trying to start a business with your spouse and that work becomes even trickier.

When it comes to being a successful entrepreneurial couple there is only one essential element: love. Just like building a business together, love in marriage requires dedication, time, energy, and excellent communication skills.

Many entrepreneur couples are categorized as “high risk” for divorce and here are the top reasons why:

1. Business Partners Only

In healthy relationships, couples need to be able to communicate about any topic under the sun. It’s how you bond, connect, and learn about one another. However, if all you are talking about is work then you start to create a relationship barrier.

Entrepreneurs can lose their marriage identity when they view their spouse as more of a business partner than a romantic one.

2. Not Making Time for Each Other

If couples with a 9-5 workday need to practice a regular date night, the same should be doubly true for entrepreneurial couples. As entrepreneurs, your “shift” can start as early as the break of dawn and not end until you go to sleep at night – 7 days a week! It’s great to be passionate about your business, but you cannot put it ahead of your marriage and expect your relationship to survive.

“If you put your spouse first, your marriage will last your lifetime.” – Mel Robbins

3. Financial Stress

Being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean you are going to start out or end up being successful. One of the biggest issues with entrepreneurial couples is the financial stress that comes along with building your own business.

Research analysis done by the Bureau of Labor Statics in the United States found that of the businesses started in 2011, only 3% of them made it to their fifth year. Small business failure largely has to do with lack of experience, neglect or fraud, and lack of funding.

Furthermore, research done By Wells Fargo found that 77% of new businesses relied on personal funds to start their company. These harrowing statistics can fill a marriage with anxiety. Not knowing how you are going to pay your bills or when your next paycheck is coming can add a tremendous amount of stress on a marriage.

4. How to Show Love in Marriage as Entrepreneurs

One of the many positive sides of being a married entrepreneurial couple is that you have a freedom that most other couples don’t have. You don’t have to deal with higher-ups, you don’t follow orders. Not only do you get to be together every day, but you have the freedom to travel wherever the wind takes you.

Here’s how to take advantage of your amazing jobs and show love to each other every day:

1. Have fun together

Part of what makes marriage so enjoyable is that you’ve partnered up with your best friend in the world – and never forget it! Being friends as well as lovers and business partners means you should be having fun together regularly.

2. Leave work at work

This can be hard to do, especially considering that as entrepreneurs you don’t have a set schedule, but it is in the best interest of your marriage to create one. Set a schedule and stick to it. Once you are off work, power down your smart devices (for at least an hour) and spend some much-needed quality time with your spouse.

3. Be Patient with Each Other

Starting up a new business takes a lot of time, has many challenges, and isn’t going to be successful overnight. Similarly, you and your spouse are going to find a lot of reasons to snap at each other as entrepreneurs. Showing patience will do wonders for keeping love in marriage.

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” – Saint Augustine

4. Take up a New Hobby Together

Healthy relationships benefit when couples have activities in common outside of their shared responsibilities. Taking up a new hobby, such as learning an instrument, language, dance, or sport can help you both bond closer together and strengthen your marriage.

5. Date Night

A couple’s weekly date night will show up on nearly every ‘how to have healthy relationships’ list for a good reason. Spending at least one night a week together outside of work will help you both get back to basics and connect on an emotional and physical level.

6. Share Your Feelings

In order to be wonderful spouses and business partners to one another, you’ll have to be honest, and part of that honesty means facing your hopes and fears together. Be willing to be vulnerable, humble, and honest with your spouse about your feelings regarding business and love.

7. Express Appreciation

One of the best things couples can do to maintain healthy relationships and love in marriage is to show appreciation for one another each and every day. Tell your spouse the things you love and appreciate about them.

You can tell your spouse you love how they always know how to cheer you up, how they are always there for you in times of distress, or because they always put their dishes away. Whether it’s big or small, always let your partner know what you love about them. Being married entrepreneurs has its own unique set of challenges. Don’t let your love of business get in the way of your healthy relationships.

Cultivate love in marriage by making time for each other regularly, laughing more, expressing appreciation for your spouse, and by leaving work at the door. By doing these things you will strengthen your relationship both in love and in business.

What is the most challenging part about growing your relationship with your partner while running a business? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Entrepreneurs

6 Fears That Keep You From Starting Your Own Business

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They say life is too short to live with regrets, and this is applicable to everyone. Unfortunately, only a few people live by this philosophy. If you ask why – the answer is people are too afraid to pursue their dreams.

People, over the years, have buried their ambitions because they are too afraid to try. No wonder most people in today’s world hate their jobs. There are plenty of individuals who have thought of starting their own businesses but have always taken a step back because of intimidation. Surprisingly, it’s not an isolated incident. People across the globe are afraid to start their ventures.

Here are 6 fears that are keeping you from starting your own business:

1. Not knowing where to start

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that they don’t know where they should start. This is one of the reasons that stop them from launching their own business venture. Even if they find the courage to take the risk and begin a business of their own, it does not end well in most cases.

It is recommended that you should consult an established entrepreneur. Since the person is already familiar with the various aspects of entrepreneurship, he/she can provide you with enough insight about the startup culture and tell you where you can start your journey as an entrepreneur. You will still have to make a significant amount of effort to be successful, but at least you will know that you are on the right track.

2. Receiving criticism for your idea

A lot of people are not willing to work on their startup idea because they are afraid of what people are going to say. The fear of criticism is real, and over the years, it has made thousands of people give up their dreams of doing something extraordinary. Just because a person has ridiculed your idea does not mean it is trash.

Before you can start your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to filter people’s opinions. Some people are going to criticize you no matter what. Because of this, your job is to focus solely on your work.

“Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

3. The fear of failure

Overcoming the fear of failure is perhaps the most challenging task for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. No matter how many preparations you make, there’s no way ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of the startups shut down within the first four years of being a business.

While most people consider the fear of failure as the biggest challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity to better yourself. There is no bigger motivation than the fear of failure. If you are able to channel that motivation into positive efforts, setting up a startup will only be a matter of time.

4. Not receiving the funds

For the sustenance of a business, you need three things – an idea to start a business, manpower to execute the idea and significant amount of funds to ensure all the operations are proceeding as planned. Unfortunately, the third element is the hardest one to come by. Most people cannot start their venture due to the lack of funds.

It’s ok to be a bit skeptical about the funding, but you won’t know the real worth of your idea unless you approach investors. The chances are that you won’t get approval in the first few attempts, but you need to keep trying. Approach different venture capitalists with your idea and work on your presentation. If your idea is unique and brilliant, it will be recognized.

5. Not seeing significant ROI in the sector

If your business idea serves a field that is not very popular in today’s society, there are chances that you will hear a lot of negative comments about it. If there is no return on investment in the area you are planning to operate in, it will be really difficult to convince the investors to spend money on such an idea. If you also believe that there is no ROI in the chosen sector, then it is ideal to scrap that idea and come up with another idea that assures one’s ROI.

However, if you believe the idea is going to work and it may also generate significant ROI over time, then you need to think of other ways to convince the investors to make an investment on your project.

“How long should you try? Until.” – Jim Rohn

6. Being afraid of taking risks

Good ideas can come from anyone. It does not always have to be a Harvard student or any tech guy in a turtleneck to come up with a billion-dollar idea. Even an average person can start a venture (which has happened before) and set examples. But sadly not everyone has the guts to get out of their comfort zone.

You need to understand one simple thing, if you continue to do the things that you usually do, you will end up receiving the same results that you have been receiving for the past few years. No one has ever achieved anything great by playing it safe. So if you are willing to lead a prosperous life, you need to make the hard call and get out of your comfort zone.

Starting your own business can actually be quite intimidating if you don’t have any experience of running a business, however, you need to start somewhere to reach the goal you have set for yourself. So it is wise to take the leap of faith and start the venture you have been planning. If it works, you will be closer to your goal, and if it does not, you can at least learn from it and make a better attempt next time.

Which one of these fears resonates most with you, and how do you plan on overcoming it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

Are You an Entrepreneur? This One Step Will Make All the Difference

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what is an entrepreneur?
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There’s a quote I saw once, “It’s not about having more money, but living life on your own terms.” For you and I, and any aspiring entrepreneur, this is precisely why we let go of a false stability of the corporate world only to find ourselves navigating the turbulent and uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. This is why we spend our days at co-working spaces and feed our caffeine addictions.

We want the freedom to call the shots.

But this freedom isn’t all, it also isn’t enough. For most of us, a powerful desire to express our own voice—that which is deeply within us—is what guides us into the world of  entrepreneurship. Some do it by developing a product or an idea, others by transforming the way we do things, and a few by finding a cure to a social or physical ailment. In each case, this inner desire stems from a greater purpose, and it is the clarity of this purpose that is essential to our success—and the success of our venture.

Just take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs that came before us. They each had one thing in common: clarity of inner purpose. Before they figured out their “what,” and “how,” they found their “why.”

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”  Plato

Take Steve Jobs, for example, he was driven by a desire to impact the world at the intersection of creativity and technology. Today, Apple is not only the most financially valuable company, but also deeply revered for this very impact. I am typing this essay on a MacBook Pro while listening to music through my AirPods.

Or take Richard Branson, whose purposeful passion for adventure and turning ideas into reality led him to create an empire encompassing over 400 companies. He knew why he was doing it, whether when playing tennis at his island in the Caribbean or investing in space exploration.

In the social and political realms, there are entrepreneurs, too. They’re the people who envision a world in a different light and pursue that path, or witness an injustice, and seek to right it. For example, take a look at Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birth anniversary, millions celebrated around the world. His “why” was to help his fellow kin break from the shackles of apartheid. Such was his clarity of purpose that he spent 24 years in a prison, patiently maintaining the vision of a free and equitable South Africa.

Is your “why” as clear?

Not knowing our purpose in life is like taking a train ride without knowing why we are there. While the ride may be enjoyable at times, the lack of clarity—of not knowing “why” we are there—will inevitably cause confusion, discomfort and fear. (And we know what fear does to promising ventures…it kills them.) We cannot predict who will join us on the train, the detours we might face on the trip, or even when and where the train will stop, however, we can be deliberate in knowing why we are there and making the most of it.

“Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

Purpose is what gives us meaning, contentment, and a drive to stay up late at night, wake up early, and spend countless hours making things happen amid obstacles and after others think we have gone mad. It is this same purpose that keeps us sane and gives us the willpower to stand up, brush ourselves off, and keep going each time the going gets tough and when we fail (note that I did not say *if*, but *when* we fail).

So, let me ask you: what is your purpose? How would you describe it in a single sentence? If you had to, could you do it in one word? If you aren’t sure, there’s no shame in saying so. There’s only shame if you don’t do something about it. There are many ways to answer the question, “why am I here?” and even more ways to live that answer out. Sometimes, it takes us time to live out the questions only to find the answer when we least expect them.

Take the time to find yourself, you’re worth it.

You’ll also be glad you did it. Knowing your “why” will help you answer questions about your life. It will also help you arrive at the clarity of why your venture exists and what it is meant to do.

Our inner purpose is the main driver and the critical founding block of a meaningful human experience. Without identifying your passions and clearly understanding your purpose, your odds of success will diminish. More importantly, your odds for happiness will plummet. As someone wise once said, “this world needs more people who come alive.” Entrepreneurs are, by definition, meant to be those people. Take the time to find your purpose, and then live it out through your entrepreneurial ventures. I promise, that step will make all the difference.

How do you become self-aware? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

5 of the Best Tips for Starting a Business From Scratch

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Starting your own business is the dream for many, but actually doing it and getting your idea off the ground can be an incredibly intimidating process. Statistics which suggest 50% of small businesses fail after five years could be enough to deter any potential entrepreneur from taking the leap from employment to self-employment. However, many entrepreneurs fall before the five-year mark due to a lack of research and a lack of experience. There’s a wealth of great tips and advice out there that if you listen to carefully, you can avoid many of the pitfalls where people tend to get stuck.

Here are a few tips to start your business from scratch:

1. Plan

It might not be one of the most exciting bits of advice, but it is one of the most crucial. As the famous Benjamin Franklin quote goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”, which holds very true in the world of start-ups. It can be all too easy when starting out to get carried away with your business idea and rush into the launch process.

Nonetheless, building a business plan will not only help you create a strategy for launch and the future of your business, but will also help you secure that potentially all-important investment and/or bank loan.

Your business plan will ideally cover 3-5 years of business, lay out your business objectives, market research, detailed financial forecasts, opportunities for the business in the future, highlight direct competition to your business, a marketing strategy and a business management plan. Taking time to create a plan will give you direction and goals to use as a benchmark for your success.

2. Identify What You’re Good At

Before launching your business, it is important to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and act accordingly. Identify your skills, such as management, bookkeeping or product design along with your weaknesses such as marketing or public speaking. This will give you a good foundation to start with.

If you are good at product design but bad at accounts, take the lead in the product development process, but find someone you can trust who can help you with the accounts side of things. Working to your skills and that of those who can help you will set you up for a much better chance of success when your business really gets going.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn vos Savant

3. Be Smart About Your Finances

This might sound incredibly obvious, but with so many things to consider as an entrepreneur it can be easy to overlook the most important aspects of business. Your finances are the lifeblood of the business so it’s crucial to have someone who knows what they’re doing. Keep your financial projections realistic and monitor how likely you are or aren’t to meet them.

If you are going off target, ask yourself why, what needs to change and how you’re going to change it. There is also a lot of help out there for start-ups in the form of loans, grants and investments. Think wisely if you are to go for loans or investment – do you really need it? What is the interest rate and will you be able to afford to pay it back? How much of your company are you willing to give away?

4. Build a Marketing List

Marketing is one of the most important elements of your business – if people don’t know about you, you’ll have no business. Along with your business plan, it’s vital that you put a strong marketing strategy in place. When starting from scratch, it’s important to build brand awareness and a list of warm leads.

Capturing potential customers’ emails – with their consent – via social media marketing or on your site via contact forms, will provide you with a great way to announce your company’s official launch. Using leads in email marketing often proves to be an effective and cheap way to not only get those first few orders, but also to get your customers coming back time and time again.

“You don’t want a huge list.  You want an engaged list….the gold isn’t in the list anymore, it’s in the engagement.” – Scott Stratten

5. Find Mentors

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and stressful experience. However, it doesn’t have to be because there are many business mentorship programs out there along with great networking events in a huge variety of industries at which you can meet potential mentors.

Finding someone who has experience in business in the same or a similar industry to yours can prove to be priceless. A mentor is not only there as a sounding board for your ideas or frustrations, but also to foresee issues in your business which you may have overlooked, guide you in the right direction, help you to avoid the pitfalls they fell into and review your overall business plan.

No two businesses are the same and no two entrepreneurs follow the same path to success, but there are few things everyone can do to turn the odds in their favour. Planning properly in advance, making realistic financial projections, doing your market research, building a marketing list and finding successful and relevant mentors will all set you up for a much better chance at success in the future.

Which one of these tips do you think will help you more in starting a business? Let us know your thought below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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