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The 5 Most Effective Productivity Hacks for a Busy Entrepreneur

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Technology is both sinner and saint. The Internet and its mobile cousin, the smartphone, have given us incredible gifts: unlimited knowledge at our fingertips and a reach greater than the Pentagon had just 40 years ago.

Despite this, our lives seem to be getting harder and more stressful.. We have become so dependent on technology to the point where it’s become the opposite of what it set out to do – make our lives better. It’s certainly more convenient, but for many people, it’s become an addiction. And no addiction is good.

Numbers don’t lie

According to a national survey from TeleNav, here are some statistics to think about.

  • 66% of smartphone users said they sleep with their phone next to them.
  • 21% of respondents would give up their shoes for a week instead of their phone.
  • 21% of iPhone users said that they would rather go a week without seeing their significant other than give up their phone
  • 34% of iPhone users regularly check their email at the dinner table.

So we have a problem and the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging you have one. The second step is going to work on it.

Here are five productivity hacks that are surprisingly simple, and yet incredibly effective. It’s not a question of if they’ll work for you and your unique situation, but how many of them will you actually put into use.

1. The email trap

This is something a friend learned from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy and was kind enough to share it with me. Want to be 30% more productive today with almost no effort? Stop looking at your email in the first 60 minutes of the day. 90% of people wake up, grab their phone, and check their emails. By doing this, you let other people’s needs and wants dictate your life.

2. Health

Tony Robbins would talk about this back in the 80s with his late-night infomercials, and it’s something he’s gotten even more passionate about as new information is uncovered in the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. Health can be divided into three separate areas: Food, water and stretch.

Food is fuel for your body. You wouldn’t put cheap oil in a Ferrari, so why do people eat fast food? Because they want something quick that fills them up. I get it, and from time to time it’s no big deal, but you want to have a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and pork.

Hydrating, aka drinking water, is one of the fastest productivity hacks around. Every high-performance coach talks about it. Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, switch to water. Within a week, you’ll feel a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and more productive than ever. Try it and see.

We all know the benefits of exercise, so why is it we find every excuse not to do it. A work-out takes time, you sweat, you feel tired and it can be downright depressing to see how out of shape you are when you haven’t exercised for a long time. Stretching, on the other hand, is quick and easy. No heavy lifting. Just 10 minutes to get your body limber will go a long way to feeling better. Your body will thank you.

“Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it.” – Bryan Cranston

3. Oxygenate your body

If you want to give your body a boost then breathe. Not unconsciously, like we all do but consciously like people doing yoga. This takes less than five minutes and you’re good to go. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and karate fighters understand the power of breathing better than anyone, and how it is a critical component of success. The best part, it’s easier than ever to train yourself to breath better with the help of apps such as Breathe2Relax, Pranayama, Breathing Zone and Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief.

4. Confirmation email

This was taught to me by my mentor back in my late twenties and it transformed how I dealt with coworkers. We often think that the greatest pull on our time are clients, but what is often overlooked is the frenemy. Colleagues that are seemingly on your side, but are taking advantage of your time and energy.

We have all met them before. They are the ones who pawn off their most difficult, challenging tasks to others. They appeal to people’s kindness and ask them if they can “help” them with something. What they often mean is, “Can you do it for me?” But they know that doesn’t fly so they resort to sneakiness.

When I first learned the technique of the confirmation email, I could hardly believe my eyes because tasks that had been thrown in my lap and taking up much of my time, suddenly vanished. People eventually stopped asking me to help them, because they couldn’t be bothered.

Car salespeople have an expression for these people: tire kickers. In business, to weed out the serious from the not so serious, just ask them to put their request in an email. It’s amazing just how powerful this technique can be.

We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” – George Matthew Adams

5. Chunking

My personal favorite productivity hack, and the one I have my clients implement immediately because it’s just so easy. Essentially it’s doing two tasks at the same time, but no, I’m not talking about multitasking. Multitasking is dividing your energy between two or more tasks, which is counterproductive. Chunking is combining two activities together that don’t detract from the other.

Here are some examples of chunking that work for me:

–      Having a meeting while walking

–      Stretching while watching TV

–      Doing breathing exercises while sitting in front of your computer

–      Listen to an audio program while driving

And there you have it, the five most effective productivity hacks for the busy entrepreneur. Easier than you think, more powerful than you realize.

Which one of these was your favorite productivity hack? Let us know in the comments below!

Adrian Shepherd started his career as an ESL teacher in Japan, but today focuses on consulting with individuals and companies on productivity. His background in education helped him develop The One-Bite Time Management System (TMS), a revolutionary new system based entirely around simplicity: small bites that people can digest easily. He is based in Osaka, Japan. Learn more about Adrian at adrianshepherd.com.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dona L. Crane

    Jan 28, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I’m not clear what the confirmation email strategy is. It’s alluded to in the article but no specifics. How does email confirmation contribute to productivity?

  2. Creating True Happiness

    Oct 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Really love that confirmation email tip. I’m going to implement that one right away. Thanks for the info.

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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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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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2 Secret Roads to Success – Why Some People Have It All and How You Can Too

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Have you wondered how some people seem to have it all – the 6-figure pay check, a healthy and fit body and amazing relationships? On the other hand, others are successful in one aspect of our lives (perhaps we are happy with our careers) but there’s always something that’s missing – that strong body, that perfect someone or living a meaningful life. (more…)

Sai Aparajitha Khanna helps ambitious women quit emotional binge eating and build habits to live a successful life at home and at work. A psychology nerd and big-time foodie, Sai blogs at My Spoonful Of Soul. Get her three limited-time gifts for Addicted2Success readers to quit mindless emotional eating today.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dona L. Crane

    Jan 28, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I’m not clear what the confirmation email strategy is. It’s alluded to in the article but no specifics. How does email confirmation contribute to productivity?

  2. Creating True Happiness

    Oct 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Really love that confirmation email tip. I’m going to implement that one right away. Thanks for the info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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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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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