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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

Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First

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Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.

How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.

If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.

By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.

Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:

1. See a problem. Solve a problem

All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.

2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer

In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.

If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.

3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels

If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.

4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.

All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.

Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.

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3 Ways to Remove the Hustle From Your Business Through the Power of Automation

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If you’re anything like me, when building your business online you may see asking for help or taking short cuts as cheating. I can’t explain why but when I first launched my business online, I wanted so badly to be able to do everything for myself. It gave me more of a sense of achievement, and I worked many extra hours than I probably needed to trying to do everything myself.

The admin, content creation, marketing, prospecting, web design…I’m sure you get the picture. But it all came to a head when I would burn myself out time and time again. I kept hitting a wall where my business was concerned as there was only 1 of me and only limited hours in the day.

I got bored of the hustle and thought there must be a much simpler way to build and market a business online. Especially as I was a single mother, looking after my child when I wasn’t running a business single handedly. That’s when I discovered something that not only gave me back my freedom but also transformed my business, bringing in enough revenue within 8 weeks to enable me to leave the day job and become a work from home mum.

It was the power of automation!

I looked all around me as well at the other mum’s building their businesses online but desperately struggling to make ends meet and wearing themselves out. I knew there was a way to simplify my sales and business processes.

Here are my top 3 recommended tools to start removing the hustle from your business today:

1. Messenger marketing

I use Manychat which is a messenger marketing platform which enables you to market to your subscribers directly through Facebook messenger. The ways in which you can use this incredible technology is endless but I will name a few ways in which you can use this in your business.

Automate your sales process! You can build a sales funnel with a messenger bot that can take your prospects through a warm up sequence, build the relationship with them, showcase all of your products and services and even take payments on autopilot.

You can register people for online events or training sessions using your messenger bot, communicate with everyone simultaneously and provide any updates direct to their messenger.

Do you have a membership, team or group of people you need to communicate with? Create a messenger bot specifically for them to enable you to communicate with everyone directly at the same time with just 1 click of a button. Subscription messages can also be sent and scheduled in advance.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates

2. Email marketing

Another form of digital marketing, email marketing has been around for some time but still very much has a place in today’s marketing world. You can use a lead page/landing page and an account with an email provider to automate all aspects of your sales process and communicate regularly with your subscribers.

Treat your list well, provide them with valuable content and you can build a tribe of loyal followers. If you match this with an ongoing ad campaign you have the ability to be making sales on autopilot.

Set your automation up and you can take your leads through your whole sales process and all the way up your product/service value ladder. If you sell digital products such as courses, this allows you to be earning a residual income whilst you sleep.

3. Automate your social media content

Zapier is the most incredible workflow automation tool I have ever come across. Allowing you to create automations between most apps that you can use online. For example, if you use spreadsheets, you can create a trigger every time a new entry is entered on your google sheet with an email address, they automatically get added to your mailing list and sent automated emails.

My favourite zap (an automation created between 2 apps) is between Trello and Buffer. You can connect both apps together in a seamless way which allows you to plan your social media content in Trello, write your content, set the date you wish the content to post, add an image and this will automatically send all of the information to your Buffer account and schedule the post for your social media accounts.

Even more incredible is that this system works across multiple platforms so you can use it to schedule content for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram all at the same time.

“Automation and technology don’t cure behavioural ruts; they just create new instances of them.” – Kenneth Goldsmith

I can’t even begin to tell you how much my life has changed since implementing these into my business. In just 3 months my income increased by 500%. So it’s time to relax and start implementing some automation into that business of yours. The hustle is all a myth.

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5 Challenges New Entrepreneurs Will Face While Starting a Business

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Entrepreneurship is a field that comes with many obstacles and challenges. It’s important to be aware that sometimes it can be extremely difficult, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.

Before you launch your business, you need to be well equipped to face the challenges that’ll surely come your way. Mark Victor Hansen, Founder and Co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, said “You don’t become enormously successful without encountering a number of extremely challenging problems.”

Here are the 5 challenges that you are likely to face and how you can overcome them:

1. Lifestyle Change

The experiences of entrepreneurship will change you profoundly, from the way you think, to how you act, to your manner of living. You begin to realize you’re not getting enough sleep, have little time for yourself, can’t spend the same amount of time with friends, and you get complaints from people closest to you This is all because you’re putting most, if not all your energy and focus into running your business.

The solution, in order to sustain your passion, is to make some tough choices and identify your priorities. You’ll need to sacrifice much while you learn new things. You can start by organizing your day the night before, by creating a list of your activities for the next day in terms of priority.

Constantly, visualize your destination and surround yourself with people that motivate, inspire and push you to be your best self. By the time you apply these principles, you’ll feel more relaxed and energized.

2. Facing Uncertainty

When you launch your business, even if you offer the best product or service in your industry, you’re bound to face uncertainty.

Your marketing strategy might fail, your customers may not be ready for your product or service because it’s too early, and your competition may be a little bit tougher than expected. Even if you’re able to handle all of this, it doesn’t mean you’ll get your desired paycheck. However, keep in mind, that if you are well prepared, you’ll be in the best position to handle any of these roadblocks without stress.

An important thing to do is to test your product in the marketplace. By doing this, you will observe how the market views your product or service and can get feedback as well. If you do this right, you’ll be on your way to launching a successful business. The joy that eventually comes from launching a successful business is the greatest feeling ever.

“Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.” – Brian Greene

3. Team Building

Recruiting a trustworthy and reliable team is an important part of building a successful business. Every entrepreneur should know it’s important to recruit a strong team because your team can either make or break your business.

Lawrence Bossidy, Former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell, once said “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people not on strategies.” The common mistake new entrepreneurs make is hiring too quickly and if this doesn’t turn out well, you might be setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.

One solution is to hire individuals you already know or get references from people you trust from your professional life. Having the right people around is significant because they will influence your decisions and therefore the success of your business. Choose wisely.

4. Capital Management

One of the major reasons many startups fail within the first few months of business is because of capital mismanagement. The common mistakes entrepreneurs make are spending prematurely and not separating personal account from your corporate account. Spending too early on items like business cards and marketing materials might just end up being too costly for your startup.

You need to stay on top of your cash flow by keeping track of all your business expenses. You need to create a budget and set up an emergency fund account. You may decide to hire an accountant to help handle your finances, so they can assist you in fine-tuning where the money goes.

“Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” – Jim Rohn

5. Loneliness

Starting and running a business can be very stressful. This pressure can cause entrepreneurs to feel alone and maybe even depressed. If it’s extreme, you may develop mental health problems. Studies show that 30% of entrepreneurs report a lifetime history of depression.

It’s vital to reach out to your support system regularly. Family, close friends or mentors can be a big help in getting you back to your best. Once in a while get together with your family and friends and do some fun activities.

Starting a business has it’s challenges but if you’re prepared and know what’s ahead or what to expect, it will be a little less surprising when you run into an obstacle and you’ll be able to take the hit better than you thought!

Have you wanted to start a business? If so, what’s holding you back from pursuing it 100%? Share your thoughts with us below so we can be of service to you!

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9 Ways to Help You Think Like an Entrepreneur

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Going by popular opinion, being an entrepreneur seems a lot more thrilling than the typical 9-to-5 job. No bosses anymore, no pressure of completing the work in a rush, and no limited paycheck. Sure, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to go through the daily grind. However, there is so much more to the life of an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is like treading on thin ice. The moment you decide to be one, 9-to-5 will almost turn to 24×7. Your consumers will become your new bosses, and the size of your pay check will differ from month to month. If you still want to venture into it with the resolve to work hard and the willingness to innovate, you can join the club.

Now, to make your journey a little smooth, here’s presenting some pertinent ways to think like an entrepreneur:

1. Pinning your hopes in one place takes you on the road to disaster

To think like an accomplished entrepreneur, you must know that these professionals would never place all of his/her hopes in one place. Too much dependence on luck could be detrimental to the business that you are working on.

In reality, you must always be prepared for things that might never go as planned. There’s no point in being dejected about the way things are unfolding. Instead, you have to be willing to go with the flow and simply accept things as they come.

2. Treat your decision making skill like a superpower

You must be familiar with the iconic dialogue from the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, it’s the same with entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll be the person to make decisions and be quick at it. Now, over-analysing things can take up a lot of time, and you may miss out on many opportunities along the way. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to decide, or shouldn’t ask experienced people for advice. When required, you must act quickly. Make more space for big decisions, and do away with the small ones.

3. Wear your confidence like an armour

This is one of the most significant aspects of developing an entrepreneurial mindset. You should have self-confidence in abundance and immense faith in your abilities. If you keep doubting and second-guessing every decision, then you will never be able to take risks.

An entrepreneur is aware of the fact that he/she is the captain of their ship. The moment he/she starts to flounder or display any signs of weakness and insecurity, the workers and investors are bound to lose faith in him/her. This is something that is harmful to any business.

“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” – Wendy Wasserstein

4. Never let failures get to your head (or heart)

Failures and struggles are as inevitable as the sunrise and sunset. The value of your success increases tenfold if you have gone through an insurmountable struggle.

A skilled entrepreneur always thinks in a way that they’re both willing to accept failure and success with open arms. They would never let failures bring them to heel, and at the same time won’t bask too long in the glory of successes.

If you develop such an attitude to your work and develop a positive way of thinking, then there’s no stopping you from making it big as an entrepreneur.

5. Taking calculated risks comes with the territory

An entrepreneur has to be well-versed with taking calculated risks. You should be happy when things go as planned and should gracefully accept when things don’t exactly go the way you want.

Ultimately, to thrive and prosper in today’s business landscape, it’s vital to take risks. Make sure you take risks after doing your homework. This is exactly how successful entrepreneurs think and make decisions. Make sure once you’ve made a decision, you stand by it. After all, there is no point in constantly thinking if you have done the best for your business.

6. Always stay updated with relevant information

Like every successful entrepreneur, you too have to be acquainted with the latest advancements in your field. In order to gather sufficient knowledge, you have to keep your eyes and ears open to what’s happening around you. It’s only when you’re clued in to what’s going on in the world around you, that you’ll be able to collect relevant information.

This, in turn, will help you to get ahead in life. Isolating or cutting yourself off from the rest of the world will only create a roadblock in your way to success and prevent you from moving forward.

7. Ignorance isn’t a bliss when it comes to good advice

Connecting with people in your field allows you to develop the thought process of an entrepreneur. You must interact with the industry experts and influential figures in your line of work because they’ll help you sway your thought process in the right direction.

If you are ignorant towards good advice that people offer, then you are likely to end up making mistakes. In the fiercely competitive world of business, finding a mentor to guide you in your journey to success is absolutely invaluable.

“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” – J Loren Norris

8. Your qualifications will always be useful

Having the right qualifications will propel you to think like an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur involves hardships and turbulence, and the journey won’t always be smooth. You must be ready to counter any and every obstacle that is thrown your way.

An entrepreneur is someone who has a flair for thinking. That’s how they come up with solutions to problems that present themselves all of a sudden. Having appropriate training and qualifications can help you with your problem-solving skills.

For instance, if you want to set up an industry specific company, you must have the right training and qualifications to understand the nuances of the business.

9. Positivity will take you forward

In order to help an organization move forward, an entrepreneur knows that it is essential to stay positive at all times. If he/she gives in to negativity, then it won’t be long before the employees fall prey to the negative feelings.

Accomplished entrepreneurs are smart enough to ensure that the negative vibes do not affect the workflow. It’s no secret that when you maintain a positive outlook, you will also motivate your subordinates to work efficiently.

These are some ideas you can implement in your daily life to think like an entrepreneur. While entrepreneurship may come across as thrilling, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. However, be assured that if you put your heart and soul into it, success will never evade you.

Which one of the 9 ways to help you think like an entrepreneur resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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