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The One Relationship Strategy You Can Count on to Satisfy New and Existing Clients

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Who doesn’t love new clients? They’re the lifeblood of your organization because they write your paycheck. More than any other time in history, today’s business climate demands solid working relationships. It’s not just a trend, it’s here to stay.

The fact is, when clients hire you, most start out with a healthy dose of skepticism. They may not show it, but it’s there because you’re an unproven entity to them.

What if you aren’t what they thought? What if they hired the wrong guy? How do they know you didn’t just present a great dog and pony show and now they’re about to find out your “true colors?” They’ve been burned by a bad relationship in the past and don’t want to repeat it.

Ironically it’s a good thing. Why? Because that’s not you. There are enough shady businessmen and women out there to create an abundance of opportunity for you. You’re the real deal, nothing snake oil about you.

The question is, how can you break through the clutter and prove to your client you’re not just another Schmoe? Here’s a golden nugget that will change everything. It’s a simple method I use to stand out in a bold way. I offer every new client my three “Count-Ons,” which are the key values that matter most to me.

What this means is a simple, two or three minute conversation, by phone or in person. As soon as a deal is struck and you know you’ll be working together, you have the following conversation with your new client.

  1. Express gratitude for doing business together.
  2. Tell your new client there are three specific things she can count on from you. I like working with a set of three; it’s a nice easy number we can wrap our minds around.
  3. List them one by one and explain what they mean to your client.
  4. Let your client know that if ever they question something in the relationship that they have your permission to address it directly.
  5. Follow it up in writing with an email and ask them to save it.
  6. Hold yourself to these standards.

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” – Tony Robbins

As an example, my three Count-Ons are: first, you can count on me to be dependable. From the initial phone call through the presentation and the follow up phone call, I’ll do what I say and I’ll say what I do. And I’ll do it in a professional manner.

Second, you can count on me to be honest and ethical. Even when it’s not in my best interest, you’ll always count on getting the truth from me in all transactions and financial matters.

And third, you can count on me to do my best. I’ll never give you anything but the best I’ve got. Whatever your needs are for working with me, I’ll do everything in my power to see that they are met.

You can present these either personally, or representing key values your company has. If you choose to implement this as a team, decide together what the three values are and get everyone on the same page to ensure brand consistency.

Imagine the impression you make on your client when you start off with a conversation like this. What a way to stand out! But even more important than the words is the way you say them. Say this with conviction, from your heart.

By articulating these values up front, you managing your client’s expectations, you plant the seeds for them to notice as you perform and set yourself up to be accountable for a higher level of performance. As we all know, when goals are measured, you’re much more likely to accomplish them.

Create your own set of “Count-Ons” and make them part of who you are. Keep them posted somewhere as a reminder of who you are at your core and what you’ve promised your clients and catch yourself before they do. Try it with your next onboarding call and notice the reaction from your client.

“You don’t build a business, you build people and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

The last and final step is the most important. Make sure you deliver after you’ve promised. The promise alone is impressive, it’s bold and confident, it cuts through the clutter, it gets you started off on the right foot, but if you don’t back it up with action, the whole thing will backfire on you.

Business and marketing today are all about relationships and more than anything, clients crave trust.

How are you making sure your relationships are your priority in life? Comment below and let us know!

Matthew Wilson is an award-winning creative director, productivity geek, father of five and a partner and creative director at a Phoenix-based advertising agency. He is also a consultant, speaker and creator/founder of 3x5Goals.com, the market’s simplest goal setting system, using daily goal cards to help achievers focus on what's most important. More information can be found at www.3x5goals.com. To order a free 15-day set of cards, visit this link - 3x5 Cards.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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A Must-Read Guide for Avoiding Burnout

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Burnout. We’ve all been there. It happens to all “workaholic” entrepreneurs like you and me. But please allow me to provide a reality check: You’re not a machine. And regardless of how much you think you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk, you need to take breaks in order to function at maximum capacity. Non-stop hustle without ever taking a break is dumb. That’s why it’s called a “break”. Because if you don’t eventually stop, that’s exactly what will happen. You will break! (more…)

Alex Edson is a 19-year-old entrepreneur from Phoenix Arizona who has scaled two multi-million dollar companies from nothing. Alex began his entrepreneurial journey during his sophomore year of high school, founding a YouTube talent management agency from his apartment that would later grow to over 10 billion annual views. Today, Alex is the Founder and CEO of MailTag.io, a startup that helps sales and business people track their emails in real-time, for free. You can connect with Alex on his company’s blog https://blog.mailtag.io or by email Alex@MailTag.io.

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4 Ways to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety

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It’s natural to feel nervous about your business when you’ve poured everything into it, including time, money, and other resources. Your nerves, however, can escalate into crippling anxiety if not managed effectively.

Below are 4 ways for you to either manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety:

1. Know that your net-worth is different than your self-worth

You are not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, but that doesn’t mean that you have to define who you are by the amount of money that you have.

We live in an age where we subconsciously compare ourselves to others all day long through social media or in the midst of social interactions. Please don’t do this to yourself.

There are so many entrepreneurs online showing off flashy cars, homes, and first-class tickets. It can create anxiety to feel like you’re so much further behind than other entrepreneurs, but the truth is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to only be about making money.

Entrepreneurship is also about solving problems and creating value with your idea, product, or service in society. Plus, how many of the entrepreneurs online posting images of luxury cars and homes are even legitimate?

“I’ve never been a conceited person or cocky, never felt boastful, but I always had a sense of self-worth; I always had a real sense of myself.” – Will Ferrell

2. Surround yourself with a tribe that loves and supports you

When issues arise in business, which they always do, it can feel like you’re alone. The pressure to handle everything on your own can be too much, and that’s why it’s important to develop a support system. It is not weakness to ask for help from others during difficult times.

Support systems come in may forms. You can build a team within your business that you can rely on to solve problems as they arise, or you can even create an external board of advisors.

You can seek out mentors who can help guide you at various crossroads in your business, or you can build a network of other entrepreneurs who may have experienced similar challenges.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of staying close to your family and friends. In many cases, true family and friends loved you before you started your business, and even if you don’t succeed, they’ll still be there for you.

3. Quit the 24/7/365 mentality

The hustle 24/7/365 mentality may work for some people, but taking time to recharge is healthy for your mind, body, soul and business. Whether that means taking a vacation or a day off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to reset.

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your business, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you create a massive risk for your business in the form of burnout.

To prevent burnout, take time to do things that you love other than working on your business. You can work out, eat healthy, spend time with family and friends, and more. You will likely notice that you feel more creative and motivated once you return to work.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

4. Learn to love failure as much as you love success

The fear of failure is enough to keep most entrepreneurs up at night, but the fact is that almost all of the entrepreneurs that society looks up to today have failed several times before achieving the success that they are now renowned for.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the stepping stone towards success, so you need to learn to embrace it.

Read up on your favorite entrepreneurs to see what their journey to success looked like. Know that if you fail, you can and should get back up and try again. See your short-term failures as learning lessons instead of obstacles and grow from them. This builds mental resilience, which is fundamental to long-term success.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurial anxiety is common, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about your business venture, regardless of which stage your business might be in. You can, however, take measures to help manage or overcome entrepreneurial anxiety.

Cultivating your mindset to embrace failure, not comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, knowing the difference between your net-worth and self-worth, and maintaining at least some work-life balance can help establish the mental resilience you need to succeed.

Which one of these 4 ways resonated most with you and why?

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Are Addicts and Entrepreneurs Synonymous? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Have you ever thought about what the term addict means in relation to entrepreneurship? When we examine that word, many of us think about a person addicted to a substance, unable to function. But addiction can have different meanings—it seems—in a society that speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Yes, it may denote a functional drug addict, for example. However, it can also describe a person who is vigorously driven to succeed against all odds and at any cost.

Are addicts and entrepreneurs synonymous?

In the case of choosing entrepreneurship, is being an addict necessary? Can you succeed without the manic mindset that yanks your hand and pulls you down the road of progress? Maybe you’ll have a different opinion, but I don’t think so! Ask yourself: What would your life be like without the fire for wanting more…no matter what “more” happens to be? I know my business would not be where it is as a marketer or the founder of a non-profit, without insatiable passion.

I HAD to be addicted to surrender to the mad urges to stay up late/early. To create websites and emails and articles and banners and a podcast and to network and collaborate and write millions of words. I’ve edited roughly 50 books by myself in the past couple of years as well as published most of them.

I’ve asked, bartered, been coached, have coached, purchased technology, applications, storage, high-speed everything, authored a book, hosted columns and learned to fly as I am whisked through the airport in a wheelchair. (A fact that shouldn’t be laudatory, but it is!) The more milestones I pass, the longer the distance I want to run.

“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.” – Tony Robbins

Where would you be without your drive?

When you let your mind roam down the passageways of memory and into the pockets of time where you have been the most productive, obsessed, on the cusp of achievement, could you have done it with a meh attitude?

What is it inside us that is more powerful than hunger and defies explanation for even the most aggressive entrepreneur? Are we born this way or are we preened and primed by our environment? By lack? By affluence? By self-challenge or the need to shed self-doubt? And do we even need to understand what drives us? Or are we called simply to answer the restless ache to make something new, to leave a legacy that others can follow and improve upon?

Where were you when the epiphany of your life’s calling hit? I was paying bills. For so long, I had been operating from a necessity mindset. Planning what was needed to pay for our monthly debts. Separating myself from six-figure copywriters because I hadn’t yet identified my “why not.” And then like a streak into my brain, within mere minutes, I understood.

My realization wasn’t “what do I need to do to succeed?” It was and is “what can I do?” “How much can I do?” It was comprehending, at last, that I was in charge of my limited or limitless aim. I could build an empire. I could scale a company.

My past, sickness, and perceptions of my shortcomings couldn’t compete with the sparkling illumination that I was in charge of me and everything I ever wanted. Of everything I had ever dreamed of when I saw my father fail at serial entrepreneurship. I could beat all the bad memories and all the toxic mojo holding my dreams hostage. I did and I am.

Where do you fall prey to raw spontaneity?

I hate flying. Sometimes, I don’t understand this fear that charges at me when the wheels fold up. But I do it anyway. Every time I’m in the air, I tell myself this is the last time I will travel by plane and when I land, all is right with the world. But then justification and compulsion get me to the next trip. And the next. And the one after that. I can’t wait to hit the air as I simultaneously loathe the engines roaring and rattling my psyche.

This is the same fierce streak that led me to a take-no-prisoners attitude when I lost my job due to a rare neurological disease and had to start over…again. Which was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you have the ability to focus and tear up your goals like the tarmac under a jet, it will carry you all over the world and allow you to accomplish your every desire. It will enable you to catapult past any setback.

“Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.” – Anette Sandberg

The miles logged eclipse the destination

Sure, there may be turbulent moments; the best trips are punctuated by them, but this is when we know how best to navigate. We STILL stay the course despite the pain, the doubt, the pressure, the terror and the exhaustion as we hurtle ahead, addiction the tailwind of our dreams. We know, as addicts do, the next fix will take us closer to what we have long envisioned grasping with straining fingers. Please keep your seatbelts fastened for the “bumpy air” but know every leg of the trip will be worth the destination.

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Entrepreneurs

The 5 Step Framework Every Business Owner Should Be Following

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Every new business owner wants to gain business, yet most do not have the right perception on how to gain business the right way. Oftentimes, our ego prevents us from fostering the proper relationships that will allow us to build a strong foundation that we can grow on. You need to drop your ego and provide value first.

In this article I will share a 5-step framework that you can replicate in your own life and business in order to gain your first clients and then grow with those clients as you scale to a 6 or 7-figure business.

The biggest pitfall with new business owners is that they over-price themselves because they are thinking short-term instead of realizing that the delayed gratification and long-term perspective is what they need to grow the business that they envision.

For example, David Zhao, serial entrepreneur and rising millennial leader, is a great example of someone who started from nothing and has built a networth of over $10 million dollars at the age of 23 by dropping his ego and providing value first, for less.

Here’s the secret that no one is telling you:Work for free. Execute. Get case studies. Leverage case studies for new business referrals. Then charge full price. Most people do not tell you that it’s okay to work for free early on because they do not understand the long-term perspective of business.

You are not going to work for free forever

When you are just starting out you NEED to get wins under your belt and there is no better way to do this than by providing value to your ideal customer for less than your normal price. Think long term and realize how much more money you can bring in once you’ve successfully helped your first clients.

For example, when David Zhao started his business between the ages of 15-17, he helped his teachers and local clinics with their websites. In fact, his first client was his Orthodontist whom he only charged $200 dollars for a website that could have easily been worth 5x that amount.

David continued to create websites for small to medium-sized businesses and leveraged his Chinese roots to connect with Chinese business owners who were not great at speaking English because he realized he could provide a lot of value to these people.

You need to identify who you can provide the most value to. Once you identify them you can approach them with an offer that makes sense.

You’ll see immediate growth and traction in your business by implementing this 5-step framework:

1. Give first

Find someone in your niche and in your hot/warm market because the cold market is too distant with no foundation. Focus on Win-Win situations. In this case, doing work for cheaper allows you to build your credibility and get some wins under your belt.

2. Build relationships

Do not be greedy early on because that distracts you from the mission of completing the work so that you can gain a new client. David used this principle to raise his first investment fund of $5 million dollars.

For example, for the first couple of investors in his fund he did not charge any management fees. Other people may have charged a management fee + 20% – 30%, but instead David charged less in order to provide more value and get himself the opportunity.

Because his bigger goal is to raise a $100 million fund, this initial $5 million fund is just a stepping stone. What are the stepping stones you need to take to get where you want to go? Do not prevent yourself from getting the opportunity by overcharging. Think about what you are willing to give.

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Execute on your product or service

Executing and providing great work is the most important part of the equation. If you don’t execute then there is no way you can build relationships and scale. Trust is built once you complete the things you say you can do. Your reputation is built around your work. Be open-minded with no ego and always ask for feedback.

Remember, you are leveraging these early clients to close higher ticket clients later on. Therefore, it’s in your benefit to ask for as much feedback as possible to ensure they have the best experience that you can leverage for new business later on. Always underpromise and overdeliver. Become so useful that you will get paid your full value later.

4. Gain referrals and case studies

After you’ve executed, it’s time to turn the experience into a case study and ask for a referral. Simply asking goes a long way. David was able to use this strategy to become one of the first members in Yelp’s marketing partnership program. Initially, David offered his time for free to build Yelp’s partnership program. He would go in to help the team for 20-30 hours a week, for free.

During this time he met the COO and Regional Account Executive and built a relationship with them. Obviously, these people are usually pretty difficult to get in contact with, yet because David provided value first, he was able to get passed any gatekeepers and build a direct relationship with them. His 7-figure digital marketing agency, NXT Factor, became the first NY agency partner of Yelp. Now he has spent $1 million+ in ad spend for his clients by wholesaling Yelp marketing.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  – Jim Rohn

5. Use case studies to gain new credibility and leverage for new business

After you see success, you need to have a plan on how to use the case study to attract new business. Most business owners think that referrals just come. This is not true.

As Dan Kennedy and Shaun Buck state in their book “No B.S. Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention”, you need to have this system set in place. David has been able to leverage his past successes with his early clients to work with brands like Google, Apple, PayPal, Amex, Visa, Blade, and JetSmarter.

Using this framework will bring you new business and allow you to scale to the next level. Stop making things harder for yourself by seeing things short-term and instead change to a long-term perspective in your business. Give more than you take and focus on building relationships. Execute on your work and use the case studies to attract new business and referrals. You can do it.

How can this 5 step framework help your business in becoming more successful? Let us know in the comments below!

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Entrepreneurs

4 Things All Healthy Entrepreneurial Businesses Have in Common

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All healthy businesses are profitable, but all profitable businesses are not healthy. Health is the #1 thing to strive for when running and operating a business, especially when you’re building it from scratch as a “solopreneur.”

The particular reason for it being this way is because as soon as you are, you will have a better cash flow, more satisfied clients and customers, better relationships with co-workers, a more performance-based culture and most importantly, you are happier.

The business landscape and the fast-paced environments we work in gives you and your business only one guarantee- continuous change. Therefore, it is vital that you measure the performance of your business on a regular basis, knowing your KPI, and continually readapting to the new set of rules produced by technology and other variables. To not only survive, but thrive in your business, it is first and foremost essential for it to be healthy.

Here are the 4 things that all healthy business have in common:

1. A hot product/service

Is there a demand or a need for what you have to sell? By the way, this is a question you should have asked yourself before you even started your venture! Gary Halbert talks about going into a market that has demonstrated to be starving (or at least hungry) for your product or service. That said, it is essential to understand that a healthy business, no matter the economic situation, will still make sales.

People will spend money on your product or service if there is a substantial need for it. As long as you solve peoples’ or businesses’ problems and reduce their pain points, you have created a solid foundation of a healthy business through your core offer.

“I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.” – Steve Jobs

2. Having a pipeline in place

What does it mean having a pipeline in place? It’s asking the question: Can you consistently bring in new business, whenever you need and want it? Do you have a reliable system in place that can be automated to generate new clients and customers for your product/service that can be turned on and off with a push of a button?

Healthy things typically attract attention, however, before you can tell someone how good your product or service is, you need your prospects’ attention.

There are several ways to do that; Conner Burt outlines a few good tricks. For a business to be flourishing, you are not allowed under any circumstances to base your decisions upon fear, scarcity, or emotional desperation like many entrepreneurs do. Instead, what you’d rather want is to make your decisions out of abundance and a position of power.

A growing business that scales at large has a pipeline and unless you want to get stuck, start putting a system in place. Using gained forward momentum is the single most powerful strategy for growth.

A common misconception amongst entrepreneurs is not to grow too fast, but there is no such thing if you’re well prepared and have a system in place.

3. Cash reserves

Every healthy business has cash reserves. Looking at all the successful companies that are unicorns in their respected market like Southwest, Uber, and Tesla. They all have cash (admittedly- a ton of it).

However, the point being, it just makes sense to be able to rely on liquid assets when the market crashes, shifts or a recession period comes along. Building up your war chest for the bad times will be a reason for not going bankrupt.

In fact, Southwest was the only airline during 9/11 who didn’t suffer a significant loss money wise and didn’t lay off employees. Why? Because they had 3.6 Billion Dollars in cash sitting around.

Cash reserves are directly correlated to your pipeline since it won’t make any difference to have money on hand if you don’t have the required skill set to grow your previously mentioned pipeline.

“All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” M.K. Soni

4. A vision for other people

Business is about other people, never about yourself. The ability to grow relies on your vision you deploy for other people. What do you provide for other people? It has to be more than money, right? Every healthy business has resistance and challenges. Being healthy doesn’t mean you never struggle with anything.

Being healthy means that you are equipped to deal with the struggle and grow through it, and this requires a vision for other people that is way bigger than yourself.

Having a vision that goes beyond yourself and being authentic, doing what’s right for the prospect or client over doing what is best for you and your business will ultimately determine your business’s health.

Building a healthy business as an entrepreneur is tough when being unprepared. Knowing what will keep you on track, primarily through growth and scaling periods helps you build up sustainably, without the fear of a free fall to rock bottom.

Share with us a little about your business and if there’s anything we can do to help you grow. Comment below!

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