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3 Reasons Why You Should Stop Telling All Your Friends To Become An Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur Friends Shouldnt All So Business

Going back as far as high school, I lusted after the idea of doing my own thing. The problem was I had no clue how that would work our, or what I would do. I worked a tonne of odd jobs, and even the casual retail job from the age of 16 until I was 23. I joke about having a long resume of 2-month work stints, but it’s the truth.

Over time I learned that working a 9-to-5 simply wasn’t for me. As a result, I started my entrepreneurial journey.

I remember my last day at the call center job I had, and setting up a plan to succeed in my small university apartment on the first Saturday I had off in months. That was the beginning of what has been a very rewarding and challenging roller coaster ride. I always knew the decisions I made were the right ones, but something else, while not always super obvious, has been evident.

I am cut out for entrepreneurship because of various traits I possess.

I enjoy sales. I don’t mind a somewhat unstable income (at least when getting started). I like solving problems, and dealing with people. I have a deep appreciation for my personal freedom that comes from being able to determine my own schedule, and projects. I’m willing to live with less, and forgo some of the American ideals my peers are experiencing (having kids, buying cars and houses, etc) to make things work for me.

I’ve made these choices due to what makes sense to me as an individual.

I’m often asked how I got started, or what I did to get where I am, but once I begin to explain how, and what’s involved, some people are turned off.

In the past, I tried to talk my friends into starting a business, but I soon learned it’s mostly a waste of breath. But not because my advice wasn’t good, but simply because those people just aren’t cut out for this life.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s perfectly normal.

I’ll be the first to admit it. Many entrepreneurs are crazy and many of us think our way is the ONLY way.

In reality, there are many paths to the same destination, but when you get from point A to point B in a manner that only makes sense to you, it seems like it’s the only way.

As a result, you might find yourself proselytizing to all your friends about how they should do it too, even if they have no interest or are scared stiff.

And that’s why I wrote this article — for all you go-getters who tell everyone to become an entrepreneur, you might ought to stick a sock in it.

 

1. Entrepreneurship Requires A Certain Personality Type

Many of us who enjoy this lifestyle are a bit eclectic. Some may even call us mad. I wouldn’t argue with them, and I’ll be first to admit to my fair share of manic episodes (just go read my Twitter stream). The up’s and down’s of this lifestyle are reserved for those who can handle it.

One month’s earnings can be amazing while the next month’s are next to nothing. If that phases you, I’d highly advise rethinking your decisions around working for yourself.

This life is about being a self-starter. I hate that title, but it’s the truth.

In my many job interviews, that was a key question –

“Would you consider yourself a self-starter?”

Every time I heard that I wanted to rip my eyeballs out and say “What do you think? I’m sitting here in a cheap pair of slacks, and a shirt my mom ironed in order to impress and convince you to give me 9 dollars per hour for making sandwiches and sweeping the floor.

A self-starter is someone who can figure out what they need to do, and begin doing it – at times without a fully developed plan. It’s someone who takes immediate action, and asks questions later.

If you’re not willing to work long hours (at least in the beginning), it’s probably not for you.

If you don’t get excited about the journey of reaching new heights, I wouldn’t sign up for this gig.

 

2. It’s Not As Easy As It Seems

Some of my friends would ask me about what I’m doing. When I’d explain my work day, and what’s involved, a very common remark is “your life is so easy! You’re lucky! I wish I could get paid to sit at home and run a website.

Now I will admit I’m lucky in the sense that I made certain decisions, and had certain people in my life who were instrumental in making those decisions, but none of this is easy.

In fact, I hate telling people what I do because it makes conversations awkward. I can’t relate to most people’s problems they have with coworkers, bosses, and rigours of waking up at 7 a.m. to catch the train.

On the outside, it seems glorious, but for those of us who’ve taken the plunge, it’s far from that life.

The mind of someone making their own way is a chaotic whirlwind at times. Everyone has their high’s and low’s but I imagine those of an entrepreneur are more pronounced.

Tim Ferriss said it best in his article “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me): “Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.”

But most everyone only sees is the outwardly productive and seemingly normal side of an entrepreneur.

They don’t see them dreading a project, or putting off client work due to fear of not doing it well enough. Or being burned out. Or dealing with depression and avoiding the therapist.

They don’t see them eating ice cream for breakfast and playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on his PS2 at 6am for 3 hours on the day a major project must be done

Talk about anxiety one can create for themselves through procrastination… but this is a normal part of life for most of us.

It’s a constant push/pull between extremes. One month, everything seems to be going great. You’re making money, sleeping well, and routinely socializing. The next month, you’re skimping on deadlines, moving your to-do list back a day, and wondering if it would be easier to go work at the Buckle… at least you don’t have to worry about setting your calendar, right?

 

3. It Won’t Make Sense To Everyone

We need people to work at the grocery store. We need people to work in factories that manufacture our eye glasses and clothes, and packages our food.

We need school teachers, and mechanics. We need librarians, and video game store clerks.

Not every single person can do their own thing. Plus, not everyone wants to. The demands of someone starting a business are much different from those who are working for the business.

Some people have a talent for management, organization, attaching soles to shoes. Some of them don’t wish to do anything else. So what?

Something I detest is trying to explain to someone who simply wants to work at their job why they should go out on their own.

Maybe they don’t care about doing something on their own… Maybe they actually like their job (newsflash: not everyone hates their jobs like I did). Maybe their profession allows them the money they need and the time to spend with their family.

They’re not us, and that’s okay.

Look on the bright side. While you may be enthusiastic about the decisions you made for yourself, many others might not be as interested. Save your energy and spend it on making yourself and business better.

 

 

Feature Image Photography by Fred Othero

JC Deen is a fitness coach, and published writer out of Nashville, Tennessee. He’s been seen in Forbes, and has contributed to The Huffington Post, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness. Check out his No-BS Approach to Looking Great Naked and/or harass him on Twitter or Facebook.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. albertino

    Jul 9, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Trying to persuade friends to become entrepreneurs is like persuading a loved one who doesn’t know how to swim to jump into the ocean. It will sound very wicked to them. Instead of wasting my precious time in persuading anyone to do their own thing, I rather encourage them to be good at what they do while I concentrate on my own madness’

  2. Sarah Como

    Jul 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I totally relate to this article. I finally tried to stop convincing others to become entrepreneurs. However, I still struggle when it comes to my husband. He’s not comfortable with the uncertainty and does not have an entrepreneurial mindset. He encourages me to go for it but can’t relate.

  3. Nate Ginsburg

    Apr 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Great article man! I’m gearing up for a trip back home and have been thinking about what it will be like to hang out with my old friends/crowd opposed to the SE Asia crew. I’ve also learned that it’s best not to preach.. You’re right, the life isn’t for everyone.

  4. mindsetofmark

    Apr 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Thank for you this amazing article. For the past few months of building my business, I ran into this wall and what you wrote describe exactly what I’ve been pondering about for the past few months, I realize I had learn so much from the pursuit of entrepreneurship and I see what it’s like out there for people who wants to settle for a job, I didn’t think it was fair for people to settle for a life of working for someone else, I cared so much about my friends I was trying to convince them that a job is not going to fill the dreams and goals you want to achieve. I had no’s and rejections and I took it personally because I had such strong belief that they would see what I see. After a few more months of growth and struggle, I definitely realize what I chose to do is not for anyone and that the friends I talked to wouldn’t even last a few weeks doing what I do, I became more aware of the things that an entrepreneur must go through that an employee will never experience in their lifetime.That is why only so few people choose this path, what an amazing insight indeed. Thank you so much JC.

  5. dotchamou

    Apr 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    By the time I was in high school I knew that I will never, never work
    as an employee in my life. In my country, Benin (west Africa) the rate of
    unemployement is too high. So the solution of unemployement for me is
    that every student and school boy must be an entrepreneur. So, by the time I leave
    university, I create a little business, the business grow a
    little. That business enable me to pay my rent and to feed myself. By that
    time, most of my friends who didn’t become ‘’entrepreneur’’ like me were
    jobless and were very broke. Even though I did’nt have enough money, they
    admired me and congratulated me of being an “entrepreneur’’. About four
    years later, my little business collapsed and everything fell apart in my life. I lose my
    business and my money.I become very broke. That is a starting point of a
    very, very hard and miserable life for me .I cannot pay my rent, I am in deep debt ,
    I cannot find money to eat. My electricity and water was cut because I cannot pay my bills
    By that time when I fell in misery, most of friends have
    found a job, they started enjoying a ‘’good life’’ (life of security) .They started telling me that:
    “ Yes, we know that, being an entrepreneur is very dangerous and too
    risky, that is why we didn’t follow you in that path. Look, today we have a secure
    job. We are protected by the government. We don’t have much money but we
    have what we need, try to find a job like we do, and forget your idea of being
    your own boss”. I stretch my head and I said to myself,’’I will comeback,
    My coming back will be greater than what I lose”.
    So, most people will never share and accept to be an entrepreneur, most people want security instead of adventure. I‘m still on my journey of being an
    antrepreneur. The journey is hard but it is full of pleasures,tears and lessons.
    I commit to be an antrepreneur. Nothing can stop me on that journey.I make for myself this words of Donald Trump,’’NEVER GIVE up’’,’NEVER QUIT’ Thank you for your attention.

    • alok

      Oct 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      my dearest friend you are amazing more than the definition of amazing . You are the tiny ray of hope amidst the darkest of darkest gloom not only in my life but to the millions of people all are around the world. 1000 MILLION THANKS TO YOU.
      I AM DEEPLY TOUCHED AND TRANSCENDED BT YOUR INSPIRING WORDS.

  6. oscar

    Apr 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Man I totally feel yah, there is only so much we can do for our friends, most people don’t see what we see with this odd lifestyle we acquire to be different in a sense.

  7. George

    Apr 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is perfect. Eventually we all take a different path as our friends create their careers and you create your own, it seems so obvious that different people are gonna want to pursue different jobs.

    This was me at first. I loved the idea of doing it myself, I understood it would be harder than getting a normal job, but to be able to watch something grow from the very beginning sounded a lot more interesting than getting paid to sell sneakers.

    Then I thought, wow this would be so much better if my friends would join me too. Because of what I do, I have different schedules than my friends. When they’re all out late at night drinking, I’m at home sleeping or on my computer.

    It’s not that I want to be out partying, but when a lot of the work I do is at home on my computer, it’s easy for me to miss my friends and wanting to see what they’re up to, working together sounds like an easy solution.

    But the truth is, people want different things. Some people look at me starting a website and think it’s boring, unrealistic and downright dumb. Maybe they’re right. Maybe we’re the weird ones who find working on the internet actually exciting.

    Oh, well. Salute to all you fellow weirdos!

  8. Koko

    Apr 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wow … actually I find myself in the position of reconsidering my friends to start their own thing way too often. I even abandoned some of my friends because they were dragging me down to the level of no-enthusiasm towards work. However, now I think I won’t do the persuading stuff to my friends anymore.

  9. Mike Sutton - BeBuildHave.com

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I agree with all 3 points, but I also think career employment as option #1 is on it’s way out. Entrepreneurship is a reality of the new economy and will be the only option for more and more people, so we need to find a way to support, train, and develop those skills in people who aren’t “naturals”.

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      I disagree. If everyone were an entrepreneur, who would do the meaningless work? Who would run the errands? Who would make my coffee at the local cafe?

      Who would serve me a steak? Who would make sure my cell phone is working correctly when I have trouble with service?

      • Patrice K. Cokley, MBA

        May 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m always having this discussion with someone. Although doing meaningless work is not for us, it is something that needs to be done. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. So I’m ok with people settling in their lives. As long as they’re not trying to talk me out of my goals, I’m fine. Thanks for this post! It came right on time.

  10. Dano

    Apr 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Cool story bro. But do you even lift?

  11. Andy

    Apr 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Perfect time for this article. I had an argument with my wife last night about issues I am experiencing and she just didn’t get it. She never will either and it’s not a bad thing.

  12. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Hi JC,

    I feel like you hacked my brain. I couldn’t agree more.

    When I first became self employed and earning well, I thought to myself ‘why would people NOT want to do this’. I have tell all my friends and family!

    But in reality although most people lust after the lifestyle they haven’t really got what it takes. They don’t want to work weekends, in the evenings and need a boss to be accountable too.

    They just can’t commit. I now realize this is OK. It’s their choice, their life and everyone journey towards fulfillment and happiness is completely different and doesn’t have to follow mine.

    Great post and scarily close to my own thoughts!

    Naomi

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks. Glad it resonated – I imagined it would with others paving their own path.

  13. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    JC, I agree that it does take a certain personality to have the tenacity to work through all the fears and obstacles that naturally come up as an entrepreneur. When something great happens as a result of the hard work, it’s euphoric.

    The path to success is not a straight line, it’s full of zigzags. It’s not for the faint of heart.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Important Life Lessons You Can Learn From Billionaire Jim Koch

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jim koch

Jim Koch is an American entrepreneur, author and a passionate beer lover who left his lucrative business in Wall Street to start his own beer company, Boston Beer, from scratch and make it among the most successful brands in the US market with an annual revenue of around $1 billion. I have read a few books about Koch, including his book, Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two, and below are four lessons I believe you should learn from Koch`s thrilling life.

1. Do what you love

Koch had a business and law degree from Harvard and had a lucrative, high-paying job, yet he wasn’t happy. When he thought about the whole situation, he realized that consulting wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. So he quit after spending five years at a consulting group in Boston and went to do what he loved best; manufacturing and selling beer.

“Getting rich is life’s biggest booby trap. It comes down to what would you rather be, happy or rich? I say do what’s gonna make you happy.” – Jim Koch

2. Career wanderings aren’t bad

If you still can’t find your calling or have wasted a couple of years working on something you later found out  doesn`t fit you, don`t worry. Koch`s career path wasn`t linear. He began his adulthood life deciding to be in the beer business. In fact, he was encouraged not to do so by his father whose net income in the last six months of his brewing career was less than $500.

Koch found his calling at the age of 34 and believes he wouldn’t have made it without his many career wanderings, including working as an outward bound instructor and spending three and a half years mountaineering across America.

One of the lessons he learned from that job is that you never climb a mountain to get to the middle. You either aim for the top or don`t climb at all. With this lesson in mind, Koch intended to make The Boston Beer Company the biggest high-end beer in America, and now his net worth is over $1 billion.

3. When there’s a will, there’s a way

When he launched his first product, Koch`s best idea was to hire someone to sell it for him because, though he knew a lot about brewing and the law, he wasn’t a good salesman. Unfortunately, none of the five Boston-based wholesalers agreed to represent him thinking the market wasn’t ready for an expensive American beer.

So he got himself a wholesaler license, leased a truck and hovered around Boston cold-calling bars. They liked his beer, and the wholesaler`s cut went into his pocket.

“The values you want to live have to come from your own living heart. You have to be the best model of those values. You have to push yourself to the highest possible standard, because it’s not reasonable to expect anybody else to have a higher standard than you do as a leader.” – Jim Koch

4. Monday may never come

One Friday morning, a friend left a message with Koch`s secretary that he would call him on Monday. Unfortunately, that man didn’t make it and died of a heart attack on Sunday. So Koch asked for that message to be framed and hung on his office wall to remind him that Monday doesn’t always come. The lesson here is simple; life is short and whatever you have on your plate do it ASAP, if not now.

One of the things you must do, according to Koch, is start collecting experiences as quickly as possible. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, the best question to ask yourself is “What experiences will I regret not having ten years from now?” Write them down, make a plan and a deadline and use necessity and pressure to force yourself to take action because you probably won’t have enough time or freedom to do many things once you start a career, get married, and have a family.

Life is also short relationship-wise. You don’t know when your loved ones will go. A parent, a friend, or that cheerful old lady who greets you every time you meet on the streets. One day, one of you will leave, and you don’t know whether you`ll ever have a goodbye moment together.

So make it a habit each day of calling somebody you haven’t seen in years or make sure your friends or parents are okay. It will make both of you feel good, and when that inevitable moment comes, you won’t have many regrets.

What is something you have learned from Jim Koch? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

These 10 Steps Will Help Any Entrepreneur Get Their Game Right

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You followed your heart. You turned your passion into your mission. Your fear of regret superseded your fear of going for it. You’ve worked hard, but the success you desire didn’t arrive on schedule. You’ve had achievements, followed gurus, and kept your dream alive through sheer tenacity and a determination not to return to the hamster wheel from which you jumped.

You’re exhilarated at the thought of being your own boss, working alongside your dog, and not punching a time clock. What you may not have known about entrepreneurship is that, like raising kids, there are ups and downs, overwhelm and excitement, pain and joy. You’ll think you’re doing it wrong most of the time, while secretly hoping you’re getting some of it right. You’ll want to quit. To all those statements, I can say, me too.

Here’s 10 ways to change your game and get it right:

1. Refine and release your product offering

Your business isn’t just about what you’re selling and what problem it’s solving. Focus on what gives your life meaning and how what your offering represents that. You’re selling your story, not your product or service.  And, if you’re stuck in the pondering, refining, revising, rewriting, or redesigning stage, move forward. Get a good, not perfect, product out there. Rinse and repeat. Done is better than perfect unless you’re engineering heart valves or knee replacements.

2. Build your brand from your heart, not your head

If no one knows who you are, where to find you or what you do, they can’t buy from you.  A legitimate problem but easily solvable. The step that matters most to your bottom line, however, is incorporating bits of your journey and soul, not just your expertise. Focus on being resonant. A great brand builds relationships and relationships are why buyers choose you over and over.

3. Determine if you have a fear of failure, a fear of success or both

You are probably clear on fear of failure- the hesitancy that comes with the fact that what you’re doing might not work out and could be painful to you and your bank account. What you may be less familiar with is a fear of success, that can be equally paralyzing because you have deep-seated worries about how your life will change if your business really takes off.

You might be disappointed that you haven’t reached your goals, but you are comfortable with the familiarity of how your life is now. Fear of success is released the same way as fear of failure. Ask yourself three questions. What’s the worst that can happen if I’m successful? Can I handle it? And, what’s the best that can happen? Then choose comfortable and familiar or success.

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” – Karl Augustus Menninger

4. Hustle

When you link your service to your story, you can easily talk to everyone all the time about what you do without sounding coercive or salesy.  If you want to be successful, you have to be the mayor. Fake being outgoing until you’re outgoing. You may have held back because hustling sounds icky. You may also have mistakenly thought you were hustling when you weren’t!

If you work all the time but aren’t getting where you want to go, you may be doing more of what’s comfortable rather than what works. Give your inner badass entrepreneur a hustler nickname and embrace that part of you that knows you’re in business to make money as well as making the planet a better place.

5. Focus on what you don’t do well but desperately need

If you’re spending all your time becoming more of an expert at what you do, chasing more credentials and living in the comfort zone, but you’re neglecting marketing, strategic planning, competitive analysis or some other part of your business, success will continue to elude you. Instead of listening to Ted talks and reading journal articles in your field, focus on the major players in business like Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, and Gary Vaynerchuk and everyone they interview.

6. Focus on the small goals on the way to the big dream

I love dreaming big, like focusing on becoming a NY Times best-selling author. That goal is definitely on my vision board but so is to finish writing the book and get it published. That’s a simple example but overlooking consistent, focused small steps while affirming the big goal will not get you where you want to go. Don’t focus on a net income of $2 million when, immediately, you need to focus on making enough money to keep you out of a day job.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

7. Make “I can” your new motto. Banish “I can’t” from your vocabulary

It’s rarely true anyway. You can say: I don’t know how, I’m working on it, and I need to figure it out, which all imply that there is a solution to be had. I can’t is final and permits you to quit. I can, not only psychologically primes your brain to find a solution, it switches your thoughts from a fixed to a growth mindset.

8. Ask for help

It’s easy to slip into excuses, like “everyone’s busy”, “you have to pay people to help you” and “why would so and so want to help me”.  It’s a risk to ask for assistance. However, wishing, wanting and hoping what you need magically appears succeeds far less often than asking for it. The answer will either be a yes or a no, and either is ok. Don’t take it personally. As Jack Canfield says, every no brings you closer to a yes. Be sure to show or tell them why they want to help you and offer to assist them in return.

9. Know your role models

Don’t reinvent the wheel because wheels exist. Find who’s doing what you want to do, be and have. Study them, contact them, and do what they did. For work, life and relationships- know your role models. And keep it in perspective. Your big goal may be that your mentors become your friends but you need them to be your mentors first.

10. Enlist a support team

You need your cheerleaders and tough lovers. These are people who will provide unbiased support- celebrating the victories, cheering you through the difficulties and asking the tough questions that help you win big. They brainstorm solutions and provide much-needed connection for the SOULpreneur.

Most of success is mental, not mechanics, but these steps cover both, require no financial investment, and you can start on them today. As mega fitness superstar, Shaun T says, “Let’s goooo!”

What gets you excited? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

7 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

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As my online business has grown over the years, I have felt the need to get some additional hands on board. Since I am big on being flexible, I didn’t want to hire someone as an employee and then worry about giving them a place to work or being there to monitor them. I decided to try my hands at hiring a virtual assistant (VA). While I have hired and worked with many virtual assistants so far, I made some basic mistakes when I hired my first VA last year.

Below, I have shared the seven mistakes I made that one must avoid when hiring a virtual assistant:

1. Not having a clear role for your Virtual Assistant

When I decided to hire a VA, my decision was driven by getting some work transferred to the VA. The mistake here was that I did not think about the exact work I would pass on to him/her.

So, I came across a VA on Facebook and interviewed him. While he seemed like a great guy with a good attitude, he was low on the skills part. Nonetheless, I considered hiring him and then training him on the job.

If I had a clear role in mind for my VA, I could have avoided hiring the VA I did, as he didn’t fit my criteria. But since there was none, I made the mistake of hiring him.

2. Not asking for previous work examples

No matter how great a VA looks, without prior work samples, you have no way to gauge the quality of his/her work. As a rule, always ask for samples. In case the VA doesn’t have related samples, you can ask him/her to do a little sample work for you and then gauge the quality.

3. Not training your Virtual Assistant

When hiring a VA, you must know that it will cost you money as well as some time in the beginning. Unless you have hired a highly skilled VA who is ready to hit the road from the very first day, you need to spend time training him/her. Remember that your business and your way of working is completely new to the VA and you need to hold their hand for the initial few weeks.

Having said that, you’re only helping the VA in areas of your business and your work. You shouldn’t train him/her on basic skills such as email writing, or Excel.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself.” – Whitney Wolfe

4. Not using the right tools

You need to have a system to keep the work going smoothly when working with a VA. When you have a system in place, keeping track of your VA’s work, giving them feedback, and planning ahead is a lot simpler.

Simple things such as creating a Google Drive or Dropbox folder for the VA’s work, using tools such Google Sheets, Slack, and Trello can really streamline your work and save a lot of time.

5. Not giving clear instructions and timely feedback

Your VA can’t read your mind. If you don’t give clear instructions, you shouldn’t expect high-quality work from their end. As a best practice, it helps in being crystal clear in your instructions. While you may find this time consuming, it’s a lot better than to get something low quality in need to rework.

Also, it’s is important to review your VA’s work and give them timely feedback. For the first few weeks, you can opt for daily short check-ins. This becomes a lot more important when you’re working with someone in a different time zone. If you don’t correct them in something when they make a mistake, you risk wasting another day.

6. Not being patient

Even if you hire a perfect candidate, he/she is likely to take time to acclimatize to your business and your style of working. While it’s a good practice to keep a strict tab on the VA’s work, you shouldn’t expect them to start firing on all cylinders from Day 1.

A reasonable expectation should be to transfer your work gradually to the VA (over the next few weeks or even months), and train them appropriately. You need to be patient in the initial days and understand that your VA may slowly cope up and perform as per your expectations.

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” – Elon Musk

7. Not calculating the ROI

When you invest in a VA, you need to have a clear idea on what benefit you’re looking for. For example, would hiring a VA allow you to expand your business, or would it allow you to delegate some work and focus on more important stuff.

Whatever the benefit, you need to think about the RoI (Return on Investment). Evaluate whether having a VA will help in generating a positive RoI or not. If you can’t peg a number to it, analyze whether the benefit of having a VA justifies the cost or not.

What are some mistakes you’ve made in hiring a VA? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

The 3 Essential Steps To Becoming A Thought Leader

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thought leader

We live in an age of overwhelming information. The world is full of people supplying it and others who are seeking it. People everywhere are desperate for solutions and fresh insight. Those people who are able to provide them with the strongest, freshest, most relevant, and even most radical ideas, practically hold the keys to success. The individuals with this level of influence are the thought leaders.

If you are seeking to be more influential in your industry, the good news is that you don’t have to be born a thought leader—you can become one. So how do YOU rise above the noise and reach that level of influence?

In order to propel yourself forward as a thought leader, you NEED to follow these three steps:

Step 1 – Define Your Mission

Like a soldier in battle, your mission is THE ONE THING that you are responsible for fulfilling at all costs. To be a thought leader, you must have focus on what your goal is—where you are making your thought influence and where you are leading people.

Defining your mission does three things:

  • It declares to yourself what you are doing and how you are doing it so that you can move forward confidently. It provides a target to help you be as focused and effective as possible. It channels all your effort and creates a positive flow of creative energy.
  • A mission helps guarantee success by removing distraction. A thought leader knows that if anything distracts them from their stated mission they will lose their effectiveness as an influencer. A mission helps them objectively judge if something is helpful or not toward achieving that goal of dominant influence in a particular area.
  • Missions that are well-defined let your followers easily place their trust in you. When somebody doesn’t know what they are doing or where they are leading people, they lose credibility. No one wants to follow someone who appears to be going nowhere.

As an example, to someone who might want to be a thought leader in the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they might define a mission similar to this: “My mission is to help people understand the value of SEO to their organizations and provide a clear roadmap for implementing it effectively.”

Such a statement will focus you the influencer and allow your followers to easily buy into your leadership.

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.” – Zig Ziglar

Step 2 – Determine Your Message

If your mission is how you are focused on helping people, your message is what you are going to tell them to get their attention.

Your message will consist of the following:

  • It includes your one core premise, or thesis; the singular idea that you believe everyone needs to know. This becomes your rallying cry.
  • A powerful message will include your personal story so people can see that you are credible to speak on the subject as well as to be empathetic to their concerns. It lets people know that you understand their struggle as well as have a solution for them. Your message helps you be relatable.
  • Your message should ideally be thought-provoking to bring about an entirely new perspective as well as include a sense of urgency that reveals the consequences for continuing in the same old patterns of looking at things.

Your message is your gospel of hope and personal testimony that it works. With it, you awaken people to their need or confirm to them that you understand and are the best person to help them through their struggle and find salvation.

The SEO thought leader might have a message something like this: “SEO is constantly changing and every organization must embrace an aggressive stance for it or succumb to those organizations who will. I have the keys to help you effectively implement the SEO plan you need to be successful.”

They would then follow by sharing their personal story of how they came to be so convicted regarding this stance and how they implemented it with great success.

“I have a message to give to the world, and I shall not be thwarted.” – Elizabeth Kenny

Step 3 – Develop Your Method

Your method is the structured system that you use to help your people understand and implement your message. Your method doesn’t have to be long or complex—the strongest methods are simple and easily memorable. An ideal method will have three to seven action points to follow.

Our SEO thought leader’s method will follow a very simple format such as,“Step One—Define your target audience’s greatest needs, Step Two—Create an SEO plan around the keywords they search for,etc.”

Until they’ve covered all of the steps necessary to realize the solution to their follower’s problems, each step is where their level of expertise will shine through with great insight backed by compelling evidence.

Although this format might sound overly-simplified, there aren’t a lot of influential thought leaders out there precisely because most people can’t distill a plan down to this degree and bring the amount of clarity necessary for it to be effective.

Great thought leaders overlay their action points by taking their thought-followers on a journey that looks very similar to this:

  1. Open their eyes to see how things have always been,
  2. Show them what that has got them,
  3. Reveal and prove that there is another way to think about that area (your way), and
  4. Show them how powerful the new way can be.

Who are your favorite thought leaders? Please comment below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters. (more…)

Apoorve Dubey is the founder and C.E.O of Kreyon Systems Pvt. Ltd, a fast growing Software company that serves clients in more than 10 countries. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras. He is the author of the best-selling book, “The Flight of Ambition” published by Macmillan and a co-author of “Successful organisations in action”. The driving passion in his life remains to be able to contribute to the success of others. To know more about Apoorve and his work, you can visit www.kreyonsystems.com, his twitter handle is @ApoorveDubey

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. albertino

    Jul 9, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Trying to persuade friends to become entrepreneurs is like persuading a loved one who doesn’t know how to swim to jump into the ocean. It will sound very wicked to them. Instead of wasting my precious time in persuading anyone to do their own thing, I rather encourage them to be good at what they do while I concentrate on my own madness’

  2. Sarah Como

    Jul 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I totally relate to this article. I finally tried to stop convincing others to become entrepreneurs. However, I still struggle when it comes to my husband. He’s not comfortable with the uncertainty and does not have an entrepreneurial mindset. He encourages me to go for it but can’t relate.

  3. Nate Ginsburg

    Apr 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Great article man! I’m gearing up for a trip back home and have been thinking about what it will be like to hang out with my old friends/crowd opposed to the SE Asia crew. I’ve also learned that it’s best not to preach.. You’re right, the life isn’t for everyone.

  4. mindsetofmark

    Apr 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Thank for you this amazing article. For the past few months of building my business, I ran into this wall and what you wrote describe exactly what I’ve been pondering about for the past few months, I realize I had learn so much from the pursuit of entrepreneurship and I see what it’s like out there for people who wants to settle for a job, I didn’t think it was fair for people to settle for a life of working for someone else, I cared so much about my friends I was trying to convince them that a job is not going to fill the dreams and goals you want to achieve. I had no’s and rejections and I took it personally because I had such strong belief that they would see what I see. After a few more months of growth and struggle, I definitely realize what I chose to do is not for anyone and that the friends I talked to wouldn’t even last a few weeks doing what I do, I became more aware of the things that an entrepreneur must go through that an employee will never experience in their lifetime.That is why only so few people choose this path, what an amazing insight indeed. Thank you so much JC.

  5. dotchamou

    Apr 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    By the time I was in high school I knew that I will never, never work
    as an employee in my life. In my country, Benin (west Africa) the rate of
    unemployement is too high. So the solution of unemployement for me is
    that every student and school boy must be an entrepreneur. So, by the time I leave
    university, I create a little business, the business grow a
    little. That business enable me to pay my rent and to feed myself. By that
    time, most of my friends who didn’t become ‘’entrepreneur’’ like me were
    jobless and were very broke. Even though I did’nt have enough money, they
    admired me and congratulated me of being an “entrepreneur’’. About four
    years later, my little business collapsed and everything fell apart in my life. I lose my
    business and my money.I become very broke. That is a starting point of a
    very, very hard and miserable life for me .I cannot pay my rent, I am in deep debt ,
    I cannot find money to eat. My electricity and water was cut because I cannot pay my bills
    By that time when I fell in misery, most of friends have
    found a job, they started enjoying a ‘’good life’’ (life of security) .They started telling me that:
    “ Yes, we know that, being an entrepreneur is very dangerous and too
    risky, that is why we didn’t follow you in that path. Look, today we have a secure
    job. We are protected by the government. We don’t have much money but we
    have what we need, try to find a job like we do, and forget your idea of being
    your own boss”. I stretch my head and I said to myself,’’I will comeback,
    My coming back will be greater than what I lose”.
    So, most people will never share and accept to be an entrepreneur, most people want security instead of adventure. I‘m still on my journey of being an
    antrepreneur. The journey is hard but it is full of pleasures,tears and lessons.
    I commit to be an antrepreneur. Nothing can stop me on that journey.I make for myself this words of Donald Trump,’’NEVER GIVE up’’,’NEVER QUIT’ Thank you for your attention.

    • alok

      Oct 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      my dearest friend you are amazing more than the definition of amazing . You are the tiny ray of hope amidst the darkest of darkest gloom not only in my life but to the millions of people all are around the world. 1000 MILLION THANKS TO YOU.
      I AM DEEPLY TOUCHED AND TRANSCENDED BT YOUR INSPIRING WORDS.

  6. oscar

    Apr 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Man I totally feel yah, there is only so much we can do for our friends, most people don’t see what we see with this odd lifestyle we acquire to be different in a sense.

  7. George

    Apr 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is perfect. Eventually we all take a different path as our friends create their careers and you create your own, it seems so obvious that different people are gonna want to pursue different jobs.

    This was me at first. I loved the idea of doing it myself, I understood it would be harder than getting a normal job, but to be able to watch something grow from the very beginning sounded a lot more interesting than getting paid to sell sneakers.

    Then I thought, wow this would be so much better if my friends would join me too. Because of what I do, I have different schedules than my friends. When they’re all out late at night drinking, I’m at home sleeping or on my computer.

    It’s not that I want to be out partying, but when a lot of the work I do is at home on my computer, it’s easy for me to miss my friends and wanting to see what they’re up to, working together sounds like an easy solution.

    But the truth is, people want different things. Some people look at me starting a website and think it’s boring, unrealistic and downright dumb. Maybe they’re right. Maybe we’re the weird ones who find working on the internet actually exciting.

    Oh, well. Salute to all you fellow weirdos!

  8. Koko

    Apr 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wow … actually I find myself in the position of reconsidering my friends to start their own thing way too often. I even abandoned some of my friends because they were dragging me down to the level of no-enthusiasm towards work. However, now I think I won’t do the persuading stuff to my friends anymore.

  9. Mike Sutton - BeBuildHave.com

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I agree with all 3 points, but I also think career employment as option #1 is on it’s way out. Entrepreneurship is a reality of the new economy and will be the only option for more and more people, so we need to find a way to support, train, and develop those skills in people who aren’t “naturals”.

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      I disagree. If everyone were an entrepreneur, who would do the meaningless work? Who would run the errands? Who would make my coffee at the local cafe?

      Who would serve me a steak? Who would make sure my cell phone is working correctly when I have trouble with service?

      • Patrice K. Cokley, MBA

        May 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m always having this discussion with someone. Although doing meaningless work is not for us, it is something that needs to be done. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. So I’m ok with people settling in their lives. As long as they’re not trying to talk me out of my goals, I’m fine. Thanks for this post! It came right on time.

  10. Dano

    Apr 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Cool story bro. But do you even lift?

  11. Andy

    Apr 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Perfect time for this article. I had an argument with my wife last night about issues I am experiencing and she just didn’t get it. She never will either and it’s not a bad thing.

  12. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Hi JC,

    I feel like you hacked my brain. I couldn’t agree more.

    When I first became self employed and earning well, I thought to myself ‘why would people NOT want to do this’. I have tell all my friends and family!

    But in reality although most people lust after the lifestyle they haven’t really got what it takes. They don’t want to work weekends, in the evenings and need a boss to be accountable too.

    They just can’t commit. I now realize this is OK. It’s their choice, their life and everyone journey towards fulfillment and happiness is completely different and doesn’t have to follow mine.

    Great post and scarily close to my own thoughts!

    Naomi

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks. Glad it resonated – I imagined it would with others paving their own path.

  13. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    JC, I agree that it does take a certain personality to have the tenacity to work through all the fears and obstacles that naturally come up as an entrepreneur. When something great happens as a result of the hard work, it’s euphoric.

    The path to success is not a straight line, it’s full of zigzags. It’s not for the faint of heart.

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Entrepreneurs

4 Important Life Lessons You Can Learn From Billionaire Jim Koch

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Jim Koch is an American entrepreneur, author and a passionate beer lover who left his lucrative business in Wall Street to start his own beer company, Boston Beer, from scratch and make it among the most successful brands in the US market with an annual revenue of around $1 billion. I have read a few books about Koch, including his book, Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two, and below are four lessons I believe you should learn from Koch`s thrilling life.

1. Do what you love

Koch had a business and law degree from Harvard and had a lucrative, high-paying job, yet he wasn’t happy. When he thought about the whole situation, he realized that consulting wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. So he quit after spending five years at a consulting group in Boston and went to do what he loved best; manufacturing and selling beer.

“Getting rich is life’s biggest booby trap. It comes down to what would you rather be, happy or rich? I say do what’s gonna make you happy.” – Jim Koch

2. Career wanderings aren’t bad

If you still can’t find your calling or have wasted a couple of years working on something you later found out  doesn`t fit you, don`t worry. Koch`s career path wasn`t linear. He began his adulthood life deciding to be in the beer business. In fact, he was encouraged not to do so by his father whose net income in the last six months of his brewing career was less than $500.

Koch found his calling at the age of 34 and believes he wouldn’t have made it without his many career wanderings, including working as an outward bound instructor and spending three and a half years mountaineering across America.

One of the lessons he learned from that job is that you never climb a mountain to get to the middle. You either aim for the top or don`t climb at all. With this lesson in mind, Koch intended to make The Boston Beer Company the biggest high-end beer in America, and now his net worth is over $1 billion.

3. When there’s a will, there’s a way

When he launched his first product, Koch`s best idea was to hire someone to sell it for him because, though he knew a lot about brewing and the law, he wasn’t a good salesman. Unfortunately, none of the five Boston-based wholesalers agreed to represent him thinking the market wasn’t ready for an expensive American beer.

So he got himself a wholesaler license, leased a truck and hovered around Boston cold-calling bars. They liked his beer, and the wholesaler`s cut went into his pocket.

“The values you want to live have to come from your own living heart. You have to be the best model of those values. You have to push yourself to the highest possible standard, because it’s not reasonable to expect anybody else to have a higher standard than you do as a leader.” – Jim Koch

4. Monday may never come

One Friday morning, a friend left a message with Koch`s secretary that he would call him on Monday. Unfortunately, that man didn’t make it and died of a heart attack on Sunday. So Koch asked for that message to be framed and hung on his office wall to remind him that Monday doesn’t always come. The lesson here is simple; life is short and whatever you have on your plate do it ASAP, if not now.

One of the things you must do, according to Koch, is start collecting experiences as quickly as possible. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, the best question to ask yourself is “What experiences will I regret not having ten years from now?” Write them down, make a plan and a deadline and use necessity and pressure to force yourself to take action because you probably won’t have enough time or freedom to do many things once you start a career, get married, and have a family.

Life is also short relationship-wise. You don’t know when your loved ones will go. A parent, a friend, or that cheerful old lady who greets you every time you meet on the streets. One day, one of you will leave, and you don’t know whether you`ll ever have a goodbye moment together.

So make it a habit each day of calling somebody you haven’t seen in years or make sure your friends or parents are okay. It will make both of you feel good, and when that inevitable moment comes, you won’t have many regrets.

What is something you have learned from Jim Koch? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

These 10 Steps Will Help Any Entrepreneur Get Their Game Right

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entrepreneurship

You followed your heart. You turned your passion into your mission. Your fear of regret superseded your fear of going for it. You’ve worked hard, but the success you desire didn’t arrive on schedule. You’ve had achievements, followed gurus, and kept your dream alive through sheer tenacity and a determination not to return to the hamster wheel from which you jumped.

You’re exhilarated at the thought of being your own boss, working alongside your dog, and not punching a time clock. What you may not have known about entrepreneurship is that, like raising kids, there are ups and downs, overwhelm and excitement, pain and joy. You’ll think you’re doing it wrong most of the time, while secretly hoping you’re getting some of it right. You’ll want to quit. To all those statements, I can say, me too.

Here’s 10 ways to change your game and get it right:

1. Refine and release your product offering

Your business isn’t just about what you’re selling and what problem it’s solving. Focus on what gives your life meaning and how what your offering represents that. You’re selling your story, not your product or service.  And, if you’re stuck in the pondering, refining, revising, rewriting, or redesigning stage, move forward. Get a good, not perfect, product out there. Rinse and repeat. Done is better than perfect unless you’re engineering heart valves or knee replacements.

2. Build your brand from your heart, not your head

If no one knows who you are, where to find you or what you do, they can’t buy from you.  A legitimate problem but easily solvable. The step that matters most to your bottom line, however, is incorporating bits of your journey and soul, not just your expertise. Focus on being resonant. A great brand builds relationships and relationships are why buyers choose you over and over.

3. Determine if you have a fear of failure, a fear of success or both

You are probably clear on fear of failure- the hesitancy that comes with the fact that what you’re doing might not work out and could be painful to you and your bank account. What you may be less familiar with is a fear of success, that can be equally paralyzing because you have deep-seated worries about how your life will change if your business really takes off.

You might be disappointed that you haven’t reached your goals, but you are comfortable with the familiarity of how your life is now. Fear of success is released the same way as fear of failure. Ask yourself three questions. What’s the worst that can happen if I’m successful? Can I handle it? And, what’s the best that can happen? Then choose comfortable and familiar or success.

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” – Karl Augustus Menninger

4. Hustle

When you link your service to your story, you can easily talk to everyone all the time about what you do without sounding coercive or salesy.  If you want to be successful, you have to be the mayor. Fake being outgoing until you’re outgoing. You may have held back because hustling sounds icky. You may also have mistakenly thought you were hustling when you weren’t!

If you work all the time but aren’t getting where you want to go, you may be doing more of what’s comfortable rather than what works. Give your inner badass entrepreneur a hustler nickname and embrace that part of you that knows you’re in business to make money as well as making the planet a better place.

5. Focus on what you don’t do well but desperately need

If you’re spending all your time becoming more of an expert at what you do, chasing more credentials and living in the comfort zone, but you’re neglecting marketing, strategic planning, competitive analysis or some other part of your business, success will continue to elude you. Instead of listening to Ted talks and reading journal articles in your field, focus on the major players in business like Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, and Gary Vaynerchuk and everyone they interview.

6. Focus on the small goals on the way to the big dream

I love dreaming big, like focusing on becoming a NY Times best-selling author. That goal is definitely on my vision board but so is to finish writing the book and get it published. That’s a simple example but overlooking consistent, focused small steps while affirming the big goal will not get you where you want to go. Don’t focus on a net income of $2 million when, immediately, you need to focus on making enough money to keep you out of a day job.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

7. Make “I can” your new motto. Banish “I can’t” from your vocabulary

It’s rarely true anyway. You can say: I don’t know how, I’m working on it, and I need to figure it out, which all imply that there is a solution to be had. I can’t is final and permits you to quit. I can, not only psychologically primes your brain to find a solution, it switches your thoughts from a fixed to a growth mindset.

8. Ask for help

It’s easy to slip into excuses, like “everyone’s busy”, “you have to pay people to help you” and “why would so and so want to help me”.  It’s a risk to ask for assistance. However, wishing, wanting and hoping what you need magically appears succeeds far less often than asking for it. The answer will either be a yes or a no, and either is ok. Don’t take it personally. As Jack Canfield says, every no brings you closer to a yes. Be sure to show or tell them why they want to help you and offer to assist them in return.

9. Know your role models

Don’t reinvent the wheel because wheels exist. Find who’s doing what you want to do, be and have. Study them, contact them, and do what they did. For work, life and relationships- know your role models. And keep it in perspective. Your big goal may be that your mentors become your friends but you need them to be your mentors first.

10. Enlist a support team

You need your cheerleaders and tough lovers. These are people who will provide unbiased support- celebrating the victories, cheering you through the difficulties and asking the tough questions that help you win big. They brainstorm solutions and provide much-needed connection for the SOULpreneur.

Most of success is mental, not mechanics, but these steps cover both, require no financial investment, and you can start on them today. As mega fitness superstar, Shaun T says, “Let’s goooo!”

What gets you excited? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

7 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

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As my online business has grown over the years, I have felt the need to get some additional hands on board. Since I am big on being flexible, I didn’t want to hire someone as an employee and then worry about giving them a place to work or being there to monitor them. I decided to try my hands at hiring a virtual assistant (VA). While I have hired and worked with many virtual assistants so far, I made some basic mistakes when I hired my first VA last year.

Below, I have shared the seven mistakes I made that one must avoid when hiring a virtual assistant:

1. Not having a clear role for your Virtual Assistant

When I decided to hire a VA, my decision was driven by getting some work transferred to the VA. The mistake here was that I did not think about the exact work I would pass on to him/her.

So, I came across a VA on Facebook and interviewed him. While he seemed like a great guy with a good attitude, he was low on the skills part. Nonetheless, I considered hiring him and then training him on the job.

If I had a clear role in mind for my VA, I could have avoided hiring the VA I did, as he didn’t fit my criteria. But since there was none, I made the mistake of hiring him.

2. Not asking for previous work examples

No matter how great a VA looks, without prior work samples, you have no way to gauge the quality of his/her work. As a rule, always ask for samples. In case the VA doesn’t have related samples, you can ask him/her to do a little sample work for you and then gauge the quality.

3. Not training your Virtual Assistant

When hiring a VA, you must know that it will cost you money as well as some time in the beginning. Unless you have hired a highly skilled VA who is ready to hit the road from the very first day, you need to spend time training him/her. Remember that your business and your way of working is completely new to the VA and you need to hold their hand for the initial few weeks.

Having said that, you’re only helping the VA in areas of your business and your work. You shouldn’t train him/her on basic skills such as email writing, or Excel.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself.” – Whitney Wolfe

4. Not using the right tools

You need to have a system to keep the work going smoothly when working with a VA. When you have a system in place, keeping track of your VA’s work, giving them feedback, and planning ahead is a lot simpler.

Simple things such as creating a Google Drive or Dropbox folder for the VA’s work, using tools such Google Sheets, Slack, and Trello can really streamline your work and save a lot of time.

5. Not giving clear instructions and timely feedback

Your VA can’t read your mind. If you don’t give clear instructions, you shouldn’t expect high-quality work from their end. As a best practice, it helps in being crystal clear in your instructions. While you may find this time consuming, it’s a lot better than to get something low quality in need to rework.

Also, it’s is important to review your VA’s work and give them timely feedback. For the first few weeks, you can opt for daily short check-ins. This becomes a lot more important when you’re working with someone in a different time zone. If you don’t correct them in something when they make a mistake, you risk wasting another day.

6. Not being patient

Even if you hire a perfect candidate, he/she is likely to take time to acclimatize to your business and your style of working. While it’s a good practice to keep a strict tab on the VA’s work, you shouldn’t expect them to start firing on all cylinders from Day 1.

A reasonable expectation should be to transfer your work gradually to the VA (over the next few weeks or even months), and train them appropriately. You need to be patient in the initial days and understand that your VA may slowly cope up and perform as per your expectations.

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” – Elon Musk

7. Not calculating the ROI

When you invest in a VA, you need to have a clear idea on what benefit you’re looking for. For example, would hiring a VA allow you to expand your business, or would it allow you to delegate some work and focus on more important stuff.

Whatever the benefit, you need to think about the RoI (Return on Investment). Evaluate whether having a VA will help in generating a positive RoI or not. If you can’t peg a number to it, analyze whether the benefit of having a VA justifies the cost or not.

What are some mistakes you’ve made in hiring a VA? Comment below!

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Entrepreneurs

The 3 Essential Steps To Becoming A Thought Leader

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We live in an age of overwhelming information. The world is full of people supplying it and others who are seeking it. People everywhere are desperate for solutions and fresh insight. Those people who are able to provide them with the strongest, freshest, most relevant, and even most radical ideas, practically hold the keys to success. The individuals with this level of influence are the thought leaders.

If you are seeking to be more influential in your industry, the good news is that you don’t have to be born a thought leader—you can become one. So how do YOU rise above the noise and reach that level of influence?

In order to propel yourself forward as a thought leader, you NEED to follow these three steps:

Step 1 – Define Your Mission

Like a soldier in battle, your mission is THE ONE THING that you are responsible for fulfilling at all costs. To be a thought leader, you must have focus on what your goal is—where you are making your thought influence and where you are leading people.

Defining your mission does three things:

  • It declares to yourself what you are doing and how you are doing it so that you can move forward confidently. It provides a target to help you be as focused and effective as possible. It channels all your effort and creates a positive flow of creative energy.
  • A mission helps guarantee success by removing distraction. A thought leader knows that if anything distracts them from their stated mission they will lose their effectiveness as an influencer. A mission helps them objectively judge if something is helpful or not toward achieving that goal of dominant influence in a particular area.
  • Missions that are well-defined let your followers easily place their trust in you. When somebody doesn’t know what they are doing or where they are leading people, they lose credibility. No one wants to follow someone who appears to be going nowhere.

As an example, to someone who might want to be a thought leader in the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they might define a mission similar to this: “My mission is to help people understand the value of SEO to their organizations and provide a clear roadmap for implementing it effectively.”

Such a statement will focus you the influencer and allow your followers to easily buy into your leadership.

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.” – Zig Ziglar

Step 2 – Determine Your Message

If your mission is how you are focused on helping people, your message is what you are going to tell them to get their attention.

Your message will consist of the following:

  • It includes your one core premise, or thesis; the singular idea that you believe everyone needs to know. This becomes your rallying cry.
  • A powerful message will include your personal story so people can see that you are credible to speak on the subject as well as to be empathetic to their concerns. It lets people know that you understand their struggle as well as have a solution for them. Your message helps you be relatable.
  • Your message should ideally be thought-provoking to bring about an entirely new perspective as well as include a sense of urgency that reveals the consequences for continuing in the same old patterns of looking at things.

Your message is your gospel of hope and personal testimony that it works. With it, you awaken people to their need or confirm to them that you understand and are the best person to help them through their struggle and find salvation.

The SEO thought leader might have a message something like this: “SEO is constantly changing and every organization must embrace an aggressive stance for it or succumb to those organizations who will. I have the keys to help you effectively implement the SEO plan you need to be successful.”

They would then follow by sharing their personal story of how they came to be so convicted regarding this stance and how they implemented it with great success.

“I have a message to give to the world, and I shall not be thwarted.” – Elizabeth Kenny

Step 3 – Develop Your Method

Your method is the structured system that you use to help your people understand and implement your message. Your method doesn’t have to be long or complex—the strongest methods are simple and easily memorable. An ideal method will have three to seven action points to follow.

Our SEO thought leader’s method will follow a very simple format such as,“Step One—Define your target audience’s greatest needs, Step Two—Create an SEO plan around the keywords they search for,etc.”

Until they’ve covered all of the steps necessary to realize the solution to their follower’s problems, each step is where their level of expertise will shine through with great insight backed by compelling evidence.

Although this format might sound overly-simplified, there aren’t a lot of influential thought leaders out there precisely because most people can’t distill a plan down to this degree and bring the amount of clarity necessary for it to be effective.

Great thought leaders overlay their action points by taking their thought-followers on a journey that looks very similar to this:

  1. Open their eyes to see how things have always been,
  2. Show them what that has got them,
  3. Reveal and prove that there is another way to think about that area (your way), and
  4. Show them how powerful the new way can be.

Who are your favorite thought leaders? Please comment below!

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