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5 Time Management Tips For Lazy Entrepreneurs

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Admit it, building a business is tough.

You have a million different things to do, and you must prioritize from a list as long as the Nile.

It drives you nutty sometimes, right? You complete one task and 10 more pop up.

You question your decision to take the entrepreneurial route to save you from the nine-to-five grind, especially now that you’re working twelve-hour days with no end in sight.

So you do the only thing you know how to do. You knuckle down and work even longer hours, clinging to the hope that suddenly everything will become easier.

Yet, you know that won’t work either. Fortunately, the solution to your entrepreneurial woes is more simple than you think — become a lazier entrepreneur.

Why the most successful entrepreneurs are the laziest

Society has always frowned upon laziness, but I have always seen it as a talent. The laziest people are normally the most driven and successful.

Think about it for a second, lazy people want to spend the least amount of time on any given job so they can have fun.

Which of the following scenarios represents less time expended?

  1. A client emails you asking for an invoice, but you put it off. You take one minute to read it. You spend five minutes pondering a reply over dinner, and you re-read the email before replying the next day.
  1. You read the email and send a reply instantly.

 

Ironically, which option represents less effort for a lazy entrepreneur? Which option allows you to grab drinks with your friends or watch a movie with your family without worrying about work?

So it’s time you became a lazy entrepreneur.

It’s time you worked less and became more efficient, and, most importantly, its time you gained the freedom that inspired you to begin entrepreneurship in the first place.

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” – Robert A. Heinlein

5 Ways to work less and do more

Time management is a skill, but you’ll only use it if you have a good reason to. It’s extremely easy to fall back into working long hours, especially when entrepreneurs seem to compete for the most hours worked.

Efficiency and results should be your only aim, not the length of time worked.

So before you jump headfirst into testing these tips, make sure you’re ready to smash your efficiency levels and work less.

It’s pointless if you don’t actually want to work fewer hours. If you get an ego boost by gloating about that 80-hour week, stop reading now.

But if you’re like me and want the freedom, wealth, and happiness you deserve, beat your ego with the following tips.

 

1. Cut work that doesn’t truly matter

This is one of the hardest things to do, but analyze how you spend your time and what results you actually want from that time.

80% of your wealth will come from 20% of your work, so cut wastage. Only focus on work that brings in the money you desire.

To do that, you must understand what your goals are.

As a founder, are you looking to increase gross profit, net profit, or spare time?

When you’ve chosen your goal, you must track and understand where you stand right now.

Which clients are your most profitable and easiest to work with? Once you’ve figured this out, ruthlessly cut the other clients that eat up your time and profit.

“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker 

2. Do everything last minute

Let’s imagine you have to write a press release, and you only have one hour to write it.

I bet you would complete it on time.

I also bet that if you had twenty hours to complete it, you’d end up taking twenty hours.

You would spend your time collecting useless facts that you wouldn’t even use, and you’d write and rewrite until you reached perfection.

This phenomenon is based on the Parkinson’s Law where “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

So force yourself to do work at the last minute, and set a time limit to make sure you get it finished and don’t run over.

 

3. Train yourself like you would train a puppy

Do you know that every time you stop halfway through your work to grab a coffee or similar distraction, you are training your body to have bad habits?

Such actions are analogous to training your dog to sit, yet giving him a treat when he plays dead instead.

So if you want to keep your mind focused, you must train yourself like a puppy.

When you finish your work, you get a treat.

This will teach you to work harder and stay focused longer so you can get a break and grab that coffee.

Sounds a bit weird, but it works.

 

4. Stop wasting energy on pointless tasks

I woke up one morning, grabbed breakfast, and then picked up my phone and read two articles about a new live streaming app.

This led to me downloading the app and playing with it a bit.

Before I knew it, one hour had disappeared.

Has this happened to you?

I bet it has, so to avoid such pitfalls, you must have one aim only.

Seriously, only one aim!

It could be building your email list or designing your logo, but create one thing to focus on.

This gives you a reference point you can refer to when considering and doing other activities throughout the day.

You are an entrepreneur; your job is to succeed. So next time you pick up that new article, app, or social network, ask yourself, “How will this help me reach my dream? How will it help me reach freedom?”

Chinese-Proverb-Picture-Quote
 

5. Skip your meetings

That’s right, I said it.

Meetings are a waste of time and energy. Stop lying to yourself.

Do you truly need to go to the next meeting you’ve got arranged?

Would emailing the information be more effective?

Even better, could you use team collaboration software like Basecamp and just cut out all meetings?

Most meetings are just distractions and excuses not to get the critical work done.

So rethink your meetings.

Will they add to your productivity and efficiency or take away from them?

 

Its your turn

You started your company to build freedom in your life.

You built your website, brought your first client on board, and made that first dollar for one thing.

Freedom!

So stop working long, grueling hours, and start working smarter.

Start being lazy and efficient, and start using your time only on the things that matter to you and your goals.

This is your opportunity to radically transform the way you work.

Start living the type of happy, fulfilling life you truly desire.

 

Edward Noel is on a mission to stamp out anxiety and fear in talented Individuals. Download The 5 ultimate tools every lazy entrepreneur needs.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Pinki

    May 4, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for suggesting- Do everything at last minute.

  2. Chanelle

    Apr 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Love it! I agree with all except for #2. I hate doing things last minute because it causes me stress. Though I work well under pressure I like to prioritize my list and get things done as early and quickly as possible so I have time to revise if needed get consensus etc and strike it off my list. I do strongly agree with number 5. A lot can be accomplished by phone or email. Commuting to a meeting is sometimes pointless. Give me an agenda and if I have nothing to contribute or have no reason to be there, I will not go. I can do 10 times more things with my time than sitting in a meeting.

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Chanelle,

      Glad you liked it! I agree number 2 can be scary and puts a lot of pressure on you. It was looking at it from an efficiency sense with the aim to stop you from procrastinating. Which is something I am very guilty of… Especially as game of throne has just come back on!

  3. Jiliane

    Apr 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I love this! It makes me feel less guilty about the way I do things.

  4. Doensie

    Apr 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The problem with the second tip is that people tend to underestimate the time needed for any work. So, as you said, set a time limit, but perhaps it’s better to set it 19 hours before the deadline.

  5. Abuzar Tariq

    Apr 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Very helpful post. Doing things at last minute is so true i experienced this in my daily routine.

  6. Bethany @ Online Therapy and Coaching

    Apr 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for this! Great suggestions! I look forward to the day when I can stop going to meetings and focus on what truly matters. 🙂

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Glad you liked them Bethany,

      I think we are all looking forward to that day! But hopefully as companies are becoming more savvy with the use of collaborative softwares such as basecamp or Asana soon we can all work from the comforts of our own home!

      Hope they help 🙂

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10 Things The Corporate World *Didn’t* Teach Me

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I’ve just left the corporate world. It’s been seven years and I don’t regret a single second of it.

You’d think I would have learned everything there is to know about business in the corporate world. I didn’t.

There were a lot of gaps which I luckily was able to fill in during my entrepreneur days.

Here’s what the corporate world didn’t teach me:


1. How to think for myself

In the corporate world, you’re often told what to do.

If you don’t have the answer then some smart person, in some department will probably have the answer for you. The answer may not be the latest and greatest strategy, but it will be based on some prior knowledge.

As an entrepreneur, none of this was available to me. I’d roll up to the old Milkbar that was our office, and I’d start stacking boxes into the little van we had. More boxes of soft drink and chips meant more gold coins in our vending machines.

Gold coins could be banked at our local branch at the end of the day and that’s how petrol, electricity, uniforms and the occasional Macca’s dinner was paid for. No one told me how to do that.

I either collected the gold coins, or I didn’t. No gold coins meant game over. As an entrepreneur, that meant failure and during your 20’s that’s often the last thing you want.

Thinking for myself wasn’t taught to me it was a survival tactic. I took this tactic with me to the corporate world and people were surprised.

As my former colleague said to me the other day You don’t overthink Tim youjust get shit done while everybody else is scratching their head.


2. Time management

The corporate world is full of big companies with lots of resources.

With an abundance of anything you always have wastage. The corporate world definitely didn’t tell me how to manage time.

What could have been a five-minute phone conversation often ended up in huge email chains. It was a bit of a game.

“Every email involved another person or persons being cc’d. The ultimate trick was to blind cc people within your company. Like magic, bombs start going off and no one can work out who did what. That’s the power of BCC”

None of this was good for time management though. Lot’s of time was spent trying to communicate with one another. Meetings are a thing in the corporate world.

Every problem that exists must have a meeting. Even if it’s about whether we call the shared folder “Sales” or “Customer Files” a meeting had to be held.

Meetings in the corporate world not only suck up time but are also a fashion parade where all the biggest egos can strut their stuff.

“I’m more important and have a better job title.”

“No, I’m more important!”

This dialogue goes on for days and sometimes months. Understanding the politics is often more critical than understanding the business. Still, none of this is good for time.

The time wasted is used by the tech startup opposition to improve a bug, rethink the customer experience or out-market corporates using social media.


3. A passion for what you love

Passion in the corporate world can often be lacking. Working at a corporate for many is a way to pay the bills rather than do their life’s work.

Passion can often be traded for money, bonuses and even more impressive job titles — all of which leave you feeling more empty”

It’s not all full of zero passion, though. There are a few people that are insanely passionate and those folk shine through.

The corporate world taught me to put my passion on hold rather than use it to WOW customers with the very thing that sets me apart.


4. What people are really buying

Working at a corporate taught me that it’s all about marketing.

I knew, though, from the startup world that this very idea was wrong.

People are buying you. They’re buying the people they deal with and what those people stand for.

No client in my corporate career ever gave a damn about the commoditized products I was selling. All of my clients gave a damn about my obsession to inspire the world through personal development and entrepreneurship. They were intrigued by my five years as an entrepreneur and what I learned.

This led to customers becoming friends as opposed to people that bought widgets from me and had the money they laid tracked in a CRM as ‘revenue.’

Not once in my corporate career did I have something to sell that couldn’t be bought from somewhere else, at a lower price or with better product features. The product feature my clients bought was me


5. The power of an audience

People are often too afraid to be vulnerable in the corporate world.

I never learned the power of an audience during my career working in corporates. All of that was learned between 6 pm and 8 pm every night when I was at home from work posting on LinkedIn.

Social media is not so prominent in the corporate world because it requires you to remove the corporate mask and show your flaws. Fakeness on social channels like LinkedIn just doesn’t work. People don’t engage.

Many people told me that the audience I was building on social media was career suicide. I ignored every one of them and I’m so glad I did.

These same people that warned me to stay off social media are the same ones asking me now to help them with their own social accounts.

With an audience, you can test ideas.

With an audience, you can inspire.

With an audience, you can recruit people to your team.

With an audience, you derive meaning for your life.


6. Doing the important vs. the mediocre

In corporate business, there’s a lot of noise.

Everything looks important. Everything looks like it could become a lawsuit (especially for a corporate). Everything looks like it could become a PR scandal. Everything looks risky to that next job promotion and to the business.

That’s where mediocrity thrives. With so much noise it’s easy to spend your days filing bits of paper or moving widgets from Point A to Point B without having any clue of why you’re doing it or how it contributes to humankind.

I didn’t learn the discipline of doing the important work in corporate life.

Doing the important came out of the entrepreneurial trait of problem-solving through a vision. It came from wanting to see things better than they are.

Doing the important was fuelled by a desire to achieve a goal that everybody said wasn’t possible. It’s a rebellious philosophy that pushes mediocrity the hell out of the way.


7. The way to have a meeting (ideally no meeting)

Running a meeting in corporate life follows a formula.

This formula will put almost all attendees to sleep. It’s why when you walk into a corporate board meeting, most of the execs are looking at their phone rather than paying attention to who’s speaking.

The formula goes like this:

  • Introduce everybody in the meeting (most don’t need to be there)
  • Pretend there’s an agenda (it will get hijacked…guaranteed)
  • Pretend to solve the problem by agreeing to invite more people to a future meeting
  • Pass ownership around of the problem whilst ignoring the potential solutions
  • Assigning action items which everybody ignores (thus triggering another meeting)

“The best way to have a meeting is not to have a meeting”

Meetings are needed in the corporate world because of a lack of trust and having too many cooks in the kitchen.

Have only the people that can solve the problem in the meeting, make it short and trust in the outcome and vision you’re trying to achieve.

That very philosophy makes meetings for the most part irrelevant.


8. How to make better PowerPoint presentations

You’d think with all the PowerPoints you have to do in the corporate world to educate internal stakeholders, you’d be a freaking expert at doing them.

Quite the opposite is true.

Because of the number of PowerPoint decks you have to do in the corporate world, you get worse at them.

The decks get longer, filled with more words, more acronyms and more promises to take more action.

It’s like for every year in the corporate world you add another acronym to the sentence you’re currently writing.

The belief in the corporate world is that all problems must first begin their life in a PowerPoint.

No problem can be solved without a PowerPoint. I once tried to do a presentation with only one slide. Once I explained the one slide I had prepared with a simple diagram that a four-year-old watching Peppa Pig could understand, I then blacked out the screen.

I wanted the attention on what I was saying instead of some Times New Roman, white slide, with Size 12 Font that nobody could read.

Death by PowerPoint is a real cause of death in the corporate world. It kills dreams, ideas, free speech and the will to live.


9. The way to treat people

The corporate world taught me nothing about how to treat people.

Treating people well came from my eBay days where I learned that if you give someone on eBay the thing they want, and do what you say, you’ll get what you want.

This philosophy didn’t translate into corporate life. I was told to treat people well based on what they could do for me. If they couldn’t do anything for me then what’s the point of knowing them? Right?

Wrong.

The people I treated well who seemed to have no benefit to me ended up becoming the Managers, General Managers and Inspiring Leaders five years down the road.

By not asking for stuff all the time, by treating these future leaders with respect and by being as close to a good human being as I could be, I got all the promotions and all the hard to reach opportunities.

My career in the corporate world looked like it was entirely built by luck. It wasn’t. My corporate career was built on respect, honesty and treating people well because it makes sense in the long run.


10. The true meaning of startup buzzwords

Lean startup. Agile. Disruptive. Act like a startup. Minimum viable product.

We hear these words every day in the startup and tech world. Every corporate is trying to adopt them as their own. I didn’t see any of these buzzwords in my corporate career ever be used successfully.

Lean startup meant Throw seven figures at it and see if it swims. If not, kill it fast!”

Agile meant plan the next five years of a new product, try to deal with every possible situation in the beginning and invite some management consultants.

Act like a startup meant adopt the word but still be a corporate because a sizeable business always knows best.

Minimum viable product meant fix every customer pain point in existence and build the mother of all solutions that’s going to take years to build and leave all competitors for dead. Let’s not fix one thing when we can fix everything thus fixing nothing in the process.


So what can you learn from the corporate world?

It’s not all bad. Park my humor for just one second. You can learn plenty in the corporate world and it’s not all bad.

The corporate world can teach you:

1. Leadership fundamentals

2. Corporate decision-making

3. Community values

4. The rate of technology disruption

The corporate world in some ways shows you what the past looks like so you can build the future. It shows you that size does not necessarily mean better results or more improved solutions.

What I’ve outlined above comes from dealing with hundreds of corporates over the last seven years and the commonalities around how they think.


The grass is not greener.

The corporate world sure has its problems. So does the startup world. So does medium sized business as well.

All business just has a different set of problems to solve.

The way to deal with this conundrum is to become an expert problem solver who enjoys the challenge. It’s not always easy to do.

The business world can get you down and suck the life out of you.

That’s why you need to take a break and get some perspective. Try small, medium and big business for yourself and make your own assessment.

The grass may be longer, shorter or in need of a mow but it’s definitely not greener.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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How to Change Your Bad Habits for the Benefit of Your Business

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If you are like most people, you probably like to complain from time to time about the economy, about the markets, about how things are changing too fast or how you don’t get enough time. Moan moan moan!

However, moaning doesn’t solve problems. Instead, you can follow the “No BCD” theory and avoid blaming, complaining and defensiveness. This way you will have a totally different outlook, handle situations a lot better, and take control over your destiny. A really practical way to do this is to develop better habits.

What are the bad habits you have?

Everyone has different bad habits, but when it comes to business here are the 4 most common ones:

  • Lack of focus: Every single day, there are going to be things you intend to do and then you “run out of time” or succumb to distractions. But if you’re honest, you had the time and there was a way – you just lacked focus.
  • You’re too kind: How many times have you taken on a project which wasn’t profitable, because you “felt sorry for them”. Not only does this actually hurt you, but it also in many ways hurts the relationship you have with that client or customer.
  • Promising and not delivering: Whether it’s something you said to your team, your clients, or your suppliers, if you’re not matching your words with your actions, over time others will believe you less and less.
  • Leaving opportunities on the table: So often people complain in business they don’t have enough (money/sales/support), when actually they do – they just didn’t ask for it. Within your existing network there is probably everything you need, you just have to ask.

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy

Think about it. You can look at each of these bad habits and replace them with new and better ones. Imagine…

  • If you created habits that made you focus better: you’d be more productive, with the same amount of time.
  • If you learned good ways to set boundaries: you’d have a better time delivering your services or products, and you’d feel more rewarded.
  • If you kept better track of your promises: You’d feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
  • If you picked up on more of those opportunities: You’d make more money, and inject welcome energy into those who are ready and willing to work with you. The side effect would be that you could delegate things you don’t love and aren’t good at to others more capable, and replace those activities with the things you love!

Breaking those bad habits

Over the years, I have managed to create more boundaries and space for me to be efficient and effective in my work. There are ways to do that  – some habits I have learned from others who have experienced and overcome similar issues, and some are the product of my own experiments. See below!

1. Sprints (for productivity)

I have to say this is so effective. I meet at least one other person at a coffee shop or members club – if it’s not in my office with my fellow team members. We plan to do 30 or 45 minutes of work and do between 3-5 sprints in a session. Blocking out 4 hours together I find works well.

We each say what we will work on and then we get going. No talking allowed, focusing only on the task we talked about. When the timer rings we stop, compare notes on progress, have a mini break and do another one. It’s honestly my most productive time, and it makes you realise how much time we waste on distractions and even moaning about having too much work on!

“A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It’s an undo-it-yourself project.” – Abigail Van Buren

2. A tiny assignment (for motivation to break a bad habit)

I have done this now twice with 2 different friends. We talk about the bad habits we each have, whatever they might be. We give each other a new rule or habit to follow over a two week period. It has to be a “SMART” goal assignment – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

3. Low hanging fruit (for grabbing opportunities)

You simply make a list of people you already know who:

  • Fit into your target market but don’t work with you yet
  • Fit into your target market but haven’t worked with you for a while
  • Experience problems you know you can solve
  • Have their own network of contacts or audience which is very similar to the people you want to talk about
  • Have the expertise in things you find challenging, and very likely the answers to your current challenges

Once you have this list, you come up with some drafted initial outreach scripts for either text, email or phone calls and then you work through your list – sending out the requests, hellos, questions, etc. If you draft your communication well, considering the mindset of the people who are receiving these outreach messages, you will find each conversation will be at the very least a learning opportunity and would certainly lead to more “yeses” than if you didn’t do this exercise.

4. The minimum criteria (for setting boundaries)

If you find that your bad habits involve you saying “yes” too often when you should be saying “no” – then this one works great. You just need to write a specific list of criteria to answer the question “Any time I will do this, I need the following things to be true first”.

For example, you only take on a client who pays less than a certain minimum threshold, who has made a written commitment that they will comply with your specific set of guidelines for their responsibilities during the project. There are so many ways you can use the “minimum criteria” technique and you can share your rules with friends and colleagues to hold yourself accountable.

Now, with all this insight I hope you feel more motivated and you can’t even remember your excuses anymore!

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Starting a Business in College

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College is a time of opportunity. Students are given a chance to learn a variety of new skills and to put those skills to use. One way to do this is to start a business. Starting a business isn’t something you should jump into without careful consideration, though. You need to take a look at what you stand to gain from it and what negative aspects come from starting a business are.

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

The first distinction that needs to be made when you start a business is what kind of business it’s going to be. Will you be the sole owner? Will someone else be co-owning with you? If it is the former, this is referred to as a sole proprietorship. The advantages of this type of business are the fact that they are easy to start up and close if need be as well as giving the owner the flexibility of being their boss. Owners of this type also retain all profits earned.

There are downsides to this type of ownership. The biggest one is that the owner has unlimited liability. In other words, if the business fails, struggles, or falls into debt, it’s entirely on the owner.

On the other hand, if a student wanted to start a business with a friend, they could go into it as a partnership where each person holds a certain level of responsibility for the company. For one, two students starting a business can pool their resources and knowledge. Unfortunately, the development of a partnership doesn’t take away the idea of unlimited responsibility for the owners if they are general – meaning equal – partners.

“Never start a business just to make money. Start a business to make a difference.” – Marie Forleo

A Chance to Do Something Important to You

When a student is in college, they might end up taking whatever job they can to make ends meet. After all, the price of college is high, and many college students work entry-level jobs. It means that the posts you work at the start of your career might not be the ones that you are passionate about.

Owning a business, on the other hand, gives you more freedom. This is because a student’s business can be revolved around anything they are knowledgeable about. It gives them a chance to find their passion and profit off of it while having a job that they love.

The opposing side to this is that college students do work on lower funds than someone who has settled into a career further down the road and has savings built up from that. It means that for a student, start-up costs can be a little more challenging to reach.

The silver lining to that train of thought is that college students are only starting their career. They don’t have to worry about leaving a job that they’ve been working on for decades to take a risk and start their own business.

It Takes Dedication

Starting a firm, as we’ve pointed out, isn’t something that you do on a whim. The owner has to be dedicated to the business to have a successful company. It can be difficult at first because many people start their own business with the idea that they will create their hours. The truth is that you will probably find yourself working overtime and doing every menial task that the company needs to be done at first

It is mainly because you will be starting out on your own. Even if you have a partner, you won’t have employees to start out so there won’t be many delegations of tasks. If you are genuinely passionate about a topic, you will be able to find the dedication it takes to get your business off the ground. Remember, as the company grows, you’ll be able to hire more help – if the industry is a success, all responsibilities won’t fall on the owner forever.

“Don’t wait for the right moment to start a business. It never arrives. Start whenever.” – Lauris Liberts

Leadership

We already looked at the fact that owning a business means that you are in charge of all the goings on within your business. As such, this is an excellent opportunity to show your skills as a leader. If you don’t have strong leadership skills, this is a great chance to develop them fast because, without them, you will be watching your business go under.

Leadership doesn’t just mean organizing teams and delegating tasks. You will also have to take responsibility for less desirable functions within your business. For instance, as the owner, it is your job to fire someone when it comes time to let them go. It isn’t a job that anyone wants, but it is a task that needs to be done to keep a business running smoothly.

It all boils down to risk and reward. Starting and owning a business in college is something that can bring you a lot of good as well as a lot of bad. If you want a company to succeed, you have to consider both sides of this and decide if starting a business in college is the right choice for you.

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4 Tips to Overcome Your Toughest Hardships When Starting a Business

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Successful entrepreneurs have long been known to embody specific traits that can be very useful in many aspects of life. Some of these traits include hard work, devotion and continuous solid effort. The different skills that entrepreneurs naturally gain through years and years of professional experience, have equipped them to effectively manage and continuously expand their business.

Nonetheless, if we backtrack to the beginning of most entrepreneurs journeys, we see that the majority of them almost always faced professional or personal challenges when first starting a new venture.

Entrepreneurs usually endure professional trials better than anyone else because they were prepared during the early stages of their careers. Yet, the power of perseverance, devotion and quality performance is truly tested when faced with powerful hardships at a personal level.

To provide some context in regards to these hardships, let me ask this question. Would you effectively run your newly established business if within the first three months, you were faced with the fact that a family member was admitted to the hospital, another got divorced after 20 years of marriage, and you were left by the woman you had decided to spend the rest of your life with?

New entrepreneurs can ensure their way to success when involuntarily having overcome personal challenges life has thrown at them. After all, the true measure of an entrepreneur’s character and ability, is in how they handle themselves in the face of adversity or failure.

Below are 4 tips to overcome life hardships when starting a business:

1. Focus on your business

Hard work is an important technique that can help you forget. Focus on your business and daily tasks and you will find yourself momentarily forgetting about the personal issues that may be troubling you.

In other words, all kinds of activities including office work, home chores or small errands will help your mind break the loop you may find yourself in. Not only you will be doing something productive, but you will also get the opportunity to improve your business during this unexpected situation.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney

2. Welcome the support of your friends and family

Being dealt with a bad hand doesn’t mean that there are no people willing to help and support you. Your family and friends are still here and willing to provide you with the emotional comfort and empowerment you need to go through this.

Make sure to contact them on a daily basis and let them know of your thoughts and issues, by becoming a part of their lives and engage in activities together. Participating in social events is a great way to keep your mind busy, meet new people and experience new things.

3. Practice acceptance and let it go

We sometimes find ourselves creating the perfect fantasy where all aspects of our lives are perfect, thus, it may be so difficult to let go of or accept a sudden turn of events. Focus on accepting the situation as is by reflecting on it.

Try meditating, take deep breaths and appreciate the people and things you still have in your life. One day you may find your own explanation as to why these events may have happened.

“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

4. Read on a daily basis

Reading can provide an abundance of mental health benefits including stress relief, anxiety reduction, knowledge increase, and improved focus and concentration. Similarly to focusing on your business, reading can help you to briefly forget about personal issues while learning something new.

With reading, you will be able to develop different perspectives which can help you better evaluate life, self-reflect and even perceive everything from a different viewpoint.

Regardless of the techniques you choose to follow when life throws personal hardships at you, it’s important to remember that this is not an overnight achievement. Nevertheless, you can focus all your efforts on getting on with your life and continuously improving yourself.

How have you overcome hardships in your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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5 Productivity Tactics to Help You Win as a Creative in Your Online Business

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The shift in business has made online entrepreneurship as easy as visiting your local grocery store. The possibilities are endless and the variety is abundant. As creative entrepreneurs, your mind is always powered on flying through hundreds of ideas, thoughts and visions at any given moment. It’s the Jekyll-Hyde of being overwhelmed with too many ideas or a drought of none. (more…)

Heidi Kurter is a world traveler currently living in Ulsan, South Korea. She left her corporate Human Resources position 14 months ago to pursue a life of entrepreneurship and travel. She is now an HR, Leadership & Development Coach and Corporate Consultant providing leadership and development strategies for entrepreneurs and organizations across the globe. Heidi combines her passion for HR and Leadership & Development to empower stuck, struggling and overwhelmed individuals into empowered leaders for their life and business. You can find her on Facebook or www.heidilynneco.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Pinki

    May 4, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for suggesting- Do everything at last minute.

  2. Chanelle

    Apr 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Love it! I agree with all except for #2. I hate doing things last minute because it causes me stress. Though I work well under pressure I like to prioritize my list and get things done as early and quickly as possible so I have time to revise if needed get consensus etc and strike it off my list. I do strongly agree with number 5. A lot can be accomplished by phone or email. Commuting to a meeting is sometimes pointless. Give me an agenda and if I have nothing to contribute or have no reason to be there, I will not go. I can do 10 times more things with my time than sitting in a meeting.

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Chanelle,

      Glad you liked it! I agree number 2 can be scary and puts a lot of pressure on you. It was looking at it from an efficiency sense with the aim to stop you from procrastinating. Which is something I am very guilty of… Especially as game of throne has just come back on!

  3. Jiliane

    Apr 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I love this! It makes me feel less guilty about the way I do things.

  4. Doensie

    Apr 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The problem with the second tip is that people tend to underestimate the time needed for any work. So, as you said, set a time limit, but perhaps it’s better to set it 19 hours before the deadline.

  5. Abuzar Tariq

    Apr 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Very helpful post. Doing things at last minute is so true i experienced this in my daily routine.

  6. Bethany @ Online Therapy and Coaching

    Apr 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for this! Great suggestions! I look forward to the day when I can stop going to meetings and focus on what truly matters. 🙂

    • Edward

      Apr 30, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Glad you liked them Bethany,

      I think we are all looking forward to that day! But hopefully as companies are becoming more savvy with the use of collaborative softwares such as basecamp or Asana soon we can all work from the comforts of our own home!

      Hope they help 🙂

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10 Things The Corporate World *Didn’t* Teach Me

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I’ve just left the corporate world. It’s been seven years and I don’t regret a single second of it.

You’d think I would have learned everything there is to know about business in the corporate world. I didn’t.

There were a lot of gaps which I luckily was able to fill in during my entrepreneur days.

Here’s what the corporate world didn’t teach me:


1. How to think for myself

In the corporate world, you’re often told what to do.

If you don’t have the answer then some smart person, in some department will probably have the answer for you. The answer may not be the latest and greatest strategy, but it will be based on some prior knowledge.

As an entrepreneur, none of this was available to me. I’d roll up to the old Milkbar that was our office, and I’d start stacking boxes into the little van we had. More boxes of soft drink and chips meant more gold coins in our vending machines.

Gold coins could be banked at our local branch at the end of the day and that’s how petrol, electricity, uniforms and the occasional Macca’s dinner was paid for. No one told me how to do that.

I either collected the gold coins, or I didn’t. No gold coins meant game over. As an entrepreneur, that meant failure and during your 20’s that’s often the last thing you want.

Thinking for myself wasn’t taught to me it was a survival tactic. I took this tactic with me to the corporate world and people were surprised.

As my former colleague said to me the other day You don’t overthink Tim youjust get shit done while everybody else is scratching their head.


2. Time management

The corporate world is full of big companies with lots of resources.

With an abundance of anything you always have wastage. The corporate world definitely didn’t tell me how to manage time.

What could have been a five-minute phone conversation often ended up in huge email chains. It was a bit of a game.

“Every email involved another person or persons being cc’d. The ultimate trick was to blind cc people within your company. Like magic, bombs start going off and no one can work out who did what. That’s the power of BCC”

None of this was good for time management though. Lot’s of time was spent trying to communicate with one another. Meetings are a thing in the corporate world.

Every problem that exists must have a meeting. Even if it’s about whether we call the shared folder “Sales” or “Customer Files” a meeting had to be held.

Meetings in the corporate world not only suck up time but are also a fashion parade where all the biggest egos can strut their stuff.

“I’m more important and have a better job title.”

“No, I’m more important!”

This dialogue goes on for days and sometimes months. Understanding the politics is often more critical than understanding the business. Still, none of this is good for time.

The time wasted is used by the tech startup opposition to improve a bug, rethink the customer experience or out-market corporates using social media.


3. A passion for what you love

Passion in the corporate world can often be lacking. Working at a corporate for many is a way to pay the bills rather than do their life’s work.

Passion can often be traded for money, bonuses and even more impressive job titles — all of which leave you feeling more empty”

It’s not all full of zero passion, though. There are a few people that are insanely passionate and those folk shine through.

The corporate world taught me to put my passion on hold rather than use it to WOW customers with the very thing that sets me apart.


4. What people are really buying

Working at a corporate taught me that it’s all about marketing.

I knew, though, from the startup world that this very idea was wrong.

People are buying you. They’re buying the people they deal with and what those people stand for.

No client in my corporate career ever gave a damn about the commoditized products I was selling. All of my clients gave a damn about my obsession to inspire the world through personal development and entrepreneurship. They were intrigued by my five years as an entrepreneur and what I learned.

This led to customers becoming friends as opposed to people that bought widgets from me and had the money they laid tracked in a CRM as ‘revenue.’

Not once in my corporate career did I have something to sell that couldn’t be bought from somewhere else, at a lower price or with better product features. The product feature my clients bought was me


5. The power of an audience

People are often too afraid to be vulnerable in the corporate world.

I never learned the power of an audience during my career working in corporates. All of that was learned between 6 pm and 8 pm every night when I was at home from work posting on LinkedIn.

Social media is not so prominent in the corporate world because it requires you to remove the corporate mask and show your flaws. Fakeness on social channels like LinkedIn just doesn’t work. People don’t engage.

Many people told me that the audience I was building on social media was career suicide. I ignored every one of them and I’m so glad I did.

These same people that warned me to stay off social media are the same ones asking me now to help them with their own social accounts.

With an audience, you can test ideas.

With an audience, you can inspire.

With an audience, you can recruit people to your team.

With an audience, you derive meaning for your life.


6. Doing the important vs. the mediocre

In corporate business, there’s a lot of noise.

Everything looks important. Everything looks like it could become a lawsuit (especially for a corporate). Everything looks like it could become a PR scandal. Everything looks risky to that next job promotion and to the business.

That’s where mediocrity thrives. With so much noise it’s easy to spend your days filing bits of paper or moving widgets from Point A to Point B without having any clue of why you’re doing it or how it contributes to humankind.

I didn’t learn the discipline of doing the important work in corporate life.

Doing the important came out of the entrepreneurial trait of problem-solving through a vision. It came from wanting to see things better than they are.

Doing the important was fuelled by a desire to achieve a goal that everybody said wasn’t possible. It’s a rebellious philosophy that pushes mediocrity the hell out of the way.


7. The way to have a meeting (ideally no meeting)

Running a meeting in corporate life follows a formula.

This formula will put almost all attendees to sleep. It’s why when you walk into a corporate board meeting, most of the execs are looking at their phone rather than paying attention to who’s speaking.

The formula goes like this:

  • Introduce everybody in the meeting (most don’t need to be there)
  • Pretend there’s an agenda (it will get hijacked…guaranteed)
  • Pretend to solve the problem by agreeing to invite more people to a future meeting
  • Pass ownership around of the problem whilst ignoring the potential solutions
  • Assigning action items which everybody ignores (thus triggering another meeting)

“The best way to have a meeting is not to have a meeting”

Meetings are needed in the corporate world because of a lack of trust and having too many cooks in the kitchen.

Have only the people that can solve the problem in the meeting, make it short and trust in the outcome and vision you’re trying to achieve.

That very philosophy makes meetings for the most part irrelevant.


8. How to make better PowerPoint presentations

You’d think with all the PowerPoints you have to do in the corporate world to educate internal stakeholders, you’d be a freaking expert at doing them.

Quite the opposite is true.

Because of the number of PowerPoint decks you have to do in the corporate world, you get worse at them.

The decks get longer, filled with more words, more acronyms and more promises to take more action.

It’s like for every year in the corporate world you add another acronym to the sentence you’re currently writing.

The belief in the corporate world is that all problems must first begin their life in a PowerPoint.

No problem can be solved without a PowerPoint. I once tried to do a presentation with only one slide. Once I explained the one slide I had prepared with a simple diagram that a four-year-old watching Peppa Pig could understand, I then blacked out the screen.

I wanted the attention on what I was saying instead of some Times New Roman, white slide, with Size 12 Font that nobody could read.

Death by PowerPoint is a real cause of death in the corporate world. It kills dreams, ideas, free speech and the will to live.


9. The way to treat people

The corporate world taught me nothing about how to treat people.

Treating people well came from my eBay days where I learned that if you give someone on eBay the thing they want, and do what you say, you’ll get what you want.

This philosophy didn’t translate into corporate life. I was told to treat people well based on what they could do for me. If they couldn’t do anything for me then what’s the point of knowing them? Right?

Wrong.

The people I treated well who seemed to have no benefit to me ended up becoming the Managers, General Managers and Inspiring Leaders five years down the road.

By not asking for stuff all the time, by treating these future leaders with respect and by being as close to a good human being as I could be, I got all the promotions and all the hard to reach opportunities.

My career in the corporate world looked like it was entirely built by luck. It wasn’t. My corporate career was built on respect, honesty and treating people well because it makes sense in the long run.


10. The true meaning of startup buzzwords

Lean startup. Agile. Disruptive. Act like a startup. Minimum viable product.

We hear these words every day in the startup and tech world. Every corporate is trying to adopt them as their own. I didn’t see any of these buzzwords in my corporate career ever be used successfully.

Lean startup meant Throw seven figures at it and see if it swims. If not, kill it fast!”

Agile meant plan the next five years of a new product, try to deal with every possible situation in the beginning and invite some management consultants.

Act like a startup meant adopt the word but still be a corporate because a sizeable business always knows best.

Minimum viable product meant fix every customer pain point in existence and build the mother of all solutions that’s going to take years to build and leave all competitors for dead. Let’s not fix one thing when we can fix everything thus fixing nothing in the process.


So what can you learn from the corporate world?

It’s not all bad. Park my humor for just one second. You can learn plenty in the corporate world and it’s not all bad.

The corporate world can teach you:

1. Leadership fundamentals

2. Corporate decision-making

3. Community values

4. The rate of technology disruption

The corporate world in some ways shows you what the past looks like so you can build the future. It shows you that size does not necessarily mean better results or more improved solutions.

What I’ve outlined above comes from dealing with hundreds of corporates over the last seven years and the commonalities around how they think.


The grass is not greener.

The corporate world sure has its problems. So does the startup world. So does medium sized business as well.

All business just has a different set of problems to solve.

The way to deal with this conundrum is to become an expert problem solver who enjoys the challenge. It’s not always easy to do.

The business world can get you down and suck the life out of you.

That’s why you need to take a break and get some perspective. Try small, medium and big business for yourself and make your own assessment.

The grass may be longer, shorter or in need of a mow but it’s definitely not greener.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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How to Change Your Bad Habits for the Benefit of Your Business

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If you are like most people, you probably like to complain from time to time about the economy, about the markets, about how things are changing too fast or how you don’t get enough time. Moan moan moan!

However, moaning doesn’t solve problems. Instead, you can follow the “No BCD” theory and avoid blaming, complaining and defensiveness. This way you will have a totally different outlook, handle situations a lot better, and take control over your destiny. A really practical way to do this is to develop better habits.

What are the bad habits you have?

Everyone has different bad habits, but when it comes to business here are the 4 most common ones:

  • Lack of focus: Every single day, there are going to be things you intend to do and then you “run out of time” or succumb to distractions. But if you’re honest, you had the time and there was a way – you just lacked focus.
  • You’re too kind: How many times have you taken on a project which wasn’t profitable, because you “felt sorry for them”. Not only does this actually hurt you, but it also in many ways hurts the relationship you have with that client or customer.
  • Promising and not delivering: Whether it’s something you said to your team, your clients, or your suppliers, if you’re not matching your words with your actions, over time others will believe you less and less.
  • Leaving opportunities on the table: So often people complain in business they don’t have enough (money/sales/support), when actually they do – they just didn’t ask for it. Within your existing network there is probably everything you need, you just have to ask.

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy

Think about it. You can look at each of these bad habits and replace them with new and better ones. Imagine…

  • If you created habits that made you focus better: you’d be more productive, with the same amount of time.
  • If you learned good ways to set boundaries: you’d have a better time delivering your services or products, and you’d feel more rewarded.
  • If you kept better track of your promises: You’d feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
  • If you picked up on more of those opportunities: You’d make more money, and inject welcome energy into those who are ready and willing to work with you. The side effect would be that you could delegate things you don’t love and aren’t good at to others more capable, and replace those activities with the things you love!

Breaking those bad habits

Over the years, I have managed to create more boundaries and space for me to be efficient and effective in my work. There are ways to do that  – some habits I have learned from others who have experienced and overcome similar issues, and some are the product of my own experiments. See below!

1. Sprints (for productivity)

I have to say this is so effective. I meet at least one other person at a coffee shop or members club – if it’s not in my office with my fellow team members. We plan to do 30 or 45 minutes of work and do between 3-5 sprints in a session. Blocking out 4 hours together I find works well.

We each say what we will work on and then we get going. No talking allowed, focusing only on the task we talked about. When the timer rings we stop, compare notes on progress, have a mini break and do another one. It’s honestly my most productive time, and it makes you realise how much time we waste on distractions and even moaning about having too much work on!

“A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It’s an undo-it-yourself project.” – Abigail Van Buren

2. A tiny assignment (for motivation to break a bad habit)

I have done this now twice with 2 different friends. We talk about the bad habits we each have, whatever they might be. We give each other a new rule or habit to follow over a two week period. It has to be a “SMART” goal assignment – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

3. Low hanging fruit (for grabbing opportunities)

You simply make a list of people you already know who:

  • Fit into your target market but don’t work with you yet
  • Fit into your target market but haven’t worked with you for a while
  • Experience problems you know you can solve
  • Have their own network of contacts or audience which is very similar to the people you want to talk about
  • Have the expertise in things you find challenging, and very likely the answers to your current challenges

Once you have this list, you come up with some drafted initial outreach scripts for either text, email or phone calls and then you work through your list – sending out the requests, hellos, questions, etc. If you draft your communication well, considering the mindset of the people who are receiving these outreach messages, you will find each conversation will be at the very least a learning opportunity and would certainly lead to more “yeses” than if you didn’t do this exercise.

4. The minimum criteria (for setting boundaries)

If you find that your bad habits involve you saying “yes” too often when you should be saying “no” – then this one works great. You just need to write a specific list of criteria to answer the question “Any time I will do this, I need the following things to be true first”.

For example, you only take on a client who pays less than a certain minimum threshold, who has made a written commitment that they will comply with your specific set of guidelines for their responsibilities during the project. There are so many ways you can use the “minimum criteria” technique and you can share your rules with friends and colleagues to hold yourself accountable.

Now, with all this insight I hope you feel more motivated and you can’t even remember your excuses anymore!

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Starting a Business in College

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College is a time of opportunity. Students are given a chance to learn a variety of new skills and to put those skills to use. One way to do this is to start a business. Starting a business isn’t something you should jump into without careful consideration, though. You need to take a look at what you stand to gain from it and what negative aspects come from starting a business are.

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

The first distinction that needs to be made when you start a business is what kind of business it’s going to be. Will you be the sole owner? Will someone else be co-owning with you? If it is the former, this is referred to as a sole proprietorship. The advantages of this type of business are the fact that they are easy to start up and close if need be as well as giving the owner the flexibility of being their boss. Owners of this type also retain all profits earned.

There are downsides to this type of ownership. The biggest one is that the owner has unlimited liability. In other words, if the business fails, struggles, or falls into debt, it’s entirely on the owner.

On the other hand, if a student wanted to start a business with a friend, they could go into it as a partnership where each person holds a certain level of responsibility for the company. For one, two students starting a business can pool their resources and knowledge. Unfortunately, the development of a partnership doesn’t take away the idea of unlimited responsibility for the owners if they are general – meaning equal – partners.

“Never start a business just to make money. Start a business to make a difference.” – Marie Forleo

A Chance to Do Something Important to You

When a student is in college, they might end up taking whatever job they can to make ends meet. After all, the price of college is high, and many college students work entry-level jobs. It means that the posts you work at the start of your career might not be the ones that you are passionate about.

Owning a business, on the other hand, gives you more freedom. This is because a student’s business can be revolved around anything they are knowledgeable about. It gives them a chance to find their passion and profit off of it while having a job that they love.

The opposing side to this is that college students do work on lower funds than someone who has settled into a career further down the road and has savings built up from that. It means that for a student, start-up costs can be a little more challenging to reach.

The silver lining to that train of thought is that college students are only starting their career. They don’t have to worry about leaving a job that they’ve been working on for decades to take a risk and start their own business.

It Takes Dedication

Starting a firm, as we’ve pointed out, isn’t something that you do on a whim. The owner has to be dedicated to the business to have a successful company. It can be difficult at first because many people start their own business with the idea that they will create their hours. The truth is that you will probably find yourself working overtime and doing every menial task that the company needs to be done at first

It is mainly because you will be starting out on your own. Even if you have a partner, you won’t have employees to start out so there won’t be many delegations of tasks. If you are genuinely passionate about a topic, you will be able to find the dedication it takes to get your business off the ground. Remember, as the company grows, you’ll be able to hire more help – if the industry is a success, all responsibilities won’t fall on the owner forever.

“Don’t wait for the right moment to start a business. It never arrives. Start whenever.” – Lauris Liberts

Leadership

We already looked at the fact that owning a business means that you are in charge of all the goings on within your business. As such, this is an excellent opportunity to show your skills as a leader. If you don’t have strong leadership skills, this is a great chance to develop them fast because, without them, you will be watching your business go under.

Leadership doesn’t just mean organizing teams and delegating tasks. You will also have to take responsibility for less desirable functions within your business. For instance, as the owner, it is your job to fire someone when it comes time to let them go. It isn’t a job that anyone wants, but it is a task that needs to be done to keep a business running smoothly.

It all boils down to risk and reward. Starting and owning a business in college is something that can bring you a lot of good as well as a lot of bad. If you want a company to succeed, you have to consider both sides of this and decide if starting a business in college is the right choice for you.

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4 Tips to Overcome Your Toughest Hardships When Starting a Business

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Successful entrepreneurs have long been known to embody specific traits that can be very useful in many aspects of life. Some of these traits include hard work, devotion and continuous solid effort. The different skills that entrepreneurs naturally gain through years and years of professional experience, have equipped them to effectively manage and continuously expand their business.

Nonetheless, if we backtrack to the beginning of most entrepreneurs journeys, we see that the majority of them almost always faced professional or personal challenges when first starting a new venture.

Entrepreneurs usually endure professional trials better than anyone else because they were prepared during the early stages of their careers. Yet, the power of perseverance, devotion and quality performance is truly tested when faced with powerful hardships at a personal level.

To provide some context in regards to these hardships, let me ask this question. Would you effectively run your newly established business if within the first three months, you were faced with the fact that a family member was admitted to the hospital, another got divorced after 20 years of marriage, and you were left by the woman you had decided to spend the rest of your life with?

New entrepreneurs can ensure their way to success when involuntarily having overcome personal challenges life has thrown at them. After all, the true measure of an entrepreneur’s character and ability, is in how they handle themselves in the face of adversity or failure.

Below are 4 tips to overcome life hardships when starting a business:

1. Focus on your business

Hard work is an important technique that can help you forget. Focus on your business and daily tasks and you will find yourself momentarily forgetting about the personal issues that may be troubling you.

In other words, all kinds of activities including office work, home chores or small errands will help your mind break the loop you may find yourself in. Not only you will be doing something productive, but you will also get the opportunity to improve your business during this unexpected situation.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney

2. Welcome the support of your friends and family

Being dealt with a bad hand doesn’t mean that there are no people willing to help and support you. Your family and friends are still here and willing to provide you with the emotional comfort and empowerment you need to go through this.

Make sure to contact them on a daily basis and let them know of your thoughts and issues, by becoming a part of their lives and engage in activities together. Participating in social events is a great way to keep your mind busy, meet new people and experience new things.

3. Practice acceptance and let it go

We sometimes find ourselves creating the perfect fantasy where all aspects of our lives are perfect, thus, it may be so difficult to let go of or accept a sudden turn of events. Focus on accepting the situation as is by reflecting on it.

Try meditating, take deep breaths and appreciate the people and things you still have in your life. One day you may find your own explanation as to why these events may have happened.

“In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

4. Read on a daily basis

Reading can provide an abundance of mental health benefits including stress relief, anxiety reduction, knowledge increase, and improved focus and concentration. Similarly to focusing on your business, reading can help you to briefly forget about personal issues while learning something new.

With reading, you will be able to develop different perspectives which can help you better evaluate life, self-reflect and even perceive everything from a different viewpoint.

Regardless of the techniques you choose to follow when life throws personal hardships at you, it’s important to remember that this is not an overnight achievement. Nevertheless, you can focus all your efforts on getting on with your life and continuously improving yourself.

How have you overcome hardships in your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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