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9 Startup Lessons You Can Learn From Canva – Melanie Perkins

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It seems that everywhere I go people can’t stop saying how they think Canva will be the next billion-dollar company and how everyone loves their online design platform. Canva Co-Founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obercht have been able to convince the likes of Bill Tai, Lars Rasmussen and Guy Kawasaki to join their vision for a revolution in online design technology.

Canva only launched on the 26th of August 2013 and they now boast some amazing stats like:

Over 5 million users who have created more than 30 million designs,

– Nothing but word of mouth marketing (until recently)

600k of unique visitors to the site monthly

– Over 14,000 blogs have written about Canva

– More than 2000 videos have been made about the product

If that was not impressive enough, Canva has raised $12.6M USD to date and has gone from 2 million users to 5 million users in just 4 months. The reason Canva has been so successful comes down to a number of points, which Melanie shared with me in a recent interview.

The whole philosophy of Canva is best described by their Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki (former Apple Evangelist), who says that they are democratising design the same way Google democratised search.

The fundamental point that I drill into with Melanie is how an earth they were able to convince influential people to support them even when they hadn’t even built a product and Canva was nothing more than a cool idea.

Below are the nine startup lessons that Melanie taught me about Canva’s journey when I interviewed her.

 

1. You must have determination and guts

The strongest attribute Melanie has is determination. It takes a long time to create a company and there is a lot of rejection, failure and times where it would be a reasonable thing to give up. A great example of determination is the fact that it took Melanie three years from meeting their first investor to actually landing the first investment.

Let’s face it, most startup founders would give up after 12 months, but if you keep an eye on what you are trying to achieve and really keep focused on the vision (the vision is what people will rally behind in time), you will eventually break through and come to the right solution.

Canva Melanie and Bill Tai
Not only do you need to have determination but you also need to have guts. Melanie spoke to lots of people about Canva long before a product even existed, which takes real guts and belief in what you’re doing. VISION VISION VSION !!!

 

2. Influence one lighthouse person (the butterfly effect)

One of the sole reasons Canva has been a big success is that Melanie focused in the early days on finding one highly influential person in their space and getting them to help with their startup – stop trying to meet hundreds of people and just concentrate on a few big names.

The first person that Melanie was able to connect with was the very well-known venture capitalist Bill Tai. She met him in 2011 when he was in Perth for an event called inventor of the year and he told her to look him up when she came to San Francisco.

Like any clever entrepreneur, Melanie took action and six months later she arrived in San Fran where she planned to stay for two weeks. After meeting Bill there, Melanie ended up staying for three months. Bill told Melanie that for him to invest in Canva she must find a technical team to build the product because at this stage it was no more than an idea.

After raising the problem, he then introduced Melanie to Lars Rasmussen, who agreed to help find the technical team. One year later they had a technical co-founder that Lars referred to them. The beauty of this whole process was that Melanie was able to get some amazing people to buy into her vision even before she had any product at all.

Canva Investors Bill Tai And Lars Rasmussen

Left: Bill Tai Right: Lars Rasmussen

When I asked Melanie how she was able to influence so many high profile people, she said to me that she has a diagram, which she calls the butterfly effect. The diagram shows once she was able to influence one powerhouse person like Bill, her network followed a butterfly effect and she met everyone else through some sort of link to Bill.

Every single step along the way you could say “if that didn’t happen nothing would have happened” – that’s the butterfly effect. You don’t know what could have happened or would have happened. How do you find people like Bill? The same way everyone else does; through conferences, LinkedIn, email, telephone, along with persistence.

 

3. You don’t have to be a coder

Many startup founders have a limiting belief that you must be a coder of some sort to be a founder of a tech company. First of all, every new startup can be considered a tech startup because almost every product will be connected to the internet in some way.

Secondly, Canva Founders Melanie and Cliff had no coding experience what so ever. With their first startup Fusion Books, they outsourced all the technical part of their business to another company.

This was a great lesson for them because it allowed them to focus on learning how the technology works, educating themselves on product management, and it even helped them to develop project management skills.

They learnt on their second startup Canva that because the product was heavily reliant on technology they would require a technical co-founder. The genius of their startup was that they had a highly skilled person, Lars Rasmussen that was doing the hiring of software engineers.

This resulted in only the best engineers being hired and allowing both founders to focus on their strengths because the technical side was taken care of. When they eventually brought in a technical co-founder, they had someone who had equity in the company and who was then motivated to see the business succeed.

Also, keep in mind that highly skilled engineers are attracted to things that are very challenging and have never been done before so if you’re startup’s vision aligns with this, the odds are stacked in your favour.

 

4. Having a startup track record helps

If you’re attempting to convince investors to invest in you before you have a product, Melanie recommends that it’s preferable that you have some sort of track record in business beforehand. When Melanie and Cliff were searching for investment for Canva before they had a product, they were able to show a track record through their first startup Fusion Books that had already had success.

The beauty of Fusion Books was that Melanie and Cliff were able to start with a small niche, prove their skills, and then go wider with Canva. This is great advice for any startup that is in the early stages of executing on an idea.

Bill Tai wanted to invest in Canva even though there wasn’t a product yet because he was very surprised that Melanie and Cliff were able to build a profitable company beforehand (this is extremely rare). He also loved the vision, which is why he chose to help.

 

5. Don’t be obsessed with the drug called Venture Capital

A lot of startups suffer from the drug that can be venture capital funding. They become obsessed with raising capital and it becomes what they use to benchmark whether they are successful or not. Melanie explained that venture capital funding can be like a time bomb, once you raise, your startup must grow like crazy otherwise if it doesn’t, you will very quickly have no company at all.

The benchmark you should be using to measure your startup’s success is when customers give you their money, which is also a much better way to raise capital. This demonstrates that people other than yourself believe in your startups solution and that it’s solving a real world problem.

If you decide that you must raise venture capital then you should only do so when you know roughly how many people you need, you have a clear execution plan, you know what steps you need to take, and you have a product market fit.

 

6. The problem you solve must be ambitious

A factor that helped Canva stand out from other startups was that their solution was ambitious. The reality is that highly successful people are attracted to ambitious, challenging and world transforming ideas.

Guy Kawasaki Canva Investor And Chief Evangelist (Apple)

Guy Kawasaki

If you want to attract amazing people like Guy Kawasaki to your startup, then your startup must meet this criteria and that’s exactly what Canva did, which is why they attracted great talent. This great talent then attracted more great talent and the success cycle compounded again and again.

Ambitious problems take time to solve and take a long time to build momentum, but when you do solve these types of problems, there will be no shortage of successful people desperate to help you with your vision.

“Solve customer’s problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula”

 

7. The pitch deck needs to be all about the problem

Part of the journey whenever you are trying to sell your startup idea to people is to be able to use a quality pitch deck. Given the number of times Melanie had to pitch to investors, I asked her what advice she would give other startups when putting together a pitch deck.

Melanie explained to me that before Canva’s first investment, they had revised their pitch deck over one hundred times. The feedback that Melanie got consistently was that investors didn’t know much about the design landscape so this had to be addressed in the deck.

It’s a good idea to address anything that is tricky or confusing about your product right up front. When you are putting together your pitch deck, you need to start from a macro perspective and begin with the problem you are solving first. You need to be spending 80% of the deck on the problem and only 20% on the solution.

Your pitch deck needs to explain to investors the huge opportunity that exists, the large market for your solution and the macro landscape that exists. Instead of telling your solution right up front, focus on demonstrating its importance first. The other key point is to make sure your solution is a problem that people care about and want to be solved.

“Anyone can have a solution but if no one cares about it, unfortunately, you are not going to have a very big company”

 

8. Understand the risk appetite of the person your pitching

One of the most powerful lessons Melanie taught me is around knowing when to pitch to certain investors based on your startup’s life cycle. Different investors have different risk appetites so as your startup hits each milestone, different investors barriers to risk are removed.

If we look at Canva’s life cycle, they started with a strong vision, then they had a skilled team, then they had a great product, then they had a highly engaged community, then they had very strong performance graphs and now they have a strong monetisation model (thanks to Canva for work).

As Canva hit each milestone, Melanie said that different types of investors wanted to be a part of their vision. In the early stages, the only box that Canva ticked was a great vision and so this didn’t meet many investors risk appetite, although it did interest a few.

The Canva pitch to investors was rejected many times but what Melanie realised was that when investors said no, what the investor was really saying was that the current phase of their startup didn’t meet his or hers individual risk appetite.

“The rejection is often not because of the reasons you think they are rejecting you”

 

9. Regular contact after the pitch is crucial

I think that anyone can get in contact with an influential person at least once, but to keep in touch with someone who is high profile, takes real skill. When I presented this challenge to Melanie, she described how she was able to overcome this.

She explained to me that after the initial contact with an influential person, she would tell them what the next milestone was that Canva was going to achieve, and then when they achieved it, she would let them know.

In-between key milestones she would send influential people a copy of any Canva press to help keep her startup front of mind. The key Melanie says is that when you tell someone you are going to do something then just do it.

If you continue to do what you say you’re going to do, and you’re persistent, it will build up your credibility over time with the influential person. The other key trick is to send updates of your startup every few months – don’t overdo it with weekly updates.

 

***Melanie’s Recommendations***

Favourite Book – Designing the obvious (product design book) – Robert Jr Hoekman

Best Venture Capital Advice – The Venture Hacks Bible (Melanie used this PDF to learn what was involved in raising capital)

Favourite Quote – “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” – Gandhi

Favourite Startup Tool – UserTesting.com (understand how users are using your site)

Melanie Perkins Canva Founder - Addicted2Success Picture Quote

If you have any of your own startup tips then please comment below and make sure you visit Melanie’s latest creation Canva For Work here.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Esther Mellar

    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Tim,

    What strike me is the following:
    ‘The Canva pitch to investors was rejected many times but what Melanie realised was that when investors said no, what the investor was really saying was that the current phase of their startup didn’t meet his or hers individual risk appetite.
    “The rejection is often not because of the reasons you think they are rejecting you”’
    Do you know Tim, did she actually ask for clarification/guidance, or it was only her positive attitude and belief in herself and her product?
    Thank you!

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 19, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Esther, Melanie asked for feedback but it was mainly her belief in what she was doing that drove her. Melanie and her co-founder Cliff both had success with their first startup Fusion Books so that helped them have the optimism they needed. None the less, all entrepreneurs need to be able to visualise their vision before it’s real – Melanie did this beautifully.

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I love stories where other people kept pursing their dreams until it eventually paid off, and one thing that I have learned is that almost everyone who never gave up on their dream eventually made them come true. You learn from your failures and plant enough seeds over the years, you will eventually plant a fruitful seed. I love this young lady’s advice and her story.

    I agree with her statement that you don’t have to be a coder in order to achieve success with something techy, but you do need to know how to delegate tasks. You want to learn how to hand off the jobs that you don’t know, or are not the best at, but keep this vision intact. This vision and plan will make help you achieve success.

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 30, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I love these stories too Lawrence. It’s so cool that they didn’t even have a product yet they were able to convince one of the most well-known venture capitalists to invest in them. This just shows you how important a compelling vision is.

  3. denny

    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Great insight on a contemporary path to wild startup success. I suppose identifying a short list of key industry influencers should be a part of early startup planning. Likewise, a focus on clearly communicating the market, the need and the vision to meet that need are all first steps – prior to technical design.

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 30, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Thanks Denny and appreciate you sharing your startup tips with us.

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Startups

Here’s How Facebook Can Shape Your Startup in 2018

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facebook for business

Out of the many things that Facebook can do, it has the impeccable power of shaping your startup and providing a huge platform to reach out to its customers. Startups are constantly using the features of Facebook to engage their customers and implement in their content strategies in the unique ways.

Do you want to use this most popular social media platform as a marketing strategy for your startup or business? Here’s how Facebook can shape your business in 2018:

1. The rising trend of videos

Videos are undeniably the hottest trend of present times. The first thing that you most often come across on the social media platform is videos. There are various reasons why the popularity of videos has grown to strikingly unprecedented levels on social media platforms.

The content around us is evolving more and more with each day and can be credited to the changing preferences of people. The long written blogs and other stories are being converted to short videos and video stories. To understand why people prefer videos more than anything else, ask yourself if you were given a long paragraph to read and a video, what would you choose? Videos are always more engaging than written content.

It has the power to instantly connect with people and touch their emotional self in a more compelling manner. Videos are the relatable and much easier way of grasping things. More and more companies these days are using video as a marketing tool.

So, it doesn’t matter if it is a product launch or a DIY tutorial, or an advertisement, videos are one of the best ways of engaging the customers. Facebook is providing a wonderful platform for videos to flourish and shape businesses in the coming years.

“Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.” – Jay Baer

2. Use the power of live marketing

One of the most advantageous and unique features of Facebook is Live Marketing. Live Marketing has helped businesses and startups attain an upper hand in the market and stand out with their strategies. As intimidating as live marketing on Facebook sounds, it’s equally tricky and challenging to accomplish. If done the right way, it can do wonders for a business and shape their strategies towards unconditional support from their customers.

Facebook’s algorithm uses over 100,000 different signs to decide which posts should be prioritized on the customer’s feeds. So, no matter how great the content you produce is, there is a strong chance that your content will get overshadowed by the unlimited posts from friends and family.

So, if you want your message to be heard, one of the best ways is to go LIVE on Facebook. The live feature from Facebook instantly provides a free pass to the business and enables them by reaching in front of the queue to speak directly to the customer.

As you go live, all those following you receive an instant notification to connect with you. While going live is facilitating Facebook to get more and more customers hooked on to their sites, it is also enabling companies to catch their customer’s attention. You can stream a lot of things live on Facebook. These can be seminars, any discussions, interviews, or events. Think of ways to go Live and embrace this great feature.

3. Get your fans to create wonderful content

Another way that startups are shaping their strategies on Facebook is through their own customers. It’s always a great idea for customers to interact with your business so that you get some buzz in the market. You can ask your happy customers to create content for you. This tactic will help rush the engagement and accelerate more attention towards your business page.

Let people talk about you more and more and letting Facebook know that there is a constant buzz around your brand. Driving engagement with the audience is a successful social media strategy that has a life of its own. One of the most basic examples are the meme pages on Facebook. They let their audience post memes, which is the core content in their case, and circulate them to the rest of the world.

You can come up with contests which require posting photos and videos online. If you are a food brand, you can ask your customers to post pictures of a recipe that they tried at home, or video of a new recipe. This will draw a great engagement to your brand and help you gain your audience’s attention.

“When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof.” – Andy Crestodina

4. Paid advertising

Paid advertising is one of the keys to achieve your objectives. It’s important to understand that while paid advertising might not work for everyone, it ultimately comes down to the ROI of your strategy.  

Paid advertising is quite inexpensive, as compared to other advertising channels and platforms in the market. It can help you get a number of potential leads, and most importantly attention among your target customers.

5. Start a Discussion

Facebook allows you to start a discussion to engage people and leave them with something to talk about your brand. There are some ways that you can initiate discussions, such as polls, quizzes, reviews, etc. Through these tactics, Facebook can help your startup get your customer’s attention and understand their personas for forming better marketing strategies.

Customer personas revolve around knowing the habits, likes, dislikes, age, preferences etc. of the customer. Through the discussion, you can get to know your customer and customize your content based on their likes.

How do you use Facebook as a marketing channel for your startup or business? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Startups

3 Excuses to Overcome When Starting Your Business

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overcoming excuses

At one point or another, you’ve probably had a great idea. For some, that great idea comes when they’re driving down the road. For others, it comes when they’re singing in the shower. For Tenacious D (Jack Black’s band), it came in a dream. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t remember what the great idea was, but wound up writing a song with these words, “This isn’t the greatest song in the world, it’s just a tribute to the greatest song in the world.” The fact of the matter is, we all have great ideas. What separates those who are successful from those who aren’t is one little word – action.

I had the privilege to sit down with Alex Nerney, Co-founder of Create & Go, who used a process of sorts to establish two online websites grossing $100k/mo in profits. Alex talked about three things that hinder a business owner from bringing that idea into a reality. He also interjected three solutions to get rid of the yips and succeed. Hang on, your success is on it’s way.

1. There’s Too Much Competition

As quick as the business idea hits you, something else begins to gnaw at your brain – doubt. Doubt is a common emotion when it comes to creating something new. All of a sudden you realize you’re going to need “this” and “that” and “the other thing” to make it work and you begin to have a realization of the fear of failure. Mr. Nerney explains, while a lot of business ideas that pop up every day on the internet do not work out for the idea-owner, it’s not the fault of the idea.

For example, if you feel like you’re an expert in Facebook advertising and you want to create a consulting company to help other businesses succeed in Facebook ads, right from the beginning you’re going to notice there’s a TON of Facebook ad consultants out there.

Solution: Needle the Niche

Alex says to make your idea unique by niching down. In other words, don’t simply consult on the entire spectrum of Facebook advertising, but perhaps you could make it even more fine-tuned by being the expert at Facebook video ads for dress and apparel companies.

Now you have something to work with. Now you are targeting a specific origin of customer and, if your passion is in apparel (or whatever it may be), show your strengths by displaying an example for them. Niching down is a powerful way to help your business idea stand out from the crowd.

“The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.” – Rain

2. I Don’t Know Enough About This

Alex says, “The most dangerous part of saying ‘I don’t know enough about this’ to yourself is how it strings you along and convincing you to wait for the clandestine moment where you’re finally ready.” Inevitably, action will be required on your part if you are truly serious about accomplishing this particular goal in your business.

Without action, you never truly learn anything from your failed tasks. If you can create a positive mindset about your goals and begin to understand failure isn’t a closed door, but simply another opportunity to craft your creation a better way.

Solution: Don’t Ever Quit

After speaking with Alex on this point, I was reminded by a man who was full of failures.

  • He lost two jobs
  • He ran for the state legislature and lost
  • He started a business and failed
  • His high school sweetheart died.
  • Defeated for Speaker of the House
  • Defeated for Congress
  • Rejected for Land Officer
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate
  • Defeated for the nomination of the Vice Presidency
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate AGAIN

This guy was full of failures. But there was one resolve in his attitude and the aspect in which he saw himself and where he was going. He never quit. Finally, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected to be the President of the United States.

Don’t ever stop educating yourself. Don’t ever stop staying informed of the current issues of your potential clients and customers. Read, evaluate, learn, and jump in with both feet. You will eventually start to see progress in your learning curve. What would have happened to history if ol’ Abe had given up after the first few failures? I’m sure it would be a completely different story. If one door closes, another door opens in the pathway to success so keep your eyes open.

3. I Don’t Know Where To Start

With so many avenues of business appearing out of nowhere in the online business world, it can be confusing at times to know exactly what starting point you should attempt. If you continually watch competitors, how big their audience is, or how engaged they are with their customers, it can be intimidating.

Normally when you focus on others, you compare yourself to them and if you have 200 followers on Facebook and your competitor has 200,000, that’s a big wallop to the confidence level. It’s important to focus on what YOU are wanting out of your business idea.

Solution: Make Three Lists

If you’re coming against the “I Don’t Know Where To Start” wall in your business idea, Mr. Nerney suggests you pick a path and give it a try. Of course this needs to be something you’re passionate about or something you can bring value and quality to your customers or audience.

  • List 1 – Sit down and make a list of the talents you can bring to the table to a preferred customer. Do you write well? Are you great at building relationships? Are you a good communicator? Write those traits down.
  • List 2 – Write down what you want your business to accomplish. Will it be the Facebook video ads we discussed above? Whatever your decision make this the point where your customers simply have to have you over your competitor. This is where you can be different from the pack and it’s a great opportunity to stand out.
  • List 3 – Focus on the type of customer your business will be targeting. This is going to help you tremendously when you get started because your target area will be fine-tuned and won’t be straying off the beaten path getting stray customers who have no interest in what you’re trying to do.

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley

Alex describes this as a business persona. In essence, you are creating a mythical business which will be your ideal client. If you’re not targeting businesses, this will still work with individuals and is called “social personification”.

For instance if your business is going to do Facebook ads for clients who have apparel businesses, you would make a business (or personal) persona that looks something like this:

Business Name: The Company

Ideal Client: Single women ages 24 – 31 who prefer the night-life and fancy dresses

Best Seller: Long sleeve tops

Average Income: $50,000/mo

Desired Social Platform: Facebook

Their Main Problem: having trouble with Facebook video ads to target their customers

You get the idea. Alex mentions you can go very deep and intimate with this description. Eventually you will be targeting a company (or person) who fits this criteria by writing content that suits their needs, etc.

In Conclusion

Do you have a great idea yet? Are you cultivating a business plan as you read this article? Every successful business owner started exactly where you’re at right now. What will make you any different from them? Frankly, nothing can make you different except you.

Every idea has an excuse it battles and you will be able to realize right from the start whether your idea is worth acting on or not. Using the tips Alex Nerney has given you today, you could be on your way to creating one of the strongest businesses this internet has ever seen. Who knows? It could happen.

How do you overcome your own excuses? Let us know in the comments below!

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Startups

Why I Choose Career Suicide Every Day.

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Every day I commit career suicide in the eyes of many. Some would say I take a metaphorical dump on my own face each morning.

Why do I say that?

I say that because every day I do things that in the past would have been career suicide.

The things I do each day that people think are career suicide, which I believe are crucial for success in your career, are these:

 

Stir emotion.

Most people live their career in auto-pilot. They chase money and then wonder why they feel like sh*t later on. Auto-pilot forces you to forget about emotion and evoking it in others. Auto-pilot sucks the emotion out of us and causes us to wear a mask.

I choose to stir emotion in people because that’s what has taken me to new heights. When people feel emotion because of your actions they react in crazy ways.

An example from my own career is sharing emotional messages on LinkedIn. I share my deepest, darkest secrets, failures and emotional battles so others can benefit.

I continually get reactions that cause people to go crazy. This is why a lot of what I’ve said has gone viral many times over. The aim is not to be a social media star though; the aim is to stir emotion.

Emotion creates motion.

Emotion brings people closer to you which has incredible benefits in a business world that has lost a lot of human interaction.

 

Saying what you think.

I regularly tell people each day with politeness that “I’m not interested,” or “They’ve let me down,” or “I won’t be buying.”

Delivering these harsh messages is considered career suicide.

“What if someone gets upset?”

“What if they tell my boss?”

“What if I’m wrong?”

These are the questions that spin out of control in our minds when we say what you think. When you say what you think with politeness, you allow people to understand what you’re thinking.

This gives them an opportunity to change paths or move on to the next opportunity saving everyone time. Saying what you think is not career suicide; it moves business forward and it’s honest.

 

Choosing creativity.

We’ve all been enslaved for an hour by a PowerPoint presentation that has zero creativity. Creativity is career suicide in a lot of people’s minds because it’s expressing who you are.

Creativity is giving a non-typical answer to a problem.

Creativity is bringing your outside passion into the workplace.

Creativity is telling a personal story to change how people think.

Creativity is beautiful.

So many of your colleagues use no creativity in their work life and then they wonder why they lack passion.

 

Bringing up old failures.

We’re all selling every day whether we’re in sales or not – that’s the cliché we’ve all heard of, right?

When people sell you a product or service they rarely you tell you about its failures. If you knew those, then maybe you wouldn’t buy what they have to sell.

That thinking right there is flawed.

Talking about the failures looks like career suicide until you embrace the concept that most of us are wrong more often than we’d like to think.

We’re probably wrong more times than we’re right.

Talking about your failures in any context brings us in closer because we all share these same dirty little secrets. In fact, most of our failures look the same.

I talk about my failures all the time especially when people ask me about the big moments of success I’ve had. Someone asked me about the viral LinkedIn article I wrote recently and I told them about the one that was posted around the same time that pissed everybody off.

I wanted them to see what success really was and give them a backstage pass to the show that everybody pretends is not being performed every day.

Most of my blogging has been a failure except a few small parts. That is, until one day, it’s no longer a failure. Until I hit the tipping point.

Even once I reach the tipping point I’ll still continue to fail and so will you.

“Failure is not career suicide and you should talk about it more if you want to stop lying to yourself and everyone else. We’re all selling (I agree) so let’s start selling the truth”

 

Have a grand vision.

“That Tim guy talks a big game, doesn’t he? What a joke.”

That is the recurring thought that runs in people’s heads when I announce my grand plans and vision for almost anything I’m working on. Grand visions can make people think you are full of sh*t and have lost touch with reality.

This idea is nothing more than a limiting belief.

“Unless you start thinking big things in your mind you’ll never get close to anything of that nature. You’ll keep playing it small in the sandpit of a ‘realistic reality’ instead of a somewhat unreasonable vision for what you could be doing”

Grand visions are not about overselling what can be achieved; they’re about pushing boundaries and shooting for Mars and maybe landing on the moon instead which is still pretty freaking cool!

The practice of having grand visions is rarely practiced by many in the business world, so it’s a great way to stand out, be remembered and do something audaciously delicious.

Real Career suicide is having mediocre visions and not being the best you can be which may not even be imaginable yet.

 

Mention your health challenges.

I’ve had my fair share. From a near miss with cancer, to mercury poisoning, to stress levels that nearly crippled my career – I’ve seen it all and I’ve shared all of them.

I’ve noticed that my colleagues think talking about your health challenges is a sign of weakness because no one wants to work, partner or employ a human being who could be sick or dying.

The truth is the other way around: unless you talk about your health challenges, you’ll never have come face to face with your mortality which means you’ll take your time on this Earth for granted. That’s what will f*ck you up your career not some BS perception of weakness.

Knowing your mortality is strength in every aspect of your life and career.

“Weakness is followed by enormous strength”

 

It’s easier to be different than better.

Committing career suicide as described by others, like I have, will make you different. You can try and compete with the perfect specimens who only show the highlight reel of their career or you can do what so many are not prepared to do and play a different game.

Combining vulnerability, authenticity, honesty and humility looks like career suicide until you understand that it’s what differentiates the Martin Luther Kings from the Bob Kings who you’ve never heard of or respected or been inspired by.

 

Why should you choose career suicide?

You should choose career suicide because it’s nothing more than a false perception.

 

Career suicide is now what it takes to have career success. The two go hand in hand. Choose career suicide so you can distance yourself from all the fakery that has left people scratching their heads and wondering why they were born in the first place.

Choose passion and purpose instead of hiding behind a mask that makes you angry with yourself in the long-term.

Career suicide is about choosing to be human.

 

Join me in committing career suicide.

I’m going to pledge right now to keep committing these horrible acts of career suicide. It’s what I believe will move the business world forward.

I want you to join hands with me (let’s not do the Kumbaya thing) and commit to career suicide. What you’re really signing up to is a career that you never thought was possible.

My career has gone down that road and I’m never giving it up.

I want you to feel the same joy I feel when I commit career suicide.

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 Your Mindset Plays an Important Role in Scaling Your Business

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business mindset

You have already validated your product within the marketplace and achieved significant traction, and now it’s time to scale. Shifts to managerial processes and internal workflows are crucial to growing your business. However, another critical element to this evolution is expanding your leadership mindset from focusing on launching your business, to growing it.

Founders who only focus on external efforts most often fail to succeed accelerating growth and have a harder time managing to scale their businesses. Dr. Carol Dweck has done an extensive research on achievement and success and has discovered a truly groundbreaking concept. In her book “Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success”, Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.

This is one of the reasons, all the tactics, systems and strategies won’t help at that stage of your company’s development if you don’t have a strong mental game. Your mindset has to grow in lockstep with your business, and a fixed versus growth mentality can be a critical factor in achieving success. Let’s see why!

Fixed mindset entrepreneurs

This group has a defined identity and often uses labels and affirmations. They would see situations and qualities as unchangeable and their skills and capabilities as fixed. They may say: “ My experience is such that I won’t be good at/or successful at (some new task)”,  or believe that certain people were born leaders, or “the people’s type”, or communicative etc. The strengths and behaviors allowed them to successfully navigate the early stages of their business won’t be sufficient for scaling or could even work against them in the process.

The initial tactical approach needs to be replaced with a strategic one. That requires a shift in the mindset and identity, to see the bigger picture and understand what new behaviors and skills they need to develop in order to succeed the rapid changes coming their way. “Know it all”, keeping a tight control or not adapting are clear signs of a fixed mindset. How we choose to see ourselves and our identity can have a tremendous impact on our overall success.

“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.” – Roger Clemens

Growth mindset entrepreneurs

This group is constantly evolving. Themselves and their businesses are never seen as a finalized structure. A company really grows by finding ways to serve a sizable market and/or constantly innovating and adding to their products or services. The same applies to entrepreneurs with a growth mindset. They seek ways to add to their skill set by not being afraid to be exposed to a challenging situation.

They are able to see the hard times as opportunities to develop a side of themselves they didn’t even know existed. They see themselves as a product of their experiences, hence they look for more experiences to help them expand and enrich their personality and skills even more. They don’t label or judge these experiences, they see them as an opportunity. The success of their company so far is a product of a number of contributions everyone on the team has brought in.

Data and feedback, negative or positive is welcomed and serves as a reason to get curious. That way of thinking enables continuous innovation and improvement. Change is always positive because it is not only a constant in business nowadays, but it brings more chances to evolve. Growth mindset entrepreneurs see the bigger picture of the journey, are more resilient and have more chances for a long-term success.

Here are a few ways to set yourself on the growth track:

1. Give up control and delegate

It’s absolutely understandable to have a tight grip on everything in the beginning stages. Most of the work is done by you, your co-founder and maybe another team member. The processes are not documented, so you’re used to overseeing everything closely. When it’s time to scale, you have to find a way to delegate appropriately. Not leaving the scene, but learning to trust and build your people up. Giving them the right tools to execute without you and helping them unfold their potential too.

2. Open up your mindset to see the challenges as growth experiences

The easiest way to do that is to simply ask yourself in the face or a difficulty or as a matter of fact in the face of success too: “What might be the opportunity here?” This will help you lessen your judgment of the situation and offer you different angles of how to solve the problem.

3. See the bigger picture

It is time to build the systems and most importantly to work on your strategy. As much as the creative side and the experimental phases are fun, scaling needs more structure. Instead of the immediate gains, seek ways to implement the tactical steps to follow the long-term strategy. Setting this in place will allow you to free up more time, so you can get involved in solving the harder problems. And this is essential to get through the threshold.

“Grinding is a mindset and a willingness and commitment to work at it.” – J. B. Bickerstaff

4. Take ownership

Take ownership of your attitude and leave your ego behind. Having a growth mindset is about being open to admit you can and will fail. How you see the difficult situation is what makes all the difference. Failing is a part of the learning process and the more you get used to sitting with these experiences and grow from them, the more your identity will develop. Adopt a perspective of being in the constant act of becoming and evolving. Everything that happens serves as a test to teach you what works and what doesn’t. You must be versatile and embrace change as something inevitable and beneficial.

It is great to be recognized as an expert, but when it comes to entrepreneurship, as Andrew Weinreich, a serial entrepreneur, said to me a few weeks ago, it is vital to have the basic understanding and general knowledge about the different areas of your business. You don’t have to be the best in everything, but curiosity and being open to learning new things constantly will help you connect the dots and see the big picture. It is important to understand how things fit together, so you see the opportunities for connections inside and outside of your company. That naturally leads me to the last point.

5. Celebrate the success of others

Celebrate the success of others and appreciate collaborations and partnerships. Noticing and validating the success of other people will help your mindset shift in a positive and more abundant perspective. Understanding that there is enough pie to go around for everyone is a game changer to your level of growth.

It will enable you to internalize your own wins as well and determine the qualities and skills you have acquired up to this point. Most importantly, it allows you to build deeper connections which can lead to more satisfaction and of course opportunities for your own business to grow.

You’ll be a part of the whole and surrounding yourself by successful people will bring you more motivation. Always seeking a “win-win” situation is the way to go if you want to build strong partnerships and expand your network for future positive ventures.

At the end of the day, you need to think big to achieve big results. Scalability has to do a lot with your mindset and building from that place makes a difference.

What are some techniques you use to level up your mindset? Comment below!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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authenticity

I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it. (more…)

Dan Whalen is a franchise operator with College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, personal development writer, and NLP master practitioner. He has a background in business management and team leadership spanning nearly a decade, and has a deeply-rooted passion for helping people experience fulfilling lives. You can find him on Twitter at @DanielJWhalen.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Esther Mellar

    Oct 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Tim,

    What strike me is the following:
    ‘The Canva pitch to investors was rejected many times but what Melanie realised was that when investors said no, what the investor was really saying was that the current phase of their startup didn’t meet his or hers individual risk appetite.
    “The rejection is often not because of the reasons you think they are rejecting you”’
    Do you know Tim, did she actually ask for clarification/guidance, or it was only her positive attitude and belief in herself and her product?
    Thank you!

    • Tim Denning

      Oct 19, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Esther, Melanie asked for feedback but it was mainly her belief in what she was doing that drove her. Melanie and her co-founder Cliff both had success with their first startup Fusion Books so that helped them have the optimism they needed. None the less, all entrepreneurs need to be able to visualise their vision before it’s real – Melanie did this beautifully.

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I love stories where other people kept pursing their dreams until it eventually paid off, and one thing that I have learned is that almost everyone who never gave up on their dream eventually made them come true. You learn from your failures and plant enough seeds over the years, you will eventually plant a fruitful seed. I love this young lady’s advice and her story.

    I agree with her statement that you don’t have to be a coder in order to achieve success with something techy, but you do need to know how to delegate tasks. You want to learn how to hand off the jobs that you don’t know, or are not the best at, but keep this vision intact. This vision and plan will make help you achieve success.

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 30, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I love these stories too Lawrence. It’s so cool that they didn’t even have a product yet they were able to convince one of the most well-known venture capitalists to invest in them. This just shows you how important a compelling vision is.

  3. denny

    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Great insight on a contemporary path to wild startup success. I suppose identifying a short list of key industry influencers should be a part of early startup planning. Likewise, a focus on clearly communicating the market, the need and the vision to meet that need are all first steps – prior to technical design.

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 30, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Thanks Denny and appreciate you sharing your startup tips with us.

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Startups

Here’s How Facebook Can Shape Your Startup in 2018

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facebook for business

Out of the many things that Facebook can do, it has the impeccable power of shaping your startup and providing a huge platform to reach out to its customers. Startups are constantly using the features of Facebook to engage their customers and implement in their content strategies in the unique ways.

Do you want to use this most popular social media platform as a marketing strategy for your startup or business? Here’s how Facebook can shape your business in 2018:

1. The rising trend of videos

Videos are undeniably the hottest trend of present times. The first thing that you most often come across on the social media platform is videos. There are various reasons why the popularity of videos has grown to strikingly unprecedented levels on social media platforms.

The content around us is evolving more and more with each day and can be credited to the changing preferences of people. The long written blogs and other stories are being converted to short videos and video stories. To understand why people prefer videos more than anything else, ask yourself if you were given a long paragraph to read and a video, what would you choose? Videos are always more engaging than written content.

It has the power to instantly connect with people and touch their emotional self in a more compelling manner. Videos are the relatable and much easier way of grasping things. More and more companies these days are using video as a marketing tool.

So, it doesn’t matter if it is a product launch or a DIY tutorial, or an advertisement, videos are one of the best ways of engaging the customers. Facebook is providing a wonderful platform for videos to flourish and shape businesses in the coming years.

“Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.” – Jay Baer

2. Use the power of live marketing

One of the most advantageous and unique features of Facebook is Live Marketing. Live Marketing has helped businesses and startups attain an upper hand in the market and stand out with their strategies. As intimidating as live marketing on Facebook sounds, it’s equally tricky and challenging to accomplish. If done the right way, it can do wonders for a business and shape their strategies towards unconditional support from their customers.

Facebook’s algorithm uses over 100,000 different signs to decide which posts should be prioritized on the customer’s feeds. So, no matter how great the content you produce is, there is a strong chance that your content will get overshadowed by the unlimited posts from friends and family.

So, if you want your message to be heard, one of the best ways is to go LIVE on Facebook. The live feature from Facebook instantly provides a free pass to the business and enables them by reaching in front of the queue to speak directly to the customer.

As you go live, all those following you receive an instant notification to connect with you. While going live is facilitating Facebook to get more and more customers hooked on to their sites, it is also enabling companies to catch their customer’s attention. You can stream a lot of things live on Facebook. These can be seminars, any discussions, interviews, or events. Think of ways to go Live and embrace this great feature.

3. Get your fans to create wonderful content

Another way that startups are shaping their strategies on Facebook is through their own customers. It’s always a great idea for customers to interact with your business so that you get some buzz in the market. You can ask your happy customers to create content for you. This tactic will help rush the engagement and accelerate more attention towards your business page.

Let people talk about you more and more and letting Facebook know that there is a constant buzz around your brand. Driving engagement with the audience is a successful social media strategy that has a life of its own. One of the most basic examples are the meme pages on Facebook. They let their audience post memes, which is the core content in their case, and circulate them to the rest of the world.

You can come up with contests which require posting photos and videos online. If you are a food brand, you can ask your customers to post pictures of a recipe that they tried at home, or video of a new recipe. This will draw a great engagement to your brand and help you gain your audience’s attention.

“When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof.” – Andy Crestodina

4. Paid advertising

Paid advertising is one of the keys to achieve your objectives. It’s important to understand that while paid advertising might not work for everyone, it ultimately comes down to the ROI of your strategy.  

Paid advertising is quite inexpensive, as compared to other advertising channels and platforms in the market. It can help you get a number of potential leads, and most importantly attention among your target customers.

5. Start a Discussion

Facebook allows you to start a discussion to engage people and leave them with something to talk about your brand. There are some ways that you can initiate discussions, such as polls, quizzes, reviews, etc. Through these tactics, Facebook can help your startup get your customer’s attention and understand their personas for forming better marketing strategies.

Customer personas revolve around knowing the habits, likes, dislikes, age, preferences etc. of the customer. Through the discussion, you can get to know your customer and customize your content based on their likes.

How do you use Facebook as a marketing channel for your startup or business? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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3 Excuses to Overcome When Starting Your Business

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overcoming excuses

At one point or another, you’ve probably had a great idea. For some, that great idea comes when they’re driving down the road. For others, it comes when they’re singing in the shower. For Tenacious D (Jack Black’s band), it came in a dream. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t remember what the great idea was, but wound up writing a song with these words, “This isn’t the greatest song in the world, it’s just a tribute to the greatest song in the world.” The fact of the matter is, we all have great ideas. What separates those who are successful from those who aren’t is one little word – action.

I had the privilege to sit down with Alex Nerney, Co-founder of Create & Go, who used a process of sorts to establish two online websites grossing $100k/mo in profits. Alex talked about three things that hinder a business owner from bringing that idea into a reality. He also interjected three solutions to get rid of the yips and succeed. Hang on, your success is on it’s way.

1. There’s Too Much Competition

As quick as the business idea hits you, something else begins to gnaw at your brain – doubt. Doubt is a common emotion when it comes to creating something new. All of a sudden you realize you’re going to need “this” and “that” and “the other thing” to make it work and you begin to have a realization of the fear of failure. Mr. Nerney explains, while a lot of business ideas that pop up every day on the internet do not work out for the idea-owner, it’s not the fault of the idea.

For example, if you feel like you’re an expert in Facebook advertising and you want to create a consulting company to help other businesses succeed in Facebook ads, right from the beginning you’re going to notice there’s a TON of Facebook ad consultants out there.

Solution: Needle the Niche

Alex says to make your idea unique by niching down. In other words, don’t simply consult on the entire spectrum of Facebook advertising, but perhaps you could make it even more fine-tuned by being the expert at Facebook video ads for dress and apparel companies.

Now you have something to work with. Now you are targeting a specific origin of customer and, if your passion is in apparel (or whatever it may be), show your strengths by displaying an example for them. Niching down is a powerful way to help your business idea stand out from the crowd.

“The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.” – Rain

2. I Don’t Know Enough About This

Alex says, “The most dangerous part of saying ‘I don’t know enough about this’ to yourself is how it strings you along and convincing you to wait for the clandestine moment where you’re finally ready.” Inevitably, action will be required on your part if you are truly serious about accomplishing this particular goal in your business.

Without action, you never truly learn anything from your failed tasks. If you can create a positive mindset about your goals and begin to understand failure isn’t a closed door, but simply another opportunity to craft your creation a better way.

Solution: Don’t Ever Quit

After speaking with Alex on this point, I was reminded by a man who was full of failures.

  • He lost two jobs
  • He ran for the state legislature and lost
  • He started a business and failed
  • His high school sweetheart died.
  • Defeated for Speaker of the House
  • Defeated for Congress
  • Rejected for Land Officer
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate
  • Defeated for the nomination of the Vice Presidency
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate AGAIN

This guy was full of failures. But there was one resolve in his attitude and the aspect in which he saw himself and where he was going. He never quit. Finally, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected to be the President of the United States.

Don’t ever stop educating yourself. Don’t ever stop staying informed of the current issues of your potential clients and customers. Read, evaluate, learn, and jump in with both feet. You will eventually start to see progress in your learning curve. What would have happened to history if ol’ Abe had given up after the first few failures? I’m sure it would be a completely different story. If one door closes, another door opens in the pathway to success so keep your eyes open.

3. I Don’t Know Where To Start

With so many avenues of business appearing out of nowhere in the online business world, it can be confusing at times to know exactly what starting point you should attempt. If you continually watch competitors, how big their audience is, or how engaged they are with their customers, it can be intimidating.

Normally when you focus on others, you compare yourself to them and if you have 200 followers on Facebook and your competitor has 200,000, that’s a big wallop to the confidence level. It’s important to focus on what YOU are wanting out of your business idea.

Solution: Make Three Lists

If you’re coming against the “I Don’t Know Where To Start” wall in your business idea, Mr. Nerney suggests you pick a path and give it a try. Of course this needs to be something you’re passionate about or something you can bring value and quality to your customers or audience.

  • List 1 – Sit down and make a list of the talents you can bring to the table to a preferred customer. Do you write well? Are you great at building relationships? Are you a good communicator? Write those traits down.
  • List 2 – Write down what you want your business to accomplish. Will it be the Facebook video ads we discussed above? Whatever your decision make this the point where your customers simply have to have you over your competitor. This is where you can be different from the pack and it’s a great opportunity to stand out.
  • List 3 – Focus on the type of customer your business will be targeting. This is going to help you tremendously when you get started because your target area will be fine-tuned and won’t be straying off the beaten path getting stray customers who have no interest in what you’re trying to do.

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley

Alex describes this as a business persona. In essence, you are creating a mythical business which will be your ideal client. If you’re not targeting businesses, this will still work with individuals and is called “social personification”.

For instance if your business is going to do Facebook ads for clients who have apparel businesses, you would make a business (or personal) persona that looks something like this:

Business Name: The Company

Ideal Client: Single women ages 24 – 31 who prefer the night-life and fancy dresses

Best Seller: Long sleeve tops

Average Income: $50,000/mo

Desired Social Platform: Facebook

Their Main Problem: having trouble with Facebook video ads to target their customers

You get the idea. Alex mentions you can go very deep and intimate with this description. Eventually you will be targeting a company (or person) who fits this criteria by writing content that suits their needs, etc.

In Conclusion

Do you have a great idea yet? Are you cultivating a business plan as you read this article? Every successful business owner started exactly where you’re at right now. What will make you any different from them? Frankly, nothing can make you different except you.

Every idea has an excuse it battles and you will be able to realize right from the start whether your idea is worth acting on or not. Using the tips Alex Nerney has given you today, you could be on your way to creating one of the strongest businesses this internet has ever seen. Who knows? It could happen.

How do you overcome your own excuses? Let us know in the comments below!

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Why I Choose Career Suicide Every Day.

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Every day I commit career suicide in the eyes of many. Some would say I take a metaphorical dump on my own face each morning.

Why do I say that?

I say that because every day I do things that in the past would have been career suicide.

The things I do each day that people think are career suicide, which I believe are crucial for success in your career, are these:

 

Stir emotion.

Most people live their career in auto-pilot. They chase money and then wonder why they feel like sh*t later on. Auto-pilot forces you to forget about emotion and evoking it in others. Auto-pilot sucks the emotion out of us and causes us to wear a mask.

I choose to stir emotion in people because that’s what has taken me to new heights. When people feel emotion because of your actions they react in crazy ways.

An example from my own career is sharing emotional messages on LinkedIn. I share my deepest, darkest secrets, failures and emotional battles so others can benefit.

I continually get reactions that cause people to go crazy. This is why a lot of what I’ve said has gone viral many times over. The aim is not to be a social media star though; the aim is to stir emotion.

Emotion creates motion.

Emotion brings people closer to you which has incredible benefits in a business world that has lost a lot of human interaction.

 

Saying what you think.

I regularly tell people each day with politeness that “I’m not interested,” or “They’ve let me down,” or “I won’t be buying.”

Delivering these harsh messages is considered career suicide.

“What if someone gets upset?”

“What if they tell my boss?”

“What if I’m wrong?”

These are the questions that spin out of control in our minds when we say what you think. When you say what you think with politeness, you allow people to understand what you’re thinking.

This gives them an opportunity to change paths or move on to the next opportunity saving everyone time. Saying what you think is not career suicide; it moves business forward and it’s honest.

 

Choosing creativity.

We’ve all been enslaved for an hour by a PowerPoint presentation that has zero creativity. Creativity is career suicide in a lot of people’s minds because it’s expressing who you are.

Creativity is giving a non-typical answer to a problem.

Creativity is bringing your outside passion into the workplace.

Creativity is telling a personal story to change how people think.

Creativity is beautiful.

So many of your colleagues use no creativity in their work life and then they wonder why they lack passion.

 

Bringing up old failures.

We’re all selling every day whether we’re in sales or not – that’s the cliché we’ve all heard of, right?

When people sell you a product or service they rarely you tell you about its failures. If you knew those, then maybe you wouldn’t buy what they have to sell.

That thinking right there is flawed.

Talking about the failures looks like career suicide until you embrace the concept that most of us are wrong more often than we’d like to think.

We’re probably wrong more times than we’re right.

Talking about your failures in any context brings us in closer because we all share these same dirty little secrets. In fact, most of our failures look the same.

I talk about my failures all the time especially when people ask me about the big moments of success I’ve had. Someone asked me about the viral LinkedIn article I wrote recently and I told them about the one that was posted around the same time that pissed everybody off.

I wanted them to see what success really was and give them a backstage pass to the show that everybody pretends is not being performed every day.

Most of my blogging has been a failure except a few small parts. That is, until one day, it’s no longer a failure. Until I hit the tipping point.

Even once I reach the tipping point I’ll still continue to fail and so will you.

“Failure is not career suicide and you should talk about it more if you want to stop lying to yourself and everyone else. We’re all selling (I agree) so let’s start selling the truth”

 

Have a grand vision.

“That Tim guy talks a big game, doesn’t he? What a joke.”

That is the recurring thought that runs in people’s heads when I announce my grand plans and vision for almost anything I’m working on. Grand visions can make people think you are full of sh*t and have lost touch with reality.

This idea is nothing more than a limiting belief.

“Unless you start thinking big things in your mind you’ll never get close to anything of that nature. You’ll keep playing it small in the sandpit of a ‘realistic reality’ instead of a somewhat unreasonable vision for what you could be doing”

Grand visions are not about overselling what can be achieved; they’re about pushing boundaries and shooting for Mars and maybe landing on the moon instead which is still pretty freaking cool!

The practice of having grand visions is rarely practiced by many in the business world, so it’s a great way to stand out, be remembered and do something audaciously delicious.

Real Career suicide is having mediocre visions and not being the best you can be which may not even be imaginable yet.

 

Mention your health challenges.

I’ve had my fair share. From a near miss with cancer, to mercury poisoning, to stress levels that nearly crippled my career – I’ve seen it all and I’ve shared all of them.

I’ve noticed that my colleagues think talking about your health challenges is a sign of weakness because no one wants to work, partner or employ a human being who could be sick or dying.

The truth is the other way around: unless you talk about your health challenges, you’ll never have come face to face with your mortality which means you’ll take your time on this Earth for granted. That’s what will f*ck you up your career not some BS perception of weakness.

Knowing your mortality is strength in every aspect of your life and career.

“Weakness is followed by enormous strength”

 

It’s easier to be different than better.

Committing career suicide as described by others, like I have, will make you different. You can try and compete with the perfect specimens who only show the highlight reel of their career or you can do what so many are not prepared to do and play a different game.

Combining vulnerability, authenticity, honesty and humility looks like career suicide until you understand that it’s what differentiates the Martin Luther Kings from the Bob Kings who you’ve never heard of or respected or been inspired by.

 

Why should you choose career suicide?

You should choose career suicide because it’s nothing more than a false perception.

 

Career suicide is now what it takes to have career success. The two go hand in hand. Choose career suicide so you can distance yourself from all the fakery that has left people scratching their heads and wondering why they were born in the first place.

Choose passion and purpose instead of hiding behind a mask that makes you angry with yourself in the long-term.

Career suicide is about choosing to be human.

 

Join me in committing career suicide.

I’m going to pledge right now to keep committing these horrible acts of career suicide. It’s what I believe will move the business world forward.

I want you to join hands with me (let’s not do the Kumbaya thing) and commit to career suicide. What you’re really signing up to is a career that you never thought was possible.

My career has gone down that road and I’m never giving it up.

I want you to feel the same joy I feel when I commit career suicide.

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 Your Mindset Plays an Important Role in Scaling Your Business

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You have already validated your product within the marketplace and achieved significant traction, and now it’s time to scale. Shifts to managerial processes and internal workflows are crucial to growing your business. However, another critical element to this evolution is expanding your leadership mindset from focusing on launching your business, to growing it.

Founders who only focus on external efforts most often fail to succeed accelerating growth and have a harder time managing to scale their businesses. Dr. Carol Dweck has done an extensive research on achievement and success and has discovered a truly groundbreaking concept. In her book “Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success”, Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.

This is one of the reasons, all the tactics, systems and strategies won’t help at that stage of your company’s development if you don’t have a strong mental game. Your mindset has to grow in lockstep with your business, and a fixed versus growth mentality can be a critical factor in achieving success. Let’s see why!

Fixed mindset entrepreneurs

This group has a defined identity and often uses labels and affirmations. They would see situations and qualities as unchangeable and their skills and capabilities as fixed. They may say: “ My experience is such that I won’t be good at/or successful at (some new task)”,  or believe that certain people were born leaders, or “the people’s type”, or communicative etc. The strengths and behaviors allowed them to successfully navigate the early stages of their business won’t be sufficient for scaling or could even work against them in the process.

The initial tactical approach needs to be replaced with a strategic one. That requires a shift in the mindset and identity, to see the bigger picture and understand what new behaviors and skills they need to develop in order to succeed the rapid changes coming their way. “Know it all”, keeping a tight control or not adapting are clear signs of a fixed mindset. How we choose to see ourselves and our identity can have a tremendous impact on our overall success.

“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.” – Roger Clemens

Growth mindset entrepreneurs

This group is constantly evolving. Themselves and their businesses are never seen as a finalized structure. A company really grows by finding ways to serve a sizable market and/or constantly innovating and adding to their products or services. The same applies to entrepreneurs with a growth mindset. They seek ways to add to their skill set by not being afraid to be exposed to a challenging situation.

They are able to see the hard times as opportunities to develop a side of themselves they didn’t even know existed. They see themselves as a product of their experiences, hence they look for more experiences to help them expand and enrich their personality and skills even more. They don’t label or judge these experiences, they see them as an opportunity. The success of their company so far is a product of a number of contributions everyone on the team has brought in.

Data and feedback, negative or positive is welcomed and serves as a reason to get curious. That way of thinking enables continuous innovation and improvement. Change is always positive because it is not only a constant in business nowadays, but it brings more chances to evolve. Growth mindset entrepreneurs see the bigger picture of the journey, are more resilient and have more chances for a long-term success.

Here are a few ways to set yourself on the growth track:

1. Give up control and delegate

It’s absolutely understandable to have a tight grip on everything in the beginning stages. Most of the work is done by you, your co-founder and maybe another team member. The processes are not documented, so you’re used to overseeing everything closely. When it’s time to scale, you have to find a way to delegate appropriately. Not leaving the scene, but learning to trust and build your people up. Giving them the right tools to execute without you and helping them unfold their potential too.

2. Open up your mindset to see the challenges as growth experiences

The easiest way to do that is to simply ask yourself in the face or a difficulty or as a matter of fact in the face of success too: “What might be the opportunity here?” This will help you lessen your judgment of the situation and offer you different angles of how to solve the problem.

3. See the bigger picture

It is time to build the systems and most importantly to work on your strategy. As much as the creative side and the experimental phases are fun, scaling needs more structure. Instead of the immediate gains, seek ways to implement the tactical steps to follow the long-term strategy. Setting this in place will allow you to free up more time, so you can get involved in solving the harder problems. And this is essential to get through the threshold.

“Grinding is a mindset and a willingness and commitment to work at it.” – J. B. Bickerstaff

4. Take ownership

Take ownership of your attitude and leave your ego behind. Having a growth mindset is about being open to admit you can and will fail. How you see the difficult situation is what makes all the difference. Failing is a part of the learning process and the more you get used to sitting with these experiences and grow from them, the more your identity will develop. Adopt a perspective of being in the constant act of becoming and evolving. Everything that happens serves as a test to teach you what works and what doesn’t. You must be versatile and embrace change as something inevitable and beneficial.

It is great to be recognized as an expert, but when it comes to entrepreneurship, as Andrew Weinreich, a serial entrepreneur, said to me a few weeks ago, it is vital to have the basic understanding and general knowledge about the different areas of your business. You don’t have to be the best in everything, but curiosity and being open to learning new things constantly will help you connect the dots and see the big picture. It is important to understand how things fit together, so you see the opportunities for connections inside and outside of your company. That naturally leads me to the last point.

5. Celebrate the success of others

Celebrate the success of others and appreciate collaborations and partnerships. Noticing and validating the success of other people will help your mindset shift in a positive and more abundant perspective. Understanding that there is enough pie to go around for everyone is a game changer to your level of growth.

It will enable you to internalize your own wins as well and determine the qualities and skills you have acquired up to this point. Most importantly, it allows you to build deeper connections which can lead to more satisfaction and of course opportunities for your own business to grow.

You’ll be a part of the whole and surrounding yourself by successful people will bring you more motivation. Always seeking a “win-win” situation is the way to go if you want to build strong partnerships and expand your network for future positive ventures.

At the end of the day, you need to think big to achieve big results. Scalability has to do a lot with your mindset and building from that place makes a difference.

What are some techniques you use to level up your mindset? Comment below!

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