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What I Wish I Had Known: 8 Entrepreneurs Share Their Startup Secrets

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Jeff Bezos Amazon Startup Advice

If you’ve ever tried to start your own company, then you know that some of the “advice” you get from friends, relatives, and even perfect strangers isn’t always all that valuable.

It can range from the simply unhelpful (“Don’t go out of business!”), to the impossible (“Give it everything you’ve got!”), to the downright dangerous (“No matter what happens, stick it out!”), but you can bet that once everyone has offered their two cents’ worth, you probably won’t be any closer to grasping that elusive secret of success. Of course, that all changes when you’re getting your advice from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. These people know what they’re talking about, and they’re willing to share their wisdom with you. Yes, you. So get ready to be enlightened, because here are nine pieces of startup advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Here are the 8 secrets of startup success from a handful of successful entrepreneurs.

 

What I Wish I Had Known

 

1. Jared Kim (Founder & CEO of Forge)

Jared Kim Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t burn out. Take care of yourself by getting 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. If you don’t take care of yourself, there’s no way you can take care of your company in the long-term.”

It may seem as though your new company is the most important thing in the world, but it isn’t. If you sacrifice your own health and happiness for the sake of your company, then you’ll just end up without happiness in either.

 

2. Leo Widrich (Co-founder of Buffer)

Leo Wildrich Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

It took me years to finally start saying no to things that would take me away from what really needed my attention. No to meetings. No to interviews, and no to extra projects (for extra money.) When I implemented my daily to-do lists my whole day/week/month changed. I would only accept opportunities if they could come after my to-dos were completed.”

Sometimes, as the founder of a new startup, it’s easy to overload yourself. When new responsibilities or opportunities come along, feel free to put them on your plate, but only if they don’t end up costing you time and energy that should be going towards more important issues.

 

3. Mark Otero (Founder & CEO of Klicknation)

Mark Otero Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

Know your weaknesses: Knowing your weaknesses is as important as knowing what your strengths are, and even more important as your company grows; hire or have co-founders who are great in areas where you are weak.”

Chances are you’re not an expert in every area where your business will require you to be an expert. Maybe you have problems with finances. Maybe you just don’t get marketing. Maybe the idea of schmoozing with investors makes your sweat through your suit. Well, that’s all OK, as long as you’re sure to hire people who fill in the gaps in your armor, as the Mark Otero, founder of Klicknation, explains.

 

4. Todd Pedersen (Founder & CEO of Vivint)

Todd Pedersen Vivint Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

First, if you’re going to run a company, you have to provide the best service you possibly can for your customers. Second, you have to treat your employees like gold. And then three, everything else will work itself out.”

The secrets to building a successful company aren’t really secrets at all; you just give customers what they want and treat your employees well, like Todd Pedersen, CEO of Vivint, has said. Of course, just because it’s simple to say, it does not necessarily follow that it’s easy to implement.

 

5. Phineas Barnes (Partner at First Round Capital)

Phineas Barnes Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

Your choice of partners and investors should be thought of as permanent and are therefore the most important two decisions you make.”

Starting a business is a big commitment. In fact, if all goes well, then it may be a large part of your life for the rest of your life, as Phineas Barnes of First Round Capital explains. As such, you’ll want to be very careful about whom you include in your startup, because if you aren’t, you may end up having to deal with an imperfect fit for years—or even decades—to come.

 

6. Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO of Amazon.com)

Jeff Bezos Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

For some reason, many of us have been conditioned to be more afraid of failure than we are of inaction. However, failure, in addition to being inherently valuable as a learning process, contains within it the chance of success. And no matter how small that chance is, it’s better than the chances of success when we choose not to even try.

 

7. Peter Berg (Founder of October Three)

Peter Berg Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

Be really picky with your hiring, and hire the absolute best people you possibly can. People are the most important component of almost every business, and attracting the best talent possible is going to make a huge difference.”

While CEO’s and founders, and the ideas on which their success is built, often get the spotlight when it comes to business, the truth is that it is the employees that actually breathe life into a company. Even the most innovative idea can wither and die without the right kind of support from a talented workforce, so give your hiring process the attention and time that it deserves.

 

8. Thomas Edison (Founder of General Electric)

Thomas Edison Startup Entrepreneur Success

 

 

 

 

 

The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”

You have an idea that will change the world? Well, it’s not worth anything unless you can turn that idea into a reality. So take the plunge and see just how far that idea can take you. Or, you can sit around trading advice over the internet.

The choice is yours.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Lidiya K

    Jan 28, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Wise words!

    I think we all need to focus a bit more on the first one. So many people work hard, stay focused on their goals, put effort and sweat in what they want to achieve, but meanwhile forget to take care of themselves. And soon this becomes the reason why they fail. Or even if they succeed, they can’t really enjoy it as they’re in such a bad shape.

    Thanks for putting these quotes and tips together.

  2. Sean Dudayev

    May 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I like the Edison quote, an idea can take seconds to think of but it takes years of effort to build it into existence.

  3. Enock Langat

    May 11, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Reading trough these quotes are as if all were directed to me! The encouragements are incredible, am in the process of developing my company but also my daily life entails encouraging Small scale farmers to implement the ideas they have, while informing them on the new ideas in the market.
    I really like being part of these, keep up the hard work

  4. Joseph Njuguna

    May 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Am really changed after going through the list of advice I’ve started a Janitorial business at least by now am powered to move a niche high

  5. Augustine Kitonye

    May 10, 2014 at 6:37 am

    These are witty pieces of advice, rich with wisdom on how to make to make dreams come true

  6. George Celeste

    May 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Article like this makes you feel like you can do it too. By reading the list i asked myself one question, what is it these people have that i don’t?” Whoever answers this question is already on his/her way to success.

  7. Masibulele koti

    May 9, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Wow wow wow I am so encouraged today, after reading quotes and watching a video I feel so energetic.THANK YOU JOEL!!!

  8. Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Wan Yusoff

    May 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    “You have an idea that will change the world? Well, it’s not worth anything unless you can turn that idea into a reality. So take the plunge and see just how far that idea can take you.”
    Well said, Alex.

    Taking action is the thing that separates the weak and the strong.

  9. willie j wilson (@wilsy111)

    May 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    why is it so hard to find a mentor ? I have been in the trucking industry for over 17 years and wanted to start my own company.
    I have ask many of my fellow trucking company friends can they become a mentor to me. how did you guys make it work.?

    • sheilamakena

      May 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      You have worked 17 years in the industry. Wow! Can you imagine the amount of wisdom and experience you have gained? You know the ins and outs of the game. You don’t need a mentor so much as you need to start believing in your own ability to bring something new and fresh to it. I’m pretty sure you have noticed certain loopholes and discovered ways to help the industry progress further. Develop what you already have and connect with someone you trust within the industry that you can share your idea with. Things will come together but it’s going to take you stepping up to it and owning it. 17 years makes you an expert! You can do this!

    • Veronica Reczko (@VeronicaReczko)

      May 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Mentors do not have to be physical people that you work with. My mentors, to name a few, are Jim Rohn, John C. Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, and Success Magazine. You can find mentors all over and there are books and CD’s on anything you want to learn. A small step would be to invest in the book, video, or audio and listen to it while you drive. My biggest mistake in this small step was I became obsessed with the knowledge and not obsessed with the application of the knowledge. Do not hesitate to apply the leadership, organizational, and developmental skills you learn. Hope this helps!

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Startups

5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

Phil Collins

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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.

 

Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.

 

Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.

 

Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.

 

Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.

 

Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!

 

Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!

 

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Remote Work + Education: 3 Tips for Students Who Want to Have It All

Phil Collins

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remote work for students

Probably one of the greatest changes for the last year is the shifting to distant learning and working. There are many advantages to the issue, like, not having to commute every day, staying at a cozy home for a whole day. It makes our lives easier in terms of saving time and energy.

If you’re a student, you don’t have to bust out your textbooks every time you go to university. Instead, you have everything close and on the tips of your fingers.

However, within all the positive moments of distance learning, it is highly challenging for many of us. At college or in the office, we have a schedule, a plan which we simply have to stick to.

There is also a boss or a teacher who gives us tasks, checks and monitors our performance.

Well, now, we are our own bosses and teachers and have to come up with the plan and track our tasks independently.

So, how to stay tuned and efficient if you work and study from home? How to get the most of it and not drown in the ocean of procrastination? In this article, you will find three tips to help you out!

 

Set Up Your Workspace

When many think of a distance learning or work, they imagine themselves wearing pajamas and lying on a couch all day with the laptop. No more dress code, make-up, early mornings, coworkers or group mates, paradise!

This is a common misconception of remote work. If you want to work and study from home, it is crucial to create a space where you would stay focused and productive.

Still, if you have had a hard day and feel like having rest on your comfy couch, but there are assignments to be done, leave your worries to professionals in paperwritingservice, just place an order and enjoy your day.

When we both work and study from home, we stay with all those household essentials and, at the same time, have to focus on tasks. That is why a perfect workspace has to be created. So how to reach this ideal atmosphere at home? Here’re some pro tips.

 

Separate Spaces for Everything

This is a common problem for many that they sleep and study at the same place. Our body is a smart mechanism, which gets used to conditions very quickly.

So, as you sleep in your bed, every time you lie on it, your body gets ready to relax and concentrate is the last thing it is ready for. This principle is applied to any other space in your house.

So, your workspace should be particularly aimed at learning or/and work. Every time you get there, your brain will be ready to do the job.

 

Get Rid of All Distractions

This is a very important step if you want to stay productive at home. Your home may be a dangerous space in terms of concentration. To make it easier, help your brain and get rid of everything that might attract your attention and ultimately prevent good performance.

 

Plan Your Day

Every morning when you wake up, you approximately know what the tasks for a day are. So, what’s the sense in planning a day if you already have it all in your head?

This is one more important concept that helps us have everything done on time. Planning a day saves you time and boosts motivation and disciplines.

 

Here’s how it is done:

  • You write down a list of tasks that have to be done;
  • Prioritize them from less important to more important;
  • Hang this list somewhere, where you can always see it;
  • Mark completed tasks.

When you mark the task as accomplished, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction, which may be compared to some sort of praise. There are many tools to write a to-do list from paper to online apps.

 

Dedicate Time for Yourself

When you work and study from home, there will be a risk of abandoning our personal time in favor of more important matters. This factor leads not only to great results but also a concept called burning out.

When people face it, they feel exhausted, demotivated, and apathetic. To avoid this, it is crucial to have time for things you enjoy. It may be a sport, hobby, listening to music, watching movies, seeing friends. Your brain has to relax and get positive emotions to be more efficient in the long run.

 

Final Words

No matter if you want to work and study from home, these principles can be applied to any activity. To manage it all, just follow these basic rules, and you’ll see how your productivity boosts.

Good luck with all your endeavors!

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5 Ideas on Starting a Business in College

Phil Collins

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Getting your own business is a very responsible yet liberating undertaking. By starting a business while still in college, you can be sure to have an income when you graduate or to at least get some life-saving skills and experience that will help you land whatever job you like later on.

Although starting a business can be quite intimidating, there are lots of resources online that will help you go through the process easier. In the meantime, here are some valuable ideas that will help you make sure your business turns out to be a success.

Develop a Business Proposal

Before starting a business, you need a working idea, something that you can sell to your potential customer. Having an idea is, unfortunately, not enough for success here. It is important to make sure that there is an audience, a group of people that actually needs the product you want to create, and will be interested in buying it. You can even define a “Buyer Persona,” which is basically a description of your target customer, what they are like, what triggers them, what their interests and needs are.

Business proposals can be different, depending on how big a business you want to start. In case you are thinking about looking for some investors, your business proposal should be a solid description of your business idea, convincing enough for people to understand that they will get their money back and gain some profit when your product goes live. In case you don’t need investors, your business proposal can be more of a business plan outlining the main facets of your business idea and the things you need to do to make it work.

Get Some Help

As a person new to the business world, you might need some helpers and advisors to keep everything under control. When it comes to your studies, there might come the point where you need to choose between your business and your degree. To manage the problem, you can reach out to a professional academic writer from essayservice and ask them to take care of your assignments while you focus on developing your business.

 

 

Additionally, you might need to reach out or hire some business or tax advisors, or at least request a consultation with them. Starting a legal business will require you to be good at paperwork, which means some preparation is in place. With a business advisor by your side, you can be sure not to miss any important steps when developing and marketing your business. If you define your company as a start-up, it is possible that some business advisors will be willing to help you out for free, given that they get interested in your business idea and want to get profit out of it too.

Create a Website

Whatever business you choose, whether you deliver services or products, you need to have a website. Luckily, you can make do with little investments here: you don’t need to hire an IT guy or a Web Designer as there are lots of tools where you can create a great website from scratch. You might just have to pay for your domain if you want it to be unique. One of such sources is Wix; it is a free website builder.

Why do you need a website, you might wonder? Well, the days when people learn about businesses from newspapers and leaflets are long gone. Now everyone will go online, look your business up, and expect to see some clear definition of what it is you do and what value you can bring. In case you want to open a shop, your website will function as an online shop. In case it is a service you are offering, your website will give your potential customer enough information about your service and will hopefully convince them to reach out to you and order the service.

Work on Social Media Channels

Having social media channels is as essential as having a website in 2020. While a website is a place where people can order and buy your products or services, social media is a sort of a platform that will lead them up to your website.

With the help of social media channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you can find the right people, give them a brief description of your business, and get them to visit your website and learn more about what they can get there.

 

 

Social media is what can also help you develop a strong online presence and customer loyalty. Online presence means that your business gets regular online exposure. People see posts and notifications about it daily and thus remember and highlight it. When it comes to customer loyalty, social media can help you engage your potential customers, get their interest, and devotion to the product and the very idea of your product. They basically need to feel “at home” with your business, like it is something very close and personal to them.

Try Again Until You Make It

The reason why many businesses fail lies in the fact that people tend to give up if they fail, simple as that. However, the truth is that failure is part of the process. It is a sort of a learning curve you need to go through before you make your business into what it should actually be like. That’s why you should never expect to succeed on your first try or get disappointed if you fail several times in a row. Maybe it is just the universe testing how serious you are about achieving your goal.

Every company has this “success story,” where they tell everything about their ups and downs, their insights, and takeouts. It is good to read those stories to get some inspiration and do a reality check on what building a business actually looks like. If your determination and motivation are strong enough, your business will definitely succeed, no matter how many tries it takes to get there.

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How to Launch Your Startup in 7 Easy Steps

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We all want to manifest success in our lives. It fuels our desires to attain something. People perceive success differently as we have different desires. Some go after enriching themselves with material things to get financial freedom. Others study further to advance to the next level in their academic career. (more…)

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