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Success Advice

5 Must-Read Books For The Budding Entrepreneur

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5 Must-Read Books For The Budding Entrepreneur

Anybody who has aspirations to become an entrepreneur will have to take several steps before they become successful. Some of this is practical knowledge.

For example, most entrepreneurs must know how to secure funding, know how to write a business plan, and they must understand the steps they must take in order to launch a business.

The latter might include obtaining licenses, obtaining an employer identification number, setting up an accounting system, purchasing insurance, or contracting the services of a payroll provider.

However, in addition to practical knowledge, there are soft skills that an entrepreneur must develop. One of the ways to develop these skills is to read books that either demonstrate what has worked for other successful entrepreneurs, or that tell the stories of what made successful entrepreneurs great.

Here are five books that you must read if you are in any way considering an entrepreneurial career path.

 

1. The Fire-Starter Sessions – Danielle LaPorte

If you are having The Fire-Starter Sessionsany doubts about your future as an entrepreneur, Danielle LaPorte is about to rip those doubts out of your hands and smash them into oblivion. LaPorte is an award winning author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur whose take on achieving our dreams is different than anybody else out there.

Laporte turns myths such as achieving life work balance, and the importance of competency on their ears. Readers praise Ms. LaPorte for her relatable, straight forward delivery and her candor. The Fire-Starter Sessions is a great selection for young entrepreneurs who may have a hard time relating to entrepreneurs from previous generations. Danielle Laporte has been featured in many publications, including The Huffington Post.

“Danielle’s passion leaps off the page, and reading a few chapters of this book will ignite you into action.” – Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

2. Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed – Michael Eisner

Working togetherIn this book, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation explores successful business partnerships that have either lasted for many years or been significantly profitable. In part of the book, Eisner describes his partnership with Frank Wells at Disney. Other famous partnerships that are highlighted in Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed include the following:

Bill and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation
Arthur Blanke and Bernie Marcus of The Home Depot
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (AKA The Too Hot Tamales of The Border Grill Restaurant Empire), multiple cook books, movies and television
Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment and multiple blockbuster movies

“Are the conclusions about working together groundbreaking? Not really; Eisner points to trust as the foundation, followed closely by a real sense of ethics.” – Jacobs, Barbara 2010 Booklist

3. Business Model Generations – Alexander Osterwalder

BMG-Book-CoverThis book is a go to resource for entrepreneurs of a new generation who are eager to pursue new methods of planning and developing future business ventures. It’s a great book for an entrepreneur who is facing the task of rejuvenating an older business with new ideas.Highly graphical in design and layout, Business Model Generations is perfect for the visual thinker. Even though its target audience is Generation X and younger, more seasoned entrepreneurial hopefuls shouldn’t count this book out. Any reader will find an excellent road map for reshaping their thinking on enterprise development and business modeling.

“An impressively comprehensive compendium of many of the most current ideas concerning the structure and development of businesses.” – Anglohigher.com

4. How To Win At The Sport of Business – Mark Cuban

How To Win At The Sport of Business - Mark CubanAlong with being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban is also a fixture on the well-known television show ‘Shark Tank’. On the show, Cuban is known for truly emulating a shark. He often lies in wait while the other Sharks argue among themselves and make their offers. Then, while the entrepreneur on the carpet weighs his or her options, Cuban comes in with an offer of his own, usually followed by a demand that the entrepreneur accept it immediately.

Given his track record, it’s no wonder that he is taken up on his offers quite frequently. In this book, Cuban details his struggles from powdered milk salesman to world renowned mogul. He also provides great unconventional advice to entrepreneurs who are just getting their starts.

“In short, [HOW TO WIN AT THE SPORT OF BUSINESS] exceeded…expectations. Short chapters…got right to the point and were not filled with ‘stuffing’.” – Huffington Post

5. All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars - Seth GodinSeth Godin believes that successful marketing is all about telling a good story. If you don’t believe him, you’re fooling yourself. Everything about successful marketing is about creating a story and getting your audience to believe that story and to be passionate enough about that story to spread it. Now, the title of the book is a bit tongue in cheek.

The stories that marketers create can absolutely be based in fact, but the delivery of those facts as a story that buyers can relate to is what is most important. Think about it. Any marketing expert will tell you that a successful strategy is based around content and branding. In other words, creating and selling a story that influences the way customers think about your business and your products and services is key to interest and ultimately, sales.

“To illustrate his preferred approach to marketing, the author relates a grab bag of case studies, heavy on emotionally compelling pitches and seamless subliminal impressions. Readers will likely find the book’s practical advice as rudderless as its ethical principles.” – Reed Business Information

 

Have you read these books yet? What did you think?

Which books would you add to this list?

Julie Ellis is working as the writer for http://www.premieressay.net/, finds her inspiration in the educational assistance to gifted students. Master's degree in Journalism allows her to follow her vocation and help English-speaking students around the world. You can find her on Twitter - @premieressaynet.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Julie Ellis

    Jun 18, 2015 at 9:04 am

    James, thanks for notes.
    I have not read this books, but I’ll add “The E-myth Revisited” and “Make Your Idea Matter” to my summer reading list.
    I am pleased to hear tips about other books as well.

  2. aNCA Urdea

    May 21, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Great books indeed! I’d add Bernadette Jiwa’s Make Your Idea Matter – easy read & highly inspirational!

  3. ferdous

    May 20, 2015 at 9:02 am

    i think reading books is the first things that motivate me to be an entrepreneur. but if i haven’t had any experiences in real life it will be make me lose. i said it from my experience. thanks for your great suggestion.

  4. James Dunn

    May 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    No ‘The E-myth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber? For me, it’s a MUST read. Too many people start out with great entrepreneurial ideas, and end up just creating a new J.O.B. for themselves.

  5. Lawrence Berry

    May 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Great post. As an inspiring entrepreneur, these are some books I will definitely have to look at. I love reading new information and others opinions and rise to success. This is most definitely helpful. Thanks.

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Success Advice

10 Part Action Plan for Writing Your Very First Book

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writing a book

There’s no doubt that writing a book is an excellent way to bolster your credibility and establish yourself as an authority. A book can also help you spread ideas and is a mechanism for people to connect with you. It’s a self-contained product that you can monetize, but it can also be a vehicle to sell your products and services. In many ways, your book can be your ticket to new income streams and opportunities.

Use these 10 steps below to get going on your first book:

1. Ask Yourself How You Can Help

Your book requires an idea, but the masterpiece depends on the value you will provide to the reader. Start by asking yourself, “how can I help?” You may have experience in a particular field or a passion for a specific topic, but either way, you need to first answer this question.

In my situation, I knew I could help entrepreneurs finish things because I was already familiar with the demands of the lifestyle and regularly work in that environment. How can you help your readers?

2. Formulate Your Main Idea

Once you know how you can help your reader, the main idea should be easy. The main idea addresses how you will approach the subject. Will your book be a step-by-step guide or will it inspire your readers to higher levels? If you’re stuck figuring out your main idea, think of it in terms of a plan – you’re going to provide a specific plan to your readers to accomplish something. That becomes the main idea.

3. Remember the Three Act Play

In story writing, there’s a character arc, where the protagonist winds up in a setting, encounters tension, and then resolves that tension. You want to set up your book in the same way, even if it’s a nonfiction work. Begin by laying out the context for your reader. What problems are they facing? What obstacles are in their path? Then help them break through those problems and overcome those obstacles. Finally, don’t leave them hanging. Create a resolution that enables your readers to finish your book with a clear vision for moving beyond.

4. Title 15 Chapters

I’ve found that most failed author’s miss this strategy and it can make all the difference in finishing your first book. Open up a new document and give yourself numbers one through fifteen. After each number, give it a title that communicates the idea of that chapter. “1. Sleep’s Role in Weight Loss.” “2. How to Respond to a Micromanaging Boss.” You get the idea, but by giving each chapter a title, you’re essentially creating a roadmap for the completed book.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Write a One Sentence Summary of Each Chapter

As you come up with titles for each chapter, you will want to start creating one sentence summaries for each. Think of these as the miniature Christmas trees that will eventually have ornaments hanging on them when Christmas rolls around. The one sentence summary will also help you remember what you wanted to write about as you proceed through each chapter.

6. Divide and Conquer

Take 50,000 words and divide it by 15. Fifty-five thousand is the target number of words in your book. Fifteen is the number of chapters. Do that math and you’ll quickly see that you’ll only need about 3,300 words for each chapter. When we see a blank screen and the need for 50,000 words, most new authors tend to give up. Can you write 3,300 words? Yes, you can. It’s almost like writing a couple of magazine articles for each chapter.

Breaking up your book into smaller chunks will give you the psychological advantage of seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Conquer one chapter at a time, and before you know it, you will complete an entire book.

7. Spell Check

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a manuscript and it’s obvious the author never even bothered to spell check. If you don’t think your writing is worth the effort, why do you think your readers will take the time? It’s a fundamental rule of writing and will go a long way in proving to your readers you care about your craft.

8. Do a Table Read

Actors will often sit around a table reading a script prior to acting out a scene. Why? It ensures the dialogue is well-developed and makes logical sense. While you don’t necessarily need to read your book out loud, you do need to actually read it before you finalize it.

If you’re like most authors, your writing will take place over weeks or months, and involve many different emotional states. You don’t want your book to sound like it was written by a schizophrenic person, so read it through in one sitting at least once before you consider it complete.

“Read your paper backward, sentence by sentence, as a final proofreading step. This technique isolates each sentence and makes it easier to spot errors you may have overlooked in previous readings.” – Claire B. May Gordon S. May

9. Don’t Forget to Edit

The table read I described above is going to highlight problems with the flow and language in your book. That’s why you will want to follow immediately with a round of edits. Editing will also give you the opportunity to improve your material and eliminate the possibility of lingering mistakes in the manuscript.

10. Make a Plan to Distribute

If you plan to write a book but make no plan to get it out into the world, you will probably stop short of finishing. After all, why finish if no one will ever read it? At the very least, you should self-publish the book in digital format which is inexpensive and easy to accomplish.

The worst that could happen is that you’ve completed your first book! Best case scenario is that your book is picked up by a major publisher and sells millions of copies. Either way, you’re unlikely to finish what you start without a plan for distribution.

Now what? Start writing. There’s no way to finish your first book without some words on the page.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

Why The 5-Second Rule Made Me Unstoppable And How It Will Do The Same For You.

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5-Second Rule

What a massive few weeks. I discovered this life hack called “The 5-Second Rule.”

What a rollercoaster of a ride!

 

A simple definition of the 5 Second Rule:

5-Second RuleTo push yourself out of your head and into action by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 and then taking immediate action towards a goal, or instinct to take action towards something you think of.

It’s a rule that forces you to make a 5 Second Decision. 5-Second Decisions do not allow your brain to be involved and it all comes from your heart combined with your instinct. If you wait longer than 5-seconds, you’ll talk yourself out of making the decision.

The 5-Second Rule is a bias towards action instead of overthinking and been taken over by fear. In that 5 seconds, you get the opportunity to be courageous. It’s a small window of courage that you can access for free. After 5 seconds, your days are numbered and your brain will sabotage you.

“Hesitation is the kiss of death”

 

The crazy thing about the 5-Second Rule!

I was using the 5 Second Rule already without knowing it. I was using the 5 Second Rule because I was petrified of forgetting something important so I always forced myself to take action towards something that mattered to me straight away.

You’re probably the same. You’re probably using some of the 5 Second philosophy already. By the end of this blog post, you’re going to be using the 5-Second Rule consciously to live your dream life.

Here’s what happened when I tried the 5-Second Rule:

 

A) Changed my career.

That’s right; I knew it was time to changed my career. It had been building and finally, I knew it was time to make a change. Two opportunities were presented to me and they both felt right. They encompassed my passions although I was underprepared, unqualified and fearful of whether I would succeed.

When asked to make a decision, I used the 5 Second Rule and trusted my instincts. I said yes to both opportunities and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never felt so electric and it was all because I came from a place of courage. I told myself “You got this!”

“You get one life and it’s not going to begin again”

 

B) Became a professional in public speaking.

I was asked to join a public speaking competition at my local Toastmasters club. I always said no and regretted it because I knew I could use it as another platform to inspire people. This year, when the offer came up, I used the 5-Second Rule and said in my head “5-4-3-2-1, I’m in, sign me up!”

I went with my heart rather than letting my brain tell me how horrible I was at public speaking and how I’d never win.

The crazy thing is I won the competition. I beat people who were doing public speaking on the world stage and took the spotlight from them. All in a split second, 5-Second Decision.

“Confidence is built through one 5-second move at a time”

 

C) Joined the gym.

I used the 5-Second Rule to finally, after five years, make the decision to sign up again. It was after midnight and the gym was closed.

To make sure I took action, I left multiple inquiries on a few gym websites so that I was guaranteed not to forget what I had committed to.

The next day, I took my lazy ass to the gym, and I signed up. I’ve never felt better and my energy levels have started to pick up again.

 

D) Went to a country where I couldn’t speak the language all by myself.

This was a big deal for me because I’ve always traveled with other people and to places where I could speak the language. All of a sudden, I was going to be alone in a foreign country and unable to communicate in English.

Then one Friday, I was forced by work to take two weeks off. I used the 5-Second Rule to book a trip to Japan. It’s the best thing I’ve done this year. I learned so much and it got me right out of my comfort zone.

I’m sure there are some travel plans you’ve put off too. Next time you get the urge to travel somewhere like I did, at that moment, use the 5-Second Rule to take action and push through all the BS reasons why you think you can’t do it.

 


E) Met my girlfriend’s parents.

My girlfriend’s parents live overseas and they were in town for a few weeks. To me, meeting the parents is a big deal. I felt a bit nervous and when she asked me if I would have dinner with them, I felt the fear, counted down from 5, and said yes.

I’m so glad I did. The parents were great and I stopped myself from procrastinating.

Romantic relationships are the best when you go deep and do what you know is right. The 5-Second Rule will ensure you don’t back down.

 

F) Stopped the junk food temptation.

While I eat healthy most of the time, recently, I found myself letting my guard down and eating unhealthy food every now and then. It was upsetting me because I’ve been so disciplined for more than five years.

With a new commitment to going to the gym, I decided to eat food that would fuel my new exercise routine. Every time I looked at a packet of chips, I’d count down from 5 and then eat something that was good for me. I still eat junk food every now and then, but I have it under control again.

The decisions you make about eating are made in a split second. Use the 5-Second Rule to stop yourself from temptation. You’ll feel better in the long run and have more energy when you make the right choices.

 

G) Blogging when I don’t want to.

You may find it hard to believe but there are plenty of times when I don’t feel like blogging. I’ve found it challenging to overcome. That is until I discovered the 5-Second Rule. Now, when I feel lazy and don’t want to write, I count down from 5 and then start writing anyway.

I disconnect myself from the outcome and make sure I keep up the habit of blogging.

Whatever your passion is, it’s the same. There are regular times when you can’t be bothered and these moments are when you have to push through and use the 5-Second Rule the most. You’ll never achieve greatness unless you do what is sometimes not what you feel like doing.

 

Last Hack: Burn The Boats.

Made famous by Tony Robbins, the Burn the Boats Hack will give you leverage and destroy your Plan B. The story is simple. There was this army trying to take an island and they kept failing.

The leader in charge told them to go to the island and burn the boats behind them. This way, the only opportunity to survive was to take control of the island because they now couldn’t retreat back to their boats and sail home. Failing was not an option. There was no Plan B.

By combining the 5-Second Rule with the Burn the Boats Hack, you’ll not only force yourself to make decisions and stop things like fear, procrastination and overthinking takeover – you’ll also burn your Plan B and create leverage.

Leverage keeps you accountable to these 5-Second Decisions and stops you from backing out. When there’s no way out, you’ll find a way to get through the darkness and shine brightly at the end of the tunnel that is your goal.

 

***Final thought***

If I can achieve all of those goals in the mater of a few weeks, imagine what you can do. This 5- Second Rule will change your life. It’s the one life hack I’ve learned that has given so much success in such a little time. It only takes seconds to learn and seconds to implement.

These are the tools I love: Tools that are dead simple and can be used right away. No study is required, no mentors are needed, no books need to be read. It all starts with you.

Now you have the one tool, the one hack, to change your life.

Go use it right now! Tell me how you go.

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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Success Advice

7 Ways to Achieve Success by Starting Where You Are & With What You Have

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how to achieve success

Let’s face it, most of us love over-complicating things and often shun simple information because it’s basic. We really don’t know how to KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly!). We are drawn to things that boggle our minds and consider straight forward information boring or too simplistic for our liking. Don’t believe me? How many times have you written off someone’s advice or their solution to a problem because you considered it’s simplistic nature suspect?

Have you ever felt cheated out of money you spent on a self-help book because you felt there had to be ‘more to the story’ after reading it? Our need to over-complicate things is often what keeps us stuck in life, delays some of our progress in life and hinders us from pursuing our goals and dreams. We often imagine that everything has to be perfect or make absolute sense to us in order for us to even consider investing ourselves into whatever it is we desire to do.

People who make things happen don’t believe in perfection when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams, because they are aware that our life’s circumstances will never be entirely perfect or favorable for us to pursue some of our endeavors. Therefore, they don’t allow external factors to dissuade them from pursuing their goals and dreams because they know that reasons will always present themselves to excuse our inability to make things happen at some juncture in our lives.

If you want to accomplish anything in your life, you have to be willing to start where you are and with what you have. The journey of a thousand miles definitely begins with one step. Allow yourself to take the first step and build upon it.

Utilize whatever resources you currently have available to jump-start and move your life and pursuits in the direction you want them to go with the belief that everything you need will materialize in one way or another as long as you keep taking action and remain committed to your endeavors and the process.

Below are tips, advice and insights you can follow and ponder that will help you get started where you are and with what you have on your journey towards success:

1. Don’t wait anymore

Don’t wait to have money to make money, to fully master what you want to do before doing it, or for circumstances and external factors in your life to perfectly align in order for you to act on your pursuits because in some instances, they never do.

Step out in faith and be willing to take a risk on your dreams. You will discover that the universe will open up doors for you and present you with opportunities you otherwise would have never received had you allowed your perceived limitations to immobilize you.

2. Focus on the things you can control

Don’t become consumed by things and circumstances you can’t control or have absolutely no control over. Instead, use to your advantage those that you can, to move you in the direction of your dreams.

Most successful people would tell you a story or two of the great things they were able to achieve in life in spite of some of their humble beginning. Don’t be averse to starting where you are, using whatever you have, and doing whatever you can; the secret to getting ahead is getting started – you don’t have to have great beginnings to start, you have to start in order to eventually become great.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

3. Be willing to take the first step

Determine what action you can take today that will move you one step closer to your goal or dream and make its possibility appear that much more real to you. If your dream is to start your own business, simple acts such as choosing a business name, registering your business name, having someone design a business logo for you and so on, will be enough to inspire and motivate you to take further action which will help you achieve your desired outcome.

4. Find the resources that are available to you

Determine what free resources are currently available to you that you could use to jumpstart your goal or dream as you work on making circumstances more favorable for it.

If your dream is to purchase a home in the near future for instance; you might consider attending free homeownership workshops in your area to learn about the home buying process, meeting with a mortgage broker to determine what type of loan you could qualify for or possibly attending open houses of homes comparable to that which you would like to purchase, etc.

5. Let go of your need for perfection

Don’t let the need for perfection hinder you from stepping out into your destiny or doing the things that you need to do. Start where you are and with what you have and allow whatever little progress you make to create momentum and motivate you to keep going.

For instance, if your goal is to own a bakery someday; don’t limit yourself by believing that you have to wait until you own a brick & mortar store to get your product out there — consider selling your goods online, at a farmer’s market or to friends and loved ones, determine if you can supply to local bakeries, participate in events that allow you to showcase your products and so on.

“I understand that I’m not perfect. I made mistakes and I had a hand in everything that’s happened to me, good and bad.” – Dwyane Wade

6. Don’t overwhelm yourself with information overload

Don’t expect to know or learn everything all at once; stay open to learning as you go. As you step out in faith and take a chance on yourself and your pursuits, the information you need will become available to you through the people and situations you attract into your life. Trust in the process and find contentment with learning how to crawl first before you walk.

7. Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time; make the time right today

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you know you can do today or fool yourself into believing that a later time will be more favorable and opportune for your pursuits. If you start today, you will be one year into whatever it is you want to do by this time next year and closer to fulfilling or having fully achieved your goals. Don’t procrastinate; start today!

If you choose to employ the above simplistic approaches in your endeavors, you will soon discover that accomplishing whatever you want in life isn’t complicated or rocket-science in any sense.

In no way am I trying to minimize the fact that some pursuits will present more challenges than others or require more of and from us than some; what I am trying to relay across is the fact that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Whatever myriad of excuses or reasons we adamantly offer to support our inability to do one thing or another, are really just delay tactics to avoid doing what we know we need to do.

How will you set yourself up for success starting today? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

Are You Communicating Effectively? The 4 Colors of Communication

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communication

When it comes to business, sometimes people think you have to be sneaky, manipulative, or cunning but in reality it is much easier to get what you want if you are straightforward. When you are clear about your wants, needs, and expectations there is no way for you to be misunderstood, and less room for error.

Communication is key in any relationship whether it is with a client, employee, or friend since better communication will help build a bond and trust. However, just saying what you think does not create effective communication because you must think about what you are going to say first.

Just because you are communicating with someone, doesn’t mean you are effectively getting your point across. This article will help you learn the importance of communication and some techniques to practice which will build your communication skills.

1. Understand who you are talking to

Every person handles communication differently. There are however four main personality categories that people fall into. Using these categories, you can better understand who you are talking to, and how to effectively get your point across.

  • Red– Very blunt to the point, drivers, strong-willed. Can be seen as rude but they are very direct.
  • Yellow– Follows their heart, emotional, very caring. Will tend to think of others even if it ends up inconveniencing them.
  • Green– Very analytical, enjoys knowing a lot. May find it hard to speak without knowing all angles first.
  • Blue– Will speak their mind, loves to have fun. Speaks without thinking things all the way through.

People generally have a primary color, and a secondary color. My main color is red, but my secondary is blue. Each one of these people have different ways of communicating effectively. For example, I’m not going to go to someone who is yellow and speak to them like they are red. With someone who is more yellow, I approach with more subtlety because you can not communicate effectively with someone who is offended or angry.

I will not go to a red and be subtle, because they expect people to be blunt with them. When you know the person you are talking to, you can tailor how you talk so you communicate most effectively.

“Write To Be Understood, Speak To Be Heard, Read To Grow.” Lawrence Clark Powell

2. Think about what you say

Have you ever said something you didn’t really think about, and what you said ended up being totally different than what you said? What would have happened if you stopped and thought about what you said first? How much stress, and fuss could have been avoided if you took a second to make sure what you were going to say is what you meant? When you think about what you are saying, there are a few questions you want to ask yourself.

The first thing I ask myself before speaking is, is what I am saying honest? In business, our word is our bond. If you speak without making sure you are being honest, you can end up making promises you can’t keep, giving false expectations, and flat out lying to people. All of these diminish your value as a business owner.

The next question is does this convey what I am trying to say? This may seem like an obvious question but many misunderstandings could be avoided if we just asked ourselves this before speaking.

How many times have you said something then immediately realized how it must have sounded to others? Think about the words you use, and how you are saying it because once you say it you can’t unsay anything.

The last question I ask myself is will this enrich their life? Needlessly saying something does nothing for anyone, it doesn’t help others, it doesn’t help you, and you are just speaking for the sake of speaking. The more you speak to give value to others, not only do you help them, but you also help your image as well. Stop and think about what you are actually saying so you can ensure a clear message from you allowing for complete understanding.

“Good Communication Is As Stimulating As Black Coffee, And Just As Hard To Sleep After.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

3. Just say it

Previously, I told you to make sure you think before you speak, but there are going to be times in your life that you just need to come out and give your opinion. Making sure it is true and does help others is important, but go ahead and speak up if that’s the case.

Is one of your employees overstepping their bounds? Tell them, because you can’t expect things to get better if you don’t say what you mean. Every one of us has swallowed our voices before not allowing those around us to know what we feel. This helps no one. When you hold things in, it only does damage.

Find your voice, and make sure that when something is bothering you, you use your new communication skills to express what is happening, what your problem is, and leave a line of communication open so you can solve what is happening. When you own your own business you have to learn to be outspoken enough to get your point across, but also calm enough to understand the situation fully.

The last and most important thing I can tell you is don’t talk too much. When you are learning to communicate, don’t only listen to respond, but listen to fully understand.

How do you make sure people truly understand what you are saying to them? Let us know some tips in the comments below!

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Success Advice

10 Part Action Plan for Writing Your Very First Book

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writing a book

There’s no doubt that writing a book is an excellent way to bolster your credibility and establish yourself as an authority. A book can also help you spread ideas and is a mechanism for people to connect with you. It’s a self-contained product that you can monetize, but it can also be a vehicle to sell your products and services. In many ways, your book can be your ticket to new income streams and opportunities. (more…)

Brock Shinen has been guiding entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and creators for more than 13 years as an attorney, trainer, and strategic advisor. His passion is to see people and businesses transform by implementing smart, adaptable thinking leading towards economic and personal success. He is also the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Crush The Stops: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing Things.” You can also visit his website.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Julie Ellis

    Jun 18, 2015 at 9:04 am

    James, thanks for notes.
    I have not read this books, but I’ll add “The E-myth Revisited” and “Make Your Idea Matter” to my summer reading list.
    I am pleased to hear tips about other books as well.

  2. aNCA Urdea

    May 21, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Great books indeed! I’d add Bernadette Jiwa’s Make Your Idea Matter – easy read & highly inspirational!

  3. ferdous

    May 20, 2015 at 9:02 am

    i think reading books is the first things that motivate me to be an entrepreneur. but if i haven’t had any experiences in real life it will be make me lose. i said it from my experience. thanks for your great suggestion.

  4. James Dunn

    May 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    No ‘The E-myth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber? For me, it’s a MUST read. Too many people start out with great entrepreneurial ideas, and end up just creating a new J.O.B. for themselves.

  5. Lawrence Berry

    May 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Great post. As an inspiring entrepreneur, these are some books I will definitely have to look at. I love reading new information and others opinions and rise to success. This is most definitely helpful. Thanks.

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Success Advice

10 Part Action Plan for Writing Your Very First Book

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writing a book

There’s no doubt that writing a book is an excellent way to bolster your credibility and establish yourself as an authority. A book can also help you spread ideas and is a mechanism for people to connect with you. It’s a self-contained product that you can monetize, but it can also be a vehicle to sell your products and services. In many ways, your book can be your ticket to new income streams and opportunities.

Use these 10 steps below to get going on your first book:

1. Ask Yourself How You Can Help

Your book requires an idea, but the masterpiece depends on the value you will provide to the reader. Start by asking yourself, “how can I help?” You may have experience in a particular field or a passion for a specific topic, but either way, you need to first answer this question.

In my situation, I knew I could help entrepreneurs finish things because I was already familiar with the demands of the lifestyle and regularly work in that environment. How can you help your readers?

2. Formulate Your Main Idea

Once you know how you can help your reader, the main idea should be easy. The main idea addresses how you will approach the subject. Will your book be a step-by-step guide or will it inspire your readers to higher levels? If you’re stuck figuring out your main idea, think of it in terms of a plan – you’re going to provide a specific plan to your readers to accomplish something. That becomes the main idea.

3. Remember the Three Act Play

In story writing, there’s a character arc, where the protagonist winds up in a setting, encounters tension, and then resolves that tension. You want to set up your book in the same way, even if it’s a nonfiction work. Begin by laying out the context for your reader. What problems are they facing? What obstacles are in their path? Then help them break through those problems and overcome those obstacles. Finally, don’t leave them hanging. Create a resolution that enables your readers to finish your book with a clear vision for moving beyond.

4. Title 15 Chapters

I’ve found that most failed author’s miss this strategy and it can make all the difference in finishing your first book. Open up a new document and give yourself numbers one through fifteen. After each number, give it a title that communicates the idea of that chapter. “1. Sleep’s Role in Weight Loss.” “2. How to Respond to a Micromanaging Boss.” You get the idea, but by giving each chapter a title, you’re essentially creating a roadmap for the completed book.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Write a One Sentence Summary of Each Chapter

As you come up with titles for each chapter, you will want to start creating one sentence summaries for each. Think of these as the miniature Christmas trees that will eventually have ornaments hanging on them when Christmas rolls around. The one sentence summary will also help you remember what you wanted to write about as you proceed through each chapter.

6. Divide and Conquer

Take 50,000 words and divide it by 15. Fifty-five thousand is the target number of words in your book. Fifteen is the number of chapters. Do that math and you’ll quickly see that you’ll only need about 3,300 words for each chapter. When we see a blank screen and the need for 50,000 words, most new authors tend to give up. Can you write 3,300 words? Yes, you can. It’s almost like writing a couple of magazine articles for each chapter.

Breaking up your book into smaller chunks will give you the psychological advantage of seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Conquer one chapter at a time, and before you know it, you will complete an entire book.

7. Spell Check

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a manuscript and it’s obvious the author never even bothered to spell check. If you don’t think your writing is worth the effort, why do you think your readers will take the time? It’s a fundamental rule of writing and will go a long way in proving to your readers you care about your craft.

8. Do a Table Read

Actors will often sit around a table reading a script prior to acting out a scene. Why? It ensures the dialogue is well-developed and makes logical sense. While you don’t necessarily need to read your book out loud, you do need to actually read it before you finalize it.

If you’re like most authors, your writing will take place over weeks or months, and involve many different emotional states. You don’t want your book to sound like it was written by a schizophrenic person, so read it through in one sitting at least once before you consider it complete.

“Read your paper backward, sentence by sentence, as a final proofreading step. This technique isolates each sentence and makes it easier to spot errors you may have overlooked in previous readings.” – Claire B. May Gordon S. May

9. Don’t Forget to Edit

The table read I described above is going to highlight problems with the flow and language in your book. That’s why you will want to follow immediately with a round of edits. Editing will also give you the opportunity to improve your material and eliminate the possibility of lingering mistakes in the manuscript.

10. Make a Plan to Distribute

If you plan to write a book but make no plan to get it out into the world, you will probably stop short of finishing. After all, why finish if no one will ever read it? At the very least, you should self-publish the book in digital format which is inexpensive and easy to accomplish.

The worst that could happen is that you’ve completed your first book! Best case scenario is that your book is picked up by a major publisher and sells millions of copies. Either way, you’re unlikely to finish what you start without a plan for distribution.

Now what? Start writing. There’s no way to finish your first book without some words on the page.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

Why The 5-Second Rule Made Me Unstoppable And How It Will Do The Same For You.

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5-Second Rule

What a massive few weeks. I discovered this life hack called “The 5-Second Rule.”

What a rollercoaster of a ride!

 

A simple definition of the 5 Second Rule:

5-Second RuleTo push yourself out of your head and into action by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 and then taking immediate action towards a goal, or instinct to take action towards something you think of.

It’s a rule that forces you to make a 5 Second Decision. 5-Second Decisions do not allow your brain to be involved and it all comes from your heart combined with your instinct. If you wait longer than 5-seconds, you’ll talk yourself out of making the decision.

The 5-Second Rule is a bias towards action instead of overthinking and been taken over by fear. In that 5 seconds, you get the opportunity to be courageous. It’s a small window of courage that you can access for free. After 5 seconds, your days are numbered and your brain will sabotage you.

“Hesitation is the kiss of death”

 

The crazy thing about the 5-Second Rule!

I was using the 5 Second Rule already without knowing it. I was using the 5 Second Rule because I was petrified of forgetting something important so I always forced myself to take action towards something that mattered to me straight away.

You’re probably the same. You’re probably using some of the 5 Second philosophy already. By the end of this blog post, you’re going to be using the 5-Second Rule consciously to live your dream life.

Here’s what happened when I tried the 5-Second Rule:

 

A) Changed my career.

That’s right; I knew it was time to changed my career. It had been building and finally, I knew it was time to make a change. Two opportunities were presented to me and they both felt right. They encompassed my passions although I was underprepared, unqualified and fearful of whether I would succeed.

When asked to make a decision, I used the 5 Second Rule and trusted my instincts. I said yes to both opportunities and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never felt so electric and it was all because I came from a place of courage. I told myself “You got this!”

“You get one life and it’s not going to begin again”

 

B) Became a professional in public speaking.

I was asked to join a public speaking competition at my local Toastmasters club. I always said no and regretted it because I knew I could use it as another platform to inspire people. This year, when the offer came up, I used the 5-Second Rule and said in my head “5-4-3-2-1, I’m in, sign me up!”

I went with my heart rather than letting my brain tell me how horrible I was at public speaking and how I’d never win.

The crazy thing is I won the competition. I beat people who were doing public speaking on the world stage and took the spotlight from them. All in a split second, 5-Second Decision.

“Confidence is built through one 5-second move at a time”

 

C) Joined the gym.

I used the 5-Second Rule to finally, after five years, make the decision to sign up again. It was after midnight and the gym was closed.

To make sure I took action, I left multiple inquiries on a few gym websites so that I was guaranteed not to forget what I had committed to.

The next day, I took my lazy ass to the gym, and I signed up. I’ve never felt better and my energy levels have started to pick up again.

 

D) Went to a country where I couldn’t speak the language all by myself.

This was a big deal for me because I’ve always traveled with other people and to places where I could speak the language. All of a sudden, I was going to be alone in a foreign country and unable to communicate in English.

Then one Friday, I was forced by work to take two weeks off. I used the 5-Second Rule to book a trip to Japan. It’s the best thing I’ve done this year. I learned so much and it got me right out of my comfort zone.

I’m sure there are some travel plans you’ve put off too. Next time you get the urge to travel somewhere like I did, at that moment, use the 5-Second Rule to take action and push through all the BS reasons why you think you can’t do it.

 


E) Met my girlfriend’s parents.

My girlfriend’s parents live overseas and they were in town for a few weeks. To me, meeting the parents is a big deal. I felt a bit nervous and when she asked me if I would have dinner with them, I felt the fear, counted down from 5, and said yes.

I’m so glad I did. The parents were great and I stopped myself from procrastinating.

Romantic relationships are the best when you go deep and do what you know is right. The 5-Second Rule will ensure you don’t back down.

 

F) Stopped the junk food temptation.

While I eat healthy most of the time, recently, I found myself letting my guard down and eating unhealthy food every now and then. It was upsetting me because I’ve been so disciplined for more than five years.

With a new commitment to going to the gym, I decided to eat food that would fuel my new exercise routine. Every time I looked at a packet of chips, I’d count down from 5 and then eat something that was good for me. I still eat junk food every now and then, but I have it under control again.

The decisions you make about eating are made in a split second. Use the 5-Second Rule to stop yourself from temptation. You’ll feel better in the long run and have more energy when you make the right choices.

 

G) Blogging when I don’t want to.

You may find it hard to believe but there are plenty of times when I don’t feel like blogging. I’ve found it challenging to overcome. That is until I discovered the 5-Second Rule. Now, when I feel lazy and don’t want to write, I count down from 5 and then start writing anyway.

I disconnect myself from the outcome and make sure I keep up the habit of blogging.

Whatever your passion is, it’s the same. There are regular times when you can’t be bothered and these moments are when you have to push through and use the 5-Second Rule the most. You’ll never achieve greatness unless you do what is sometimes not what you feel like doing.

 

Last Hack: Burn The Boats.

Made famous by Tony Robbins, the Burn the Boats Hack will give you leverage and destroy your Plan B. The story is simple. There was this army trying to take an island and they kept failing.

The leader in charge told them to go to the island and burn the boats behind them. This way, the only opportunity to survive was to take control of the island because they now couldn’t retreat back to their boats and sail home. Failing was not an option. There was no Plan B.

By combining the 5-Second Rule with the Burn the Boats Hack, you’ll not only force yourself to make decisions and stop things like fear, procrastination and overthinking takeover – you’ll also burn your Plan B and create leverage.

Leverage keeps you accountable to these 5-Second Decisions and stops you from backing out. When there’s no way out, you’ll find a way to get through the darkness and shine brightly at the end of the tunnel that is your goal.

 

***Final thought***

If I can achieve all of those goals in the mater of a few weeks, imagine what you can do. This 5- Second Rule will change your life. It’s the one life hack I’ve learned that has given so much success in such a little time. It only takes seconds to learn and seconds to implement.

These are the tools I love: Tools that are dead simple and can be used right away. No study is required, no mentors are needed, no books need to be read. It all starts with you.

Now you have the one tool, the one hack, to change your life.

Go use it right now! Tell me how you go.

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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Success Advice

7 Ways to Achieve Success by Starting Where You Are & With What You Have

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how to achieve success

Let’s face it, most of us love over-complicating things and often shun simple information because it’s basic. We really don’t know how to KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly!). We are drawn to things that boggle our minds and consider straight forward information boring or too simplistic for our liking. Don’t believe me? How many times have you written off someone’s advice or their solution to a problem because you considered it’s simplistic nature suspect?

Have you ever felt cheated out of money you spent on a self-help book because you felt there had to be ‘more to the story’ after reading it? Our need to over-complicate things is often what keeps us stuck in life, delays some of our progress in life and hinders us from pursuing our goals and dreams. We often imagine that everything has to be perfect or make absolute sense to us in order for us to even consider investing ourselves into whatever it is we desire to do.

People who make things happen don’t believe in perfection when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams, because they are aware that our life’s circumstances will never be entirely perfect or favorable for us to pursue some of our endeavors. Therefore, they don’t allow external factors to dissuade them from pursuing their goals and dreams because they know that reasons will always present themselves to excuse our inability to make things happen at some juncture in our lives.

If you want to accomplish anything in your life, you have to be willing to start where you are and with what you have. The journey of a thousand miles definitely begins with one step. Allow yourself to take the first step and build upon it.

Utilize whatever resources you currently have available to jump-start and move your life and pursuits in the direction you want them to go with the belief that everything you need will materialize in one way or another as long as you keep taking action and remain committed to your endeavors and the process.

Below are tips, advice and insights you can follow and ponder that will help you get started where you are and with what you have on your journey towards success:

1. Don’t wait anymore

Don’t wait to have money to make money, to fully master what you want to do before doing it, or for circumstances and external factors in your life to perfectly align in order for you to act on your pursuits because in some instances, they never do.

Step out in faith and be willing to take a risk on your dreams. You will discover that the universe will open up doors for you and present you with opportunities you otherwise would have never received had you allowed your perceived limitations to immobilize you.

2. Focus on the things you can control

Don’t become consumed by things and circumstances you can’t control or have absolutely no control over. Instead, use to your advantage those that you can, to move you in the direction of your dreams.

Most successful people would tell you a story or two of the great things they were able to achieve in life in spite of some of their humble beginning. Don’t be averse to starting where you are, using whatever you have, and doing whatever you can; the secret to getting ahead is getting started – you don’t have to have great beginnings to start, you have to start in order to eventually become great.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

3. Be willing to take the first step

Determine what action you can take today that will move you one step closer to your goal or dream and make its possibility appear that much more real to you. If your dream is to start your own business, simple acts such as choosing a business name, registering your business name, having someone design a business logo for you and so on, will be enough to inspire and motivate you to take further action which will help you achieve your desired outcome.

4. Find the resources that are available to you

Determine what free resources are currently available to you that you could use to jumpstart your goal or dream as you work on making circumstances more favorable for it.

If your dream is to purchase a home in the near future for instance; you might consider attending free homeownership workshops in your area to learn about the home buying process, meeting with a mortgage broker to determine what type of loan you could qualify for or possibly attending open houses of homes comparable to that which you would like to purchase, etc.

5. Let go of your need for perfection

Don’t let the need for perfection hinder you from stepping out into your destiny or doing the things that you need to do. Start where you are and with what you have and allow whatever little progress you make to create momentum and motivate you to keep going.

For instance, if your goal is to own a bakery someday; don’t limit yourself by believing that you have to wait until you own a brick & mortar store to get your product out there — consider selling your goods online, at a farmer’s market or to friends and loved ones, determine if you can supply to local bakeries, participate in events that allow you to showcase your products and so on.

“I understand that I’m not perfect. I made mistakes and I had a hand in everything that’s happened to me, good and bad.” – Dwyane Wade

6. Don’t overwhelm yourself with information overload

Don’t expect to know or learn everything all at once; stay open to learning as you go. As you step out in faith and take a chance on yourself and your pursuits, the information you need will become available to you through the people and situations you attract into your life. Trust in the process and find contentment with learning how to crawl first before you walk.

7. Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time; make the time right today

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you know you can do today or fool yourself into believing that a later time will be more favorable and opportune for your pursuits. If you start today, you will be one year into whatever it is you want to do by this time next year and closer to fulfilling or having fully achieved your goals. Don’t procrastinate; start today!

If you choose to employ the above simplistic approaches in your endeavors, you will soon discover that accomplishing whatever you want in life isn’t complicated or rocket-science in any sense.

In no way am I trying to minimize the fact that some pursuits will present more challenges than others or require more of and from us than some; what I am trying to relay across is the fact that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Whatever myriad of excuses or reasons we adamantly offer to support our inability to do one thing or another, are really just delay tactics to avoid doing what we know we need to do.

How will you set yourself up for success starting today? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

Are You Communicating Effectively? The 4 Colors of Communication

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communication

When it comes to business, sometimes people think you have to be sneaky, manipulative, or cunning but in reality it is much easier to get what you want if you are straightforward. When you are clear about your wants, needs, and expectations there is no way for you to be misunderstood, and less room for error.

Communication is key in any relationship whether it is with a client, employee, or friend since better communication will help build a bond and trust. However, just saying what you think does not create effective communication because you must think about what you are going to say first.

Just because you are communicating with someone, doesn’t mean you are effectively getting your point across. This article will help you learn the importance of communication and some techniques to practice which will build your communication skills.

1. Understand who you are talking to

Every person handles communication differently. There are however four main personality categories that people fall into. Using these categories, you can better understand who you are talking to, and how to effectively get your point across.

  • Red– Very blunt to the point, drivers, strong-willed. Can be seen as rude but they are very direct.
  • Yellow– Follows their heart, emotional, very caring. Will tend to think of others even if it ends up inconveniencing them.
  • Green– Very analytical, enjoys knowing a lot. May find it hard to speak without knowing all angles first.
  • Blue– Will speak their mind, loves to have fun. Speaks without thinking things all the way through.

People generally have a primary color, and a secondary color. My main color is red, but my secondary is blue. Each one of these people have different ways of communicating effectively. For example, I’m not going to go to someone who is yellow and speak to them like they are red. With someone who is more yellow, I approach with more subtlety because you can not communicate effectively with someone who is offended or angry.

I will not go to a red and be subtle, because they expect people to be blunt with them. When you know the person you are talking to, you can tailor how you talk so you communicate most effectively.

“Write To Be Understood, Speak To Be Heard, Read To Grow.” Lawrence Clark Powell

2. Think about what you say

Have you ever said something you didn’t really think about, and what you said ended up being totally different than what you said? What would have happened if you stopped and thought about what you said first? How much stress, and fuss could have been avoided if you took a second to make sure what you were going to say is what you meant? When you think about what you are saying, there are a few questions you want to ask yourself.

The first thing I ask myself before speaking is, is what I am saying honest? In business, our word is our bond. If you speak without making sure you are being honest, you can end up making promises you can’t keep, giving false expectations, and flat out lying to people. All of these diminish your value as a business owner.

The next question is does this convey what I am trying to say? This may seem like an obvious question but many misunderstandings could be avoided if we just asked ourselves this before speaking.

How many times have you said something then immediately realized how it must have sounded to others? Think about the words you use, and how you are saying it because once you say it you can’t unsay anything.

The last question I ask myself is will this enrich their life? Needlessly saying something does nothing for anyone, it doesn’t help others, it doesn’t help you, and you are just speaking for the sake of speaking. The more you speak to give value to others, not only do you help them, but you also help your image as well. Stop and think about what you are actually saying so you can ensure a clear message from you allowing for complete understanding.

“Good Communication Is As Stimulating As Black Coffee, And Just As Hard To Sleep After.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

3. Just say it

Previously, I told you to make sure you think before you speak, but there are going to be times in your life that you just need to come out and give your opinion. Making sure it is true and does help others is important, but go ahead and speak up if that’s the case.

Is one of your employees overstepping their bounds? Tell them, because you can’t expect things to get better if you don’t say what you mean. Every one of us has swallowed our voices before not allowing those around us to know what we feel. This helps no one. When you hold things in, it only does damage.

Find your voice, and make sure that when something is bothering you, you use your new communication skills to express what is happening, what your problem is, and leave a line of communication open so you can solve what is happening. When you own your own business you have to learn to be outspoken enough to get your point across, but also calm enough to understand the situation fully.

The last and most important thing I can tell you is don’t talk too much. When you are learning to communicate, don’t only listen to respond, but listen to fully understand.

How do you make sure people truly understand what you are saying to them? Let us know some tips in the comments below!

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