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Success Advice

Adversity Leads to Success but Only if You Don’t Give Up

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In the pursuit of any goal, you’re going to encounter hard times and adversity. Generally, the bigger and more ambitious the goal, the more obstacles you’ll need to overcome. I dropped out of college in 2014 to start a business called cravebox.com. I had no prior business experience or business education, very little start-up cash, and took no investments or debt. So growing the business was a slow process that required faith and persistence. Facing adversity in business or in life forces you to adapt, become stronger, and stay in the game long enough to find success. You just can’t give up along the way.

Results come long after the work

When you start something new, success does not come quickly. Most new businesses require 18-24 months to become profitable. You need to understand and expect that you’ll do a lot of hard work over a long period of time and it might seem like you’re making no progress. My business was not profitable for the first 3 years. I worked all day, 7 days per week, for 3 years straight and continued to lose money and hardly do any sales. 

There were many occasions when I thought that maybe I should give up and doubted that I was going in the right direction, but deep inside I had faith and decided to keep going. In my 4th year, my business became profitable and continued to grow. Now we’re in a 60,000 square foot warehouse and employ 40 full-time staff. 

So the lesson here is to focus more on doing high quality work consistently over a long period of time and focus less on results. The results will come but they’ll take time to come and if you focus too much on results, you might become discouraged and quit. 

You have to adapt

In the last section, I wrote about how you should focus on the work you’re doing and don’t put too much emphasis on results (or lack of results). But that doesn’t mean you should continue to work mindlessly in the same wrong direction. It’s very important to work hard in a certain direction, analyze the results to see if it’s gaining any traction, and depending on those results, possibly pivot and adapt if you think it’s necessary. 

So while results will take time, and be underwhelming in the beginning, you should notice some signs that results are around the corner. If you’ve worked at something for a year and you’ve seen absolutely no sign that it could ever work, maybe it’s time to pivot and try a slightly different approach. 

For example, I started my CRAVEBOX business by partnering with colleges, marketing to the parents of their students, and giving the college a cut of sales. I worked on this marketing approach for about 2 years and it worked to a degree but my progress was so slow and cumbersome and it wasn’t very profitable since I was giving a large cut to the colleges. I decided to try listing my products on Amazon and after some time and effort, I realized Amazon would ultimately be more successful than partnering with colleges, so I went 100% in the direction of Amazon.

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” – Zig Ziglar

Rejection is the norm (especially early on)

When you first start on the pursuit of any goal, like growing a business, you will face a lot of rejection. In the case of starting a business, rejection is more common in the beginning but it’s a pretty common theme through the life of the business. As I mentioned before, CRAVEBOX started by partnering with colleges, but it was a very competitive environment since many companies wanted these exclusive partnership rights.

 For every college that partnered with me, I was rejected by about 400. And each of those attempts required a lot of work, communication, presentations, etc. It was frustrating and almost discouraging but I’m the kind of person that gains energy from rejection. I became more determined and frankly angry as the rejections kept coming. This energy helped me to work even harder, submit more proposals to colleges, and to think of other ways to make the business work, which ultimately led to listing my products on Amazon.

Eventually you’ll figure it out

If you can consistently work towards your goal for a long time, adapt along the way, and gain energy as you face rejection and obstacles, you will eventually find success. With enough time, experimentation, learning, and work, you’ll figure out what it takes to compete. To be successful, you need to be better than most of the competition and that takes time. 

Even after I listed my products on Amazon, it took about 4 years to become a top Amazon seller in my category. This was a daily effort to improve my images, products, reviews, listings, etc. As I continued to improve the business, I realized that I was getting closer and closer to offering a product that was as good or better than the top competition in my industry.

John Accardi is the founder and CEO of cravebox.com and starcoursecap.com. CRAVEBOX assembles care packages and gift baskets to be sold online. STARCOURSE CAPITAL is a venture capital firm that invests in young e-commerce companies. John dropped out of a PhD program at Georgetown University in 2014 to start CRAVEBOX and he says it’s the best decision he ever made. He now runs the businesses out of North Wales, PA and also lives in Manhattan part-time. When John’s not working, he enjoys sailing, playing guitar, and spending time with family.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way

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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy

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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds

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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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