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Success Advice

How Thinking Big Can Be the Difference Between the Life You Have and the Life You Want



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Starting small isn’t a bad thing. You have to start somewhere, and small is often the most logical way. It’s also where I focused my attention when venturing into real estate. I’d look at two- to three-unit buildings (typically apartments) in an attempt to add properties to the portfolio — and that’s just what I did.

Then, the realization hit: It takes the same amount of time to look at a two-unit place as it does to look at a 25-unit place. Still, the only hurdle was funds. If I could figure out that aspect, I could scale much faster. It would also take fewer hours on my end, which could free up time for me to work on other business opportunities.

It might sound redundant, but entrepreneurs must think about the bigger “big picture” when it comes to starting their own business. Is the goal to replace one 40-hour a week job with another? Or is it something more? Sure, you might own that job — but there are only so many hours in a day, so you limit your ability to scale when you keep your aspirations small.

“Look at things as they can be, not as they are.” – David J. Schwartz

Getting Over Yourself

I met with a contractor recently. He has a great business, a good reputation, and a solid customer base. He’s also a highly skilled tradesman when it comes to tiling. When I suggested that he might want to add other people to his team, he bristled. Even after I explained his potential to make more money (or the same money, just with fewer hours in the day) by adding someone to the team, the idea just didn’t appeal to his sensibilities.

For him, as is the case with many small business owners, sole proprietorship meant being busy: If you’re not extremely busy in your business, you’re not doing it right. You’re not successful. And understandably, it’s easy to equate more hours of work as being more productive, but that’s not the truth. Although this contractor is very successful, he has no systems in place should he want — or need — to take a step back. That’s a problem.

On the flip side, a good friend of mine got into consulting after growing tired of working 50, 60, or 70 hours a week for someone else. He decided to devote his expertise to his own business. But instead of working on his own, my friend built a team. And that team became his consulting firm.

Eventually, he was able to spend less and less time as a consultant. Sixty hours turned to 50, and 50 turned to 40. Today, he still has the same ability to pick and choose what work he takes on, but he also has other people who charge billable hours, of which he gets a percentage. He’s scaling his business. And should he want or need to take a step back, he already has systems in place to easily add more members to the team.

If you don’t think bigger and picture your end goal, consider yourself stuck. You might even find yourself driving harder than necessary just to keep the business afloat. You’re not limited to this small business you’ve carved out for yourself — you have the potential to be so much more.

I could’ve easily continued buying cheap two- to three-unit buildings that were spread out across the community. I loved it, honestly. But when I was driving all over town to collect rent from those two- to three-unit buildings, I realized no systems were in place to do something so simple for future iterations. The time I spent collecting rent could’ve been better spent buying other units — bigger units, I should add.

Taking a Bigger Leap

It’s human nature to think about ourselves, and that can be difficult to shake when you’re starting a business. In the beginning, the focus is on ensuring a job for yourself. Once that’s accomplished, resist the urge to consider your work done. The timing is right to start thinking bigger. You can start by directing your attention toward the following places:

Make a conscious decision to think big

Thinking big is a choice. You can choose to be the next Bill Gates or someone who is completely happy doing a job solo with no helping hands. If you want to grow a business into more than simply a one-person shop, adopt a bigger mindset. Get to work on developing and implementing processes for actual growth rather than maintaining the status quo.

“If you think small, your world will be small. If you think big, your world will be big.” — Paulo Coelho

Get serious about processes

Consistent processes help people think bigger. But these processes aren’t meant to add more work to your schedule; their purpose is to add people to your team and lessen your workload. You can’t grow a business if all your attention is on operations. Outsource tasks that fall into accounting, marketing, graphic design, and scheduling — these can all be handled by other people.

Stop playing the hero

Remember those people you’re adding to the team? Whether you bring on an office manager, accountant, or social media consultant, let that person do his or her job. It’s not a big deal if things diverge from your standard practices. Everyone does things differently, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s often encouraged. As long as a process is completed successfully, how a person arrives at that end point shouldn’t matter.

Thinking small is where most sole proprietors start. It’s their first venture into something entirely different, and that small step is actually a big step to take. But once you get your footing (and get into a rhythm with this new business), it’s a disservice to not at least consider what else is out there. The potential can be big.

What part of this article resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts with us below!

Daniel Pigg is the director of business engagement and an instructor at Indiana State University. As an executive-level business consultant, Daniel has helped hundreds of founders and entrepreneurs grow their companies, including through the Sycamore Innovation Lab that he created on ISU’s campus. A serial entrepreneur, Daniel has started businesses in real estate, insurance, and food and beverage. Those ventures include The Sycamore Winery, which he runs with his wife.

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Success Advice

How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers



how to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog

Picking the right affiliate programs for your blog is really important. It can make a big difference in how much money you can make and how much your readers get out of your blog. With so many choices out there, deciding which ones to go with can be tricky. 

This guide is here to make it easier for you. It will give you clear steps and helpful tips to choose affiliate programs that fit well with what your blog is about, what your readers like, and what you stand for. 

For more articles on this theme, please head over to this blog

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Before you start picking affiliate programs, it’s important to really understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works. 

Basically, affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service on your blog, and then you get paid a little bit every time someone buys something or does something because you recommended it. 

It’s great for both the person selling the product and the blogger, because the seller gets more sales with low risk, and the blogger can make money from their blog.

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

1. Assess Your Niche and Audience

The key to doing well in affiliate marketing starts with really knowing what your blog is about and who reads it. Consider the following:

  • Your blog’s content: What topics do you cover? Ensure the products or services you promote are relevant.
  • Your audience’s interests and needs: What solutions are they seeking? Choose affiliate programs that offer products or services that solve their problems or enhance their lives.

2. Research Potential Affiliate Programs

Once you know what your blog is about and what your readers want, start looking for affiliate programs. Choose ones that are well-known for good products, great customer service, and helpful support for affiliates. Resources to find these programs include:

  • Affiliate networks like ShareASale, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.
  • Direct searches for “[Your Niche] affiliate programs” in search engines.
  • Recommendations from other bloggers in your niche.

3. Evaluate the Commission Structure

The commission structure is a critical factor to consider. Look for programs that offer competitive rates that make your efforts worthwhile. Consider:

  • The percentage of commission per sale.
  • Whether the program offers a flat rate per action (e.g., per sign-up).
  • The cookie duration, which affects how long after a click you can earn commissions on sales.

4. Consider the Program’s Reputation and Sureness

Join affiliate programs with a solid reputation for quality and sureness. This not only ensures that you’re promoting good products but also that you’ll be paid on time. You can:

  • Read reviews from other affiliates.
  • Check the program’s history and background.
  • Look for any complaints or issues reported online.

5. Analyze the Support and Resources Offered

A good affiliate program gives you things like ads to use, training on their products, and helpful managers. Having access to these resources can really help you do a better job at promoting their products.

6. Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before signing up, thoroughly review the program’s terms and conditions. Pay close attention to:

  • Payment thresholds and methods.
  • Any restrictions on how you can promote their products.
  • The program’s policy on affiliate marketing on social media platforms.

7. Test the Product or Service

If possible, test the product or service before promoting it. This firsthand experience allows you to offer genuine charge and build trust with your audience.

8. Look for Recurring Commission Opportunities

Some affiliate programs pay you again and again for subscriptions or services that charge fees regularly. These can provide a more stable income compared to one-time sales commissions.

Implementing Your Choice

After choosing the best affiliate programs, the next step is to smoothly include your affiliate marketing in your content plan. This includes:

  • Creating valuable content that naturally incorporates affiliate links.
  • Disclosing your affiliate affairs transparently to maintain trust with your audience.
  • Tracking your results to understand what works best for your audience and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Picking the best affiliate programs for your blog involves careful planning, research, and making sure they match what your audience likes and needs. 

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers. 

The real key to doing well with affiliate marketing isn’t just about the products you talk about, but also how much your audience trusts and values your advice. 

With enough time, patience, and hard work, your blog can grow into a successful space that earns a good amount of affiliate money and helps your readers choose the right products.

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By leading with integrity and ethics, leaders create an environment where employees feel excited to come to work



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10 Landing Page Hacks Experts Are Using to Generate Leads

Crafting a landing page that converts is both an art and a science



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An Easy to Follow 8 Step Strategy for Creative Problem Solving

A complete process of creative problem-solving encompasses finding problems, developing creative solutions, and implementing your solutions



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