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The BluePrint For A Successful Record Label

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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With iTunes Sales rocketing to the moon and continuous clips of Lady Gaga, Pitbull, T-Pain, Katy Perry, Adele etc… playing on your TV set day in and day out its hard not to be influenced in being part of the fun and wild Music Industry. You have the talent, you have access to a recording studio and you have learnt a thing or two about uploading your music to your Youtube page. This nowadays is not enough, we show you the BluePrint formula used to create a Successful Record Label.

 

1

Think ahead. Although many successful record labels started off with someone winging it, there are many that fail for that very same reason: poor planning. Creating a record label is a business and a full time job. Consider the following before you start one:

Cash flow. Do you have enough money to pay for manufacturing? What about promotional materials? It’ll be a while before you get any money back from records selling (if they sell at all). You might need a grant or a loan to hold you over. Some labels raise extra funds by putting on club nights or gigs. It’s recommended that you don’t quit your day job.
Business plan. Independent record labels can take off without a business plan, but you’ll need one eventually, so why not write one now, when it’ll benefit your business the most? You’ll definitely need one if you want to apply for grants or loans, and it’s a good idea to have one if you ask people to invest in your business.
Licenses and forms. Think about how you want to structure your business: sole proprietorship? partnership? corporation? Get a business license and file appropriate tax forms. Register with any relevant organizations (e.g. Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society). You may also need a retail license if you’re selling records directly to the public.

If you decide to work with a partner or partners, ideally you will want to work with people you can rely on, trust, share and receive information with and most importantly people you can get along with. Working with friends is great but remember and remind them it has to be as professional and timely as possible, especially in the beginning stages because this is where a company can fall apart and end altogether. Having fun is always great for the job setting but there has to be a line in the sand which all parties cannot cross.
Office space, you can get by with just a post office box and a business phone number, or you could establish a complete office, if you have the funds. You can build your own studio or pay for studio time somewhere else.

2
Choose a name. Brainstorm 5-10 good names that you feel will fit your business. You need to tell people who you are and the type of music you produce. In short your business name should say it all. The reason for choosing a number of names for your record label is that if one is taken you can still fall back on the others and not have to waste time rethinking your names.

Go to a domain name registry and see if any if these names are already taken. Try for .com and .net as these are the most popular and visitors will be familiar with them. This quick check will let you know if anyone has the names already online and will help you with your ultimate choice.
Consult local government (the State Registrar in the US) to check if any offline businesses have these names. This will ensure that you are the sole user and nobody can infringe on your rights. It also stops you from any unpleasant lawsuits later on if people contend your rights to use a business name.
Select one unique name. Choose the best name from among the ones that you are left with. Remember it needs to be one that is appropriate for your business and music. Register a domain name for your upcoming website. It is important to do this quickly before it gets taken by someone else. When you register your domain name, always get both .com and .net so that nobody can have a similar name to you and leech off your marketing efforts.
Register the name with the appropriate authorities. This will make sure that this is exclusively your own business name and will protect your rights. You may need to file for a DBA (doing business as) license so you can identify with your label’s name when conducting business (accepting and making payments, for example).
Design a logo. You might also want to print stickers, posters, stationary, business cards, etc.

3
Corner your market. Choose and study your genre. Sit down, either alone or with your partner(s) and think of the style(s) you want your record label to be. It would be best if you picked a style that you are very familiar with and have extensive knowledge about. Musicians don’t like being forced into a box, but choosing and sticking with a particular genre helps a record label know their market (who buys that genre) and build contacts with people who deal with that genre (record shop owners, DJs, journalists, etc.). Research your genre, and find out what it’s missing. Observe and predict trends. You need to fill a niche. Talk to local promoters, studio owners, music shops, distributors, journalists, and anyone who can offer insight about what’s hot and what’s not. Who is your target audience? How old are they? What are they buying? This is also good research for a business plan.
4
Find talent. Scour the local band scene and find bands who you think will earn your label a good reputation in your genre. You can’t compete with the big record labels, so you want to go for interesting records that slip under their radar but will be a hit with your specific market. After you find a band you feel is a great fit for your label, talk with the band or the band manager and offer a contract signing them to your label. The key word here is “sign”. That means you should have a contract for every artist, drawn up by a qualified lawyer. If a track or an artist gets big and you don’t have a contract, things can turn ugly, and your label might get the short end of the stick. Some labels don’t do contracts if there are one or two singles at stake, but insist on contracts when there’s an album deal on the table.
5
Record in a studio. If the artist doesn’t have a recording and you don’t have a studio, shop around. Look for an engineer who has experience in your genre and an owner you can work with. You might be paying for some or all of the studio time. Ask about lower rates if you block book time for two or three projects. It’s a good idea to have a producer there (you or a musician you trust) to make sure everything turns out well (and your money isn’t wasted). It can cost $150+/hour. If you pay for a portion or all of the recording, then you can withhold earnings from the band until you make back all the money you put into the recording, and you have more of a say in how the album sounds. This needs to go in the contract, though.
6
Promote the music. Your goal here is to do everything you can to chart locally. Make enough copies of the music to promote it as follows:

Contact local college radio stations – push to get your music played.

Send recordings to independent magazine and newspapers – hope for favorable reviews.

Put on great performances. The members of the audience will go home and tell their friends about your fabulous show.

Print your website address on the program so that you can attract your fans to the website and they will buy more.

Sell copes at the show. Make note of the songs that your live audience love and record them into a DVD or album of your greatest hits.

Sell them from your website and allow a sample to be downloaded from your site.

Make use of MySpace and YouTube to promote the music on a larger scale.

Give away free tickets to your upcoming concert.

You can even pitch the music for televisions shows, commercials, cell phones, video games, but get legal advice before licensing the music.

7
Press the product. Get the recordings mastered before sending them to a manufacturer, if at all possible. An experienced mastering engineer will know how to make the final product sound like an album rather than a collection of songs, making it more commercially viable. Ask around. Get quotes. The more copies you make, the lower the cost per copy. When choosing packaging, think about how retailers will display them. Ask distributors for advice.

In the US, each release will need a catalog number (usually a 3 letter abbreviation followed by the numbers, i.e. CJK415) and a universal product code (the barcode on the back of the product) to be seriously considered by distributors.

8
Sell the music to distributors. To get as much product on retail shelves as possible, you’ll need to convince distributors to help.

They will want to see that you’ve established some success on your own (charting locally, selling product on consignment, live shows, mail order and other direct sales methods) before they even consider carrying your music. Here are some questions you will want to have answers for before you even contact a distributor:

Has the artist had any success with established mainstream labels?
Does the artist have a following, if so, how well known are they?
If the artist is unknown, what specific promotion ideas does the label have?
Are there any well known “guest” musicians on the recording?
Does the recording, and artwork meet the standards of the musical genre?
Is there any current airplay on commercial or non-commercial radio?
Will there be independent promotion on the release to retail and to radio?
Has the artist hired a publicist, and/or what is the publicity campaign?
Will the artist be touring in support of their release, and is there a schedule?
Does the label have the financial resources to provide “co-op” advertising, in which the record label and retailer split the cost of media ads?
Does the label have the financial resources to press additional product?
Does the label have a salable “back catalog” of proven sellers?
How much product from the label is already out in the stores?
Does the label have other distributors selling the same product?
What are the next releases from the label, and when are they coming out?
Product is sold to distributors for about 50% of the list price, and is accepted on a negotiable billing schedule of 60 – 120 days per invoice. The label usually pays for shipping charges. Most national distributors require that they are the only distributor of a particular product. You might also be required to pay for advertising on the distributor’s monthly newsletters, and/or update sheets, as well as catalogs (costs subtracted from invoice).
You’ll also need to give them a negotiated number of free copies for promotional purposes, along with “Distributor One Sheets” (fact sheets with promotion and marketing plans and price information) and “P.O.P.”s (Point of Purchase) items, like posters, flyers, cardboard standups etc., for in-store display.

Distributor One Sheets should have the following information on a single sheet: label’s logo and contact information, artist name/logo, catalog # and UPC code (barcode), list price (i.e. $15.98) of each available format, release date (to radio), street date (for retailers, if different from release date), brief artist background description, selling points (discounts, marketing, and promotion plans).
All promotional product need to have the artwork punched, clipped, or drilled” to make sure that they aren’t returned to the distributor as “cleans” (retail product).

9
Keep your fingers crossed. In the music industry, it’s often hit or miss. Hopefully, the music will connect with your market and sales will take off, but some of your music, sooner or later, will bomb. Try to make it so that the big successes cover the losses, with extra left over to pay for operating expenses (and your own paycheck, so you can keep doing what you love without starving).

Industry Tips & Advice: Jay-Z talking to Travis Smiley about running a record label and founding Rocawear

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you’re here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.

I’m proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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Success Advice

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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Success Advice

I Had To Give Up A Lot To Get Here – And That’s A Powerful Advantage You Should Consider.

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A business I loved.
A network of friends that partied hard.
A negative, useless mindset.

A set of rules that I didn’t create.
A routine of daily habits that made no sense.
Saying yes to stuff I didn’t care about.

 

Giving up stuff gives you focus to work on your goals.

If you want to achieve a big, audacious goal that makes us all sit back in our chairs – that will change the world – you have to learn to give up more. Sounds counter-intuitive but it’s not.

This is not about being a crybaby and giving up as soon as things get a little tough. This is about doing less so you can achieve more. It’s about focusing rather than letting your attention be played with like a set of marbles lying on the floor that have no home to go to and are fun to play with.

It’s about rejecting more and being okay to say “Enough is enough, I’m giving up so I can win more.”

Giving up is not the traditional self-help advice you’d read in any book produced by someone that has a top-ranking iTunes podcast. That’s because giving up is really hard and it can make you look ridiculous. How you look doesn’t matter so much anyway.

“No one is going to slap you in the face, throw iced water on you, and tell you to focus on fewer things. No one is going to tell you to stop doing what you don’t love and that’s why you must be the one to make the decision to give up”

I can’t make that decision for you. Instead, you have to be honest with yourself and decide to give up on a few things that no longer serve you. You have to get clear on what does matter, so you can give up on what it’s pointless, useless, not working and stealing your time.

This means you’ll have some short-term pain but you’ll get the longer-term benefits. Those benefits may take a while to surface and show their beautiful face though. Patience is needed.

People that follow me on social media think it’s about what I’ve achieved. What they don’t know is what I had to give up. They don’t know how challenging it was to be on my knees, with nothing, going for broke, being tired, emotional and worn out, and still believing that I had it within me to change the world in some significant way.

I get that no one knows your struggles quite like you do and that can be frustrating at times. Complaining won’t help you make progress or have more time; giving up will. Giving up will get you back in the game.

The battle your fighting is the same for every one of us too. Your problems are not unique. We all have to sacrifice stuff we love and things we like doing to get the time we need to focus. It’s so cliché but unless you put in the work, do less and do a few things really well, you’ll be forever scratching your head like a loser wondering why life is passing you by and you’re not feeling fulfilled.

You’ll be forever searching for motivation or external forces rather than understanding that it’s your fault that you didn’t give up X sooner.

Giving up is perfectly fine. It’s what I did to get where I am and it’s what you must do to live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

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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5 Things You Must Have in Order to Succeed as a Freelancer

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successful freelancer

Up until about 3 years ago, I honestly had no idea what a freelancer even was. It sounded like a cool job title and I secretly envied people who could call themselves one. Didn’t they get to travel the world with a laptop and go sailing and sip margaritas beside some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet? Yup, I wanted to be a freelancer. (more…)

Iva Ursano is a retired hairstylist turned freelancer from Northern Ontario Canada living a life of freedom, peace and joy in sunny Guatemala. Her two main goals in life are to inspire people around the world with her blogs and to feed hungry little bellies in the poor town she now calls home. Follow her on her fast growing FB page Amazing Me Movement or head on over to her website and sign up for weekly in your face inspiration!

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7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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Success Advice

I Had To Give Up A Lot To Get Here – And That’s A Powerful Advantage You Should Consider.

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A business I loved.
A network of friends that partied hard.
A negative, useless mindset.

A set of rules that I didn’t create.
A routine of daily habits that made no sense.
Saying yes to stuff I didn’t care about.

 

Giving up stuff gives you focus to work on your goals.

If you want to achieve a big, audacious goal that makes us all sit back in our chairs – that will change the world – you have to learn to give up more. Sounds counter-intuitive but it’s not.

This is not about being a crybaby and giving up as soon as things get a little tough. This is about doing less so you can achieve more. It’s about focusing rather than letting your attention be played with like a set of marbles lying on the floor that have no home to go to and are fun to play with.

It’s about rejecting more and being okay to say “Enough is enough, I’m giving up so I can win more.”

Giving up is not the traditional self-help advice you’d read in any book produced by someone that has a top-ranking iTunes podcast. That’s because giving up is really hard and it can make you look ridiculous. How you look doesn’t matter so much anyway.

“No one is going to slap you in the face, throw iced water on you, and tell you to focus on fewer things. No one is going to tell you to stop doing what you don’t love and that’s why you must be the one to make the decision to give up”

I can’t make that decision for you. Instead, you have to be honest with yourself and decide to give up on a few things that no longer serve you. You have to get clear on what does matter, so you can give up on what it’s pointless, useless, not working and stealing your time.

This means you’ll have some short-term pain but you’ll get the longer-term benefits. Those benefits may take a while to surface and show their beautiful face though. Patience is needed.

People that follow me on social media think it’s about what I’ve achieved. What they don’t know is what I had to give up. They don’t know how challenging it was to be on my knees, with nothing, going for broke, being tired, emotional and worn out, and still believing that I had it within me to change the world in some significant way.

I get that no one knows your struggles quite like you do and that can be frustrating at times. Complaining won’t help you make progress or have more time; giving up will. Giving up will get you back in the game.

The battle your fighting is the same for every one of us too. Your problems are not unique. We all have to sacrifice stuff we love and things we like doing to get the time we need to focus. It’s so cliché but unless you put in the work, do less and do a few things really well, you’ll be forever scratching your head like a loser wondering why life is passing you by and you’re not feeling fulfilled.

You’ll be forever searching for motivation or external forces rather than understanding that it’s your fault that you didn’t give up X sooner.

Giving up is perfectly fine. It’s what I did to get where I am and it’s what you must do to live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

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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