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The BluePrint For A Successful Record Label

Joel Brown

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jayz business


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

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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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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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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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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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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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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