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You Should Never Be the Smartest Person in the Room



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This might be a hard pill for some people to swallow, but you should never be the smartest person in the room. I know a lot of you will scrutinize this statement. Some of you will even get defensive after reading it. But I stand by it, and I’m not the only one either.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult career paths to pursue. If it was easy, there would be a lot more entrepreneurs out there. But this isn’t the case. For most people, failure is inescapable. So it’s no surprise that some leaders who make it past their first, fifth, and tenth year of business become egotistical. Entrepreneurial success stories are hard to come by. Except these egos eventually catch up to them and can become problematic. It’s because of their egos that leaders don’t want to hire people that are smarter than them. But some of the most revered entrepreneurs in the world do this.

This is how Michael Dell hires his employees. Same with Mark Zuckerberg. Even Steve Jobs, the face of Apple, knew this. Jobs’ made one of the most profound statements about managing talent when he said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” 

A business might be built on one person’s idea, but it’s sustained by their employees. If billionaires know this to be true, why is this not the standard for hiring at every company across every industry? Great leaders know that success isn’t a one-person show. Growth, sustainability, and profitability are a team effort. Hire people that constantly push boundaries, shatter glass ceilings, and push you outside of your comfort zone.

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” – Confucius

Employees aren’t cogs in a machine, they’re your best assets

Elon Musk, renowned for his bold leadership, has always said that a business is only as good as its people, and I agree. Your company is a direct reflection of your employees. Hiring the best of the best will catapult you to the forefront of your industry; hire inexperienced employees that come at a cheaper cost to you and your company will plummet into the ground.

This is often a lesson that many leaders have to learn the hard way. Hiring for quantity over quality may seem enticing because you can pay employees less while also having more hands on deck to focus on day-to-day tasks. But in very few circumstances does ‘quantity over quality’ ever result in favorable circumstances. The same is true in business.

Entrepreneurs must often wear many hats, but they aren’t experts in every facet of their business. In order to have a well-rounded, high-functioning team, you must fill in those gaps by hiring the most qualified employees. Think of it as a business investment. 

Don’t hire people that will always tell you you’re right and follow your every lead. You need people that will check you, help you develop your ideas, and will bring different perspectives to the table. If you let your ego run the show, you bridle innovation and vision.

Keep competition outside of the workplace

In business, competition is the heartbeat of your company. It motivates leaders to strive for the impossible and to work more diligently in pursuit of their goals. But achieving these goals is only possible when you have a qualified team standing beside you.

While a healthy sense of competition among employees is natural, there should never be rivalries disguised in egotism between leaders and employees — yes, it happens far more than you’d think. If a leader is fixated on how they appear in comparison to others, it’s going to interfere with how they delegate projects and create a highly dysfunctional culture. 

A leader likely already knows their strengths, but they must also understand their weaknesses. This self-awareness is critical in making sure they check their ego before work every day. If you’re threatened by the talent of your employees, you end up working against them instead of nurturing a unified workforce that’s working together to build a prosperous company. In other words, you’ll end up getting in your own way of success.

“Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.” – Malcolm Forbes

Hire them and let them fly

Entrepreneurs often have a very misconstrued perception of leadership. Great leaders don’t hire employees so that they can tell them what to do, they hire people they can learn from. Your job isn’t to teach an employee everything they need to know to do the job well — they should already come to the table with this expertise. Instead, it’s your responsibility to create an environment that’s conducive to their growth and development.

Your employees shouldn’t need a lesson in ‘Business 101.’ Instead, they just need to be equipped with the resources and acumen that will help them refine their experiences and knowledge so that they can function independently of you. 

Your goal should be hiring people and then letting them fly. This doesn’t undermine your expertise and leadership skills in any way. Great employees simply don’t need your constant attention and support. You don’t have the time for that anyway, as you need to free up your schedule so you can focus on the big-picture responsibilities of running a business.

The business world isn’t a place for ego. You’ll work twice as hard to go half as far if you aren’t willing to hire people that are smarter than you.

What are your thoughts about intentionally not being the smartest person in the room? Share them with us below!

Daren Barone is the Chief Executive Officer at Watkins Environmental, Inc., an Environmental Remediation company. Daren has participated, managed, and performed over 5,000 environmental projects throughout the United States.

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Success Advice

15 Essential Habits to a Stronger, Healthier, and Happier You

The journey towards transformation is not about perfection but about progress



building positive habits

What habits can truly transform your life? That’s what you’re here to uncover. In our no-nonsense guide, we’ll introduce you to 15 habits to change your life, each with the power to improve your day-to-day existence.  (more…)

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Success Advice

19 Common Characteristics All Visionary Leaders Have



visionary leadership qualities

When you look at business leaders like Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Sir Richard Branson, and philosophers like Bertrand Russell, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, David Bohm,  C. S. Peirce and inventors like Nikola Tesla, Paolo Soleri, Harvey W. Bailey, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Wright brothers and political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Aung San Suu Kyi, it becomes very clear that they are all connected through one leadership—visionary leadership. (more…)

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Success Advice

Wealth Lessons Everyone Should Hear for Every Stage of Your Life

Do you have the courage to rewrite your story?



what i would tell my younger self

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Success Advice

How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

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



how to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog

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

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

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

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

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

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

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

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

1. Assess Your Niche and Audience

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

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

2. Research Potential Affiliate Programs

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

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

3. Evaluate the Commission Structure

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

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

4. Consider the Program’s Reputation and Sureness

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

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

5. Analyze the Support and Resources Offered

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

6. Understand the Terms and Conditions

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

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

7. Test the Product or Service

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

8. Look for Recurring Commission Opportunities

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

Implementing Your Choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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