14
Jun

25 free podcast sites for young entrepreneur

Being born and raised in a religious commune that didn’t promote or even allow formal education beyond the 8th grade, I knew at a very young age that I had to come up with a way to educate myself if I was going to become a successful young entrepreneur.

In those days the internet and free podcast sites didn’t yet exist. We weren’t even permitted to have a radio or a television, not even a daily newspaper was allowed.

I thank God that one day I discovered the library in town and was able to sneak home books to read and that would allow me to self-educate without the knowledge of the elders. It was those books and the ideas in them that prepared me to escape the commune and begin my own business at the age of 21.

Without a college degree, without a savings account, and without any contacts in the outside world I was able to start a number of very successful businesses in a very short period of time.

Today as I help young people in developing countries become entrepreneurs I tell them “If you’re not reading, you shouldn’t even think about leading.” With so may free podcasts to listen while you drive, play or work…there is no excuse not be learning something new every day.

For those of you who say “I’m not a reader” I’ve got some great news…you can listen to free podcasts that will educate you better than most university programs. After all, the only way I was able to finally enter university was when I agreed to teach about entrepreneurship.

Here’s a List of Podcasts That Educate, Motivate and Inspire Me:

  1. 1. Michael Hyatt’s This Is Your Life podcast is one of my favorite podcasts and is dedicated to intentional leadership. The goal of this podcast is to help you live with more passion, work with greater focus, and lead with extraordinary influence.
    2. Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Blog reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources and killer marketing tips and tricks so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog.
    3. Dan Miller’s 48 Days To The Work You Love” Internet Radio Show is filled with great advice on work, career and business start-up.
    4. The Ray Edwards Show – Ray never fails to come through with wisdom on how to start, run, and grow your own internet based business and your life.
    5. Entrepreneur On Fire by John Lee Dumas is a podcast created for you, the Serial Entrepreneur, Side-Preneur, or Small Business Owner. If you are looking for inspiration, motivation, and ACTIONABLE advice during your daily commute, workout, or “me” time.
    6. Real Talk with Real Millionaires with business coach Jaime Tardy. Jamie interviews millionaire entrepreneurs to learn their failures, advice, tips and stories.
    7. Internet Business Mastery teaches you how to use Web 2.0 strategies combined with classic internet marketing principles to build passive income streams and brand yourself as an expert (or even an online celebrity).
    8. Leslie Samuel is the creator of the Interactive Biology Blog and the guy behind Become A Blogger. He has a passion for education and has taken on the mission of Changing The World One Blog At A Time.
    9. Chris Ducker helps startup, as well as established entrepreneurs to catapult their small business into the 21st century by utilizing ‘new business’ marketing, tips and growth strategies such as blogging, online video, outsourcing and working with virtual assistants, social media and much, much more!
    10. Amy Porterfield shows you exactly how to monetize your online marketing and blogging efforts using her own tested, actionable lead generation strategies — so you can successfully launch and promote a new program, grow your email list, get more leads, build your authority, turn your customers into raving advocates or simply find the time to rock your social media and content marketing.
    11. Need Motivation? The best daily motivation is The Daily Boost! Find out what makes you happy! Reduce your stress! Get inspired! Master life skills like lifestyle design, balance, communication, career advancement and enjoy more success.
    12. Smart entrepreneurs who want to use the web to attract leads and make sales must master the fields of psychology and human behavior. And Social Triggers Insider helps them do just that.
    13. Smart Time Online is a podcast created to help entrepreneurs create smarter systems online. Each episode uncovers actionable strategies for landing page optimization, web design, conversion rate optimization, email marketing, passive income, lead gen, marketing and sales funnels, social media, and advanced digital marketing conversion.
    14. Donald Kelly known as The Sales Evangelist interviews some of the best sales, business and marketing experts. They provide invaluable training of how you can take your career, business and income to a top producer’s status. I know you will enjoy it. Welcome to The Sales Evangelist!
    15. The Solopreneur Hour – Lively conversations, candid insights, & bold advice for proudly #unemployable people who are primed for real prosperity and fulfillment. Hosted by Michael O’Neal who co-hosts with the best and brightest solopreneurs from all walks of life, including network marketing, internet marketing, music, fitness, actors, comedians, and more. https://solopreneurhour.com/podcasts/
    16. Craig Groeschel and LifeChurch.tv shares great wisdom from a spiritual rather than a religious perspective. I find Craig’s messages of hope, love and acceptance bring good balance to my life.
    17. Every week, Chris LoCurto releases a new podcast episode and shares vital information to help you grow your leadership, your business, and your life. Each episode is packed with tools that cause you to look at leadership and life in a different way, and focus on what really matters: people.
    18. The Charged Life with Brendon Burchard shares insights on motivation, success, high performance, and living a fully charged life.
    19. Social Media Marketing Podcast helps your business thrive with social media By Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner
    20. Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been translated into 40+ languages. In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, chess, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use.
    21. The Growth Show is a business podcast for leaders consumed with driving growth — growing a company, growing a movement, growing an idea, growing a team. Each week, we down with someone who has achieved remarkable growth and unpack how.
    22. EntreLeadership explores how businesses can use effective management to create ventures that grow and prosper. This podcast focuses on sharing lessons, tips, and tricks from some of today’s top entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, and Simon Sinek.
    23. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is about more than creating a more entrepreneurial business…it’s about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do.
    24. The Portfolio Life. Jeff Goins shares thoughts & ideas that will help you to pursue work that matters, make a difference with your art & discover your true voice!
    25. Love reading? Then you’ll love the Read To Lead Podcast. Desire to stretch and grow by reading more, but haven’t been able to make it happen? Find encouragement here. And in the meantime, learn more than you ever thought possible.
14
Jun

My 7-Day Work Week Experiment

Recently, I religiously tried to follow a new routine I created for myself: a 7-day work week routine.

The idea was quite simple: I would work 7 days a week, rest 7 days a week, go to the gym 7 days a week, reflect 7 days a week. This was less about working lots, much more about feeling fulfilled every day, feeling stretched during the day but also rested. I aimed to work less each day, and replace two hours of work with a long break in the middle of the day.

The biggest thing I wanted to do was to satisfy my craving of “why not?” and to challenge the status quo of working 5 days a week and then taking 2 days off. Many of us know that working 9-5 is not the most effective way to work, and I had found this to be true for quite some time. I had a curiosity about whether the 5-day work week might also not be the most effective routine.

Some of the hypotheses I had about my new 7-day work week:

  • I would be much more successful in building solid habits that became ingrained, since I wouldn’t have two days off and then the struggle to get back into broken habits.
  • I would be in much better sync with my team who are distributed around the world, and I would have a better handle on my emails and work by having time in the weekends too.
  • I could work less than 40 hours a week and be more productive, since I would have long breaks between super focused work periods.

The 7-day work week routine

I’ve been an early riser for a couple of years now, and during this experiment I was rising at 4:30am. I aimed to do 5.5 hours of work each day, which is around 38.5 hours a week.

  • 4:30: Rise.
  • 5-6:30: 90 minutes of focused work.
  • 6:30-9: Gym, breakfast, shower, etc.
  • 9-11:30: 2.5hrs of focused work.
  • 11:30-3pm: Lunch, then extended rest period.
  • 3-4:30: 90 minutes of focused work.

Results of the 7-day work week routine

In the end, I have decided that I won’t continue with the 7-day work week routine. Here are two of the things that didn’t work out:

How the world works does affect you

This is one of the things I wanted to avoid believing for the longest time. I don’t think it’s ever healthy to believe things “are the way they are,” and in many cases I think this can be forgotten. After all, as entrepreneurs we are in the business of changing reality by making something out of nothing.

I found that Saturdays and Sundays could never be the same as other days, as much as I wanted them to be and as much as I tried to create a routine that could be exactly the same, every day. There are more people wandering the streets, more noise outside. There is no one in the office. You can’t send certain emails, because they need to hit someone’s inbox in work hours. It’s not the best day to push a new feature or blog post.

You can certainly take advantage of the fact that Saturday and Sunday are different by doing specific tasks. However, the point of my experiment was to have identical days, and in this respect it was a failure. That said, it has been a very interesting experiment and I have kept some aspects of the new routine.

I burned out, even with lots of breaks

I wanted every day to be exactly the same. So I worked each day and rested each day. I went to the gym every day, I adjusted my work out so that this would be sustainable.

I found that even with a gym routine of just a few exercises and different muscle groups, I felt I couldn’t get adequate overall renewal just in a single day period. I worked out for 15 days straight and in the end strained a muscle and had to take almost a week off.

Similarly, I found it interesting to observe how my passion towards the work I was doing adjusted. To begin with, I was excited during the first week and even at the weekend I enjoyed working. The hardest aspect I found was to stop myself working so much during the week, so that I could be fully rested and keep working at the weekend.

Overall, I feel like the 7-day work week failed because of lack of an extended period of renewal. My hypothesis – that a couple of extra hours during the day and fewer overall daily hours working would be enough – was invalidated in my experience.

The wisdom of the day of rest

After trying a 7-day work week, I became quite fascinated by the concept of a “day of rest”. It occurred to me that this is a tradition that has been around for a very long time, and of separate origins. Almost all of the world observes some form of a weekly “day of rest.”

I’m no expert on the Bible, however with a little research I found that the origin of the “seventh day” or Sabbath is Genesis 2:2-3:

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.”

Similarly, in Buddhism there is the concept of Uposatha which is the Buddhist day of observance. I find it interesting how Buddhism teaches the purpose of this day:

The cleansing of the defiled mind”

I feel a sense of calm and confidence in the knowledge that many thousands of years of wisdom all converges towards the idea of a weekly day of rest. Certainly from my naive experiment I now feel that this is a very good practice.

6 days of work, 1 day of rest

Both from my own experiment and the wisdom of the day of rest, I have become interested in the idea of a single day of rest. However, I have not once come across anything advocating two days of rest. This is one of my biggest takeaways from this experiment, and I plan to continue to work on the basis of 6 days of work and a single day of rest.

Jim Rohn, who I have been very inspired by, also said it well:

Work was so important, here was the original formula for labor. If you have forgotten it, remind yourself. Six days of labor, and one day of rest. Now, it’s important not to get those numbers mixed up. Why not five/two? Maybe one of the reasons for six/one: if you rest too long the weeds take the garden. Not to think so is naive. As soon as you’ve planted, the busy bugs and the noxious weeds are out to take it. So you can’t linger too long in the rest mode, you’ve got to go back to work. Six days of work, then rest.”

I think one of my biggest takeaways from trying a 7-day work week is: despite the conclusion that rest is important, a single day is the perfect amount, no more. I am working to consistently live by this method for as many of the weeks as I can during the year. I believe that this will be a key to success.

14
Jun

I Admit It. I Have No Idea What I’m Doing. (And That’s a Good Thing.)

When success can lead you down the wrong path

I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great press and praise for Buffer. In addition to this, I’ve had some of my blog posts featured in great newsletters and some blogs I truly admire, and I’ve also had the opportunity to speak a few times about how I’ve achieved some success with Buffer.

This form of others directly or indirectly appreciating what I was doing, and a few reaching out to ask me for advice, set me off on a path which I can now say in hindsight is not where I want to be. I love to help others, and I will always do my best to share my own experience, but as soon as I took appreciation as a signal that I knew what I was doing, I had taken a wrong step.

Believing that I knew what I was doing

The key turning point was when I started to believe that I knew what I was doing. I let the comments, the kind congratulations and the small successes affect my mind. I actually thought I knew what I was doing.

As soon as I believed that I knew what I was doing, without realising it, the style of my writing and communication in general started to change slightly. I became naturally drawn to instructive comments and advice where I would have previously communicated simply based on my own experiences.

The biggest mistake: I became less open-minded

It was with this new instructive style that made me realise I had lost my open-mindedness. After a few people asked for my advice, I was starting to treat everything in a way in which I needed to have a definite answer.

That’s when I looked back to the early days of Buffer. At that time, the only way I was going to get somewhere was to be completely open-minded, take every opportunity to learn and make the most of every conversation. This was how I progressed, and it really worked. It felt amazing.

A new start: a beginner’s mind

So the truth is: I have no idea what I am doing. I am taking a leaf from Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen. I am going to let go of being an expert:

We are all experts. Experts in our job, in raising children, in crossing the road, in signing our name. It’s difficult to let go of being an expert. Because it means confessing that we really know nothing. What we know belongs to the past. Whereas this moment now is new and offers its unique challenges. If I let go of being an expert, I can listen to others with an open mind. Then I can find that even a beginner has something to teach me.”

The counter point

This is a challenging subject, because I think it is just as easy to be stalled by “I don’t know” as it is to let “I know” cause you to become less open-minded. I now think there is a middle ground I want to strive for, which is having a curious and inquisitive mind whilst still acting when I don’t know what the outcome will be.

14
Jun

7 smart tips on how to become comfortable taking risks as entrepreneur

Starting and growing a business involves a lot of risk. Taking risks is not a really comfortable experience, especially when you are in startup mode. In this article, I share 7 smart tips on how to become comfortable taking risks as an entrepreneur.

Risk is defined as “exposure to the chance of injury or loss, a hazard or dangerous chance.”

An entrepreneur is defined as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

As you can see, it’s impossible to be an entrepreneur without taking some risks. That’s a lot of what being an entrepreneur is about. If you want to start a business, you should know that you are going to have to stretch your risk-taking muscle quite a lot. I’m not talking about being stupid, but getting very comfortable being uncomfortable.

Most people I know, are not crazy about taking risk. Their brains are more wired to avoid loss than to take risks. However, successful entrepreneurs know the difference between stupid and smart risk. Once they have enough data, they jump and believe the net will appear.

Here are 7 ways to help you take smart risks and make wise decisions:

1. Acknowledge your fears. The first step you must take to get out of your comfort zone is to acknowledge your fears. Write down everything that makes you anxious and prevents you from achieving your dreams and goals. Think about how your life would be different if you were able to eliminate your fears and anxieties. This will open you up to a whole new world of opportunities.

2. Analyze your inner circle. Most of us have a group of friends whom you are comfortable being around and enjoy being with. As nice as that is, make sure you are surrounding yourself with motivated and positive people who encourage you to take risks. Hanging around people doing big things, will encourage you to do the same. It’s difficult to fly with the eagles if you spent all your time with chickens.

3. Think BIG…start small. 
Each small win encourages you to take on a bigger challenge. The confidence that builds with little victory empowers you to set a bigger goal the next time. Have big dreams but set small realistic goals to prevent burnout and then progressively work your way up. This also helps avoid a devastating crash early on, that may hinder or even prevent you from ever taking risk in the future.

4. Never stop learning. Knowledge is a powerful tool that will helps eliminate a lot of the risks when launching a new enterprise. We all prefer to learn in different ways. If you don’t like reading then listen to podcasts. Find out what you want to improve at and make it a priority to become the best you can be at it. Set a goal to learn a new language or hobby. I have learned several languages and got a helicopter pilot license while running a number of businesses at the same time. Get knowledge.

5. Don’t over-analyze. Spontaneity is a great trait to have that will get you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis. I know people who spend more time planning a 2-week vacation than it takes me start a new business. When I think of all the great opportunities I would have missed if I had said ‘Let me think about it’ it makes me glad that I don’t spend a ridiculous amount time to analyse each decision I make. Pray for wisdom. Then make quick decisions. Life is a lot more fun that way!

6. Learn to say ‘So what?”. I have failed more times than most people I know. I have also won more times than most. That’s just the way it is….nothing ventured nothing gained. There is no chance of success if there is no risk of failure. What has helped me make the leap many times is simply this: I ask myself ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’ then I ask myself the question ‘so what?’ Once I have wrapped my head around the worst case scenario, I am ready to go.

7. Set your priorities. 
There are some things you should never risk. Those are things like a home for your family to live in. Some risks are just plain stupid. Mortgaging the family home to invest in a risky venture could be one of those stupid risks. List your priorities and risk those of lowest value to you first. Stupid risk can cause divorce and even a failure of your health. Don’t risk your health to get wealth and then be willing to give up your wealth to get back your health. That’s just stupid!

14
Jun

35 ways of thinking that every young entrepreneur needs to adopt

As a young farm boy with the dream of becoming an entrepreneur I knew that I needed to learn to think like an entrepreneur to make up for my lack of experience and formal education. In this article I share the 35 ways of thinking that every young entrepreneur needs to adopt in order to be successful.

An entrepreneur doesn’t need a business degree in order to be successful but there is a certain mindset every entrepreneur must cultivate to be able to start, lead and grow their business successfully.

Mindset is the major determining factor of success in every walk of life. The thinking patterns you habitually adopt largely determine the actions you take every day and therefore ultimately the results you finally achieve.

Not all wantrepreneurs understand the dramatic mindset shifts that are needed to go from student or employee to becoming an entrepreneur. Without the right mindset, success in business is highly unlikely.

As an entrepreneur, you will face new challenges every day. You will find yourself on uncharted territory where there is very little research or data for you to make a sound decision. This is where your gut feeling will come in, and all entrepreneurs must learn to follow their gut instinct.

1. The buck stops with you. It goes without saying that your success as an entrepreneur is determined by the decisions you make. Entrepreneurs have the ability to create something from nothing in a way that can have a major impact on their community, industry or even the world. This means making a lot of big decisions about what must be done and how. The mindset of an entrepreneur accepts full responsibility for every decision they make.

2. Think short and long-term at the same time. When you work for an employer you are mainly responsible for ensuring that what needs to be done now, is done. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward, thinking about the potential opportunities and pitfalls that lie around the corner. Mainly, you must make decisions without having all the facts. The mindset of an entrepreneur is simultaneously dealing with the present and planning for the future.

3. Blow up the box. Employees spend their time thinking ‘inside the box’. As an entrepreneur, there is no box. In fact, if you do find a box, your first inclination is to destroy it. You see opportunities that others don’t, you try new ideas that others are afraid to, and you take risks that others wouldn’t dare to. This requires courage, persistence and the determination to keep going despite criticism,  rejection and skepticism.

4. Do what needs to be done. Employees have job descriptions that require a specific set of skills. New entrepreneurs must learn a host of new skills even if they have the funds to outsource certain things. Unless you know what needs to be done, you can easily be told what can’t be done. What needs to be done, has to be done – there is no place for excuses. The mindset of an entrepreneur never wants to hear about what can’t be done. ‘Can’t’ only means that a solution needs to be found.

5. Focus on the numbers. Entrepreneurs know they’d better learn to keep an eye on the numbers at all times because their cash flow is what will keep them in business. Or, from going out of business. In the end, it’s your sales, costs, profit and loss that will either keep you awake at nights or allow you to live a lifestyle that others can only dream of.

6. Work on your business. As an entrepreneur, it is critical that you love your business because of the effort and long hours it’s going to take to get it off the ground. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking and acting like an employee in your own company. Instead of working ‘in’ you must rather focus most of your efforts to working ‘on’ the business.

7. Break the rules. As an employee, breaking the rules could mean getting fired. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, aren’t interested in following rules – they’re always looking for ways to do things different and better. That means always peering over the horizon, or at least towards it, to where the next big thing is about to happen. The mindset of an entrepreneur doesn’t like to be accused of being normal.

8. Your life and business are one. As an entrepreneur, while you may not be tied to a desk or computer at all times, you will always be thinking about your business. You will be thinking about what is working well and what could be working better. There will be no break– you will live and breathe your business. The mindset of an entrepreneur does not know if it is working or playing.

9. The sooner the better. It takes time to make the transition from student or employee to entrepreneur, so it makes sense to start shifting your mindset while you’re still employed or in school. The sooner you start the better, perhaps even setting up a business to run alongside your current activities. This can give you the opportunity to develop skills and build experience while still enjoying the safety-net of a salary or student loan.

10. Learn to delegate. It is important to hire great people to work along side you in the business so you have more time to work on the business. A great idea can turn into a great business only when you find and trust the right people to help you make it happen. Entrepreneurs need help to reach their goals. The mindset of an entrepreneur is always looking for superstars to add to the team.

11. Never stop learning. Entrepreneurs who are successful have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and love to learn. That is what makes and keeps these entrepreneurs effective and efficient. The smallest lesson or skill learned can make a huge difference in your life or business. The mindset of an entrepreneur believes that when we stop learning it’s time to die.

12. Don’t take it easy – take a risk. The mindset of an entrepreneur chooses faith over fear every time. Almost all company founders say the willingness to take risks is the usual stepping stone to entrepreneurial success. Without taking calculated risks there is seldom much of a reward to look forward to. When given the choice, a successful entrepreneur always chooses taking a risk over taking it easy.

13. Clearly define your purpose. Successful business people care about their lives more than the average person. They take the time to reflect back on their lives, they think in detail about their vision and their purpose in life. They take the time to build mental images that guide them on a path that will lead them to their destiny. They review and refine those images in their mind, they clearly define their vision and then they go to work to create that exact outcome that they have envisioned.

14. Your time is your life. Successful entrepreneurs know that they must protect and manage their time at all cost. They plan their day and week before it begins! The most valuable asset you have is your time. Plan your days, weeks, months, and years. The mindset of an entrepreneur knows that you can always get more money if you lose financially, but you can never get more time. When it’s gone…it’s gone!

15. Focus on the outcome. Entrepreneurs have extraordinary clarity on the outcome they wish to accomplish. They take the time to clearly define what it is that they want to do. This gives them the drive to see tasks all the way to their outcome.

16. Just give me the facts. Most people make their decisions about their life and careers from emotion and assumptions. Successful entrepreneurs base their decisions from fact-based thinking. The mindset of an entrepreneur is more interested in making decisions based on actual facts, than the opinions, trends and emotions of the rest of the population.

17. Exist to add value. Successful entrepreneurs are constantly seeking to make themselves valuable and know that value must be given. They practice the Law of the Harvest. They know for sure that what they give out they shall receive. Successful entrepreneurs do not expect anything for nothing.

18. Transformation by renewal of the mind. The mindset of successful entrepreneurs is always improving,  growing and changing. They are constantly educating themselves and gaining experience that will lead them to the goals they have set for themselves. They are always ‘renewing their minds’. Entrepreneurs know this is the key to their transformation and growth of themselves and their companies.

19. One rabbit at a time. The mindset of undeterred focus is the characteristic which is probably the most important one when it comes to entrepreneurial success. Once you have awakened to the possibilities of success, you also realize the many opportunities that exist all around you. It is very easy to chase many rabbits and don’t catch any. Successful entrepreneurs develop the ability to focus and concentrate to maximize their efforts, resources and forces.

20. First seek to understand. The best tool I have found to discover myself is the DISC profile. It helps you to develop a greater understanding and belief in yourself, while at the same time helping you understand others. This understanding of yourself and others enables you to communicate much more effectively. The mindset of an entrepreneur is constantly seeking to understand and value themselves in order to have a greater ability to understand and value others.

21. Ignore your critics. The mindset of successful entrepreneurs is only open to the criticism of those they respect. If someone doubts your business, or belittles it, take stock of where the criticism is coming from. Jealousy is born from an inability to imitate; others desire what you possess, but cannot attain it. Envy is usually manifested in insults. Some people will want to rain on your parade simply because they don’t have a parade of their own.

22. Look for inspiration and correction. The successful entrepreneur knows that the “right” mindset for success is a combination of wisdom AND a delivery system that works for them. Look for those mentors who have done what you want to do, whose business is where you want yours to go, and who have worked in your specific field. Life is too short to make all the mistakes ourselves. It’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others.

23. Create the right mindset. Reading the biographies of successful entrepreneurs or listening to entrepreneur podcasts online that interview other successful entrepreneurs are a great way to get yourself into the correct mindset to succeed within your business. Entrepreneurs know that mindset is not set in stone. Mindset can be learned from the experiences of others who are willing to share their wisdom.

24. Learn selective listening. The mindset of a successful entrepreneur knows that it must be careful who it listens to. Free advice can sometimes be worth every penny you pay for it. Surround yourself with advisers who will “give it to you straight” but at the same time learn how to tune out the pessimists. They always seem to have a problem for every solution.

25. Success is a journey. The best way to create the mindset required for success as an entrepreneur is to re-frame success from being a destination to being the progressive improvement of an ongoing process. You set goals, run trials, and then you review the outcome. Many things will not go planned. You simply decide to be happy and enjoy every day, not only the days that go as had hoped for. You never know which will be your last.

26. Embrace your failures. Rarely do entrepreneurs “get it right” the first time. Accepting and embracing failure allows business owners to think more creatively about their product or service. Failure forces entrepreneurs to develop more innovative ways to penetrate their markets and encourages them to think outside the box. The mindset of an entrepreneur doesn’t fear failure, only fear itself. The only failure is not learning from your experiences.

27. Keep me-time sacred. It’s a challenge for entrepreneurs to deal with the ups and downs of business because their company is their baby and can very quickly become an extension of themselves and their identity. It’s important keep your me-time as sacred, your holy hour if you will. As well, it is important to have a hobby that helps you relax and clear your mind. The mindset of a successful entrepreneur doesn’t connect net-worth to self-worth.

28. Positive attitude. An entrepreneur’s mindset is convinced that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. A positive attitude allows a person to be more objective, encourage others to perform more effectively, and stay focused during tough times. A positive attitude in itself won’t help you do everything, but it will help you do everything better than a negative one. Tough times don’t last, but tough entrepreneurs do!

29. You are on a mission. Entrepreneurs must have the mindset that they are on a mission and trying to achieve something new, despite their lack of experience. This makes them vulnerable to failure and criticism but they have the humility and openness to get a try. They know their vision and their mission must be linked to a cause. They know that their purpose is to eliminate a certain pain in someone else’s life. Everything else is a distraction.

30. Finding balance. The mindset of a successful entrepreneur understands that when you are starting a business it’s difficult to immediately find a life/work balance. To get momentum is harder than maintaining it. Even an airplane needs a lot more energy to get off the ground than it does to maintain level flight. This additional effort takes a toll on your body and therefore it needs to be maintained that much more carefully.

31. Don’t fake it. In business it is very easy to get caught up doing ‘busy’ work. If your efforts and actions are not leading to any real results, begin doing something that will. Delegate the less-important tasks that you are personally doing, so you can focus on what will generate revenue and build the company. The mindset of an entrepreneur prefers to be productive rather than faking busyness.

32. Release it. Forgiveness is a mindset practice that will skyrocket the success of any entrepreneur. When we hold on to the past wrongs we have all suffered in business and life we imprison ourselves for somebody else’s wrongdoing. It is important to let go of the past so that we can start each day with a clean slate. This holds true concerning customer, associate  and business partner relationships. This mindset chooses to forgive and move on.

33. Hang on to it. Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of persistence, perseverance and tenacity. This mindset refuses to give up no matter what. It knows that success could be just around the next corner. Giving up now could mean giving up on the brink of a miracle. The mindset of a successful entrepreneur doesn’t know the meaning of giving up.

34. Be nice. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Being in business is about relationships — with clients, with vendors, or even just within your own office. The one thing to remember is to always be nice. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push over. It means to be appreciative of the people that you do life and business with. Maintain a nice mindset and you will see how far that will get you in business and in life.

35. Surround yourself with people on the same mission. Surround yourself with people who are on the same mission as you are. People who have the same motivation for success will help keep you focused and support you when you face challenges in business. These people will inspire and motivate you in down times. They will also help you create and maintain the mindset of a successful entrepreneur.

Decide now that you need to embrace the mindset of an entrepreneur if you want to be successful in business. Mindset determines actions, and actions determine results. Success always begins in the mind!

14
Jun

10 reason why every developing country need entrepreneurs and not handout

According to The World Bank, 75 million people ages 16-24 are unemployed around the globe. That’s nearly double the entire population of Central America. The lack of jobs usually indicates a shortage of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs don’t look for jobs, they create jobs.

The economic success of developing nations hinges on whether or not they encourage and reward the spirit entrepreneurship or simply wait for more handouts. Entrepreneurs can put an end to the systemic poverty that has plagued many countries for so long.

Entrepreneurs have always served as the spark plug for every economic engine worldwide. The fuel this engine runs on, is a country’s natural resources or the unique location it has been blessed with. However, for lubrication, the economic engine relies on government policies and programs that support and encourage entrepreneurship.

The Insurance Against Unemployment

The best employment insurance program a country can have, is to invest into the lives of young people…encouraging, equipping and motivating them to become entrepreneurs. Unemployed person tend to have a lower self-esteem which makes it even more difficult for them to find a job.  When there are no jobs to be found, the only alternative is to create them.

Unless developing countries put forth a serious effort to support young entrepreneurs, out-migration and the resulting brain-drain will continue curb the growth of their economies. We must create incentives for them to stay.

When I am speaking to young people in developing countries, my message is: “Stay home. You can be successful where you are. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. You can make a difference and have an impact right where you are.”

Knowing How To Fish Is Not Enough

It’s not enough to teach people how to fish…we must educate, motivate and inspire them to start fishing businesses that create jobs and not only feed their families but transform their communities. That way they have a reason to stay home and transform their own communities instead heading abroad for greener pastures.

The prosperous countries in the world are always the ones that have the most entrepreneurs and an infrastructure that encourages and motivates young entrepreneurs to take risks and launch new enterprises.

It Takes The Right Mindset and The Right Skillset

A society can only rid itself of a victim mentality and take on an abundance mindset to the degree to which it rewards and encourages entrepreneurial activity. The more entrepreneurs, the fewer victims. The fewer victims, the less poverty and corruption.

In recent years, economists have come to realize that entrepreneurship is a key element of economic activity. Big corporations are no longer viewed as secure source of employment creation as in the past.

10 Reasons Why Every Developing Country Needs Entreprenuers

1. Entrepreneurs are creative. They see a need and quickly find a way to meet it. The fact something has not yet been done is all the more motivating for an entrepreneur.

2. Entrepreneurs are motivated. They are also energized and willing to take risks with their own money and with the investment of others. Their ideas trigger the sale and production of new innovative products and services.

3. Entrepreneurs create jobs. It is the entrepreneur who is not satisfied knowing how to fish, but rather wants to have his own fishing business in search of profit thereby satisfying unsatisfied needs and creating jobs in the process.

4. Entrepreneurs are developers. They are capable of bringing together the funding, raw materials, manufacturing facilities, skilled labor and land or buildings required to produce a product or service. They are also able to arrange the marketing, sales and distribution of their product or service.

5. Entrepreneurs are positive and optimistic. They don’t have a victim mentality and believe success is possible without having go abroad to find it.  Tough times don’t last, but tough entrepreneurs do!

6. Entrepreneurs are future oriented. They believe that success is possible and are willing to risk their own resources and reputation in the pursuit of profit. They believe that the future will always be better than the past.

7. Entrepreneurs move fast. They are willing to try many different strategies to achieve their goals of profits. And they’re flexible, willing to change quickly when they get new information.

8. Entrepreneurs are generous. They freely give of their time, talent and treasure to those less fortunate or just starting out. They know that they have a duty to give back to their communities.

9. Entrepreneurs are grateful. They know that they have been blessed and spend more time counting their blessings than complaining about their challenges. They know that thanksgiving is key to prosperity.

10. Entrepreneurs think outside the box. In fact, their first inclination is to blow up the box.  They see opportunities that others don’t, they try new ideas that others are afraid to, and they take risks that others wouldn’t dare to. This takes courage, persistence and the determination to keep going despite criticism, rejection and skepticism.

Entrepreneurs are a national resource, that should be protected, nourished, encouraged and rewarded. They create most of the wealth, jobs, and prosperity in a nation. They’re the most important people in a market economy–and there are never enough of them.

14
Jun

6 Suggestions for an Aspiring Entrepreneur

 When I reflect on how quickly things happened and what it has required of me, the first thing that comes to mind is Paul Graham‘s essay entitled How to Make Wealth. In particular, this part resonates with me:

“You can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Imagine the stress of working for the Post Office for fifty years. In a startup you compress all this stress into three or four years.”

There’s a lot to learn if you aspire to build a startup. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and I can only recommend it to others. I can’t think of a better way to lead a fulfilling life. Here are 6 suggestions I have if you happen to be getting started along this road.

1. Experiment (lots)

“If you’re not already doing a side project, I’d recommend starting one. Although they can complicate your schedule and make life busier, they are one of the few consistent keys I’ve observed in almost anyone who has impressive accomplishments.” – Scott Young

I’ve mentioned previously that the Internet is littered with my past attempts to create a successful startup. Even before I knew I truly wanted to build a startup, I played around with countless side projects and they are spread across the web, too.

I think there is often a misconception that to be successful you need to focus and put all your eggs in one basket. That’s not how it happened for me. I tried a ton of different things, and I started Buffer on the side while working full-time as a freelance developer. The key is to focus once you have something that works, that gains traction and people love. Until then, I say experiment away.

2. Stay inspired

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Looking back to the early days of my first startup attempt, I think something that kept me going was that I continually read books about startups and entrepreneurs and watched as many interviews of founders as I could find. In fact, I was especially humbled to be invited to share my story on Mixergy precisely because I have watched tens of interviews by Andrew Warner and they always inspired me to keep pushing forward.

It’s true that at some point you have to stop soaking up the motivation and actually get to work. However, I think a lot of people underestimate how powerful it can be to be take in the learnings of others. Especially in the early days when you might not necessarily be surrounded by others trying to do startups, I think staying inspired in this way can plant that spark inside to help you make it happen.

3. Travel the world and move

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

Travel is something that I always thought would be fun, and I never imagined the impact it could have for me. From simply moving a hundred miles from my hometown of Sheffield to Birmingham in the UK, to then traveling several continents and living in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv, I’ve been extremely lucky to have experienced completely different cultures and meet great people.

I truly believe that if you choose to travel you’re immediately much more likely to succeed with whatever you are trying to do. Leaving what you know and stepping into uncertainty, you naturally become more open-minded and create new opportunities for yourself.

Interestingly, many have an attachment to their hometown and want to be there in order to help their town and others who live there. My belief is that you can do a lot more to help your hometown if you make the decision to leave. I’ve never once heard someone regretting their decision to travel.

4. Choose your friends wisely

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

One of the most interesting side effects of moving and traveling a lot has been that in every new place I have settled in, I have had the chance to rethink every part of my life. I reflect on what kind of place I want to live, how close I want to be to all amenities, what routine I want to adopt and even who I want to hang out around.

The clear example of the power of adjusting your group of friends is that your friends probably aren’t all entrepreneurs. The thing with doing a startup is that it’s an unusual path and one where there are far more reasons it can go wrong than can go right. If you truly want to succeed, surrounding yourself with other optimists is one sure way to have much better odds. The cool thing is, these are really fun people to be around.

I strive every day to meet (and hire) more people I can learn from.

5. Stay laser-focused on building something people want

“In nearly every failed startup, the real problem was that customers didn’t want the product.” – Paul Graham

It’s easy to get distracted when you begin your startup endeavors. You might take a look around and assume you need to incorporate, or raise funding, or countless other things that everyone seems to do.

In my experience, all that really matters is to try and find a real problem to solve. What it comes down to is whether you have hit product/market fit. If you have, you’ll know it, and you’ll start to get traction.

If what you’ve built isn’t working, keep experimenting with new ideas.

6. Be open and vocal

“If you have an apple, and I have an apple, and we swap, we each still only have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we swap, we each have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw

Before Buffer, I had a few previous startup ideas that weren’t too successful. One of the things that is easier to reflect on in hindsight is that luckily during that time I was Tweeting, blogging, going along to events and generally getting to know a lot of people.

When people ask me what my initial marketing was to get Buffer started, the truth I have to share is that my marketing consisted of sharing the idea with the 1,700 Twitter followers I had at the time. I attribute my previous openness to the fact that I had these followers to help me get Buffer started. As a result, I completely agree with Leah Bursque’s advice:

“Talk to every single person you meet about your idea. Talk until they tell you to shut up. Discover new questions and patterns so you can test and refine your idea. Then find more people to talk to.”

14
Jun

6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business

 

I co-founded my business NutraBella, Inc. in 2005 after hearing my pregnant friends complain about their horse-pill sized pre-natal vitamins. We dreamed of giving women better vitamin options with Bellybar.

Fast forward to today where I spend my days on the QuickBooks team working to make small business management easier and more fun.  As I hear from small businesses owners from all walks of life, I am constantly reminded of the things I wish I had known. Owning a small business is a challenge, but here are six tips that will make the road to success easier.

1. Follow your passion and don’t let go. Your business probably stems from something you’re passionate about, but over time, the day-to-day running of the business makes it hard to keep that passion alive.

Fuel it daily by reminding yourself why you started your business. Make sure that you fall in love with a problem, not a solution. If your first solution doesn’t work, fall back on your passion for solving that problem to find another answer for your customer.

2. Cash is king. Running a business is an art and a science. The art is your passion. The science is your business model. Make sure you understand your own business model. It’s not something to abdicate to someone else. Understanding money-in, money-out, is critical to business success. Ignorance is not bliss. If you know how your business is doing at every moment, you can celebrate your success or plan for how to get more cash.

3. Hire smart. Hiring a team is thrilling but also scary. Take time to hire the right people for the right job. Fire them quickly if it doesn’t go well. As a small business owner, you can do anything but you can’t do everything! Hire people who love to do what you hate to do so you can focus on your dream and evangelize your passion.

4. Communicate with partners. Partners can be a great way to bring complementary talent to grow your business but, just like a marriage, it’s critical to communicate values and expectations. Create a business “pre-nup” to set expectations for the partnership.

Related: Taking on Risk, Embracing Rejection and Other Startup Lessons From the Trenches

Like every good marriage, go on date nights and remind yourself why you went into business together in the first place. You can also use it as an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas or talk through problems in a less stressful space.

5. Protect yourself from the unexpected. Think about roadblocks you might hit along the way. Expect the best but prepare for those unexpected hiccups.

Things will happen that you can’t control. Do what you can to protect yourself. Set up systems and processes in your business so that you can take a vacation or care for a sick child. Make sure that things won’t fall apart if you step away for a moment. Respect yourself enough to ensure that you can take care of yourself outside of your business.

6. The buck stops with you, but… You don’t have to be alone! As a small business owner, it can be lonely making all of the decisions. Ask for help. Not everyone has the courage to start a business but most people want to help and support you.

Find other entrepreneurs to learn from. Someone a few years ahead of you can provide invaluable advice. Someone just starting can bring energy and creative ideas. The best advice I ever received came from other entrepreneurs. It takes a village.

Running your own business is one of the most exciting, and challenging, adventures you will embark upon. Take care of yourself as you set the tone and culture of your growing business. Protect yourself to ensure the business will survive the ups and downs. Running your business can be fun with a little bit of planning and with processes to make things run smoothly. Take time to set it up right so you can get back to doing what you love. I’m cheering for you!

14
Jun

61 Steps to Becoming a Successful Young Entrepreneur

There’s a thousand different ways to get from New York City to Los Angeles. Some ways are relatively easy while others are full of obstacles. But no matter how you get there, you still have to cross the Mississippi and scale the Rockies.

Similarly, there’s no such thing as a set path to entrepreneurial success. But you do need to be headed in the right direction.

Some overnight successes take just a few years, while other entrepreneurs run in circles for decades. Before you can find success, there are certain things that you need to do and a certain order in which you need to do them.

Follow these 61 steps for the most obstacle-free path to becoming a successful young entrepreneur.

Have an Idea

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”

THOMAS J. WATSON · Founder of IBM

  1. Come up with your idea.
    The first thing you need is a problem that you’re passionate about solving. Then build a business on top of that solution.
  2. Package your idea as a service if you can.
    Services are easier to start because you can make money right away. Products require extensive research, product development, manufacturing, and distribution. Then when you sell it, it might be months before you get paid. However, products are easier to scale. Start as a service then expand into a product.

Know the Ropes

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly, I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

THEODORE ROOSEVELT · 26th U.S. President

  1. Google your business idea.
    To find other people and businesses doing what you want to do. Write down those keywords because that’s how people will find your business.
  2. Question why it hasn’t been done before.
    If you can’t find anyone, you have a first-mover advantage. But you need to ask yourself why no one else is doing it. Find the answer to that question before you move forward.
  3. Learn from your competitors.
    If you find competitors, you’ll be able to learn from them. Take a look at every detail of their business and, if you want to be bold, call them up and ask questions.
  4. Find a mentor.
    A good mentor will save you years-worth of mistakes. Contact the leader in your field and see if they’ll mentor you. You might have to start that relationship by doing something for them.
  5. Fly solo or recruit a team.
    It’s best to start by yourself. But if you need a team, you’ll have to compensate them fairly with ownership in the company. Then set roles and expectations for those roles.

Plan Your Success

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER · 34th U.S. President

  1. Determine the problem you’re solving.
    This is the most important thing to know about your business. Everything you do from here on out will work towards solving this problem.
  2. Figure out exactly what you’re selling.
    You’re getting paid for your product or service, but that’s not what you’re selling. You need to sell the benefits to what you’re offering. Sell them on how you can solve their problem.
  3. Research your service or develop your product.
    Find out how other companies are providing their product or service. Learn from their business and everything that they’re doing. Then replicate their success.
  4. Calculate your startup costs.
    You need to know exactly how much you need to get started. Once you have a number written down, double it. You will have unexpected expenses.
  5. Settle on your pricing.
    One way to price is to determine your total costs per unit. Then simply mark it up. A better way to price is to figure out the real value to your customers and price it accordingly.

Market Your Business

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Bill Gates · Wealthiest Man in the World

  1. Select a niche target market.
    The smaller your target market, the more easily you’ll be able to find and reach them. Choose the absolute best customer and only appeal to that type of person.
  2. Name your company.
    Use a brandable name like Google if you’re trying to appeal to consumers (B2C). Use a generic name like International Business Machines (IBM) if your target market is other businesses (B2B).
  3. Tagline your company.
    Once you have the name, craft a tagline or catchphrase that sums up and explains the key benefits to your company. “Just do it.”
  4. Establish a brand message.
    What do you want your customers to think of when they hear about or see your company? That message should be woven into everything that represents your business. It’s called a brand.
  5. Choose your company colors.
    Research the psychology of colors to determine which colors will best represent your brand. Blue is popular for businesses because it’s gender neutral and it signifies trust. Red is used a lot by restaurants because it attracts the eye more than any other color.
  6. Get a logo.
    Unless you’re a graphic designer, your logo is the first thing you should outsource for your business. Considering the software to make a professional logo costs $700, 99designs (aff link) is a relatively inexpensive way to get a great logo.

Reach Your Customers

“One can get anything if he is willing to help enough others get what they want.”

Zig Ziglar · Author and Motivational Speaker

  1. Get business cards.
    You need business cards. Learn how to design effective business cards and get high-quality, cheap cards from GotPrint. I got 1,000 business cards for $18. If you go with a local printer, they’ll charge about $80 for 250 business cards.
  2. Sharpen your elevator pitch.
    Before you start networking, you need to know what you’re going to say when someone asks, “What do you do?” Your response should be a 60-second elevator pitch.
  3. Attend a local entrepreneurship networking event.
    The first group of people that you should meet is your local entrepreneurs. These people will introduce you to other important people in the business community. Find a local entrepreneurship networking event on Meetup.
  4. Choose the best way to contact potential customers.
    Advertize to your customers how they want to be advertized to. Choose between meeting them face-to-face, cold-calling, email, direct mail, posters or flyers, online job postings, or driving traffic to your website.
  5. Nail down your sales pitch.
    Once you know how you’re going to reach them, you have to figure out what to say. Use the golden structure for getting someone to purchase no matter what channel you choose.
  6. Make your marketing materials.
    Now you need to create your marketing materials. Maybe it’s print advertising, a sales pitch script, a sales page, or a sales video.

Lift Off

“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

Nolan Bushnell · Founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s

  1. Create a system for fulfilling orders.
    Before you launch, you need to know how you’re going to supply what you sell. Gather your initial inventory or set a process for providing the service.
  2. Get a way to accept payments.
    Cash-only doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to be able to accept checks and credit cards. Use Square if you’re accepting credit cards in person. Use Shopify (aff link) or WP e-Commerce (if WordPress) as your online shopping cart.
  3. Launch your business offline.
    If your business is primarily offline, start by recruiting customers from your neighborhood or local community. You can do this with flyers, press releases, partnerships, or good ol’ fashion phone calls.
  4. Launch your website or blog.
    If you’re launching an online service, all you need is a WordPress website with your About, Contact, Services, and Portfolio pages. If you’re launching a product, launch it through targeted press or affiliates. If you’re launching a blog, soft launch it with five articles and do a big launch once you have 20. To find more details about this process.

Get it Done

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

Roy Ash · Former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget

  1. Set SMART goals.
    Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Set one-year, six-month, three-month, and one-month goals.
  2. Establish weekly and daily tasks.
    From your goals, set weekly and daily tasks based on the projects you need to get done in the order you need to do them.
  3. Get a planner.
    At the beginning of the week, set a to-do list for every day. Write that to-do list in your planner so you can open it up in the morning and know exactly what you need to get done.
  4. Start a business idea notebook.
    Designate a notebook for all of your miscellaneous business thoughts. Take it everywhere to collect all of your ideas in one place.
  5. Land a customer.
    To land your first customer, start by bidding on a job or making an offer. If you win the bid, set expectations for your client. Negotiate the terms of the contract. Sign the contract. Bam, you’re hired.
  6. Provide the service or deliver the product.
    Have a repeatable system for delivering the service that you can easily train to future employees. If you sell a product, set a process for delivering that product as efficiently as possible.
  7. Focus on productivity.
    Keep in mind that you’re only making money for the time that you’re producing or selling something. Schedule an hour in the morning for phone calls and an hour at night for emails. Then you have the heart of the day to focus on the heart of your business.
  8. Organize and track your business.
    FreshBooks (aff link) lets you easily create projects, track time for individual projects, professionally invoice your customers, and pay your staff.
  9. Be remarkable.
    According to NOP World, 93% of customers identified word of mouth as the best, most reliable source of information they use to make purchasing decisions. Encourage word of mouth from your customers by being interesting, providing referral incentives, and making yourself sharable.

Find Your Fortune

“The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.”

Jim Rohn · Entrepreneur, Author, and Speaker

  1. Design your business for cash flow.
    As an entrepreneur, sometimes you’ll get paid before you do the work and other times you’ll have to wait months to get paid, if at all. Establish a payment policy to get paid as soon as possible.
  2. Collect your money.
    If you’re selling in person, you can accept cash or take credit cards with Square. Otherwise you’ll have to invoice your client with flexible payment terms. FreshBooks (aff link) lets you easily send a professional invoice via snail mail or email.
  3. Track your earnings.
    In the beginning, you should track your revenues and expenses in a simple Excel spreadsheet. Or you can use FreshBooks (aff link) to track every dollar and run reports on your earnings. If you haven’t noticed, FreshBooks is pretty much the greatest tool out there for entrepreneurs.
  4. Reinvest or pay yourself.
    Once your business becomes profitable, you have to decide if you want to reinvest that money to grow, or you can pay yourself and stay flat.
  5. Find an investor if you need one.
    Only on rare occasions should you look for an investor. Good investors only invest in companies that have already made money and are looking for cash to make big moves.

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

“Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching.”

GEORGE VAN VALKENBURG · Entrepreneur and Author

  1. Get your vendor’s license.
    If you’re selling a product in person, you’ll need a vendor’s license. They cost about $25 and you get them from your local government.
  2. File a provisional application for patent.
    If you have an invention you want to protect, start by filling a provisional application for patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Reserve your trade name.
    Your trade name is your business name. It’s also known as, “Doing business as…” If you’re going to register your company, first you need to reserve your trade name.
  4. Register your Limited Liability Company (LLC).
    To become a bona fide company, you need to register your business with your state’s Secretary of State. Most states let you do this online and charge an average of $25-$100.
  5. Get your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
    Your EIN is like a social security number for your company. They’re free and you can get yours at IRS.gov.
  6. Set up a business bank account.
    Every entrepreneur needs a business bank account. Most banks require that you have an LLC and an EIN. Always separate your personal expenses from your business expenses by using your business credit or debit card.
  7. Figure out if you need insurance.
    Most entrepreneurs won’t need additional insurance. But if you’re operating in a hazardous work environment or have lots of expensive equipment, it’s worth the extra $100 per month to pick up general liability insurance.
  8. Set aside money for taxes.
    Keep 25-30% of your profits in your business savings account to pay taxes at the end of the year.
  9. Schedule meetings with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a small business lawyer.
    Eventually you’ll need to hire a CPA and/or a small business lawyer. It’s best to start cultivating these relationships early on so maybe one day they’ll give you a deal. Plus, the first meeting should be free. Take advantage of it.

Grow

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

ANONYMOUS · A Student in an Entrepreneurship Class

  1. Become more efficient.
    The easiest way to grow your business is to become more efficient. This reduces your costs and increases your profit margins. The best two ways to become more efficient are to develop better systems or buy better equipment.
  2. Boost your marketing.
    Another way to grow is to get more customers. You do that by boosting your marketing. Offer a referral program, pay for advertising, send out direct mail, make sales calls, or find a creative way to reach more potential customers.
  3. Complement your product line or service offering.
    A third way to grow is to sell more to existing customers. Do that by developing and offering complementary products and services.
  4. Outsource to independent contractors.
    Before you hire employees, get your feet wet by hiring independent contractors. Legally, they’re a lot less complicated than employees. But they won’t be loyal to you and your business unless you give them a full-time position.
  5. Hire employees.
    Once you’re up to speed with hiring practices, bring a few smart employees onboard. Start by asking your independent contractors if they’d like a more permanent position. Then ask for employee referrals, look on job boards, and reach out to your local school systems.
  6. Find space to work.
    As you bring workers in-house, you’ll need to move your business out of your house. Office space usually costs about $25-$45 per square foot per year. Warehouses generally cost $3-$10 per square foot per year. If you want to open a store, retail space costs $10-$100 per square foot per year.
  7. Hire managers.
    After you’re moved in and your employees are self-sufficient, it’s time to find a manager or two. Start by promoting within if you have good candidates. This will let you step out of the business and into the “entrepreneur” role.
  8. Sell the business.
    If you want to get out of the business completely, it’s time to sell. Assuming you built a business with recurring revenue, it’ll be worth one-to-three years’ revenue. Post your business for sale on Craigslist and industry forums. That’s where other entrepreneurs are looking to acquire.
  9. Take a vacation.
    Either that or dive into another venture.
  10. Give back.
    Most people only consider non-profits when they think of charitable giving, but I want to give back to entrepreneurs. Give your fortune to whoever you want. Just make sure it’s someone or something that deserves it.
14
Jun

How Can You Become a Young Millionaire?

If you were like most teenagers, it was all you could do to survive the trials and tribulations of junior high and co-existing with the opposite sex. But Jennifer Kushell had more than boys and school on her mind back then. At 13, she started her first small business-creating and selling hand-painted T-shirts. By the time she was 19, she’d started three other businesses and had just launched the Young Entrepreneurs Network, the first online network for young people trying to start their own companies. Now 30, Kushell is the author of Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to get everything you want without waiting a lifetime. Drawing on both her personal experience and the experiences of the hundreds of young entrepreneurs she’s met in the past 10 years, Kushell offers some words of wisdom to help you get off your duff and get your business started now!

Entrepreneur: Why did you decide to write this book?
Jennifer Kushell: Three years ago, my husband, Scott, and I were sitting on the beach in Belize [and] we came up with the idea for this new company called the Young and Successful Media Corp. This company does what we call “educaiment,” a cross between education and entertainment, and the point is to take all the intellectual property we’ve been developing over a decade now and create the tools and resources young people need as they go out into the real world, picking up where parents and school leaves off, [and help them] establish themselves not only in their own businesses, but in life in general. This book was the first project.

Entrepreneur: Your book is really interactive and included exercises for readers to work on. Why did you choose to do it in that format?
Kushell: We really wanted to get people to start thinking about what their opportunities are and how far they can go with their lives and really start questioning how much more they can accomplish if they think strategically about it.

Entrepreneur: Although it’s not written specifically for entrepreneurs, what do you think the most important lessons are for young entrepreneurs reading this book?
Kushell: I’d say the most important thing in the world is to be able to clearly articulate what you’re trying to do, or what you’re interested in. You don’t have a lot of time to pitch yourself and to pitch your ideas to people out there, and the more clear, concise and sophisticated your answers can be, the more people will pay attention to you.

I think you have to start working very early on to build your own credibility and your respect in the professional workplace or in your industry. The younger you are, the more people question what you know and what you’re capable of and if you go in knowing that, you can start to join organizations, you can volunteer, you can maybe even sit on boards. You can start to build up your bio early on and do research; you can hire interns; you can start to establish yourself in your community and your industry and become someone people know and respect. When your knowledge base and your expertise overshadows your age, that’s when you’re in a position where you can truly do anything and not be limited by how young you are.

Entrepreneur: What other important lessons are there for young entrepreneurs in your book?
Kushell: Young entrepreneurs must understand and be able to clearly articulate both their history and where they’re headed. We like to ask the question “What’s your story?” because it’s very important that young entrepreneurs can effectively communicate their story to others, especially in business. In order to have customers, vendors, potential investors, employees, etc. to buy into your vision, you must know how to communicate what both you and your business are all about.

With “Real World University,” we provide a concept of continued learning and sculpting an environment to efficiently and effectively learn what you really need out in the real world. Unfortunately, the education system and parents can’t prepare everyone for what they really need to know once they’re out on their own-everyone learns differently and has different knowledge bases they need to be successful in life. By identifying the areas you need to become an expert in business or industry and designing “classes” for yourself, an entrepreneur will set up a system to continually obtain new knowledge and wisdom over time. Attend Real World University, and your knowledge base and success will jump right past your competitors who think they know enough. Great entrepreneurs know that learning never stops!

The metaphor of “the house on the hill” is one we created to [help young people learn] about power players. Power players exist in different industries and areas of society. Young entrepreneurs need to learn early who the people are in these influential power circles that directly affect them and how to gain access and build relationships within “the house.” It takes just one of these “homeowners” to take a liking to you and want to invite you in to their house to transform your business and opportunities.

Entrepreneur: How did you come up with the “young and successful” character traits you describe throughout the book?
Kushell: From people we knew, people we’d researched, and people we’d read about. From having the Young Entrepreneurs Network, I was dealing with tens of thousands of people who were doing amazing things with their own businesses. And we travel all over the world, we speak to huge audiences all the time, so we’ve come into contact with thousands of young people.

What we tried to do was figure out the key attributes that separated the people who are going about their lives and are maybe not so happy with everything but don’t really know where they’re going or how they’re going to accomplish what they want-and [determine] what separates them from the people who have what they want-[those] who are totally focused, totally on the right track. That’s where we came up with those attributes and said, ‘OK, these people have taken control, they’ve taken ownership, they’ve said, “It’s up to me to make the right decisions to get where I want to go.” ‘ They don’t wait for other people to hand them things and they also have a remarkable ability to spin challenges and disadvantages into the most powerful motivators and most powerful advantages, which was a very interesting thing we saw over and over and over.

I’d describe young and successful people like this:

  • They display high levels of optimism and confidence.
  • They possess vision and passion in their dreams and convictions.
  • They ensure that they surround themselves with other like-minded people.
  • They’re highly resourceful, creative and inventive.
  • They seize opportunities and create their own whenever possible.
  • They know what motivates them.
  • They have a strong sense of personal identity.
  • They have spent a substantial amount of time on introspection and self-discovery.
  • They refuse to let other people dictate how they should live.
  • They take responsibility for their happiness.
  • They spin challenges into their greatest motivators-and sometimes biggest advantages.
  • Most importantly, they take control and ownership of their lives and careers early on, and never let go.

Entrepreneur: How did you develop TAPPS, the Four Rs and the personal balance sheet?
Kushell: [Scott and I] have always been very introspective and very intuitive, and part of our pact with each other as a married couple and as business partners is that we’re constantly analyzing the way each other operates and [trying to] improve ourselves. You can’t really do that unless you can be very candid with yourself and other people about what your strengths and weaknesses are.

TAPPS, which stands for Truth, Awareness, Preparations, Prevention and Survival, is an advance planning process that takes people through five simple steps to uncover how they might best approach a major challenge that could threaten to knock them off their path to success. It helps you identify the best possible approach to take to overcome the challenge, prior to the challenge occurring! For entrepreneurs, there’s no denying that the path to achieving their dreams will inevitably have some bumps along the way. By applying TAPPS to a few of the top scenarios and mishaps that could potentially have the biggest impact on your life, you can rise to and overcome most challenges with great strength and clarity of mind.

The Four Rs is a tool we created to help people measure the level and kinds of returns they can expect from their investment of Risk, Effort, Sacrifice and Time in their major life decisions. For entrepreneurs, this is a critical tool to use, as it enables them to think clearly and analyze if and why they should plow everything they have into a new idea or business. By determining the returns on each of the 4 Rs, they’ll be able to rest comfortably and confidently as they forge forward (or not), knowing that they’ve carefully thought through all they could in advance and not second guess themselves.

The “personal balance sheet” is similar to the process of a balance sheet used by a company to take a snapshot of their financial health on any given day. It’s a terrific self-assessment tool that allows people to take a snapshot of their personal skills and abilities, as well as their current weaknesses and disadvantages, and then put this information to great use.

Many entrepreneurs tend to undervalue or overlook their assets and over exaggerate their liabilities, which can be detrimental to the success of their business. If you can be fair and honest with yourself when putting together your personal balance sheet, you’ll develop a keen awareness of both your personal strengths and weaknesses or personal “assets” and “liabilities.” This will enable you to better focus on and learn to minimize your liabilities and increase the strength of your assets so they can best be leveraged for success in both your business and personal lives.

Entrepreneur: In the book, you emphasize the importance of having a balanced life, a balanced and strong support structure with your family. Why is that so important to success?
Kushell: I’ve always said when it comes to entrepreneurs, I think more young people are put out of business by emotional issues than by financial issues. But people are always surprised when I say that. It’s not money that puts young people out of business, it’s the fact that people don’t believe in them, that people are criticizing them or ostracizing them. I think when you’re young, you’re trying so hard to build a foundation for yourself, to get comfortable in your own skin and build your confidence, and people are always going to be chipping away at that, no matter you are, whether you’re the most successful person in the world or you’re homeless.

We have to become comfortable with who we are, and the only way I think we’re gonna do that is by doing something we call ‘sculpting a more perfect environment.’ None of us has an absolute perfect environment to live in. Whether we’re in school or at work or whatever we do, it’s critical that we surround ourselves with people who understand us, who love us, who support us, and then also that we have a strong mentor mix. It’s not a matter of finding one or two mentors. You need to have many different mentors, and that’s [why we recommend] having a board of advisors.

You don’t have to have a business to have a board of advisors, but it’s critical that you have people who can support you in all different ways: people who are going to watch out for you and your health, people who are going to watch out for your finances and your money, people who are going to watch out for your education, your relationships, your social life and your lifestyle. There are a lot of different people we each need, and if you’re not surrounded by people who motivate you, you’re just not gonna go as far as you could.