Maintaining Motivation in the Startup World

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If you work in the startup world, you understand the great deal of stress you may have to deal with on a daily basis. Of course, that comes with the territory. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay motivated and excited throughout the day. Avoid burnout by using the following tips to stay on top of your game:

Make Your Mission Bigger

Startups are a major commitment for anyone. However, it can be tempting to make everything about the bottom line. That might be in the form of signups, new users, investor reports, or revenue. The reality is that while these are important metrics, you need to focus on the bigger picture. Have a purpose that is bigger than your startup. Other than making money, what does your company do to really make a difference in the lives of others?

Have a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness or meditation is simply the practice of slowing things down. When you are used to flying through life at top speed, it can be difficult to find the time for yourself. So take a few minutes each day, hopefully in the morning, and let yourself relax and focus on your breathing. It will give you fresh energy for more motivation.

Get the MIT Done First

The MIT, or “most important task,” is the number one thing you need to do that day. Sometimes people lose motivation because they get overwhelmed by everything on their plate. The trick is to get the major priority out of the way. Then, your motivation will soar because the biggest part is already finished.

Connect with Coworkers

No one can do it alone. Don’t be the martyr that works themselves to the bone on an isolated island. Reach out to coworkers whenever you can. When you connect with your peers, not only do you get the motivational benefit of socializing, but you also feel more excited about helping them succeed in their lives and in the startup.

When it comes to startups, no one ever said they were easy. At first, you might have no problem being motivated. However, after a while you might find yourself feeling down and out. Don’t get caught up in negative thinking. Instead, embrace the ideas above so you always have a well of energy to pull from, no matter the challenge.


Outside Sources of Entrepreneurial Inspiration

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The life of an entrepreneur doesn’t just end after the business day. Every successful entrepreneur needs a life that is well-rounded in order to improve themselves and their business on every level possible. Here are some important tips to consider in your work-life balance that will undoubtedly make you a better entrepreneur.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

Being well connected is imperative to your success as an entrepreneur. Have friends that are like-minded and have similar drives and desires as you. This will not only help push you to be your best self but also create a network to share ideas and tips.

Maintaining a positive social life outside the office will also keep you sharp and tune your abilities to interact with people. This will relate to your ability to run a business by keeping you eloquent and sharp. As you make more connections you will undoubtedly also befriend people who can benefit your business in numerous ways.

Travel the World

Seeing the world and immersing yourself in different cultures will not only make you a better-rounded person but also improve the qualities necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.

Traveling will tune your problem-solving skills and people skills. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone and will learn how to interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds. You may even learn new things about how to run and improve your business while abroad.

In addition to these benefits, traveling can also serve as a vacation. It will give you space to get away from the labor of work and take a step back to think about where your business is going. Here are some suggestions for great places to visit, specifically geared toward entrepreneurs.

Always Find Ways to Keep Learning

There are so many ways to learn, from reading books to attending classes, to picking up new skills. Learning new things is critical to becoming a well-rounded person, which directly impacts your success as an entrepreneur.

There are also many ways to view business and to improve, and learning new skills and becoming more knowledgeable will extend your ability to adopt varying perspectives and modes of thoughts. Reading is great for stress relief while also absorbing new information as well. Research from the University of Sussex says it can reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is the most important takeaway from this list, and undoubtedly encompasses all the other points. It crucial to your function because if you can’t take care of yourself it will be near impossible to take care of your business. Make sure you are eating well, taking time to do the things you love, sleeping well, and getting sufficient exercise. Your businesses well-being and growth will undoubtedly parallel your own.

Handling Constructive Criticism as an Entrepreneur

Understanding and recognizing all of your faults, mistakes, and weaknesses can be a hard pill to swallow, but is critical in the business world. It’s an innate characteristic for a person to refuse to listen to something they don’t want to hear. A plethora of excuses stems from this as to why hearing such negative comments will only result in added negativity. However, addressing these head-on and working to correct them is the surest, fastest way to remedy them.

For individuals who consider themselves positive thinkers, simply hearing negative comments are believed to invite negativity into one’s life. People who may have busier schedules feel as though they don’t have time to sit and listen to feedback. Many entrepreneurs today fall in line with the latter.

Failing to accept criticism in any form is hindering progress (assuming that criticism is constructive). Entrepreneurs and business leaders must learn to accept criticism with humility, taking away valuable lessons from the conversation. This can be difficult for some, but should be seen as an opportunity for improvement, which, in the long-run, almost always translates to success.

Being open and inviting is key when receiving feedback. It allows you to immediately address any concerns of your employees or of your own, and make the necessary changes in order to improve daily interactions. This will benefit both employee and customer interactions, as well. Entrepreneurs and business leaders should strive for this and constantly seek ways to improve themselves or their business. Simply being “good enough” is never actually enough.

Accepting constructive criticism allows business leaders to make valuable change that will result in happier customers and employees. This is another factor that could translate to better business, a.k.a. increased profits.

Consider this: every single business receives both positive and negative feedback from its customers and employees on a daily basis. It’s how businesses improve for both themselves and their consumers. Online reviews through Google or Yelp, for example, usually reflect a business accurately, barring angry individuals with personal vendettas. This gives the entire consumer world better insight on a given business’s operations.

While it can be tough to hear, constructive criticism is one of many keys to improve you or your company, but only for those willing to listen. What may be a few short minutes of having your faults highlighted will result in long-term success.

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3 Things to Examine Before Expanding Your Business

Every entrepreneur wants to start a business with the mindset that they will one day need to expand. After all, that is a necessity that comes with success. While it is certainly a positive aspiration, it can be extremely challenging for individuals who have never had to take on such a demanding task.

To start, think of expansion as having come from a strong foundation. Obviously, scaling your business can only be done once your goods or services have been deemed valuable, thus requiring growth to continue that success.

Take a step back and make a note of the your average customer tenure. Do your customers leave after a short period of time to find business elsewhere? Are lost customers easily replaceable? A strong business foundation is dependent on retention and profit. With that said, the following business aspects should be closely examined before you decide to expand.

Customer Service

We’ve all heard the phrase “The customer is always right.” While this is widely considered too forthright for today’s business standards, there’s no denying that good customer service is absolutely vital to a company’s success. Effective business leaders know that operations are contingent upon the client’s happiness, and that simply losing them could cause irrevocable damage.

Expanding a business can only be done if it has hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers willing to spend money on its goods or services. While millions is unrealistic coming right out of the gate, marketing your brand as something that people want and need is a great way to reach a much broader audience. Look at Apple and the hundreds of incredible products they have developed over the years. They have become a staple in the tech world and are considered the most profitable company of all time.

Frequency of Mistakes

Being able to correct mistakes made on any level is a requirement for all businesses. The question is, how frequently are these mistakes being made, and are they resolved for good? If this can’t be managed on a smaller scale, it certainly won’t be more manageable upon expanding.

Mistakes are going to made. That is inevitable. Resolving these mistakes and ensuring they don’t occur again however, is up to you as the sole leader. This is something your customers and clients will pay attention to as well.

Level of Confidence

This may not be a measurable goal, but it carries a lot of weight in terms how much a business may be able to expand. A company can only grow as much as its founder wants it to. Because of that, a confident leader who aspires to expand beyond the realm of success is much more likely to get there than one who is afraid to take that next step.

The worst thing a business leader can do is become complacent. As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Time Management Tips for Business Leaders

Starting a business from the ground up, or running an already established company are both incredibly time consuming tasks. Individuals in these positions understand the importance of balancing their time and schedules accordingly, but doing so is much easier said than done.

Seven days a week, 24 hours each day rarely seems like enough time to accomplish all that has to be done for business leaders. This often leads to working well past normal business hours or during weekends, thus resulting in burnout, stress, and general exhaustion. But, aspiring entrepreneurs and those willing to make sacrifices for success understand that this can be a typical aspect of business. The key is finding a solution that benefits your personal time and company time.

Map Out Each Day

One of the best ways to manage your time any given day is by planning beforehand. Start the day by choosing what you want to accomplish, and what is the most important task to be completed, i.e. what can you do to improve your business that day, or make the most profit? Always account for unpredictable situations as well. Remain flexible and open to change. It is rare that a normal business day pans out as just that. Unexpected events will arise from time to time, but being prepared for these before they occur will give you the best chance of overcoming them, which leads us to our next strategy:

Manage Disruptions

Going off of the notion that very few days will act out in a predictable manner, knowing when and how to approach unexpected events is crucial. If an interruption is as small as someone asking for your time, take your current situation into account right then and there. Do you actually have time to spare in which you can help your colleague? Or, will doing so put you behind in terms of workload? It may be difficult to tell someone “No, I can’t help you,” but it’s a necessity in a busy work environment every now and then, and other professionals will almost always understand. To avoid coming off as cold, offer to help them at later time when you.

Stick to Your Calendar

There is no better time-management tool than a calendar, whether it is handwritten or digital. While this is extremely beneficial in terms of mapping out your days and the work that needs to be completed, it’s also essential in guaranteeing you time off. As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to never stop working and lose track of your personal time. However, this time is just as important as the time you put into your business. Devoting some amount of time to yourself, your family, or your friends can prove incredibly useful in the long run. Your levels of productivity are contingent upon a healthy brain.
If you find yourself struggling with time management, the aforementioned tips are just a few of many techniques you can implement in order to improve this essential business aspect. Others may include outsourcing work that a professional in that field may be more skilled in, or simply studying other successful business leaders and how they have come to manage their time. All it takes is dedication and inspiration to effectively manage how your days are run, which can lead to an unlimited amount of success.

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How Travel Can Inspire Entrepreneurship

If you are a budding entrepreneur, you may find this article very informative. You could learn something that you rarely hear when you read about sources of inspiration for entrepreneurship. The truth is, most people talk about being intrinsically motivated and talking to successful entrepreneurs, but rarely do they tell you to travel to get inspiration. So here are a number of reasons why seeing the world could spark your entrepreneurial genius.

Fueling creativity

Traveling has been linked to triggering creativity. In fact, traveling and problem solving are intertwined. If you master the art of objectively remaining creative and, at the same time, master the art of problem solving, then you will find yourself coming up with entrepreneurial ideas. If they do not work, you will default to your problem solving skills that you will have learned from your adventures. Similarly, while in a different environment or foreign country, everything is new and may be difficult to navigate; much like starting a new business. The nature in which you deal with challenges that come with a foreign environment will translate to how you overcome challenges in the business world.

Understand the world and other cultures

Go out of your comfort zone to meet and interact with people from other parts of the world. Understand their cultures and plights, and at the same time, an understanding of overseas markets can form a basis for entrepreneurial ideas. You understand market gaps which you can later fill with your business idea. With such knowledge, you clearly have a competitive advantage to people who haven’t travelled, and subsequently may not have been exposed to other cultures and their respective business practices.

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How to Start a Business While Working Full-Time

Entrepreneurs looking to turn their ideas into successful businesses may have trouble doing so if they are working full-time jobs simultaneously. Starting a business requires a significant amount of time and effort, both of which can be hindered when your work is focused elsewhere. Simply finding time for friends or family can be difficult when working a 9-to-5 job as well. However, there are strategies you can put in place to combat this, while also sharpening your entrepreneurial skills.

Before you dive into work outside the daily responsibilities of your current career, be sure you are legally allowed to do so. Many employers have requisites clearly laid out in employee contracts specifically stating that any work not pertaining to the company shall not be done within their walls during business hours. Nondisclosure agreements should be thoroughly read to avoid any legal complications as well.

Take note of any free time you have in your day. It can be extremely tempting to sit down on the couch and watch television following a long, stressful day, but when has that spawned a business? Entrepreneurship is defined as running a business with considerable initiative. It will take time and effort that you may not want to devote at first, but will learn that it is necessary. That being said, do your best to avoid wasting any time atwork. This will only promote a lack of effort in all facets of life.

It is more than likely that you will know when you’re wasting time, and what you’re doing that is distracting you from more important efforts. Whether it is watching television or browsing the internet, actively start to cut back on activities that do not benefit you in any way. It is important to note that you don’t have to sacrifice every waking minute you are free. Devoting just an hour or two is better than no time at all.

Don’t lose focus. Once you have found the time to grow your business, do your best to utilize every single minute. Separate the shallow work from the deep work. Shallow work is considered routine actions like phone calls or emails, whereas deep work demands all of your focus and attention. This is the type of work that will actually achieve what you once thought impossible. The key is to remain focused, which can be done using a variety of techniques:

  • Turn off your cellphone
  • Create a list of tasks
  • Set a timer
  • Keep a clean work environment

These are just a few of many possible strategies, and some may find certain techniques work better than others. If you struggle to focus on demanding tasks, try some of these yourself. The more deep work devoted to starting your own business, the better chance you have of success.

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