secrets of successful entrepreneurs

Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs

The Internet has made building and running a business far more accessible than it used to be. Anyone can cheaply and easily build a website, set up shop quickly in a global marketplace, and work from home in their pajamas. So here’s a selection of the secrets of successful entrepreneurs that I have learned over my 20s.

As an entrepreneur, I can tell you what a fulfilling career it is. I’m 29 today and I built my first business when I was 21. This is why, like many of my millennial pals, I can’t imagine working for someone else. Though I did initially. As many entrepreneurs do, I worked a 9 to 5 job (until I was 26) while building my own businesses on the side.

secrets of successful entrepreneurs

The view from my office.

So, I remember what it was like to… Have someone else rule my financial destiny. Wake up at 5am for a one-hour (sometimes two-hour) commute to the office. Request permission for time off. Ugh!

I also remember how creatively starved I felt. I had to defer to the higher-ups to make key decisions. They ultimately controlled the destiny of the business.

These are some of the reasons many people switch to entrepreneurship:

The lifestyle allows you to be fully self-expressed in your career. It provides you full ownership of your time and money. And, there is no roof on your income potential! All of these are priceless.

But, if you choose the entrepreneurial route, step into it with your eyes wide open. Its has its challenges.
For wannabe entrepreneurs, and those in the throes of building a business, there are pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Follow the rules below to fast track to business ownership success:

 

Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs

Build a war chest

Having little money to support yourself is a surefire way to get in action fast, but it’s extremely stressful. Financial stress is debilitating. It will impact your ability to make smart choices for your business. You may find yourself making decisions based on fast-money versus thinking about what the business needs. Too many people quit their jobs before their business is stable.
That being said, it can be tough and exhausting to work in a high-pressure role for another company while building a business.

Before you jump into entrepreneurship, ensure you have an ample war chest, or build it around a full-time job. Make sure you have an income or structure that supports basic survival needs. At a minimum, you need to have enough money to cover housing, an Internet connection (of course), a mobile phone, groceries, and transportation expenses like a car, subway, bike or bus, etc. The private jet comes later!

Don’t expect overnight success

Successful entrepreneurs can make running a business look glamorous and easy. Ever watch an ad for a webinar about becoming an entrepreneur? They show scenarios like this: A millennial entrepreneur stands in front of a giant mansion with a pool, his laptop at his side. He shares a story about how he has automated his business. He makes millions and spends his time traveling the world.

While this life is possible for entrepreneurs, what’s left out of this story is the time it takes to build a successful business, and the struggles most entrepreneurs go through.

Similar to many of my entrepreneur friends, when I built my first business I had a bit of a “build it and they will come” mentality. I created a beautiful website, got some fancy business cards and started hitting networking events.

But I soon found that clients weren’t flocking to me as I had envisioned. It was my first hard lesson in the importance of learning about my target market first and doing more work to build a killer brand that would attract the right people.

Rarely are new businesses overnight successes. It takes time and a great deal of determination. Many entrepreneurs fail because they aren’t patient. Entrepreneurship requires mental toughness, immovable resilience and a granite-chiselled conviction to succeed.

A great idea for a new company is easy to churn out. However, the real work is creating a business that serves an unmet market. You may discover you need to tweak your initial strategy, sometimes many times over before you hit growth and revenue that will support your dream life (or frankly that even pays the rent or mortgage).

A business can take years to build, even when you’re following the advice of experts and doing all the right things. Be patient, determined and believe in yourself.

Be flexible and adapt your plan

Businesses sometimes fail because the person running the company is an artist or creator and not a true entrepreneur. To succeed you need to be both business-minded and creative. You need to be willing to do the books, create the products, build a team and hire people, open the mail and be social media savvy all at once!

Like most entrepreneurs, you may find that some of these jobs are not your strengths. And worse, you’ll hate doing a few of them. For instance, I handle the books for the digital marketing agency my husband and I own, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. But it’s a requirement for the business, and I like saving the money and being involved knowing what’s going on in the company finances.

You also need to be a strategist. That means deciding and choosing what the business needs by listening to what your customers need, not what you want to create. These are two very different approaches.

For example, let’s say you want to run a successful clothing boutique. You create a target market, then purchase an initial inventory of clothing that you love and think will be great. Now, you can be an artist and continue to buy items you like, or you could pay attention to what the hot items are selling, and buy more of those. Too bad if you don’t like the in colors or fashion trends. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own flare to the inventory you buy, just make sure it also moves off the shelves and keeps you in business.

Entrepreneurs are willing to crush all their notions and ideas about how their business should work. They let the business lead. They take themselves out of the equation.

Be 100% responsible

Young entrepreneurs often look at business as an easy way to make money in their sleep while they spend their time having fun. And yes, this is part of the beauty of living the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
However, it’s important to remember that even if you automate your business and free up your time, you’re the one in charge.

You always need to be the visionary behind business and, to think ahead. This is true even if you done a great job setting the business up so it runs without you. When your business is doing well, you must consider what it needs to stay doing well, or how it could do better. When it is struggling, you need to double your resolve and get through the hard times.

As an entrepreneur, you pay you. This is both exciting, as you have ultimate control over your financial destiny, and scary. It’s on you, and only you, that ensures the success of the business.

Find a mentor

If you want to build a successful business and you’ve never done it before, seek out a mentor. Look for someone who has a proven track record for success, and choose someone you trust.

I can guarantee that wouldn’t be in business today if it wasn’t for the mentors and life coaches I’ve had along the way. Think of it this way: An Olympic-level athlete would never train for a competition without a coach. It’s the same thing in business.

Your mentor may be someone you hire and get coached by. Or it could be a collection of online experts you follow and learn from. A mentor is paramount for your success as an entrepreneur. Building a business can be a lonely, frightening and confusing process. A mentor will teach and guide you. Use them to answer questions and bounce ideas off.

Find a incredible business person who is willing to be your mentor and suck all the business marrow out of them. For many successful business owners getting to coach a newbie entrepreneur is a joy. They’ll be as grateful to you as you are to them.

Mastermind your way to success

Surround yourself with a group of entrepreneurs by joining or creating a mastermind group. It might be a group made up of local entrepreneurs that meets weekly in your community. Or it could be an online group that meets in forum or on a weekly Skype call.

When I recently found myself stuck in my business I remembered what I learned from a mentor: “go to your community”. I realized that in the new area I’ve recently moved to, I didn’t have a group of entrepreneurial friends. So I quickly made some requests and connect through social media. It doesn’t have to be complicated to get a few like-minded people together.

A mastermind group can provide a weekly accountability structure; a way to make sure you meet the targets you set for yourself. It also gives you a platform to ask questions, share ideas and resources, and learn from other entrepreneurs.

Learn digital marketing basics

Entrepreneurial success requires basic literacy in digital know-how. This is true, even if you hire an agency to build your website, run your email campaigns, or drive traffic to your website. Third parties care less about your business than you do, so understanding the mechanics of digital marketing and hiring experts to execute the strategy is key to your success.

You will save a great deal of money if you learn how to do the simple things like:

● Build a WordPress site from a template.
● Record a video on your mobile phone and edit it.
● Set up an email sales funnel and landing pages.
● Write enticing sales copy.

 

At minimum, you’ll need to learn how to write great blog content, and use social media platforms to promote your business.

Find a digital marketing savvy friend to school you. Or seek out online experts or groups. Take an online course. Watch tutorials on Youtube. Learn digital marketing so your business stands a chance of being seen.

Use failure to succeed

Building a business is a process. You won’t do everything perfectly. Be okay with mistakes and failure, and understand that failure is a gateway to success. The more you fail, the more you can tweak your strategy, and the closer you get to learning what works.

When you accept failure as part of the process, and not something that can stop you, you’ll be on your way to great success.

Yes, there are times when running your own business will be confusing, challenging and frustrating. Find comfort in knowing that these tiny hurdles along the way are part of the process. Believe in yourself and keep going.

Being an entrepreneur with all its challenges is an incredible livelihood. It allows you to be self-expressed in your career. You get to be in complete control of your financial destiny. And, you get to live the life of your dreams.

Listen to the audio version of this post with additional insights. Download the mp3 here. 

How to be a better listener…and listen like your life depends on it

Are you a good listener?

Do you listen like your life depends on it?

Being a master listener comes with some crazy benefits. Here are three:

  • Active listening has people think you’re awesome. It’s one of the most effective ways to be a people magnet. When you truly listen to people they feel appreciated. It fills a deep need all people have to be understood. People like to be around people that hear them. It makes them feel good.how to be a better listener
  • Active listening gives you leverage. When you understand people you can use your knowledge to speak to what they need, and also get what you want.
  • Active listening makes you smarter. The fastest way to expand your emotional IQ skills and to get unstuck when dealing with common life challenges, is to listen. It’s a simple way to boost your success in all areas of life.

So, let me ask you again: Are you a good listener?

Find out now by doing a quick listening audit on yourself, against the most common listening pitfalls listed below. Then read on to learn four simple tips you can use today to be a better listener.

The six most common listening pitfalls

We’re all guilty of them each pitfall from time to time, though you will find that you identify most with one. Which listening style is dominant for you?:

#1: The Anxious Listener

When you’re in conversation, do you find yourself overly concerned with how you’re doing? Do you wonder: What does the other person really think of me? Or, What should I say now to sound intelligent?

When you’re caught up in thoughts of how you’re being perceived it takes you out of the conversation. It becomes about you not the topic you are discussing or what’s going on with the other person.

#2: The Analyzer

Do you approach most conversations with an intention to critique and provide your expertise to the other person, to solve what they are dealing with? Are you always looking to offer advice?

As the Analyzer you’re more interested in diagnosing or playing the role of therapis than you are of listening. If you take a “here’s what you should do approach” to your conversations without being asked for this kind of input, you might be an Analyzer.

#3: The “I’m not listening but I sure look like I am” listener

The easiest way to spot this type of listener is from noticing their emphasized body language. Expressive eyes. Excessive smiling and exaggerated nods of the head.

If this is you, you make a real effort to show you’re engaged in your conversations. Though, in many cases you’ve got a hidden agenda. You unconsciously drive the conversation in a specific direction.

This listening style is classic in the media where interviewers are trying to get the right answers in a short amount of time and look genuinely interest for the camera, but are preoccupied with the internal dialog in their head.

#4: The Ego-Centered Listener

This listening style is best illustrated with an example:

Person A says: “I’m so frustrated I woke up with a cold today. I’ve been coughing all morning and my nose is stuffed!”

Person B says: “You know what, I’m getting a cold too. It’s no fun. I’m going to have a tea to make myself feel better. I hate being sick.”

This type of listener always responds with their experience of what is going on. They don’t listen or empathize with the person they are speaking to. They tend to always direct the conversation back to themselves.

#5: The Too-Active Listener

Have you ever had the experience of being fully committed to listening to someone and you’re so focused on listening, that you find yourself not listening?

This often happens when people learn to be better listeners and they focus on all the things they should be doing – making eye contact, nodding their head, paraphrasing – and lose their ability to just be. To do the one thing they are supposed to do.

#6: The “wait did you say something?” Listener

Are you constant multi-tasker? When people speak to you, do you stop what you’re doing and give them your undivided attention? Or, do you maintain conversations while you’re focused on other activities and barely notice you’re talking to someone else.

This type of listener often messes up simple instructions or interrupts the person they are talking to mid-sentence with a “wait, what did you just say?” or “I missed that”.

What it feels like to truly listen…

Listening is not a passive skill as many people think it is. On the contrary, it’s highly active. In fact, if you’re listening properly, you might feel tired after a deep conversation. It takes energy, attention and focus to listen like a master.

It also requires throwing out any agenda you have when you listen. Forgetting about yourself and being fully engaged in the experience of the person you are talking to.

When you truly listen you lose yourself. You find yourself in a dance of conversation where you no longer think. It’s similar to the feeling of playing a piece of music on a instrument that you’ve learned to play without the music, or following a dance routine you’ve learned, without thinking about the steps.

If you want to be a better listener here are four simple steps you can immediately to increase your effectiveness:

Four pro listening tips

Step 1: Amplify your interest

Listen like you care about the topic you’re conversing about even when you don’t. Make an effort to take a deep interest in the person you’re speaking to. If you don’t care initially, this will easily dissipate when you bring your full attention to the conversation. Find something in what the are saying that is of interest. Engage with them and explore the topic.

How to listen like a proStep 2: Let go of your internal dialogue

Listening like an expert requires you let go of what you want to say when it pops into your mind. Walk into your conversations without an agenda.

Stop driving the conversations.  Really listening means giving up what you want to say over and over (and over!) so you can hear what the other person has to say. 

Step 3: Respeak

Respeak is a technique of periodically saying back what you just heard to the person who just said it to you. It’s effective because:

  1. It allows you to ensure you got the correct message.
  2. It shows them that you heard them.
  3. You hear the message again and then you know what to say back to those people.
  4. This is extra effective when you are in a stressful or heated conversation.

Step 4: Learn how to read and use body language

Sometimes your body language sends the wrong message. Learning body language helps to express your engagement and like of the person you’re speaking to. It also helps you interpret what other people are saying to you beyond the words coming from their mouth.

Try the techniques above. They are foolproof ways to steer clear of the common listening pitfalls.

You’ll be shocked what can occur when you start to deeply listen to people. You will  feel what they feel. You’ll start to get caught up in experiences with them. And you’ll learn about the people in your life profoundly.

People will feel heard by you, and they will feel understood and be grateful that someone is finally listening to them. They will want to be around you more. They will tell others how incredible you are and you’re likeability will expand.

CLICK HERE: Watch a video tutorial on the four steps of active listening, led by ALC founder Kay Walker

How to be likeable

How to be likeable …How to become the most sought after person in the room

How to be likeable

Learn the habits of exceptionally likeable people

Learn how to be an exceptionally likeable person…

It’s a scientifically proven fact that all people unconsciously answer two questions when they meet someone for the first time:

  1. Do I trust this person?
  2. Do I respect this person?

All people do this. When we trust, we feel safe. It’s linked to our base survival needs.

So where do you think you fall on the likeability scale? Think about for a moment.

Even if you self-rate fairly well, you are going to want to up your game in establishing trust and credibility with people you want to build relationships with. If you want to know how to be likeable – and for people to see that you are a trustworthy and credible person, who they must get to know – then you have found the right resource.

To cut to the chase and get our downloadable magic laws of likability,  it’s free here. Or grab our People Magnet Formula ebook on Amazon. (TIP: Free to Amazon Prime members.)

Or read on…

Here are some things you can do to learn how to be likeable:

How to be liked as soon as someone meets you

1. First and foremost, you need to be great with you

Likeable people are charismatic, engaging and curious.

Likable people are charismatic, engaging and curious.

Consider that your relationship with yourself is your foundation to everything. If you don’t trust or believe in yourself than no one else will. Likable people like themselves!

So, focusing on building and nourishing a great relationship with you is paramount for your success in all areas of life.

When you’re good with you, people will feel your vibe. They’ll feel they can trust you immediately. You’ll exude confidence and be someone other people like to be around.

2.Do what you say you’ll do like it’s a law

Honor your word. When you tell someone you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time or do something, DO IT!

When a challenge arises and you can’t do what you said you’d do, as soon as you realize the issue, communicate about it and re-promise. Be someone people can depend on because it’s rare. It’s a simple way to immediately show that you’re someone others can count on.

3.Use your body to express warmth and approachability

Use body language signals to express that you’re inviting and friendly. Don’t cross your arms or legs. Smile. When you’re listening to people lean in or nod your head to show you’re listening to them.

And dress polished too. You may also want to consider you’re unique style because they way you dress attracts specific people.

4.Be hyper-curious

The secret to how to be likeable is to be charismatic. Charisma is a quality unique to likeable people.They get highly engaged in others and they focus on them. Let people you’re with lead the conversation. When they speak, be highly interested and engage them. Make them feel as if what they are saying is magical. Not in a fake way. Really find something intriguing in what they are saying and get curious about it. Listen carefully. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is fascinating. Find out what makes them tick. They will walk away feeling listened to and experience that you really care – and they will like you.

5.Be authentic and truthful

Great people can easily detect liars and inauthenticity. So to learn how to be liked, one of the traits you need to take on is be open and honest. There’s nothing to hide.

Admit to your mistakes when you make them. We all make mistakes and when you are honest about them, you show you’re someone that can be trusted. Tell on yourself. Here’s a quick example: “Not very many  people know this, but I was fired from my first  job. But I kind of deserved it.  After that I smartened up. But what I learn from that was…”

Use these five tactics and you’ll be instantly likeable.

And, if you’re someone who wants to be seen as extraordinary in business and life you’ll want to grab this free PDF guide: 11 Laws of Likeability. It’ll have you make incredible first and lasting impressions with everyone you meet.

How to be liked

Indecisiveness

Are you busy or productive?

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Time to check-in with yourself: how is your time management?

Are you doing things that forward what’s important to you in life? Are you working towards achieving specific milestones? Are you continually expanding yourself?

Bottom line is: Are your actions INTENTIONAL?

Being busy is good if it’s productive. But some people hide from really living life by keeping busy. Some people fill their time with activities to show the world they are liked, valued and are “doing important things”.

Spend your time wisely. It’s the most precious thing you have.

Be with people you love to be with. Do work that inspires you and forwards a career you love. Do things that make you smile and feel good.

Live with purpose.

For free tools and formulas that help you build the life of your dreams join awesome life club.

how to love yourself unconditionally

How to love yourself unconditionally: 4 strategies

Besides the obvious fact that you have to be with you for life, loving yourself is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of living an extraordinary life. Below, you’ll learn how to love yourself unconditionally using four easy strategies.

Loving yourself is also a critical aspect of being likable. It’s crucial if you want to attract great people into your life. People instinctively and unconsciously like to be around people that love themselves. They exude confidence and occur as natural leaders.

When you are settled in who you are — in other words, you love yourself unconditionally — you present to others as a confident force who is passionate about life. (see also: How to improve self-esteem)how to love yourself unconditionally

You also show up as someone who stands for what you believe in. What I mean by this, is that you express your opinions, and you do it in a way that aren’t a put off to others.

You don’t waiver when other people think differently than you on certain topics. You believe in yourself and you follow your truth. And, when you really want something you are unstoppable in pursuing it.  

Being good with you is a crucial component of your likeability factor too. It’s something you should nurture and tend to. Like any relationship it takes work. It requires that you actively commit to learning how to: Manage and set aside negative thoughts about yourself when you have them; honor your strengths and greatest traits, and; treat yourself with kindness and respect. How to love yourself unconditionally is not difficult. But it takes conscious effort.

People will sense when you don’t love yourself. It will affect their desire to want to be around you. Here are some simple steps you can take to have a great relationship with you.

How to love yourself unconditionally

Spend Time with Yourself

When you spend time alone, you can hear your thoughts. You can be silent and listen to what you are telling you and what you know you need. Listen and honor what that inner voice says. I recommend having a dedicated “me time” date every week.

In addition, you may want to start a practice of mirror work. This is a daily ritual where you stand in front of the mirror, hang out with yourself, and tell yourself you’re awesome.

Many people have difficulty being with themselves in the mirror. With continued practice of doing this for as little as two minutes a day within as little as a week you will experience a tremendous boost of confidence. This will translate to increased results in all areas of your life.

Honor Your Inner Voice

All people have an instinct, a sixth sense, for knowing what they need. Part of loving yourself means honoring your little voice. When it tells you to do something, reflect on what it’s saying.

When you listen regularly you will hear recurring themes. Honor your voice by doing what it tells you. This is especially true when something nags at you and continues to speak to you.

Feed Your Ego

It’s very important you feed the ego part of yourself. This is the selfish part of you. It’s the part that wants that new outfit when you’re out shopping, or to eat that piece of cake.

It’s crucial you feed your ego regularly. If you don’t — if you starve your desires — this self-denial will bite you in the butt. One day you’ll mentally collapse or have might have a mini-breakdown. You have to indulge in your healthy desires. (Even if the occasional piece of cake is unhealthy, it’s health to indulge.)

Use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time do what is sensible and what is good for versus what you feel like doing. 20% of the time indulge in the things you want and desire for no reason.

Don’t feel bad about doing this. It’s important. If you don’t indulge on regular basis you will force yourself into an unhealthy state of desire. Not honoring the ego will have it turn against you.

Ever seen a dieter starve themselves for weeks on kale and then one day lose their mind and blow through all the food in their kitchen cupboards sniffing out every sugary crumb? This is the kind of situation you want to avoid.

Positive Self Talk

Every human has a constant negative voice that runs in their head. When your internal voice says negative things do you tell it to “shut up”? Sometimes you just have to do this.

If you have trouble telling yourself you’re awesome and avoiding your negative self talk, having a weekly date with yourself and doing mirror work with positive affirmations, is even more important of practice.

If there are times where your negative self talk becomes unbearable, you may want to have someone in your life tell you you’re full of BS. Really. Take control of the negative voice. Thank it for sharing and tell it to go stuff it. It will never go away, but you can learn to dominate it.

Some people think that loving yourself is not easy. Some don’t think twice about it. It depends how you were raised. Who you role models were. And what kind of parenting you had.

No one teaches you to actively love yourself. It’s not something we’re taught to do. But it’s the most important thing. And it can be learned. You can overcome a life of not loving yourself. Regardless of how old you are today. And the sooner you start to do it, the sooner you’ll get good at it. And that’s when you will transform and life will suddenly start to become easier. It is actually a bit of a miracle.

This skill is critical when it comes to your ability to be a business partner, friend, a parent and especially a spouse. If you don’t love you, how can you love and appreciate others?

If you don’t love you, how can you live a life you love that does you justice? Loving yourself translates to massive power. When you can get to that place life becomes really easy. And success will come naturally in every part of your life.

It’s not like you just wake up and suddenly love yourself. It’s like any relationship – it takes work. Somedays it’s harder to love yourself than others. With practice and a commitment to it you will become a master. Do the work. You will reap the benefits.

Let’s talk about specifics. Here is a simple exercise.

  1. Close your eyes and clear your mind for a few seconds.
  2. Breathe deeply.
  3. Now and think about how awesome you are. You can even say in your head to yourself: “I am awesome.” You can list the reasons why, if you like.
  4. Then listen.
  5. Soon, your inner critic will voice its opinion. It might occur like doubt. Or it may ridicule you: “This is a dumb exercise.” or…”You actually believe this crap?” Or it may immediately say. No you are not. Remember the time that you…[it will then tell you what you did that was not awesome].
  6. Notice what it says. If it is complimentary, thank it. (It might, but probably won’t.) If it is not complimentary, thank it for its opinion. Or if it’s nasty. Tell it to shut up. Discard all the reasons it gives you why it disagrees with you. Reaffirm why you are awesome.
  7. This may not be easy for some. That’s ok. It takes practice.
  8. If sometime comes up that you see is not awesome, forgive yourself. Acknowledge it. Something like…”Ok, yes I wasn’t awesome that time, but I am now and will be in future.”

If you’d like to incorporate a mirror work practice into your life or encourage yourself to think more positively about yourself, download and use this free audio pep talk tool and watch the video here.