How to Spend the First 30 Minutes of Your Day to Maximize Productivity

How you spend your morning makes or breaks your day.

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As entrepreneurs, we often work late into the night, only to roll out of bed the next morning, picking up where we left off. One day bleeds into the next, making it seem as if we’re always doing, doing, doing and searching for new and novel ways to do more.

The truth is, your desire to do more and get more done will lead you not toward greater productivity, but toward burnout, if you don’t take time each day to check in with yourself, and set your intention for how you want your day to proceed. Continue reading

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How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Are you working on clock time or ‘real’ time? Learn how to manage your day by understanding the difference with these 10 time management tips.

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Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you’ve taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I can’t get everything done I need to?”

The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t work.

Continue reading

How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

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You’re excited to start a business. Maybe you have an idea, or you’re just fascinated with the idea of launching and growing your own enterprise. You’re willing to take some risks, like leaving your current job or going without personal revenue for a while. But there’s one logistical hurdle stopping you: You don’t have much money.

On the surface, this seems like a major problem, but a lack of personal capital shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dreams. In fact, it’s entirely possible to start and grow a business with almost no personal financial investment whatsoever — if you know what you’re doing.

Continue reading

The Best Way to Improve from Failure Is to Feel the Pain

Dwelling on failure will actually help you improve your mindset, according to a study.

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What’s the best way to handle failure? Feel the pain.

That’s right, instead of simply recalling past mistakes and thinking about how to prevent them, a recent study found that going through the emotional pain of failing is the best approach for correcting your mistakes and preventing failures at a later time. Continue reading

Optimize Your Daily Schedule for Maximum Productivity — Here’s How

Highly successful entrepreneurs stay organized and accomplish a lot by following a routine. Are you one of them?

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There is one thing all highly successful business people do to stay organized and focused throughout the day: They all follow a work routine.

When you have a lot of tasks on your to-do list, you may feel overwhelmed, and find it a struggle even to get started. But having a routine provides structure to your day and allows you to get more done in less time.

As Stephen Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

More than 40 percent of time at work is spent unproductively, according to a study by Atlassian, but following a routine and putting a few strategies in place to organize your day can change that figure dramatically.

Here are six tips for improving your schedule and increasing your productivity.

Continue reading

Don’t Follow Your Passion: 4 Reasons Why Making a Business Out of Something You Love Is a Mistake

The best businesses don’t care about you or your passions.

MJS Miller, nws, sears, 1-2 millerI may not be the world’s most romantic person, but I am definitely realistic. And in the realm of business, a healthy dose of realism is helpful, especially when the majority of businesses fail.

This means that I have to spend a lot of time countering the idea that you should follow your passion into business.
Here are four reasons why you should not let your passion lead you into business ownership.
Continue reading

10 Quotes From John F. Kennedy on Leadership and Personal Growth

The 35th president of the United States

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John F. Kennedy, known for his charm and public speaking, is the youngest man — at 43 years old — and the first Roman Catholic ever elected to the office of the president. His life was cut short only three years later when he was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. Today, Americans remember him fondly as an inspirational figure who’s among the most beloved presidents in history.

To celebrate what would have been JFK’s 100th birthday on May 29, here are 10 inspirational quotes on leadership from the man who beckoned Americans, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” and tasked the nation with going to the moon. Continue reading

Three Reasons Why You Should Be Patient In Business

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It may be a bit of a generalization, but I don’t think that I’m out of line when I say that entrepreneurs, on balance, are an impatient bunch.

In order to build a successful business, you have to hustle and be somewhat of a hard-charger. Impatience, unsurprisingly, is a common byproduct of the entrepreneurial mindset.

I know that I certainly used to fall into this category. It was only after several years of running BodeTree that I came to realize that in business, patience truly is a virtue. Continue reading

Worrying is self-fulfilling; what to do instead

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Worrying is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Worry” causes the very thing you’re worried about, to actually happen.

When you’re backstage getting more and more anxious that your performance won’t be good, you’re implanting thoughts of second-guessing and fear that will arise during the performance. Instead, you should realize you’ve already done all the practice required, and mistakes don’t actually matter anyway.

Continue reading

5 Reasons Startups Fail

startupReason 1: Market Problems

A major reason why companies fail, is that they run into the problem of their being little or no market for the product that they have built. Here are some common symptoms:

There is not a compelling enough value proposition, or compelling event, to cause the buyer to actually commit to purchasing. Good sales reps will tell you that to get an order in today’s tough conditions, you have to find buyers that have their “hair on fire”, or are “in extreme pain”.   You also hear people talking about whether a product is a Vitamin (nice to have), or an Aspirin (must have).   Continue reading

10 Ways Smart People Stay Calm

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance.

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The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

If you follow my work, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless. Continue reading

Seven Employee Warning Signs

Over-stressed workers aren’t just bad for morale, they could be bad for business. Here’s how to deal with problem employees.

employess.pngThanks to recent economic woes, many people are struggling to keep their heads above water — both personally and professionally. At work, they’re likely doing the job of two or three people as employers seek productivity gains. Or maybe they’re worried about another round of layoffs. On the home front, concerns about foreclosures or even putting enough food on the table may be very real.

Such stressors may be bumping up problems in the workplace. Although many warning signs go unchecked amid the hectic pace of business, owners who keep a sympathetic eye on employees will be better prepared to manage issues that come up or even prevent them entirely.

Here are seven warning signs of problem employees and what to do about them: Continue reading

7 Keys to Making the Right Decision the First Time and Every Time

decision_making_process.jpgEvery entrepreneur has to be a decision-maker, even with information overload, emotional employees, angry customers and competitors hovering from every direction. Making a decision without thinking or over-thinking things to the point of no decision are both deadly in business. The challenge is to find the right balance and make good and timely decisions every time.

It’s a tough challenge. According to Ohio State researcher Paul Nutt, business decision-makers today fail about half the time on initial decisions for their organizations. Examples often cited include decisions which led to the demise of Pets.com, Excite, and WebVan. Although these cases involved strategic thinking, operational decision mistakes are even more frequent.

Much has been written about the thinking process of more successful decision-makers, including Warren Buffett and Elon Musk. Some reserve time daily for reflective thinking despite a busy and hectic schedule, while others use regular sabbaticals away from the office for a mental refresh. Yet they all seem to have similar thinking habits in their day-to-day decision making process. Continue reading

Which Accounting Software is Best for You?

7 quick tips for choosing the package that’s right for your business.

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When it comes to choosing the best accounting or bookkeeping software for your business, the good news is, you’ve got a lot of options. So how do you decide which one will work best for you? The answer depends on your business needs.

There are two main types of accounting software: industry specific and generic. While the industry specific options will offer more customizable features, it’s often more expensive to both purchase and obtain ongoing support. Generic software generally offers the best option for entrepreneurs because you’re able to save money on the front end by buying a less-expensive package as well as find less expensive, local, ongoing support to help you customize it to meet your specific business needs.

To help you choose the best accounting package for your business, here are a few specific things you need to consider while you’re doing your research: Continue reading

Financial Planning 101

Learn how to take control of your personal financial situation in eight easy steps.

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Most people have heard of the benefits of personal financial planning and want to better manage their personal finances. Yet it can seem so overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, this financial planning primer can help. It establishes priorities for anyone at any financial stage of life and lays out, in eight simple steps, just how to take control of your finances. Continue reading

How to Be a Master Communicator

There are more ways to communicate with employees than ever. Make sure you know how to use them all.

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Entrepreneurs need to communicate with investors, marketers, employees, influencers, programmers, customers and investors, among other people. All of these individuals have their own form of communicating, and speaking to them the wrong way could prove costly.

To succeed as an entrepreneur, understanding and mastering these different forms of communication is critical. Even if you feel that you’re an excellent communicator, you’ll probably benefit from brushing up on communication styles and techniques. Continue reading

7 Misconceptions About Entrepreneurship

You may expect that success will come fast (or not at all). You may see entrepreneurship as an easy way to get rich. But these assumptions are false.

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Entrepreneurship is romanticized in our culture, and it’s easy to see why: We live in a capitalistic society that values the creation of ideas, the unlimited potential of business and of course the prestige of attaining wealth and power.

On top of that, we have entrepreneurial celebrities like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg inspiring countless waves of new entrepreneurs striving to achieve the same level of success they did.

That is a good thing — mostly: Startups drive economic growth, and the entrepreneurial journey is valuable in almost any future application. However, too many young people (and people new to business ownership) end up being in over their heads because they believed in these common entrepreneurial misconceptions: Continue reading

A Quick Guide to Email Etiquette (Infographic)

More than 200 billion emails are sent every day — make sure yours stand out.

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Sending an email is something most of us do daily, yet even with all that practice, it’s still hard to achieve perfect email etiquette. Luckily, there are some quick and easy hacks to craft a courteous and professional email.

Start by writing an effective subject line, which means being specific, brief and to-the-point. Next, it’s important to open the conversation cordially — using “Dear” or “Hi” will make sure you don’t come off too blunt. You should also make your introduction personal, addressing the recipient by their first name (not a shortened version of it). Continue reading

Talent Is Overrated: Top 10 Habits Of Mentally Tough People

People with limitless determination always have enough talent to succeed.

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Regardless if you’re an entrepreneur, athlete, coach, artist or politician, we all must overcome hurdles and setbacks at some point in our lives. These challenges can seem insurmountable, but what separates the successful, or at least those on their way to becoming successful, is their resilience and confidence, not talent. Some call it grit. But, it’s most commonly known as mental toughness.

Over the past couple years I’ve realized that talent truly is overrated — it’s the mentally tough people who succeed in life. I’ve had to fight my way through losing a multi-million dollar business to starting another that is now thriving.

Sometimes you have to just push through. I’ve learned that there is no single factor, but those who possess these a few of the habits below are mentally tough people that can get through anything. Continue reading

5 Comfort-Crushing Tips to Reach Your Goals

When you think you’ve done all you can do, you’re just getting started.

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Most people imagine the life of a multi-millionaire serial entrepreneur to be comfortable and easy going. Those people aren’t imagining Jesse Itzler’s life.

Itzler, an owner of the Atlanta Hawks, co-founder of Marquis Jets and pioneering partner behind Zico Coconut Water, will try almost anything as long as it’s bold, risky and hard. When Itzler felt his life drifting, he invited a Navy SEAL into his house for a month. Continue reading

Treat Failure Like a Scientist

failure.pngI recently had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Beck Tench. During our chat, Beck told me about an interesting shift in thinking that occurred while she worked at a science museum.

During her time there, Beck said that she learned how to treat failure like a scientist.

How does a scientist treat failure? And what can we learn from their approach?

Here’s what Beck taught me… Continue reading

How to Focus and Concentrate Better

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 Clyde Beatty taming a lion with a chair. (Image from Harvard Library.)

Clyde Beatty taming a lion with a Over a century ago, a lion tamer named Clyde Beatty learned a lesson that is so important that it impacts nearly every area of your life today.

What was that lesson?

Keep reading to find out what a lion tamer can teach you about how to focus, concentrate better, and live a healthier life. Continue reading

6 Expenses Most Entrepreneurs Fail to Prepare For

moneyRunning a business is expensive. When inexperienced entrepreneurs start planning for the launch and sustenance of their businesses, they naturally get lost in thought about the potential money they can make — the revenue coming in — rather than the expenses they’ll incur to keep the business running.

They often consider what it takes to get started, such as equipment costs, and cost bases for their main products, such as wholesale figures. But some expenses remain neglected.

 And that’s a mistake. It’s important to recognize these expenses in the planning phase, or they’ll present a nasty surprise down the road: Continue reading

Why Mindset Mastery Is Vital to Your Success

How you think directly affects the outcomes you produce.

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The single most important factor influencing a person’s success — whether personal or professional — is mindset. What you think about consistently has a direct impact on your behavior, and not the other way around. So, it’s important to get this fundamental ingredient right.

A seemingly small thing that makes a huge difference, mindset accounts for the primary distinction between those who succeed and those who do not. And, if you are serious about achieving success in any area of your life, you must learn to master yours.

Here are five key reasons why. Continue reading