Monday, December 31, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.31.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"All glory comes from daring to begin."

- Eugene F. Ware

Friday, December 28, 2012

How Not to Let Work Take Over Your Life



I'm sure you've heard (or maybe even live) the classic stereotype of a successful entrepreneur: He or she works hard, around the clock, until they reach success. While it's true that you have to be dedicated to your business to avoid failure, Zach Cutler, CEO of The Cutler Group, says that "getting consumed by your work isn't good for you or your business. Working too hard can be unhealthy, and your work will suffer as a result."

That means you have to figure out a way to balance your business/work and your life. Here are five steps Cutler shares to do just that:

  1. Maintain your boundaries. You must have a clearly defined boundary between your work and personal life. This goes for your daily routine and making time for yourself on the weekend. For instance, you could close your computer and leave your office at 6:00 every evening or choose not to work once your family gets home. When you separate work time from home time, you'll better associate your office with being productive and your home with rest and relaxation.
  2. Eat healthier. Junk food and fast food may seem like a quick fix to hunger since you can just grab something to go, wolf it down and be back to work quickly. However, a constant diet of junk is bad for your health and your productivity. According to some studies, eating balanced meals help increase concentration, and the chemicals found in foods like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower improve memory and retention. Just making a few small changes to your diet, like eating brown rice instead of white rice or wheat bread instead of white can give you more energy and get you ready to tackle your projects. 


For three more tips, check out my source here.

[Photo Credit]

Monday, December 24, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.24.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life."

- Jack Canfield

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Ideas for Bootstrapping Your Business

By Ali Brown



Of the hundreds of business owners I've worked with personally over the years, I see many of them get carried away with the "image" of entrepreneurship. They want the big team, the latest software, new computers, a pretty office and the like right off the bat. And many of them tell me they truly think they NEED them in order to make it.

Well, as someone who started her own business with less than $20 in my bank account, I can tell you, it's simply not true. In fact, I'd say it's a sabotaging thought that puts even more hurdles between you and success. Because let's face it, when you're first starting out, that's what those extra expense are.

So, if you're on a tight budget (and who isn't when they get started solo) then you need to, what we call, "BOOTSTRAP" your business. To "bootstrap" your business means to start on a small budget and use the revenues to reinvest in your company. In other words, it's following the philosophy that you don't spend the money before you make the money. It's a sensible way to make your dream of entrepreneurship a concrete reality, complete with an assistant, a sunny office, etc. : )

So, let's take a look at some easy ways you can do this...

1. Save on Rent. You'll save hundreds of dollars right up front by choosing to work from home. Just make sure you create a delegated workspace so you can be productive. Start with an old kitchen table if you must, like I did. But if you can, get a decent desk and chair.

If you don't do your best working from home, then set up in a corner at a local coffee shop. (Our Platinum head coach of the Millionaire Protege Club -- James Roche -- practically lives at Starbucks!). Or try your community library. Both of these options typically offer free or paid WiFi too. (Just make your phone calls outside, so you don't bother the other patrons. (And get the evil eye from the cranky old librarian. There's always one).

2. Don't Start Broke. Many people simply cannot focus without a steady paycheck. They have a vision of entrepreneurship, quit their job and spend so much time worrying about how they will survive, that it dampens their productivity and their business never makes it off the ground. So if you know you'd rather not completely uproot your life, then stay at your current gig and work on your business idea part time until you get a few clients, have saved enough to make a prototype of your product, etc. When I quit my full-time job, I did take a part-time job as a copy editor at an online news company. It was just 10 hours a week, and I didn't love it, but it covered the rent.
   
If you already left your gig, then focus on projects that will pay you the fastest and are the easiest to do. This will bring in money quickly and support your longer-term projects. (If you need some ideas, check out my 21 Cash Flow Strategies CD for solving a short-term cash crunch).

3. Think about your "ROI." This is your "Return on Investment," and when you're bootstrapping, you need to think about these three letters every time you make a purchase. Every business expense you make should somehow tie into your bottom line. So, for example, if you want the hot new smart phone and you're a few steps away from your landline most of the day, it's probably not worth the expense. But, if you travel a lot or are on the road throughout the day, it could help you be more responsive to clients and will likely bring you a good ROI.

4. Find Affordable Help. These days, it's easy to find quality workers online, from freelance virtual assistants to graphic designers. Hiring contract workers will save you a ton because you don't have to get involved with the complexities of hiring a full-time employee, setting up benefits, salary, setting up their workstations, etc. And it lets you hire help on an as-needed basis, which might be all you need when you're just starting out. Try www.assistu.com or www.craigslist.org to get started.

5. Barter. A really fun way to put your skills to use is to trade your services/products in exchange for others. A copywriter could write web copy for a graphic designer's online portfolio in exchange for a basic website. I know of massage therapists who barter free massages in exchange for haircuts at trendy salons. The opportunities are endless with this one! Just make sure you are working out an even deal. Most business barters I see end up with someone feeling they got the short end of the stick, and that's not fun.

6. Work Social Media. With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can quickly get the word out about your business without spending a dime. It might take hours a week, but it's an ROI that will pay you back if executed properly. (If you need a step-by-step guide on how to use social media profitably, check out my digital course "Social Media Bootcamp" and learn how to use the top 10 free online tools to gain new clients fast).

7. Get to Know Your Finances. Keep a solid eye on your income and outflows, using a simple accounting program and online business banking. Track your projects with invoices, so you can follow up when necessary to get paid for the work you've done.

Another advantage to being truly aware of the money you have is that you can start to find "hidden" money and decide if you want to use it to invest in your business  Many people use savings, stock, home equity or retirement accounts to fund a few startup business costs. The more interested you get in your net worth now, the more likely you'll be able to make it work for you.

Millionaire entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD "Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women" at www.AliBrown.com.

[Photo Credit]

Monday, December 17, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.17.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"The secret of success in life is for man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."

- Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, December 10, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.10.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"The first principle of success is desire -- knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seed."

- Robert Collier

Friday, December 7, 2012

Self-Defense for the Slasher Lifestyle

By Leslie Forman



Do you ever find yourself on a client call, while simultaneously organizing basketball practice, brainstorming a blog post and daydreamng about lunch? You might be a slasher in need of some serious self-defense.

The lifestyle of a slasher -- a term popularized by Marci Alboher in her book One Person/Multiple Careers -- can be invigorating. As a guest lecturer/researcher/translator/web designer/writer, I love playing many roles and connecting with people from many industries and countries.

But it can also be stressful. When you work with people who have committed a larger part of their own "pie" to a certain task, sometimes they demand more than you have to give. Deadlines can overlap. Weekends can disappear. And the slashes that let you use your diverse skills and interests can become slashes that slice into your sanity, stability and mental health.

The word "ninja" gets used in a lot of discussions about working independently -- and it makes complete sense. To successfully sustain a slasher lifestyle, you must take self-defense seriously, just like a martial arts pro. But here, self-defense doesn't mean preparing for physical attacks, it means building and maintaining a strong core, to give you the agility and flexibility to rise to the slasher challenge.

Give these slasher self-defense techniques a try:
Create a day-righting ritual. As someone who might work on several projects in one day, how do you start your morning on the right foot?

Try "day-righting," a term coined by Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone. He says it's "The 15-Minute Secret for Individual Effectiveness:"

Almost all of you, I'm willing to bet, have a "morning ritual." But how many of you have created one by design? This is so important for individual effectiveness, for everyone but especially for entrepreneurs who work independently or at home. 
I first became aware of this idea when interviewing a pair of salesmen for Who's Got Your Back. Together, they did an early morning gym session followed by a brainstorm, a process they called "day-righting." After a month of this routine, the team told me they saw dramatic improvements in their business and their lives.

Ferrazzi goes on to suggest exercise, journaling, meditation and breathing as day-righting options.

My day-righting ritual has consisted of coffee and newspaper reading with my partner, followed by a quick gym workout, a hearty home-cooked breakfast, and then going into the office to start the workday. In the days when I've followed at least part of this ritual, I've been able to balance my slashes. The days when I've skipped the newspaper, workout and breakfast to immediately sit down in front of my computer, a few hours later I realize that my neck is sore and I've been clicking around on the computer without getting much done.

Be conscious of stressors in your environment. Is your office filled with the sounds of colleagues talking on the phone, other people's music or buses and honking outside? Even low-level noise has a subtle but insidious effect on our health and well-being. The best solutions can be the simplest: earplugs, headphones, and if possible, choosing a quieter place to work.

Do one thing at a time. If you're a surgeon/violinist, you obviously cannot pursue both slashes at the same time (at least not if you want to have any success at either!). But if you're an event coordinator/editor, the distinction between might be less obvious.

When your slashes involve the same tools, you might find yourself trying to reserve a room and edit a blog post at the same time, perhaps while also reading the news and chatting with a friend. This makes each task take longer, and you're more likely to make mistakes.

There are dozens of tools to help. For writing, I like OmmWriter, Microsoft Word's Full Screen mode and Gmail pop-outs, which let me write an email without having to look at all my other emails or all my friends who might want to chat.

Say no. The main reason to pursue a slasher lifestyle is to do what you love. But if you're overwhelmed with commitments, it's time to scale back. Once a week or so, perhaps as part of your day-righting ritual, make a list of your priorities and consider whether the way you have been spending your time fits with those priorities. There will always be more events and projects that you can possibly commit yourself to. Learning to say no is perhaps the most important self-defense tactic of all.

What about you? What self-defense tactics work best for your slasher lifestyle?

Leslie Forman is entrepreneur connecting Chile, China and California. She blogs at Beyond Chile's Single Story.

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work -- this isn't your parents' career advice blog. Be Brazen. 

[Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos]

Monday, December 3, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.3.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure."

- Mary Kay Ash
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