Posts

Ben Franklin is just one of many commenting on the connection between learning and entrepreneurship. What are you favorites?

The best entrepreneurship is a dynamic merging of risk-taking, creativity, collaboration, imagination, and curiosity. To manage and elevate these characteristics, entrepreneurs need to constantly, steadily, and voraciously learn. The higher entrepreneurs build stock in these qualities, the higher their companies and fortunes can rise. There is a wealth of philosophy about education and entrepreneurship, and a goldmine of rich language describing it. These quotes are for, about, and inspiring to entrepreneurs with a boundless appetite for knowledge:     

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”—Benjamin Franklin

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities — that’s training or instruction — but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.”—Thomas Moore

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”—William Pollard

“For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”—Dorothy L. Sayers

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”—Jim Rohn

“As an entrepreneur, you never stop learning.”—Daymond John

“Failure is a great teacher, and I think when you make mistakes and you recover from them and you treat them as valuable learning experiences, then you’ve got something to share.”—Steve Harvey

“All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think.”—Sir Ken Robinson

“Growing up in a group home, and with an undiagnosed learning disability to boot, the odds of success were not on my side. But when I joined the high school football team, I learned the value of discipline, focus, persistence, and teamwork — all skills that have proven vital to my career as a C.E.O. and social entrepreneur.”—Darell Hammond

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”—John W. Gardner

“It is a truism that is nonetheless rarely acknowledged in formal education that failure is a necessary step on the road to success and innovation.”—Laura Fleming

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”—Steve Jobs

“It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”—Mark Cuban

“Since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare a man for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.”—Peter F. Drucker

“The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” —Marva Collins

These are, of course, only some of the quotes concerning learning and entrepreneurship. What do you see as the connection between a thirst for knowledge and a hunger to innovate? Is this inspiring? Do you have any favorites you would like to add to the list? We would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.

 

Lifestyle entrepreneurs want to build solutions and make money, but they feel their most valuable resource is time.

Often, when you think of an entrepreneur, you think of someone who is passionate about building solutions, works tirelessly, and primarily measures the success of their organization in terms of money. But money is not the only reward available. Another resource is time. Lifestyle entrepreneurs want to build wealth, but not at the cost of time. Time to travel. Time to have a family. Maybe to visit European cathedrals, hang out on a beach, or take a little mountain bike ride.  

Lifestyle entrepreneurs make their living online. All they need is a laptop and a secure connection to start MMO—making money online. By leveraging technology, these entrepreneurs are able to leap traditional business barriers. They understand the power of the web and build potent, efficient businesses that focus on their areas of expertise and outsource everything else.

Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek is now considered an essential read for people who want to work to live. Ten years ago he suggested that entrepreneurs can have both financial and life freedom. Living more and working less, he calls it. But you can’t just dive in. Here are some tips:

Getting Your Feet Wet

For those looking to get started, it’s important to leverage opportunities related to your skills and passions. Don’t chase down ideas that are unrelated to what you love to do and what you are good at. Secondly, start slowly. Test a few social media ads, then immediately begin revising based on the response you get. Constantly tweak your product mix and ads, finding resources to help you find new ways to drive traffic to your site.

Every Builder Needs the Right Tools

There are easily accessible platforms available—the best offer cloud-based global logistics and supply chain tools. These platforms allow you to generate millions of dollars without the overhead of in-house production and distribution operations. Merchants can utilize drop-shipping platforms that enlist suppliers that take orders and directly ship to customers. Other services search for specialized manufacturers though product sourcing platforms.

Feel The Power…of Analytics

Entrepreneurs can generate granular data analytics to get precise information about who their consumers are and what and when they are buying. Perhaps the most attractive thing about lifestyle entrepreneurship is that, with access to this data, anyone can create a thriving business. And that business might pay huge dividends. Of time. Which you may need to recuperate. Especially if you take too many mountain bike rides like these.   

Maybe you hate your job, or maybe you see opportunities where others see problems. Are you an entrepreneur? Have you seen the entrepreneurial signs?

There are entrepreneurial signs, sure. Business leaders are a little bit, well, different. Do you think you’re one? Below are two separate types of entrepreneurs. Which one are you? And which type has the best chance of making it?

Entrepreneur Type #1

You were the kid with the lemonade stand that got bigger and more ambitious every year. Or, you had a way of grabbing someone’s attention before they could slam the door in your face—hawking magazines, cookies, or candy door-to-door. Maybe you were someone who just saw the world differently: diving headfirst into software, science, or math problems like a baby otter into water.

Entrepreneur Type #2

You’ve always been nagged by a great idea for a business, an innovation so brilliant you haven’t run it by anyone, because you can never be too careful. Or, you want to open a coffee shop at a corner with no competition for blocks in either direction, but you don’t like people or even, truth told, coffee very much. Or, you work in a job you hate and dream of being your own boss, and jump at the first entrepreneurial opportunity that comes up, without knowing much about the industry or running a business.

What’s the main difference? Type #2s see a single, narrow opportunity—for themselves usually. Type #1s see the world as an opportunity. That’s not to say that all Type #1s will succeed and that all Type #2s will fail. Economic winds push opportunity unsteadily, and it’s hard to say what mix of personality and ideas will be successful.  

Need more help? How many of these boxes can you check off?

  • You tried 9 to 5 and it made you insane.
  • “I know more than my boss” isn’t a mere belief, it’s imprinted in your DNA.
  • You’re too busy seeing opportunities to see problems.
  • You were raised in a family of entrepreneurs.
  • When you dive into something you don’t come up until you’ve figured it out.
  • Solutions. They’re, like, your thing, man.
  • After a month at a new job, you’re a truly awful employee.
  • You connect with people and they naturally look to you for advice.
  • Job security makes you feel nervous, itchy and in urgent need of an exit.
  • Driven 24/7 to eat better, get stronger, play harder, and be better.

The Game Changer

Of course, some of these are the classic traits for business leaders, while others might just be characteristics of bad employees. But, big combinations of these traits sort of scream: entrepreneur.

No one is saying that strengths can’t make up for weaknesses. Leadership and an ability to connect can be learned for those who are expert solution builders. But there is little hope of future business success for undriven, non-creative people who mostly hate their jobs and the people around them.

There is one thing we haven’t mentioned yet, the game changer—passion. Passion can get an entrepreneur through the bleakest moments. Only those who are all-in, and fully committed and driven, can take the next step, make the next phone call, and close the next deal when the bank account is shot and it’s dark and rainy outside. When most people are ready to walk away, the entrepreneur is just getting started.  

Astrology may or may not help your business, but you will be successful if are able to learn how to focus your energies.

The world can be a steady stream of endless distractions. Even if you’re just average, you check your phone 80 to 150 times per day. And maybe you spend more time than you wanted on Insta because your friend’s adorable bunny led you down a 45 minute rabbit hole. You binge all of The Haunting of Hill House over the weekend—and somehow that is less scary than looking at your finances. Which you put off doing. Again.

We know. We get it.  

But here’s the thing. If you are going to get that business off the ground, you’re going to have to learn to do one thing really well. Because it’s not who you know. It’s not where you’re from. No, it’s not about your astrological sign, either. Okay, maybe a little. The main thing, though, that sets the most successful entrepreneurs apart is their ability to focus. And, here is the secret part: you don’t have to be born with focus — you can learn it.

Of course, there are books and coaches out there that will sell you some focus. But, honestly you can just DIY it. It just requires an openness and some discipline. Alright, a lot of discipline. But it’s not like you have to be all work and no play. In fact, that’s the beauty. Play is built in.

One system, designed by Dan Sullivan, is made up of Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days. All are essential for the greater good, and that good is doing what entrepreneurs do best: innovating, building solutions, and adding value to the lives of clients and employees.

Focus Days

On these days, you spend most of your time doing what you do best. Usually, these are the days entrepreneurs live for. If you are a builder, you build. If you are a writer, you write. If you are launching a business, liftoff! It’s the time to play to your strengths. One practitioner of the system, Danielle LaPorte, makes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday her days to focus. She doesn’t answer the phone or email. The block in the middle of the week allows her time to build momentum and generate the work that not only makes her happiest, but also makes her the most money.

Buffer Days

These are the days you lay the infrastructure for focus days. This is when you do the have-to’s such as meetings, planning sessions, proposals — everything that allows full attention on focus days. LaPorte does this on Mondays and Fridays, starting and ending her week with the tasks, emails and phone calls that get in the way of the heart-singing stuff. For her, Monday and Friday are like stretching out before and after an exhilarating workout. It feels good to do even mundane tasks because you have a sense of purpose.

Free Days

Free Days are key. And they have rules. They have to be at least 24 hours with 100 percent exclusion of work worries. You get proper sleep. You do activities that renew and refresh. LaPorte lets it roll on weekends—“play, party, veg, nest.” She also holds Sundays especially sacred. Giving up her computer, she reads for inspiration and connects with friends. Sullivan says these recharge days are as important as any others. Without regularly unplugging, systems get overheated, and that’s when mistakes are made.

Focusing energy and time with a disciplined, uber-productive system is a way to take your entrepreneurship to the next level. It’s totally up to each person to decide if setting a date for your business launch should be a Focus Day or a Buffer Day. Also, make sure not to do it on a day when Mercury is in retrograde, though you better have “Mars, Jupiter and Saturn direct.” But don’t do it on a Free Day. Remember, planets and stars are fine on your free days, but no business!       

Climbing mountain of success is straightforward for starting your own business, right? Separate fiction and fact for entrepreneurs.

Many people have ideas about what it is and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. If you have chosen to become a business leader, it is critically important to understand the difference between fiction and fact when it comes to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:

A Straightforward Climb Up Mountain of Success?

Fiction: Successful entrepreneurs have climbed straight up the mountain of success without faltering. Fact: Though some have higher business success rates than others, no one climbs straight up the mountain without taking some pretty gnarly falls, either because they lost their balance or they got pushed. The difference is that successful entrepreneurs have the intelligence to quickly understand what happened and the courage to immediately start climbing again.

Being Boss Means Being Free?

Fiction: Being your own boss gives you total freedom. Fact: Being accountable for the direction of organizations and responsible for the well-being of employees and clients often means that going where you want, when you want is impossible. You are free to follow your intuition, which is a great freedom, but your time is highly constrained since people are counting on you for solutions so that they can live well.

Being CEO Means Never Being Alone?

Fiction: Entrepreneurs are part of large groups, surrounded by people. Fact: Though this is true, and, in fact, surrounding yourself with great people is one of the most important keys to successful entrepreneurship, being an entrepreneur can be an isolating experience. When you are starting your venture, you may be an army of one, pushing things forward with no one to tell you whether it is a good idea or not. And, even when things are up and running, making decisions requires an individuality that can be isolating as well.

Money Is What Gets You Started?

Fiction: You need money to make money. Fact: It is a great head start, of course, to begin a venture with resources. More resources, on average, produce better outcomes. But it is not necessary. In fact, if you can find your way through those initial stages, lessons learned by getting over the top with limited resources can sustain a venture into maturity. Someone with inner resources is always preferable to someone who only has outside resources. Building from the inside out makes you stronger in the long term.

Getting Rich = Success?

Fiction: Being successful is all about getting rich. Fact: Though getting rich can serve as an indicator of success, it is just one. And, no doubt, money can help get you through the rough patches. But, as you move toward to a more mature understanding of the world,  having family, clients and employees who are living better lives because of you is truly what marks success.

Born to Be an Entrepreneur?

Fiction: Entrepreneurs are born successful. Fact: Most folks looking from the outside see a confident leader and assume they were overnight successes. They don’t see the level of focus needed, the grinding responsibilities. Or, the  blood, sweat, and tears it took to get to that big office. They don’t know how the venture started. Without fanfare, a single individual pushed an idea that hardly anyone seemed too excited about.  

If you feel the call to start your own business—if you have killer ideas and the persistence to move them forward—then separating fiction and fact is one of the most important things any entrepreneur can do.

Entrepreneur in an empty office for a startup or failure and bankruptcy

Entrepreneurs are no dummies, but that doesn’t mean that they always do what’s best for their company. Certain actions, habits, and behaviors can not only harm a business but also lead to its eventual downfall. Failure can be a useful tool for entrepreneurs but some mistakes are avoidable, unnecessary, and easily prevented with a little foresight and self-awareness.

Excessive Ego

As an entrepreneur and business owner, having a healthy ego can be a good thing. It can grant you self-respect and confidence in your leadership and decision-making. Excessive ego, however, can be your biggest enemy. It can lead to over-confidence that causes you to miss opportunities, micromanage, and think there’s nothing new to learn. Even worse, it can make you think that every decision revolves around you — a dangerous mistake. At the end of the day, everything should revolve around your business — your employees, your customers, and how to best bring value to everyone.

Hiring Friends Over More Qualified Candidates

Part of the great thing about being a business owner is that you get to call the shots — and what would be better than being able to work with your friends or loved ones all day? Hmm, maybe working with professionals who are actually qualified for the position? Nepotism certainly exists in business and while it may seem like a great idea to work with friends or family, it can often be a hindrance. Not only can the emotional ties to these people affect decision-making, but there could also be far more qualified people out there who could provide more value to your business. Besides, nepotism generally creates resentment among other staff members. It’s best to avoid anything that could cause a conflict of interest or hint at favoritism.

Giving Up When Things Get Tough

When things get tough, it can be difficult not to wonder if it’s time to just quit. There may certainly be times when a business is faltering to the point of no return, and it’s just time to cut your losses. However, it’s also important to avoid discouragement over issues that can potentially be overcome. Ultimately, it’s important to determine whether or not your venture is worth it; does it add value to your life or seem to be an endless drain? Like most things in life, achieving goals doesn’t often happen linearly — or exactly to plan.

Assuming 

What’s the old saying about assuming? Assuming rarely works out well, particularly in regards to business matters. You can have a stellar six months of revenue and growth, only to be hit by a dry spell where you’re scrambling for clients or sales. If you assume that there will be no lean times, that growth will automatically come organically, that your business is 100 percent rock-solid, you’re ignoring numerous factors that could potentially ruin a business. A safer route would be to plan; plan for growth and how to achieve it. Plan for ways to garner more business in periods where things slow down. Plan for contingencies. Be forward-thinking and solutions-driven. Intel tech legend and businessman Andy Grove said, “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

What is your entrepreneurial DNA? Are you a Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator? Understanding strengths and weaknesses determines outcomes.

 

You have an amazing innovation you want to bring to market. Your innovation, though, is only one factor in this statement. The other one is you. Your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur will intensely impact your ability to succeed. Investors are increasingly looking to back entrepreneurs whose strengths match up with their projects. One portfolio manager of high-growth international companies, Joe Abraham, calls these characteristics your entrepreneurial DNA, which he breaks down into four quadrants: Builder, Specialist, Opportunist, and Innovator.

Builder

Do you excel at constructing an organization from the foundation up? If so, you might be a Builder. These entrepreneurs pride themselves on their strategic abilities, seeing exactly what needs to happen to get to a specific goal, staying ahead of the competition at every step. They love the battle and love winning even more. Often, Builders are described as calculating, ruthless, cold, focused, and driven.

Specialist

Specialists enter an industry and spend the rest of their lives becoming an expert. They are strong on knowledge and relationships in their specific corner of the business world, but can struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Specialists are great at starting small, family businesses, but, when it comes to scaling, lack the vision and broader experience to succeed.

Opportunist

Are you a dreamer? Do you pride yourself on your limitless imagination? Opportunists dream big, go big, and, when they crash, go down in flames big. When you find yourself, for good or bad, diving into projects more quickly than is expedient, you are flying your Opportunist flag. Impatient, these entrepreneurs are constantly looking to be in the right place at the right time to make money.

Innovator

The strength of the Innovator is to work meticulously and tirelessly to perfect their invention, product, system, recipe, or product. Their weakness is that they focus so much on their innovations, they miss opportunities because the realities of the business environment are less engaging than innovation breakthroughs and solutions.    

There is no explicit formula for success. Each of these types of entrepreneurs have strengths and weaknesses that powerfully impact the likelihood of successfully bringing an innovation to market. Investors, more than anything, are looking for execution rather than an idea. For investors, when a Builder teams up with an Innovator, the potential for success is unlimited.

Even if you don’t believe in narrowly defined characteristics determining outcomes, it is critically important to fully understand your strengths and weaknesses. To bring your innovation to market, you will have to build a team that makes up for your weaknesses. The success of your business may depend upon your ability to look inward, before you start looking outward.  

Entrepreneurs distinguish themselves by linking together qualities such as being positively engaged, true grit, and open to change and learning

No knock on business owners, but not all people who own businesses are entrepreneurs. Like entrepreneurs, business owners risk more, take on more responsibility, and have more control over their work lives than employees. The difference, then, is the motivation. Entrepreneurs are not simply trying to make a living, but measure themselves by their achievement and success. As Peter Drucker, one of the founders of modern management, says, an entrepreneur is “someone who always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

And though not every entrepreneur is the same, there are core elements that many share. These qualities link together, forming chains of strength that entrepreneurs use to pull themselves forward. Here are a few:

Proactively Engaged

Successful entrepreneurs have the vision to initiate actions, playing offense instead of defense. Instead of doing the bare minimum, or even underperforming, they outwork, outhustle, and outthink their competitors. This proactiveness has entrepreneurs looking ahead to where they want to go, versus constantly being stuck in regret over where they’ve been.

True Grit

Is life a series of obstacles or learning opportunities? Your answer to this question might tell you if you are truly an entrepreneur. In your effort to build solutions to market needs, you will face endless vexing and seemingly unsolvable issues. If you rage and resist these challenges, you might want to find another line of work. Entrepreneurs are consistently adaptable and resourceful. This allows them to persevere when most are ready to quit, thriving on adversity that make them better and stronger individuals.

And Change

Though everyone knows that the world is constantly shifting, most try to build a wall against it, yearning for predictability in a flood of transition. Real entrepreneurs actually embrace change, because that is where opportunity exists. Charles Darwin noted that species’ survival depends not on strength or intelligence, but on adaptability. Entrepreneurs view change as a positive and know that their ability to respond and adapt gives them an edge in every situation.

Learning is Earning

An entrepreneur unwilling to learn is like a river without water: empty and with nowhere to go. A deep understanding of every facet of business and life is essential and is the only way forward. A hunger for new ideas identifies you as an entrepreneur. Every facet of your business requires knowledge, and a willingness to learn is the only way to gain that crucial knowledge.

Feeding the Machine

An entrepreneur willingly sacrifices any activities that don’t nourish the brain with quality content. Wasting time with gossip or social media is ditched. Instead, entrepreneurs favor inputs that build knowledge and experience. Personal time sustains the body and mind. Feeding the machine requires the commitment of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit to building solutions in shifting, challenging environments.

Passion

All of your energy, motivation, and hard work are fueled by your passion. If you wake up every morning, fired up about what you’re doing, passionate to thrive and succeed, then you are a true entrepreneur. If you spend your days thinking about retirement, or a beach, or some other escape from the moment at hand, then you might want to consider retiring to that beach. Entrepreneurs’ hearts beat with their lifeblood of building and achieving.

Make yourself a world-class marketer by tapping into social proof, or following the herd

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Most humans look to each other on the assumption that someone nearby will know. This is called social proof, or informational social influence, or the intelligence of the herd.

Social proofing is nothing new. It is based on a human desire to behave in an approved manner. When in doubt, ask the crowd what they are thinking. Of course, you can’t always just ask. And, because you have to suss it out from clues, you have to choose someone you trust.

A Social Influencer

That’s where it gets fun for a world-class marketer. You have so many tools to implement your social media strategy. But, even if you optimize your SEO, you won’t be optimizing your message unless you prioritize social proofing, where people’s behaviors are influenced by other people’s actions.

We are social beings, belonging to a group guides us in everything we do. We connect at church, work, school, through activities. Just about anywhere. Therefore, it is no surprise that, when we see people talking about a product or service, we become motivated to take an interest ourselves. Just like joining a club or a team, we gain a sense of connection with others by looking at what they are looking at and buying what they are buying.

With messages to buy, buy, buy fired at us relentlessly, consumers have become cynical about their choices. They become less trusting of the messages they receive, wanting something to lean on, to trust. Social proof in the form of customer reviews and testimonials gives a transparency we yearn for. If we believe we are getting an honest, authentic opinion, we are much more likely to purchase.

Attracted By The Familiar and FOMO

We also seem to be strangely drawn to the familiar, including such arbitrary data as the letters in our own name and numbers in our own birth date. Because of this, we are more likely to take action when we see someone who looks like us endorsing a product or service. In this way, it is good to know who your target market is and to find ways to find familiar endorsers for them.

Another factor seems to be FOMO. No one really wants to miss out on all the fun someone else they trust is having. The more reviews we see about a product or service, the more desire we have to purchase that product or service. Finding ways to increase the number of reviews you are getting, perhaps by adding online reviews to your website, is an effective way to up your sales.

By leveraging social proof you can tap into our innate desire to belong, become a world-class marketer, and bring the value of your goods and services to more customers.

Smiling employees standing around a desk- positive workplace culture

The culture of a company can shape every aspect of it: morale, productivity, turnover, quality of service provided, how the company as a whole is viewed — even the types of clients a business attracts. Culture is everything, which is why cultivating a positive one is so important. We’ve compiled a few of the best tips to ensure your company culture is as positive as possible.

Hire for Culture

Culture is shaped by every individual who works at a company — from the top managers to every employee. This makes the hiring process for all positions crucial to the shaping of the company culture. An interview isn’t just a time to discuss a candidate’s qualifications for the position, it’s also an excellent opportunity to ask questions that can determine a candidate’s values to see if they align with that of your company.

Recognize and Commend the Team

Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to work harder and stay with a company longer than those who aren’t. Recognizing milestones like birthdays, employee anniversaries, or simply telling them they’re doing a great job can go a long way for morale. These recognitions don’t need to break the bank; they can be as simple as an email or announcement thanking everyone for their hard work, or the boss giving everyone a big shout out at a meeting.

Allow for Work-Life Balance

Even if your employees enjoy their job immensely, having a strong work-life balance is important for productivity and to prevent job burnout. This could mean different things to different employees; some may want the weekends off to spend time with their family or need to take the occasional early day to take a pet to the vet. To some, it could mean that their workday is confined to work hours so that there are no duties encroaching on their personal time at home. Or it could mean all of the above. Having flexibility for employees’ needs makes for a more positive culture where people feel they’re able to work while still taking care of the things that matter in life.

Open Communication

Open communication is important in all types of relationships — even that of an employer/employee. Creating an environment that allows for openness, whether through “open door” policies or asking for employee feedback, is crucial for allowing employees to feel valued and heard. Performance reviews, while dreaded by many employers and employees alike, can be an excellent time for both parties to get on the same page and ensure that any of the employee’s concerns are addressed. Having open communication shows that a company cares and is concerned for the employee’s well-being, making the employee care more about the company in return.

These small steps can go a long way to ensure everyone feels happy and valued, and it ultimately leads to the betterment of the company. Employees are more enthusiastic, more productive, and more devoted when the culture is a positive one that is designed to make everyone’s workday the best it can be.