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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.   

Aesop suggests that honest is the best policy. This remains true, transparency is a value that builds trust in relationships, and simplifies communication.

In Mercury and the Woodcutter, Aesop suggests that “Honesty is the best policy.” This is not only true of golden axes being fished out of deep, black waters, but also every interpersonal interaction. Transparency is a value that builds relationships. Those relationships build businesses. When you are honest, you don’t have to worry about what you shared with one person versus another. You also don’t need to worry about what others are thinking, because everything’s out in the open. Here are some of the main benefits of transparency:

Simplicity Is Not Complicated

Those who are dishonest constantly find themselves changing stories based on who they are talking to. When you are transparent as an entrepreneur, your business is simpler and more efficient. This efficiency is good for the soul, as well as the bottom line.

It’s All About Trust

Relationships are currency in business. Transparency builds trust. That trust will allow you to forge stronger connections. Dishonesty is corrosive, breeding discontent and gossip. All of that energy could be focused on performance. Omitting, editing, or withholding information models that behavior for the entire organization. Trust creates colleagues and collaborators, which builds production and performance.

It Takes A Community

Transparency inspires meaningful engagement. When you are honest with your employees about a problem you are having with your company, people will respond to your humanness. Their authentic response can be the start of engagement well beyond normal “surface” communication. By connecting on a real level, you can build a sense of community with your team. And a community always works harder toward shared goals.

Integrity Is What You See in the Mirror

Transparency and integrity work side by side in any successful undertaking. Failure to disclose a fact that may be harmful to a short-term goal can eventually terminate a long-term goal. Those who fail to disclose create bad feelings and distrust when the truth is finally uncovered. And, even if it isn’t, the stress of worrying about its disclosure is energy that could be used to build a better organization. You may have a definite outcome you are trying to avoid by failing to disclose. Yet, your avoidance may close you off from unknown and possibly beneficial partnerships or solutions that you will discover once you honestly declare the truth.

Transparency creates openness and rewards that are both personal and financial. It ripples across the waters of your organization, much like the ripples on the pond where the Woodsman lost his axe into the water. He received, for his honesty, not only iron, silver and golden axes, but also the admiration of Mercury. And there’s no telling where that goodwill can take the Woodsman and his woodcutting business.

Accepting, being ready for the bolt out of the blue is the path to a better life, according to Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

“There are no ordinary moments,” says Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

According to Millman, when moments are layered with meaning, infused with life, they cannot be ordinary. They are only tired and mundane if you see them that way. If you live them that way. Every day, you have challenges. You have stuff thrown at you. You are working diligently toward one thing but, hey, here comes something completely out of the blue.

Here Comes That Bolt

The phrase “out of the blue” comes from an old English poem, in which a bolt of lightning strikes from out of a clear blue sky.

In an ordinary life, in an ordinary moment, you don’t accept things out of the blue. You resist, and get angry and frustrated. You have your plans and this out of the blue thing, whatever it is, doesn’t fit in. But if you treat every moment as extraordinary, then you know things are coming out of the blue. Acceptance. Not lamenting, not inviting. Lightening just is. You just are.

And, since you are no longer resisting, you are aware as the bolt is coming toward you. You better understand its power and presence. And the more you do this, the more you can see other things coming at you, too, no matter what color the sky is. It can come out of the yellow, red, purple, or chartreuse. It doesn’t matter!

“Better to Make a Mistake with Your Full Force…”

In “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” Millman also says: “It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to timidly avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit. Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.”

Millman has been around a long time. In fact, he is still doing handstands when he feels like it. Just because it feels good. He is over 70.

This is the spirit to bring to your life. Whether you are at work, exercising, recreating, or just being with your family. You should be all in. All the time.

And this is the spirit to foster in all your efforts. Ask everyone to join you on this journey. You are here to help people, to spiritually enrich the lives of those you serve and those around you. To substantively make lives better. And don’t be misled, this is no walk in the park. The reason people shy away from lightning strikes is that they can be scary, demanding, and uncomfortable. But you can’t do anything hidden away, as Millman says, “trembling” and “timid.”

So ask yourself, and everyone gathered around you, to be in each moment with the “full force of their being.” To be a peaceful warrior. To be aware and alive.

Even when lightning strikes.

Because, in life and business, that tremendous eruption of electricity is where all the good stuff is: the best ideas, the greatest strategies, all of the raw, unharnessed energy.

It’s exactly where you need to be.

Three green text bubbles on the left, to symbolize positive reviews, next to three red text bubbles to imitate negative reviews.

Getting positive reviews going may take a while, because people are really only likely to publish a good review if the service was particularly spectacular. But if given some sort of prompting, like a verbal asking of “hey, would you mind leaving a good review for the store later on if you have a chance?” or a reminder on a receipt can go a long way. When a review page starts getting those glowing reviews going, it’s something worth being proud of and even sharing with the business’ employees.

But, inevitably, not everyone is going to be happy with the services they receive. Upset customers are over 50% more likely to leave a negative review. If a business on average has more positive interactions with customers, the concern over negative reviews can be mitigated. It may not feel great to have a negative review left, but as a business grows it’s bound to happen.

What’s a problem, though, is fraudulent reviews. Customers that are upset for reasons probably way beyond what happened with a company may not just leave one negative, but several, some of which may be made up. Or, petty competition may throw up some bad reviews to make themselves look better. Getting rid of fraudulent reviews isn’t always easy, but there are ways to go about it. Reporting those fraudulent reviews is usually the way to go about that, but there will have to be sufficient evidence that the review is fake so there’s no “he said/she said”.

Whatever comes a business’ way, it’s important to look towards the future, and work hard. That positive attitude will transfer over into better customer interactions, until even a few bad reviews can’t dim the shine of the tons of positive reviews a business might someday have.

This blog discusses Zig Ziglar's steps for successful goal setting. The image shows an illustration of a mountain with a path curving upward, representing reaching your goal. All of the colors are blue, except for a red flag at the top.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

Are you having a difficult time sticking to your goals? Does it feel like January 1 was 10 months ago and you never lost any of that extra weight, started a meditation practice, or increased your income? There might be a reason why. Zig Ziglar has 7 steps for you that have profoundly helped many business leaders throughout the years. Find out if you have what it takes to manifest destiny.

Zig Ziglar’s Seven Steps of Goal Setting

Paraphrased from the Born to Win Workbook

    1. Identify the goal. If you want specific success, you must set specific goals.
    2. List the benefits: what’s in it for me? Your goal requires personal motivation.
    3. List the obstacles. Anticipate obstacles, and develop strategies to get through them. Learn how to improvise and be flexible if you aren’t prepared.
    4. List the skills and knowledge you need. Knowledge and skill will be required to successfully complete any goal.
    5. Identify who to work with. Who can help you be more successful?
    6. Develop a plan of action. The devil is in the details.
    7. Set a deadline. Make deadlines and stick to them.

Apply Zig’s Steps to Your Goals

The first step might seem obvious: “identify the goal,” except many people set out to do something without any specifics, such as “I want to travel more” or “I want a better paying job.” Ziglar is asking you: What does that mean? How will you stay motivated? Are you aware that obstacles will arise, and are you prepared for them? These are essentially the first 3 steps that Ziglar laid out in his book. What does this look like in a real world scenario? Let’s look at the goal of getting a raise at a current job.

Specific success in this instance requires a specific range or number. For example, if you were making $45,000, maybe you want a 20% raise after successfully increasing profits for your product over a period of a few years. This means you want to make at least $54,000 annually, which is a $9,000 increase. This is a specific goal.

Next, Ziglar wants to know for Step 2: “What’s in it for you?” The benefits of a higher income are plentiful but Ziglar wants you to be specific. Perhaps you currently live in a crowded house with noisy roommates, and a higher income would allow you to rent on your own in a quiet apartment. “If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal is diminished,” Ziglar wrote.

Learn to Be Prepared

So, you know how much more money you want to make, and you identified your personal motivation. Most people stop there, and then if any obstacles hinder their progress, they give up. Ziglar wrote for Step 3, “if you can anticipate something, you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it.” You need to figure out what your obstacles will be. Perhaps you asked for a raise, and you are a woman (gender matters in pay negotiations, according to The Muse), which means they gave you less than you wanted, without an opportunity to negotiate. You might also be told you have to wait 6 months before your next performance review to be considered for a raise. Before going into the conversation, be prepared, and find sources that will help you be both professional and assertive.

Work Better and Smarter Where You Are Now

Steps 4 through 7 require more reflection and detail-oriented planning. What skills and knowledge are required? If you cannot get your raise today, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what skills you need to get there. Or instead, you could try the enlightened approach: how can you increase your value for your company? Huffington Post has several suggestions for you for developing soft skills, and their writer Jonha Richman offers another post to inspire you to cultivate a more positive attitude. If you leave a job because you feel undervalued, Richman warns:

“the sense of fulfillment may only be fleeting in your next job and the very same feeling will start to creep in over and over again because you’ve only tried to escape the problem which lies within you. Instead, focus on how you can work better and smarter and be able to bring in more results for your current company.”

There is always room for improvement. If the obstacle to your goal for a raise was to wait 6 months, then you can adjust accordingly and still work on sharpening your saw.

Network, Network, Network

As for Step 5, you need to ask yourself: who in my network can help me be more successful? Think about possible mentors or business organizations where you can network with others. Local Chambers of Commerce often have mixers and lunches for local business leaders and newbies alike. Websites like MeetUp and LinkedIn could be places to start to identify contacts and resources to help you become the best version of yourself for your career and life. These people have been where you are now and can help you avoid the pitfalls.

The Devil is in the Details

What exactly do you need to achieve your goal? Step 6 is all about focusing on the details to attain the big picture vision. If you are looking for career advancement, then you need to come up with a calendar of the classes you plan to take and the books you want to read, in order to reach your next level of professionalism. Be concrete about this, such as twice a week you will focus on your classes, and on the other days you will read a few chapters from your books. Find out if your employer will sponsor any of these activities if they are relevant to your current role. Your boss may let you use one hour a week to work on your online courses or reading. They may even be willing to pay for all or part of them.

Success Starts with Accountability

Last but not least, step 7 says: “Set a deadline!” You could be planning to take classes and researching indefinitely — but “forever” is not a deadline. When do you want to see results? What is a measure of success for you? For example, one person might say, “I set a deadline for 6 months from now when I have my next review. I will complete 3 online courses on entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and coding. I will also read 5 books on areas that my mentors and boss recommended. These skills will help me be more valuable to my company, and in 6 months I will be better prepared for my review.” Setting a deadline is about accountability.

By following these 7 steps for each of your goals, you are bound to find success in all areas of your life. If you need any additional help, go back to Zig Ziglar’s work for further inspiration.

Should businesses stay out of politics?

Keeping up with the news means sometimes seeing articles about what companies have donated to, and some people taking that personally. Some vocal people say that businesses should keep their noses out of politics, but in reality, that is up for the business to decide.

Depending upon the size of the company, there are various things to consider. If it’s big enough to have shareholders, it means having to consider what they think before donating. If the company is smaller, there may not be a whole lot to donate in the first place. And even if a donation is made, it likely won’t make front page news anywhere. But in the smaller company, employees might take it more personally if business profits are given to a cause they feel strongly against.

Outside of the business, going back to the idea of current and potential customers not liking any sort of political involvement, that idea seems to mostly come from older crowds. There’s a newer idea, at least being vocalized more, that consumers are okay with businesses donating to causes that align with their ideals, because then the consumer can choose either to support that business or not.

There’s another bit of truth that businesses can’t entirely avoid politics, even if they aren’t actively donating to a cause. Business practices like deciding who to hire or what regulations are enforced more strictly than others can be seen as political statements by consumers. At that point, it becomes a matter of deciding what principals they want to back, to stand firm by those values, whether they’re called political or not.

Radical Vulnerability: Small surfer on a giant wave

What is vulnerability? Though it can mean different things to different people, it essentially comes down to being brave enough to be yourself. And that means being your whole self, including weaknesses and strengths. All the energy you spend projecting an image of strength and invulnerability becomes a mask that insulates you from the real world.

If you are an entrepreneur, you don’t want anything getting between you and the real world. That’s where all the solutions are.

The Emotional Impact of Being Authentic

Being authentic is what helps you connect emotionally with your team. Truth and authenticity are at the foundation of vulnerability. If you show your team your humanity, your genuine heart, they will know that you trust yourself and that they can trust the organization.  

One way to do this is to illuminate your flaws rather than try to hide them away. Be willing to admit mistakes. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to get support where you need it. This means, instead of projecting confidence, being confident enough to be uncomfortable.

It also means having the ability to be self-aware. Often, the people and situations that bother you the most, the ones that really electrify the negative feedback loop in your brain with repetitive thinking, are places you need the most work. For example, maybe you label someone as a bullshitter. That person really bugs you, and you hate doing business with him. If you look inside, maybe you will see there is a part of yourself that is willing to be less than honest in certain high pressure situations. Maybe you’re the bullshitter! If you take steps to deal with that then you won’t have to plug in and give energy to every dishonest person you run into.

Shame Is an Organizational Virus

When you are willing to look at your own flaws, your team can admit their own mistakes. Everyone makes errors. Why not let them live in the open where they can be learned from? Shame is a terrible organizational virus that mutes voices, making team members less bold and less able to suggest big ideas.

Of course, you work in a demanding environment, and being vulnerable and willing to accept who you truly are does not mean you are willing to accept mediocrity. In fact, it’s the opposite. When you challenge yourself and your team to be fully vulnerable and driven while building solutions for clients, you build an organization that has the best chance of dynamically moving forward. Being a radically vulnerable leader is the optimal strategy to becoming a successful business leader.

The power of now when overwhelmed in business and life

At some point or another, most people have felt completely overwhelmed in their business and personal lives. It is completely normal and human to feel disoriented and completely alone in the face of a setback, yet it remains uniquely devastating for each individual who faces failure and loss. Even though you know everyone goes through similar challenges, for you it is happening on a grand stage and is monumental in scope and duration.

It will not take much imagination to think back to a time you felt this way. For most people, it is something that can be recalled in vivid detail, as if a camera has recorded every nuance of light and language. Though it can’t possibly be true, it seems like it often happens on a dark, rainy day. Or maybe that’s just how the soul feels.

Taking Personal Inventory

There are, of course, dozens of ways to respond to business and personal destruction and trauma. One imperative step to take is to take a personal inventory. Where has your energy been leading up to the failure? Have you been grasping at things you can’t change such as rethinking the past or putting all your energy into some future hope or goal? Maybe you are not being present enough in your business efforts or your personal relationships? Maybe both.

Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” talks about committing to the present moment, to spend less time looking back and projecting forward. The author urges you to commit to the moment that is in front of you.

For those in business, there are opportunities lost by not being present. Every time you are lost in a past conversation or challenge other than the one that is right in front of you, there is a possibility you are going to miss something important. You need to have keen, piercing vision, and every single piece of missed information, or dropped data, is going to weaken your vision. Anything that goes unseen might just make it impossible to succeed.

Getting punched in the face is part of what happens when you take on big challenges, but you would never walk into a boxing ring thinking about your last failure. You have to be totally present and alive to see the punches coming in order to know when to defend and when to strike.

What Does It Mean To Be a Human Being?

Think about what it means to be a human being. You come into this world naked with nothing, and you leave it the same way. Tolle says the secret of life is to “die before you die.” 

It is imperative to become aware of who you are in any given moment. You have to awaken to your subconscious responses to any given situation, and then to let go of them. When you become aware of your emotional responses, you acknowledge them without letting them make decisions for you. You miss critical things when you don’t.

“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place,” says Tolle. Even if it is raining outside, it doesn’t have to cloud your mind, your soul and your decisions.

The way to be a true entrepreneur is to be open, honest, and vulnerable in the moment right in front of you. Energized, aware, and alive, you live in the moment, in the now. Then, all of your personal and business growth can happen organically, steadily and slowly from that place.

So be humble and open to learning every day. Surround yourself with people willing to be challenged, who are authentic and open and alive. And build ways to make the lives of your clients, employees, friends, and family better. Step into the now.

Sleep is good for everyone, CEO and baby too

Brandon Frere famously made himself a promise that when he ran his own business he would never set an alarm clock. How did he know that getting enough sleep was a wholly rational decision that was both good for him, and—because he is responsible for hundreds of employees and thousands of clients—good for those around him?

Feeling Lonely and Isolated? Take a Nap

Recent research from UC Berkeley shows that sleep deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to social engagement. Unrested people live with the same sort of isolation as those with social anxiety. Even worse, well-rested people feel lonely after a brief encounter with a sleep deprived person. This creates a sort of social isolating virus that infects wider and wider circles.

Another study by the Rand Corporation quantified the loss to the American economy due to sleep deprivation at $411 billion per year. This is counted in terms of 1.23 million lost working days. Only Japan has worse per capita numbers. Even more serious, those who slept less than six hours per night were 10 percent more likely to die than those who slept between seven and nine hours.

There are many reasons why some people sleep less than others:

  • Age: Brain function responsible for regulating sleep begins to decline as early as 35 years of age
  • Genetics: A gene called “CRY1” regulates circadian rhythms. One variation of it causes longer circadian cycles, leading to less sleep
  • Career: Night and swing shifts are extremely harmful to healthy rest
  • Weekends: Sleeping late on the weekend can cause disrupted sleeping the rest of the week.
  • Relationships: Those in committed relationships are 20 percent more likely than single people to sleep seven hours or more per night.
  • Education: The higher level of educational attainment, the more you sleep. Over 70 percent of those with a college degree or higher sleep at least seven hours per night.

Why We Sleep

In Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, neuroscientist Matt Walker argues that lack of sleep takes a toll on everyone, from military fighters and first responders to airline pilots and truckers. It is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, obesity, stroke, chronic pain, diabetes, heart attacks and more.

As a sleep consultant to the NFL, NBA, and numerous Fortune 500 enterprises, Walker is certain of the links between a good night’s sleep and optimal performance, on the playing field and in the conference room.

All of these studies seem to point to something that Frere knows intuitively: that allowing the body to get the sleep it needs is essential to how we operate and interact in the world, that a good night of sleep is one of the healthiest therapies we can give ourselves.

Sleeping until your body says it’s time to wake up is good for the body and good for business. It also saves you all that time hitting the snooze button.