Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Be Decisive With Your Life

I struggle with this question everyday, “What am I going to do with all my opportunities?”

Sometimes I ask, “What am I going to do?” But I wonder if that’s the right question. Maybe it is “What do I need to stop doing?”

You can’t focus on everything that has potential. If you try, you’ll spread yourself too thin and you’ll get nowhere. So maybe it’s another way of saying, “Indecisiveness/procrastination is a major problem for most of us.”

We all choose something to do, but most of us choose what is easy, what is comfortable, what is known, what we feel is predictable, and what we were taught to do in school. But it’s a trap, isn’t it? As many of you are finding out right now, what you thought was safe and predictable, isn’t. The go to school> get good grades> get a cushy cubicle job path is as risky as any other path.

That’s the silver lining in a bad economy, it educates us about what is important, it shows us new opportunities, and it forces us to grow. Some of you may not want to hear this right now, but we need recessions in the same way we need forest fires. They are as natural as birth and death, necessary parts of growth and regeneration.

Christine was at our accountant’s office last week getting our business taxes done, when the subject of the economy came up.

Our accountant said he lost his job in a bad recession and he couldn’t find a new one. He was forced to start his own accounting firm from home. It was difficult, but he eventually grew into an office space and hired employees. He said losing his job was the best thing that ever happened to him.

His son went through the same thing during the dot com bubble. He lost a 40K per year job, and couldn’t find another. He eventually gave up on the idea of ever having a job, and instead went freelance. Today he owns his own company and makes 300K a year.

A friend’s father was an engineer and lost his job during a long ago recession. He had three kids at home, a house payment, and a wife who didn’t work. He couldn’t find a job, so he started freelancing and grew his practice into to a respected local engineering firm that lasted decades.

Not one of these success stories is internet related. Two of them happened before the personal computer had been invented. Today, with the internet and social media, your opportunities are exponentially greater than ever before.

So what are you going to do with all your opportunities?

Work and Play, Are They Really Different?

Have we been trained not to enjoy ourselves?

Are work and play really different or is the differentiation simply a choice we make? Do we choose drudgery as work, so in contrast fun seems that much more fun? Aren’t we simply engaged in activities we choose to label?

  • This activity is play
  • That activity is work
  • Another activity is fun

Why can’t what we do for money, be all three?

Is it okay to work all the time? Is it okay to have fun and play games all the time? If work was fun and playful, then would it be okay to work all the time?

These questions came to mind as I was reading Zen Effects the Life of Alan Watts by Monica Furlong. After living a bohemian lifestyle for over a decade, Alan Watts became an Anglican priest and moved into suburban Evanston Illinios.

Monica Furlong says:

“His Evanston neighbors weren’t all that much to his taste. The main preoccupation of most of them was making money, which Watts thought might be rather fun to do—a clever game, like bridge—only people seemed to have to pretend not to enjoy it.”

Monica goes on to quote Alan Watts himself:

“It must most definitely be classified as work; as that which you have to do as a duty to your family and community, and which therefore affords many businessmen the best possible excuse for staying away from home and from wives. The Nemesis of this attitude is that it flows over into the so-called leisure or non-work areas of life in such a way that playing with children, giving attention to one’s wife, exercising on the golf course, and purchasing certain luxeries also become duties. Survival itself becomes a duty and even a drag, for the pretense of not enjoying the games get under the skin and rightens the muscles which repress the joyous and sensous emotion.”

Monica goes on to say:

“Watts clearly was still struggling with his protestant roots, using his resentment of them to make observations about the link between work and play. For him the barrier between work and play did not exist.”

What I thought was most interesting was how leisure activities can become chores. I know I feel that way sometimes.

What do you think?

Learning entrepreneurship, education, family balance, small business from the experts

When I find something that cranks me up, I have to share it. In this video Jonathan Fields interviews Gary Vaynerchuk. They talk about:

  • Education and how it’s out of touch with the present economy and society
  • Building a business – going from 0 to $50,000,000
  • Finding your passion
  • Being true to who you really are
  • Balancing family life
  • What it really takes to make it
  • The future of corporate America

This video is about 50 minutes long, but it’s worth every second. If you’re interested in living the life of your dreams, Gary Vaynerchuk and Jonathan Fields will help you get there… if you’re willing to listen.

Looking for Good Small Business Advice – I've Found Some

When I find something great, I need to share it.

Many of you who come to this site, either have small businesses or want to start small businesses. No matter which one you are, you need good information about building a profitable small business.

I’ve tagged a few blogs “must read daily” in my feed reader. One is Shoemoney, written by Jeremy Schoemaker a self-made internet celeb. I’m sure most of you know Jeremy’s story, but if you don’t you can read it here.

I read Jeremy because he is a proven leader in blogging, internet marketing, and small business. But this post isn’t about Jeremy, it’s about someone else I learned about from Jeremy…

It’s about Andy Liu’s new blog, Inspired Startup.

Andy Liu is a serial entreprenuer and angel investor. You can read his story here.

Using blogs, social media, and the internet, we can learn directly from proven leaders like Andy without ever having met them. For me the internet is the classroom of my dreams. I actually feel sorry for those that don’t understand or refuse to accept the power of this new medium. We now have access to people, information, and markets in ways that were unthinkable a generation ago.

You can learn these golden tidbits from Andy right now:

The Secret to Starting a Successful Company

Negotiations 101 – Quick Tips for Successful Negotiating

How to Get a Great Deal on a Lease

I’ve found Andy’s content so inspiring and useful I’ve added Inspired Startup to my “must read daily” list.

The End of Work as We Know It

Do you want to get out of your mindless job. Do you want to be an entrepreneur, paid for your innovative creativity?

Can you handle zero separation between your work and your play?

Good questions for the budding 2009 entrepreneur. Do you know why people can’t take the entrepreneurial leap? Fear of losing the patterns that shape their work and private lives. The same patterns that shaped their parents lives and their grandparents lives. Losing the walls that separate the private from the public.

The 9-5 work paradigm is dying

People used to go off to the factory or the office, for approximately 9.5 hours a day including commute, return home, and do their best to leave work behind. But no one really did, did they? It was kinda a lie we all told ourselves. Because the only real way to leave work at work, is to leave your paycheck at work. Your home life is directly affected by the stability of your paycheck, isn’t it? In family life, there is no way to remove the home from the economic situation and if your only income is a job, your job determines the decisions your family makes.

The line between work and home is disintegrating

Even if you have a corporate job there is a growing trend toward telecommuting. And there is a growing trend toward home based internet businesses. Our home life is becoming our work life. The industrial age is nearly dead, and taking its old social patterns with it.

The line between our public and private lives is blurring

The relationships we have in our personal life are quickly becoming the same relationships we have in our business life. Our social networks are becoming our business networks. The people we associate with directly determine our economic success. Our work and home lives are not separate, they are one life.

Change your thinking and change your life

Can you handle exposing your life to the world? If you can, the internet and social media will give you the greatest opportunity to realize your dreams man has ever known. Get over your fear of losing your privacy. If you can’t, you will be left behind.

Where Do You Find Products To Sell on the Internet?

This post is written by Christine Olson founder of BooksMN.com.

When we started blogging in 2006 I was making 75K in revenue and shooting for 150K. In 2008 I will do over 200K. Not bad for a one woman home-based business.

Lots of people ask me how I do it. But one of the most frequent questions people ask is…

Where do you find your products?

I am going to let the secret out of the bag. Where do people buy all this product they sell online? Is there a big secret website everyone goes to and picks this stuff up?

The answer to that question is simple. But the reality of finding the right products to sell at the right price is not so simple, but that’s another post.

The big secret…

People find products to sell at Trade Shows. You must travel, you must do research, and you must negotiate deals. You will make mistakes, you will get stuck with stuff that doesn’t sell, you may get ripped off, but you will learn. It can take years to find a set of dependable vendors.

First you need to decide what kind of products you want to sell. Are you going to sell NEW products or discount merchandise? If you are going to sell NEW products you need to find trade shows that specialize in your particular product. If you want to sell Golf Equipment, go to Golf Trade Shows or Sporting Good Shows. Google “Golf Trade Shows” and you will get several results. Do you want to sell jewelry or buy gems to make your own jewelry? Vegas has several shows a year just for jewelry merchants. Not sure what you want to sell? Attend one of these. Do you want to sell discount merchandise? Go to this variety show. You will be overwhelmed, but it will give you great ideas.

While books are the majority of my business, I also sell DVDs, audio books, diaper bags, and other items I find at trade shows that I think will be profitable. In the past I’ve sold board games, knick-knacks, dollhouse furniture, and purses.

To purchase merchandise at trade shows, you must set yourself up as
a business
.

After attending several trade shows you will have collected a sizable list of websites and phone numbers. You will start receiving catalogs and things will begin to fall into place.

To find out more about how you can start your own internet based business check out Skip McGrath’s site.

21 Surefire Ways to Stay Motivated


Photo by Tomoyoshi

Have you set a goal (like a business plan or a weight loss regimen) in a burst of energy and excitement, only to find after a few weeks the excitement fades? Your progress slows, then stops, and you regress to where you started? Unfortunately, for many of us, this has become a habit. Regardless if the goal involves diet, exercise, money, education, relationships, business, or career, the pattern is the same, a peak of euphoria, optimism, and creativity, followed by a trough of fatigue, boredom, and loss of interest.

Quitting is a habit. The habit is reinforced by your emotional state which is always experiencing peaks and valleys.  The good news is, habits can be changed with persistence and effort.

I’ve gathered 21 tips (from mentors, books, and blogs) that will help you stay motivated to achieve your long term goals:
Continue reading 21 Surefire Ways to Stay Motivated

Are You a Career Renegade? Check Out Jonathan Fields New Site.

If you haven’t heard about this fantastic new site already, go check it out. It’s called Career Renegade and it is run by Johnathan Fields.

Many of you have lost your jobs, others are worried about losing yours soon. The news keeps telling us the economy is spiraling out of control. But it is a choice to view it as a disaster or an opportunity. It doesn’t matter how you choose to view it, what is happening is what is happening. Jonathan wrote The Firefly Manifesto which could help you re-frame your fear into hope. If you are feeling the slightest bit fearful or depressed about the economy, I suggest you read it.

On his site Johnathan profiles people who have turned adversity into opportunity. In his first installment he talks to Naomi Dunford who was once a pregnant, 17 year-old high school dropout. She now runs a $200,000 business from her kitchen table. Check her out at http://ittybiz.com/.

I can’t tell you how much I love to read these stories.

Hat Tip to Brian Clark at Copyblogger.