Master Your Reality 5 Steps Towards Miraculously Manifesting Your Vision NOW!

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1. Clarity of Vision

When the entrepreneur or creator can become clear on the vision they have for what they are inspired to create, they will instantly begin to shift their reality towards a greater purpose and awareness. This awareness shift is created by clarity around your vision. When you begin to see how your life will look when you are living at your highest purpose and highest potential, you can step into that power easier each day. Also, when creating this vision, detail can help with creating clarity.

2. Confront Any Fears Revolving around Your Vision

Many times, when people begin to envision the possibilities they wish to unfold within their own lives and business, the fear of growth and expansion can arise. When faced with this fear, you can either choose to go towards that fear and overcome it or you can choose to go back to the previous comfort zone you were in. This choice can seem overwhelming at times, but having faith in the outcome will result in mass abundance in the experience.

3. Set Meaningful Intention

Once you are clear on your vision and released of this fear, the next step is to set a meaningful intention. Setting a powerful intention is one of the most important steps in the manifestation process. When you set the intention, the key is to completely step into the feeling of it already being created in your reality. When you visualize your intention, you begin to trigger your power to manifest. But when you can full step into the feeling of the manifestation already being real, you will create it within your reality so much quicker and easier.  You can practice stepping completely into this feeling daily by sitting in a quiet space and closing your eyes.

4. Surrender into Faith

After you have completely and fully stepped into the belief that the manifestation is already real and present within your reality, it is time for the fourth step. The fourth step all revolves around surrendering the ideas you have around how it will manifest and have faith that it will unfold the way it needs to for your highest good and learning. When you can fully allow yourself to have faith in what is to come, you can connect the present moment on a deeper level. This present moment awareness will only create more abundance into your reality at quicker speed than ever imagined. You can begin bringing this awareness into your reality right now by practicing taking deeper breaths.

5. Take Intentional Action!

The final key to truly mastering your reality and manifesting your vision as an entrepreneur is to consistently take intentional actions towards your vision. When you can become clear on the most important and necessary actions to take in your business, you will be able to create and manifest at quicker speeds than ever before. One tactic I teach all my clients is to make a list of the 3 most crucial actions for your business you can take TODAY. After you have created this list, clarify which action makes you feel the most uncomfortable. Start your day by taking that action. Taking these actions will propel you towards your vision and guide you to mastering your reality!

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5 Secrets To Success

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1. Silence is golden.

Throughout most of my life, I had always been a big talker. I always jumped at the opportunity to hear myself speak.

It has now become clear to me that saying less is much more powerful than talking. Listening and asking questions is not only admirable and impressive-it makes you smarter and puts you in a better position.

Shut up and listen, others will pour their hearts out to you. They will tell you too much. They will give you the most invaluable commodity in the world: information. George Bernard Shaw, co founder of the London School of Economics put it perfectly. “Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections and conceal your own.”

2. Give more, take less.

I always quote the movie Wall Street, as it is my favorite film. I love to tell people “Lunch is for wimps,” and “Money is only something you need if you don’t die tomorrow.” The most famous quote of this movie is when Gordon Gecko states, “Greed is good.” I vehemently disagree with this line.

I believe that the more one gives, the more that will come to that person. Being a giver rather than taker provides satisfaction in life and goes a very long way with others. In business dealings, always make sure the one on the other side of the table feels confident that he or she is getting a greater value than you are. When pricing your product or service, give your customer the lowest price possible.

Greed isn’t good.

3. Don’t celebrate the weekends.

“If you believe in something, work nights and weekends, it won’t feel like work.”

-Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg

Dreading Mondays and celebrating Fridays is for those who do not like their work. It is for those without the great desire to see their dreams to fruition. Taking a break for two days to cut yourself off from your work is far too long, as success comes from constant work and persistence.

I do not distinguish one day from another. Each day of the week for me is filled with hard work, excitement, adventure, struggles and a dire urge to see my goals and dreams to fruition.

4. Never admit to being busy.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”

~Lucille Ball

I am constantly on the move, always on the phone, working day and night to succeed. Despite the constant hustle, I always make sure that I have time to take care of myself, be available for my friends and family, help others in business and listen to new opportunities.

I would never admit to being busy. I believe that saying that you are busy is simply a concession that you are unavailable, unwilling to help and view your life to be more important than anyone else’s.

As I move forward in my life and career, I find that I am surrounding myself with people who are constantly making things happen. These people always answer when I call, and never tell me that they are busy.

Although I am always working, I have absolutely no time for people who tell me they are busy.

5. Laugh.

“There is little success where there is little laughter.”

-Andrew Carnegie

There are two reasons why it is important to laugh:

1. Being successful is extremely difficult, strenuous and tiring. It is imperative to be able to have a release from the constant struggle to laugh, make light of everything and enjoy yourself in the company of others. I have found that the most serious and successful people are also the funniest ones.

2. Laughing is the best way to connect with people. People will be drawn to you if you have the ability to make them feel good, laugh and enjoy their time with you. Yakof Smirnoff said it best, “Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.”

The Secret Benefit Of Building A COmpany Blog

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Picture your last company party. Where were the IT people? Who were they talking to? What about the sales team? They were most likely hanging out with department friends, or perhaps they were awkwardly chatting with their bosses. The fact is, shoving people from various departments together in a social setting to forge relationships and improve communication just doesn’t work. People from different departments usually aren’t close friends — they’re colleagues. However, through an ongoing company project, you can promote mutual respect and open communication between departments and resolve conflict. So ditch the lame icebreakers, and use your company blog to build real connections among employees.

Identify Pain Points 

Before you can foster collaboration through the company blog, you need to pinpoint the barriers that create tension between departments:

The Blame Game

Hostility from past slip-ups can easily build between departments. When one department is constantly blaming the other for missing deadlines or losing customers, it’s hard to get things done.

Communication Discrepancies

Not everyone likes to interact in the same way. While IT may prefer a quick email, creative departments might work better in person. When people from one department don’t consider preferred communication methods, they may come off as cold and terse when addressing members of another.

Inflated Egos

Working with other departments can lead to an ego play. Sales, for example, won’t take no for an answer, so working with finance — a department infamous for saying no — produces natural conflict.

Intense Rivalries

Competitiveness disrupts collaboration. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they’re playing for the same team. Considering the complexity of these issues, it’s no wonder internal discord is often pushed to the bottom of the priority list under more pressing concerns such as budgets and day-to-day operations. Luckily, solutions for these problems don’t have to be wildly expensive, complicated, or time consuming. A simple company blog can help break down barriers and promote open communication and collaboration.

Blog for Peace

Business leaders often focus on a blog’s external benefits, which are important. Blogs draw customers and potential clients to your site, engage them, and offer something of value that’s uniquely yours. However, blogs also strengthen interdepartmental relationships. Joining forces to produce an essential but low-stakes project helps build internal connections and elicit collective pride and ownership. Here are six ways you can harness a company blog to resolve or avoid interdepartmental problems:

1. Communicate Among Departments

People from different departments often struggle to find common ground in conversation. While work lunches and social gatherings essentially force employees to interact, conversation comes naturally when both teams are working toward a shared goal.

2. Foster Teamwork and Understanding

A blog encourages understanding within and among departments without draining resources. By blogging about specific challenges each department faces, employees can educate your company’s audience and inform other departments.

3. Make It a Resource Library

A well-thought-out blog can be a valuable reference point for employees to quickly find information about their own department, as well as others. When employees can learn about other departments, they start to understand and respect the value each one brings to the company.

4. Create a Non-Threatening Environment

Working on the blog gets people to gather around a seemingly harmless task. When budgets or schedules are tight, people are on high alert and quick to point fingers. Because the blog doesn’t affect anyone’s job status, it helps people relax and open up. Then, when high-stakes projects arise, teams can work together more easily.

5. Promote Equality, and Destroy Favoritism

Negative feelings often develop between departments if one group doesn’t receive equal attention or funding. Allowing every department to contribute to the blog means everyone’s voice is heard.

6. Diversify Your Communication Channels

Not everyone wants to resolve issues through email, chats, or even face-to-face conversations. A company blog offers yet another way for departments to communicate. Getting your employees to buy in to a blog can be a challenge, but it’s a valuable asset for your company and creates a fun opportunity for people to collaborate across departments. When employees start working together and actually interacting, they’ll understand what other departments bring to the table and create a helpful resource in the process. What are you waiting for? Get sales and finance in the same room, and start blogging. You’ll be amazed by the results.

Hiring your Perfect Attitude Employee

Hiring the right people is one of the most important parts of running a business. Think about it: Employees shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the success of their employers, so it pays to find someone who fits the bill from the very start.

But many companies just can’t seem to do it, with 46 percent of new hires “failing” within 18 months of landing a job.

While that’s a surprisingly high number, what’s more surprising is why. It’s not skill-based, if that’s your first thought. A lack of skills isn’t even a top-three reason, accounting for only 11 percent of unsuccessful new hires. So think again before passing on someone just because she’s short a skill or two.

Your biggest concern should be the overall attitude of candidates. When newly hired employees fail, 26 percent of them do so because they can’t handle criticism. Another 23 percent fail because they can’t manage their emotions, while 17 percent fizzle as a result of motivation — or lack thereof. This means at least 66 percent of staffing failures stem from attitude problems.

See Through ‘Best’ Behaviors

Although people are usually on their best behavior for an interview, you get a feel for their attitude as soon as they walk through the door. Consider your closest friends: You probably felt an almost destined kinship when you first met. Something similar can happen with job candidates. Your gut just tells you whether she is the right fit for the job.

Of course, some candidates can fool even the best of us, and I often recommend asking some key questions that provide telling insights into a candidate’s attitude. The two I often use are:

Tell me about a time when you had to perform under stress. How did you handle it?
Describe a time when you disagreed with your boss. How did you remedy the situation?
The ultimate goal is to find someone who’s compatible with the team, so base your questions off the character traits and qualities you or your manager look for in candidates. I’m always on the hunt for a person with diplomatic skills. You may want a real go-getter or a great communicator. It all depends on the dynamic of your business.

During the interview process, I also advise managers to be upfront about expectations. Explain your vision and management style to the candidates, then ask if they would commit to them. You’ll get better performance out of new hires when they understand what’s expected of them before they even accept the job.

The Right Attitude Is Key

When you hire candidates with the right attitude, you create an environment where teamwork thrives. Employees work together, help one another, and share in responsibilities based on strengths and weaknesses.

Also, you get the chance to develop new employees when you base your hiring practices on attitude rather than skills. If you’re running a lean company, you can train new hires on every possible discipline based on their abilities, particularly when they have the right attitude.

Here’s the thing: Employees with the right attitude usually aren’t afraid to take on more tasks. They’re motivated to contribute to the growth of the company. If you’re able to motivate and challenge them, they’ll take ownership and share in your successes.

So hire employees with the right attitude, even if they don’t have all of the training or qualifications for the position. As long as they have the right attitude, you can train them to do anything.

3 Ways to Maintain a Successful Entrepreneurial Mindset

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Starting a business definitely comes with its fair share of difficulties. The process often feels like a roller coaster. Some days, weeks, and even months on end will run smoother than you ever could have hoped for. Then just when all feels safe, bam. In the blink of an eye you are free falling without a clue as to what will happen next.

Dealing with a business when things are going good is the easy part. But how will you react when the going gets tough? Are you going to give up and succumb to the challenges, or are you going to push through the tough times and figure out solutions? This is what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the wannabees. And it all starts with taking on the right mental attributes. In this article we are going to take a look at several ways that we can keep our minds mentally in check for all the challenges that lie ahead.

1. Whatever you do, don’t panic.

Being concerned and taking a proactive approach to fixing things is a good thing. But these decisions must be level headed. Panicking will do nothing but harm your business and cause you to make poor choices. If you have had success with your business in the past, odds are, you are working with a successful idea. So don’t immediately assume your ideas are awful and that your business is broken the second things take a slight turn for the worse. No matter what business you are in, there are going to be ups and downs. During those downs it will be human nature to start questioning yourself. But don’t lose focus of what got you to the point you are at in the first place.

These are the times where you need your confidence more than ever. Once the confidence falls by the wayside, so does the decision making process, and eventually the business. Making adjustments is an important part of any successful business, but make sure you are doing so at a time when you are in a completely rational state of mind and have had time to let things sink in. Changes should be changes that you firmly believe in, not adjustments that are solely made out of panic and worry.

2. Write down your short-term goals.

This should be a part of every entrepreneurs business plan. Whether you have been running your business for months, or years, it’s always important to have some short-term goals in order to keep your mind in a healthy place.

Of course we all want to live the Dream of having millions of dollars, vacation homes, etc. But let’s be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you want to get to that American Dream, it will not happen over night. In the mean time, setting short-term goals that are realistic will keep you feeling good about your business and yourself. These short-term accomplishments don’t always have to add up to dollars and cents. Learning how to engage better in social media, or taking a business class can all be short-term goals as well. Eventually all these mini-accomplishments will add up to something great.

3. Take a break from your business.

Most entrepreneurs are borderline OCD when it comes to working. It’s both our blessing and our curse. Unfortunately, working around the clock is neither productive, nor mentally healthy for your business in the long run. Working to the point of exhaustion will result in poor decision, weaken the creative process, and overall, harm the business. So the next time you are feeling burnt out, take a break and walk away. Your business will thank you in the long run!

It’s the 21st Century: Innovate, Experiment, & Grow

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Today’s twentysomethings are lost in many ways. It’s a tricky world to live in, vastly different from the one in which our parents grew up.

We were promised a world full of jobs, opportunities, and new and exciting ways to make a living. The world of the 21st century was supposed to be a huge improvement over the 20th, and we were all supposed to enjoy an amazing, bright, optimistic future.

Now, it’s easy to argue that that isn’t the case. We constantly hear about disappearing jobs, a bad economy, corruption at the highest level, etc. etc. And there is some truth to this of course.

But our parents were right in some ways. There are tremendous opportunities out there for young, knowledgeable people to get what they want out of life.

We just need to know how to look for them.

Our parents’ world is disappearing. The days of walking out of school and into a job that supported your family while your wife takes care of the home and the children are all but over. But we still expect this to be the case. We’re still thinking like it’s the 20th century.

How can we help it? After all, we were raised by our parents, and they’ve only got their own experience to go on. They’re taking up most of the old school jobs that do still exist, and so to them the world hasn’t changed much. But to a new, ambitious young graduate, things are very different.

I recently re-read one of my favourite short stories, The Martian Way by the late, great science fiction pioneer Isaac Asimov. The story revolves around a group of humans who live on a Martian colony and who make their living by scavenging spare parts left floating in space. The ships ran by blasting water out the bottom of them to lift them off. But when a new water ration was imposed by the government on Earth, it essentially grounded every scavenger, leaving them out of a job.

But one scavenger, Ted Long, came up with an innovative and creative new way to get around the ration. The solution was to get their water from other places in the Solar System and end their dependency on Earth’s water supplies.

This might seem like an obvious solution, but there’s more to it than that.

In the early in the days of space travel, Earth people discovered that any more than six months or so in space would leave you a psychological mess. This became the rule of thumb, and Martian people lived by it. But Ted Long realized these rules were written by people on Earth. People who were used to spending time in wide open spaces like forests, parks, mountains, and all the other beautiful natural vistas we take for granted. But Ted Long came to realize the Martian colony wasn’t much more than a big spaceship on the planet’s surface. He’d spent his entire life there, so he and his fellow scavengers could handle space travel much better than Earth men could.

Just like Ted Long, we hold all sorts of different beliefs and rules of thumb which seem true, but end up holding us back from what we can really accomplish. But once Ted Long realized the common sense knowledge people believed didn’t apply to him, he found a new and creative solution to his problems.

Like Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

If you want to be successful in your career, you’ll need to leave the old fashioned ways of thinking behind. But what does it mean to think like it’s the 21st century?

Here are a few ways to help rearrange how you think about a job, a career, and how to succeed.

Focus on the internet!

You know as well as I do that the internet is the future. It’s what has been driving our world for nearly twenty years now.

…it feels weird to say that.

Anyway, there are many people who have become wealthy by taking advantage of the power of the internet. And I’m not just talking about web designers and software tycoons. In fact, you can make a living in ways you’d never even think of.

Do you have a blog? You can make money with it.

Do you like photography? You can sell stock photos, prints, greeting cards, and much more!

What about videography? YouTube will pay you for good videos.

Have you written a book? You can sell it online!

Graphic designer? The possibilities are nearly endless!

Or maybe you’re not a creative type. You can buy and sell items on EBay, become a virtual assistant or a mobile app tester, buy and sell domain names, build an e-commerce site to sell products, get into affiliate marketing, and much more.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many opportunities available online that a career counsellor won’t be able to help you with. They’re still thinking about jobs in a 20th century manner, after all.

And to many people, these options just don’t occur to us. I’m pretty sure no child ever said they wanted to be a mobile app tester when they grow up. But these 21st century career options can help you make a good living.

Solve problems in a creative way

Once you’ve found a good opportunity, it’s important to take advantage of it as best you can.

In his book Linchpin, author Seth Godin talks about the concept of being a linchpin to an organization. According to Wikipedia, a linchpin is “a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other part from sliding off the axle upon which it is riding.”

The linchpin doesn’t get as much attention as the wheel or the axle, but without it the whole thing falls apart. It’s indispensible. If you’re a linchpin in an organization, you work the same way.

Your parents might have taught you that the best way to succeed in your career is to work hard, keep your head down, and do what you’re told. And this might have worked in a 20th century job, but the world moves too quickly for that to be effective anymore. Businesses are always looking for new and creative ways to keep themselves relevant in the modern world.

If you can solve these problems for them in a creative way, even if it’s not “your job” to solve them, you’ll make yourself indispensible to your company, and make yourself more valuable to the people around you.

Stay educated!

To our parents and grandparents, education wasn’t as important as it is today. They finished high school, of course, and then they started a job. They learned how to do their job, and then they did it. That job didn’t change much from the day they stepped into it until the day they retired.

But the world is changing too quickly for old knowledge to be useful for very long. People are always coming up with new and interesting ways to do things. In certain industries (like SEO, for example), things change so dramatically that using old methods can actually harm your efforts! But if you can keep up to date with it, you’ll become smarter, more productive, and better at what you do. You’ll be in a much better position to become a linchpin for your organization.

How can you keep up to date? Use the internet, of course! Search YouTube and the blogosphere for news about what’s going on in your industry. Pay attention to new possibilities and new methods of doing things. You can always learn from what other people are up to.

Learn to sell!

Selling is difficult for many people. It was difficult for me for a long time too, I know. But today more than ever, it’s one of the most important ways you can bolster your career.

The art of selling is simply about persuasion. If you’re selling a product or service, it’s about convincing someone it’s something which will bring them value.

It has a nasty reputation for being a way to take advantage of people. At best it’s a bothersome annoyance, and at worst it’s a way to squeeze money out of innocent people with no care for anything other than blind profit.

And of course, it can be used in this way. But it doesn’t have to be!

Just like a knife can be used to hurt someone or to prepare a family dinner, the art of selling is neither bad nor good. It’s just a tool.

In the 21st century, knowing how to sell is one of the most important tools out there. After all, there are all sorts of interesting new technological innovations coming out every day which are untested and unproven. You might know with all your heart that you have a useful solution for a business, but everyone else is probably not as convinced.

As an internet marketer, I have to sell clients on the idea of SEO all the time. And that’s simply because I know that a top ranked spot on Google can bring someone incredible amounts of new business. But some of them haven’t even heard of SEO in the first place!

So what do I do? I convince them that SEO is something they need. Not because I’m taking advantage of them, but because I know something they don’t know. I know how much business a good SEO campaign can bring in, and it’s my job to convince them of the power of SEO.

Selling can be very complex, and there’s a lot to it. But fortunately, there’s some great material out there on the subject to help you learn. Check out guys like Zig Ziglar, Neil Rackham, and Mike Bosworth. Each has written some great books on how to become great at selling.

Be an entrepreneur!

According to a recent report from Babson and Baruch Colleges (and reported on here in Forbes), entrepreneurship has hit record high levels in the United States. There are more entrepreneurs today than ever before in US history.

Another statistic puts it in more concrete terms. Each month, more than half a million new businesses are formed in the United States alone!

What are these people doing? With so many different companies being formed, it seems like a little of everything. These businesses range from multinational conglomerates to single moms selling homemade jewelry on Etsy, but those who run them all have one thing in common. They’re entrepreneurs.

How do you become an entrepreneur? The simple answer is to find a need in the market, and find a way to fill that need in a way that’s profitable.

Of course, there’s much more to it than that from how to get started to how to run a business, how to keep yourself going through the difficult times, interviews with other successful people, and more.

Look, I know times are tough. They really are. But there are so many opportunities out there too, if you just know where to look.

How have you been thinking about your career so far? Maybe you’re following your parents’ advice. After all, it’s what they did, and it worked out okay for them, right?

Yeah, it worked great in the 20th century. Back when advertising in the Yellow Pages worked. Back when you rented a VHS video tape or an Atari game from Blockbuster Video. Back when stuff like this was cool. Ah yes, the good old days.

Now, no one is ever going to be able to convince me Twisted Sister isn’t still cool. But that’s not the point. The 20th century is over. Done. Kaput. Take a lesson from Ted Long, and adapt your beliefs to fit your surroundings. It’s time to think like it’s the 21st century. Leave the old methods in the past.

11 Disastrous Pitfalls to Avoid When Running Your Own Business

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I believe that mistakes and failures are essential to eventual success. I also believe that there are some lessons that can’t easily be taught, and need to be learned through experience. Having run my own business since college, I’ve encountered a wide variety of challenges, and have made my share of mistakes.   I was also able to avoid certain pitfalls thanks to the valuable resources that can be found online for young entrepreneurs, and through essential mentors in my own life.

It’s clear that I’m still at the beginning of what is bound to be a lifelong journey of learning, iterating, and hopefully growing, from the myriad of challenges and triumphs that are inherent to any growing business.

Looking back over the past 8 years, I’d like to share some of the essential lessons I’ve learned through trial and error.

Hiring friends and family because you like them or feel obligated

As a new business owner, hiring can be an enormous challenge. As a young person (especially if you’re still well integrated with college friends or close with your family), it can be tempting to hire those closest to you. Maybe you feel more secure hiring somebody you already know and trust. Or maybe they’re in need of a job, and you want to offer a solution, or perhaps you simply want to mix business with pleasure, believing that it will lead to a more fun working environment.

The truth is, hiring friends and family can be like setting up a minefield in your office. Efficient businesses rely on defined roles and a clear understanding of the boundaries of responsibility. When you involve people within your business with whom you have more complex personal relationships, it’s incredibly easy for the lines to become blurry between employee and boss.

Additionally, the pressure of running a young business is very likely to lead to high stress situations that can test the boundaries of any relationship. The closer an interpersonal relationship is, the more leeway each party is likely to feel in expressing their feelings and fears. As a result, blowouts can be common, with blame and anger exploding in ways that can destroy friendships forever.

Above all else, turning to your circle of friends when it comes time to expand your business precludes you from seeing the hiring process as a search for the best possible candidate. Each new hire is a major investment, and the productivity, attitude, and overall contribution of each employee can make or break your success.  Hire for what your business requires, and strive to find the absolute best candidate for those needs.

Not hiring a good lawyer

Especially for startups and brand new businesses, issues such as legal counsel and business insurance can seem like secondary needs, or even luxuries. The truth is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Finding and keeping a lawyer experienced with the industry you serve can be invaluable – not just when you face a crisis, but as an advisor and protector of your business. By hiring an attorney, you are essentially creating a barrier between yourself and a variety of potential dilemmas that can arise simply from being naive.

By setting up legal protections for your business, you are putting in place preventative measures that could save your business in the future, or at the very least, save you time, money, and a great deal of worry and stress.

Not hiring an even better accountant

As a new business owner, it can be tempting to manage all the finances, bookkeeping, and tax preparation yourself. This is another area where it is unwise to cut corners in an effort to save money. A good accountant is worth his or her weight in gold.

Understanding the financial state of your business, as well as your upcoming tax burden and other fiscal responsibilities is crucial for making decisions about how your business grows. Far too often, business owners neglect or shy away from knowing the true financial state of their company – or find it too difficult to properly account for fluctuating monthly expenses and income.

Losing sight of the numbers 

Hiring an accountant is a crucial step because it helps keep you accountable for the financial health of your business. As a business owner, losing sight of the financial state of your company can be disastrous.

Having an outdated or incomplete view of your company’s financial position means that you cannot make informed decisions about growth and change. It also means that you won’t be able to spot emergency situations that call for swift and precise action. Without a clear picture of where you stand financially, you can’t plan properly for the future, or make projections about the trajectory of your growth or decline.

Thinking that your business is secure

A major emotional hurdle of running your own business is the fear associated with failure and decline. As a coping mechanism, it’s common for business owners to paint a less than accurate picture of the security of their current position, or the viability of their business in the long term.

As a business owner, it’s your job to look objectively and as accurately as possible, trying to discover key areas that need improvement, or put your business at risk over time. Landing a big, new client or closing a big, new deal can create a feeling of security company wide, which may have no real bearing on the long term viability of what you’ve created.

Producing systems that are scalable, maintainable, reliable, and trackable are necessary for building security within your company – but there will also always be a degree of uncertainty and risk that comes along with owning your own business. Managing risk scrupulously and identifying potential dangers and obstacles in an accurate and level headed way should be the goal.

Making unsound decisions when you’re emotional

Paradoxically, the times in business where a clear head is needed most are also the times that can feel the most emotionally overwhelming. Some of the heaviest and most important decisions you’ll need to make in growing your company often involve multi-faceted, complex inputs, and a great deal of ambiguity. 

When we’re overwhelmed by our emotions, our rational side is subdued and diminished. We’re unable to see solutions to problems and are likely to react or overreact in a knee jerk fashion. As difficult as it may be, sitting with the uncomfortable weight of a big decision is critical. Give yourself time to absorb the gravity of your situation, and arrive at a sound decision once you’ve had time to calm down and assess your options from a reasonable, and well thought out point of view.

Thinking that working more hours equals more success (law of diminishing returns) 

As a new business owner, there are often so many things to be done that you feel paralyzed. As a result, completing the simplest and most mundane of tasks can decrease stress levels and make you feel like you’re moving forward. The truth, however, is that wasting time on the wrong things, or working excessive hours without being effective can be extremely harmful to your personal wellness and also to the health of your business.

 Becoming cognizant of your own frame of mind, and evaluating your ability to be productive at different points in the day is essential for optimizing your efficiency and harnessing your potential. Working longer hours can make you feel accomplished, but long, hard hours don’t necessarily correlate with increased success. Finding opportunities to recharge, coupled with a concerted effort to work diligently during your most productive hours is a key to finding balance and growth without burnout.

Working in your business, instead of on your business 

One of the most important books I’ve read is Michael Gerber’s E-Myth.  At its heart, E-Myth teaches us that businesses become successful when you’re able to step out of the technician’s role. In other words, being the core producer, the person doing the actual work of the business, precludes you from the tasks that can drive your business forward.

There is a fundamental difference between working in your business, as the technician, and working on your business. This paradigm shift allows you to begin seeing your business as something that works for you, and as something that can and should be able to run without you at the core.

Failing to market yourself because you’re too busy helping your clients

This pitfall is an extension of the lessons E-Myth teaches us. A core responsibility of the business owner is to drive the growth of the business through new sales and partnerships. This growth is driven by your ability to properly market your company, and through a directed and driven effort to create awareness for your brand and its differentiation.

If the cobbler’s children have no shoes, the cobbler has neglected to recognize the importance of creating stability at home. A stable business is efficient not only in the tasks that make the company money, but also in the tasks that drive its growth and visibility.

Not celebrating wins, even if they’re initially small

Creating a profitable business can be incredibly rewarding, but eventual success is more often than not, the culmination of many small wins. As cliché as it may sound, it’s really the journey that is ultimately the most rewarding part of owning a business.

Celebrating every win is key to enjoying the journey. Overcoming new challenges, landing new clients, or closing new sales are all opportunities to celebrate your growth. Celebrating company wide achievements, as well as the personal achievements of your employees and self are one of the most essential, yet easily overlooked tools for increasing morale and boosting productivity. Concentrating on the positives and emphasizing progress can drastically change the mood and perception of the company, from the inside out.

Not encouraging time off

Taking time off to recharge your batteries can make you exponentially more productive when you return to work. It also has the added benefit of giving you some perspective on your work and daily schedule.  When you’re fully entrenched in the day-to-day of your business, it can be extremely hard to extract yourself and obtain the birds eye perspective that is necessary for a business owner to possess.

Accept that your time is precious, and your mental energy as a resource that can be depleted. Utilize time off as a way of renewing that cherished resource, enabling you to work smarter and more effectively. And remember, your employees are in the same need of rejuvenation, especially during stressful times. It’s not possible to tap water from a stone – attempting to mine resources from your employees or self when you’re tapped out is an exercise in futility, and dangerous to future growth.

Personal PR is about Leadership, not Grandstanding

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Recently, Forbes published an article discussing why personal branding is vital to leadership development. The article contradicted the idea or stereotype that those who focus substantial time building their own reputations are really just self-absorbed brownnosers. Although this may be the case for some individuals, in general, nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that understanding who you are and how to communicate that ‘brand’ is vital to any social construct or any relationship, regardless of whether that is personal or in business.

To elaborate: If your colleagues don’t understand who you are, and what specific skills you bring to the table, they will be less likely to think of you when they need help with a project on which you can offer your expertise. Furthermore, without knowing your strengths, your superiors will never have any reason to choose you when they have an important project that fits your skill set. After all, who can blame them if they don’t know what you can do?

Ultimately, you are responsible for communicating your individual worth to others. It’s not brown-nosing, it’s just smart.

Remember, in business, it’s not about who you are.

It’s about what you can do. As well as how, and when, you will get it done. These standards, more than any others, determine who gets that big opportunity, and which businesses succeed.

What are the important things to remember when building your personal brand? First off, in today’s modern world, there are a few pitfalls on the road to personal PR development that need to be avoided.

Although a popular outlet for personal branding, social media is not the end-all when it comes to developing “the brand of you”. Some might read that sentence and think, “of course not,” but trends are revealing that far too many busy business pros are using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a their main methods of personal development, instead of investing real time, talent, and energy in other areas critical to success – such as networking and staying on top of your industry through reading and writing.

In PR, communication is key, as we all well know. But, so much communication on social media is stilted, out of context, and incomplete. The nature of those platforms creates artificial handicaps in brand development.

Individual brand development and personal public relations should never be approached with a cavalier, ‘wham, bam’ mentality. After all, is that approach what you want people to remember about you? Instead, take the time to develop real communication channels at every opportunity and I promise you will find that the time invested delivers better than expected benefits.

10 Movies Every Business Student Must Watch

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Every once in a while, between mindless action and romcoms, Hollywood has made movies that are not only immensely entertaining but packed with valuable life lessons. For a student of business, there is no easier way to amp up their acumen than by learning through others’ experience.

Here are ten movies that do a great job at teaching a thing or two about business over popcorn and a giant cola:

1) Wall Street:

This has to be right at the top. A business student who hasn’t heard of Gordon Gekko is like a basketball player who hasn’t heard of Michael Jordon. It’s a thrilling journey into Gordon Gekko’s life, where, “Money is everything” and “Greed is good.” Watch it for the impeccable, Oscar winning performance by Michael Douglas, and to see what power and greed can do to the human soul. Remember your scruples when you set out to conquer the world!

2) The Insider:

When Al-Pacino and Russell Crowe share screen space, you don’t need more reasons to watch the movie. But if you are a student of business, watch it for what ethics and integrity in business really mean. It’s a story of a man who is doing lots of wrong inside a company and one fine day decides to blow the whistle. He is faced with an ugly choice of doing the right thing and risking his life, or keeping his mouth shut.

3) Glengarry Glen Ross:

Are you a business student looking to get into sales? This movie can be your unforgettable teacher. See the real world of sales and what it takes to make it there- “Lie, Cheat, Steal. All in a day’s work.” But you may pay for your transgressions.

4) Citizen Kane:

Widely touted as one of the greatest feature films in American history, Citizen Kane is the story of a businessman and newspaper magnate, through the eyes of his acquaintances, associates and the media that follow his every word, including his last one: Rosebud.

It shows you the bitter truth: Success can often come at a price and at the top, life is relatively empty.

5) It’s a Wonderful Life:

Frank Capra’s timeless black and white classic is an illustrative lesson of the moral, financial & the practical! When you get lost in the pursuit of money and put aside life itself in search for profits, it’s tough to look at the beautiful gift — life — and that it truly is a wonderful life!

6) Pursuit of Happiness:

What do you do when you have everything going against you? You probably never had it as bad as Chris, who sleeps in bathrooms, homeless shelters and shabby hotels. Based on true events, it’s the story of a struggling salesman and his constant determination, attitude and character. As Chris says, “You want something, go get it, period.”

7) Up in the Air:

Business movies generally revolve around Wall Street, hostile takeovers and money. This one delves into HR issues, personal problems and communication skills. It’s a story about Ryan Bingham, whose job is to fire people he doesn’t know, and how he lives a life out of suitcase, with a sense of false compassion.

8) The Godfather:

A classic! A must watch for all business students. A 70mm bible about why relationships and building networks are important, why helping people is good for business and why knowing about competition is non-negotiable.

9) Barbarians at the Gate:

A real story and a real lesson! A classic must-watch for business students as it will take you through the saga of battle for power, a hostile takeover and leveraged buyout.

10) The Fountainhead:

Perhaps the most acclaimed work blending individualism and capitalism. The movie taught a whole generation that it does not matter what everybody else thinks — it’s how you see yourself and what your own dreams are. Isn’t that what every businessman strives to achieve every day?

Why Learning To Say NO Is Good For Your Career

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Well, let’s face it! We all have been in a situation when our boss knowingly or unknowingly makes us work beyond we actually would want to. There have been times when we are already running short on a deadline and still, owing to our inability to say a simple “no”, we take on another assignment which obviously would make us curse ourselves later on. So, what is it about saying “no” that keeps us from saying it and make things difficult for us?
Why it is so hard to say “NO”?

Saying no is definitely more difficult than saying yes, and research studies have shown that many people just end up saying yes because they do not want the discomfort that comes with saying no. Social connection is one of our fundamental needs, and saying no seems to put our relationships at stake. That’s why, the more close the person is, we find it more difficult to say no. We fear that a negative reaction would change the way the other person views us.

Neuroscience seems to back this with its findings regarding the way brain handles negative reactions. Negative information is responsible for creation of greater electrical activity in the cerebral cortex than positive information. May be that’s why negative or hurtful memories are harder to forget than positive memories. This actually is the brain’s way to keep us from repeating the same mistake twice. You might be one of the most helping souls out there but when it comes to professional arena, learning to say no might actually prove more beneficial than harmful.
Why do you need to learn to say no more often?

We are so accustomed to saying yes to almost everything that we often forget what we are saying yes to. When you are at work such a nature would obviously count you amongst the people pleaser who just wants to suck up to the boss so as to gain a promotion or a salary hike, even if you are genuinely passionate about your job. But this shouldn’t be the reason to start learning to say no.

In fact, saying no more often can actually help you avoid unnecessary stress and falling into trap of inefficient production cycles. If at any point your subconscious mind tells you about saying no to something, you must give that thought a merit for consideration. It is my first hand experience that when you agree to doing something that you actually do not want to do, it drains you up mentally. Your mind stops being creative for a task which you think you shouldn’t be doing at first place, resulting in mediocrity, which is anything but appreciable at work.

You are no superhuman, so don’t be ashamed of saying it

If I possessed even 10% of the superhuman powers of Spidey or the Batman, I wouldn’t be probably writing this article and you wouldn’t be reading it. Instead, we all are normal human beings bounded by limited mental and physical capabilities and that’s why sometimes saying no can help manage your work load, improve your professional performance and even relationships. Agreeing to do everything what your manager asks you to do even when you have your plate full amounts to being a people pleaser, which can have serious implications for your productivity. The consequences of saying ‘yes’ when you are already working to your full capacity and are unable to deliver the necessary standard of work are actually worse than trusting your gut and saying ‘no’ to a particular assignment.

Take your time to respond

Instead of immediately responding to a request, give your mind few crucial minutes to structure your schedule and find if there is any room to fit in that new request. Conduct a priority check. Does the new request create any value for the company or add up to your existing skills and capabilities? Can you afford to prioritize the new request if it requires to be done ‘on-priority’ basis?

A reality check regarding the workload will also help. Sometimes it’s not the work but our inefficient management that ends up making us feeling overwhelmed. If you are saying no to a new assignment by your manager, you better have solid reasons to back up your denial.

Be honest

Once you realize that there is no way you can comply to the new request without actually affecting your existing projects and work assignments, the next step is to let your colleague or boss know the same, in delicate yet firm manner. A lopsided statement as it may seem, but nevertheless, a denial of request should be accomplished through delicate choice of words.

Let it be clear through your statement that you are rejecting the request, not the person. If it’s your boss then you can engage him in prioritizing the different tasks. Ask him if he would like you to complete the new request over the other tasks you have or wouldn’t it be better if the new work is assigned to someone else.

While it will take some time to getting used to saying ‘no’, you will find after some practice that it is not as difficult and it may also earn you the respect of others for they will know you are responsible individual and a person with a plan.