15 Sad Reasons People Give Up On Their Dreams

It’s a sad truth in life that the vast majority of people give up on their dreams. Sometimes it happens early. A kid is told by his or her parents that whatever they’re aiming for is impossible to reach. Sometimes it happens later. You get older, tired, and instead of trying to pivot once more, you decide to throw in the towel for good. It’s sad when a dream dies. And more often than not, it dies far too soon.

If you don’t believe me, just ask those around you whether or not they’re creative–or what the last creative thing they’ve done was. 

Most will say they’re not creative at all. Many will actually try to convince you how not-creative they are, and the majority haven’t worked on something creative in years. Why? Because creativity is what’s linked to dreams, to imagination, to exploration.

Here are 15 sad reasons most people give up on themselves:

1. They fear being judged by those they care about for failing.

Fear of failure, in itself, is debilitating. But that fear is almost always rooted in fear of rejection or judgment from those around them. 

What you need to separate is everyone else’s fears (within themselves) and your own feelings. The two are not the same.

2. They give others the power to influence their decisions.

Instead of asking, “What is it that I truly want?” most people give that power to others.

Their parents. Their friends. Their boss. 

But fast-forward 10, 20, 30 years. Will you really care what those people thought?

You have to make decisions for yourself.

3. They fail once–and never try again.

If you stop walking, how do you expect to get to where you want to go?

Once isn’t a good judge of your potential. Twice isn’t either. 100 times is still not enough.

It’s a journey. You can never “try” too many times.

4. They only see the failure, not the lesson. 

People who give up on their dreams tend to experience failure once, and then attach themselves to that title. “I am a failure,” they repeat over and over again.

But what does that word really mean? Failure?

Those who succeed are the ones who see those “failures” as lessons–forever and always.

5. They don’t learn how to discipline themselves.

Discipline is the single most valuable skill for turning your dream into a reality. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t practice this skill. They don’t like waiting for things, don’t like practicing patience, don’t see the value in withholding short-term rewards for longer-term gains.

But without discipline, you will never succeed.

6. They care more about the end result, not the process. 

If you only focus on the end, you’ll never get there.

But if you focus on the process, you’ll find yourself waking up morning after morning realizing, “Wow, I’ve come such a long way.” 

7. They don’t believe in themselves. 

Instead, they look to others to believe in them. 

They want everyone else around them to do the heavy lifting, to cheer them on, to give them the money they need, to give them some sense of “guarantee.”

Dreams don’t work that way.

You have to believe in yourself first–so that others can follow.

8. They surround themselves with people who are a negative influence.

You are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you surround yourself with negative, unproductive people who don’t have dreams of their own, then guess what?

You’re going to be just like them.

9. They decide that people won’t understand their dream–and give up.

Most people never learn how to vocalize and explain what it is they really want out of life.

The truth is, most people can’t explain it because they aren’t even sure themselves. And instead of continuing on the journey of self-discovery, they decide to give up altogether.

10. They’d rather be misunderstood than wrong.

People constantly make decisions for themselves based on what will make other people happy.

But that is a surefire way to guarantee your own unhappiness.

It’s far better to be misunderstood living your truth, than being entirely understood living a lie.

11. They don’t have a guaranteed path to achieve success. 

Most people want to know that the end result is guaranteed before taking the leap, putting themselves out there, and going all-in on pursuing their dream.

But that’s the thing about dreams. They’re not guaranteed.

And that’s why they’re so fulfilling to chase.

12. They would rather settle for short-term rewards.

So many people set out to achieve their dream, only to detour for a comfortable high-paying salary desk job.

If that’s what you want, then by all means. But if you take that purely out of fear, then you’re a coward–and you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.

13. They refuse to pivot and adjust.

When people set out to achieve their dream, they tend to fall in love with an ideal “final destination.”

As a result, they struggle to pivot. They would rather give up entirely than adjust their expectations, shift, and continue on the journey.

14. They get bored.

And then there are the people who give up purely because they lack the creativity to continue reinvent themselves.

No path stays the same forever. No person does either.

So it’s sad when someone gives up on their dream purely because they don’t want to put in the effort to discover the next version of themselves.

15. They lose belief in themselves.

On every path, there are times when that self-belief gets shaken.

For some, these tough learning moments are too much to handle. They stop seeing themselves as a work-in-progress, and start to accept that they’ve failed. 

As a result, they give up. 

And their dream suddenly disappears.

7 Ways To Slay Your Business Dragons

There is a great deal of fear involved in starting your business, growing it, and taking it to the next level. This post will show you 7 ways to slay your fears in business in order to grow your business successfully.

Every entrepreneur has to deal with it. But to be successful, in any stage of your business, you need to face your fear.

Sometimes that’s way easier said than done, trust me, I know.

In fact, in every stage of business, from starting up a tiny one-woman operation five years ago to changing my business name, niche, pricing structure and hiring employees, I’ve struggled with fear that felt insurmountable. As time goes by and I’ve faced my fears it gets easier, but it’s still there.

However, once I decided that I wanted to help other women in their businesses and have success in my own business more than I was afraid of failure, that’s when both my business and myself were truly able to grow. And I know that’s true for you, too.

Here are 7 ways to overcome your fears and take your business to the next level, though you can apply these to any stage you’re at in business.

1. Identify your fear(s).

What exactly is it that you’re afraid of? Common ones are:

-I’m not ready yet.
-Fear of failure.
-You don’t know how to do everything you need to do.
-Fear of not being good enough.

The truth is, you’re never going to be totally ready. But you’ll figure it out as you go. Chances are you’ll fail. But you’ll learn from those mistakes and failures and become even better. You likely don’t know how to do everything you need to do. For that, there’s outsourcing or an opportunity to learn even more to serve your clients. Feel like you’re not good enough? You are, plain and simple. For these and other fears that pop up, realize they are just an excuse. Move forward anyway.

2. Realize it’s not all about you.

That sounds a bit negative, but it’s actually a good thing. If you mess up, so what? People are typically more worried about their own businesses, their own lives and what people think of them to spend too much time focusing on you. So get out there and do what you need to do.

3. Determine the worst-case scenarios.

Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone says no? You’ll look silly? Someone will think badly of you? Even worst-case scenarios typically aren’t that bad; even if they are, how likely is it that the worst-case scenario is actually going to come true? Now flip it… what’s the best-case scenario? Isn’t that possibility worth the risk?

4. Focus on your why.

Why did you start your business? Why do you do what you do? Write it down. Focus on your why and your goals to drive you when you need an extra boost to overcome your fear.

5. Take action.

That means stop procrastinating. It’s so easy to push things off when you’re anxious or worried, but delaying just makes things worse and makes you stress out more. Take baby steps if you need to, but do at least one thing – no matter how small it may be – today.

6. Find your support system.

Sometimes you don’t want to do anything because you’re scared to death and you need a little extra push from someone close to you. When that happens, a support system is crucial and is one of the best ways to help overcome your fear. While a support system can be friends, family or fellow entrepreneurs, I’ve found it’s best to try to find a healthy mix. Friends and family will be able to support you in a different way than those who are walking this entrepreneurial path. Find and surround yourself with people who are like-minded individuals who can relate to what you’re going through, give you advice when necessary and be there for you when the going gets tough and fear starts creeping in.

7. Learn to accept (and embrace) your fear.

The fear is not going to go away. Learn from your mistakes and use your fear to better yourself and better your craft. It’s easier said than done, but try to welcome fear as an experience to learn and grow, and remember that fear can actually be a good thing. Courage is being scared to death and doing it anyway. Slowly but surely, action leads to confidence, which helps abate your fears and move your business forward.

Be positive, even when it’s tough, and believe in yourself and your business. Go after what you want even if it seems crazy.

Being Your Own Boss: Tips for Beginner Entrepreneurs.

Look who’s in charge now.

You can be your own boss — just let that sink in for a minute and then imagine it. The benefits of being your own boss are amazing. You set your own hours. You don’t get hung up in committees. You decide your own dress code. And most importantly, you follow your dream.

Whether you want to start working as a freelancer out of your home or create a brick-and-mortar store, starting your own business can be remarkably rewarding. It’s also really hard work that is laden with pitfalls if you aren’t careful.

Learn how to start your own business with these tips for beginning entrepreneurs.

1. Follow your passion

If you’re going to take the leap and start your own business, it’s going to take a lot of energy, time, and money. The best way to keep yourself motivated through the ups and downs is to do what really matters to you. Buying the first affordable business that comes available just because you want to become an entrepreneur is a recipe for disaster. If you take immense joy in building birdhouses or selling cookies, do your research and go all in. There’s no promise that it will work, but when you follow your passion you know you’ll give it your all.

2. Do your research

Okay, now that you have decided what your passion is and how you want to pursue it, you need to do some research on how to start your own business. There are a lot of things to consider: Who will your customers be? How will you get supplies? Does this type of business make a profit in your area or do you need to be strong online? Before you throw everything you have into your new business, you need to take an honest look to see if it is a viable idea. This is especially important if you’re trying something new. If you are purchasing a franchise, or working within an Organisation, there should be a lot of material ready for you from the parent company.

Go beyond the books and talk to someone who has started a business similar to what you want to do. What were their biggest issues starting out? Frequently, it’s the things you never thought of that can hold you up. Ask someone who knows and can help you start out clean.

3. Develop a business plan

Once you’ve run the numbers and you’re confident that it’s a great idea, developing a business plan is the next step. A business plan is your blueprint for making your business successful. It lays out your business concept, how you fit into the marketplace, and the details of how your finances will work.

Your business plan is essential if you are going to need investors or a bank loan because they’ll want to see that you have thought things through. Even if you don’t need financing, a business plan is a great way to understand how your new venture will succeed and what issues you could face.

4. Have a one-year plan

For most businesses, the first year is spent getting things up and running, from getting the proper documentation and licenses from the government to finding your location (if needed). Even once you open your own business, it’s rare that a business hits the ground running. It’s okay. Develop a plan for the goals that you would like to reach in your first year of business. Keep your sights optimistic, but realistic. Your inaugural year can be a dangerous one if you make mistakes. When December comes, you can assess your business plan and see if you’re on the right track.

5. Have a five-year plan — and a 10-year plan

While survival might be a sufficient goal for year one, that can’t be the situation for long. You need to think about where you want your business to be in five years and so on. Will you need a bigger space? Do you want a better location? Are you going to need to hire employees?

Figure out just where you want this business to go and plot out your route to get there, step by step. Setting goals every five years helps you measure your success as an entrepreneur and as a business.

6. Consider your time management

Let’s pause for a moment and remember the “self” in self-employed. When you work for a company, you might punch in and punch out — it’s clear and simple. These are the hours you work; the other time is yours.

That’s not the case when you are an entrepreneur. When you are trying to build your passion into a lasting business, it can be easy to lose track of your time management and get sucked into your business 24/7. Think about your family. Consider your friends. What other obligations do you have in your life? Decide how much time you can spend working on your business and hire help if necessary.

7. Hire cautiously

Few things can sink a business faster than poor quality employees. It’s always better to tough it out short-handed for a while than it is to hire haphazardly. Look over applicants’ credentials carefully, scope them out online to see if there are any red flags, and make sure that they can embrace your passion for your business. Remember, they could be the face of your business when you’re away, even for a day.

Bringing in friends and family? That’s fine as long as everyone knows what is expected of them and how they will be compensated. But again, only bring them in if they can be a boon to your business. Never hire someone just because you are connected by blood or friendship.

8. Understand how your taxes work

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting to work for yourself. The freedom, the fulfillment, and the feeling of building something can be intoxicating. But, like it or not, taxes will play a big part in your business. Break it down as thoroughly as you can and develop a plan to stay ahead of your taxes. If it’s more complicated than you want to handle, hire a pro to help you out. There are also many great people who can help you and if you are working within and Organisation you’ll have all the help at hand get the admin done behind your day to day work.

9. Have an exit strategy

So far it sounds like starting out working for yourself is a lot of tedious work. It can be. But, here comes the fun part. Think about your five and 10-year plan. Now imagine that everything goes extremely well. Your business soars and is successful beyond your imagination. Congratulations!

Now what? Do you want to continue the business until you retire and pass it down to your children? Are you hoping to find someone suitable to take over and keep it going with your vision?

What about a buyout? There’s nothing wrong with setting your price and deciding that when the time comes and someone makes an offer you’ll take it. You can take that money and start something new or just relax and retire early.

Keep in mind how you want to leave your business and, if necessary, start working towards that end as early as you can in your business plan.

If you dream of working for yourself, stop dreaming and start doing something about it. Millions of people have become entrepreneurs before you and many have succeeded. Why can’t you be the next one? Follow these simple tips and you should be on the right track to shaking off that employee label and calling yourself the boss. Sounds good, right?

6 Ways to Persuade a Customer to Do What You Want

persuade blog image

If you want to get a “yes” from a consumer, be sure to write down these strategies from top salespeople and entrepreneurs to help you convert more sales.

The word “influencer” is used a lot in business, but how does the power of persuasion really work? An Everreach study explains the elements that companies use to impact their customers to get that “yes”.

For business, the principles of “reciprocity” and “scarcity” are big factors in the persuasion game. Customers are more inclined to appreciate your business, for example, when you give them something personalized or unexpected. It’s that same vein, they tend to want the things that aren’t everywhere, that’s why limited-time offers tend to be a high selling point.

Clients also like to feel confident . Your company can build a lasting relationship by emphasizing your “knowledge” and “authority” in your industry. Try to give your service a trial period, allowing your future customers to make a small commitment to get started.

What makes us say yes? Researchers have tried to answer this question for 60 years and there is no question that being persuaded is science. Here are six universal factors that will guide our decisions:

1. Reciprocity. This is defined as the obligation to give back what you have received from others. In one study it was found that if a waiter gave a mint at the end of the meal, his tip would increase by three percent and for two mints he would be tipped 14 percent. But if the waiter left a mint, turned and gave them another while saying “for you especially I give you another mint” the tip would increase 23 percent.

This increase was influenced not only by what was given, but how it was given. The key to using this technique is to be the first to give and make sure it is personalized and unexpected.

2. Scarcity. When British Airways announced that they would not have the London to New York twice daily flight available on the concord because it was not profitable, the next day sales skyrocketed. It is not enough just to tell people the benefits they will get, you also need to highlight what is unique and what they can lose .

3. Authority. People will follow the experts for their credibility . Physiotherapists, for example, are able to persuade most of their patients to accept their diagnoses with diplomas taped to the wall in their offices. It is important to point out to others what makes you credible and a knowledgeable authority before you attempt to influence them.https://dc5692e63ba1cd8da95c2513b62a8d49.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

4. Consistency. On one street, few people were willing to put a blanket in their front yard to support a safe driving campaign. But on a similar street, more than half the people wanted to do it. Why? Because 10 days ago they had agreed to put a small card in the window of their house to support the campaign. That little card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase.

When looking to influence using the principle of consistency, you should look for voluntary, active, and public commitments and have them written down.

5. Sympathy. People prefer to say yes to those who like them. What makes one person like the other? In a series of studies from two business schools, a group of MBA students were told to embrace the idea that “time is money” and to start negotiating right away. In this group, 55 percent of the young people were able to reach an agreement with the people. The second group was told to exchange some information before starting the negotiations and to identify any similarities that they shared with the people. In this group 90 percent of the students were able to have successful results.

6. Consensus. People like to see the actions of others to see their own. Hotels usually put little cards in bathrooms to persuade guests to reuse towels. This is done by informing them of the benefits to the environment.

This strategy leads to 30 percent acceptance. What if on cards it was said that 75 percent of the guests reused the towels? Changing a few words about what other guests have done is the most effective message .

Science is telling us that instead of relying on our own ability to persuade others, we can target what others are doing.

21 Success Tips for Young and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

21 Success Tips for Young and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Being successful often means learning from those who have already achieved their goals. Having a mentor is an amazing blessing to an entrepreneur, but not everyone can find one in person.

If you haven’t yet found your personal business guru, here are 21 tips for young or aspiring entrepreneur to help get you started.

1. Challenge yourself. 

Richard Branson says his biggest motivation is to keep challenging himself. He treats life like one long university education, where he can learn more every day. You can too!

2. Do work you care about. 

There’s no doubt that running a business take a lot of time. Steve Jobs noted that the only way to be satisfied in your life is to do work that you truly believe in.

3. Take the risk. 

We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we actually do it. Jeff Bezos said it helped to know that he wouldn’t regret failure, but he would regret not trying.

4. Believe in yourself.

As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Believe that you can succeed, and you’ll find ways through different obstacles. If you don’t, you’ll just find excuses.

5. Have a vision. 

The founder and CEO of Tumblr, David Karp, notes that an entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a desire to create it. Keep your vision clear at all times.

6. Find good people. 

Who you’re with is who you become. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, noted that the fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.

7. Face your fears. 

Overcoming fear isn’t easy, but it must be done. Arianna Huffington once said that she found fearlessness was like a muscle — the more she exercised it, the stronger it became.

8. Take action. 

The world is full of great ideas, but success only comes through action. Walt Disney once said that the easiest way to get started is to quit talking and start doing. That’s true for your success as well.

9. Do the time. 

No one succeeds immediately, and everyone was once a beginner. As Steve Jobs wisely noted, “if you look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Don’t be afraid to invest time in your company.

10. Manage energy, not time.

Your energy limits what you can do with your time, so manage it wisely.

11. Build a great team. 

No one succeeds in business alone, and those who try will lose to a great team every time. Build your own great team to bolster your success.

12. Hire character. 

As you build your team, hire for character and values. You can always train someone on skills, but you can’t make someone’s values fit your company after the fact.

13. Plan for raising capital.

Richard Harroch, a venture capitalist, has this advice for upcoming entrepreneurs: “It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.”

14. Know your goals. 

Ryan Allis, co-founder of iContact, pointed out that having the end in mind every day ensures you’re working toward it. Set goals and remind yourself of them each day.

15. Learn from mistakes. 

Many entrepreneurs point to mistakes as being their best teacher. When you learn from your mistakes, you move closer to success — even though you initially failed.

16. Know your customer. 

Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, cited knowing your customer as one of his three keys to success. Know those you serve better than anyone else, and you’ll be able to deliver the solutions they need.

17. Learn from complaints. 

Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Let unhappy customers teach you where the holes in your service are.

18. Ask for customers’ input. 

Assuming what customers want or need will never lead to success. You must ask them directly, and then carefully listen to what they say.

19. Spend wisely. 

When you spend money on your business, be careful to spend it wisely. It’s easy to spend too much on foolish things and run out of capital too soon.

20. Understand your industry. 

Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, once said, “Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.” Truly understanding your industry is key to having success.

21. Deliver more than expected.

Google’s Larry Page encourages entrepreneurs to deliver more than customers expect. It’s a great way to get noticed in your industry and build a loyal following of advocates.

Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of work, a lot of vision and a lot of perseverance. These 21 tips, from entrepreneurs who have already found success, will help you navigate the path much more easily.

TIPS ON HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED DURING QUIETER TIMES

REGARDLESS OF THE BUSINESS OR INDUSTRY YOU WORK IN, THERE’LL COME A TIME WHEN BUSINESS SEEMS TO GRIND TO A HALT.

One minute you’re flat out, generating new business each day, posting record numbers and leading the competition in every aspect, the next you’re passing the time by browsing random Wikipedia articles and wondering how it’s still not even lunch time yet.

Due to the Panedemic we’ve all seen our businesses and strategies have a huge change of pace forced upon them. Whilst adapting things have seemed to have frozen and we are all treading water until the frost thaws and we are back to full steam ahead once more.

This feeling of ‘treading water’ can lead to a huge dip in motivation. That dip in motivation can have a hugely detrimental effect on a business.

Once your team start losing their motivation, you may find that their willingness to go the extra mile begins to evaporate. Regular tasks take longer to complete, quality of work begins to slide, and employees may also start to become disengaged with you as a leader.

Of course, as soon as things start to pick up again, you’ll want your people to be on their A-game; ready to take on new challenges in their stride and start smashing their targets again. But if your team have been experiencing an extended period of inactivity, you may find that they have settled into that rut, and it may already be too late…

TACKLING TEDIUM

Now, it’s not uncommon to feel bored at work when things have gotten quiet. In fact, it’s estimated that between 30-90% of adults experience feelings of boredom on a daily basis. There are even some studies that suggest small periods of boredom can actually be good for you!

The problem is that when work dries up and boredom sets in, it can lead to a whole host of other negative outcomes if left unchecked – all of which are lethal to productivity and motivation. These can include mental fatigue, anxiety, aggression, depression, poor interpersonal skills… basically, nothing conducive for a healthy and happy work environment!

It’s for these reasons that its essential businesses help their employees stay motivated and engaged when things are quiet.

Whilst you might not be able to conjure up new work or projects out of thin air, there are several simple things you can do to keep your team’s productivity levels high and help them stay ‘match fit’ for when workloads start to pick up again.

START TAKING STOCK

When things are quiet, it’s an ideal opportunity for a business to start taking stock – both literally or in terms of overall strategy.

It can be easy to lose sight of objectives, strategy or plans when you’re rushed off your feet. However, when times are quiet or you know there is going to be a break in workloads, you can spend time analysing what is working within the business or perhaps looking at what needs improvement, too.

Aim to look back at goals set you’ve set your employees over the course of the year and see if they’re on track to achieve them, or if there could be any potential barriers.

Quiet times are the perfect opportunity to spend time and communicate with your team members to review working processes or identifying if there are any positive changes that could be made to help them do their jobs more effectively. They may even have some great ideas of their own!

When you’ve got plenty of time to spare, there’s really no excuse not to.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR APPROACH TO MARKETING

Let’s be honest for a second: are your drops in workloads simply down to an expected or normal dip in business? Or is your blip becoming more of a regular fixture? Regardless, if things have been dragging on, it might be time to re-evaluate your marketing activities.

Now, it should be said at this point that marketing isn’t an exact science! But when times are quiet, it’s always sensible to see if your marketing activities could do with a bit of a refresh or perhaps evaluate what’s working and perhaps what isn’t.

Spend any potential downtime devising an alternative strategy or planning for your next big campaign. Not only will it focus the efforts of your staff, but you’ll also build renewed motivation and energy levels.

GET OUT THE HOUSE!

Did you know that the average British worker spends on average a bum-numbing nine hours a day sat down every day? And we’re not just talking about being just sat at a desk; it’s also the time spent sitting whilst commuting or whilst relaxing at home.

All this sitting down may be taking the weight off your feet, but a sedentary lifestyle isn’t great for a healthy lifestyle or a great working environment.

When times are quiet at work, try to avoid falling into the trap of being sat at a workspace or computer/phone all day; so that means no more lunches at your desk or sitting browsing the web for hilarious memes to share (yes, we know we all do it when it’s quiet…).

Instead, take regular breaks to stretch your legs, clear your head and get some fresh air. If the needs of the business make it possible, why not work from home and embrace flexible working rather than commuting into the office? After all, is there really much point to commute into work everyday if you can quite easily carry out your regular tasks remotely?

Doing something as simple as going for a fifteen-minute walk every day can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that regularly going for a walk can also help with your creativity and problem-solving – perfect for staying motivated and tackling the tedium of slow business days.

MAKE TIME FOR TRAINING

Slow work days are perfect for brushing up on key skills or expanding skill sets; so, see quieter periods as an opportunity to set new training objectives or tasks for you and your staff.

Setting goals and tasks around any potential training will ensure it holds everyone’s attention in the absence of regular work. Plus, getting your staff involved in team-based training can also be a great opportunity to encourage bonding and build a positive team spirit.

The great thing about staff training is that it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. If you’re having to watch the pennies and perhaps can’t stretch to a more formal training course, take the time to look for industry expos or talks.

These are generally free to attend, but will often have a multitude of industry talks taking place which you can attend and gain valuable industry insights at. They’re also a great chance to meet with potential new clients… so definitely worth investigating further.

CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES

When things are quiet, it can become all-too-easy to become downcast and de-motivated. Therefore, celebrating little wins can be instrumental in elevating moods and boosting motivation levels.

And the power of celebrating little victories at work shouldn’t be underestimated! Research has found that capturing those every-day small wins can enhance a worker’s motivation and positively influence an entire workforce’s performance!

Now, it’s obviously not necessary to throw a party every time there’s a little win in the workplace; but do take the time to recognise someone’s achievement – especially when things are quiet.

This recognition can be in the form of a simple ‘thank you’, to maybe just a little reward in the form of a gift card! Simply recording progress in some way helps to boost people’s self-confidence and can help boost motivation for when business begins to pick up again.

How To Beat Entrepreneurial HUMP Day

It’s Mid-Week, Wednesday, AKA… Hump day!

Hump Day? You may wonder…isn’t that something for the nine-to-five-stuck-in-a-soul-crushing-job-counting-down-to-the-weekend-folks?

Just because the terminally employed see the half-way point in a week of compensated drudgery as a ‘hump’ that is being conquered; meaning all roads from here lead to 48 hours of freedom, doesn’t mean that the entrepreneur doesn’t experience their own ‘hump’ or hit their own wall. In the same way writers, or musicians, hit up against a creative block or get themselves into a rut that has become formulaic and dull, entrepreneurs can easily feel like they have given themselves a mountain to climb and, with their heads down, can get themselves into a bit of a funk.

With that in mind we’ve written 4 top tips for snapping yourself out of that ‘funk’ that’s so easy to get stuck in, so you can continue to be as productive as possible.

Super helpful for any entrepreneur.

1. Refocus at the beginning of your day.

Take some time to recognise how you feel, maybe the slump in energy and enthusiasm has come from overwhelm or lack of clarity. Set aside some time to assess everything you have accomplished in the week already and then go over all the tasks that still need to be completed before the weekend. Make a detailed plan of action, break any big tasks down into small manageable chunks and make sure you add in some REWARDS for getting everything done!

2. Change your working environment.

If you always work in the same place, at the same time, surrounded by the same things, it’s going to soak up your inspiration and enthusiasm. If you have the ability to leave your usual working space, take your work and move to another location, coffee shop, park, garden even just another room. Somewhere bright and airy, clutter-free and quiet are usually the best kinds of work environment. The change in scenery alone can help boost your productivity and get your creative juices flowing again.

3. Save the fun tasks for your hump day.

Many of us do all the easy tasks first and leave the worst until last, try swapping this around. So when you’re full of motivation and energy at the beginning of the week, smash out the difficult tasks with ease, so when you get to the middle/ end of the week and your energy levels aren’t quite where you would like them to be. You’ll only have the fun/ easy tasks left to do. Be kind to yourself, if you know this is something you repeatedly struggle with, switch it around and thank yourself later

4. Something to look forward to on Hump day.

If you struggle to be productive or find energy/ enthusiasm on a certain day, this is a great opportunity to mix things up. If you are able to, plan something nice for the day, something to look forward to, maybe add in an afternoon/ evening activity like a walk or trip. Plan a lunch meeting with a friend. Use the day for events. It will give you a nice little break from your usual packed day-to-day workload and help you feel ready to work again on Thursday.

If you find the middle of the week is where you regularly feel a bit burnt out after starting the week off super-productive. And you struggle to cope with the slump. Try these 4 top tips to help get you through hump day and make for an overall productive week.

Give it a go!

20 Tips for Being Productive When Working From Home

Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. What about office equipment, career development, training opportunities, and building relationships with colleagues? Working remotely, especially when working from home most of the time, means figuring out these issues and others. Here are 20 tips for leading a better and more productive remote-working life, based on my experience and what I’ve learned from others.

1. Maintain Regular Hours

Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.

Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime, let you check in on whether you’re sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you’re most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by reserving your hours of high focus for your most important tasks.

RescueTime helps manage your schedule

2. Create a Morning Routine

Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee and taking the time to actually savour it before you start looking at your to-do list. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pyjama-pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.

I say “morning,” but not everyone who works from home follows a nine-to-five schedule. Yours might be a “getting started” routine at another time of day.

3. Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space

Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children who come home from school while you’re still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labor, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.

4. Schedule Breaks

Know your company’s policy on break times and take them. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time UK employees.

5. Take Breaks in Their Entirety

Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. You can use an app, such as TimeOut for Mac and Smart Break for Windows, to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or you can just launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20.

For more on breaks, see How to Take Better Breaks to Boost Your Productivity.

6. Leave Home

To the extent that it’s allowed and safe where you are during the COVID-19 outbreak, get out of the house, provided you can maintain social distancing of course. The same advice applies to people who work in traditional office settings, too. Leave the building at least once a day. Your body needs to move. Plus, the fresh air and natural light will do you good.

You don’t have to go to crowded public spaces to get away from your solo workspace (and you probably shouldn’t right now, either). Take a walk. Weed the garden. You get the picture.

7. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for What You Need

If you’re employed by a company or organisation that supports your work-from-home setup, request the equipment you need as soon as you start working from home, or within a day or two when you realise you need something new. It’s extremely important to set precedents early that you will ask for what you need to get your job done comfortably, including the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, printer, software, and so forth. Organisations that are accustomed to remote employees often have a budget for home office equipment. Ask what it is and how often it’s renewed. It also doesn’t hurt to ask whether there’s a loan agreement or who will pay for return shipping or disposal of outdated equipment.

If you’re working from home unexpectedly due to coronavirus, ask for what you need within reason. You could be working from home for weeks on end and you should be comfortable, but ordering a new office chair and desk might be asking too much. Consider a mouse and keyboard, plus a back-supporting cushion instead. For more tips on getting your new space in shape, you can read our story on everything you need to set up an ergonomic office.

8. Keep a Dedicated Office Space

In an ideal world, remote employees would have not only a dedicated office, but also two computers, one for work and one for personal use. It’s more secure for the employer, and it lets you do all your NSFW activities in private. But not everyone has a separate office in their home, and keeping two machines isn’t always realistic. Instead, dedicate a desk and some peripherals only for work use. For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time. When it’s on your lap, that’s personal time. You may want to go as far as partitioning your hard drive and creating a separate user account for work.

For more on creating a home office that feels like a place you’ll want to get work in, you can read our story on cheap and easy ways to level up your home office. We also have tips for how to you can maintain focus and productivity with tips for keeping your desk tidy.

9. Maintain a Separate Phone Number

Set up a phone number that you only use for calls with colleagues and clients. It doesn’t have to be a landline, second mobile phone, or even a SIM card. It can be a free VoIP service, such as Google Voice or a Skype number. Similar to some of the other tips, having a separate phone number helps you manage your work-life balance.

10. Use a VPN

Use a VPN whenever you’re connected to a network that you don’t control. That includes Wi-Fi at co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, and airports. Some organisations have their own VPNs that off-site employees need to access certain servers or websites that store information meant only for internal use. In those cases, you’ll also need to use a VPN at home. In any case, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of leaving your VPN connected as often as possible because it’s always safer to have it on than not.

One more point about VPNs. Remember, when. you’re connected to them, your company could conceivably see what you’re doing.

11. Socialize With Colleagues

Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways to socialize. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests, meetups for people in the same region, and (once the coronavirus ends) in-person retreats. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socializing, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. If you’re not at a company with a strong remote culture, you may need to be more proactive about nurturing relationships.

One of the main ways people socialise at work when they are working from home is via business messaging apps like Slack. The only problem is that they can provide too much opportunity for socialising. For tips on way to avoid getting sucked in when you’re trying to be productive, you can read a story on how not to get overwhelmed by Slack.

12. “Show Up” to Meetings and Be Heard

Certainly, you’ll take part in video conferences and conference calls, but it’s a good idea to attend optional meetings sometimes, too. Be sure to speak up during the meeting so everyone knows you’re on the call. A simple, “Thanks, everyone. Bye!” at the close of a meeting will go a long way toward making your presence known.

If your company uses Zoom Meetings for its video conferencing you can quickly master its ins and outs with this story on Top Zoom Tips for a Locked-Down World

13. Get Face Time

If your employer is lax about getting you in a room with other employees, ask to have an annual or semi-annual trip in your contract. It could be for annual planning, training, or team building. Or, tack it onto some other business event, such as a yearly fiscal meeting, nearby conference, or office holiday party. Don’t wait around for someone to invite you to the office or an event. Be proactive.

For those unexpectedly working from home who are also trying to reduce face-to-face contact, set up a video call with your colleagues or manager once a week to check in.

14. Take Sick Days

When you’re not well, take the sick time you need. If sick days are part of your compensation package, take the time off that you need. Not taking it is like throwing away money. If you’re a freelancer who doesn’t have paid sick days, it can be very easy to fall into the opposite time-is-money trap and try to power through illnesses. Keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to rest and get better so that you can be your most productive self in the long term.

15. Look for Training Opportunities

When you’re not in an office with your fellow employees, you might miss out on training and skills development courses that are taught in person. Your company might even forget to add you to its online training courses. It can be tempting to regard this as a dodged bullet, but you might be missing out on an opportunity to learn something useful. Speak up and make sure you’re included.

In addition to top-down training, you can request online or in-person courses, training, and coaching if you need it. For people who work remotely 100 percent of the time, look for learning opportunities that are taught at the company’s headquarters or your closest office. That way, you get training and face time with colleagues.

16. Overcommunicate

Working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself. Joke about how you must have mentioned your upcoming vacation six times already, then mention it again.

17. Be Positive

I like succinct and clear messages, but I know that the less face time I have with people, the less they know how to interpret my tone in writing. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D. You’re going to need them.

18. Take Advantage of Your Perks

Every week, I bake a loaf of bread. Why? Because I work from home and I can. Plus, I enjoy it. When I worked in an office full-time, I struggled to find the time to pop something into the oven that often. Working remotely comes with unique perks. Take advantage of them. You deserve it.

19. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

The most successful remote employees have a reputation for being extremely disciplined. After all, it takes serious focus to do any full-time office job from an unconventional space. That said, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes. If you find yourself working one minute and booking flights for your upcoming vacation the next, don’t reprimand yourself too harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether people in an office setting do the same thing. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work. Above all, remember, you need to balance productivity with self-care; otherwise, you risk burning out.

20. End Your Day With a Routine

Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be a sign off on a business messaging app, an evening dog walk, or a 6 p.m. yoga class. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favourite podcast will do. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.

Make It Personal

Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other people who are in the same boat. A supportive community of remote employees does exist, whether you find them in your organisation’s dedicated App or online through blogs or Twitter. Consider, too, that you might need to shake up your routine once in a while, lest it get too…routine.

11 New Year’s Resolutions that Will Actually Impact Your Business

With the start of a new year comes a lot of resolutions – almost everyone in the world makes a resolution or two at the start of a new year.

Most of the time these resolutions consist of promises to lose weight, get fitter, quit smoking, and be nicer.

However, your resolutions don’t just have to be personal ones; you can also set resolutions for your business – AKA goals that will help your business to grow more successfully over the next few months.

With the start of a new year, now is the perfect time to reflect on your business’s past year and decide what you want to do different this year, to ensure that your business is as successful as possible in 2021.

Below are 11 ideas to help you to do that…

1. Learn to Delegate

The chances are that your to-do list extends longer than a page in length, which means that you have too much to do.

If you continue to overwork yourself and put too much pressure on, your business will not succeed.

You need to learn how to delegate tasks to other team members or to outsource them to freelancers, to give yourself a break.

You can only work so many hours in a day, and so, it is vital to ensure that those hours count, instead of focusing on menial tasks.

2. Practice Managing Your Cash Flow More Effectively

The cash flow of your business is like the heart’s blood supply, without it there is no hope.

Did you know that 80% of small businesses that fail, do so because of a lack of effective cash flow management?

So if you aren’t already being mindful about your business’s cash flow management, now is the time to start.

3. Boost Your Digital Presence

Take everything from your digital marketing to-do list and make it a reality.

Don’t put off making your website mobile-friendly, if you still have not put together an email marketing strategy, or you are yet to add a blog to your website, make this a new year’s resolution.

Digital presence is more important than ever before for businesses, so make it a priority.

4. Charge a Fair Amount

Do you undercharge for your services? Don’t continue to do so, otherwise your business will suffer as a result.

Be brave, put your prices up, and hope that your clients value your services enough to continue to use you and your company.

5. Learn New Skills

All of the best businesses owners make it their business to constantly be learning new skills.

The fact is that the business industry is changing and developing all the time, which is why learning new skills and staying up to date with what is going on in the industry is so crucial.

6. Strategise Each Week

Don’t make the mistake of failing to strategise. If you want to ensure that your business has every chance of growth over the next 12 months, taking the time to strategise each week is crucial.

A little bit of planning and goal setting can go a long way, and it is important to realise that.

7. When Things Don’t Work, Move On

If you know that something is not working for your small business, don’t make the mistake of continuing to do it.

Instead, realise that moving on is crucial, if you want your business to be a success, that is.

If a certain technique, service, or relationship with another business is no longer working for you, move on from it and find another path to go down.

8. Promote Regularly & Consistently

When it comes to your business’s success, make sure to promote your products or services regularly and consistently, taking advantage of every platform that is available to you.

9. Keep Your Technology Up To Date

Technology has never been more important than it is now, so make sure that your business always has the newest pieces of technology and software to use.

Do this, and your business has a much higher chance of success.

10. Be a Better Communicator

Don’t focus on quantity of communication, focus on quality.

Sure, you could send out 15 social media posts in a day, but are they of a high enough quality to make an impact?

The key is to put quality first, and only do things that will have a positive impact on your business’s success.

11. Treat Your Employees Well

Make sure that you never take your team members for granted.

Employees who feel undervalued won’t work as hard or be as motivated, they are also much more likely to jump ship.

So, make a conscious effort to be kinder to your team members, and treat them how you would like to be treated.

What can we learn from people who succeed later in life?

As a society, we tend to focus on prodigies — the young stars in their fields. But what if we looked at the people at the opposite end of the timeline instead?

When, at the age of 50, John Fenn joined the faculty at Yale, he was old by academic standards. But then again, he was an inveterate late starter. He published his first research paper at 32, a decade after leaving graduate school. He was 35 when he got his first academic appointment, at Princeton, where he started working with atomic and molecular beams, research that he continued to pursue at Yale. Though Fenn was hard-working and diligent, he was largely a low-impact scientist. His department chair must have felt some relief when Fenn turned 70 and they could force him to take mandatory retirement.

Yet Fenn had no interest in stopping. Three years earlier, at the age of 67, he was already semi-retired at Yale, stripped of lab space and technicians, when he published a paper on a new technique he called “electrospray ionization.” He turned droplets into a high-speed beam, allowing him to measure the masses of large molecules and proteins quickly and accurately. He saw it as a breakthrough and he was right — his technique quickly turned into a must-have tool in labs.

So, after idling at Yale, he relocated to Virginia Commonwealth University. He opened a new lab and what he did in these later years was revolutionary. Improving upon his initial idea, he offered scientists a robust way to measure ribosomes and viruses with previously unbelievable accuracy, transforming our understanding of how cells work. In 2002, by then in his mid-eighties, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Fenn’s story embodies a simple message: Your chance of success has little to do with your age. It’s shaped by your willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough. Realizing this was transformative for me — I started seeing Fenns everywhere.

There’s Alan Rickman, whose first movie role came at 46; Ray Kroc, who joined the McDonald’s franchise at 53; Nelson Mandela, who emerged after 27 years in jail and became his country’s president at 76. There’s Julia Child, who was 50 when she hosted her first TV show.

But these late-in-life successes had something else in common besides tenacity. Their pathways to success were guided by a hidden factor that unveiled itself throughout their careers. My team and I named it the Q-factor, and it helped us answer the question: Where do highly successful ideas and products come from?

New projects always start with an idea, no matter what creative field you’re in. Still, the importance or novelty of the idea isn’t something we always know in advance. So let’s call it r for “random idea,” letting stand for a number that captures its value. Opening another fast-food joint in a strip mall? Give it an r close to zero. Building a working teleportation machine? That could have a huge r ... if you can pull it off.

But ideas are cheap, a truism often parroted by venture capitalists. Your ability to take the idea and turn it into a useful product determines the size of the check an investor is willing to cut for you. The same is true in any occupation: A terrific idea in clumsy hands rarely leads to an important outcome. Your ability to turn an idea into a discovery is equally important, and that varies dramatically from person to person.

We called this ability a person’s Q-factor, which allowed us to translate the process of innovation into an equation. Each of us takes a random idea, with value r, and using our skill, we turn it into a discovery or “success” S, which captures its impact on the world. If we want to predict this impact, we need to establish how the two factors — the as-yet-unknown merit of the idea, or its r, and one’s Q-factor — work to determine a project’s ultimate success, or S. Multiply your Q-factor by the value of your next idea, r, and you get a formula to predict its success. Written as a formula, it is:

S = Qr

In other words, the success of a product or a deal, or the impact of a discovery, will be the product of a creator’s Q-factor and the value of idea r.

So, if an individual with a low Q-factor comes across a great idea with a huge r value, the impact will still be mediocre, as the resulting product — or Q— is diminished by the small Q-factor. Fantastic idea, poor execution. Think Apple’s first handheld Newton, with its inept handwriting recognition. The reverse also happens: A creative person with a high Q-factor can put out multiple weak or mediocre — or low r — products. Think AppleLisa, NeXT, the G-4 Cube, MobileMe. Never heard of them? They’re in the graveyard of Jobs’s many failures. If an idea has a small r value, no matter how high the Q, the product will be cheapened. Great execution, poor idea.

Then there are those perfect-storm instances where the idea and the creator both shine. When the Q-factor and r are both high, they enhance each other, leading to a career-defining breakthrough. Think of the iPhone — a fantastic idea with brilliant execution, resulting in the product that defined Jobs’s legacy.

Once my team and I figured out how to measure a scientist’s Q-factor, we learned it remained unchanged throughout her career. That’s right. The data was clear: We all start our careers with a given Q, high or low, and that Q-factor stays with us until retirement. Well, I had a hard time believing that I was as good a scientist when I wrote my first research paper at twenty-two, the one with absolutely zero impact, as I am now. And you probably feel you weren’t anywhere near as good a teacher, writer, doctor or salesperson in your twenties as you are now. However, we spent six months rechecking our findings, and we came to the same conclusion.

Does this finding apply to those outside the sciences? We were able to answer that after we figured out how to measure the Q-factor in another domain: communication. Onur Varol, a new lab member, looked at Twitter users, measuring how good they are at putting out tweets that resonate with users.

When we compared individuals with the same number of followers, we found that some were much more talented at engaging with audiences than others. There seemed to be no systematic growth or decay as Twitter users honed their skills — the high-Q-factor performers stayed that way, and the low ones didn’t budge. The minute anyone joined Twitter, a Q-factor was set and stayed roughly the same for months and years.

But what if our Q-factor is low? Then there’s some hard advice I can offer you: If you are repeatedly failing at breaking through, you may very well be pursuing the wrong vocation. I’ve experienced this myself. In high school, I was preparing to be a sculptor. But I wasn’t good, to be honest. Even back then, I was better at physics. So I followed my Q-factor, abandoning the art studio for the research lab.

Or, maybe you’re stuck in a deeply solitary field. I’ve been there as well, working for years on quantum dots, an obscure discipline where even the biggest discovery gets little traction. I switched to networks, an area where my work could reach a wider audience.

The point is that if our Q-factor isn’t resonating with our job, we should consider if we’ve pinned our hopes on the wrong career path. Once you find that perfect fit, that area or profession where your Q-factor shines, there’s really only one more thing you need to do: not give up.

The key to long-term success from a creator’s perspective is straightforward: let the qualities that give you your Q-factor do their job by giving them a chance to deliver success over and over. In other words, successful people engage in project after project after project. They don’t just count their winnings; they buy more lottery tickets. They keep producing. Take writer J.K. Rowling, who followed Harry Potter by creating a successful mystery series (under the name Robert Galbraith). Each time she publishes a new book, her new fans go back and read the older volumes as well. Each new book, then, breathes life into her career, keeping her whole body of work present and relevant.

A high Q-factor, combined with Fenn-like persistence, is what drives the engine for career-long success. People like Shakespeare, Austen, Edison, Curie and Einstein are not remembered for a single work of theirs that changed everything. They tower over their fields thanks to their exceptional Q-factors — and their willingness to test their luck repeatedly.

And there’s another smart way to exploit your Q: collaboration. Harness your network to help you with your projects. If nothing else, this prompts you to keep trying. Teamwork can motivate us. For me, the students and postdocs — and the many projects we do together — force me to continue to be productive. Since success, too, is a collective phenomenon, our response to high-quality work or talented people can shape our fates.

Stubborn creativity, combined with a John Fenn–like tenacity, not only gives our lives their essential meaning, it also provides the true secret to career-long success. The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is one perfect, parting exemplar of that. “All I have produced before the age of 70 is not worth taking into account. At 73 I have learned a little about the real structure of nature,” he wrote at 75. What followed made my day. “When I am 80 I shall have made still more progress. At 90, I shall penetrate the mystery of things. At 100 I shall have reached a marvelous stage, and when I am 110, everything I do, whether it be a dot or a line, will be alive.”

Hokusai lived to be 89, and he created his most memorable works in the final decades of his life, including the iconic woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The image is of an enormous white-capped wave that slowly unfurls over a half-drowned skiff, dwarfing Mount Fuji in the background. It’s an apt depiction of how success ebbs and flows over a lifetime, building sudden momentum and crashing over us, only to start all over again.