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10 Ways to Ensure the Success of your Start-up

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10 Ways to Ensure the Success of your Start-up

Start-ups. They can bring you millions of dollars or debts. It seems like everybody has a start-up these days. Which is good! Entrepreneurs understand entrepreneurs.

People who put their ideas into action and get out there with a business that actually helps the world… eventually, make it to the Fortune lists, the Forbes lists and the Wealthiest lists.

Sadly, a lot of start-ups crash and burn well before then. Here’s how you can avoid the wreckage:

1. Delegate

There’s too much to do in a day. From marketing to web design and SEO, branding, providing social media content, updating your subscribers/email list with ARS. Not to mention developing and executing your plan, preparing for the market. Ah! It’s enough to derail any sane mind.

Several platforms you may have heard of include ProBlogger, Upwork, Guru, for your freelancing needs. Treading these murky waters tends to be hit or miss when it comes to the quality you need.

The point remains: nobody can do everything all by themselves. That’s why Tony Robbins, a successful businessman and author, delegate less-important tasks. Save what’s vital for yourself. It’s not your job to take the whole world on your shoulders.

2. Have A Concrete-Solid Plan

You can’t get to where you need to be, without knowing where it is you’re going. How do you figure that out? It’s time to get analytical.

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Draw out a map – a brainstorm, if you will. From point A to point B: right now, where are you? Where do you want to be? What will it take to get there? (Be sure to leave no stone unturned.)

Whether it’s learning how to program in a day or being ballsy enough to stare yourself in a mirror, and answer the hardest questions you’re asking yourself… if you’re successful at minute details, you’ve found a way to make entrepreneurship your metaphorical “slave”.

3. Work Ethic

Instead of giving value to JFK’s quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” a lot of people seem to be into “What can everyone do for me?”

Here’s the key to working hard: it is a necessity. Nobody will get anywhere by playing games three, four hours a day. Same goes for Netflix and YouTube. The people in life who are on the millionaire fast lane with their start-up businesses – the people whose names ring out all over the land… do not indulge their instant gratification.

I personally have trouble turning off video games. But, if I want to be anything more than a forgotten speck along posterity’s eternal breath… I’ve got to stop. Same goes for you.

4. Develop Thick Skin

Complaints will happen. It doesn’t matter what – some people out there just love to complain and listen to their own voice. When you launch and review initial feedback, there’s going to be a backlash. It’s inevitable. There is nothing anyone has ever created that’s escaped the vicious whip of “I hate this.”

And if you have to brush it off, that’s what you must do. At least, brush off feelings that may arise about, say, feeling personally attacked.

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One way to look at negative feedback is, looking at it like a platform for improvement. People tell you directly what’s wrong, so you fix it.

5. Invent Twitter and Blogger

Every time you start a company – and I’ve started five or six – you have the opportunity to screw up in whole new ways.
Evan Williams

The social media mogul who not only created Blogger – kicking off the launch for a revolution in our online communications (“online” is practically synonymous with blogging) but Twitter, as well.

Do something new, just like Evan did.

Clearly, Evan Williams knows how to punch history in the face and leave his mark. He was only able to do this after drafting and following his own rules.

6. Stay In The Game

This is a rule in life, not just for start-ups. You have to stay in the game.

Anybody can quit. A lot of people do quit. They quit their business, they quit the struggle for a better, richer life. They quit on themselves.

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This is what separates successful business owners from… everyone else.

The willingness to persevere is key – in life, love, and business.

Justin Kan, the co-founder of Twitch.tv, says: “90% of start-ups fail because the founders get bored, discouraged, or something else, and they move on to other things.”

If you’re starting something, you should believe in it. This is your LIFE we’re talking about, right now. Jumping one ship and onto another two weeks from now is a waste of time, money, and resources.

7. Ignore Naysayers

People love to criticize and argue. Everyone is an expert on something. You could be Jesus Christ reincarnated and you’ll be insulted.

Because the truth is, you can turn bad feedback into something good. Turning “this product lacked a way to X” into “now I can X and this product is great!”

Every now and then, though, people are going to tell you that you can’t do something. We invent a hundred and a million reasons for not doing something new. A lot of the times, the people who tell you “no” are the people who gave up on their own dreams a long time ago.

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It’s the sad, flabby “If I can’t have goals and desires, no one can” sack of pitiful waste. I’ve seen it over, and over, and over. It has no place in your life. Get rid of it. Get rid of the people it comes from.

8. What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Have an exit strategy when it’s time to sell. It is never a wrong time to have an exit strategy. YouTube sold itself to Google, do you remember that? Do you think YT’s co-founders ever thought that would happen?

Business is an art: and requires strategic moves to make your business look sexy to people looking to own it. Know when to sell your start-up to acquire maximum profit.

9. Evaluate Your Strengths

Being a jack-of-all-trades rarely works. Really settle into a niche you know for certain you can dominate, and superglue your time and effort to it. What can you do that your colleagues and competitors can’t? Utilize that; you’re an asset.

Evaluating your strengths just may help you single out your weaknesses – which is awesome. The most successful business owners always improve themselves. Knowing just where you can improve? It’s a win-win.

10. “Just Sell The Damn Thing”

What this means is: stop thinking, stop analyzing, and just get down in the trenches and grind yourself to the bone. Roll up those shirts and get to making those hours of plans a reality.

Why make money tomorrow when you can make money today? Get it done. Do it, for yourself. For the people who need you.

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Last Word of Advice

I hope you’re in this for the long haul – because it is a massively time-consuming business, running a business. I hope you keep your head down, grind hard, and see a fortune doing what you love.

Featured photo credit: pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

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20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

Living a life of perpetual travel is pretty exciting – new destinations, new cultures and new incredible people to meet and hang out with! However, working on the road can get pretty hectic at times. As a digital nomad I have found myself in rather awkward situations a lot – from missed deadlines due to incorrect time zone conversion to a nearly missed plane when I forgot to print out my booking and confused the time (I did catch that plane though!).

Being your own boss is equally awesome and hellish. Juggling numerous tasks at once and getting things done super-fast with a terrible wi-fi connection requirea killer organizational skills and zen-like concentration. Try using the next 20 websites and apps to make your life as a digital nomad easier, less stressful and even more exciting!

1. Trello

Trello is your go-to website to stay organized and work super-efficiently on the road. It’s a free service that allows you to create numerous boards for your ongoing projects and plans. Tired of having numerous notes scattered around different apps and lengthy email threads with your clients or team? Just drag and drop them all to Trello, where you can easily collaborate, quickly exchange ideas and notes in the form of cards, leave comments and track the overall progress of the project. You can create numerous boards and organize them the way you like, upload files to each, set deadlines and notifications, plus easily share everything with one click.

My Trello contains two sets of boards – personal and business. I use the first to keep all my travel plans neat and make sure I won’t confuse the flight time or overstay my visa; the second to keep a visual account of my personal goals and various arrangements. The business board is where I have a list of ongoing projects composed into simple to-dos with their current statuses –  along with all the comments from my clients and a separate column for follow-ups.

Trello is an incredible free alternative to similar project management softwares I used before and it can be used for tackling any job – from house renovation to multi-stage marketing campaign! Also available as an app for iOS and Android devices to get updates on the go.

2. f.lux

As a digital nomad you often find yourself working late at night or early morning to keep up with your clients’ time zones. Love checking your email or reading a few articles from your iPad before going to bed? (I do!). Even if you don’t feel it yet, your eyes are seriously suffering from those habits and you can end up having troubles with sleeping as the blue light from your devices negatively impacts your sleeping patterns. Use f.lux – a handy software that will automatically adjust the color of your computer’s display to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. F.lux allowed me to be more productive in the mornings and made it easier to slow down my activity in the evenings. As a digital nomad it is essential to stay refreshed as your income depends solely on your productivity. Besides, haven’t we escaped the cubicle to have a better work/life balance and more rest in the first place?

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3. Focus@Will

As we often find ourselves working at various places around the globe – from a crowded bus station to a jam-packed bar (the only place that has decent wi-fi in the area) – concentrating on your work gets extremely difficult. That’s where Focus@Will comes to rescue. The service offers a wide selection of white noise and simple tunes selected according to a neuroscience-based approach. It seems to work pretty great as I stayed way more concentrated on my work compared to the times when I just blasted my favorite tunes and murmured along. A 30-day free trial has a limited selection of tracks and will stop playing them in an hour (although it could be restarted immediately). The paid service will cost you around $10 for three months. Also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.

4. Shopify

Let’s admit it, being a digital nomad and working solo gets challenging at times. There are days when you feel like a Renaissance man trying to tackle all things at once and getting expertise in numerous areas. That’s especially true when you are just about to launch your business website, blog or an online store. If you are a creative, you have only basic knowledge (if any) in CSS, HTML or integrated payment systems, so you spend endless hours figuring out how things work instead of doing what you are really good at and earning money.

Try Shopify – a service providing custom no-hassle ecommerce solutions. They offer everything from secure hosting and mobile-optimized websites to secure check-outs with some 70 payment getaways to choose from and assistance with running your online marketing campaign. The rates are incredibly affordable and start from just $29 per month for unlimited access to all their services and features or opt for a 14 day free trial to test them out first!

5. Rescue Time

Proper time management is another great struggle all digital workers face. How many times you have found yourself spending over 12 hours a day in front of your screen and not having all things done? Yeah, it happens to me quite in a while, so I’ve started using Rescue Time – to stay on top of my productivity while still having a normal work/life balance. Install it on your computer and all devices to have an accurate picture of how much time you spend doing certain activities or browsing certain sites (khm..cat videos on YouTube). At the end of each week you’ll receive an email with a fair statement on your (un)productivity.

Rescue Time enables you to give more accurate deadlines to your clients; create accurate hourly invoices as you know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task and adjusting your rates accordingly and eliminate random activity during your working hours. You can use Light Rescue Time version for free or opt for the premium plan at $6 per month.

6. Every Time Zone

As you probably work with people based anywhere from New Zealand to the West Coast keeping an eye on the deadline or updating them on your progress at 9 am each day may get tricky. Just as sending follow-ups, project proposals and invoices at the right time of the day. Every Time Zone is another great solution for keeping proper track of the time – your client’s time. Add all time zones you need, add your time in the marker at the top and see where this lands in everyone else’s day. No more crazy maths with figuring out when do you need to ring up Joe on Skype if he asked to do that at 11 am EST.

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7. XE Currency

How many currencies do you have in your wallet? My guess is more than two. As a digital nomad and perpetual traveler you have to keep track on the conversion rates and different currencies all the time. To make sure you are charging an equally fair price in USD/EU/GBP or any other currency out there use XE Currency. Get live conversion rates instantly or add up a list of your preferred and sync ahead of time to have instant offline access from any device. XE Currency is available as a web service, iOS, Android, Windows Phone apps and more.

8. Trail Wallet

My second essential money app for digital nomads is Trail Wallet (currently iOS only). It’s a beautifully crafted and easy-to-use app for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies. You can organize your spendings by country or my month, set max daily budgets and add each dollar you’ve spent on the go. At the end of the month the app will tell you if you gone over your budget or where exactly did the cash flow. It’s perfect for analyzing the cost of living and working at different cities and countries, thus finding the optimal home-base for you when you get tired of being on the road and need to settle down for a while.

9. Xero

And to keep better track of your business-related expenses try Xero. Arguably, the best online bookkeeping and accounting service out there for all the non-accountants. It’s perfect for sending invoices, keeping track of the cash-flow and setting payment notifications on credit cards and recruiting payments. It neatly categorizes all your bank transactions and reconciles them with the transactions you have made in Xero to keep things even more simple. Available for numerous iOS and Android devices, so you can always have access to your data at no time.

10. Tripit

Tripit is one of the best travel planners out there! It’s free, fast and most importantly – works off-line. Just say no more to papers and lost emails. Forward all your booking confirmations – hotels, flights, car rental etc and let the app do all the magic for you by turning it into an easy-to-follow itinerary. You can set up notifications and get access to your data from any device without internet connection. Tripit reduced my frustration of arriving to the wrong terminal or roaming around the new city with my baggage as I haven’t written down the hotel address correctly. It’s a great app I seriously recommend using it to basically anyone who travels.

11. 1Password

Sharing sensitive data, especially passwords with your clients or team and keeping track of them can get challenging. That’s why I’ve started using 1Password – a super secure password-sharing service that allows you to create special vaults with a set of passwords to tools and services only accessible to the people you’ve shared it with. Available for numerous devices, the service gives you peace of mind when sharing anything sensitive via unprotected networks. Speaking of which…

12. Private Internet Access

Keep all your data and computer protected by opting for Private Internet Access. Often we need to make those last minute payments or credit card purchases and the only internet available is a suspicious unprotected network your device somehow found. By using an anonymous encrypted VPN and a private IP you can be 100% sure none of your payment data will be fished or passwords stolen.

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13. Workfrom

Find the best coffee shops and cafes in your area with this service. Workfrom has a great pool of venues in major US cities – New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle – and more destinations worldwide to be added soon! The service is free to join and you’ll get access to numerous cool spots with unbiased opinions of wi-fi connection and cappuccino quality from digital nomads just like you. Reviews also include price range, meals available, general atmosphere and noise range, along with some pro-tips on where to find sockets and which table is the most secluded. I have discovered some of my all time favorites this way like Mr Bean in Amsterdam.

14. Spotted by Locals

Another awesome service to discover good meals and thrilling events at your current base. Spotted by Locals is not that typical city guide with boring touristy routes, but an amazing resources with awesome recommendations from the locals on things to do and places to check out. After all, you’ve chosen a location independent lifestyle to explore the world more, not just spend hours tapping on the keywords in a different environment.

Currently, the website has numerous recommendations for all major European cities – Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw and many more, plus it gradually expands into North America with Boston, LA, Toronto and Montreal guides recently added. You can browse around the free categorized selection of activities at the website or pay$ 2.99 for a PDF guide with all tips and places neatly listed on the map. Or opt for iOS or Android app ($3.99 each) to gain offline access to one of the city guides along with a detailed map.

15. Jawbone UP

Now when you know where to go and what to see, here’s a handy app that will help you get unstuck from your laptop. Jawbone UP will gently nag you when it’s time to get up and unwind a bit. Install the app and connect it to all your hardware, than let the Up Activity Tracker (a lovely bracelet) analyze your sleeping and activity patterns to help you creating a better lifestyle. The app will monitor and analyze all your actions and suggest you a healthier schedule, help you sleep better and keep up with the exercise routine (which gets erratic when you are on the move). Why do we need more time if we don’t spend it wise, right? The app is free for iOS and Android, however you’ll have to pay 129$ for the bracelet tracker or 49.99$ for the clip.

16. SugarSync

Some like DropBox, others opt for Google Drive, yet my go-to cloud storage service is SugarSync. It’s simpler, more powerful and has a really slick design. After you install it, you just need to right-click the file/folder to instantly back them up at the cloud. Besides, any further change you make to that data will be automatically synchronized. Large files get uploaded extra fast and you can get 250 GB storage space for just $99.99 per year. Also you can access, share and edit all your files via free iOS or Android app supported on numerous devices. Now, I’ve finally stopped worrying what should I do if my laptop gets broken/stolen.

17. Contactually

If you don’t like to get broke and return home, you have to invest a fair share of your time in building ongoing relationships with your clients, vendors or customers depending on what do you do for a living. To avoid this whole thing becoming a huge pain try using Contactually – a simple, yet powerful service that will tell you when and whom you should keep in touch with and how you could maximize your ROI by connecting with the right people at the right time. It will send you notifications when you’ve fallen out of touch with certain contacts (which can mean missed opportunities in the perspective) and prompt when you should reconnect with the most important contacts from your network by providing helpful context clues like social updates and recent conversations to make the whole thing look more genuine. The service boasts that their users get up to 40% more referrals after using their service (backed by case studies) which is kind of essential for you if you’d like to live the nomadic life and work for yourself!

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18. Schedule Once

If you are working on multiple projects with multiple clients at a time – Schedule Once is your kick-ass service to schedule online meetings and conferences. Create a sleek pre-set calendar when you are available and send people a unique link that allows them to select a suitable time for both of you to connect. The service is fantastic for anyone offering consulting services or coaching sessions and costs just 5$ per month!

19. Spaxtel

Sometimes the internet gets so crappy that calling by Skype is impossible. Or you have a very-very important conversation scheduled and you don’t want any possible glitches to interrupt you. That’s when it’s worth using Spaxtel – a cool service that enables you to make land-line quality phone calls via callback. You don’t need to install any software or have internet access. The rates depends on the quality of call you choose (the lowest discount is pretty great) and the countries from/to you are calling. So far, the price proved to be nearly Skype-affordable for a better overall quality of connection.

20. Earth Class Mail

Snail mail isn’t that popular these days, but you still get some important stuff via it. Say bills and some paychecks. If you don’t want to bug your parents or friends’ to deal with your mail while you are out, try using Earth Mail Class – an affordable mail forwarding service that scans and forwards your mail to the e-mail address of your choice, deposits your checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing.

Featured photo credit: Avi Richards via unsplash.com

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