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10 Ways to Ensure the Success of your Start-up

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.

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 March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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