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19 Entrepreneurship Websites Worth Checking Out

19 Entrepreneurship Websites Worth Checking Out

entrepreneur

    The number of websites dedicated to helping entrepreneurs is incredible: there are always new sites, to the point that it can be hard to keep track of them. However, I have a few favorites. There are some tools I absolutely rely on for everything from marketing to billing, some blogs I read constantly and a few resource sites that I consult for all sorts of small business issues.

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    If you are an entrepreneur of any kind, it doesn’t particularly matter where you are in the process. Whether you’re just starting out freelancing in your spare time or you have a thriving business and you’re looking to expand, there are always new resources that can help you along in the entrepreneurial process. These sites are a great starting point: they’re all good resources and you may not have explored all of them.

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    Blogs

    1. Startup Nation: Startup Nation offers entrepreneurial advice from a whole slew of people who have been there and done that — and have the business to prove it. The site has advice on just about every aspect of creating and running a startup.
    2. IttyBiz: This site is an especially valuable resource if you’re looking to start an online business, but it’s got tons of great information on marketing in general.
    3. Lateral Action: For creative types, like graphic designers, writers and such, there are some special challenges that come with running your own business. Laterlal Action offers up advice specially targeted to those fields.
    4. Freelance Switch: FreelanceSwitch has all things freelance — business advice, ideas for staying productive and far more. Even though the title says ‘freelance,’ there’s plenty of good information for anyone running their own business.
    5. Young Entrepreneur: Young Entrepreneur focuses on the challenges that younger entrepreneurs face when they start business. It’s also got some great profiles of young entrepreneurs.
    6. Small Business Labs: It isn’t easy to predict the trends that will affect small business, but Small Business Labs goes the extra mile to help entrepreneurs figure out what’s coming next.

    Web Applications

    1. Basecamp: There’s a reason that Basecamp and 37signals other tools are so popular — they work better than a lot of the other options. Basecamp is the company’s project management tool. 37signals also offer Highrise (CRM) and a few other great tools.
    2. Blinksale: There are quite a few online options for invoicing. Blinksale is one of the most recommended options, in part because it works well with other tools like PayPal and Basecamp.
    3. Skype: Skype is a popular choice for making phone calls online, but it has a lot of bells and whistles (like video conferencing) that make it a far more useful tool for a small business than you might expect.
    4. LinkedIn: LinkedIn has come in handy for me many times. It’s an easy way to find contacts for a wide variety of purposes, as well as get answers and advice on all sorts of business topics.
    5. Zoho: For a full suite of business tools, including CRM, invoicing, project management and databases, check out Zoho. All of the tools have at least some level of free use, perfect for an entrepreneur bootstrapping a business.
    6. RocketLawyer: If you aren’t sure where to start with the legalities of running your own business, RocketLawyer provides free forms as well as help with all sorts of legal documents.
    7. Google Docs: At least when you’re starting out, Google can be the easiest way to share documents, manage your business’ calendar and far more. It may not be a long term solution, but it can help you get started without spending a ton of money.

    Resource Sites

    1. SBA: The U.S. Small Business Administration is a treasure trove of information for entrepreneurs. In general, the SBA’s focus is helping entrepreneurs create long-lived small businesses, but there are also some great resources for folks further along in the process. If you aren’t in the U.S., there’s still some valuable information on the site — and you may find a similar agency where you’re living.
    2. SCORE: If you find yourself in need of mentoring from an entrepreneur who’s already been through it all, SCORE can help you find a mentor. The organization is an amazing source of free business advice.
    3. Freelancers Union: The Freelancers Union offers a long list of resources for freelancers — and the Union’s definition includes a pretty wide variety of entrepreneurs as freelancers. Among the information you can find on this site is health insurance options that don’t require quite the expense of other non-employer options.
    4. Entrepreneur: For a huge collection of information on starting and running your own business, start with Entrepreneur. The company behind the site also runs Women Entrepreneur — a good resource for women looking at entrepreneurship.
    5. About.com Entrepreneurs: About.com offers a regularly updated resource on entrepreneurship. It’s got links to all sorts of other resources, both on About.com and elsewhere on the internet.
    6. Entrepreneurship.org: The Entrepreneurship.org site is run by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to provide global resources for entrepreneurs.

    These sites are only a starting point, of course. They’re the resources I use myself — and I know there are thousands out there I haven’t seen yet. If you’ve got any resources that you’d like to recommend to entrepreneurs, I’d appreciate it if you would share your links in the comments.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

    This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

    Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

    When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

    This is why setting priorities is so important.

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    3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

    There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

    1. Eat a Frog

    There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

    Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

    When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

    2. Move Big Rocks

    Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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    You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

    If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

    For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

    To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

    In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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    3. Covey Quadrants

    If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

    Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

    1. Important and Urgent
    2. Important and Not Urgent
    3. Not Important but Urgent
    4. Not Important and Not Urgent

      The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

      Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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      You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

      Getting to Know You

      Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

      In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

      These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

      More Tips for Effective Prioritization

      Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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