Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Stop Networking

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Why should you network? That’s a question many entrepreneurs ask. The better question is: why shouldn’t you network? While hard work is important to career advancement, networking is just as important. That especially holds true for entrepreneurs.

For anyone trying to advance in their career or start their own business, getting to know the right people can be the difference between success and failure. Sometimes, it’s not about what you know, but who the know. The larger your network is, the more opportunities you can come across. No matter what you’ve already achieved, networking never stops. Here’s why:

Your business is constantly evolving and so should your network.

No matter what your job or career is, the industry that you work in is always evolving, growing, and changing. That means the people you knew yesterday are not necessarily the people you need to know today. You want to make sure you are mingling with the top influencers and ‘movers and shakers’ in your field, which means you have to continuously network to keep yourself up to speed and in the mix.

You never know who you might meet.

You should always put yourself out there and network because you never know who you might meet. Surprisingly, you might meet the person who can take your career to the next level and inspire you to do greater things when you least expect it. Or you might meet the person who shapes your career path down the road. It’s difficult to predict where you will be 5 or 10 years down the road so it’s important to start building relationships today. Network with anyone that you can, even with people whose work doesn’t directly correlate to your field. Opportunities can be found in many different places, it’s up to you to find them.

You might just learn something new.

Yes, part of the reason why we network is to get to know the right people so that we can get our foot in the door. But another, more important, reason why we should network is to learn something new. Especially for people who are just starting out, you don’t know everything. The best way to learn how to do something is to learn from first hand experience. Networking allows you to meet all kind of professionals and learn about business from their perspective. Whether or not you choose to go down the same path is up to you but you’ll be a lot more wiser just by having a conversation with someone new.

4 Simple Ways to Save Time by Automating Your Life

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While it would be nice if we could spend our time pursuing passions, a large majority of our time is spent on repetitive and manual tasks that just need to be done. These tasks, such as paying the bills or buying groceries, are boring but yet, they ‘keep the lights on’, both figuratively and literally.

Wouldn’t be it nice if these things could just run themselves? While it’s not entirely possible, there are numerous things you can do to automate the daily things you do in your life.

Here are tips on how you can automate your life and save time:

Create automatic payments for all your bills.

Have you ever been charged a late fee because you missed the deadline to pay a bill? Often times, this happens simply because you forget. While it may seem innocent, forgetting to pay your bills frequently can have a negative effect on your credit. Avoid all this trouble by simply creating automatic payments for all your bills. All major banks have this feature and once you set it, you can forget it. Never miss a deadline again. Just remember to have enough money in your bank account.

Plan out your meals weekly.

If you’re a busy working parent, figuring out what to cook for dinner can be one of the most frustrating tasks. Factor in breakfast and lunch for the kids and you’ve got yourself a lot to think about. Meal planning doesn’t have to be as tedious as you make it out to be. In fact, it should only be something you do once a week. On Sundays, take a couple hours to write down exactly what meals to prepare for the week and then make a trip to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients. As much as you can, prepare meals in bulk so that you just reheat whenever you need to. Meal planning makes life much more efficient and takes the guesswork out of dinner.

Make use of your smartphone.

Smartphones can do a lot more than texting and FaceTime. If you have a smartphone, use it to make your life a little easier. Set your reminders in there so that you never forget a deadline or birthday. Sync up your calendar with your phone so that you have you schedule everyday right at the palm of your hand. Also, there are thousands of apps available for you to download to help you manage your time and your life. Make use of them.

Hire someone else do it for you.

This may seem like cheating but it isn’t. Sometimes, you just can’t do everything yourself so why not outsource it to someone who can? While paying a little extra to get some help can seem like a waste of money, it really isn’t. You can spend your time doing things that really matter. Check out our post on using freelancing Web sites to help build your business — much of the tips in that post can be utilized to help delegate your mundane tasks to freelancers.

5 Time Management Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

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Time is life’s most precious commodity. There’s only so much of it, which means you need to spend it wisely and productivity. Many entrepreneurs  think that there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything they want to do. While that might be true, there is time to do everything you need to do. It all depends on how well you manage it.

Here are 5 time management habits everyone should have:

Sleep enough and sleep well.

Sleep? That seems counterproductive but it isn’t. I’m sure you hear this all the time but getting enough sleep directly coincides with how productive you are everyday. Think of sleep as fuel for your brain. You need it to keep going. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of good sleep a night. Stop checking emails or looking at the computer at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Learn how to wind down and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Eliminate the distractions.

Being able to manage your time well is all about managing your distractions. While they may pop up on their own, you need to prevent them from distracting you. Ban yourself from checking your social media accounts. Turn off the TV or music. Find a quiet space in the house. Create the time and space you need to be able to truly focus on what you need to it.

Create and perfect processes.

The easiest way to become more efficient is to create a process. Once you’ve perfected that process, you can work much faster. Think about tasks you do daily. How can you create a automated process around them to get them done in a way that requires less time and less work? Put a little effort into thinking about. You put in more time upfront but will spend less and less time on it going forward.

Get organized.

The number one most important quality of someone who manages their time well is their organization skills. They can organize everything – from daily schedules to the kitchen fridge. Yes, it’s not always fun to be organized but it gives your life structure, which means you waste less time.

Learn how to say no.

While you try your hardest, you might not find time to do everything you want to do and what everyone else wants you to do. In case, you need to learn how to say no. Your time is precious and you have priorities. Focus on the things that matter to you, not someone else. It’s fine to say no. You’ll find that most people will be more understanding than you think.

Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Two (You Can’t Have all Three)

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The title of this post is something I’ve often been told — but only recently started using as part my regular discussions with clients and business partners.

I find myself most often invoking this principle when dealing with clients who can’t afford (or don’t want) to pay quality prices, yet want blockbuster work on a tight timeframe.

I used to take these clients in the hope that my work would be rewarded with future business. There used to be part of me that thought the goodwill that came from doing quality work on the cheap would pay off with a long-term business relationship, good public relations, or other fairytale promises.

I’ve been wrong every time.  This is reason why I’ve learned to (and strongly suggest other entrepreneurs learn how to) say “No” more often.

Here are three reasons entrepreneurs need to learn to tell clients to pick good and fast; fast and cheap; or, good and cheap (but not all three):

It Devalues Your Work

Even at a low cost (which I don’t necessarily recommend), anyone can do good work if given the time to scale it out on the backburner while you tend to more pressing, priority (higher-paying) projects.

But asking for that good, low-cost work to be finished on a tight timeframe usually requires other work to be pushed aside. Corners are cut; quality suffers.

Putting out a quality product reflects badly on your company (even if it’s the fault of the client). The clients’ mistakes don’t outweigh your biggest mistake: Taking the job in the first place.

If you do quality work, only do it at a premium.

It Can Destroy Relationships

If a client (or potential client) wants something good, fast and cheap — it usually means they’re under the gun and in crisis mode. By taking the project — their crisis becomes you’re emergency. This is never a good thing.

In my experience, it usually leads to short fuses and hurt relationships between you and the (now former) client.

It’s not your fault the client is facing a crisis and needs something done quickly and cheaply (and good). Don’t feel the need to help them out. It won’t end well.

It’s Not Fair to Your Other Clients

What about your clients who are paying a premium for quality work? Pushing them aside to do a rush job for a few shekels isn’t fair to them.

Do you really want to lose a long-term $10 client to do crappy work for a $2 client that will be gone tomorrow?

Serve the clients who value you — to show them that you value them. Those are the types of relationships on which you need to focus.

 

 

 

4 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Turn Dreams into Accomplishments

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All entrepreneurs are dreamers. Our ventures start with a dream, which leads to ambitions, goals, and ideals that we strive to accomplish. Dreams are important, but so are accomplishments. How can entrepreneurs turn their dreams into active accomplishments?  Here are some simple tips:

Understand what your dreams truly are.

Dreams can be very vague and obscure, such as starting your own business or writing a book. The better you understand specifically what your dreams truly are, the more successful you’ll be. Dive deeper into them – what kind of business do you want to start? What are you passionate writing about? Treat pursuing your dreams like a professional job. Building a plan of action will help you achieve them faster and more efficiently. It will also prevent you from doing things that ultimately don’t help you achieve your dreams.

Word harder than you ever have.

There’s no magical formula to make your dream happen. It all comes down to hard work. Be prepared to put in long hours, push yourself physically and mentally, and make sacrifices. If dreams were easy, they wouldn’t be worth it. Mentally prepare yourself for the challenge because once you’re in the midst of it all, quitting will constantly be in you head. Like in any sports competition, think about the finish line, not the pain.

Think different.

To steal the famous Apple tagline, “Think Different.”  The road to achieving your dreams is not always a straight line. Sometimes, it’s crooked and narrow. Don’t accept the solutions on the surface. Peel away the layers and dig deeper. There is always another path to take. No, it might not necessarily be better but it’s definitely worth exploring. A little bit of creativity can go a long way.

Be prepared for failure.

No matter how set you are on achieving your dream, be prepared for the possibility of failure. Things don’t always turn out the way you want on the first try. The better prepared you are to accept failure, the more likely you’ll be able to pick yourself back up and try again. Just because you failed once doesn’t mean you’ll always fail. Try again and take a different approach. You might find yourself with a very different outcome.