Entrepreneurs are unique breed. We spend our lives working through challenges, pushing ourselves through barriers, and figuring out how to succeed. During these uncertain times in dealing with the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I feel entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever to help the world.
It is important that we also stick together and help each other as best as possible. Aside from doing the weekly Misfit Entrepreneur, I wanted to share 3 actions my partners and I are doing across our businesses as it may help you in yours and with those around you.
First, we are doing our best to take care of all employees and our customers. We are helping our employees with everything they need to work from home, give them timely resources to stay safe, and support their individual needs during this time. For our clients, we are doing all we can to help them both financially and with our products and solutions. We are evaluating everything we can do and give to them while making sure to keep ourselves viable and stable for them. And, anywhere we can give our resources to help them, we are doing so for minimal cost or free if possible.
Second, we are evaluating all plans and strategies and adjusting them as needed, but also positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities when this situation ends. Make no mistake, on the other side of this will be one of the best environments to gain market share and grow a business in our lifetimes and we need to be prepared. For example, while others are pulling back in all areas of their business, we are pushing forward with marketing and sales and making sure that we are the solution clients go to when they are ready. We will be uniquely positioned for when things turn around. Look for ways to have your business ready for when things get back to normal.
Lastly, I am doing my best to be a resource and voice of reason to those around me and help them through things as best as I can. Now is not a time for emotional decisions or to let emotions run our daily lives. There is a place for it, but it is most important to use logic and reason in your decision making and in your interactions with others. Make no mistake, this will be hard as things most likely will get worse before they get better, but it is the right way to approach it. Remember, the way you think directly impacts you actions and results. You must think clearly at this time.
This situation is "once in a lifetime" situation, but it will pass and entrepreneurs will be there to lead the world back and help in many ways. It is what we were made for and it is what we are called to do.
Books are plentiful. Everybody is writing one these days. But, every once in a while something comes along that really separates itself from the crowd and can make a real different in your life and success. If you are looking for a book that will not only educate, but also enlighten you and help you to truly think in new ways, I suggest reading one or all of these 5 books in 2020.
1.) Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence
James is also know as the Iron Cowboy because, well he is seemingly tougher than iron. James was the guy who came up with the crazy idea of doing 50 full Ironman Triathlons, in 50 states, in 50 days. And he did. As a frame of reference, a full Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon. Could you imagine doing 50 back to back and traveling every night across the country doing them on 5-6 hours sleep? James book tells the story, but more importantly shares deeply everything he went through internally and externally to reach this goal. It will make think much bigger about what is possible for you.
2.) The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather
What could be crazier than being a lone wolf fighter against the Nazi army at it's fiercest? Volunteering to go into Auschwitz death camp to try and bring it down from the inside. That is exactly what Witold Pilecki volunteered to do in 1940 years before the camp was liberated. He spent 2.5 years in the camp before his escape. This books shows us what the human spirit is capable of at it's best (and worst). It is painstakingly researched and real. This is true hero story. Warning: It does not sugarcoat what happened in Auschwitz, so be prepare to get a full view of the atrocities.
3.) Innovation on Tap by Eric B. Schultz
I had Eric on the show and really enjoyed my time with him. I enjoyed his book just as much as it explores and shares some of the greatest entrepreneur stories of U.S. history and brings them to life in the setting of the entrepreneurs sitting at a bar swapping their stories together. It is a great, inspirational read that will help you to think in more innovative ways.
4.) Everybody Always by Bob Goff
If you think you know what love is, I challenge you to read this book and learn from the adventures of Bob Goff. He truly is an amazing individual and has more in his life than most people can dream of - all in the name of goodness and love. This book will help you understand the true contribution that is possible for you to make in this world and after reading, you'll have no choice but to get started doing it.
5.) Augmented by Brett King
Brett was also a guest on the show and his work as a futurist and in the technology space, especially in the new age of banking is profiled all over the world. In Augmented, Brett shows what the future looks like with the technologies being created today. He also shows you how you can take advantage and set yourself and business up to prosper in the rapidly changing world over the next decade. You'll be amazed at what is possible and already being done in this world.
The little things matter. In fact, many times, it is the littlest of things that can make the biggest difference in our success. This is one thing I've learned in hosting the Misfit Entrepreneur. It's amazing how the little details can make such a big difference. But, the trick is that the little details are only important in the context of going after something truth big and worthwhile.
Most people think small. In fact, most don't think beyond the next 10 minutes in their lives - especially in the instant gratification world we live in. And for most this is just fine. But, for some of us, it's not. We want to do big things, make tremendous impacts, and have our chance at potentially changing the world around us.
To do that, we have to think BIG and thinking BIG is an art unto itself. Here are 3 things I've learned in my life on how to truly think big.
The first step to thinking big or bigger than you do now is to stop thinking. Wait, what? In order to think big, you need to get your mind out of the way and out of the day to day and let it wander. We get so bogged down, by the minute by minute things in our lives that they consume our thoughts throughout the day. In order to get to a place where you can think big, you have to get out of that day to day and let your mind have the ability to go big and look at life, the world, business, etc. without the distractions. In order to do this right, you need to schedule the time for it. I suggest at least 4 hours a week and in one block where you don't let yourself be interrupted. For example, every Friday from 1pm-5pm or whatever works in your schedule.
The second step in thinking big or bigger is to change your state and location. If you schedule your 4 hours and do it at the desk you do your work from all week long, your brain will not focus on the bigger things. It will instead do what it's been trained to do at your desk - work on the day to day and those things that you do at your desk. If you truly want to give your mind the opportunity to think bigger. You have to change your state and location. By changing your state, I mean getting out of anything that resembles your normal day to day. And by location, I mean doing this in a place that you don't normally work. It could be going to a park and splitting time between walking trails and writing in a journal. Or going to the library and grabbing a room with a white board. Whatever you do, do not do your "thinking big time" in the same place and state where you work daily.
The third step is to keep track and share it with others that think big as well. Keep a journal of your ideas and what happens in your weekly sessions. Take some time to review it each week before you begin your thinking time. Be open to sharing it with those that think big like you as well. Better yet, schedule separate time with them to have a thinking session together and share your ideas and discuss them.
Remember, everything begins with an idea. Every business begins with an idea. The United States began with an idea. Ideas are what change the world. And those ideas come from brains like yours thinking big, so take the time to let your brain do what it was designed to do - Think BIG!
As we begin a new year and a new decade, we all have aspirations and things that we want to be, do, and have in our lives.
Most will never get these things because of one major challenge that haunts us as human beings. That challenge is "choice." It haunts us not in the way you may think. We make choices every day, Making a choice is easy for us. Making the right choices...the deep life-changing ones...the ones that truly allow us to get to completely new levels in our lives are extremely hard. And because of this, we make the opposite choice. The choice to keep things the way they are or settle for much less (But, hey, we feel better).
At the core of things in our lives, it comes down to the choices we make. The choices we make are driven by the principles and beliefs we have as they drive our results. To truly make a life-changing choice requires great commitment, resolve, sacrifice, and tenacity over a long period of time - as well as the ability to deal with fear. And that goes against what we have been conditioned to in our instant society. If people don't see results fast, they move on. And nowadays, not even a little result is good enough. It needs to be significant right now or it's a failure.
Sadly, most people fall prey to this way of thinking and running their life, time and time again, when the true path, the real breakthrough, comes over the long-term.
Case in point. As I write this, it is the beginning of the year. Fitness centers are going to be filled for the next month with all those people that "are finally going to lose the weight and get into shape." But, what happens after January? Most people have started working out, but haven't seen any real results. They may not have lost a pound. They didn't get that immediate gratification they thought they'd see, even after putting in soooo much more time than they thought they should to get a result. Right. Because just 3-4 weeks of fitness is going to drastically reverse what took years to create.
If people would look at things from the perspective of what can be accomplished over the course of the year if they keep at it, they'd see a massive difference. Sure, they'd probably lose some weight, but even more importantly is the fact that they would be healthier, be in better shape both internally and externally, and would have discipline that can last for years for them - effectively changing their life and probably helping them live longer.
It all comes down to that BIG choice. Not the half-hearted, "OK, I'll try it" choices that last for a short time. No, it is that deep, life-changing choice, that you sit down before making, and think deeply on it as a total change to your life and your future. That is the ability you have right now for anything in your life. Make the RIGHT choice(s) and see it or them through this year and into the rest of the decade. You have the ability to change your life. Choose wisely.
In every episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur, we get amazing wisdom, success tips, lifehacks, and strategies for how to perform at our highest levels. But, my favorite part of the episode is when each Misfit Entrepreneur gives us their Misfit 3.
The Misfit 3 are their 3 most important pieces of advice that each guest wants you to take away above all else. If you have not gone through the episode archives and checked them out, you should make it part of your weekly personal growth routine in 2020.
To help you, I have gone through all of 2019's Misfit 3 from each guest and come up with my Top 25 for you. There is so much wisdom in the following thoughts. Feel free to print the list to refer back to help you succeed in 2020!
The Misfit Entrepreneur "Misfit 3" Top 25
As we get into December and the last month of the year, it's a great time to set things up for success in the new year. Just about everyone knows that they can get better, but the biggest challenge is where to start? What do you actually need to do to set yourself up for future success?
Here is a 5 step plan to follow that will put you on the path to success in the new year.
1.) Know Who You Are and What Guides You
Who are you? What do you believe? What do you stand for? These are questions that most people never think deeply about in their lives. On the surface, they think they know the answers, but when they dive deep into who they are and what they believe, most of the time they find the real answers to be much different.
So, how do you learn who you truly are? You ask a lot of questions - but start with defining your principles and your standards. What are the principles you will live by and not sacrifice for anything? What are the standards you will live up to in your life. Principles are you foundation, your core. Standards are how you maintain that core in your life. For example, one of my principles is to act with integrity. One of my standards is that I will carry myself as though my daughter is watching me in all situations. This standard helps to ensure my integrity principle in my life.
2.) Discover Your True Passion
What are you deeply, truly passionate about? What makes you excited in anticipation like a kid waiting for Christmas morning? What truly invigorates and excites you? You're answers may be surprising. I never thought that one of my deepest and most important passions would be loving to teach people, but it is. And I use it throughout my businesses. It brings me deep satisfaction to help someone discover how to get better or create success in their lives. What are truly passionate about and how can you maximize it's impact in your life and the lives of others?
3.) Set Goals with Milestones
Once you understand who you are with your principles/standards and what you are deeply passionate about, it makes it easy to decide where you want to go. But, in order to get there, you need milestones - things to strive for. In running Ironmans, the final portion, the marathon, is typically the toughest part for people. After all, you are doing it after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. The best advice I ever received was not to focus on running a marathon - it's too overwhelming at that point - but instead to focus on running to the next aid station, fueling up, and the to the next one and so on. The aid stations are the milestones and each one you make it to, the closer you are to your goal of finishing. It is the same with your goals. Once you know where you want to go, you can set the big goal for yourself, but then you need to break it up into your milestones, your personal aid stations.
And remember, people overestimate what they accomplish in a week and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Focus on getting the next milestone and you be amazed at how fast you can get to your larger goal.
4.) Write Down Your Goals with Milestones and Share Them
The next logical step once you have your goals and milestones is to write them down, so you have your plan. But, most people don't take the most important step and that is to share them with those that can help your achieve them and that will help hold you accountable. No matter what, to get to your goals, you will need help in some form or another, so sharing your goals will open up those opportunities. But, most importantly, you will put it out there for others to see and help hold yourself accountable to what you are going to do.
5.) Set Deadlines and Execute
Lastly, you need to set deadlines in place and start executing. Deadlines are important as they are set in stone. Don't use time frames because "time frames" are expandable and let your weasel out of hitting your milestones and goals. Of course, none of this matters unless you act on your plan and execute - so get rid of any excuses and resolve to act every day toward your next milestone.
This simple 5 step exercise will help you know yourself better, identify what really matters, your true goals, and ensure you act on them. All you have to do is take action and follow it. Here's to your success in the new year!
I was in a meeting with the leadership of a pretty successful company the other day where we were discussing ways to speed up the revenue growth of the organization over the next year. There were a number of good ideas discussed, but one in particular really made me shake my head.
At some point, the group got on to the discussion of "Why don't we just focus on selling what is easiest to implement as that will speed up the time to get paid and grow revenues faster." On the surface this seems logical, but if you've been in sales for any length of time, you will immediate notice a few flaws in the logic.
First, when I looked at the products that had the shortest implementation time, they were also the ones that added the least amount of revenue - they were ancillary products. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with selling ancillary products, but those are typically add-ons to the main product set which is the higher revenue generator. And to be able to sell ancillaries, you need to sell the main products or you run our of ancillary opportunities.
Second, the group also failed to look at the sales cycle of these products. Just because it is an ancillary doesn't mean that it necessarily sells faster than other products. In fact, in talking to one of their top salespeople, I found that a lot of times it can take just as long or longer to add an ancillary after an initial sale. The best opportunity to sell the ancillaries is when the initial sale of the new product is done. This tells me that if they want to sell more revenue, the group should focus on creating a highly enticing and valuable offer for the ancillary upsell at the time of a main product sale.
Third, the company is in the process of creating an entirely new marketing plan and process and it is not ready yet, so there is a lot of unknown and alignment with sales/marketing is yet to happen.
So, needless to say, even though this company has been pretty successful, they need to take a step back and really think through their plan for the year. Selling is not as easy as "sell more of our products that are easy to implement." Their salespeople are selling everything they can, but they must sell to what the customers want and need. The organization can't just sell what it wants because "it is easier for them." That is a reality that doesn't exist.
Now, there are some things that this company can do to speed up revenue growth without the potential pitfalls discussed. First, as mentioned above, they can introduce a better ancillary offer at the time of a main product sale to capture more revenue at this most opportune time. Second, they could offer clients a discount if they pay in full for the year. Third, they can also focus on becoming more efficient in implementing their main products so that they drive that revenue to the top and bottom line faster. Fourth, they could automate the selling of ancillary products to existing clients through email marketing, evergreen webinars, and special offers - that way the salespeople can stay focused on selling the main products that drive the revenue. Lastly, if they really want to drive more sales of products that according them, "just flip a switch and it's turned on for the client," they could offer a free 14 day trial of them to clients. (Again, this could be done through automated email marketing)
This company already has great growth rates, but they can turbocharge them by doing a few right things right. Selling...it's not that easy. But with a little ingenuity and willingness to look at things differently, it can be made easier.
There is an incredible power in 5 minutes of time. It all comes down to how you use it.
A number of years ago, I started a daily habit that takes me about 5 minutes to do. It was a little awkward at first, but didn't take long to prove itself as one of the most important things I do in my day.
In fact, it has helped not only my focus and productivity, but also my attitude and way that I look at life.
What is the habit? It is my daily "3 to Thrive" exercise. In this exercise I do the following:
The reason 3 to Thrive works so well is the simplicity of it and the way it focuses you. First, you choose 3 things to be grateful for. This makes a big difference in your attitude and makes you think about what really matters. It also makes you feel good and start your day with good in your life. Next, you choose the 3 most important priorities for you to accomplish that day. This focuses you and puts the most important things right in front of you from the start of the day keeping them forefront. Lastly, I say a little prayer. This centers me and allows me to communicate directly with God each day. Whether you are religious or not - having a way to center yourself before you start your day is critical. What that is for you is up to you.
I have done this routine now for many years and although I'm not perfect (sometimes I miss a day), I can say it is the most important daily habit that I have. This one little 5 minute exercise has made a major difference in all areas of my life over the years and I know it will do the same for you. Try it for a week and watch the difference it makes for you. It's amazing what a little 5 minute habit can do.
Out of all the things you can do for your personal and professional success, choosing your mindset is by far the most important. Noticed I said "choosing" - that is right, you get to choose. Every day, you choose how you will approach the world and the mindset you get to have.
But, how do you know you are on the right track? How do you know if you are choosing the right mindset? A winning mindset?
Well, that's the real trick.
Over the years, I have worked with and been coached by top experts in mindset training as well as discover many things through my own endeavors and experiences. I recently wrote about the mental experience I went through in my last Ironman race, which a great example of how cultivating a winning mindset can power you through.
I've compiled what I think are the 5 most important elements to having a winning mindset and I trust they will help you in creating yours.
1.) You Must Have an Unwavering Faith in Yourself
Faith is different than belief. Faith is believing without seeing. It is knowing in the deepest recesses of your soul. In order to develop a winning mindset, you must have an unshakable, unwavering faith in yourself to be able to win and succeed. This doesn't mean you are blindly arrogant and ignore your weaknesses. It does mean that when everything is stripped away you have the faith, the belief without seeing, that you will make it in whatever you are setting out to do.
2.) You Must Be Relentless
Winners can go through defeat after defeat after defeat without giving up. They have an endless reservoir of will to keep going. They are relentless in this fact. The don't give in, give up, or ever stop. They push farther and harder. They learn, adapt, and go forward. They are absolutely relentless.
3.) You Must Be Committed
Commitment is needed to succeed in anything. It goes along with being relentless in that it is the commitment that has to be made for you to relentlessly pursue it. But commitment is really about your "why." What is your deep reason for what you are doing. That is your commitment. It is the thing that you will not go back on no matter what.
4.) You Must be Willing to Sacrifice
In order to have a winning mindset and to reach your highest potential, you will have to sacrifice things. If you are a top-tier athlete, that may mean no more nights out partying with your friends, or even as an entrepreneur building your business, same thing. It may even mean you need to change your friends. No matter what it is, if you choose to have a winning mindset, there are things that you will sacrifice to reach it and maintain it. Get comfortable with this now on your journey. Be prepared for it and realize that when you do make good sacrifices in pursuit of your goals, they will pay off in the future.
5.) You Must Be Willing to Take Risks
You will have to take risks to win at whatever your are going after. There is no way around it. Some risks are small. Some are big. Some have major consequences if they don't work out, others not so much - but the fact remains that risk is part of the deal. I look at risk like problems that need to be solved. The bigger the problems you can handle and solve, the more you can grow. It is the same with risk. Managing risk is a skill set like anything else. And you have to build up your abilities before taking on the major risks. What do I mean by abilities? Maybe they are more like capabilities. In order to take on a large risk, you need a few things. You need to have several back up plans in case things don't go as planned. You need to have the right resources and/or partners in place to help you. You need to have studied the risk and looked for all the areas you can mitigate it. And you need to understand the consequences and be prepared for them if it doesn't work out. Of course, there is the other side, which is succeed and you need to prepare for that as well. Develop your skills of handling risk if you want to grow your winning mindset.
There are a number of other elements, I could list. Many are probably ones you guessed might be in the 5 highlighted above. Things like discipline and consistency, etc. Those are needed, but without the 5 above, it will be tough to cultivate a daily winning mindset.
Yes, I'm going to go on a rant.
Stop sabotaging yourself. Stop sabotaging your success. Stop wrecking your life.
The power to change anything and everything lies in your head. And your head gets in your way.
We constantly doubt ourselves and look for reasons why we shouldn't do things and why what we are doing won't work. And when we are not doing that, we are questioning ourselves and our worth. Am I good enough? Why am I so lucky? Do I do deserve my success? And on and on.
Why? Why the hell do we do this to ourselves. And more importantly, why do we let it continue on in our lives.
Our own minds are responsible for our sabotage. And sadly, we have control our over our minds and our thoughts - but let them run off on their own and create these ridiculous narratives that wreck things in our lives.
It's time to stop. Stop letting our mind's wandering negativity bring us down. It's time to take back control and to stop sabotaging ourselves.
How? Simple. Reject the thought patterns and impulses from our mind and choose the ones we want to have. People make things so much more complicated than they have to be and tie themselves in knots. You are worthy of it. You are worthy of your success, a great life - all of it. Stop telling yourself or letting yourself be told you aren't.
Take your power back by recognizing when you are mentally sabotaging yourself and stop it in its tracks. Then choose the thoughts you want to have and more forward. Yes, this is work. But, it gets easier with practice. It is worth it? You bet.
It's time to step into who we really are and have confidence in it. That doesn't mean we are arrogant or narcissistic, but it does mean we are sure of ourselves and believe in ourselves and our worth. The chances of you being on this earth right now living are so small that you would not even understand the number if I gave it to you. You are here at this time for a reason, a purpose. So, don't let it be squandered by your mind's wandering negativity. Own your life and own every moment. Live free and to the fullest. Work your ass off. Take care of those around you. And for Pete's sake don't dwell on things. Make a decision and keep moving forward - learning from it no matter how it ends up. Be confident, yet humble and be the best version of yourself you can. The world and those around you need you to be.
Stop sabotaging yourself and become who you were meant to be....
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