Monday, December 10, 2018
10 Entrepreneur Tips to Make 2019 Great
Welcome, welcome my fellow all-nighters. Greetings to my coffee guzzlers, my early risers, my vacation forgoers, and all those badass mompreneurs. 2018 has been an interesting year, to say the least, and I hope for all of you it was your best one yet. For me, it certainly was mine, but thoughts already have shifted to next year and how to make it better. For those of you struggling to find your way on your own, I am going to give you my Top 10 Entrepreneur Tips on how to make 2019 Your Best Year Yet. It’ll happen, but only if you want it bad enough.
1) Make or re-visit your business plan
Why are you even here? Seriously, ask yourself that. I ask myself that all the time. It’s funny because we all can answer it, but when you do, do you really mean it? If you make quilts and it is your goal to make the best quilts, are you doing that? All businesses are essentially just an idea with muscle and brains to put them into action. What happens is we get lost in the day to day and forget why we are even doing what we said we are going to do. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. Re-visit that business plan you made way back when and if you haven’t made one, make one. What sets you apart? Why are you the best? Why should anyone buy what you are selling? Most importantly ask yourself this: Would you do business with you? Being an entrepreneur is a balance of extreme self-degradation and extreme confidence. Being honest with yourself is how you walk that line.
2) Know your most important resource
Do you know what is most important to your business? In fact, it is what is most important to any business. It’s a 5-letter word and yes it makes the world go round. Of course, I’m talking about money. Your survival as a business is directly correlated with how you manage money. I have seen many amazing businesses fail because the owner couldn’t get his numbers straight. I have also seen many great ideas never get off the ground because the entrepreneur just couldn’t get the funds together. You MUST maintain a balanced budget. You MUST not take on too much debt. You MUST take your time if it means a safeguard against disaster. Believe me, I have visions of where I want to be too, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. Most businesses fail in the first 5 years because of poor money management and I don’t care how great your quilts are. They won’t keep anyone warm this winter if you can’t afford the yarn to make them.
3) Frugality is key
You will and probably have been bombarded by people trying to sell you crap for your business. Heck, I get 2-3 calls a week from people trying to get me to “grow my business” with them. Last time I checked, no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore. We have this weird thing called Google now, maybe you have heard of it. Make absolutely sure that if you are spending money on your business that it is doing one of two things. It should either generate more money or generate proper exposure. Now the proper exposure part is a tough one and you will have to do research on that. One of the smartest realizations that I came to when I first started Budget Boss was this: I took a step back and realized that I was essentially going back to college. Kraft Dinner, Top Ramen, Dollar Beers, whatever you got to do. Your first 5 years can make or break you, so don’t let it break you because you are living out of your income bracket.
4) Surround yourself with good people
I cannot stress this one enough. There are so many great, inspirational minds out there that you can bring into your life. Unfortunately, there are many, many, many more energy sucking naysayers out there that can kill your vibe. I would rather be in isolation than hear words from those who haven’t lived it. Find people who are successful, or are working as hard as you want to, or have the knowledge you wish you had, and bring them in. This includes having a great mentor. Someone who cares about you, but also gives it to you straight. You are the sum of the 5 people you are around the most. Who are those people in your life?
5) Be consistent
Here’s another reason why so many entrepreneurs don’t succeed. They are all over the map. Why has McDonald’s been popular for so long? It’s because they make their burgers the same way every damn time. You know every time you get one, what it will taste like, and sadly how you will feel after. I would rather have someone do one thing right every time than someone who maybe does 10 things right some of the time. Consistency is what separates the winners from the losers and it must be built into your life. Always answer calls, always follow up, always go the extra mile. Be that person all the time and people will flock to you.
6) Take advantage of free platforms
How did you find this blog post? Was it on my LinkedIn page? Or was it via the Budget Boss Twitter or Instagram accounts? Maybe it was on Pinterest or even my FaceBook page? I pay a grand total of $0 dollars a month for all those accounts. Free my friends, free. Those free accounts bring thousands of people to my website every month. Those accounts have helped me teach mother in India on how to teach their kids about money. They have garnered me followers in Australia and the Philippines. If you do not have a social media presence, you essentially don’t exist. There is no better place to focus your efforts than there and the return on investment is massive. One thing I will say is this: If you are going to have social media accounts, BE ACTIVE. I would rather see no social media presence than a weak one. Again, be consistent. Post regularly and be authentic with your posts. The beauty of social media is that everyone is on it, so you will find your audience. Make sure they get to know you and not who you think they want to know.
7) Learn, learn, learn
Sometimes I wish there were 30 hours in the day. I wish I had the time to learn as much as possible all the time. It is vitally important to constantly be evolving and learning. You don’t have to look far for businesses that got left in the dust by not adapting. We all used to wait around for the Sears catalog every year. We all used to love the free popcorn at Jumbo Video or even going to the corner to get a newspaper from the box. You must learn as much as possible about your industry, your business, and ultimately yourself to be successful. Remember, those who stop learning, die. Sorry for being so harsh, but it’s true.
8) Take the L
I love sports. Some people think sports is a waste of time or that it is for the intellectually inferior. I disagree wholeheartedly. Sports and life intertwine all the time. Think about this. Toronto is playing the Lakers and they are up by 30 points with 8 minutes left in the game. What happens then? The coaches call timeout and all the stars come out of the game. Both teams are resigned to the result. Toronto takes the win, Los Angeles takes the loss. The same is true in life. When you lose, just lose. Admit the loss, except the loss, and move on. The coach who doesn’t admit the loss gets fired. Each loss is a lesson to learn. Each loss is an opportunity to grow. Each loss gets you closer to the next win. If you cannot admit defeat, you can never be successful. That doesn’t mean you tell everyone about your losses. What it means is that you keep track of them and use them as fuel.
9) Stay the course
I mentioned that most businesses fail because they run out of money. A lot of them fail because the owner just gives up as well. When you give up, it’s over. There is no opportunity to rebound, no chance at growth, nothing to learn, it’s just done. In my industry, 1 in 20 make it to year 5. In my first year, I literally had no clue what I was doing. I struggled immensely to the point where my colleagues thought I wasn’t going to stay. The next year got a little better and then this year got a lot better. The key is that if I would have given up after my first year, I wouldn’t have seen what can happen. I was so lost I didn’t even know what goals to make. Now I can make concrete goals based on things I have learned. You never get to the point where you can succeed if you never give yourself a chance to do it. Do you ever wonder why the guy who finished 1,267th in the New York City Marathon crosses the line with a standing ovation from the crowd? Everyone who finishes gets the standing ovation. The race itself was the victory and where you finished doesn’t matter. Finish the race folks.
10) Look after yourself
I always marvel at the super fit, super energetic people who seem to slay every day. I wish I had that kind of energy. I am sure there are people I know that wish they had my type of energy. The key is that the better you are, the better you will be at business. Eating right, working out, staying away from vices, and staying away from negativity is key. We must remember that our business is a reflection of us. If we are lazy, the business will be too. If we aren’t healthy, our business won’t be either. Take time to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Remember that health and wealth are closely linked and all the wealth in the world can’t buy a clean bill of health.
“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is visionary, and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.” – Naveen Jain
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