entrepreneurs Archives - Appointment - Online Appointment Scheduling Software

10 Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Success as an entrepreneur is difficult to explain. While we immediately think of it as making a tremendous amount of wealth, success doesn’t always mean that. Rather it comes down to defining it on your own terms and directing your life to live by those principles.

Below are 10 entrepreneurs who you might not have heard of, but have achieved their own versions of success and inspire you to do the same.

To me, this list of entrepreneurs represents a number of things:

  • Their views of success are very different from traditional views of success.
  • They remove all the glitz and glamour and focus on key values and principles that have pulled them through to the other side.
  • They are honest about their own stories and admit when things weren’t as good or that they made mistakes.

These reasons amongst many others are why I think these are inspiring entrepreneurs.

1. Leon Ho, Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Leon is the CEO and founder of Lifehack. His story is how he went from living a typical lifestyle to running a successful business and helping people re-prioritize life and focus on what’s most important.

For years he spent his life expanding his career thinking that in order to succeed, you’d have to sacrifice certain aspects to live it. After hitting a low point from that way of thinking, he realized what’s so wrong with that logic.

He began re-prioritizing his lifestyle and is living a happier and more successful life on his own terms. He is now even sharing all his experiences and skills he has learned throughout his journey with the Full Life Framework Course.

2. Laurel Egan Kenny, Founder of Turningpoint Communications

Laurel Egan Kenny is the founder of Turningpoint Communications and attributes a lot of her success to the relationships she’s made. While there were definitely some that were bad – such as former employees using her own training material for their own purposes – there were several good ones. Those relationships pushed her business to new heights and has shaped how she approaches clients and her staff.

3. Ameet Khabra, Owner of Hopskipmedia

Ameet Khabra is the owner of Hopskipmedia. He defines success as being able to balance work and life. Many entrepreneurs devote their entire being into a business and that can sometimes backfire. Similar to Leon, before he changed, people spend so much time on one thing that other areas of their life start to slip.

Success to Ameet isn’t always about having a massive and thriving business at the cost of your own sanity. It’s all about balancing everything.

4. Andrei Vasilescu, Founder of DontPayFull

Andrei Vasilescu, founder of DontPayFull, thinks that success is defined by how many ideas you come up with that actually work or exceed expectations. While performance is relative to one person, a simple metric of determining if you’re making a profit or not is a good baseline.

Even though that’s success in essence, looking at the number of ideas that turned profit is a good measurement of whether you’re making it or not.

5. Kevin Tucker, Founder of SOLitude Lake Management

Delving more on the performance-based success, Kevin Tucker believes success comes down to looking after four things well. He is the founder of SOLitude Lake Management and attributes looking after employees, clients, community, and environment as crucial measurements of success.

By looking over those four areas well, his business has been growing over time year after year with no issues.

6. Stephen Alred Jr., Founder of KnowCap IO

According to Stephen Alred Jr., founder of KnowCap IO, success goes beyond the surface level of making enough money to stay in business. Success is defined by the quality of life too. If you’re working long hours and barely making any money, that’s not genuine success.

What’s essential is that the money you’re making is letting you afford to change your lifestyle in such a way that you can live a more ideal life.

7. Tim Brown, Founder of Hook Agency

Founder of Hook Agency, Tim Brown is one of the inspiring entrepreneurs who thinks in a similar fashion to Stephen Alred Jr – being able to do what you wish to do. While Stephen Alred Jr focused on life in general, Tim Brown’s success comes from being able to move his business in the direction he wants to.

That kind of thinking is powerful as even though the journey has ups and downs, he is still thriving thanks to being able to move his business how he wants to without much worry.

8. Sue Duris, Founder of M4 Communications

Sue Duris is the founder of M4 Communications and has built her success around customer retention. Of course, being able to retain and gain more customers will have an increase in your revenue over time.

However it’s still shocking how this concept isn’t always applied. After all, there are some businesses out there that thrive simply because they have carved out most of that market and are the only option.

When you prioritize looking after the clients you do have, success will come and Sue Duris’s company is an example of that.

9. Nate Masterson, Founder of Maple Holistics

Founder of Maple Holistics, Nate Materson has gotten a name for himself by doing what other successful entrepreneurs have done. Taking a page from Kevin Tucker, he too looked after those four key aspects. He kept an eye on himself while looking after his staff, the community, the customers, and the environment.

Even though this success story is similar to others, it goes to show that simple methods are often the answers to thriving and being successful.

10. Erin Paruszewski, Founder & CEO of Alkalign Studios

The final of the inspiring entrepreneurs is Erin Paruszewski. Her success story of Alkalign Studios is a reminder that just putting in the effort doesn’t guarantee success. When working for someone, the payoffs are very clear – exchange your time for money. But when going into business, you’re putting a lot of risk that it might not work out.

That aspect alone drove Erin to grow a business into something that she can be proud of. Behind the scenes, careful planning and taking risks that she considered worth it brought her to a business that’s made her successful.

Final Thoughts

Even though success is about making enough money to make something of it, there are different ways to get there. It’s not always big and flashy but rather success can be something more simple. And these inspiring entrepreneurs show that to us every single day.

You don’t need a million-dollar idea to kick off. Rather you need a certain mindset and have particular values you can follow through that can drive you to success.

How Entrepreneurs Can Clean Up Their Calendars

By | Time Management | No Comments
How Entrepreneurs Can Clean Up Their Calendars

Entrepreneurship is one of the most admired aspects of the American dream. Without hardworking men and women with dreams and passions — coupled with astounding drive and work ethics — we wouldn’t have many of the things we enjoy today. Think of your favorite brand and remember that before it became mainstream, it was a lowly startup backed by a bold entrepreneur.

While entrepreneurs are rightly praised for their accomplishments, it can be difficult to be in their shoes. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into entrepreneurship. All that effort can get exhausting. It can also get confusing when calendars are packed end-to-end with meetings and events to keep track of.

Time management is key to entrepreneurial success. Here are six ways active and aspiring entrepreneurs can clean up their online calendars to help them achieve more while stressing less.

1. Implement Color-Coding

Color-coding is a simple organizational system that will bring your calendar to life and keep it better organized. All you need to do is group your tasks together in a way that they can be identified with a single color. Once you get used to this new system, one glance at your day will give you all the information you need. 

For example, you can separate most of your tasks into three main groups, such as team huddles, client meetings, and administrative tasks. Each group will have its own color, like red, yellow, or blue. A stream of yellow for next Wednesday lets you know right away that you have a bunch of client meetings coming up that you need to prepare for.

Once you’ve implemented your color-coding strategy, you’ll begin to think about the tasks you put into your calendar more carefully. More methodical thinking will keep your calendar clean and organized even as you splash it with colors.

2. Batch Tasks Together

Speaking of grouping tasks together, not every single to-do item needs to have a designated space in your schedule. There are many instances where you can batch tasks together to condense your calendar and prevent clutter. 

It would be silly to create a calendar event for every email you plan to send throughout the day. Not only can you schedule a time to do all your emailing, but you can also batch that with other administrative tasks to get them done at the same time. If you don’t want to forget important details, use the notes section of your digital calendar to make to-do lists that accompany your task batches. 

3. Create a Separate Calendar

Many online calendar apps allow you to create multiple calendars to organize your time. With multiple calendars, you can clean up one messy calendar by dividing it up. To ensure double-booking doesn’t occur, keep these calendars synced even if you don’t view them together at the same time. 

One of your calendars can be designated for all your personal affairs. Track birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, important school dates, and more here, while keeping all of your entrepreneurial activities on a separate calendar. If you really want to go all out, you can create separate calendars for each department of your budding organization. 

4. Learn How to Delegate

One reason entrepreneurs’ lives are so grueling is that their plates get overloaded, especially in the early stages of a startup. Entrepreneurs are product developers, marketers, HR representatives, and salespeople all at the same time. The sooner you can delegate some of these tasks to others, the sooner you can clean up your calendar and clear your head. 

Learning how to delegate is a process. Many entrepreneurs don’t want to let go of their responsibilities because they only trust themselves to get the job done. Just remember that you’ll become more effective as you pass on assignments and focus your attention, and your calendar, on fewer projects. 

5. Make Time for Yourself

Entrepreneurship is often a 24/7 job. Building a business from the ground up isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of time and effort to become one of the few who enjoy long-term success. Prioritizing your mental health and physical wellness will help ensure long-term success by staving off burnout and keeping your mind in top shape.

This is different from just creating a separate calendar for your personal events. You need to intentionally make time for yourself in your calendar. Schedule a date night with your significant other, allot time for exercise, and even schedule some evening hours to read a book. These blocks of time will help with your work-life balance and clear your calendar of unnecessary busywork you continue to pile onto yourself.

6. Lean on Automation

Any task that you can automate can be taken out of your schedule, which leads to a more open calendar. Not only that, but automation will keep your business running even without your constant supervision. You will be able to accomplish more with less effort.

No matter your business model, there is some business task that you can automate. You can add a chatbot to your website to answer frequent customer questions without the need for a human representative 24/7. You can automate email marketing campaigns and sales outreach. Find ways to automate your growing business, and these tasks and others won’t be taking up calendar space any longer. 

While it’s good to fill your time with productive activities, an overstuffed calendar can be counterproductive. Use these tips to clean up your calendar and keep it that way, so you can focus on your performance as an entrepreneur and not your ever-changing schedule. 

10 Support Organizations for Productive Entrepreneurs

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
10 Support Organizations for Entrepreneurs

I have no regrets about being an entrepreneur. Chasing my dreams and starting my own business was the best decision I ever made. That’s not to say that it’s always been easy. I’ve had businesses fail, sacrificed relationships, and had to deal with daily challenges. Handling upset customers or motivating employees are the smaller situations to deal with.

To make matters worse, on the really big things — I’ve felt that I’ve had to overcome these hurdles all by myself.

The Top 10 Support Organizations for Productive Entrepreneurs

  1. Entrepreneur’s Organization
  2. Business Network International
  3. Young Presidents Organization
  4. Small Giants Community
  5. Vistage
  6. Young Entrepreneur Council
  7. Startup Grind
  8. 8. Founder Institute
  9. 9. Baby Bathwater Institute
  10. 10. StartUp Nation

It can be lonely being an entrepreneur.

You see, it can be lonely being an entrepreneur. And when you’re going through a rough patch or need some inspiration — it’s not always available. After all, there’s not always someone around who has shared these same experiences.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. There is no shortage of organizations that you can join to help support you during your journey.

Here are ten of my favorite support organizations for entrepreneurs that they should join today.

1. Entrepreneur’s Organization

Since its inception in 1987, EO is regularly considered one of the best organizations for entrepreneurs to join. For starters, this peer-to-peer network connects its more than 13,000 members from across the world. From there, EO aims to guide them in expanding and strengthening their business.

Members of the Entrepreneur’s Organization also receive perks like personal mentorships, participating in forums where you can learn from the experiences of successful business owners.

These opportunities are also extended to attend exclusive global or local chapter events. EO members can also become a part of the Healthnetwork Foundation to gain VIP access to the 30 of the most highly ranked hospitals in the U.S.

The stipulation is that your company is doing at least $1 million a year in revenue or has received $2 million in venture funding.

2. Business Network International

Started by a group of friends in California in the early 1980s, BNI has become the leading referral organization in the world with over 240,000 members. In fact, in 2017 alone, BNI member referrals generated a whopping $13.6 billion in revenue for member businesses.

BNI focuses primarily on lead sharing and networking for solopreneurs through weekly meetings and exclusive resources. For example, you can have breakfast with several other solopreneurs and salespeople at a local chapter to help each other increase sales. Even if you decide to leave BNI, it’s easy to imagine that you’ll maintain those connections.

To become a member, simply complete a brief application and if approved you’ll be contacted by BNI’s Global Alliance Approval Team.

3. Young Presidents Organization

Similar to EO in terms of events and forums, the Young Presidents Organization has been connecting and empowering its more than 25,000 chief executives in 130 countries since 1950. The main differences are that you don’t have to be the founder of a business, just its current leader, and the revenue requirements are higher.

As a member, YPO will assist you in personal development, learning business practices, and how you can impact your community. Besides the exclusive events and forums — YPO achieves this mission through a series of excellent podcasts — such as the program “Ten Minute Tips from the Top.”

This is where members and experts share advice and insights.

4. Small Giants Community

Compared to the other organizations on this list, Small Giants Community is relatively new — the groundwork was laid in 2006. It’s quickly become a community where purpose-driven leaders and entrepreneurs.

As an entrepreneur, you can share your experiences and advice through podcasts, blog posts, and virtual peer groups. There are also amazing discussion-based webinars called Fishbowls to provide you with practical systems that you can apply to your business.

Small Giants Community also offers a one-year certification program to help leaders grow.

The program consists of face-to-face meetings with a learning cohort, virtual learning sessions, and event tickets to two Small Giants gatherings.

What makes this community so unique is that the members are extremely positive and helpful, as opposed to the exhausting “What can you do for me?” mentality you experience at most networking opportunities.

5. Vistage

If you’re a CEO looking for an organization that focuses on business and coaching, then Vistage is a solid choice. Like EO and YPO, this is done through monthly forum meetings with your peers.

At Vistage, a paid coach or moderator will work with you one-on-one.

Vistage, which has been around since 1957 — states that members can become better by:

  • Gaining insights by connecting you with “salient, trustworthy and applicable insights and resources.
  • Becoming better leaders by developing new skills through training.
  • Helping you make better decisions by refining your instincts, improving your judgment, and expanding your perspectives.
  • Achieving better results. In fact, it’s been found that Vistage member companies grew 2.2 times faster than average small and medium-sized U.S. businesses.

6. Young Entrepreneur Council

Founded by Scott Gerber, the Young Entrepreneur Council is recommended for founders, co-founders, and business owners. These founders generate at least one million dollars in annual revenue — or one million dollars in financing. The catch is that in order to be invited to join you must be under the age of 45.

As a member of YEC — you have access to tools, mentorship, community, and educational resources. In addition, you have the chance to partake in monthly Q&As and connect with super connecters who will support you through each stage of your business from development to growth.

To convince you to join, you can also receive discounts for select conferences and be invited to VIP experiences at exclusive art, film, music, fashion, and sporting events.

Through a series of partnerships, you can also receive discounts on travel, insurance, and HR benefits.

7. Startup Grind

Founded in 2010, Startup Grind is one of my personal favorites. It’s a global community with members in 150+ countries where each month there’s an event for you to network with your fellow entrepreneurs.

Each event also features local founders, investors, innovators, and educators who share their success stories and what they’ve learned during their journey.

Startup Grind also shares advice and insights from these successful entrepreneurs through blog posts, podcasts, and videos.

However, what’s really drawn me to this group are its values, which are believing in making friends, not contacts; giving, not taking; and helping others before helping yourself.

8. Founder Institute

The Founder Institute is an ideal organization to join if you’re in the early stages of your startup. They’ve even dubbed themselves as “ the world’s premier pre-seed accelerator.”

As a member, the Founder Institute has developed a methodology that has helped launch over 3,000 companies since 2009. This includes creating an Equity Collective for a support network and a three to five-month program to assist you in making your idea into an actual business.

Even after completing the program, you’ll receive a lifetime of support. To join, you’ll have to pay a $50 application fee, as well as a course fee of around $1,200.

9. Baby Bathwater Institute

Yes. The name is a little out-there. But, this is an excellent and active community made up of entrepreneurs from a variety of industries. What makes it stand out from other groups are the unique events.

Instead of the traditional networking event or workshop, these all-inclusive events are held in the mountains of Utah or on Baby Bathwater Island in Croatia.

I would consider this more an experience where you can go on an adventure while meeting new friends, while also gaining fresh perspectives and business solutions

10. StartUp Nation

Last, but certainly not least, there’s StartupNation.

Founded in 2002, StartupNation provides an endless amount of resources. These topics include such help as starting your business, growing your business, and managing your business through blog posts, an engaged online community, and a radio show.

You can use the forums to exchange ideas or find a mentor or business partner. StartupNation also provides the following services:

  • Logo design.
  • Website, development.
  • Copywriting.
  • Domain name registration.
  • Incorporation.
  • Business consultation.
  • Public relations.

Best of all, it’s free to join this community of more than 101,000 registered members.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Spend Time Earning a Passive Income

By | Time Management | No Comments
Why Entrepreneurs Should Spend Time Earning a Passive Income

It’s a familiar occurrence. You’re taking a quick break from work to watch an inspiring video, such as a TedTalk, on YouTube. Before the video starts, there’s an ad from a charismatic individual promising that you can earn money while you sleep. And, by doing so, you get to live the life you want without having to deal with the nine to five grind. Same old crap right?

As entrepreneurs, we know that passive income isn’t a scam, though some of these videos do promote unproductive advice. In a previous Entrepreneur article, Kimanzi Constable explained this correctly. These are “entrepreneurs trying to sell you on one of their programs. You see what they’re offering and understand that the way they travel and make an income is through people buying their course.”

In other words, the person in the YouTube advertisement is earning a passive income. They may have developed a system that allowed them to thrive in the real estate industry, for instance. Now, they’re sharing their secrets of success with viewers via an online course. Selling real estate was their primary source of income. Now, they have a supplemental income through the educational course they’ve created.

But, is earning a passive income something that a respectable entrepreneur should really spend their resources on? In my experience, that’s a resounding yes.

What is passive income and why it’s important for entrepreneurs?

A passive income is earning money through little active involvement. Unlike your “day job,” a passive income isn’t tied to how many hours you put in. For example, you published a book five years ago. Ever since its publication, you’ve been earning money off of the sales of your book. While you did all of the work on the book years ago — you had to write it, after all, but you’re really no longer involved with the book. It’s there online for people to purchase while you’re sleeping, building your startup, or traveling.

Why is passive income necessary for entrepreneurs?

For starters, it creates multiple streams of income. Extra or other ways that you make money may not sound important when your business is raking in the six-figures. But, from personal experience, understand that you could lose everything in a blink of an eye.

I’ve shared my story multiple times, so I’ll give an abridged version. My first business was shut down by Amazon, and in a matter of months, I lost everything.

While a passive income wouldn’t have prevented my business from closing, if I had been earning an income from multiple sources it wouldn’t have been as stressful. It wouldn’t have hurt my family, and I could have temporarily stayed current with my bills. It would have helped get me back on my feet faster.

Even if you don’t experience failure, entrepreneurs can use this extra income to pay off their debt faster. How much would your life improve if you didn’t have student or business loans hanging over your head? Not having this debt is a weight off your shoulders and gives you an opportunity to take that money and invest it in your business, vacation fund, or retirement.

Having more than one income can increase your chances of becoming a millionaire. Tom Curley, the author of “Rich Habits,” found that 65 percent of self-made millionaires had three streams of income.

Of course, it’s not all about the benjamins. When you’re able to earn some extra cash on the side, you’re ready and able to focus more on the other things that really matter. It frees up your mind to hustle better. You’ll be able to think more creatively about ways to improve your business. You’ll find ways to spend more time with your family, working on a hobby, learning something new, or traveling.

Debunking common myths about passive income.

While I’m all for passive income, it would be remiss of me to discuss and debunk some of the most common misconceptions. Most notably is a myth that maybe it doesn’t take any type of investment. In reality, it will take an initial investment, either of time or money, to start earning additional income. The idea is you are front-loading your time and money.

Again, take the example of releasing a book. You can continue to earn royalties from your written work for the rest of your life after it’s been published. But, you still had to take the time to write the book. You still had to hire an editor, and you definitely had to do some promotion to let others know where and why they should purchase your title.

Lucas Miller adds in Entrepreneur that, “generating passive income isn’t as simple or straightforward as some of the world’s richest people can make it seem to be. Figuring out how to generate a steady flow of cash requires a fair amount of work.”

“Even more importantly, it requires that you dedicate your own time and investments in the right areas,” continues Miller.

Seven myths regarding passive income.

    • You can “set and forget” it. “This is perhaps the most dangerous myth associated with passive income,” says Miller. And, I agree. Let’s say that you earn money through affiliate links on your blog. If people aren’t visiting and clicking on those links that you aren’t bringing in an additional income. You still need to add fresh content and promote your site so that you can keep driving traffic to it.
    • It only takes a weekend to get started. It may just take you a weekend to build your website. But, it’s going to take months to get people to notice and interact with your site.
    • You only need one source of income. I’ve already briefly discussed this. But, as a reminder, by diversifying your income sources you have a security net in case your primary source of income dries up. What’s more, when you have more cash flowing in, you can pay off debts faster or set aside more money into an emergency fund.
    • Real estate is your safest bet. While renting properties can be a great way to earn an additional income, it can be costly. Remember, you’re responsible for keeping the rental in good shape and making any repairs. You also have to deal with tenants. If possible, a better option may be to flip a house then managing one.
    • You need a business idea. It may not be as exciting or bring-in as much money, but savings and retirement accounts are low-risk options for earning a passive income.
    • “If you build it, they will come.” Whether you run a blog, published a book, or built an educational program you still need to use marketing channels so that people will discover, and eventually, invest in your content.
    • You need a large sum of money to get started. You’re not launching a full-fledged business here. Saying that you’re not launching a full business means that you don’t need thousands of dollars to get started. In some cases, it may just take-up some of your time. In others, you may only need to invest with a couple of hundred dollars.

How can you make a passive income?

There’s no shortage of ways to create several different streams of income. It ultimately depends if you want to invest more of your money or time.

For example, if you’re strapped for time, you may want to invest your money. Maybe you will take some of your money and invest in the stock market, opening a high-yield saving account, peer-to-peer lending, or becoming a silent partner of a company.

If you have spare time, you can start a blog, write a book, create an eCourse, or sell digital products. If you go this route, the key is to use your existing knowledge and resources to your advantage. For example, a consultant could create their own online course or package existing blog posts together for an eBook.

What if you want to start your own side business? As with your startup, you need to do your research to understand your market, how you’re unique, and the best ways to promote the side gig. Most importantly, be patient.

You aren’t going to start earning an additional income overnight. It may take months, even years, before you can finally start earning a passive income.

Determine Whether Working With a Friend is a Good Idea

By | Business Tips | No Comments
What to Do if Appointments Keep Running Long

There’s no way to sugarcoat this; starting a business is no easy task. You wear multiple hats; you’re continually building clients, don’t forget networking. If you’ve built many businesses, as an entrepreneur — you understand the very real possibility of failure. But how do you determine whether working with a friend is a good idea?

Indeed, it’s a wonder that anyone would ever contemplate starting their own business. But, as Jimmy Dungan said in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

There are plenty of entrepreneurs who have decided to make this journey just a little bit easier — by teaming up with someone else. For example, Bill Gates had Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. The reason? Each partner brings something different to the table — whether that be different skill sets, lessening the workload, or having additional access to funding.

Maybe you want someone to gripe to, or someone to run your ideas past and have a second set of eyes on a project.

But, instead of approaching a stranger or acquaintance, why not just go ahead and start a business with a friend? After all, it worked for Gates and Allen and Jobs and Wozniak. There have been many famous entrepreneurial teams. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson — so why can’t it work for you and your friend?

Well, before you and your best friend get too far ahead of yourselves, you both should take a close look at the good and bad of working side-by-side with a friend.

Why You Should Start a Business With a Friend

You have a co-founder that you know and trust.

After spending years being acquainted with your friend, you know what their belief systems are, how they react to specific situations, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. You also know how to get under each other’s skin, so hopefully, you’ll avoid triggering those emotions while in the workplace.

More importantly, they are someone you trust entirely — and know that they would never intentionally do you any harm. What more do you want of a co-founder or colleague?

As Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

You can speak freely and comfortably.

When you have a trusting and honest friendship, you can pretty much say whatever’s on your mind freely and comfortably. Sure. There will be times when they’ll say something that you don’t want to hear — or that you don’t agree with — but you know what they’re saying is genuine and sincere.

As a result, you can keep each other in-check since you’re calling each other on your BS and ultimately do what’s best for the business.

Creates a positive work environment.

Having friends at work can be extremely beneficial. 70 percent of employees believe having office friends is the “most crucial” aspect of obtaining a fulfilling work life. What’s more, office friendships lead to higher engagement and productivity and a stronger connection to the company.

You have someone to bear your burdens.

Starting a business on your own, as already mentioned above, it no easy task. It can also be incredibly lonely.

But, when you have a friend by your side, you eliminate this loneliness. More important, you have someone to share your burdens with your — whether that be financial or completing tasks on-time. And, because they’re going through everything you are, you can vent to each, celebrate accomplishments, and even throw a couple of drinks back after a particularly challenging week.

You share the same vision.

Friends tend to think alike — that’s likely why you became friends in the first place. You and your friend being able to think alike is actually a great asset for your business.

You likely have the same goals, values, and vision for your business. Thinking alike can come in useful when you’re pitching an idea or your business to a client, prospective customer, or interested investors. If you know what your partner-in-crime is going to say next, then you can set them up seamlessly.

Decisions are easier to make.

As I just mentioned, friends tend to think alike and have a similar vision and belief system. That can make it easier to agree on business decisions — even if you have a different opinion personally.

Remember, spending too much time making a decision isn’t just time-consuming, it can also drain you mentally. You want to save that energy for more important decisions.

They accept your strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s say that public speaking isn’t your thing, but you’re one heck of a coder. But, your friend is charismatic and loves speaking. Instead of them asking you to pitch your business to an investor or at a conference, they would instead ask you to make a killer website to impress others. They also wouldn’t get upset or frustrated in areas that you’re weak — and vice versa.

Simply put, you accept each for you are. As a result, you can leverage each other’s strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

More friend time.

When you work with a friend, it sometimes doesn’t feel like work at all. You get to shoot the breeze, have fun, and create memories. As a result, going to work becomes more enjoyable and relieves stress.

Why You Should Not Work With a Friend

It can be hard to distinguish between work and play.

At the same time, chatting and hanging out all day isn’t always great for productivity. Instead of focusing on work, you’re busy talking about a movie you watched over the weekend. On the flip side, when you’re outside of the office, you may start talking shop instead of just enjoying each other’s company.

No matter how much you love your business, you both need to set boundaries and separate work from play.

Also, you may let workplace difference spill over into your personal lives. For example, if you and your friend are disagreeing on the direction of the business, and it becomes heated, that could make your social life a bit awkward.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

As friends, you probably know a lot about each other. But, knowing too much of others can erode respect.

For example, if you don’t agree with the lifestyle your friend is living, you may feel that they’re someone you shouldn’t work with. Even despite the fact they’ve shown up to work every day bringing their A-game.

Who’s the boss?

Even if you’ve agreed on established roles, it can still be tough to take orders from your friend — and they probably feel the same. As a result, there may be a power struggle.

You must compartmentalize relationship issues.

Friends fight. But, you can’t let those little personal squabbles interfere with the business. No matter how ticked you are at each other — you must remain professional and discuss any disagreements calmly and rationally.

In other words, you need to learn how to compartmentalize any relationship issues you have. Just because you’re at odds personally doesn’t mean that you’re currently at odds with your business partner.

Performance issues can be awkward to address.

When an employee isn’t delivering the results you expect, the conversation isn’t complicated. You have a conversation with them, determine what the problem is, and discuss the ways that they can be more productive.

That conversation isn’t so straightforward with your friend. You may be too empathetic, or they’ll take what you’re saying too personal. It may be an awkward conversation, but it’s necessary if you want your business to thrive.

Friendships don’t always translate to business compatibility.

Sure. You and your friend may share similar values and philosophies. But, you may have completely different approaches to completing various business tasks. That can lead to conflict and when trying to build your business model and company culture.

You know the same people.

Networking is critical when starting a business. But, how much networking can you do when you and your partner know the same people?

Networking may be a greater challenge, but knowing how to find and establish new connections may not be challenging.

A failed business can lead to a failed friendship.

If you fail in this business venture — it can be the absolute worst-case scenario.

Let’s say the business fails, and you blame each other for the failure. You didn’t just lose business; you also lost your friend.

If you’re still on the fence about working with a friend, here are some questions you should ask yourself. Determinations will become more apparent with questions.

  • Do you share the same business goals and values?
  • Do your work habits and schedules align?
  • Can you complement each other’s skills and talents?
  • What roles and responsibilities should each partner take-on?
  • How will you resolve conflicts?
  • Are your personal lives stable?
  • How long have you known each other?

Just make sure that you cover all of the topics to do with your business that you can think of. A first business venture is usually the one that friends get together in. You want the best from your first business venture. Take the time to set up all of the parameters so that you and your friend can remain great partners through thick and thin.

It’s OK to Take a Break — Even if You’re an Entrepreneur

By | Time Management | No Comments
Morning Routine

There seems to be a serious epidemic among entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a rookie or seasoned vet, there’s a mentality that we have to work more than 40 hours per week. There are times when that’s the case. Let’s say that you’re launching a new product or service. You should definitely expect to be putting in extra time at work until it’s complete. But what about the rest of the time? Hey, it’s okay to take a break, even if you’re an entrepreneur

Elon Musk has said that he works a staggering 120-hours per week. Gary Vaynerchuk has suggested you put in 18-hour days. And, Grant Cardone has said that if you want to become a millionaire, you need to work 95 hours per week or 14-hours per day.

From the outside, that just sounds ridiculous. However, that doesn’t always mean that these entrepreneurs are working 10-14 hours straight — every single day. However, with the individuals I work with — that’s precisely what they mean. Day in and day out, for years — they work this many hours or more. I know from my own experience that with a business — it’s hard to tune out and leave it alone. And when you try to tune out — you’re still thinking about the business.

Some entrepreneurs put in more hours without stopping — and they can’t help themselves. It’s not healthy mentally or physically and, many studies now show that it’s not as good for your business as you may think.

In an open letter to Musk, Arianna Huffington wrote, “Working 120-hour weeks doesn’t leverage your unique qualities, it wastes them. You can’t simply power through — that’s just not how our bodies and our brains work.” She added, “Nobody knows better than you that we can’t get to Mars by ignoring the laws of physics. Nor can we get where we want to go by ignoring scientific laws in our daily lives.”

I learned the consequences of ignoring the laws of psychology, if not physics, the hard way. While I wasn’t working 120-hour weeks, I was consistently doing 80 hours. I was spending way too much time at work. As a result, my health was no longer a priority. Relationships with coworkers, friends, and family became strained, and I teetered on the edge of burnout.

Still believing that an entrepreneur has to work more hours to be successful — you can do that work differently. Finally, admit to yourself taking breaks is essential. Take a moment to think logically, with a different thought process. You’ll want to take breaks for the following reasons.

It’s good for your brain.

As Meg Selig points out in Psychology Today, research shows that taking breaks helps your brain in the following ways:

  • “Movement breaks” are essential for your well-being.
    Considering that there’s a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship, this may be the key. Getting up from your desk and moving, even if it’s just a “5-minute walk every hour, can improve your health and well-being.”
  • Breaks prevent decision fatigue.
    “Author S.J. Scott points out that the need to make frequent decisions throughout your day can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability.” Can you guess a simple way to combat this?
  • Breaks restore motivation, especially for long-term goals.
    “When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals,” wrote author Nir Eyal. “But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later on.”
  • Breaks increase creativity and productivity.
    “Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative,” notes Selig. “‘Aha moments’ came more often to those who took breaks, according to research.”
  • “Waking rest” helps consolidate memories and improve learning.
    Waking rest is, “resting while awake, likewise improves memory formation.” Meditation could be an example of waking rest.

Still not convinced? Well, taking breaks can also help you refocus your concentration. And, if you’re stuck on a problem, then taking a breather can help you come up with solutions faster.

“While it is commonly assumed that the best way to solve a difficult problem is to focus relentlessly — this clenched state of mind comes with a hidden cost. [The hidden cost] is that it inhibits the sort of creative connections that lead to breakthroughs,” writes Jonah Lehrer in Imagine: How Creativity Works. “We suppress the very type of brain activity that should be encouraged.”

Opportunity to gain fresh perspectives.

Regardless of how you define your break — take a break. Your break may be merely leaving the office to grab lunch with a friend, or it may be to disappear for a week-long vacation with your family. Stepping away from work exposes you to new things. I know it sounds cliche. But, it’s truth — and we need to know what the truth is for ourselves in our own situations.

Getting out of your workplace helps you develop new ideas. Maybe your break is bouncing feedback from your friend at lunch. Maybe when commuting back to work, you notice a new opportunity that can separate you from your competitors. Can traveling push you out of your comfort zone and give you a chance to have new experiences? Yes, it can. These type of breaks, also, prevent isolation.

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, and that can be a problem. After all, loneliness can lead to mental health struggles like depression, stress, and anxiety.

Taking a break allows you to interact with others. It could be walking around the workplace and checking-in with your team. While commuting to a meeting, you may strike up a conversation with a stranger. And, when you’re not obsessed with work, you can strengthen your relationships with your friends and family.

Reminds you of the bigger picture.

“When you’re focused on the minutiae of a complex task, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the bigger, more strategic picture,” writes Barry Chignel over on CIPHR. “Take a break, step back, and reassess your goals and priorities to make sure that you’re giving your attention to the right tasks and projects.”

“Being able to see this broader view is particularly important for managers,” adds Chignel. That’s because “they need to maintain their focus on strategic goals and not be distracted by process-driven tasks that could be delegated to other members of their team.”

Cultivates healthier habits.

Make no mistake about it. Working too much adds unnecessary stress to your life. As you already know, stress can lead to many symptoms that affect your health and well-being. But did you know that stress can also influence your habits?

Research has found that during times of stress, we fall back on our habits. That wouldn’t be so bad if you were falling back on healthy habits like exercising. But, what if it’s a bad habit like overeating, smoking, or binge drinking? Well, then, you have a reason for concern.

Frequent breaks not only reduce stress, but they also give you the time to indulge in healthy habits. Instead of eating fast food for lunch, you can enjoy a healthy meal because you’re taking a lunch break. In-between tasks, you can use that downtime to go for a walk or meditate. And, during the weekend or vacation, you can engage in a self-care activity.

How to take a break.

Despite the benefits listed above, entrepreneurs still struggle with taking breaks. So, I suggest taking it slow and easing your way into it.

The most obvious place to start would be working breaks into your daily schedule. I’ve found that you should track your time for around a month to determine when you’re most productive.

Thanks to ultradian rhythms, this is different for everyone. But, in most cases, we have energy peaks for about 60-90 minutes. You then experience an energy lull. Knowing this, you could plan your day by blocking out an hour for work and then scheduling a 10-to-20 minute break.

The caveat for you may be resisting the urge to take longer breaks. Keep your breaks short and use reminders to keep your schedule on-track. Also, make sure that you schedule a proper lunch break as well.

Another pointer would be to learn how to optimize your time. Use whatever trick works best for you. But, the idea here is to reduce your workload so that you have more flexibility in your schedule to take a breather.

And, establish boundaries. Creating and keeping boundaries means when you’re home and spending time with your family, give 100% of your attention to them. When you’re hiking or hanging out with friends on a Saturday, there are no answering work-related messages.

In short, leave work at work. I know. It’s going to take a lot of willpower. But, try it for a couple of hours and work your way up. You’ll notice that everything you built didn’t come crumbling down because you’re disconnected from work occasionally.

Eventually, when you’re comfortable — plan for larger breaks. I’m talking about the occasional day-off. I love to take a lengthy vacation — and work on the vacation, too. And I like to work on short vacations also. Will it be in our best interest to take a real break? Hey, most entrepreneurs will likely resist taking a real vacation at first. Should we try to make the “taking a vacation goal,” together? I’m up for it — if you are.

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Go Wrong With Online Scheduling Software

By | Scheduling | No Comments

Entrepreneurial work has a way of snowballing. What started as an idea soon turns into a weeklong project, which then swallows an entrepreneur’s entire life. 

Scheduling is a key solution for keeping productivity high. But that doesn’t mean online scheduling is free of issues. Although it might seem like a simple task, calendar management can be a big challenge for a busy person. 

Here are four of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face with online appointment scheduling, complete with tips around how to overcome them:

  • They overbook themselves.

As the owner of a business, people expect you to be busy. But your time is still limited; treat it as such. Overbooking yourself can lead to many frustrations: You’ll feel overwhelmed, your clients will be unhappy, and people within your organization won’t like it either. It’s not particularly motivating to work for someone who has to cancel meetings constantly.

The solution: Protect your time. If people are constantly trying to book a meeting at times when you’re doing deep work, try time blocking. The idea is to fill every 15-minute slot on your calendar with something, even if it’s just relaxing at home or eating dinner. Personal priorities matter, too. 

  • Their online scheduler doesn’t have the right functionality.

Maybe you want to minimize back-and-forth scheduling emails. Perhaps suggestions around meeting locations matter to you. Every online scheduling solution works a little differently. If yours doesn’t have the features you need, look elsewhere.

The solution: Do your research, and pick something that fits your specific needs. Features popular with entrepreneurs include:

  • Meeting notifications and reminders to ensure you never miss a meeting
  • Daily limits so you can cap the number of meetings on your schedule
  • Time zone detection so you’re never confused about the time of a meeting
  • Customizations so you can align your appointment scheduling software with your brand
  • Team scheduling to encourage collaborative work
  • Up-to-date contact information to easily locate information about a client

There are plenty of other features out there; the challenge is understanding what you actually need and finding tools with those features. 

  • They said “yes” to things that aren’t on their calendar.

If you’re going to master online scheduling, you have to learn to say “no” to meetings. When you constantly say “yes” — especially to things that aren’t on your calendar — you’ll feel overwhelmed. 

The solution: Only accept appointments that are on your calendar. If anyone wants a block of your time, even if it’s just for a 15-minute touch base, tell them to add it to your calendar. Ask meetings to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance so you have time to prepare for them. This may seem like a pain at times, but it’ll save you time and stress in the long run. 

  • They don’t know how to prioritize their meetings.

You may be using an online appointment scheduler that is perfect for you and fits all the needs of your organization. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to prioritize meetings, your days will still feel crazy, which kind of defeats the purpose of an appointment scheduler.

The solution: An online appointment scheduler can help you prioritize. Follow the 1-3-5 scheduling rule. Identify your No. 1 priority and make that the focus for your day. Then, determine your three medium priorities (these may be related to your top priority), and lastly, schedule no more than five small must-to-do priorities.

If you can master online appointment scheduling, you’ll be more productive and present for your business. You’ll turn your calendar into an advantageous tool, rather than a chore you have to keep up with. Start managing your schedule like a pro, and the results will be borne out in your business.

6 Types of Meetings Entrepreneurs Should Have on Their Calendar Every Week

By | Scheduling | No Comments

You’ve got your business up and running. You’ve got a team nailed down. You have client work on the calendar. So what’s next?

That would be the meeting. 

Meeting should be used strategically, given how much team time they take. To maximize team productivity and communication, these six meetings are worth holding weekly:

1. The Brainstorm

If you’ve reflected on some current business practices and found that you’re in the market for something new, the next step is to develop some ideas. Don’t bother trying to scrape together some ideas over email; it’s best to do the work in person. 

To make brainstorms worth your while: 

  • Encourage your team to speak their minds. You can narrow down ideas later, but it’s difficult to get participation if every idea is shot down right away. 
  • The wilder the idea, the better. A wild idea can be made more realistic. Ideas that start small, though, tend to be harder to improve. Encouraging wildness can also keep the creative juices flowing during the meeting. 
  • Facilitate for efficiency. The point of brainstorming is to get as many ideas on the page as possible. However, you have to maintain some kind of structure: Have one conversation at a time, and write things down in a centralized place, such as a whiteboard. 

Having weekly brainstorming sessions will keep you and your team on your toes. Even if the ideas don’t become a reality right away, you’ll have an arsenal of things to choose from down the road. You can also use this time to workshop old ideas if you don’t need to come up with new ones. 

2. The Task Setter

The task-setting meeting is the time to put ideas into action. Think of it as the brainstorm’s older, more mature brother. 

Learning how to prioritize tasks is important in making the most of everyone’s time. The last thing you want is to focus on tasks that don’t help you reach your goals. One approach to task management that works well for task setting is the 4Ds technique:

  • Delete: Drop anything that isn’t time-sensitive or crucial to progress. 
  • Delegate: If you are not in the best position to take on a task, delegate it. Considering everyone’s strengths and weaknesses is important here. Explain the reasons for your choices, tell delegatees what they’ll be doing, and set deadlines appropriately. 
  • Defer: Some tasks can be pushed back if they aren’t as urgent as others. 
  • Do: If a task can be done quickly or needs to be finished soon, just get it done. 

3. The Status Update 

The status-update meeting is critical in determining whether the team’s actions are aligned with an overall goal. Not every update deserves its own meeting, but don’t be afraid to get everyone together once a week for a chat with the project manager. 

In this meeting, you can determine which team members are on top of things and which ones might be struggling. Luckily there are plenty of solutions if the issue is, for example, poor time management

How can you identify poor time management skills? Common signs include poor quality of work, missed deadlines, and unhealthy habits — such as getting too little sleep.

4. The Problem Solver 

You and your team should have talked about any challenges in the status update meeting. If there’s a big-picture on you couldn’t solve in that conversation, the problem-solving meeting can help you find a solution.

Whatever the problem, use this four-step framework to get to the bottom of it:

  1. Gather a list of potential causes of the challenges.
  2. Brainstorm some helpful resources. 
  3. Make a list of potential solutions or approaches. 
  4. Decide on recommendations for action by debating solutions and agreeing on one. 

5. The Sales Check-in 

Because the green keeps the business going, it’s important to give extra attention to sales. But these meetings, like any other, can lose you money and productivity if not done correctly.

Sales check-ins should be grounded in hard evidence. Be sure you bring at least one of three things — and ideally all three — to every sales check-in: data, feedback, or action. 

One topic to chat through at these meetings? How salespeople are following up with clients after a sale. Follow-ups can engage customers, leading to higher lifetime value. This can be as simple as inviting customers to webinars or more hands-on, such as volunteering with customers on a cause they support.

6. The Team Builder 

Team building is one of the most beneficial things you can encourage as a leader. It’s as critical, if not more, than talking through the numbers. 

When team members get to know each other more deeply, they get a better sense of one another’s strengths, weaknesses, fears, and capabilities. They enjoy working together more, improving efficiency while minimizing employee turnover. 

Team-building activities can range from chili cook-offs to icebreaker games. It’s up to you to decide what your team will enjoy.

Meetings may not always be fun, but they should always be valuable. These six meetings make sense to hold at least once a week. Can you think of any others?

12 Mental Health Hacks for Entrepreneurs

By | Knowledge Base | No Comments
10 Deliberate Sacrifices You Must Make if You Want to be Successful

There’s a mental health crisis among entrepreneurs. And, that shouldn’t be all that surprising. Being an entrepreneur is stressful, full of uncertainty, unhealthy comparisons, and social isolation. It’s gotten so bad that research conducted by Michael A. Freeman has found that start-up founders are:

  • Twice as likely to suffer from depression.
  • Six times more likely to suffer from ADHD.
  • Three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse.
  • Ten times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder.
  • Twice as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization.
  • Twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts.

These are concerning stats for all businesses. It’s time that we begin to remove the stigma around mental health so that we can address the struggles that entrepreneurs are facing. But, until we reach that point, here are twelve ways that founders can begin improving their mental health.

1. Boost your resilience or walk away.

The level of stress and the weight of uncertainty and anxiety are nearly unbearable to many entrepreneurs and founders. It’s always the company’s responsibility to hire talented individuals who fit within the company culture. It’s challenging to work with all levels in your company, but you’ll have to let an employee go if they don’t work out — this is a business fact. The fact is also a deep stressor. A CEO and founder has to stay on top of market shifts. You have to identify the trends in your space — and keep track of what the competitors are up to.

Not enough? There are also late nights, putting out fires, traveling, and constantly worrying about failure. Each entrepreneur has to walk a different path. Today, that path has to include taking care of mental health. An entrepreneur has to look inside and see that not everyone is cut out for being a founder. Not everyone can live through the pressure or face what the stress and tension begin to make out of you.

You’ve got to know that it’s okay to walk away if you need to walk away. Allow yourself that thought, and you’ll handle the “now” better. Watch for ways to boost your resilience and reduce pressure.

2. Remember your “why.”

Whenever you feel overwhelmed or don’t want to get out of bed, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and remember your “why.” Obviously, this is different for everyone. But, usually, it’s by answering a simple question, “Why did you get out of bed this morning?” You can also ask, “Why does your company exist,” and “Why should anyone care?” when you’re really in a bad place.

When you remember you “why,” it injects passion back into your life. It also pushes you to be your best and put things in perspective. And, it helps you keep your eyes on the prize whenever there’s a setback.

3. Limit social media use.

Don’t think that I’m hating on social media. It’s actually a great way to network, engage with your audience, and market ourselves and companies. But, it can also be distracting and can negatively affect your mental health. You likely can’t go completely off the grid, but there is a compromise here. And, that’s to limit the amount of time you spend on social media.

Personally, I check all of my notifications right before work, after I’ve eaten lunch, and before I leave the office for the day. If you’re crunched for time, you can check social during your commute on when you’re sitting in a waiting room. The idea is to block out specific times throughout the day so that you’re not continually getting sucked into social media.

You could also use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to manage your accounts and schedule content in advance. Or, if you want to take a step back, you can delegate your social media responsibilities to someone you trust.

If self-discipline is a concern, I suggest deleting the apps from your phone. Not only will this prevent notifications from interrupting you, but you’ll also be able to check your accounts by logging in. That extra step may ease the temptation.

4. Focus on what you have.

Early on in my career, I fell into this trap. I would see other entrepreneurs, friends, or family posting social media updates from their travels all over the world. They would talk about the new house or car they just purchased. And, they would boast about how their business was crushing it.

Sometimes they were putting on a facade or trying too hard to impress others. But, as someone who was struggling to get their business up and running at the time — it stung. Even worse? It made me feel pretty crummy about myself.

It’s taken time and self-discipline, but I no longer worry about what I don’t have. Instead, I focus on what I do have. The easiest way to focus on what you have is to be more grateful. Start by writing a list of the awesome things in your life or keep a gratitude journal and write down the people and pleasant surprises you’ve experienced.

While you can make a gratitude list daily, research has found that those who do this at least weekly are happier and more optimistic about the upcoming week.

5. Ramp up your self-care routine.

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health,” writes Raphailia Michael, MA. “Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook.” And, that needs to change. Self-care can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and manage stress.

But, as a busy entrepreneur, how can you possibly have time for self-care? Well, start with the basics. Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Take breaks throughout the day and use that time to meditate, journal, or go for a walk outside.

During downtime, like after work and the weekends, spend time with loved ones. You can volunteer (nothing helps me more than volunteering) read, pick-up a new hobby, clean your house, play with your kids, go out with friends, or learn something new. Find ways to laugh daily.

6. Strike a pose.

Did you know that you could reduce anxiety, boost your confidence, and help you better deal with stress in just two minutes? That may sound too good to be true, and maybe it is — but perhaps it works somehow through body language.

Body language can increase testosterone, which makes you feel more confident. It can also lower the stress hormone cortisol. But, that’s only possible if you position yourself into “high power” poses, which are relaxed and open.

Some have said that striking a pose doesn’t really work — but stand in front of the mirror and laugh. Pose for a friend and tell them you are boosting your confidence, and you’ll both laugh. Strike a ridiculous pose — for sure, this will reduce anxiety.

7. Create a worrying time.

For some, this may seem counterintuitive. However, as Kim Pratt, LCSW, explains, “employing this cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) tool can help you develop control over the frequency and timing of your worry.” Also, when designating specific times to worry, your mind will be free to focus on the present.

If you want to give this exercise a try, here’s how you can get started:

  • Set aside 15-30 minutes per day. Ideally, this should be in the morning or afternoon and not before bed.
  • Jot down all of your worries during these sessions.
  • If you begin to worry at other times, let them go.
  • At the end of the week, look at what you have written so that you can spot patterns.
  • Repeat this until you feel that you have more control over your thoughts.

8. Compartmentalization.

“Compartmentalization is not about being in denial,” says Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Instead, “it’s about putting things where they belong and not letting them get in the way of the rest of your life.” In other words, your problems won’s disappear if you ignore them, “but obsessing on them won’t help either.”

For example, when my first business failed, I went to Disneyland. It was a good distraction from how I was feeling. And, when I returned, I was refreshed and ready to start my next venture.

Another useful tactic would be to speak in the third-person. Researchers from Michigan State University have found that speaking in third-person is helpful because it distances yourself from painful situations that happened in the past.

9. Put a stop to catastrophizing.

Catastrophizing is irrational thinking, also known as “cognitive distortion,” where you believe something is worse than it is. I don’t actually “believe” something is worse — I like to recreationally gripe about stuff. But I’ve noticed that my fun in spinning a horrible situational story can start others looking poorly at issues — and sometimes my viewpoint can become jaded, too.

You may have lost a client or had a weak financial quarter. You then tell yourself that because of these obstacles — both you and your business are failures. Stop it. We all experience bad days. But, instead of going down the rabbit hole, remind yourself that just because today sucked doesn’t mean that every day will be the same.

Other techniques you can try would be to recognize when thoughts are valid and irrational, repeating positive affirmations, and practicing self-care. I’ve also found it helpful to tell my mind to “stop.” When I’m particularly anxious, I may even put my hand up and make a stop sign.

10. Avoid wearing all-grey clothing to work.

Grey is associated with passivity and a lack of energy. It’s also usually worn by people who want to remain neutral or invisible. Sometimes that’s not a bad idea. But, because colors can influence everything from your mood to decision-making, it wouldn’t hurt to add some color to your wardrobe.

Take red, for instance. It’s the color of power, and it can make you appear more attractive to others. Blue is calming and exudes trustworthiness. Green is connected to positive emotional health. And, colors like orange and yellow are warm and can lift spirits.

11. Be productive, not busy.

As entrepreneurs, we idealize those founders who put in 60-80 hours per week. Having a strong work ethic is critical if you want to succeed. But, you can only work for so long before getting burned out. Besides, no matter how amazing you are — your brain still needs time away from work to rest and recharge.

One way to reduce the amount of time you spend working is to be more productive instead of just being busy. You can do this by:

  • Identifying what’s essential and necessary. These are your priorities, and everything else can wait.
  • Optimizing your organization by only listing three items on your to-do-list and using systems like “mise en place.”
  • Minimizing distractions.
  • Not sweating the small stuff.
  • Only saying yes to time requests that bring you closer to your goals or that you’re excited about.
  • Weighing the pros and cons before jumping on the latest trend.

12. Seek help.

“While many entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of seeking help through an employer, they do have many other options they can use should they suffer from depression,” notes John Boitnott. Exercising, eating eat, taking breaks, and practicing gratitude are all ways to help. But, they also need a reliable support system.

“Due to the nature of the entrepreneurial journey, there is additional job isolation, and long work hours are all too common,” adds Boitnott. “Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who stay in your corner through your ups and downs — is extremely important.” Also, this can help make you realize that you’re not alone, “even if your depression wants you to believe you are.”

And please, if you’re struggling — please speak with a mental health professional or join a support group. If it’s an emergency, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) and The National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline (800- 950-NAMI).

“Most importantly, as an entrepreneur, don’t neglect your feelings and thoughts,” says Boitnott. “The sooner you search for a diagnosis — or at the very least, seek help — the better your chances of fighting and winning.”

50 Calendar and Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

By | Scheduling, Time Management | No Comments

Don’t watch your time melt away. Many different factors can make or break you as an entrepreneur, but nothing is as important as being able to keep your time in check. If you feel that this is an area that needs improvement in your life, then you need to give the following 50 calendar, and productivity hacks a spin.

1. It’s all about prioritization.

Prioritization is the secret to both time and calendar management, as well as productivity. After all, if you don’t focus on your priorities, then you’ll end up spending the majority of your time on meaningless activities. Also, it provides structure to your days and keeps you organized.

As a general rule, your priorities are essential tasks that help you reach a goal. If you need help determining what these are, consider employing proven techniques like the 80/20 Rule, Eisenhower Matrix, or rocks, pebbles, and sand.

2. Conduct a time audit.

You can work a million different calendar and productivity hacks and still expect to fail if you don’t know how you’re truly spending your time. Keep a time log or use tools like RescueTime or Toggl to see how long it takes you to complete tasks or empty your inbox.

It’s only after this that you can adequately manage your calendar. As an example, if you realize that email and social media eats up two hours of your day, then you can take steps to rectify this problem, such as batching these tasks together, so you’re not checking them throughout the day.

More importantly, this will prevent you from over-or-underestimating how much time to set aside for specific. Before I did this, I would only leave myself an hour to write a blog post. In reality, I needed two. Because I underestimated this time, it threw a monkey wrench into the rest of my day.

3. Paper, electronic, or both?

Despite the amount of fabulous electronic calendars on the market, you may prefer to use a paper one. There’s nothing wrong with that. You shouldn’t be forced to use calendar software if it’s a hassle for you. Instead, use the type of calendar that you’re most comfortable with and learn how to get the most out of it.

Personally, I prefer combining both paper and electronic. I keep a paper calendar on my desk so that it’s visible at all times. But, I use a calendar app to add and manage my schedule — I can also easily access and share it with others.

4. Plan your schedule around energy levels.

Determine when you’re most focused and alert. Then go ahead and schedule more important responsibilities around those times. Save less essential items for productivity lulls. So, if you are most productive between 10 A.M. and noon, then that’s when you should put your most crucial tasks in your calendar.

5. Optimize notifications.

I personally feel that one of the best features regarding electronic calendars is the ability to receive notifications, such as deadlines or meetings. But, to get the most out of these, you need to go beyond the default settings.

For example, you wouldn’t want to receive a reminder at 2 P.M. when that’s the start time. Instead, a 24-hour notice, along with a 30-minute, would give you more than enough time to prepare for the event. What’s more, you can add notes and even a map so that everything you need is right there in your calendar.

6. Use color-coding for various schedules.

Color-coding is a simple and effective way to quickly view and manage all of these responsibilities you put in your calendar. I’m a fan of the chakra system. The chakra system is where each color aligns with a different energy point. So, since red represents security and safety, you would use it for any work-related task.

7. Schedule the time you actually need.

Scheduling the time your need isn’t about tracking your time. It’s about taking into consideration things like travel time. In other words, if you’re meeting with a client or investor for lunch at noon, and it takes you half an hour to get there, you’ll mark travel time as an event so that you don’t schedule anything else in that block.

8. Implement the Arrow Method.

The Arrow Method was developed by Nicholas Sonnenberg, Co-founder of Leverage, with the goal “to make your weekly calendar look like an arrowhead.” The arrowhead means that you essentially front-load your week with a lot of items on the calendar and then taper “out to a fine point at the end,” he explains on Inc.com.

For example, you could schedule all of your weekly meetings on Monday or Tuesday. Scheduling your Calendar this way leaves some leeway. When Friday rolls around, you don’t have as much in your calendar.

9. Pencil in time to do nothing.

Nothing may sound like a pipe dream — and it is. But, this is a practice that Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, has done for years. The reason? Blocking out 30- to 90-minutes in his calendar allows him to “process what was going on” around him and “just think.”

“At first, these buffers felt like indulgences. I could have been using the time to catch up on meetings I had pushed out or said “no” to,” Weiner wrote in a LinkedIn post. “But over time, I realized not only were these breaks important, but they were also absolutely necessary for me to do my job.”

“Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, get out from under that pile of unread emails, or just take a walk,” Weiner added. “The buffer is the best investment you can make in yourself and the single most important productivity tool I use.”

10. Plan “themed” days.

How do entrepreneurs like Jack Dorsey manage their jam-packed calendars? They organize their schedules by creating different theme days.

“All my days are themed,” Dorsey told Fast Company. “Monday is management. At Square, we have a directional meeting; at Twitter, we have our opcomm [operating committee] meeting. Tuesday is the product, engineering, and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is a company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks.”

“On days beginning with T, I start at Twitter in the morning, then go to Square in the afternoon. Sundays are for strategy, and I do a lot of job interviews. Saturday is a day off.”

11. Harness the power of technology.

Thanks to technology, how we use our calendars have become much more efficient. Pretty much every schedule allows you to add and manage calendar entries using your voice. It’s so much more convenient than continually typing this information out.

Additionally, intelligent calendars like Calendar are using artificial intelligence. As a result, it can analyze previous data to make smart suggestions on how to schedule your days. There are also powerful tools that allow you to automate mundane and repetitive tasks.

12. Design a zero-based calendar.

A zero-based calendar is where you schedule everything into your calendar. Scheduling everything sounds excessive. If you account for every second of the day — there aren’t any blank spaces in your calendar. Even if you plan that time to do nothing but think, this prevents other, pointless activities from creeping into that timeframe.

13. Convert to-do-lists into a to-do-schedule.

“A list is designed to be added to, so it can make it hard to feel satisfied if you’re adding as much as your checking off,” Pete Sveen writes on Think Entrepreneurship. “To remedy this, try turning your to-do list into a to-do schedule.”

One way to do this is by writing your to-do’s next to your scheduled appointments. “If I assign an actual time to a task, I am far more likely to actually get that task done,” adds Sveen. Even better, this can encourage you to be “more realistic about how much I can get done in a given time.”

14. Maker’s schedule, manager’s schedule.

The legendary Paul Graham shared this piece of wisdom all the back in 2009. But, it’s still just as valid today.

The gist is this, entrepreneurs should construct two different schedules, or plans, for each day of the week. The first would be a maker’s schedule. The marker is where you would spend either a half or full day on activities like building a product or solving a problem.

The second is the manager’s schedule. This schedule would include time blocks for meetings, marketing, and sales.

“When you use your time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone,” wrote Graham. “Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.”

15. Define dedicated hours for the critical things in your life.

This all about setting boundaries. Determine when it’s time to work and to play. Establish “business hours,” as well as when you’re not available. It’s the only way that you’ll achieve a healthy balance between your startup and life outside of your business.

16. Find your ideal view.

If you’re using a calendar app, you have the option to chose between daily, weekly, or monthly views. You can even customize these views by different periods or schedules, such as two-week views or work schedule.

Select the view that you prefer. Personally, I’m a “less is more” type of guy. So, I’ve set my view so that it only lists what’s in my calendar today. If I go beyond that, I tend to get distracted by what I need to get done in the future.

17. Create and share a master calendar.

A master calendar is your go-to since it contains your most important responsibilities at work and in life. That may sound like a cluttered mess. But, you don’t need to fill the calendar with minute entries like brushing your teeth. It should just include the biggies.

The benefit of this is that it prevents any scheduling conflicts since you can consult the calendar before committing to a time request. After creating your master calendar, share it with people like your family and assistant so that they can keep up with your busy schedule.

18. You can have then one calendar.

At the same time, you can still have several different calendars that capture the various aspects of your life. For example, a family calendar doesn’t need to be shared with your team. But, it can help keep your home life organized. You may also want to subscribe to different calendars like a holidays calendar. Working with a remote team overseas, this lets me know when they won’t be available.

You could also have an optional calendar. An optional calendar is where you add events you’re interested in if you have availability. For instance, there’s a networking event this Wednesday night. You didn’t plan on attending because you had a conference call with a client. But, they had to reschedule so now you can attend.

Having this optional calendar ensures that you always have a back-up plan. It may not sound significant. But, it provides a way so that you’re spending your time productively.

19. Get a head start on your year.

“If it doesn’t exist on my calendar, it’s not real,” Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec told Entrepreneur in 2016. That’s sound advice. But, how can you stay on top of your calendar, both personally and professionally, when you’re continually inputting new events and tasks?

“Plan as much as you can a year in advance and stick to it,” he said. For instance, he never missed any of his children’s school events. Not missing the critical events was possible because he met with his assistant and kid’s school counselor every September to go through and coordinate calendars.

20. Review your calendar for this week and next.

“Every Friday, review your calendar and ask yourself how you spent your time during the previous seven days,” suggests Bryan Collins in a piece for Forbes. “Then, look at the coming week and consider how you want to spend your time.”

“Make appointments if you need to and cancel irrelevant meetings if you can,” Bryan continues. “Consider how close the reality of the previous week’s calendar matches up with what you want next week’s calendar to look like.”

“You might lack full control over your working week, but you can probably find weeds you can pull or activities requiring two mornings of focused work instead of one.”

21. Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain.”

Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity hack to motivate him to write daily has been embraced for years. It was also highlighted in Cal Newport’s Deep Work and the Netflix movie Jerry Before Seinfeld.

It works like this. Get a calendar and place an X on it if he’s accomplished his goal of writing for the day. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it, and the chain will grow longer every day,” he told software developer Brad Issac. “You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

22. Plan for interruptions.

No matter how much you plan, interruptions are inevitable. One way around this is to leave some time blocks blank in your schedule so that you can shuffle things around if need be. Another option is to track these distractions so that you can identify when they’re most likely to occur.

23. Pump up the jams.

Music and white noise can help you focus — particularly if there’s distracting background noise when working. The catch is to listen to the right tunes. Ideally, this would be music without lyrics, such as classical music.

If you feel like you’re showcasing your vocal talents — singing while taking a shower is a great way to do this. Singing can boost your immune system, lower cortisol levels, and release endorphins.

24. The “2-minute rule.”

Populated by David Allen, the man behind Getting Things Done, this simply means that if a task takes under two minutes, you should just do it. “Just do it” (just like Nike), prevents you from getting log-jammed with a series of menial tasks. Zipping through a ton of jobs may give you the nudge to get in the zone.

25. Pressure pushing down on me.

You don’t want to stress yourself out too much. It’s not good for your health or productivity to lot yourself with pressure until you crack. Scheduling in self-care is essential for mass-productivity. If you feel like you’re procrastinating, a little pressure can motivate you to buckle down. For example, if you have two hours to complete a task, cut that back to one hour so that you’ll be forced to tackle it right now. It will also help you remain focused.

26. Focus on just-time-learning.

“As an entrepreneur, you have to learn many new things to get a clear understanding of all your business operations and dynamics,” explain the folks over at Week Plan.

“It requires a specific time to get all these critical data, and you have to search for different platforms for it like searching on blogs, watching videos, and more.” To address, try out Just-Time-Learning.

This concept “originated from the manufacturing industry and more specifically by Toyota.” This approach calls for working on a task and only researching when it’s required. The work with no research plan helps “to ensure that you don’t waste your time on unnecessary research. Rather, you’ll focus your efforts only on essential research.”

27. Master the art of delegation and outsourcing.

No surprise here. Learning what and how to delegate and outsource frees up your schedule so that you can spend more time on what really matters.

28. Use site blockers.

When you’re plugged in all day, like so many of us are, you’re bound to get distracted by the endless amount of content online. To counter this, consider installing a website blocker. These are simply tools, such as StayFocused and Freedom, that prevent you from getting distracted by your favorite sites.

29. Ease into your mornings.

How do you wake-up each morning? Many of us hear the alarm and instinctively grab our phones. Next thing you know, you’re wasting mental energy responding to emails. Worse, you may lie in bed for an extended time watching YouTube videos.

For most of us, we’re most productive in the morning. So, instead of getting sucked into your phones, spend time building up your energy for the day by jotting down your goals, exercising, and taking a quick, tepid shower.

30. Closeout tasks.

“Even if a task doesn’t have a deadline (but you need to get it done), tackle it in one or two sessions rather than returning repeatedly,” Andrew Fayad from eLearning Mind told Inc.com. “Jumping tasks and returning to something multiple times requires a repeated mental ramp.”

31. Create and use templates.

Templates are mostly “fill-in-the-blank” documents. You can either create them from scratch or download one online. Whatever you chose, these will save you time since you aren’t always creating calendars, invoices, or email/social media updates.

32. Filter ideas.

“Steve Jobs was known for being somewhat brutal in his approach to management and leadership, intolerant of bad ideas and demanding of his employees — but he got results,” writes Jayson DeMers in a previous Entrepreneur article. “One of his most important productivity hacks was filtering out everything that wasn’t a top-notch idea; on corporate retreats, Jobs was known to collect a list of 100 ideas from his top executives on how Apple could improve in the next year.”

Jobs would immediately cross “out anything he thought was dumb, then kept crossing things out until he had a ‘top 10’ list.” He then whittled these down to three “and used those three as the focus for the company for the next year. Only three percent of ideas were worth spending time on, from his perspective.”

33. Learn keyboard shortcuts.

Whether you’re using Calendar, Google Calendar, Apple, or Outlook, every primary calendar has keyboard shortcuts that allow you to edit and manage your Calendar quickly. Each platform has different shortcuts. You’ll want to learn the shortcuts for your calendar before making the most out of this very productive hack.

34. Stop compromising.

“When we work in teams, especially among co-founding team members, we occasionally compromise to keep things going smoothly,” explains Praveen Chandran on Startup Grind. “We accept tasks without analyzing the ‘why’ and the ‘when?’ Accepting a task or scheduling meetings just because a co-founding team member said so, results in wasted time and effort.”

“Even if a co-founder gives a suggestion, it never hurts to have a discussion on the purpose or the timing of the task in a respectful way,” recommends Chandran. “Such discussions set a nice rhythm with your co-founding team in prioritizing things in the future.”

35. Reserve brainpower.

Ever wonder why entrepreneurs, like Mark Zuckerberg, always wore the same outfits. A part of it was to build their brand. But, it’s also to save time and prevent decision fatigue.

Preparing the night before, like laying out your clothes and packing your lunch, is one way around this. Another tactic is to make decisions on less important matters, like where to order lunch, by going with the first thing that pops in your head.

36. Work from home.

While there are distractions you most overcome when working from home, there are also some perks. The most obvious is that you eliminate the time spent on your daily commute. However, Brittany Hodak from ZinePak tells Business.com that this is “a great opportunity to disengage from the day-to-day tasks at the office and spend time thinking strategically about big-picture opportunities without the regular interruptions that come from working in an office with a larger team. It’s made a huge difference in my productivity.”

37. Upgrade your work environment.

You can try as many hacks as you want. If your workspace isn’t optimized, it’s going to be almost impossible for you to get into a state of flow. Make sure that your space is comfortable and free of clutter. Also, consider factors like the temperature, lighting, and the colors of your walls.

38. Give yourself a break.

You can’t bulldog through all of your calendar entries. Everyone needs frequent breaks throughout the day to clear their heads and unwind. Using the Pomodoro Technique is a popular way to encourage you to take a breather. And, you may also want to think about going on a much-needed vacation if you feel burned out.

39. Come on and get happy.

When you’re in a better mood, you tend to be more productive. One study shows that happy employees are 20 percent more productive than their unhappy colleagues. Ask yourself, “how can you turn that frown upside down?” Surround yourself with more optimistic people — those who watch for opportunities to do something nice for each other. or watch a funny YouTube clip.

40. Stop neglecting your health.

How alert, focused, and energetic do you think you’ll be if you eat like crap, don’t exercise, or hardly get enough sleep? The same is true if you always feel stressed and anxious. Stop putting your mental and physical health on the back burner and start making it a priority today.

41. Turn off electronic notifications.

It’s hard to maintain your attention on something important when it seems like your phone is going to explode. When in deep work, either turn your phone off or silence notification like email, social media, and text message.

42. Batch smartphone notifications.

But, what if there’s an emergency or you’re missing out on something important? Those thoughts are probably running through your head as you try to work. Researchers have found that the solution is batching smartphone notifications three times a day — when you arrive at work, during lunch, and when heading home.

43. Unsubscribe and unfollow.

Go through your social accounts and emails and see which ones no longer serve a purpose. Then, unsubscribe and unfollow them — tools like Unroll.me can do this for you. It’s one of the simplest ways to clean up your feeds and inbox and regain some of your time.

44. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Stop spending time on developing the perfect solution. It doesn’t exist. Besides, the longer you spend on making something different, it will already be obsolete. Do your best and make the appropriate adjustments as you go along.

45. Keep messages short and concise.

Whether if it’s an email, phone call, Slack message, or meeting agenda, don’t waste everyone’s time on lengthy messages. Keep them short and concise so that everyone can move on. You can go into more detail either at another time or through a different medium like a Word document.

46. Stop being passive.

You just sent an email to your partner asking if they can meet for lunch next week. You don’t hear back from them after a couple of days. Even though you don’t want to be a nag, you can’t sit there and wait for them to respond. Reach out again so that you don’t leave this slot open.

Remember, your time is your most valuable resource. You need to protect it so that there aren’t too many white spaces in your calendar.

47. Don’t use complicated project trackers.

Over the years, I’ve tried several different tools that tracked the progress my team was making on a project. Some of these were so complex and detailed that I spent more time inputting data than actually working on my part of the project. Sometimes all you need is a notepad or spreadsheet to keep tabs on what you and your team are working on.

48. Rethink your approach to meetings.

While essential, meetings are one of the biggest time wasters within your organization. Before scheduling a meeting, ask if the session is necessary. You may find that an alternative, like email, collaboration apps, online chats, or Wikis, is more effective.

If a meeting is needed, only invite key stakeholders and keep it as short as possible — 20 to 45 minutes should suffice. Don’t forget to prepare and send an agenda in advance so that invitees can prepare. And, don’t let participants get distracted. Ask them to their phones at their desks and only discuss the topics that are on the agenda.

49. Raise the bar.

Set an example for your team by continuing to seek opportunities for growth and development. Work with coaches and mentors. And, encourage habits like being respectful of other people’s time off — this means not contacting them at all hours of the night. Keeping office hours lets your team know that this is a culture where time management is encouraged.

50. Build your village.

If you’re at least somewhat familiar with Batman, then you know that he prides himself on being a loner. However, there are times when he needs the assistance of Alfred, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and the Justice League. In other words, Mr. Wayne has a team around him when needed.

For you to get everything done and maintain your sanity, you also need to surround yourself with your allies. Your allies mean everyone from partners and employees who will pick up the slack when needed, as well as those outsides of work that you can depend on, such as cleaners, babysitters, accountants, attorneys, etc. It’s much easier to have these people in your circle, as opposed to frantically finding them when needed.

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now