The End of the Year is Near!

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There are officially 17 days until the end of the year. How are those resolutions coming?

I do have to say that I have made some serious headway on my resolutions this year. I may not have accomplished all of them but I have done more than I have in the past. For instance I have yet to learn how to play the guitar BUT I did purchase a guitar on Sunday so now I am one step closer. I haven’t fully reached my fitness goal BUT I have been more consistent in working out than I have ever been. It’s the little things that slowly build up to the big.

So if you haven’t reached your goal this year, and end up having to put it down again for next year, don’t worry about it. Focus on the little things you did that have moved you toward your end goal and I bet you’ll see that you’ve done more than you thought.

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Currently Reading: You Can’t Fire Everyone

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In this book Hank Gilman, the former Deputy Managing Editor at Fortune, talks about his rise in management and how it was kind of just thrust upon him. He talks of all the mistakes and lessons he has learned since then.

What initially drew me to the book was the title and the cover art both very catchy and of course it is short, which is good because I don’t always have the longest attention span.

In this books he talks about dealing with employees in regards to how you aren’t their friend but their boss, hiring and firing, and dealing with a mess up or crisis.

One of the biggest parts that stood out to me was: Never worry about being fired yourself. This kind of just stuck with me. So many times I held myself back because I was afraid of losing my job and therefore I was taking any of the necessary risks that I should have.

I think the worst thing you can do as a manager is be afraid of being fired. You would never do the things I suggested… if you worried about being fired.

Another aspect was just treating employees fairly; not lying to them, or underestimating them, giving them a chance to grow, and allowing them to put family first.

For the most part the book had a lot of good points when it comes to management and leadership. On the other hand though it was very heavily laden with journalistic examples and jargon, and sometimes conclusions wouldn’t make sense and what the author was trying to convey didn’t come through.

Overall I found this to be an informative book and good for those who have become managers but really don’t know how to be one.

…no matter what what your management style, it will work if you do it well, are honest, treat your employees with respect, and are consistent.

Measure of Success

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What is the measure of success? Is it Happiness? Reaching a certain point in your life? Achieving your dream or a dream? How do you know when you’ve finally become successful? Sometimes it feels like a fleeting moment when suddenly you’ve noticed that things have changed or are changing around you and you think to yourself “finally”. Is that success?

Perhaps success is merely growing up and not being who you were yesterday.

There is an article in Entrepreneur that talks about this and it was interesting some of the points they had. It was an article called “20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel You Are”. Instead of placing success at a single moment it is more about an abstract growth. Here are some of the “signs” that I liked (I kept the original number so you can see where they fall on the list).

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

11. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

15. You refuse to be be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

Currently Reading: The Beginning of Everything

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Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could only be moments away from disaster. That everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary–a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.

Initially I wasn’t sure if I would even be interested in this book. Having been out of high school for quite some time, I really have just come to the point where I can’t stand young adult books, especially if they are angsty. However from the first two paragraphs, the first above, I liked it. It seemed to be more about how a single moment can drastically change the direction of your life.

The main character, Ezra, was the popular jock and never really thought about life after high school beyond being recruited for tennis. Then he is in a car accident that shatters his knee and things change.

This book has a feel to it much like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” with cool friends who go out and do outlandish things like silent raves and a floating movie club. In the end you get a sense of how the character has changed and changed for the better.

Of course there is the romance in it and teenage partying but the main aspect is how everything can change so fast and drastically but in the end things will get better and you can survive it.

The Billionaire Infographic

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It’s always an interesting topic to Entrepreneurs to find how the wealthy Entrepreneurs made their money and the path they took to get there. Not one path is the same as others and where someone else fails you may succeed. So here is an infographic of self-made billionaires and how they made their money as presented by Entrepreneur.com.

billionaire infographic

Video: The case for collaborative consumption

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In conjunction with this weeks book review on What’s Mine is Yours here is the Ted Talk given by the author of the book, Rachel Botsman. What is presented here is the case study of what the book contains and how she came to write about it. Take a look, it’s pretty interesting and make sure you get the book.

Currently Reading: What’s Mine is Yours

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In a day and age where everyone seems to be a mass consumer there are a few companies popping up that seem to go the other way where things are shared.

What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

The book starts out with an illustration of our over consumerism in the form of the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A stretch of ocean that is twice the size of Texas and carries about 3.5 million tons of garbage most of which is plastic. This came from the rise of disposable products such as plates, cups, and bottles.

Garbage patch

From the moment you start reading you see this case building and how we came to where we are now  with excess stuff and an abundance of trash. What is so great about this book is that it doesn’t just leave it there but shows how we are creating solutions to this ever-expanding problem.

From Generation Me to Generation We

There is now a significant amount of consumers who are moving towards homemade items, recycled materials, second-hand products, and shared living spaces.

The book touches on companies like Etsy, Airbnb, Growing Chefs, and RideShare, all of which make collaboration and reuse as part of their backbone.

It also talks about crowdsourcing but not as a way to make money but at as a way to solve problems and sharing a huge task, like picking up large amounts of trash, between several people so it takes less time and money. This is also applied to open collaborative tech projects and artists initiatives.

The Millennials are not a generation of Mother Teresas. They are not all do gooders shunning well paid jobs and luxuries for a utopian dream…But they are abandoning the prevailing ethos of their parents’ generation of baby boomers  and adhering more to the values of their grandparents, the war generation.

Millennials are the backbone of this newfound driven collaboration and community of Entrepreneurs and consumers. “Generation We” has created a new value shift.

What will you get out of this book?

This book portrays how the world is ever-changing especially in the hands of Millennials. It’s not all about what “I” can get but what “we” can get and for Entrepreneurs it is important to understand your audience and how new businesses are popping up all the time to meet this need.

I like this book particularly because it helped me understand my own generation and it also gave me insight into what businesses are doing now. I definitely recommend this if not as a way to help your business but as a case study/social commentary of where we are today as consumers.

 

Currently Reading: The Crowdfunding Bible

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I’m sure as Entrepreneurs we have all heard of crowdfunding and how you can use that to create capital for starting projects, launching initiatives, or even funding a vacation. But because you know of it doesn’t mean you know how to do it and do it successfully.

As a person who is currently looking into crowdfunding as an option for financing a film I started to research how it is done and came across this book in my search.

The Crowdfunding Bible: How to Raise Money for any Startup, Video Game, or Project

by Scott Steinberg

In this book it covers topics such as:

  • What is crowdfunding
  • Who should consider it
  • And how to get your crowdfunding project off the ground

Great pieces in this book includes the list of crowdfunding sites, examples of successful campaigns, ideas for your own campaign. The big thing about creating your campaign, and the thing that will help you the most, is research.

The book suggests that you look at other campaigns that have been launched and assess what they have done from their video, to prizes, their goal, and how they are marketing their campaign.

It also breaks down each crowdfunding site and their fees and requirements for payouts when it comes to reaching your goal.

Please note that this isn’t a step by step outline of what you can personally do for your campaign but more of a general outline of the steps needed to take but it does offer a great amount of information for anyone who is looking to get started.

As of today you can purchase the book in Amazon for the kindle app for free. However it’s not apparent how long that will last as the book usually cost $13.99 and the digital list price is $2.99.

Four Great Sites for Entrepreneurs

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There are quite a few entrepreneur sites out there with tons of helpful information about building your business or client list. Here are a few of them that I frequent:

1.Tuts +

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Tuts+ is a website catered to entrepreneurs and freelancers with chock full of information like tutorials, videos, articles, jobs, and courses. The site is broken down into different sections like business, crafts, music, and game development.

I get weekly email blasts from the business side of Tuts+ and they are always full of information. And weirdly enough the timing of the article is always right. For instance I could be thinking about staying more productive then bam! Here’s and article called How to Start Every Day with a Productive Mindset.

Tuts+ is part of the Envato websites and was previously known as Freelancer Switch. They only recently revamped their site so take a look and check back for continued updates.

2. Springwise

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Springwise is amazing not just because of its helpful articles but because its continued promotion of cool start-ups and inventions. On there you’ll find a jewelry maker who hires blind people, a cloud service that allows graphic designers to rent fonts, and a pen that vibrates when you make a mistake. So many cool things they have on there from all over the world. This is another that I get weekly in my email and I love to see what’s being invented next.

This is also a great platform for would be investors. Looking for a cool startup to invest in and make a difference in the world? Check out this site. You can also submit your own company to be featured on their site.

3. Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur is mostly known for the magazine it puts out but it also has a lot of great articles and resources within its site. Also if you don’t want to spring for the magazine you can read some of their articles on the site and even sign up for their newsletter. One of the main things that I like about them is their app E Startups. It is specifically targeted to starting a business.

4. Microlancer

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This is another blog that came out of the revamping of Freelance Switch. This is Mircrolancer which is geared towards designers and developers. It features new talent all the time and gives you ideas for projects and client needs. Their main site also offers services so that you can find a reliable person to get the graphic side of your business done.

Know of any other amazing sites that are great for entrepreneurs, let me know!

Image courtesy of kibsri, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently Reading: Platform Get Noticed in a Noisy World

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Writing a blog or trying to create some sort of presence in social media isn’t easy and it doesn’t always come naturally. I have twitter, facebook pages, instagram, and the like but to say I have a presence on them is a stretch. I’m just not used to always tweeting my thoughts, taking snapshots (and certainly not selfies) at events, or posting content beyond a blog post.

It’s not always that I don’t want to do it, mostly that I forget and don’t really have a system in place to back it up.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy Wold by Michael Hyatt 

This a great book to get started with creating a lasting social media presence. The book has five parts in it get you on your way.

Part One: Start With Wow

This is all about creating a marketable product and making it big.

Part Two: Prepare to Launch

This is all about the preparation it takes to successfully launch your brand like the various social media sites available, profiles, staff, personal pictures, endorsements and such.

Part Three: Build Your Home Base

Learning how to use all social media sites so that they flow seamlessly with each other. A lot of this one is centered around creating a blog and great blog content.

Part Four: Expand Your Reach

This one is about how to understand Twitter, gaining more followers, learning how to get more traffic, and understanding what your current traffic means.

Part Five: Engage Your Tribe

How to get more interaction with people on your blog and eventually how to monetize it.

This book is all about attracting that audience, and turning on the brightest lights you can find, and building passionate loyalty so your audience stays with you through every line, every scene, every act. It’s not about ego or being the center of attention. It is about having something of value to others and finding the most powerful way of getting that message to other who can benefit from it.

Great aspects of this book:

I really liked how the chapters are structured. Most are no more than five pages which allows you to get through the material fast but also doesn’t make you feel bogged down with information so you can easily stop or come back to it later.

There is also great use of storytelling from the author’s life as well as successful people to keep things interesting. There is also a wealth of knowledge in it so you can use it again and again as a reference book. Reading it once definitely is not enough.

Keep in mind though that a lot of this information is basics and great for people starting out but if you are looking for something a little more advanced than this might not be for you. That being said I did find this book very helpful and I recommend reading it.