10 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself Every Day

10 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself Every Day

 

There are myriad psychology models and theories on what motivates us to do the things we do: how we respond to incentives, achievement theories, and so on.

I look at motivation as excitement. So how can you remain motivated in a simple way that works every single day? Here are 10 ways.

1. Take a break–you deserve it.

The only way we can perform at an optimal level is create time for rest. The moment you know you can’t take any time off is usually when you need it most.

So take that long delayed vacation, and return to your business with renewed enthusiasm.

2. Keep your cards close to your chest.

Finally running that marathon? Excited about your new diet? Bursting at the seams over your new project? Good. Keep it to yourself.

Announcing your intent to do these feats will backfire. Resist the urge to reap the barrage of Facebook likes, and gushing comments. The positive feedback you receive from your network will trick your brain into thinking you’ve already accomplished your goal, sabotaging your once-motivated brain to do said feat.

So keep it to yourself and share the good news once you’ve already done it.

3. Confront death, and define your legacy.

Death is a powerful motivator. We get bogged down in mindless activities. They make us feel like we’re accomplishing things, when in reality we’re just spinning in circles.

Knowing that you have finite time on this planet helps sharpen your focus. Everything we do is another step in defining our legacy. This may seem like heady posturing, but both can be powerful motivators.

4. Celebrate the little wins, no matter how small.

Little wins may seem like just that–little.

Celebrating these wins can help to create positive habits. You break the inertia of mediocrity by teaching everyone around you how to win. They get the chance to bask in that emotion.

Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley, has gone so far as implementing what he calls the “awesome bell.” Which he rings (you guessed it) anytime something awesome happens.

5. Slash your to-do list in half.

Slashing your aggressive to-do list in half will allow room for success. Knowing that it’s realistic for you to complete the list is empowering.

6. Be gentle with yourself.

Stop comparing the accomplishments in your life with those of your neighbor. The story you create in your head will never be as good, and the reality will never be as bad.

There are many people who are smarter than you. The moment you can embrace this notion, you’re free. Free to explore. Free to follow what excites you. Free to ignore what they do, or how they do it, and focus on you.

7. Hack the way your brain perceives your new habits.

Recently, I began waking up two hours earlier than usual during the week. Instead of viewing it as two hours less I get to sleep, I view it as two extra hours to my day, allowing me to add a full workday per week.

8. Embrace vulnerability.

We live in a culture where we horde Instagram followers, and Facebook likes. The perception of our lives being anything less than perfect is a daunting notion. The glossy Facebookification of our lives can create a dangerous facade of success.

Sharing defeats and admitting failure is a powerful cultivator of motivation, allowing you to move past the failure. Work through the emotion instead of taking it out on someone else. Then move on to something more constructive.

Sharing these vulnerable moments also cultivates deeper connection with peers.

9. Do what you love (sort of).

Find what it is you love to do and get proficient at it. Success dwells at the fulcrum of passion and excellence.

But be careful. Make sure that you can make a living from your passion. I’m passionate about a lot of things that I know I’m not so amazing at and that I definitely can’t make a living at. I love playing guitar. My daughter loves when I play songs from the movie Frozen. It’s fun. I’m never going to be a rock star.

10. Focus.

There is a an anecdote I’ve heard about Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Gates’s father at a dinner party. A guest asked them what the most important quality for success was today and all three responded “Focus” at the same exact time. They all smiled and laughed to each other because they hadn’t really prepared the answer.

We are all inundated with texts and emails. These are no longer just work interruptions. Because of the mini-computers we carry around in our pockets, the flood of information distracts us wherever we happen to be, 24/7.

So turn off your iPhone, stop trolling your ex-lover’s Facebook page, and get to work.

4 of the Most Important Skills of the Future

 

The future is being built now with robotics, artificial intelligence, and all kinds of automation that will take over many of the skills we perform today. But there are some skills that we will need for the future, skills that can’t be automated. If you want to excel in the years to come, make sure you’re up to speed in these areas:

Communication. If you’re in leadership, how you communicate, what you communicate and—most of all—how you listen are all supremely important. In communication, it’s the tone that inspires and the spirit that motivates. No robot or machine could ever have the same effect as a leader with great communication skills. Knowing how to communicate is all about creating and clarifying expectations. It’s important to communicate not just what you want someone to do and (without micromanaging) how they should do it but also why you want it to be done and why the person you’re asking is the best person for the job. People want meaning, so communication will always be a crucial leadership skill.

Engagement. Gone are the days of a leader sitting at their desk with the door closed. That doesn’t work (and really, it never did). For any enterprise to excel and achieve its goals leaders need to value engagement, because great leadership begins with connection. When we understand that despite the ways in which we differ we’re all alike in our desire for acceptance and connection, we can recognize those needs in ourselves—and in others. That’s when we can truly make a difference, and it requires human connection.

Influence. Many sources contribute influence in our lives. Parents, other family members, teachers, friends, books we’ve read, discussions we’ve had, life experiences—all of these influences merge together to form our core values and build our character. In the years to come it’s predicted that our biggest commodity will be ourselves—that people will follow others because of who they are and what their character represents. That’s not something you could ever get from a machine, robot or automation.

Heart. Automation can never substitute for heart, care and love. When a leader demonstrates caring, it makes a difference in everyone they touch. The world is full of people who need to be exposed to a caring heart. Great leaders care about the people they lead above their own leadership; they are close enough to show they care but far enough ahead to also motivate. The future relies on this wisdom: leadership is not about being in charge but about taking care of those in your charge.

There are doubtless numerous skills you’ll need to build a successful future, but it’s these core skills that matter most.

8 painfully obvious signs you hate Mondays (and feel unfulfilled)

If you aren’t jumping out of bed Monday morning, there is a problem.

“Living for the weekend” is not a long-term strategy

You cannot go through life accepting that 5 out of every 7 days are going to be spent doing some undesirable to you.

If you are reading this right now in an environment that is not stimulating you, why are you even there to begin with? Because it’s easy? Because it’s comfortable? Because it pays well? If your answer is Yes, then you aren’t just doing a disservice to the company you’re working for (simply along for the ride), but you are doing a disservice to yourself.

And there is no clearer answer to that than how you feel first thing Monday morning.

If you feel any of the following, you need to question whether you’re in the right place or not.

1. You got a full night’s sleep and yet you still feel tired

This is a very clear indicator that sleep is not the problem.

The problem is you’re not emotionally invested in what you’re doing. Have you ever gone on a vacation or a trip where you’re doing stuff all day, going to bed late, and still waking up early with tons of energy because you’re excited to do more exploring?

That’s how you should feel every day, in some way, shape, or form.

2. You did not prepare yesterday for today

People despise feeling overwhelmed, and yet so many fail to realize they do it to themselves.

Failing to prepare means you are preparing to fail.

Mondays are only overwhelming if you did not take Sunday to get all your ducks in a row. And the reason why most people choose not to do this is because whatever it is they’re doing isn’t enjoyable to them.

3. Everyone else hates Mondays too

It’s easy to hate things other people hate too.

“Misery loves company.”

It’s impossible (or very, very difficult) to stay positive when your company culture is, “Hey Bob, how was your weekend?” / “Too short. Can’t believe it’s Monday. I hate Mondays.”

4. You aren’t doing something you love

Obviously.

You are not going to wake up feeling excited to go to a job you don’t genuinely enjoy.

It’s astounding how many people choose things out of comfort, or fear of the unknown, and bite the bullet on years upon years of dissatisfaction.

5. Social media either hates Mondays or crushes Mondays

Browse through Instagram on a Monday morning and you’ll see half a dozen coffee cup quote graphics either sharing the pains of waking up on a Monday, or the relentless ambition one must possess in order to crush Mondays goals.

What’s more important is, what do YOU want?

How do YOU want to be spending your Monday?

And then what can you do in order to bring that to fruition?

6. You don’t enjoy the people you work with

Most of the time, it’s the people around you that define how long you stay in any given situation.

Regardless of how you feel about the work, it can be very difficult to take satisfaction in doing something with people who don’t bring you positive energy — and vice versa.

7. Mondays mark the end of one life and the beginning of the next

When you “live for the weekend,” a Monday is the door shutting on your 48 hours of freedom — and that’s a pretty strong indicator you are living double lives.

One life is how you “pay the bills,” and the other life is what you do for personal enjoyment. In some capacity, you want to find a way to merge the two.

Otherwise, you will never find your work all that fulfilling.

8. Because Monday means doing it “all over again”

This speaks directly to our culture of chasing rewards as “means to an end.”

If you see every week as a sprint, and you endure it with the hopes that one day you’ll be “done” and you can finally “enjoy it and relax,” you’re doing it wrong. You’re missing the entire journey. You are aiming for something that doesn’t actually exist.

Fulfillment is found along the way, not in a treasure chest at the end of the rainbow.

 

If you use these 5 phrases, you aren’t as empathetic as you think

Are you accidentally a dismissive listener?

Dismissive listening is the opposite of empathetic listening. It says “I want to fix you” or “I want to fix your problem” instead of “I hear you, what do you need?” While empathetic listeners are able to determine what a conversation partner wants or needs, dismissive listeners tend to be less charismatic in conversation and can be seriously holding back their relationships by leaning on inefficient (and generally less empathetic!) listening skills. As a result, they tend to be less effective leaders, mentors, parents and friends.

The good news: Dismissive listening isn’t a personality, it’s a practice. It can be corrected. The first step is diagnosing the situation. If you use any of these phrases, you may be engaging in dismissive listening. Keep reading to determine how you’re leading conversations down the wrong road — and what to say instead.

It’s worth noting that these critiques don’t apply to conversations that open with someone asking for advice or feedback. Instead, they apply to more subtle, open-ended conversations where empathetic listening is required.

1. “Aww! Don’t be upset!”

If someone comes to you when they’re upset about something — from missing out on promotion to experiencing a difficult life event — countering by telling them not to experience their feelings is reductive and dismissive. While you’re a kind person and want to see them happy again as soon as possible, asking them to simply not be upset may make them feel guilty for bringing it up or feel like their emotional experience isn’t valid.

What to say instead: I’m listening. That sounds hard.

This phrase reconfirms that you were a safe person to have this conversation with and validates their feelings. It also allows them the space to lead how the conversation progresses.

2. “What if you try this?”

Most of the time, people are approaching you with a conversation — especially a conversation about a problem at work or at home — to vent and have their experience validated. You’re a nice person and you want to help, but leading with unsolicited advice focuses the conversation on fixing the problem from your perspective instead of on how the problem is affecting your conversation partner. That’s dismissive of their experience and can lead them to feel frustrated and not heard.

What to say instead: I want to help. How can I show up for you moving forward?

Saying this allows you to take action and offer help without inserting your own solutions or opinions into space where someone hasn’t asked for them. If they want help, they’ll tell you how you can engage. Or, they’ll tell you they just needed you to listen.

3. “Oh! You should read/listen to this…”

Similar to the above, this well-intentioned phrase offers unsolicited advice — and shallow advice, at that. If someone is approaching you with a difficult experience — from a layoff to getting into a serious fight with a friend — they likely know where they can go to get advice. We all have Google on hand. Unless they ask, don’t offer those options up. It’s a bit deflective and insinuates their experience can be reduced to a problem that can be solved via educational podcast or inspirational memoir.

What to say instead: I want to help. How can I show up for you moving forward?

Instead, focus on their experiences and how they see you fitting into the larger conversation, if at all. Chances are, they just wanted to vent or wanted you to offer a real piece of wisdom. They’ll let you know!

4. “I totally get it. One time…”

While sometimes you really will get what your conversation partner is experiencing, most of the time, you won’t. We all live individual lives, complicated by our personal experiences, identity dimensions and personalities. While this phrase feels empathetic when you’re saying it, it may feel reductive or just plain wrong to the person on the other side. It also centers your experience over theirs. It’s best to proceed with this route only if you’re asked for similar situations or what you learned from them.

What to say instead: It sounds like you’re saying… Is that accurate?

Instead of assuming you understand what they’re experiencing, repeat back to them your impression of the situation. It centers them, reinforces that you’re listening and helps them progress the conversation in the direction they’d like it to go.

5. “You’ll be fine!”

If someone comes to you with a problem or difficult situation, telling them that it will all work out isn’t just invalidating, it’s not very helpful, either. You’re a nice person and you want to be encouraging and optimistic, but these words reduce the complicated experience someone might have and also deflects the conversation instead of allowing them space to talk through those emotions. This kills your credibility as a listener.

For example, telling a direct report that’s anxious for a presentation that they’ll be “totally fine!” is likely to kill their confidence coming to you for encouragement in the future. Similarly, telling a friend who just got laid off that they’ll be “totally fine because they’re so talented!” makes them unlikely to come to you with complicated, hard situations in the future.

What to say instead: It sounds like you’re saying… Is that accurate? How do you think it will impact you moving forward? How can I show up for you?

To avoid being reductive, reconfirm with someone how you think they’re feeling and how the experience is impacting them. Then, ask how you can help. This centers their experience without reducing it, shows interest in how they foresee the experience continuing to impact them and allows you to expertly diagnose what they’re expecting from the conversation.

Why Your Attitude Is Everything

 

One of the most important steps you can take toward achieving your greatest potential in life is to learn to monitor your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships and everyone around you.

Related: It Takes a Positive Attitude to Achieve Positive Results

I generally start my workshops and seminars by asking a fundamental question: What attitude did you bring into this meeting? Often, this brings puzzled looks. In truth, people generally don’t have a high level of attitude awareness. They’ll know if they are hungry or if their feet hurt, but they usually don’t have a good handle on their attitude. That is a mistake because attitude is everything. It governs the way you perceive the world and the way the world perceives you.

We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, work performance, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond.

Your mind is a computer that can be programmed. You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.

Related: Why It’s All About Attitude

Many of us have behavior patterns today that were programmed into our brains at a very tender age. The information that was recorded by our brains could have been completely inaccurate or cruel. The sad reality of life is that we will continue to hear negative information, but we don’t have to program it into our brains.

The loudest and most influential voice you hear is your own inner voice, your selfcritic. It can work for or against you, depending on the messages you allow. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear you down or cheer you on. You control the sender and the receiver, but only if you consciously take responsibility for and control over your inner conversation.

Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. Common causes include low self-esteem, stress, fear, resentment, anger and an inability to handle change. It takes serious work to examine the roots of a harmful attitude, but the rewards of ridding ourselves of this heavy baggage can last a lifetime.

Here are 10 strategies from my attitude tool kit to improve your attitude:

1. Self-Coaching Through Affirmations

Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day, serve to reprogram your subconscious with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power,

Help Keep You Motivated

. You send a positive response to your subconscious, which accepts whatever you tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action.

2. Self-Motivation Through Discovering Your Motives

Discover what motivates you—what incites you to take action to change your life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology (walk faster, smile, sit up), and a belief in yourself and your God-given potential.

3. The Power of Visualization

Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers and artists use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years. “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualization works well to improve attitude.

4. Attitude Talk for Positive Internal Dialogue

Attitude talk is a way to override your past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps you face new directions. Your internal conversation—that little voice you listen to all day long—acts like a seed in that it programs your brain and affects your behavior. Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself.

Related: Attitude Adjustment 101: Say It Out Loud with Me…

5. The Power of Words—WOW

Once released to the universe, our words cannot be taken back. Learn the concept of WOW—watch our words. What we speak reflects what is already in our hearts based upon all the things we have come to believe about ourselves. If we find ourselves speaking judgmental and disparaging things about our circumstances or those around us, we know the condition of our hearts needs to change. You can create a direct path to success by what you say.

6. The Power in a Positive Greeting

When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “Super-fantastic.” Most people enjoy working and living with others who try to live life for what it is—a beautiful gift.

7. Enthusiasm: Vital Tool for Staying Motivated

Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life. Enthusiasm enables you to apply your gifts more effectively. It’s the burning desire that communicates commitment, determination and spirit. Enthusiasm means putting yourself in motion. It’s an internal spirit that speaks through your actions from your commitment and your belief in what you are doing. It is one of the most empowering and attractive characteristics you can have.

8. Connecting to Your Spiritual Empowerment

The ultimate level of human need extends into the spiritual realm. Just as we feed our bodies in response to our primary need to survive physically, we need to feed our spirit because we are spiritual beings. Many people find powerful and positive motivation in their faith. I happen to be one of them.

9. Lighten Up Your Life with Humor

Humor is a powerful motivator. The more humor and laughter in your life, the less stress you’ll have, which means more positive energy to help you put your attitude into action. There are also health benefits to lightening up.

10. Exercising Will Help Keep You Motivated

One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise. A regular exercise routine can provide relatively quick positive feedback in the form of weight loss, muscle development and a sense of doing something positive for yourself.

Seek your personal and professional success by using the tools in this attitude tool kit. It is no secret that life seems to reward us most when we approach the world with a positive attitude.

30 Super Inspiring Quotes About Finding Success as an Entrepreneur

1 .”In business, the only thing that is more important than the number is the person.”

2. “The reality is there’s an element of risk and luck in anything that you do. But I find that with disciplined risk, you’re either winning and succeeding or you’re learning. And that’s really the foundation to evolving and growing as a business.”

3. “Being an entrepreneur means one word: freedom. I have the ability to chart my own course and pursue what I’m passionate about.”

4. “I know that I’ve got to do my job better and harder than anyone in that building so that everyone there can take care of their families. And that’s one of the coolest feelings for me.”

5. “The word to me is synonymous with ‘hustler.’ As an entrepreneur, you cannot be afraid to put yourself and your ideas out there and figure out how to give them life.”

6. “I do not have a staff of hundreds. I have a very tiny staff trained as artists and architects, and I only take on one building at any given time. I’m very protective of staying small.”

7. “Most successful people reflect daily. It gives our brain a chance to pause the chaos with conscious thought of our previous actions and to hopefully derive meaning/learning from those moments! But only if you’re honest with yourself!

8. “‘Fear of failure’ is something that shouldn’t be in your vocabulary in the military, or entrepreneurship. You need to take calculated risks and not be afraid of setbacks. And in both cases, you need the mindset that I will do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission.”

9. “Entrepreneurs cross the fine line between crazy and genius.”

10. “I want to improve the world and spend my life doing something meaningful.”

11. “Being an entrepreneur is following your passion and finding a profit in it. You spend 70% of your life at work, you better love what you do.”

12. “An entrepreneur is someone who sees a need in the market and does something about it, rather than just sitting on the sidelines.”

13. It is about having a vision and mission that is bigger than me.”

14.”Being in the military taught me to risk it all early and to risk it all often.

15. “We have to slow down, particularly women who have been taught to overachieve in every single endeavor. They believe they have to be outstanding every single day at being a parent, spouse, and contributor at work. If you are trying to do that, you are going to crash and burn, and very likely not be outstanding at any of it.”

16. “You need to get to a place where you can prosper at your passion. Like I have a couple of artist friends that have a real job and do their art on the side. If their art gets big, they’ll do that full-time, but there’s no reason to go broke in the meantime.”

17. “An entrepreneur is someone who gets shit done.”

18. “Being an entrepreneur means to be an artist of life. To be willing to take big risks, because of the deep belief in creating things that matter.”

19. “Unwavering belief in yourself and enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Those traits naturally create a sense of ownership that you can’t buy anywhere — not even Jeff Bezos can sell it!”

20. “Bringing your entrepreneurial vision to fruition takes a team of smart and experienced people. Find them, trust them and empower them to help you make decisions.”

21. “You gotta succeed. If you’re not succeeding, you’re not recruiting anybody.”

22. “An entrepreneur is someone who has the passion and courage to try something that’s never been done before.”

23. “Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, not getting fixated on them.”

24. “Being an entrepreneur is different than starting and quickly exiting a startup. I think entrepreneurs create long-term companies and jobs.”

24. “When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to understand that no one is going to swoop in and save the day. You have to enjoy solving problems for your customers and for your business.”

26. “To me, an entrepreneur is someone who has a goal of impacting other people by helping them solve a problem, and through that help, aims to grow and scale to help even more people.”

27. “As an entrepreneurs, you have a fire burning inside your belly, a vision and a dream that you will do anything and everything in your power to bring to life.

28. “Entrepreneurship is about the fight — the process of getting your product and service in the hands of consumers and building a company along the way.”

29. “You have to do more than just your role. You have put on a lot of different hats and do a lot of different jobs that are outside of your daily tasks.”

30. “I think the best entrepreneurs are able to create win-wins that lead to sustainable business growth and economics.”

 

 

How to Start Your Business and Keep Your Day Job (Without Going Nuts)

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Marketing/Media Writer, Strategist and Consultant

How to Start Your Business and Keep Your Day Job (Without Going Nuts)

 

Testing out your idea for a new business before you quit your day job is always a wise idea. It gives you a chance to make sure you really enjoy working for yourself and that your business is economically viable, while still allowing you the financial security of a steady paycheck. It can be a great way to “test-drive” your entrepreneurial dreams.

That said, having a side hustle is by no means easy. In fact, one of the things it winds up testing, inadvertently, is whether you’ve got the dedication and motivation it will take to be an entrepreneur. If you can manage the stress of day job/dream job double life, chances are you’ve got what it takes to run your own business.

I side hustled for two and a half years before going off on my own, and I know how challenging it can be. If you’re currently working a side hustle, or are thinking of starting one, here are a few key things to keep in mind to keep your business (and your sanity!) from going under in the process:

Learn to Say “No”

Just as important as your to-do list is your not-to-do list. You only have so many hours in a day, and if you’re running a side gig, chances are you’re already stretching those hours pretty thin. Now is not the time to try to make everyone happy or be everyone’s friend; now is the time to know your limits and take a stand to enforce them.

Practice and become comfortable with phrases like, “I’m sorry, but my plate is full,” and, “I wish I could, but I’m booked up right now.” The key to saying no without sounding like a jerk is to keep it simple (no long, flowing excuses), express your sincere regret, and leave it at that. You have every right to set your own priorities—and if you want your side hustle to ever become a full-time hustle, you’re going to have to.

80/20 Everything

You’ve likely heard of the Pareto Principle: 80 percent of your outcome stems from 20 percent of your efforts. In essence, it argues that it’s smartest to focus your energy on the tasks that give you the highest return on investment. Everything else? You can probably get away with letting it slide.

This is true not only when it comes to your business, but also when it comes to the rest of your life. When you’re holding down two jobs, you can’t beat yourself up too much when certain things in your life fall by the wayside. Rather than trying to do everything, focus on just trying to do the essentials. Your house may be a little messy, but at least you can do enough laundry to keep your family clothed and enough dishes that you have something to eat off of each night. You may not be able to make meals from scratch, but try to get healthier takeout on the nights you’re crunched for time.

Schedule in Some “Me” Time

When you’re in full-on hustler mode, it can feel wasteful and selfish to spend time on anything that isn’t “billable.” (Believe me, I know.) But the harsh truth is that your business won’t last very long if you crash and burn out. If you can’t get yourself to take a break now and then for your sake, get yourself to take one for your business’s sake.

If it helps, schedule in time for yourself on your calendar just like you’d schedule in time for a project. Treat yourself as another client, and adhere to your assigned “me” time with the same discipline you’d adhere to a client deadline.

Trust me. It will be worth it. Hustling is ultimately a long game, and you want to keep yourself in working order.

Are you currently working a side hustle? How do you keep yourself and your business going?

 

 

 

 

Seven Steps to Starting Your Own Business

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

Seven Steps to Starting Your Own Business

People are always asking for a list of fundamentals, a checklist they can use to start their own businesses. From your business type to your business model to your physical location, there are so many variables it’s not easy to come up with a list that will work for everybody. The key, regardless of what type of business you’re starting, is to be flexible!

That said, here’s are seven steps to take before you start your business.

Step 1: Personal evaluation.

Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation. Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom, creativity, or some other reason? What skills do you have? What industries do you know about? Would you want to provide a service or a product? What do you like to do? How much capital do you have to risk? Will it be a full-time or a part-time venture? Your answers to these types of questions will help you narrow your focus.

Step 2: Analyze the industry.

Once you decide on a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, you need to evaluate your idea. Who will buy your product or service? Who would be your competitors? You also need to figure out at this stage how much money you will need to get started.

Step 3: Make it legal.

There are several ways to form your business –– it could be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Although incorporating can be expensive, it is well worth the money. A corporation becomes a separate entity that is legally responsible for the business. If something goes wrong, you cannot be held personally liable.

You also need to get the proper business licenses and permits. Depending upon the business, there may be city, county, or state regulations as well as permits and licenses to deal with. This is also the time to check into any insurance you may need for the business and to find a good accountant.

Step 4: Draft a business plan.

If you will be seeking outside financing, a business plan is a necessity. But even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, a business plan will help you figure out how much money you will need to get started, what needs to get done when, and where you are headed.

Step 5: Get financed.

Depending on the size of your venture, you may need to seek financing from an “angel” or from a venture capital firm. Most small businesses begin with private financing from credit cards, personal loans, help from the family, etc. As a rule of thumb, besides your start-up costs, you should also have at least three months’ worth of your family’s budget in the bank.

Step 6: Set up shop.

Find a location. Negotiate leases. Buy inventory. Get the phones installed. Have stationery printed. Hire staff. Set your prices. Throw a “Grand Opening” party.

Step 7: Trial and error.

It will take awhile to figure out what works and what does not. Follow your business plan, but be open and creative. Advertise! Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.

Above all, have a ball! Running your own business is one of the great joys in life!

 

 

25 Words or Phrases to Avoid in Speeches and Presentations

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

You’re really ready for this speech or presentation, aren’t you?

You have great content—and you know it cold. Your listeners will absolutely benefit from the information you’ll be giving them; in fact, you think it will change their lives for the better. So the last thing you want to do is weaken your message by using language you could just as easily do without.

In the spirit of combining your great message with effective delivery, here are 25 words or phrases you should avoid like the plague (gee, I guess I should have included clichés). Anyway, here they are, each with a brief explanation for their inclusion in this list:

1. “I” or “me”. The presentation is not about you, period. Self-consciousness and anxiety aside, it’s about the audience. Replace every “I” or “me” with “you,” “we,” or “us.” Keep the focus on your listeners rather than you.

2.”A little bit.” This phrase waters down your content. “I’d like to talk a little bit about . . .” pales next to, “Let’s discuss the industry trends we need to consider.”

3.”Just.” Similar to #2. Compare these two options: a) “I just want to say that I think we face some problems”; and b) “Listen! — Our backs are to the wall regarding these profit margins.”

4. “So . . .” Often uttered as the first word out of a speaker’s mouth. (Now you’re thinking back to your last presentation, aren’t you?) But “so” is a continuation of a previous thought. And at the start of your presentation, nothing has come before.

5. “Talk about.” Used repetitively in a monotonous way: “First, I’ll talk about what our competition is doing. Then I’ll talk about why we have to think differently. Then, I’ll talk about our new initiatives.” Then, I’m sure you will all shoot yourselves!

6. “My topic is . . .” To engage listeners immediately, you have to launch your presentation strongly. (See my article on “12 Foolproof Ways to Open a Speech.”) An opening that blandly announces your topic will fail in this respect. What’s engaging about telling people something they already know?

7. “I’ve been asked to speak about.” A variation of #6, and usually an attempt by the speaker to seem important.

8. “Sorry if” or “Sorry for.” Uh-oh. The speaker is apologizing for his or her presentation? “Sorry for this lengthy explanation. I couldn’t figure out a way to say it simply.” Okay, I invented that last sentence—but isn’t that what it sounds like?

9.”Excuse the eye chart.” (Variation: “I know this slide is really busy.”) Boy, haven’t you heard that one before? Here, the speaker actually is apologizing for making a PowerPoint slide incomprehensible. If a presenter can’t speak to everything on a slide in the time he or she shows it, the slide doesn’t work. It needs to be boiled down or broken up into more than one slide, or the speaker needs to tell the audience the full data are in the handout.

10. “I’d like to start out with a story.” A story is one of the flat-out most effective ways to open a speech or presentation. Its effect is considerably weakened, however, if you announce that you’re about to tell a story. I call it “introducing the Introduction.”

11. “There’s a funny joke . . .” Well, there may be. But you’re setting yourself up for failure if it isn’t funny. Zero-sum game and all that. Believe me, if you simply start with the joke, it’ll have much more punch. Even better: use humor rather than a joke. It won’t contain a punch-line, and it’s much easier to relate to your actual topic.

12. “Excuse me if I seem nervous.” Although some people think saying this will get an audience on your side, I think announcing your nerves is a bad idea. Most nervousness isn’t visible. Let the audience make the decision as to whether you look nervous. If they don’t notice it, why give the game away?

13. “I’m not good at public speaking.” Then go away.

14. “I’m not a speaker.” Yes, you are. Aren’t you giving a presentation? Besides, you don’t need to be a speaker unless you’re on the speaking circuit. Just share what you have to say with us. We’ll probably love it.

15. “I’ve never done this before.” You guessed it: this is instant death to your credibility. Again, do a good job and we’ll L-O-V-E you!

16. “Here are our key differentiators.” A fine phrase except for the salient words. This language is so overused that your “key differentiators” in your industry probably aren’t any such thing.

17. “I’ve divided them here into three buckets.” Unless you work on a farm or are planning to kick said bucket as part of the entertainment value of your talk, I would avoid the “buckets” cliché.

18. “Bear with me.” (Not “bare with me,” which would actually be interesting.) Typically said when the speaker is experiencing technical difficulties. We all do, of course. Why not have a back-up plan for keeping your audience interested if the technology doesn’t cooperate? I tell my clients—and I really mean it—that they should be prepared to give their talk if they leave their laptop with their slides in the cab on the way in from the airport.

19. “The next slide shows . . .” Transitions are vital elements of your speech or presentation. They help audience members negotiate the logic of your argument. You need to think about how to organically link your previous talking point with the one you’re about to introduce. Don’t appear to discover yourself what the next topic is when the slide pops onto the screen.

20. “Moving right along . . .” Truly the worst example of throwing one’s hands up in the air because you don’t know how to transition to your next point.

21. “Obstacles!” Or “Projects,” or any single word or phrase that blurts out what you’re about to discuss next. Find that organic transition, per Item #19 above.

22. “I think I’ve bored you enough.” Oh, let’s hope you haven’t bored your audience at all. And if you have, do you have to twist the knife this way?

23. “I didn’t have enough time . . .” Whether what you say after these words is “. . . to prepare,” “. . . to figure out what your needs were,” or “. . . to do the necessary research,” you shouldn’t be clueing your audience in to this startling reality.

24. “I’m running out of time, so I’ll go through this quickly.” It’s probably not a good idea to announce to everyone your lack of time management skills in this presentation, wouldn’t you say?

25. “That’s all I have.” “And so I didn’t give any thought to considering carefully how to end a speech vividly and memorably. So I’ll just jump off this cliff, and take you all with me!”

Do you have any death-dealing words or phrases to add to my list?