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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/Oncx4aSJ3r8/

Behind the scenes of ProBlogger first course launch

Last month we launched our very first ProBlogger course. After a whirlwind few weeks (months, actually ), I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit of what happened behind the scenes while creating the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course.

Why have we only started offering courses this year?

To say it’s been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. We’re constantly asked why we don’t offer courses, as it seems like the most obvious thing we should be doing. Our focus has always been on offering great value that’s easily accessible, whether it’s our free blog posts, podcasts or world class (yet very reasonably priced) events.

All of which takes up a huge chunk of time and dedication from our small team.

We’ve been thinking about courses for a while now, and our goal is to create a blogging course unlike any other. Something that goes beyond the that goes beyond the prescriptive “this is how I did it” approach that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

And so we created the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course, and made it available for free.

But this is just the beginning. We have many more courses in the pipeline, and together they’ll help you piece together the best approach to blogging for you.

What is the first course about?

Our first course starts at the beginning – how to start a blog. Actually, it starts even earlier in the process, as one of the first things the course asks is whether you should even start a blog.

That’s one of the reasons our first course is totally free. We don’t want you buying a course on how to blog if you find out blogging just isn’t for you. We also don’t advocate investing too much in getting your blog set up.

But we strongly suggest having a solid base (your own domain and a self-hosted site) so it’s easier to progress if you decide to stick with it.

So, the first course provides a lot of guidance about:

  • why you should or shouldn’t blog
  • what to blog about and call your blog
  • the basic steps to getting your first blog up and running and posting your first post.

All up there are seven steps. And while it’s basic it’s also quite comprehensive – at least for a free course.

This was our beta launch, which we ran in the lead up to our self-proclaimed International Start a Blog Day on February 7th – a day to celebrate starting a new blog in a new year.

How did we create the course?

We get a lot of people asking us how we created the course site. So here’s the breakdown in case you’re looking for a possible way to launch your own.

Content

The content for the course is a mix of repurposed content from our blog, podcast and events, along with new content created specifically for the course. So we spent a lot of time editing existing audio, creating accompanying slides and converting them to videos, as well as creating new worksheets and other downloadable resources.

At first we were a bit worried about repurposing existing content. But when we realised how much work it is to a) find it in the first place, and b) organise it into a comprehensive easy-to-follow course, we were glad to have these resources to draw on and add the extra value of convenience and structure for our readers.

Infrastructure

We have a separate WordPress installation for our courses site, which sits on a different server to our main blog and podcast site installations. Here’s what our ‘stack’ looks like.

LMS (Learning Management Software)

Learndash – we like how this solution is both comprehensive and easy to use.

Theme

Social Learner – incorporating Buddypress elements for community features (we don’t use all of them), this theme  provides a good looking layout for the modules and lessons. We also used Thrive Architect (which works nicely with Social Learner) to build some of the extra content elements into our pages.

Membership Plugin

WPFusion – this is an elegant plugin that lets us easily control access to content based on tags specified in Drip for our course members.

Email Communication

We use Campaigns in Drip to automatically onboard course members after they’ve either filled out one of our Thrive Leads opt-ins or registered directly through the site.

Payments

Whilst the first course has been free, we’ll use our existing e-Commerce solution Easy Digital Downloads to process payments and pass information to Drip and the courses site via WPFusion.

Forum/Group

While our setup has the option for a forum, groups and comments (we turned comments on for some of the modules), we elected to run a Private Facebook Group for the first intake of students. Partly to test one against the other, but mainly so we could get students’ feedback on the course as they progressed through. It also served as a customer service channel.

We won’t be maintaining an ongoing group for the course throughout the year (course members can join our main Facebook group at problogger.com/group). But we will run one in conjunction with International Start a Blog Day each year.

Promotion

Building awareness, and the call to action to sign up for our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, was done primarily through the ProBlogger podcast, along with a sales page and a couple of articles on the blog.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, we changed how we did the ProBlogger podcast to generate interest in starting a blog and the course we were launching. Instead of a weekly podcast, we released a series of 12 shorter podcasts (one each weekday). And is each episode we shared a different blogger’s story about how they started their blog and how far they’ve come. These stories were told by ProBlogger podcast listeners who submitted their stories as audio files. This series of podcasts has one of the highest levels of engagement of any I’ve released. In each podcast there are calls to action to sign up for the course via the sales page on the blog.

The sales page for the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course had an easy-to-communicate URL (problogger.com/startablog/), and a snappy design created using Thrive Architect. We linked to it in our “Start a Blog” section of the blog, as well as in a couple of articles we wrote about a starting a blog in the New Year.

Knowing that most of our audience had already started a blog, we asked people to share the information about our new course. We asked our existing readers to share it with those they knew who may be interested in starting a blog. We also asked the people who signed up for the course to share it with their friends.

Launch

Trying to launch anything early in the year can be tricky, especially when everyone in the southern hemisphere is typically on summer holidays. Like many course creators, we were still creating content and making the site look and work the way we wanted right up to the deadline.

We had team members holidaying in different time zones with bad wi-fi issues and sick kids. Some last minute re-recording of tutorials had Laney chasing away noisy dogs and throwing sticks into trees to scare away squawking birds. (We have some pretty obnoxious birds in Australia.)

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. But we kind of made our launch date (I’m sure we made it in a timezone somewhere in the world). And the actual launch happened without too many hiccups other than some people having activation issues because they clicked the link more than once.

The main takeaway? Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, keep your cool, and prepare to work hard when it counts.

Outcome

We were blown away by the response. We knew there would be some, but given our readers have mostly started blogs already, it was hard to know just how many students we might get.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and go for it.

By the time it went live, almost 5,000 people had signed up for the course. Of these, roughly half went on to enrol in the course once it was launched, and half of those started the course (a little more than 1,000 students).

In the time between launching the course (January 10) and International Start a Blog Day (February 7), more than 1,000 new subscribers had signed up for the course. By the time February 7 came around, more than 2,000 students had started the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course. More than 100 new blogs were launched in time for International Start a Blog Day, with many more launched since. You can check them out here.

And there were other positive outcomes too.

We ended up with more than 1,000 members in the beta Facebook Group, which gave us very useful environment for getting direct feedback from students as they were trying out the course. We learned a lot about:

  • the people who were signing up for the course
  • what their issues and pain points were
  • what they did and didn’t like about the course
  • how we could help them going forward by improving the course (and in other ways).

International Start a Blog Day was also a very rewarding experience for me and the ProBlogger team. We got to really see and celebrate the course outcomes for the many students who launched new blogs as a result. We loved compiling the honor roll of new blogs – exploring their sites, reading people’s stories, and seeing how they put their learning into practice.

And we now have a very comprehensive opt-in that helps us identify people we can help on their blogging journey. Best of all, they’ve shown they have the drive to take action, which makes it even easier for us to help them succeed.

What’s next?

In March we’ll be launching our first paid course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – the successor to the ever popular book of the same name. The course version includes:

  • more detailed course materials with video tutorial presentations
  • printable worksheets, resources, and further reading
  • recommendations and tools to help set the right foundations for accelerated growth.

For more information, and to sign up as one the first students to sign up for the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, visit courses.problogger.com/courses/31-days-to-build-a-better-blog/.

We’re also reviewing the feedback we’ve received from the beta Start a Blog course group to help tweak and improve that course for future students.

Have you launched a course recently? How did it go for you?

The post Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/Oncx4aSJ3r8/

Behind the scenes of ProBlogger first course launch

Last month we launched our very first ProBlogger course. After a whirlwind few weeks (months, actually ), I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit of what happened behind the scenes while creating the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course.

Why have we only started offering courses this year?

To say it’s been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. We’re constantly asked why we don’t offer courses, as it seems like the most obvious thing we should be doing. Our focus has always been on offering great value that’s easily accessible, whether it’s our free blog posts, podcasts or world class (yet very reasonably priced) events.

All of which takes up a huge chunk of time and dedication from our small team.

We’ve been thinking about courses for a while now, and our goal is to create a blogging course unlike any other. Something that goes beyond the that goes beyond the prescriptive “this is how I did it” approach that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

And so we created the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course, and made it available for free.

But this is just the beginning. We have many more courses in the pipeline, and together they’ll help you piece together the best approach to blogging for you.

What is the first course about?

Our first course starts at the beginning – how to start a blog. Actually, it starts even earlier in the process, as one of the first things the course asks is whether you should even start a blog.

That’s one of the reasons our first course is totally free. We don’t want you buying a course on how to blog if you find out blogging just isn’t for you. We also don’t advocate investing too much in getting your blog set up.

But we strongly suggest having a solid base (your own domain and a self-hosted site) so it’s easier to progress if you decide to stick with it.

So, the first course provides a lot of guidance about:

  • why you should or shouldn’t blog
  • what to blog about and call your blog
  • the basic steps to getting your first blog up and running and posting your first post.

All up there are seven steps. And while it’s basic it’s also quite comprehensive – at least for a free course.

This was our beta launch, which we ran in the lead up to our self-proclaimed International Start a Blog Day on February 7th – a day to celebrate starting a new blog in a new year.

How did we create the course?

We get a lot of people asking us how we created the course site. So here’s the breakdown in case you’re looking for a possible way to launch your own.

Content

The content for the course is a mix of repurposed content from our blog, podcast and events, along with new content created specifically for the course. So we spent a lot of time editing existing audio, creating accompanying slides and converting them to videos, as well as creating new worksheets and other downloadable resources.

At first we were a bit worried about repurposing existing content. But when we realised how much work it is to a) find it in the first place, and b) organise it into a comprehensive easy-to-follow course, we were glad to have these resources to draw on and add the extra value of convenience and structure for our readers.

Infrastructure

We have a separate WordPress installation for our courses site, which sits on a different server to our main blog and podcast site installations. Here’s what our ‘stack’ looks like.

LMS (Learning Management Software)

Learndash – we like how this solution is both comprehensive and easy to use.

Theme

Social Learner – incorporating Buddypress elements for community features (we don’t use all of them), this theme  provides a good looking layout for the modules and lessons. We also used Thrive Architect (which works nicely with Social Learner) to build some of the extra content elements into our pages.

Membership Plugin

WPFusion – this is an elegant plugin that lets us easily control access to content based on tags specified in Drip for our course members.

Email Communication

We use Campaigns in Drip to automatically onboard course members after they’ve either filled out one of our Thrive Leads opt-ins or registered directly through the site.

Payments

Whilst the first course has been free, we’ll use our existing e-Commerce solution Easy Digital Downloads to process payments and pass information to Drip and the courses site via WPFusion.

Forum/Group

While our setup has the option for a forum, groups and comments (we turned comments on for some of the modules), we elected to run a Private Facebook Group for the first intake of students. Partly to test one against the other, but mainly so we could get students’ feedback on the course as they progressed through. It also served as a customer service channel.

We won’t be maintaining an ongoing group for the course throughout the year (course members can join our main Facebook group at problogger.com/group). But we will run one in conjunction with International Start a Blog Day each year.

Promotion

Building awareness, and the call to action to sign up for our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, was done primarily through the ProBlogger podcast, along with a sales page and a couple of articles on the blog.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, we changed how we did the ProBlogger podcast to generate interest in starting a blog and the course we were launching. Instead of a weekly podcast, we released a series of 12 shorter podcasts (one each weekday). And is each episode we shared a different blogger’s story about how they started their blog and how far they’ve come. These stories were told by ProBlogger podcast listeners who submitted their stories as audio files. This series of podcasts has one of the highest levels of engagement of any I’ve released. In each podcast there are calls to action to sign up for the course via the sales page on the blog.

The sales page for the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course had an easy-to-communicate URL (problogger.com/startablog/), and a snappy design created using Thrive Architect. We linked to it in our “Start a Blog” section of the blog, as well as in a couple of articles we wrote about a starting a blog in the New Year.

Knowing that most of our audience had already started a blog, we asked people to share the information about our new course. We asked our existing readers to share it with those they knew who may be interested in starting a blog. We also asked the people who signed up for the course to share it with their friends.

Launch

Trying to launch anything early in the year can be tricky, especially when everyone in the southern hemisphere is typically on summer holidays. Like many course creators, we were still creating content and making the site look and work the way we wanted right up to the deadline.

We had team members holidaying in different time zones with bad wi-fi issues and sick kids. Some last minute re-recording of tutorials had Laney chasing away noisy dogs and throwing sticks into trees to scare away squawking birds. (We have some pretty obnoxious birds in Australia.)

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. But we kind of made our launch date (I’m sure we made it in a timezone somewhere in the world). And the actual launch happened without too many hiccups other than some people having activation issues because they clicked the link more than once.

The main takeaway? Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, keep your cool, and prepare to work hard when it counts.

Outcome

We were blown away by the response. We knew there would be some, but given our readers have mostly started blogs already, it was hard to know just how many students we might get.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and go for it.

By the time it went live, almost 5,000 people had signed up for the course. Of these, roughly half went on to enrol in the course once it was launched, and half of those started the course (a little more than 1,000 students).

In the time between launching the course (January 10) and International Start a Blog Day (February 7), more than 1,000 new subscribers had signed up for the course. By the time February 7 came around, more than 2,000 students had started the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course. More than 100 new blogs were launched in time for International Start a Blog Day, with many more launched since. You can check them out here.

And there were other positive outcomes too.

We ended up with more than 1,000 members in the beta Facebook Group, which gave us very useful environment for getting direct feedback from students as they were trying out the course. We learned a lot about:

  • the people who were signing up for the course
  • what their issues and pain points were
  • what they did and didn’t like about the course
  • how we could help them going forward by improving the course (and in other ways).

International Start a Blog Day was also a very rewarding experience for me and the ProBlogger team. We got to really see and celebrate the course outcomes for the many students who launched new blogs as a result. We loved compiling the honor roll of new blogs – exploring their sites, reading people’s stories, and seeing how they put their learning into practice.

And we now have a very comprehensive opt-in that helps us identify people we can help on their blogging journey. Best of all, they’ve shown they have the drive to take action, which makes it even easier for us to help them succeed.

What’s next?

In March we’ll be launching our first paid course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – the successor to the ever popular book of the same name. The course version includes:

  • more detailed course materials with video tutorial presentations
  • printable worksheets, resources, and further reading
  • recommendations and tools to help set the right foundations for accelerated growth.

For more information, and to sign up as one the first students to sign up for the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, visit courses.problogger.com/courses/31-days-to-build-a-better-blog/.

We’re also reviewing the feedback we’ve received from the beta Start a Blog course group to help tweak and improve that course for future students.

Have you launched a course recently? How did it go for you?

The post Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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2302, 2018

The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


2202, 2018

3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


2202, 2018

Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/Oncx4aSJ3r8/

Behind the scenes of ProBlogger first course launch

Last month we launched our very first ProBlogger course. After a whirlwind few weeks (months, actually ), I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit of what happened behind the scenes while creating the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course.

Why have we only started offering courses this year?

To say it’s been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. We’re constantly asked why we don’t offer courses, as it seems like the most obvious thing we should be doing. Our focus has always been on offering great value that’s easily accessible, whether it’s our free blog posts, podcasts or world class (yet very reasonably priced) events.

All of which takes up a huge chunk of time and dedication from our small team.

We’ve been thinking about courses for a while now, and our goal is to create a blogging course unlike any other. Something that goes beyond the that goes beyond the prescriptive “this is how I did it” approach that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

And so we created the Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course, and made it available for free.

But this is just the beginning. We have many more courses in the pipeline, and together they’ll help you piece together the best approach to blogging for you.

What is the first course about?

Our first course starts at the beginning – how to start a blog. Actually, it starts even earlier in the process, as one of the first things the course asks is whether you should even start a blog.

That’s one of the reasons our first course is totally free. We don’t want you buying a course on how to blog if you find out blogging just isn’t for you. We also don’t advocate investing too much in getting your blog set up.

But we strongly suggest having a solid base (your own domain and a self-hosted site) so it’s easier to progress if you decide to stick with it.

So, the first course provides a lot of guidance about:

  • why you should or shouldn’t blog
  • what to blog about and call your blog
  • the basic steps to getting your first blog up and running and posting your first post.

All up there are seven steps. And while it’s basic it’s also quite comprehensive – at least for a free course.

This was our beta launch, which we ran in the lead up to our self-proclaimed International Start a Blog Day on February 7th – a day to celebrate starting a new blog in a new year.

How did we create the course?

We get a lot of people asking us how we created the course site. So here’s the breakdown in case you’re looking for a possible way to launch your own.

Content

The content for the course is a mix of repurposed content from our blog, podcast and events, along with new content created specifically for the course. So we spent a lot of time editing existing audio, creating accompanying slides and converting them to videos, as well as creating new worksheets and other downloadable resources.

At first we were a bit worried about repurposing existing content. But when we realised how much work it is to a) find it in the first place, and b) organise it into a comprehensive easy-to-follow course, we were glad to have these resources to draw on and add the extra value of convenience and structure for our readers.

Infrastructure

We have a separate WordPress installation for our courses site, which sits on a different server to our main blog and podcast site installations. Here’s what our ‘stack’ looks like.

LMS (Learning Management Software)

Learndash – we like how this solution is both comprehensive and easy to use.

Theme

Social Learner – incorporating Buddypress elements for community features (we don’t use all of them), this theme  provides a good looking layout for the modules and lessons. We also used Thrive Architect (which works nicely with Social Learner) to build some of the extra content elements into our pages.

Membership Plugin

WPFusion – this is an elegant plugin that lets us easily control access to content based on tags specified in Drip for our course members.

Email Communication

We use Campaigns in Drip to automatically onboard course members after they’ve either filled out one of our Thrive Leads opt-ins or registered directly through the site.

Payments

Whilst the first course has been free, we’ll use our existing e-Commerce solution Easy Digital Downloads to process payments and pass information to Drip and the courses site via WPFusion.

Forum/Group

While our setup has the option for a forum, groups and comments (we turned comments on for some of the modules), we elected to run a Private Facebook Group for the first intake of students. Partly to test one against the other, but mainly so we could get students’ feedback on the course as they progressed through. It also served as a customer service channel.

We won’t be maintaining an ongoing group for the course throughout the year (course members can join our main Facebook group at problogger.com/group). But we will run one in conjunction with International Start a Blog Day each year.

Promotion

Building awareness, and the call to action to sign up for our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, was done primarily through the ProBlogger podcast, along with a sales page and a couple of articles on the blog.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, we changed how we did the ProBlogger podcast to generate interest in starting a blog and the course we were launching. Instead of a weekly podcast, we released a series of 12 shorter podcasts (one each weekday). And is each episode we shared a different blogger’s story about how they started their blog and how far they’ve come. These stories were told by ProBlogger podcast listeners who submitted their stories as audio files. This series of podcasts has one of the highest levels of engagement of any I’ve released. In each podcast there are calls to action to sign up for the course via the sales page on the blog.

The sales page for the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course had an easy-to-communicate URL (problogger.com/startablog/), and a snappy design created using Thrive Architect. We linked to it in our “Start a Blog” section of the blog, as well as in a couple of articles we wrote about a starting a blog in the New Year.

Knowing that most of our audience had already started a blog, we asked people to share the information about our new course. We asked our existing readers to share it with those they knew who may be interested in starting a blog. We also asked the people who signed up for the course to share it with their friends.

Launch

Trying to launch anything early in the year can be tricky, especially when everyone in the southern hemisphere is typically on summer holidays. Like many course creators, we were still creating content and making the site look and work the way we wanted right up to the deadline.

We had team members holidaying in different time zones with bad wi-fi issues and sick kids. Some last minute re-recording of tutorials had Laney chasing away noisy dogs and throwing sticks into trees to scare away squawking birds. (We have some pretty obnoxious birds in Australia.)

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. But we kind of made our launch date (I’m sure we made it in a timezone somewhere in the world). And the actual launch happened without too many hiccups other than some people having activation issues because they clicked the link more than once.

The main takeaway? Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, keep your cool, and prepare to work hard when it counts.

Outcome

We were blown away by the response. We knew there would be some, but given our readers have mostly started blogs already, it was hard to know just how many students we might get.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and go for it.

By the time it went live, almost 5,000 people had signed up for the course. Of these, roughly half went on to enrol in the course once it was launched, and half of those started the course (a little more than 1,000 students).

In the time between launching the course (January 10) and International Start a Blog Day (February 7), more than 1,000 new subscribers had signed up for the course. By the time February 7 came around, more than 2,000 students had started the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course. More than 100 new blogs were launched in time for International Start a Blog Day, with many more launched since. You can check them out here.

And there were other positive outcomes too.

We ended up with more than 1,000 members in the beta Facebook Group, which gave us very useful environment for getting direct feedback from students as they were trying out the course. We learned a lot about:

  • the people who were signing up for the course
  • what their issues and pain points were
  • what they did and didn’t like about the course
  • how we could help them going forward by improving the course (and in other ways).

International Start a Blog Day was also a very rewarding experience for me and the ProBlogger team. We got to really see and celebrate the course outcomes for the many students who launched new blogs as a result. We loved compiling the honor roll of new blogs – exploring their sites, reading people’s stories, and seeing how they put their learning into practice.

And we now have a very comprehensive opt-in that helps us identify people we can help on their blogging journey. Best of all, they’ve shown they have the drive to take action, which makes it even easier for us to help them succeed.

What’s next?

In March we’ll be launching our first paid course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – the successor to the ever popular book of the same name. The course version includes:

  • more detailed course materials with video tutorial presentations
  • printable worksheets, resources, and further reading
  • recommendations and tools to help set the right foundations for accelerated growth.

For more information, and to sign up as one the first students to sign up for the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, visit courses.problogger.com/courses/31-days-to-build-a-better-blog/.

We’re also reviewing the feedback we’ve received from the beta Start a Blog course group to help tweak and improve that course for future students.

Have you launched a course recently? How did it go for you?

The post Behind the Scenes of ProBlogger’s First Course Ever appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


2302, 2018

The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/entrepreneur-profile/the-4-difficult-lessons-every-successful-entrepreneur-must-learn/

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business.

Learn these four lessons, really embed them into your psyche, and you’ll be in great shape to build a successful, sustainable business:

1. It’s essential to pivot

Startup businesses often go off like a rocket. You invest your money in building a top-line product or service, putting together a fantastic team, and making sure the design of your website and marketing material is just right. You invest so much time in this before you launch that you forget about sales and demand. You launch – and, well, all those customers you thought would be knocking down your door aren’t there. It’s a struggle to get through your first year in business.

Growing a business is all about product-market fit – matching up your offering with what customers actually want, ideally at a price that is profitable and appealing to the customer. The important lesson is that while every entrepreneur is passionate about their sector, very few can hit product-market fit first time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of getting frustrated about customers not buying from you, ask them why they aren’t. Then take what you’ve learnt and pivot in a new direction.

2. Process geeks are cool

I’ve worked with many brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. Some have gone on to build international businesses and others have foundered. What separates them? The truly successful ones all have one thing in common: scratch the surface and they’re process geeks.

Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the detail, they love separating each job into separate actions, seeing where they can make efficiencies and freeing up the bottlenecks. Every element of their business has a written process with clearly defined steps.   

If you’re a visionary, and most entrepreneurs are, the actual nitty gritty process of your business probably leaves you cold. You’re focused driving sales, bringing in new clients and building relationships. It’s the bigger picture all the way for you. Nonetheless, if you don’t put proper processes in place, your business will fail in the long run, no matter how many sales you’ve made or how big your client roster.  

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford I. Weill

3. Hiring people smarter than you is clever

Everyone knows this one, right? The problem here is that though we all know it, we very often forget it. I’ve seen lots of entrepreneurs fall at this hurdle with sometimes catastrophic results. The reasons for this are very clear to me because some entrepreneurs are control freaks. They are big, extrovert personalities, and they have to be the top dog in the workplace. That means when it comes to hiring, though they think they’re focused on going for smart people, they’re actually choosing people who won’t threaten their ego. Hiring for a startup is difficult – there is no doubt.

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand themselves. They know their strengths and their personal weaknesses. Driven, go-getting extravert founders can be incredibly successful, but they need to surround themselves with people who are unafraid to challenge them. Otherwise, what you end up with later down the line is a business full of yes-men. Smart, yes-men, maybe, but still people who will go along with any mad idea you might have at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to get a second opinion from people you trust, even people outside the business or let your team interview the person, not you. Clearly this plan isn’t foolproof, because if you’ve already built a business full of yes-men they’re just going to pick someone like them. Nonetheless, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up with a new team member who’s not going to be afraid to tell you when you’re being an idiot.

4. All entrepreneurs are afraid – it’s normal

Every entrepreneur has sleepless nights. All startup founders worry that their business is going to go bust tomorrow. All entrepreneurs think they’re going to get found out. This is perfectly normal, and absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s all part of building a highly successful business. The trick is to ensure that it doesn’t start to impair your judgement or your health.

We’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs who only sleep four hours per night, and work 80 hour weeks for years and years on end. While some do, most come to the correct conclusion after a few months that if they and their team must work 80 hours per week, they don’t have a viable business. The effects are more harmful than you might expect. Getting a good night’s sleep will calm you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

If your business is sustainable and you’ve just got into a cycle of fear that’s driving you to work ridiculous hours, then stop. Look again at your product-market fit and processes, hire some people smarter than you who will tell you you’re an idiot and go on holiday. Yes, one of those things where you leave the office and don’t come back for at least a week. Holidays are definitely not for wimps.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that it’s the big lessons that count. They are the portable life lessons that will carry you through the tough times ahead. If you can really nail these four lessons, you’ll not only be in great shape but you’ll be ahead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs.  

Which one of these four lessons do you need to implement most in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


2202, 2018

3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

Posted from https://addicted2success.com/startups/3-reasons-why-its-a-good-thing-your-first-startup-failed/

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!


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