No matter who you are, life changes — whether it be a new city or job, marriage, a child — can be seriously overwhelming. When Michelle Kennedy had her son Finn, she found her world transformed. Kennedy shared her insights about why you need failure to get clarity and how channeling your passion helps you build up an inner resolve to go to bat for your business when it truly counts.
Kennedy saw the online dating industry grow and change over the past few years as general counsel and then deputy CEO of Badoo and then as an advisor and member of Bumble’s board. She understood how to connect people, but throughout her pregnancy and as a new mom, she felt isolated.
Kennedy wanted to build a network of other moms, a support system who she could call for help, advice or just an afternoon out. It occurred to her that she had all the tools she needed at her disposal to do just that, not only for her, but for other women in her position.
“On those long days it felt obvious — why don’t I just use the algorithms that we use in dating to help me find that network?” Kennedy told Entrepreneur. That initial frustration turned into a promising idea and platform: Peanut.
Since it launched in September 2016, Kennedy and her team have grown the business to 170,000 users and counting, who are generating more than 100,000 swipes per day. More than 15 million profiles have been viewed and 700,000 messages have been sent.
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
What advice do you have for someone who is going to take the leap and start their own business?
You have to have the thickest skin. Like a rhino. And even if you think these things aren’t going to knock you and hurt, they do. So you have to kind of be resilient enough to be prepared for that. That’s what I wish I would have known. I think building a business is all consuming. You are absolutely living and breathing it. You don’t sleep because you’re thinking about it. It consumes you. And that means that if someone does something that is unsupportive, that seems magnified because it’s so important. We sometimes forget that there is an emotional cost, and it’s OK to talk about that. It doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur. It doesn’t make you softer or less effective or any of those things. It means that it is just another factor that I think perhaps we don’t talk about.
Building a successful business is hard. That’s why most people look for short-cuts and quick fixes to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, success doesn’t come from cutting corners. Indeed, in any endeavor, it’s the overcoming challenges and achieving what you set out to do that makes the success so sweet.
The truth is, there is no “secret” to building a successful home business. What it takes is:
Depending on your level of confidence, it might be better to suggest you have faith over belief.
For many home based entrepreneurs who struggle or fail, the thing that gets in their way of success is themselves. Because they don’t believe they can achieve success, they don’t do the tasks that need to be done or if they do, they don’t do them with the right attitude and amount of oomph.
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” The truth is, when you don’t believe, you don’t have the muscle to work and overcome. Instead, challenges and set-backs are used as proof that you can’t do it. On the other hand, people who have belief keep striving regardless of the obstacles and eventually reach success. Belief is fuel that will help you stay the course.
Have a Vision
Vision serves two-fold. First, it gives you a mark to strive for. It’s difficult to reach a goal if you don’t know what it is. What does success in home business look like to you? Second, it provides motivation.
Fear may be the biggest dream killer of them all. Fear keeps people in their comfort zone, where it may be safe, but it’s not where success lives.
Fear keeps you from taking action or believing your action will have results. It is scary to set a course in the unknown. Will your efforts work? What will people say? Will people like your product or service? Will you be able to make money? Because these questions can’t be answered, it’s daunting to forge forward simply with grit and belief. That’s when resistance and procrastination set in. But no one ever achieved success without courage to step into the unknown.
Success doesn’t happen without action. Winning the lottery might make you rich, but it doesn’t make you a success. And when you consider that most lottery winners blow their money and end up poor again, easy riches don’t build the skills and character needed to retain it. Action not only moves you toward your goal, but through it you learn what works and what doesn’t, you develop tenacity and persistence, and you build character.
Surround Yourself With Quality People
Just because you’re building a home business, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Starting and growing a business is hard work, and sometimes an encouraging word goes a long way to keeping you motivated. Coaches and mentors can be very helpful in giving you the skills and support you need. Mastermind groups can also provide emotional support, as well as feedback and tips to help you build your business.
Having a vision for your business is a great way to develop focus. The trick is to not get distracted by shiny object syndrome. Shiny objects appear to be helpful initially. They’re the brand new marketing system or get-rich-fast program. Ultimately, they take away your focus, and waste time and money. When you develop your vision, you also create a path to achieving it. Stay focused on your plan and don’t let yourself get sidetracked by shiny objects.
Get Back Up
More than anything, success in home business, or any goal, is the ability to keep striving for success in the face of set-backs and failure. It doesn’t matter what business you decide to start, you’ll experience problems and challenges.
Many people bump into an obstacle or don’t achieve the results they want fast enough and view these challenges as stop signs. But successful people view them as problems that need to be learned from and overcome. Study any successful person you admire and you’ll discover he or she endured obstacles and failures. Instead of giving up, they got back up, dusted themselves off, and got working again.
Originally posted on the balance by Leslie Truex
When business as usual isn’t cutting it, you might consider turning your company’s strategy on its head. Or, perhaps, find someone else who can help you do it.
That’s the premise of Moneyball, a film based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game about the Oakland Athletics baseball team. After several seasons of painful losses, the team’s general manager, Billy Beane, adopted a radical, statistics-driven approach to building a competitive baseball team under an ownership that underinvested in the franchise.
The film made its U.S. premiere this weekend.
As Major League Baseball nears the end of its regular season and starts looking to the playoffs, here are three business lessons small-business owners can learn from the true story behind the film:
1. Make change when it’s needed
After a painful loss in the 2001 playoffs and then losing three top players to larger-market teams which were ponying up millions of dollars to acquire the best players, Beane — played in the film by Brad Pitt — decides that drastic changes need to be made. He turns to a young Yale economics graduate who believed players should be valued by their on-base percentage (how often a batter reaches base) rather than the traditional method of relying on scouts’ experience and intuition.
Not only did this new way of doing business enable the A’s to acquire run-producing players, it allowed them to do so at a lower cost because those players were largely undervalued by other ball clubs. “We are card counters at the blackjack table and we’re going to turn the tables on the casino,” Beane says in the film.
2. Stand by your decisions
Beane’s unconventional methodology was ridiculed by baseball critics. It also wasn’t greeted warmly within the A’s organization, with player manager Art Howe and several coaches among his early detractors. But Beane didn’t budge. He fired at least one top scout who refused to adopt the team’s new recruiting plan.
Beane also worked to get the rest of the team and staff on board. He explained the process and spent weeks teaching and encouraging players to perform to or beyond expectations.
3. Set realistic goals
Even though winning the World Series championship would have been an amazing accomplishment for the A’s, Beane says in the film his main priority was to demonstrate the value of the team’s new methods, to “change the game.”
In the 2002 season, the A’s reached the playoffs but lost in the first round to the Minnesota Twins. However, the team set an American League record for winning 20 consecutive games during the regular season.
Two years later — following the A’s statistics-driven approach to player acquisition — the Boston Red Sox won its first World Series championship in 86 years. The team won the title again in 2007.
So far, Beane and the A’s are still hunting for a championship season.
This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Jason Fell. Although its an end-of-September post from 2011, the lessons are still very relevant today – especially as I sit back and watch the Cleveland Indians break this American League record.
Mentors. They’ve been there, done that and have seen it all. Yet, a woeful number of entrepreneurs start their careers without one. In an age where instant gratification is glorified, it’s unsurprising that many entrepreneurs and young founders do not seek out a mentor as hard as they try to find a co-founder.
While arguments abound on why entrepreneurs do not need mentors but should only follow their own instincts and gut feelings, most successful tech titans have founders who had mentors. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs. Jobs was mentored by Mike Markkula — an early investor and executive at Apple. And Eric Schmidt mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.
Like most startup founders, I didn’t start with a mentor. I got into the industry and had to look up to someone who is well known in the field. This is not as effective as working hard to get a mentor to guide you while you run your business — but it’s better than nothing. Having been in business for more than seven years, I’ve realized the importance of having a business mentor.
Here are seven reasons having a mentor is important.
1. Gain experience not shared in books.
Experience is a very expensive asset — yet it’s crucial to business success. There’s only so much about a person’s experience you can gain from books. It’s an unstated truth that most authors do not feel comfortable revealing everything about themselves in books. Some personal experiences may be too intimate to be shared, yet how they dealt with it can help an inexperienced entrepreneur’s career.
Mentorship is one guaranteed way to gain experience from others.
2. You’re more likely to succeed with a mentor.
Research and surveys prove that having a mentor is important to success. In a 2013 executive coaching survey, 80 percent of CEOs said they received some form of mentorship. In another research by Sage, 93 percent of startups admit that mentorship is instrumental to success.
Your chances of success in life and in business can be amplified by having the right mentor. The valuable connections, timely advice, occasional checks — together with the spiritual and moral guidance you will gain from having a mentor — will literarily leapfrog you to success.
3. Network opportunities.
Aside the fact that investors trust startups who are recommended by their friends, a successful mentor has an unlimited network of people who can benefit your career. Since they are already invested in your success, it only makes sense for them to let you tap into their network of people when the need arises.
This is an opportunity you cannot tap into if you do not have a mentor.
4. A mentor gives you reassurance.
It has been proven by research that a quality mentorship has a powerful positive effect on young entrepreneurs. Having someone who practically guides you and shares your worries with you — often placating your fears with their years of experience — keeps you reassured that you’ll be successful.
Self-confidence is very important to success as entrepreneurs. A 2014 Telegraph report revealed that having a high self-confidence contributes significantly to career success — more so than talent and competence. Mentors have the capacity to help young founders tap into their self-confidence and see every challenge as an opportunity.
5. A mentor will help you stay in business longer.
When you imagine the number of businesses that fail, you’d wish a lot of business owners had mentors. According to SBA, 30 percent of new businesses may not survive past the first 24 months, and 50 percent of those may not make it past five years. However, 70 percent of mentored businesses survive longer than 5 years.
6. A mentor will help you develop stronger EQ.
Does maturity bring about a higher EQ in entrepreneurs? Emotional intelligence is crucial to entrepreneurial success. When a young entrepreneur has a more mature and successful mentor who advises them, they are likely to have greater control over their emotions.
We all know that a quick way to make a business fail is to mix it with emotions or make crucial decisions based on emotional feelings. Situations like this can be curbed as mentors will help show you how to react in given instances.
A story on Business Insider reveals how Schmidt worked with then inexperienced Page to manage the affairs of running a fledgling startup. An inexperienced CEO often makes decisions based on emotions, but one with a mentor like Schmidt is able to overcome critical hurdles by making smart decisive judgments.
Enduring the consequences of failure on your own can set you back and impact your productivity. In hard times, having a mentor will help you keep your head high. Young entrepreneurs often deal with depression when they are unable to meet their goals and expectations. The impact of depression on entrepreneurs is often underreported. But entrepreneurs without mentors bear the brunt the most.
A mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of running a business is in the perfect position to give positive and soothing words of advice to you when things refuse to go your way. And not only do they have the right words to share, they would also have ideas to help you navigate your way to success.
Originally posted on entrepreneur.com by Sheila Eugenio
The majority of Americans feel unsatisfied at work, but you don’t have to. There is a certain thrill and satisfaction you get when achieving a goal. Sometimes, you work for months or years for one purpose — to buy a house, finish a project or write a book. All the while you have that one goal in mind as you get closer and closer to the finish line. However, if you enjoy and value the process of getting there, you’ll get there faster
Michael G. Pratt, PhD, a professor of management and organization at Boston College, told the old tale of three bricklayers at work. When asked what they’re doing, the first bricklayer responds, “I’m putting one brick on top of another.” The second replies, “I’m making six pence an hour.” And the third says, “I’m building a cathedral — a house of God.”
This is not a story about finding a meaning for your work — all the bricklayers have that — but taking pride in your work by building meaningful habits and staying engaged in your work.
A lot of articles tell leaders and managers what to do in order to increase their employee engagement, but the most productive employees are the ones who are self-motivated. After all, it doesn’t matter how many times my boss tells me how wonderful my work is, I have to come to the conclusion on my own. In this article, you’ll find some ways to stay engaged and satisfied at work.
Building a habit of working.
Working on your long-term goals is a good way to build meaningful habits and routines. Picking up a habit is not easy and takes work, but it’s long term effects are well known. Studies shows that it takes more than 40 days to build habits. When you’re working on a quarterly or a yearly goal, that is not such a long time.
One of the best habits you can have is reviewing your work weekly. In my recent book, “Step by Step Guide to OKRs” I talk about objectives and key results and the methodology for setting goals. One of the key aspects of that approach is updating your key results (tasks you need to get done) every week. To take it even further, take five minutes to see what you’ve accomplished every day. Make it into a habit, and enjoy daily fulfilment as this is what makes you love your work the most.
Take nothing for granted.
Even on the days your work seems to suck and everything is terrible, you can’t take your job for granted. Remember how many things have had to happen for the project, position or startup to exist in the first place. And you are the one who gets to work on that. This also brings up another important point: you are in your position because you are valuable enough to have it. There is a concept of taking ownership of one’s own work, which means standing up and saying “I’ll do that.” When you own your work, it can never own you.
Using your value for the better.
Most of the things that annoy us in our work are trivial mundane tasks that waste our time. The Pareto Principle states that we get 80 percent of our work done by doing 20 percent of the important tasks. To cut out the fake work, you need to decide each week what the most important tasks are for you. Ask yourself, which task moves me toward my long-term goal? You have to understand how the things you do align with your company’s goals.
Being able to do this throughout the work week is not only important for the production of your office. It’s vital for time management throughout the entire business. This is why sitting down at the beginning of the week and determining what has the greatest effect on your work is so essential.
Take a break.
If all else fails, take a break. Regular breaks at work are vital to stay satisfied and enjoy your work. As Buffer writes, “the human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days. Our brains are vigilant all the time because they evolved to detect tons of different changes to ensure our very survival. So focusing so hard on one thing for a long time isn’t something we’re ever going to be great at.” Our work culture demands us to work 80 hours a week, and this is not productive. Regular breaks make sure you don’t get bored and stay focused.
In the end, finding value on your journey toward your goals is all up to you. Arthur Brooks said, “There is no income level at which people are not desperate for meaning.” You get the meaning by searching for it, by looking for it and by creating it.
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Alexander Maasik
Time catches up with us faster than we think. As an entrepreneur, too much opportunity is squandered while waiting for the metaphorical four-leaf clover of luck to appear. Meanwhile, your prospects dwindle on the vine as you ineffectively struggle to reach your goals by merely hoping for them.
In reality, if you want luck, you have to be in action. After all, how can luck find you if you’re not out there to be found? However, you don’t necessarily need to work harder to achieve success…just smarter. So, it’s time to work smarter and draw luck to yourself. Here’s how.
1. Do More
Inefficiency is the death of productivity and the attainment of that ever-elusive pot of gold. Don’t think you have enough time in the day to get more done? Think again!
Entrepreneurs often labor under the false mindset that they must toil from sunup to sundown, even if the tasks at hand don’t require that much time to complete. This approach is a recipe for burnout and self-inflicted busy work.
Don’t stretch your to-do list to fit the number of hours available. Instead of dragging out a project that could be accomplished in half the time, invest the extra time finding ways to better yourself and your business.
It’s not always easy to recognize one’s own tendency to waste time, so test it out by closely monitoring how long it takes you to cross off daily activities. Know thyself. And once you’ve recovered those precious hours, do more.
Sharpen your skillset by finding and attending networking events. Get out there and get after what you want. After all, there are many valuable reasons why millennials should network.
2. Work on Your Odds
You can’t please everyone.
We’ve all heard this in one form or another, but it’s much harder to live by than to understand intellectually. Believe me, rejection stings even more when you have to learn to embrace it. But it’s worth doing anyhow.
Chances are, the majority of people you encounter will not understand your vision. It won’t matter how unique or compelling it is. Despite this, it’s important to keep sight of the fact that there are those who will “get it,” and encounters with these supporters will outweigh any naysayers.
Don’t let fear of rejection prevent you from seeking out support from others. Use rejection as a source of strength. In fact, let it drive you to put yourself out there even more, increasing your odds of a “yes” to collaboration or funding.
Remember this: If you don’t roll the dice, the probability of a partnership is nil.
3. Give More
In business, we like to imagine ourselves to be lone wolves out in the wilderness, fighting to survive amidst treachery and cut-throat circumstances. The life of an entrepreneur can be extremely stressful, and it’s easy to become self-centered in the face of overwhelming pressure.
But this is a negative way to look at the world, and whether or not you believe in karma, most people agree that positivity can create unprecedented returns.
Let’s dispel the illusion that you can only get ahead by leaving others behind. Stay focused on your goals, but remind yourself that your positivity contributes to an environment that will one day reciprocate it. Go out of your way to be compassionate toward fellow entrepreneurs and colleagues.
On top of that, be mindful that stress can be a detriment to your work life and damage your health. In giving back selflessly, you may find that your stress decreases and new opportunities crop up unexpectedly.
Luck is a finicky achievement at its best and a dangerous delusion at its worst. Somewhere in between, though, is the happy coincidence of hard work, good people, and being in the right place at the right time.
Originally posted by Susie Plascencia on theunicornintheroom.com