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How do you define Real Success as an Entrepreneur?

When people set out with a goal, like to start their own business, the achievement is clear. When the business opens, the goal has been reached.

But many entrepreneurs do not feel successful at that moment. Doubt quickly creeps in: What if the business has no customers? What if only the launch went well? Most new businesses fail. Owning a business is only a dream.

Fear soon overtakes you and you press on until you reach the next milestone moment.  And that moment…whenever it comes…it hits you like a bright burst of sunshine.

Perhaps it’s the day you first realize that you have control of your own schedule and can really go to your friend’s wedding for a week, and not just one day.  Or maybe it’s the day when your child asks if you are coming to the game and you do not hesitate in saying: “yes of course I’ll be there.”

You don’t check the calendar. You don’t ask permission. You just know, you can be part of that moment.

The average person spends 2,080 hours a year on the job. This is only one-third of your entire year. Yet it feels like so much more. Your employment and the commitments associated with it take so much of your energy and fill many worry spots in your brain. When you are finally free of someone else’s all encompassing agenda, you can take that time back.

That’s when you have achieved success.

 

The word success comes from the Latin, succedere, which means to ‘come close after.’ This definition seems to be an unintended origin for such an important word in our language. After all, to ‘come close’ is not to succeed at all in our culture. Coming close means you didn’t win. It’s like what they say about winning a silver medal at the Olympics – you’re the best of all the losers. People don’t say you’re the second best in the world – okay some will – but they’re thinking…You lost. You lost the gold medal.

Society measures success by those who win the awards, contests, and at making money. Regardless of whether you credit extraordinary ability, hard work, luck or circumstance – success means you are popular, wealthy, recognized, honored, and so on. In all circumstances it is the opposite of failure, of being a loser or a nobody in a world searching for approbation.

As an entrepreneur, it does you little good to try and cling to that broad meaning of success. You’re never going to know exactly how much money everyone else has. So if you try and run the money race, you’ll be a rat on a spinning wheel. You’re also never going to know if you’re the most popular person in your world – or in your neighborhood, in your genre, your industry – because it’s a big world and there are so many products or services. You could be number #1 by one measure today, and find out you’re #93 by a different measure or # 1,993,000 tomorrow.

What was the number one movie at the box office last week? What about number one year to date? What about in China the world’s biggest market? What about number one in terms of uninflated dollars? Who is number one? What is number one?

The only way to know if you have achieved success is to create the definition for yourself and stick to your idea of what success means to you.

Success has its more positive meanings. For individuals who are pursuing goals and objectives, success to is to achieve the result or accomplish a particular purpose.  If you left the 9-to-5 grind to start your own business, success could mean getting away from all the reasons you wanted out of the job in the first place.  Just as you left the formal workforce and went out on your own to live on your terms, you should define success as you see fit as well.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can define their own success by setting goals and working to achieve them. For some, the objective will be to create an online product available for sale, for others perhaps getting the first 1,000 names on an e-mail list, or 100 attendees at a webinar. Each goal is its own measure of success of your success. Real success, tied to you – the entrepreneur’s faith in moving forward and achieving even more.

Those who do not set goals tend to drift, uncertain of where they can establish their footing and begin to change their outcomes. Sometimes the idea of the goal itself prompts those who are afraid of their own success, to curl up and avoid any semblance of working on achievement. These people are unlikely to be entrepreneurs. Unlikely to be striving for a weightier outcome.

As you consider your own world, where are you positioned going forward? If you are tired of the 9-to-5 grind and hoping one day to have control of your own schedule, then you are likely leaning towards a life as an entrepreneur who works to make her own magic happen.

Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. The best thing is your opportunity to live your life on your terms as you deliver value based on your singular ability. The worst is the risk you take on for the privilege.

Those that shy away from the entrepreneur’s life are likely unable to fathom having no regular paycheck or daily routine to fall back on if the project does not turn out as imagined.

But those who embrace the life are quite prepared to risk the initial disruption to give themselves an opportunity for long-term gain. Because when the work is done, and the business is thriving, the entrepreneur at the helm is truly in charge, not just of a business operation, but also of her own life.

No more asking permission to take a day off, or missing events held during a week day, or dealing with difficult people who have limited stakes in the work. Instead, you establish the world you want to work in and live to that standard every day.

Being an entrepreneur, your own boss is the goal, but it’s a destination. To get there you must travel a journey of ups-and-downs. And you must stay focused on where you want to be and on the value you have placed in reaching that location.

Define what real success looks like to you.

Then move forward with that vision as your guide and umbrella on the road to your lifestyle dream.

You can set typical business goals such as revenue, profit and customers. But you also set personal goals like going to the events you would pass up in the past, or making sure you attend everyone of your child’s games or recitals. Or reading all the great classics, one after another for a year or two. Or traveling to the top of the Eiffel Tower or to walk on the Great Wall. Whatever it is that your dreaming about doing one day – make that the definition of your success.

When you achieve each activity you have only dreamt of doing, you have reached success.

And when you are able to achieve these activities, because you decided to become an entrepreneur and take control of your own life, you have exponentially achieved even more.

You have made yourself the focus of your own success story. And that is the greatest success of all.

TIRED OF THE DAILY GRIND?

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They said Doing a Webinar was Easy…27 Tech Tools later I figured it out…

For those of you building an online business using the available tools, and your own brainpower, hang with me for this one…

Online entrepreneurship is made possible by the technology. Processes that used to have huge barriers to entry have been broken down and handed to the average person who can take a shot at building an audience from anywhere in the world. Each year, more intuitive and accessible tools are released into the marketplace, the work becomes much simpler…

…until it’s not.

Why are some of the most popular online product creation processes so tedious to complete?

I discovered this cold reality yet again when I set out to create a webinar.

Right now, many online gurus are singing the praises of webinars. Web-seminars. Short ‘classes’ or training sessions designed to deliver a spurt of knowledge to seekers who are prepared to put aside at least 45 minutes, sometimes two hours to hear the information. Webinars are generally free to attend, but almost always spend at least another 30 or 45 minutes offering products related to the subject for sale.

Webinars help many online course creators deliver their products to a large audience. And for the most part, from what I have seen, the time is well spent. The ‘teachers’ do deliver valuable information.

As an online entrepreneur in the business of delivering information, webinars seemed like the next important step to take in growing my business. And having watched dozens of presentations, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would take to deliver one of my own. So I set out to do just that.

What I discovered was the further verification of a hard truth about online entrepreneurship that I first realized when I worked on formatting my first self-published ebook.

As straightforward as the technology appears, the process is another story.

I have followed other how-to systems, and become frustrated because too many ‘teachers’ who are providing ‘how-to’ guidance online, skip the details. And by details, I mean the real specifics. The actual step-by-step pitfalls of D-I-Y online anything, that forces you to create an elaborate project plan, access multiple tech tools, keep a dozen browser windows open for weeks, back track on each of your processes (because a detail was missed), and try not to fall into despair.

The reality of putting a webinar together is a long, twisted march through dozens of apps, none of which you can really test for compatibility with your style, and a great deal of patience as you dream of someday reaching the webinar pinnacles the gurus have been cheering about.

So for those of you who are going to make the move and try and make it work by yourself, here are the realities to watch out for. I will explain as much as possible, the real story behind the magical revenue source of creating a webinar.

Full disclosure: This article is not an endorsement of any specific technology tools.  All the tools I use came from recommendations, usually from watching webinars.  The links for ConvertKit,EasyWebinar, LeadPages and Teachable are affiliate links meaning I receive a commission for clicks through to sale. All other links are included for some of the other tools that were used in the process as described.  The PDF version of this blog contains links to all of the products.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN CREATING AND SETTING-UP A WEBINAR

My basic assumption here is your overall intention for creating a webinar is to do what the bigwigs do: collect email addresses through registrations and send reminder emails, appear on screen for a worldwide audience, present a slide presentation, deliver an offer, follow-up with other e-mails, build authority, an audience, a connection to those who are looking for the information you have to deliver.

So here’s how it goes…

 

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Set-up a Project Plan – MS Excel

You have to plan to track every step of this process. To keep track of all the activities I had to do to create my webinar, I used Microsoft Excel. Why? I just have not set aside the time to learn all the new project planning tools that people say are fantastic. What I need is to be able to make a long list, easy to edit, broken into specific groups of activities, with highlights or other indicators that I can follow at a glance. I can do this very rapidly in Excel. Ancient, I know, but it works.

Whichever tool you decide to use, each time you think of an activity to include, put it in your project plan in the correct chronological order. There is nothing worse than getting down the line with one piece of the project, then realizing you have to go back and do something else first.

Keep reading to better understand this pitfall.

Write a Presentation – MS Word

To begin the process, surprise, surprise, I watched a few webinars. Specifically offerings from four different gurus of the craft (Alanna Kaivalya, Amy Porterfield, David Siteman Garland and Casey Zeman. Now I do think all these people are awesome in their fields, but I did not purchase any of their webinar courses. However, I did end up getting Casey’s product as you’ll see later).

The webinars on webinars focused for the most part on what to put in the presentation – words you have to use, slides to include, and so on. Once finished with their advice, my work began.

The assumption is you want to do a webinar because you have something to say, specifically teach, that you believe will help people get over a particular problem they may be having. None of the gurus really said this, but you should probably plan out what you want to say – in detail. Now this might not apply to everyone, no doubt some of you are already teachers so you have a set script, or maybe some like to wing it.

I decided to write a full word for word script using old standard, Microsoft Word. When doing the webinar, the script becomes a guide for making sure I do not forget important points.

Create an Offer for Sale – Screenflow, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Audacity, Calendly, iPhotos, iTunes, MS Word, MS Powerpoint, Pixabay, Scrivener, Slides Carnival

Before you can create your actual webinar presentation, you have to know what you’re going to offer to your audience so the information about the offer can be in the presentation. I realize that sounds obvious, but believe me that unless you think through the details and put it all in your project plan, you will miss something.

Some gurus do say you do not have to make an offer to the audience, but I am quite certain I have never seen a webinar that did not end with an offer. If you just plan to deliver the training with no offer, you can skip this part.

My offer is a mixture of video training, an ebook, audiobook, consultation call so without going into details, a variety of tools were used.  For the most part, I already had the products created to include in the offer, but if you don’t you may have to begin from scratch.

Again without the details on how to create bonuses for your audience, which could really go on and on, there are a couple of things to know about why these tools were used: if you’re giving an ebook, you can just give a PDF copy, but if you want to provide .ePub (Apple, Nook) or .Mobi (Kindle) files you need to convert the document using a tool like Scrivener.  If you record a video in QuickTime, you probably want to convert it to MP4, and you can use Screenflow for that. Same with recording in Audacity but wanting to output to MP3.

The basic advice here is that some tools listed were used in this case only to create ‘universal’ files that the majority of online users will be able to download and use. But there are other tools and services that can do that type of work on a one-off basis. You may also not need to convert files at all if you create in another software.

Set-up the Offer for Sale – Amazon Web Service, Google Docs, LeadPages, PayPal for Business, Stripe, Teachable

You are not finished with the offer yet – you have to decide where to host it, and how you will get paid. And no, you have still not created your webinar presentation. You have to finish with the offer because you want to be able to create slides showing people how they can access the offer and what it looks like to sign up for the offer.

For hosting the offer I used Teachable, which is software I already use for hosting online courses, and within Teachable I have a custom payment gateway requiring Stripe and PayPal for Business (not regular PayPal).

As part of storing the offer somewhere, you need a Sales Page so your audience can access the material. Remember this is the Sales Page to sign-up for the offer, we are not on the webinar yet. I did consider a combination of LeadPages to create a landing page with the documents stored in Amazon Web Services or Google Docs. But I decided on Teachable to avoid using the extra services or having to set-up a more complicated payment system.

Once I had the offer set-up, I could take the screenshots to be used in the presentation.

Create the Presentation Slides – iPhotos, Microsoft Powerpoint, Pixabay, Slides Carnival

Okay now you can actually make the webinar presentation itself.  Doing presentation slides is dependent on how you want to present your webinar. Although I intend to do the standard slide presentation, you can actually do a webinar where you just stay on screen and talk. Or you can stand in front of a flip chart and write or draw in real-time. Apparently that can work well if you have compelling information or a gripping presentation style, or preferably both. My approach is to say hello to the camera and then go behind the slides with the details in the presentation.

To create the presentation, I was surprised to realize my first challenge was finding a suitable slide template. Who knew? Apparently using standard templates in Microsoft Powerpoint looks way to 1990s, so I had to find something sharper. The best free options I found were at Slides Carnival, but there are other services with good templates.

For creating the presentation, the gurus recommended a mix of words and pictures. Too many words and your audience reads the slides and ignores what you say. Too many pictures might look like elementary school. The decision also depends on your style. If you wrote out a full script and plan to be behind the slides you can read from your script. If you plan to give away the slides to your audience, you want to present more words because they will not remember what the pictures mean. You decide.

Oh and the pictures. Mine came either from my personal collection in iPhotos, which required exporting the pictures to my harddrive to put into Powerpoint. And I used free images from Pixabay, which has many theme-related pics. Selecting the right pictures can take hours by the way – just so you know.

Select a Webinar Service – EasyWebinar, GotoMeeting, WebinarJam, WebinarNinja, and Zoom

At this point, you have your completed presentation and the offer ready to deliver. You can now figure out which webinar hosting service to use. Using a combination of the recommendations I heard the gurus mention, and the services I have seen people using in other webinars, I compared EasyWebinar, GotoMeeting, WebinarJam, WebinarNinja, and Zoom. By compare, I mean I looked at their websites, watched whatever free videos they had about how to use the product, and looked at the prices.

The webinar service you choose will partly inform what you have to do next because the steps are dependent on the types of features the service provides. Since I went with EasyWebinar, I also used their features, so you may not have the same approach.

Create Registration and Thank You pages – Amazon Web Services, Handbrake, QuickTime, Screenflow

Before going out to the world, you need to have the registration page set-up. A thank-you page is optional. For this you should include either photos or a welcome video, but again that’s optional. If you create the video – QuickTime, Screenflow – you may also have to host it somewhere, like Amazon Web Services. That was where I initially hosted videos that were accessed by pages set-up in EasyWebinar. But I’ve changed my registration page from a welcome video, to a photo, to just the sign-up form.

Since you do not know how your audience is accessing the videos, it’s best to allow maximum efficiency by compressing the file. Handbrake is a free online tool, which is usually recommended to do that.

Set-up Email IntegrationConvertKit, EasyWebinar

You almost certainly want to be able to collect the email addresses of anyone who signs up for your webinar. You can follow-up with people about their interests and try and draw them into your permanent audience. Most people use a stand-alone email service provider that is integrated with the webinar host. My service is ConvertKit, which integrates to EasyWebinar. But that’s just the beginning.

You have to think through the workflow. What is the path you want your potential attendee to follow once they have registered for the webinar? Watched (or not) the webinar? Purchased (or not) your offer?

Map out the workflow. If your webinar software has built in e-mails, make sure you know when those will be delivered so you know when to set-up your own e-mails in your email management software. Use tags that you want to attach to email addresses to note ‘who does what when.’ This process takes a bit of time because you have to know how your webinar host works and your email service and how they work together. You also have to write all the emails. You have to know what you want to say to your audience at different steps in the process.

Practice your Webinar Delivery – EasyWebinar, Google Hangouts, YouTube

Assuming you’re still with me and are ready with the energy to broadcast your webinar to a global audience, it’s now time to test the process. Actually a few tests.

Test live – Schedule a live webinar in your webinar software, maybe invite a few friends to tune in, and go ahead and run the presentation. If you are using EasyWebinar, then you are also using Google Hangouts and You Tube (really the same thing but requires two open windows). You must practice to make sure you can actually be seen and that your webcam and microphone work (I’m assuming you have the hardware but if you don’t that’s another discussion).

Test registration – Sign-up for your own webinar to check how the registration and thank you pages work. Also see how the emails are delivering.

Test Automated – First, you have to create the evergreen video. If you are running your webinar ‘evergreen,’ meaning people can sign-up and see it whenever they want, you want to make sure that you have a clear, clean recording set-up in your system.

You can use the recording from one of your tests, but make sure it’s not the one where you are pretending to be live or chatting with your friends when they were helping you out. As you do the test, you should go through the features to make sure it’s working correctly, and all the e-mails deliver as you expected.

Practice delivering the entire webinar. Don’t just do the first 15 minutes. Make sure you know that you are capable of speaking non-stop for 45 to 90 minutes, including answering questions on the fly. And from wherever you plan to deliver the webinar, make sure you have peace and privacy for all the times you will be on live. You do not want to be halfway through when airplanes start passing by overhead.

Once you feel ready about your complete delivery and all systems are working…you are done.

Except. No one has signed up.

You still have to market and promote and get people to register and show-up and follow-through. But that’s probably another 27 tech tools, so I’ll leave it there for now, and come back later with my follow-up.

*

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who would like to begin the process of breaking away from the daily grind and becoming an entrepreneur, you can register for the webinar click this link to register

Questions about getting started as an entrepreneur contactcase(at)readyentrepreneur(dot)com.

Can Entrepreneurship be Taught?

Who are the entrepreneurs in the world, the people who start businesses? Could it be the most clever or the hustler or the cheapskate or the visionary or the lucky or the hardest working or the liar or the cheater or the privileged or anyone who isn’t you?

Or is it really just the people who had an idea and decided to see if they can put it into fruition?

And if it is those people then is that not a gift in itself, or can entrepreneurship taught?

Whether or not the answer to the question is ‘yes,’ entrepreneurship is being taught at schools everywhere and in business school programs. People believe you can learn how to be an independent businessperson and start your own business. But if you read the biographies and autobiographies of famous business owners, you will almost certainly come to realize that none of them took any special courses in how to be an entrepreneur.

They had an idea. And put the idea into action. They took risks, used persistence, ignored naysayers and defied the odds to keep going when others told them to stop. Can those behaviors be taught?

The answer is still ‘yes.’

The answer is ‘yes’ because one way to understand how to do something is to see what others do and emulate them. If the ‘secret sauce’ for successful entrepreneurship is not giving up on your business idea, people can be taught the concept that perseverance is a key to being a successful entrepreneur.

For people who want to start their own business, many simply do not know how it’s done. There is an information gap when it comes to explaining what it really takes to get a business going. Even the books about entrepreneurs do not really give you the details. A book may say an entrepreneur started with ‘nothing,’ but then suddenly the person is able to buy a storefront – how did that happen?

Or the person has one, two or ten friends who are on their exact same wavelength and work with them day and night to get the business going – where does one meet such people?

Or there are favorable laws that can be exploited in a particular jurisdiction or a relative who left behind an old truck and a recipe or an observation that triggered a bright idea.

When successful people write their own stories, you get the version they want to tell you that is a little bit entertaining, maybe glamorous, and always an idea about how they want to be viewed by others. You do not get the whole story. The blanks need to be filled in.

Typically, ‘the blanks’ the boring part is all about the work required in the average day for a rising entrepreneur. From the beginning of a business idea you must figure out how to bring the idea to market. Often you will try and fail to bring the idea to market and you will have to change your approach. If you begin with no money, you may have to work all day at a paying job for someone else and then work on your business all evening and weekends.  That kind of effort rarely makes for dynamic page-turning in a biography.

The rising entrepreneur may have to approach people who can help advance the business. You may contact people every day and never receive a response. People may be short with you, bored with talking to you or tell you your idea is ‘stupid.’ You hang up and call someone else.  Successful people are unlikely to want to recall those rejections either.

You might have to attend meetings where someone will only speak to you for five minutes, after you spend five days getting ready to meet them. You may make a presentation where the person asks a question you never thought of and then thinks you’re an idiot because you cannot answer it. You go to the bank and ask for a loan and get turned down because that lender, that day, did not like your idea. You move on to the next bank, the next day.

You will not go out partying with friends, you will not drink, do drugs or smoke. You will not take vacation or go to the movies. If you have a car you will use it for the business. You will eat, because you need food for nutrition, but you will not see the insides of any fancy restaurants.  Possibly for years.

If you are on your own you will do these things while maintaining your housework, laundry, and other mundane household chores so that you remain a civilized person operating at a level of dignity.

If you are an entrepreneur, or even an entrepreneur-in-training, you will keep doing this until your business is a success.

Is managing this life until you are successful an academic skill or possible only if you have certain personality traits?

You have to be tough…with yourself. You have to have an iron self-discipline and will to forsake all the ‘normal’ rituals of everyday life in favor of building your business. This attitude applies even if you have children and a spouse. You have to convince them that changing your daily life now to concentrate on building a business is worth the effort for everyone.

You have to be able to shut out whining and complaining and wishing. You cannot set a deadline.  For example to declare, ‘if the business if the is not viable by Jan. 1 we’ll do something else.’  Because setting a deadline could set you up to lose.  Or worse, quit just before the business turns the corner.  Instead from the beginning, you must decide you will build a successful business and that’s it.  You will put your effort into creating the business you want or die trying.

A deadline will emerge on its own because you will find yourself determined to be successful to satisfy all those who may be counting on you to make it big…or to fail.

But if you are the kind of person who gives up, who believes you can in fact end your quest for entrepreneurship, then no amount of courses or books or lessons will help you. You can be told you must keep on going until you have a successful business, but you cannot be taught the personality traits needed to be that person.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, a person who runs your own business and manages your own lifestyle based on individual enterprise – you must be realistic about how you run your life.

Walk away from the daily ritual of a so-called ‘normal’ life, and set your sights on building your business dream. This is what you are being told, not taught.

Now it’s up to you go ahead and implement on that vision.

Additional Resources for Wantrepreneurs

Free Video Training

Check out free training for wantrepreneurs if you would like help to get started.

Check out: free video training series for wantrepreneurs. This training is for those of you who have always wanted to start a business, but need to find the confidence, time and money to get started.

 

Money Management Tips

Facing money challenges? Download my book: A Better Plan: Spend to Live, Save to Wealth: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life Without Financial Fear

 

For Amazon (Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/Better-Plan-Building-Nothing-Financial-ebook/dp/B06W5GXLP1/

For iBooks (Apple products): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/better-plan-real-life-guide-to-building-wealth-from/id1222099554

For Smashwords (all formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/705684

Want to discuss the content of this blog or other ideas? Send me an email to: contactcase(at)readyentrepreneur(dot)com

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What is Lifestyle Freedom?

When people toss around a term like ‘lifestyle freedom,’ I have to ask: What do you mean?

When you think about the term ‘lifestyle freedom’ do you have a definition in mind?

Or more likely, a vision.

Some people equate the term strictly with being wealthy. The ability to do what you want in life, whenever you want, when you want because you have more money than you could spend in a lifetime. If you want a mega-mansion, you buy one. If you want a fancy car, you buy one. And so on. To some people lifestyle freedom is all about the bling.

But I picture lifestyle freedom a little more simplistically. Don’t get me wrong. The bling is great. But it takes time to go shopping for the right mega-mansion, and to test drive all those cars.

Sometimes what you are really after is not all those toys.  What you want is more flexibility with your time.

Yes, your time.

Lifestyle Freedom is getting control of your time.

When I worked in organizations, corporations or bureaucracies, my colleagues were always lamenting the things they could not do. For example, attend a child’s sports event because it was scheduled for the late afternoon and there was no way they could make the commute on time. Or go to the doctor on a day’s notice because you want to get something checked out. Or shop on a Tuesday afternoon when no one is around and you can avoid the crowds and the over-filled parking lot.

Or vacation – imagine vacationing off-season so you are not caught with everyone else traveling at the same time, and paying holiday prices.

That’s Lifestyle Freedom.

Lifestyle freedom is also about how you manage your day. Some people work better in the early morning hours, and would love to be in the office at that time, and then leave earlier. Others prefer to work late into the night. But neither can make the adjustment because of the requirement for ‘face time.’

I hate ‘face time.’ That’s the idea that you have to be seen in the office, preferably between 9 am and 5 pm. Your actual results don’t count. Your production is not a factor. Your contribution in terms of efficiency and creativity is not measured. Only that people, the right people, see you between 9 and 5. How many people are suffering through long drives, crowded elevators, boring water cooler conversations and interminable meetings only because of the need for ‘face time.’

Face time is one of the great scourges of the corporate world, but it persists because it is a key factor in the judgment of others. If you and another person are considered ‘equally qualified,’ the one who is ‘known’ will get the promotion because people feel more comfortable with the familiar face. In fact, you may only be considered equally qualified because the ‘known’ one has been around. That person may not have done any actual work. Maybe they played tennis all day. But they played with the right people, so they get the promotion, you don’t.

Is it worth your adult life to continue showing up for a company with those values?

Never having to put up with that scenario again is…lifestyle freedom.

During the year-end holidays, people are scrambling, from Thanksgiving on, to buy gifts, decorate their house, prepare for visitors, and cook, and have no flexible time to do any of it. The most festive time of the year turns into a stressful nightmare of fighting crowds, and juggling schedules. Online shopping has alleviated some of these issues, but you still need time to go online and find everything you’re looking for.

Imagine if you had all day, every day during the four weeks leading up to the holidays, to work on your personal celebratory activities. That’s lifestyle freedom.

When you start a family, you are propelled into near crisis over your daycare options. It’s such a difficult decision for parents to make to decide if it’s ‘worth it,’ to hire a nanny or use daycare for a child, or give up a salary and have one caregiver stay home. The fact people have to make these decisions based on financial resources, and not on how they want to raise their child is crushing for working families.

What you want is to be able to have your children whenever you’re ready, and decide on care as a personal preference.

That’s lifestyle freedom.

How do you Achieve Lifestyle Freedom?

If you have ever felt the inkling to become an entrepreneur, maybe it’s because you want these examples of lifestyle freedom. If you have business ideas in your head and think it may be time to start your own business, now is the time to do it.

Unprecedented advances in globalization and technology have shrunk the marketplace to make all markets accessible to the average person. Tech tools, many of them free, enable laptop entrepreneurs to create from their backyard and enter the marketplace at any point. If you really want to achieve lifestyle freedom by getting away from the difficult and awkward situations that hold you back, and having the flexibility to make your own decisions, entrepreneurship is your ticket.

When you begin thinking as an entrepreneur, CEO of your own business, you will be automatically shaping your lifestyle to fit your plans. You will set-up the business around the activities you do for yourself and your family. Initially you may trade-off more peripheral activities like a distant acquaintance’s birthday party so you can work on your business, but over time you will be able to get back to everything you really want to do.

The key is to make the decision upfront to be an entrepreneur in pursuit of lifestyle freedom. If you make the changes now, within a couple of years, you could be in a position to attend every event you want to attend, plan your shopping and holidays as you see fit, and take those vacations when the timing suits you, and not someone, or a corporation’s agenda.

If you are really one of those independent people who have been thinking, and thinking, and thinking about branching out on your own, you are not alone. But the idea of achieving lifestyle freedom is easier to think about than to do. Many people bail out of making the effort to actually live the life because they are afraid.

People make up excuses like they do not have enough time to work on a business, or money, or confidence, or their business idea will not stick. None of these excuses is true because you have not yet tried to establish the business. At this point you have no idea what will work and what will not.

If you are a thinking entrepreneur, with business ideas in your head, and a dream of lifestyle freedom, begin by actually starting your business. You achieve lifestyle freedom when you set out on the road to entrepreneurship because you begin designing a life that meets all your goals.

Try it now, you will not be disappointed.

 

Additional Resources for Wantrepreneurs

Free Video Training

Check out free training for wantrepreneurs if you would like help to get started.

Check out: free video training series for wantrepreneurs. This training is for those of you who have always wanted to start a business, but need to find the confidence, time and money to get started.

 

Money Management Tips

Facing money challenges? Download my book: A Better Plan: Spend to Live, Save to Wealth: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life Without Financial Fear

 

For Amazon (Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/Better-Plan-Building-Nothing-Financial-ebook/dp/B06W5GXLP1/

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Want to discuss the content of this blog or other ideas? Send me an email to: contactcase(at)readyentrepreneur(dot)com

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Start Your Business Around Your 9-to-5 Job

Some of you have asked, ‘how do I balance becoming an entrepreneur while still keeping up my 9-to-5 job?’ For the answer, I go back to a basic question: What are you trying to achieve with your life?

Do you want to live your dream lifestyle before your life ends? If the answer is yes, you have to begin to change the way you use your time so you can focus on creating the business.

We are going to assume you cannot leave your job. That is, you have dependents or other responsibilities relying on you to provide steady income. But you know you can reach an even more reliable income if you were an entrepreneur running your own enterprise.

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So you go into this process with the desire to start your own business. You want to be an entrepreneur and you know you will have to make changes to accomplish your goals.

Next, recognize how much time you have available to work on your business. You say your job is 9-to-5 – that means you are working just over 2,000 hours a year (probably less).

How many hours does that leave you to work on your business each year?

Almost 7,000. (*Check the math at the end if you don’t believe it)

That’s right, you have more than three times as many hours to work on your business, compared to the time you’re spending at your job. So what was that you were saying about working around your day job?

The question you should really be asking is: how do I convert the time I’m using for other activities to work on my business?

#1 – Decide what you want to do with the time you find

First, decide what you want to do with your time. This is critical. If you start looking for time before deciding what you are going to do with it, you could end up wasting the minutes you have available. You need to identify the activities you will be doing to start your business. Imagine you are not going to your job and you have all the time in the world every day to work on your business, where would you start?

If you do not have a business idea: Spend the time researching possible products or services you could be providing to the marketplace.

If you have a business idea: Spend the time researching how you will turn your idea into a business, and map out every activity you need to do to get the business open.

If you already have a struggling business: Spend the time re-assessing how to take advantage of the assets you have already built, and research options for growing your business.

Once you have decided what you want to do with your time, you will begin trading off activities that do not add value to your life for those that will get you to your dream lifestyle.

#2 – Start looking for time/activity trade-offs

You really have to decide what is more important to you.

To start your business, you need time to work on your business, and to find the time you have to trade-off from other activities you do. If you are serious about reaching lifestyle freedom, you have to be prepared to make these changes in your life now.

If you have dependents who will not alleviate you from your financial responsibilities, that is you are keeping your day job to pay the bills, then they should give you back some time.

Remember you are working on getting to lifestyle freedom. Once you’ve achieved it, you will have all the time in the world to do everything you want to do.

To trade-off your time, you should be honest and prepared. If you are in a family where the term ‘family is everything,’ means giving up on yourself for appearances sake, you should have a serious discussion with your dependents.

Begin by envisioning your dream lifestyle together. Maybe they feel like you do. The work grind and answering to others is not the world you want to stay in forever. Get your family to see the value of taking time now to step away from all the false obligations of attending every event – and focus on moving you forward on your dreams. You can do this precisely because ‘family is everything.’ You want more time with them, more freedom to do what you would like to do, and more stability and security in your professional life.

This is can be a very difficult step because we are programmed to believe that we must be ‘social.’ But outside of once-in-a-lifetime activities like weddings (okay some will be twice) where you wish to share the joy of someone you care about; and funerals where you wish to pay your last respects, there are few events that you absolutely must attend. Of course people will have special birthdays or graduations, but often the event is another party with the same set of people, engaged in the same set of conversation, drinking and eating.

You must make a stand for your own life vision, and turn them down.

When you pitch to your dependents that you need time, you should begin with your plan to achieve lifestyle freedom. Short-term pain for long-term gain. The conversation does not start “I’m not going to Aunt Martha’s birthday party because I might want to look at some stuff about starting a business.” The conversation is “I set aside time today to do research on my product offering. I’m skipping Aunt Martha’s birthday party (and no, it’s not her 100th).

By the way, if you think this is ‘mean,’ remember you are the one dreaming of a new lifestyle. Does that lifestyle look like the one you are in now? Or are you in Tahiti during Aunt Martha’s next birthday? Think about it. How many more of Aunt Martha’s birthday parties are you going to attend when you are a millionaire entrepreneur?

You can also look at replacing some of the dependent or friend-related time taking activities with more efficient practices. Maybe you go to the mall every weekend because that’s when you spend time together. But you can do all your shopping online, and have products delivered. Use the time you would normally be driving to the mall, looking for parking and fighting crowds to spend time together. And use the time you would normally be wandering around the mall to work on your business.

Engage your dependents, in the business planning. Kids love to surf the Internet. Let them be involved in doing research especially to look at your potential market and the competitive environment.

Here’s something to ask the kids: go on Instagram, search #[add the name of your product or service]; and tell me all the marketing and social media buzz you see related to my idea or something like this. You can do this for every variation of your product or service, the industry, market, and every social media platform – should keep everyone busy for a while.

You do not have to do this every weekend. You can replace going to the mall, twice a month, and make those Saturday afternoons lifestyle dream time. Make sure everyone has articulated what the lifestyle dream looks like to them so that they know exactly why they are doing the work.

You can also trade-off time at work. If you work in an organization where your time for lunch and breaks is your own, you can do research, make calls, take meetings and prepare documents related to your business during free time you have available at work.

For the same reason that you are not going to attend every family event, you do not have to attend every work excuse to socialize. If your colleagues go to lunch every day to gossip, once or twice a week you can say you have something else to do, and go and find a quiet corner to work on your business.

You should not have any trouble deciding what to do with your time, because you should have mapped out your plan of activities — every step needed to build the business — ahead of time. See #1. You can select one or two activities to work on during the workday or in the evenings and weekends.

You can also change your activities during your commuting time. If you are not driving, you have plenty of options to do business-related activities on the train or bus. If you are driving, you can focus your listening time on audiobooks, podcasts or radio programs focused on your area of business. If you are car-pooling and have no control over the listening devices, you can canvas your carpool friends about your business ideas. If the product or service is not for them, assign them the task to ask other people who may be your potential customers what they think of the idea.

If you think your colleagues will ridicule you for trying to start a business on the side, or ‘rat you out’ to the boss, then you may be forced to sit there and listen to their nonsense talk, which is even more of a reason to get out of that job and get into your own business.

You must always remember why you are doing the work of creating an independent business. If you keep looking for excuses that you cannot find time, or your day job is getting in the way, you must ask yourself how badly you want to be an entrepreneur living life on your own terms.

The real issue here is taking the time you have to repurpose the non-productive hours of your day towards building your business. First, you start by knowing exactly what you want to be doing. Second, you identify where you can make trade-offs with your dependents, friends and your work colleagues.

 

#3 – Use the time to create your business

You will be thanking yourself as you push yourself closer and closer to your dream lifestyle. Take all the time you have found or created with more efficient practices, and focus on getting where you really want to go.

You know you are going to make changes to reach your dream lifestyle. So make changes now on the road to getting there. You’ll be happy that you did.

*Here’s the math: You have 24 hours in a day for 365 or 366 days that equals 8,760 or 8,784. You work 9-to-5 that’s 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the year or 2,080 hours. That assumes you never take a holiday or a personal day. There are 10 statutory federal holidays, and most people get at least 10 personal days. So that’s another 160 hours you are not working. Bringing your total to less than 2,000.

 

More Resources for Rising Entrepreneurs

Learn to Find Time, Money and Overcome Obstacles

If you would like some help in getting started, click this link to check out free video training series for wantrepreneurs. This training is for those of you who have always wanted to start a business but need to find the confidence, time and money to get started.

Learn money management tips for all situations

Facing money challenges? Download my book: A Better Plan: Spend to Live, Save to Wealth: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life Without Financial Fear

 

For Amazon (Kindle): click here

For iBooks (Apple products): click here

For Smashwords (all formats): click here