Category "Business"

Amazon and Netflix stock prices just keep climbing.


3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Stock prices soared after encouraging words from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell today.

In comments at a luncheon in New York, the Fed Chairman said that the central bank’s benchmark Fed Funds rate — currently at a range of 2.0 percent to 2.25 percent — was now “just below neutral.” Neutral is considered an interest rate level that neither stimulates nor restricts economic growth and is presumably a target rate for the Fed at this point.

That’s a major shift from his comments at the beginning of October, when he said that rates were still “a long way from neutral.” Investors are hoping it means the Fed will either not raise rates as expected next month and/or reduce the number of rate hikes it planned to make next year.

Stock prices spiked shortly after Powell began his speech at noon, with strength across all segments of the market. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day up 3.17 percent, with only four of 60 stocks in the red. The Dow Jones Industrials index surged 617 points (2.5 percent), while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes were up 2.3 percent and 2.95 percent respectively.

The technology sector had some of the largest gains of the day, with salesforce.com up 10.24 percent–the biggest jump on the Entrepreneur Index™. Adobe Systems Inc. also rose 7.3 percent. Amazon was up 6.09 percent and Netflix closed the day 6.01 percent higher. Facebook was the weakest of the so-called FANG stocks, rising 1.3 percent.

Retailers Costco Wholesale Corp. (3.29 percent) and Walmart (2.55 percent) and were both up sharply, while discount retailer Dollar Tree Inc. was up 1.83 percent.

Under Armour Inc. was up 5.55 percent — the biggest gain on the index outside the tech sector. The athletic apparel maker reported blow-out earnings at the end of last month and has been on a tear of late. The stock is up 62 percent so far this year. After big gains in the last two days, L Brands was up a more modest 1.78 percent today. Gap Inc. was up 2.53 percent.

Other prominent gains on the index today included NVIDIA Corp. (4.12 percent), Alphabet Inc. (4.0 percent), Boston Scientific Corp. (3.94 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (3.61 percent) and Verisign Inc. (3.35 percent).

While most of the market was up smartly, J.M. Smucker Company was clobbered after it reported disappointing financial results this morning. The stock was down 7.24 percent, the biggest decline by far on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. The food-maker missed badly on earnings estimates, was shy of revenue targets, and lowered guidance for its full-year outlook. Fellow food-maker Tyson Foods (-2.31 percent) was also down sharply.

The only other two stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ that declined today were Ralph Lauren Corp. (-0.07 percent) and Wynn Resorts (-0.03 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.


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Deciding everything from which pay of socks to wear to which candidate to hire is cumulatively exhausting.


8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Making decisions, even small, seemly harmless ones, can wear us down over time. Every day we must decide how to spend every waking minute — what we eat and wear, what we work on, what we do with our spare time. By bedtime, the average person has made 35,000 decisions. Every decision requires time and energy, and depletes our willpower.

This is called decision fatigue, and it’s different from physical fatigue. You’re not consciously aware of being tired, but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts. This may cause you to become reckless in your decision-making, acting impulsively instead of thinking things through. Or you may simply do nothing, which can create bigger problems in the long run.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can keep this from happening. Learn you how can combat decision fatigue, replenish your willpower and boost your productivity during a decision-heavy day with these nine simple steps.

1. Make fewer decisions.

The best way to reduce decision fatigue is to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a given day. Look for ways to streamline your choices. Avoid random decision-making by using lists throughout your day. To-do lists keep us on track. Shopping lists help us avoid walking up and down grocery aisles trying to decide what to buy.

Plan your meals the night before, so you know what you’re having for breakfast, whether or not you’re going to pack a lunch and what you’ll make for dinner. Stop trying on 10 different outfits in the morning; pick out your clothes ahead of time. Find ways to automate certain decisions, such as signing up for automatic bill pay for the regular bills. Instead of thinking through which route to take when driving somewhere, use a GPS to help you navigate where you need to go.

Related: Your Clients Have Decision Fatigue, You Caused It and It’s Killing Sales

2. Delegate decisions.

You can delegate decisions the same way you delegate tasks. By giving responsibility for decision-making to other people, you reduce the number of decisions on your plate. Consider your responsibilities in your home life, work and elsewhere. Are there obligations you can delegate to someone else? This means you’ll need to stop micromanaging those around you and have confidence that others will do their part.

Managers can delegate some decisions to employees. Parents can delegate certain things to children. There are times when we can delegate to friends and family. This could be as simple as asking a friend to put together a playlist for a party or asking the person you’re meeting up with to pick the restaurant for dinner. When done right, delegating can empower people and show them that you trust them.

3. Have a process for making decisions.

When you have to make difficult or important decisions and you have several options to weigh, use a decision matrix to help you make the best determination. A decision matrix helps you analyze your choices by listing the options and the factors you need to consider and then scoring it by the importance of each factor you are weighing. This may sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, a decision matrix can be extremely helpful.

A decision matrix can clear up confusion and remove emotion when you’re faced with multiple choices and countless variables. Unlike a simple list of pros and cons, a decision matrix allows you to place importance on each factor. Here’s one great example of a decision matrix template you can use.

4. Make big decisions in the morning.

Researchers have found that time of day impacts our judgment and our ability to make the best decisions. It might seem to make sense that morning people make their best decisions in the morning and night owls make their best decisions at night, but researchers have found this just isn’t so. For most of us, the best time of day is in the morning — that’s when we make accurate and thoughtful decisions. By afternoon, most people hit a plateau, and in the evening, we start making riskier snap decisions.

According to the study, people tend to change their decision-making policies throughout the day. In the morning, they tend to be more cautious and meticulous in their choices. But as the day wears on and decision fatigue sets in, they start making riskier decisions. So if you have a have a big decision that requires careful consideration, aim to make it in the morning.

Related: This Entrepreneur Shares Her Surprising Secret to Fighting Decision Fatigue

5. Limit your options.

Having too many choices will stress you out. You become mired in your decision-making and start second-guessing yourself. This often happens when we’re making purchases and are faced with endless options and alternatives. Our decision fatigue is heightened by our desire to “shop around” and get the best deal. It all takes up so much energy and overloads the brain.

Try paring down your options, so you have a limited number of choices. Often, the benefit of spending a great deal of time investigating a wide range of choices is negligible — you might save a few dollars, but you’ll end up feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Instead, pick two or three to compare and don’t spend too much time wading through the pros and cons. Make a decision and stick to it.

6. Set deadlines to space out decisions.

Decision fatigue can often occur toward the end of a long, complex project that you’ve been working on over weeks, months or years. As the end of the project looms, there may be many last-minute decisions to make, which you’ve been putting off until now. This is when people start making snap decisions and bad choices because the length and intensity of the project have worn them down.

The solution is to create micro-deadlines that force you to act early and not keep pondering your choices. Don’t set yourself up to make critical decisions at the eleventh hour. Space out these decisions so you’re truly using your best judgment.

7. Simplify your life.

Constantly needing to make decisions can leave you feeling depleted and eat away at your willpower. That’s why, after a busy, exhausting day, we’re tempted to eat junk food, skip our workout and veg out on the couch. Making healthy choices just seems beyond our self-control. If this is you, it’s time to scale back. Find ways to simplify your life. Cut out things that aren’t important.

Hobbies, activities and volunteering are all great and wonderful things to do, but if you’ve reached the point where you’re overwhelmed, it’s time to drop the excess commitments in your life. Having fewer tasks and activities will lead to fewer decisions and will help you feel restored and in control of the choices you do make.

Related: Why You Should Limit Your Number of Daily Decisions

8. Stop second-guessing yourself.

We often get trapped in the mindset that everything we do needs to be perfect, and this puts a lot of pressure on us to make the “right” choice, because a “wrong” choice could somehow ruin something. The truth is, this is rarely the case. Still, we regret our choices and wallow in uncertainty over the selection we made. It’s time to let go and move on.

Stop second-guessing yourself. Stop going back and pondering your choices to see if you like something else better — that will only make you regret all the time you’ve wasted. And most likely, the choice you made to begin with, the path you picked or the selection you opted for, is just as good as any other option out there. Now you need to focus on making it great.

9. Develop daily routines that put less-important tasks on autopilot.

Establish daily routines that minimize and simplify your choices. By having firm habits and a strict routine, you put certain decisions on autopilot. Set a wake-up time and stick with it. Instead of debating whether you should work out or not, have a routine that establishes what days and at what time you exercise.

Eat a variation of the same healthy breakfast every morning. Pack a simple lunch every day. Instead of agonizing over what to wear every morning, have established outfits that you rotate each week. Many successful people have a handful of go-to outfits. President Barack Obama talked about wearing only gray or blue suits while in office so he didn’t have to give too much thought to what he would wear.

Steve Jobs was known for his black turtlenecks and jeans, and Mark Zuckerberg sports his iconic gray Brunello Cucinelli T-shirt. Whatever your preferences, make it a routine. Doing all this will help you waste less time and create consistency in your life so you know exactly what comes next without a lot of thought. It will also help you conserve your willpower and give you self-control.


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3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


L Brands is experiencing some early holiday cheer.

After rising nearly 7 percent on Cyber Monday — the biggest day of online shopping in history — L Brands, makers of Victoria’s Secret lingerie and operators of Bath & Body Works stores, was up another 3.78 percent today.

That was the largest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™, which closed up 0.17 percent.

The stock market appeared in a holding pattern today after strong Cyber Monday sales buoyed investor sentiment yesterday. With the uncertainty surrounding the health of the global economy, U.S.-China trade negotiations, and falling oil prices weighing on the market, investors appeared to be waiting for some clarity.

The G20 economic summit — where U.S.-China relations will be center stage — begins on Friday and an OPEC meeting, where potential cuts in oil production will be discussed, is scheduled for next week. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will also speak tomorrow at the Economic Club of New York, undoubtedly fueling speculation on the odds of another interest rate hike in December.

The Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 0.44 percent and 0.33 percent respectively, while the Nasdaq composite index was up 0.01 percent.

The technology sector was uncharacteristically quiet today, with only five of 13 tech stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ rising or falling more than 1 percent. Netflix had the biggest gain in the sector, rising 2.01 percent, while Verisign Inc., which registers internet domain names, had the biggest loss at 1.91 percent.

Facebook continued to suffer slings and arrows from all directions. A former Facebook employee accused the company of having a “black people problem,” suggesting it lacked organizational diversity. Meanwhile, Facebook’s VP of policy was grilled today by representatives from nine countries in the U.K. parliament on fake news and disinformation issues. The representatives were angry that CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not attend the meeting. The stock was down 1.01 percent on the day.

While L Brands had a strong day, other clothing manufacturers did not. Luxury brand Ralph Lauren was down 3.85 percent and Under Armour Inc. fell 1.89 percent.

Retailer stocks were also mixed with Costco Wholesale Group rising 1.62 percent and discount retailer Dollar Tree Inc. falling 1.6 percent. Walmart was down 0.12 percent and Bed Bath & Beyond was down 4.4 percent — the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today.

Tyson Foods slid 1.88 percent and is now down 28 percent for the year. Fellow food-maker J.M. Smucker Company was up 0.16 percent on the day.

Other notable gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ today included whiskey-maker Brown-Forman Corp. (2.06 percent), Cognizant Technology (1.67 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (1.59 percent) and Comcast (1.55 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.


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If you’ve been contemplating ditching your 9-to-5 for self-employment, here are five things that will make your transition easier in the long-term.


7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Starting a new business isn’t easy and it, of course, has its share of ups and downs.

Some months are outstanding (financially), while others aren’t.

Some months you’re in “pitch mode” to land new business and others you’re delegating work to be performed, hiring new team members, firing ones who aren’t working out and doing all the “things” that nobody on social media will ever know, hear or see.

For a person who’s historically been a “corporate intrapreneur” — otherwise referred to as someone who acts entrepreneurial yet is paid a salary as an employee of a company — to have full autonomy to show up and do your work on your terms while having the security blanket of a paycheck can be rewarding.

However, the thought of not having that direct deposit hit one’s bank account every 15th and 30th of the month can also be terrified to the point of paralysis by analysis.

“How will I pay my rent?”

“How will I make my mortgage next month?”

“How will I sustain my lifestyle?”

“How will I be able to afford expensive dinners and vacations?”

These are all questions that run through the minds of corporate intrepreneurs — who have an entrepreneurial mindset — and lead them to stay put more times than none.

It’s fear. It’s self-doubt. And, it’s real.

On Oct. 1, 2018, when my LinkedIn inbox became flooded with “Congrats on your work anniversary!” messages, I took a moment to reflect on what it took for me to walk away from a job that previously paid me over $150,000 per year.

For beginners, working a full-time job with a salary and benefits isn’t a bad thing if you look at it from the perspective of you’re being paid to learn new tasks and gain experience(s) which will you take with you for the rest of your career. Experience which someday you can charge large sums of money for.

Post-recession, circa 2012, I had to temporarily step away from being self-employed and go work for corporations to rebuild my credit and save up money, which had been nonexistent in the previous four-year period.

One of those jobs led me to start social media for Winn-Dixie, one of the largest supermarket chains in the U.S.; the other was working at LinkedIn, which relocated my family and me to San Francisco and opened up a new world of opportunities which previously didn’t exist.

However, there comes the point when the paycheck, company logo or work culture does not fulfill your needs, and you have to assess whether your purpose and passion are more important than a paycheck.

If you’ve been contemplating ditching your 9-to-5 for self-employment, here are five things that will make your transition easier in the long-term:

1. Have a bigger objective in mind outside of your day job.

If you cannot answer that you love your job, then you’re in the wrong position. I often will meet gainfully employed professionals who dislike their boss or the company that they work for but feel that staying put outweighs the risk of going elsewhere — including on their own. If you have years of experience and don’t think that your value is recognized within your organization and are being held down, perhaps think about freelance consulting on the side to get a feel for what it’s like cutting your invoices, sending out proposals and doing work independently.

2. Start building an identity outside of your current job title.

As soon as you get the “itch” to work for yourself, make your priority not what you will do but how you will do it. Begin with building a professional identity outside of your job title or company logo. Many working professionals are known as “James at X Company” or “Susan from Y Company” because they’ve built their entire legacy around being an employee of a high-profile organization — which is fine, but there comes the point where you need to create your own identity independent of that employer.

Begin writing for publications in your industry as your name only — unaffiliated with your employer or current job title. Start speaking more at industry conferences. Participate in online groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to grow your identity and thought leadership but also to network.

3. Secretly network within your network.

For two years before I exited my corporate job to start my social media marketing agency Gil Media Co., I met privately with close colleagues to share with them my vision for “next steps,” either at industry conferences or by phone. While you don’t want to share your intentions publicly with the world just yet, what you do want is for your closest colleagues to act as informal advisors who may have a job for you (on a freelance basis) or can introduce you to someone that might be looking for your expertise. You’d be surprised at exactly how many major corporations are looking for consultants or freelancers with your skill set and expertise.

4.  Don’t quit without paying clients.

Unless you’re fired or laid off from your job, do not quit unless you have a paying client or two. Not having guaranteed income will bring you stress which will make it harder for you to focus on the basics of getting a business up and running. Therefore, it is critical that you have income coming in from other sources before you become self-employed (by choice). You should also have at least six months of salary in liquid cash saved up to help you bridge the period between going out on your own to bringing in consistent business.

In my case, a year before leaving my corporate job I picked up a client (ironically from a free speaking gig)  which afforded me the ability to save cash that would eventually buy me a runway. 

5. Document the process.

Sharing your story is a competitive advantage. Why? Because it’s your story. Strangers will be more inclined to help you when they see someone who’s sharing their vulnerabilities. As I share in the video and short documentary above titled “Chasing Opportunity,” a layoff in the financial services industry in 2008 led me to discover social media as a gateway to rebuilding and rebranding myself, which led me down a new career path to where I find myself today. While my story is unique to me, it’s also real and relatable.

As you’re growing a new business document the process of growth — and sometimes failure — through daily stories on Instagram or Facebook. Leverage mediums like YouTube and LinkedIn, too, to amplify awareness around whatever your “hustle” is. You will find that there’s a world of opportunity waiting for you outside of your city or state if you see it. However, sharing who you are, what you do and what you want to accomplish is critical to unlocking it.

If you need advice to help with your transition, let’s connect on social media and discuss.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel. Follow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil83.

Related: How to Use Instagram for Lead Generation




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Tech stocks are up big today, and it’s not hard to see why.


3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Cyber Monday put a jolt in the stock market today.

Data from Adobe Analytics suggest that America may have had its biggest online shopping day in history, as consumers flocked to take advantage of online deals today.

The equity markets liked the action. With Amazon and technology stocks leading the way, the Entrepreneur Index™ was up 2.25 percent for the day, with 56 of 60 stocks on the index posting gains. The Nasdaq composite index was up 2.06 percent, while the Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 1.46 percent and 1.55 percent respectively.

Technology stocks, the hardest hit segment of the market in the last two volatile months, posted some of the largest gains on the day. Amazon.com, the biggest online retailer in the world, was up 5.28 percent. Twitter was also up 5.43 percent. None of the 13 tech stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ were down today.

The biggest gain in the sector was posted by chipmaker NVIDIA Inc., possibly the most volatile stock in the market this year. It was up 5.52 percent after a Credit Suisse analyst initiated coverage with an outperform rating, suggesting that the nearly 50 percent drop in the stock price

over the last two months has created a great buying opportunity for investors.

Related: Tech Stocks Continue to Tumble, With Precious Few Exceptions

Wynn Resorts, another extremely volatile stock this year, was up 6.89 percent today — the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™. The gambling environment in Macau, where Wynn operates three casinos, was once again the reason for the move in the stock price. Brokerage firm Sanford Bernstein increased its forecast for November gambling revenue in Macau to seven percent to eight percent from an earlier estimate of two percent to four percent. Wynn’s shares are still down 34 percent for the year.

Tesla shares were up 6.19 percent today after another unusual interview with CEO Elon Musk aired on HBO yesterday. Musk said that earlier this year Tesla was only weeks away from death due to the rocky production ramp-up of the company’s Model three sedan. He also said he plans to take a trip to Mars when the opportunity presents in the future.

L Brands, makers of Victoria’s Secret lingerie, appeared to be a big winner in the early holiday shopping season. The stock was up 6.74 percent today, though it is still down 47 percent so far this year.

Other major gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ were posted by TripAdvisor Inc. (4.36 percent), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (3.61 percent), Jefferies Financial Group (3.61 percent) and Under Armour Inc. (3.35 percent).

Only six stocks on the index had declines today. The largest was registered by food-maker J.M Smucker Company, which was down 1.54 percent. Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 1.15 percent, and oil and gas producer Hess Corp. was down 1.03 percent, despite a more than two percent rally in the price of oil today.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.


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Find focus as you grow.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Life as an entrepreneur can often feel like being in the middle of a natural disaster. There are daily fires to put out, endless lists of things to do and relationships to build, both within your company and outside. You’re constantly looking for where you can push your company’s growth, as well as your own.

Feeling like you’re constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions isn’t just the norm — it can be seen as an achievement. But when you’re trying to focus on so many different things at once, are you really devoting your full time and attention to each one? Having worked on Wall Street and founded my own company, I can safely bet that the answer is no.

Related: This Entrepreneur Crashed and Burned Out From Stress. Now He’s on a Mission to Change the ‘Hustle’ Lifestyle.

In my own path, I’ve found that starting a practice of mindfulness has been a game changer in directing my scope and finding clarity in my decisions. If you need proof, just ask my team. Really, it’s no surprise that there’s such a strong overlap between mindfulness and building a business. A lot of things can — and do — go wrong in the entrepreneurial process, but it’s the ability to step back, take stock of what happened and learn from these failures that is key to any company’s success.

No matter what you’ve heard about mindfulness, making it a regular part of your life doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task. Even setting aside just five minutes every day can help you be a more present and effective leader. Here are three ideas to get started on a more mindful entrepreneurial path:

1. Gratitude.

One of the most centering ideas in my mindfulness practice has been the idea that we are all enough. As a founder, it’s all too easy to spiral into an endless series of comparisons, impatience and negative thoughts — especially when every five minutes, there’s an article about a company that has raised 10 times the amount of money as you have or is encroaching on your space. Instead, it’s important to be grateful for how far you’ve already come.This doesn’t mean that you won’t have these thoughts or that you don’t want your company to be competitive. It means that no matter what others accomplish, you’re able to take a step back from the hustle and acknowledge what you’ve achieved so you can set your sights on your next goal.

Related: 4 Ways to Increase Your Focus at Work

2. Generosity.

Generosity is often thought about in the context of money or time, but when it comes to mindfulness, setting an intention to be generous with empathy and compassion can have a serious impact on the people and energy around you. With hectic schedules and continual high stakes, founders often don’t realize when they get into a space where the energy they’re putting out isn’t productive for themselves or their team. Rather, being generous with forgiveness actually cultivates a better, more balanced workplace where everyone is empowered to push themselves and take risks. In the long run, this not only allows you to focus more clearly on the work that still needs to be done, but it can also fuel your business’s creativity and growth.

3. Letting go.

Founders are often taught that you can’t be emotional, that you can’t ever breakdown. Or if you do show emotions, the only acceptable ones are anger or joy. The reality is that in high pressure environments, like starting your own company, all sorts of emotions are going to come up — and that’s not a bad thing. But what can be detrimental is trying to stomp all of them down.

Related: How to Overcome Emotional Obstacles

At a recent Squad Talks panel on mindfulness and meditation, Steve Schlafman, a partner at Primary Ventures, shared that “meditation isn’t the absence of thoughts and feelings, it’s the recognition of those thoughts.” Similarly, “letting go” suggests an alternative to subduing whatever it is that you’re feeling — making room to acknowledge and address the emotions that come up, no matter what they are.

In conclusion, being mindful as an entrepreneur is all about finding balance between hustle and patience. With so many balls rolling at once, it’s too easy to feel like you’re constantly behind. But practicing gratitude, generosity and acceptance along your path will help you find alignment so you can bring all of your talent to your company’s growth.


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Charlamagne Tha God talks success, anxiety and mental health.


2 min read


Brought to you by Lewis Howes

It’s time to open up. No matter what you’re dealing with, you’re not alone.

There is nothing shameful about having anxiety. Think about this acronym for FEAR — you either Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The more you confront the things in your past you don’t want to do with, the more you’ll be able to move forward. So, are you going to run from your fear, or face it?

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about anxiety and PTSD with a man who has become an unofficial mental health advocate: Charlamagne Tha God.

New York Times bestselling author Charlamagne Tha God is best known for being co-host of the nationally syndicated hip-hop iHeartRadio program “The Breakfast Club.” He is also a social media influencer; an executive producer with his own production company, CThaGod World; and co-host of the popular podcast Brilliant Idiots.

Charlamagne says that refining his life’s mission and examining his past helped him take control of his anxiety.

Don’t allow anxiety or depression to cause you to keep suffering. Learn about Charlamagne Tha God’s mental health struggles and what he did to restart his life on Episode 721.

Subscribe on iTunesStitcher RadioGoogle Play or TuneIn.


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Without a roadmap, your chances of failure increase.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs who want to build a tech startup make is that they don’t create a roadmap or prototype. Without a prototype, you can end up going down an unclear and expensive path when you’re developing your mobile app or product. That’s why prototyping is a crucial part of creating an app.

Related: Are You Making These Common Mistakes in Your Start-up?

Here’s how it can benefit you and how to get it done:

1. Gain clarity.

Without a defined concept, you can easily set your app up for failure, and it’s hard to define your concept sans a roadmap and a visual aid, such as a prototype. Your roadmap helps you to define and sharpen the idea of your concept by mapping out the customer’s journey.

Base this information on market research by analyzing your competition and determining what features attract your target audience to your competitor’s apps. Your app should address your users’ needs and provide more value than what your competition offers so that you have a unique value proposition.

With this information, you can produce a high-fidelity prototype of your mobile app that is interactive so that stakeholders can have a clear vision of what the interfaces, interactions and other elements of your app would be like once the final app is made.

2. Quickly validate your idea in the market.

If you want to entice stakeholders to invest in your app, you need to validate your concept in the market. A prototype helps you achieve this goal since it can help you test market demand. You can opt to create a prototype using a prototyping tool or have an outsourced team build one for you to your specifications.

Choose app metrics, such as app usage and engagement, to determine market demand so you can save time and money from further developing an app that may not work.

3. Save on cost.

App development isn’t cheap. It could be $5,000 to $50,000 or run into the hundreds of thousands, even millions, depending on the customization and maintenance required. Building an app without developing a prototype first drives up your costs over time. Maintenance costs can take up 15-20 percent of the cost of app development.

Related: 8 Huge Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Realize They’re Making

A prototype helps you reduce the expenses of app maintenance due to inefficiencies since you’ll be able to identify bugs and vulnerabilities before the final development of the app. You’ll also save on rebuilding costs if your developers later find that the app is not meeting compliance requirements.

4. Develop consistent UX.

If you want to get users hooked on your app, you have to provide an experience that helps facilitate what your app is offering your users. Mobile marketing analytics research company Localytics noted in a study that only 21 percent of people who download apps only use the app once. So, it’s important to focus on taking steps to retain users and understand their behaviors.

With a prototype, you have the power to observe user interaction with your app. You can study user behaviors early on in the development process and make adjustments to your app to improve their experiences. For example, you can change the font of a button’s text if you notice that users click the button more often. This helps to improve their experience and encourage engagement with your app.

5. Drive stakeholder acceptance with a proven concept.

When you’re trying to convince important stakeholders, such as venture capitalists, angel investors or even crowdfunding audiences, to invest in your mobile app, it’s challenging to get them to buy-in to your concept without a visual, working prototype.

But with an app prototype, these crucial stakeholders get a clickable, interactive app they can use and test. It helps to justify funding since it reduces the risk of uncertainty and helps your audience visualize the potential profit your app can bring.

Related: What Should Entrepreneurs Pitch, Products or Ideas?

6. Fine-tune your prototype to improve your concept.

A prototype also gives you the opportunity to explore new ideas and further improve on your concept because it allows you to see problems with the app early in the development process. Creating a prototype gives you the chance to improve on your concept so that your development team can find potential weak spots and errors.

According to a study by MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, 13 percent of users delete mobile apps due to bugs. It’s important to test your app with your target audience to identify errors before you finalize the product. During this stage, it’s important to document user interactions, errors incurred and each instance and version that you updated. This helps you to create a valuable and addictive app for your target audience. For example, you can create and reference a backlog of the different versions of your app and compare the different errors your users experienced as they navigated through the system.

You can also implement features that provide feedback from your audience on the app, such as a survey or poll. Use the direct feedback to further develop the app based on their needs. You can use this information to create a more enhanced experience for your users and improve your chances of having a more successful app at the launch of the final product.


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On this episode of The Playbook podcast, Marty Strenczewilk, co-founder and CEO of Splyce, discusses the rapid growth of eSports, and the best ways to make a career in the industry.


1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


You might not fully understand eSports, but the fast-growing industry is providing a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Marty Strenczewilk, co-founder and CEO of the eSports giant Splyce, talks about the widespread appeal of eSports competitions, as well as how to find a role in the field. 

Related: Find more episodes of The Playbook podcast here.

Listen in as host Dave Meltzer and Strenczewilk talk about the expansion of Splyce and the similarities between traditional sports and eSports. Marty also discusses what qualities are necessary to set yourself apart as an eSports athlete and how parents can support their kids in the pursuit of video game glory. 


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Online platforms for freelance worker provide an unparalleled opportunity to work with millions of people who aren’t necessarily like you.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It’s easy to be swept up in the negative rhetoric around the gig economy. Too often “on demand” workers are framed by the media purely as a cost-cutting tactic for businesses. Somehow the professional experience and expertise of the humans behind the screen get left out of the conversation.

Related: How to Fight the Gender Pay Gap as a Self-Employed Woman — and Maximize Your Income

Think of it this way: Online platforms are a unique space where the world’s best talent can connect both with each other to exchange ideas and share feedback, and with people and organizations actively seeking their specific skills. They create a truly level playing field irrespective of location, gender, age or background.

When you remove the barriers of geography and social background — which is what Silicon Valley’s call for “democratization” ultimately is — the creative possibilities are endless.

Our industry talks tirelessly about improving diversity. We need to celebrate the evolution of platform work as a step in a fairer direction, and see it for what it is: an unparalleled opportunity to work with millions of people who aren’t necessarily like you.

Diversity in ideas adds value.

Not looking more deeply into the benefits of our emerging global workforce does a disservice to the people around the world using online platforms to build their careers. Truly flexible work has never been this accessible, and is a valuable pipeline for people like stay-at-home parents, retirees or creatives who find they do their best work on the road. Valuing flexibility over more traditional benefits shouldn’t be dismissed as a somehow less valid choice; as a society we should encourage people to work in a way that works for them.

Related: 7 Reasons Why the Gig Economy is a Net Positive

In addition, there’s plenty of evidence that a globally distributed talent network can radically improve a company’s output and available skill set. Research from McKinsey shows that ethnically diverse businesses are 35 percent more productive and 9 percent more profitable. However, as any business owner knows, achieving diversity isn’t always as easy as we’d like. The platform economy offers a solution in a ready-made global network of skills and international perspectives.

Access the best people and projects.

Freelancers have been the lifeblood of the creative industries almost since their inception, so the concept of tapping into on-demand talent is nothing new in fields like design, music, film or writing. What online platforms have succeeded in doing is opening up this model to the rest of the world, making it easier for freelancers to find interesting work, and making talented creatives more accessible to clients.

While the platform economy has created a new global wave of creative diversity, there’s still some way to go in getting more people comfortable with the idea that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily in the same time zone or country as them.

The key point that’s missing from so much of the narrative around the gig economy is that companies put significant effort into attracting, nurturing and retaining skilled people. After all, the best talent will always have options — and working within the platform economy is just one of them.

Related: How ‘Unconventional’ Workers Can Be the Answer to Your Company Culture Woes

Ignore international talent at your own risk.

Creative talent is a commodity in demand, and that talent truly is everywhere. No skilled worker should be disadvantaged because of where they were born or where they live. Platforms have broken down borders in the creative industries, and ultimately made them a much fairer place to work.

As a global society, we should celebrate this: Businesses have never had access to such depth and reach of creative talent before. To miss out on the benefits of this diversity simply because we are stuck in well-worn narratives and assumptions is such a waste of potential for a society in desperate need of creative diversification.


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