Posts Tagged "project software"

Every entrepreneurial journey is unique, but the mistakes entrepreneurs make are not.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The process of planning, launching and running your own business is a heady time, full of long hours and exciting challenges. Pure adrenaline, excitement and sometimes lots of caffeine propel new entrepreneurs through hazy days that often run into one another. Some days, it feels as if there isn’t time to breathe, much less reflect.

That’s why it’s crucial to pinpoint the known danger spots that can trap new entrepreneurs before they get caught by those traps. Here are six top mistakes new entrepreneurs often make, along with tips on what you should do instead.

1. Blundering Into IP Disputes

Intellectual property is just like any other kind of property. It can be misappropriated, stolen and used without authorization. But even innocent uses of someone else’s IP, such as their photographs, artwork, and more, can wind up costing you thousands.

Instead, do this: Even if you purchase from a supposedly reputable business and assume they hold the copyright, you can be liable if it turns out they didn’t. Try running a Google image search and ask image vendors outright whether they hold the copyright. Finally, if it’s an important piece of your branding or marketing, inquire about negotiating an indemnification agreement. That way, if the image or artwork is someone else’s IP, the vendor is on the hook for paying your costs.

Related: 5 Steps to Launching Your Company

2. Overestimating Your Own Capabilities

Entrepreneurs tend to have a wide range of skills and knowledge. They also tend to be the type to think, “Hey, I could probably do that…” Perhaps four times out of five, they’re right to some degree. But when you’re in the process of launching your own business, you need to adopt this mantra and stick to it like glue: You cannot do everything, nor should you. Your time and energy must be devoted to the tasks that only you should be doing, as the business owner.

Instead, do this: Conduct a full, honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and investigate ways to outsource those tasks that aren’t in your wheelhouse. Remember that time is often quite literally money. Saving cash now with an overly eager DIY approach might come back to haunt you later when you have to hire someone to fix your mistakes.

Related: Entrepreneurship in 2018: 5 Tips to Manage Long Working Hours at the Office

3. Missing Your Moment

Entrepreneurs as a group tend towards perfectionism. We’re not satisfied with a “good enough” course of action. We want the best possible solution. However, perfectionism is a business killer. Wait too long, and you may well miss your moment.

Call it “analysis paralysis.” It’s an immobilizing fear of making the wrong decisions. Of course, it’s important to carefully consider all sides of an issue and all your various options when faced with a decision. However, don’t let this become an endless game of “what if?” At some point, you’ll need to make a choice and live with it.

Instead, do this: Do your due diligence, by all means. Set a time period for researching and considering the pros and cons of various choices—say, a week, or two days. Then resolve to settle on an option and get on with business.

4. Cutting the Wrong Costs

Here’s a one-question quiz: What part of the budget should an entrepreneur cut first when sales slow down due to an economic downturn or other external event? If you said “marketing,” or almost any other arbitrary expense, watch out: this may be a mistake.

Cutting costs unwisely can also mean thinking a generic form contract you print off the internet is good enough for a new and crucial partnership. No matter how much money it might save you in the short run, you can wind up paying a whole lot more in the long run.

Experienced small business attorneys are a necessary expense, for example, especially for first-time business owners. And while your cousin with one semester of computer classes might be able to create your company’s website, it’s probably wiser to shop around and hire a professional.

Instead, do this: Keep in mind that temporary cash flow problems are most likely just that — temporary. Look carefully at your numbers and think about various scenarios before you cut costs indiscriminately. Don’t let fear get the better of you.

Related: 4 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes Destroying Your Business

5. Forgetting About the Rest of Your Life

I see this one the most often among entrepreneurs I know or interview. It’s tempting to slam energy drinks and cram down granola bars during jam-packed days of getting your company up and running. Resist the urge, if you want to see your business succeed. Launching a business takes long hours and a lot of hard work. Just don’t neglect family and close relationships, or your own mental and physical health.

Instead, do this: Carve out time for breaks throughout your day. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise and proper nutrition to see you through long days. Your body and your mind both need proper rest and high-quality “fuel” to power through this crunch time.

6. Striving to Be All Things to All People

If you find yourself thinking “Everyone will want my product!” or “My target audience is everyone over the age of 21,” take a deep breath and pause for a moment. It’s scary in the beginning, when cash isn’t flowing the way you want and need it to flow. However, the answer to that challenge isn’t broadening the target of your product or service. Rather, it’s narrowing it to the niche that’s tailored to your product’s specific strengths.

Instead, do this: Drill down on your ideal customers for your lead products and services. Then focus with precision on those ideal customers. Get to know them with as much detail as possible, then communicate with them in their language about why your company is their best solution.

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Side hustles grow into full-time businesses because of strategy and the right mindset.

5 min read

This story originally appeared on Due

There are very few feelings in the world as discouraging as side hustling and seeing hardly any growth over months or years. Even if you started side hustling just to supplement your full-time income, you’re probably hoping the side work will someday overtake your full-time income so you can ride off into the entrepreneurial sunset.

Here’s the hard truth: Side hustles stay side hustles and don’t turn into legit businesses for reasons. Here are a few reasons why your side hustle isn’t growing:

Reason 1: You’re a master of none.

Side hustling and running a business are two different animals. The purpose of side hustling is to make as much as possible however you can. Maybe your main hustle is freelancing but you rideshare a few days during the week and tutor other days of the week as well. If you want your main business to be freelancing or consulting, you need to specialize in it. You need to become a go-to person who does a specific thing, and not a hustle generalist. Doing a bunch of different hustles means you spread yourself thin and cannot devote the time necessary to turn one of your hustles into a legitimate business.

How to move forward: Choose one of your side hustles to focus on. Give yourself a time frame where you will dedicate all of your energy to growing this one hustle. Focus can do wonders. Rosemarie Groner, founder of the Busy Budgeter blog, decided she wanted to give up running an home-based daycare business and focused solely on growing her blog for one year. The result was exponential growth. She started off making a few thousand dollars per month from her blog. Now she’s had months where her blog earned close to six figures.

Reason 2: You’re grasping at straws. 

It’s difficult to grow a business when you have no idea what need you fulfill in the marketplace. I’m of the belief that not everyone needs a full-fledged 100-page business plan to make their business work. However, you do need to establish what you do, why you do it, your business model, who your target market is and what’s your unique edge. It’s also a good idea to picture where you see your business six months, one year and five years from now. If you focus on day to day activities, you’re not doing the forward thinking that’s necessary to grow your side hustle into a full-time business.

How to move forward: Put together an abbreviated business plan if you need one. Don’t fall into analysis paralysis thinking it needs to be perfect. You don’t have to feel trapped by your business plan. You can change directions as you’re operating. Another planning exercise you can do is think about how many people you want to serve and why. For example, “I want to write website copy for 50 mom-and-pop small businesses this year because I want to help them reach a wider audience.” This exercise gives you a direction and purpose other than money that will eventually lead to dollars.

Reason 3: You’re playing small.

You think you want success, but you’re subconsciously holding yourself back. Playing small leads to small growth. People play small in different ways. Maybe you haven’t yet set up business systems to take on more clients because you’re subconsciously scared of getting too busy. Perhaps there are clients you want to pitch but you’re scared of rejection so you procrastinate by doing useless tasks like tweaking your social media bios.

How to move forward: When you’re stuck, start asking yourself some of the hard questions. Why are you scared of taking on more work? Why are you scared to pitch new clients? Confront your fears so you can push forward and grow. If you’re scared of getting too busy, it may be time to raise your prices so you can do less work for more money. Fear of rejection is common when pitching. Practice your pitch and try to make cold leads warmer so you can feel confident.

Final word

Side hustles grow into full-time businesses because of strategy and the right mindset. Take some time to sit down and think through what area of business you want to specialize in, what your purpose is and how to up your game. Nothing in business happens miraculously. Success happens through intentional steps and learning experiences. Stay focused on where you can offer the most value to customers and you should be able to successfully turn your side hustle income into a full-time income.

(By Taylor Gordon)

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I got control of my body weight, but meanwhile my business was suffering.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At the age of 17, I weighed 365 lbs. 

Within 18 months I shed half my body mass, dropping to just 180 lbs. During those 18 months, I ate like a bodybuilder and worked out each day. I pushed my body to new limits, and as I look back nearly a decade later, I’m proud of what I achieved.

Related: What Being Embezzled Out of $5 Million Taught Me About Forgiveness and Moving on

Because I was unhappy. I had built several successful businesses at a time most people were finishing high school, but I didn’t appreciate what I had (and I wasn’t happy with who I was). I wanted to become a new version of myself so badly that I committed to losing all that weight. Each day I woke up with vision and drive, committed to working toward my goal (no matter what).

This period taught me a lot about myself: what I’m capable of, how I’d spent most my life self-sabotaging myself, the effects self improvement has on your mind and body. I felt like a new person, but life was far from perfect.

I lost 180 lbs. but gained nearly $1 million of debt.

As the weight dropped off, my success in business seemed to go with it. I slipped into nearly $1 million of debt, and had to literally rebuild my life from the bottom up. It was a tough period for me, mentally, physically and emotionally. 

I felt like a huge failure, but my weight-loss seemed to anchor me. 

I knew I had made many mistakes, but I could also see what I was capable of. I saw how powerful (and important) it is to have persistence, perseverance, motivation, drive and a vision. 

My physical transformation gave me the belief that I could transform my business. It helped me build the mental toughness I needed to overcome the debt and start all over again. It showed me that no matter what, you have the to power change your fortunes, so long as you focus on these three very important elements. 

Related: How This Entrepreneur Bounced Back After Losing a Partnership, Laying Off Her Team and Dealing with $100 Million at Stake

Life isn’t an obligation. It’s an opportunity.

Life’s a roller coaster, and entrepreneurship makes the entire ride a whole lot crazier. It’s intense, full of ups and downs … and I’ve spent my entire life riding it.

Through the good and the bad, there are three key elements to self-improvement that you need to have in abundance at all times: determination, patience and dedication.

If you lose sight of these three things, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing. You’ll wander off course and slip into debt, put on weight, turn to the bottle or whatever your version of self-sabotage is. You begin to play the victim and look at life as an obligation.

But, it isn’t — life is an opportunity. 

Whatever your situation is right now, you have an opportunity to grow and learn. Slipping into debt is an opportunity to rise from the ashes and build something better. Being 365 lbs. is an opportunity to transform your body and teach yourself what you’re capable of.

As I look back, I realize this is what I did when I lost all that weight. I had tried beforehand and failed, because I didn’t have the determination, patience or dedication.

But, this time it was different! I stopped self-pitying and playing the victim, and decided to take action. I wanted to become someone better, and it all began by pushing out my comfort zone.

Related: She Had to Fire 35 People on Her Second Day on the Job. Here’s How She Handled It — and Her Advice for Rebuilding Trust.

Your comfort zone is where self improvement goes to die.

As a species, we crave comfort. It’s in our DNA: to avoid dangerous situations and feel safe whenever possible. So as people, once we find comfort, we cling to it. We know we have a problem, but eating makes us feel better. So, we continue to eat because it’s comfortable.

Each day our brain convinces us to stay inside our comfort zone, because everything outside is scary and dangerous. So, we create stories in our head that everything is okay. We complain, play the victim, blame other people, say we’re unlucky, get angry and frustrated, and turn to things that make us feel better, and generally walk through life blind. Because being blind to our problem is easier (and safer) than facing it.

But, this is no way to live your life. And it is no way to build a business.

As an entrepreneur, your comfort zone is your biggest enemy. You cannot live inside it, and you must break free from it every single day. So long as you have these three key elements to self improvement — determination, patience and dedication — you have all you need to do so.

It’s not to say it’s easy, but with these three ingredients you have the power to do anything.

Related: 5 Big Lies That Block Your Progress — and How to Conquer Them

Self improvement as an entrepreneur is important.

Your life is like a story, and you are the one writing it. As you do, your story will ebb and flow. Sometimes the words come easy, and other times they don’t. Some chapters need major editing, and some will remain a work in progress. 

This is fine. At all times you have the power to turn a blank page into a word of art.

It took me losing half my body mass to realize this, and to appreciate what I’m capable of. It showed me how dangerous “comfort” is. It gave me the skills to build the businesses I have today. It ignited my growth mindset and helped me grow as a person. It taught me how important self improvement is, not only to become the best man I can, but to push and challenge myself as an entrepreneur so I can fulfill my purpose and vision.

Slipping into nearly $1 million of debt wasn’t fun, nor was losing 180-plus lbs. But, it’s made me who I am, and it’s all part of my journey.

What happens to you is part of yours, so never let go of your determination, patience and dedication. It’s all you need to evolve to the next level.

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‘Just be positive’ is bad advice.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you’re struggling to find a positive thought, Entrepreneur Network partner Ben Angel challenges you to look deeper than just your attitude. 

You can listen to all the motivational speeches you like, but if your body is in a state of nutritional deficiency, you don’t have the energy you need for your neurons to do the required psychological work to hold a positive outlook.

Related: The Surprising Thing That Can Sap Your Motivation

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