We've been involved in a lot of brainstorming lately with our clients, combining a relaxed informal approach to problem solving with lateral thinking. We've learned that this demands that people come up with ideas and thoughts that can seem shocking or crazy, but we love the process. Some of these ideas can be crafted into creative solutions to solve a problem, while others can spark a domino effect of even more ideas. This helps to get people unstuck by prompting them into new ways of thinking.
This past Tuesday 22 March I attended a panel discussion - "The Perilous Journey of Women Refugees Worldwide" hosted by Metro NY Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women.
I must admit, for a long time in my life, I did not know the importance of networking nor was I interested in it or connecting with NEW people. I was seriously intimidated to speak in group settings because of my Caribbean accent, especially in a room of seemingly prominent people. I lacked self-confidence and did not think I mattered, so I stayed close to my friends and/or busied myself with the refreshments so I would not be forced into conversation, except to maybe smile and nod. Does this sound like you? I bet it does.
Eight years ago, Patrice Washington alongside her husband Gerald, were living the American Dream; they owned a seven-figure real estate company, they resided in a six-bedroom home in California and their toys included matching Range Rover trucks. However, like many middle class and wealthy people in 2007, the Washington’s also became victims of the recession. Helplessly, they watched their financial wealth depreciate in one fell swoop. Their real estate company that they spent four years building up, collapsed right in front of their eyes and they were left with a growling 2 million dollars in debt. They were forced to downsize from their home in California to a 600 sq. ft. apartment in Louisiana, feeling ashamed and broken.
If you were following my Twitter feeds and Facebook pages on Monday night, you would have seen my tweets and back-to-back posts about 22-year-old VC John Henry, who started out as a doorman, founded a laundry empire and sold it in two years. Now he is the Founder of Cofound Harlem and CoFound Ventures and plans to invest & help build 100 companies in Harlem, New York by 2020. Ambitious goal if you ask me, but not unachievable. Talk about inspiration to get you going for 2016!
Don’t Do It Alone
Richard Branson, Author and Founder of Virgin Group, asserts that “many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate.” There is power in numbers. Nobody ever achieved anything great working alone.
Create Memories Not Material Possessions
Billionaires spend their money on toys, but much of it is spent on actual experiences like giving scholarships to those who can’t afford education or providing life necessities for children in underdeveloped countries. “Be of service; give value. Rather than thinking “how can I make a living and make money”; think ”how can I serve and truly add value to people’s lives? How can I make a difference?” This is what Oprah and Deepak Chopra say is their driving mission.” – Rena Hedeman, Life Coach.
Never Eat Alone
Most of us spend our days behind the computer learning from blogs and articles. Successful business owners who have gone before us understand the power of socializing. According to author Keith Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, “what distinguishes highly successful people is the way they use the power of relationships -- so that everyone wins.”
Take No Days Off
Even when we go on a retreat here at Her Billions, it is always mixed with planning sessions and conversations of purpose. We take no days off because we understand the importance of time and that every minute counts. “Don’t focus only on your business. Keep your ears to the ground and be ready for constant reinvention. No sitting back on your fat laurels.” – Jennifer Blumin, Founder of Skylight Group
Understand How To Leverage
Tony Robbins, Author, Speaker and Instructor, says that “Leverage, used properly, is one of the most powerful ways to get more done in a shorter period of time.” One good example of this is how most billionaires never spend their money on projects, they use other people’s money and expertise to get a required outcome.
Be Responsible Even When You Lose
There are a lot of moving parts to a business and its brand. Whether losses are directly your fault or that of your team, understanding that you are the name behind it all means that you should be first to help figure out how to recoup from these losses. “Failure does not mean stop, it’s simply a u-turn to keep going.” – Lisa Williams, Founder & CEO, World Of EPI
Invest in YOU
As an entrepreneur you should not shy away from self development. It is necessary! No one is saying to become an expert in ALL aspects, but you should be thoroughly knowledgeable on what your business is about. Seth Goldman, Co-Founder & President of Honest Tea, says, “The best way to get a handle on the business is to learn every aspect. If things go well, you’ll be able to hire people to take over the tasks where you don’t add value.”
The only thing that you have is your name and your reputation, yet when you look at billionaires they risk both of these taking on new projects. And it's funny how it works out for them. You cannot be afraid to take risks yourself. “I got fired and started a company, so don’t be afraid to take a risk. Do it from your heart and always be humble enough to hire above yourself.” – Leslie Firtell, Founder & CEO, Tower Legal Solutions
Be Curious...About Everything
So you’re oddly curious…about everything. Does that make you weird? Actually, no! Successful entrepreneurs make solving problems their pet projects and earn money from it. Justin Gold, Founder and CEO, Justin’s says, “Be curious and question everything. I was extremely curious why no one was making a better nut butter and wasn’t afraid to generate my own answers when I didn’t understand or like the responses.”
Surround Yourself With People 'Better' Than You
Beware of who is in your ‘inner circle’! Billionaires keep people around that are better than them. “Surround yourself with great mentors. They help when you reach a plateau in your business cycle and can shave years off your business development and growth through advising from their mistakes and successes.” – Thalej Vasishta, Founder and Managing Director of Paragon Law.
Focus On One Passion First
We recently posted an article about being a ‘jack of all trades.’ While there is absolutely nothing is wrong with this concept, Camping World CEO - Marcus Lemonis talks about getting into a business where you can be a big fish. His view is that it is better to be known for one thing, and probably the thing that you do best and willing to spend your time on. So, figure out what your specialty is and let it be the ‘thing’ that you are known for.
Endure to The End
We have all been told 'NO' before, had doors slammed in our faces, but history has shown that great inventors tried 100 times before their inventions finally succeeded; authors were turned down by publishers more times that they could count before their books were picked up and became best sellers. These stories are everywhere! You chose your path because YOU believe in YOU, so don’t let anyone tell you its just a dream. Endure it to the end and you get the last laugh! Dilbert Creator - Scott Adams said, “Don’t give up” was the best advice he ever got.
Simple Ideas Are Valuable
5 Acre Farms CEO - Dan Horan attests to simplicity being everything. Some of the world’s biggest and best brands started from a really simple idea, solving a daily problem we all had. So as you consider how to make your passion ideas the next big thing, keep it simple. Don’t overthink it!
We all want things to happen quickly. I can list a lot of considerations it takes to start a company and see it prosper and succeed - money, the right team, technology - but the one thing that will separate from the rest is mastering patience. Rome was not built in a day and failure is not so bad if viewed as a huge learning curve. “A setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.” – Richard Branson – CEO of Virgin Airlines
There is Great Value in Speaking Effectively
“Learn public speaking. Of all the skills that an entrepreneur can have, I think the ability to convey an idea or opportunity, with confidence, eloquence and passion is the most universally useful skill.” Tim Westergren - Founder - Pandora. To be effective, each message needs to be clear. Ensure that the direction you give is so clear, so no one can dispute what you said.
Speak Often and Get Your Message Across
Getting your message across is not about being loud, but speaking often enough. Repetition ensures that your audience not just hears but listens. The key here is to make the effort to be genuine and communicate as often as possible so that your audience knows what's on your mind and they see you as human. “Don’t have a fear of talking about your failures. Don’t hide your mistakes.” – Ben Huh – CEO & Founder of Cheezburger
Develop A Shield From Distractions
Hello Design CEO - David Lai reiterates that your time is a precious commodity. With only 24 hours in a day, you must be careful who and what you give your time to. That old adage that says ‘lost opportunities are never regained' becomes very real when you are commandeering your own ship and being pulled in several directions. Shield yourself from unnecessary distractions and watch time become your friend.
Connect with People Outside Your Environment
Entrepreneur and Author - Tim Ferriss believes ‘You are who you associate with.’ Your level of success is directly related to the people you keep company with. They are your first influence and their habits become yours, but your ability to be influential in circles outside of your own is where you will see the greatest success. Bridging the educational, social, age, career and cultural gaps makes you more influential and gives you power beyond measure.
Be Gentle With Yourself
“Learn to love the journey. Enjoy the slow steady movements toward what you dream of. And take refuge in the simple comforts of loving relationships, dear friends and your creative vision.” Dr. Ahava Shiva - Commit to Your Creative Life. Laughing at yourself sometimes will certainly make your entrepreneurial journey much easier.
Know a Higher Power
If you examine all successful people closely you will learn that they all have a belief in a higher power. Russell Simmons - Hip Hop Mogul is an avid yogi and practices meditation daily. Having this belief gives him guidance for making decisions and solving problems. By believing in something higher than yourself you connect on a deeper level and gain greater wisdom to help you solve your problems.
So I had a conversation with a college sophomore last week who expressed a deep concern that she and her friends had no knowledge of where to start in planning out their careers. Of course you now, we had to step in and lend a hand.
For all my college students out there who may be in need of some basic career planning advice, this may help!
1. Build a LinkedIn Profile - the social media platform strictly for building your professional network.
2. Keep a Robust Resume - By always having an update resume in your possession it means you are always ready for whatever opportunity comes your way.
3. Maintain a synced Calendar - Time management and responsibility are critical to your professional growth. Keeping a synced and updated calendar ensures you get your assignments in on time and are never late for class and/or meetings.
4. Join professional Groups - Network! Network! Network!
5. Establish an Online Presence - start a Blog around the topic of your career path and start building your audience.
6. Find a Mentor - You cannot climb any ladder on your own, let alone the corporate ladder, so banish that thinking right away. Seek counsel from experienced people around you - professors, thought leaders, CEOs. They are not as untouchable as you may think.
7. Focus on your Career Path - Link all your majors to the career you decide on. If you’re not yet sure, at least choose basic subjects that will add value to the major you finally decide upon.
8. Seek an Internship Early - Do not wait until the end of your freshman year to start looking. Start early! Get out in front and see the difference it would make in your life.
$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is one of my favorite books! For the budding entrepreneurs out there who really want an unconventional way to start a business, this book would provide all the motivation you need. It compiles multiple stories of people all over the world that started businesses on a whim; some needed quick money and fell into a routine that started paying off really well; others turned their passion into a cash cow. The stories are endless and most of them were started with just about one hundred dollars!
I personally agree that it might be better to just jump into something at the heat of the moment and work out the fine details later on as you build. Sometimes the opportunities in front of you never return, so why not take a chance and see if it works? What do you have to lose? $100? I say absolutely go for it!
Last week we posted the steps you should consider when developing a business idea, so by now you should know what venture you would like to monetize. This week's vision map presents some interesting takeaways from the book and tips you should follow.
For a more comprehensive map, sign up and we'll email you the complete map with more in-depth information. Reach out, we'd love to hear from you!
"Jack of all trades, master of none” is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills, but spends too much time learning each new skill that he/she can not become a master in any particular one. (Wikipedia)
So you think you want to start your own business and have no clue how? Well I am here to tell you that idea generation is a skill that every wannabe entrepreneur must possess in order to create a viable product or service.
To help with this issue, I have put together some tips for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur hopefuls on how to develop that kickass business idea. Hobbies don’t always translate well to enjoyable or empowering work. Thus, you should pursue a type of business that will give you the role that you would enjoy filing the most.
1. For starters, consider what you are passionate about. Think hard, find solutions to problems that already exist and even look around your immediate environment. Also, consider what transferable skills you have and what your goals are - stay true to them. Opportunities are everywhere!
2. After you have identified your target market, find out from them if your idea is needed, will they benefit from it? Is it viable and scalable? Most of all, is it economically sensible? Can it be monetized?
3. Next you need to test your idea to see how the economics stack up. If they do then it’s a go! If not, go back to Step 1. At this stage you should be thinking about turning your idea into a legal business entity by registering your name and acquiring a tax ID number. By now you should know if your idea is a $100 startup (as according to Chris Guillebeau) or if you need to source heavy capital investment to get going.
4. Lastly, you are ready to kickastart your business! Developing your brand with a logo, website and social media platforms all become a necessary evil for a successful venture. You are ready to start selling. Good luck!
We all get the same 24 hours, so why is it that some people achieve so much more than others? The answer lies in good time management. Time management is the process of organizing and planning how much time you spend on specific activities. How you manage your time is directly related to your success, your accomplished goals. Skills you need include planning for the future, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring where it all actually goes.
Improve the way that you use your time!
Power Execs - minimize meetings and set specific times to check emails and take phone calls. Keeping a tight schedule throughout the day depends the way your day is structured. Spending a few minutes before you get started each day can help you set this up.
College Students - ensure your assignments are completed on or before the due date and set aside study time as your schedule allows. Of course college is an experience and fun is everywhere. Balance is key to maintaining your FOCUS.
Entrepreneurs - Time is money! Channel your inner “CEO” and identify the work that only YOU can do. You have no time for over thinking, just DO and at the end of the day, reflection helps you celebrate what you did get done.
Hey folks, recently we've been encountering individuals who are just honing in on what their passions are and who want to start monetizing them. We are excited and want to help because this means they get to join us on this awesome journey building something that they actually own!
Starting this Tuesday, we will be posting vision maps and explain how they can help you create or re-create your vision. What are vision maps you say? You may know them by another name - mindmaps, perhaps? So what are they useful for...
- Brainstorming – individually, and as a group.
- Summarizing information, and note taking.
- Consolidating information from different research sources.
- Thinking through complex problems.
- Presenting information in a format that shows the overall structure of your subject.
- Studying and memorizing information.
We can attest to the fact that having a visual is a great tool for staying on top of your goals and helping you move closer to achieving success because we use them all the time. You have the freedom to make them as fun and as colorful as you like (for the artistically inclined) OR just use them as a sort of organizational diagram. They work for you either way! Stay tuned tomorrow for our first published vision map on Time Management and let us know what you think.
BALANCING LIFE - How I Turned Being A Stay-At-Home Wife And Mother Into My Biggest Business Opportunity
"What’s next for me?" “Where do I start?” “How do I begin?” Those were some of the daunting questions I found myself asking while down on my knees only two days after walking away from my job at the airport approximately three years ago.
From interviews with the past, present and potential members of the FORBES list of the world's most powerful women, these are the 10 top tips for women's career success.
Why prestige is the enemy of passion, or how to master the balance of setting boundaries and making friends...by Maria Popova
The following ten books are my favorite of all time...full of life lessons and business strategies. If you have not read any as yet, you should definitely put them at the top of your reading list for 2015.
1. The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
4. $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
6. Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra
7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
8. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
10. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Women of color are a principal force behind one of the most important components of America’s current marketplace and our nation’s future economy: entrepreneurship.