Tag: Entrepreneurs

Is Making the Leap Really that Scary?

Becoming an entrepreneur is perceived to be one of the hardest things most people do in their lives.

I say perceived to be because it really isn’t as harrowing as most people make it out to be.

When I was in the Navy, our boat was designed to sink…

I was a submariner after all.

But on one occasion our boat was actually sinking when we didn’t want it to! Systems were going haywire and someone had messed up…big time!

The lives of 130 crewmen were at stake, and it was up to our team to fix the situation fast!

We managed to get propulsion back and force the boat back to the surface where we all breathed in a huge sigh of relief, but there were a few moments when we weren’t sure if we’d make it.

Now, that’s a truly scary thought…sinking in the middle of the ocean in a giant black steel tube filled with a nuclear reactor an missiles…

But the thought of becoming an entrepreneur was even scarier to me!

At least in the Navy they had trained us to handle situations like that.

In the “civilian” world, there is no real training for becoming an entrepreneur. Everyone’s journey is a little different, but no less scary.

When I first attempted to make that leap, I was still in the Navy.

It didn’t turn out as expected…

In fact, it bruised my ego so bad that it took years to recover and try again. That’s a story for another day.

But here’s the thing…

You’ve probably been through some tough times in your life.

Maybe you’ve had a few near misses or close calls, or even a dance with death…

Whatever the case is, you’re still here. You survived!

And the fact is that making that leap to becoming an entrepreneur isn’t going to hold a candle to the challenges you’ve faced in your life.

More than anything, it’s the idea of becoming an entrepreneur that is scary…

Not the day to day act of starting or running a business.

That parts actually pretty boring…

Just like life on a submarine. Boring most of the time with some incredibly exciting moments scattered throughout!

If you’re just getting started or you’ve been around for a while, you’re in the right place.

Our goal at Angel Investors Network is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be faster.

Just stick around, and keep sticking your neck out there…

Good things are bound to happen as long as you keep at it!

To Your Freedom!

Jeff Barnes

You Won’t Believe The Speaker Lineup!

“You’ll never get rich spending money…”

6 Ways to Increase Efficiency and Focus

Business moves at supersonic speed. While technology has facilitated easier communication and information gathering, it has also ushered in a new economy in which the common worker can be more readily replaced by technological advancements than ever before.

The option to utilize advanced algorithms, data visualization and robotics as opposed to human assistance has become increasingly more alluring to organizations. In turn, the burden to prove themselves necessary has fallen upon the common worker.

Competency no longer does the trick. More so than ever, it is crucial for professionals to not only be able to complete tasks, but to be able to complete them with the utmost efficiency, accuracy and creativity.

Performing at a consistently high level requires sustained focus. Luckily, there are ways to train yourself in order to become the type of individual who not only produces results, but produces the type of results that make you an all-star in your respective area.

1. Define your goals and prioritize tasks accordingly.

The first step in concentration is to form a mental picture of what you wish to accomplish. Understanding why you are engaging in an activity and clearly stating what you hope to achieve from completing the task adds clarity to your thought process. It’s important to write down your objectives and pinpoint how that job assists you in meeting those overarching goals.

2. Slow down.

When you work with a deliberate slowness, it allows you to more effectively pay attention to the task at hand. When it comes to engaging in mindful work activities, it is important to gain the discipline to keep things simple and moving at a pace conducive to improved focus.

3. Conquer negativity.

Negative thoughts greatly drain mental capacity, as an unhealthy thought process overly stimulates the brain, increasing mental pressure and tension. When your mind is overloaded with threats, demands and counterproductive thoughts, cognitive impairment (a big hindrance to productivity) is the result.

Such tricks as remembering your core values, defining aspects of yourself that you are grateful for, breathing to relieve bodily tension and getting up and moving will lessen thoughts of doom and gloom and heighten your ability to think efficiently and produce at optimal levels.

4. Practice intense focus.

Whenever you fix your mind on a certain thought and hold your mind on it at successive intervals, you develop concentration. Understand that the human brain has limited capacity for attention. When you allocate anything less than 100 percent focus to a task, you weaken your ability to produce at a level consistent with your capabilities. If you wish to enhance the quality of your work, it is imperative to set aside any other activities that require effort for the time being.

When distractions such as emails, co-worker interactions and consistent client inquiries compete for your attention level, they dispose of a limited budget of mental capacity. Therefore, they must be put off until completion of that task or you risk a lesser output.

5. Confront procrastination.

Researchers estimate that nearly 15 percent of adults are chronic procrastinators. Putting off tasks is problematic on several fronts. First, when a job remains incomplete, it creates undue mental pressure straining your ability to focus on any other project. Additionally, failure to jump right in and see a project through to its end eventually becomes a habit and in time leads to low self-esteem.

Practices such as creating self-imposed deadlines, engaging in advanced planning and breaking a project into smaller steps will help combat procrastination.

6. Focus on the final product.

Knowing where a project is going is paramount to you being able to focus intently on that task. Understand what you expect out of the work will help you get down to work and provide you with the resiliency to finish the task.

As the working world evolves and many professionals find themselves ever closer to competing with efficient technologies in some aspect of their work, it is those who maintain the focus and good practices that lead to heightened effectiveness who will rise to the top, regardless of industry of position.

Are Small Businesses Spending Too Much Time on Social?

Day to day business activities have transformed dramatically since I launched my first company nearly 20 years ago. Back then, there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn. My social contact with customers and potential customers was limited to email and phone conversations.

With the birth of social media, I was eager to adopt a new way of doing business. Like so many other small business owners, I was enamored by the possibility of reaching new customers at an unprecedented scale, getting free exposure and showing a more fun side of our business. I was determined to be the “social” company in my industry.

As time went on, some of the shiny facade of social media began to chip. I wondered if all the time I was spending on social activities like Instagram and Twitter was actually paying off. Using social media effectively takes an enormous effort, between creating original content, defining a social strategy and roadmap, managing communities, running targeted ads and more

Last year, Vertical Response conducted a survey of small businesses and social media and found that 43 percent of small businesses spend about six hours per week on social media (almost the equivalent of a full workday). Most telling to me, one-third of CEOs and small business owners wanted to spend less time on social media.

If you’re wondering if you or your business is spending too much time on social, here are a few things that I have learned.

Know your market before investing in social media.

With all the buzz surrounding social media, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon without first creating a social strategy that makes sense for your business. Some businesses live on social media — for example, urban food trucks that use Twitter to let their customers know where they are. But that’s not every business.

The key to social media marketing is reaching your target audience wherever they live, work or play. If the people you’re trying to reach aren’t using Instagram, even the best content on Instagram won’t do a thing for your business. Think about the demographics of your target customers and research where they spend their time. You can even ask some of your existing customers which social platforms they’re likely to use, and where they’d like to connect with you.

Prioritizing your social media presence is the single most important thing you can do to minimize (and optimize) the time spent on social media.

Don’t ignore other channels because of social media.

You should never put so much time and energy into social media activities that you can’t do anything else. For some small businesses, a strong email campaign will be even more effective than social media, since email is a form of direct marketing.

Over the years, I came to discover that the more time time I spent on social media, the less social I was actually being. When I backed away from Twitter and Facebook, I had more time to answer phones and talk to customers one on one. Meeting people through live networking events and conferences is what keeps me inspired and driven. The bottom line is you don’t really know your customers if you’re just interacting through blog comments and retweets.

Learn to function without your smartphone.

As a mom of teens and tweens, I understand the importance of logging off from social media and putting away the phone. Some of the same messages I tell my daughter apply just as well to me as a CEO. We live in a distracted world, but your relationships will be impacted if you’re always distracted when talking to employees and customers. As hard as it may be, resist the urge to check your phone when talking to somebody; the conversation you’re having right now with an employee is just as important as the Facebook message you just received.

Listen to experts with a grain of salt.

Given social media’s popularity, it’s no surprise that an entire industry has sprouted up to help businesses manage their social media presence. Many small business owners are sold on the importance of social media by consultants who want to set up and manage their accounts.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a publicist and marketing manager who truly understands social. But, there are others out there who try to convince small business owners that creating a Facebook page will instantly double their sales leads. That’s setting the wrong expectations.

Before investing significant time in social media, you need to understand that “likes” don’t equal clicks or sales. The power of social media is that it helps foster loyalty, trust, and goodwill between you and your customers. Some of your social efforts will bring in direct sales, but more than likely, it will be a gradual process toward increasing your community and brand presence. Social media marketing requires a lot of patience, but don’t ignore all your other customer touch points along the way.

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