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Follow Your Dreams – Work For Yourself

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Motivational speaker and author, Les Brown

Does the above quote apply to you? Have you always dreamed about being an entrepreneur, but have always found an excuse to not start down that path? Are you tired of working for someone else who won’t listen to your good ideas? Do you have what it takes to be your own boss and strike out on your own?

Being an entrepreneur is the American dream for millions of people, yet only a fraction of them ever see their dream through. Are you letting fear stop you from your true passion and from seeing your dream to fruition?

Entrepreneurship – Scary and Rewarding

Working for yourself is incredibly rewarding, but it is also incredibly scary. When you are in business for yourself, you lose the safety net of someone else being in charge, and often you can say goodbye to a steady income. Most of the time, it is easier to let someone else call the shots and for someone else to pay the bills. It may be easier to be an employee, but it is not nearly as satisfying as being in control of your future.

Having a successful business, doing what you want to do, taking control of your life – these are all very rewarding experiences that give you a feeling of freedom and power, unlike anything else in the world. For the few that work up the courage to try being an entrepreneur, it is very hard to consider being an employee ever again.

Is It For You?

The truth of the matter is that most people make a better employee than a boss. Most people are better off working for someone else because they don’t have what it takes to be a business owner. The world does need a whole bunch of employees in order to operate, but you don’t have to be one of them.

Working for yourself is often times much more difficult than you can imagine. Starting a business and building it up to the point where it is making a profit can take much longer than you expect, which means you may not have an income from your business for quite a while.

As a business owner you face having to make decisions that were never your concern as an employee. The ultimate success, or failure, of your company rests on your shoulders. Before even beginning to start a business you need to consider if you want to deal with the ups and downs, the stress, the uncertainty that comes with being your own boss.

Start Out Slow

Nobody says you have to quit your job tomorrow so that you can concentrate full-time on your business. The wisest choice may be to start out slow, while you are still working for someone else. This gives you breathing room and lets you get all of your ducks in a row before saying goodbye to your present source of income.

Starting a business while you are gainfully employed is going to be more difficult than if you were able to dedicate all of your time to your new venture. You will have to spend all of your free time, all of your nights and weekends, figuring out how to get your company to a point where you can say goodbye to your boss. Even though this is the slow way, it is the smart way. Unless you have a really nice nest egg that you can survive on for a couple of years, having a source of income while building your business will take a lot of stress out of the situation.

If you are motivated enough, if you have the burning passion to be your own boss, if you have the skills (or can learn them) to run every aspect of a business, then being an entrepreneur may be the right decision. Following your dreams is something more of us need to do. Just be smart about the decisions you make and you are well on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

About the Author
Marshall Davis is an entrepreneur that understands that the little guy needs every advantage possible to be successful. He started Talking Small Biz, a website that reviews small business products and services that help you start, run and grow a small business through the use of technology.

Are You A Modern Media Man?

I just accepted a speaking slot at the new conference called Modern Media Man Summit. It takes place in Atlanta on Sept 9-11 in 2010. You should go. Why?

mmmsummit

Because this conference is different. Here’s what it’s all about.

The Modern Media Man Summit will provide dads and men bloggers around the world the opportunity to gather in Atlanta September, 9-11, 2010 to attend an important conference featuring the latest in social media: blogging, podcasting and vlogging, while also harnessing the excitement and electricity of the Internet’s latest buzz.

There are dozens of renowned conferences held annually throughout the world for bloggers, but what none of them have created is a place to gather the new modern media men, specifically, the daddy bloggers, whose influence is fast increasing in the contemporary online space.

The M3 Summit’s goal is to bring together brands, bloggers, and some of the brightest minds in the industry to experience, teach and talk about how the role of Modern Media Man is changing. We know the time, location and topics of focus– educational, personal and business tracks–all will work together to generate the perfect storm in the blogosphere.

This is the best opportunity of the year for men and daddy bloggers, whether they’re stay at home dads, work at home dads, business professionals, the lone entrepreneur, marketer, advertiser and public relations professional to gather in one spot and plot a new course toward progress.

I wanted to speak at this summit because I feel I have a lot to say about being a “modern media man”. I’ve been doing this Web thing for over 15-years now, and I have a lot to share about life, business and love (with my wife). Things that are directly related to the reason why this conference was put together.

I’m going to speaking about how a modern media man can navigate through the tough world of home life and “online” life. If you’re like me, you know that those two things often collide, and can make big problems. Hope to see you there! Here’s my topic session.

Topic: Honey, The Internet Is My Business, Not My Life

How do you balance a career of uber-Internet geek-nicity with a “real” home family life of wife and kids and dog and house and car payments, etc….? It’s not easy, and potentially very toxic if both worlds collide. Are you a Web geek like Jim? If you are then you know the Internet is intertwined into our lives, not because we want it to be, but because it’s our business. The problem is, sometimes our families and spouses don’t understand that, and because of that, problems ensue. Enjoy a fun, informative story about how Jim has (and hasn’t) handled it and pick up tips on how you can as well.

Leveraging Your Expertise to Success

You may not think of yourself as an expert, but chances are, you are one. Think about what your business does. Whether you roof houses, help people market their businesses or sell jewelry, you know your industry pretty well.

Don’t you get into those conversations with people where they know so little about your field, and you have all the answers? Could you talk for hours about what you do because you love it so much? You’re an expert.

And smart entrepreneurs know that you’ve got to leverage that expertise to grow your business. I, for example, run a marketing firm called Egg Marketing & Public Relations. I live, sleep, eat and breathe marketing. And so I share my expertise on my blog, The Marketing Eggspert Blog. There, I give useful advice on how small business owners can market.

In addition to that, I have developed The Marketing EggSchool, an online selection of marketing ecourses designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the worlds of social media, press releases and internet marketing to expand their reach.

Benefits to Being an Expert

You may not see how this ties in to making money. Think about it like this. You need a graphic designer. You don’t really know one. But you’re on Twitter and you see a designer always answering questions from people and offering tips that you find useful. Wouldn’t you go to her first with your graphic design needs?

If you own a baby boutique, you can use social media or write a blog to give tips to new parents, picking clothes for a preemie or help people find products (that you carry and that you don’t). By providing a service, you establish trust with your future customers.

Here are some other reasons you need to establish yourself as an expert.

  • You will become a trusted, relied upon resource for others.
  • People will refer you rapidly.
  • You can dominate your industry by using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to provide information.
  • You can package and sell your expertise.
  • You can get paid to speak publicly.
  • You will get more sales the more you are known as an expert.

What about you? Are you doing what it takes to be the go-to person in your industry? When people need the kind of information you know, is yours the name that comes to mind?

If not, make a plan in 2010 to find channels to share your expertise:

  • Set up a blog with a clear-cut topic you know well enough to cover.
  • Establish Twitter and Facebook profiles and decide how you will provide value.
  • Develop course content on a site like Prfessor to make extra cash.
  • Network to find interview and speaking opportunities.
  • Attend conferences to learn more and connect with good partners.

About the Author: Susan Payton is the owner of Egg Marketing & Public Relations, an internet marketing firm specializing in blogger outreach, social media, and PR. She is also the blogger behind The Marketing Eggspert Blog. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, as well as several ecourses on marketing. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Think You Know Entrepreneurs? Think Again?

We all develop mind-sets, or virtual images in our heads about who or what certain groups of people are like. The problem with that is we often do it without the facts, so what we “think” is right, is usually wrong. I deal with a ton of entrepreneurs so I found this report from The Kauffman foundation for entrepreneurship very interesting. They released a report titled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”. It’s based on a survey of 549 company founders across a variety of industries, reports OnStartUps.com. Hat tip Dane.

Take a look at this list below. What surprised you? For me, it was definitely the median age of 40. Probably because I deal with so many Internet entrepreneurs who are younger.

1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies was 40.

2. 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.

3. Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds

4. 15.2% of founders had a sibling that previously started a business.

5. 69.9 percent of respondents indicated they were married when they launched their first business. An additional 5.2 percent were divorced, separated, or widowed.

6. 59.7 percent of respondents indicated they had at least one child when they launched their first business, and 43.5 percent had two or more children.

7. The majority of the entrepreneurs in the sample were serial entrepreneurs. The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.

8. 74.8 percent indicated desire to build wealth as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.

9. Only 4.5 percent said the inability to find traditional employment was an important factor in starting a business.

10. Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.

11. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always run in the family. More than half (51.9 percent) of respondents were the first in their families to launch a business.

12. The majority of respondents (75.4 percent) had worked as employees at other companies for more than six years before launching their own companies.

Mind, Body & Being An Entrepreneur

Note: This was dictated over the phone using CopyTalk.com. So it may sound a bit choppy.

It’s interesting to me the parallels there are between business and success and success in terms of body and mental, physical health. I just started to get in shape and work out with a trainer. Backstory: I have never been a person who has worked out before. I have never been a physical fitness person. I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and you ate everything on your plate, and if you wanted more, you got more. I was not raised to eat healthy. I was not raised in a way that you need to exercise and do those things. So, this is a brand new learning experience for me.

What I do know, though, is how to be an entrepreneur. I know how to make my way in the business world and take risks and do those types of things. So it’s interesting now that I am getting in shape and I am being taught how to be healthier and to work out, the parallels that come between being an entrepreneur and being successful and being healthier and being successful at it.

As I start to see results happen, as I get stronger, and my pants size keep dropping, and I am feeling so much better… I feel so many changes. As an entrepreneur, it’s the same type of thing, you put in the hours and the work, and you will be successful and you see the results.

But I also notice mentally how powerful this is to get healthy. I also notice how it teaches me that I can push myself, because I already know how to do that in the business world, but I didn’t know that I could do it physically. I have learned so much about myself, because I am now able to push myself both physically and mentally. And mentally is really the hardest part.

So go out there and try something different. If you’re a couch potato, go out there and try to work out. Get on a training program and push yourself mentally. Push yourself in other ways than just being an entrepreneur, because I’ve got to tell you that it has opened my mind. It has helped me think of new things. It has helped me work better and helped me work longer. It’s changed things for me.

Spending A Day With Gary Vaynerchuk

In the summer of 2008 I had the pleasure of spending a day hanging out in Cleveland, OH with the infamous Gary Vaynerchuk. If you don’t know who Gary is you should go read up on him here. If you do know who Gary is, well, then you’re about to see what it’s like to follow him around for a day or so.

garyv_screenie

Here’s a hint… It’s exhausting.

I wrote ‘A Day In The Life Of Gary Vaynerchuk‘ based upon my experiences of that particular day hanging out with Gary. I hope you enjoy the video extras from the day as well.

Special thanks go to Gary, and to Lisa Picarille for the excellent editing.

Video Book Review: The Big Idea

It’s the moment when you say, “There’s gotta be a better way.” It’s the moment when you ask, “How can I solve this problem?”

Donny Deutsch’s hit CNBC show The Big Idea has put the spotlight on that ordinary moment and the people who have the courage and stamina to make their dreams come true.

Big Idea, The: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million

What’s More Important? Getting Rich? Or Your Vision For Your Brand?

Note: This post was written for a friend of mine who wishes to remain nameless. It’s my pick me up to that person. You can do it! These thoughts accurately represent how I have felt in the past. I hope you find it helpful and inspirational on your journey to success.

What if you could make a ton of money being somebody who you’re not? Would you still do it?

Tough question, yet a question that we all must answer. If you’re like me, you struggle with these types of issues. An example perhaps.

I know that if I wanted to make a ton of money, I could become someone I am not. I could build products and services that I don’t want to build.

But I don’t, and here’s why. It’s more important to me to sell things I believe in. It’s more important for me to have the brand I want to have… that I’ve envisioned for myself long term.

Do I lose out on TONS of money because I have this attitude. Yes. Do I sometimes consider “selling out” and just doing what I know will make me a ton of bank? Yes.

Your decisions may be different. You may not have the same, perhaps stupid, limitations on your brand/business.

I’ll be honest. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have those feelings. I’d be richer for sure. But would I be happier? I don’t think so.

The point is. Do what you need to do and don’t apologize for it. If you have to “sell out” to pay your bills. Do it. If you can get by by not compromising your vision then do that too. Make a decision, but don’t feel bad about it, and don’t let your friends or peers make you feel bad about it either.

In the end… this is business. But you’re going to have to live with what you’ve done. Decide now. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in the middle, which isn’t a good place to be if you want to meet your goals.

The Time Is Right To Go For It, Will You?

Can you feel it? I can. It’s looming. It’s that feeling of impending doom that has slithered into the room while we were all busy trying to be successful. You know what I’m talking about. That big financial crisis. It’s like a big snake that I’m afraid of.

It’s in the corner, staring at me right now. I’m sitting here waiting for it to come over and bite me and then it’s all over… my success will be over and it will all be because of this snake bite.

If you’re not feeling like this, then you’re better than I am, because as I sit here and watch our US economy crumble, I’m scared you know what-less. It’s frightening for sure.

But what am I going to do? What are YOU going to do? I’ve decided…

I’m going for it. I don’t care if we’re in the midst of a financial meltdown. I don’t care if people have less money then they used to. I don’t care if everything and everybody tells me now is NOT the time.

If you’re selling the right things… there is still a market of people who will buy it, even in tough economic times. Personally, I couldn’t think of a better time than now to focus on helping people figure out how to be independent of a “job”.

Now is the time when many people are being forced to take such measures as, gasp, working on their own and not being dependent on a boss. I call these people possible accidental entrepreneurs.

My advice at this moment in time… go for it. This may be the best time to do it.

Struggling Entrepreneurs, Do Not Give Up

It’s rough out there right now, I know. You’re losing your cool in this tough economic market. You’re trying to make ends meet, while at the same time, you’re trying to push ahead and be successful as an entrepreneur. You’re working your a#* off and it’s getting you by, but not getting you ahead.

I know how you’re feeling.

I know what it’s like to be spending more than you make. I know what it’s like to have your wife give you that look when you tell her you need to spend another $1,000 or more to start a new project. I know how it feels to be so frustrated that you haven’t “made it” yet that you want to give up and go get that “real job” you said you would never take.

I know how you’re feeling.

I know what it’s like to see millionaire friends not worry about money. I know what it’s like to see your associates who have already “hit their home run” not worry about the economy because they’ve got money coming in consistently every month. I know what it’s like to wake up every day and wonder if today is going to be the big day you get an idea to turn it all around.

Welcome to being a struggling entrepreneur. It’s a rough life.

But there’s good news too.

If your struggling there is hope. There is a reason to carry on. You can make it work, if you carry on.

Remember that every single great success story started with one of the following…

1. I failed 1,000 times before I succeeded…
2. We had no money left in our bank account…
3. I was on the verge of giving up…

Sound familiar? Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Yes, there is going to be struggle through the tough times, and yes, it could possibly drain your bank account and damage your marriage, and yes, it could drive you to want to give up.

But that’s when your passion comes through to save you. That’s when you stop pitying yourself and turn towards the sun and give it another go. That’s when you work even harder to get what you wanted.

Don’t give up. Keep taking your shots. Keep innovating. Keep pushing new ideas and supporting old ones. Keep on keeping on.

It will happen. You can succeed. You can hit that home run. You may look back at these days years from now and remember about how tough it was, but then be proud of yourself for persevering.

The entrepreneur inside you knows you can do it. Now, just do it.

Diggs are appreciated for this article.

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