Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How the “3 Whys” Can Help You Find Purpose in Your Business

As part of my MBA program, I’m taking a class on entrepreneurship. It’s been interesting, mostly because there’s a lot of content that seems familiar because I’ve been running a business for more than a decade. But it’s also been a good reminder.

One of the items we’re learning about is the importance of having a purpose in your business. Finding that purpose can keep you going when you’re feeling unmotivated, and it can help you innovate and move forward when you’re stuck.

As you dig down to find purpose in your business, one strategy is to use the “three whys” to help direct your thoughts. Once you go through this exercise, you’ll have a better idea of how to hone in on your purpose. You’ll have a better focus for growing your business, and a mission that will keep you — and your customers — excited about your business.

Using the “Three Whys” to Pinpoint Your Purpose
Using the “three whys” is about getting to the heart of the purpose in your business. You start by asking yourself why you’re starting the business you start. For example, I might focus on my freelancing business.

Why am I starting a freelancing business?

That first question forces me to ask why I’m starting. So I answer with: “So I can earn money while working from home.”

Next, you drill down deeper, asking the second why. “Why do you want to earn money while working from home?”

The answer to that question, for me, was, “To be able to spend more time with my son and be available for him while still paying the bills.”

So now we’re getting somewhere specific and concrete.

The third why is, of course, why I want to spend time with my son while being able to pay the bills.

And my answer is that I want to have a good, meaningful relationship with my son while maintaining the financial stability that allows us to focus on our relationship.

This exercise can work for any number of businesses. You can use the “three whys” to follow your line of reasoning for making more money, helping others with your product or service, or any number of things.

Once you get to your third why, you have a good idea of your purpose, and you can focus on that.

Staying Motivated by Your Business Purpose
With the “three whys” helping you, it’s possible to stay motivated by the purpose in your business. Because I started freelancing to maintain a better relationship with my son, I’ve found it helps me stay motivated. When times were tough, or I didn’t feel like doing the work, being able to point to my son and our relationship helped me stay focused on motivated.

The freelance lifestyle gives me freedom and flexibility to spend time making memories with my son. On top of that, it also allows me time to volunteer in my community and engage in other meaningful activities. By staying focused on the way my business enhances my life — and allows me the chance to enhance the lives of those around me — I can stay motivated.

Find that for your business. When you know you have purpose and you’re fulfilling it, it’s that much easier to stick through the hard times and achieve success.

Image Credit: Maklay62 / Pixabay

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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5 Common Issues in the First Year of Business and How to Avoid Them

It’s no news to any entrepreneur that the first year of business is a tough one. Navigating the ups and downs of being a business owner can be difficult but also incredibly rewarding. With the 5.7 million SMEs that exist in the UK, almost all of them have run into similar issues within their first year of business. The good news is that 5.7 million SMEs have worked through these issues, with many turning into seriously successful organisations. We’re here to explain the most common issues start-ups will run into in their first year of business, and how to best prepare for meeting them head-on.

No Business Plan

With a lack of experience and understanding, first-time entrepreneurs can often find themselves up and running without a proper business plan. This can lead to a lack of direction in the business, resulting in poor decisions and bad communication. You may have all the ideas in the world but you still need a formal document that will become the foundation of your business.

A carefully constructed business plan will help you test your initial idea in the market and as a result, can save you time and money. It also allows you to solve your future problems in advance by planning out the details of your business over time. If things should go wrong, your business plan will offer you guidance in helping to work issues out and keep working towards your ultimate goals.

Trying to take on too much

Owning a business is stressful and no one is good at everything. It’s difficult in the first year when money is tight and you have to do most of the work alone, but try to avoid burning yourself out.

Hiring staff is an option but if this isn’t feasible then having an advisor will definitely help with trying to take the load off when the stress starts to mount. Be realistic about the work that you will take on in your first year; you might be keen to take on as much work as possible to keep the invoices coming in but you must be realistic at what is physically possible. It’s easy to get carried away with ideas as a new business owner but remember it is more important to do one thing extremely well than it is to try to do everything.

Bad Management

An organisation is nothing without its employees and if you’re lucky enough to be in a good position in your first year to hire, you must also manage them correctly.

Taking on too much work also applies to your employees. It is a common misconception with small businesses that because of the size of the company, employees have to ‘give 110%’. This can result in employees being placed under too much pressure to do multiple jobs but only receiving one wage leading to a poor workplace mentality and high staff turnover. Be honest with who you hire from the get-go, make sure they are fully aware that because of the size of the business, extra work will be likely but they will be rewarded as a result of it.

It is also important to make sure that your employees have clear boundary lines. Set them objectives and targets like you have in your business plan, make sure they’re accountable for any shortcomings and rewarded for any time they go over and beyond. After all, if they’re helping you succeed as a business owner, they deserve to share in some of that success too.

Financial Problems

The most common fatal mistake for small businesses in their first year is running into financial problems. New business owners often have a lack of understanding about business financing or underestimate how much money they require at the start-up stage, which can have businesses failing before they’ve even begun.

Use your business plan to ascertain how much money you will need for your first year of business; weigh up your costs and realistically forecast your income so you know how much you will need to succeed.

One of the common issues businesses can run into in the first year is with cash flow. Lack of experience in managing this and delays in payment of invoices from clients can be disastrous for a start-up. It’s always best to look into business financing while compiling your business plan, so you can be prepared should the need ever arise.

Understanding legalities of owning a business

Getting your head around the legalities of being a small business owner can be complicated but when you consider the consequences, is well worth your time.

Knowing and understanding advertising laws when conducting any marketing activity is imperative. You must be truthful and not misleading with your campaign, and comply with anti-spam laws, and privacy laws concerning storage of customer data.

Intellectual property laws are another common oversight of small businesses. If you are creating a product or service from scratch, you will have to check that your offering is not conflicting with another business’ IP and that you protect your idea effectively. Not abiding by these laws can land you in some trouble with pricey lawsuits as seen in the high profile Cambridge Satchel Company vs Zatchels case.

Finally, your legal responsibility to your employees is very important. You must understand employee rights such as discrimination, harassment and termination. Health and safety laws in the workplace are also important to the wellbeing of your employees and your business. You will be subject to a hefty fine if you do not comply with these standards.


Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Four Ways to Gain Perspective on Negative Events

Everybody, once in a while, feels the destructive influence of negative emotions on our well-being, especially when it comes to challenging or difficult events we often experience during our life. It’s obvious that each person reacts differently to a situation, and it depends on the features of a character, personality temperament and a lot more. But there are life circumstances when some bad situation gets stuck deep in your head and heart, and soon you realize you are tossed around in a spin cycle of negative emotions.

If you feel you can’t get out of a constant rumination of all the words or critical comments of your friend, colleague or a relative that have been said to you,  it’s high time to learn how to react from a self-distanced perspective. It’s a teachable skill that will come in handy every time you feel offended and have no desire to compromise.

Self-distanced perspective gives you a chance to step back from the emotionally arousing details and see yourself in the more objective way. Researches with groups of different people of all ages feature that practicing of distancing yourself will yield a lot of benefits. For instance, all of the participants saw a reduction in angry feelings, aggressive thoughts, and behavior.

Here are four great ways to better manage relationship conflicts. This simple steps may be used by anybody; whether you are a student of an educator who works with little children, they will be useful in every situation and with everybody.

Stop using the pronoun “I.”

When we had a fight with someone we keep thinking about our negative emotions and how we feel in that situation: “I’m so angry with him,” “I can’t be wrong, I know that,” “I deserve better.” But this isn’t a good way to solve a problem. To better understand your opponent and see yourself objectively you need to stop using the word “I” and try to concentrate on other third-person pronouns, such as “They,” “He,” and  “She.” When you are involved in self-talk, it’s also a good idea to use your own names. In that way, you will feel distanced from the emotions you experience and see both of you from the side.

Even most writers who want to show their unbiased standpoint don’t use the pronoun “I” and use more words such as “because,” “that’s why” in their books.

Visualize a distanced observer.

Another excellent way to stop fixating on destructive thoughts is to imagine someone listening to you during your fight or observing your behavior at that very moment. Injecting the third person in the situation and having in mind what he can probably think of it and what he would recommend avoiding negativity will help you to practice self-distancing better. It’s like listening to someone who has an unbiased standpoint and can tell so sure.

The study of the latest years featured the power of visualizing a distanced observer even by little children. They were asked to think about the latest unpleasant event that involved them and their friends and imagine one of the superheroes standing nearby and listening to them. The kids started to think “What would the hero do?”. This simple technique helped them to feel secure and create an emotional block more effectively.

Write a narrative about the situation.

Try to avoid emotional words and phrases while writing, but focus on the facts. Use the real names and talk about it calmly. The story you are creating will become a chance to make sense of a difficult event.

Sometimes we can’t think rationally when it comes to the situations like this, because our emotions eclipse our mind. But when we put our thoughts on a piece of paper and read it after it’s finished, we realize that, maybe, we were wrong at some point.

Remember about the impermanence of everything.

Try to think about your future self rather than focusing on the negative thoughts that absorb you from the inside now. Not all the bad feelings will matter the next day or a year after that. Everything goes over time, and sometimes we spend too much of our energy on trivia.

Ask yourself “Will it bother me a week from today? If no, why do I care so much?!”. The awareness of the fact that nothing is eternal will help you to speed up our emotional recovery.

If you want to learn how to understand your emotions and feelings better and get rid of them as soon as possible, these simple ways to gain perspective on negative events will be really helpful and come in handy in the future. Follow the step by step, and you will realize how easy it is to reflect on difficult situations without ruminating and recrimination.


Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

The 7-Step Formula for Goal Setting

Goal orientation is a way of thinking practiced by optimists and all successful people. In future orientation, you first develop a clear, ideal picture of what you want to accomplish sometime in the future. With goal orientation, you crystallize that image into specific, measurable, detailed goals and objectives you’ll need to accomplish to achieve that ideal future vision.

Successful people develop the habits of personal strategic planning. They sit down and make a list of exactly what they want to accomplish in the short, medium, and long term. They then use a powerful, seven-part goal-setting methodology to create blueprints and plans of action that they follow every day.

Once you develop the habit of setting goals and making plans to accomplish them, it will become as natural for you as breathing. By following a proven goal-setting process, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving your goals by as much as ten times, by 1,000 percent or more. This isn’t just a theory; it has been proved and demonstrated repeatedly by almost every person who practices it.

In February 2003, USA Today reported on a study of people who had set New Year’s resolutions the year before. They found that only 4 percent of the people who had made New Year’s resolutions, but had not put them in writing, had followed through on them. But 46 percent of those people who had written down their New Year’s resolutions carried them out. This is a difference in success rates of more than 1,100 percent!

The seven-step formula

Many formulas and recipes exist for goal setting. As a rule, “any plan is better than no plan at all.” Here is one of the best and most effective goal-setting plans or formulas you will ever learn.

Step one: Decide exactly what you want in a certain area, and write it down clear­ly, in detail. Make the goal measurable and specific.

Step two: Set a deadline for achieving the goal. If it’s a large goal, break it down into smaller parts and set subdeadlines.

Step three: Make a list of everything you’ll have to do to achieve this goal. As you think of new items, add them to your list until it’s complete.

Step four: Organize your list of action steps into a plan. A plan is a list of activities organized on the basis of two elements, priority and sequence.

In organizing by priorities, you determine the most important things you can possibly do on your list to achieve your goal. The 80/20 rule applies: 20 percent of the things you do will account for 80 percent of your results. If you don’t set clear priorities, you’ll “major in minors” and spend much of your time on small and irrelevant tasks that don’t help you achieve your goal.

In organizing by sequence, you determine what must be done before something else can be done. You create a checklist. There are always activities that are dependent upon other activities being completed in advance. What are they, and what is the logical order or sequence of completion?

Step five: Identify the obstacles or limitations that might hold you back from achieving your goal, both in the situation and within yourself. Ask yourself, “Why have I not achieved this goal already?”

Identify the most important constraint or limitation that’s holding you back, and then focus on removing that limiting factor. It could be a certain amount of money or a key resource. It could be an additional skill or habit you need. It could be additional information you require. It could be the help or assistance of one or more people. Whatever it is, identify it clearly and go to work to eliminate it.

Step six: Once you’ve determined your goal, developed your plan, and identi­fied your major obstacle, immediately take action of some kind toward achieving your goal. Step out in faith. Do the first thing that comes to mind. But do something to start moving toward your most important goal.

Step seven: Do at least one thing every day that moves you toward your most important goal. Make a habit of getting up each morning, planning your day and then doing something, anything, that moves you at least one step closer to what’s most important to you.

The habit of doing something every single day that moves you toward an important goal develops within you the power of momentum. Daily action deepens your belief that the goal is achievable and activates the law of attraction. As a result, you begin moving faster and faster toward your goal, and your goal begins moving faster and faster toward you.

I’ve spoken to people all over the world, for many years, who’ve told me that the habit of acting every day on one or more of their major goals has been life-transforming. They’ve told me that this single habit has been more responsible for their success than any other idea they ever learned. Try it for yourself and see.

Image Credit: julief514 | Getty Images

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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How to Get a Business Card Design People Won’t Throw Away

Most business cards are boring as hell. A small slip of paper with some numbers and text on it, that we’re supposed to hold on to and reference later? Count me out. I don’t even keep receipts, and I technically pay for them.

Business cards are boring. They just are. We hand them out at professional networking events or leave them in a stack at the front desk for visitors to take with them. And that’s where it ends. The rest is up to fate. In the age of the internet, some would argue the business card is as outdated as a landline. I’m here to tell you it only seems that business cards are dying because we’re letting it happen. Bad design can kill any creative endeavor and business cards are no exception.

But how can you ensure your business card wont get left behind or tossed in the garbage? To get a business card people won’t want to throw away, takes a little creativity. There are a number of design elements you could experiment with to make sure your business card makes the right impression on behalf of you and your brand.

Go Dark… or Use Color. Anything but White.

Most business cards are printed on white paper and use black ink. YAWN. As such, they’re destined to blend in with the rest of the business cards on the bulletin board or the ones shoved into a fish bowl for a free sandwich. Instead, why not explore a business card design that features a dark background or is printed on colored paper?

There is just something about a nice dark blue or satin black that conveys luxury. I’m looking at you, American Express Black Card. A simple design change like this can take your business card from forgettable to fantastic. Just make sure you’re using a color that works within the confines of your brand identity. Also, make sure you have enough contrast. Imagine using white lettering on a black card. When placed next to the other guy’s, yours is sure to stand out at your next networking function.

Explore Different Shapes
Who says your business card has to be the industry standard 3.5 inch by 2 inch rectangle? Sure it’s probably the cheapest solution, but is “cheap” part of your brand identity? At Impulse Creative, our business cards are square and feature rounded corners. People love them and always give positive feedback immediately upon being handed one.

There are a variety of fun shapes you can use in your business card design, if they fit into your industry. If you own a soap company, explore rounder shapes like ovals in your next business card design. Non-traditional shapes are eye-catching and can go a long way toward creating a first impression that is unique and memorable. If you own an aquarium supply store, shape your business cards like fish. The possibilities are endless.

Having die cut business cards are definitely more expensive, so be mindful when exploring unique shapes for your business cards. When you think of the long term benefits, brand awareness and brand equity, the initial upfront costs may be worth it.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Sometimes your name, title and logo aren’t enough. To get yourself a memorable business card people won’t throw away, try incorporating photography into the design. Full photos on one or both sides of your business card give people something to look at.

If you’re a photographer or artist, this can be even more appealing design element, as you can use the opportunity to showcase a glimpse into your work. To take it to the next level, you could even employ variable printing to create a set of business cards that feature a unique image per card. Business card printing services like Moo and others do this really well.

But what if your product isn’t visual? Don’t fret, you can still incorporate photography into your business card design. Think headshots. With the rise of social media, our faces are everywhere– from photos on our Facebook page to professional headshots on our LinkedIn profile. The same can be applied to your business card.

There is only so much somebody can convey from a name. Sometimes it’s positive, and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s negative. But a smiling face? That can be reassuring. Incorporating photography into your business card can work to your advantage: people like to match a face with a name. Just make sure it doesn’t look cheesy, so no selfies here! Incorporate a classy black and white photo or a professional headshot to keep it looking professional.

Change Up the Feel
Eighty pound card stock gets boring quick. But that doesn’t mean paper is cancelled. There are plenty of options for making paper pop. You could experiment with thicker paper, embossed elements, or even a more raw, natural looking cardstock that features charming variations sure to make each card in your set unique.

Another option is plastic business cards. Plastic is becoming increasingly popular as a material for business cards due to its durability and endless applications. Really, any material other than paper will differentiate you from the competition and naturally steer the conversation toward yourself and your business. From metal to cardboard, the options for experimentation are endless. Check out these 60 examples of unique business cards.

Throw Conventional Wisdom Out The Window
Now I’m all for order. And the purpose of design is to make things easier, especially when it comes to conveying information to the reader. But, sometimes we have to push the boundaries just a bit. With your next business card design, be daring, be avante garde.

Alongside the usual suspects like your name and number, include something unexpected. It could be something as simple as your twitter handle. Or maybe it’s a “fun fact” about you or your business. The ideas are limitless. You could even go as far as to put your contact information around the edge of the card to force the viewer to interact with the card. Just don’t make them work too hard to get the message.

Mixing up the usual “name, phone number, email address” formatting in any way is sure to get people asking you questions. But be prepared if someone takes the bait and inquires about your business card design. Have a professional and witty response ready. For instance, if someone asks why your name is upside down on your card, you could respond with “Because that’s what I do to my industry!”

Really by combining any or all of the design ideas above you could end up with a crazy unique business card design that is sure to say you’re different.

Business Cards Aren’t Dead
The next time somebody tells you business cards are obsolete, tell them they are obsolete. Or maybe just politely suggest they lack creativity. When designed professionally, a business card can be your ticket into a prospects rolodex and into their memory. People still like business cards, and they like them even more when they stop them in their tracks.

Plus, if you pass out a creative business card that makes a great impression, that person is likely to show it to other people, putting you and your brand in front of even more prospects. But don’t just hand over any card, give potential leads and new customers an eye-catching business card that’s been uniquely designed.


Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Why Networking in Person Can Be a Game Changer

Online networking is how I started my business. For the first few years, I connected with clients by pitching constantly and responding to a few job listings from the comfort of home. Venturing out to live events and conferences is when the game changed for me. My business started growing rapidly with the support of a community. 

Last week, I returned from FinCon which is a conference for bloggers, podcasters and other influencers in the financial space. Walking away with a stack of business cards was a reminder of how powerful networking in person can be for a business. 

Face time solidifies a relationship 
Relationships I had with peers online grew exponentially when I met them in person. Being friends with other business owners has been huge for my business. We bounce ideas off of each other and they give me business advice when I need it. Business peers are also a source of support and motivation because they “get me.” I haven’t had to cold pitch for work in years because I’ve gotten referrals from business friends. 

Meeting someone new in-person can quickly build trust
Think about it -- When communicating with someone online it may take weeks or months of back and forth to form a relationship. You could talk a little bit on social media to get familiar with a brand before you feel comfortable pitching. Meeting in person can move the relationship forward much faster. I met a few brands last week that want to work with me after we talked a little bit about what I do and how it fits into what they do. 

Live events can do wonders for your confidence 
I’m an introvert. Meeting new people has never been my forte so I was excited to work full-time from home. However, networking in person is something I’ve discovered I need to do often to get my creative juices flowing. Working at home all day with minimal interaction can be isolating and even depressing.

Going to live events, meeting new people and even speaking at a conference is invigorating. It can give you new ideas and renewed confidence in yourself and your business. Step out of your comfort zone. I was terrified to go to my first meet up. But it was at the first meet up that I met one of my very best business friends. If I let fear get the best of me, I would have missed out on a relationship I truly value.

Final word 
We have the world at our fingertips so you can meet plenty of people online. However, I believe that human interaction is still valuable. In person, you can build trust and you can solidify the relationships you’ve already started online. Creatives can tend to be introverted. Working from home means you could have few reasons to get dressed and venture into the real world. Live events and conferences can strengthen your networking skills and land you new opportunities. 

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Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

How to Find the Right Mastermind or Coaching Program to Help You Grow Your Business

You're never too successful to hire a coach.

So many entrepreneurs shoot themselves in the foot because they think they've "got it all figured out" and "don't need someone looking after them anymore." Meanwhile, there are also entrepreneurs -- the successful ones, at that -- who seek new coaches and more accountability as their businesses grow bigger and more profitable.

And that makes sense. With new levels of success comes new sets of problems for you to face. The $4,000/month entrepreneur, $40,000/month entrepreneur and $400,000/month entrepreneur all experience different problems that require different solutions.

Joining a mastermind or coaching program is the best thing you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur. It's like hiring a coach, or multiple coaches, to oversee the trajectory of your business and help you scale at a rapid rate. Let me show you how to find the right coaching program for where you are in your business right now.

Hire coaches who are where you want to be.

Way back when, I was a personal trainer working out of a big box gym. While that was great, I dreamed of starting my own fitness chain. I wanted to evolve into a full-fledged entrepreneur.

At the time, I was training a guy named Jim. He was a hugely successful businessman who made a lot of money without having to work 24/7. He had the life I wanted, so I made him an offer: I'd train him for free if he'd coach me as an entrepreneur. That's how I found my very first business mentor, and the rest is history.

Find a mastermind or coaching program led by someone who's been there, done that in your industry. Coaching from people with a proven track record is a game changer as an entrepreneur. They've figured out the blueprint to success; all you have to do is soak up their knowledge and apply what they tell you.

It's why I currently have a public speaking mentor named Joel. I'm constantly at live events, teaching entrepreneurs how to man up and scale their businesses. Of course, I want my message to be as clear and impactful as possible, so I did my research to find the right mentor. Joel was one guy with a solid speaking track record, so I sought him out. My speaking skills increased tenfold because of it.

Now you're probably aware that there are hundreds of "scam" masterminds out there run by so-called business experts. The truth is, anyone can set up a mastermind and, with the help of a little copywriting magic, convince you they know what they're talking about. That doesn't mean they really know their stuff.

So, how do you tell a legitimate coaching program from a phony one? Do your research on who's running the event and make sure that person has delivered results for others. If the site is missing case studies and testimonials, that could mean the person is not as successful or experienced as he or she claims to be.

Meet entrepreneurs with similar problems.

Ever seen the movie Cast Away? The plot goes like this: A man (Tom Hanks) survives a plane crash on a deserted island, but he must then survive on that island until someone rescues him. He's left to his own devices, fending for survival in completely foreign territory.

Entrepreneurship often feels like Hanks did in that movie. Like you're stranded on an island, with no connection to the outside world -- no one there to understand what you're going through.

That's why masterminds and group coaching programs are such powerful events for entrepreneurs to attend. The best programs pool together entrepreneurs in your industry, or in closely related industries, who all experience the same kinds of problems in their businesses.

That does two things for you. First, you realize that you're not alone. Every entrepreneur has problems, and the ones you face are likely similar to the ones your fellow entrepreneurs face. Second, you get to brainstorm solutions with these people -- with entrepreneurs in the trenches, just like you, who understand exactly what you're dealing with.

You could always ask your family and friends for advice, but what if they're not familiar with what it's like to be an entrepreneur? Or, what if they don't understand your business or your industry? They'll give you advice that's not very accurate or helpful, even if they come to you with the best of intentions.

But when you ask a fellow entrepreneur in your industry, he or she can advise you based on experience and a deeper understanding of what you're going through. And once you overcome those challenges, you'll experience unparalleled growth and success in your business.

Network with high-caliber entrepreneurs.

The last thing you want to look for in a mastermind or coaching program is the chance to network with other entrepreneurs. But why does networking even matter in the first place?

I always say it, but your network is your net worth. The people you hang around with most impact you the most -- for better or worse. Naturally, your income is going to multiply as you spend more time with successful entrepreneurs. And where do you find those successful entrepreneurs? Masterminds and group coaching programs.

As a member of some high-profile mastermind programs, I get to meet and interact with entrepreneurs from my industry and from other industries. We chat it up, and if our business visions mesh well enough, we'll come up with a way to team up and make money together.

The same goes for you. When you join the right mastermind program, connect with people who can add something to your business. First, come to them with a serving heart. Then, form a relationship, network and craft a way to offer a product or service together, or to pitch each other's mailing lists, or to come together and host a webinar for charity.

There's a reason why today's top entrepreneurs invest thousands of dollars in coaches -- even when their businesses are healthy and growing. Coaches and masterminds offer you more than advice; they connect you with successful mentors with creative solutions to your most challenging problems. Find the right mastermind and watch your business scale much faster than it could on its own.

Image Credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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16 Actions to Take to Achieve Any Goal

Get clear on your vision, make your plan, take action, reassess and then revise. Never fails.

Goal setting is essential to living a life with purpose and meaning. Goals give our lives direction and focus, and help us stay motivated over the long term.

Nearly everything in life revolves around goals -- they encompass all of our plans for the future, all of our hopes, dreams and visions for what we want in life. And yet we often fail to reach our goals. That’s because we’re all human and can be easily distracted.

So what does it take to achieve a goal and see it become reality? Here are the 16 actions you can start taking today to ensure you achieve all the goals on your bucket list.

1. Consider your overarching goals.
Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before you take on a new goal is: What do you want your life to look like, and does this goal fit in with that vision?

Goal setting should be part of your life’s journey -- it should be relevant and meaningful to you. Things to consider: How do you want to spend your waking hours? What excites you in life? What areas do you want to spend time learning more about? And what type of people do you want to hang out with?

2. Get it all down on paper.
Writing your goals down forces you to crystalize what exactly you hope to accomplish. This simple act has a way of making your goal stick in your mind and gets your brain working on the details of making it happen. One study found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

3. Brainstorm what needs to happen.
You know what you want to accomplish; now you should begin strategizing what needs to happen to reach that vision. You’ll need to do some brainstorming to identify the main steps and tasks you need to accomplish along the way. Are there certain steps you need to prioritize? Are there any time-sensitive tasks that must be achieved in a certain order? Start determining what needs to happen when.

4. Come up with an action plan.
An action plan is the road map you can follow that will get you to your goal. This will help ensure you don’t miss any important steps. Think of this as creating mini-goals, breaking bigger objectives into smaller steps, until you have “bite-sized” chunks. By doing this, your goal will seem less daunting and more attainable. Be specific about what you want to achieve each step of the way.

5. Make it measurable.
Along with your action plan, you need to set benchmarks for yourself in order to ensure that each step you accomplish is steadily building up to your bigger vision. You’ll need to set milestones and make each mini-goal measurable, so you know if you’re getting off track.

This means setting deadlines that are reasonable, but also keep you moving forward. What is your target timeframe for completing the overall goal? Work backward from that and start setting target dates, which may be weeks, months or years from now.

6. Take action!
There is no time like the present. You’ve got to start somewhere, so dig deep, find your courage and go for it. Your goals will never happen if you don’t take action. It may seem scary to take that first leap. Maybe you’re still working on the details or are worried you’re not ready. Jump in, and you’ll start figuring it out as you go.

7. Consider your talents and expertise.
Think about what it’s going to take to accomplish each of the tasks that make up your larger goal. This includes taking a hard look at your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have the skills and expertise necessary to accomplish all the steps?

Are there areas you’ll need to strengthen, or should you consider seeking help with some tasks? What areas are you most passionate about and which steps are your talents and abilities best suited to accomplish?

8. Delegate less important tasks.
If you have a big, far-reaching goal or dream, you're probably going to need help getting there. It’s important to build a complementary team and surround yourself with supportive people to help you reach your goals.

Do you have helpers or employees you can hand off tasks to? What about hiring a freelancer? Focus as much as you can on the areas where your abilities are the strongest, and find ways to delegate or seek help in those areas you are weakest in.

9. Build a success mindset.
Success in reaching your goals is often determined by mindset. A positive mindset is a “success mindset,” meaning you’re confident in yourself but also able to learn from mistakes.

Developing a positive mindset is paramount to surviving the ups and downs you’ll encounter along the way. It’s easy to get fed up and feel discouraged. A positive mindset helps you find the silver linings in the storm clouds, and enables you to visualize your goal so you can “see” yourself achieving your dreams.

10. Hold yourself accountable.
This is the part where you adult up, defining your responsibilities and making it clear to yourself (and anyone else who is on this venture with you) what your responsibilities are for achieving this dream.

A great way to hold yourself accountable is to share your goals with others -- so if you aren’t making steady progress, you’ll have to fess up. The idea is to take ownership in what you’re doing and keep yourself motivated to continue.

11. Find your inner motivation.
Keep your motivation high by setting goals that are attainable and relevant to you and your life. Making sure your goals are meaningful, realistic and timely will help you stay encouraged and give you an incentive to press forward. The best goals are those that connect with your intrinsic motivation; in other words, they are things you feel internally compelled to pursue.

12. Harness your inner worker bee.
Achieving any goal will require you to hone good habits and follow through on your responsibilities. Success doesn’t happen overnight -- it’s about making it happen, day in and day out. Developing good habits and learning techniques for being productive will help you stick to your plan.

Healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, eating well and taking care of yourself, will give you the energy and stamina you need. Productivity habits, like learning to prioritize tasks, work efficiently and stay focused, will make it much easier to reach your goals.

13. Seek feedback.
Feedback is critical to improving your performance and increasing your ability to achieve your goals. You have one perspective, but those around you may have another. Ask for advice from those you respect and trust.

Seek out constructive criticism and listen to what others are saying -- the good and the bad. Feedback is the cheapest and most powerful way to gauge how other people perceive how you’re doing. It’s an important tool to assess how well you’re meeting the standards you set.

14. Evaluate how the plan is working.
As you begin moving forward with your goals, take time to track how things are going -- is the plan working? Are you able to meet the deadlines and milestones you’ve set for yourself? Periodically reevaluate your goals, look to see where you’re lagging behind and start making adjustments accordingly.

15. Reset your goals if necessary.
Remember that change is part of life, and that means you need to be flexible. You may require an alternative plan if things aren’t adding up the way they should. Don’t become so focused on your goals that you forget what your larger vision is. Is it time to make some sweeping changes and alter your course? If so, better to do it sooner rather than later.

16. Take a moment to reward yourself.
It’s important to celebrate your successes each step of the way. Remember, this is about the journey as much as it is about the end goal. If all you do is fret about the future, you’ll surely hit burnout before you hit success.

Give yourself a pat on the back for all those little wins -- they add up. And when you reach a major milestone, take time to acknowledge it. This reinforces that what you’re doing is exciting and important, and gives you a chance to recognize those who have helped you along the way. Plus, celebrating your accomplishments will help keep you motivated and focused so you can keep going.

Image Credit: Cecilie_Arcurs | Getty Images

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

12 Ways Millionaires Manage Their Time to Achieve Maximum Productivity

People who achieve millionaire status have one thing in common -- they have all found ways to amp up their productivity and squeeze the most out of every day. The most successful millionaires have learned to do this without becoming workaholics.

It’s not easy to walk the line between mastering time management and allowing time and work to become your master. But if you hope to accrue wealth and want to be able to enjoy it, it’s key to find ways to sustain full-blown efficiency without hitting major burnout.

Start incorporating these 12 lessons into your daily work habits now, and you’ll learn the fine art of how millionaires achieve maximum productivity while ensuring they still have time for it all.

1. Keep a laser-like focus on your top goals.
Having too many goals is distracting and can actually keep you from achieving any of them. Millionaires avoid spreading themselves too thin by narrowing down their major goals to a handful at a time -- usually no more than three.

It may be that you have a number of big goals in mind. Prioritize the ones you want to do first, and put the rest on a “someday” list. Keeping your focus on these top goals ensures you will stay productive and aren’t taking on too much. When you’ve accomplished these goals, move on to the next.

2. Hone your self-control.
Top-performing millionaires exert a great degree of self-control and self-discipline because they know it’s the best way to plow through their workload and still have time to spare. When it’s time to be on your A-game, your will to stay on task must be stronger than your desire to do anything else.

When we’re in control of ourselves, we can unleash our full productive potential. Those who are disciplined aren’t easily side-tracked. This doesn’t mean you’re nose-to-the-grindstone all day. Breaks are important. But it’s important to recognize that the only thing slowing you down is you. Millionaires know that when it’s time to focus, they need to tune out the noise and zero in on the task.

3. Create habits that support productivity.
Millionaires get things done by fostering good habits that support them in being productive and achieving their goals. They often get up early to get a jump on the day. They tend to focus on one big primary goal each day, with everything they do is centered on making that happen.

They take advantage of any block of time to get things done, whether it’s a 5-minute window to send an email or a 15-minute block to look over reports or make a quick phone call. They know that you can accomplish a lot in a little time if you use it wisely.

4. Use automation for maximum efficiency.
Millionaires who are tech savvy know that automation is an easy win for efficiency. Sometimes it’s easier to utilize technology than rely on people.

Tasks that are part of a repeatable process can be automated, including data backup, accounting and some human resources and marketing tasks. The key is to make sure your operation is already running efficiently. Otherwise, any problems you have will only be magnified by automation. Besides saving time and boosting productivity, the benefits of automation include freeing up resources and reducing employees’ workloads.

5. Make time for deep work.
Even for a millionaire, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of work: putting out fires, answering emails, going to meetings. But the most successful people know that maximizing their productivity means giving their important projects the time and attention they need.

Successful millionaires recognize that they need to carve out time to completely focus on demanding projects. They set aside blocks of time to allow their brains to go into “deep work.” This might be several hours of uninterrupted time completely devoted to the task at hand -- no phones, no emails, no people stopping by to chat. That’s when they’re able to make their biggest breakthroughs and make important headway on their goals.

6. Set time limits for lower-level tasks.
Millionaires make sure to prioritize their projects so that lower level tasks don’t eat up their day. They designate time slots and put time limits on accomplishing less important tasks. For instance, instead of letting email suck up the morning, limit yourself to checking and responding to email at certain times of day, such as once midmorning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening.

Keep your responses as succinct as possible. Set time limits for meetings and keep phone conversations to the point. This one hack will give you more time to devote to bigger issues and projects.

7. Carefully consider which opportunities to seize.
It’s tempting to seize any and all opportunities that come your way. But millionaires understand that trying to take on everything will eventually leave them overwhelmed, and then they’ll be unable to fulfill any of their obligations to the best of their ability.

Carefully consider which opportunities have the best potential and are the best fit for you. Is the opportunity in keeping with your broader vision and does it put you in a better position to achieve your dreams? If not, it may not be the right move for you.

8. Take a lunch break.
Millionaires don’t scarf their lunch sitting at their desk. They make sure to give themselves a midday break, not only to eat, but to make that time useful and productive in other ways.

A lunch break is a great time to get outside for a little exercise, or simply to soak up some vitamin D from the sun. Lunch is also a great opportunity to do some networking or get to know your co-workers and colleagues by sitting down to a meal together and chatting outside the workplace.

And if it’s a day when you’re feeling exhausted and struggling to stay focused, find a quiet place to take a snooze during your lunch break. Even a 20-minute nap can help you optimize productivity for the rest of the day.

9. Structure your day for success.
If there’s one thing that millionaires and successful people have in common, it’s that they all structure their day for top productivity. They set aside the first two hours of work to tackle their most important projects.

After that, they may take a breather and check email, but then they quickly move on to their next most important tasks. Successful people make sure to stay focused on their priority tasks, and end their day by making a to-do list that will set their schedule and tasks for the next day.

10. Don’t be afraid to say no.
Even millionaires feel the pressure to say yes to every task that comes their way. After all, no one wants to come off as lazy, unhelpful or uncooperative. But successful people know it’s their ability to say no that will enable them to focus their energy and truly function at top productivity.

Realistically, you’re not going to be able to take on every task and do a good job with it. And the more you have on your plate, the more your attention will be divided. Be up-front with others about what you can take on without making up excuses or being disrespectful. The key is to be direct and explain that you don’t have the bandwidth to do more.

11. Find time to recharge.
Hard work and focus are key to productivity, but nobody can work 24/7. Millionaires know when to give themselves a break and when it’s time to walk away for the day. Everyone needs time to recharge their minds and find a sense of peace and quiet in their day.

When you’re feeling worried and stressed, you’re not working as effectively and productively as you could be. Giving yourself space to decompress, breathe, feel gratitude and engage in self-care is crucial to achieving maximum productivity and focus during work time.

12. Figure out what works for you.
Millionaires don’t attain their success by following everyone else's rules. They embrace the fact that they function and operate differently. Some people may be adept at answering emails while doing other things. Some insist on focusing on one thing at a time. Some may prefer to work late at night, while others are early birds.

Keep an open mind to advice on time management, but take the time to figure out your own best practices. If you try a productivity hack and it doesn’t work, try something else -- but keep at it until you feel you are functioning at your best. The rule for productivity is that there are no hard and fast rules -- it’s about what works for you.

Image Credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Is Fear Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals? Overcome it by Understanding These 3 Principles

Fear can have a paralyzing effect on our lives. However, by understanding the cause of fear you can overcome blocks to progress and achieve your dreams.

At certain points in life, everyone experiences fear. But as a businessperson, you must learn how to understand and cope with your fear. Better yet, you must use fear to your advantage.

Learning to overcome fear is an essential skill. You must conquer fear to push through hesitations, create companies, develop innovative products and disrupt industries.

And while we all know fear exists, most people haven't taken a deep look at the cause of fear. On one side, there are obvious biological reasons for fear, such as keeping humans alive in the face of danger. But apart from physical, bodily harm, fear can take on many other forms. For instance, psychological fears, like a fear of public speaking, can be just as paralyzing as performing an activity with great physical danger, like say, swimming with sharks.

Obviously, there are different levels of inherent danger in these activities, and yet our brain often reacts to them in the same way.

Take a moment to think about all the different kinds of non-physical fear. Maybe you have a fear of failure. Or, have you ever had a fear of being judged? You might even know someone that has a fear of success?

Fear is a complex emotion, and many of the non-physical threatening states seem closely related to anxiety. And while psychologists have attempted to find the boundaries between fear and anxiety, it remains an ongoing debate.  

But we do know one thing for sure about fear - it impacts your emotions, and this, in turn, impacts your ability to make decisions.   

So, if you are a generally fearful or anxiety-filled person, you are more likely to view life through a pessimistic lens. Fearful people consistently amplify the perception of risk too. In the long run, being fearful will stop you from experiencing life fully.

To live a great life, and succeed in business, you need to get your fear in check. And by understanding these three principles, you will be able to get a grip on your fear.

1.     Forget the Non-Physical Fears - Any consistent fears that do not protect your physical well-being should be discarded. These are anxiety driven fears that are tied to emotional damage, self-doubt or limiting beliefs. To reach your true potential, you must reduce unnecessary, emotionally-based fears.    

2.     Fear Begets More Fear - The longer your irrational fears remain, the more concrete they become in your psyche. Also, staying fearful will reduce your ability to make optimal choices. To think big and create value the world of business, you're going to need all the optimism you can get. 

3.     Release Lack Thoughts to Release Your Fear - Many emotional and anxiety driven fears are based on your belief in lack. You worry that the startup cost is too high (lack of resources available) or you worry that your too inexperienced (lack of time to develop the necessary skills). While it's good to be realistic about a new venture, you can overcome most problems if you truly want to find a solution.

Fear is a very real part of life. But the men and women who learn to push past fears will always accomplish more than those who succumb to it.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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