Uncovering the Hidden Opportunities for Your Business

I had a beautiful conversation with a beautiful soul recently who happens to live in Kathmandu in Nepal which I think is very cool that technology allows us to do this! It was our 2nd attempt after the Skype connection failed the first time, and I am so very happy we persisted and made it happen.

You see, she asked me a question that helped me see something for myself that I hadn’t really realised and it has been super helpful for my coaching practice. She asked what I had seen differently or what had changed for me and my business since realising the nature of life is inside out versus outside in.

I talked about how my coaching has been evolving and how I am seeing more and more that “being” with my clients is far more important than any information I can share with them. Now this isn’t completely new to me by any means, but it was fresh in the moment the depth to which I felt it.

People don’t want more information they can get that by using Google.

They want to be with someone who they feel connected to, who they know understands them, who has their best interest at heart and most of all, who honours them for who they truly are and not what they do, have or even the way they think.

Professional coach training teaches us to be non-judgemental and to co-create with a client and that the client has his/her own answers, but that’s not what I am talking about here. It’s much more than that and this has been evolving with the inner “work” I have been doing for me which is fascinating.

Again, no surprise there really and yet at the same time, as I said, it is.

This is not about the personal, the inner work for “me”. This is about the impersonal. It’s about recognizing the impersonal versus the personal and being able to take the personal out of the coaching. It’s about helping my clients see that for themselves too. Helping them see that when we drop the personal thinking and stop making it about “me”, then we are able to experience a freedom that’s just not available otherwise.

Coaching for me has become so much more than helping solo-preneurs get more clients and make more money. There is a richness to it that I can’t describe in words. It’s like eating a chocolate cake and then trying to explain to someone who has never had cake before what it tastes like. Delicious, mouthwatering, sweet, rich, smooth, exquisite, moreish and so on!

And when we are in that space together, so often it feels magical and magic happens! I know it probably sounds just a little far fetched, and I would agree with you unless I hadn’t experienced it over and over again recently. I am witnessing clients change before my eyes and for me that is magic. Nothing on the outside has changed and yet their world looks completely different. How can that not be magic?

Or could it be just as simple as a shift of perspective?

The answer is yes, of course (but I still see it as magical!). And the beauty of that is that once the perspective has changed then the opportunities that were always there become visible. It’s like walking around with an eye patch on without knowing it was there even though people have been telling us it is there, and then suddenly realising there is an eyepatch (the fresh new thinking), taking it off and seeing a whole lot more in the world.

And when we see more it feels like there is more potential. There are opportunities to connect to new clients. Opportunities to create new programmes or products.

Potential to create and create and create! Blocks disappear because they weren’t really there in the first place! It was the patch, lol!

It’s simplicity at it’s finest! That’s why so many people miss it and that’s why I think it’s magical. It’s the blindingly obvious staring us in the face, but our intellect doesn’t want us to realize it is so simple and keeps us chasing for some new technique or tool or strategy so that it doesn’t lose it’s job of working it all out and implementing the latest and greatest tool.

So I am keeping it simple because it works and I really love being a magician, lol!

Sheela Masand was a co-founder and working partner of a multi million Euro business for over 12 years. Having worked through the struggle of how to find clients and make money in her own business, she now specializes in helping other heart-centred service professionals to do just that, all in a very authentic, non sales-y way.

Entrepreneur’s Guide to Success Diseases

I know it may sound strange to write an article about success diseases, but in my many years of business I have seen many diseases that bring a business down little by little if it remains unchecked. The owner gets the disease and his leadership wains. Then we see a change in the employees and everyone is infected and ineffective to run the business.

As an entrepreneur, you must evaluate yourself to see if any of these diseases exist and if they do, inoculate yourself with the antidote quickly.

When we talk about entrepreneur failure diseases, we are talking about common traits of successful entrepreneurs that have taken on a life of themselves. They are not bad in and of themselves, but when they get out of hand they can side-rail a business growth quickly. For instance, having confidence is a good thing, but being cocky can be hard for your business.

Fear Of Missing Out Disease

FOMO, or the Fear of Mission Out, is a major problem with entrepreneurs. We are hard-wired to look for and seek out opportunities. When we get the FOMO disease, we are so busy looking for the next big deal that we miss the strategies that we have right in front of us. In other words, instead of growing our business, we are looking for the next opportunity to grow.

The cure is simple, but it takes practice. Fist, you have to get away from the source of the infection: usually email. Turn off and unsubscribe to any list that may be offering you the next greatest deal. It is hard to go cold turkey, but if you separate yourself from these professional opportunity infectors, you can find relief from FOMO.

Shiney Object Syndrome

SOS, or Shiney Object Syndrome is one of the most common diseases of entrepreneurs. SOS means that you are always looking for the newest tool, technology or trend to grow you business. You know if you have this disease because you have bought all kinds of tools and electronics ‘in case you may need them.’ This is the entrepreneur’s version of hording and you want to nip it in the bud as soon as you see the symptoms.

The cure is the 3-30-30 process. When the newest tool or technology comes along, ask yourself the 3-30-30 questions. Can you get 3 times the return on your item? Can you get that return in 30 days? Does it take around 3 minutes to learn? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you are probably OK, but if you start to sweat just thinking about what you could do with that new tool, turn and run away as fast as you can.

Over Load Syndrome

OLS, or Overload Syndrome means you spend way too much time gathering information and talking about an idea that it never really gets done. OLS focuses on making sure you make the right decision so much that you never really make a decision. Some call it perfectionism and some call it wishy-washy thinking. Whatever you call it, if you are not implementing your ideas, you are wasting your time talking about them.

The cure for OLS is to learn the power of ‘good enough.’ Yes, you should do your due diligence, and yes you should put out a great product. However, if you never ‘ship it’ you never get paid. Sometimes, making a good enough product will work for your first iteration and you can later create a super, better version, once you have tested the previous version. Otherwise, you have nothing to test and it all ends up running around your head.

Conclusion

The entrepreneur’s failure diseases effects many entrepreneurs. If we could all learn to see the symptoms and give the cures, we could see a rise in successful entrepreneurs. Every business owner has the opportunity to succeed if they just stick to their success plan and make it happen. Sure there will be some bumps along the road, but staying true to your focus will bring you to success. Stay on track with a healthy business and avoid these diseases at all costs.

Hi, I’m Lyle Huddlestun, I created this list partially in jest, and partially because these are real issues for business owners. They come from mental blocks in our own minds.

Just like the stock market

Just like the stock market, traders in the currency market are based on the analysis of two types: technical analysis and fundamental forex analysis. Technical analysis used in the same manner as the stock market and is the analysis charts and indicators. Forex Fundamental analysis is slightly different – at the time, as companies have financial statements that must be analyzed, countries have a number of economic reports and indicators, the dynamics of which also needs to be analyzed, because the currency is, in fact, it shares the country.

In order to analyze the value of the currency countries, you need to analyze the economic situation of the country, to make profitable trades. In this article we look at some of the major economic reports, which help traders better understand the state of the economy and make a fundamental analysis of forex.

Economic indicators for fundamental forex analysis

Economic indicators – the reports that detail the country’s economic performance in a particular area. These data are usually published periodically by government agencies or private organizations. In such economic indicators include the data that lend themselves to statistical analysis.

Major economic reports and indicators are:

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Many believe that the GDP is the broadest measure of the dynamics of the economy. This figure represents the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country during a certain period of time.

Retail sales

Retail sales – an indicator that attracts attention, within which compares total revenue or the value of all goods sold in retail stores in the country. The report summarized data on sales from retail stores across the country.

Industrial Manufacturing

industrial production report is published on a monthly basis, and reports changes in production factories, mines and utilities. One of the most important metrics included in this report, is the coefficient of capacity utilization, which assesses the level of manufacturing activity in the economy.

This is only a brief overview of some of the basic reports, which you should know if you want to become a trader in the forex market and master fundamental analysis. There are many other statements and factors that could affect the value of the currency, but here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always be aware of where immediate publication of economic reports that may affect the currency pair you are interested in;
  • through daily economic forex trading calendar of news, to be sure that you do not miss anything;
  • often there is volatility in the market even before the main report due to mature expectations among investors.

Authentic Health Business Entrepreneur

Are you being true to what you ask of others everyday? Remember that you are the face of your brand, even if you do not think of your business as a brand as yet. Your clients do.

There is a lot of talk about authentic entrepreneurs, but what does it really translate into? Look at it this way, it simply means that you try your best every day to do as you say. This is what clients connect to as being an authentic person. And people buy from people. They do not buy just a product or service, and this is especially so for solo entrepreneurs and heads of micro businesses. For example, if you smoke, you can be an authentic person in the health industry as long as you do not touch healthy lifestyles or healthy living. For example, I know successful and much-loved wellness entrepreneurs that smoke and concentrate solely on helping people with emotional upliftment. And I cannot count the number of nutritionists that have come to me for help with healthier eating and drinking habits; they saw the reasons why they needed to be authentic in their work and followed through. In other words, there is nothing stopping you from working in an area that you love as long as you walk the talk. If you do not do so already, find a professional in whatever field is needed that can help you in that area.

There is also another angle that is often missed. If you hide under a bushel and are unsure of yourself as a person, your brand will also be seen as unsure and undefined. This makes it much more difficult to stand out and be seen amongst the other people in your business. For example, I was initially selling my holistic training courses under the very strong ethic I have of quality. For me, good quality includes being recognized at the highest level possible. Then I moved countries. In the new country, there was no recognition for courses in my field, and I was not even allowed to call them courses. So I shifted tactic to selling based on price. However, if you remember, my main focus is quality and not price. So I was hiding myself under a bushel, and everything I said was reserved. It did not translate into many sales. Then I did a course on getting more business and as a result learned to go back to concentrating on quality. I found ways to sell based on quality first and price second. I had to set up many new dates for my courses as a result. They were filling very nicely!

I hope this has given you an idea of what you need to look at to have an authentic business true to your own self. Enjoy your journey becoming the person who attracts their own special tribe of clients!

Tips and Tricks for Women Entrepreneurs

These five tips for women entrepreneurs that will help you immensely on getting funds:

1. Think BIG

Oh dear, there is nothing inspiring about thinking small. Be (or become) a high-impact entrepreneur. That means: Find a problem that impacts a lot of people and solve that problem. Put the destination before the journey so you can get there, align interests, and recruit talent. Stay away from local or small goals to create your business model. If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: DO NOT THINK SMALL.

2. Manage by DATA

Thinking artsy? think again. Define what Data you need to know if you are getting closer or further from your goals, or if you need to modify them. That means: Create KPI (key performance indicators) that are aligned with the goal of your organization, and establish key milestones that help you focus and feel accomplished. Stay away from unsubstantiated information that might as well be a paradigm waiting to be broken.If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: DO NOT MANAGE BY INTUITION

3. Work on Design and Strategy

Boy (I mean girl) that is a hard one. Work ON the business, not IN the business. That means: make your job redundant continuously, learn the basics enough to supervise early on, but quickly hire talent and move to think strategically. Every minute used on doing the work is a minute wasted to think strategically. Stay away from repetitive tasks, use technology or outsource it. If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: GO BEYOND GETTING THE WORK DONE.

4. Become Known

Shake out the boy’s club or the men’s club. Nurture relationships, everything is right about professional and personal connections. That means: be (or become) a reputable expert in your field, deliver value in your conversations, help and ask for help, and be grateful. It is not what you do but who you are. Stay away from feeling sorry that you are not remembered or recognized, be useful. If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: DO NOT RELY ONLY ON YOUR NETWORK.

5. Be Irreverent

Rejection does not measure your value. Keep your inner voice as more important than other’s opinion of you. That means: accept feedback and listen very attentively when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear, then filter inappropriate from relevant feedback, and then decided if you accept that feedback. Stay away from making quick judgments without asking enough questions or having data, and accept that no everybody agrees with you. Rejection does not define you, it is an opinion about an idea. Use “What do you mean?.” It is a wonderful question. If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: DO NOT PURSUE REINFORCEMENT.

BONUS TIP:

Trust Yourself

A pat in the back does not help you move forward. Yes, failing sucks, and crying can be an option, but retrain yourself to step up. The opposite of success is not failure, it is inaction. That means: shift from victim to hero, life does not happen to you, you happen to life. Trust your capacity to solve challenges. Stay away from (other’s) fear from (your) success. Find the relevant support to help you overcome your challenges instead. If you are a woman entrepreneur seeking funds: DO NOT SEEK COMPASSION.

Entrepreneurship Stress

Is Entrepreneurship Stress normal? Is anyone else an entrepreneur and feeling stressed out and overwhelmed in the beginning stages, or am I the only one? Making the leap into self-employment can be tough. It may seem like an ideal life from the outside but it’s no easy path and leaving a steady paycheck to make a go at your dreams can be full of trials and tribulations.

Goodbye Stress and Negativity

I’m going through the baby bumps of starting my own business. Yet, I know that what I’m doing is the right thing in the long run… because living off a government job is not the way I’m going to achieve success and happiness in this life. We’ve all been programmed that good benefits and pension are the way towards freedom but at the same time, in my experience I’ve never felt more insecure than working a union dayjob. Everyone’s always fearing layoffs and by nature a large organization is full of politics.

I don’t need that kind of insignificant stress and negativity. Life’s too short.

Cut out everything that isn’t serving you in your life.

Early Lessons

But anyways now that I’ve been working on my online business and website- trying to grow an email list and audience, learn about marketing, learn about the technical aspects of web-development and still maintain some semblance of a content creation schedule, it can be overwhelming to say the least.

Another mental ordeal I struggle with is that, I’ve gone back into old habits of doubt, fear and worry about finances. In my first month of launching a new website there were inherently a lot of expected and unexpected administrative costs with getting the hosting and registration of the websites setup, as well as business and legal costs to set the company properly setup with the city. And of course I learned a lot in putting a lot up in the front end towards marketing to begin growing an email list.

Again, the costs and process is overwhelming, but in hindsight I guess the beginning stage is the hardest.

The marketing itself was a huge lesson because I think I overspent on buying clicks for my email list. Lesson learned and now I think I’ll turn towards Facebook Ads which could be potentially more lucrative and efficient monetarily as it’s much more targeted.

Gotta Keep Learning

Last year I joined an online marketing course and I feel it’s time to dive back into the material because there is a lot of good info on paid online advertising, and I definitely need up my skill in that area if I’m to grow my business.

These next couple months are make or break for me because I really am determined to never return to a day job… but the fears and doubts of running a business and providing a better life for my family and whether I am capable have been weighing me down.

But I know I am capable of being a great writer and content producer and also I know that I am able to solve problems that I’ve encountered in my life.

So rather than wasting my time on dwelling on all the issues that are just inherent in starting a business it’s time to roll up my sleeves and start taking action again.

I know I can do it… I’ve never been this far in business… and I’ve tried many times to become an entrepreneur… I feel like I’m finally knocking on the door to achieving my goals and dreams, so it’s not the time to give up now… I have to keep going.

6 Solid Opportunities for Startups in 2016

According to Thomas Oppong of AllTopStartups.com, there are a few emerging trends ahead for startups in 2016. He predicts that in the coming year a few waves will come crashing in. Some startups will ride those waves to success, others will drown in them. These trends and opportunities include:

  1. big data,
  2. data privacy,
  3. better analytics,
  4. content marketing,
  5. greater use of freelance contractors versus full-fledged staff and,
  6. increasing alternative payment options.

Not only will there be more startups popping up in these specializations and sectors, startups in all industries will need to evaluate their business and marketing plans for the 2016 business cycle to see if they’re positioned to optimize these trends.

1. Big Data or Bust?

Once upon a time, only the big boys could afford to benefit from big data. Recently, though, the cat’s out of the bag and a growing number of firms and companies are capturing and selling data at rates even the little guys can get in on. Part of this trend stems from how open people are on social media sites and profiles, and willing they are to interact with ads and promotional platforms.

Sophisticated and specific data can eliminate guessing games in demographics and target markets. Although the population has rampant suspicions about how that data gets collected, most people can easily recognize and understand that big data does have some pretty practical benefits. Which ones can you put into play for your business in 2016?

2. Better Safe Than Sorry

2015 saw a lot of data security fails, not only for startups but for established players as well. Things will likely be just as tough in 2016. As more businesses invest in cloud and cloud-hybrid technologies, there will probably be a continued growth in this industry. What are your biggest data security risks? Or will your startup be the one to capitalize on the opportunity to provide premium security features?

3. Building Better Dashboards

Up until now, most analytics dashboards are active and dynamic, requiring the user to manipulate the data to find what they’re looking for. Coming soon, these dashboards will become more passive. Instead of you sitting down and operating the platform, your platform will work on autopilot in the background and alert you when significant changes occur in the metrics you’re measuring. This will give you greater control over your information in a more real-time fashion. In fact, this trend towards automation will show in other areas as well – with a heavy concentration in marketing-related functions.

Manipulating dashboards? Ain’t nobody got time fo that.

4. Content Marketing is Here to Stay

Content marketing was the buzz word of the 2015 year. Buzzzzzz. Don’t expect things to change in 2016. Content marketing is a key component of the trend towards inbound marketing, which is effective not only at producing more leads but also by doing it cheaper than traditional outbound marketing and advertising outlets like television, radio and print. In fact, HubSpot reports that inbound marketing brings in about 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing does and saves the average company $20,000 in annual advertising costs! Traditional smaditional.

Which brings us to the next trend of 2016…

5. The Just-In-Time Workforce

Startups are always pressed for resources, and a significant portion of them end up in the human resource department. As traditional advertising outlets are left by the wayside, so are a number of the more traditional workforce models. Salaries are a huge expense. So are benefits and other perks.

Today, startups are trending towards investing as much as they can in building the best founding team and then turning to the contract, freelance workforce to fill in the gaps, if and as needed. Virtual assistants are as effective as receptionists. Content marketing doesn’t require that you pen every blog post – there are freelance sites to shop out steady sources of content at surprisingly affordable rates.

Which positions in your startup could be supplemented with a freelance team versus a traditional staff? An estimated 33% of the American workforce is now moonlighting and freelancing. Business Insider predicts that number to grow to 40% by 2020.

6. Do We Take What?

Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, have revolutionized the concept of digital payments and other major players decided to get in on the action. Mobile payments are constantly on the rise and even Dollar General has set up payment systems in their stores that allow you to pay directly from your PayPal account. Gone are the days where just any merchant account will do. Today, there’s a greater needs for diversity. Be on the lookout for all-in-one payment systems that update regularly so you can say yes no matter what alternative payment system customers throw your way!

Matt “Handshakin” Holmes is a speaker, author, and Founder of the Handshakin Video Series: featuring today’s top entrepreneurs on the best networking strategies. After interviewing venture capitalists, members of Congress, and billionaires, Matt has been on numerous podcasts sharing tips on strategically making connections and relationship building.

Today, he helps aspiring entrepreneurs launch with the best networking strategies in the Handshakin Headquarters (co-working space) and Handshakin Startup Pre-accelerator.Take your startup idea to the next level at handshakin.com.

Best Business Ideas for 2016

1. Social Media Consultant: If you have some time and a computer, becoming a social media consultant may be just right for you. The other prerequisites needed include being comfortable online and using social media platforms and a love for talking to people. To get started building your portfolio, work with a few nonprofits in your area or offer your services at a discounted rate to local business owners.

2. Cleaning Service: There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients.

3. Event Planning: One of the first things you need to know about this business is visit every potential event location with which you plan to work. Work with the marketing manager and tour each site and learn what is available at each location. Start a database that will allow you to sort venues by varying features-the number of people each site holds, if there is AV equipment available on site, will you need to arrange for rental chairs, etc.

4. Social Media Marketing: Build up a following on your social media account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on varied social media platforms. If you have hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post or more.

5. Affiliate Marketing: If you already have a website that’s driving in targeted traffic, a great way to make passive income from the content you’re already creating, is through affiliate marketing,careers thanks to a combination of blog subscribers, affiliate marketing, sponsorship’s, and other revenue streams.

6. Contracting: This is a great option for skilled workers who are ready to take the leap from being an employee to owning their own company.

7. Blogging: If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a website dedicated to covering that topic and anything else interesting you want to talk about. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time.

Entrepreneurship: The Dreaded 16 Letter Word!

Entrepreneurship! This 16 letter word has so much power and yet projects so much fear. It is a dreaded word for some and a liberating journey for others. For me it is a liberating journey. Yes, it’s challenging. It definitely gets tough sometimes. There are days when you are going to feel like you are on your last leg of hope and then there are days when you are gliding on the clouds. It is indeed a roller coaster of emotions. But these varying cycles of emotion I wouldn’t trade for the world. Sometimes I do have to remind myself of my faith, my hope and who I belong to, but even those days are counted as joy.

My entrepreneurship journey started a little more than two years ago. I had enjoyed more than 13 years in corporate America in the hospitality industry and nine plus years in academia. When I decided it was time to plunge into the deep waters of entrepreneurship I was completing my first year as an associate dean of online learning for a local university. It was a dream job. I was quickly progressing toward my dream of becoming a university president. And just like that my heart began to change. And while I certainly felt like I was making a difference in the world of education. My heritage, my legacy, my footprints in the sand were calling me. I knew I was born to do more, to be more, and to impact the world in a different way. I was never good with the status quo. I was never one to blindly accept what someone said. I was a born leader. This leadership ability had been proven in every administrative and management position I’d held up to that point. Looking back, if there was only one thing that I wish I had done a little differently, it would be preparing financially a little more. But then again, I don’t know if I would have ever felt really prepared for the leap.

This is what I do know. Everything happens the way it should. There is a purpose for all things under the sun. Even my being not financially prepared happened perfectly.

What is entrepreneurship?

So here’s how I define entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is when you step out on your own, completely trusting in your faith and your own abilities to bring in an income. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are not working for someone, because we are always going to work for someone. Perhaps, not in the conventional 9 to 5 sense, but someone will always be demanding something. You may be a contractor. For example, one of my jobs, is as an online professor for a couple of schools. I work on contract. But there are timelines and schedules that I have to keep up with. And keep in mind you are always working for your customers, customers are very demanding and rightly so. As a consumer myself when I spend my money I expect to receive the value of that money. I also own an online fashion boutique for women. I am also a career coach. The point is you are always working for someone, even if its your customers.

But here’s the kicker. Entrepreneurship means that you are the creator, marketer and promoter of your business or businesses. Whether you succeed or fail is truly in your hands. When we work for an organization, we leave the overarching responsibility of profitability and success to the CEO, the owners, and the corporate office. They make the decisions that will affect the bottom line of the corporation.

When you are an entrepreneur, you are all of those things. The CEO, owner and corporate office. Your everyday decision affects your bottom line. I guess that’s probably why it could be a bit scary.

So why do we do it? Why do some of us take that leap?

Why should you take that leap?

It is definitely an individual decision. It is not something that should be done lightly and on a whim, but I still say it’s worth trying. The experience and lessons learned on this journey are more powerful than you can imagine. If you are a student of life this is one of the greatest lessons to be learned. Through this journey I learned so much about myself. I’ve found strengths and weaknesses that had not been discovered. I’ve found lost courage and determination like no other. I’ve even found a hidden stubbornness that has evolved and continues to grow.

There are definitely pros and cons to taking the plunge. I think it may be a little different for some, but for most, the same basic pros and cons apply. Here’s my list:

Pros

I am self-employed

My income depends on how much effort is put into the business

My time is my own. It does not belong to anyone else. No one dictates my time to me. I don’t have to clock in or clock out or report to anyone. I can work till 3am in the morning and have my days free or I can work all day and all night. It really depends on how successful I want to be.

My success is completely dependent upon my actions.

Cons

I work for myself. No one to tell me what to do or guide me or give me a job description.

My income depends on how much effort I put into my business.

Long days and long nights

At first vacations are hard to come by

It can be a lonely journey

May lose fickle friendships and relationships

I think the pros and cons are pretty self-explanatory. Many great things about entrepreneurship are also the things that make it not so great. It is certainly not a cake walk. I’ve found that if you have the guts to step out into this world you already know that.

Some of my clients ask me how do you know if you’re ready or what are the qualities and traits of an entrepreneur? I am sure these qualities and traits will evolve over time, but I think these are definitely the very basics.

Qualifications and traits of entrepreneurs

Confidence in your abilities

Determination to win and not let failure deter you

Relentless faith

Research driven

Willingness to try until you succeed

I think these foundational traits will take you far. If I had to offer any suggestions for budding entrepreneurs I would suggest the following:

Prepare yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and financially

Take some time to prepare yourself for this journey. Do your research in the market you are interested in pursuing. Do your research on entrepreneurs who are successful as well as those who have failed. Most times they are one and the same. Ask questions. Prepare yourself mentally for the journey and don’t expect an easy payday. As much as possible, save money for the first year. Imagine you will be out of work for the first year and save enough to cover you. However, this can also backfire. I think not having enough kicks you into third gear.

Don’t procrastinate

Prepare yourself, but don’t procrastinate. Fear is operating when you are just waiting for that perfect time. There is no perfect time. Entrepreneurship is risky. If there was a perfect time it would be called something else. Understand you will never feel completely prepared. It is that emotion, that uncertainty that will keep you grinning.

Be willing to ask questions

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Know that somebody somewhere has already tried what you are attempting. Google is a great resource, use it often. People are a great resource. Never underestimate their experiences. Keep in mind that you can actually learn the most from those who failed. They can certainly tell you what not to do.

Never envy your seemingly successful colleagues

Taking the time to watch others stops your progress. Always support and help as many as you can. You never know when that hand will be coming back to you.

Eight Shocking Reasons Why Entrepreneurship Is Amazing

At its heart lies being driven to succeed, and to build on one success with others. It’s about filling every waking moment with pursuit of an idea, and then dreaming about it whilst you sleep. Having succeeded, it’s about moving on to the next in a life spiced with a hint of ruthlessness, grit, and bags of determination to realise a dream against huge odds. Why else would Richard Branson try to compete against British Airways with a single 747 leased from an Argentinian Airline?

And though it’s impossible for everyone to be the next Branson, Dyson or Sugar (where would the workforce come from, for a start) then far more of us can aspire to it, and here’s how: start a business. There are some pretty amazing reasons to do just that and hidden behind them all is just one. Freedom.

Don’t get me wrong. The road to business success isn’t paved with fairy cakes and rose petals. Hanging the company name on the front gate and creating a DIY web site won’t hack it. There will be worry, long hours, frustration, and maybe even tears. But believe in yourself and stick at it, get the money management right, and you’ll find other rewards besides money and job satisfaction.

Eight freedoms to amaze you as an aspiring entrepreneur

1. Time. No nine to five for you, my friend. You’ll probably work more hours than that, but if you need to go to school sports day or to the park because it’s a sunny afternoon, well, you can do – because you’re in charge. You can catch up with the work when the sun’s gone down.

2. Place. Technology freed us from the need to ‘be’ somewhere years ago. It was corporations that required us to drive up and down motorways for self-serving internal meetings when we might have video-conferenced them. As your own boss you can become a ninja expense manager and eliminate all of that wasted time. Work wherever it suits you. In a coffee shop. On a beach. Whilst baby-sitting. In front of the TV. Effectively, work where you please.

3. Dress code. Dress down every day, if you want to. Stay in your PJs all day, if it suits you, and you’re comfortable with the risk that a client might Skype you at any moment – but be certain to have your work head on at all times.

4. No politics. Every office has politics. It’s unavoidable. It’s less obvious than it used to be, but in medium or large-scale enterprises, there will always be ‘water-cooler’ conversations about who said what to whom, and why; the latest gossip from the ‘5th floor’ and worries about who might be ‘at risk’ in the latest re-organisation.

5. No waste. How many people working in even medium-sized organisation can see things happening that add no value to the enterprise, but suck money out of it? Most of them, probably. In your own business you can eliminate all of that waste at a stroke, and focus on what’s important – client satisfaction. Use the expense manager app, and you’ll always know at a glance how you stand financially.

6. Earn more. The labourer is worthy of his hire, goes the Bible quotation. If you’re employed, chances are you’re not able to earn more if more work lands on your desk. Self-employed or a lone worker, then more work equals more invoices equals more income. And that’s a real sweetener when you’re still at your desk at 11pm!

7. Choice. Whatever product or service you think you can find a market for, you’re free to chase. If it doesn’t work, move onto the next one. What’s more, you can choose your clients to make yourself better at expense management by removing more of that waste. There’s the story of a window cleaner who made a very nice second income by selling half of his business every year of 18 months; keeping the best clients for himself, and ‘selling on’ the ones who needed more time lavishing on them, or the complainers…

8. Making decisions. When you know something is right, then being in charge of your own destiny, or your own company, puts you in a position to be fleet of foot, make the decision, and seize the opportunity

No more ‘what if?’

All this heady talk of freedom is fine, and we hope it spurs you on to want to realise your professional dream. But be under no illusion, the one thing starting a business will also do is tie you to a dream. It’s like preparing a child for its first day at school. You’ve cared for it and made it the best you can. Now you’ve got to hope that it succeeds. But if you’ve given it your best shot, is that any bad thing? You’ll always have the freedom to dream.