Don’t Let Go of Expectations … Put Them to Work in Your Marketing

We all know the potential trouble associated with expectations: If you expect something to turn out a certain way — and it doesn’t — you likely end up disappointed. Subsequently, traditional wisdom has advised that we let go of our expectations to soften the blow of disappointment and train ourselves to be content with the outcome we get. Even though I hold that outlook to be true most of the time, I wanted to explore how we could use expectations to our advantage in certain situations, rather than try to (unsuccessfully) forget about them. If you struggle with letting go of expectations for your business, I have three steps you can follow to put them to work in your marketing instead. Step #1: Get clear about what you want During this step, you examine each expectation you have and turn it into a goal. When you don’t deny or downplay […]

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Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference

A unique selling proposition (USP) is the reason people do business with you and not someone else — a winning difference that sets you apart and makes you the only real choice. Traditional marketing advice will have you lock yourself in a cave for weeks listing all of the features of your business, translating them into benefits, then somehow finding that one compelling point that will differentiate you from everyone else you could possibly compete with. These days, your winning difference depends more on who you’re selling to more than the features of what you’re selling. You need to stake out a favorable position in the minds of those you’re trying to attract, even while turning the wrong people away. If you have a firm grasp on what your ideal customer looks like, then you can do some simple exercises to discover your own winning difference. Three five-minute exercises to […]

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5 Quick Tips on How to Work More Efficiently as a Small Entrepreneur

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are all over the place thanks to the power of the internet. There are now no limitations on age, knowledge and school education when it comes to pursuing one’s dream of having their own business, being an entrepreneur or even launching a startup of their own. The main reason for this, is that the internet not only makes everything easier and more cost effective, it also provides entrepreneurs with an amazing selection of tools and resources to help them launch and hit their goals. Related blog posts and resources: However, not all entrepreneurs and small business owners have the same mindset, work ethics, and goal setting practices. The ones who do have a deep passion, drive, and dedication to success, are likely the ones who see much bigger results. At the same time, they also have some of the best tools and scheduling for their […]

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The Troubled Truth about a Certain Type of Storytelling

We all love to make predictions about the future, don’t we? Whether we think the outcome will be “good” or “bad,” we’ve got an opinion about how things will turn out … oftentimes before anything is even in motion, which means that we’re oftentimes wrong. For content creators, these are the stories we tell ourselves before we even start writing a new blog post series, recording a podcast idea, or building an online course. They’re the hopeful stories we tell that lead to initial excitement, and then sometimes disappointment. They’re the limiting stories we tell to protect ourselves from the heartbreak of failure. And they’re the stories we tell that keep us stuck. Creativity, business, life: It’s all messy, and the paths that actually lead to breakthroughs don’t appear until you take the first steps into uncertainty. In other words, you have to start with an initial plan — and […]

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Why Everyone Hopes You’ll Be the Hero

I walked into the small, yellow audition room and stopped twelve feet in front of the cheap, plastic, fold-out table. There were three of them sitting in there, bored, distracted, glancing at their watches. The big heart inside my chest was pounding on the rib cage, hoping this was the one. “Hi, uh … Mr. Bruise is it?” No. 1 said. “Yes, it’s actually Bruce, but thank you, I …” “All right, what do you have for us today?” No. 3 said. He was looking down, rustling some outstandingly important paperwork into some sort of crucial order. “Yes, thank you. I, I’ll be doing a short monologue from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and another from Sean Penn’s turn in Carlito’s Way.” I heard one of them groan under his breath. With sweat pouring down my chest and into the front of my new shirt from Ross, I began acting like nobody’s […]

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What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know if Your Content Will Rock

Ever had a great idea, and then started to doubt yourself? Or maybe you’ve already executed on that great idea, but you’re hesitating to launch. Maybe it’s an article, or an ebook, or a new product or service. How can you be sure it will work? Should you ask for feedback? I’ll answer both of those questions in this article, but first I need to tell you a couple of stories from the nutty worlds of music and film. Let’s start with a band called Wilco. Wilco gets the shaft In 2000 and early 2001, Wilco recorded a selection of songs for a fourth studio album. Signed to Reprise Records (a subsidiary of Warner Music), the band was continuing to shift away from its “alt country” roots toward a more experimental alternative rock sound. This made the folks at Reprise nervous. After a shakeup at the top executive level of […]

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The Simple Way to Get Everything You Want

I want to tell you a story about two women. One is my hairdresser and the other is my massage therapist. Of the two, I have a stronger connection with my massage therapist. I see her more often, she’s closer to my age, and well, there’s just a certain bond that develops when you get naked that often with a person. But my hairdresser once asked me to recommend her for a “best of” list our local TV station was running. She didn’t cajole, bribe, beg, threaten, or promise me a free haircut. She just said, “Hey, if you think about it, would you mind logging into this site and giving me a review? I like her, so I went home and did it. Took me about three minutes. A few weeks later, I noticed that my massage therapist had a banner over her business saying that she was mentioned […]

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Tips on How to Launch a Successful Company

Do you have an idea for a new business or have always thought about the idea of being your own boss and working for yourself? If so, you definitely aren’t alone. The truth is, more people are taking the leap to start a business of their own, while also discovering it’s now easier and more cost effective than ever before to get started. At the same time, there are already more than a billion active websites on the internet today — many of which are discovering how to make money with their existing traffic and services, which leads to even more businesses going live daily. Related blog posts and resources: In fact, Small Biz Trends has the following stats to offer in reference to new businesses started online and offline in the world today: 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home. According to the National Association of […]

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If You Suck as an Employee, You Will Probably Suck as an Entrepreneur

Here are three reasons why the habits you build now will matter later. September 9, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Do you want to make the jump from working for an employer to running your own business? Odds are that if you suck as an employee now, then you won’t make it as an entrepreneur. It sounds harsh, but that’s real talk. As an employee, if you don’t build the skills you need to thrive as an entrepreneur, especially in terms of having a strong work ethic, then it’s incredibly difficult to flip a switch and all of a sudden thrive as an entrepreneur. I know you’re probably thinking that the two situations are unrelated. Maybe you don’t like your boss, or you’re bored with your work assignments or there’s some other factor that you think you can change when you become an entrepreneur. […]

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5 Saturated Markets with Plenty of Room to Grow Beyond 2019

At the time of writing this article, Worldometers reports that there are approximately 7.728 billion people in the world — and that number is increasing by roughly 200,000 people daily. With such a massive number in place, you could say the world is quite saturated. However, it’s also reported that before the year 2060, we are looking at having more than 10 billion people in the world. Related blog posts and resources: Now that’s a whole new level of saturation.  But at the same time, businesses and entrepreneurs around the world will look at this as opportunity — which is something you and your business should likely be doing as well. Saturation comes in many different shapes, forms, and sizes — but it’s also not something you should be afraid of or shy away from. With this concept in mind, let’s take a look at five different saturated markets in […]

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Entrepreneurship Often Involves Uncertainty. Here’s How to Deal With It Productively.

The future may be unknowable, but it isn’t unimaginable. August 18, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Late South African economist Ludwig Lachmann once wrote, “The future is unknowable, though not unimaginable.” What he meant is, it’s beyond our ability to know what the future will bring. We cannot plan without errors, because we do not actually know anything about the future before it’s already reality. The future is not simply unknown, which suggests a lack of information, but unknowable — what will be is uncertain. There is no information. We are, in this sense, slaves to destiny. Related: 11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Uncertainty But while the future is unknowable, this does not mean it is hopeless. Our efforts always aim to create some specific, limited part of the future. Entrepreneurs do this more than others, as entrepreneurship scholar Saras Sarasvathy argues. They can do […]

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Why More Knowledge Won’t Make You More Successful

An entrepreneur’s guide to learning for quality, not quantity. August 12, 2019 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. From the time we’re young, we’re taught that knowledge is power. Our education system evaluates students based on their ability to cram as much information as possible into their heads. Similarly, in today’s startup climate, it’s tempting to think that learning more will strengthen your competitive advantage. And we can satisfy our knowledge craving literally any time of day, through thousands upon thousands of online courses available 24/7 — digital marketing to blindfolded origami, there’s probably a course for it out there. In fact, almost 80% of U.S. companies offer online training for their employees. Related: 8 Success Lessons From the Richest Person on the Planet As CEO of my own company, JotForm, I’m no stranger to the feeling that I should be acquiring some type of informational currency […]

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The Copyblogger Guide to Managing Your Professional Overwhelm

Overwhelmed? Anxious? Stressed out? Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around. Daily life is difficult enough. And when you layer business and marketing challenges on top of that, it can seem really inviting to stay in bed and watch cartoons for, say, about a month. Since that’s not an option for most of us, we have several solutions for your creative, marketing, and business anxieties. There are a lot of problems we can’t help you with, but we can try to take marketing worries off of your personal “scary” list. This week I’m switching things up a bit, recapping our posts in reverse order to get more and more specific about how you can Do All the Things even when you’re overwhelmed. On Wednesday, I sent a shout-out to all of my fellow business owners (and other humans) who are anxious, stressed, and freaked out. No matter how intense […]

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Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Online Business? This May Help

A whole bunch of common issues arise once you start working on Your Big Idea. “I’m getting a little freaked out because …” “I feel like everyone has already beaten me to the finish line …” “When I look around, I feel behind …” And they all boil down to this theme: “I’m scared.” Well, here’s the good news. If you aren’t at least a little freaked out about your business (whether it’s a thriving concern or something you’re just getting off the ground), you may not be paying enough attention. It’s okay to be nervous, worried, anxious, or just … confused. Guess what? It’s overwhelming Website design, content marketing, social media networking, product design, audience development, payment gateways, security, sales letters, launch plans, evolving technology … Overwhelmed yet? Well, of course you are. Because if you try to tackle all of those things at once, you’ll choke. No human […]

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How to Break Down Your Big Idea and Make Your Next Move

You know when you get a Big Idea for a project that lights you up and derails your to-do list for the day? It could be a content series or a whole new business concept. You might even spend a few hours writing down why you’re qualified to do it and who it will help. But, inevitably, that fervor dies down and you deem the idea a distraction. After all, you don’t have the time and money to actually execute it, right? What if I told you: You can use time and money constraints to your advantage and move forward with your Big Idea in a manageable way. There’s a common misconception that all the time and money in the world will create the business of your dreams. Even if those factors help you set up the foundations of your business fairly fast, you still have to build your business. […]

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What It Takes to Be a Modern Entrepreneur

July 29, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We live in a golden age for entrepreneurism, with the number of full-time, self-employed professionals potentially catapulting from 15 million in 2018 to 42 million in 2020, according to research from FreshBooks. Being a part of this group can be incredibly rewarding, both emotionally and monetarily, but if you want to make it as a modern entrepreneur, you have to play by the new rules of the game. People buy from people In the past, being an entrepreneur often meant building a brand where the product or service was front and center. Today, however, being a modern entrepreneur means being in a league of your own, where you make yourself the heart of the brand and show how you stand out from others based on your personality. That’s because the corporate world has become so large […]

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3 Tips for Creating Your Own Independence Day

Tomorrow is Independence Day here in the States, which, for most of us, entails the risk of losing: Your fingers to cheap fireworks Your waistline to hot dogs Your liver All of which, as a red-blooded American, I support wholeheartedly. But if you’re spending tomorrow celebrating the country’s independence, how about giving some attention to your own personal independence? It might be independence from a day job, financial stress, or even a mindset that’s keeping you from making things happen. Here are three of my favorite tips for declaring your own individual independence. 1. Expand your audience Andy Warhol had it wrong. Now that we’re living in the future, everyone isn’t famous for 15 minutes. We’re each famous with 15 people. Each of us has our own village of customers. And most of us would like to expand that village, at least by a little bit. Especially if we want […]

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8 Funny and Relatable Experiences That All Entrepreneurs Go Through

The same things happen to everyone in different ways. July 1, 2019 8 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The road to becoming an entrepreneur is often difficult, treacherous and filled with unexpected roadblocks and detours. Those who embark on this journey do so because they are driven, independent-minded and probably a little crazy. In a good way, of course! The most successful entrepreneurs have a clever mind, strong business acumen and a deep and abiding sense of humor that keeps them going when they hit the inevitable rough patches that come with any business. If you’ve ever hit a tough spot, know that you aren’t alone. Here are 8 experiences showing that all entrepreneurs go through challenges. The trick is to keep your head up and keep moving forward. 1. Taking an all-important phone call from a weird place. If you’ve ever taken a conference […]

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How To Fund Your Small Business

Running a business is no easy feat. Not only are you tasked with creating great products and services, building effective marketing campaigns, and ensuring great customer service, but you also have to handle all the less glamorous behind-the-scenes tasks. Legal procedures are rarely fun to deal with, but they help guarantee that your business is in good standing and that you won’t be risking everything you’ve worked hard for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Within the second year, 30% have failed. And within five years, 50% of all small businesses go under. Related blog posts and resources: Image source: Washington Post Of course, there are many reasons why these businesses aren’t surviving the infancy stage. Roughly 17% of businesses that failed lacked a business model or plan. But with the right legal actions, you can avoid some costly, crippling […]

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A Look at the World of Influencer Marketing through the Mind of Tal Melenboim

Time and time again you hear about people making hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, by bringing their expertise and passion online. It’s nothing new, but the way this type of mentality, information, and business model is done on the internet is continually changing. First off, if you really want to scale your business and get paid a much higher rate for your expertise, you need to have a business model that works for you 24/7. By working a 9 to 5 or on a client-by-client basis, you are limiting your full potential earnings. Related blog posts and resources: The secret to finding success online with courses, consulting, and putting your expertise and passion to good use – is selling access to something you create once, and then selling it over and over again. This is how some of the top names in the business world are generating […]

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