10 Mistakes Intelligent People Never Make Twice

Everybody makes mistakes—that’s a given—but not everyone learns from them. Some people make the same mistakes over and over again, fail to make any real progress, and can’t figure out why.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

When we make mistakes, it can be hard to admit them because doing so feels like an attack on our self-worth. This tendency poses a huge problem because new research proves something that commonsense has told us for a very long time—fully acknowledging and embracing errors is the only way to avoid repeating them.

Yet, many of us still struggle with this.

Researchers from the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab at Michigan State University found that people fall into one of two camps when it comes to mistakes: those who have a fixed mind-set (“Forget this; I’ll never be good at it”) and those who have a growth mind-set (“What a wake-up call! Let’s see what I did wrong so I won’t do it again”).

“By paying attention to mistakes, we invest more time and effort to correct them,” says study author Jason Moser. “The result is that you make the mistake work for you.”

Those with a growth mind-set land on their feet because they acknowledge their mistakes and use them to get better. Those with a fixed mind-set are bound to repeat their mistakes because they try their best to ignore them.

Smart, successful people are by no means immune to making mistakes; they simply have the tools in place to learn from their errors. In other words, they recognize the roots of their mix-ups quickly and never make the same mistake twice.

“When you repeat a mistake it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.” – Paulo Coelho

Some mistakes are so tempting that we all make them at one point or another. Smart people learn from these mistakes and never make them twice.

1. Believing in someone or something that’s too good to be true
Some people are so charismatic and so confident that it can be tempting to follow anything they say. They speak endlessly of how successful their businesses are, how well liked they are, who they know, and how many opportunities they can offer you. While it’s, of course, true that some people really are successful and really want to help you, smart people only need to be tricked once before they start to think twice about a deal that sounds too good to be true. The results of naivety and a lack of due diligence can be catastrophic. Smart people ask serious questions before getting involved because they realize that no one, themselves included, are as good as they look.

2. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result
Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Despite his popularity and cutting insight, there are a lot of people who seem determined that two plus two will eventually equal five. Smart people, on the other hand, need only experience this frustration once. The fact is simple: if you keep the same approach, you’ll keep getting the same results, no matter how much you hope for the opposite. Smart people know that if they want a different result, they need to change their approach, even when it’s painful to do so.

3. Failing to delay gratification
We live in a world where books instantly appear on our e-readers, news travels far and wide, and just about anything can show up at our doorsteps in as little as a day. Smart people know that gratification doesn’t come quickly and hard work comes long before the reward. They also know how to use this as motivation through every step of the arduous process that amounts to success because they’ve felt the pain and disappointment that come with selling themselves short.

4. Operating without a budget
You can’t experience financial freedom until you operate under the constraint of a budget. Sticking to a budget, personally and professionally, forces us to make thoughtful choices about what we want and need. Smart people only have to face that insurmountable pile of bills once before getting their act together, starting with a thorough reckoning as to where their money is going. They realize that once you understand how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on, the right choices become clear. A morning latte is a lot less tempting when you’re aware of the cost: $1,000 on average per year. Having a budget isn’t only about making sure that you have enough to pay the bills; smart people know that making and sticking to a strict budget means never having to pass up an opportunity because they’ve blown their precious capital on discretionary expenditures. Budgets establish discipline, and discipline is the foundation of quality work.

5. Losing sight of the big picture
It’s so easy to become head-down busy, working so hard on what’s right in front of you that you lose sight of the big picture. But smart people learn how to keep this in check by weighing their daily priorities against a carefully calculated goal. It’s not that they don’t care about small-scale work, they just have the discipline and perspective to adjust their course as necessary. Life is all about the big picture, and when you lose sight of it, everything suffers.

6. Not doing your homework
Everybody’s taken a shortcut at some point, whether it was copying a friend’s biology assignment or strolling into an important meeting unprepared. Smart people realize that while they may occasionally get lucky, that approach will hold them back from achieving their full potential. They don’t take chances, and they understand that there’s no substitute for hard work and due diligence. They know that if they don’t do their homework, they’ll never learn anything?and that’s a surefire way to bring your career to a screeching halt.

7. Trying to be someone you’re not
It’s tempting to try to please people by being whom they want you to be, but no one likes a fake, and trying to be someone you’re not never ends well. Smart people figure that out the first time they get called out for being a phony, forget their lines, or drop out of character. Other people never seem to realize that everyone else can see right through their act. They don’t recognize the relationships they’ve damaged, the jobs they’ve lost, and the opportunities they’ve missed as a result of trying to be someone they’re not. Smart people, on the other hand, make that connection right away and realize that happiness and success demand authenticity.

8. Trying to please everyone
Almost everyone makes this mistake at some point, but smart people realize quickly that it’s simply impossible to please everybody and trying to please everyone pleases no one. Smart people know that in order to be effective, you have to develop the courage to call the shots and to make the choices that you feel are right (not the choices that everyone will like).

9. Playing the victim
News reports and our social media feeds are filled with stories of people who seem to get ahead by playing the victim. Smart people may try it once, but they realize quickly that it’s a form of manipulation and that any benefits will come to a screeching halt as soon as people see that it’s a game. But there’s a more subtle aspect of this strategy that only truly smart people grasp: to play the victim, you have to give up your power, and you can’t put a price on that.

10. Trying to change someone
The only way that people change is through the desire and wherewithal to change themselves. Still, it’s tempting to try to change someone who doesn’t want to change, as if your sheer will and desire for them to improve will change them (as it has you). Some even actively choose people with problems, thinking that they can “fix” them. Smart people may make that mistake once, but then they realize that they’ll never be able to change anyone but themselves. Instead, they build their lives around genuine, positive people and work to avoid problematic people that bring them down.

Bringing it all together
Emotionally intelligent people are successful because they never stop learning. They learn from their mistakes, they learn from their successes, and they’re always changing themselves for the better.

3 Strategies Robert Coorey Advises to Help You Sell in Today’s Market

In this day and age, if you want to sell anything, there is a singular truth you need to live by: Traditional marketing is dead. Stick a fork in it. Done.

Back in the day, marketers and salesmen alike thought that if they turned up the heat and applied pressure, they could make more money. And that approach worked . . . for a little while.

According to bestselling author (Feeding a Starving Crowd) and digital strategist Robert Coorey, nowadays that pushy car salesmen speech will get you nothing but a door slammed in your face. Technology, the information age and social media have forever changed the way we live and sell.

Today, consumers have the power, and they’re not going to let businesses push them around or employ hard sales tactics. Those days are over! Consumers are fundamentally better informed and more empowered, Coorey says. So,if you think about buying a car or vacation trip or camera or laptop, these days you don’t walk into that buying situation uninformed and at the mercy of a salesperson.

You walk in, having done your search. You’ve checked out the brand websites. and very likely you’ve looked at third parties and tried to get some ratings and assessments from other people like you: That’s a primary role of social media. In short, selling has changed because buying has changed, fundamentally.

“People see an average of 5,000 marketing messages every single day,” Coorey says. “That’s a lot of noise, and most of it just gets tuned out.” So, how to do you cut through the noise in order to stand out and get your message heard? According to Coorey, here are the three main strategies you can implement.

1. Storytelling
Science has proven time and time again that storytelling is powerful. As people, we are innately hard-wired to like stories, to keep them in our memory banks and to recall them more often than not.

They create a oneness of mind between the storyteller and the listener, through a powerful neurological process called mirroring, where the brain activity of everyone involved (storyteller and audience) begins to literally synchronize.

This accounts for why you will find yourself tearing up, along with many others in a crowd, when a sad story is told. Or you may laugh with others at a funny tale.

Coorey’s preferred method of storytelling is what he calls “transformational with emotion.” “You start with where the subject is at in their life and describe the pain of their previous situation,” he writes. “Then [you tell how] they discovered your company or product. And, finally, as a result of taking action, [you report that] they are now in a better place.”

In addition to describing the physical and tangible benefits of your product or service, you need to communicate its emotional benefits. “For example, were [your target consumers] now able to quit their jobs and start their own business? Do they now work less hours and have gone out on a rare ‘date night’ with their loved one? These emotional benefits are far more important than saying someone lost weight or had a financial win.”

At Linkfluencer, we rely heavily on storytelling and testimonials when communicating our value proposition and various service offerings.

2. Scarcity
On September 25, 2015, Apple released the iPhone 6s in a new light pink color. Saying that more than a few people wanted it would be an understatement, but there was a problem . . .

Each store that sold the new phone had only a limited supply. And unless you didn’t mind waiting weeks for it to ship from Apple, you had to be in line at the store to get it before anyone else. Yet if you weren’t one of the first few in that line at the store that day, sorry — no pretty rose gold iPhone for you! So what did people do? Even though there would be more phones coming, many customers simply preferred to shell out the cash and put forth more than the average effort to get one of the first ones.

This highlights the power of scarcity, another topic Coorey knows well. He nicknamed this scenario “Jedi Psychology Marketing” and explains it perfectly in his book: “If there’s something you really want, and you think it’s in rapidly diminishing supply, you’ll do anything to get it RIGHT NOW!” Coorey wrote.

Booking.com, Wayfair daily deals, and even Starbucks are brands and companies that use the lure of limited supplies to sell more. But other, lesser-known brands and names have used scarcity in their marketing and seen results before. One example is Marcus Taylor, founder of VentureHarbour. He used the scarcity method and saw a 332 percent increase in sales.

So, even though it may seem that having a short supply of something or allowing only a small group of people in on a product will hurt your sales, in reality it helps.

3. Transparency
In both the online and the real worlds, transparency can be a scary thing. But, in 1997, Ellen Degeneres did something few people during that time did: She came out publicly as a lesbian. That event rocked the world, and ultimately affected her career for a short time. But, nowadays, she is hailed as courageous, and her transparency has helped her build a loyal audience.

Conversely, there are a lot of people online who try to appear as something they’re not, or else they lie outright. As a result, their sales suffer and their audience dries right up. A large part of what’s going on with the power of online media is that everyone can see right through their lies. This instantly makes the people they’re trying to appeal to distrust them, and everything trickles down from there.

Being transparent, honest, and balanced can seem little unnerving, but you don’t need to have a digital love-in to have a profound affect on your audience.

One amazing example of this is Buffer. That social media company recently revealed that in the past 12 months, it had lost almost half of its social media traffic. The post was shocking, honest and transparent. The result? More than 300 comments were made, and more than 5,500 shares occurred across multiple social channels.

This kind of openness is rarely seen in the online world, but it adds to the humility factor that gives Buffer a likable persona.

So, take a lesson: Nobody is perfect, and you shouldn’t try to appear that way all of the time.

These three marketing methods Coorey suggests are simple in design, but you may need some time and practice to really get them right. Have a question? Post it in the comments section below!

7 Tips To Reduce Workplace Stress

Right from the traffic in the morning, to those endless meetings and back to traffic on your way home, the workplace is associated with stress and anxiety. But we have 7 simple methods of effectively reducing stress at the workplace, do give it a read!

Progressive muscle relaxation
There is ample research to show that PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) reduces stress and anxiety.

When you are feeling stressed, take a few minutes to relax all your muscles from the top of your head to your toes. All you have to do is contract and relax your muscles, and you can do this sitting right at your desk!

Breathe deep
Research reported by the NPR shows that breathing right has positive impacts on the digestive, cardiac and immune systems!

Take in a deep inhalation and your exhalation should ideally be three times as long as your inhalation. The best part of this is you can do it any time, without anyone noticing!

Try to make time for yoga in your daily routine

In a research conducted by Harvard University Medical Center, it is shown that yoga reduces stress and anxiety.

Some light yoga with breathing techniques will help you keep calm and have a productive day throughout. You can learn these yoga techniques by going to one of the numerous yoga classes, or could learn them from self-help CDs and videos.

Listen to music
Music is not just pleasurable, but is therapeutic too! Research by Stanford University, 2006, shows that music helps you relax in a stressful situation and takes your mind off the anxiety causing thoughts.

So plug in your headphones and listen to your favourite tunes for a few minutes.

Herbal and natural remedies
Research conducted by University of Maryland Medical Center proves that aromatic scents like lavender help alleviate stress and anxiety.

So use these soothing aromatic perfumes on a handkerchief that you can sniff during work, or better still, use these sort of air fresheners to help you keep calm.

Research conducted by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research shows that laughing can help reduce stress.

So keep a reserve of funny jokes, comics and videos that you can refer to when you are feeling stressed. Laughing reduces endorphins that immediately reduces stress, leaving you with that light, giddy feeling.

Drink some tea
In research reported by Psychopharmacology it was revealed that drinking black tea lowers cortisol levels, which in turn reduces anxiety.

So convert your coffee breaks into tea breaks and notice the difference yourself!

You Shall Be Judged By the Company You Keep!

Nothing exposes a company’s amateurish approach to sales and mawkish marketing than announcing (usually via its website) its lofty list of satisfied customers. On the other hand, potential clients can be nervous about sourcing work to new firms that may lack the requisite experience to deliver on the many promises they are likely to have made. So while it’s important to have references, it’s more important to have the right references; and that can be tricky. Many companies screw up what would seem to be a slam-dunk — providing references; it’s easier, and more common, than you might think. Picking the appropriate references can literally mean the difference between winning life-changing contract and spending long hours on proposals that ultimately fall flat. When picking references make sure that you:

Choose companies who know you well.
When you select a reference it’s better to have a company for whom you have done meaningful and successful projects and that can provide clear insights into your organization’s strengths than a well-known company for which you have done a handful of small projects on which you performed in mediocrity. Companies that know you well are also more likely to advocate on your behalf.

Choose companies who represent you what you do best.
People tend to choose companies with whom they are comfortable without considering whether the projects represent the entrepreneur’s true talent. It’s not enough that a reference speak well of you, you also have to ask yourself how well the reference can articulate to others those things at which your organization truly excels.

Choose companies that align with your values.
In many cases people choose companies for whom they done repeated projects without considering how a potential customer might perceive the referencing company. BP was once a highly respected company that many entrepreneurs would kill to have on their client list, but after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill many BP vendors found themselves in the embarrassing position of having to distance themselves from the public backlash. Scandals aside, I have seen entrepreneurs proffer references from their prospects’ most hated competitors.

Know how your reference will answer the tough questions.
Before selecting a company as your reference, don’t be afraid to ask them pointed questions about their assessment of your organization. Ask your potential references questions like: “What do you think is my company’s greatest weakness?” or “How might I have been more responsive to your needs?” If you aren’t happy with the answers your potential references provide you should reconsider providing them to a potential client.

Ask permission to use the company as a reference.
I was once sourcing a video production and had to choose between three companies. When I read the proposals I noticed that one company had referred to a project from an organization I had recently left (which was a well-known large automotive supplier). Not only was this a clear violation of my former employer’s policy against references and a violation of its signed nondisclosure agreement, the proposal insinuated that it had done a major video production for the company when in fact the project in question was the vendor making 500 copies of a DVD, what was worse for the customer was that I was the contact on that project.

Ensure that your contact feels comfortable providing a reference.
Many organizations are forbidden by corporate policy or are barred by their legal department from providing a reference. Still others may simply feel as uncomfortable providing a reference as you feel about loaning your next door neighbor money. When you ask for a reference you are asking for a favor. You don’t have the right to get angry if the company doesn’t feel comfortable providing a reference, thank them for considering your request and move on without harboring ill feelings.

5 Things to Look for in a PR Agency

PR agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and they don’t come cheap! It is definitely not a case of one size fits all when it comes to PR firms. So, finding the right PR firm to match your expectations, fit your culture and, most importantly, accomplish the PR objectives that will move your business forward, can be quite a task.

Many companies I have spoken with in my seven years since founding and leading my own PR firm have told me that they were burned or severely disappointed by one or multiple PR firms in the past. In an industry characterized by large retainer fees and less-than-scientific outcome measurement and subjectivity, be careful and cautious: Here are five things to look for when assessing which PR agency to hire:

1. A great track record

Everyone talks a good game, especially in PR! But to weed out the talkers from the doers,check out what sort of track record the firm has. To get a feel for its level of experience and ability to produce results, ask which companies it’s worked with and especially which case studies and sample work it can share with you.

If you are seeking media relations support, ask the PR firm for samples of clips it has secured in publications. If you are looking for speaking and award opportunities, request a list of conferences and awards the firm has successfully secured for clients. If social media assistance is your need, ask for several handles and case studies that point to results. A PR firm should also be able to provide you with references you can talk to.

2. A specialization in your industry

Finding a PR firm that specializes in your industry is key. If you are a tech startup looking to get into business and tech publications in order to woo investors and customers, then hiring an entertainment-focused PR firm probably doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, if you are a celebrity looking to appear on morning shows and tabloids, hiring a tech-focused PR firm simply won’t work.

Not only does specialization allow the firm to understand your offerings and ramp up more quickly, but equally importantly, it means that your account director and PR team will have relationships with reporters at the publications where you want to be featured.

3. Transparency

The PR industry gets a bad rap, and often deserves it, for not being transparent enough. Just as with any business transaction, customers should know what they are getting for their money. Consequently, you should ask PR firms you are speaking to about what you will receive, and not accept generalities if you’re not comfortable with them. A competent PR firm can and should be transparent.

4. A ‘results’ orientation

You should expect positive results relatively quickly. Results will not happen overnight, but if many months go by and the firm is making excuses week after week, and month after month, then it is probably time to move on. Some PR firms have three- or six-month discovery processes — which is absolutely absurd. You’re paying big bucks, so the firm you select should be able to start delivering in a matter of weeks, and continue to deliver, if it is any good.

5. Customer centricity

Don’t forget, the PR company works for you, not the other way round, so at the very least you should expect to be heard! Pay attention to how its reps treat you during the proposal process. If it’s “their way or the highway,” run to another firm. You want one that will be attentive to you and work to achieve your individualized objectives, not just manage your expectations and treat you as a cookie-cutter client.

A good PR company is worth its weight in gold, so it pays dividends to do your due diligence when it comes time to bring one on board.

Million dollar ridicules

1) Pet Rock


Ridiculously Rich Person: Gary DahlGary Dahl                                          Net Profit earned :- $15 M in first six months.                                               Dahl, a former advertising executive, sold his rocks for $3.95 on a bed of hay. Each sale earned him a profit of roughly $3. He sold the rocks as “hassle-free” pets, complete with a pet training manual and a card board box fashioned after a pet carrier.

2) Yellow Smiley Faces

Ridiculously Rich Person: Bernard and Murray Spain
Net Profit earned :- $500MM
Two brothers, Bernard and Murray Spain, stumbled upon the unrealized potential of the smiley. They started a novelty store, Bernard and Murray bought the legal rights to the mark along with the now infamous tag-line, “Have a nice day.” The brothers began slapping the image on everything possible. The yellow smiley swept the nation and soon, the world.

3) iFart App

Ridiculously Rich Person: Joel Comm
Net Profit earned :- $400K
iFart retails for $.99. iFart is an app with fart sound that has different names, this insane idea hit the world and Joel with streaming million dollar profits. This application has been buzzed about all over the media and pranksters everywhere love the 26 flatulent noises it encompasses, including “Record-A-Fart,” “Fart-a-Friend,” and “Sneak Attack.” The app was downloaded 113,885 during its first two weeks on the market.

4) Wacky Wall Walker

Ridiculously Rich Person: Ken Hakuta
Net Profit earned: – $80MM
Ken Hakuta gift from mother made him millions rich, the idea behind this fascination was pulled from the gewy toy, which when thrown on wall will stick and slowly walk down. Hakuta bought the rights for $100,000 and began marketing it in the D.C. area. .

5) Slinky

Ridiculously Rich Person: Richard James
Net Profit earned: – $250MM
Naval engineer Richard James’ flash of brilliance was spawned by clumsiness. He dropped a tension spring he was working with and watched it slink away across the floor. And thus the Slinky was born. First slinky sale sold 400 slinky in 90 min.

Demystifying 11 Fundamentals for Financing Your Business

Starting a new business can be an exhilarating time.

Eventually, though, you may reach a point where you will require some outside help.

Most entrepreneurs have to consider the issue of financing, whether it arises when they’re starting their company or expanding it.

According to The Kauffman Firm Survey, 50 to 75 percent of young firms use capital injections, most of which comes from owner investments or sources other than banks, while 19 percent use bank loans.

While chasing down funding for your venture can seem difficult, there are more options than ever available today for small business financing. From angel investors to crowdsourcing, there’s no shortage of opportunities.

If you’ve hit a point where you need some help, don’t let a lack of funding discourage you. Here are some traditional and alternative financing options that are available to you as a small business owner.

1. Credit cards.

Credit cards are an extremely popular form of financing for small businesses, and account for roughly seven percent of all startup capital.

A report by the National Small Business Association puts credit cards as third most popular financing choice, after retained earnings and bank loans. Using credit cards to fund a venture is an attractive option — especially for startups that may not have a lot of cash flow. Still, using credit cards isn’t without its risks. Should you run into trouble or the business fail to take off as planned, and you’re unable to pay back the balance on time, you’ll be stuck with high interest rates.

2. Venture capitalists.

Venture capitalists can invest in startups or growing companies — however, it’s worth noting that the number of businesses funded by venture capitalists has gone down in recent years.

Historically, less than one percent of U.S. companies have raised capital from venture capitalists which means that your chance of getting VC is very low. VCs are notoriously careful about which companies they choose to invest in, however, if you’re in a fast-growth industry, and you have a solid exit strategy in place, a VC may be interested in funding you.

3. Angel investors.

Angel investors fill in a gap in startup financing, stepping in to fund companies that need help that they can’t get from friends and family, or venture capitalists.

Unlike VCs, angel investors normally invest their own money, rather than managing pooled funds. Angel investors normally provide capital for start-ups or businesses in the early stage of growth in exchange for equity, or in some cases, convertible notes, that converts into shares or cash value at a point later on.

Companies that have been helped by angel investors include Google, Yahoo, and Costco. Since this form of investment generally carries more risk, angel investors generally expect a higher return on their investment — usually between 20 to 25 percent. One advantage of using an angel investor is that they often have strategic experience, and can often provide valuable guidance with key decisions.

4. Small Business Loans (SBAs).

A popular source of funding, SBAs are loans that are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and they are a hot item.

SBA-backed loans are open to any small business but there are specific criteria that you have to meet first. First, you have to meet the government’s definition of a small business in your industry. You’ll also need to have already been turned down for a loan by a bank. Depending on the loan, there may be additional eligibility requirements that you’ll have to meet as well. You can apply for SBAs through banks that processes SBA loans, the SBA itself doesn’t provide loans directly.

5. Bridge loans.

Bridge loans are short-term funds that can be brought in to help fill the gap between an immediate need for funding and a future, pending investment. Small business owners can obtain these loans from the bank. You’ll have to prove though, that you have sufficient cash-flow, and the bank will want to feel confident that your monthly sales are adequate. These loans are designed to be relatively quick to obtain. Unfortunately they’re usually expensive, so expect to pay a higher interest rate or fees.

6. Convertible notes.

Also known as convertible debt, convertible notes are used primarily for seed funding, and are useful for situations where you may be hesitant to set an equity valuation too soon. This is often the case where setting a valuation too early can negatively impact subsequent funding from other investors. Convertible notes convert to equity according to predefined terms at a future point.

7. Cash flow financing.

Cash flow financing is a loan that’s backed by your projected cash flow. This is different from an asset-backed loan, where collateral is based on your business assets. With cash flow financing, your expected future income will impact the repayment schedule.

8. Hedge and private equity funds.

With banks becoming more stringent on loan criteria since the recession, hedge funds and private equity funds are stepping up and filling the gap, becoming lenders for many businesses that are in need of funding. Although they offer quicker funds, and usually greater flexibility, the downside is that private funds charge high interest rates, usually nearly double those of conventional lenders.

9. Equipment financing.

In a way, equipment financing works in a similar way to a car loan. The equipment that you purchase works as collateral for your loan, which means that you won’t usually have to put up additional collateral. While equipment financing can be a relatively easy form of funding to obtain, the amount that you’re eligible for will vary based on things like your business history and credit rating. These factors will also impact how much interest you’ll have to pay — usually between eight to 30 percent.

10. Crowdsourcing.

With the rise of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdsourcing has become an increasingly popular form of financing for individuals who are short on cash, but have big ideas that are going to revolutionize an industry.

In 2014 crowdfunding campaigns raised $9.46 billion in North America, and the industry experienced an annual growth rate of 145 percent, according to a study by crowdsourcing research and advisory firm, Massolution. Successful crowdfunded projects include the smartwatch Pebble, The Dash, smart earbuds and Oculus Rift, a VR headset for gaming that was later acquired by Facebook.

11. Bootstrapping.

Finally, for some companies, bootstrapping — starting a business with very little capital, and building it with income that it generates — is a great alternative to outside funding, especially in the beginning.

Seeking financing is often essential for some companies that require a high influx of capital to get off the ground, or for organizations that are looking to take advantage of fast growth in certain sectors. But for many companies, particularly web-based companies or businesses where startup costs are low, bootstrapping is a viable alternative.

Bootstrapping is an extremely low-risk way to scale your company, and an extremely safe way to test the waters to see how the market will respond to your product. It may be less trendy than some of the other flashier ways to get cash, but it’s nothing to laugh at. Companies like Dell, FaceBook, eBay, and TechCrunch, just to name a few, all started out as bootstrapped ventures.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll want to carefully consider your company’s individual circumstances when determining which financing option is best for you. Identify solutions that will help you to grow, while at the same time allowing you to maintain enough control over your company. Then choose your funding source accordingly.

7 Mental Shifts That Allowed Me to Become a Millionaire at 22

As of this writing, I’m 22. In the last 12 months I’ve generated a million dollars in commissions in one of the most competitive industries on the planet, where my average competitor is at least double my age with 10 times the tenure in the business. I have a master’s degree from a prestigious university, which I received when I was 20 after fast-tracking four years of school. I’ve traveled to more than 50 countries, completed 13 triathlons and have an extremely happy, stimulating life.

Things are very good — but the future wasn’t always so bright.

When I finished graduate school, I moved to California’s Orange County to launch a new office for my family’s commercial real-estate business. The first couple of months were brutal, and I quickly came to the conclusion that the success we’d have (if any) would be astronomically more difficult than I could ever have imagined. Despite being an overachiever all my life, I found myself wondering how to truly excel in the real world when it all finally mattered.

After reinventing the wheel for myself time and time again I’ve come to realize that the secret to millennial success in the business world is a combination of grit and creative thinking. Here are the seven mental shifts I implemented to turbo-charge my growth.

1. Age is just a number.

Embrace your youth wholeheartedly. If you spin your age as an asset, which can be done in a variety of ways, it can be an extremely powerful differentiator. The moment you begin to give yourself an excuse for not being successful is the moment of almost certain failure.

If you believe you can really make it then you will make it. Besides, there is nothing people want to see more than a hard-working, intelligent and dedicated young professional who succeeds. Create a snowball of momentum that makes people want to be a part of your life.

2. Reinvest in yourself.

The safest investment I’ve ever made is in my future. Read at least 30 minutes a day, listen to relevant podcasts while driving and seek out mentors vigorously. You don’t just need to be a master in your field, you need to be a well-rounded genius capable of talking about any subject whether it is financial, political or sports related. Consume knowledge like air and put your pursuit of learning above all else.

I also believe that it is critically important to spoil yourself to a healthy extreme in order to reward your hard work and avoid burnout. Consider splurging on memorable experiences and luxuries that will enhance your lifestyle. I get a weekly massage like clockwork, and it is one of the best productivity hacks I employ.

3. Avoid decision fatigue.

Attention is a finite daily resource and can be a bottleneck on productivity. No matter the mental stamina developed over time, there is always going to be a threshold where you break down and your remaining efforts for the day become suboptimal.

Conserve your mental power by making easily reversible decisions as quickly as possible and aggressively planning recurring actions so you can execute simple tasks on autopilot. I know what I am wearing to work and eating for breakfast each day next week. Do you?

Related: 7 Surprising Lessons About Success Learned From Interviewing More Than 65 Millionaires

4. Build a resilient mind.

The biggest differentiator between mediocrity and meteoric success is the ability to work productively for hours at a time. These long stretches are when important work is almost exclusively completed. Focus is paramount and, without intentionally developing mental stamina, you won’t be able to effectively compete with those who have systematically built up their endurance over decades in the business world.

Fast track your skills by being mindful of distractions and recognizing when you begin to wander out of focus. Perform a thorough analysis of your daily activities each night and aggressively seek opportunities for improvement.

5. Think big. Be big.

The science behind goal setting and its remarkable ability to accelerate success is infallible. If you don’t already have your one-, five- and 10-year goals written out and visible to you on a daily basis, do so right now. I read mine the second I wake up every single morning. Now ask yourself, what would have to happen to accomplish your 10-year goals in just one year?

The inherent power in maintaining consistency with your acknowledged goals can work both positively and negatively, and is cause for concern if you anchor yourself to a slower timeline of achievement. Be mindful and diligent in charting an optimal path that pushes you to your limit.

6. Be methodical.

Plan your work and then work your plan. Perhaps my biggest breakthrough was large-scale automation of my marketing systems. I created a process that allowed me to quintuple my marketing output while increasing my conversion rate considerably.

The simplest way to put your own content plan in motion is to create a multi-step campaign that touches a prospect through a variety of different mediums every week for at least a month. Follow a logical order and craft your content in a persistent way, while never becoming annoying.

Not in a sales role? You can take a similar approach to any analytical, creative or administrative position by developing rigid organizational systems that help improve your efficiency when faced with repetitive tasks.

7. Believe in yourself.

If not you, then who? Someone has to make it, and nothing is stopping you from being the person who accomplishes your wildest dreams. Nearly every person who has ever failed has had an excuse. Successful people have stories of the challenges that they overcame with creative solutions. The moment you confidently feel that there is nothing you can’t learn or develop to solve the most complex of problems is the moment of guaranteed greatness.

If you still aren’t sure how to begin, start with a promise to work towards the achievement of consistent excellence each moment of every day. This is the basic building block and mentality with which I am building my career.

Keep it simple and remember that success is not an entitlement. If you really want to excel, you have to get out there and earn it every day for the rest of your life.

Source credit : Tucker Hughes

The 5 Books Bill Gates Wants You to Read This Summer

When it comes to his reading habits, Bill Gates is an open book. As he does every year around this time, the brainy billionaire Microsoft co-founder has once again released his summer reading list. Unsurprisingly, it’s comprised of challenging intellectual volumes — no easy, breezy reads for the beach.

Think nerdcore science and math. Then think harder about mitochondria and the meaning of life. Gates says he did while poring over the books on his list, usually late at night.

“The following five books are simply ones that I loved, made me think in new ways, and kept me up reading long past when I should have gone to sleep,” he writes in a new post on his blog, The Gates Notes.

Here are the five books that made the cut for Gates’s summer 2016 reading list:

1. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
Why he recommends it: “The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up. People figure out that in two years a cataclysmic meteor shower will wipe out all life on Earth, so the world unites on a plan to keep humanity going by launching as many spacecraft as possible into orbit … Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit.”

2. How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg
Why he recommends it: “This book has tons of good stuff in it for non-mathematicians. [Ellenberg] updates you about the world of math, what advancements have taken place. His enthusiasm comes across.”

3. The Vital Question, by Nick Lane
Why he recommends it: “[Lane] argues that we can only understand how life began, and how living things got so complex, by understanding how energy works. It’s not just theoretical; mitochondria (the power plants in our cells) could play a role in fighting cancer and malnutrition.”

4. The Power to Compete, by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani
Why he recommends it: “To me, Japan’s fascinating. In the 1980s and ’90s, the Japanese were just turning out engineering and doing great stuff. How did they lose their way? Why haven’t these companies not been more innovative?”

5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Noah Yuval Harari
Why he recommends it: “There’s a lot of things about early human history that a lot of people haven’t been exposed to and [Harari] is good and succinct on that. He goes off in many directions, like ‘Are we happier than we’ve ever been?’ and a lot about robots. It’s got the broad framework. It’s a great book.”

Do These 8 Things Daily to Increase Your Efficiency 1000%!

There are 24 hours in a day. 1,440 minutes. Which at first seems like a lot, but dwindles with every passing second as you race to accomplish as much as possible before the sun sets. And it’s not just work. There’s always something else to do, whether it’s finishing assignments, honing your passion project, spending time with your family or just taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep.

Finding the time for everything is a struggle we can all identify with, from full-time office workers to freelancers to stay at home parents. And though the activities that fill our lives are different, we all need the same skills to make the most of our time. If you want to make every moment count, include these eight things. Because this is your life, it’s worth your time.

1. Make a task sheet.
Before GPS, plotting your path on a map was essential for long excursions. The road of life is no different (and we’re still waiting on GPS for it). It’s important to know where you’re going and, if you get lost, how to get back to the trail. An itemized to-do list is your map that can make all the difference.

I like create my list on Sunday night, right before the week starts. I’m at my most relaxed and refreshed, so it’s easier to take stock of what’s coming up and prioritize. For extra preparedness points, try splitting it up into sections that cover daily, weekly, or even yearly goals and projects. Of course, things will come up that weren’t on your list, but you’ll find that planning for known quantities in advance makes it easier and less stressful to deal with the unknowns.

Know where you’re headed, and every day can be another productive mile along the road to your ultimate destination.

2. Wake up early.
It may sound like a drag, but hear me out. Rising early gives you the opportunity to plan out your day, which helps reduce stress – and if you realize you’re going to be busier than you bargained for, you can use some of the time you’ve gained to complete your tasks. Having that head start puts you in control and gives you the time and freedom to stay ahead of the curve.

But even if you aren’t looking at your task sheet, having that extra time in the morning to pull yourself together is incredibly helpful. Athletes need to warm up their bodies, and your mind is no different. Give your brain something enjoyable but engaging to warm up with, whether it’s reading the news or just doing a few breathing exercises. That little bit of “you time” is just as important as what you’re doing for others later. And you’ll be thankful you took that time for yourself.

3. Work with people.
Life is collaborative. Being alone too much, or being surrounded by the wrong type of people, can distract you from your goals. To maximize your time, it’s crucial to spend some every day connecting to people that bring out the best in you. For full-time workers, this can mean seeking out the right group of people in your office, or sometimes, a new job. For full-time moms and dads, this might mean finding a club or group to participate in. In both cases, any time you lose to socializing is made up in the energy you’ll gain from building positive relationships with your friends, yourself and your goals.

For freelancers, this is a trickier balancing act. Working from home means no commute and little overhead, but it can waste your time in more insidious ways. When you combine your personal space with your professional space, you may find that the temptation to “work” on Netflix is too strong, or that you aren’t using your time effectively because you feel like you’re always at the office. Instead, consider going to a co-working space, coffee shop, library or any other setting where where you can surround yourself with friendly faces.

Being around people keeps you accountable, and there’s nothing like an interesting conversation to get your mental gears turning again when you get stuck – the biggest time-suck of all.

4. Give yourself something to work toward.
Goals like paying your rent and electric bill are fine, but they aren’t exactly inspirational. If you’ve started dragging your feet on a certain task because it feels like a chore, try orienting it towards something you want. Setting a reward or prize that you can earn through your efforts will make what you’re doing feel more like it matters — and having something tangible to prove it goes a long way.

This can be anything — finish your work before 5PM all week, and treat yourself to your favorite dinner on Friday. Get your spring cleaning done and reward yourself with a trip to the salon. Finish that novel you’ve been telling your friends and family about for years, and maybe you’ll finally earn that video game you’ve been dying to play.

Special goals should yield special results, but you can use this trick to maintain and build motivation for just about anything. Figure out what’s important to you, and what you’re willing to do for it. For me, celebration comes in signing up for a tri-state sprint. That may not seem like a reward, but…

5. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Most people claim to be too busy for exercise, but making just 10 minutes a day for your body’s well-being can reduce stress boost your brain power. According to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, working out offers an energy boost, builds your immune system, increases your physical and mental stamina and yes, it can help with those extra pounds, too.

But what’s the biggest benefit of exercise from the perspective of time management? The added structure is important, as is the burst of adrenaline that can propel you through the rest of your day. But above all, working your body clears and focuses your mind. It’s one way to find your Zen, which is critical if you want to stay productive.

6. Find your Zen.
We all work hard, and we often get so wrapped up in how busy we are that we lose track of the point of it. Reflection and contemplation can offer both relaxation and insight, getting you attuned to where you are and what you need to move forward, but it often feels impossible to find in the daily grind. That’s why it’s important to pull away from the chaos to find your Zen — to meditate, however you define it.

Because meditation is not restricted to closing your eyes and crossing your legs on the floor. The key to every relationship is communication, and the same is especially true when it comes to connecting with your body and mind. Some people start their days with stretching or yoga; others wind down by sitting in a quiet place and focusing on their breath. For me, concentrating on this simple but strenuous task grants me mental clarity with every stride, freeing me from my worries and responsibilities. It allows my mind the space and rest to make better decisions, and keeps my body tough enough to tackle any challenge.

7. Know when to call it a day…
When I said there are 24 hours in a day, I hope you remembered that eight of those hours should be spent sleeping. But those aren’t the only restful moments you should have. After a certain point, you will reach your limit. And that’s okay — you’re human. Where your limit falls differs for everyone, but what it is never changes: it’s that point at which your critical decision making has become worn out and you need to step back. You have to know yourself well to intuit when you’ve reached that point, which is why it’s important to find your Zen. But sometimes, as Zen as you may be, you just can’t know what you have and what needs doing until you’ve stepped away.

I cannot stress how important this is – DO NOT burn yourself out in the pursuit of productivity. It is tempting to keep pushing past your limit, but you risk damaging all the good work you accomplished previously and make more for yourself tomorrow. Learn to recognize when you have reached the end of your day, and if you’re not sure, follow the lead of those you’ve surrounded yourself with.

8. …and when not to.
Every rule needs an exception, and the addendum to the above rule is that sometimes, you need to push past your limits. Keeping too rigid of a schedule can be problematic. If you allow your limitations to define you, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to push and improve. Sometimes, you need to run that extra mile, if only to prove to yourself that you can.

If you’re asking yourself, “Can I do more?”, take an hour long break and step away. If upon returning, you’re still going in circles, it was probably best you stopped when you did. But if you find you’re raring to go that extra mile, then go for it. Just make sure to save extra copies of your work – that way you won’t lose your progress in case you’re more fried that you think. Ultimately, this one is up to you. Do right by yourself, and when in doubt, see step 5 and come back to it later.

Trying to be efficient with your time, treating it as the treasure you know it is, can be a lot of pressure. It can be tempting to obsess. But that is the opposite of being efficient with your time.

Above all, be kind to yourself. The road is ahead of you, and making every hour, every minute, every second count means continuing to move forward. Some days you may travel miles. Others only a few feet. But before you know it, the day is over, the drive at its end. And where you’ve ended up…

That’s what makes it worth it.