Successful entrepreneurs know that good habits don’t start on Monday and end on Friday. Entrepreneurs expect to work longer hours than anyone else, but they also know that they have to fuel that success.
While researching to compare my weekend habits to those of other successful entrepreneurs, I found this LifeHack article that teaches many extremely valuable habits, some of which I already noticed in my own routine.
Here, I’ll shed some light on some of those habits that work best in my life as well as some others that I have found valuable.
1. Find a recharge ritual
Find a ritual that you can follow each weekend that leaves you feeling recharged. Whether it’s an exercise regimen, music or time with your family, following a ritual can energize you for the week ahead. Successful entrepreneurs know that, like a vehicle, they can not go far on empty.
2. Spend time in solitude
It gives you a chance to think, sort out problems and plan where you want to be in the future. This can be an excellent opportunity to free write or journal. Experts agree that free writing during regular scheduled times can lead to answers to problems, discovering new goals and insight into your direction for the future.
3. No devices for a day
Take a Saturday or Sunday and choose to unplug. Taking a break from your devices for a day is beneficial both mentally and physically. Constantly being connected and checking email, social media and the places you visit online can drain both your energy and your creativity. Choosing to release the hyper-vigilance of being constantly connected creates allows you to live life in real-time, resulting in fresh perspectives and a boost in productivity.
An entrepreneur refers to someone who builds or operates their own business. By having an equity stake in the firm, the entrepreneur can enjoy a great deal of profit if things go well; but, they also take on a great deal of risk—far more than a regular employee of the business. This entrepreneurial risk can take several forms, including financial risk, career risk, emotional risk, or overall business risk.
Since there is so much at stake when it comes to starting and growing a successful business, there are very specific skills that an entrepreneur usually needs to be successful. Below, we highlight five such attributes.
Understanding Entrepreneurial Skills
Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy, using the skills and initiative necessary to anticipate needs and bringing good new ideas to market. Entrepreneurship that proves to be successful in taking on the risks of creating a startup is rewarded with profits, fame, and continued growth opportunities. Entrepreneurship that fails results in losses and less prevalence in the markets for those involved.
While the prospect of becoming your own boss and raking in a fortune is alluring to entrepreneurial dreamers, the possible downside to hanging one’s own shingle is vast. Income isn’t guaranteed, employer-sponsored benefits go by the wayside, and when your business loses money, your personal assets can take a hit; not just a corporation’s bottom line. But adhering to a few tried and true principles can go a long way in diffusing risk. The following are a few characteristics required to be a successful entrepreneur.
Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. Whether a person is a solo entrepreneur or runs a Fortune 500 company, they need to understand how to communicate effectively to all stakeholders and potential stakeholders that touch the business.
It is imperative for an entrepreneur to be able to communicate with employees, investors, customers, creditors, peers, and mentors. If an entrepreneur cannot communicate the value of their company, it’s unlikely the company will be successful.
They also need to master all forms of communication, including one-on-one and in-person conversations, group conversations, written communication, and email or online messages.
The soft skill of sales goes hand-in-hand with the communication necessary to be successful. As an entrepreneur, this person needs to be able to sell anything and everything. An entrepreneur needs to sell the business idea to potential investors, the product or service to customers, and themselves to employees.
If an entrepreneur is able to communicate effectively, they are better equipped to sell their ideas and physical products.
In the beginning, it’s natural for entrepreneurs to be the first salespeople at their respective companies. Those sales skills are necessary to demonstrate value for all stakeholders inside and outside the company.
It’s a known fact that over thirty percent of startups fail within two years. This isn’t meant to scare you into avoiding starting your own business, but to showcase the reality of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurship involves taking risks.
Countless entrepreneurs have taken risks to get their businesses to where they are now. Taking risks, however, does not mean going into business blindly and then expecting great results. Instead, successfully approaching risks requires careful planning and an underlying strategy.
Why do entrepreneurs take risks?
Every entrepreneur and small business owner has a different reason for wanting to start their own business. That means that you and every other entrepreneur are deciding to take different risks specific to your idea. However, the actual reason why entrepreneurs decide to take risks can be narrowed down to the following five reasons.
1. You will never know unless you try
Nobody can really be sure if risks will pay off, no matter how calculated they may be. But this should not stop you from taking risks. If you want your business to succeed, risks are necessary. According to a quote by Frederick Wilcox, “Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
You don’t know how the future will play out or if your business will be successful. However, you can plan ahead to help mitigate the potential for failure. Developing a business strategy, exploring financial scenarios, and revisiting initial performance are just a few ways to help you navigate the unknown. You’ll never know unless you try, and you can at least set yourself up to handle different situations.
2. You learn from taking risks
Some risks may not pay off, but an optimistic risk-taker will always look at failure as an opportunity to learn. Social Media Examiner owner Michael Stelzner writes that the willingness to experiment with new ideas is key to business growth. As he puts it, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Innovation involves changing how people do things. Combine that with the fact that customers have constantly changing demands and you have consistent opportunities for new business. It is about sharing and teaching what we know and putting new ideas into practice as a constant state of progress.
Business leaders accept risk as a cost of opportunity and innovation. They know it cannot happen if you will not accept the risk that your undertaking might fail. The level of risk may be lessened, however, if you make all possible calculations and evaluate which options are best before proceeding to the next step. The more clearly you can validate your idea or a specific direction, the more likely you are to succeed even if it’s risky.
4. Those who take risks already have a competitive advantage
Since most people tend to avoid risk, those who are brave enough to take risks already have a competitive advantage. Similar to the concept of a first-mover advantage, when most individuals stay away from risk, that means less competition for risk-takers. This means if you’ve found a worthwhile opportunity, and no one else has jumped on it, you’re the only business reaping the benefits and communicating with customers.
Hundreds of new online businesses go from idea to reality every day. While statistically most of these businesses are destined to go belly up, there are those that will grow and ultimately become very successful. Everybody who learns how to start an online business obviously hopes to be in that select category of success stories.
The question is how to start an online business that will beat the odds and succeed.
Determination and hard work, of course, are the coal that fuels the engine, but that engine will have trouble staying on the tracks if the right tools aren’t used to keep it moving.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help your online business perform more efficiently to save you time. Thankfully, a lot of them offer a range of plans that are quite affordable for business owners just starting out.
The goal is to shoot for tools that get the job done in the best way possible and won’t put your online business in the red before it’s up and running.
What Are Your Weaknesses- How to Counter Them and Build Your Strengths _ Lifehack
1. LivePlan for Business Planning
Having a good idea for an online business is the first step to launching your career as an online entrepreneur. Making a solid business plan for that killer idea is second. There are a number of great tools out there that can help you make a business plan and lay out the blueprint to turn your idea into a profitable venture.
For example, LivePlan starts at $11.66 per month and walks users through each step of the business planning process and has over 500 different business templates to ensure that users find the perfect one for their business venture.
2. Siteground or InMotion for Web Hosting
If you’re going to start an online business, establishing a website is going to be one of the first steps. You can get free web hosting, but it’s often lower-quality, and you’ll probably find that spending even a couple of bucks a month makes a world of difference. When it comes to web hosting, it’s important to look at your business’ needs.
For a small business, a shared hosting plan like Siteground is probably your best bet. You’ll be sharing a server with other websites, but it’s affordable at often less than $12 a month and is easy to use.
If you’re expecting a huge amount of traffic, a dedicated hosting site such as InMotion may be a better choice. This type of web hosting will be more expensive, but it is highly secured and won’t get bogged down easily by a lot of visitors.
This article can help you learn what to look for when choosing a web hosting provider.
3. WordPress or Squarespace for Content Management
Now that you’ve got your web hosting in place, it’s time to choose a content management tool to build and maintain your online presence. WordPressis obviously the best-known and for good reason. It’s incredibly customizable and comes with an array of free resources, tools, and plug-ins that can be applied as your business grows.
Squarespace is another popular website content management platform that many newbies will probably find a little easier to use than WordPress. No coding required! Both products have several levels of pricing, with Squarespace starting at $12 a month and WordPress at $8 per month. Really, you can’t go wrong with either one.
Just because a big-shot, millionaire entrepreneur charges you $2k for their advice doesn’t mean you should listen.
A good friend of mine recently hired a famous — or infamous — ex-felon, millionaire, and entrepreneur “coach” to help whip his you-know-what into shape and catapult his hobby into a lucrative business. I have to hand it to the guy: As far as confidence, charisma, and salesmanship, he’s got it down.
Unfortunately, when it comes to his actual advice or expertise — in building up other aspiring entrepreneurs — the charisma can only go so far. When charisma overshadows (or replaces) actual substance, you have a problem. Further, when aspiring entrepreneurs blindly follow a “guru’s” very limited, closed-minded advice, reality may reveal a shockingly disappointing outcome.
1. The magic routine
In case you weren’t aware, there’s a magic routine to success, and it starts early. Like SUPER early — as in, between 3 and 6 am. At least according to this coach — and my friend, who instantly believed him.
Coming from the finance industry — and with a host of entrepreneurial night owl friends, I can confirm there are throngs of entrepreneurs and employees making 6, 7, and 8-figures who take their sleep in the morning and their work late into the night. It isn’t about when you do things; it’s the fact that you do them at all.
As far as consistency (a constant morning routine and bedtime, which this coach preaches, as well)? That alone won’t make you a dime. If, however, that’s what it takes to build your habitual work ethic and keep you on track for your task and goal completion, so be it. That said, most of us running real businesses (and multiple businesses) know no two days look identical — especially when new opportunities and unforeseen projects come up.
2. The “look”
Yes, this guy literally convinced my friend that he can’t command CEO-level respect (and get clients to pay him his worth) if he doesn’t look like he’s hyped up on steroids with an after-lift pump.
Personally, I call bull 1000x over. I’ve run businesses with my face on the figurative “front cover” and others where nobody knows my name; I prefer the latter — and my earnings do too.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to get on camera — or even post on Instagram once — to make 6+ figures with an online business. I’d know, because I’ve done it, and I’m largely allergic to cameras. Want to know why? Because I like to focus on substance, NOT worrying about a camera angle or changing out of my pajamas and into the very business attire I left Wall Street to escape. No thank you, and in no way required. The way you “look” doesn’t have to impact your business (for the better or worse) unless you want it to and let it.
I know this is controversial, but let’s be honest: If you aren’t actually an expert at what you’re selling, yet you’re presenting yourself (and charging) as if you are, sooner or later, your victims — I mean customers — are going to figure it out. Furthermore, when they do, they’re probably going to call you out in a very public way.
In terms of “what” you sell, you really have three options:
Build a great product
Build a great service
Build your own expertise and capitalize on that
If you’re simply packaging yourself up like a product or service, be sure you can articulate exactly what value you really bring. If you have to convince yourself it’s worth what you’re charging, that may be an indicator bolstering your skillset (or experience) could improve — or save — your business. Sales is not supposed to feel sketchy or like pulling the wool over someone’s eyes; if it does, you may be trudging a slippery slope.
And that’s not just because you have the mindset for it. You don’t have a choice. New challenges appear every day and you need to learn and figure out how to solve them.
That’s true for you, as it is for any one of my founders here at Altar.io. They are all ex-startup founders that learned the lean way by doing it, but also by reading an unhealthy amount of books over the years.
So I sat down with them, as well as some of the entrepreneurs we work with, to discover which books had an impact on them and shaped their entrepreneurial journey.
The result of those conversations is this list. In which I’ve combined the top 12 recommendations, and why they found them so valuable.
In the interest of full transparency: Neither myself, Altar.io or the entrepreneurs I spoke to create this list receive any money to recommend the following books. They were chosen based on personal experience and the experience of those I spoke to.
The Lean Startup by Eric Reis
The Lean Startup is a must-read and easily tops the list of the best business books for entrepreneurs. This book is all about how to turn your startup idea into a sustainable business.
The detailed approach Eric Ries takes can help you build a product or service that customers want, and are willing to pay for. All with minimum wasted time or effort.
Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors.
We all know how valuable appearing at the top of Google searches is, but how do you get there? Allow me to share a few tips with you!
The idea for this post came to me from John Stanton of Seacrest Wealth Management. He wanted to know if there’s a way to write blog posts so they will show up for a given keyword search in Google. John provides annuity reviews in his practice, so he would like to rank for searches such as “Should I keep my annuity?”
This practice is known as search engine optimization (SEO). Showing up for keyword searches helps people find you when they need your help. But, of course, there’s a lot of competition for hot keywords and SEO isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Here’s what you can to do today to get your blog posts to show up for specific Google searches.
1. Understand the Role of Google
It’s helpful to first consider this challenge from Google’s perspective. They aim to be the best search engine, which means they want to deliver the most helpful results. Google judges how helpful their results are by how long you stay on a given website, how much of a blog post you read, or whether you click through to other content on a particular site. They also consider website credibility indicators, like the total traffic to your website, how many other websites link to your site, and whether your site is connected to active social media profiles.
All of these factors give Google a glimpse into how legitimate and helpful your website is. Their algorithm for determining which search results to return for a given keyword search is constantly being updated to make their search engine better. No one knows exactly how it works, and SEO experts are constantly trying to play catchup.
2. Create Valuable Blog Posts
In the old days, you could stuff “keywords” into your website so that Google would think your site was highly relevant for specific search terms. This meant that you could put “Financial Planning” over and over on the pages of your site to show up for those keyword searches. But Google got wise, and now “keyword stuffing” is actually penalized.
Google calculates your keyword density, or the percentage of times a keyword is used in relation to the total words on that page. If you have a keyword density of higher than around 2%, your post will be punished by the Google gods.
The only way to show up for search results today is to create valuable and helpful content. Google knows if your content is helpful by watching the behavior of people who search for something and end up on your site. Answering a question well and keeping people on your site longer can help your blog posts show up higher in search results. For example, my blog post titled Ten Secrets to Promoting Your Event is one of the highest ranked posts on my site because it thoroughly answers a common search question of how best to promote your event online.
3. Focus on Only One or Two Keywords
For each blog post, focus on one or two keywords to write about. It could be “key person life insurance” or “ETF investing.” By targeting your content to specific keywords, you’re more likely to come up for those searches.
4. Put Those Keywords in the Title, Headings, and URL
Once you choose the keywords you’d like to focus on, it’s important to use them in the right areas of your post. Google gives hierarchical credibility to your post’s title, headings, and URL, so you’ll want to use your keywords in all three: the title, the paragraph headings, and the web address.
5. Add a Meta Description
A meta description is a 160-character (or less) summary of your blog post. Your meta description actually shows up below the title of your post in search results. It’s important to create an accurate meta description so Google knows what the post is about and so that people will click on your post in their search results. Most websites for advisors have areas to add your meta description. If you have a WordPress site, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your meta description.
6. Make Sure Your Blog Is Mobile-Friendly
Because the majority of website traffic comes from mobile devices today, Google will penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly because they don’t provide a good user experience. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, and if you’re not sure, check using this tool.
7. Optimize Your Images
I had a professor in business school that would fail students if they used irrelevant imagery in their PowerPoint presentations. He was so tired of seeing generic profit charts or a thumbs-up sign that he finally snapped. If your image was not relevant to the slide at hand, you would fail.
Like my professor, Google also likes image relevancy. They prefer that you use a relevant image and title your image appropriately. Did you know that screen readers used by blind and visually impaired people depend on images being labeled properly? Adding an accurate label to your images helps your SEO score. You can do this by editing the “alt text” for each image in your post.
8. Create a Lot of Content on the Same Topic
I wish there were shortcuts to mastering search engine optimization, but there aren’t. The best way to be seen as credible and helpful in Google’s eyes is to create a lot of great content on the topic of your specialty.
One of my clients does this as well as anyone. Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, is also known as the life insurance guru. His blog posts cover everything you’d ever want to know about life insurance, including:
The Guide to Buying Life Insurance (eBook)
How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Fund Buy-Sell Agreements
Get Life Insurance if You’re a Cancer Survivor
How to Evaluate the Credentials of Your Life Insurance Broker
Will Your Life Insurance Cover Your Emotional Needs?
Should Your Children Be Your Life Insurance Beneficiary?
Premium Financing for Life Insurance
The Blunt Truth About Marijuana and Life Insurance
I’m not kidding, Steve does an incredible job covering this topic. Each blog post you create on the same topic adds to your site’s total SEO credibility.
9. Link to Your Related Blog Posts
Remember when I said that Google judges how helpful your site is by how long someone is on your site and whether they click through to your other content? That’s where internal linking comes in. You’ll want to link to your other blog posts on related topics to give readers helpful information and keep them on your site longer. Aim for at least three internal links per post.
10. Get Others to Link to Your Post
Getting other websites to link to your site, or “backlinking,” used to be the biggest trick in the SEO book. But then SEO specialists spent their time adding links to their clients’ posts in the comments of other websites and Google got wise.
Today, backlinking isn’t as powerful as it used to be, but having other credible sites link to your post will help your SEO. Publish your posts on other related sites, share with professional partners, and let key influencers know about your content. Every time an industry leader like Michael Kitces links to one of my blog posts, that post gets a big SEO boost.
11. Share by Email and Social Media
If you found an incredibly valuable blog post on a topic that interested you, what’s the first thing you would do? You’d share it via email or on social media. A lot of “shares” gives Google a big clue that your post is valuable. Share each of your blog posts with everyone in your network by email and on social media.
This was written by Agnieszka Lekszycka a marketing specialist at Shoplo.com
No matter if you already have your online store for some time or you are just starting your adventure with e-commerce – you won’t succeed unless you can attract clients to your e-business.
Of course, that sounds like it is easier said than done – acquiring users for an online store may be really difficult and time-consuming.
To make this process easier, we have listed for you the 5 most effective ways that will help you get lots of traffic without spending a huge budget Check it out!
1. A beautiful store
The first thing you need to do is to ask yourself if your website is attractive.
The design of an online store is crucial, because if it’s ugly customers will simply click away. You have to be aware that a user‘s purchase decision is usually made just after 3 seconds on your website – so it is the first impression that counts. If customers do not like it, they won’t buy anything and won’t ever come back.
As Patryk Pawlikowski, CEO of an ecommerce platform Shoplo.com states:
A store’s website is its representation. That is why it has to be beautiful and professional, especially if products being sold are very aesthetic. If a client seeks an outstanding dress and comes across a neglected and ugly website he will back off. Customers having thousands of online stores to choose from, will pick the one whose design is the most modern and aesthetic. And the reason of this is simple: a beautiful store is considered more reliable and trustworthy.
2. Social media activity
Social media is one of the channels that enables you free promotion. Of course, if you publish ads among networks, you will pay, but the mere presence is free.
And it can bring lots of benefits too!
The key to success in social media is providing marvelous content. You have to be interesting and outstanding so that people will want to follow you. If you manage to do so, you will have a great marketing channel at no financial expense. So what actually should you do to attract customers using social media?
post regularly – at least on a daily basis, so customers can’t forget about you (but not at all costs – if you post just because you should, it may have a reverse effect!)
engage your users: ask them questions, reply to their comments, try to catch their attention
choose the best channels for you business, but always focus on Facebook and Pinterest, because those drive the most traffic to online stores (FB: 55%; Pinterest: 25%)
use graphics – posts with images usually get 50% more engagement that others
Another thing that will help you attract many users is outstanding customer care. Always remember: there is no better promotion than satisfied clients. Make the experience of buying in your store remarkable – but only in a positive way. A Forrester research states that 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.
This means that if you want to attract clients, you need to reply to all their comments and inquiries. And as soon as possible, cause timely responses are the key to success in this matter.
Never ever underestimate the impact of customer care. Research conducted by McKinsey revealed that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. As it turns out, it is not the product itself or the ads that are the key – it is customer service. And your task is not simple – people are two times more eager to share negative than positive impressions.
It is even said that is takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative. Thereby, make sure that all your clients are satisfied with the service you provide.
Be nice, helpful and competent and you will see that the customers will come. Believe me, you will be surprised by how great the power of word-of-mouth marketing is.
We all love promos and discounts. But usually, it is not these 5$ that we save which makes us happy. It is rather a psychological mechanism that is responsible for these feelings. It has been confirmed that the word „free” makes us feel irrational excitement, which stimulates association with positive emotion.
How can you use it in your online store to attract clients?
One idea is to offer clients free shipping.
As Patryk Pawlikowski from Shoplo.com says:
Many of our stores propose their clients free shipping and it turns out to be a success. The number of purchases in their stores grows significantly, as a shipping fee is one of the reasons why customers resign from purchase. Some of the stores offer free shipping from a peculiar price – for example only for those who spend more than 50$. It is a great way to stimulate clients to buy more products than they planned just not to pay for shipping. Consequently, not only do you give a special value that a customer appreciates, but also generate more sales.
Another way is to distribute discount coupons. You can give them to new clients, so they have a stimulus to make their first purchase. It is also recommended to aware loyal customers by giving them a special offer such as for instance: „Buy 2, get third for free” or „second item 30% off”. All of these will make your clients feel special and encourage them to shop in your store.
5. E-mail marketing
Last, but not least: e-mail marketing. It is both a cheap and effective solution to attract customers. An Epsilon „Branding Survey” has demonstrated that 54% of people have a more positive attitude towards companies that send them e-mails. What is more, 71% of respondents stated that when shopping they always remember e-mails that a company sends to them. These results confirm the importance of e-mail marketing.
But what actually can you do?
Some of the most common ideas are:
send mails about new products
send mails about sales and promos
send mails after purchase with similar or recommended products, so that people are eager to make another purchase
send mails to clients who haven’t been active in your store for a while with discount coupons to make them revisit your website
send some tips or stylizations related to your products – this way you will inspire people and make them visit your store
As you can see, you do not need millions to attract clients to your online store. The most important thing is to be creative and know which channels to use. Now that you have that knowledge, go ahead and start promoting your store!
Lise Cartwright is the Founder of Hustle & Groove and a creative business strategist.
Have you considered what productivity hacks you can employ in your side hustle to work more efficiently?
When you first start your side hustle, you’re probably focusing on just one thing — meeting deadlines for your clients or providing services and products to your customers.
You’re not really worrying about the next day, or how you’re going to fit in that dinner date tomorrow night or how you’re going to meet a deadline that clashes with your day job.
And not thinking about this stuff early on can be fatal:
to your relationships
for your new side hustle
to your day job
There is a definite art to balancing your side hustle with your day job, social life and family commitments. You’ve also gotta increase your productivity during the hours you have set aside for your side hustle. Make the most of that time and get shit done using productivity hacks.
But if you’re not and you’re worried about how you’re going to get things done in the time you’ve got, then read on my friend. I’ve got some productivity hacks for you that are gonna save yo’ bacon!
Productivity Hacks for Time-Poor Entrepreneurs
This is my new favourite way to handle ongoing tasks. Basically, batching is all about grabbing the recurring tasks that you have (or similar tasks) and batching them together in a focused amount of time, so that you get them all out of the way in one go.
Here’s what my batching schedule looked like a few years ago as an example:
Mondays: Blog Posts
Tuesdays: Client Work
Thursdays: Guest Blog Posts/Social Media Scheduling
Of course, these don’t take up the whole day, aside from Monday, where blog posts do take up the whole day. So I can schedule in other things around these batches to make sure I’m hitting all my goals and targets for that day.
When I first started my side hustle as a freelance writer, I could have used batching in the following ways:
Specific client work, such as blog posts, social media images etc. I had multiple clients that I was doing blog posts and social media for, so I could have taken all the blog posts and written them at the same time and any social media images, created at the same time, rather than splitting these tasks out over the week
Invoicing could have been done on one day, rather than at the end of each project
Commenting on blog posts in my niche
Social media scheduling
You get the drift.
To implement this for yourself, start by writing down all the tasks that you’ve got to do each week. If you’ve got recurring tasks, then you should definitely look to batch them.
If you’ve got similar client work, batching as a productivity hack will help you get these tasks done faster. It’s a lot easier to work on one thing at a time and get in a state of flow, than to switch between tasks and lose your momentum.
I know this probably seems obvious, but it’s surprising how little we schedule our lives outside of our day jobs. When you start a side hustle, it can be a little hard to get into the groove of doing this.
Scheduling was something I struggled with when I first started my own side hustle, too. I was super organised in my day job. But outside of work, I typically just went with the flow. I didn’t have to worrying about balancing much because I was single.
When I started my side hustle, within a month I’d started dating someone seriously (he’s now my hubby!) and I really struggled with finding the balance between meeting client deadlines, spending time with my boyfriend and meeting social commitments… not too mention my day job.
I started out with a simple Google calendar and created a bunch of specific calendars that were colour-coded so that I could keep track of it all. This worked really well. At any given time, I could just show my side hustle calendar, or my social calendar, or I could see them all at the same time, so I could avoid clashes.
I used this system for the first 12 months of my side hustle. Then I upgraded to a combination of Freedcamp, Todoist and the Sunshine Calendar. The video below shows you how I use these too.
I also took this a step further and started using the Self Journal to keep track of my time and to make sure I was focusing on the right things and not just being busy for the sake of being busy.
Scheduling is all about figuring out what works for you. The point is that you have to do something, otherwise everything will fall apart.
As long as you know what you’re meant to be doing and when and with whom, then you’re all set.
So add scheduling to your list of productivity hacks to employ in your side hustle.
When you first start your side hustle, it’s quite likely that you won’t have any idea how long each task is going to take you, particularly if your side hustle skill or business is something relatively new to you.
It’s important to get a fairly good estimate of how long a task is going to take. You need to properly plan out your side hustle hours. It will also help you make the most of your time and implement items one and two above.
For me, I found that using the Focus@Will app on my iPhone and iPad was the easiest way to get an idea of how long a task would take me. This app allows you to set a timer for any length of time.
I started out setting the timer for 60 minutes and started a task. If I finished the task early, the Focus@Will app would tell me how much time had passed, so I could note down that approx. number.
If the timer finished before I had finished a task, then I’d estimate how much longer I had left to complete it and note that down also.
It was super helpful when estimating how long a project was going to take with a client. It also allowed me to stay completely focused on that task during that time.
You could use the timer that you have on your phone or you could use something like the Pomodoro Method as well, which breaks tasks down into 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute break between each block.
I now use the Focus@Will app all the time. It helps me see how long a task takes and it signals my brain that it’s time to focus.
#4: Morning & Evening Routines
If you want to ensure that your productivity levels are at their peak, then you need to implement a few key routines into your day.
What am I talking about? Having an evening and morning routine as part of your daily schedule.
I only recently starting implementing both of these into my daily schedule. Sure, prior to this, I was a morning person. I kind of attempted a bit of mediation here and there, but I hadn’t formally set up a routine. By not having a routine, I’d fallen into the trap of getting up early and checking my emails first. Yikes!
Once I learned how important a morning routine is to the success of your day, I set about setting this up immediately.
I make sure that I include a mediation segment and time to journal. My Morning Pages are something I really love and I also focus on my most important task first up.
Emails don’t even get cracked open until 8am! I’m up before 5am
Since implementing my morning routine, I’ve noticed that I’m more focused and I’m able to get more done because I’m much more clear on my most important tasks and what needs to be achieve that day.
But I knew I could be doing more. However, I wasn’t up for getting up at 4am… eek, that’s just a little early for me. So I looked for other ways to improve my day and I discovered the relatively new idea of implementing an evening routine.
By ending your day in a specific way, you can set up your morning routine and the next day for an even greater opportunity for success.
But what on earth is an evening routine? I hadn’t heard much about this when I first started my side hustle. So once I’d done a bit of research, I learned that it was about making sure you got a good amount of sleep and that you cleared the path for a fresh start in the morning.
To give you an idea, my evening routine looks like this:
9:00pm: 2 hour warning (I set a timer on my phone to remind me) of when I need to be in bed, lights off, head on pillow, eyes closed!
9:00pm-9:15pm: Clean up the kitchen and put dirty dishes in dishwasher. The first thing I see in the morning is the kitchen, so rather than leaving it dirty and eating into my morning time, it’s easier and better to get it out of the way at night!
9:15pm-9:30pm: Put away any washing and tidy up the lounge. Similar reasoning to the previous task.
9:30pm-10:00pm: Write in my journal about the things I’m grateful for and review my tasks for the next day.
10:00pm-10:45pm: Read from a fiction book to ready my mind for sleep. Non-fiction books tend to stimulate my mind, so I avoid these at this time of night.
10:45pm-11:00pm: Relax and take my melatonin and turn off lights and mediate lightly as I drift off to sleep.
Since I’ve been doing both these productivity hacks, I feel amazing and my productivity and focus has doubled.
One of the things I battled with when I first started my side hustle was my work area. I didn’t have a dedicated office space. Often I would work from the couch, the kitchen table or (really bad!) my bed.
I found it really hard to focus not having a dedicated space to work from and often found myself misplacing items or forgetting to input a note I’d taken.
When you don’t have a dedicated office space at home, the kitchen table is your best bet. Setting up a desk in your bedroom is not ideal, but ok short-term.
Once I had a dedicated workspace, it was a lot easier to keep on top of things. I could leave notes and notebooks in the one spot and easily find them later.
Once I went full-time in my side hustle, I found that working from home could get a little boring and more than a little isolating. So I started spending 2-3 days out of my home. Working from cafes and libraries is something I like. Or I sourced co-working spaces when we were travelling.
I still do this now, particularly when I am in the middle of writing a new book or need to get some blog posts done. I find the ambient noise increases my creativity and the smell of coffee just sets my senses into work mode.
It’s important that you figure out a workspace early on in your side hustle, as it can be extremely detrimental to your side business if you don’t. It can also be demotivating too.
You don’t want to end up working from your bed every night either. It’s not exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep or a healthy relationship!
Productivity hacks are all about finding and tweaking your practices to get the most out of your own productivity levels. These will change as your circumstances change too. Make sure that you review your productivity levels every quarter and consider any hacks you can make to ensure that you’re working at your optimal best.
Sandeep Mallya is the Founder & CEO of Startup Cafe Digital, an award-winning digital marketing agency in Bangalore, India. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep’s online marketing blog. The blog currently features 200+ in-depth articles, how-to guides, and hacks on a wide range of online marketing topics such as SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, blogging, and more.
As entrepreneurs, we are constantly trying to acquire new skills and knowledge to survive and thrive in the competitive business landscape. While reading an insightful business book is almost always the best way to gain knowledge and wisdom, not everyone can find time in their busy schedule to read books.
So what should a busy entrepreneur do?
The answer is simple: listen to podcasts!
You can tune into podcasts anytime you want — while commuting to work, jogging, cooking, cycling, or even while working out at the gym.
Podcasts are immensely popular these days. According to Convince and Convert, podcast listeners listen to an average of 7 podcasts per week.
There are podcasts covering almost any topic you can imagine. Entrepreneurship is no different. There are a ton of business podcasts, where successful entrepreneurs and business leaders share their expertise, insights, experiences, and strategies that can be immensely helpful in your own entrepreneurial journey.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of podcasts that will make you a better entrepreneur.
Here are the 10 best entrepreneur podcasts to help you get started.
Top 10 Podcasts for Entrepreneurs
1. Rework: A Podcast by Basecamp
Rework is a podcast by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founders of Basecamp and co-authors of Rework, one of my favorite business books.
In the podcast, Fried and Hansson share startup stories and unconventional wisdom from their own experience and other business owners who have embraced bootstrapping, staying small, and growing slow.
Tim’s podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, is often the #1 business podcast on all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 500,000+ podcasts on many occasions.
The podcast features interviews of successful people from all areas of life (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) as Tim examines the tactics, tools, and routines they typically use to achieve peak performance.
Past guests on the show have included Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Malcolm Gladwell, Vince Vaughn, Susan Cain, Ramit Sethi, and many more.
Chris Guillebeau is the author of The $100 Startup, a New York Times bestseller that has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. In his most recent book, Side Hustle, Guillebeau explains how anyone can create a new source of income in 27 days. He explores the subject in greater depth in his podcast, Side Hustle School.
The purpose of Guillebeau’s podcast is to help you create a new source of income without quitting your job.
In each episode, you’ll hear a different story of someone who’s started a side hustle — along with what went well, how that person overcame challenges, and what happened as a result.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and chairman & CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients. Gary Vee has an active presence on social media, including Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube, where he has his Q&A show #AskGaryVee and the daily video documentary series DAILYVEE.
In his podcast, The GaryVee Audio Experience, you’ll find a mix of #AskGaryVee show episodes, keynote speeches on marketing and business, segments from his DAILYVEE video series, interviews, and fireside chats, as well as original content recorded specifically for the podcast.
Side note: Kara Swisher left Recode Decode in July 2020 and the podcast was rechristened as Decoder in October. Hosted by The Verge’s Nilay Patel, Decoder launched on the Recode Decode feed and the first episode was published in November 2020. The podcast builds on the foundation set by Swisher and follows a similar format where Nilay interviews leading tech and business executives.
8. Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
Masters of Scale is a business podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, where he invites successful entrepreneurs to share the stories and strategies that helped them grow from startups into global brands.
Reid and his guests talk entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, management, and fundraising. But they also talk about the human journey — with all its failures and setbacks.
Past guests on the podcast have included Arianna Huffington, Ben Chestnut, Kevin Systrom, and many more.
StartUp is a podcast from Gimlet Media hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow. The podcast is all about what it’s really like to start a business.
The first two seasons of the show followed stories of starting businesses. Season 1 was about the starting of Gimlet Media itself, and season 2 dealt with the starting of a dating company called “Dating Ring.” The third season follows one business per episode.
The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a top-ranking and award-winning business podcast hosted by Pat Flynn, a blogger and entrepreneur known for his immensely successful blog, The Smart Passive Income, where he teaches his followers about investing in online businesses and generating passive income.
In his podcast, Pat Flynn reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources, and killer marketing tips and tricks so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog. The podcast covers a broad range of business topics such as automation, crowdsourcing, SEO, affiliate marketing, outsourcing, and more.
Since launching his podcast in 2010, Flynn has invited several entrepreneurs, authors, and business leaders to share their secrets of success. Past guests have included Gary Vaynerchuk, Nir Eyal, James Clear, Ramit Sethi, and many more.
As a bonus, I’m including my own podcast in the list — Marketing Mantra (apologies for the shameless plug.) I launched this podcast with the help of Anchor back in August 2018.
The aim of this podcast is to share actionable marketing strategies and tactics that have worked for me at my blog and my digital marketing agency.
From time to time, I also invite other bloggers and solopreneurs to share their success stories and business tactics. Past guests on the podcast have included Matthew Woodward, Daniel Daines-Hutt from AmpMyContent, Alexandra Tachalova from Digital Olympus, Vlad Calus from Planable, and many more.
If you’ve liked any of my content in the past, I’d request you to please subscribe to Marketing Mantra on your preferred podcast player.
So there you have it — the 10 podcasts that will make you a better entrepreneur. You can also check out this list of 30 marketing podcasts if you’d like to get your fill of the latest marketing trends, insights, and tips.
Did I miss out on any of your favorite entrepreneur podcasts? Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your recommendations.