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Kill your (inner) critic

We’re jumping into 2014 with a fresh start and dropping all that nasty baggage.

Except for you or them, the critic. You know who she is — she’s the internal voice. The critic that follows us around wherever we go. It doesn’t like the choices we make or the direction we’re heading in. Creeping around the corner at every pivot of our business or design mockup we spend hours putting together.

Soon, the critic starts to convince us they are right. We want to give up — what’s the point right?

  • They’re right, I’ll never make this work.
  • This is too hard, I should just go back to the couch.
  • Ugh, this sucks!

Kill the (inner) critic.

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What to do with your business in 2014

This is a thought about what to do with your business, not what to do in it.

With the new year fast approaching, you might be starting to think about the goals you’d like to achieve. We’re going to look at cutting the fat from the business and why that’s important to your health — for the business and you.

Pareto principle

It’s said that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. It’s also said that an entrepreneur can launch a business with a minimal viable product based on that principle.

I agree with this, but there’s an unseen danger that creeps up on us over time.

See, entrepreneurs have this bug that drives us to chase shiny new objects. Before you know it, you’re taking on baggage of launching new ideas under the guise of the 80/20 rule. The connected world makes it so easy for us to research, spin up a prototype and create something new over night.

It’s a valid method, but you’re not being fair.

What to do with your business or businesses 

Sometimes I take a step back and look at all the things I do:

Then I ask myself, what part of this business am I not being fair to? I know how I ended up here, but which of these products am I holding on to that I’m just not loyal to anymore?

I must decide what to do with the business. Here’s a bit of a checklist I’ll use to get a gauge on things:

1. Do people get it?

Friends, family, co-workers, and my community at large. Do they get the product or idea? Are they still struggling to really grasp what it’s all about? You have to ask yourself the same thing. After 6 months of pitching a product, are people still struggling to understand it?

Is it time to pivot? Look at the rest of your business cache and compare notes.

2. Is it turning revenue? 

Rather important, but not the whole deciding factor. Have you started selling your product or service yet? Are you raising prices or making more options available? Are sales going down?

Things get a bit challenging here, because as the founder of a product, you have that innate urge to say it’s going to succeed. This is when it’s crucial to look and see if your other products could be making more if you gave them a chance and stopped splitting your time with this one.

Think about it.

3. Are you still passionate about it? 

Burn out, disinterest, clouded thoughts — the life we live.

You need to be passionate about everything. Every hour really. Let’s look at my (our) day to day — I (we) can easily put in 10 – 12 hours a day of work.

There’s days you can go straight through in a blink of an eye, others your done after 3 hours. I handle that by going for a jog, hitting the gym or taking a mental break. This is harder to do with a business or new revenue stream.

It’s always there, even if it’s paused, taking up mental storage. I say if you’re not passionate about it, pivot or drop it and focus on what is working.

Talk to me!

What are you going to do with your business for 2014? Are you not being fair to yourself or one of your products? Tell us in the comments and let’s see if we can help.

By the way, I wrote about being a mentor and there’s a good turn out going on in the comments. Check it out!

Become a mentor

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to give thanks to folks near and far.

For the last 5 years I’ve been volunteering as a mentor for my local community college. Recently, I was a guest speaker to a 101 programming course and I talked about the importance of developing a brand/portfolio as soon as possible. Over the years the talk has evolved from chatting about soft skills I look for in a team member to the latest, running a WordPress business.

It’s important to me that I give back to a school that taught me a lot about caring for an individual and not just the grade on a paper.

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Listening to your gut could save your ass

For better or for worse, I make a lot of my decision based off of gut feeling.

There are times when you’re making the wrong decision and you can feel it in your gut. You read all the facts, hypothesis, reviews, and hear all the feedback. Can you think back to when you should have listened to your gut? That voice inside that’s saying, “I told you so?”

Guiding your startup, business, or team based on feel is very agile – some would say dangerous? This could be for a new idea, business venture, partnership, or even to eat that extra slice of cake.

I think the gut feeling is important. Why?

There’s so much data and noise out there today that you will never make a decision or act if you’re analyzing all of it. Listening to your gut could save your ass.

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55 Actions you can’t afford to stop or start in 2012

You can’t afford:

To stop…

1. Caring.

2. Innovating.

3. Focusing on delivery.

4. Understanding the real problems.

5. Producing quality work.

6. Shipping.

7. Listening.

8. Being passionate.

9. Working hard.

10. Failing.

11. Succeeding.

12. Networking.

13. Getting leaner.

14. Sharing.

15. Creating.

16. Thinking.

17. Talking.

18. Dominating.

19. Growing.

20. Teaching.

21. Learning.

22. Being foolish.

23. Living.

24. Focusing.

25. Laughing.

26. Connecting others.

27. Being social.

28. Staying healthy.

29. Being true to yourself.

30. Being true to your team.

31. Being true to your mission.

32. Scaling.

33. Changing.

34. Producing.

35. Designing.

36. Developing.

37. Folllowing.

38. Liking.

39. Circling.

40. Reading.

41. Listening to your gut.

42. Building a list.

To start…

43. Worrying.

44. Asking the wrong questions.

45. Slowing down others.

46. Being late.

47. Falling behind.

48. Spreading too thin.

49. Complicating things.

50. Focusing on the wrong ideas.

51. Guessing.

52. Thinking you know it all.

53. Wondering where you will be in 10 years.

54. Giving into bad habits.

55. Giving up.

Most importantly

You can’t afford to not be true to yourself and think you can bite off more than you can chew. Focus in on 2012 and make it a great year!

free fall as an entrepreneur

The Free Fall Of A Startup Entrepreneur

You know the dream where you’re free falling from the the sky?

Your whole body weightless as gravity pushes you to the earth. A massive knot in your stomach wrenching in fear.

Panic sets in as you scramble for the parachute. Grasping and tugging at your vest to find the right one.

There is no pull cord.

Earth is closing in on you faster and faster.

The sound of the wind and clouds whipping past you as your entire body is tumbling and turning.

As impact approaches, thoughts like what have I accomplished? Where did I end up? What could I have done differently? Run through your head.

Five seconds from the ground.

Four. Three. Two. One…

“Holy shit.”

You wake up in a cold sweat. What a dream.

What if it wasn’t a dream? What if everyday was like this?

If fear and uncertainty is not your thing, don’t become a startup entrepreneur.

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