Brad Sugars is an entrepreneur, business coach, educator, seminar presenter and business expert. Brad is author of the Instant Success series and CEO of ActionCOACH Business Coaching. Also a Dad, a pretty average golfer and a lover of great times.
Why Working for Yourself Beats Working for Others Many inspirational speakers make it the cornerstone of their speeches, but you’ll find plenty of people on the internet who extol the values of working for yourself. This can take one of two forms: starting a business and doing freelance work. Both types of work offer the […]
The world of business is commonly seen as belonging in the domain of naturally gregarious and outgoing people. Indeed, personality tests like the Miggs-Bryer typologies commonly list “entrepreneur” and “business coach” as ideal matches for extroverted people. Your own experience might confirm these suspicions, and it wouldn’t be that surprising; business coaches commonly deal with, […]
It’s easy to set goals for yourself. Following through with them is a bit harder; this is why gyms that are packed with people in early January are half-empty by early March. As it turns out, it’s much easier to say you want to lose 50 pounds than to actually do it. Having a goal […]
It’s easy to set goals for yourself. Following through with them is a bit harder; this is why gyms that are packed with people in early January are half-empty by early March. As it turns out, it’s much easier to say you want to lose 50 pounds than to actually do it. Having a goal is incredibly important, don’t get me wrong. Without a defined goal, there’s nothing to work towards and no motivation to get there. Problems only begin to arise when you come up with the idea of a goal, but you don’t have any real intention to get there. It’s one thing to say that you want to do something, but another thing entirely to actually do it.
Given how common it is to set a goal and not adhere to it, the best way to avoid being that person is to make yourself accountable. Saying you want to do something isn’t good enough. You need to be reminded of that goal, to be pushed and furthered to achieve it even when you want to give up. That takes a little bit of extra work on your part, but the difference in success is night and day.
The following methods are some of the most effective (and proven) methods of increasing your own accountability to your set goals.
1) Write it down
As simple as this process is, the effect on both your memory and commitment from writing something down is significant. It is believed to help with memory retention, and by writing out your goals, you are putting into physical form that which you wish to achieve. People who write down their goals will often place their written plan in an area where they will regularly see it. This makes it so that they are routinely reminded of what it is that they set out to do; if they fail to work towards that goal, they will be reminded of that fact.
2) Map out a plan to make it happen
Setting goals for yourself is only the first step. You need to know how you are going to achieve that idea, which is why writing out a step-by-step plan is so helpful. Not all goals are entirely realistic, while others might require more work and effort than you initially expected. If you are trying to achieve something that seems rather optimistic, it probably is. That’s not to say that you can’t meet that goal, but if you go in expecting the process to be easier than it is, you might find yourself getting discouraged very quickly.
This is especially true if you are setting goals in a business. If you want to increase your yearly revenue by 50% next year, you need to have a concrete plan of action. Just “working harder” is not going to make that happen. Lay down a piece of paper, identify the things you need to work on, and come up with a way of solving these problems. This will also have the effect of making you more invested in your goal; you’ll have sunk a fair amount of time and money into making it happen, which will make you want to see it through to the end that much more.
3) Do it together
Holding yourself accountable on your own is really difficult. You never have somebody checking in on you, nor do you ever hear somebody validate your efforts or offer advice as to how to do it better. This is why sharing a goal with another person can be an incredibly powerful motivator. Instead of going to the gym by yourself, go with a group of people. Instead of setting time aside to study on your own, go with a couple of like-minded students. Having a supportive group of people who are all trying to achieve the same goal will both motivate you and help keep you accountable.
The world of business is commonly seen as belonging in the domain of naturally gregarious and outgoing people. Indeed, personality tests like the Miggs-Bryer typologies commonly list “entrepreneur” and “business coach” as ideal matches for extroverted people. Your own experience might confirm these suspicions, and it wouldn’t be that surprising; business coaches commonly deal with, and interact, with large numbers of people in a day. On top of that, being a successful coach requires a considerable degree of charisma and persuasiveness, traits that introverted people aren’t known to possess.
These are all broad generalizations, but these stereotypes exist for a reason. With that said, a person’s personality type does not dictate their destiny unless they decide that it does. While introverted people are less likely to be drawn to a profession like business coaching, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful at what they do. While extroverts are great at conversation and the art of persuasion, their glib demeanors can sometimes come across as domineering and self-centered. Introverts make great listeners, as they are less likely to speak until they feel confident in what they have to say.
Introverted business coaches bring several crucial traits to the table that extroverted business coaches might have trouble providing. The following traits are common of successful business coaches who have more withdrawn personality types.
1) They know how to listen
This might seem like a less-desirable trait in an industry that is built upon demonstration, but business coaches aren’t just there to tell you how to do things. A good business coach needs to know how to be receptive to the unique needs of each of their clients. This is what allows them to tailor their approach to the challenges that their particular client is facing. Extroverted people naturally take the center of attention in conversations, which sometimes leads them to focus on what they want at the expense of the person they are trying to help.
Introverts don’t speak as often and won’t usually initiate a conversation, but their reserved monikers hide some very insightful observations. Introverts will more often let you speak and share with them your own plans and ideas before they give you feedback. Good coaching isn’t just about telling people how to do things, but guiding the person towards unleashing their potential as an entrepreneur. Listening to them is as important as talking to them.
2) They give their ideas a lot of thought
Because introverts talk less, they tend to measure their words more carefully before they speak. Extroverts don’t necessarily lack in this regard, but a person who throws out lots of idea and suggestions without giving them a lot of thought is more commonly an extrovert. Introverts generally don’t speak unless they are confident in what they have to say, and that confidence stems from giving that idea a lot of thought and consideration beforehand. This is a quality-versus-quantity issue: extroverts will give you twenty ideas that may or may not work, while introverts will give you one really great, well-thought out idea.
Both of these personality archetypes have their respective strengths when it comes down to providing advice to the people that they are coaching. Having introverts on your team means that you receive the full spectrum.
3) They represent the other side of the workforce
Extroverts and introverts tend to drift towards certain lines of work. Extroverts can be found working as salespeople, entrepreneurs, performers, customer service representatives, consultants – basically any job that involves working with lots of people. This experience is without a doubt invaluable when making the decision to become a business coach, but it only represents one part of the workforce.
Introverts, by contrast, are much more likely to be accountants, judges, engineers, scientists – any field that requires a person to focus for long periods of time without a lot of interaction with other people. These fields require a level of technical expertise that extroverts are less likely to have, but the perspective gained from doing these kinds of jobs is no less important. Having introverts on your business coach team ensures that you receive a full range of experiences and knowledge that can be passed down to the next group of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Many inspirational speakers make it the cornerstone of their speeches, but you’ll find plenty of people on the internet who extol the values of working for yourself. This can take one of two forms: starting a business and doing freelance work. Both types of work offer the kind of independence that you’ll never receive working for another person. You can set your own rules, manage your own team, and make any decisions you want regarding anything concerning your enterprise. Completely eliminating the office politics and need to please others has spurned so many people to simply be their own boss.
I don’t want to suggest that quitting your job and starting your own enterprise isn’t fraught with any kind of peril. Your source of income becomes markedly less stable for a while, and you’ll have to put in a tremendous amount of hard work to get things going. While this path is not for anybody, those who manage to make it work find a level of reward and personal satisfaction that exceeds anything you’d ever find working for somebody else. If you’re willing to take the risk and put your nose to the grindstone, you’ll find that there are quite a few advantages that being your own boss offers over have somebody else fill that role.
Being your own boss allows you to:
Free yourself from the constraints of others
I’m not just saying this in the context of taking orders. Any person who has worked for somebody else knows that the decision to hire and promote is not just based on who the best person for the job is. Office politics frequently get in the way. Maybe the nephew of the boss’ friend wants a job. Maybe the boss just decided that they didn’t like you. Working for somebody else means that you will be dependent upon them for your ability to get ahead in the company. You’ll forever be at their mercy, and some of the more unscrupulous people in management positions will take advantage of that fact.
Being your own boss isn’t an easier route, but you will never be forced to beg somebody else for what you want from your job.
Have unlimited earning potential (if you start a business)
No matter who you work for or what job you do, you’ll always be limited by how much a person wants to pay you. Sure, you can always negotiate a better salary, but you’ll still be constrained by what a business ultimately wants to pay for a position. Even wealthy bankers on Wall Street still abide by a salary. As the business owner, your net wealth is only truly limited by how much you decide to grow your business. Nearly all of the world’s richest people got to where they were by owning – nobody made it there by working for somebody else. The creation of wealth is the only process that has no cap on what you can earn. And as the boss of your own business, you won’t have to ask anybody to give you a raise.
Have total freedom over the use of your time (if you freelance)
Business owners typically don’t get the luxury of taking a week off just because they feel like it (unless you managed to sell it for a nice sum, but then you wouldn’t be a business owner anymore). Freelancers are truly independent workers; they find a need for somebody and fill it. Employees are given tasks to complete when they are on the clock, but freelancers find work to do. What this means is that instead of having other people dictate what you have to get done, you can take on as much or as little work as you wish. The most driven freelancers can make well north of six figures a year, and those who have secured well-paying clients who offer consistent work can make a good wage while working fewer hours.
Oh yeah, and if you feel like taking a vacation? You can take one whenever you feel like it. If you’re feeling sick, you’ll never have to call out of work. If you decide to switch jobs, you don’t have to get anybody’s approval to do so. Being a freelancer offers more freedom than any traditional job you could ever hope to secure.
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Whether you’re a business owner or a budding entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself in various leadership positions as time goes on. It’s important to communicate effectively with your partners and employees while instilling a culture of empowerment. The best way you can achieve this, is to lead by example.
Your employees and yourself will face challenges and obstacles. To keep your business running smoothly, it’s important to provide motivation. To learn how you can harness this practice, check out what Brad Sugars and our ActionCOACH team had to say.
1. Show up, in every way possible.
Exemplify the characteristics you expect from your employees. By demonstrating them yourself, you’re fostering an environment of good habits. Their work ethic is heavily influenced by your own.
2. Embody your brand.
What are the core values of your business? Do they align with your personal brand? Another way to lead by example is by sharing in your company’s vision and delivering promises as expected.
3. Dress the part.
Think how you would like your office to be perceived. The clothes you choose to wear reflect the formality you expect of your employees. Be conscious of how you carry yourself and make sure it matches your business appropriately.
4. Share in the victory.
As a business owner, make sure to accredit those around you. Your success will most often stem for a collaborated effort. Sharing in the spotlight and lifting those around you is a great way to lead by example. Not to mention, helps boost company morale.
5. Practice a listening ear.
This may sound elementary, but our ActionCOACH team cannot stress enough the importance of being a good listener. Being distracted by your phone or something else is a quick way to lose the respect of your employees. Make eye contact and ask questions, it’s the first step in gaining trust.
6. Encourage forward-thinking.
If you’re aiming to lead by example, it’s important to instill-forward thinking in your employees. Let them know what’s on the horizon as far as operations go, allowing them to feel in-line with the company’s foundation and the direction it’s headed.
7. Leverage examples.
It’s one thing to study success — and another to study from one’s failures. Bring up both when providing examples to your team. Not only does this make you more human, but instills credibility in overcoming your obstacles.
8. Feed into inspiration.
Every time you encounter an employee, take the opportunity to feed their inspiration. Be supportive and empowering in your messaging. Not only is this a great way to connect but could spark a unique idea for them.
9. Be consistent.
It’s difficult, next to impossible, building a relationship with someone you can’t count on. What is the vision you’re aiming to promote in your business? As a leader, you need to be consistent. We recommend constructing a public persona based on optimism and results.
10. When in doubt, ask questions.
What resonates with one employee, may come off negatively to another. Take some extra time in getting to know each individual on your team. Each person will have different motivations and workplace behaviors.
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You’ve probably heard the term thrown around in the business industry, but what exactly is thought leadership? Thought leadership is a strategy for building up a reputable brand by sharing your industry expertise. In other words, you’re marketing your knowledge so you’ll be the first in mind when your customers are looking for a product or service. Take Apple for instance. There may be better tablets out there, but everyone recalls the iPad. Apple has built a brand on innovation and cutting-edge interface, so that when customers are considering an electronic device, they immediately think of Apple.
So, how does one put thought leadership into practice? Brad Sugars and the rest of our team have gathered some insights to get you started.
It’s Establishing Reliability
People often assume that thought leadership is directly correlated with innovation. When, in fact, innovation simply plays a role in thought leadership. In other words, reliability is the selling point. Customers want to work with or purchase from, a business that thrives on excellent, consistent experiences. It’s better to have the knowledge in getting the job done right than churning out the “latest” product on the market. Thought leadership is about developing trust between customers and the brand, becoming the standard by which other competitors are judged.
The Key is Positioning
It’s one thing to aim for a reputation, it’s another to build one. What kind of company do you want to be known for? Whether it’s for customer service, company culture or consulting, thought leadership allows industry leaders to engage with potential customers. This, in turn, demonstrates the expertise and experience of your brand.
Leverage the Social Landscape
A great way for your business to practice thought leadership is by sharing insight through social media channels. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, each platform has something unique to offer. First, create a strategy for which channels you’ll distribute through. Next, create valuable, meaningful content that presents a solution to a customer’s problem. Afterward, cross-promote this content and engage with your audience. You also have the opportunity during this time to collaborate with influencers. And as long as you’re being informative and genuine, you’ll find great success with thought leadership.
Have you pursued thought leadership? What are your thoughts on it? Share with us below and be sure to check our FREE Entrepreneurial Assessment.
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There are thousands of other entrepreneurs right there with you, navigating their way to a successful strategy. From choosing your niche to building your business plan, here are five valuable lessons for a successful startup business.
1. Create your brand with a vision in mind.
The trick to growing a profitable business starts with identifying your niche in the market — your value proposition. You can develop your value proposition by defining the audience you’re targeting, laying out the problem you’re hoping to solve for customers, and determining how your solution is better than or unique to the market. If you begin growing your company without this in mind, it’ll be much easier than backtracking years later.
2. Build a sustainable foundation.
Sometimes you just need to hit the ground running. Because your employees are working in close quarters, it’s important for small businesses to hire correctly from the get go. Build your team with intention and aim for adaptable personalities. As for processes, it’s all a matter of trial and error. If something isn’t working, identify the margin of error and start pursuing a new option. The important thing is to keep experimenting and moving forward.
3. Be fair to your customers, be fair to yourself.
Whether you’re charging hourly rates or a flat product fee, don’t start working until you get paid upfront. When you’re starting out, things can be exciting, but you need to make sure you’re fostering sustainable financial growth. Get everything in writing and better yet, have a lawyer look over any paperwork. And most importantly, make sure your customers know what they’re paying for and establish clarity in what you’re promising to deliver.
4. Give yourself space to grow.
Skyline offices are great, but are you being efficient with space? If your team is small, consider ways you can create multi-use rooms. Then as your business expands, so do your options for a new office. It’s better to have the money you saved, set aside than trying to accommodate for a new budget expense.
5. Processes can be rewritten.
Many entrepreneurs assume that when processes are built, they’re set in stone. Just like the laws of the land, they can be rewritten — business models can be continuously improved. As a successful startup, you’ll need to act quickly in your adaptability. If you have an idea, run with it. If something isn’t working, figure out the framework, identify the variables you can change and continue adapting.
Our team here at ActionCOACH hopes these lessons put you on the right track for a successful startup. Whatever you do, though, stay motivated and ambitious. Your hard work will pay off in time!
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