Saturday, September 06, 2008
Posted: 02 Sep 2008 07:10 AM CDT
|Written on 9/2/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps and online tools and how they can help you become more productive.||Photo Credit: Sam Pullara|
It is said that every year only three to four percent of the total population on earth are courageous enough to start on their own. Out of that, I think only one percent successfully establish their business while the rest join the ever growing list of failed entrepreneurs.
Although every business requires a specific skill set and related domain knowledge, there are some general qualities which you must develop if you want to get going in any business. I say 'develop' and not 'have' because I don't think these skills are rocket science and if you've got the willingness, you can easily develop them and carry on your business in a better manner.
Be A Visionary
Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Here comes the first cliche; I'll agree. But when I say be a visionary, I don't mean you should have grand visions right from the start. There should be a definite goal in your mind and you should work towards achieving that goal. You could always start with small goals initially and every time you achieve them, set yourself new challenges. And soon you'll find that you've got a vision, a vision which you never thought you could achieve and now, it suddenly seems possible.
Now here's the thing - you develop a strategy and start working towards your goal. But the world's changing everyday and soon you realize that the strategy isn't working. In this case, you should immediately adapt to the changes and adopt new methods of working while keeping your vision intact.
Mix Passion With Planning
If you aren't passionate enough, chances of your succeeding in your business are slim. But if you get carried away by passion, that's equally harmful for your work. Hence the idea is to mix passion and enthusiasm with planning and execution.
Communicate Like A Pro
It's not only about talking to the other person or to your client. It's about every form of communication, be it on phone, through email, through a letter or any other way of sending your thoughts across. Effective communication is one of the must have leadership skills and if you think you aren't very good at this, prepare to learn how to communicate in the most effective manner, convince others and get more business.
Network Like A Pro
Another essential ingredient for success in business. Identify the right people and establish relationships which are long lasting. Apart from helping you in your business, these relationships can also help in your personal life.
Being aggressive doesn't mean you are always pumped up and blindly grab every opportunity that comes in your way. It means you are ready to take risks, sometimes calculated and sometimes out of your gut-feeling. It means you aren't satisfied with an achievement and are hungry for more. It means you are available 24X7 for your work. And yes, it also means you are ready to make sacrifices when required.
Without a doubt, persistence is a must-have trait for anyone who hopes to make it big in his business. So what exactly is persistence? Here's how Seth Godin defines it:
"Persistence isn't using the same tactics over and over. That's just annoying. Persistence is having the same goal over and over."Do Things Differently
That's what winners do, isn't it ? Apply new techniques and tricks to an already existing business model instead of trying to search for that new idea. You'll save time. ( And this is what I've been trying to do with this article too I guess :)
Really, the learning never stops when you are self employed. And you should never let it stop either. No matter how big your business grows, you should keep learning everyday and apply new techniques to make your business better.
Never Be Complacent
If organizations like Enron and WorldCom can bite the dust then anything can happen. No business, absolutely no business can be considered fool-proof. One mistake and the empire could crumble. Complacency is usually the first step towards this destruction. So better not be complacent.
I'd love to know what do you think. Do you consider yourself successful in your business ? If you do then do you think the aforementioned skills are essential ? Let me know in comments.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Posted: 02 Sep 2008 11:33 PM CDT
Image from Omega418
It was back to school for most students in America last week. For many young men leaving for college, this marked the first time in their life they left the nest and heading out on their own.
I remember the first semester I was away from home. I was living in the dorms at the University of Oklahoma in Norman with my friend Alistair. Throughout high school, I was the responsible kid. I made good grades, excelled in sports, participated actively in student organizations, and found time to hold down a part-time job at the same time. I figured college wouldn’t be much trouble.
Boy was I wrong.
I stayed up late with my dorm neighbors playing video games, eating pizza, and watching movies until the wee hours of the morning. . . on a school night. Consequently, I missed a lot of class, but I figured what’s the big deal? The professor’s not taking attendance like in high school, right?
I ate Burger King frequently and got little exercise. I wasn’t involved in any student organizations. I bought crap I didn’t need.
At the end of the semester, I had a 2.6 GPA, a huge gut, and a much lighter wallet. In short, I was a complete mess.
I finally came to my senses and was able to turn my college career around.
So, to help prevent some hapless young man from making the same mistakes I did, I present a list of tips to help you succeed when living out on your own. Whether you’re heading to college or simply starting a newly independent phase of your life, establishing some guidelines for yourself will make the transition all the smoother.
Stick to a schedule. The first time you’re completely away from the watchful gaze of your parents, you’ll be sorely tempted to let it all hang out. But you don’t want your life to go totally to pot. Otherwise, you’ll be crawling home and right back under their watch before you can sow a single of your wild oats. Get a planner, schedule out your week each Sunday, and then stick to your schedule. Trust me on this. In college, if you don’t have a plan for the day, you’re going to end up either sleeping, drinking, playing video games, or some combination of the three. If you want to get stuff done and have a successful college career, make it a habit to plan.
Exercise. In high school, you probably played sports and didn’t have to think much about staying in relatively good shape. But when you’re out on your own, you don’t have the pressure from your coach to push yourself physically. Make it a priority to exercise every day. You really don’t have any excuse; almost every college has a gym that’s close, free, and well-appointed. If you have difficulty motivating yourself to get moving, find a workout partner and agree to meet at the gym or track at a certain time. This will keep you accountable. Also, remember that you don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to get a good workout. Get involved with your school’s intramural sports. And check out the recreational activities available in your new city or town. Half the fun of moving is exploring what’s out there.
Eat right. The summer after my senior year of high school, I dropped a lot of the weight I had gained during my football career (I played center and tried to keep pretty big during the season). Well, I then negated all my progress during my first semester of college. I pounded back Burger King and 3AM Poppa John’s Pizza like it was going out of style. On top of that I was hitting up the all you can eat breakfasts at the school cafeteria. I felt like crap. Instead of following my example, strive to eat a balanced diet. Every school cafeteria and food court offers healthier items. You just have to have the willpower to walk past the greasy junk and grab a banana.
Finally, remember that it’s called a beer belly for a reason. Having an awesome time with your bros will not magically negate the effects of pounding one cold one after the other. You will develop a man gut. And it won’t be pretty.
Get plenty of sleep (but wake up at a reasonable time). My first semester at college, I spent a lot of late nights up doing the dumb things kids do freshman year. When you have an 9AM class, that’s not such a good idea. I’d be a walking zombie in the morning. That’s not the best state to be in when you’re trying to succeed in any endeavor. When you do manage to get some sleep make sure you get up at a reasonable time. Sure, sleeping in until 2PM feels good, but you’ve pretty much slept the whole day away and it’s going to be difficult to get things done. Also, be careful of oversleeping. Sleep too much and you’ll be an empty shell of a man. You’ll feel lethargic the rest of the day.
Limit video game time. Just because you could play video games all day and all night, doesn’t mean that you should. During my first semester of college, video games were my biggest productivity killer. Go ahead, play Super Smash Brothers, just don’t play it for two days straight.
Create a budget. Your first time away from home, may be the first time in your life you’ll have to keep to a budget. If you’re like most students, a pretty tight budget. There are several programs out there that offer ways to budget on your computer. Quicken or Microsoft Money are popular choices. I recommend trying Mint.com. Not only can you create a budget with it, Mint.com will also automatically keep track of your spending so you can see if you’re spending too much on booze or pizza.
Also, don’t let loan money lure you into a false sense of security. It’s not free-for-all money; the more the loans you accept, and the more of it you spend, the bigger the pit of debt you will dig for yourself. The day of reckoning when you will have to pay it back may seem tremendously far off, but it’s not.
Get involved in an organization or two. One of the regrets I had my first semester of college was I didn’t get involved in student organizations. When I was in high school, I remember reading and hearing about all the clubs and activities colleges offered, and I was sure I would plunge into many of them. But it’s easier to lounge around and put it off for another day. You have to make an effort to see what’s out there. Most schools have a Student Club Day where you can go around and find out info about different organizations. Go to that and find a club or two you think you’d enjoy. Getting involved has two main benefits. First, you’ll meet new people and possibly make new friends (possibly even a lady friend). Second, keeping busy keeps you on task. I don’t know about you, but when I know I have jack crap to do during the day, I don’t do a damn thing. However, when I have a full plate on my schedule, I can get a ton done. Quite the paradox. Well, during my first semester of college I wasn’t involved in any organizations nor did I have a job. Consequently, I just sat at my computer and played Command and Conquer II. Lame.
Don’t get a credit card. On your first day of class, you’ll see a group of students standing with a clipboard by a table and handing out t-shirts. Stay away from these people. They’re a bunch of hucksters trying to push credit cards on you. You honestly don’t need a credit card in college. A debit card will be sufficient in nearly every situation. You might say you need it for an emergency, but who are you kidding? You’re just going to use it to buy crap you don’t need.
Don’t go home every weekend. If you’re going to school far away from home, this won’t be a problem for you. But for those of you who are just an hour or two away from your former nest, going home every weekend is a big temptation. I’ll admit it was nice to go home, eat a home cooked meal, and have mom do my laundry. Just don’t make it a habit of it. You’ll miss out on opportunities to hang out with new people and only be retarding your progress of becoming a self-sufficient man. Stay in the dorm, grill a steak, and do your own damn laundry. Cut the cord. You’ll respect yourself for doing it.
Don’t just hang out with your high school friends. Again, this won’t really apply to men who go to school far from their home. But if you’re going to a college with lots of your former high school classmates, there will be a temptation to keep hanging out with the old crowd. Definitely hang onto your longtime buddies, but don’t let them become a crutch. Sure, you’re nervous and don’t know a lot of people and it’s easy to simply get together with your old posse. But college is a fresh start and a new phase of your life. Make an effort to meet new people, attend activities, and get out of your comfort zone. For many men, the guys they meet at college will become their lifelong friends.
Learn basic home-ec schools. If you’re a guy whose mom did everything for him, then moving out will be a shock to the system. Even if you aren’t overly coddled, make it a point to start doing things for yourself before you leave home. Make an appointment with your mom or dad and learn some basic self-sufficiency skills. Here’s a short list of things that are good to know before you head out on your own:
- How to cook 2 or 3 good meals
- How to do the laundry without turning your briefs pinks
- How to iron a shirt
- How to shine your shoes
- How to sew on a button
- How to tie a tie
- How to clean (this should be obvious, but some men are overly-coddled and haven’t a clue on where to begin)
Remember to have some fun! You’re finally on your own and becoming your own man. No man need be a responsible straight arrow all of the time; a goodly amount of late nights and rascally hi-jinks are in order. Live it up and enjoy yourself! You’re not going to get this experience again for the rest of your life. Just remember to take your fun in moderation and you’ll be on your way to success.
As you look back on your first time leaving home, what advice would you give to a young man striking out on his own? Drop a line in the comments and share your sage advice.
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Thursday, September 04, 2008
Posted: 01 Sep 2008 06:56 AM CDT
The Clean Air Force is a coalition of private and public resources to help maintain cleaner air. Their mission is to provide educational opportunities and encourage voluntary action that can be taken by all residents to improve air quality. The Task Force is encouraging all Allen County families to register and become "Clean Air Force" members and agree to take steps to help reduce harmful air emissions in Allen County.
Registrants are automatically entered to win a bicycle being donated by Summit City Bicycles and Fitness. There will be two winners selected in late September. The two winners will each be given gift certificate valued at $500 to be used on any bicycle and/or accessory at Summit City Bicycles and Fitness. The intent is to encourage residents of Allen County to consider clean air-friendly activities such as riding a bicycle for short trips and for recreation.
Click here to register and to view information on Clean Air Force activities. The only requirements are that the registrants are Allen County residents and only one registration per household be entered. The registration deadline is September 19.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Well, at least a personal observation.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008.
After taking my son Josh to Midway Airport in Chicago, I noticed a big increase in the price for a gallon of gas.
At a couple of gas stations near the airport regular was $4.39! A few miles down the road on Cicero Avenue, it was just $3.96! Is there a price fixing scheme around Midway?
For all those folks that rent cars and need to refuel before returning them, if you wait until you are by the airport, you'll spend an extra 40 cents per gallon.
So I started jotting down prices as I took the scenic route home from Chicago.
Midway Airport $4.39
Evergreen Park $3.96
Calumet City $4.09
Then crossing over from Illinois into Indiana, a big drop:
Michigan City 3.72
Then a short trip into Michigan:
New Buffalo $3.79
Then back to Indiana and more price drops:
New Carlisle $3.68
And my last stop at Meijer's on Lima road in Fort Wayne where they were lowering the price 5 cents to $3.63.
Round trip I drove 300 miles @ 26 m.p.g.
Tossing out the Midway Airport price, we have a range of 46 cents within 150 miles. For me that's a difference of 5 bucks.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
So you had an extra day off, do you need the rest of the week, month, year off?
Maybe you just need a different job to go to.
Kim Komando listed this as one of her Cool Sites recently: www.careeronestop.org
Monday, September 01, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Like most of you, my life has been going through many changes, some of which we have no control of but due to the actions of others, it impacts our lives too.
Friday night and Saturday morning I spent time with my youngest daughter Tiff and her husband Jon. They spent the night with us and in about a month, they will be heading west and life will change forever. It used to be a drive to Indy and we could see them. After they move, it will require a trip to Oregon.
Tomorrow I take my son Josh to Chicago where we will hang out, sleep and then at 7 in the morning Tuesday, he hops aboard a plane to Boston and then to Iceland where he will study for 13 weeks.
Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, which can be good if we are grateful, or wasted if we are not.
For more on this, check out this recent article from the DLM Blog:
Posted: 27 Aug 2008 01:20 PM CDT
|Written on 8/27/2008 by Ali Hale who writes about healthy eating for busy people at her blog, The Office Diet.||Photo Credit: striatic|
- Maybe you got a bad grade on a pop quiz in school – Will it matter in five years? Nope – in fact, it’ll probably be forgotten within a week. If the trend continues throughout your schooling years, the answer is different, but one test or quiz should not be allowed to sour a semester.
- The washing machine’s broken down, the beds aren’t made, and the kids are running around in their pajamas having eaten chocolate for breakfast. Will it matter in five years? Of course not! Again, if this is your daily ritual, the kids are going to have some problems, but a day off from "the schedule" will not set the course for failure.
- You’ve lost your wallet, with all your cards and $50 cash inside. Will it matter in five years? No – it’s a temporary nuisance, not a disaster. Make the calls, cancel the cards and get new ones.
- You didn’t get into the college of your choice and you’re disappointed. Will it matter in five years? Probably not unless need Harvard Med for some reason. It’s likely you’ll have a great time regardless, and once you’ve got a job, most employers won’t care where you studied.
- You’ve made some poor financial decisions and you’ve spent all your savings. Will it matter in five years? Maybe. But five years is long enough to recover from almost anything. Focus your effort on the bounce-back plan, not wallowing in agony over the loss (I bounced back from zero savings to $10,000 in eight months.).
- You get laid off – not because you’ve done anything wrong, but because of the economy. Will it matter in five years? Yes, but probably not in the way you expect: you might start a new career that you love, figure out a better work/life balance, take some time to go traveling, learn about your passion and purpose in life, etc. Use this as an opportunity.
- When you’re thinking about what you eat and how much exercise you do, ask, Will it matter in five years? The truth is that it will – whether you make good or bad choices, your body will be affected by them every single day. Five years is long enough to get your body into pretty much any shape you want. It’s also long enough to ruin your health for good. And it’s the little choices you make every day that decide that.
- When you can’t be bothered to brush your teeth or get a check-up from your dentist, ask yourself, Will it matter in five years? It will – as many people who regret not taking better care of their teeth could tell you!
- When you’re dithering between watching television and hammering out another chapter of the novel you’re writing, ask yourself, Will it matter in five years? It’s unlikely you’ll care by then about Big Brother 2008, but if you work on that novel instead, you might just be a published author.
- When working your way out of debt seems futile, because you’ve got so much to pay back, you might be tempted to just enjoy the money you do have. Ask yourself, Will it matter in five years? That new DVD or computer game won’t; getting into a debt-free position definitely will.