Entrepreneur 101

Keep a Work-Life Balance When You’re Starting a Small Business

Knowing How to Keep a Work-Life Balance When You're Starting a Small Business

If you’re an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you know how difficult it can be to keep your work at your office and your personal life at home. This can manifest in different ways, from answering work calls during dinner, to having to take care of neglected personal issues when you’ve set aside time for work.

The ideal situation is keeping both of these areas of your life completely separate. In reality, the more separate they are the more at ease and de-stressed you will be. When you keep your work at work and your personal life at home, you create a safe space away from stress while maintaining a professional area for productivity.

This can sometimes be impossible, though, when your life is revolving around getting a small business off the ground. Think about how much effort it takes to get your business off the ground – when there’s so much to do, is it possible to keep these areas of life separate?

The Answer Is…?

Yes. The solution is to be willing to sacrifice more home time to working, but the boundaries still need to be set.

Say that you get seven hours of sleep a day. This means you have 17 hours a day for yourself. Take away three hours for showering, eating, restroom breaks and other miscellaneous time for other needed functions. This means you have 14 hours to split up between your personal life and work.

In a normal situation, you may commit yourself to an eight hour work day, but during your business’ early stages you may need to make room for 10 hours devoted to work.

This isn’t a bad thing. A small business needs nurturing. The problem arises when after those 10 hours are spent, you’re still in business mode when you need to worry about your stress and rest.

The Solution

Setting up boundaries is the first step, then you’ll need to implement a way to maintain these boundaries.

One of the most obvious ways you’ll try to blur those lines is through your smartphone. This piece of technology symbolizes the line itself – you use your phone for both personal reasons and it’s also a great tool for business. The solution here is to separate the work-life functions of your phone as much as possible.

Learn how to turn off notifications for business emails when you get home and put your business apps in a folder that you keep on a separate phone screen. This commits you to the idea of “out of sight, out of mind.”

You’ll also need to learn how to commit to staying diligent and recognize that you NEED time away from work. When you rest at home, you aren’t slacking off or being lazy – you’re giving yourself time to recharge and relax in order to better your work performance.

This means being very diligent about where your boundaries are. Try this method out: when you get home, leave your phone on an end table or in a drawer for an hour to help wean you away from the idea that you need to work while you’re at home. The more you separate yourself from the idea you have to keep working at home, the less you’ll feel compelled to do so.

5 Quick Lifehacks for Getting Motivated Every Single Day

5 Quick Lifehacks for Getting Motivated
Not every day is one where you’ll wake up and feel bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to take on the day. No, we’ve all had days where we slump out of bed, wish we could sleep another 12 hours and slog through our day, hoping to just crawl back into bed at the end of the day.

Being motivated can be hard at times, especially when you’re exhausted and work-weary. Don’t worry – there are ways to fix you up to be more motivated, even when you’re not feeling your best. These quick and simple lifehacks can be used every single day in order to motivate yourself to be the best you that you can be, no matter how you’re feeling right now.

Little Reminders Everywhere You Go

All you need for this motivational lifehack is a typing program, a printer, some scissors and tape. Go online and find some of your favorite motivation quotes, song lyrics or words. Paste them into your typing program and print out one or two copies. Cut the quotes into strips, then tape them up in areas you know you’ll see them daily. Next to the coffee pot, at the top of your computer – everywhere you look you’ll see something that makes you smile.

Find a Motivation Partner

When you only have yourself to rely on, it can be easy to shirk your responsibilities. However, partnering with others can give you a motivational boost that you can’t achieve on your own. Even if it’s just a couple text messages every day or a five minute phone call, check in with a buddy who also has a goal they’re trying to achieve. Update each other and give each other reassurance that you will succeed.

Commit to Journaling

Sometimes just writing down what you have to do will get you pumped to actually go out and do it. You don’t have to write down every inner most thought you have in your journal – actually, don’t write for very long at all. If you force yourself to write for long periods of time, you’ll get bored and tired of the routine.

Instead, write a couple of short sentences about your goals for the day. This lists your major to-do list items and helps you clear your head for the day.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to put your money on the line. Think about this challenge: complete your entire to-do list or else you’ll have to put a $100 bill in the blender.

Maybe this is a bit of an extreme when it comes to motivation, but the smartphone app Pact asks for your credit card information in order to help motivate you. If you complete your goals? You’ll be given cash. Skip out on a few? The app will take cash from you. Better not let that hard-earned money go to waste.

Gifts are Great Too

Don’t be afraid to get a little Kindergarten now and again. When you complete a task, give yourself a gift – nothing major, but a little dollar object that makes you happy. Go to your local dollar store and stock up on small trinkets – lotions, soaps, small gadgets and other small gifts that are all $1-$2 dollars. At the end of the month, if you’ve completed a majority of your goals, reward yourself with something a little more expensive as a treat.

How Successful People Do More in 24 Hours Than the Rest of Us Do in a Week

Have you ever noticed how successful people do so much? Maybe that seems a little redundant or silly. Of course they do a lot – they’re successful, aren’t they? But have you ever sat back and thought about the correlation there? Successful people don’t get a lot accomplished because they are successful. They became successful because they were productive in the first place.

CEOs and entrepreneurs didn’t get to the position they’re in now without being productivity gurus. The good news? Everyone can get on their level. Adjust your thinking – don’t think that people are born productive and successful. Anyone can learn some simple skills and lifehacks that can make them more productive than the common man.

The following are a smattering of mental adjustments and tips you can start thinking about every time you look at your to-do list. The more you utilize and internalize them, the further you step onto your path towards success.

  • First, start being more positive. Negativity can be what stifles you more than anything. Start thinking that you WILL succeed and you’ll be amazed by how much more you’ll get one in a day.
  • Start getting organized. This is super basic – but it’s also something that many people don’t do. Spend a day clearing out your desk and setting up an organization system. You’ll thank yourself for it.
  • Scheduling is a big part of being successful. When you set up certain periods of time each day for each of your tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish all of them.
  • How do successful people do it? They have people to help them out. You may not make enough to have five personal assistants, but you do have family and friends to keep you on task. Set up a system that gives you a productivity buddy or two. When you have someone there to help make sure you’re following through, you’re more likely to be productive.
  • Successful people also utilize technology to help them succeed. Whether it’s through a calendar service or apps that help them plan and optimize their day, start saying yes to technology throughout your day – just don’t get succeed into time sink sites and apps.
  • Another trait that successful people have is they’re goal-oriented. While it’s good to be productive just based on principal, you have a better chance at overall success if you have a reason for being productive to begin with. Whether it’s a business venture or a more personal goal, have a reason for your productivity in order to drive yourself to commit to your good habits.
  • Stop being afraid of failure. Successful people have all experienced a bump or two in the road – but does that get them down? No! This may seem a little cheesy, but it’s true. Your probably don’t realize it, but you’re likely afraid of fear and get harder on yourself when you don’t live up to your own standards. Accept failure, learn from it and make the experience something to reflect upon instead.
  • Lastly, successful people stay ahead of the curve. Don’t be afraid to be innovative or try new things. One of the best ways to be successful and productive at the same time is to always look for a new way to optimize your day.

Style of Business: Richardine Bartee + GrungeCake Magazine

Technology, trending music and the tragically hip editorials that many are interested in is what GrungeCake has been wonderfully doling out the last time we took a look. Popcan Bonds, Blitz The Ambassador, and Dawn are all in the latest issue of this slick publication that was conceived by creator Richardine Bartee 12 years ago. A true authority on all different kinds of acts, fashion, acts of prowess and humility among artists, and a vibe that surpasses the simple “urban” spectrum, GrungeCake is rolling dominantly across the digital landscape larger than ever. A variety at large collective of reviews, artist management mantras, and presentation of art, people are no doubt paying attention to the diverse and iconic platform.

Recently tweeting that she was delighted about a pair of Vans she received and excitement about teaming up to create a girl powered playlist for Cherrybomb Music, Richardine is an avid personality that has interviewed some of the hottest talent on the globe. With a very targeted and specific taste, this online publication is supportive to artists and cultivates a rich style with just a touch less bling than the other mags and blogs out there.

This month on Instagram The Black Opera claimed that she has been “reppin since conception”, and praised Richardine for her business sense and overall evolution. GrungeCake itself had its humble beginnings as a sparsely circulated twice yearly publication, and now is a full time media offering with coverage of this year’s Cannes event, just for starters. A Mad Max review, a feature on Express accepting Apple Pay, and an article on Beats By Dre’s latest collaboration with MCM are all presented with sharp clarity and wit in the latest written pieces.

The show “Shark Tank” has become wildly popular; it’s premise is all about up and coming entrepreneurs making the ultimate pitch for cash to investors. In her pitch on the program, Richardine suggested a service crafted to bring back some better fundamentals and credibility to the music industry as a whole, that has been suffering a chiseling away at its image over the last decade. Also helping out in the testing of “Audibase,” she tests it out for overall ease of use and debugging; after a few more rounds of investment this will surely be a sweet thing in the industry. A format for sharing longer clips of audio on blogs, websites, and the like, she absolutely recognized the promise and potential of the service that’s still at the drawing board.

Flashback Fridays, awesome playlists, songs of the day, and very introspective reviews are all offered in the music section. Fully pulling off the ability to give news, provide true insight, and upper caliber opinion of what’s going on in the music realm, the overall vibe of GrungeCake is a bit more durable and deep than some. Not possessing the fully plastic theme and presence that some online forums have, there’s a bit more raw goods and catchiness here, much like the way that “Vice” lays down the law. To the point grit and advice within track reviews such as “Would I buy it? no. Should you buy it? If you want to” lean towards the brief, not heady opinions that many are looking for in today’s internet world. What we really commend GrungeCake and Richardine  for is following through on vision; as a child she wanted to do interviews and publicity for figures in entertainment & music. Her vision and success is refreshing as ever, and now she’s the purveyor of an internet hive of pleasantly hip, and skillfully entertaining content.

Entrepreneur 101: Why the Cookie Cutter Method is a No-no

Cookie Cutter Method

For many decades, there were rules in the marketing world that some just didn’t break. Product development, testing, ad writing, and really all aspects of branding were held to a certain business model. The Cookie Cutter Method rules did work. Even in the early days of the computer age, there was pretty cut and dry product testing, focus groups, and means of getting people to buy. The saying “The future has no road map, but the past surely does” applied to marketing and branding in many ways.

In the past, there were many brands that used the Cookie Cutter Method to really step up and succeed. One truth in the web and smartphone app-ruled climate of the current time is that when you stumble upon a true Cookie Cutter Method marketing approach, it’s probably not going to work as well as you intended, especially if you’ve failed to incorporate your own ideas and concepts.

What a Cookie Cutter Method really does is emphasize a certain process. Within that process, there are charts, data, and of course, instances from the past where certain things did and did not work. While many clothing labels, soft drinks, sports teams, and even music acts benefited from the Cookie Cutter Method, there are some reasons why it can be a huge no-no. If truly using the wrong angle and agenda, you can waste thousands on storyboards and campaigns that never even end up being parked in front of anybody.

After gleaning many blogs and marketing how-to material portals, we found a kind of approach that can be a bit more rewarding than a Cookie Cutter Method. There are all sorts of products on the market these days, from dating apps and sites to personal concierges and dog hotels. Each one of these must take a somewhat unique marketing approach to thrive. We especially loved the treatment of Jaguar cars in the TV show Mad Men, personifying the car as a mistress.

In an approach that will hopefully work for marketing, the first objective is to look at inside sales vs. outside sales structure. PPC campaigns need to be multi-layered, and not just on one prominent social media platform. When dealing with lead nurturing, we found a great quote from the popular website Hubspot. It tells us, “Offer something of value first, not just a sales pitch.” Companies that skip this always lose out in the long run, and wind up confused about why they did not reach sales goals.

Cookie Cutter Method created pattern

Within the realm of emails, there are definitely some data-backed aspects that follow a more Cookie Cutter Method created pattern, and of course, the timeline between emails sent is always going to be a fairly structured. SEO guidelines, as much of a new science as it is, need to not fall under old patterns of thought as well. In the universal world of service, offerings of bronze, silver, and gold packages will yield you some customers, but we have found that businesses truly want to invest in solutions with evolved professionals. We challenge you to find what it takes to evolve, and not just “dole out snacks” of Cookie Cutter Method caliber. For once you accomplish this task, your business and the way you do business are going to reach epic proportions during 2015.