“The trouble is, you think you have time”
Business Advice in 4 Words or Less
I asked a community of 650+ entrepreneurs to give me their best business advice using 4 words or less. Here are the top 10 answers.
- You have to start.
- Business is for humanity.
- Love your job.
- Start something, grow, & expand.
- Time is money.
- Do not fear failure.
- Always be honest.
- Be persistent, be unstoppable.
- Be bold and unique.
- Hesitation gets you killed.
The Entrepreneurial Spotlight is a feature story that runs once a month featuring a local entrepreneur of my choosing. The purpose of the story is to show aspiring entrepreneurs how other entrepreneurs work to achieve success within their daily lives. Thanks for sharing your story with us Orbel!
I’m Orbel Zakarian, a Financial Education & Leadership Development coach, and this is my Entrepreneurial Spotlight.
|Current work location: Downtown Glendale
Current Position: Associate
One word to describe your work habits: Trustworthy
Current mobile device: iPhone 6+ on the AT&T network
Current computer device: Lenovo Laptop
Describe how you got to where you are today. What helped you get to where you are today?
I have gotten to where I’m at today because of my self-discipline. It is not an easy characteristic to practice. It is, however, an invaluable characteristic to have if achievement and success are important to you. When I am asked what helped me get to where I’m at today, I answer, “The desire to help others succeed”. I do not say this because I want people to think of me as an overly-nice guy, but for me, helping others to succeed is a source of total pleasure and enjoyment.
What are your favorite apps, software, tools?
What is the ONE app, software, or tool you can’t live without?
I can live without them all!
What is your desk look like? 1 monitor? 3 monitors? Laptop with headphones?
Clean. With nothing on top.
Tell us about your favorite shortcut or lifehack?
No shortcuts in life!
What is your favorite to-do list manager?
Pen and Paper
What are you currently reading? Recommend it?
Think and Grow Rich & How to Win Friends and Influence People … highly recommend both!
What is your favorite book of all time?
The Power of Intention
How do you recharge for work the following day?
Meditation & Sleep
What does your cell phone voicemail currently say?
“Hi! You’ve reached Orbel. I wasn’t able to get to your call at the moment. Please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
What is your sleep routine like? Night owl or early-bird?
I live by Benjamin Franklins motto… “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Set yourself apart from the rest!
What is your favorite quote?
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
– Helen Keller (1880-1968)
Leave us with a thought…
High Energy always Wins!
Success, at this point in your life is defined as setting the table and building for the future. This is not the time to enjoy the feast. Understand that this isn’t your time to “practice” or use it as a “dress rehearsal” – this is the real thing! Use this time to explore, refine, find passion, find purpose, find talents, and lastly, learn to serve the greater good. Bring value to people and people will invest in your talents.
1. Invest in your friendships.
No, don’t give all your friends money and call it a day. Spend the time to figure out who you can count on and who is always there for you. Find the group who cares about your goals, your ambitions, your dreams, and hang out with those guys. Invest in the growth of your friendship with this group of people. The benefits are endless in the long-run.
2. Happy Birthday.
Two words, they come around once a year. Write down all of the birthdays of the people closest to you in your calendar. When the day comes, call, text, email, send a dancing telegram, anything… Why does this matter? There is value in being the person who always remembers birthdays and anniversaries. It takes nothing from you to remember, but means the world to the person you remember for. Do the little things.
Stop thinking of time as a limitless commodity. Find your urgency. You don’t have unlimited time to “figure it out” or “get to it soon” – the clock is ticking on you. So many young professionals feel they have forever and a day to put it all together; when they get there, if they get there, they’ll figure it out. You need to shift that and start trying to figure it out now and plan how to get there sooner than later.
4. You have talent!
You have a gift. Think about what things you do better than anyone else. It could be time management, it could be motivation, it could be your diet… anything! Think about how that talent can serve people. Start planning to build your empire around that talent.
5. Stop the texts.
Business opportunities are conducted over the phone. Stop hiding behind your text messages. Have something to say? Call that person. There is no value in driving up your text message counter when you can simply call someone and resolve a problem. Stop being a sissy and pickup the phone. You’ll thank me later.
6. Nice job! Stop sitting around.
Someone took a gamble and gave you a job. The absolute worst thing you can do is sit around and wait to be told what to do. These people invested in you and gave you an opportunity. Firstly, be so grateful that you don’t even think about wasting their money. Have nothing to do? Find ways to bring value to the company. Research something, read the website for spelling errors, compile marketing information, do something OTHER than sit there! The approach should be to do too much and not too little.
7. Upgrade your resume content.
Let me guess, you are proficient in Word, Excel, and Power point…. who cares! Everyone is proficient in Microsoft Office Suites. What is going to set you apart from the 30 other resumes you are competing against? Think about becoming proficient in these categories to start separating you from your competition: HTML, iOS, Google Adwords, CSS, WordPress, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, etc.
No, not your sweetheart. Learn how to build relationships with different types of people. Contrary to popular belief, your skill set and a polished resume will only take you so far. You need relationships to push you to the next level. If you can’t talk to people, if you can’t SELL to people, you can’t be successful.
9. Be smart with your money.
I know how attractive that Euro-trip looks right now. Don’t spend the last $11,000 you have saved up to go to Europe for a few weeks then come back broke as a joke. Same goes to the next 11 weekends where you spend $1,000 to “live it up with your friends”. Work for your future, not for this weekend.
Don’t know how to invest? Don’t worry. Nobody else does either. The one thing about investments that everyone can agree on is to start. Even if that means you put $50 a month into an interest earning account. The magic of compounding interest will keep earning you money as you get older. Every financial advisor will agree that the sooner you invest, the better off you will be. Find a dollar amount you like, and start. START.
Ever hear “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” – now look around… What do those 5 friends look like? Are you comfortable being the average of that group? All those friends you swore you would never lose touch with… well, you will! I won’t go into too much detail on this, but if you need to divorce some of those friends, read THIS.
12. Get out of the cubicle life.
Get out as soon as possible. I get it, it’s a job and it pays the bills. Fine. Work in a cubicle. Now, find a way to get out as soon as you can. Chances are, if you are working in a cubicle, you don’t have a plan for life. The other chance is that you are stealing money from the person who gave you an opportunity to work for them.
13. Great ideas mean nothing… yet.
Everyone has ideas. People sit around, come up with ideas, dream about the money it would bring them… then wake up at 8am and go back to work. The key to these ideas is execution and determination. The get rich quick schemes have all been discovered and are now obsolete. The trick is to take your idea, and plan out the entire life cycle of this business. The key question might be: Is this something I’m willing to invest the next 10 years of my life for?
Find ways to eliminate it. I know, your initial thought is I need to make more money to pay off debt. That is what our minds are programmed to think. Your true thought should be to cut spending to pay off more of my debt. You need to eliminate as much of this debt as possible so you can start planning to afford things like a home or a nice car. Debt is so powerful it will end up stressing you to sleep every single night until its gone.
Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery. Find someone who is willing to give you free advice and guidance. Word of caution: Don’t start sending messages to everyone on Facebook asking for them to become your mentor. Find ways to provide value in the lives of the people you want help from and you’ll be shocked at how much they are willing to give back. The trick is to find ways to provide value. TIP: Don’t send them a message asking how you can provide value. Do your own homework.
Remember, these are all recommendations to make the next stage in your life a little better. Take all this with a grain of salt and adjust it to fit your lifestyle. Remember, not to take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive.
Motivation is defined as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. You are excited to do something special, you have the desire to do something special, but you can’t gather enough inner power to act on your idea. You should be questioning what causes me to lose motivation? What causes me to lose focus?
1) Own your goal.
We all go through these random times where we get motivated, we set goals, we obsess over our success to the point where we lose sleep over it. This goes on for a few days, then out of nowhere, we suddenly lose motivation, we lose focus, we lose clarity. Why?
Simple answer: Stop doing so much. A very common mistake people make with such a simple solution. You lose energy when you become super-human. You need to take a step back, choose the goal more important, tackle that goal, then repeat. In a perfect world, your second goal would be directly tied in to your first goal making it a perfect harmony. Need help with your goals? Read this.
2) Read, Research, Learn.
Sometimes the quickest way to re-motivate yourself or to push yourself out of a slump is to learn about what others have done. What methods have they used for success. What tools have they used to make themselves more productive.
You should have a vast knowledge of books / magazines / publications in your field and constantly be reading these sources. The more you read, the more you learn, the more motivation will re-spark inside of you.
3) Build your support group.
Who better to kick you in the butt when you need a good kicking than the people who are always there for you, and more importantly, the people you trust. It’s always hard to accomplish something in silence and alone. Build your support group, may it be an in-person group, an online group, a Facebook group.. any group! Just build it.
4) Build. Track. Repeat.
How do you stay motivated when you have a mile long task list to tackle? This is why tracking is so important. Whatever system you use, you have to make sure your lists and progress is trackable. If your goal is to pay off a certain credit card, you need an Excel sheet with your plan, and measurable progress so you can stay on track. Looking at this sheet on a monthly basis will prove to you that the methods are working. Once you prove to yourself that a certain method is working, it will be easier for you to stay on track and repeat.
Nothing demotivates you more than a cluttered mind. The bigger the project, the bigger the organizational task at hand. Take the time to mind-map the entire project out of your mind and onto a system that works for you. List tasks, list deadlines, schedule events, then work on completing tasks in a timely manner.
A large project which seems impossible, suddenly becomes possible broken down into stages and manageable items.
6) Whatever you do, don’t quit!
It’s hard being your own boss. You can’t blame anyone but yourself, your sleep routine suffers, and you constantly think about your business. These are all problems faced by entrepreneurs every day and every night. Your mind is trained to doubt and constantly assess risk. If you give your mind enough time, it will convince you to quit. You need to work through the pressure and keep reminding yourself why you started. In the grand scheme, think about how far you have come vs. how much farther you must go. The process should bring a sense of accomplishment and a sense of urgency to your life. This is what should drive you to keep moving. Remember, it won’t be easy, but it WILL be worth it.
Take away: Don’t settle for something easy, like watching TV or reading endless news articles on the Internet. Find the true cause of energy depletion and tackle it with everything you got. It is the single most important step to get yourself back on track.
Stop saying YES when you mean NO!
Successful people become masters of time and the management of it. In order to master time, learning to say NO becomes critical. Learn to say NO to certain meetings, appointments, tasks, activities, friends, etc.
You sacrifice what you want now to get what you want later.
It’ll be worth it.
Disclaimer: I am not calling your friends losers. Well, I am, but not directly.
Your friends are allowed to live their own life any which way they please. For the sake of this article, your loser friend is defined as: A friend in your circle who is a contributing factor to you losing sight of your goals, ambition, and ultimately what you want to accomplish. Someone who brings absolutely no value to your end-game goal. Agree? Ok, good. I’m sure by now you have an idea of which friends I’m talking about, so let’s move on.
Signs of a loser friend:
1. They are not supportive of your goals
You have goals, right? If not, read THIS before you continue. Your goals are defined by your work ethic and the support of friends and loved ones. Simply put, if your circle is not supportive then they are distractive.
2. They go missing when you need them most
You need them when things go wrong. Their unavailability will emotionally hurt you. Why? Because you are always there for them! These one sided relationships will eventually take its toll on you. Maybe it is time to find yourself a mentor? Need help finding a mentor? Read THIS….
3. They don’t clap when you win
This is my favorite way to define my real supporters vs. my fakes. Big wins, small wins, almost wins, some losses…I want my support circle to “clap for me” to help keep me going. The friends that really love you and support you are going to celebrate everything with you.
4. They’re in constant need of favors
This is the friend who always comes to you with a favor, big or small, but gets offended when you are unable to deliver. Remember above, when you needed them and they were busy? Now that the tables are turned, notice how you are the bad guy for not being available? Take the hint…
5. Their whole life is a crisis
The more they need, the more they want, the more crisis they have in their lives, the more it weighs down on your ability to focus on your success. How much of your time can you devote to their crisis vs. working on your success? I’ll make it easy for you, the answer is none.
6. They have no goals or ambitions
What are their goals? If they haven’t made it abundantly clear what their goals are, there is a good chance they don’t have any. If they do, and don’t share with you constantly, you should re-evaluate the level of trust within your friendship.
7. They have a part time job that they show up to twice a week
Do they work part time because the rest of the time they are in “school”? Are they the type to call in sick more days than they show up to work? Do they take days off to study for “school” 3 times a week? My examples are extreme to demonstrate the habits and patterns that should be tipping you off. A lazy friend who won’t put in any effort for their own goals/success will definitely not put in any effort to help you reach yours.
Let’s take a look as to where your loser friends came from.
You used to live across the street
You used to go to school with them
You met them at a party / bar / gathering
You played on the same sports team
You had a similar interest back in 1992
If you notice the pattern, all of the items on the list above are “passed-tense” themed. The theme should give you enough of a hint that these people were there at a certain point in your life but are not where you plan on going. If your ambitions and work ethic aren’t directly in-line with that of your friends, it’s time to consider how much time you actually spend with said friends.
You don’t want to divorce your friend, you have excuses:
– He’s been my friend since we were kids
– He would pass me the ball more than anyone else on our basketball team
– He’s crazy, but that’s him being him
– I HAVE to be there for him in case he needs me
– If we break up, he will have nobody to turn to
– He will be heart broken
Most people take the passive approach. I don’t want confrontation in my life, I have too much going on to have to deal with this too, etc. Ultimately, if your thoughts are in line with this article that means it is only a matter of time before they do something to send you off into the deep end. There are ways for you to mutually divorce your friend without making it World War 3.
My biggest advice would be to do it now vs. wait for reasons outside of your control to get it done.
Francis Bacon said “If we are to achieve things never before accomplished we must employ methods never before attempted.” If you have yet to start focusing on your goals, use this as your warning! Start now.
1) Patience – Crawl. Walk. Run.
The natural progression takes time, self-discipline, and tenacity. If you stress over the “easier” goals, your expectation of crushing the difficult goals with road blocks and challenges go out the window!
2) Define goal purpose.
Everyone sets goals. Most people set them and forget about them. Make absolutely sure that your goals are things you want to wake up for. Goals that are synced with your purpose are easier to wake up for and easier to accomplish. I’ll use a quote to help with my point: “Work with purpose is passion. Work without purpose is punishment.” -Jillian Michaels
Everyone I speak to about setting goals, we talk about journaling and documenting progress. Some goals take 3,6,12,16 months to accomplish. When you look back on Month 6, you should be able to see some sort of progress. Something has to show the work you have done until today. If you have goals of achieving weight-loss, pictures every week will help you document your goal and actually see results along the way. Seeing your documented results will keep you determined and motivated every step of the way.
4) Short-term goals MUST support Long-term goals.
Why does this matter? If your short-term goals don’t ultimately support your long-term goal, it’s time to re-evaluate. These goals should be tied together from the top down to achieve the result you are aiming for. Use an app, a worksheet, something to track your goals and your progress. Here is an example of a Goal Sheet you can use starting today:
Long Term Goal: This is something that is at least one year or longer out. One thing.
Short Term Goal: Now break down the long-term goal into short-term mini goals. What do you need to cross off this list to get closer to the One Thing above. These should be 5-6 items that can be achieved within the next 3/6/9 months.
Short Term Goal Breakdown: Now let’s break down each one of those 5-6 items into the following list – (You should have these 5 steps done for each one of your short term goals):
*Specific: Make sure your goal is as specific as possible. The clearer the defined goal, the easier the process will be.
*Measurable: How do we measure this goal and document the progress? How will you be held accountable to achieve this goal?
*Achievement: How do you achieve this goal? What steps do you need to take to make progress towards achievement?
*Realistic: Is the goal realistic to your life? Do you have the drive to accomplish this goal?
*Timely: What is the time frame to accomplish this goal? How will you be kept accountable?
This exercise will help specify and define your overall goals into smaller, more achievable steps.
Daily Goal Breakdown: Now list daily goals into your daily checklist. There will always be checklist items that have nothing to do with your goal. That is completely normal, whereas, you are still expected to live a normal life while you work towards specific goals. If you go too many days where the majority of your list is not geared towards the larger goal at hand, you need to pause and reflect.
Set. Achieve. Repeat.
5) Excuses. Excuses.
The more excuses you have the harder your goal becomes. The longer you procrastinate, the harder your goal becomes. Anything that deters you from accomplishing your daily task list will inevitability push your goal farther out. You can’t slow down or justify excuses to yourself.
6) Failure. Lessons. Change.
If you were afraid of failure, you would not be this far into this article. I wish I could tell you that you won’t fail and everything is going to work out perfectly. However, I can’t. I won’t. You will fail. More than once. Then again after that. If failure was detrimental there would be no companies trying to change the world. Failure is the first step to success. Fail, learn from it, change (or better yet, improve!) and re-do. It becomes a cycle. So many people give up or crawl into depression after failure that they never learn the lesson. The lesson is the most valuable part of your failure. Without the lesson, there is no progress… there is no change.
7) Don’t give up. Ever.
You know when you try and explain things that explain themselves…. this is one of those moments. Here is a quote to help: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
Is your office chair destroying your back, your posture, and your health? Declare war on your office chair!
When you think of a job in America, you automatically think of a 9 to 5 sitting at your desk for an entire day. Whether you like it or not, you are stuck to that desk trying to get all your tasks done. That stagnant seated position is doing a number on your back. You also aren’t getting the adequate exercise you need during the week because of your desk job.
Here are 5 easy tricks to improve your way of life and remind yourself that taking care of your body is just as important as your desk job!
1. Take a break.
Take breaks every 30-45 minutes! Get up and walk around the office. Maybe take a step outside and catch some air? Being in a seated position = your hips are in a flexed position, which = tightness in the hip flexor muscles. These muscles include the rectus femoris, sartorius, and the iliopsoas. Tightness in these hip flexor muscles can lead to many complications such as low back and hip pain.
2. Support your spine.
Put a rolled up towel behind your low back. You have a natural curve in your spine when you reach the lumbar region. Desk chairs are not made to support your back. By putting a towel roll behind your low back, you are able to apply some extra support to your spine and keep it a neutral position while being seated.
3. Do you play tennis? Steal a ball for the office.
Keep a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball nearby at all times! If you every feel a knot forming in a muscle or any stiffness in a certain area, you can easily get up and roll out that area by either using a wall or the floor. You can use the tennis ball or lacrosse ball as a device to help get deep into the muscles and eliminate any knots you may be having. This will bring instant relief!
4. Keep stretching, you will thank us.
It’s as simple as it sounds. A few neck stretches every hour or so and keep your muscles loose. Think about the strain you are putting on your body by just staying in the same position most of the day. A few stretches here and there will make the worlds difference and your body will thank you!
5. Posture is everything.
Always always always keep your posture in your mind. Try to always sit up as straight as you can while typing. This is the number one issue I see with people who have desk jobs. Their posture is horrible. Your shoulders start rounding in, you form a hunch in your upper back, and your neck is forward. Keep your shoulder blades back and down. Keep your neck in line with your spine. You want a straight line down from your neck to your low back.
If you get a yardstick and put it form your head to your back, you would want all areas of your body closest to the yardstick, to be touching the yardstick.
Meher Manouki is a guest blogger for fred.tips. Meher is a personal trainer based in Los Angeles. You may contact him on Instagram @ultrafitnessbymeher.
Once you work as an entrepreneur, on your own terms, for your own goals, it becomes very difficult to give up complete control of your time, entrepreneurship, and your priorities to go back to working for someone else.