To be an entrepreneur, you must be…? How do you think that sentence should end? “Brave”? “Determined”? “Innovative”?

Truthfully an entrepreneur must be many things; more adjectives than five are required in order to call yourself a true and successful entrepreneur. However, we’ve selected five of the most common and essential traits required to either become or sustain yourself as an entrepreneur.

Risk-Taking

We often think of risk as a dirty word — in fact, isn’t it better to avoid risk altogether? This might be true in some areas of life, but in others the phrase “go big or go home” is one hundred percent true. Just like in gambling, sometimes a big risk results in a giant loss. Other times it means you get a big pay day.

Without that risk, no matter the outcome, there would be no chance for that huge success. The risk doesn’t have to be monetary, either. Sometimes taking a chance on the little things can pay off in a big way.

Hungry

No, not in the way that means you want to go out to lunch. This kind of hunger is for success, for knowledge and for recognition — maybe you’d prefer to call it “drive.”

A good entrepreneur knows that they have to keep learning, but a great entrepreneur is one that truly wants to. This kind of hunger is one that drives them to better themselves and take those risks.

Adaptable

Not everything will go your way all the time, and that’s not just a lesson for entrepreneurs to learn. However, it might be a lesson that entrepreneurs benefit from more than most. Sometimes plans fall through and an entrepreneur has to adapt to the sudden changes. Not every scheme will be executed perfectly, not every vision will be clearly seen and sometimes a completely foreign scenario works its way into the mix.

A great entrepreneur doesn’t give in to this uncertainty — they embrace it.

Responsible

Gone are the days of laying around on the couch and brainstorming about your big business idea — you’re going to be an entrepreneur, which means your life is going to drastically change if you want to make all of your visions realities.

Even though you’ll be your own boss, you’ll still have all the responsibilities that come with that position. It also means you’ll have to handle money, and hopefully lots of it, in a fiscally responsible way.

Gregarious

Sure there are ways to become a great entrepreneur as an introvert, but the more outgoing and personable you are? The better you’ll be at networking and selling your brand. Creating relationships among your peers and in the business community will be vital to getting your business recognized, and you can’t do that on a concept alone.

Businesspeople are usually outspoken, self-assured and promoting. They know how to charm and talk to people in a convincing yet personable way. This kind of attitude also lends itself to sales — without being gregarious, the sales funnel becomes a lot more narrow.

It takes a lot to become an entrepreneur. How many of these attributes do you have yourself?

New Self-Activation Strategies for 2017

by Keetria on January 11, 2017


The time to start motivating yourself was yesterday, but there’s still no time like the present. In short? While it was probably a better idea to already have been working on your self-activation strategies for the new year, there’s still time to do so right now.

Self-activation is all about motivating yourself without outside influences. No buddy-system, no bribes, no tools. Just you finding the will to do something and executing a plan. Why is self-activation so useful? It removes the crutches many other motivation techniques use.

While these techniques in and of themselves aren’t bad, they still require an outside influence to get you motivated. What happens if you don’t have access to your reminder app and you’ve run out of credit card account space to buy yourself that reward for being so good about your to-do list? When you know how to self-activate, you know how to get things done no matter the circumstances or environment.

In 2017, think more about being mindful and looking within yourself to achieve your goals. Here’s how to get started:

Reflect More and More

Part of being self-activating is to be mindful. In fact, mindfulness and self-activation often go hand in hand. When you’re more aware of yourself and your surroundings, you’re more likely to get things done. You face reality and see what you must do.

Many people don’t take the time to reflect on the lessons they’re learning all around them and throughout their lives. When something profound happens to you, do you actually take some time to absorb the situation, learn and grow? Part of being self-activating is learning from mistakes and pushing forward in spite of failure, and self-reflection can greatly help with that.

Start Scheduling

A schedule isn’t counterintuitive to a self-activating lifestyle, as long as it doesn’t become your source of motivation. Organization isn’t the same thing as activation.

Thus, helping yourself figure out what all you have to do and when to do it is crucial to keeping things organized and flowing on time. Clutter and disorganization can often lead to self-activation hindrance because they create a large roadblock. The more distressed your mind becomes, the less likely you’ll be to self-activate.

Nap More

Seems like the opposite of self-activating, right? While you may not be able to indulge in a cat nap if you’re part of the working class, entrepreneurs should take more advantage of their lax schedules and sleep more often. Napping is a great way to reinvigorate the mind and reset both your physical and emotional system.

We often find ourselves living from one caffeinated beverage to another, and we drink more cups of coffee than we sleep hours at night. This sets a disturbing standard — we’re exhausting ourselves. It’s hard to be self-motivated when you’re exhausted, which leads to motivational crutches and full on burn out.

Finally, be self-activating about your own self-activation. Look for more strategies and find different ways to motivate yourself. Before long you’ll be a self-activation pro.

Branding Mistakes You Might be Making Right Now

by Keetria on January 4, 2017

brandmistakesNot every branding idea you come up with is going to be a winner – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Branding swings and misses can teach you very valuable business lessons, and that’s something you should take away from all of your mistakes. Whether your sales are slowing down or you royally flub up a marketing opportunity, take the positive out of the negative: at least now you know what not to do.

That being said, this is only completely true if you know what you’ve done wrong. For instance, your sales numbers are indeed going down – but why? Without knowing this critical component of the problem, you’re still stuck at square one. This is why identifying these common yet devastating branding mistakes is crucial to your overall success in marketing.

Your brand is purposeless.

A sloppy brand indicates a sloppy business. While many assume that marketing is the cornerstone of every business, it’s actually the brand image – this image should be present in all aspects of the business, from every piece of content tweeted to every mock advertising graphic made in Photoshop.

Because of this, a brand is supposed to have purpose and be easily definable. If you can’t easily come up with a two-to-three sentence long statement about your business’ brand identity, you’re doing it really, really wrong.

There’s no set voice to your brand.

Think about your favorite character on television or from a film. You can identify them by their voice – which is to say, both how they speak and the things they say. Now imagine a completely different voice coming out of their mouth. It’s kind of jarring, isn’t it?

Consumers identify businesses in a very similar way, which is based on how they sound and the way they say what they’re trying to convey. This isn’t necessarily about getting the same voice actor for every commercial either – do you think the same voices have been featured in every Coca Cola add for the past 50 years? No – but the brand image has a certain style to it that’s consistent. That’s the voice.

All of your content and marketing should carry this voice throughout. Without a consistent brand voice, your ship is sunk.

You aren’t investing capital.

New entrepreneurs with new businesses are often squeamish about spending money – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. It’s good to be conscious of your budget, but remember the old adage? You have to spend money to make money? Sometimes it’s true.

While it might be a lot cheaper to come up with your branding ideas in your garage over a couple beverages with friends, let’s be real – the best branding ideas likely aren’t just going to fall out of the sky and onto the hood of your car or kitchen counter. Spending money on expert branding advice can be critical to establishing your brand as a whole.

It’s unnecessary to pour your life’s savings into branding, but consider this – you get what you pay for, so why not spring for a branding consultant who’s worth the money?

brandingtipsYou’ve spent a lot of time building your brand messaging stock…but is it actually doing anything for you? If you aren’t putting attention on what your target audience is and if your branding is actually reaching them. Branding and marketing can’t be created and just tossed out onto the Internet as a catch all — extra work needs to be put in to ensure that the content reaches who it will actually appeal to.

There are two obvious steps to making sure that your branding efforts aren’t in vain: deciphering who your target audience is, then using analytics to ensure that they’re being accurately reached.

Establishing Target Audiences

The first step in establishing your target audiences is to simply sit down and see what makes the most sense. What audience does it make sense for your brand to reach out to? A specific gender? Age group? Niche audience? Profession? The more specific you can be, the better.

Demographics aren’t the only area to explore, though. Sometimes you need to appeal to how someone thinks instead of who they are, and this is called a psychographic. This is marketing and branding strategies that appeal to someone on a more mental level than an obvious category. Areas like a person’s values or interests fall into this category.

Sometimes a target audience is more abstract than a specific subset of people. This means that your brand identity is more vague — it’s not like there’s a specific subset of people that Coca Cola or Walmart advertise to. While an individual ad might have a target audience in mind, the brand itself doesn’t have one set demographic.

Establishing a Brand Connection

Once you’ve established what your target demographic is, it’s time to reach out to them. Depending on who your demographics are, how you reach out to them and build that connection may drastically change. Many key demographics can be reached via social media, but which sites? Do you have a target demographic in mind that isn’t so Internet savvy, like the elderly?

Analyzing the Outcome

The best way to understand if your brand is actually connecting with an audience is to analyze the data involved with your branding and marketing to see if it’s working the way you want it to. Many social sites and blogging platforms like Twitter and WordPress have built in analytics tools that you can use for free or at a very low price. These are great resources! However, it never hurts to spend a little money on tried and true analytics software.

Analytics is how you determine if your plans are actually succeeding. Without analytics, you push branding content out into the world blind. How will you know if it’s successful? Is it failing? Is it succeeding?

The great thing about analytics is that it can get into specifics. If you do a branding overhaul and see your sales go up, your plan worked — but why? How can you execute this same plan again and again to better ensure future success? Analytics is worth paying for, and it’s worth paying very close attention to too.

The Motivational Books You Need for the New Year

by Keetria on December 22, 2016

motivationalbooksWhat is true motivation? Some believe that the best motivator is yourself, and for many people this is true – but not all of us were born with built in confidence or have had the experiences required to be so self-assured. Those who can self-activate are often those who are filled to the brim with courage and mettle, but it’s okay if you aren’t quite there yet.

One of the most powerful motivation tools is finding an example of someone who you’d like to be more like. That’s not to say you have to copy someone’s life experience exactly. In fact, that’s impossible! But if you don’t already have it within you to motivate yourself, learning about how someone else views motivation and their own successes with motivation can help you do the same.

The best way to do just that is to read a motivational book. Unlike blog posts or news story sound bites, books are much more collegiate and substantial. The opinions are formed well and researched – if you get a good book, anyway. To help you weed out any rotten apples and to give you some books to read for the upcoming New Year, here is a selection of motivation books that we can all learn a thing or two from.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

We all understand vulnerability – and if you say you haven’t then you might be in denial. To be vulnerable means to be unguarded, to notice that you’ve got a chink in your armor and know that it can’t be repaired right away. Emotions like uncertainty and precaution are human, though they’re often perceived as weak.

Dr. Brené Brown steers readers in a different direction. Dr. Brown argues that vulnerability isn’t actually weakness, but is instead what makes us stronger and is the core of our most profound emotions. Without vulnerability, things like joy and grief would be nonexistent – vulnerability brings us both the good AND the bad.

“Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change” by Derek Rydall

Many self-help or motivational books focus heavily on how to change who you are. Derek Rydall says that who you were born is the exact person you are right now – changing that is going against nature. We hear arguments like this in regards to things like sexuality, but never to character flaws or imperfections.

Rydall thinks that radical change within your life starts when you activate something that’s already inside of you, not something that you need to create inorganically.

“Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

One thing most of us need help with when it comes to motivation is cleaning and tidying. If you’re looking around you right now and see a stack of disheveled papers and a few too many Starbucks cups, you’re someone who could use this book to help motivate you come 2017.

Marie Kondo is an organizational guru who is here to not only help you with words, but with pictures. With both a written and visual representation of what your mess looks like and why you’re holding onto it, she sets all readers up for organization success.

Fitness Tech to Add to Your Holiday Wishlist

by Keetria on December 12, 2016

fitnessgiftsThe holidays are approaching and you’ve likely got a lot of wishlists you’re focusing on right now. For your own wishlist, you’re looking for new items you want – maybe they’re to expand your life, like a new set of motivational tapes. Maybe you want something more fun than functional, like an art kit or inline skates to get back in touch with your 80’s teen spirit. Others will want similar things, from boxes of chocolate to boxes of ties.

Here’s something to consider: we’ve all likely put on some weight during the winter months, and come New Years we’ll all be resolving to take that weight off. Most of us will fall through on this promise unless we’re properly motivated…and what’s more motivating than having neat tools to help make that reality actually happen instead of it becoming yet another resolution that goes unattended to.

Fitness tech is cheaper than ever, and it’s also widely available. No longer are you looking at buying bulky and expensive treadmills in order to help get fit for the New Year, so let’s take a look at some desirable and chic fitness tech products you may want to get this holiday season – for someone else or to treat yourself!

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

This piece of fitness tech may not fit the criteria of “cheap,” but boy is it neat. Wareable recently gave this product their award of Fitness Tracker of the Year, and for good reason – this Garmin offering expertly combines fitness monitoring with ample tech that makes up for the price tag of over $200.

One of the biggest draws to this particular product is that a phone is unnecessary to use it. Many don’t realize Fitbits only truly work when you’re looking at their app simultaneously, which means running and jogging while paying attention to your Fitbit app if you want to take a good look at your specs in real time. All of the tech that is involved with the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is installed into the device itself. It also includes GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring.

Misfit Ray

This fitness tracker falls more in line with most price ranging, coming in at a little under $100 at most retailers. Unlike the Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers, Misfit looks to svelte elegant designs when creating their product lines. The Misfit Ray is very clean and minimalist, and so is the app that you pair with the device.

Misfit products are best for those who want to start managing their health but who don’t want to go full gym nut just yet. The Ray tracks steps and sleep patterns and offers smartphone notifications, and that’s about the extent of its capabilities. Minimal indeed.

Moov Now

If you or someone you know is already really into fitness and you’re at a loss for the perfect gift, look no further. Made for those who already love intense training, the Moov Now is a leg-worn smartphone holder that coaches you while it monitors your steps and activity. The programmed capabilities include different difficulty levels designed to make training progressively harder, just like a normal coach or personal trainer would.

The price point on this device is also very excellent – you can find it at most major retailers for only $60.

4 Websites Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About

by Keetria on December 1, 2016

trepresourcesAs an entrepreneur, you’re likely constantly looking for resources to help you along your business journey. Those just starting out with a business, or those who haven’t even coherently decided on a business idea at all, need all the help they can get to inspire ideas, get organize and get started on solidifying their plans for success. You’ve likely already got a few webpages bookmarked, but what about these?

The following for blog links are all great for young or new entrepreneurs who need a little boost to help them along. Open up the links and bookmark them in your browser for safe keeping.

Inc. Magazine

It’s very likely that you’ve got a couple Inc. pages bookmarked already, or perhaps you’ve simple read a piece from this site before? If you’re only familiar with this website in name and aren’t using it to the fullest, you may want to reconsider how important this site is to you. Inc. is a large resource for entrepreneurs of all calibers – from new, naïve entrepreneurs that are lost as to what to do; to older, more seasoned entrepreneurs that want to brush up on the newest best practices. If you want business info, Inc. has it somewhere in its depths.

Social Media Examiner

Don’t neglect your social media efforts – in fact, that’s one of the biggest flaws beginner entrepreneurs make. In the past, social media wasn’t that integral to business, whether it just hadn’t been invented yet or the social marketing revolution just hadn’t taken place. In this age of modern technology, however? Social media is as important to your success strategies as waking up and working on your business every morning. If you want to know how to successfully use social media for your new or small business brand, look no further than Social Media Examiner.

A Smart Bear

Let’s look at something not so resource-filled, shall we? Sometimes the best thing for a young, insecure entrepreneur who doubts their potential is to hear from someone else who used to be in their shoes. Millions of entrepreneurs around the world are trying to succeed right now, but only a few truly make it big – one of these chosen few is Jason Cohen, author of the blog “A Smart Bear.”

After selling is last start-up company in 2007, Cohen bowed out of that aspect of the business community. However, he still catalogs his experiences and knowledge in this very successful business blog, filled with insights and helpful hints.

Forbes Woman

Female entrepreneurs have a very unique and specific perspective as compared to their male counterparts. While a female entrepreneur should have every opportunity afforded to her that other entrepreneurs are given, we all know that sometimes this isn’t the case. They must work harder and can potentially face very different hurdles, like sexism and patronizing attitudes in the world of business.

Forbes Woman is designed with the female entrepreneur in mind. While all topics aren’t exclusively geared towards female-driven issues, all of the blogs and pieces ARE written by professional women with experiences they want to share.

The 4 Big Qualities You Need as a Female Leader

by Keetria on November 25, 2016

womentrepsIt’s a man’s world – but women in business are steadily working to change that. Make no mistake that largely influential women exist, and have always existed, but women in a business setting often have to work ten times as hard to receive the same level of respect as their male peers, and female leaders are looked with a magnifying lens. In short, it can be hard to lead a team, a business or a project as a woman – but it’s possible, and you can succeed.

All leaders require key traits, but women need those and then some in order to gain the respect of their peers, employees and others within a business setting. These are the four biggest qualities you need to succeed as a female leader:

Stability

Men often see a woman who is emotional as unhinged, while also reacting to cool, calm and collected women with choice expletives. In many situations, you can’t win for losing – but that’s okay, because the task at hand is really what should be king.

A strong female leader is one that is emotionally stable, and this isn’t just to jab back at the peers who attribute weakness to moodiness. Any leader must be calm and collected, but female leaders have something more to prove in how they are even, resourceful and emotionally clear-headed when making decisions.

In short, they don’t crumble in the face of adversity – they overcome it and are better for it.

Purpose

To be a leader you must be a visionary, and this means creating an innovative plan and executing it with purpose. When a leader makes a purposeful decision, they’re showcasing many other important leadership qualities: intelligence, resourcefulness and power. To be purposeful is also to know how to communicate well – you can execute orders clearly and see your plans come to fruition.

Determination

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Women in business know this idea very well, but female leaders must internalize it. All leaders must be determined, but women should be driven by the determination to prove themselves.

Female leaders don’t have it easy, and in a perfect world they would only have to work as hard as their male counterparts. Instead, determination and the idea that they must use all their skills and resources to make it to the top is why we have the powerful women figures that we have today.

Confidence

Finally, all female leaders should exude confidence. A confident leader is a leader that people can trust, and they know that everything will go according to plan under a leader who is sure of themselves and their ideas. This is the most critical quality because confidence is what gets people to follow you – no one wants to trust in an unsure leader, male or female.

Also, female leaders will likely be questioned more than their male counterparts. While this isn’t a reality that is agreeable, it’s one that must be faced head on. A good leader takes their confidence and wields it like a shield – that’s how a female leader becomes successful.

4bigquestions
You have a business and you have a brand – how do you measure the success of either? When speaking about analytics, the numbers that prove we’re doing excellent or failing miserably in business matter a lot. They’re how we fix problems, adjust successes and plan our future.

But sometimes numbers aren’t enough. When it comes to branding, both absolute values and figurative ideas matter. This means asking questions that you can’t answer without hard thought. Much like your SATs, brand success strategies will have an essay portion.

The best way to figuratively assess your brand’s success is with this set of questions first brought up by Ignition Consulting Group founder Tim Williams:

1. What do we do?

Perhaps the most basic measure of branding success is asking the simple question of what you and/or your business do. This should be answered in a simple sentence; for instance “I’m Tamara Collins, event coordinator and speaker.” “Amteck Industries creates steel solutions.”

This simple answer should always be incorporated in your branding. Should your entire branding strategy be so simple? Not necessarily. But consider that the basis of any good brand strategy is to start with the basics and explain in some way your true business purpose.

2. Who do we do it for?

Next, consider your audience – who are they? Are they a general audience or more specific? Do you cater to men over women? Entrepreneurs over working class people? Who you’re marketing to will dictate the focus of your branding, and this also brings into question your success.

How accurately do you represent this audience within your brand? Based on your analytics, who most identifies with your brand? Does this answer match up with who you want to identify with your brand?

3. How do we do it?

Now assess your values, what makes you and/or your business unique and your methodologies. Sometimes how you perform a service is what identifies you as a brand.

Consider Subway – this is a sandwich chain where your food is made in front of you and served immediately when you pay, unlike artisan sandwich restaurants that don’t operate on such a fast-food style of serving. How the food is prepared separates Subway from other restaurants, and you have to find what it factor you have as a brand and utilize it.

When determining success, look at your current branding methods. How much do you focus on what sets you apart?

4. Why do we do it?

Finally, branding should always convey a mission statement – put simply, a sense of purpose. Do you aim to bring a better value to the table, or higher quality products? Did you simply bring your business to life to fill a hole in the market, or is it something you’re passionate about for personal reasons.

Why you do something is extremely important to a savvy consumer. A successful brand building strategy will always tackle this personal, edgy angle because it’s how you can easily connect with customers around the globe.

fitnessdontsWe all have dreams of getting fit, or we may even already be on an amazing fitness journey. No matter what step of the path you’re on, we all have ideas about what it takes to be fit. Some fitness myths are more well-known than others, like dieting alone isn’t how you become healthy. Others, however, are much more specific and not as discussed.

Whether you’re currently on your fitness journey or considering your options, keep these fitness don’ts in mind – in fact, you may have already feel victim to a few of them!

Never Skip Breakfast

Ironically, the most important meal of the day is the one we most often take for granted. We get up late, grab a granola bar and then don’t think about food again until a late lunch break. Those trying to lose weight may skip breakfast to fend off a few extra pounds, and it’s easy because it’s a meal you can almost sleep through.

This is a big no-no. Breakfast is a meal where we get most of our daily energy, and it’s actually the perfect opportunity to load up on carbs and nutrients you need for energy.

Don’t Aim too High

If you’re new to fitness, setting a realistic goal like walking 30 minutes every Saturday and doing 10 crunches before bed during the work week is actually a good thing. We sometimes feel like in order to get fit or lose weight we have to go to extremes and exercise until we pass out. Instead, building strength and falling into a routine are two of the biggest components of fitness.

Also, setting your expectations too high is a good way to fast track yourself to failure. You’re more likely to become disappointed and give up when you don’t meet your goals, but the truth is you never could have met them in the first place.

Don’t Focus On Pounds

Most reality shows about weight loss put a big emphasis on losing a certain amount of weight in a set span of time. This is actually very unhealthy – don’t do it. If your doctor tells you to lose 30 pounds, that’s fine; but your workout routine shouldn’t be a question of a math equation. Work on promoting better habits and changing your lifestyle instead of picking out a target weight number. Otherwise you might make it to that number and quit because your only motivation is out the window.

Don’t Compare Yourself

Everyone’s fitness journey is different, just like everyone has a different body type and weight threshold. You may not ever fit into a size 4 because your hips or big, or maybe your weight gain is a bad medication side effect – simply put, we all have different setbacks and experiences.

It’s important that we don’t look at others and measure ourselves based on their successes and appearance because we aren’t them – and we never will be. Fitness is something that’s very personal, and your failures and successes should be measured by your own merits, no one else’s.