Spring is in full swing and summer is approaching at a breakneck pace. Before we know it, fall will be upon us…but in the meantime, we’ve got some exercising to do!

Summer is largely about fitness, whether it’s getting ready for bikini season or being active outside with friends and family during school and work vacations. It’s also a time period where you see a spike in fitness novices trying to get out there and embrace fitness wholeheartedly. These newbies look for information online and on television from those they think they can trust — the secrets to achieving perky butts and flat bellies.

Sure, there are fitness secrets out there that do work, but there are many more myths out there that are way too good to be true. If you’re interested in getting fit this year, avoid these fitness myths like the plague.

“Lots of sweat = lots of fat burning.”

It’s a phrase that’s commonly tossed around: “more sweat, less fat!” Some exercise junkies use this as a mantra, and their confirmation bias comes out when they lose the pounds after rigorous exercise routines.

The truth is that sweat has no real correlation to how much fat you’re burning off. Sweating is biological and helps to regulate your body’s temperature. Sweating at all is a good indicator that you are pushing your limits, but there’s no correlation to sweating and fat loss.

“Crunches are the best go-to exercise.”

Make no mistake, crunches are great for exercising your core and abdomen. They’re a great beginner’s exercise that is easy to utilize for measuring your exercise journey. You’ll find them hard to do at first, especially if you’re trying to do them quickly, but they’ll become easier over time.

However, they shouldn’t be your exercise crutch. Many believe that crunches are the quickest way to a flat stomach and lower body fat, but that certainly isn’t the case. The best way to lose fat is to burn a lot of calories, but crunches don’t actually burn that many. Don’t rely on crunches alone if you want a beach body this summer.

“The longer you’re in the gym, the better off you’ll be.”

Finally, there’s a common myth floating around that the harder you push, the faster you’ll lose all that weight you want to get rid of. In fact, the opposite is actually true. Of course it’s a good idea to go to the gym, but continuously going to the gym with no breaks leads to fatigue, injury and weight gain.

Why weight gain? Your body eventually needs to rest. When you do take a day off, your body will desperately cling to the calories you take in and you’ll be set back for your next gym visit. Schedule rest days regularly. This also helps to keep you motivated to go to the gym — don’t risk burning yourself out and quitting altogether.

These are just three common myths you’ll find, especially online. When you’re researching information on fitness, always do your research and never trust the first article you see.

Listen to how this entrepreneur and creator – Stefan Grant used an unpleasant travel experience to create an industry game changer. The Founder of Noirbnb, Stefan paints the perfect picture of how his entrepreneurial instincts took over when he and his team decided to develop a new option that’s certain to thrive in the bnb industry. Don’t miss this one! Connect with Stefan on Twitter and check for the latest updates on Noirbnb at www.noirbnb.com 

Podcasting is one of my favorite forms of media nowadays. It’s easy to relax in a bath or run on the treadmill while listening to one of my favorite podcasts — they’re audio streams that are easy to consume and don’t require a lot of effort to understand, more often than not.

I love showing women empowering resources, and this post combines this love of empowerment with my love of podcasting. Here are four podcasts I think any female entrepreneur could appreciate.

The School of Self-Mastery – Adrienne Dorison

If you want an amazing podcast that covers a wide variety of topics that focus on entrepreneurship AND life as a woman, Adrienne Dorison’s podcast is the first you should check out. The School of Self-Mastery is about living life as an entrepreneur while also juggling life as a woman, from raising children to taking time out of your schedule to live a healthy life.

On the business side of things, Dorison often interviews successful business owners and utilizes her experiences and their info to teach important business lessons. These span many different fields, from marketing to financial responsibility.

Online Marketing Made Easy– Amy Porterfield

You typically listen to a podcast not just to learn about what someone is doing, but also how they’re doing it. This is especially true when it comes to podcasts about business. If I had one suggestion for podcasts that really go into the how of business success, Online Marketing Made Easy would top the list.

Amy Porterfield is a master at interviewing a guest who owns a business, and from there breaking down how they achieved their goals. She’s an expert at online marketing, frequently explaining how to monetize marketing strategies to her loyal listeners. Her advice is certainly worth paying attention to.

Profit. Power. Pursuit. – Tara Gentile

It’s always fascinating to learn exactly how a successful entrepreneur runs their business. There’s no one true path to success — we all make things happen in different ways! What makes me successful may not make you successful, and vice versa. No podcast explores this concept more aptly than Profit. Power. Pursuit.

Tara Gentile interviews a business owner on this podcast, then expertly breaks down their path to success. This means that a variety of business topics are covered based on the business in question. She’s also a professional speaker, so this topic is covered quite frequently.

SOB: Style of Business – Keetria

Time for a bit of shameless self-promotion. I’m all about female empowerment, and my own podcast (Style of Business: The Podcast) reflects this. While not every episode may focus on the topic of women in the world of business, many entrepreneurs I interview are women who have become highly successful in their field.

In general, my podcast topics include tips and tricks for entrepreneurial success, branding ideas and global viewpoints from the perspective of business owners around the world. We all have different ideas, methodologies and success stories, and I believe sharing these experiences with one another can lead us to our own, individual successes.

Take a listen, will you?

Branding is an important part of business marketing…but what are you supposed to do when you’re just starting out and don’t have the capital to put behind a killer branding campaign?

The good news is that you don’t have to be a business bigwig to create branding that really sings. The Internet has especially made branding easier than ever, and marketing yourself online is now cheap and easy thanks to these tools.

I can offer a million budget branding tips, but let’s start out with these four important pieces of advice:

  1. Newsletters

One thing I always say about branding is that the time you invest will always be more important than the money you spend. A consistent brand is one that works hard to create and maintain their image and personality. Sending out newsletters to an email list may not seem like the best way to brand in the short term, but the long term effects are certainly worth it.

You already have someone on the hook with your company. Even if they ignore a lot of your newsletters, it’s sometimes enough to regularly show up in a consumer’s inbox. This keeps you familiar to them, and those who do click regularly will get a taste of your consistent branding every time.

  1. Customer Insights

Sometimes the best branding opportunities don’t even come from you directly. Customers you have that are happy with your services will gladly say so, and this is something you can leverage.

Whether through user generated content or testimonials, customers showcase how they feel about your brand in a positive way. This kind of human feedback creates credibility among other potential customers online. A credible brand is a brand that succeeds because they’ve proven their value to not just the customers they already have, but to the world at large.

  1. Social Media

This should go without saying, but social media will always be your easiest and most inexpensive format for branding. Many associate market with social media more than they do branding, but brand identity and social media go hand in hand.

We can define marketing as purposefully trying to attract customers, while branding is something that is more subtle and subconscious. A brand is an identity, not an action – more aptly, it is the intention behind that action and what that action means. Things like personality and values can be communicated through interacting and posting on social media with a brand’s voice as the vehicle.

  1. Work with Amateur Freelancers

Freelance graphic designers just starting out are looking to fill up their resumes with work in order to get bigger clients and show their areas of expertise. If you’re looking for a logo or something related to web design, amateur freelancers are out there, ready and willing to give you decent work at an incredible price.

You don’t have to spend big to get a nice, simple logo produced. It’s also possible to refurbish your branding later on down the line when you have more capital to invest.

A great discussion about pursuing your talents and passions to help motivate others. Rashad “Bow Tie” Mills talks about how his business venture and desire to help the youth evolved into something bigger than he anticipated. The host of “Happy Hour” – Rashad uses his spirituality, passion, and purpose to give back. Don’t miss this one! Connect with Rashad on Facebook.

A common misconception about mindfulness is that it’s entirely the absence of thought. However, it should be obvious that this is wrong — it’s not called mindfulness for nothing. To be mindful is to (simply put) accomplish two things. First, you clear your mind. Second — and this is the important part — you focus on the present environment and the world around you within that very moment.

No past, no future. Just the moment you currently exist within.

The problem is that as entrepreneurs and busy people, we don’t often have the time or ability to shut off our brains and focus on what’s really around us. That’s why when the moment occurs, we all have to strike while the iron is hot.

  1. Your Daily Commute

It’s probably a good idea to avoid spacing out while you’re driving to work, but that doesn’t mean you can take some time during your commute to be mindful. This is much easier if you take the train, bus or subway to work. You aren’t having to worry about the rules of the road and it’s easier to let your mind wander and focus on the world around you.

If you do drive, try and make it to work a little early. Don’t try to be mindful while driving, but instead for a few minutes once you get to work. Sit in your car, turn off your brain and take in your environment.

  1. Make Food Mindful

Being mindful isn’t just about drifting away and taking in the sights. It’s also about savoring all of your senses — including your sense of taste.

You’ll find time to eat during the day, which means you’ll find time to be mindful. The food you’re eating doesn’t have to be from a five star restaurant in order for mindfulness occur. Even if you only have time for a Hot Pocket at your desk, take the time to notice the flavor and only the flavor. How does the food feel? How does it taste?

  1. Before Sleep

You aren’t a robot — you’ve got to sleep sometime! If you don’t have time to be mindful during the day, simply make time at night. About five minutes before you’re scheduled to go to sleep, let your mind wander and experience the world around you.

It’s actually easier to be mindful when your mind is already looking forward to shutting down. Practicing mindfulness before bed is one way to be more successful at the exercise, and it’s also simultaneously relaxing so you can fall asleep faster.

  1. Emotional Awareness

We’ve covered things like sight, sound and taste, but mindfulness also encompasses another spectrum of yourself: emotions. Examining your emotions in the present is a great way to get in tune with them and ease stress.

This can be done at any time during the day, but consider focusing on this during any bathroom breaks you take at work. Wash your hands and focus on feeling the water and soap, then look inward and assess your emotions. This takes only a few second and can still leave you feeling at ease.

Marketing should never be something you have to break the bank for, especially in this day and age when the Internet can give you access to numerous tools and vehicles for marketing yourself cheaply. This can actually be something a problem, though — there are so many different ways to market yourself online, many entrepreneurs who are just starting out don’t exactly know where to start.

Never fear. I’ve got four inexpensive ways to market yourself online with little tips and tricks for how to do so in the most valuable way possible.

  1. Social Media

First and foremost, social media should be your go-to marketing vehicle. It’s essentially free unless you want to invest money into it, and even then the capital required is small — especially for the return on investment.

You’ll need to establish which social media sites suit your business. For instance, your jewelry ecommerce store may not benefit from LinkedIn like it would from Instagram or Pinterest. Then find inventive ways to promote yourself on these social sites, like coupon codes or freebies. Always pay attention to your engagement on social media: who is talking to you, and are you talking back?

  1. Online Reviews

Online review sites are a great way to market yourself cost effectively, mostly because you’re not even really doing the work involved! Always make a point to ask your customers to post reviews of your service — make things simply by including it in your site or email copy. The site you choose should coincide with your business theme. Sites like Yelp and a Google My Business page can do wonders for your word of mouth marketing capabilities.

  1. Blogging

A business blog can help you market your brand, boost your SEO AND give you great visibility — so why aren’t you doing it yet? Consider things like partnering with an influencer or related company to double your visibility while promoting valuable content. Your blogs are also a great way to market your business in a subtle way, like talking about the benefits of your business in an otherwise informative article.

Your blog can also act as your on-site press room. When you have news you want to share, do it via a blog post! Then share that blog post on social media for maximum results. This takes little to no capital, and blog posts are cheap if you want to outsource them.

  1. Put Yourself Out There

Online marketing is essentially finding ways on the Internet that put your brand in the spotlight. Doing things like answering Quora questions our joining industry relevant forums can promote you as a thought leader while also boosting your brand within the public consciousness.

Always be innovative and look for opportunities. I can’t give you all the advice you’re looking for because I don’t know what opportunities may come your way. The best marketing advice I can give you is to stay hungry and always keep a watchful eye out for ways to promote yourself online. It’s easier to find cheap marketing vehicles than you may think.

If you need some quick information on getting starting with launching your business, my latest ebook, “How To Build a Business with a Very Low Budget” might just be what you need. It’s to the point and easy to read and can be read while you’re on lunch break!

Branding takes finesse. It takes a fine eye, an understanding of the market and a savvy account of what consumers really want. You would think well-established companies had these bases covered…but the sad truth is that everyone has a blind spot.

If there’s one thing you need to learn from other businesses, it’s what NOT to do. You’ll find you learn a lot more from someone’s branding disasters than their branding successes.

Gap’s Major Mistake

One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that iconic logos probably shouldn’t be altered or tampered with. In the case of fledgling businesses, pick a logo that works and stick with it.

Gap did exactly the opposite of that in 2010. Despite being a company with a logo that’s iconic to the brand, Gap decided that some change was necessary moving into the new decade. They swapped their white-text-on-blue-square logo for black text on a white background with a small blue box. The new look was dated and out of sync with their image. In the end, the disaster cost them big bucks.

Bust Buy

Another company with an iconic logo, Best Buy, tried to change their image up in 2008. You may not remember the new look simply because it lasted for only a few weeks. Switching from their black text/yellow price tag look to a more minimalist design didn’t actually fare well for the company. The new design was clunky and didn’t utilize space well.

The lesson to learn here is always be aware of your design skills. If you aren’t capable of designing a winning logo, look elsewhere and don’t be ashamed. If even companies like Best Buy can have graphic design misses, you’re allowed to have a few too.

I’m Not Even Sure

Intrigued by that subheading? You might be even more intrigued by the actual logo itself. Without reading the text, what kind of company do you think would inspire this kind of squid-like disaster?

The reality is that Cottbus is a German city. The city, looking to rebrand themselves, created a contest that awarded 800 euros to the winner. This was the design that was selected, though the city soon realized their mistake. They’ve since rebranded after Internet users turned their new logo into the newest meme. What can you learn from this? It’s simple: don’t make obviously bad decisions.

If it Ain’t Coke…

…don’t fix it. However, Coca Cola has attempted to do this multiple times. While their can design changes have been welcomed more often than not in recent years, the iconic beverage company has tried over and over again to sell a new formula of their drink.

If there’s one thing Coca Cola doesn’t need to adjust when it comes to branding, it’s their product. They have a winning recipe, but of course any brand as old as theirs will want to switch things up now and again. Your takeaway is this: know what should change and what should stay the same.

Entrepreneurs live very busy lives. They go, go, go and never find the time to fully come to a stop. If this defines your own life, consider this: you can be just as productive while still having inner peace and a way to put your mind at ease when you do find some down time.

Many entrepreneurs might think this is ridiculous. A way to stay busy while still being able to relax when you need to? Preposterous! The truth is that it’s entirely possible thanks to one helpful technique: mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to focus entirely on the present, and that’s in the most literal sense. Not the current day or the current week instead of a far-off to-do list. No, mindfulness means focusing on each second as it passes; being utterly and completely in the moment. It’s unrealistic to say you can always tune out your busy day, but practicing mindfulness gives you a place to escape when it’s time to put work down for the night.

But…how can you stay mindful and practice mindfulness when you have such a busy schedule to adhere to? I have a few tips that can make it work for you, no matter how packed your schedule is.

Skip the evening…go for a mindful morning.

Many entrepreneurs feel the pressure to practice mindfulness during the evening, right after they (maybe) finished up their to-do list. While this is the time when it’s most helpful to be mindful, don’t leap into mindfulness right after you round out your day. Instead, practice mindfulness when it’s easiest — during the morning.

In the morning, it’s a lot easier to clear your head. Right after you wake up, you haven’t thrown yourself into the thick of the day. At night, you’ve already got a ton of work thoughts swirling around in your head.

Set aside time for short breaks.

It’s not to say that you need to take whole 15 minute chunks out of your day to practice mindfulness. Instead, set aside little bite-sized pieces of time (like three to five minutes) to let go of all of your thoughts and slip into being in the moment. This can help to keep your mind sharp and focused during the day, and it also keeps your brain from going 100 miles per hour non-stop throughout the day.

Indulge the senses.

One of the most important aspects of mindfulness is, well, being aware of your mind and what it’s feeling. The best way to do this is to directly stimulate the senses as much as possible.

A great opportunity for this that doesn’t interrupt your schedule is your lunch break. Put aside your phone and focus only on your food. Savor each bite and catalog the flavors, smells and textures of what you’re eating. Is it cold? Is it crunchy? Does it make you feel nostalgia or bring up a memory?

Being in the moment means truly feeling every emotion and sense that passes through your body. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ve truly mastered mindfulness.