Last year I was able to get an unbelievable sale promotion for my blog readers. It was a very special deal with Mariner Software for all their software,Â including extremely powerful software like MacJournal and Mac Gourmet DeLuxe. It's very…
This is the second part of my short series about how to use travel as a personal development tool. I covered the “why’s” and the benefits of this in the first post, so if you came here directly you may want to read that too.
While started to work on this, I realized that travel as a personal development tool can be split into 2 main categories:
- short rides around the city or at maximum 3-400 km away from home, which usually last less than a day
- long trips, more than 3-4000 km, which last at least one week.
There are some differences between the those trips, at least from a personal development approach, so I will split my post accordingly.
Short Joy Rides
Those trips are fantastic perspective changers. I used to do unexpected rides all the time when I was feeling stressed or under pressure. After several months of doing this on purpose, my general approach toward my business completely changed. I switched from a very tense attitude to a more relaxed one and I was able to spot opportunities much easier.
From my experience, you should use this whenever you have feelings of lack of time or pressure. Sounds very counter-productive and somehow like escapism, but is not. Just start a short ride around the city, drive around or walk if you want. You can even take public transportation like urban trains or trams. Just go there, be with the flow and give your mind a break. Do this for at least 3 or 4 hours. Don’t even dare to think that this time could be better used if you “worked”. You’re still working during those rides, you’re only doing it differently.
The trick here is to do this on purpose and for several weeks / months in a row. Yes, you got it right, you must make a habit out of it. Sounds strange to make a habit out of short trips, but believe me, it works. You don’t have to come to the end of the rope and try it as a last resort, just do it while you’re still able to think it clear. Because you still have the capacity to shift your focus from your problems (what is pressuring you) to your solutions (what could free you).
The other key point is to not plan your itinerary, just go in the car and ride the road you see in front of you. Let yourself caught in the road, stop your mind and enjoy what you see. Extract yourself from your current flow of habits, break your unconscious walls and immerse yourself into the unknown. After 3-4 hours, return home. That’s it. As I said, it’s very important to this for at least several weeks in a row.
Short trips without an established goal worked fantastically well for me. Helped me to achieve a better clarity and sensitivity. My work actually improved, both in terms of performance and volume during that period, so I never feel I lost time during those trips.
The best image I can use is something that comes out of the fog. This is how I felt after several weeks in which I follow the habit of short 3-4 hours trips.
Playing the money game is something really fun, when you do it with an easy heart. And by that I mean that whenever you focus only on the money part and lose the game part you derail yourself from a path of joy and learning. Making money is just something you do in the process of creating value. The focus must always be at creating value, not at money.
In today’s post I’ll share some of my money game experiences, I will show how money can be compared with a fitness workout and I’ll take a closer look at one very scary notion related to money, and that would be debt.
The Money Game
For me money is just a source of energy. I wrote about that before so if you want to know how you can make money with a purpose, just go and read that post and return here a little later. If you already read it, than you know what I mean: each time you interact directly with money, you break an energy flow. And direct interaction with an energy flow can be really dangerous. You should consider using switches for manipulating money, the same way you manipulate switches for electricity, in order to light your room or make it warmer.
Money is just a part of a game, is something you use in the process, is not the process itself, nor the goal of your actions. People tend to forget this and they do it especially when one part of the game become a little naughty: when they are caught in debt.
Debt and win are just two faces of the same coin (ironically, I use a money object in order to describe a money concept). If you win money in the process of creating value that simply means you have more resources than you had in the beginning. If you used more money than you had at a certain point, well, you just created a debt. The problem with debt is that is very often perceived like a threat or a burden. And it surely is, as long as you don’t know the value you created with that debt. If you used that money in order to build something, you created a certain value. (If you didn’t and just spend it on a shallow lifestyle, well, that’s another problem and your debt should really be a problem for you.) But if you created value, your only question is:
Is my created value bigger than my debt?
If the answer is “yes”, you’re on the safe side, and the money game is working for you. If the answer is “no”, well, you should do your best to create more value.
That’s what makes the difference between successful people and losers. Successful people know all the time if their created value exceeds or not their financial debt. And most of the time, that value is well over the debt. Losers (sorry for the term, but it’s the most appropriate term I found for this category) never know where their created value is compared with their debt. At the first sign of a debt they consider something is wrong and stop doing everything, start complaining, become irrational or simply run away.
So, you want more. Good for you. You want more time, more money, more stuff, more satisfaction, more life. Great! You strive for abundance which, by the way, happens to be our natural state as human beings. But are you prepared for that? Are you really ready to enjoy what you wish?
I’m not talking from a philosophical, law-of-attraction-ish standpoint. I’m talking from a very practical, day to day approach for managing your future abundance. If you consciously chose abundance and if you achieve it honestly, then you have to be able to actually manage it.
During my life I had several abundance thresholds. When I left home and came in my country’s main town to study, I had virtually nothing. I worked during my studies and I successfully managed to financially sustain myself during that time, and I did it more than decent. During next years I passed over several abundance milestones: from going out of the student’s hostel to rent my own apartment, later to buy my own apartment, and even later to move into my own house. Which, by the way, I discovered I had to clean a lot.
Each time I reached those milestones I faced several challenges. Each time I had to cope with a bigger flow of stuff coming into my life. But it wasn’t only stuff, it was more than that. I realized that abundance can walk into your life by taking one of the following three shapes. There is another one, the 4th shape, but I reserved a special chapter to it, at the end of this post.
1. You can have more stuff: 2 cars instead of one, a house instead of an apartment, more gadgets, more clothes, more things – you know the drill…
2. You can have more action: going to the gym, socializing in a different way, making appearance to new events, doing something completely new – everything that your new status requires from you to do in order to keep it up and running
3. You can be involved in new relationships: new friends, new social positions for you, a pool guy, a maid, a chauffeur, or just new persons that needs your constant attention
Don’t laugh. Or if you laugh just keep reading because this is about you and the abundance you are eager to achieve. It will include all this stuff. It will change your life. It will challenge you at a very deep level. It’s ok to laugh, as long as you’ll be prepared.
Failing to realistically manage your abundance can have unpleasant consequences. You can find yourself overwhelmed and lose track of your possessions, or you can fail in managing your new level of relationships and let your wealth slip through your fingers. Or you can be fooled into a “don’t deserve this because I don’t don’t know how to handle it” pattern, which is even worse than the first situation.
So here comes the practical advice:
This is the 5th article of the Making Of An Online Business series and it will deal with your partnerships. After talking about your projects, teams and money, it’s time do dig a little on your alliances, associations, or, in other words, partnerships.
If you came here directly I encourage you to read the rest of the articles in this series by clicking on the links below:
- Start Your Own Business
- The Making Of An Online Business – The Series
- The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects
- The Making Of An Online Business – The Team
- The Making Of An Online Business – The Money
What’s A Partnership?
A partnership is at the organizational level what your team is at your human resources level. As the words imply, it is a resource, a complementary resource that will provide more value to your business.
Generally speaking, a partnership is an alliance in which each part is providing specific values to the other parts. It is based on trust, acceptance and common goals or resources. A partnership is a temporary association of two or more organizations in order to attain a specific goal faster or with fewer resources consumption.
I will say this again, until it will be really clear: online is the most dynamic business context ever. Things are happening lightening fast. Like really lightening fast. Keeping the old individualistic approach of “I’m the best in my field” won’t work anymore. Because you can’t be the best in your field anymore. You can only offer a slightly more interesting perspective than your competition, and even that only for a limited time.
If you want to increase your market penetration, you have to let go a little on your ego and trust on partnerships. I’m not saying to rely exclusively on partnerships, but treat them at least as necessary tools for expansion.
The real trick here is to chose your partners extremely carefully. They must operate in the same business context as you, but they don’t have to make the same things as you. They will be, of course, your competition, in this case. I can’t believe how many people ignore this simple and apparently dumb rule when they are going out for partners. And they do that by either trying to partner with the competition (not a bad thing for a desperate business, by the way) either by going for partnerships way too far from their audience.
This is the 3rd article from The Making Of An Online Business series, and it will focus on the money part. If you’re looking for a way to monetize your project, I covered this topic in the second article of the series, about creating and maintaining online projects, which you can find on the link list below.
This post will deal with my way of interacting with money as an online entrepreneur. There are tons of other blogs or courses from where you can learn the basics of money management, so don’t expect to find that kind of information in this article. Instead, expect to find some fresh approach to money interaction as a whole, applied to an online business.
If you came here directly I encourage you to read the rest of the articles and the summary by following the links below:
Money Is Hot
From the early beginning I will tell you that I always felt money is hot. Meaning I can’t really keep it in my hand. In fact, money was so hot for me than I rarely saw it in big piles. Every time I had a serious amount of money available I was reinvesting it like the next second. Please note the difference: spending versus reinvesting.
And it was a good decision. By reinvesting the money in my own business I accomplished at least 3 good things:
1.Â I always had new projects coming
This is crucial in the online. As I wrote before, online has the highest availability degree you can imagine, higher than any other business field, but it has also the tiniest loyalty mark, so your audience can be stolen away almost instantly. You have to be able to offer new things, you have to innovate, to re-create stuff. And fueling your R & D department with generosity is the easiest way to keep you on top.
Don’t expect that any projects you launch to be a success. But do expect to learn from any of your projects, both successful or unsuccessful. Spending money on new projects is like paying for your own education.
2. I soon learned that money is a resource not a goal
Too often money is seen as a goal. Blame the modern society, consumerism, your mom and dad. You can’t deny that, everybody judge success by the amount of money you have in the bank. But if you have the courage to not pile money out of your business and reinvesting it back, treating it like a resource, you will grow your business. And in the end that’s the only thing that matters.
You can win a lot of money out of one project and then get scared not to loose it and stop reinvesting it in new projects. Big and dumb mistake. Money is not the stake, growth is the stake.
3. I always had to closely watch the money flow
Starting new projects constantly makes for a great financial discipline, because you really have to know all the time if you do have enough resources to keep you going. I learned to maintain a constant money discipline, and that thing is benefiting me now tremendously. I always know how much money I have, even if you wake me in the middle of the night.
Knowing how much money you have, how much money you can spend and how much money you will make out of something has nothing to do with scarcity. It’s a transparent mindset that keeps you connected. It’s like always knowing your resources and potential and avoid walking on thin ice.
This is the second article in the series about managing an online business. It will focus on what you actually do in an online business, how can you measure it, the various stages of each project and how you can monetize your work. If you came here directly you can go back to the summary of the whole series or you can start with the first article which deals with starting your own business.
Please keep in mind that this post is rather long, more than 3000 words, so make sure you are away from interruptions when start reading it. If you can’t read it now, you can bookmark it and come back later.
More than in any other business, in the online universe, a product (i.e. a website) is more like a process and not like an object.
If you are in the furniture business, you’re selling objects. A chair, a table, a couch. Every once in a while you change a little the design, but you are largely selling objects.
In the online field, you sell things which are continuously shaping. An online service is by definition dynamic. Your websites need continuous upgrade, otherwise they will fade as importance and eventually lose their audience.
The online has a high availability, which means your potential audience is huge. But the online has also a high volatility degree, which means that the potential huge audience is very easy to be moved toward your competitors.
Online Projects Metrics
You need a way to quantify the behavior of your websites in order to measure their success. Otherwise you’ll be lost in the jungle of millions of other websites, portals, forums, blogs or online shops. I worked with only three main online project metrics:
– traffic, the total number of users that accessed that website in a given time interval
– money, the total amount of money that website produced in a given time interval
– resource consumption, how many resources (people, money, assets) that website consumed in a given interval.
Although it seems pretty straightforward, the way in which those three metrics can combine is infinite. You can have projects with minimal traffic but with good money flow in. You can have websites with little or no money in, but with huge traffic (I guess the most famous example is YouTube in this area). Or you can have websites with zero resource consumption (auto-pilot websites) with no money in and just a decent traffic. but still consider them as successes. Each combination of those factors can play a role in the bigger picture and you must not overlook any possible outcome.
Now, let’s take each metric and see how you can interpret it.
Ten years ago I started my own business. At that time I felt this was the best decision ever in my entire life. Ten years after I still feel the same with all my heart. Having your own business is…
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Now, more than ever, a lot of people are faced with financial pressure. This is what a crisis should be about, anyway. Companies are cutting jobs, people are losing houses and the global economy seems to be falling down. I’m not going to talk about the reasons for this crisis, as I will try to better focus a little about the immediate reality and how I faced similar situations.
Being an entrepreneur is something that, among other interesting stuff, is giving you a lot of financial pressure. Getting from a monthly pay check (in exchange of some time spent in an office) to a complete reverse of the situation, when you have to take your money from the clients (if you do your job well and on time), huh, that’s quite a roller-coaster. It’s a serious comfort shake and it requires a lot of extra energy spent on the financial side. And it is not only your money that’s on the plate, you’ll need money for office rent, for utilities like electricity, internet access, for advertising and promotion and so on. Not to mention your employees or partners. You will have to manage a whole new level of cashing and spending. And believe me, this is a tremendous financial pressure.
When I started my own business, 10 years ago, I faced this like a train hitting a wall. Although I managed to do pretty well, in the first three years I barely knew where my pockets were. They were most of the time empty. Money didn’t have a chance to settle there. Even if I managed to do a decent living per month, there were increasing expenses that I had to face the next month. It was really tough. That was a time when I really had to learn a lot about handling financial pressure.