TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Reasons You Are Not a Millionaire Yet

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You think other people can succeed but not you

Many people out there desperately want to be millionaires, and why wouldn’t they? While money may not buy happiness it can buy a better, less stressful and more fulfilled life. However, before you can be a millionaire you need to have the right strategy and know the reasons why you haven’t met this goal already.

Everybody who wants to be millionaire but isn’t has excuses. “I didn’t pick the right career,” “I can’t afford the schooling,” or “I don’t have time.” These are not reasons, but just excuses and excuses only get in the way of your success. Here are 10 reasons why people do not become millionaires.

1. You have no one guiding you in the right direction.

You need to surround yourself with positive people. Most importantly, you need to find someone you can trust that will help guide you in the right direction. The people you trust most should be the ones pushing you towards success. This is one advantage I did not have early on. I am entirely self-taught, which is why I have created my mentoring program to give that advantage to others.

2. You aren’t willing to make sacrifices.

You really cannot have your cake and eat it too, there are things that you will need to give up. If you can’t sacrifice things like hanging with friends or going out and partying in order to focus on your career, then you will never get the financial success you have been looking for.

3. You fear failure.

You will fail, you will make mistakes, and you need to learn to get over it. If you fear failure, you will never overcome it.

4. Your goals aren’t clear, so neither are your actions.

If you don’t have a clear goal in mind and clear action steps in place to reach that goal, you will never become a millionaire. Take the time to do the planning and do it right.

5. You think other people can succeed but not you.

Believe that you can succeed. Visualize yourself as that successful man or woman who you once envied. If you visualize yourself being a millionaire success, and truly believe it can happen, you are one step closer to your goal.

6. You think your background or location prevents your success.

Nothing can prevent you from success. Lets repeat that: nothing can prevent you from success.

7. You aren’t using the Internet.

The Internet has changed the world and it continues to change the world. If you aren’t using, you aren’t taking advantage of one of the most powerful money making tools out there.

8. You rationalize money can’t buy happiness and forget that it can buy freedom.

Money is your ticket to the freedom so many people want in this world. Freedom can lead to happiness. To find your motivation focus on the freedom that money can buy you.

9. You hang out with the wrong crowd.

The people around you should be your support system. They should be the people there for you, pushing you and keeping you positive and focused. Your crowd of friends and family should not be distractions or negative in any way. If they are, it is time to find a new crowd.

10. You play long shots like the lotto instead of building your skill set.

Building your own skill set and knowledge base is better for you in the long term. Sure, it takes more time and more work but it can lead you to the long-term success that you desire.

Keep these reasons in mind when you are working towards your next professional goal. You will see first hand what you are capable of if you just put these reasons off to the side and focus instead on your path towards becoming a millionaire.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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Why Trusting Your ‘Gut Feeling’ Is Often the Best Strategy

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The brain uses a combination of logic and emotion when making decisions of any kind

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There is no such thing as a purely logical decision. The brain uses a combination of logic and emotion when making decisions of any kind. That specific emotion, innate to us as humans, is intuition. We possess the capacity to feel, and thereby the ability to know things without consciously reasoning. The “gut feeling” is real, and we use it all the time.

“Going with our gut,” however, implies uncertainty and does not guarantee a good outcome. Sometimes all the hard information we need is right there for us, and we can rely on logic without leaning too much on our gut instincts. But when it’s not, wouldn’t it be nice to know that our gut gives better than a 50/50 chance of success?

Gary Player, the golf legend, often tells this story. Years ago, he was practicing in a bunker and an onlooker approached just in time to see Player hole a sand shot. The onlooker yelled, “Fifty bucks if you do that again,” and Player stepped up and holed the second shot. The guy yelled, “OK, $100 if you do it again.” Sure enough, the third shot went in. As he was paying up, the onlooker said, “I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my entire life,” to which Player replied, “Well, the more I practice the luckier I get!”

I think we can sharpen our intuition just as a golfer sharpens his or her skills. Gary Player’s dedication to practice increased the probability of success for any given shot. To hone intuition, it’s all about giving our brain more emotional information to work with through life experience to increase the probability of success for any given gut decision. Basically, the more we experience the more accurate our guts become.

Our brains record it all; every meeting, client interaction, presentation, and personal decision. With every experience, the cache of information our brains have at their disposal grows. Think of a jigsaw puzzle. Your brain’s job is to decide what the image is, but it only has one of the 100 pieces to the puzzle. With every relevant experience, another puzzle piece becomes available. Soon, the brain will have enough information to identify the image.

Within an organization, there is a variety of thinking preferences which are naturally intuitive in different ways:

Social thinkers tend to be intuitive by nature. This makes sense, as their thinking revolves around people and relationships, which are not exactly quantifiable. Generally, you can feel good about trusting the social thinkers’ guts when it comes to people-related issues.

Conceptual thinkers may not be able to “show their work” or otherwise explain why they know something. Having a lot of conceptual thinking in your brain is like being the person who could answer the math problem without showing the teacher how you arrived at the answer. They just know. The dots are all connected inside their mind. As long as they understand, that’s good enough.

Analytical thinkers are the opposite of social thinking with regard to intuition. After all, why on earth would anyone make a decision based on anything but sound logic and data analysis? They’d rather have all the information and make a decision from there. But when they have to go with their guts they are actually more accurate than they think because their gut filters through the logical neural-pathways of their brain.

Structural thinkers are often intuitive about time and dates. They are likely to have a good sense of how long a project will take, how long a meeting will last, or what time to leave for an appointment across town. Don’t have a structural preference? Pay attention to someone in your office/home who does. They have the innate ability to understand these things and can help prevent you from putting too many things to do in one day.

That’s what is going on in your brain. But what happens when you try to communicate your gut response or actions to other people? Your behavioral preferences are how you manifest your intuition.

  • 1/3 of the Expressiveness Spectrum: Just because you are not speaking does not mean you have nothing to say. Having that gut feeling may be distressing for you because you have the idea but you’d prefer to internally process the gut reaction before outwardly communicating it. If normally remaining quiet and introspective is your preference, try stepping out of your comfort zone by sharing your gut feeling.
  • 3/3 of the Expressiveness Spectrum: You like to speak your mind on a team or in a group, but be weary of not putting too much faith in just your gut feeling or people may not take your thoughts seriously.
  • 1/3 of the Assertiveness Spectrum: If your gut tells you that the project is not going the right direction, pay attention to your gut feeling. As a natural peacekeeper, you’re likely to ignore your gut for the sake of not rocking the boat. But just think about how you’ll feel if the plan doesn’t pan out- you’ll end up wishing you had rocked the boat earlier on.
  • 3/3 of the Assertiveness Spectrum: Driving the right ideas in a meeting for you is almost the same as always going with your gut. But with your forceful preferences, it is important to give others the chance who are not as outspoken the opportunity to speak their minds too. Sometimes the best way to follow your gut feeling is to take a step back and see all parts of the argument to make sure yours is credible.
  • 1/3 of the Flexibility Spectrum: Once your gut tells you that this is the right direction, you will be focused on what track to follow. Your unwavering focus does not mean you’re closed to change, but that you require a lot of credible information to change your mind from your gut feeling.
  • 3/3 of the Flexibility Spectrum: For someone who is very accommodating, you may often second-guess your own intuition. Pay attention to your gut feeling and don’t try to question that feeling because often times it is the right move.

Each of us can still hone our intuition even if we don’t have a strong thinking preference one way or another. For instance, someone without a dominant Social preference still has some level of Social intuition that will be enhanced by every interaction with people. In general, any experience is a good experience, and the more we have of them, the more accurate our gut feelings become.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com

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Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Reputation Online

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Examine your past, present and future

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As an entrepreneur who has spent a lot of time building a positive and powerful online reputation for myself, I need to make sure I’m working alongside others who have done the same. Thanks to social media and Google, it’s quite easy to find personal and business history on nearly anyone — especially if they aren’t careful with their social media activity. I’m not the only one interested in this type of information. Now every individual and potential hire is under a magnifying glass before their employer makes any final decision.

Mark Cuban recently did an interview with Inc. on the massive transformation of digital media and how personal data is being shared at an alarming rate. The majority of this personal data is collected through social networks and shared with various applications, sites, partners and more — usually without the end user’s knowledge.

Todd William of ReputationRhino.com agrees that data is potentially putting social media users at risk: “The pressure to share on social media is intense. But oversharing has a number of unforeseen consequences, like the boss discovering you at opening day instead of taking a sick day, your kids asking about those funny-looking cigarettes or a burglar finding out you are away from home on vacation.”

It’s not just about the sharing of your data, it’s also about what data is being shared, how it’s being used and how your past updates, shares, retweets and likes could possibly come back to haunt you.

Cuban mentioned that networks are now building personal profiles for every individual out there based off the data that is already available on the web. This information is priceless to marketing companies and companies who are hiring. It is completely changing the landscape of technology and the way we live our lives in the coming months.

Re-Examining Your Digital Footprint

Your digital footprint is already out there, but it’s not too late to make it smaller and remove any connections or content out there that could potentially harm you down the road.

With the recent news that Google will start indexing Twitter updates within their search results, it’s now more important than ever for individuals to take control over what content they have online and not let their past social media digital footprint potentially harm them in the future.

The first step is going through your main social profiles on networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and doing a manual audit of your updates, pictures and friend relationships. A manual audit will give you an idea of the type of content you’ve put out there in the past. By cleaning it up now, you can remove it from harming you in the future. In almost all cases, there is no need to leave potentially harmful content within your social profile history. All it takes it a simple click of the delete button to remove it from your profile stream.

Another option is to make sure you have a good reputation management plan or first impression in place. When someone searches for you or your brand online, you want to make sure they are finding quality content that puts you in a good light. For example, there are hundreds of other people who share my name in the world, but I’ve done my work to make sure I rank on the first page every time you search “Zac Johnson.” I created my own site, blog, managed social profiles and highlighted my expertise on other high authority sites across the Internet.

No matter how big or small your social network and online digital footprint might be, there is no better time to start cleaning it up than today. Removing just three pieces of potentially harmful content per day equates to over 100 removals over the course of a month. Take some time to invest in your future and your online reputation.

Zac Johnson has 20 years of experience in the online marketing and business space. You can learn more about Zac athttp://zacjohnson.com and through his latest online learning course and community at http://blogging.org.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Behaviors to Avoid for Happiness and Success

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Learn to get out of your own way for greatness

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What’s the secret to happiness and achievement? Sometimes it’s not so much what you do as what you stop doing. That’s the lesson behind some of the talks in TED’s playlist Counterintuitive Career Advice. The whole playlist includes 12 great talks, but the ones I love the most tell you what not to do–and show how most people hold themselves back from greatness.

Spend a little time watching these great speakers and you’ll learn some priceless lessons about getting out of your own way:

1. Stop making excuses.

Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career,” by economics professor Larry Smith, may well be my favorite TED talk of all time. He tells the audience what he tells his students–that instead of reaching for greatness, they will find excuses for failing to pursue their dreams. From “I’m not a genius” to “I value my relationships too much,” he demolishes every one of these excuses and then some. And he will leave you feeling extraordinarily inspired.

2. Stop being so agreeable.

Going along to get along is a powerful, deep-seated human instinct, explains Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness, in the thought-provoking talk “Dare to Disagree.” But resisting is well worth it, because agreeableness can literally be lethal. Heffernan uses real-world examples to illustrate the danger of staying silent when you believe something’s wrong, and the good things that can happen when we accept conflict and disagreement as the valuable tools they are.

3. Stop expecting to succeed all the time.

Success is only momentary, argues art historian Sarah Lewis (pictured) in “Embrace the Near Win.” And even the most talented and skilled among us only achieve success some of the time. She learned this from looking at an artist’s early–and not-quite-satisfactory–paintings, and by watching an archery team work hard for three hours and only sometimes hit the bull’s-eye.

“Success motivates us, but a near-win can propel us in an ongoing quest,” she explains. So celebrate your near-wins and your almost-achievements. They’re an important part of the journey to where you want to be.

4. Stop giving up too soon.

What’s the best predictor of success? It isn’t talent, skill, or intelligence. It’s grit–that enduring ability to get up and try again after you’ve failed, and to continue believing that you can always do better next time. That observation comes from psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth in her talk “The Key to Success? Grit.”

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” she says.”Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.” How do you build grit? The best answer so far is something called a “growth mindset”–the recognition that our ability to learn and grow isn’t set but can improve with our effort. Next time you fail, keep that in mind and know that, if you keep working at it, you’re certain to do better next time.

5. Stop looking for quick answers.

“It is striking to see how big of an overlap there is between the dreams that we have and projects that never happen,” declares Brazilian entrepreneur and educator Bel Pesce in “5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams.” We kill our dreams, she explains, when we expect to succeed overnight, when we look to others for answers or blame them for our failures, and when we slack off after achieving what seems like enough success.

But there’s one other way to kill our dreams, she says–focusing only on the dream and not on the process it takes to get there. “Yes, you should enjoy the goals themselves,” she explains. “But people think that you have dreams and whenever you get to reaching one of those dreams, it’s a magical place where happiness will be all around.”

It doesn’t work that way, she says. Achieving a dream is only a momentary sensation, much like when mountaineers work hard to reach a mountain peak, only to start back down a few minutes later. “The only way to really achieve all of your dreams is to fully enjoy every step of the journey,” she says.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com

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The 1 Thing to Avoid If You Want to Be Successful in Life

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Don't let the looks of skepticism get to you

It is the mid 1980s, and I am 27 years old. For the last six years, I’ve been selling my handmade soft sculptures on the street, at state fairs, and eventually, in a retail store. I’ve been learning how to create products people want. But it’s still been a tough way to make a living. And I’m beginning to feel like I may have hit rock bottom.

My friends and family have begun to side-eye me. In their eyes, it’s time for me to grow up — time to get with the program, time to get a “real” job. They are very kind, but I can tell they think I’m a loser. They have good jobs and they’re getting married and buying houses. I’m chasing my dream. At the moment, I also happen to be sleeping on a friend’s couch and my car has just broken down.

They couldn’t envision how my future was going to turn out, but I had faith. I knew my path was never going to be as straight as theirs. I believed deep down that what I was learning would be important later on. I felt sure of one thing: If I could create a living working with my hands, I’d be the richest man in the world. In my eyes, I was simply experiencing a bump in the road — a small detour.

We all hit rock bottom, don’t we? Thankfully, I met someone who believed in me. Susan thought I was talented. She saw something in me that others could not. She let me live with her so that I could start over, and for that I will never be able to thank her enough.

Susan’s apartment in Fremont was brimming with stuffed animals. She had teddy bears of all different sizes as well as farm animals like cows and sheep. She loved the soft sculptures I had created and collected those as well.

One day, Susan asked if I could design a bear. I told her no, I wasn’t a patternmaker — all soft sculpture was done by hand. “Try,” she implored.

So I did. I started studying the dimensions of one of her teddy bears. I needed to teach myself how pattern pieces could be sewn together to create 3-D objects. I took its measurements. Then I reached for paper, started cutting shapes out of it, and began taping them together. It struck me that I could just as easily sculpt in paper.

Inspired, I quickly moved on to color construction paper and built a fish modeled after the character Cleo, the goldfish in Pinocchio. To my delight, it looked absolutely amazing! I stuffed it with paper tissue to give it more dimension. Later that day, Susan took apart the fish and laid out the pieces of paper I had used to create it on shimmering fabric. Together, we created the first plush animal I had ever designed. I was hooked.

My world changed that day. Companies had been selling plush animals forever, and all of a sudden, I had a marketable skill.

For the next month, I created paper sculptures of everything from ducks to dogs to bears — you name it. Working with paper was extremely satisfying, because it was so forgiving. If I made a mistake, well, I could simply keep trimming and then tape the pieces together again to get closer to the right shape. I could shape, cut, tape, reshape, cut again and tape over and over again. I was working with my hands, and I loved being able to transform an idea into a product so quickly. It was magical.

One day, Susan suggested that I contact Dakin, one of the largest and oldest producers of plush animals. Conveniently, the company was located just across the San Francisco Bay.

To my surprise, when I picked up the phone and asked if they needed any freelance work done, they invited me to come in right away. I can remember taking the elevator to the top floor, somewhat in awe. I brought a few photographs of my work along. They’re weren’t much, but they must have been good enough, because they handed me a swath of fabric and told me I had two weeks to design a life-size realistic-looking golden retriever.

When a door opens, stick your foot inside. For me, “fake it ‘til you make it” has always been a bit of a motto. Had I ever designed anything like a life-size realistic-looking golden retriever before? No. But I took a chance.

First, I started studying the structure of a golden retriever. Then I went to the library to make life-size Xerox copies. Next it was time to starting cutting paper and taping it together. If I could make the dog look good in paper, I knew it would look good in fabric. And there it was: A beautiful life-size plush version of America’s favorite dog.

Dakin couldn’t believe how good it looked either. When I held the $1,500 check they handed me, I grinned.

Having the courage to make a change is a fundamental part of being an entrepreneur. What my friends and family didn’t understand is that I had realized my handmade soft sculptures could never be mass-produced. I didn’t want to keep selling my ideas on street corners — I wanted to grow my audience. So I needed to learn about manufacturing techniques. I needed to reevaluate where I had been in order to move on.

Dakin mass-produced my Golden Retriever, which the company named Sandy. The following February, I flew to New York for Toy Fair. After the show, I stopped by FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the U.S. It was cold and rainy. Inside, there was Sandy.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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How to Leave a Job on Great Terms

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Offer to train your replacement

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You’ve nailed the interview, negotiated your salary, and just signed on the dotted line to accept your new job. Now, there’s just one tiny thing standing in the way of you and your sweet new gig: your old one.

When you’re job hunting, you tend to think a lot about what it takes to land a new position, but there’s a great deal to consider about the one you’re leaving, too. Even if you’d love to give your boss a piece of your mind or secretly hope that your co-workers end up on a deserted island after their next holiday cruise, it’s important to leave your job on a positive, professional note. Here’s how to do it:

Give Ample Notice

Once you know you’re leaving, set a meeting with your boss to put in your official notice. (And yes, tell your boss before you tell anyone else!) Although two weeks is standard (unless your contract says otherwise), it’s a good gesture to give more time if you know exactly the date you’ll be leaving further in advance. Most of the time, your boss will be appreciative that you’re leaving plenty of time to wrap up your projects.

Caveat: If you’ve seen your company escort employees right out the door once they give their resignation, don’t give any more notice than two weeks. In this case, it’s best to prepare yourself well in advance by tying up loose ends (i.e., downloading important files) before making your announcement.

Play it Cool

Unless you’ve just hit the Powerball, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have a long work life ahead of you. Which means that, at some point, your path will cross again with many of the people you work with.

So, no matter how happy you are about your new job, you can’t show it. First of all, no one likes a bragger (especially if they’re trying to get out of there, too). Secondly, there’s a good chance you’ll need to use your current company as a reference in the future. Do you really want your boss to remember you doing the Moonwalk down the hallway out of sheer giddiness on your last week? Probably not.

Connect with your Co-Workers

That said, once you’ve told your boss, you should announce your departure to all of the co-workers you work with—both to let them prepare for the transition, as well as to stay in touch with them after you leave. It’s appropriate to send a mass farewell email—one specific to clients and one for co-workers—letting them know where you’ll be moving on to and your relevant contact information. You don’t need to give everyone your home address or your birthday, but a personal email address orLinkedIn profile where you can be reached is a great way to show that even though you’re leaving, you’re not severing ties.

Wrap Things Up

No matter what projects you happen to be working on, make sure you complete them. Even if finishing whatever is currently on your plate requires more hours than you would like to spend on your current job, it’s your responsibility to not leave any loose ends (or, if it really can’t be wrapped up in two weeks, to leave detailed instructions). Not only for the sake of the person who will be replacing you, but because it’s important to your professional reputation to leave a job on a high and positive note. Nothing shows gratitude and accountability like a job that’s done well—and finished.

Offer to Train Your Replacement

There’s nothing a boss hates more than going through the hiring process—except having to train that new employee. And honestly, she probably doesn’t know your position as well as you do. So, if you can help with this part of your exit, then you’re winning points all around. Offer to help your boss screen resumes, sit in on interviews, work with the new employee, or create a training manual for your job. It will go a long way to leaving her with good impression once you’re gone.

Request an Exit Interview

Even if your company’s policy doesn’t include an exit interview, ask your boss for one anyway. Then, use that time to show your gratitude for the opportunities you’ve received, share what you’ve learned, and offer feedback for the next person who will fill your role. It will show that you not only took your job seriously, but that you’re grateful for the experience.

Pat Yourself on the Back

Once you’re sitting pretty in your new job and still on speaking terms with all parties involved, then you can take a breather and congratulate yourself. You did it! Just be sure to send your old job a thank-you note if they were kind enough to send you off with a going away bash and cupcakes. Showing gratitude, manners, and professionalism will make sure they’ll remember you fondly (whether or not you can say the same for them).

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article above was originally published on The Muse

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5 Excuses That Shouldn’t Stop You From Success

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"I don’t have any experience"

I’ve heard every excuse in the book from my students about why they’re unable to turn their ideas into reality. But the only way to succeed at becoming an entrepreneur is to have the courage to take that first, small step.

Unfortunately, most of us tend to focus on everything we think we can’t do, rather than what we can do. As a result, we never even get started. It doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve listed (and rebutted) some of the most common excuses I hear below — do any of them sound familiar?

1. I don’t have any experience.

The truth is that you need less experience than you think. I bet most successful entrepreneurs would tell you they learned by doing. In fact, I think lacking experience can actually be helpful, because your fresh eyes allow you to see things differently. When I started a guitar pick company, I had never worked in the music industry before. I asked a lot of questions, used the internet to do research, found mentors in the business and recruited a partner who did have experience. But I was able to see opportunity when others couldn’t, because they were too close to the industry. They were artificially constrained by what they thought was a given — I wasn’t.

2. I don’t have any time.

Starting a company is a big commitment, I agree. It takes an incredible amount of time. But there are other ways you can bring your product ideas to life that require very little time, such as licensing an idea. I always tell my students: Don’t quit your day job, because you don’t have to. (Of course, to do so would be unnecessarily risky.) You can successfully license an idea by dedicating your lunch break and some time before and after work and on the weekends. Your licensee is going to do the heavy lifting. You just need to figure out how to get your idea to them.

3. I don’t have enough money.

Today, there are a lot of options for starting a business. If you work smart, there is always a way to do something efficiently for less. I have been cutting costs for years, from hiring college students to do graphic design work to filing for a provisional patent application myself, using excellent (and affordable) software. You can bootstrap your operation — and still be very successful. With crowdfunding, it’s never been easier.

4. Protecting my idea is expensive.

Yes, filing patents is very expensive. But that’s not your only option and it shouldn’t be a major deterrent. I cannot give legal advice, but filing a PPA is a great way to start out. (If you make less than $150,000, you can file a PPA for $65.) Filing a PPA allows you to label your idea “patent pending” for up to a year. A year is more than enough time to test the waters. Maybe you can find someone who is willing to pay for your patents.

5. Prototypes are expensive and hard to make.

Before you start thinking about needing to create a prototype, you need to determine that there’s interest in your idea by crafting a sell sheet. A sell sheet is a one-page advertisement that can be used to gauge interest in your idea. It’s very basic — just your one-line benefit statement, a rendering of your idea drawn by a graphic artist and your contact information. ELance is a great affordable resource —I’ve hired graphic designers to draw one of my product ideas for less than $100. (Always have them sign a nondisclosure agreement.) I show my sell sheet to potential investors and licensees. If they’re interested, I go about proving my idea can be made.

There’s really no good reason not to get started if you have genuine enthusiasm. Don’t let your fear of failure hold you back. If you want it bad enough, it is possible.

So what’s your excuse?

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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Here’s What Rich CEOs Say to Do In Your 20s

Make sure you travel

Turning 30 can be a turning point in a person’s life, and career. It’s the point where career goals start setting in and the hunger to land a spot in the corner office increases.

So we asked some CEOs what they would want their employees to have done before they turn the big 3-0. From saving-money to travelling the world, starting your own business and taking risks, here’s some advice from CEOs who have done it all before.

  • Aaron Smith, CEO and founder of KX Group

    The first thing I would say is to travel the world. There is nothing more eye-opening than travelling the globe to broaden your thinking and excel your communication skills with other people and cultures. Worldly experience is priceless. It’s also about becoming more relatable to people which will only reflect positivity back in the real world. By 25 I had travelled to over 40 countries and had lived overseas for 5 years. It was amazing.

    Be selfish, risk everything and live life on the edge. Before you are 30 you have no real responsibilities and possibly no mortgage/family that you need to support. Be daring and risk it all for huge success. You’re young, motivated and have plenty of time to regroup if you fail so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The older you get the more excuses you will find and the more you will regret not having a crack. I lost my life savings on my first business at 18 and succeeded on my second at 26. Fail forward.

  • Taichi Hoshino, CEO of Monetise

    Build good habits. Whether it’s time management, work ethic, setting work/life boundaries, exercising, eating well or being disciplined with your personal finances, habits are your baseline. When unexpected moments interfere in your life, it is long established habits that are your saviour. Form them young and they’ll be with you for life.

  • Jo Burston, founder and CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds

    Learn how to manage up as well as down. Most people I meet in their 20s are busy fulfilling the notion of managing less skilled colleagues, when the real skill is managing up to more skilled and experienced people. The art of conversation and public speaking will take you everywhere in life.

    Find your passion and then aim to be the best on the planet at what you do by having a ferocious hunger for learning. Both formally and through experience.

    Find a mentor that has walked the pathway you wish to walk. Then be totally reliable, honest and respectful with your time with them. They learn from you too!

    Save money every pay. Learn how to budget and get out of home and stand on your own independent feet. Nobody owes you anything. Lose the sense of entitlement. It’s not yours to take.

    Start and run a business. No matter how small. If you can learn these skills early, you will learn how to fail with low risk or repercussion. Basic accounting and business skill will support and future endeavours.

    Finally, travel and get out of your bubble and get uncomfortable. It will help with acceptance, tolerance, and patience, and show you how incredible our world really is.

  • Dean Ramler, CEO and co-founder of Milan Direct

    Learn the art of going above and beyond and doing more than what you are currently expected to or paid to do. The typical employee does the old 5 o’clock shuffle because that is when the typical work day ends. Everyone has the right to do this. Yet there are a select few high achievers who understand the value of going above and beyond their current pay grade and always look to provide the most service to the company, often staying back as late as I do.

    As a CEO you come to rely on the select few who really go above and beyond, it becomes a habit to call on these high achievers to assist in core tasks when everyone else has left for the day. It is no surprise that these same people end up becoming the senior managers of the company, and are the most compensated with promotions and pay rises.

  • Philip Weinman, CEO of Locomote

    Start your own business while you still live at home. It’s a good time to experiment with a business idea, while you don’t have any real expenses. Find a mentor or someone you that you trust to give you advice – outside of family – who has no financial agenda.

    You will learn from your mistakes during this time, and if you decide that you want to move into a corporate environment, you’ll already know what works and what doesn’t. Along with business experience, you’ll learn to make and stand by your decisions – a trait that is highly regarded by Locomote.

  • Christian Mischler, COO, CMO and co-founder of Hotel Quickly

    Travel the world! Explore new regions and cultures, it creates independence and gives you experience that will have lastingly positive effect on the rest of your life.

  • John Winning, CEO and founder of The Winning Group

    Get as much experience as you can – it’s important to have a good mix of valuable life and work experience. Whether it’s a part time job and/or work experience at school, try to immerse yourself in different industries and roles within a business. I drove trucks, worked in a warehouse, did door-to-door and in-store sales.

    Be sure to gain a further education that interests you. It doesn’t have to be university, even if it’s just reading books it’s great to have an interest in learning, and curiosity is an amazing motivator. I never attended university after school however the years that followed shaped how I approach my work and how my business operates. From practical work experience within the retail industry, to personal achievements such as competing in many sailing championships and eventually winning a world title, every experience has enriched my thinking and ability to tackle obstacles and grapple opportunities in business.

  • Zach Johnson, CEO of atmail.com

    Having worn a mohawk in a variety of colours, scuba dived, completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Army and lived in Germany, among many other crazy things, the one sage piece of advise Johnson has is: ‘Live as much as you can and embrace all experiences as they come—fully and completely.’

  • Charlie Wood, country manager for Dropbox

    I’d recommend people should get a few years experience at an established multi-national during their early 20s. The experience people will gain at these companies will set them up nicely for future endeavours. Those who are entrepreneurial in nature, should follow their dreams and bring their ideas to life by starting something on their own or with a team. One of the most important things someone should do before they reach 30 is to travel, they will meet new people and will create new adventures! These experiences will broaden the mindset of any individual to help set them up for their 30s.

  • Bevan Nel, MD of Helping

    Be disciplined in your management of money, keep a budget…and stick to it!

    Secondly, if you’re going to take a business risk, do it before you’re married with kids and mortgage. You’ll be more scared and less gutsy once you have a family and advancing and progression is important early on in your career. Lastly, it’s important to keep in touch with past business associates.

    Keep business cards, make a spreadsheet, do whatever it is to keep your contact list ongoing and up to date. Networking is key and you never know when you might need to reach out to someone.

    From a non business perspective…travel. travel. travel! That’s what I always tell anyone who is young. Travelling is great for developing confidence, meet business contacts and also a great way to refresh and restart your body and mind.

  • Kevin Lynch, Chief Marketing Officer at Open Colleges

    #1: Learn from your team: As we progress through our careers in our 20s, we need to learn not just from those above us, but also from our broader team. This can ensure that you build a strong foundation by your 30s.

    I learn most from my team, the people who surround me. These are the people who make the magic happen, they are far smarter than I am. Our people are what makes us. We aim to ensure that we continue to build on the terrific culture here and ensure it is a great place to work for our staff where people believe in the company’s mission of changing lives through education.

  • Levi Aron, GM of Yumtable

    Seize the moment, set personal goals early in the game, keep them in check and strive to achieve or surpass those goals. Always remember to reward yourself as you reach each milestone. It’s great for personal recognition. Work hard to push boundaries but don’t forget to smell the roses every now and then. Remember, no goals = no drive = mediocre life, and who rates that?

  • Nicholas Smedley, MD of Steller

    As we are in the real estate game I think it is important that our employees understand the market. There is no better way than getting into the property market yourself.

    My advice would be to start saving as early as you can – whether that is through shares or a varied investment portfolio. There is nothing better than compound interest. This gets you into the frame of mind of saving and buying your first property before 30 would be a great start.

    This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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TIME Careers & Workplace

8 Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Day

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They live according to their own values

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Just like people aren’t born with physical strength, no one is blessed with incredible mental strength at birth. Instead, mental strength is developed over time by individuals who choose to make personal development a priority.

In addition to avoiding the things that could hold them back, mentally strong people create healthy habits that assist them in growing stronger. Here are eight things mentally strong people do every day to strengthen their mental muscles:

1. They Use their Mental Energy Wisely

It’s easy to get distracted throughout the day by a variety of unimportant and unproductive tasks. Mentally strong people choose to use their time and energy carefully. They devote their efforts to the things that matter most so they can accomplish their goals.

2. They Reframe Their Negative Thoughts

Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes, but mentally strong people don’t let those thoughts hold them back or drag them down. Instead, they respond to their pessimistic predictions and harsh criticisms with a more productive inner dialogue. They stay motivated to do their best by talking to themselves like a trusted friend or a helpful coach.

3. They Work Toward Established Goals

Mentally strong people establish clear personal and professional goals that give them meaning and purpose. They forgo immediate gratification by keeping their long-term goals in mind. They view obstacles as challenges, rather than roadblocks to their success.

4. They Reflect on Their Progress

Mentally strong people reflect on their progress toward their goals every day. They set aside time to examine what they’re doing well, and they humbly acknowledge areas that need improvement. They hold themselves accountable for mistakes and they constantly strive to grow better.

5. They Tolerate Discomfort for a Greater Purpose

While some people go to great lengths to avoid any type of distress, others endure pain simply to prove they’re tough. Mentally strong people, however, tolerate discomfort when it serves a greater purpose. Whether they’re exercising when they feel tired, or they’re delivering a speech when they feel terrified, they use their pain to become better.

6. They Practice Gratitude

You can’t be at your best if you’re insisting you deserve better. Mentally strong people acknowledge they already have everything they need. They recognize their good fortune and express gratitude for all things big and small.

7. They Balance Emotions with Logic

Mentally strong people know their feelings play a major role in their perceptions and their behavior. They pay close attention to the ways their emotions could influence their judgement. They carefully balance their emotions with logic so they can make the best possible decisions.

8. They Live According to Their Values

Although it may be tempting to measure your self-worth by comparing yourself to your competition, mentally strong people don’t fall prey to such distractions. They focus on living according to their values and doing their best, despite their circumstances. At the end of the day they don’t ask themselves, “Did I beat everyone else?” Instead, they ask, “Did I stay true to my values?”

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com

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TIME Careers & Workplace

Why Don’t Americans Take More Time Off?

Even if their employers offered unlimited vacation days, most people wouldn’t take any more time off than they do now

No doubt about it, Europeans think we’re crazy. Compared to people living in France, Germany and Scandinavia, who routinely take as much as six weeks off annually, U.S. employees typically leave about 429 million paid vacation days on the table every year.

It’s a little odd when you consider that, according to a new survey by staffing firm The Creative Group, about 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took more vacations, while only 9% think productivity would “decrease significantly.” Yet among the same senior managers, 72% say that, if their companies offered unlimited vacation days, they wouldn’t use any more than they already do. More than half (56%) of employees say they wouldn’t, either.

Anyone who has ever come back from the beach to an overloaded inbox can attest that it’s the opposite of relaxing. “The fact is, the work still has to get done,” notes Creative Group executive director Diane Domeyer. “For many people, just the thought of being out of the office can be stressful, because they worry about the amount of work that will pile up while they’re away.”

People also worry that they may need to use time away from the office for, say, a family emergency or some other unforeseeable event. About 40% of employees in a separate poll, by Creative Group parent company Robert Half International, said they’re “saving vacation time in case they need it” for some future purpose other than unwinding.

One thing is clear: Hardly anyone blames the boss. A scant 3% of employees said they can’t get away because their manager would frown on it. Still, Domeyer thinks leaders need to do more to encourage the people who report to them to get out there and have more fun. Paid vacations are, after all, not only part of employees’ compensation, they’re also a proven way to stave off burnout and refresh creativity.

Her prescription for managers (you’re going to like this, we promise): Take more of your own vacation time, or even — gasp — every last day off you’re entitled to, and make sure people know you’re doing it. In this as in so much else, Domeyer says, “managers should lead by example.” Hear, hear.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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