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The latest news on Entrepreneurship from Business Insider

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    Shane and Jocelyn by the Pacific Ocean San Diego (1)

    A few years ago, Shane and Jocelyn Sams were teachers who earned a combined $5,000 a month.

    Today, they're the owners of Flipped Lifestyle, which earns $45,000 to $100,000 a month teaching others to start their own online businesses.

    How did they make the leap?

    Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents interviewed the couple, who discussed everything from what it's like to go from making ends meet to having money to spare to how other people can echo their success.

    Rose asked for their top five tips for people who want to find that same level of success with an online business. Their second tip was particularly interesting: "Focus on what you know."

    Shane told Rose:

    "Don't necessarily chase your passions. It's very popular online, and all the gurus say, 'Do what you love. Follow your dreams.' What if I love to take naps in a hammock? You're not going to make a living doing that. Everyone has an expertise. Everyone has something they're expert enough in, and they can teach people who are not quite at their level. I taught football coaches how to run a particular defense. Jocelyn taught librarians how to organize and teach in their classroom."

    He told Rose that they have seen people start online businesses doing everything from teaching others to raise Venus flytraps to selling art in the form of painted gourds. "These people focused on what they were really, really good at, and that might've led to their passions," he said.

    His message — that you develop passion following expertise — echoes the advice that entrepreneur Ramit Sethi shared in a podcast interview with James Altucher: "A lot of people wait for the passion to fall down from the heavens,"Sethi told Altucher. "Your passion doesn't fall down. You find your passion."

    "You get passionate about something when you get good at it," he said.

    Shane's explanation of his expertise fits with Sethi's advice. He told Rose:

    "Football was not necessarily my number one passion in life, but I really knew a lot about it. Jocelyn doesn't get up every morning clapping her hands, going, 'Whoo, libraries!' She loves the library; she thinks they're important, but she was an expert in that. She has a master's degree in library media specialist.

    "Basically, focus on what you're really good at first. It might be something related to your job. It might be something that you really know how to do from a hobby standpoint, but don't necessarily go straight to your passions. That's often a recipe for disaster because people want to do what's fun and not what makes them money."

    Read the full interview with the founders of Flipped Lifestyle on Good Financial Cents »

    SEE ALSO: Former teachers who now earn $45,000 a month share their 2 best productivity tips

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A financial planner reveals an important money lesson young people can learn from the rich

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    Antarctica & Penguins

    Before I founded The Influencers, I had the typical startup story. I joined a startup, raised money, and it went under.

    Even though that startup failed, I have been involved in a number of successful ventures since then and published a successful book, "The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure."

    Looking back at my failed venture, there are several things that I wish I knew then that I know now.

    1. The odds are against me anyway, so what skills am I developing along the way?

    This may sound cynical, but most startups fail. You should do everything you can to put the odds in your favor (e.g. working at a stable company for as long as possible to make sure that you have a strong launch, choosing the right team members, iterating, etc.).

    However, there is always a chance that your company will fail. Ask yourself what skill sets you are developing and how they will make you more valuable, regardless of whether or not the company succeeds. If you can learn to sell, code, or pitch, which will truly increase your value?

    2. Optimize, automate and outsource every aspect of the business

    Entrepreneurs often believe that they should do everything on their own. However, that mindset will cause you to waste a lot of time trying to do tedious tasks that someone else could do better and faster. I learned this from the team at Leverage.

    Look for ways that you can automate tasks first, then outsource. For example, you can hire someone on Fiverr to design a logo or retouch promotional photos. You can use Guru, IFTTT, Zapier, and dozens of others to find freelancers and researchers.

    3. You have to battle your bias

    Because you have invested time into your company, you think that it is better than it is and care for it more than you should. This is called the IKEA effect, for our tendency to overvalue our IKEA furniture simply because we assembled it.

    You need to accept feedback from others. When someone tells you that your baby isn’t pretty, you don’t always have to agree, but you need to take it seriously.

    One of the best ways to test your idea and get objective feedback is to ask your friends. Tell them about the company you want to start as if someone else had started it. Ask them if you should accept a job offer there.

    4. The most important thing is your team

    According to researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, our social networks have a powerful impact on our behaviors and perspectives. One of the greatest influences on your success is the team around you.

    When I started my first company, I worked with people that I liked, which was problematic for various reasons. Liking someone doesn’t make them qualified. We didn’t have enough experience, skills, or insight. A few lacked the work ethic needed to execute on the idea.

    Running a successful business is hard even when you have years of experience and thousands of contacts. But if you don’t have the right team assembled, failure is practically a guarantee.

    Author Jim Collins has a saying in his book "Good to Great." Make sure you get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off, and the right people in the right seats. Just because you came up with the idea, it doesn’t mean you deserve to be CEO.

    5. Be friends with the media

    There are companies with great products that don’t go anywhere because they fail to spread the word and gain attention. Far before you build your startup, you should make friends with people at different media outlets. When you need to promote your product, you will already have connections who trust you and will be more willing to share your story.

    If your first startup fails, don’t beat yourself up. Some of the most successful business leaders experience a lot of failure before their big break. But, they all learned from their mistakes. Learn from yours.

    Find more insights and stories into living a fun, exciting, and remarkable life in my book, "The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure."

    SEE ALSO: 6 research-backed ways to live a happier and more exciting life

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    jacqui pretty headshot

    I still remember getting my first freelance editing client in May 2013 — the moment I got off the phone I started dancing around the house.

    I thought, “This is it. This is proof that I can do this.”

    And for the next year or so, things went swimmingly. My first few clients were thrilled with my work and started referring more clients, who then started referring even more. Within six months, I had a steady stream of clients and was earning enough to pay the bills, quit my job, and even spend four months working abroad. 

    Then word started to spread, and I began booking out in advance. Four weeks, six weeks, two months… I started sending emails like the one below, and I decided it was time to get help.

    Screen Shot 2016 12 28 at 4.36.23 PM

    Then came trouble. I had thought that with a mini me (or a couple of them) we’d be able to take on more work, earn more money, and launch new products and services. Before long, we could take over the world!

    Instead, hiring someone made things worse. I found myself working 80 hours a week, putting over $20k of my personal savings into the business to stay afloat, not paying myself for six months straight, and ending up emotionally and physically exhausted.

    Looking back, I made four crucial hiring mistakes. The lessons I learned from them allowed me to reclaim my time, start paying myself a salary, and start loving my business again. So let me share everything with you.

    Hiring mistake #1: Growing too big too fast

    My first mistake was taking too much on at once.

    I posted a job ad on Australia’s largest online job board with the intention to hire one person. It turns out, though, there are a lot of editors and writers looking for work. I received 165 applications in four days (at that point I took the ad down because I’d stopped looking at the new applications). Within a week, I had interviewed eight people. I found two I loved and decided to hire both of them.

    The problem? Two people cost twice as much as one. Two people take twice as much time to train. And two people need twice as much work coming in.

    While taking on my first hire would have been a challenge, hiring two at the same time was too much right out of the gate.

    The lesson: Start small

    Employees can put a lot of strain on a new business when it comes to your time, money, and energy. Lower your risk by starting small — get someone part time, consider an unpaid training period, or trial potential employees as freelancers before you commit.

    Then, if things don’t work out, you’re not putting your business on the line.

    Hiring mistake #2: Not getting more leads first

    Although business was good, when I decided to grow my team, I hadn’t done anything to boost the number of leads coming in the door. We were still dependent on referrals, and I had no idea how to bring in more work.

    This had never been an issue for me as a solopreneur — if I was booked out six weeks in advance, then I didn’t need to worry about new work coming in for another eight weeks (which it always did). With three of us, that exact same workload would only last two weeks.

    Ultimately, I couldn’t promise my new staff consistent work, and there were even times when I didn’t have enough to do.

    The lesson: Make sure you have enough business before you hire someone

    If you’re getting booked out in advance, that’s fantastic! But are you the one actively generating that business, or are you just benefitting from an upswing in the market or some unexpected referrals?

    Until you can consistently generate your own leads, hold off on growing your team. Instead, start by raising your prices.

    If you’re still getting booked after you increase your rates by at least 25%, you’ll have enough profit built in to free up some of your time. Then you can start actively generating business, rather than spending all of your waking hours working with clients and trying to stay on top of administrative tasks.

    Hiring mistake #3: Not running the numbers

    This is the biggest mistake I made — I never calculated how much employees would actually cost.

    When I hired my staff, I was charging $1,800 for our standard edit (my core product offering). I hired them at $28 an hour and thought it would take about 30 hours to edit a book, so the total cost of an edit would be $840, leaving me with a nice profit margin of $960.

    Screen Shot 2016 12 28 at 4.37.11 PM

    I discovered two problems with this formula.

    First, I’d never measured how long it actually took me to edit a book. It wasn’t until their timesheets started coming in that I realized an edit took between 40 and 50 hours (and sometimes longer). This took my expected cost per edit to $1,400 ($28 x 50 hours) and my expected profit down to $400.

    Part of it was because they were new. However, the real issue was that I hadn’t been accurately measuring how long it took me to do an edit, which meant that number was optimistic to begin with. On top of that, I hadn’t factored in the amount of work that goes around an edit (client calls, documenting and explaining the changes we’ve made, final read-throughs, and more), which added to the total tally.

    Second, I didn’t think about all of the additional costs that come with hiring employees beyond their hourly rate. These included:

    • Benefits: In Australia we have to pay Superannuation and WorkCover (the equivalent of 401k and disability insurance in the US). Costs I hadn’t factored into my edits.
    • Taxes: Aussie business owners need to start paying a 10% sales tax once our revenue goes above $75,000 a year. This would take another $163 out of my editing margin.
    • Accounting: Things become official once you hire people! I hired a bookkeeper ($55 a week). That added an extra $244 an edit.

    This means my “expected cost per edit” looked more like this:

    Screen Shot 2016 12 28 at 4.37.48 PM

    In other words, I was losing $315 every time one of my team members did an edit!

    But wait — it gets worse.

    We also had a package that offered three rounds of edits at a discounted rate of $2,500, which quickly became our most popular offering.

    The problem?

    The total cost of that package was $3,370, which meant a loss of over $870 every time one of my editors did the work.

    When I added time spent on training and in team meetings, we were losing between $2,400 and $5,000 every month. Ouch.

    The lesson: Run your numbers!

    The cost of an employee isn’t just their hourly rate — there are several expenses that go along with it. Run your numbers, raise your rates so you can cover them, and consider ways you can keep those numbers down.

    For example, can you engage someone as a freelancer instead of an employee? That will save you from some of the mandatory expenses for employees, and you may be able to negotiate a flat rate that you can take into consideration when pricing your services.

    Here’s a four-step process you can follow to make sure that hiring an employee makes financial sense:

    1. Keep a timesheet for a couple of weeks. Measure exactly how many hours it takes you to do the work you want to outsource to your new hire.
    2. List all your “hidden” costs — administrative work like client calls or final revisions. Over time, these small tasks can take up a lot of hours, which means more money that needs to be paid to your new hire.
    3. List all additional costs you will incur from hiring your first employee, including taxes, extra accounting, and any benefits or bonuses you plan to offer.
    4. Calculate the total cost of your employee per hour, including administrative tasks and hiring costs, and then evaluate the cost next to your current pricing structure. Ask yourself: Can I cover the cost of this new hire? Or, even better: Will there be profit left over?

    Hiring mistake #4: Forgetting to factor in training

    Because we were losing money on every job, I kept up my own full-time editing workload to cover the shortfall. At the same time, I was training my team members, reviewing every book they edited, and occasionally re-editing their books when they got stuck.

    Before long, I was working 80 hours a week, every week. I wasn’t spending time with my partner, and I went months without seeing my friends and family.

    At the same time, I couldn’t pay myself because all of the money from the work I was doing was covering my employees’ salaries and the expenses that went with them. On top of that, over four months, I put more than $20k of my savings into the business to stay afloat.

    I kept telling myself that it was only temporary — that my employees would get faster, that they’d soon be independent, and that I’d have my time back. But by the time we reached that point, six months had passed, I was burnt out, and I started questioning whether I was really cut out for this thing.

    The lesson: Map out your training program

    Figure out exactly how long it will take you to train your employees. It’s helpful to think about training in three separate buckets, like this:

    • Group training: This might include orientation, general knowledge around how the company works, principles you work towards in your services, etc. If you have a remote team, like me, you can do this training as a webinar and record it for future employees, which will save time in the future.
    • One-on-one training: Training my editors involved reviewing every book they edited, giving feedback, and workshopping different approaches with them. If there’s any way to automate this process, I haven’t found it yet. So whenever I start a new editor, I need to include this time in my schedule so I don’t over-commit (it also influences when I hire new people).
    • Cleaning up messes: Sometimes, s--t happens. And, if it does, you’ll be the one to clean it up. If you hire the right people to begin with you shouldn’t have too many issues, but if you do they’ll be in these early days. (In my case, the messes were when my editors struggled with challenging edits and I needed to redo them.) Think about the potential messes your employees might find themselves in, and make time in your calendar to address them, just in case.

    By considering this up front, you’ll avoid 80-hour weeks, burn out, and resenting your business altogether. And, if you build in some profit before hiring, you’ll also find it’s easier to make this time.

    Remember why you got into business in the first place

    The truth is, during all this mess, I had lost sight of why I started my business in the first place. I wanted to help entrepreneurs write great books, and I wanted the freedom and independence to manage my own time, to be able to work on creative projects, and to be able to travel.

    By addressing these four hiring mistakes, I went from running in the red each month to enjoying a profitable business. I’m happy, my team is happy, and so are my clients. And once again, I’m thrilled about the future of my business.

    Also my hours are down to 40-50 hours a week, with about a third of that time focused on ways we can grow the business with new products, services, and campaigns, rather than just trying to stay afloat.

    Hiring people can catapult your business — or it can destroy it if you’re not careful. Avoid the mistakes I shared above and you’ll be in a much better position when you’re ready to grow your team.

    SEE ALSO: How I turned my side job into a business that makes $15,000 a month

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Donald Trump's 'strange' morning habit tells you everything you need to know about him

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    Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui AUrate

    In 2014, Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui were having brunch in New York City. Kahn was working at Marc Jacobs after a stint at The Boston Consulting Group, and Ezzahraoui was an interest rate volatility trader at Goldman Sachs. They had met in 2009 as Princeton graduate students, two of only a handful of women pursuing finance degrees.

    "We were talking about the idea of doing our own thing someday," Kahn told Business Insider. "We wanted to do more than we could in our day-to-day jobs."

    Inspired by a name-brand gold ring that was turning Kahn's finger green, the friends decided to start their own company that would provide affordable, fashionable, high-quality gold jewelry. That company was AUrate New York.

    However, they didn't quit their day jobs the moment inspiration struck. At the beginning, the business partners spent the weekends taking classes at Parsons School of Design to learn the craft.

    "We started weekends at 7 a.m. on Saturday and ended at 9 p.m. on Sunday," Kahn said. "It was nonstop. But you can get a lot done if you're motivated. You realize how much time is spent on leisurely activities if you just have one job until you start doing something like this."

    "We didn't know the extent of the workload when we thought of the idea, and simply decided to go for it," said Ezzahraoui. "At first, most of the focus was taking design classes at Parsons every weekend, working on our designs and setting up the company — all at the same time. Looking back, we had no time to even contemplate being busy during the experiment; our gut feel was the timing was right and we had to get it done."

    In fact, Kahn found, running a side business made them better at their day jobs. In the office, she was 100% focused on her job and had to be more efficient to keep her duties from bleeding into her time at AUrate. Then, when she was working in the side business, she had to be 100% focused on that.

    "You know how some people do yoga or mediation or go to the gym to get their mind off their work? If you have two jobs, you always kind of have that because your job is the meditation for the other one," Kahn said. "You're always distracted in a good way because you don't get absorbed. You can be working in a corporate job and get an idea for your venture, or you can be working on your venture and get an idea for your corporate job."

    The duo spent 2014 setting up the company and used 2015 as their test year. Would people buy their jewelry? Could they run a successful pop-up shop? They had begun with funding from their savings, families, and friends, and they needed proof their concept would work.

    "We're very rational," said Kahn. "It has to work."

    And so far, it has. As far as managing their time as the business grows, Kahn says it has come down to two strategies in particular: detailed to-do lists broken down by high-level goals for the week and incremental goals for the day — plus estimates of how long those tasks should take — and exemplary communication.

    "For the two of us, we had different types of day jobs with different schedules," she said. "You have to discuss who does what when, and not get frustrated when one can't help out. You have to be independent in a way, and very flexible."

    "At all times, I had both a mental checklist for AUrate and for my personal life, and was constantly evaluating how the two priorities interacted with one another," Ezzahraoui said.

    Kahn left her corporate job in early 2016 to devote herself to AUrate full time, but Ezzahraoui is still working days at Goldman and nights at AUrate.

    "My schedule became a continuous week that starts from Monday 6 a.m. and extends to Sunday nights," she said. "I am available for AUrate every weeknight and weekend, and I don't believe in the so-called work-life balance when you're growing your business. You will make the time when you are working on what you believe in and what you love."

    SEE ALSO: 13 ways unsuccessful people mismanage their time

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Never say these 6 things to your boss

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    Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui AUrate

    In 2014, Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui started their own company on top of their already demanding full-time jobs. 

    Kahn was working at Marc Jacobs after a stint at The Boston Consulting Group, and Ezzahraoui was an interest rate volatility trader at Goldman Sachs. They had met in 2009 as Princeton graduate students, two of only a handful of women pursuing finance degrees.

    Inspired by the name-brand gold ring turning Kahn's finger green, the friends decided to start AUrate New York, a jewelry company that would provide affordable, fashionable, high-quality gold.

    The duo spent 2014 setting up the company, taking classes at New York's Parsons School of Design and laying the groundwork for their business, then used 2015 as their test year. Would people buy their jewelry? Could they run a successful pop-up shop? They had begun with funding from their own savings, their families, and from friends, and they needed proof their concept would work. "We're very rational," said Kahn. "It has to work."

    And so far, it has. Kahn left her corporate job in early 2016 to devote herself to AUrate full-time, but Ezzahraoui is still working full days at Goldman and nights at AUrate. When Business Insider asked Kahn and Ezzahraoui for their best advice for other entrepreneurs building a business as a side job, they shared the following:

    Keep a to-do list. Maybe more than one.

    "At all times, I had both a mental checklist for AUrate and for my personal life, and was constantly evaluating how the two priorities interacted with one another," Ezzahraoui said.

    "It sounds simple, but I'm crazy with my to-do lists," said Kahn. "Telling yourself what tasks need to be done and then scheduling them and saying how many hours a certain task should take. I did this every day. Discuss your goals are: high level ones for the week, and then specific ones for the day. Especially if you have two jobs you're always going to feel like you haven't done everything, but you need to sleep. You get them written up and checked off and then you feel like you've done what you need to do."

    If you have a business partner, communication is key.

    "For the two of us, we had different types of day jobs with different schedules," Kahn said. "You have to discuss who does what when, and not get frustrated when one can't help out. You have to be independent in a way, and very flexible."

    Be upfront with your day job.

    It's important to be honest about your side gig with your day job, Kahn said. "You don't want to be doing something you're not supposed to. At Marc Jacobs they always knew about it. You always want to makes sure they're aware, so you don't feel guilty or like you're doing some kind of double agent thing."

    Be OK with taking your time.

    Kahn said one of the hardest parts of building a business on the side is being patient about its growth.

    "The fact that you're out of commission from 9-6, five days a week, that's a lot of hours spent on something you don't want to spend them on anymore, once you build your product and story," said Kahn. "If we had gone full-time immediately, we would have been much bigger by now. You're so passionate and you want to go all out. To have to constantly wait and take it slower than you want to was the hardest thing for me."

    Kahn coped with her frustration by establishing milestones for the business to quantify its growth. "'If we reach these sales in 2015 and have this customer reaction and get this press, then it will happen,'" she said. "Tell yourself there's an end in sight, it just will take some time. Tell yourself this is the wise way to do it. Yes, you're doing something entrepreneurial and you're taking the risk, but you still have the paycheck coming in and that's a huge benefit, too. Like anything in life, it has pros and cons, and the ability to know you're not going to live on the street if it doesn't go well, that's a huge benefit. There 's a reason you're doing it this way."

    Just get started.

    "We can talk about it forever," said Kahn. "We're Type A students. We can think of the pros and cons, but entrepreneurship is difficult, and you just have to do it. You learn so much when you get started, but everything gets explained in practice. Nothing gets explained in theory."

    SEE ALSO: Two women who built a business while at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs say a side gig made them better at their day jobs

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A behavioral economist reveals when it's time to quit to your job

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    Aileen Adalid Norway

    Aileen Adalid entered the corporate world at age 19 after graduating from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, with a degree in business management.

    But the trilingual Philippines native quickly grew envious of the flexible lifestyles of "digital nomads" she met while freelancing on the side in Manila.

    At 21, Adalid quit her entry-level job at Deutsche Bank — which paid just $300 per month — to transition to a life of perpetual travel.

    For the next year, Adalid freelanced in graphic design, web design, SEO management, and online marketing, sustained largely by one stable client contract that earned her more than double her previous salary. The best part: The flexibility enabled her to travel frequently to places like France and Thailand.

    In May 2014, Adalid partnered with a friend to start an online Amazon retail business called Adalid Gear, a health and outdoor accessories company, and relocated to Belgium.

    She also revived her one-time teenage diary blog, I Am Aileen, fashioning it into a lifestyle and travel blog that has gained traction among online travel communities.

    Adalid now earns about $5,000 a month from her online ventures, and she travels from her home base (now back in the Philippines) at least once a month to destinations throughout Europe and Asia.

    You can follow her adventures on her blog, I Am Aileen, or through her Facebook or Instagram.

    Adalid told Business Insider about cutting ties with the corporate world to chase after the "digital nomad" lifestyle, and finding a balance between traveling the world and running two successful ventures. Read on to find out how she did it. 

    DON'T MISS: A 31-year-old who's been traveling the world for 5 years explains how she affords it

    SEE ALSO: 14 things I learned when I quit my job to travel the world

    Back in college, Adalid studied business management and had a combined year of training experience under her belt at huge multinational companies like Nestlé, Unilever, and Siemens.

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     In Belgium.

    But after graduating college at 19 and spending two years working as a product controller at Deutsche Bank, she realized the corporate life wasn't for her. She was increasingly intrigued by both entrepreneurship and travel, so she left her job with about $600 in savings in April 2013.

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    In Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    "I started working as a remote freelance graphic designer, web developer, and marketing assistant taking on different projects but with a main stable client who employed me. My pay at this point was more than double of what I earned at my office job and I was able to control my time more for working as I started to travel around more."

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pull ups

    The most successful executives and entrepreneurs likely didn't get where they are by lucky accident. Typically, achieving great things involves hard work and perseverance, as well as a supportive network of friends and family.

    But another ingredient typically goes into the mix: discipline. Take it from these executives who share the daily habits that propelled them to the top and help them stay there.

    1. Keep a gratitude book

    "Having a gratitude diary of things in your life you are grateful reminds you and focuses you on being thankful for all the good in your life. This is important to wake up and take charge of your state and focus [while] keeping your mind off of negative thoughts."

    — Bryan Slovon, founder and CEO of Stuart Financial Group, a financial planning firm that specializes in retirement and estate planning.

    2. Begin the day with a brain and body work out

    "I practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu which engages both your brain and body. It's not just lifting weights — it's an activity that involves strategy. I train for an hour each day on average. After my workout I read a great book or article and then write about it as if I would have to teach the content to someone else. The most important thing I am above all else is a student. The most important thing I can do in the morning is to get my body and brain into high gear. I find that when I am super-charged everything in my day seems to follow."

    — Douglas Vermeeren, CEO and creator of Personal Power Mastery, a program for personal change and achievement.

    3. Stay in tune with social media trends in real-time

    "First, I have four boys between ages 10 and 18, and they pay no attention to traditional media. Their use of social media and how ahead of the curve they are on news, information and trends amazes me, and it informs me. I make it a habit to get a 'daily download' from my sons to stay on top of fast moving trends.

    "Second, I Google-search key phrases and names important to my business and industry every morning when I sit at my desk. I take some time to see what kind of market intelligence I can gather, and I monitor how my own company is trending over a cup of coffee as a smart way to start my day."

    — Chris Orestis, CEO of Life Care Funding and author of the e-Book "A Survival Guide to Aging."

    4. Do 10 by 10

    "I like to get 10 things done by 10 a.m. Not just any 10, the most important 10 things of the day. Prioritize, tackle the big one first, then go down the list."

    — Marco Kozlowski, entrepreneur, author, real estate investment training and CEO strategist.

    5. Keep track of what gets done

    "Throughout the day I jot down in my six inch spiral note pad all of my daily activities, phone calls, meetings, related notes, and to-dos and check them off if there is no further action required. In that way, I have a handy reference of what happened or didn't happen during the day. Any open items can be moved to the next day's to-dos. It's a great reference tool for phone numbers, commitments, and data needed elsewhere."

    — Paul Ratoff, author of "Thriving in a Stakeholder World, Purpose as the New Competitive Advantage" and CEO of Strategy Development Group, Inc.

    6. Don't waste too much time playing with social media

    "Use it as it properly suits your business needs and move on."

    — Benjamin Lupu, certified financial planner at Kensington A.M.I., a company which educates the public about the virtues of the Blue-Chip-based dividend driven investment process.

    7. Get eight hours of sleep

    "There are many hard-working individuals who stay up late and get up early but I believe this actually reduces productivity and increases ineffectiveness. When I pay attention to getting eight full hours of sleep and going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each day, my energy improves, I have more focus, and am more productive. [It]eems counter-intuitive, but I absolutely wouldn't give up my eight hours of rest for anything."

    — Ann Vanderslice, president and CEO of Retirement Planning Strategies, which helps federal employees understand their benefits, maximize the value of their benefits, and plan for retirement, as well as organize income planning and IRA distributions.

    8. Get up early

    "I get up by 4 a.m. every day even if I go to sleep at 1 a.m., even when I am on vacation. This helps me a lot, as mornings are very relaxing and that's when I have my best ideas. I can refocus on my thoughts and always find new solutions to the existing problems.''

    — Mayur Ramgir, founder of Zonopact, a software development firm which specializes in cloud computing and software as a service.

    9. Check the pulse of the company

    "Even when backed up on emails, I always sit down every day to check that day's reservations for future moves, that day's revenues, and that day's total labor costs. Now that doesn't encompass a lot of reporting metrics. That doesn't get me a net profit margin nor take into account any of our overhead. It certainly doesn't get me a return on equity nor a return on assets.

    "But I'm a typical entrepreneur that does a few million dollars a year in revenue. I have great support staff, but I don't have the luxury of a team of consultants to tell me what next quarter's revenues are likely to be. So that's why I review my company's pulse on a daily basis. It's not meant to break down the latest advertising campaign on Google, tell me how many new hires I've made, nor tell me our customer's satisfaction rating ... But if those latter things were to become an issue, the canary in the coal mine is 'The Pulse' of my company.

    "So reviewing those key numbers daily helps me to take decisive and almost real-time action, compared to my competitors who have executives waiting for last quarter's report. And because it's near real-time, my staff and I can go back to make adjustments with a quick turnaround. You can always figure out what went wrong the day prior, but at the end of the month... 'Wait, who was in the office? Didn't we have an extra three people working that special event? And what was the name of that customer?' But everyone can piece together the day prior."

    — Nick Baucom, founder and owner of Two Marines Moving, a moving company that has operations in the Washington, D.C., area and Miami. He also is author of "On the Move: A Marine's Guide to Entrepreneurial Success."

    10. Prioritize your to-do list

    "Each evening, I write a to-do list, organized by order of importance, and I make sure to accomplish the first two items at the start of the next day. Another daily habit is prioritizing social media. I set aside an hour for social and/or blogging each day, allowing me time to connect with others and share something of value."

    — Nicole Smartt, author of "From Receptionist to Boss" and shareholder and vice president of Star Staffing, which is included on Inc's "5000 Fastest-Growing Companies" list.

    11. Find a positive outlet

    "Work can be stressful and keeping your cool is always a challenge. Finding a positive outlet to keep you motivated and maintain your confidence — and sanity — is so important. For some, that could be listening to a certain pump-up song. For me, it is fitness and exercise. I have been so fortunate to find the SoulCycle community and take Akin's Army Bootcamp classes at Bandier.

    "I attend daily — sometimes twice — and use it as an opportunity to center myself and think of new ideas and solutions for any issues that may have come up at the office. Being part of that community has contributed to my success as it has taught me to stay strong, to never give up, and that I have the power to overcome any hardship."

    — Casey Cohen, cofounder of Salido, a New York tech startup which provides a single platform for restaurant management.

    12. Schedule all of your calls after lunch, and back to back

    "This allows you to get them out of the way and focus on the office and actual internal work in the morning when the coffee is working."

    — Eddie Meehan, CEO of fan engagement agency Wonderful Union servicing celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Drake.

    13. Maintain a personal connection with each employee

    "I try to make it a point to engage with as many employees daily as my schedule will permit... from a quick 'hello' to an in-depth meeting, and I meet with every new hire that joins us. Great companies are only as good as the people that power it, so I encourage open dialogue and input."

    — Ron Dick, founder and CEO of Cedato, a digital video advertising company with offices in Tel Aviv and New York.

    14. Ask 'I wonder' questions several times a day

    "I wonder if we could ... I wonder what would happen if ... I wonder if it might help to ... Starting with 'I wonder' assumes I don't know the answer, and pushes those around me to think differently about a problem, open their minds to another approach, and leads to innovation."

    — Tamra Ryan CEO, Women's Bean Project which packages and sells bean soup mixes and other dry food products to stores across the U.S. and online while teaching impoverished women basic life skills and job readiness skills to help them succeed in an entry-level job.

    SEE ALSO: Successful people think differently than the rest of us — here's how you can, too

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Albuquerque, New Mexico hot air balloons

    As an entrepreneur, you are your best friend and your worst enemy.

    You vacillate between believing in your ability to take on the world, making it better as only you can, and doubting your worth, self-sabotaging through procrastination and unnecessary spending.

    You can make 2017 your best year yet, but in order to do so, you'll need to let go of a few nasty habits.

    1. Having a sense of entitlement.

    Yes, you are a special snowflake with a unique combination of skills and vision, but that doesn't mean the world owes you anything, especially as an entrepreneur. If you want success, you need to make it happen. You want a new client or your company featured in a great publication, then you'd better start hustling to make it happen. 

    Related: 9 Ways to Kick Off the New Year With a Bang 

    2. Trying to do everything alone.

    That said, don't try to do everything alone. It's okay to ask for help and advice, and you can even hire someone to take some of the burden off your shoulders. You have a whole network of friends and fellow entrepreneurs who will be happy to help you, whether it's because you've helped them or because they just want to see you succeed. Entrepreneurship is hard enough — don't make it unnecessarily harder.

    3. Trying to be perfect.

    Everyone fails sometimes. A successful person is the one who keeps getting up until eventually, life stops knocking her down. Trying to be perfect will keep you from making the mistakes and riding the learning curve that you need to in order to reach success.

    4. Comparing yourself with others. 

    Successful people are meant to be inspirations. Their success can be a potential roadmap to help you avoid the same blocks they stumbled over on their way to the top. You are not supposed to look at them and castigate yourself for not being equally successful. They started and made their way with hard work, and if you focus on the lessons you can learn from them instead of where they are now, you'll get there too.

    5. Procrastinating. 

    Certain parts of your business aren't fun. You might hate dealing with email campaigns or formatting your website. No many people enjoy preparing contracts or invoices, but every single step is important and needs to get done. Don't let procrastination be the reason you're behind meeting your targets and reaching your goals.

    Related: How to Stop Procrastinating and Achieve Your Goals

    6. Being underprepared. 

    Whether it's the result of procrastination or overconfidence, being underprepared can ruin client pitches, client work and your reputation — which, once tarnished, is so very hard to fix. No matter how confident you are that you know your stuff, prepare for everything. Have a "plan B" and a "worst case scenario plan." You may never need them, but you'll be glad you have them if you do.

    7. Constantly complaining. 

    Not only is it exhausting to always be miserable, but you'll turn off other people who might have otherwise wanted to help or work with you. If all you do is complain, you'll be too busy to see opportunities. You will be so focused on the negative that you won't appreciate what you do have. If something isn't right, fix it. Don't complain.

    8. Buying things you don't need.

    While it might be exciting to buy all the new toys, focus instead on ways to spend your money that will get you closer to your dreams. A new computer might be flashy and fun, but the course on Google Analytics or revamping your website might be a better use of your money. Or you could always tuck that money away for a rainy day — they do happen eventually.

    Related: Mark Cuban's 3 'Smart Money Moves Everyone Should Make'

    9. Thinking you're not ready.

    No one is ever really ready for the big things in life — starting a business, having a baby, etc. You just have to figure out things as you go. That isn't to say that you shouldn't have a knowledge base and a plan, but as they say in programming “if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.” Don't wait for the perfect moment. Do it now.

    There are plenty of things that can be roadbumps in your business. Don't let the things you have control over be one of them. Fix these bad habits and bad mindsets, and go into 2017 ready to accomplish your dreams.

    SEE ALSO: 11 mistakes standing between you and your first million

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Cubicle farmNew year, new you.

    It’s a mantra adopted by many this time of year, but it’s a tough one to stick to.

    As ambitious as our goals for 2017 are, it’s not easy to keep committed to a changed lifestyle; but, the continued belief that we can improve ourselves and better our lives is inspiring.

    One common refrain around the new year is a desire to start making a living on one's own terms. We all have to work for a living, but some aspire to start their own business, or change their career to one the might enjoy more.

    This can be a tough journey to get started on; when starting a solo business venture, it’s hard to know where to begin if you’ve never done it before. 

    For those of you looking to start your own company, or strike out on your own in 2017, Udemy's Business Bootcamp: 7 Weeks to Start Your Own Business course might be right for you.

    Instructed by Phil Ebiner, the course will take students through the process of setting achievable goals and getting off the ground through freelance work. From there, you’ll learn to define your value proposition, develop a portfolio, and use social media to your advantage.

    By the end of the course, Ebiner hopes to give students the tools they need to self-examine, and turn their passions into a intelligent business venture.

    With over 8,000 students enrolled and a 4.5 star rating, you can be confident you’re getting a course that has satisfied its customers. While the course normally runs for $200, you can enroll for just $10 thanks to a deal Udemy is offering for the new year.

    The deal is good for other classes being offered as well, so be sure to check out other classes you might want to enroll in here, as well as everything Udemy has to offer here.

    Business Bootcamp: 7 Weeks to Start Your Own Business, $10, available at Udemy.

    SEE ALSO: These 13 online classes will help you learn something new in 2017 — and they’re all $10

    DON'T MISS: Buying these 9 gadgets will save you money in 2017

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    working laptop coffee shop

    If you’re like millions of Americans, you dream of starting your own business.

    But of course, there are dozens of obstacles that may keep you from actually doing that. You might not have enough motivation, for example, or time to actually see the work through; or you might not even have a solid idea to begin with — yet.

    Related: The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven't Heard About Yet

    But where most people get stopped cold is their realization that it takes money to start a business — money they don’t have.

    Yet there are loans, grants, and fundraising options, like crowdfunding, available to get you what you need; so money is not a good excuse not to start a business. And, beyond that, there are certain types of businesses you can start with almost no cash.

    What it takes to start a business

    Your first step is to explore what it takes to formally “start” a business, and which of those items cost money.

    • Planning. You’ll need to come up with a business plan and financial model, of course, but you can do this on your own, for free.
    • Business license. If you’re planning on creating a partnership, LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file some paperwork — but it probably won’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars, depending on what licensing you need. The Small Business Administration has plenty of resources to help you figure out what you need, how to obtain it and how much it will cost.
    • A domain name. You’ll need to invest in your online brand early on; while I suggest going as professional as possible, you could also use a bare-bones approach to launch, if yours is a minimum viable product. Often, a catchy domain name is all you need to define your brand at the start, and one can be bought for as little as $10 (if you can find one that isn’t taken!). I use GoDaddy to buy domains.
    • A website. Website builders these days are free and intuitive to use. You won't expend anything but time to build your first site. I recommend starting simple with a widely-used website platform, like Wordpress.
    • Marketing. While marketing has a reputation for being very expensive, there are actually a ton of really effective tactics that can be performed with only an investment of your time. Social media marketing, SEO and content marketing all fit within this category — and, honestly, those are really all you need. For help, see The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.
    • Equipment. Equipment, offices and other tangible assets are cash killers, but not all businesses need them. Some businesses don’t require any of these things, as I’ll explain shortly.
    • Products. Finally, all businesses need to sell something, which usually means some up-front investing. However, many services can be performed with an investment of time rather than money.

    So, which types of businesses can be started without a heavy financial burden in any of the above areas?

    1. Personal creations

    First off, there are personal creations, like arts and crafts. For example, if you’re a painter, you could sell your works of art with an investment of nothing more than art supplies and your own time. Platforms like Etsy, eBay and Amazon cater to creators and make it easy to turn a profit from your work.

    Related: 101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $100

    2. In-home services

    Services don’t cost you any money up-front because they’re intangible goods. And if you’re working in people’s own homes or neighborhoods, you won’t need a physical headquarters for your business. For example, you could start a babysitting service, a dog-walking or pet-sitting service or something like landscaping or snow-plowing.

    3. Repair or skill-based services

    If you have a specific skill, you could use your skilled labor as the main revenue driver for your business. For example, if you’re a handyman, you could cater to homeowners who don’t know much about home repairs.

    Just like in-home services, these types of gigs don’t require you to have a physical establishment and don’t require you to invest in anything up-front, except perhaps the tools or equipment you’re going to need for the job, which will vary in cost.

    4. Consulting

    Many workers think about becoming entrepreneurs only after getting several years of professional experience under their belt. Think about the industry you’re in, and how much you’ve been able to learn in that time. Up-and-coming professionals, or startup business owners will likely be glad to pay you for your expertise. Consulting is a service that costs only time to produce, but can be highly valuable as a career opportunity.

    5. Resale

    The idea behind resale is simple: You acquire products and sell them to other people. You can use dropshipping or wholesaling to acquire these goods. With dropshipping, you’ll ship directly from the manufacturer (and turn a lower profit), but you’ll need almost no startup cash. With wholesaling, you’ll need more money and space up-front, but you’ll end up with more control and more money.

    6. Micropreneurship

    Of course, you could also piece together your own miniature business through micropreneurship and shared-economy opportunities. For example, you could drive for a service like Uber, or rent your home out through AirBnB or find similar services that make use of what you’ve already got.

    After you get your business started and start earning revenue, your lack of startup capital will become less of a problem. You can reap the profits from your venture and reinvest them, or use them to start an even bigger business.

    Related: 12 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Introverts

    Hopefully, you now realize that you don’t need a lot of up-front money to start a business. In fact, you can start one for almost nothing. You just need to know what types of businesses work best in that model.

    SEE ALSO: 9 ideas for making more money on the side in 2017

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Ramit Sethi 05

    Starting a business sounds great.

    But who has the time?

    GrowthLab CEO Ramit Sethi stopped by the Business Insider offices to talk business, entrepreneurship, and productivity, so we asked him: What do you tell people who say they just can't find the time to start a business?

    "The time excuse kind of drives me nuts," he said. "The classic response to this is 'Hey, Mark Zuckerberg has time to do it.' But you're not Mark Zuckerberg. Neither am I."

    In fact, he says that we only use "I don't have the time" as an excuse because we know that we can get away with it.

    "What is your friend going to say 'Actually Ramit, you do have time. You watch four episodes of Vanderpump Rules every Tuesday morning, you do this, you go out to restaurants ...?' No! Because it's actually very politically incorrect to say 'Actually, you're lying to me and to yourself.' So we say it because we know we can get away with it."

    He had two tips for would-be entrepreneurs looking for a little more time in their days:

    1. You don't need as much time as you think

    Sethi points out that his businesses, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab, have many students who have successfully started businesses — "and I'm talking $10,000, $100,000, seven figures"— on five hours a week.

    "Starting a business, finding the time, is about knowing what you should focus on, and knowing what you don't need to focus on," Sethi said. "So we get a lot of people who are like 'I gotta be on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, a million different things.' No you don't. What you need to do is find out if you have a profitable idea, and you need to sell something and generate your first revenue."

    2. Make the time before you need it, or you'll never find it

    "What I do is I put it in my calendar," Sethi said. "So I have writing time. Every week I need to write, otherwise, if I don't put it on my calendar, it just gets away from me. So I block it off and it becomes a non-negotiable."

    Even if it's just an hour Monday morning, an hour Wednesday night, and three hours on Saturday, Sethi said, "all of a sudden your calendar's going to flow around those blocks, instead of you flowing around whatever life throws at you."

    Watch the full Facebook Live »

    SEE ALSO: How to find a business idea — and figure out if it's any good

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    shark tank

    The reality show “Shark Tank” has been helping entrepreneurs live the American dream since its 2009 debut.

    Now in its eighth season, the self-made sharks have invested more than $66 million — as of season six — of their own funds to help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

    Each week, sharks Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary convene to receive pitches from the entrepreneurs in need of cash to get their companies off the ground.

    Follow along to read the best pieces of advice the sharks gave entrepreneurs during their stint on the three-time Emmy Award-winning show.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran reveals when it’s time to quit your job and start your own business

    1. Focus on profits

    “Follow the green, not the dream.”— Mark Cuban

    In season four, Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera, owners of Baby’s Badass Burgers food truck, wanted money to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Rather than funding the successful food truck’s transition to a traditional eatery, Cuban advised them to keep doing what’s working. Essentially, he believed the hot-pink, gourmet burger food truck was already a recipe for success and that switching up the plan might put a damper on business.

    See: 9 Most Successful Shark Tank Businesses

    2. Be accountable for your own success

    “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”— Robert Herjavec

    Many “Shark Tank” contestants have been aimlessly working toward their entrepreneurial goals for years. With this piece of advice, Herjavec encouraged them to create a timeline to turn their aspirations into a reality. Attaching specific dates to goals forces them to be accountable and make real progress.

    3. When the going gets tough, don’t give up

    “As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough.”— Lori Greiner

    Starting a company comes with a huge set of challenges, but Greiner advised “Shark Tank” contestants not to give up. As creative thinkers, entrepreneurs simply must devise creative solutions to combat every roadblock in their way. No problem is unsolvable — failure cannot be an option.


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    man on laptop

    So, you've decided to start a business, even though you're young and don't have much experience. That's OK — in fact, it's better than OK.

    There are a ton of advantages to starting a business in your 20s and 30s, including higher long-term potential gains and (generally) a higher level of energy and enthusiasm.

    Related: 63 Businesses to Start for Under $10,000

    However, before you get too deep into your entrepreneurial endeavor, there are a few important things to know about starting a business before you're 30:

    1. There are substitutes for experience

    Whether you're crowdfunding, looking for private investors, or funding your business yourself, as you look for that first round of clients, you'll find that early supporters will be basing most of their first impressions on the depth of experience you offer.

    Unfortunately, this is going to be one of your biggest weaknesses: You simply won't have nearly as much experience as other people in your field, and investors will question whether you can pull this thing off.

    Don't be discouraged; there are actually substitutes for experience (you read that right!). For starters, if you don't have experience of your own, you can get some secondhand, by partnering with someone who has the background you lack, or by working alongside a mentor willing to share his or her expertise.

    You can also offer investors hard evidence, social proof or a demonstration of your talent to compensate for your lack of experience. As long as you realize what your weaknesses are and find a way to make up for them, the "experience" factor shouldn't be a problem.

    2. Credit matters

    Before you start a business, you should have your personal finances in order. But before you can start building credit in a business, you need to have personal credit, and that's something not a lot of 20-somethings have.

    Without personal credit, you'll have a harder time persuading investors to part with their money, and securing a line of business credit will be nearly impossible. To make matters worse, you likely won't have a steady line of profit (or income) for the first few months of your business (or even years).

    Think carefully about how you're going to pay those bills and make ends meet during that time. If you're drowning in debt, and have little-to-no savings, you have some work to do before starting a business.

    3. Youth favors risk

    In investing, in business and life in general, youth favors risk-taking. If you make a catastrophic error, such as a bad investment, you'll have more time to make up for that mistake over the course of your life.

    You'll also have fewer assets, and not be as "tied down" as your elders are, meaning you'll be more adaptable and can flexibly accommodate almost any challenges or surprises that come your way. As an added bonus, when you're young, if you take a risk and fail, it will be seen as a natural byproduct of your inexperience and enthusiasm, rather than a reflection of your character and abilities. So, take advantage by taking more risks while you're young.

    4. You have time

    Young professionals tend to have energy in spades, and a passion that simply isn't matched by their elder counterparts. This comes with a lot of positives, such as higher productivity and more enjoyment in your actual work, but it also often leads young entrepreneurs to act quickly without thinking, or spend money with reckless abandon in an effort to scale as fast as possible.

    Related: How to Become a Millionaire by Age 30

    My advice? Slow down. Understand that you have your entire life ahead of you, and even though it's exciting to think about scaling your business to monumental heights, it's nothing that can't wait. If you become too eager and impatient, you'll end up compromising your chances at long-term success.

    5. This probably isn't the end

    You may also be comforted to realize that your present business most likely won't be the end of your entrepreneurial journey. You know the statistic about how most businesses fail, but when you're young, it's hard to wrap your mind around that reality.

    Regardless of whether your business succeeds or fails, you'll eventually exit it, or chase other pursuits while it stabilizes. When you look at your business as something temporary, or as a stepping stone, you'll bear less stress from the little things and be able to make decisions with greater perspective and future-focused thinking.

    With these considerations in mind, you'll be able to play to your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. There's no "perfect" time to start a business, of course, but knowing the advantages and disadvantages of your specific timing is necessary if you want the greatest chance of success.

    Related: 5 Reasons to Start a Business In Your 20s and 30s

    Let your momentum take you where it may, and don't let challenges or failures stand in the way of your achievements.

    Jayson DeMers is founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency. He's the author of the ebook, "The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Aileen Adalid Norway

    Aileen Adalid entered the corporate world at age 19 after graduating from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, with a degree in business management.

    But the trilingual Philippines native quickly grew envious of the flexible lifestyles of "digital nomads" she met while freelancing on the side in Manila.

    At 21, Adalid quit her entry-level job at Deutsche Bank — which paid just $300 per month — to transition to a life of perpetual travel.

    For the next year, Adalid freelanced in graphic design, web design, SEO management, and online marketing, sustained largely by one stable client contract that earned her more than double her previous salary. The best part: The flexibility enabled her to travel frequently to places like France and Thailand.

    In May 2014, Adalid partnered with a friend to start an online Amazon retail business called Adalid Gear, a health and outdoor accessories company, and relocated to Belgium.

    She also revived her one-time teenage diary blog, I Am Aileen, fashioning it into a lifestyle and travel blog that has gained traction among online travel communities.

    Adalid now earns about $5,000 a month from her online ventures, and she travels from her home base (now back in the Philippines) at least once a month to destinations throughout Europe and Asia.

    You can follow her adventures on her blog, I Am Aileen, or through her Facebook or Instagram.

    Adalid told Business Insider about cutting ties with the corporate world to chase after the "digital nomad" lifestyle, and finding a balance between traveling the world and running two successful ventures. Read on to find out how she did it. 

    DON'T MISS: A 31-year-old who's been traveling the world for 5 years explains how she affords it

    SEE ALSO: 14 things I learned when I quit my job to travel the world

    Back in college, Adalid studied business management and had a combined year of training experience under her belt at huge multinational companies like Nestlé, Unilever, and Siemens.

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     In Belgium.

    But after graduating college at 19 and spending two years working as a product controller at Deutsche Bank, she realized the corporate life wasn't for her. She was increasingly intrigued by both entrepreneurship and travel, so she left her job with about $600 in savings in April 2013.

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    In Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    "I started working as a remote freelance graphic designer, web developer, and marketing assistant taking on different projects but with a main stable client who employed me. My pay at this point was more than double of what I earned at my office job and I was able to control my time more for working as I started to travel around more."

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    susie moore 1

    It was just like any other workday.

    I donned my blazer and pearls, grabbed a latte, and stepped out of the elevator to my office as usual.

    Only today wasn’t the same as the thousands that had come before it. After 18 months of working 12-16 hours a week on the side on my life coaching business, I asked my boss for a meeting. As soon as we sat down, I handed in my notice.

    I had been a sales director for a Fortune 500 company, earning $500,000 a year at age 30.

    That was two years ago, and since then, I’ve quickly built my business up to a point where I earn multiple six figures a year as a life coach and adviser to startups.

    Is exchanging a corporate career for a life of entrepreneurship a goal of yours one day, too? If so, here are some traits you might identify within yourself.

    1. You have so much more to give

    And you’re just not fulfilled by your 9-5, right? There’s nothing more soul-destroying than being an idea machine or a creative person but being limited to the box you’re in (called a job title).

    My side hustle coaching clients include a Google executive who performs as a singer at the weekends, an accountant with a spiritual life coaching practice, and a lawyer who’s completing a historical fiction novel.

    2. You resent repetition and routine

    No matter how flexible a work place is or how cool the perks provided are, over time, many entrepreneurs at heart simply can’t handle the structure of a corporation that sets your rules, hours, and performance expectations.

    One entrepreneur I coach likened it to feeling like a kid at school. With set times and days of the week plus supervision and reviews, it kinda does feel a bit like that, doesn’t it?

    It’s not surprising that freedom over our schedule has been proven to make us happier than money. Entrepreneurs know this better than anyone.

    3. You find face time unnecessary

    And not the Facebook kind.

    As an entrepreneur, you work whenever a project needs to be completed around hours of your choosing. Sitting around doing nothing just for face time at the office doesn’t make common sense, does it?

    Some people also naturally work better from home, quiet spaces, and outside of teams who can be distracting. Many consultants I know work 100% remotely and have a great income (and lifestyle) doing it.

    4. You are self-motivated

    Have you always considered yourself a bit of a CEO inside? People who like to lead, who have a vision and a desire to make it real can make great business owners.

    When I was running my side hustle and juggling my full time job, I’d write before work in bed and coach in the evenings from my sofa. It felt great! I loved the ownership and security of the business being mine. It wasn’t about the extra money at all.

    5. You might think you’re smarter than your boss

    This comes up a lot in my coaching sessions. One of my recent clients shared with me that she constantly holds back at work to avoid treading on her boss’ toes and upstaging him. When you’re in control, you can play at your highest level and reap the rewards (sans the politics).

    It’s naturally frustrating and sometimes totally unfair when you can see better ways of doing things that you aren’t allowed to implement. But when you’re an employee — you have no choice but to roll with it.

    One client of mine left a great job at a large TV network to create her own small production firm for this reason. She’s never been happier or wealthier (no income caps for the self-employed)! To start, all you need is one or two solid, paying clients. It really can be that simple.

    6. You enjoy solving problems

    Problem solving is the cornerstone of all good business.

    Are you a natural problem solver who helps people with your advice, skill set, creativity, knowledge, network, smarts?

    If yes, you might just be an entrepreneur just waiting to happen.

    7. You don’t fit into a box

    I loved my former career in technology sales but I also knew I was a writer. I was natural adviser to others. I knew I was a good motivator, teacher, leader, and connector of people.

    There were no jobs out there for people with my particular skill set that would let me encompass them all. So I had to create my own.

    It was a practical decision, too.

    A study from Intuit found that by 2020, 40% of ALL jobs will be freelance. The gig economy will become the economy. There’s no such thing as job security anymore. So the smartest thing you can do is reconsider your current career box and get a side gig going.

    If you have something to offer the world, want to do meaningful work on your terms and build something that you can never be fired from — it’s time to start your Side Hustle .

    Keep that paycheck and launch your dream project. Not only is doing so totally low-risk, but the upside is only limited by your thinking.

    Susie Moore is an author and life coach in New York who has been featured on the Today show and Forbes. A former sales director for a Fortune 500 Company, she remains an advisor to high-growth start-ups in New York City and Silicon Valley. Sign up here for her FREE Side Hustle Workshop.

    SEE ALSO: I quit a job that paid $500,000 a year, and it was the best decision I ever made — here are 5 tips for people who want to work for themselves

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    Emily Williams   1.JPG

    In my 20s, I bounced from job to job as a barista at Starbucks, a nanny, and even a matchmaker.

    As someone who had always achieved great things in school — straight A's, graduating at the top of my class, getting into top graduate schools — finding myself in a quarter-life crisis without any real direction wasn't great for my morale.

    There were moments when I literally had to avoid friends or do a digital detox as I saw people getting their dream jobs, making six-figures, and getting married. I was jealous that they had the life I wanted. Fortunately I was able to turn my envy into a success strategy.

    Now, as a seven-figure business owner and success coach to hundreds of clients and students, living in an incredible six-bedroom home in London and working with my loving husband, my life is better than I could have predicted.

    Related: 3 Positive Ways to Harness Career Envy

    From my experience, I learned jealousy wasn't always a bad thing. Here are some ways to use it to find success:

    Jealousy can show you what's possible

    When I first started my business, I was greatly impacted by top female coaches in my industry, and I remember one in particular telling me she had created a multiple six-figure business in her first year. She also told me it was possible to turn my yearly salary into my monthly salary.

    At first, I was skeptical (and jealous of what she had created) but then I chose to think of it in a different way. If she'd done it (a normal woman from the Midwest like me), didn't that mean I could, too?

    I used that jealousy to help me create a million-dollar business in my first 18 months. Now I support other women in transforming their finances and achieving faster success, as well.

    The way I see it, jealousy isn't an indication of someone having something that you can't have. It isn't a sign that something is already taken or that there's no space for you. Someone doing what you want to do means it's possible for you, too.

    Jealousy can be a motivator to go to the next level

    As an entrepreneur, I have a lot of friends who are also highly-driven business owners. We have mastermind sessions together and regularly talk about our achievements and challenges, goals for the future and the ways in which we're going to reach our big dreams.

    Related: 5 Steps to Deal With Haters When You're the Rock Star

    At least weekly during these calls, I get jealous of their ideas and success stories — getting a book deal with a top publisher, hosting a sold-out event, working with a dream mentor, growing their email list to 50,000. You name it, and it makes me jealous.

    But I've learned to use that jealous to motivate me to go to the next level, not stop me from trying or even cut ties with them. I look at that jealousy as a coach: encouraging me to move forward with my goals and as an indication of what I want and what my next steps are.

    Jealousy can be an opportunity to deepen key relationships

    A few years ago, I was told that that the best time to send a thank-you card or email is in the moment when you're feeling jealous of someone. At the time, I thought that was a strange piece of advice, but now I get it.

    Giving praise where praise is due is important, especially when you don't feel like it. I'm sure you love when people reach out and tell you your product or service changed their life, your new website is to die for, or you're really impacting the world. Those around you — even if they seem to have all of the recognition they need — are craving that too.

    And who knows? In addition to making someone else feel good about what they've accomplished, reaching out and connecting with that person may lead to a door opening that helps you achieve your goals. It may put you on the radar of someone important in your industry, get your work or product noticed or it may just connect you with another human in a meaningful way — and we can all use a little more of that!

    Related: 3 Ways to Use the Green-Eyed Monster to Your Advantage

    The next time, you feel jealous — when you see someone hitting financial milestones, nabbing that coveted media interview or speaking on a big stage — don't try to squash the emotion. Instead, be open to what it reveals and where it takes you. Jealousy, if you let it, can help you achieve more success than you ever imagined was possible.

    SEE ALSO: A psychology professor shares a 4-part system that will help you accomplish your goals

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    heidi zak thirdlove

    "A business is like having a child," says Heidi Zak.

    Zak is the CEO and cofounder, along with her husband Dave Spector, of bra company ThirdLove. In 2012, Zak left her position as a Google senior marketing manager to found her startup.

    Zak (who, by the way, has two human children) explained that entrepreneurs need to be in it for the long haul. If you have doubts about being able to raise your baby — er, develop your business idea — for years to come, you're in trouble.

    So before you quit your job and go all-in as an entrepreneur, you'll want to ask yourself: Is this something I could spend my life doing?

    Just as important, you'll want to consider: Is this something I could spend my life doing and be happy?

    ThirdLove, which sells bras online and aims to provide women with a better fit than traditional retailers, has raised over $13 million in funding, according to Crunchbase

    Based on her experience starting the company, Zak said that especially in a company's early days, entrepreneurs should be comfortable working 80- to 100-hour workweeks. That necessarily means sacrificing time with friends or on other non-work activities. 

    But even after that, Zak said, running a company is all-consuming.  

    When Zak meets with aspiring entrepreneurs who she mentors informally, she asks them: "Are you willing to give up the stability of what you're doing? Are you willing to give up your salary? Are you willing to give up time and energy — for a while?"

    "Sometimes," she said, "people honestly are like, 'I'm not.' And then I say to them them, "You should not be thinking about quitting your job and starting a business." 

    Zak said she sees a "halo" around entrepreneurship these days — people think it's "cool" to start a business.

    And while it can be cool, Zak said there will also be "dark days" when you're not sure if your business will ever succeed. 

    "Those moments in time are really hard," she said.

    Of those "dark days," she added, "There's a reality of what really starting a company is like."

    SEE ALSO: If you want to start a business but can't 'find your passion,' here's the first step to take

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    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail

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    scenic overlook

    A few years ago, I was watching an interview with Seth Godin, one of my heroes of the business world.

    He was explaining the core differences between entrepreneurship and freelancing. I was getting heated just listening to him.

    Here's how Seth explains it:

    Freelancers get paid for their work. If you're a freelance copywriter, you get paid when you work. Entrepreneurs use other people's money to build a business bigger than themselves so that they can get paid when they sleep.

    When I saw this interview, I was busting my ass (and making very good money) as a freelancer— BUT I always considered myself an entrepreneur because I had an "entrepreneurial mindset."

    "He doesn't know what he's talking about! I am TOO an entrepreneur!" I grumbled.

    I thought of an entrepreneur (and myself) as a free thinker. Someone who created his or her own destiny and didn't just take what the world handed to him. To think of myself as anything BUT an entrepreneur, while I was working so freakin' hard to make money on my own, totally messed with my self-identity.

    But Seth did have a point.

    Freelancing is an essential step in the entrepreneur's journey. You have to learn how to find clients, talk to them, and get them to pay you. You have to develop skills and ideas and test them in the marketplace. And freelancing is great, because for all intents and purposes, you can get started immediately.

    The truth is that almost anything can make money. But first, you have to change your mindset. You must start viewing your skills and experiences as bankable, valuable resources worth paying for.

    You can help someone with the skills and knowledge that you already have. The easiest way to do this is by freelancing.

    Freelancing changed my life (and I recommend anyone looking to leave the 9-5 first find work for themselves as a freelancer on the side), but freelancing is only halfway there. It's a necessary bridge to get you away from your day job and into independent living. On the other side of that bridge is full-fledged entrepreneurship.

    The difference between entrepreneurship and freelancing comes down to TIME:

    • Freelancers exchange time for money (albeit much more money than a traditional job)
    • Entrepreneurs depend on systems, automation and, eventually, employees that work without their direct involvement

    The key question is: "If I take myself out of the equation, does the business still work?"

    If the answer is "Yes," you are an entrepreneur.

    If you can create enough momentum in your business that you'll still make money, regardless of what you do on a day-to-day basis, you are an entrepreneur. And a bad---.

    This is the holy grail. This is where you want to end up.

    The simple blueprint for making money with an online business

    Choose a great business idea, then start to build a website that attracts visitors.

    Here's a quick tip to come up with a great business idea: Combine one of your ideas/hobbies/skills to find something that you care about and figure out how that can be used to solve another person's problem. I've written extensively about how to come up with a good idea and then validate it, so I'm not going to belabor the point here.

    Turn those website visitors into loyal subscribers by offering them something free in exchange for their email address.

    Create free, helpful content and ask visitors for an email address in exchange.

    Turn those subscribers into customers by asking them to buy from you via email.

    You can sell whatever you want — a physical or digital product, a course, a service, or even coaching. It's all based on what's interesting to you, and what you think you can help your subscribers with the most.

    After delivering a ton of free awesome content for a while (emailing your blog posts, YouTube videos, or whatever else you create), now you have the "right" to sell.

    This is huge.


    Once you do this for some time, you can automate the sales process. With email marketing software and a basic funnel, your business can generate thousands of dollars per month without your involvement.

    Pretty amazing.

    Welcome to Narnia! We're happy to have you!

    SEE ALSO: 8 types of people who will never be able to start a business

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    book store reading

    Whether you turn pages, tap a tablet, or listen to audio, a good book can be a perfect relaxation aid, tutor, or source of inspiration.

    Here are quotes from more than two dozen executives who name their favorite book and explain why it's worth your attention.

    SEE ALSO: 9 overrated classics and what you should read instead

    1. "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande

    "A quick and illustrative book that shows just how powerful well-designed and properly implemented checklists can be in reducing mistakes in all kinds of fields. I've been on many mountaineering adventures where your life depends on a good checklist to make sure ropes, harnesses, and equipment are properly set up.

    "Not everything in life needs a checklist, but we see every day how they can deliver results. When you're boarding a plane, you see pilots working through a number of preflight checklists to make sure everything is in order and no steps are overlooked. At our fast-growing business, checklists that we continue to tweak are critical in building repeatable and scalable processes.

    "Gawande sums it up well: 'You want people to make sure to get the stupid stuff right. Yet you also want to leave room for craft and judgment and the ability to respond to unexpected difficulties that arise along the way.' No matter how good the checklists, they themselves cannot make anyone follow them."

    --Tom Martin, CEO of Glance, a visual engagement solutions software company

    2. 'The Four Agreements' by Miguel Ruiz

    "The book is marketed as 'a practical guide to personal freedom,' but in a work setting I use it to check myself when I'm trying to solve a problem, listen to criticism, give constructive feedback, or resolve a conflict. The agreements — don't gossip, don't take things personally, don't make assumptions, and do your best— help me start from a rational position of trying to understand whatever the issue at hand is, without bringing any negative mental baggage that may come along naturally if I weren't aware of them.

    "I also use the Four Agreements framework to analyze conflicts, so that I can understand why someone may be reacting in a negative or emotional way and to help me remain calm if I'm involved in the conflict."

    --Bob Armour, CMO of interactive employee communication software company Jellyvision

    3. 'The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse' by Mohamed A. El-Erian

    "During my time on Wall Street, I witnessed both high and low times. If you want to understand the modern global economy, you should read this book. El-Erian is an incredibly clear thinker and explains complex ideas in an articulate way that is understandable to the financial novice while engaging to a seasoned industry veteran. Although no one can predict the future, this book comes close."

    --Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of digital investment platform Ellevest and author of "Own It: The Power of Women at Work"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    design sponge

    While writing her new book, "In the Company of Women," entrepreneur Grace Bonney interviewed over 100 women who run their own businesses.

    On an episode of podcast So Money, she told host Farnoosh Torabi that she was surprised to find a commonality among the women she spoke with: almost all of them had "given up" the pursuit of "work/life balance."

    Bonney is the founder of the art and design blog Design Sponge, which has been called Martha Stewart Living for the millennial generation by the New York Times.

    She told Torabi:

    "... I think the biggest sort of eye opener for me was realizing that almost all of these women had in common the idea that they had given up work/life balance, because I think that it's a concept that doesn't — it is not rooted in reality. I think that life and work are constantly in flux, and the market in which we're all working is constantly in flux.

    "The idea that you could ever sort of achieve this perfect stasis place is just unrealistic. So many of these women who had been in business for a long time really had kind of let that concept go, because they saw it as a very unrealistic expectation that I think women in particular feel has been placed upon them."

    Instead of holding tight to the myth of work/life balance, Bonney said women should focus on owning their power, their success, and their wealth. "You really just need to do it and not look back, because you're better off for it."

    Listen to the full episode of So Money »

    SEE ALSO: Too many of us fall into the '24-hour trap,' and it guarantees we'll never get anything done

    Join the conversation about this story »

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