Forced Entrepreneur

The current recession is still on despite claims of recovery. President Obama recently spoke at the White House and quoted the Department of Labor which estimated that US citizens have lost 3.6 million jobs since recession began.

For most losing a job is a calamity and yet there are some who handle this setback better. The great American spirit of survival seems to exist in them. They look for alternatives to make a livelihood and to live well. They may not have opted out of their jobs, but they certainly can deal with it.

How do they manage it? Are their prepared for it? What’s their gameplan?

Forty eight year old Bob Carlos was expecting a promotion as the Vice President of his company. He was unprepared for the recession and it hit him below the belt. Carlos reeled but rallied back to life. It’s then that he decided to do what he enjoyed most in life- sail. Soon he started using his knowledge to train others and to lead small excursions. Bob Carlos now leads a full life enjoying his job. He is making money in a way he never dreamt of. He now has plans to expand online and increase the scope of his customers.

Bob relied on his talent and expertise to pull his new found business through. Through a well planned strategy he started organizing camps and workshops and hired more people.

Bob Carlos was not an entrepreneur by choice. He was a forced entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is the ONLY way you can beat the current situation. No one’s hiring, no one’s extending much credit, no one cares; and you need the money and an occupation to keep you going.

More and more Americans are turning to this solution. The number of non-employer firms has risen steadily in this decade, from 16.5 million in 2000 to an estimated 21.1 million in 2007. So now’s the time to go back to your core competency. To improve your skills that have been neglected over the years. You may steer away from the specific job or branch that you were into or use those skills to help others.

Many people are making the recession a blessing in disguise to hone their talent and skills, to spend time with family and community, and to get connected to themselves all over again!

All you need is

– An exemplary skill set

– An eye for detail

– Ability to plan

– Lot’s of enthusiasm.

Wait- Before you chuck your job and set out to challenge your skills there something you must know.

According to the SBA – an estimated 637,100 new employer firms began operations in 2007 and 560,300 firms closed that year.

“Two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, 44 percent survive at least four years, and 31 percent survive at least seven years, according to a recent study. “

These results were constant for different industries. Firms that began in the second quarter of 1998 were tracked for the next 28 quarters to determine their survival rate. Of special interest, the research found that businesses that survive four years have a better chance of surviving long term. After the fourth year, the rate of firm closings declines considerably.

Earlier research has found that the major factors in a firm’s survivability include an ample supply of capital, being large enough to have employees, the owner’s education level, and the owner’s reason for starting the firm.

So where do you begin. Start with your heart and move on to brains.

I. Take a mental printout of these five attitude steps

– Start small if you want to but start today.

– Do not be afraid to fail.

– Everything in life is a learning experience to make a better you

– Enjoy what you do

– Find opportunities on the way.

II. Next start with your entrepreneurship plans. Ask yourself the following questions and write them down

– Your best skills

– Your strengths

– What you enjoy most

– Five years on what you would like to be

– The objective of your business

III. Next jot down opportunities associated with each skill

– Start with broad, get to specific

– Use the internet to search for opportunities. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find

– Try to identify at least three opportunities

Now you will broadly know what you want to do or think that you know what you would like to work on.

IV. Time to get your brains into action

– Start to plan how will start the business

– Take into account the costs, time, demographic structure and ROI period

– Think of the area of your business

– Try to find a niche

If you follow this step you’ll identify the most suitable business to start with.

V. Time for research

The strategy for research will depend on your line of skill sets and the opportunity for them. Here it might be time for some expert advice especially if you are a bit shaky. You can either hire an expert to do it or do it yourself. Be thorough and explore all possibilities and start building a strategy.

VI. Strategy Time

If you are starting for the first time, ask an expert. There are lots of experts online who are willing to give away a few minutes of free consultation. Make most of it.

Opportunities

Opportunities for online entrepreneurship are galore; everyone seems to be moving online and finding a niche.

You can become an infopreneur by packaging your knowledge and selling it. The methodology may vary, but the objective will be to sell.

You have to simply decide a topic. It can be anything. Knowledge from your previous work/business experience, a hobby, passion or anything that interests you; even your grandma’s recipe!

Success stories need

1. Diligent Planning

2. Strategic Information

3. Goal Setting

4. Innovation

5. Contemporary Methods

6. Visibility

7. Good Customer Relationship

8. Identification of Opportunities

9. Sheer Hard Work

If you are one of those who think you have nothing special, I’m just an ordinary person with no skills or talents there are opportunities for you too. All you need to have is a website. From that website you can find affiliate opportunities, make ad money, manage content or sell products by partnering with drop shippers.

If still in doubt ask the expert.

Copyright (c) 2009 Ajay Prasad

Inadvertent Partnerships

Walter obtained a lease on valuable property which could be developed for office and retail use. Walter, lacking the funds to develop the property borrowed money from Sam, delivering a promissory note for the amount loaned but told Sam that he would share the profits of the endeavor with him equally. The development was successful, but Walter merely paid the note to Sam and refused to give Sam an accounting of the financial experience of the development. Sam, though he used poor judgment in not documenting the formation of the partnership in writing, can recover his share of the development proceeds if he can prove that Walter made the statement to share the proceeds.

A partnership is the only business entity that can be formed by oral agreement. The parties do not have to have the intention of forming a partnership; they merely have to agree to share the profits and losses of an enterprise. Most states have adopted some form of the Uniform Partnership Act which states: “The association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners of a business for profit forms a partnership, whether or not the persons intend to form a partnership.”

If a partnership is formed, including inadvertently, without a written agreement between the partners, then in the event of a conflict about what the parties agreed, state law provides the partnership agreement. The terms of the default partnership agreement provided by state law are often a surprise to the partners.

What if a creditor agrees to wait for payment until some transaction occurs? Is a partnership formed? If an entity is formed for the purpose of carrying on business, but additional promises are made based on what would happen if certain goals are reached, is a partnership formed? Two knowledgeable entrepreneurs have a discussion over a beer about how they would plan and conduct a certain business built around an opportunity of which they were both aware; when one starts such a business successfully; can the other claim a partnership was formed?

There is only one defense to the inadvertent partnership. Make sure all business agreements are in writing. Do not act in recognition of an oral agreement until it has been documented in writing.

The Entrepreneurial Code – Lessons Learned from a Failed Ivy League Entrepreneur

As a 21-year old college student at Wharton, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, I embraced the ideals of entrepreneurship so whole-heartedly I started my own company. My classmates and I managed the company for two and a half years and it became our full time job after graduation. We wrote a business plan and believed we had a unique concept, a strong management team, and a viable “business model.”

Unfortunately, despite some initial success, my business eventually shut down. Our fate isn’t surprising when you consider the challenges faced by entrepreneurs starting new companies. Like many entrepreneurs, we lost a lot of money invested by friends and family. For two years, we lived in our offices, sleeping on the floors, working day and night with no personal lives. In the end it seemed as if those sacrifices had been for nothing.

Lessons Learned

I think the failure of my company can be attributed to inadequate leadership among its founders. After years of reflection, I’ve asked myself to define what being a “leader” means to me. My definition follows:

A Leader is someone with sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility for others. A leader motivates others towards common goals, provides hope and inspiration in times of uncertainty, and helps the organization to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

While some degree of technical competence is necessary, these attributes mostly stem from increased self-awareness. It was Sun Tzu who said, “Know your enemy and yourself and you will win 100 battles; know the enemy and not yourself and you will lose every time.” Unfortunately, as a first time entrepreneur, there was a lot about myself I didn’t know. While a lack of self-knowledge isn’t so unusual for someone in his early twenties, it’s a huge problem for an entrepreneur.

I have always found that a good acronym helps me to remember things. For example, “ROYGBIV” and “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” have locked the colors of the rainbow and the mathematical orders of operation into my brain since I was a high school student. As I was writing this manuscript, I wanted to create another mnemonic to help me remember the mistakes I made so I don’t repeat them in the future.

I have categorized these entrepreneurial mistakes into five elements (the “E CODE”). These five areas are as follows:

Egomania

Corporate Governance

Outlook (or Attitude)

Deeper Meaning

Emptiness

1. Egomania

As a college student, I heard stories how Michael Dell started his company from his college dorm room, and how Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, and how many of the wealthy benefactors of my university had been entrepreneurs. While I couldn’t possibly know the hardships and brushes with failure these men had, I latched on to their larger than life images of “success.” After all, I wanted to believe I could accomplish anything with my future. I wanted to believe in the unlimited potential of entrepreneurship.

In my mind’s eye, these tales were all that came close to meeting the “extraordinary expectations” I had of life. I was convinced that entrepreneurship was the single greatest wealth-building opportunity. At 21 years of age, I wanted to make my own decisions, to be my own boss, and to have a financial stake in the outcome of my work. At the same time, I didn’t want to spend 10 or 20 years slowly climbing the corporate ladder. By starting my business, growing it quickly, and selling it, I believed I could have my cake and eat it too.

It was Bill Walsh, former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, who remarked that “ego” is a misused word in the United States. He said, “We Americans throw that around, using that one word to cover a broad spectrum of meanings: self-confidence, self-assurance, and assertiveness… But there is another side that can wreck a team…That is being distracted by your own importance… [It] ends up interfering with the real goal of any group .”

As a young entrepreneur, I considered it my right to serve my own self-interest. Since I was “taking the risk,” I believed I was entitled to the rewards. Therefore, I was very controlling about who I allowed to get involved in my business. Even if recruiting a larger team added benefits, I sometimes hesitated. After all, I viewed it as “my company,” so I didn’t want to share the upside with others unless it was absolutely necessary. If I had checked my ego, I would have been more likely to recognize my limitations and concentrate on assembling the right team of people, even if it meant slowing things down.

Unfortunately, my exorbitant expectations of entrepreneurship were difficult to meet. Soon, I became embarrassed to show people I worked in a small office with only a handful of employees. I wanted to live up to my lofty ideal of a “real entrepreneur.” So, I rushed to rent larger office space and expand my business prematurely. When the image I had in my head failed to live up to reality, I panicked. Why? Because I was far more excited to chase a “rags to riches” fairy tale than I was to hunker down and slowly build a business over a long period of time. I wanted results in a hurry, but it wasn’t going to happen that way. It was time for Peter Pan to grow up.

At the end of the day, an entrepreneur has the responsibility of stewarding his company and its many stakeholders, not just himself. There’s no room for large egos, because they lead to bad decisions. Entrepreneurship is not so different from other career paths as many of us would like to believe. It still takes many years to build a reputation and a strong client base. It still requires the founder to start at the bottom. If anything, it’s less glamorous, because there are fewer people around to help and a lot less resources at our disposal.

2. Corporate Governance

My partners and I had little corporate governance and no written policies or procedures. Oftentimes, we lacked the independent perspective necessary to critically evaluate our thinking. “GroupThink” was rampant, whereby everyone was entranced by the same views, so no one was thinking independently.

Although we didn’t think we needed advice, my company would have benefited from including independent directors on our Board. It would’ve forced us to share our assumptions with outside professionals. Inevitably, we would’ve had to test our theories, identify potential risks, and slow down our growth plans. At the very least, independent directors would have forced a system of checks and balances.

Although no entrepreneur wants to create bureaucracy, having some structure in place is essential to a healthy organization. Unfortunately, my partners and I thought the primary value of having independent directors was to tap into their business contacts. We weren’t concerned about corporate governance. Instead, we wanted directors to help us get financing or drum up new business. When it became difficult for us to recruit these “well-connected” people, we gave up looking.

As founders, we couldn’t afford to pay ourselves high salaries, so we were financially dependent on the value of our stock. While our ownership stakes were nearly worthless at the time, we assured ourselves that “equity” was the best motivational tool. Unfortunately, being solely dependent on the value of our shares made us more inclined to embrace riskier strategies. After all, our stock could never be worth less than zero. In that sense, it resembled a “call option,” so adding volatility to our business was a way to boost our equity value.

Ultimately, I grew so concerned with protecting my ownership that I turned away venture capital. Rather than selling a large chunk of my equity, I preferred to embrace a highly leveraged operating strategy. Now, I realize that anyone can bet his entire company on a risky financing strategy. The real whiz can capitalize his business in a way that doesn’t “sink the boat” if things take an unexpected turn for the worst.

I also realize that my company’s corporate culture lacked discipline. My partners and I were generally unkempt – we showered everyday at the gym and we slept on the floor of our office. We didn’t keep regular business hours and we had no planned schedules. As a result, the environment we created lacked professionalism. Unfortunately, our lack of discipline manifested itself in a negative way whenever we faced stressful situations.

Tense arguments between founders would turn into screaming matches. We became hotheaded and it spread into the way we managed our business. We were prone to knee-jerk reactions and quick changes of strategy. Although we viewed our nimbleness as a competitive advantage, we lacked the emotional intelligence to realize when we were behaving irrationally. Unfortunately, we lacked the balance in our culture to keep us grounded.

As founders, it was our job to mold the company’s values after our own beliefs. Unfortunately, we listed corporate values in our business plan, but they were just words on paper. Now I realize that corporate values are not pieces of PR fluff that companies put on their websites to appease investors. When these values are held deeply by managers, they help in making difficult decisions.

I think of the nationwide Tylenol recall by Johnson & Johnson whereby 7 people in the Chicago area died in 1982 because their Extra-Strength Tylenol had been laced with cyanide. J&J made a $100 million decision to do a nationwide recall and take its products off the shelves. J&J wanted to send a strong message to its stakeholders that customer safety came before profits. No doubt, it was a difficult decision, but senior management relied on the company’s corporate values to guide them through the crisis. At the end of the day, shared values are a much more reliable way to control behavior in unpredictable situations than are extrinsic controls.

Undoubtedly, part of the allure of self-employment had been the feeling of freedom from not having a boss to which I was accountable. However, the reality was that such freedom didn’t exist, because I was still accountable to my stakeholders. I couldn’t just behave however I wanted. Therefore, I needed to be willing to put checks and balances on my activities for the good of my company. That meant being clear about my company’s values, creating more structure in my organization, and including independent directors on our Board. In short, I needed to take corporate governance a lot more seriously and make it just as important of a goal as my quest for profits.

3. Outlook (or Attitude)

After becoming an entrepreneur, I often compared my life with those of friends who accepted the types of jobs I turned away. While I slept on the floor of my office, ate the cheapest thing on the menu, and was buried beneath a mountain of credit card debt, my peers had apartments in the city, corporate expense accounts, and were improving their credentials in the job market. I began to fear my friends were developing better resumes than I was, while I worked twice as hard for a fraction of the pay.

Comparing myself to others created a lot of unrest, because I was a competitive person and I didn’t want to feel like I was “falling behind.” Although I think it’s natural for entrepreneurs to contend with self-doubt, these emotions only impaired my judgment. They made me impatient, because I was scared of “wasting” years of my life as an entrepreneur, but never becoming “successful.”

After the initial excitement of writing a business plan and setting up my company, I was almost depressed to be sitting in my small office handing out debit cards to college students. I didn’t really have an appreciation for the work. In my mind, I had earned my degree from Wharton to become the manager of a tiny debit card office, but I probably didn’t need to go to college to do that. It made me feel as if I wasn’t living up to my “potential.” Therefore, I wanted to put my head down and focus on growing my business faster.

It sounds ridiculous, but a founder must train himself to find meaning in his daily toils, not just in the dream of his future victory. Otherwise, he’ll feel powerless every time the business takes an unexpected turn and leaves his prospects worse off than before. If a founder feels that he is powerless and at the whim of fate, his psyche can easily become easily damaged by the emotional roller coaster of potential failure and success. The stress can lead him to make bad decisions.

Experiencing failure is an inevitable part of success. Therefore, an entrepreneur has to view adversity as a necessary step that helps him to learn, to grow, and to become a stronger leader. In that regard, challenges and struggles can be hidden blessings, not curses. Entrepreneurs need to observe someone like Nelson Mandella, who survived many years of abuse and imprisonment, but never allowed the situation or his captors to break him. Rather, he used adversity as a tool to transform himself and grow stronger.

There are lots of stories of prisoners of war and concentration camp victims who use their experiences to their advantage. As Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas noted in their book, Geeks & Geezers, leaders often use periods of difficulty as opportunities for reflection that allow them to look deeper into themselves and make discoveries about their own character. It’s ironic, but without moments of desperation, many leaders would never have the opportunity to find their inner strength.

By looking at hardships as opportunities to conquer ego, an entrepreneur can mitigate the emotional swings. As Carlos Castaneda observed with his concept of the “petty tyrant,” life is filled with lots of petty obstacles and challenges, so we might as well learn to use them to our advantage and not allow them to drag us down. In fact, obstacles and hardship can teach entrepreneurs to keep a sense of humor about their plight. It can teach founders to laugh at life’s surprises, both good and bad.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl describes how life demands things from us, not the other way around. Therefore, we should condition ourselves to find meaning in answering life’s daily callings and use them as opportunities to live with dignity and find meaning in every moment. Learning to enjoy the unpredictability of life can enable an entrepreneur to appreciate the path chosen rather than stress about the uncertainties of future outcomes.

It was John Keats who said the most important attribute of a leader is the ability to be in “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” I wish I had a better sense of humor when I was an entrepreneur. Not only would I have had more fun, but I would have been less likely to feel sorry for myself when my company faced challenges. Instead of wasting my energy worrying, I would have been poking fun at my anxieties, strengthening my character, and living in the present. This outlook would have kept me more even keeled and better able to make good decisions.

4. Deeper Meaning

It was Benjamin Disraeli who said, “The secret of success is a constancy of purpose.” I believe an entrepreneur must choose a “cause” to which he’s willing to devote himself, even in the face of failure. It should be a broader purpose that’s worth the fight regardless of the outcome. After all, of the approximately 1.8 million new businesses incorporated every year in the United States, less than a few thousand receive venture funding and a fraction of those ever go public. Clearly, there are no guarantees of success, so a founder’s reasons for choosing his journey have to be about more than the allure of financial gains.

In fact, there is so much volatility embedded in entrepreneurship that it can be difficult for founders to stay motivated by the prospects of riches. Too often the company will be in peril and the founder will be forced to reinvent aspects of the business. If the entrepreneur is only motivated by financial success, then he’ll probably lack the necessary staying power. In fact, most new ventures would probably never get started if a founder’s motivations were based purely on the risk-adjusted economic merits of the project.

At the end of the day, I believe the motivation to pursue a business has to come from a genuine commitment to serving a cause that’s bigger than ourselves. There has to be a responsibility we feel to serve others in a certain way. From my experiences I learned that even the best business plan can become a burden if you don’t believe in what you are doing. Our motivation can’t just be about benefiting ourselves, because when the company’s prospects diminish, most of us will be inclined to quit and do something else.

History is filled with tales of people risking their lives for causes in which they believe. By comparison, very little is written about mercenaries performing such acts of courage. Those who perform the greatest feats do it for reasons which hold deeper meaning to them, not just for money and accolades. Therefore, an entrepreneur should choose a purpose for his business that comes from someplace deep inside of him. Unfortunately, that was not something I did. Rather, I was simply trying to make money, so I could “cash out” and move on to something else.

That’s why I believe an entrepreneur with a long-term dedication will ultimately reap the benefits of his commitment. The right opportunity will eventually present itself. The long-term players will weather the storms and be in better positions to take advantage of the new opportunities when the clouds finally part.

5. Emptiness

There is an interesting poem from the Tao Te Ching that I have come to appreciate since my experiences as an entrepreneur. It follows:

“With a wall all around

A clay bowl is molded;

But the use of the bowl

Will depend on the part

Of the bowl that is void.

Cut out windows and doors

In the house as you build;

But the use of the house

Will depend on the space

In the walls that is void.

So advantage is had

From whatever is there;

But usefulness arises

From whatever is not.

–The Tao Te Ching

Like the poem from the Tao Te Ching, entrepreneurs must see the importance of emptiness, which requires a different way of looking at the world. While emptiness can be uncertainty, it can also represent opportunity.

As an entrepreneur assembles the pieces of his business into place, there will inevitably come a time when the viability of his company is in doubt. New markets are difficult to break into, customer needs are always changing, and the threat of new competition always seems to be lurking about. Sometimes, it’s hard to look into the unknown and see opportunity. It’s easy to doubt ourselves and be scared.

As a 22-year old entrepreneur, I looked into the unknown and I saw only two possibilities. I saw the possibility for personal success or failure. Working at my desk until the early hours of the morning, my mind’s eye was able to craft detailed scenarios for each. Either sleeping on the office floor was going to be part of a story I would tell guests on my yacht one day or I was wasting my potential with a business that would never succeed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand there was more an entrepreneur could see in his unknown future if he focused on something other than his “personal success.” He might also see the opportunity to fight for a cause that inspires him, regardless if he wins or loses. Whether he becomes rich or not, the future represents an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

That’s why the true “fire in the belly” of an entrepreneur should come from a vision that the future, while uncertain, holds possibilities for each of us to make an impact on the lives of others. To have maximum power, our vision shouldn’t be just about our own success or failure. It’s not about personal greed. To be truly inspirational, we need to see how our efforts will benefit the lives of others. By sharing that vision, we’ll be able to influence those around us to join our cause.

Wealth Formula That Can Never Fail

One question that keeps coming up in my interaction with some of my readers during the out-going year is, “What can I be doing to earn steady income and stop depending on people?”

Each time someone puts this question to me, it gets me thinking. I turn the question around and ask, “Is there a wealth creation formula, one that can never fail? If there is, what is the formula? And how complex is it? Can just about anyone who is determined do it?”

After months of deep reflection and extensive research, I believe I know the answer to those questions. Yes there is, indeed, a wealth creation formula, one that can never fail!

Before I tell you what the formula is, let me quickly explain the word formula because it holds the key to your having a clear understanding of what I’m trying to share with you here.

Formula, according to one online dictionary, is a set form of words, as for stating or declaring something definitely or authoritatively, for indicating procedure to be followed, or for prescribed use of something.

In other words, it’s a fixed or conventional method for doing something; a rule or principle, a recipe or prescription.

With that definition, you get the idea that a wealth creation formula is a set of principles or recipes. So now what is the formula? It’s a four-part process which, when combined, makes it possible for you to create wealth.

Here are the four parts:

1. Make GOD the foundation

2. Find a way to start earning legitimate income at a regular frequency and discipline yourself never to spend it all;

3. Learn the art of how to get paid over and over for your service and

4. Focus absolutely on steps 1, 2 and 3 by finding a way to do it better and better repeatedly.

That’s the formula. Now, let’s break it down. The first part is straight-forward, isn’t it? What it means is that you’re to make a decision to fall in line with what GOD says. That implies that you must know what GOD said and can align yourself with it.

The best way to achieve this is to become a serious student of the Word of GOD and, as you get to know what the Word says and be committed to doing them, you are laying a solid foundation for wealth creation.

For example, if your GOD is the same One that I’m serving, then you will be a committed hearer and doer of what GOD has said which are recorded in the Bible. A devoted and excited doer of the Word is a sure candidate for enduring wealth.

That person just cannot fail to have all round success. This is how the Word confirms that assertion: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8.

That should make your heart sing for joy if you’re a hearer and doer of the Word. Why? Because you’ve just heard Him say it [hearer] and if you now go ahead and do what the Word says, you have become a doer.

Then you will qualify for what the Word promised. And my GOD will never deny Himself. He will do whatever He has said in His Word. Nothing is too hard for Him.

Part two of the formula says to find a way to start earning legitimate income at a regular frequency and never spending all your earnings.

Usually, this does not mean earnings from a dream job or a top flight career. We are here talking about someone who is probably jobless and has no clues about where the next meal will come from or someone whose total income in a month is “nothing to write home about.”

The temptation for people who find themselves in this situation is to either get so discouraged and despondent that they give up on life.

I have to admit that this is a very challenging condition. But if you can just brace yourself up and do what I’m about to recommend, you will not only find your feet, you will also escape from the shackles of poverty.

The thing to do, to overcome this challenge is simply to get up and find a valuable service that you can render for somebody for which you will be paid. And, whatever that thing is, make sure it’s legitimate.

Then when that effort starts to generate some income, go a step further and discipline yourself not to spend all your earnings no matter how meagre it may be.

This is a very crucial aspect of the wealth creation formula. Most people don’t get past this stage. They either get stuck with the menial job they are doing that is giving them steady income or they look at the money they are earning with disdain, instead of thanking GOD for it.

But if you understand how this formula works, you will have a different mind-set. First, you will realize that this is a temporary stage in your life. It’s not a place you want to stay too long at.

All you want to do here is to have some money coming in which can provide you with some food to eat [not necessarily a regular satisfactory meal] as well as have some left to invest on self development.

For your investment in self development, be careful in making your choice. Here is a secret I want you to learn. Acquiring a specialized skill which you can master very well and use your knowledge to serve others is the best way to go.

For example, you know for a fact that there are some things that people and companies will always pay other people to do for them. Choose one of those things that you like, learn how to do it and then work at being the person who renders the service better than anyone else.

If you can discipline yourself to do this, you are halfway out of the poverty zone. Before I go to the third part of this formula, let me emphasize another thing. Earlier on, I hinted you about the danger of not being grateful for the meager income you’re earning from doing menial jobs at the second stage of the formula.

Well, you really ought to be careful about it. If you allow lack of gratitude to creep into your heart, it will so consume you to the point of not letting you have the desire to engage in self development. If you allow that to happen to you, you will be in deep trouble. So watch out!

Okay, now you have crossed that first dangerous hurdle where many get knocked down. In the third part of the formula, your goal is to hone in your skill in order to be getting paid over and over for your service.

What exactly does this mean? Remember that you now have a skill? And that you have mastered that skill to the point where you can position yourself as the one that can do it better than anyone else? Now is the time for you to set up a business based on that specialized skill.

Being the number one in your area of specialty does not automatically translate to your business spinning off profit once you opened shop. This is another trap that often trips people that are just starting in business.

When most people start their business, they expect it to take off with a bang. And they can’t wait to start banking their profits. But it hardly ever happen that way. And when it doesn’t, most people lose interest in the business and wander off to other things.

To get this part of the formula right, you have to learn to exercise patience. And I can tell you this from experience that this stage of the process leading to your financial freedom could be even more challenging than when you had to do menial jobs to generate cash flow.

A combination of all the lessons you learnt in parts one and two of this formula are what you will rely on to help you overcome the winter season you will encounter in the part three of the formula.

There will be a new demand on you to learn other skills, especially skills like how to run a successful business, how to market your products and services, how to manage human and material resources and how to attract customers and make them happy for life.

Your ability to learn these things and excel in them will determine how successful your business will be. But if you persevere and put everything you learn into practice, not discountenancing integrity and ethical behaviour in your business, you will get to a place where that profit you thought would not show up or was too late in coming will be the order of the day.

When you get to that place, all you will ever need to do will be to be applying everything you learnt in steps 1, 2 and 3. But this time, you will be doing it better, smarter and faster. And as you keep doing that, you will be growing bigger and bigger.

That is my formula for creating wealth that can never fail.

How to Create Your Own Product 2 – Setup and Marketing Approaches

MODULE 1

CHAPTER 12

How to Create Your Own Product 2

– Setup and Marketing Approaches

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Objectives

3.0 Main Content

3.1 Definition of Business Model

3.1.1. Types of Business Model

3.1.2 Email Marketing (Freemium Mixed Model)

3.2 Experts and Friends Appraisals

3.3 Payment Processor

3.4 Traffic, Traffic, Traffic

3.5 Launching Your Product

3.6 Two Important Decisions

3.7.0 Selling on Your Own Personal Website

3.7.1 Benefits

3.7.1.1 Be Your Own Boss

3.7.1.2 Cashing in on Your Virtual Authority

3.7.1.3 Ever-flowing Streams of Residual Income

3.7.1.4 More Opportunities

3.7.1.5 Top Secret Reason Why You Should Create Your Own Product

3.7.1.6 Expert-In-The-Making

3.8 Challenges

3.9 Selling Your Products on Third Party Websites

3.10 You Are In For the Long Haul

3.11 Rinse and Repeat

4.0 Conclusion

5.0 Summary

6.0 Assignment

1.0 Introduction

I covered most parts of this process in the preceding chapter. I purposely did that so I can have enough time and space to discussed other critical factors that may affect the profitability of your digital product (s).

The area so far covered include:

  • The Process
  • The Act and the Art, etc.

The following areas are to be covered here in details:

  • Your Business Model
  • Your Long-term Strategy
  • Friends and Expert Appraisals
  • Payment Processor
  • Product Launch
  • Traffic, Traffic, Traffic
  • Two Important Decisions
  • Among Others.

2.0 Objectives

At the end of this ecourse, you will be able to:

  • Know the different methods you can use to market your information product in online marketplace
  • Choose the best method to market your information product for higher profits
  • Choose the best method to market your information product for better control

3.0 Main Content

3.1 Definition of Business Model

Business model is the approach you are using to run your own business, in this case selling your own information product.

There are many definitions of the phrase 'business model'.

It is only one of them that I am going to use here because, it is not too academic for our practical use.

That one is the definition provided by Investopedia which states inter alia:

'A business model is the way in which a company generates revenue and makes a profit from company operations'.

3.1.1 Types of Business Model

In this case I want you to decide ab initio on which of the following models you are going to use to do your business:

  • Information Marketing (Mixed Soft / Hard Selling)
  • Email Marketing (Freemium Mixed Model)
  • Blogging (Mixed Soft / Hard Selling)
  • Guest Blogging (Mixed Soft Selling)
  • Forum Marketing (Soft Selling)
  • Niche Site Model
  • Review Site Model
  • There are many more models that could be listed …

You need to get used to one model and stick to it for a while, when you have become conversant with it then you add another one and so on and so forth.

For this reason I will only review only one model here.

3.1.2 Email Marketing (Freemium Mixed Model)

This is the best, simplest and possibly the fastest model to set up your online business and run it into 6 or even 7 figure in the shortest possible time, initially using free and later even paid resources to scale it up for higher profitability.

Running your business on this model involves 5 simple steps namely:

  1. Traffic
  2. One-page website
  3. Autoresponder
  4. Thank You Page
  5. Broadcasting (to email or phone sms)

You can find details of these steps here.

3.2 Experts and Friends Appraisals

Whichever model you choose to run your business on, do not forget to test-run it by yourself as well as using some experts and your friends, before opening it up to the public.

The experts are people with impeccable experiences in your chosen field who are willing to mentor you for success. They will later become your business associates (Joint Ventures) or provide some revered testimonials that will positively impact on your profitability.

On the other hand, you are going to sell to ordinary people like your friends and relations, thus their own side of views can give you some insights that will make your product to be readily absorbed in the market.

So give a sample copy of your own newly created product to them and request for their assessment and testimonials.

3.3 Payment Processor

The next thing to consider is how you intend to collect your money from the sales you make for your information product.

Today in most parts of the world, you can use online payment processor to sale any kind of product on the internet. This was not the case ten years ago when I first began this business.

Just Google for payment processor and you will have enough to choose from, ranging from PayPal, Shopify, WooCommerce, 2CheckOut, Stripe, AuthourizeNet, Amazon Payment, to Google Wallet.

The setting up process is getting easier by the day. Also the instructions on how to integrate them to your website are available on each site. Go there.

3.4 Traffic, Traffic, Traffic

Even when you plan to use other marketers to sell your products as affiliates, you will still need to do marketing by yourself to some extent. This is advisable so that you can get some proves to convince your affiliates on the marketability of your product.

For most beginners with little or no budget, using social media is the preferred way to go. This should be combined with other methods of free or inexpensive traffic like EzineArticles.

I will write more on this in another chapter of this ecourse.

3.5 Launching Your Product

The most important thing to do before your product launch is: planning.

Make a detailed plans of how you are going to swing the market momentum to your side to ensure the profitability from your product sales.

Such plan may include but not limited to:

a) Plan your launch date to start as early as possible, ie early planning

b) Get the Big Wigs of the Industry involved – possible make them joint venture partners, give certain percent of your profit.

  1. Make it easy for many people to learn about your product – Social Media
  2. Make Your Product Mobile-Friendly – today the mobile web holds the market sway, it will be foolhardy to ignore it
  3. Make it an Event
  4. Create a Suspense towards the launch date to heighten desire and expectation. This has been proven to increase sales on the launch date.
  5. Take beta pre-dated orders at a reduced price
  6. Use a Press Release
  7. Focus on your Avatar / Persona and not your product
  8. Create Your Universal Selling Point (USP)

There are other details on product launches here.

3.6 Two Important Decisions

There are 2 important decisions that you have to make after your new product is ready for sell. These are:

  1. To sale it on your own personal website or
  2. To sale it on a Third Party Website

3.7.0 Selling on Your Own Personal Website

If you are selling on 3rd party websites, most of the steps discussed above will be a walkover for you, as the company will do them on your behalf.

However there are some benefits that you will also miss for doing so.

3.7.1. Benefits

Such benefits include those listed below among others.

3.7.1.1 Be Your Own Boss

Selling on your own website controlled (managed, hosted) by yourself is the best way to become your own boss. You set your prices, you set your targets, you set your commissions, you set your own time of work, and you set and plan for the level of profits that you want to make.

Have you seen any other business that is sweeter than this?

You are really your own boss in the truest sense of the word! You are in full control and it is you that determines all of your monetization methods.

Building your information product is actually the easiest way to achieve everything that you want in life as well as helping others to realize their destinies and their dreams.

But you will miss all these and subsequent ones if you are selling on third party sites.

3.7.1.2 Cashing in on Your Virtual Authority

As a product owner you gradually build up your Goodwill over time. Of course I suppose that you and everyone else know the importance of a Goodwill. If you want to know more, ask the corporate giants and they will tell you that their Goodwill is worth Billions of Dollars.

And that is worth relying on over time as a product owner. To develop a high-value Goodwill, you need to develop a good product and not a scrap, as well as use your blog, vlog and social media skilfully.

3.7.1.3 Ever-flowing Streams of Residual Income

Residual income is type of income that you don't regularly and actively work for it to provide a continuous cashflow. You only set up and forget, and the money keep flow ceaselessly to your bank account.

This is different from employment income that you have to work for it on a daily basis.

For your own information product, the initial work may be intensive, but subsequently, you only update it once in a while to keep up with trends in your industry.

The work is decrementally negligible while the product is incrementally profitable.

This means if you have 2 or more products, you can quickly attain a special status: unemployable.

3.7.1.4 More Opportunities

At this level of success you will be open to opportunities to joint venture with the captains of the Industry. And do not be surprise if you thenceforth experience not just success, but astronomical success: unlimited income.

Deals website like Groupon, Bloggers and other marketers with large Lists when properly targeted will open up a whole new world of internet marketing for you full of unlimited pleasant surprises.

3.7.1.5 Top Secret Reason Why You Should Create Your Own Information Product

– Affiliate Program. This is one main reason why you should own some information products online. When many people are selling your products for you, you will surely experience income explosion in your own business.

I have already noted elsewhere that affiliates bring to your business their own expertise as well as their large lists of free and targeted traffic. These are great assets that will have great impact on your business.

Setting up an affiliate program is getting easier by the day. Software like iDevAffiliate and Post Affiliate Pro are almost turning the process of selling your own products through affiliates to an all comers' affairs.

3.7.1.6 Expert-In-The-Making

Everyone see you as an expert when you write a book. Even if you are just beginning, it is only you and your spouse that know that secret – that you are only a beginner.

If your info product is professionally written (even by a Ghostwriter or Ghostworker as they are often referred to) it opens up several windows of opportunities for you. These include but not limited to Conference Speaking, Guest Blogging, Joint Venturing, etc.

Purse for a while and think on these avenues, it is only expert that are invited to participate at such meetings. But even one product owned by you can open up those opportunities for you. As a newbie when they begin to come, do not be afraid to accept those invitations and confidently perform your work.

The basic truth is that even with this ecourse alone, you know more that 95% of your audience, you are already an expert (at least in the making).

3.8 Challenges

But there are some challenge along the way such as:

– having to deal with Customer Service and

– the Learning Curve involved, etc.

It is for these very reasons that some people prefer using third party websites.

3.9 Selling Your Products on Third Party Websites

There are so many third party websites that are waiting and ready to sell your own product for you. They include but not limited to ClickBank, Send Owl, JVZoo, Payspree, Commission Junction, DPD, Post Affiliate Pro, iDevAffiliate, and others.

You can also sell at Amazon by creating your product in their special format known as Kindle Book to be downloadable and readable in their special device known as the Amazon Kindle Device.

The main advantage all of them have are:

  • the setup speed (some are free, others one-time payment)
  • their wide array of experienced affiliate marketers,
  • payment processor
  • professional customer service and
  • free promo

But they will take the control of most aspect of your business from you. They can also de-list you at will and without any specified reason (s).

I want to state here that for obvious reason, it is better to learn and use both systems to maximize your profits over time.

3.10 You Are In For the Long Haul

When you have a product in the market, you are in this business for the long-term benefits.

What you do now will surely hunt you in the future for good or bad. So be a man of your own word, deliver on your promises and when not possible give cogent reason (s) as soon as possible and make refunds where applicable.

That is: – Transparency.

Over time this will result in positive reputation and a good public image for your business. These are the souls of Internet business.

Notice that most people that you deal with in this business do not know you in person. They only act on trust, please do everything possible on your side to preserve that trust.

Once beaten, twice ashamed, I think that's a valid saying here.

As you might have suspected this is not a get-rich-quick kind of business. So if you were looking for such type of business, please dumb this one and look elsewhere.

However if you can pull yourself through the learning curve, I can assure you that there is no other business that can pay you returns on your investment that is as high as this one.

You will be unemployable!

3.11 Rinse and Repeat

The process of creating a digital product is as simple as that. Well, as you become more experienced, you can go on to add the fancies and jingles, but for someone who wants to make money as soon as possible, this is all that you will need to set up a successful business.

As the profits roll in, you can then think of other ways to upgrade your product for greater profits. You can also expand to create products in others niches with the sound reputation you built from your initial market niche.

Never be discouraged if you don't make much money with your first info product. You only need to make sure that it is as solid as gold in terms of quality.

Down the road you will discover that it was the launchpad to your newfound success, a major milestone that shot you to limelight.

4.0 Conclusion

With a good product to sell, you need a little knowledge of market research, SEO and copywriting to launch out profitably. Some of them have been covered while others will soon be covered in other parts of this ecourse.

5.0 Summary

This is the concluding part of what you need to do to set up the information product you created and sell profitably.

Two powerful software (websites shown as images) were also introduced to simplify the process for you.

Next, you will need to create and set up a salespage and that is what we will discuss in the immediate chapter of this ecourse

6.0 Assignment

By now you might have started this business using Affiliate Product. This is important so that you can be making money along the way while working on your new product.

Please go over the last two chapters again and start experimenting on those ideas in your mind.

Yes, you can!

Innovations, Entrepreneurship and Profit: How They Are Tied Together

What is Entrepreneurship? When we think of entrepreneurship, what immediately comes to mind are businessmen, and small scale enterprise or businesses. Actually, the definition of entrepreneurship varies depending on the perspective used. It may be a field in business or it may be an activity in which people engage in. Describing the processes involved within it defines what entrepreneurship is. Understanding and seeking innovations, like improving an existing product line, is one of the processes in entrepreneurship. But is not merely innovating, this process should be taken a step further for it to be considered as part of entrepreneurship.

The step further would be to transform the innovation into economic goods, something that will generate income. In entrepreneurship, an individual or a group of individuals identify a business opportunity by finding a prospective or valuable item, product or activity that can be utilized for business and generate sustainable profit. When the market value generated by the business opportunity or innovation is greater than the value of the value of the combination of resources used to create the opportunity or innovation, then there is profit. Profit occurs when the value of the resources used to create a product is increased through innovation.

The definition of entrepreneurship lies in a single but most important concept: discovery. Without discovery and innovation, there will be a stagnation in the market economy as there will be no improvement. Entrepreneurship paves way for economic growth, as it supports economic growth through its discoveries and innovation. Through entrepreneurship, new and better things, processes and systems are created, recreated and uncovered. The creation or discovery does not need to be isolated to new product lines or existing product lines. It can also be applied to methods of production, market, resources or an organization or even an industry. Entrepreneurship can provide solutions for economic stability as it continuously seeks improvement and development of our resources to give them a greater value.

Let’s take the following situations as example of understanding what entrepreneurship is. Check out the following situations:

· A stay at home mom who knows how to cook delicious Indian cuisine starts to sell them to the teachers and staff of the nearby school.

· A downsized employee found another use for old vehicles, designs and fixes them, and made a playground for her pet day care center.

· A scientist discovers a new element but does not attempt to identify practical uses for it.

All of the situations except for that of the scientist show entrepreneurship. Remember that entrepreneurship is discovering or improving new product lines, market, processes, resources or organization. The stay at home mom found a new market in her neighborhood, the nearby school, and she took advantage of it to generate income. The downsized employee developed a new use for old vehicles. The situation with the scientist cannot be considered as entrepreneurship. There was no attempt to generate a market value for the new element as the scientist did not attempt to identify its practical uses. If he created a product with the use of the new element, then that could be identified as entrepreneurship.

Building Your Business – Are Politics and Peacemaking Mutually Exclusive?

It is easy to assume that all politics and peacemaking can be mutually exclusive. The truth is that there are many situations that in order to keep the peace, politics may be involved or even get in the way. Where there is a dispute of uncommon interests, whether it is to gain control, power or leadership that is politics. God teaches us on how “we should be” if we are to be His children. As human beings created by God we are asked to be images of the Father. In doing so, we bring peace to ourselves and to others.

In many organizations, there are internal conflicts, and even key leaders begin to make their case and use politics in what they hope may either bring the peace or put an end to what they believe is disrupting their peace. Vice Presidents will threaten other departments by flexing their control should those departments not do as they are told. When we discuss politics, we discuss the policies and processes that are brought up for debate. These same policies dictate the path towards peacemaking as a societal whole. But it is also important to remember that it also brings about additional conflict within the groups and hence another opportunity for peacemaking. Take a look at what took place in Ireland in 1997.

“In August of 1997, less than a month after the second cease-fire took hold in Northern Ireland, thousands of Presbyterian pastors and lay leaders gathered in Belfast to make a, historic public recommitment to peacemaking between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Michael Cassidy, a South African evangelical influential in producing open elections and the end to apartheid in South Africa, challenged them to a new level of personal responsibility for bringing about reconciliation and tolerance. At his invitation, nearly two-thirds of the 3,000 in the audience stood up to signal their pledge to peacemaking. Earlier this year, the Anglican Church of Ireland took similar steps when its general synod voted to condemn the presence of sectarian views within their denomination and to conduct an inquiry to determine how severe the problem is” (Morgan, 1997).

Without politics they would not have taken the additional steps to really determine what the problem was and rededicate themselves towards peace. But there are other examples where politics and peacemaking are not mutually exclusive. Take the military for example. Our leaders wage war on other countries that have different political views than ours. We are sent to war using force. And only as the victor can we then define what we believe peace to be. Whose war were we fighting? Whose definition of peace were we attaining? Ours, the people, another nations?