Last night I attended a meeting in Christchurch New Zealand. I had been invited by an old friend. I enjoyed it and met some interesting people, however, I also met a woman who was part way through completing a bachelor degree in computer programming. We got talking about making money online and she told me that people don't make money online and those that say they do will exaggerate their earnings to impress others.
Before we start making new year resolutions, should we take time to evaluate the current year. I remember whenever I was involved in a police operation, we would get together at the conclusion of the operation and talk about what went right, what went wrong and how could we improve on our processes and procedures going forward. This is also a practice carried out by businesses whether they are finishing a new marketing campaign or making changes to their brand, product/services range or promotional event.
Any business owner should be able to look back at their figures and determine exactly where the business stands with regards to profitability at any stage throughout the financial year. Sometimes it can be too late if we leave this till when the accountant sorts out our taxes at the end of each financial year. A lot can happen over a twelve month period.
The same applies to our private lives. We make new year resolutions with the greatest of intentions, some of us may even write out our goals or heaven forbid, share them with others. So why do only a very small percentage of us get to celebrate achieving those goals that we made at the start of the year? Life gets in the way, well that's how I see it. Life gets in the way or we waiver from our path and give up. We find it too hard to change those old habits. We get distracted and lose our focus. Like a Weka attracted to a shiney object, we go from one idea to another always believing that we have found something better to work on, but at the close of another year we find that we have made no real progress in any direction.
How can we make 2017 different?
First of all I would suggest that we need to take the time to evaluate the past year. What worked, what didn't work? What goals did we make that we didn't achieve and why? Hopefully by looking at our past we can learn from our mistakes.
Secondly, when we sit down and write out our goals, it's important to know and note why we wish to attain these goals. If we don't have a good enough reason or a motivator, then when the going gets tough it will be too easy to giveup and dismiss the goal as just another new years resolution made in jest or without too much thought.
For instance your goal may be to save $10,000, which is a great goal, however knowing why you wish to save the $10,000 provides you with a solid reason for sticking to the goal. Your "why" may be because you wish to visit your sister and her family living in another part of the world, or it may be because you wish to pay off your mortgage or start a business or start a fund towards your childs schooling. If you know your "why" you have straight away increased the likelihood of achieving your goal.
I know a lot of people make new year resolutions around weight loss. Here is a prime example of why knowing your "why" is important. Ask yourself why you want to lose the weight. Is it solely because you can't fit those pair of trousers you bought last year or is there a deeper reason such as wanting to be able to play backyard soccer with your kids or grandkids, or maybe even wanting to complete a marathon. Maybe you realise that your health is affected by your excess weight. Could wanting to be around in 10 or 20 years time for your family be a reason when you know that diseases such as diabetes or cancers tend to shorten our live spans dramatically.
Once we have written our goals down we need to plan how we will go about achieving them. Be realistic and remember that it takes time to create new habits so as a part of your planning exercise, think of strategies you can use if you find yourself deviating from the path.
If your goal is to save $10,000 over 12 months. Break that down into smaller goals such as saving $833 per month or $193 per week. This way you can keep track of your goal and will immediately know if you are deviating from your chosen path. The earlier you make corrections, the higher the chance of getting back on task. When you plan your goal it's important to put strategies into place for times when you may slip up. For instance you may have a holiday planned mid year, so adjust your savings plan early to cater for this added expense.
Another part of forward planning I find helpful when developing a new habit is what we can do a week or a day before that will make it easier for us to stick to our goal. For instance if your goal is to lose weight, then when you go shopping, only buy healthy food. Make sure that you have healthy snacks in the pantry or fridge rather than the type of food you know is not good for you. At the start of the week or weekend take an hour or two to prepare meals in advance for the week ahead. Take the time to make a salad or bake some chicken which you can utilize over the following days.
Personally I enjoy going for early morning walks so the night before I will prepare by having a water bottle ready plus the clothes I will wear on the walk. That way I really just need to get out of bed. The hard work of deciding what to wear or finding matching socks is already behind me.
I hope you have found this post helpful. As we approach the New Year I intend to follow up with further posts on this topic.
cheers for now.
Whether we are starting our first job, our first online business, writing or publishing our first book or embarking on a major career change, we need to understand that achieving competence in any of these tasks takes time.
Midway through this year I wrote and published my first e-book. It took me a few months and at the end of the day I was very pleased with the final result. I then published it through Kindle Direct Publishing and expected it to start selling straight away. I compared the book with others in its category which were selling well and came to the conclusion that mine was as good as, if not better than the top seller. Okay, I may be slightly biased, but after months of waiting, my book is still on the first page, but has come nowhere close to meeting my initial expectations.
We often hear of people in 9 - 5 jobs talking about how they would love to be in a position to give that life up to pursue entrepreneurship and start their own business. The most common reason appears to be this desire for freedom. Freedom from answering to someone else, namely a boss, freedom from the daily commutes, freedom from working 9-5 each day with only weekends off and 4 weeks annual leave each year.
I find this perspective quite interesting because from a business owners perspective this is not always the case, in fact it can be far from reality for many small business owners. But why is this the case?
I feel it's because many inexperienced entrepreneurs either start-up or purchase businesses without exploring the different models of businesses available in the market and the pros and cons of each.
When purchasing a business we really need to look at the growth potential of the business. Much like purchasing an investment property. If there is little chance of that investment property either growing in capital value or cash flow, then why purchase it? The same applies when purchasing a business. This is where potential purchasers of businesses and property make the mistake of getting emotionally involved in their purchase.
When purchasing or starting a business, it's important to look at your business model as this will ultimately determine where you can take the business and whether the business may one day offer you the freedom that you dreamt of.
In recent years business models have changed dramatically, due mainly to the internet and constant changes in technology. These changes are hugely impacting older business models that have been slow to adjust. Examples include brick and mortar retail businesses. Online sales are growing exponentially from one year to the next having a huge impact on their brick and mortar counterparts. Think of brands such as Whitcoulls, Borders and Paper Plus. Some of these brands have disappeared completely from the retail scene over the last 5-7 years. With the global expansion of mega online businesses like Amazon, we are going to witness many more retail brands disappear from the landscape unless they quickly adjust their business models.
Businesses need to constantly re-assess their model, their customer base and what competitors are doing. One example of a well known brand who does this well is fashion store Country Road who built it's brand on classic styles and quality goods aimed for a customer base of middle aged men and women, however, as their customer base aged, they didn't want to lose these customers so set up a separate brand called Trenery which is aimed at the 50-70 year old market. By doing this they retained many of their older customers and were able to focus on attracting a younger age group of customers to their Country Road brand.
Another example includes the hospitality sector which has been shaken up considerably since the inception of Airbnb as has the taxi industry since Uber and Lyft found a customer base who were quick to see the benefits of share riding.
I believe that smaller businesses hold one major advantage over their larger counterparts as they are generally not bound by having to consult boards of directors and key stakeholders such as shareholders and investors before making decisions which could change a businesses direction and ultimately avoid unsustainable losses. When I think of a large corporation such as Kodak which for many years held the major market share for film processing, but were too comfortable in their position as market leaders to even acknowledge the technological advances that were being made in the area of digital cameras and the impact this would have on their profitability as a company. Their demise is probably one of the most enlightening examples of a large company which was too slow to adjust to a changing market.
If there is one piece of advice I can share with business owners today, it would be that you avoid complacency at all costs and carry out an audit of your business plan on a six monthly basis. Check that your business model is still the best for your business. What are your customers doing? What are your competitors doing? What other key partnerships or alliances can you form to further strengthen your business and what changes have occurred in your cost structure since you last checked your plan?
If you want a good resume/cv writing resource or guide then please take advantage of my offer. I'm making my e-book "The Winning Resume" free to everyone on my networks this weekend. Please feel free to share this offer with your friends and family. It will be available free through Amazon from the 5th till the 7th November.
For quick access, go to my Resources page on this website and click on the image of my book. That should take you directly to the book on Amazon. Just make sure it is showing as FREE before you click to purchase. If you like the book and have a few spare minutes to write a quick review, then that would really make my day.
Thanks from Barry
It wasn't too long ago when building a website was an expensive process. You needed to know web design or even worse one of the many programing languages such as HTML, CSS or a range of others just to be able to create your own website. Times have changed and DIY website building platforms are now a common commodity within the internet space.
For those who have worked with me or know me well, I know you will all agree that technology has always been my nemesis. I often resisted the need for using technology such as smart phones and even VCR devices, but eventually realised that I couldn't afford to remain tech illiterate.
Roughly two years ago, I decided I needed a website, but actually wanted to build it myself. I researched several DIY website building platforms and after reading several reviews decided to use Weebly's platform for the main reason being that it was deemed by many to be the easiest to use.
If you have ever dreamt of writing a book, now is the time to make your dream a reality. Times have changed and with self publishing readily available to anyone, many of the obstacles facing would be writers have disappeared.
I wrote my first book " The Winning Resume" over a period of 6-9 months from memory, however, it could have been completed in a much shorter time span as I lost focus part way during the project.
The secret to getting a book written is to treat it as a project then assign so much time each week to working on the book until you have your end product.
I want to talk today about feeling lost. I feel that a lot of young people today get so wound up about not knowing where they are heading or feeling that their lives are passing by and they haven't yet made progress towards developing a career.
During my recent trip to Thailand, I often got lost and it was the best experience. I found that by getting lost, I stumbled across things that I would not have found if I had planned each day. This is the same in life. Opportunities come along to those who are prepared to get out of their comfort zone, to explore new territories, to try new things, to learn new skills, to read new books, to meet new people.
If you have never used Airbnb as an accommodation provider, you really are missing out on some great experiences. I recently enjoyed a one month backpacking trip to Thailand. I booked 27 of my 29 nights of accommodation through Airbnb before I set off for my trip, leaving two nights free so that I could enjoy a bit of flexibility with regards to my travel plans.
This photo was taken on my last day in Thailand where I spent three nights at an apartment which I booked through Airbnb. The lady next to me is Natty. She was one of a small team of locals employed to help run this block of apartments which are hired out to travellers and foreigners, some of whom were long stay guests working locally.
I have just returned from a backpacking adventure through Thailand. My first time ever travelling by myself.
I really struggled during my first week away as I found it so strange being on my own. Eating out at a restaurant, arriving back at my room in the evenings and having no one to discuss your day with. It was hard when I have always had people around me, whether they were my kids or my partner.
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