The Epic Guide To Starting A Business

Everywhere you look, there are thousandsssss of articles about people making money on the side and dozens of stories about successful side hustlers who got to quit their real job and pursue their side hustle as a career.

I know what you’re thinking… “how do I get my share of that?”

(Don’t worry, I’m not a mind reader or anything, but the fact that you’re here tells me exactly that).

… But how do I start a business in the first place?

Do I have to quit my comfy job or can I do it on the side?

… And does moonlighting or having a second job count as having a business?

First things first, if you plan to do it on the side, a side hustle is your own business that you work “on the side” of your full-time or regular job.

A side hustle is your own business that you work “on the side” of your full-time or regular job. Click To Tweet

So let’s be clear… Starting a side hustle or business is NOT you working for someone else, unless that person is a customer or client of your business.

When you’re working for someone else, it’s considered a part-time or second job.

Sorry Charlie, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

We’re talking about how to create your OWN hustle to generate income for yourself.

Before we get started, this baby is almost 6000 words and goes into CRAZY, insane detail so before you find yourself getting overwhelmed, I created a TOTALLY free blueprint workbook to help you break it down and finallyyyy start your business.

You can get it right here:

Let’s dive in.

 


Identify the opportunity

Starting a business is not a prison sentence and doesn’t have to be for life but you need to remember that this is a commitment which can last at LEAST 5-10 years.

Plus, if you go into it with the intentions of treating it like a business instead of a hobby, you’ll monetize it faster.

When you think about what to focus your business on, start with your passions.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll spend endlesssss hours on your business, so it’s important that you are passionate about what you’re trying to monetize.

… Yes, I know.

There are a bunch of people who talk about “making money in your sleep” and “making money in 7 days with zero time or effort”.

Let’s be real… 99.99999999% of the time, you’re going to have to put in work AT LEAST in the beginning.

In fact, you’ll have to put in A LOT of work.

As your business grows, you’ll be able to streamline and find leverage so you don’t have to be involved in every part of the business, but in the beginning, EVERYONE puts in work.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you pick a business you actually enjoy.

This can be anything.

That’s right…

ANYTHING.

From skydiving to painting water colours, there is a business waiting to happen.

… but there’s a catch.

In order to get people to spend their money with you, you have to offer something they want.

Your business isn’t ALL about you if you want to make money.

Here’s how to balance the two:

Figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a problem that you can solve with your passion… and voila.

You, my friend, have found your niche.

Then, start asking yourself what problems you can solve in that niche.

At one of our most recent workshops, one of the attendees was telling us how ridesharing drivers leave a ton of money on the table and his business will focus on educating them about how to grow their income.

Boom. That’s an opportunity.


Choose your business model

By now, you have an idea of what type of business you want to do… but how will you solve the problem?

It comes down to two decisions:

  • Online or In Person
  • Products or Services

I know, I know, you want to do it alllll.

Stop. Right. There.

You CAN do anything but you can’t do everything.

If you want to monetize quickly, you’ve got to focus and simplify… and that starts with your business model.

Here at Millennial Empire Builders, we’ve got some leverage in the form of powerful systems and incredible talent so we have multiple streams of income, but it didn’t start that way.

As you grow and gain leverage in the form of systems, automation and incredible talent, you can add more streams of income to continue to grow your business… but don’t go adding twenty different streams of income until

you’ve monetized the first, automated it and established your foundation.

Chasing multiple streams of income will distract you in the beginning and might even leave you overwhelmed to the point of inaction.

Keep it simple.

Let’s break it down…

 

Online + Products

If you’re planning to sell products online, start by deciding if you want to sell an info product or a physical product:

Selling Info Products

If you have skills that other people want to learn how to do, you can package it as a training and sell it online with a site like Teachable or Podia.

That model is incredibly effective if you already have an audience, have the time to build an audience or have money to spend on generating traffic to your sales page.

Kristen over at Hello Nutritarian does an INCREDIBLE job of helping people elevate their lifestyle by adopting the Nutritarian diet.

Basically, it’s a variation of the vegan diet that really puts a heavy focus on eating tons of fruits and veggies.

She sells an ebook that gives people a step-by-step walkthrough for adopting the lifestyle change… and I even bought her ebook because her site was so informative and well-organized.

 

Selling Physical Products

If you have products that you want to sell, you can create your store through a platform like Shopify, Etsy or Amazon and get to selling.

Sites like Printful make it easy to sell print-on-demand products like shirts, mugs and a million other things.

What’s cool about them is that you don’t have to carry any inventory — you simply upload your design and start marketing your product.

As people order your product, Printful prints the design, ships it and you get paid. Easy peasy.

Similarly, you can also go the dropshipping route with Shopify + Oberlo.

Alex Tooby started an Instagram account called Men & Coffee which was just that… beautiful men drinking coffee.

She grew the account to 350k+ followers in about a year and now has an online shop with coffee related gear.

Either way, whatever you decide to do, start simple and focus on solving the pre-defined problem in your niche or opportunity while you’re starting out.

You can always grow later.

Starting simple will get you to actually start.

 

Online + Service

Maybe products just aren’t your thing and you’re looking to market yourself instead.

Here are a few different options that are considered online services:

 

Membership Sites

If you have an audience already, building a membership site is an incredibly powerful way to create brand loyalty, drive engagement with your audience and scale your business faster.

Our Empire Builder Academy is the central hub for our members and has been essential to helping us grow our organization.

We help millennials grow their businesses and create extraordinary lives.

We built the membership site on Podia in the name of starting simple and we’re getting ready to completely rebuild the academy from the ground up on our own self-hosted site.

 

Freelancing

If you have a marketable skill that you can offer as a service, freelancing is the way to go.

Sites like Freelancer.com, UpWork and Fiverr are an incredible place to start advertising your services and growing your client base.

Using their brand DNA method, Julie and Samantha from Ideal Marketing create a 90 day done-for-you calendar of instagram posts to help you grow your business.

Samantha’s specialty is the visual imagery while Julie’s specialty is the copywriting… and they are genius at what they do.

 

SaaS (Software As A Service) and Apps

I’m not going to dig really deep into this because building software or an app either requires lots of skill or lots of money.

If you do have one of those things however, building that out and offering it as a service can be EXTREMELY lucrative.

I was recently introduced to MassCast, an app for people to compete for personal records in the gym.

The app is still being developed, but I love the concept so I wanted to share it here… Basically, you record yourself doing a specific type of lift and you compete against other people in the same weight range and the same gender as you and you can win prizes.

 

Coaching and Consulting

After you’ve started seeing some success, it’s only a matter of time before people start asking you to help them do the same.

Seneca Williams, one of our members and one of my clients is a mental health counselor for women.

Her entire practice is done online where her clients can book their appointments, pay her and everything else through her online portal.

 

In Person + Products

You can literally sell anything from lemonade to private jets and if you have to actually talk to the person, it falls under this category.

By day, I sell real estate over at Happy Homes.

Most of my nurturing and follow up happens online but when it comes down to it, I still meet them in person to help them buy and sell their homes.

 

In Person + Service

Have a skill that you want to work with people in person?

Maybe you’re a personal trainer, tutor or massage therapist… All of these can be turned into a business.

Here’s a good friend of mine, Ben Azadi from ShredFat who is a personal trainer and former owner of LiveFree Crossfit.

 

If you’re stuck…

Talk to people who are already running a similar business to what you want your business to be.

You’ll be AMAZED by how open other entrepreneurs and business owners are when you start asking about their business and you’ll find ways to collaborate together.

Believe it or not, collaboration will make you infinitely more money than competition.

Surround yourself with other like-minded entrepreneurs for brainstorming and support for one another. 

In fact, even if you AREN’T stuck, I HIGHLY recommend you start making friends with other influencers in your niche.

Don’t forget to download the free workbook to put allll of this into action:


Create Your Offering

Once you’ve decided HOW you want to offer your product or service, you’ve got to package it and wrap it in a pretty bow.

When you’re starting out, you want to launch with a minimum viable product (or MVP for short).

Yes, you read that right… Minimum.

Since you’re an empire builder, you’re used to being an overachiever so this is going to be a tough pill for you to swallow.

You are going to launch with the absolutely bare minimum product or service.

Why?

Because you’ll actually start.

… and as you grow, get clients and learn new skills, you’ll refine and pivot.

No one ever wants to hear that because they see these influencers who are killin’ it in their niche and they want to be just like them… but they forget that they started out like everyone else.

In fact, my favorite beauty influencer is Desi Perkins (sorry guys, stick with me for a second because I do have a point!)… I love love love the fact that she almost always goes for the “natural glam” look AND we wear the same foundation shade so whatever looks good on her will probably look good on me too.

For the sake of this post, I actually scrolled down to the bottom of her instagram to see how much she’s grown and changed in the past few years and it’s mindblowing.

Here’s how her Instagram started way back in January 2012…

… and this is how her Instagram looks now:

She now has 3.7M followers and basically jet sets around going to events… all because she started.

While Instagram definitely isn’t a reflection of how well someone is doing in their business, I figured her Instagram was a super easy way to visually demonstrate progress and the power of JUST starting and how much her style has changed over the last six years.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good to start out.

Let’s find your MVP to start with…

 

If you’re offering services…

One of the biggest mistakes that I see new entrepreneurs make is they call themselves a coach, consultant or freelancer and when people ask about their services their answer is, “it’s different for all of my clients’.

I don’t care if you specialize in one thing or are good at 20 things…

You have someone’s attention for 0.0000002 seconds, so make the best use of it and get crystal clear with what you are offering and how you price it.

I truly believe that when you’re starting out, your ability to articulately talk about your products and services is the difference between gaining someone as a customer or client and getting lost in the back of their mind.

There are mixed reviews about whether or not you should include pricing on your marketing materials and I truly believe that it depends.

Since we’re specifically talking about getting clarity on your offering, I just want to bring your attention to Ali the Happy VA and Caressa Lenae because of how crystal clear their offerings are.

I’m using both examples because one includes pricing, the other doesn’t and either way, their offerings are crystal clear and beautifully presented.


Whether you decide to include pricing or not, be crystal clear with what you offer.

Both of these women are virtual assistants and are clear about what they do, what they offer and how they can help you.

Don’t make people think harder than they need to in order to work with you!

Don't make people think harder than they need to in order to work with you! Click To Tweet

 

If you’re offering products…

You’ll need to know where you’re sourcing your products, how you’ll package and deliver your product.

Whether it’s a digital or physical product, the delivery method totally matters… because there’s nothing that will kill your reputation faster than when people are spending money with you and you drop the ball… You’ll have scammer written all over you in a hot second.

Most eCommerce platforms offer the ability to deliver digital products automatically and GumRoad is by far the most popular or you can tap into the power of Amazon and sell ebooks through their platform.

Dessary, one of my friends from college has an incredible Etsy shop called Paint Me Peculiar where she leverages her passion and talent for art to generate her income.

If you’re drop shipping or taking the print-on-demand approach, all of that will be taken care of for you… but if you’re custom creating them, you might have to manually package and ship them. Either way, you’ll want to figure out the logistics of delivering your products before the orders start rolling in.

It doesn’t have to be perfect while you’re starting… Just start.

Don’t get stuck here.

Start… You can keep refining as you go.


Cover Your Ass

I’ve ALWAYS been interested in entrepreneurship, even before I knew what the word actually meant.

I remember sitting in my mom’s office while she was working and I’m pretty sure my first professional lesson came before I was allowed to say bad words and she taught me ‘CYA’.

Don’t underestimate it because it’s one of those things where you may get away with it but if and when it catches up with you, you’ll be wishing you had.

Here’s my disclaimer: I’m not an attorney or an accountant, so I highly recommend you go do your own research and find one to help you set all of this up but I’ll give you the basics:

 

Register Your Business

Do you need to register your business to start making money? No.

… but you should.

Among the many reasons, in step 8, we’re going to talk about building your business with scale in mind.

If you plan to build a business beyond you, you might as well do it right the first time.

There are various ways that you can incorporate your company…

Again, if you’re not sure what type to use, talk to an attorney or do your research.

The most popular are: limited liability company (LLC), corporation, nonprofit or a sole proprietorship.

This article from the Small Business Administration will direct you to the right place to register your business with your state.

 

Get Your Tax ID Number

Your tax ID number (or employer identification number, or EIN for short) is like a social security number for your business.

It’s what you’ll use to file taxes, open your bank account and some of the companies you decide to work with will ask for it.

Getting your EIN takes all of 0.02 seconds and you can do that with Uncle Sam right here.

 

Open Your Bank Account

Uncle Sam doesn’t like when you mix business and pleasure so you’ll want to open a bank account.

You’l want to talk to your bank about the best option for your business.

… buttttt if you’re like most millennials and don’t feel like going through that whole process, Novo is a digital bank for businesses that uses AI to help you make better business decisions.

 

Protect Your Assets

After allll the hard work you’ve done, make sure that you protect your assets, ideas and everything else:

 

Get Insured

We live in a sue-friendly country where people are regularly looking for a way to make a quick buck… and often times at the expense of someone else.

Because I’m not licensed to talk about business insurance, you should talk to someone that does know what the best policy for your business is.

If you’re looking for an online option, you can check out CoverWallet.

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Basically, if you come up with an idea or design that you don’t want someone else to use, you should protect it.

It’s a little more intensive than that but that’s the basic idea.

There are four types of protections for your intellectual property (all of these summarized descriptions are from this article on UpCounsel who also has a ton of other useful links and articles in the post):

Patents: A patent gives you the right to make exclusions on other people to make, sell or use your invention. There are a bunch of different kinds of patents including utility, software, design and plant patents. You get a patent by filing a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and if you want to check to see if there’s already a patent similar to yours, you can check Google for patents here: www.google.com/patents

Trademarks: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes the source of products (trademarks) or services (service marks) of one business from its competitors. In order to qualify for patent protection, the mark must be distinctive. For example, the Nike “swoosh” design identifies athletic footware made by Nike. Before receiving approval from the USPTO, companies and people can use the TM symbol to indicate ownership of the mark. Upon approval, you can legally add the registered trademark symbol (®) to your mark. The TM symbol doesn’t hold any legal weight, but it can indicate to other businesses or people in your industry that you intend to claim the mark.

Trade Secrets: A trade secret is a formula, process, device, or other business information that companies keep private to give them a business advantage over their competitors. Unlike the other types of intellectual property, you can’t obtain protection by registering your trade secret. Instead, protection lasts only as long as you take the necessary steps to control disclosure and use of the information. Businesses use nondisclosure agreements, restricted access to confidential information, post-employment restrictive covenants, and other security practices to maintain trade secrets.

Copyrights: Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as literary works, music, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, sculptural, pictorial, and graphic works, sound recordings, artistic works, architectural works, and computer software. With copyright protection, the holder has the exclusive rights to modify, distribute, perform, create, display, and copy the work. In order to qualify under copyright laws, the work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as words on a piece of paper or music notes written on a sheet. A copyright exists from the moment the work gets created, so registration is voluntary.


Launch Your Business

I don’t have kids yet but if bringing a tiny human into this world is anything like I expect it to be, launching your business feels the same way.

It’s equally terrifying and exciting… at the same time.

… and wayyyyyy too often, would-be entrepreneurs keep pushing off their launch until it’s perfect because they’re afraid to fail.

Here’s what I’m here to tell you:

The only person that will actually REALLY care about your launch is you.

I know, that’s tough, but it’s the truth.

One day your product or service isn’t there and the next day it is.

Until you start getting in front of potential clients and converting them, you’ll never know if everything is perfect.

That means the 2920830394 hours you spent on designing the perfect logo and flyer aren’t as important as you think.

Making your blog beautiful before you hit launch isn’t helping you.

Sure, all of that will help with conversions, but in order to test that, you have to actually, y’know, test it with real live people (ahem, that means you have to launch).

So, let’s talk about how to get attention for your new business and how to convert your prospects into actual paying clients.

 

Messaging

Notice I said messaging, not marketing.

Marketing is “look why I’m awesome”.

Messaging is “you have a problem that I can help fix”.

It doesn’t sound like a huge difference but when you tap into psychology, our brains hear them TOTALLY differently.

Human nature makes us inner-focused so we worry about our own problems and the thoughts that are going on in our own mind… Even when we’re helping, we’re helping because we WANT to, not because someone else wants us to.

You can cry and stomp your feet about how selfish and unfair that is all you want, but until you accept it, you’ll always be frustrated with messaging.

I feel like I’ve probably beat a dead horse on this subject, so I’m just going to refer you to the other posts I’ve written about creating your messaging:

We also have a workshop in our Empire Builder Academy about how to write copy that sells, if you’re interested:

 

Sales Page

Next up, as you start getting people curious about this new thing you’re doing, you’ll need to have somewhere to send them.

You don’t necessarily need to have an actual sales page on a website, but you’ll need to have a way for them to get more information and pull the trigger to work with you.

Your sales page needs to be more than “my product is awesome so you should buy it”.

The sales page should tap into your ideal audience’s pains and then show them you can overcome those with your product or solutions, and be sure to offer tons of social proof about how your product or service has made a difference in people’s lives.

If you don’t have (or want) a full website, I highly recommend using a platform like LeadPages to build your new sales page.

 

Driving Traffic (or Attention)

I have a question for you…

If you launch your business and no one knows about it, did the launch really happen?

Instead of worrying so much about making everything perfect, focus on how you’re going to get your new business in front of people.

(and you already know what I’m going to say… You’re going to say something stupid, stumble over your words at the beginning and mess up… but it’s part of the process).

Lack of credibility is only temporary so your goal isn’t to avoid that awkward phase… Your goal needs to be to get through it as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re promoting your business online, by word of mouth or otherwise, you’ll need to have a lead generation strategy.

I could probably write an entire article about each of these strategies, but for the sake of the length of this post, we’ll just list them out…

You can generate leads with social media, networking, ads, door knocking, blogging and a million other ways.

The key point to remember is this:

If you want to sell more, talk to (or interact with) more people.

If you want to sell more, talk to (or interact with) more people. Click To Tweet

 

Checkout/Onboarding Experience

Once they hit that buy now button or submit that intake form, what happens next?

Your process should be as streamlined as possible so that it’s easy to work with you.

Want better reviews, higher paying clients and more referrals? Help them reach their goal and be easy to work with.

 

If you’re offering services…

Once they hit that submit button on your intake form, streamline your process as much as you can.

If your service is something like a membership site or the interaction is in a group setting, a welcome email sequence will suffice.

However, if your service is more of a one-on-one experience, things can get a little deeper.

At the risk of overwhelming you, I wrote an entire post about how to automate your onboarding process…

If this is your first rodeo, I highly recommend that you keep it as simple as you need to so that you can keep moving forward without getting overwhelmed.

True story: I recently started taking on consulting clients to help them streamline their businesses.

I’m like the queen of systems and I literally have a system for ev-er-y-thing.

Soooo, when the first person said, “I want to hire you as a consultant”, we were emailing back and forth and pretty much everything took a million times longer than I expected because I didn’t have systems in place.

Since then, I’ve streamlined the whole process using the outline I mentioned above and everything works more smoothly now.

 

If you’re offering products…

The biggest mistake that you can make when someone purchases from you is that you never connect with them again.

Do they get a thank you email after they purchase?

Maybe a discount offer?

Ensuring that you KEEP their energy high after they purchase your product will make it a million times easier to secure them as a repeat client.

 

Ready to get to work?

Make sure you download your free 30-page business planning blueprint workbook right here:

 


Start Generating Revenue

Until you start generating revenue, you have an idea or a hobby, NOT a business.

Until you start generating revenue, you have an idea or a hobby, NOT a business. Click To Tweet

 

Invoicing for Your Services…

Knowing exactly what tools you’ll use to process payment when you’re working with clients will make your life infinitely easier.

I’ve seen a lot of freelancers work with platforms like Dubsado because you can work your whole business out of that platform.

Because most of MEB’s revenue comes from memberships, we currently use Invoiced for recurring memberships which I’ve been pretty happy with for the last two years because it’s affordable and easy to work with for recurring memberships… or if you decide to do a membership site, you can use a platform like Podia.

There are also a bunch of industry specific platforms that you can use to collect payment for your services… For example, one of our members is an attorney who uses LawPay to collect payment from her clients and another is a therapist who uses SimplePractice.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re in the process of totally revamping our entire academy experience, so we’ll be self-hosting our payments through WooCommerce.

 

Collecting Payment For Your Products…

The easier it is for people to pay you, the more money you’ll make.

If you’re planning to use a platform like GumRoad for digital products or Shopify for physical products, they have built in functionality for people to pay you. In addition, if you decide to sell on a platform like Amazon or Etsy, they also make it super easy for you to get paid.

 

Measuring Your Business’ Growth

Just because you start making money doesn’t mean your business is profitable or growing.

You don’t need to go back to business school to get a degree in accounting to know where your business is heading… That’s what we have technology for.

Basically, you’ll want to have a place to keep track of your revenue, expenses and tax responsibilities.

Platforms like Freshbooks makes it super easy to keep track of all of it, generate reports like a profit and loss statement, cash flow and income statements and they integrate with basically every platform that you can collect income.

Before you choose an accounting platform, start by deciding how you’ll invoice your clients and then pick the accounting platform that integrates with it’s all automatically tracked without you lifting a finger.

 


Grow With Scale In Mind

Since you’re an empire builder, you’re not just looking to make a buck.

You’re looking to make a buck at least a million times… amirite?

In order to build a business that can sustain that type of growth, you need to build your business so that it can handle growth.

I know, that sounds so vague, so let me explain…

 

Automate Your Processes

If you’ve been around here before, you’ve heard me say this, but I’m going to keep saying it until it’s so engrained in your brain that every single decision you make is based on this quote:

Your brain is a processing machine, not a memory machine.

Your brain is also not a double-data-entry machine or a do-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again machine.

The fastest way to burn out in your business is to have to manually do mundane tasks over and over and over again.

You’re starting a business to have freedom, be challenged and to grow…

Too often, entrepreneurs get stuck in the task trap and get stuck working in their businesses rather than working ON their business.

Your focus needs to be on systemizing and streamlining as much of your business as you possibly can through tools, systems and people.

Technology will be your best friend… and if you find yourself working with multiple platforms, you can integrate them all with Zapier.

 

Outsourcing

The more you automate, streamline and systemize, the faster you’ll be able to start hiring.

Most people wait wayyyy longer than they should to hire because they don’t have time to train their new hires.

Here’s the key: every time you start working on a new project, systemize it right away and make a list of all of the step-by-step procedures so when you’re ready to hire, you already have most of the training materials in place.

Your first hire should be administrative support to help you handle the redundant parts of running your business so that you never have to take your eye off of finding new business.

You can hire a virtual assistant through platforms like UpWork and Freelance.com.

 


Day To Day Operations

Mindset

You will make mistakes… It’s part of the journey.

#ProgressOverPerfection

Andddd, if the sales don’t come rolling in the second you hit launch, don’t be disappointed.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Launch. Test, refine, pivot. Test, refine, pivot. Test, refine, pivot. You get the point.

Just don’t expect it the millions to start rolling in tomorrow.

 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What you track, you can improve…

The key is knowing what numbers you need to track.

These are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Generally, there are just a few numbers you need to keep in mind to know where your business stands… and like everything else, the less numbers you have to remember, the more likely you are to keep track of them.

In real estate, here are the numbers I track the number of people I talk to about real estate, how many appointments I go on, how many signed listings I take, how many properties I put under contract and how many closings we have. For MEB, I track our email subscribers, RSVPs to events, first timers at events and new members.

We set goals for each of those metrics so we always know where we need to focus on upgarding our skills and processes.

For example, if I’m making contacts but not getting appointments, that means I need to work on handling objections to get the appointment. If my email subscribers are down, that means I need to increase our page views and refine the wording on our opt-ins to increase conversion rates.

Reaching your KPIs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis will ensure that you reach your goals.

Not to mention, when you’re crystal clear on your KPIs, leading a team is infinitely easier because they know exactly what standard they’re being held to.

 

Your Schedule

Building a business is all about the habits you build to grow your business.

Whether you plan to spend an hour a day or 60 hours a week to grow your business, you’ll have a million times more peace of mind when you have order in your business.

Instead of spinning your wheels and trying to figure out what to do today, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing that you can do, such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?”

That’s called the focusing question from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller.

Once you have your minimum viable product (or MVP) and at least half-decent systems in place to handle the customer service and delivery process, that one thing will most likely be promoting your business or talking to potential clients.

Focus 80% of your time on meeting, interacting and promoting your business and you’ll watch it grow.

 

Putting It Into Action

After reading this, one of two things will happen…

You’ll either go back to wherever you found this article and read through 900 other blog posts and articles about starting your business and you’ll keep looking for the perfect idea, the perfect timing and wait until everything is perfect… and you’ll never start.

… orrrrr you’ll read this, accept the fact that you’re GOING to fail, mess up and have to keep refining as you go.

You’ll put this into action and you realize that even though you might not be MASSIVELY successful at first, you’ll stick to it.

You know that starting is the key and you’ll refine, tweak and grow as you go.

If you REALLY want to put this into action, I have a whole blueprint workbook for you to download and finally get started with planning your business.

Let’s get to work:


Starting a business can seem super overwhelming and daunting so this epic guide breaks it down into a step by step process with EVERYTHING you need to know to plan your business, launch it and start making money. You'll also get a free 30 page workbook to help you put it into action. Click through to get yours!
Starting your business doesn't have to be overwhelming or scary. This epic guide walks you through ev-er-y-thing you need to know to start, launch and scale your business.

How To Design A Logo With Brand Recognition Like Nike

*Guest Post*

Oftentimes when I work with blossoming and passionate entrepreneurs, they have no idea where to start with their identity and branding.

They may not even bother with it and just jump to a random logo a cousin or friend designed on word or buy a cheap-o at some online marketplace because they feel the urgency to have some sort of design to claim that empty default avatar on their social media profiles.

They want their brand to have a face.

My goal is to educate entrepreneurs about the importance of branding, identity, and logo design and show you where to find a designer.

 

Start With Your Mission Statement

If you are truly passionate about your business you need to do the work and dig deep to find the core message to develop a strong mission statement that will establish your identity and brand.

find the core message to develop a strong mission statement for your brand. Click To Tweet

Good designers like to work with stories and convey that story through design.

Your story as a business owner revolves around your identity and to narrow it down even further, your mission statement.

From my experience at the Disney College Program while studying Corporate Analysis I learned that there is a reason behind everything that a company does.

It’s not just to look pretty or please the CEO.

The most successful businesses develop strong and specific mission statements and visions to create a purpose behind everything they do.

 

Identity Questions

Here are some questions I ask my clients to get a better idea of their mission and branding identity:

What is your mission statement? “If you don’t have one, GET ONE.” -Woody (Toy Story)

What products do you offer?

How and why do you offer those products?

Are you passionate about your business?

If you answered yes, Why are you passionate about your business?

What three words best describe your business?

Who is your audience (be specific: gender, age, what are their occupations, hobbies, likes & dislikes?)

What do you want your audience to feel when they see your brand?

Who are your competitors?

Why is your business unique? What sets you apart from your competitors?

What are the symbols you want to incorporate in your brand?

How did your business get started? What’s the story behind what you do?

If you can cruise through these and feel that your answers are timeless (they won’t change in the next 20 years), then you have a pretty solid brand and I give you the nod of respect.

 

What does this have to do with logos?

Having the mission and answers to the identity questions will help your designer immensely when it comes to everything they do to develop your brand.

Conducting research, developing the right shape form, picking out the best symbols, and pulling up a color scheme, and creating any other designs are some of the things good designers will do to help you develop your brand.

The less information you provide for your designer the harder the process will be to create a logo that is just right for you.

It may take longer, as well — When you don’t know the answers to the identity questions, your designer has to make an effort to pull them out of you and do additional research to find the style you like.

Not only will it help your designer, knowing the answers to your identity questions will help you make decisions in the future.

If you have one focus it will be easy to say no to appealing offers and opportunities that have nothing to do you with your brand.

It’s a trade-off, but it’s a good thing. You will be respected for it.

 

How do know the best kind of logo?

You know it’s the best logo when…

Research has been conducted to pick out the best symbols to match your mission.

Your audience can connect the logo to your business, guess the mission, or get an idea of it, just by looking at the logo.

It is used in solid colors and can easily be converted to just black and white (no grayscale, gradients, or shadows).

It combines one or two concepts into a seamless and beautiful design using form and negative (or white) space.

The best logos are timeless, match your mission and use solid colors. Click To Tweet

It is a consistent and never changing design.

 

Good, Better, Best

Good Logos are used often for small start-up businesses, but are not timeless.

They follow trends and business owners are changing them frequently.

I call them Minimal Logos.

To the maker, Etsy shop owner, photographer, and others with a minimal budget or income may use this type of logo. In this link, you’ll see a variety of logos that use hand lettering, watercolor, metallic or glitter foiled looks, and cute complex doodles and drawings.


These may seem fun a playful, but the problem with them is that they aren’t timeless.

They are trendy.

Good logos follow trends but are not timeless. Aim higher. Click To Tweet

This style comes and goes. They require minimal work and minimal or no research at all which translates to a lack of story, brand, identity, and or mission statement.

Most of them also can not converted to a solid black and white logo because they have multipel gradients, watercolor or foiled looks, meaning they can’t convert to a just white-colored design on a black background (which is useful if someone wants to use your logo in a simple way for marketing or partnerships).

Better Logos are something along the lines of just text.

Examples: Facebook, Skype, Google, YouTube, Magnolia Home, CocaCola, BILT, Ninetendo, Walmart

I refer to them as Monograms and Logotypes

These logos are better because they convert to black and white, they are far more simplified than a Minimal Logo and illustrate the core message quicker through the name.

The best Monograms and Logotypes don’t use a font and it’s not just a design that is typed up. It is created from scratch and each letter is its own unique glyph, that is unified and similar to its counterparts.
The downside: If you pay attention to these brands, they change or slightly alter them every 2 to 5 years, which means they are following trends like Minimal Logo users, but just not as frequently.

Because these business are very well established, they end up spending billions of dollars to make those changes to not only to pay a designer to make changes, but also to swap out on everything that their name is plastered on to show off the new and improved logo.

Best Logos are one or two merged symbols that convey the mission, identity or story behind the business.
The best logos are one or two symbols that convey your mission, identity and story. Click To Tweet

They use negative or white space to combine two ideas and some even go as far as using mathematical precision and ratios to create a perfect form.

Examples: Apple, Nike, Target, Starbucks

I refer to them simply as Logos

These are some of the most constant shapes we see in the market.

They hardly ever change… Maybe once every 10 to 20 years.

Apple hasn’t changed their logo shape for 50 years!

They may have added colors, or a shine and bevel to it, but the shape has been constant.

If you want a good read, look up the story of how Paul Rand came up with Apple’s logo.

The best logos are refined and are what the best designers strive to develop.

 

How do I find a GOOD logo designer?

Plenty of business owners find some random online venue that was recommended by a distant friend or that aunt who started a business way-back-when.

There are many traditional and cheaper options for logo design:

  • Etsy
  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Logo Garden
  • Vista Print
  • Logo Maker
  • And many, many, many more.

If you had to choose from these I suggest Upwork or Fiverr.

The website layout is a little more intuitive and you get to know your designer in advance before committing.

You may have great success with these sites, however, from my experience and shopping around, most of these designers use pre-existing templates, tweak from a previous client’s template or rip off other ideas.

They most likely will not be creating a unique form or shape that depicts a clear concept that is specific to you and your mission.

It will be a minimal logo at best.

There are also a handful of places that I think business owners are missing out on and you can very easily find them by hanging out where the designers hang out:

  • Online Business Facecbook Groups (search words: Creatives, Creativepreneur, Designer, Logo Designer, Branding, Adobe, Graphic Design, Entrepreneur)
  • Behance.net
  • Dribbble.com
  • Instagram Portfolios
  • Nicholemarie.myportfolio.com
  • ASK OTHER DESIGNERS, not other non-designers

These resources can be very helpful with not only finding a logo, but discovering great aesthetics for design.

Behance and Dribbble are a hang out for designers to share their portfolios and projects and you can create free accounts to contact them.

Instagram is a great resource because designers are more likely to have a business or portfolio account there because it is a visual/photo-based form of social media.

Asking designer friends who have been in the field for some time and have experience can give you a good lead to additional resources or other designers.

Overall, creating a solid mission statement will establish the foundation for everything you do in a business including the creation of a brand and logo.

Do that and you will lay a foundation for an incredibly powerful brand.
When you're ready to kick off your brand, having a logo that immediately gets recognized is the difference between being remembered and getting a client and being passed over. In this article, you'll learn about what makes a GREAT design vs the logos that are just "good enough" and you will discover the best places to find a designer to create your logo. Click through to learn more.
When you're ready to kick off your brand, having a logo that immediately gets recognized is the difference between being remembered and getting a client and being passed over. In this article, you'll learn about what makes a GREAT design vs the logos that are just "good enough" and you will discover the best places to find a designer to create your logo. Click through to learn more.

The 20-Something’s Guide To Personal Values, Controversial Topics + Hard Decisions

First of all, let me start by saying that this isn’t going to be your parent’s lecture about “upholding family values” or your church’s lecture about being righteous…

This is about making better, faster and more efficient decisions with your own personal values and knowing that you’re not going to regret them later on.

This might not be the sexiest topic in the world but it will help you get your life together.

All of your overthinking, anxiety and indecision can generally come back to a lack of understanding of your personal values, so it’s important to understand

Let’s get started…

 

Types of Personal Values

Firstly, there are two different types of personal values… The first is ethical values and the second is nonethical values.

Ethical Values: Values are the values that we use to determine right from wrong and are values like fairness, justice and equality.

Nonethical Values: Not to be confused with unethical values, these are values that we like or deem personally important like money, status or spirituality.

 

Value Conflicts

If only it were as simple as defining the words and being like, “awesome, you got it!” buttttt it’s NEVER that simple…

Even once you understand your personal values, there will literally be THOUSANDS of situations that will put your values to the test and you need to know how to respond to them.

How you handle these challenges will define the person you become and the story that people will tell about you when you’re not around, so get RIDICULOUSLY clear on your values.

 

Moral Temptations: Ethical vs. Nonethical

First up, let’s talk about right vs. wrong…

Let’s say you’re up for promotion at your pharmaceutical company where you’ll get a huge raise in your income (like we’re talking a 30% pay bonus… HUGE).

You find out that your company lied to the FDA about the results of the tests for one of the new drugs that they just released…

Turns out, people were dying from the drug but they covered it up…

Even if this example doesn’t relate to you, just bear with me for a second…. I just want you to get the idea.

What do you do with that information?

The right thing to do would be to report to authorities to make sure that no one else dies from this drug…

But that would mean that you’d probably have to quit your job, you’d have a harder time finding a new job because now you’re the “tattle tale”, you’ll probably have to testify before a jury anddddd that promotionnnnn

You start losing sleep over the fact that people are dying over this and you go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth (and back and forth a few more times) and then finally decide that it was only a couple of people that died and that happens in drug trials, right?

So you keep your mouth shut and get your promotion…

Except the names and faces of those “few” people will continue to haunt you until you push it so far into the back of your mind that you can finally forget about it…. and probably push it down with lots of alcohol.

… Or maybe wine, because being a wino is supposed different than being an alcoholic, but it still helps you clear your mind…

… and the spiral downwards continues.

You had the option to do the right thing but you chose not to do it because that promotion was on the line.

This is what’s called a moral temptation… Situations that challenge your ethical values and could be justified by using a nonethical value.

I know that sounds fancy and formal, so let me break it down and make it super simple for you (using the above example)….

You know what the right thing to do is but if you do the right thing (ethical value: integrity), you’re going to have to give up that promotion and job (nonethical value: status and money).

Moral temptations are dangerous if you don’t know how to identify them.

Moral temptations are dangerous if you don't know how to identify them. Click To Tweet

This specific situation might not relate to you directly but I wanted to use an example that would get you to understand this concept…

Other moral temptations you might think of are things like blackmail and ransom…

But what about smaller things like plagarism?

Plagarism is taking credit for someone else’s work to elevate your own personal image…

Definitely a moral temptation.

Most of us end up in situations of moral temptations that “aren’t a big deal” and end up killing our integrity one teeny-tiny “no big deal” at a time… And this is why understanding your personal values is so important.

Moral temptations kill our integrity one teeny-tiny no-big-deal at a time Click To Tweet

Oh, and you know when politicians get caught cheating or high level execs get caught embezzeling from their companies and you’re like, “how could anyone ever do that?”

Yep… Same thing.

Human nature often sets in in the presence of these situations and if we think it’s not a big deal or that we won’t get caught, we’re INFINITELY more likely to go with the nonethical value.

We are also more likely to satisfy those nonethical values if our basic needs aren’t being met.

I’m not just talking about food, shelter and water… I’m talking about the needs of the personality and the needs of the spirit. I’m not going to get into all of those here because I wrote an entire article about it that you can check out right here:

The bottom line is that understanding your own ethical values will make it easier to avoid situations like this.

While right vs. wrong might seem like a no-brainer, what do you do when you’re stuck in a right vs. right situation?

 

Ethical Dilemmas: Right vs. Right

How many times have you been in a situation where there were two options that both seemed right and you had no clue what to do?

Say hello to our little friend Ed (aka ethical dilemmas).

Ethical dilemmas are the root of most internal conflict and heated debates with others approximately 99.99999% of the time (that’s a scientific fact, based on my own super legit personal scientific research).

Ethical dilemmas are the root of most internal conflict and heated debates. Click To Tweet

Knowing your personal values in an ethical dilemma will literally save you hours of stress, tons of overthinking and mountains of anxiety.

Before we talk about our internal ethical dilemmas, it’s easier to understand when we look at our relationships with other people…

 

Why We Argue

You know those arguments that we get in on social media or in person that only leaves everyone feeling flustered?

The root of those arguments is a difference of values.

For example, let’s look at abortion…

Yes, we’re getting controversial but I’m not taking sides, so just entertain me for a second.

Outside of the abortion debate, does a woman have a right to choose what to do with her body, yes or no?

I really hope that you said yes.

Does a child have the right to live?

Absolutely.

Both of these are right… and on their own, they’re no-brainers…

It’s only when they’re put against each other that the question becomes which is more right.

… and these arguments get so heated because personal values aren’t based on logic or scientific evidence, they’re based on the very foundation of who we are.

In fact, we usually decide on our beliefs and then find facts to validate our beliefs and opinions, rather than seeking facts and then building opinions and beliefs around those facts.

As a result, we feel so strongly about our personal values that it’s nearly impossible to process how someone could see it any other way.

So when someone tries to present a different way of thinking, we fight back because agreeing with them would require us to change our values… and when we change our personal values, it feels like we’re changing who we are as a person.

… and this is why those conversations almost never go over smoothly.

So now that we understand what ethical dilemmas are and how they affect our relationships, let’s chat about our internal ethical dilemmas.

If you’re ready to start putting this into action, I created a free workbook for you that you can get right here:

 

Internal Ethical Dilemmas

Here are a few different examples of ethical dilemmas that we deal with internally.

Some of these might seem like no-brainers and some of them you might struggle with.

The ones that are easy for you are likely to be your strongest personal values, which is why it was so easy for you to answer.

 

Truth vs. Loyalty

My favorite example of truth vs. loyalty is mobsters that testify against each other. The mafia is all about “the family” and loyalty… and the people who go against that “sleep with the fishes”.

When someone (or an organization) is doing something wrong, do you stick along for the ride because of loyalty or do you do the right thing?

I remember when I was in 10th grade, I had a girlfriend who was dating this guy who was just the worst person ever… I could never understand what she saw in him, but one day I asked her where she was and she told me she was skipping school to go hang out with him…. again.

She had been skipping school regularly to go hangout with him. Her freshman year, she had been a straight A student… she was now failing every class, so I had two classes with my favorite teacher and I pulled him aside to let him know.

Her butt was in school every day for the rest of the year and she got her grades up.

She still doesn’t know that I told but I don’t regret it.

Am I a snitch?

Yep… and I don’t care. It was worth it.

 

Individual vs. Community

Well well well, we’re about to get controversial again.

Let’s talk gun control.

Again, I’m not taking sides… but this is exact situation is why that argument gets so heated.

Obviously, there have been way more mass shootings than anyone would’ve liked… so to someone who values community over the individual, it’s going to make logical sense that we need less guns.

On the other hand, someone who values the individual over community is going to see it as their need (or right) to protect themselves.

This argument could be made for rioting, police brutality and a whole bunch of other things.

Are you starting to see how our personal values shape our mindset, society and laws?

Let’s start putting this into action:

 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term

Since we’re on a roll with controversial topics, we might as well keep going…

Yay for controversial topics.

On a grander scale, the best example that comes to mind is global warming and carbon emissions.

Regardless of where you stand on global warming, you know that we need to take care of our earth… There’s no question about that.

If you value the short term over the long term, you might have a hard time justifying killing off companies that aren’t living up to that standard because of the amount of people who would lose their jobs so you’d rather make sure that doesn’t happen and we can take care of the other issues later.

If you value the long term over the short term, you’ll likely view it from the opposite side.

From your perspective, the long-term is going to come whether we like it or not, so we need to take care of it now before it continues to get worse.

Maybe you don’t really have a stance on global warming, so to drive this whole short term vs long term point home, on a personal level, we’re talking about things like habit building.

If you value the short term, your level of comfort right NOW is more important than what you could possibly gain or lose in the future…

So maybe you’re supposed to be prospecting for new business or going to the gym every morning, but you just can’t find it in you to do them….
orrrrr maybe you have a bad habit that you won’t break because it takes too much work to change.

If the long term is more important to you, then you’ll suffer through them in the short term even when it’s uncomfortable so that you can get through it and reap the rewards on the other side.

 

Justice vs. Mercy

… andddd another controversial topic.

Two words: Death. penalty.

To some people, justice is more important than mercy.

If this is you, you probably identify with the phrase “an eye for an eye” and are probably in support of punishing people equivalent to their wrongdoings.

On the other hand, if you’re driven by mercy, you’ll likely want to see the threat removed, but you also probably believe in the phrase, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

By the way, I just want to throw this in here…

We’re always told not to talk about controversial topics but f- that! Let’s talk about them.

There’s an art to doing it so that everyone who participates in the conversation can walk away feeling uplifted rather than frustrated and I’ve outlined all of it in this post for you:

Understanding your personal values is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and for your relationships.

By knowing your personal values, you can make decisions faster and more efficiently, knowing thta you won’t regret your choice later on because it’s in alignment with your most important values.

Knowing your values means you can make decisions faster without regretting it later on. Click To Tweet

Your relationships will improve because you’ll realize that most of their crazy beliefs is just a result of their core values and you’ll learn to accept them for who they are, rather than changing them or trying to prove them wrong.

My three main values are fairness, integrity and growth…

If you want to figure out what your values are, I put together a whole workbook to help you do that that you can download for free right here:


I get it... Personal values seems SUPER unsexy.... but what if I told you that by digging deep and getting to know your personal values, you'll be able to build better relationships, stop having that anxiety feeling anddddd make hard decisions with way more confidence, knowing that you made the right decision? Sexier now, huh? Yup. Click through to learn how to do this for yourself and to download the FREE workbook.

How To Own Your Life Like A Boss (+ Give Up The Victim Mindset)

Everything in your life is there because you allow it to be there.

Everything in your life is there because you allow it to be there. Click To Tweet

If someone is treating you like shit, it’s because you allow them to.

If your company isn’t growing as fast as you would like, it’s because you’re not taking massive action or you’re not being effective.

If you feel like you just can’t get your life together, it’s because you haven’t committed to creating powerful habits to keep everything together.

If your relationship is failing, it’s because somewhere along the way, you stopped doing the things that made you relationship successful in the first place.

If your life sucks, it’s because you’re choosing to only see the negativity in the world.

Even if you weren’t directly responsible for the things that happened to you, you are directly responsible and in control of what happens next.

I get it… Being a victim is easy.

You don’t have to DO anything to be a victim, you just have to exist.

Being a victim is easy because you don't have to do anything except exist. Click To Tweet

… But having a victim mindset drains you.

It drains your relationships because people get tired of hearing about how the world is against you and being a victim leaves you in a state of hopelessness.

You see, hopelessness doesn’t come from being in a bad situation. Hopelessness comes from being in a bad situation and feeling like there’s nothing you can do to fix it.

Hopelessness is a victim’s mindset.

Hopelessness is a victim's mindset. Click To Tweet

Now, the first step to fixing your mindset is realizing that you’re stuck in the mindset.

In fact, you may not even realize you have a victim’s mindset…

We have about 90,000 thoughts in a day and 95% of them are the same habits we had yesterday and the only thing that can change that is for something to happen to break that thought pattern.

There are three decisions we’re making at any given time that shapes our thought patterns…

… What are you going to focus on?

… What does this mean?

… What are you going to do?

Tony Robbins gives the PERFECT example of this.

Watch the first five minutes.

… and I know what you’re thinking… “That’s too long.”

“That’s too long.”

Watch it. You’ll thank me later.

The moral of the story is that Tony accepted the stranger’s offering as an act of kindness and treated it with gratitude.

His father (with his victim mindset) treated it as an act of charity and treated it as an insult.

Do you see how a simple change in perception can change pretty much anything?

Awesome.

So let’s talk about the different ways that your victim mindset might be showing through…

 

Victim Mindset: Not Asking Questions + Accepting Things The Way They Are

The easy way is to accept things the way they are and accept them at face value.

Have you ever said something that someone perceived differently than you meant and then wouldn’t let it go?

That’s exactly what you’re doing every time something happens and you automatically assume the worst.

I know, I know…

When you don’t ask questions and just let your mind do the wandering, you don’t have to worry about confrontation because you accidentally pissed someone off for asking the wrong question and you don’t have to worry about accidentally over committing.

You just accept it the way it is.

Let me ask you…

How many hours have you spent overthinking something and then coming up with a story about that thing that happened?

Yep… Stop doing that.

The problem with not asking questions is that it leaves you assuming… and you know what they say happens when you assume…

You make an ass out of u and me.

Instead, try this…

Ask powerful questions that seek to bring clarity.

Your questions shouldn’t be passive aggressive or out of sarcasm, you should be asking out of complete curiosity.

When you “assume innocence” and give people the benefit of the doubt, chances are, you’ll find that whatever they said or did wasn’t meant the way you percieved it.

When you ask powerful questions and bring clarity to the seemingly complex, your relationships will start to blossom and become more genuine and you will inevitably start to be seen as a leader.

In the post I wrote about how my epic failure made me a better leader, I wrote all about the questions I’ve learned to ask those I lead which has MASSIVELY changed my relationships:

 

Victim Mindset: Fighting Reality

A victim who is fighting reality will say stuff like…

“That’s not the way it is…”

“That’s not how we do things…”

“That’s not how I see it…”

“That’s your perception…”

Statements like these generally come from a fear of or resistance to change.

Just because something worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will continue to work…

… and just because something didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future.

Remember, the only thing in life that’s certain is change…

The only thing that's certain in life is change. Click To Tweet

So embrace it or you’re going to have a tough time in this world.

Instead, try this…

It’s perfectly natural to think about the effects of this new change, however, that doesn’t mean that you should be resisting it.

If you’re resisting change, keep an open mind and seek to get clarity on what those changes would entail. You might use language like…

“Let me see what’s going on.”

“I’ll figure it out.”

“Got it.”

“Let’s make it happen.”

“Let’s walk through this together…”

By focusing on possibilities and seeking to get clarity, you’ll find that everything becomes easier.

Giving up the victim mindset isn’t a one time decision… You’re going to have to work at it, mess up and say the wrong thing.

That’s perfectly ok.

To help keep you on track, I created this free cheat sheet for when you need a reminder:

Victim Mindset: Blaming Everyone And Everything Else

There is NO faster way to make your relationships crash and burn than to NEVER take responsibility for the things that happen in your life.

This is as true for little things as it is for the big things.

In fact, I would argue that the little things are MORE important than the bigger stuff, like when you’re late because everyone else is a terrible driver or your boss is harder on you than your coworkers.

Blaming everyone else for things might seem like the easy thing to do but it puts a HUGE strain on your relationships because everyone else bears the burdens for your struggles.

Blaming comes in many forms and will often sound like some variation of the following…

“If everyone would just do their job…”

“It’s not my fault…”

“It didn’t work because of the economy.”

“The market wasn’t ready for it…”

“Why didn’t you do something?”

“If you/they didn’t ___, I could’ve/would’ve ___.”

Instead, try this…

Take ownership by bringing energy and focus to the situation.

Even when someone else IS actually responsible for whatever misfortune has happened in your world, take ownership anyways.

Note: I did not say blame yourself. 

Take ownership.

Taking ownership means recognizing that you have the power to change whatever happens next. Blaming yourself puts you right back into this victim mindset.

Taking ownership means recognizing that you have the power to change whatever happens next. Click To Tweet

Not only will you earn the respect of others but you will also build emotional capital with the person

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

“What’s my ideal outcome?”

“I have to do something.”

“This is my responsibility.”

I know this is a lot so I created a cheat sheet for you to use that will help you put all of this into action:

 

Victim Mindset: Making Excuses

Listen up!

You can have reasons or you can have results, but you can’t have both.

That means if you’re really serious about your goals, you’re either going to step up to the plate or you’re going to make excuses why you can’t have it.

… And quite frankly, excuses aren’t going to pay the bills and they’re not going to build relationships.

Your excuses might come in a bunch of different forms like…

“Nobody told me.”

“It’s not my job.”

“I did my part.”

“I was never given a chance.”

“That won’t (or doesn’t) work here.”

“I did what I was supposed to do but it didn’t work.”

“I can’t think of anything else to do.”

“I did everything…”

“It’s not working…”

“I tried…”

“It won’t work anyways.”

You’re not going to get recognized or rewarded for your effort, my friend.

“Almost” isn’t going to help you achieve your goals…

So from this point forward, there is no try… Only do.

Instead, try this…

Take massive action and seek more possibilities.

As a leader of this incredible community, I have frequent conversations with our members and students about their crazy goals and we often talk about taking minor adjustments they need to take to actually achieve them.

By asking yourself powerful questions, you’ll identify really powerful questions that force you to dig deep and look for new solutions.

“What’s the goal?”

“Is that still the goal?”

“What have we tried so far?”

“Why didn’t those efforts work?”

“What else can we try?”

“How do we put that into action?”

“What are my options?”

“How can I make that happen?”

“What can I do?”

 

Victim Mindset: Waiting, Hoping and Wishing For Things To Happen.

Your empire isn’t going to build itself.

Victims will throw their hands up and wait for things to happen for them, then get upset when they don’t happen the way they want.

The waiting victim will use language like…

“If it was meant to be, it’ll happen.”

“Let’s just wait and see.”

“We’ve done all we could, let’s just wait.”

“Time will tell.”

“It’s out of my hands.”

“The proof will be in the pudding.”

Instead, try this…

Make a plan and execute on it with ninja precision.

When you have crazy goals, things are going to go wrong…

It’s inevitable.

You just have to decide to pick yourself up, find a solution and move forward.

“Let’s get started.”

“Time’s up. Let’s go.”

“This is what I’ll do.”

 

Victim Mindset: Focusing on Your Weaknesses + Problems

“I’m terrible at this.”

“It’s just not my thing.”

You know when you’re giving someone advice and no matter what you say, they find a reason why that won’t work?

That’s called deflecting.

… and then you’re like, “why did you even ask if you weren’t going to take any of my advice anyways?”

What that person is doing is putting up a wall and rejecting any and all potential solution.

… Or maybe the person who is constantly deflecting is you.

This generally happens when you’re spending more time focused on the problem than the solution.

It’s completely understandable…

Being the victim is easy because you don’t have to think, you only have to follow your emotions.

The problem with that is it will ALWAYS leave you stressed, feeling like you can’t get your shit together and in a constant state of hopelessness.

Being a victim will ALWAYS leave you stressed, feeling like you can't get your shit together and hopeless. Click To Tweet

Every single person in the world has weaknesses.

… Even the people you idolize the most and think are perfect.

Elon Musk, one of the most amazing minds of our time (if not the most amazing), is notoriously bad with people.

I LOVE Beyonce and I’m like 100% certain that she’s crazy. I mean, you don’t get that successful without being at least a little crazy, right?

Your weaknesses are not unique to you.

Instead, try this…

Identify and focus on your strengths.

If you’re having a hard time recognizing your strengths, it’s probably because they come so naturally to you that you don’t even realize that you’re good at it.

Start looking for solutions rather than problems and when someone offers a suggestion, don’t deflect… Accept it, try it and then give your feedback.

Learning new ways to think and speak is going to require constant effort on your part to change your mindset. To help you with that, I’ve created a free cheat sheet that I recommend that you hang at your desk, on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror and anywhere else that you look frequently enough.

Having it constantly in front of you will help you ensure that you’re consistently reminding yourself that you are not the victim that you used to be and that you are going to be a creator of your life instead.

Go ahead and download the free cheat sheet here:


The language that you use shapes your life... So if you're using victim language, you're going to constantly be in a state of hopelessness where everything in life happens TO you instead of FOR you. When you let go of the victim mindset and realize that you have the power to change everything in your life, only then will you be truly happy, free and fulfilled. Click through to see if you're using any victim language and what to say instead.

The Best Way To Find Your Purpose In Life + Create Your Vision

As I’m sitting here, I’m drinking my Chai tea (because I’m obsessed) and literally stretching my fingers before I start typing because I know this is going to be a beast of a post.

I could talk about this topic for DAYS ON END… In fact, I’ve taught it now at least a dozen times and put together a webinar about it because I love it so much.

My ultimate goal is to walk onto the TED stage to talk about this exact subject because EVERYONE needs to hear it. That’s how damn obsessed and passionate I am about this.

Before you get overwhelmed, you can sit back and get comfy because there’s a free workbook that goes along with it to help you take all of this and put it into action so we can make it happen.

 

The Pathetic Statistics

Let’s look at some CRAZY stats about people, their careers and how fulfilled they are.

  • Only 3 in 10 people are engaged in their careers (Gallup)
  • 88% of employees don’t have passion for their work (Deloitte)
  • 79% of businesses believe they have a significant engagement and retention problem (Psychometrics)
  • 86% of businesses and HR leaders believe they don’t have a good leadership development path

That goes across every industry and level of employement…

LESS THAN ONE IN TEN PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.

How INSANE is that?!

90% of people spend 1/3 of their lives doing a job that they don’t even like. If you could die a million times, I imagine this is how it would happen.

The formula for fulfillment is this…

 

Growth + Contribution = Fulfillment

Do you realize how freaking simple that is?!

In order to be more fulfilled, you need to spend more time growing… That means *ahem* spending more time on blogs like mine and attending our workshops *shameless plug*, watching documentaries, reading, attending events and surrounding yourself with people who push you to grow… and you need to make a conscious effort to go out of your way to give more.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy… I get it.

Here’s the thing… Most of us set our goals COMPLETELY backwards.

We lead through our days rushing about to get everything on our to do list done and it feels like we never finish anything so we’re just aimlessly wandering through life.

Let me ask you a question…

Would you get in the car and start driving aimlessly with absolutely no destination for days on end?

NO!

SO WHY THE HELL DO WE DO THAT WITH LIFE?!

We do it the other way around when we’re in the car…

We pick a destination, decide on how to get there and then we get in the car and drive. Leading with vision and effective goal setting works the EXACT same way.

We should set the destination (vision) FIRST, then develop our stretch goals out of our vision, then make our manageable goals from our stretch goals and decide on our activities based on our manageable goals.

When we set goals this way, we have a higher sense of completion because we know that what we’re doing is getting us one step closer to our ultimate goal, it helps us have more clarity in our lives and in our decisions, we are going to grow faster and it makes it easier to accept or reject opportunities that don’t align with our vision.

Here’s a quick visual to show you what I mean.
Goal Setting Ladder
Most people start from the bottom and climb to the top of the ladder and it goes like this…

  • I’m going to go to school today… (activities)
  • I have decent grades so I guess I’ll apply to college… (manageable goal)
  • I’m in college so I guess I better pick a degree and then change the degree a few times (stretch goal)
  • Oh look, I’m in my field, I think what I do matters (vision).

They go about their day leading with their daily activities until something happens that requires them to start thinking about their manageable goals.

Maybe they’re planning a vacation or a project at work, but they don’t generally have their own manageable goals. They’ll talk about their stretch goals when they’re feeling inspired and will generally distance themselves so they don’t have to take any ownership. They’ll say things like “it would be cool if…” or “somebody should…”.

Most people RARELY talk about their visions or even realize that they have one until someone comes into their lives and forces them to think bigger.

We’re going to do it the opposite way…

We’ll start with your vision and work down to your activities.

… and speaking of making things concrete, we’re going to start HUGE and abstract with a crazy vision and work our way all the way down to the super concrete with our daily activities.

Don’t start checking out on me because you’re overwhelmed. If you know me at all, you know that I always have for you to put all of this into action.

Go ahead and get that right here so you can fill it out while you’re reading through this.

We don’t learn for the sake of learning around here… We learn for the sake of doing, so go get the workbook!

Ready?

Let’s dive right in.

 

Developing Your Vision

First things first, let’s talk about your vision.

No, I don’t mean if you have like 20/20 vision… We’re talking about your idea of the perfect world.

I want you to close your eyes and answer this question…

Seriously, close your eyes…

Are your eyes closed? (They’re definitely not if you’re reading this, just sayin’).

If you had unlimited resources and could have the world any way that you want, what would it look like?

Paint a picture in your mind of what that perfect world would look like.

That my friend, is your vision.

Whatever that looks like to you, that’s what I want you to keep in mind.

Now, I want you to put your vision to the test…

A great vision has a few things going for it (I wish I could take credit for this part but I learned it from a training I did in college called LeaderShape and have yet to find anything that can beat it). This test is flawless:

  • Compelling: When you talk about your vision, does it get people to want to take action? Your vision should be so moving that when you talk about it, they literally can’t help but get involved.
  • Service-Directed: Making a lot of money is not a vision. Making a lot of money is a result of achieving your vision but it is NOT the actual vision. Your vision should benefit others first.
  • Challenging: If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing 😉
  • Vivid: When you talk about it, you should paint a picture in someone’s mind about what the world would look like if your vision became a reality.
  • Expandable: A vision shouldn’t be a finite destination… It’s sort of like when you’re driving on a flat road and you can only see so far but as you get further down the road, you continue to see the road in front of you. That’s how a vision is. Even when you hit your original goals, you’ll continue to think bigger.

In the workshops that I’ve done of this topic, I find that this is the step that people struggle with the most… and it’s completely understandable.

Firstly, we don’t think about stuff like this until you’re feeling inspired or there’s a reason to think about it (like reading this article). Secondly, The idea of having a vision allows for a ton of possibility and makes it seem super abstract.

Our job as empire builders is to pave the road for others to walk down and so we have to start somewhere.

Our job as leaders is to build a vision and make it concrete for those that we lead.

It all starts with vision.*

Even if your vision isn’t perfectly worded yet, that’s ok.

Oh, and if it sounds insane, good! That means you’re doing it right.

Your vision SHOULD be abstract and have millions of ways to approach it.

I always like to start my vision with, “I envision a world where…” because that statement gets you to really think big.

My perfect world looks like this…

I envision a world where people were passionate about helping each other reach their full potential. People would take the time to mentor each other and uplifted and inspired people. Rather than feeling like someone else’s success was to their detriment, we saw each other’s success as our wins too. I believe in abundance and I believe that we can all achieve our craziest, wildest dreams when we choose to work together. The world will be better off when we are all pursuing our dreams. I believe that when we all pursue our dreams, the world will be a better place to live. 

By using words that evoke emotion, it helps you to connect to your own vision and it inspires action in others. There’s a couple of other ways to inspire other people with your vision which are all outlined in this article.

When you lead with vision first, it almost guarantees that you’re going to be fulfilled because you have to grow as a person to make progress on your vision and if your vision meets all five criteria, it’s service-based by it’s very nature.

 

What’s your legacy going to be?

Oh, and before we move onto stretch goals, let’s talk about legacy.

If you ask most people what legacy they want to leave behind, most of them will say something along the lines of “I just want to make sure my family is comfortable and taken care of.”

While you’re reading this, I want you to imagine me grabbing you by the shoulders to shake you and yell all of this at you to make sure that you’re hearing me. If you take just one thing away from this article, let it be this…

That’s an awesome goal and you should definitely do that, except it’s a COMPLETE. WASTE. OF. YOUR. POTENTIAL.

Leaving money behind is not leaving a legacy.

I want to challenge you to leave a PURPOSE and a way to do it (*ahem* your vision).

When you lead with vision, you are setting an incredible example for your family, you’ll be a better family member because you’ll be truly fulfilled and when you leave this earth, you will have something that carries on long after you.

Money will be spent and forgotten but PURPOSE becomes who we are and the culture of our family.

Not to mention, shooting for comfortable is irresponsible.

If you think about all of the people who were living large in the early 2000’s, their comfort became nonexistant when the market crashed in 2008.

All it takes to steal your comfort is a medical emergency, something to happen to you, some crazy natural disaster or a market crash and your comfort becomes struggle in precisely 0.0074 seconds flat (that’s a super scientific number, I swear).

You can argue that insurance will take care of stuff like that and the reality is that way too many people end up in situations where they’re (for lack of a better word) FUCKED… So insurance is not the answer. It’s plan C or D, not plan A or B.

… Andddd to top it off, shooting for comfortable is selfish and lazy. You have a duty, a calling and a responsibility to reach your full potential. The world needs YOU. Not someone else, the world needs YOU.

Imagine how different the world would be different if the lightbulb was never discovered, if Elon didn’t invest $180M back into Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City.

What if Steve Jobs or Mark Zuck didn’t feel like challenging the rules and changing the way we know of everything?

If they can do it, there’s no reason that you can’t either… You just have to have a vision and be willing to take massive, ridiculous action to make it happen. You can be the one to change the world and you have a responsibility to do so.

I know this is a lot… Let’s get to work. Go get your workbook!

Once you’ve worked out your vision, it’s time to figure out HOW you want to make that happen by deciding on your stretch goals.

 

Get Some Direction With Stretch Goals

Your stretch goals are the things that you would like to do at some point but don’t have a clue how.

They should seem impossible to achieve, out of your comfort zone and other people might see them as crazy (and what’s interesting about that is that the more that you talk about them, the more realistic that they become).

Most people struggle with their stretch goals because they’re using a stretch goal as their vision. Think of the vision as the why and the stretch goals to be the how.

 

Stretch Goal #1.

As I think about my own stretch goals, the one that’s at the top of my mind every. single. day. is that I want to build the largest young professionals organization in the world.

Young professionals are the future and the next generation and so I truly believe that it is my responsibility to educate, inspire and empower them to reach their full potential. Once I get closer to this stretch goal, I’ll start working on my second stretch goal.

 

Stretch Goal #2.

My second stretch goal is to completely change the entire education system. I don’t just mean change the way students are tested, I want to change the way that they learn.

First of all, why are we still making kids regurgitate stuff that they can google?! THAT IS WHERE LACK OF FULFILLMENT STARTS.

Where is the growth in that?!?!?!?!?!?

I would love to people go back for a year or two to each what they do as an actual career, for kids to learn through hands on experience (like simulations, virtual reality, etc).

Seriously, who likes learning from a textbook? What if we could teach kids like the Magic School Bus? They would go on a field trip by putting on their VR glasses and get to visit the dinosaurs or go back to the signing of the declaration of independence.

The engagement of kids would be insane and they would learn so much more from it.

Instead of teaching kids to be great test takers, we need to teach them how to have better critical thinking and communication skills so their curriculum would include a bunch of socratic seminars where they learn how to have an opinion, listen and have a healthy debate.

I hope that my stretch goals will help you with your own.

Your stretch goals are the things that you want to be remembered for after you leave this earth and will help you determine which opportunities you’ll take so you don’t overcommit.

 

Make It Happen With Manageable Goals

Your manageable goals are your typical SMART goals.

What I find interesting is that every time the conversation about goal planning comes up, there’s almost inevitably a debate about whether you should set the bar high and have big dreams or you should have realistic goals.

Here’s the answer: you need both!

The realistic goals are the bricks that build the stretch goals.

Your manageable goals should be realistic and achievable that lead to predictable success. These goals bring clarity, focus, keep people engaged and keep everyone on track for the bigger goal.

I like to set manageable goals of 3-6 months. That timeframe keeps you on your toes and is still enough time to make great leaps within that timeframe. Your will help you break all of this down so that you can put all of this into action.

 

Get to Work With Activities

Lastly, you have your activities. Your activities are the day to day activities that help you reach your manageable goals. When you build your goals backwards, you’ll feel like you’re always reaching towards bigger things and will have a MUCH greater sense of achievement.

When those activities start to get redundant or you find yourself struggling to complete them, you need to get some accountability around those actions. Accountability steps in where willpower fails.

The key here is to work backwards so that you continue to feel fulfilled, know that your life is on the right track and you are leading with passion.

I know this is a lot to break down and you’ll forget 90% of this if you don’t put it into action, so go ahead and download the workbook.

Stop Feeling Guilty For Outgrowing Your Friends

Outgrowing your friends doesn’t make you a bad person and don’t let anyone make you feel differently.

In every stage of our lives, we make friends because of similar interests or circumstance.

When we were in middle school, we made friends with people who were in our classes, lived in our neighborhoods or were on our buses…

In high school we made friends with people who played the same sports as us, went to the same gym as us and were around us regularly…

In college, we made friends with people who went to the same parties, participated in the same organizations, stayed in our dorms and had the same classes or majors as us.

At each turn, you might find a friend or two that sticks around through each stage of your life but most won’t… and that’s perfectly ok.

As your lives change, you lose the commonalities that brought you together in the first place.

That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you or wrong with them, you just started to grow apart.

I had a group of girlfriends in college that I was super close with… and we started to grow apart because we really didn’t have anything in common anymore.

When we would hang out, I wanted to talk about Millennial Empire Builders (which was called South Florida Young Professionals at the time) and real estate.

Both of those topics were genuinely of no interest to them and because I wasn’t around that much anymore, I started to feel like an outsider when we would all get together.

Some of them even tried to make me feel guilty for not being around as much which stuck a wedge into our relationship even further.

It sucks but it happens.

Outgrowing your friends isn’t a bad thing.

 

Changing Your Circle Is A Good Thing

If you’re constantly around the same people, your world, opportunities and perspective get really small.

You start to dress alike, talk alike, think alike and care about the same things… Life becomes routine and you become content.

The group comes to a consensus on what “success” is, what “failure” is, what behavior is acceptable and even your values start to align with each other…

It’s sort of like how women’s cycles synchronize when they hang around each other too much (sorry guys, I know how much you love when we talk about that time of the month).

This synchronizing happens in teeny tiny interactions that you don’t even realize have an impact on your own mindset.

Those interactions go something like this…

Let’s say you workout every day at 5am.

You start hanging out with people who go out more often so they’re like “oh come on, you can come out with us and still get up early to go to the gym… Come out with us!”

You all have a great time so you start to do it more often… and eventually, your body starts to fight back and you remember that sleep is actually a mandatory thing your body needs.

You don’t want to ruin your new friendships so you miss a gym day here or there…

Which breaks your routine and you start to go less and less. Before you know it, you’ve gained weight and you’re wondering what happened when you used to be so good about it. You try getting back into it but it’s wayyyy harder than you thought.

After all, breaking a habit takes like 0.02 seconds and building a habit takes about 66 days (as evidenced by the book ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller).

You don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late.

Changing your circle of friends allows this to happen in reverse, too.

Your new friends can push you to build new, good habits too…

Let’s say you’re a salesperson who does well enough to get by comfortably….

When you start hanging around mega’s who are doing millions of dollars in sales, your level of action and mindset will change and grow, too.

It’s inevitable.

The people that you hang around are the single most important decision that you’ll ever make in your life.

 

As you continue down your growth journey, your friends will change.

Here’s what you have to remember… There’s only a small percentage of people who are committed to being their best selves (and don’t debate me on this… everyone wants to be their best self, but if you take one look at their habits and the conversations around them, you’ll see if they’re actually committed or simply interested… For most people, it’s the latter).

As you start to talk more about habits, reading, mindset, growth and taking action on your goals, the people around you are going to either join you or they’re going to fight it.

That doesn’t mean they’re fighting you… Some people are comfortable with their situation and changing is SUPER uncomfortable. In this scenario, outgrowing your friends is almost inevitable.

That doesn’t make them bad people.

You cannot help someone who doesn’t want to be helped…

You cannot force someone to grow who doesn’t want to grow…

… and it’s not your job to force them to grow.

The best thing you can do for them is to achieve your definition of success and then inspire them to pursue their own.

People grow into the conversations around them, so inspiring them with your own success and encouraging them to pursue theirs is all you can do for them… So lead by example.

Your priority needs to be to surround yourself with other people who are committed to being their best selves too.

It’s your duty to yourself… or you’ll end up one of those middle-aged men or women who go through a mid-life crisis because you don’t understand how you ended up in the boring, mundane life that you settled for when you were so ambitious in your 20’s and 30’s.

Your duty, responsibility and obligation is to commit to being your absolute best self with as much integrity, compassion and love as you possibly can.

No one believed Everest could be climbed until it was.

No one believed that a mile could be ran in one minute until someone did it.

If you love your friends as much as you say, you’ll be the change maker.

Blaze the path and show them what’s possible.

Stop trying to bring people who don’t want to be brought with you to the top…. Once you’re there, you can always go back and get them once they’re willing to grow too.

You’ll be a better leader, motivator, helper, inspirer (is that even a word?!) and friend when you’ve shown the people around you that reaching your goals is absolutely possible and encouraged.

This article will walk you through the process of sharing your goals with other people (because it truly IS an art) and I also created a whole network audit workbook to help you go through your closest friends and really evaluate your friendships.

The workbook, this article and the article that I just mentioned are all designed to work together. Let’s get your relationships on track with your goals:


How To Get People To Buy Into Your Goals (And Why They Doubt You)

When we were kids, our parents and teachers would tell us we can be anything we want to be when we grow up.

By the time we get to middle school, we start to get a glimpse of how the real world works.

Instead of being president, we settle for being a CEO of a huge company and making millions of dollars every year.

… And then in high school, we have to start getting ‘realistic’ because we’re getting ready for college.

… College comes around and we’re told to go with something ‘secure’ that pays well and to forget passion.

Little by little, our ambitions are cut down by those around who want to protect us so we become quiet dreamers and are too afraid to speak those dreams for fear that someone is going to tell you that you can’t do it because when we do share, we get frustrated and maybe even wonder if they’re right about us being too ambitious.

Now I’m not justifying their case but since we’re taking focused on taking complete ownership, we have to look at it from their side, understand them and then address how we’re going to pursue our dreams without their negative influence.

Here’s the deal…

Our family and friends try to get us to be realistic because they love us, want the best for us and they don’t want us to be disappointed when we don’t reach our goals. At least that’s what they say, right?

Here’s what it comes down to…

 

FEAR

Every fear that humans have comes from one of two places — the fear that we’re not good enough or the fear that we won’t be loved.

To make it worse, remember, we have 60,000-90,000 thoughts in a day and 95% of them are the same thoughts that we’ve had every single day so far. Now I’m not justifying their thought process, I just want you to understand their perspective.

They’re afraid that…

  • When you’re successful, you’re going to be different (and we don’t like change — it’s human nature).
  • When you’re successful, you won’t love them anymore.
  • When you’re successful, they won’t be good enough for you.

They say they’re doing it for us (and they probably genuinely believe that they’re doing it for you) but they’re actually doing it because they’re afraid that your relationship will be different.

Their limiting beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with you.

It is their own fear that holds them back from thinking big and they’re doing the best that they can to hold onto what they love — you — just the way that you are.

Does that mean that you should cut them off?

No.

If they’re someone in your life that you can’t get rid of (and I mean that in the most loving way possible), pay attention to how you’re communicating with them.

 

Start by watching your word choice…

If you’re using exclusive phrasing (words and phrases that don’t include them) like “my success”, “my future” or “when I’m successful”, you’re telling them that they won’t get to be part of your success.

You can’t expect them to be happy for you if they don’t get to be part your success.

Don’t just assume that they know that they will be part of it… You have to reassure them that you want them to be there with you and that you love them unconditionally. Make sure you’re including them in your plans and making it clear that they are part of it.

On the opposite side of that, the fastest way to lose their support and get them to resent your ambition is to the weight of it all on them. If and when you’re using phrasing like, “I do this for you”, you’re putting the blame on them for your hard work.

Even if you mean it as a compliment, you are giving them the responsibility of your exhaustion, your struggle and you are telling them that they are the reason that you aren’t present for them right now.

Before you get defensive… Remember, we’re focused on taking complete ownership. We can’t control how they feel or react. We can, however, try to understand where they’re coming from and we can control ourselves.

All of this applies if you can’t get rid of this someone in your life. If this is someone who doesn’t deserve to be in your life, the most graceful way to allow them to dismiss themselves from your life is to have a conversation that goes like this, “over the next 10 weeks, I’m really looking to make some drastic changes in my life like [be specific about the changes in your diet, prospecting, whatever]. Would you be wiling to join me?”

If they’re willing to join you, make sure that they don’t distract you if and when they slack off. If they aren’t willing to join you, then ask for their support with the approach of, “I completely understand… I just thought I would ask. Even still, it would mean the world to me if you’d support me through this journey. Here’s what you can expect… [tell them how it’s going to affect your time, mood, etc.]”

Even still, it would mean the world to me if you’d support me through this journey. Here’s what you can expect… [tell them how it’s going to affect your time, mood, etc.]”

If they can stay supportive throughout the process, you probably don’t need to get rid of them. If they can’t, remind them how important it is to you and that you’re not giving up. If they still don’t support you, they will likely exit your life and that’s perfectly ok.

Before you let them dismiss themselves, remember…

 

Remember that it’s your vision, not theirs.

Ready to start putting this into action? I have a whole workbook to help you learn how to communicate more effectively with the people in your life. It’s totally free and you can download it here 😉

We have 60,000-90,000 thoughts in a day.

Just because you mention your goals once or twice, doesn’t mean they’re going to be jumping over joy with your level of passion. Some people just don’t have vision or they are simply skeptics by nature.

They will only get on board when they see results. All of that is fine, you just need to remember that you’re not going to get these people’s support without results.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in you, they just can’t see the vision without hard, tangible evidence that they can see.

Just because you mention your goals once or twice, doesn’t mean they’re going to be jumping over joy with your level of passion.

Some people just don’t have vision or they are simply skeptics by nature. They will only get on board when they see results.

All of that is fine, you just need to remember that you’re not going to get these people’s support without results.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in you, they just can’t see the vision without hard, tangible evidence that they can see.

You can’t be mad at them for the inability to think big, you just have to communicate at their level… which brings us to the communication ladder (cue Law and Order Style *don-don*)

 

The Communication Ladder

A few weeks ago, I posted something on Instagram asking for people’s goals. Almost every single person commented with something super vague and general. Vague, airy-fairy definitions of success might sound pretty but they’re immeasurable.

If you can’t measure your success, how will you ever know that you’re successful?

There were two specific people who I asked to clarify and both of the people I was interacting with were hesitant to tell me what their goals are (even in private).

Firstly, if you can’t share your goals with other people (especially those that are supportive), that is the ultimate form of self-doubt.

You don’t need to share all of your goals with everyone but you do need to share them with people.

By sharing your goals, you create automatic accountability around your goals and you give them the opportunity to help you achieve them… and the worst thing you could possibly do is to belittle them by telling them they don’t get it or that they just don’t think big enough to understand.

That’s not going to get you the understanding and passion for your goals that you’re looking for.

No matter how much of a superhero that you think you are, you cannot and will not succeed at the level that you’re looking to succeed at if you can’t include people in your vision.

Here’s the caveat — you don’t need to tell everyone your entire vision.

The goal is to communicate with them at their level. When you do that, you’ll find that when you share your goals, they are more supportive of your goals and you will leave the conversation without being frustrated that they’re not “getting it” or they’re trying to break you down.

Here’s the thing… Everyone’s capacity for thinking big is different. None of them are wrong, they’re just different.

Treat your conversations and relationships like rungs on a ladder. Start from the bottom and work your way to the top, just like you would climb a ladder.

 

Activities

Some people can only handle the monotonous day-to-day activities.

These people can handle (or are only interested in) your weekly plans, low level goals (like finishing a project) and specific activities.

These are simple tasks that can be achieved within a designated calendar time frame (a few hours or even a few days).

They don’t deserve to know (or care to know) anything beyond ‘right now’.

 

Manageable Goals

Next, you’ll have some people who can handle goals that take a few weeks or months to accomplish.

These are people who can handle your projects that can take up to 6 months to accomplish.

These are low-risk projects that lead to predictable success.

These are people like your significant other, coworkers and other people in your life that you’re likely in frequent communication with.

 

Stretch Goals

These are goals that you probably don’t know how you’ll achieve but they’re big enough that you’re passionate about them and they can make a massive impact.

You can achieve these within your lifetime and they might even make you a little comfortable to talk about (quick tip: the more you talk about them, the easier they become to talk about and the more you’ll believe in them).

You know those random conversations that you have that fill your soul and make you excited about all of the possibilities the world has to offer?

You’re probably talking about your stretch goals.

These are giant goals like building the largest young professionals organization in the world (which is mine), reforming the education system or creating equality for the homeless.

 

Vision

Lastly, there are the few conversations that we have where we peel back the layers of our soul, allow ourselves to be open, vulnerable and intimate with the inner most parts of ourselves and we talk about our vision.
If our stretch goals are the what, our vision is the why.

These are the inner most thoughts that we generally don’t think about unless we’re prompted to.

Our vision is what we want to be remembered for and the things that we want people to say that we stood for at our funeral and long after we’re gone.

Most people have absolutely no clue what their vision is, so you can’t expect to talk about your vision with any ol’ Joe Shmoe and expect them to get excited about it with you.

While a vision doesn’t have to be complicated, the level of thinking required to think of the impact that you will make overwhelms most people.

Related: Develop Your Vision

 

The Responsibility of Leadership

As a leader, your responsibility is to push the people that you’re communicating with to the next level on their ladder and you can do that very simply by asking great questions that force them to think big.

A simple formula to follow is the FROG, which I’ve outlined for you in this post.

Instead of word-vomitting and throwing your goals on other people, be genuinely interested in their goals.

Learn what’s important to them and why it’s important.

When you focus on learning about their ladder, you can see where they currently stand. Meet them there!

Don’t talk to them from the top rung if they’re on the bottom. Talk to them on the bottom and help them get to the next rung where you can share that new journey together.

 

Not to be confused…

While you should communicate your goals from the bottom up, you should be setting goals from top down.

When you set them from the top down, you will lead your life with a whole lot more purpose.

I’ve also prepared a workbook to help you learn about where you stand on the ladder and how to communicate it with those around you.


Share Your Goals