Do You Have What It Takes to Start A Business?

adult-blur-business-630839Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if you’ve got what it takes? My short answer is ‘YES’, but let’s dig deeper into this question.

The moment you decide to call yourself ‘entrepreneur’, your whole life changes. Whether you have any knowledge in marketing and sales or not, becomes irrelevant. Suddenly, you become a jack of all trades and need to master a number of new skills including advertising, promotion, sales, designing websites, copywriting, etc.

Your character will have to change a bit too. Do you take rejections hard? You’ll have to get used to that. Do you like to be in control of your environment and you hate when your plans change? Be ready to accept sudden alterations in your schedule or even in your vision and strategies.

If you’ve ever met me personally, you probably know that I’m a bit of a control freak. Or I’d like to think I was before I decided to start my own business. Entrepreneurship is the best remedy for this “disease”. You learn how to be ok with constant changes, how to make fast spontaneous decisions, be more flexible and work completely out of your comfort zone.

So, what would it take to start a business? Do you have to be born an entrepreneur or you can develop necessary qualities when you need them? Is it a question of nature or nurture?

In my humble opinion, it’s NOT something you’re born with. All you need is an idea for your business, a lot of passion for it and the desire to learn everything you need along the way. blackboard-business-chalkboard-355988

Henry Ford said a long time ago: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!” So, here’s your answer. Pretty clear and laconic. And I will add – you can do much more than you think! Just believe and start acting!

So, it’s time to conquer your fears and start making the first steps. Here’s a little plan for you:

  1. Run your idea by a number of close friends or just people whose opinion you respect.
  2. Study your target market to make sure your product or service will be in demand.
  3. Prepare a business plan and have somebody with business background read through it and give you their feedback.
  4. Remember that you might have to change your plans along the way.
  5. Get ready to work extra hours, sleep less, read more, study all the time.

apple-device-blur-blurry-273222All further steps will depend on the type of business, industry and other factors. If you’ve never developed a business plan, there’s an awesome software you can buy for just $20 per month. It’s called LivePlan. You can use it just for yourself and your team or to send the plan to your potential investors.

If you have any questions about registering your company, choosing its type (LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, etc.), write me a message or ask in the comments below. I will be happy to help and share my own experience.

Enjoy! This is an exciting journey!

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How Not To Give Up On Your Goals

25564102680_83844b1d7f_kThe first month of 2018 is coming to an end. Every beginning is exciting and inspiring! We’re full of motivation and hope. We believe we can move mountains, but then life happens. What keeps you from reaching your goals and fulfilling your new year resolutions?
Here’re a few ideas from my own experience how not to give up and stay motivated:
1.  Find a friend who would become your accountability partner. You can meet once or twice a month to share your goals and then report on them.
Last year one of my new friends became a huge blessing for me in this area. She inspires me to stay on track, be more organized and continue moving forward.
2.  Choose one social media to report on your goals to all your friends and followers.
One of my acquaintances decided to report each run on Twitter so that all his followers would keep him accountable. It helped him train for and then run several marathons and half-marathons.
3. Set realistic goals and make sure they’re relevant and important for you a few months later.
Sometimes we set a goal, but then in a few months it seems unimportant. We lose motivation and of course give up on it. Make sure it doesn’t happen with you.
4. Use Stickk.com to keep you accountable.
There’re actually several other websites which operate similarly and have the same purpose. They are set up in such a way, that you have to pay money to a charity or anti-charity if you don’t accomplish your goal by a certain day. In my case it’s www.stickk.com. It’s been incredibly helpful! I used for four of my goals, and it proved to be exceptionally effective.
These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you have other tips of your own. Please share with me, what do you do to stay motivated? What helps you stay on track and not give up on your goals?

How to Read More Books When You’re So Busy

pexels-photo-459791Do you have a busy life? What a silly question. We all do. This is the era of busy people. But you know what? I read a quote not that long ago, that ‘busy is a decision’. We create our impossible schedules and become their prisoners. And then we’re forced to answer to our friends and family: “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m really busy.”

Have you ever wondered how you could start reading more books in the midst of your hectic life? It seems almost impossible to find time if you have several kids, a demanding job, a husband or a wife. Or maybe you have none of that, but your schedule is so full there seems to be no time for reading.

pexels-photo-256541When I was a kid, I used to go to the library to choose a new book. It was always a magical time and one of my favorite activities. You go from one bookshelf to another, looking through the names of book and writers. It’s so peaceful and quiet. You’re deciding which world you’d like to immerse yourself into this time.

And then life happened – university, work, a busy schedule, new priorities, and as a result – only a few books a year.

I remember craving books. I remember being hungry for more reading. It even inspired me to take speed reading classes so I could devour more books in less time. And still, it wasn’t enough. More tasks, longer to-do lists and new responsibilities kept creeping into my life and pushing books out of it.

However, there was one decision which changed everything for me. About two years ago I made reading one of my life priorities. I set a goal to read 50 books a year, and … I read only 25. Do you think it was a failure? Not at all! It was twice more than the year before.

The next year I set a goal to read 30 books and … succeeded!!!

So, here’re a few ideas for you to start reading more even though your life gets busier every month of the year.

  1. Make reading your priority.

It doesn’t have to be your number one priority, but at least it shouldn’t be at the end of the list. Remind yourself why you want to start reading more. Is it a relaxing time for you when you unwind and recharge? Is it important for your personal growth and professional development? Define your WHY.

2. Listen to audiobooks while running, walking, cleaning or doing other chores.

Sometimes I even listen to audiobooks when I’m brushing my teeth or taking a shower (if I don’t have to wash my hair :)). If you sign up for a half or a full marathon, you’ll have plenty of time to listen to your audiobooks during training runs.

3. Read on commute.

This is a popular advice for reading more and also for using time productively. If you have to travel by public transportation to or from work, always carry a book with you. You’ll enjoy this time more and at the same time feel like you’ve spent it very efficiently.

4. Choose small books every once in a while. Alternate between big and small.

Sometimes people take books which are too big and too boring for them just because someone said they’re good. Choose the ones which will excite you, enchant you, or fascinate you. Even if it’s an educative, self-help book, it may be absolutely engrossing if you learn something new or see a real value in it.

Alternate between big, complicated books and small easy books. Here’s the list of short classic books that won’t take much of your time but will enrich you and fascinate you. Follow this link to read the article in Huffington post.

5. Read at least 15 minutes after waking up and 15 minutes before going to bed.

Consistency is the key. If you make a decision to read a little bit, but regularly, you will be amazed by your progress. Most of the time people think: “I don’t have time now. I have to get to bed,” or “I have to go to work.” But if it’s just 10-15 minutes it will feel like nothing, and, at the same time, it will be enough to help you finish the book in a few weeks or months.

Try some of these tips and share your own advice. What helped you start reading more? What books would you recommend me? I love sci-fi, drama, historical, self-help, psychological, business and many other types of books.

 

How to Use Your Superpowers (Yes, You Have Them)

pexels-photo-346796Let me ask you one of my favorite questions: If you were a superhero, which superpower do you wish you had? Is it flying or mind reading? Telekenisis or teleportation? Traveling in time or freezing time?
There’s something extremely important I want to tell you. You do have superpowers. They are called gifts and talents, strengths and abilities. Don’t get all skeptical or negative. Remember to have an open mind and great things will start happening to you.

Find Your Superpowers

Quit thinking that talents are only about singing, painting or anything else connected with art. There’s so much more to this topic, than meets the eye. If you’d like to learn a little more about yourself, to increase your self-awareness, take the Gallup Strengthsfinder test. Its pretty substantial with 180 questions which will reveal your 5 talents or strengths.
However, even if you’re not a big fan of tests, there are other ways to figure out what gifts you possess. Here are a few ideas:
  • Ask your friends and family, people who know you well. They will tell you, what you’re really great at.
  • Ask yourself a question – what am I most passsionate about?
  • There might be something you always secretly wanted to do and kind of thought you may be good at it. What is it? It could be one of your strengths.
  • Remember what people usually thank you for. Which of your actions do they praise most of the time?
  • What do you love doing so much that you lose track of time while being immersed into the activity?

Now, analyse all your answers and make a list of your strengths and talents. Here are some examples to help you with ideas: empathy, strategic thinking, sense of humor, helpfulness, analytical skills, discipline, organizer, encourager, design, cooking, gardening, problem solving, etc.

Use Your Superpowers

As soon as you have your list, it’s time to put it to action.

Choose one strength which you would like to focus on now. It could be something you really need in your current or future job. At the same time, it might be a talent which you always wanted to develop but never had time for it.

After choosing one strength to work on, make an action plan with specific, measurable and time-oriented steps which will help you take this strength on another level. You may want to make a little research. Look for books, podcasts, courses and videos on your topic. Learn as much as possible.

One of the best ways to develop your strength is to actually use it. Seek possibilities to apply your talent at work. Go to your boss and offer to participate in a project which complements your gifts. Start a project of your own on the side. Start a business.

Finally, I got an advice for you. Marcus Buckingham wrote a very practical book on this topic called ‘Put Your Strengths to Work’. It gives you several specific steps and tools on how to focus on your talents and start using them in life more. Check it out.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. Please, share one or two of your strengths and tell us how you apply them in your life and work.

Stop Burying Your Talents

Have you ever seen a superhero movie? Wouldn’t you want to possess at least one of those superpowers?

I’m a big sci-fi fan and love all kinds of movies about non-existent universes and people with supernatural abilities. It fascinates me to see what human beings can do when we get in touch with our talents and strengths.

There’s one more important fact you’ve got to know about me – I’m a strong believer in the power of human potential. I believe we all have incredible God-given potential which is not realized to the fullest. We might not even know we have it and just live our life from day to day in total ignorance about our hidden ‘superpowers’.

What makes me really sad is that the majority of people don’t use their gifts and don’t work in the areas of their strengths. Can you imagine the world where all people realize their talents and develop their strengths? Just think how happy everyone would be! It’s an amazing feeling when you know you’re using your gifts.

What a beautiful world it would be!

I want to challenge you to think about your own talents, gifts and strengths. If you don’t know, ask your closest friends and family. People around you might help you uncover those gifts. As soon as you find out your strengths, start using them for the greater good, for improving the level of your own life and the life of people around you.

Let’s make this world a better place where everyone is using his or her potential to the fullest!

Do You Still Rush while Traveling?

img_5136Sometimes I have a bad habit when traveling to new places. I run around trying to capture everything on my iPhone camera which is far from perfect. The desire to save this moment of beauty for future enjoyment is inspired by the magnificence of the view. Although, what I don’t realize it might be worth it to just stop and take in all the exquisiteness I’m surrounded with.

Perhaps, if I remember to enjoy every possible moment, the imprint of it in my memory would be much brighter than the photo. Don’t take me wrong, I admire photographers and their amazing ability to see the world. It’s my own way of rushing through life and its beauty that I sometimes regret.

Not that long ago I came back from the trip to Europe. We visited 5 countries in 10 days and got to see a lot of fascinating places. Unfortunately, I had to limit the number of excursion I went to due to the amount of work that had to be done while being on the trip.  However, it turned out to be a great blessing for me.

I had a chance to take a break from all the sightseeing, go sit at a cafe and enjoy my quiet computer work while observing people around me. My first such experience was in Prague.

jan HusHave you ever been to Prague? The Old Town Square and Charles Bridge create the illusion of being in a fairy-tale. The old astronomical clock is right there, around the corner playing its music every hour. The statue of Jan Hus impresses you with its seriousness and grandeur.

Two in Prague

A group of students gathered in the middle of the square deciding what to do next. Two young men found a place on the ground and placed their beer and food between them on the curb. Their relaxed postures exude freedom and independence.

Then we were in Strasbourg, France. We had a few hours in the city, and I was lucky to find a nice little cafe outside with chairs facing a picturesque bridge. Two young women probably in their 30s were having a glass of wine at a café. They had come there by bikes which means they’re most likely local.

There’s a muslim couple carrying big bags and arguing about something. They had just been to a mall and probably bought a few new clothes. A man with a backpack walked by – he’s definitely a tourist slowly looking around, taking it all in, enjoying the old city of Strasbourg.

After that we went to Geneva and Zurich, then Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. And every city gave me an opportunity to find a quiet place to work while observing people and enjoying local cappuccino or a glass of wine.

22053071_10155717220076613_1973212020_nHave you ever thought why we love to watch other people so much? What is it about seeing them interact with each other that fascinates us so much? It’s incredibly interesting! It’s like real life TV. And every person has a story to tell.

Next time you’re traveling, try not to rush from one landmark to another with a camera, but stop somewhere and simply observe people. Give them a chance to share their stories with you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from and get inspired by those stories. Your life will become richer, deeper and much more interesting.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me, do you travel fast or slowly? What do you like to do the most when you’re in a new place?

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My friend Maia spotted me with a camera in a cafe in Zurich.

What’s It Like To Be Colorblind?

5181903845_121bf85bc4Once I heard Tony Robbins do an interesting exercise with his audience. A few days later I tried it with several different groups too. Here’s how it goes: first, you look around and take notice of everything brown. Then you’re asked to close your eyes and remember everything green or blue. Usually it’s hard to remember what you weren’t paying attention to. You might think of a few green things but definitely not everything because when you looked around, all you fixed your eyes on was of the brown color.

There are three main conclusions I want to draw from this exercise.

1. How we see our life.

Some people live their life seeing only brown, grey and black colors around them. What’s even sadder, they constantly blame others for that or even the whole world for lacking bright colors.  It’s easy for such people to see the negative and the wrong, to notice failures, faults and problems. On the other hand, it’s hard for them to see the good in people. It’s terribly difficult to notice opportunities, potential and success.

I hope it’s not about you. I pray you learn to see the silver lining in every cloud. It might not be easy at times, but as soon as you open your eyes and choose to see the bright colors, you will see them.

2. How we live our life.

Another important point is that we hurry through our life and forget to notice the beauty. We fixate on the wrong things. We worship productivity and strive to be achievers of this world. Is that what life is all about? Unfortunately, there are so many people around us who spend their days working from 9 to 5 and hate their job. They get up every morning counting hours and days till the weekend or vacation.

Let me ask you something, do you remember the color of yesterday’s sunset? Or all you can remember is the screen of your computer, the colors of your TV or the glare of your smartphone?

     3. How thankful we are.

I once saw the video of a colorblind dad who received a birthday gift – the glasses that let him see colors. When he put them on and saw the color of his kids’ eyes for the first time he started crying. And I started crying with him. This man has never seen the sky in all its beauty. His world was different from mine, but suddenly everything changed. He saw what he had never seen before, and his heart was filled with gratitude and joy.

How often am I thankful for the ability to see the world in all its colors, the way it meant to be, the way it was created? My mom is a diabetic and has lost almost all her eye-sight. Her one eye is completely blind, and her other eye can only see 5%. And she is thankful for these 5%! She can at least see something, and she is incredibly thankful!

What can we do about it?

  • Let’s try to see the good in people even if they hurt and wronged us.
  • Let’s count blessings every day and see the opportunities in every challenge, trial or drawback.
  • Let’s slow down in the craziness of this world and enjoy the beauty of our life.
  • Let’s never take anything for granted and be thankful for every little thing.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments what is hardest for you – to see the good in people or situations, to stop and notice the beauty in our hectic world or to always be grateful? What’s most challenging for you?