Tag: Entrepreneur

Productivity

Its not about being Busy

 

“Unstoppable success even in the face of adversity is all about drawing on your resources and taking advantage of new opportunities.”

Dean Grey

At Skylab, we have a growing, but tight-nit group of core members.  Its immensely important (both for your professional development, and the increasing value of Skylab as a company) that every day, and every week, each individual team member is accomplishing definitive tasks, and producing valuable assets.

By having clear goals, and understanding perfectly the Vision and Expectations of your daily task or project, you can ensure that you stay productive.

You might think that productive just means “doing a lot of work” or “working really hard all day”.  Its far more than that, as this video should demonstrate to you:

 


Here at Skylab we want to help you create explosive productivity so you get big things done (and make your life matter).

That’s why we use the VEAC :  VEAC is at the heart of Skylab‘s Culture.  It is the process we use to go about our work day, start a new project, and communicate with each other.  Read each part of the VEAC carefully.  Incorporate these terms into your daily communication with the team and it will increases your productivity as a team and as an individual! Skylab supports all of its clients to use the VEAC model.

  • V – VISION  : Communicate and understand the scope and nature of the task or project. (Use ‘Active Listening’ skills)
  • EEXPECTATION :  Understand the timelines that your team lead is expecting this task to be done, and any required support/resources. (What will be delivered when)
  • AADJUSTMENT : If there is anything that effects the vision, expectation, or timeline while you are completing your task you will need to notify your team leader or teammates affected by this ASAP
  • C – CLOSE THE LOOP : When you feel the task is complete you must get a sign off from your team lead, and inform the other teammates involved with this accomplishment. (NOTE: Communication is not considered communicated until you have verbal or written acknowledgement or response. We operate in a fast paced situation emails, text or slack messages that are not responded to DO NOT COUNT as communication)

 

Here are 21 tips to get you to your best productivity from a leader in the self development world, Robin Sharma :

  • Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.
  • Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project. Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action.
  • Remember that big, brave goals release energy. So set them clearly and then revisit them every morning for 5 minutes.
  • Mess creates stress (I learned this from tennis icon Andre Agassi who said he wouldn’t let anyone touch his tennis bag because if it got disorganized, he’d get distracted). So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.

 

 

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

Oscar Wilde

 

  • Sell your TV. You’re just watching other people get successful versus doing the things that will get you to your dreams.
  • Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).
  • Run routines. When I studied the creative lives of massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, I discovered they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.
  • Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.
  • Don’t do so many meetings. Having the few meetings you now do standing up – and it’s created breakthrough results.
  • Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.

 

“We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice.”

Apolo Ohno

 

  • Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within what I call “Your Picasso Zone”.
  • Stop multi-tasking. New research confirms that all the distractions invading our lives are rewiring the way our brains work (and drop our IQ by 5 points!). Be one of the rare-air few who develops the mental and physical discipline to have a mono-maniacal focus on one thing for many hours. (It’s all about practice).
  • Get fit like Madonna. Getting to your absolute best physical condition will create explosive energy, renew your focus and multiply your creativity.
  • Workout 2X a day. This is just one of the little-known productivity tactics. Here’s the key: exercise is one of the greatest productivity tools in the world. So do 20 minutes first thing in the morning and then another workout around 6 or 7 pm to set you up for wow in the evening.
  • Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done.
  • Work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to recover and refuel.
  • Write a Stop Doing List. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.
  • Use your commute time. If you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day – get this: at the end of a year, you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. I encourage you to use that time to listen to fantastic books on audio + excellent podcasts and valuable learning programs. Remember, the fastest way to double your income is to triple your rate of learning.
  • Be a contrarian. Why buy your groceries at the time the store is busiest? Why go to movies on the most popular nights? Why hit the gym when the gym’s completely full? Do things at off-peak hours and you’ll save so many of them.
  • Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.
  • Get lost. Don’t be so available to everyone. I often spend hours at a time in the cafeteria of a university close to our headquarters. I turn off my devices and think, create, plan and write. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.

I truly hope these 21 productivity tips have been valuable to you. And that I’ve been of service. Your productivity is your life made visible. Please protect it.

The Future of Work is changing. Are you ready?

Working Nation is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to content about leadership and productivity directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the particular business sector. 

Here are a few coping mechanism and 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things) from Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek 

  • Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.
  • Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.
  • Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
  • For each item, ask yourself:
    • “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
    • “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
  • Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.
  • Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
  • TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.
  • If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.

 

Learning how to become a leader

 

“The Role of a great leader is not to give greatness to human beings, but to help them extract the greatness they already have inside them.”

A Leader’s quote

 

As we rise into leadership roles, it’s not always easy to walk the talk. Of course, we want to be wise sages, counseling our charges and inspiring them to greatness. But that’s easier said than done. The challenge was particularly acute for Karl Allen, co-founder and CEO of Planet Jockey, a company that creates management courses in the form of online games. He knew it would be a sad irony if the head of a company selling leadership games wasn’t much of a leader, himself. So he vowed to step up – and here are the lessons he learned through playing his company’s games and vowing to become the right kind of CEO.

Leader Way

Recognize where you’re starting.

Planet Jockey’s game teaches the principles of “buoyant leadership” – what Allen describes as “a concept whereby, as a leader, you float [on top] because the people you lead believe you deserve it.” (The concept is discussed in depth in a book called The Case of the Missing Cutlery by Kevin Allen, Karl’s partner in business and life.) But Karl recognizes that while buoyancy is the goal, he won’t always be perfect. “I can do it at times,” he says. “But sometimes [negative] instinct takes over, and it takes over really fast.” These days, he can recognize when he feels his temper rising at work, and can guide himself back into a more inspirational mode of leadership.

 

Say what you mean.

In evaluating his leadership style, Karl Allen recognized that sometimes in the past, he’s prioritized being ‘nice’ – which has driven him to avoid saying what he really means. That doesn’t serve anyone, he’s concluded. He recalls one incident where he felt one of Planet Jockey’s Udemy classes wasn’t gaining traction fast enough. The best possible reaction, he says, would have been to tell his staffer, “You’re doing an amazing job, and I’ve got a great idea for all the ways” we can grow further. He also could have directly discussed the critiques he had of the marketing. Instead, he recalls, “I phoned her up and said, ‘I think we’re really dropping the ball.’ It’s passive-aggressive, because when I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘you.’ And that’s terrible and destructive.” Planet Jockey’s games have helped him to realize where he went wrong.

Meetings are critical. One of the areas where Allen knows he fell short initially was in running staff meetings. “Before, I’d just get everyone into a meeting and start chatting and people would shout at me and I’d shout back at them,” he recalls. “What I learned after playing the game is that you need some rules. It’s not just about inspiring people; meetings need to be structured. For instance, you need smaller meetings, so you should try to limit it to 6-8 people. That way you know you can get to hear everybody’s point of view and everyone gets a chance to talk.” Overall, he says, “You need to know what needs to come out of the meeting, and have a clear sense of who’s there and why they’re there.”

At Skylabapps , our CEO & Leader, Dean Grey, has deeply understood that a very clear meaning and structure are essential for the optimal communication between the Skylab Team’s member.

 

 Search for hidden talents. 

Early on, says Allen, he would sometimes take too narrow a view of what others could contribute. “The game taught me that people within your team have a lot more to offer than sometimes you realize,” he says. As a result, he started a team practice in which staffers sit down and share what they’re doing outside of work. That’s how he learned about one employee’s side calligraphy business, which she was pursuing with a friend who worked at a company Allen was targeting. Allen had always thought of his staffer as being expert in “digital marketing, not face-to-face sales.” But with a little coaching, she was able to persuade her friend to make an introduction at her company. “I realized she has an amazing sales persona,” says Allen. “She built that skill and we got a huge piece of business.”

The conversation is what matters. When it comes to a topic like leadership, there will never be 100% agreement about the best approach to a given situation. That’s how Allen came to realize that the real value of the game is in the conversation it sparks. “The learning from the game wasn’t even so much from the game itself,” he says. “The learning is from the reflection on the game – how well you did, or thought you did…You learn because you have to fight it out and discuss it [with colleagues]. The answers are ambiguous and part of a learning process.”

 

“It is no secret that networking is the best path to a fruitful career.”

Dean Grey

MindMovies is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to great content about leadership and entrepreneurship directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the appropriate business sector. 

Becoming a great leader isn’t easy. It’s especially challenging when you’re running a company that’s predicated on teaching others how to lead. As Karl Allen shows, opening up about your mistakes and the learning process along the way is part of what it takes to truly succeed. You win or you learn !

 

Now Is The Perfect Time To Be A Women Entrepreneur

 

“Women who walks with purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities.  Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.”

Dr. Farrah Gray

 

In Silicon Valley, the percentage of women entrepreneur starting technology companies is astronomically low, at a rate around 3 percent. Of privately held companies, only 6.5 percent have a female CEO, and 1.3 percent have a female founder. How is this the case, when women are earning more than half of all bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees for the first time in history?

Despite these disappointing numbers and the gender issues, there is good news too. Women who are in tech are doing well and getting noticed. Recent data has shown that women-led technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35 percent higher return on investment. Companies founded by women also represented a record 13 percent of venture capital deals through the first half of 2013, up from only 4 percent in 2004. In other words, investors are starting to notice that it pays to have a woman in charge.

As a women entrepreneur and sole founder and CEO of a venture-backed digital healthcare startup, I’ve experienced a positive shift in how I’m treated as a woman in tech compared to the horror stories of women who came before me. This leads me to believe that now is the perfect time to make the leap into entrepreneurship as a women.

Women Entrepreneur

Women entrepreneur are being recognized as powerful leaders

Heavy-hitting women such as Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg and Ginni Rometty are in C-suite roles, running major Fortune 500 companies. Their leadership, and the headlines they garner, have popularized the image of women in high-level roles and opened the door for a conversation about the need for more female leadership in tech and beyond.

Fortunately, women outside of the spotlight are also excelling and being recognized for their outstanding leadership skills. A 2011 study in the Harvard Business Review evaluating men and women in the workplace found that:

“At every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows. Specifically, at all levels, women are rated higher in fully 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership. And two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree — taking initiative and driving for results — have long been thought of as particularly male strengths.”

Considering it wasn’t very long ago that women were relegated to the home and shunned from the boardroom, that is a pretty amazing and inspiring update. And for enterprising female entrepreneurs, the timing of this shift couldn’t be better.

​At Skylab, Dean Grey has perfectly understood that it is clearly essential to have women with high status : our CPO (Chief Product Officer), one of our Design Developer, our Client Engagement/Creative Producer and our Operations Officer are Women and they are awesome at what they do.

Women-led businesses are succeeding

With strong women entrepreneur at the helm, something interesting (but unsurprising) is happening to their businesses: They are growing at a higher rate than their traditional, male-led counterparts. Over the past 10 years, the growth in the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in revenues has increased by 56.6 percent, a rate 47 percent faster than the rate of growth of all $10 million-plus firms.

Women in leadership roles also seem to be key in driving the success of an enterprise. The failure rate of startups with two or fewer female executives is 50.3 percent, but with five or more women in high-level positions, the success rate jumps to 61 percent.

In particular, women are emerging as key players in healthcare, both on the ground and in the C-suite. Women entrepreneur account for 73 percent of medical and health services managers, making them the face of healthcare to the general population. And over the last decade, not only has the number of high-revenue, women-owned healthcare and social assistance firms nearly tripled, but those companies are growing at an impressive rate – 54.9 percent across all healthcare and social assistance firms, and nearly 183 percent for firms with over $10 million in revenue.

With healthcare in the national spotlight, women are emerging as successful leaders capable of shepherding America into a new era of health and wellness. Skylab Apps recognizes this trend and has partnered with healthcare professionals creating “Skylab Medical” a Skylab Apps incubator partner company. See more about this here.

The VC snowball effect

Women entrepreneur firms are succeeding and in turn, attracting more venture capital investment, leading to even higher growth. During the height of the dot-com bubble, venture capital investments in women-led businesses lagged pathetically, receiving less than 6 percent of total funds invested in the U.S. between 1997 and 2000. But between 2000 and 2011, that number shot up to 41 percent.

Combine that with the fact that when venture-backed, women-led technology companies bring in 12 percent higher revenue than male-owned tech companies and you have a Pandora’s box of potential.

As VC firms continue to be positively rewarded for investing in women-led companies, they will be more open to future investments. I’d be hard-pressed – and reluctant – to stop this snowball from reaching warp speed.

 

The women-supporting-women movement is just starting

There are more women entrepreneurs supporting younger and less-experienced female entrepreneurs today than ever before. For example, I had a mentor who had a huge impact on my growth and success, so I’m paying it forward.

Over the past year, I’ve been mentoring a young female entrepreneur who recently raised $1 million for her own startup and was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. The great thing is, 80 percent of female tech entrepreneurs reported having mentors and, in my experience, that bodes well for their future success.

There are more women investors looking for women-led companies, or great companies to invest in and add women to their leadership teams or advisory boards because the numbers don’t lie — the odds of success with women calling the shots.

“It is important to take an active role in shaping our personal and professional networks in order to live the most fulfilling lives possible.”

Dean Grey

At Skylab, We are proud to work with a great VAR (Value Added Reseller), The Gravity Network. 

The Gravity’s Team is composed of 4 women and one man. Gravity’s Founder is also a woman and she has done a wonderful job so far !

So what does it actually cost to build a Mobile App?

In 2014, 60 percent of online traffic came from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. By 2016, that figure had reached 65 percent. Here at Skylab Apps, we know the statistics of why your business, brand or product(s) need a Mobile App. What we find ourselves explaining a lot of the time is costs associated with making a high tech platform.

The increasing popularity of the smartphone has led to a high demand for mobile apps. The mobile app industry generated approximately $44.8 billion in 2016. By 2020, market analysts predict that the global mobile app market could hit $100 billion.

If you are planning to have a mobile app designed for your business, you should first consider development costs. Mobile app development is a multi-stage process. Each stage requires specialization, plus multiple tests to ensure quality and functionality. But if you could build a mobile app that successfully addresses the needs and wants of your market, your business could enjoy a windfall of profits.

Why does your business need a mobile app?

If your business has a mobile-responsive website, you are already ahead of 91 percent of everyone else. But if you add a mobile app, you could exponentially increase your lead over your closest competitors.

Here are a few advantages of having a mobile app for your business:

1. Improves accessibility
Today’s mobile market spends approximately 200 minutes in apps. A mobile app makes it easier for them to access your business without needing to switch devices.

2. Enhances customer engagement
Convenience and ease of use are important qualities for ensuring customer experience. Mobile apps allow your customers to connect and engage with you in real time, which helps foster trust and stronger relationships.

3. Improves brand recognition
Having your brand situated on the interface of a smartphone or tablet will heighten brand recognition, considering how much time people spend on their mobile devices. Plus, it has been estimated that there will be 268 billion app downloads in 2017, and 68 percent of consumers report actually using the apps they download.

4. Improves value proposition
You can use a mobile app to give your customers discounts, usable information and support.

5. Presents another avenue for sales
The convenience and accessibility of a mobile app will encourage your customers to carry out transactions with your business rather than patronize a competitor who only has a website.

People spend 89 percent of their time using mobile apps rather than mobile websites. According to Arthur Iinuma of ISBX, “Mobile apps tend to get a more qualified and engaged audience, and therefore sales conversion rates are higher in comparison to an ecommerce website.”

At Skylab, We’re not only providing a mobile app but we’re also incorporating gamification strategies for all users of the app. Gamification is a growing phenomenon, which is revolutionizing the way things have been classically done. Dean Grey even highlights the power of social learning with gamification techniques. Gamification is taking something that already exists such as some sort of online community, website, application and adding game mechanics to this source. The purpose of providing game mechanics to these various sources is to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty among its users. Gamification goes through 10 features such as Gamified E-learning, Power Chat, Habit Tracking Actions and Smart Tags.

To learn more about Gamification and our App’s Vision check out Skylab CEO, Dean Grey, websites : 

http://www.deangrey.net/

http://www.deangrey.org/

Types of business apps to consider

Businesses develop apps that cater to the needs of their market. Depending on your type of business, there are different apps you can consider:

1. Basic functionality: improves usability of mobile devices

2. Database-driven functionality: allows you to organize files and programs

3. Games: involve some of the most complicated processes in mobile app development

4. Enhancement or modification: designed to improve specific functions of your mobile device

5. Fully dynamic: data driven but dependent on external information

6. Custom utilities: allow you to format content in a specific way

It is very important that you have an idea of the type of app you want developed. It will help the process move faster and lower the risks of making mistakes or redesigns.

The process of developing an app

There are four stages involved in the development of an app:

1. Developing the idea: Once you’ve identified the type of app you need for your business, it is time to shift your focus to developing the concept behind the idea.

2. Functionality layout: This stage slowly brings your idea into a more tangible concept. Your software developer or architect will present wireframes to show how the app will function. You can give your inputs on how to make the app more usable to your market.

3. Design: This stage includes both the backend and frontend development phases. It involves management of users, server side logic, customization of user experience, data integration, caching of data, synchronization of data, UI design and development and various schedules for testing.

4. Going live: Once everything has been certified ready by your software development team, you can prepare to go live. For users of iOS, you should have the built-in Xcode installed so your app can be featured in the App Store.

Estimated costs of building a mobile app

Once you’ve determined the type of app you want to build and identified your target markets, it’s time to choose your platform. There are two main platforms to choose from: Android or iOS.

What are the differences in building an app for Android vs. iOS?

  • iOS apps are cheaper and can be built quicker.
  • Android apps take two to three times longer to build than iOS apps.
  • iOS users, who own iPhones and iPads, tend to spend money more freely. This is why developers launch iOS-only apps before creating for Android. It gives them an idea of whether the app will be successful.

Your choice of platform may depend on the market you are targeting. While iOS is more popular in the U.S., Android has slowly gained ground and in fact leads in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

The next step is to assemble a mobile app development team, which will consist of the following:

  • Project manager(s): Oversees the entire development of the mobile app
  • UI/UX designer(s): Tasked with the app’s habitus and the impressions of the user
  • Coder(s): Oversees the app’s hidden structure
  • QA Engineer(s): Oversees all testing protocols

The cost of this team depends on the complexity of the app. Simple apps take approximately 10 weeks to build, with design accounting for up to 90 hours and backend development up to 800 hours.

Complex apps take around 28 weeks to build. Design would need approximately 370 hours and backend development up to 2,200 hours.

For Android apps, cost ranges as follows:

  • Elementary apps: $25,000 to $35,000
  • Standard apps: $45,000 to $55,000
  • Complex apps: $55,000 to $100,000
  • High-tech apps: $75,000 to $150,000

Estimated costs for iOS apps (for Apple devices) are as follows:

  • Simple, table-based apps: $1,000 to $4,000
  • Database apps: $15,000 to $50,000
  • Games: $10,000 to $250,000

 

The following are some other costs to consider for building your app:

  • In-app purchase capability: $1,000 to $3,000; allows users to buy new content or full versions of the app
  • Web services: $1,000 to $5,000; take the content to a remote access point so you can update your app with XML files instead of changes to the raw code
  • Game center: $1,000; Apple’s way of integrating your app with the SDK
  • Share capabilities: $500 to $1,500; allow content sharing via social media and email
  • SDKs: $50 to $200; SDKs help you track your app and find ways to monetize. Examples include Google Analytics, Chartboost and Tapjoy.

A mobile app is a great way to help your business gain more traction and better brand recognition. But it could entail quite an investment. While the timing of the release is important, you should not rush through the development stages. The cost of building the mobile app will hardly matter in the long run if it takes off and gains a large market of users.

 

 

 

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Starting a business is exciting, and scary. Let’s explore how to tap in to your Entrepreneurial spirit​!

I’ve started more businesses than I’d care to admit. In my experience, it’s a bit like driving through a heavy fog where you are only able to see a few feet in front of the windshield — you don’t know what’s up ahead until it’s upon you. However, the longer you are an entrepreneur, the better you can navigate through that fog.

As I’ve been driving through the fog for over a decade now, I thought I would take today’s post and boil down 15 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past decade of building and growing businesses. Consider these tips “stuff I wish I had known when I was young and stupid.” This is what has allowed me to develop my Entrepreneurial spirit  Let’s get to them.

1. Don’t listen to statistics. People love to throw around the statistic that 95 percent of business fail. Don’t listen to that — it’s an excuse to make you feel comfortable about giving up. If that number is even correct, it’s because most people don’t commit, they don’t follow through to the end or they are stupid in how they manage their money.

2. Do something you like. Don’t start something you won’t want to do in five years. Because if you are successful, you’ll still be doing this in five years.

3. You are not going to know everything.In fact, you probably won’t know anything when you first start. Start anyway. When I first got into real-estate investing, I had no idea how to buy a property, rent a house, or evict a tenant. I figured it all out “on the job.” You will too.Entrepreneurial spirit 

4. Finish what you start. Nearly every entrepreneur I know suffers from the same curse: we like to start things more than we like to finish them. In other words, if you are a good entrepreneur, you’ll have a lot of great ideas. Most of them would probably work out well and make you a lot of money. However, that doesn’t mean you should pursue them. Pick one and go with it until it dies or it makes you rich enough to buy a private island.

5. Never partner with someone because it’s convenient, think like an entrepreneur. Partner with someone because it makes you stronger. The wrong partner will drive you crazy, make you hate your work and end up causing more problems than they solve.

6. You are going to suck at managing people.It’s OK, we all do at first. However, this is one task you must get better about. Hire an assistant right now, even if it’s only a virtual one for $3 an hour. It will give you some great training on managing, with little downside.

7. Social media probably isn’t that important. We just pretend it is so we can look at cat pictures on Facebook. I’d recommend installing a Facebook newsfeed blocker.

8. Stop designing business cards, logos, business plans and stationeryThey don’t matter right now. Go build your business and stop doing busy work that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something.

9. There is a fine line between dedicated and obsessed. Screw the line. Trample right over it. You need to cross that line continually, so never let anyone tell you that you are too obsessed with your idea. I’m completely and overwhelmingly obsessed with real-estate investing — and it’s OK. This is one of the best ways to know that you have developed that Entrepreneurial spirit!  What are you obsessed with?

Entrepreneurial spirit 

10. Don’t quit your job too soon. Yes, you’ll have more time to build your business, but let’s be honest: there are 168 hours in a week, only 40 are consumed by your job and another 50 by sleep. You have plenty of time if you would just hustle and turn off Netflix. But don’t be afraid to quit your job if you can afford it.

11. Focus on your higher paying tasks. Divide up your tasks and determine what your “$10 per hour” tasks are and what your “$1,000 per hour” tasks are. Focus on doing more “$1,000 per hour” tasks and fewer “$10 per hour” ones. For more on this, read Want to Make $1,000 or More Per Hour? And yes, you do a lot of $1,000 an hour tasks, even if you don’t realize it. Just do more of them.

12. Your spouse and kids matters more than your business. Never forget that.

13. Read — a lot. If you don’t have time, listen to audiobooks. And not just business books. Read motivational books, self-help books, success books, fiction books, biographies — whatever. This was one of the best ways to develop my Entrepreneurial spirit

14. Get up earlier. Yes, you can, and you should. I don’t care if you are not a morning person. That’s an excuse lazy people use. For more advice on this, read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s life changing.

15. Don’t worry about raising money. Focus on building a business so incredible people throw money at you.

Like driving down a lonely highway on a dark, foggy night, entrepreneurship can be a little scary. But hopefully at least one of the above tips will help you navigate through the fog a little easier with more confidence. If you are just getting started with your business, just remember this: keep driving through the fog. Your future self will thank you.

Do you have any additional tips you’d like to add? Or something you’d like to expand upon? Leave your comments below and let’s continue the conversation. I would love to hear your story on developing your Entrepreneurial spirit.

 Skylab apps CEO & Founder, Dean Grey, has excelled at identifying business opportunities and staying focused on the positive aspects of these opportunities. Realizing how networking is your greatest strength, Grey decided to take this idea and apply it to one of today’s most commonly-used technologies: mobile applications.

Finally, if you think this post could help one of your family members or friends, share it on your favorite social-media channel. You never know whose life you might change.

The author Steve Wolf is a serial entrepreneur and currently the Director of Sales and Marketing at Skylab Apps. Along with the CEO of Skylab Apps Dean Grey Contributed to the article. If you are interested in finding out more about what Skylab Apps is all about and the entrepreneurs that make up this company, please check us out at www.Skylabapps.com

I wrote a previous blog on money management where I shared some tips on how to identify where you are wasting money and then gave my own personal formula (via an downloadable excel spreadsheet found here) the gauge all of your spending. If you are coming from that blog, then you are in the right place. If you are just looking at this blog for the first time, it may be prudent to go back and check out the previous one I wrote or at least download the excel spreadsheet because you will need it for the next step.

Step 2 – Formulating a simple budget that you will actually follow.

It was told to me early on in life by a very wealthy mentor of mine who I respect dearly that if I couldn’t manage $1, then I couldn’t manage $1 Million dollars. This is so true, I meet people all the time who’s personal finances are garbage even when they are making great money in their career.

It all comes down to money management and budgeting. Again, this is another common thread among all wealthy people I have ever met; they all have a budget based on a formula that uses money as a tool never spending it emotionally. Here is what to do.

Take that excel spreadsheet you just downloaded. (or get it here)

The idea here is very simple. Manage any and all money that you get. EVERY SINGLE CENT! If you know what your monthly income is, it becomes very easy to budget, if you are like me and get paid in lump sums sporadically then disciplining yourself to a system like this is crucial!

Ok so here is how it works: For every dollar I take in, it gets split up and put in to different bank accounts. Each bank account represents a different aspect that I am saving for. In my case I have 8 Bank accounts. I explain what I use them for and the benefits.

  1. Wells Fargo Checking / Savings account – This account is used for daily spending, and paying bills. Think of it as your most active account, all money is deposited here before it goes to other accounts.

For daily spending and bill payment, I like Wells Fargo. The important thing to remember here is to bank with a bank that is convenient to for you with lots of locations and low fees across the board. As of right now, I pay NO FEES with Wells. I think B of A is the worst, and Chase Bank is in the middle when it comes to big banks.

  1. Discover Bank # 1 – Taxes (This is where I said aside money for taxes every year)
  2. Discover Bank # 2 – Emergency Fund account (Save for a rainy day)
  3. Discover Bank # 3 – Long Term Savings (Use for large purchases like a house or car etc.)

I use Discover bank because they give you the highest rate of return for a savings account. 0.95% to be exact and…

  • No minimum deposits
  • No Account Fees
  • Open as many accounts as you want
  1. Capital One 360 # 1 – Annual Expenses account (Money set aside for annual expenses like car insurance, property tax etc.)
  2. Capital One 360 # 2 – Vacation Fund (Saved money for Vacations)

I use Capital One 360 because they pay a pretty good rate of return on money in savings and my account doubles over as my top pick for a travel debit card that has

  • No minimum deposits
  • No Account Fees
  • Open as many accounts as you want
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • No ATM banking fees.

(If you are interested in opening up a Capital1 360 Account and want $20 for free just for doing so, click this link.)

  1. Wealthfront Account – Managed Portfolio Long term investing account

(Click here to learn about wealth front and why I recommend them. Clicking this link will get your first$15,000 managed for FREE!!)

  1. FXCM Account – This is my active foreign currency trading account as I trade currencies daily. If your are interested in learning how to trade I wrote a blog about it here,  otherwise, dedicate the 5% I am setting aside in this account to some other find or investment.

Now take some time to look it over the excel spreadsheet. If you need to open a couple accounts, don’t worry, this can literally be accomplished in an hour, follow the links above to use my recommendations, or feel free to open up accounts where your want to.

Keep in mind that I am a 1099 independent contractor that means I pay my own income taxes each year. If you are a W-2 employee, then you can zero out the taxes line because your taxes are collected before you get paid. Personally I set aside 18%-20% a year for myself, you may pay less or more depending on how much you make and what your tax liabilities look like.

  • Enter all of your monthly and annual expenses. (You will see some numbers starting to populate)
  • Replace my bank accounts with your banks and match them closely as possible, meaning if you have a normal B of A or Chase Checking and savings account, that should be your main account at the top. If you have an E*TRADE, Schwab or IRA, replace my Wealthfront account with yours etc.
  • If there are some areas where you will need to set up new bank account, leave them blank for now
  • Now enter in your monthly income at the top in the yellow (total monthly Colum)
  • By now you should see some of the boxes populating. I will explain what’s happening here

The Breakdown.

Ok by now you probably have a good idea of what I am driving at here, but I will explain anyway. This formula is partitioning all of your income into different savings columns to give you a well rounded and financially savvy money management system.

The breakdown as seen in my excel sheet looks like this.

  • I earn $100
  • $20 (20%) is saved for taxes and taken right off the top (Skip step if you are a W-2 employee)
  • Now I have $80 Left
  • $40 (50%) Goes to my living expenses, i.e. rent, mortgage, car payment, food, gas etc.
  • $10 (10%) – To the emergency fund, after all shit happens.
  • $10 (10%) – Long-term savings fund. This could be for a future large purchase like a car or house down payment.
  • $8 (8%) – Annual Expenses Account – Like car registration or medical/life insurance. Things that get paid once per year
  • $7 (7%) – Vacation Fund – To broke to take a vacation, do this for a year, and I promise you that you will have enough to take a vacay!
  • $10 (10%) – Long-term investment account – YOU NEVER TOUCH THIS MONEY! This is for your retirement. You may be thinking I’m way to young to start saving for retirement, but the difference between starting this habit at 20 years old compared to 30 years old will mean a difference of hundreds, yes I said hundreds of thousands by the time your retire. So don’t fuck around with this one, set the 10% aside and forget about it.
  • $5 (5%) – For me it goes to an active trading account that I personally trade. If you have no desire to learn how to actively trade, you can simply put this money towards some other kind of investment short term to medium term, but this money is not for bullshit, it’s money set aside for short-Medium term investments with a bigger return on the short side.

Conclusion

This whole idea was adopted after first reading the age old book The Richest Man in Babylon. When done correctly you will learn to pay yourself first and then save and invest the rest of it leaving a little hear and there for having a good quality of life.

My parents generation saved about 20%-30% of there income on average. My generation saves a measly 5%-10% and knowing that we are going to need a least a cool million to retire on (4 times as much as my parents will need) we need to get on this today. There is literally no time to waste.

Again, if you are in debt, or not making a lot of money, apply this formula anyway. Rework the numbers to make them fit your situation. If you are in some serious debt, check out my blog on &^%&^%&*^%&* if you are just not making that much or spend money stupidly, then I challenge you to try this for 90 days. If after 90 days you don’t feel like you have a better handle on your finances and that you are heading in the right direction, comment here and I will jump out of an airplane to promote what ever you want me to.

Money is a tool. It is only emotional when you don’t have enough of it. It controls you, or you control it, simple as that.

****And as a bonus, if you are still not convinced, Acorns is a nifty little app that allows you to invest pocket change from rounded up expenditure in to the market as a long term investment. Follow this link to check it out and get $5 for opening an account.

Did you mis part 1 of this blog? Read it here!

 

It is not everyday that you really get to feel all of your hard work pay off. When I started currency trading 3 years ago, it was hard. There was a learning curve, and at times it seemed daunting and elusive to actually be successful at trading.

I really believe that when attempting anything new, there is going to be a period of time where you just suck at it. When you are a person who really likes to win, it can be difficult to attempt new things. The trick is that you simply need to accept the fact that you are a rookie, a noob, a kook or whatever and that you are not going to be killing it one month out of the gate.

Trading currencies has been a game changer for me. Coming from the sales and marketing world, investing in general seemed to be for brainiac types who were really good at numbers. I knew that I could always make money in a situation where there was something to sell, but could i have the same success as an investor, or as a FOREX Trader?

When I first found the Forex market I was vacationing in Bali Indonesia on a surf trip. On a day where there wasn’t any surf to be had, I started looking for ways to make money from a laptop…. (Watch the video, it will explain the rest so I can get on with my story)

Once I found the market and made my first couple hundred dollars before the sun came up one random morning, I was hooked! Unfortunately I never took in to consideration that in order to win at trading, you are going to take losses, and I was a guy who didn’t like to lose. I proceeded down a losing spiral of lost profits and nearly decimated my entire trading account in less then a months time.

I took a break from trading and was feeling pretty beat up by the market. Losing can really screw with you when catch a bad streak like I did. I was not prepared for the emotional turmoil that ensued. Unlike anything I had attempted before, currency trading required me do adopt a high level of emotional intelligence in order to be successful at it. So I got back up, dusted myself off, and got back to it.

I went back to  the school where I had originally learned how to trade. I went through the course again with no expectations and a new willingness to learn. 

The curriculum didn’t change, my perspective did. This time around, I was a lot more humble. After all I got my ass kicked. After putting in 6 months of hard work in, I starting to see some positive results in the form of substantial equity growth in my account. I was ready to take the show on the road, and see if I could really do this from anywhere in the world.

I headed down to Nicaragua with my girlfriend with 3 goals in mind:

  • Propose to my girlfriend
  • Surf some big waves
  • Pay for the whole trip currency trading from my laptop

I scored big time. The surf was macking, and I was pretty sure my girlfriend was going to say yes to marrying me. I was just waiting for the right moment to propose. I started doing my pre-sessions & technical analysis on the market looking for some trades one morning, and then just like that, a couple trade set ups presented themselves and I pulled the trigger!

— I was sitting in a youth hostel using their shotty wifi and hoping to God that the internet did not go out before I closed my trades. With in 15 minutes of trading I managed to pull 7 scalped trades netting me $1,272.96 after commissions. —

I closed my laptop, ordered an iced coffee and just sat for 10 minutes staring at the ocean and feeling like I had just pulled off a huge victory! I soaked it up, I proved 15 minutes of tradingthat not only could I trade, but I could do it from a shitty hostel with bad wifi in Central America. Later that evening, I asked my girlfriend to marry me and she said yes.

So I got 2 out of 3 of my goals done. Even though $1,300 was not enough to cover the entire trip, I felt like $1,300 for 15 minutes of my time was well worth taking the rest of the trip for myself and to celebrate my new engagement. Besides, the surf was macking remember!

The moral of the story is that If you put your mind to something and stick with it, you can do it. The path to success is not linear, but it follows a trend!

If you want to know more about how you can become a currency trader and make profits in the market from a lap top anywhere in the world click the logo below and find out more about the FX365 Institute!

FX365i+4inSmall

 

In my last blog I wrote about the Joy’s and freedoms of working remotely. If you missed it, read it here! This will give you a little better context of what I am writing about in this 5-Step process to finding the perfect remote job to keep you traveling and experiencing the world all while making money from your lap top.

Here is my 5-Step Process.

1 – Find a job, skill, or way that you can actually do that will produce income with out you physically needing to be there.

This is going to be your most difficult task. You may be saying to yourself “well I am a doctor, how could I possibly practice medicine from a laptop?” Well this comes down to how resourceful you want to be. My dad is doctor, a Podiatrist to be exact and he has been looking into what is know as “tele-medicine” which is basically on call and on demand video conferencing from doctors to patients. Say you have a foot problem, you go on the site, set an appointment, my dad would accept it, you are instantly connected, he gives your advice and recommendations and your done. The system charges the patients credit card and they go on their way. Booya, there is a way a doctor can work 100% remotely. You may be surprised what you find if you really start thinking of all the different ways you could monetize your skill sets right from a computer from anywhere in the world, don’t worry, we will get to that in number 2.

2. Get really good with technology.

If you are going to have any chance at being an entrepreneur on the road, then you are going to have to get really good with leveraging technology and automation. What do I mean by this. Well put it this way, I can pretty much run all of my business from my iPhone. Everything from a CRM to a VOIP telephone system that allows me to communicate effortlessly through WIFI any where in the world. This means that if you are planning on getting in to a business that has to ship “real” goods and logistics as well as a customer service dept. will be necessary, than you are going to have your work cut out for you. I am not saying that it is impossible, just going to take a couple extra steps of strategic planning and utilization of technology that automates the process.

3. Simple is better.

A good business is not necessarily a complex business. I would consider a solid business to be one that is profitable, allows you to live the life you desire and takes care of it’s employees and it’s customers. Some of the best businesses that I know of were born out of the simplest ideas or needs by a consumer. Take for example the work we do at the FX365 Institute, we teach people how to trade currencies all over the world from office in San Diego. We have students in 20 U.S. States and 4 countries that take our course 100% remotely and learn a skill set that allows them to make money in the foreign currencies market anywhere in the world from a laptop.  Don’t over complicate this part. The less you need to run your business, the better off you will be.

4.How much do you really need to make?

My favorite part of explaining these concepts to people is conveying the fact that a business only needs to make you a “enough” money in order for it to change your life. If you added up all of your expenses annually, and then added in the costs to live in another country or to travel a couple months out of the year I think you will be surprised to find that you don’t need to make $300K per year to achieve your goals. In fact, I have been able to travel about 2 months out of every year for the past decade making around $100k per year. The best part is that I only really needed about $60K to sustain so any extra money that I make on top of my yearly nut goes in to savings and investments. This allows me to stay diversified, active in the markets using online portfolio managers, and open to new ideas and businesses while I can keep the quality of life I have come to enjoy. The point is to make enough and then a little more. You don’t need to be a millionaire to pull this off.

5. Multiple Streams of Income remotely

 I know you have heard this one before, but maybe not through the lens of doing it remotely. Every book I have read on this topic is about real estate and multiple businesses that would require you to physically be somewhere to manage those streams. When you start to venture down the road of working remotely you start looking at businesses in a whole new light.

I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely, follow the links below to check them out:

Does your Remote business pass the litmus test? Could you actually leave the country for weeks or months at a time and still count on the business to grow on its own and produce income.

In this article I am going to share with you some of the most important questions that you should be asking yourself to avoid a career that is going to keep you chained to your desk.

When I am approached with a business or come up with an idea, I ask myself these following questions to help me decide if I should even consider pursing the business. I wrote a blog recently about The Joys of working remotely and also my 5-Step process to finding the perfect career where you can travel the world and work from a laptop.

I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going to go a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely.

Now for the smell test questions:

1.  If I spent a year building this business and I left the country for 2-4 weeks with out being able to call back or answer any emails would it still be standing when I go home?

This may take some introspection and some deep thinking about what the business is, who it would involve and what you would need to figure out to get all of the pieces together. This type of think and evaluation will become paramount when assessing situations for your business in the future, so play the tape out and visualise as best as you can where you would see yourself and the business in a year or two.

2.  Is this a business I can run myself, or will I need to hire or contract out work to properly run it and if I do, will I be able to effectively manage the team remotely? 

If you can do it on your own, great, do it! Unfortunately most enterprises even small ones will need to depend on others to accomplish what ever it is your business will do or provide for people. The question you need to concern yourself with is can you effectively manage then from a far or set the business up in a way where employees or partners can or would be self serving and motivated to accomplish tasks day to day to keep the company running smoothly. 

3.  On a scale from 0%-100% how much of the business can I automate?

(0%-60% is no good / 60%-80% is ok / 80%-100% is ideal). Automation is going to be key for you to managing efficiently from a far. It will allow you to batch work and delegate important work properly. Also it really allows you to step away from the business or parts of the business for days or weeks at a time and then come back to spot check at a later date. Most importantly automation usually takes the place of what human used to do and will allow you to perform more high value activities for the business.

4. Will it make me enough money to give me the life I desire to have and if so how long will it take to get me to that point? 60 Days? 6 months? A year? 

For more on this topic check out my blog I wrote on Time vs. Money! This will really put this step in to perspective for you.

5. Pros and cons list – Now for the final step, write down all of the great things about how the business is going to get you what you want out of it. Examples could be things like “90% automation” or “allows me to travel 6 months per year” etc and then do the same for all of the potentially negative elements about the business. Make sure to be real with yourself here. Don’t sugar coat this part.

Once you have completed all of these steps, then you will have a solid understanding about what you could potentially be getting involved in. I can’t stress the importance of the exercises!

Working as a management consultant for a number of years I have a keen ability to understand what is going to make a business succeed or fail. Unfortunately most folks don’t even think about these things when starting a business. Instead they get excited about the idea, or one aspect of the new business and run with it throwing caution to the wind and ignoring or simply not flushing out the idea and all the pit falls that would ensue first.

Be smart, be savvy and get the business that will give you the life you desire but don’t ever be afraid to give your idea a litmus test! It will save you time, money and heartache in the future. These simple actions will keep you on the right track helping you to avoid a business or an idea that will stand in the way of a more well suited business or opportunity that will give you everything you need.

 

 

 

Do you ever dream of being able to run a business from anywhere in the world? Have you ever found yourself looking online for different ways you could travel abroad and somehow make an income while you were half way around the world.

Over the past decade I have been perfecting this skill. The truth is that it is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true if you are used to a 9 to 5 standard day job. The dream of one day quitting that job and breaking free from the chains of the corporate world can be elusive and fleeting.

When I was 22 I left the country for the first time. I had always wanted to travel but I was a troublemaker growing up and spent the later part of my teen years in rehab getting sober. By the time I was 20, I had been sober for a couple of years and my life was back on track, so I decided to leave America and embark on an adventure.

I signed up for a study abroad trip to Spain, paid the money and prepared to leave home. To be perfectly honest, this trip wouldn’t be my first time out of America, I frequently went to Mexico in my teen years growing up in San Diego. None of my trips to Mexico had any real cultural importance. In fact, I don’t even really remember what transpired during most of those trips and never really made farther the the Tijuana bars on Revolution Blvd. This trip was going to be different, I was with college kids, and there was some structure, so I figured that was a good place to start.

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I remember getting off the plane in Madrid. I was bustled away from the group with my host mom who didn’t speak a lick of English and was given a room in her little apartment. I was super jet lagged and had never been on a flight that long in my life so I passed out immediately.  When I woke up it was dusk outside. I walked down the 4 flights of stairs and sat out on the side walk in the neighborhood I was staying in listening to all of the sounds of the city and taking it all in. The smells, the cars, the food, everything was different, I didn’t know anyone around, and I was far from home. I was in LOVE.

This first encounter of Wanderlust was intoxicating to me. I vividly remember it and I was so grateful to be in that moment experiencing life again in a new way for the first time.

I thought to myself, what if I could do this all of the time, what if I could just travel a lot? It was sometime on that trip that I decided I was going to need to find a line of work that was going to allow me to do this. About a week before the program ended, I told my professors running the program that I wouldn’t be accompanying them back to America, and stayed in western Europe an additional 4 months traveling around Spain, Italy and France.

Once I ran out of money, I came home. At that time I was running a Mortgage office which surprisingly was still standing after my almost 5 months of me being gone. It didn’t matter though because I came home in September 2008 just in time to watch the housing market collapse completely. I was screwed. I had done really well for a kid who dropped out of college to get rich but it was all back firing now and traveling was the last thing on my mind.

After the dust settled I was about $190,000 in debt and in need of a new career. I had decided to go back to college a year earlier and had about a year and a half left for my undergrad degree so I figured I would spend the next 2 years finishing college and finding a career that would set me up to travel the globe and make money while I was doing so.

The first business that I found that worked really well for me was multi-level marketing. It seemed like a great fit, I was recruited in to a company being sold the dream that if I spent a couple years working hard at building an organization, it would eventually take off and continue to pay me residually. This was PERFECT. I could build the business for a couple years to about $100K per year then disappear to Indonesia

For a first timer in MLM, I did incredibly well, and I build that $100k per year income in a short amount of time but it was short live. The first company I was with asked me to leave and the second company I joined eventually went belly up. Also every time I would leave the country on a trip, I found myself on my phone or laptop the whole time putting out fires and that was just plane stupid.

When I finally walked away from the industry I decided to put my entrepreneur hat back on. I had raised some money for a tech start-up and was actively learning how to trade currencies in the FOREX market.

I never lost site of my desires and dreams of being able to make money from a Laptop; I just needed to be a little more resourceful. I found that as long as I can offer real value to a client even being a great distance away, that my capability to earn money anywhere where I was in the world would be there.

So over the past 5 years I have been doing just that. Most of the consulting work that I do is never from an office, maybe my home office. I do keep an office at the Currency trading school that I have a long-term contract with but they have always been cool with me leaving and making my own schedule. Again, I attribute that leniency to the results I am able to deliver. The moral of the story is that there is a million ways to make money and add value to a person, place or business, however you need to be resourceful if you are going to do this from a laptop half a world away.

I have put together my top 5 tips to finding your own way to take your business on the road with you for good. Read “Top 5 Tips to Working remotely.” To see what it’s all about