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Build a profitable business- the baby steps part 25

Confidence. If you want to succeed in life you need to be a man of confidence. The world will only step aside and leave room for men who know what they want, and who are certain they will achieve those goals. This might sound cocky, but it is not. You need to believe before you can achieve and only the man of confidence knows that he´s  got what it takes to make it happen. So how do you aquire confidence? By knowledge. But not just any knowledge. the knowledge of practiocal application. Competence breeds comfidence. If you are competent at something and you truly grasp the underlying principals of dealing with it in a practical fashion, then chances are that you are also confident about that particular skill set. So if you need competence to get confidence, then what do you do to get competence? You practice. A lot. No matter what you are trying to master it takes time and practice. The gains will seem small at times but that´s just the way the world works. If you want confidence you will first need to aquire competence. And if you want to aquire competence you first need to pay the price. The only acceptable currencies are sweat and hard work. But in order not to fail we must first embrace failure. Only the man that is not scared of losing can keep winning.

The fear of failure affects your judgement, your ability and your confidence. And once confidence has been lost there is no point of doing battle at all. We know for a fact that the fear of failure is what is holding many potential entrepreneurs back. This phenomenon is particularly evident here in Europe. US entrepreneurs usually are much better at dealing with the prospect of failure. The american culture does not ridicule failure. It does however ridicule the lack of trying. In Europe that may not always be the case. If you tried and failed you are considered a failure. Simple as that. A US based entrepreneur would view such a failure as a new learning experience. It´s just another step that was neccessary to move one step closer to the success that is inevitable. For a european entrepreneur there is a lot more stigma associated with failure. What will people think about you if you fail? How will your friends and family react? What would the say about you when you turned your back. Even worse, what would you think of and tell yourself if you failed? How would you find the strength to recover from that?

Complement eachother. If you have a business partner you will thrive if you can complement eachother. This goes for skill set as well as personality. No matter how brilliant you are there will be tasks and skills that are not to your liking or which you are less profficient in. That´s alright. As long as you acknowledge these relative weaknesses of yours and adapt to that knowledge everything will work out just fine. In fact if you can accomplish this you can end up loving your daily work even more and excel even more in those tasks you feel are more to your liking and that better suit your particular skill set. You and your partner don´t need to be exactly similar when it comes to personality types in order to work out fine together. Nor do you need to both have the exact same skills sets. those of you that are familiar with the concept of specialization among countires and business regions in the world know that we are all better of if we all specialize and try to utilize our strengths the most. When we all specialize in doing what we do best, fastest and cheapest we all end up a lot more successful and wealthy as a group. This is not only true of countries. That goes for any business as well. If your partner is emotional and you are not, take charge of situations where emotions are running high. If your partner is a good salesperson while you are better in dealing with numbers, by all means go and analyze those numbers and let your partner do a sales call or two. The is power in specialization. It is one of those magical tools at hand that truly transcends the laws of mathematics. If you do it all yourself you might be good, but you are unlikely to be great. There will always be flaws in your game. There will always be things where you are not as comfortable as you would like to be. And very often that discomfort is for good reason. If you specialize and push your individual strengths you become a force to be reckoned with. An individual finger on your hand can easily be broken. But if you combine your fingers into a clenched fist they will become unbreakable. Specialization among a group of individuals creates a tightly knit team. It allows for 1 plus 1 to become 3. It is to the process of team building what spices are to food. It enhances and brings out the best individual flavours from the group and transforms it into a tasty dish.

Being different within a group is not a bad thing. Not as long as you learn to harness the power of each individual and make it blossom. Use each persons skills and personality traits in the best interset of the group and you will be unstoppable. Although you can get away with being different when it comes to skills set and personality, you still need to have the same values and incentives to function at the best possible level as a group. But that´s another story altogether. What if you are not a group of people running a business? What if you are doing it all by yourself? The same things apply. Instead of letting a partner dop stuff you are bad at just outsource them. If you can´t afford that you can always do it the old-fashioned way- barter. Exchange your top services for the best services of someone else. If you do that you will all be better off. And it won´t cost you a dime, just a bit of your time. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to do everything by themselves. While we encourage the willingness to do what it takes to succeed at all times, we also acknowledge the fact that nobody can be a one-man army. As an entrepreneur you will certainly feel like it at times, but the trues strength of an enterprise should be bigger than any one man. At the very least make sure that you spend the majority of your time doing what you do best (and we´re making the assumption here that what you do best is profitable for the company). If you are a top salesperson you should be selling. Don´t do the taxes. Sell. Hire someone to do the taxes for you. But you should definitively spend your time selling. If that´s your competitive advantage you want to spend as much time on it as possible. It´s simple really. Exploit your strengths to the fullest and minimize the effects of your weaknesses. Not only is that the smart thing to do. It´s the most profitable one as well.

Take time off. We won´t lie to you. Most of us have, at some point in our career, had truble in following this rule. And yet we have learned to appreciate the truth in it. You need to take care of yourself. You need time to relax your body in general and your mind in particular. Time to relax. We speak from experience. We used to work around the clock. We used to go on for years without any vacation. We used to deprive ourselves of sufficient sleep, nutrition and solitude. Not anymore. We can´t really say that we regret those early years. They proved to be a solid, if not essential,  foundation for our business success in the years to come. But they could have easily turned out to be our undoing. You can´t really push yourself that hard for prolonged periods of time without a proper time to relax, regroup and recharge your batteries. I suppose we were close at times. But we were probably to busy to notice. Experienced entrepreneurs will know what we are talking about. You all had similar experiences. Some of you made it through and learned from it. Some of you fared worse.

The risks for us were really high indeed. First of all we were ridiculously passionated about our field of business. We just couldn´t get enough of it. Second of all we wanted it all at once. We wanted to conquer the world and become multimillionaires as soon as possible. Third, we took no vacation and worked late each weekday. We also worked on weekends. Fourth, we are A-type personalities, making us prime targets of some pretty nasty stuff if we ´didn´t change. Fortunately we did change. And we did it in time. A veteran entrepreneur we used to do business with once told us that the world of business and the life of an entrepreneur is “less a sprint, and more like a marathon”. You need to be able to stick with it for the long haul. And nobody can give 300 percent for extended periods of time. You can get away with it for short periods of time, where the end of your efforts (and your goal) is in sight. But you can´t really do it for prolonged periods. That will ultimately break you. Without a doubt. And we know plenty of people that did break. Unfortunately.

In hindsight we have learned that we were among the lucky ones. There were others who were not as lucky. We know of entrepreneurs who suffered breakdowns. We know of entrepreneurs who didn´t listen to the warning signals from their own bodies and ended up nin hospital or even died young. We know of several tragedies that deal with preoccupation and insufficient recuperation. The details are not relevant. Trust us, they would only make you uneasy. Suffice to say that you need to take care and constantly look for that balance. You need to control and let off some stress from time to time. There are a number of ways to do this. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise on a regular basis. And that´s really only one of many positive side-effects that a regular exercise regime will carry with it. The way we see it not exercising on a regular basis is just plain stupid. You might save an hour here and there but you stand to lose so much more, it really is a fool´s play. You may win some minor battles, but you are certain to lose the war. Besides exercise a good natural healthy diet will work wonders for you. It will enable you to push yourself harder, and you will be able to get even more done in shorter periods of time. Yoga or meditation is good. If you are frowning right now chances are you need this more than you might think. The effects of yoga, for instance, on your stress levels and overall health is well documented. In fact, there are a number of major insurance companies that will shave off quite a bit of your fees if you send them a statement that proves your are doing tm yoga on a regular basis. That´s because you are a low-level risk to them. You are less likely to have health issues statistically speaking. Kind of makes you think doesn´t it? Yet another way to relax is to do massage once a weék or once a fortnight. We can tell you from experience that it will release a lot of pressures, tension and stress. Not to mention the beneficial effects it will have to your exercise regime. Massage will work wonders for those sore muscles and ligaments and your recuperation time will speed up significantly.

Exercise, yoga and massage will work wonders for sure but most of all you need balance to stay in this game for extended periods of time. You need to work hard and play even harder. And you need to assign specific periods of time for that play to take place. And make sure you go through with it. Seriously. Don´t be a party pooper. Enjoy your life while you are still here. Work will still be there in the morning. What´s more you will enjoy your work even more as you get  back. You will rediscover the beauty of your line of work. And you will enjoy life to the fullest. The reason we are explaining this at such great length here is that we know several entrepreneurs who are all work, no play. They usually excel as entrepreneurs. But they need to learn how to relax. That´s right. They need to learn how to relax, and what´s more they need to learn to enjoy to realax. There is another group of entrepreneurs who are all play no work. The reason we are not dealing with that group here is that they are usually not entrepreneurs for any length of time. They simply don´t have what it takes.

So after you´ve read this paragraph go plan a vacation or a weekend of relaxation and fun. Make it something exciting, something you look forward to and something that makes life worth living. And when the time comes remember to play just as hard as you work. You deserve it, and all that fun and excitement will motivate you to work even harder when you return. There is no such thing as not being able to find the time to take a vacation. Take control of your life and stop making excuses. Enjoy everything that life has to offer and live a balanced, happy and long life. That is what we wish for you, anyways. It´s up to you to decide whether our wish comes true or not.




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