Blog, Business, Paul Saunders

How To Be Financially Successful In Your Personal Life

Becoming financially successful doesn’t happen overnight. Increasing your net worth and succeeding in your career requires plenty of hard work and learned habits. If you want to learn how to be financially successful in life, there are a few steps to take that will prove to pay off.

Live Below Your Means

Although you may have the mindset of a successful individual, it doesn’t mean that you should live like one. Don’t invest your money in items you can’t afford or don’t need. That means be frugal with your money and don’t worry about impressing others with physical objects that will lose their novelty over time. Investing your money in items that don’t offer anything in return will lead to temporary satisfaction instead of long-term stability. Instead, put your extra earnings in the stock market, a 401(k), or your savings account.

Set Financial Goals

Obtaining financial wealth will require setting goals to ensure that you have a plan of action and that you understand the necessary steps to implement your vision. The goals should be realistic to ensure that you stay motivated and don’t become discouraged. When you have a huge goal, break them down into milestones so that they are in easy to reach steps. You can also celebrate each time that you have a small victory to ensure that you reward yourself and continue to stay on track.

Ask for Help from Experts

When you ask questions or get help you are expanding on the knowledge  you have. The more you get into the practice of asking questions the more financially literate you become. Getting help from successful professionals is necessary to ensure that you can avoid mistakes and obtain guidance. Ask questions, find a mentor, and get different opinions to ensure that you can become more knowledgeable about how to grow your money over time.

Create an Emergency Fund

Most financial experts will tell you to save at least $1,000 for an emergency fund, which will allow you to pay for unexpected costs. Costs that could range from car repairs to medical expenses, an emergency fund will offer peace of mind. If you don’t have something created, you could end up opening credit cards, or taking loans to cover the cost. When you have the funds already established, you won’t need to go into debt. You should also save at least three to six months of income to use if you suffer from a job loss to ensure that your bills can continue to be paid until you secure employment. The biggest goal here is to have enough money for those emergencies so that you aren’t panicking for additional funds.

Being financially successful is a challenging, time-consuming process. You will reach that success sooner if you start now though.

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Blog, Business, Paul Saunders

How To Influence Others At Work

Getting ahead in your workplace can be difficult if you are not in a leadership position. However, if you use the right approach, you can influence others in your company and position yourself for more success. This will allow you to grow connections and be better prepared for when you want to become a leader. Here is what you need to know:

Connect With Others

Seek out others in your office that you can form a bond with. It doesn’t have to be your manager or anyone above them. Instead, you want to create connections with others. By doing this, people will be more likely to hear out your idea, or may even be willing to bring you in on a project if they need help. Sometimes, just making friends is a great start to your career.

Listen First And Speak Second

You should hear others out before rushing to talk. Take the chance to give someone else the power to be heard. Don’t interrupt them if they are in the middle of a thought even if you think you are going to help them. By allowing them to talk, you will be able to get a better idea of what they are trying to tell you, and you can base your response off of that.  If you are trying to persuade another, you can tailor your answer so that it targets their needs or what they are valuing. This will make them more receptive to your idea. Once you get into the practice of listening first, it will become a habit, and you will acquire a reputation as someone who gives sound advice. So use this to your advantage at every turn.

Develop Expertise

If you do not have an official title of influence within your company, take the chance to become an expert in a skill.  Take more classes or get additional credentials. When your coworkers need help, they know they will be able to go to you. Use this opportunity to not only help your coworkers but also to teach them, so that next time they won’t have to go to you. While this may seem counterproductive, it is not. You will be perceived as someone that is always willing to teach, and help others.

Volunteer

Take the chance to volunteer for more responsibility, or to take part in a new project. When you do something with no expectation or payment, you will stand out more. You are showing that you are just as committed to the mission and the future of the company. In the future, you will be considered for more work, because you showed that you were willing to put in the effort.

Take Charge Of A Project

You can’t expect everyone to be interested in the same initiatives as you. Map out a plan to enact a new strategy that could improve some aspect of the business and offer to do the hard parts. You are showing that you want to take the first step to better the organization and that you aren’t afraid of the challenges that come with it.

Influencing others is not easy. If it were, everyone would be the leader of their group or company. However, with practice and attention on getting better at influencing your peers and coworkers in the ways above, you can carve out a solid reputation and bubble of influence for yourself.

Blog, Business

5 Ways To Stay Motivated When Your Business is Struggling

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

Staying motivated as an employee when things are not going well is hard, being the head of the company only makes staying motivated harder. Getting yourself through those tough times are going to be crucial in whether or not your business is going to be able to succeed. Here are five ways to not lose focus when everything seems to be going wrong.

Get your passion back

When your business is hitting a rough patch, it can be hard to remember why you decided to open. Self-reflect when that happens, and think of all the good that your business has done, and how much it has succeeded since it first started. Think of why you decided to open your business, and the passion that you felt when you first started will come back. When you can bring passion back to your work, it will reinvigorate the way you look at the situation you are in. If you can do that, you will be able to keep pushing yourself in those tough moments.

Have a good support group

Who you associate with does change who you are. You may not notice it at first, but who you keep company with changes how you think, what you say, and how you act. With that knowledge surround yourself with positive people you feel are successful. They will help you when you are down because they want to see you succeed. If you surround yourself with negativity, you will become negative in the process. You will begin to think you are going to fail no matter what you do, and you will stop trying to help your business. This won’t reflect on your behavior in significant ways, but it will show in the small things you do. You will give your customers poor service, or you will stop trying to fix things your business needs. When you think your business will fail, it will. If you stay positive, you will be able to look at what you are doing right, and still give the customers what they want and need.

Break up your goal with milestones

When you have a big goal in mind, it will look like a daunting task. If you break the goal down into achievable milestones, it won’t seem impossible. When it does get tough, you can look at how much progress has been achieved since you began. Understanding the development of something you have created will make you feel accomplished. Feeling accomplished will make you want to continue that feeling. It will give you the encouragement you need to keep moving forward. You will also be able to see what the next milestone is, and seeing that will let you know what you have to do next to reach it. It helps develop your business when you lose your way.

Have your own mission statement

All businesses have mission statements that guide their actions. It’s what they are trying to accomplish so that they will be successful. If you have a mission statement, it will guide you when things get chaotic. This self-reflection will give you the chance to think of what you want to do, and what you value. Your mission statement will remind you of what you are aiming to achieve while helping you not lose focus on what is important.

Look toward your mistakes

While focusing on your mistakes when you are already down, may seem counterintuitive, it isn’t. As long as you are focusing on how to improve yourself from the mistakes. Looking at what you can do better, and learning from them is a skill that everyone needs to have. Knowing that you have a solution to a problem that brought you down will give you confidence, and you won’t feel as stressed if the problem shows itself. Not only that, but as you learn from your mistakes you become a better leader, and problem-solver. All skills that you need to run a successful business.

When you lose motivation, it can be hard to get back on track. Staying motivated is a fight between your mind and yourself. Don’t let it tell you that you can’t accomplish something, keep preserving until you get back on your feet. If you need to force yourself to become motivated, then you need to do it, because it won’t always feel forced.

Blog, Business

Where Can An Entrepreneur Find Funding For Their Business?

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

The average entrepreneur’s first concern when starting a business is going to be how they are going to finance their idea. If their idea is going to need a relatively small investment, they may use their own funds, or they may turn to their family and friends to support them. If they are not able to do that, they can to go to a bank to get a business loan. Yet, for some that need more, or just for those who are not able to do any of those options, there are other methods to get financed.

Local Loans

One resource that is often overlooked is going to be your chamber of commerce, which will be able to give you information on where you can get local funding. Often they will send you to your local business development center, with some universities having them. These business centers can get you in contact with other entrepreneurs so that you can network, and meet other investors. They would be able to go over loan information, and even assist you in applying for it. They are going to love if you develop a local business in the area and are typically more than happy to assist you.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are typically individuals looking to invest in companies they deem promising. These angels can invest money upwards of $10,000 in a business idea. To find angels, you can use Angel Capital Association. They have nationwide reach, with over 330 groups in their system. Not only do they assist with direct loans, but they will also, at times, even host events in order to provide networking opportunities. If the idea of taking money from someone online does not sound appealing, check your local community for angel groups.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, as the name dictates is a source of funding that stems from a large group of people who give varying amounts of money to an idea. One crowdfunding resource is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is an excellent platform to utilize to fund a product, or a fleshed out idea. On Kickstarter, you will be able to set goals, and tiers that supporters are able to pledge to. The money they pledge is their investment to the product without expecting money in return. In order to get more funding though, certain campaigns will offer incentives to get interested parties to pay more. The product they are wanting to fund is going to a part of that. This is a good tool to use if you feel that the vast market needs the product you are trying to create. You will also need to advertise a lot if you use this platform. In order to expose the item to the market, social media is heavily relied on for this method of financing.

Venture Capital

Venture Capital is for those who are looking to get over $1 million in funding. When looking at this option, know that you will need to be very prepared. Venture Capitalists require a very careful and detailed business plan. Yet, the benefits are that they will be able to fund larger quantities to businesses. Venture Capitalists are taking their clients money and investing in companies that they believe will be able to give them a high return relatively quickly. They will be looking to get 3-10 times what they gave within the following 5-7 years. One of the easiest ways to meet one would be through your contacts, whether that be other investors or entrepreneurs. If that is not an option, you can look to use the  National Venture Capital Association to pitch your idea to.

Funding can be difficult to achieve, but by looking at what kind of company you are looking to create there will be resources for it. If one resource doesn’t work, try another. The first steps to building a business can be challenging, but your perseverance will pay out.

Blog, Business

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Consistent Fitness Routine

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

In entrepreneurship, many personal habits often fall by the wayside to open up one’s schedule to accommodate work-related events. More often than not, such sacrifices are made on a rather extreme scale, with some industry leaders foregoing sleeping in their own homes and at normal times to ensure their business remains on track.

When one chooses to care for a company over their own bodies, it is not hard to imagine how quickly their health declines. Stress levels rise, balanced diets become a thing of the past, and their overall quality of life falls at a striking pace. Therefore, it is imperative all entrepreneurs create healthy habits at the onset of their business venture and strive to keep them a priority throughout the years.

To elaborate, let us examine the benefits of maintaining a consistent fitness routine, regardless of one’s work-related responsibilities.

Improved cognitive abilities

When one exercises regularly, they will experience more mental clarity and sharpness, as such activity aids the brain in creating new brain cells and neural pathways. Furthermore, their ability to make decisions effectively and efficiently will improve as well, giving them the potential to further control their other mental functions to work together more cohesively.

Lowered risk of lifestyle diseases

Due to poor dietary habits, a general lack of discipline, and the almost inescapable stress of today’s business landscape, cardiovascular disease and diabetes run rampant amongst entrepreneurs and full-time employees alike, regardless of their age.

Additionally, such diseases are at an all-time high in several regions of the world, and are only projected to worsen if a widespread change is not made soon. Therefore, implementing a regular fitness routine will mitigate the risk of developing such disorders.

Improved confidence

No matter one’s industry or specialty, confidence is an important trait to posses. After all, entrepreneurs are expected to convince others of the value and necessity of the products and/or services their company provides.

Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the simplest methods of attaining that confidence and posture that attracts prospective clients and investors. Plus, possessing an improved physical appearance could provide opportunities to appear at events, such as speaking engagements and conferences, and speak of the work their business is doing.

All in all, investing more time and effort into one’s well-being wields a myriad of benefits, both long- and short-term. Perhaps now would be as good a time as ever to contemplate your own fitness journey, and how taking a truly dedicated approach to your health could improve not only your personal life, but your business opportunities as well.

Blog, Business

Some Priorities for Young Entrepreneurs

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

As entrepreneurship and independence become all the more valued in our society, we are seeing a major shift in our workforce, hence the recent, rapid rise of the gig economy. By definition, this sort of working mentality emphasizes temporary positions that aid independent workers make ends meet. Such gigs are often contracted out by larger organizations and, if one’s cards are played right, can be quite lucrative.

However, it is imperative to note that the days of classic entrepreneurship are far from over. Per a recent BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, members of the millennial generation have been starting businesses at younger ages than their older counterparts, and this trend is not projected to slow any time soon. Millennials are more eager to apply all they learned in college and other positions to create their own success, and they are willing to take the risks necessary to achieve those goals.

As more and more of these young adults venture into the realm of entrepreneurship, it is important that they reevaluate their priorities every so often to ensure they align with the current state and scale of their business. With that in mind, let us examine some important priorities every young entrepreneur ought to hold.

Follow your own schedule

It is no secret that entrepreneurs are held to some outlandish standards that often force them to prioritize work over fulfilling their own basic needs, namely eating, sleeping, and maintaining personal hygiene. However, such habits will only propel them further down the road to burnout.

Therefore, it is imperative entrepreneurs follow their own schedule and ignore the entrepreneurial buzz that surrounds them. Just because Elon Musk gets the bare minimum of sleep — in one of his own manufacturing facilities, no less — does not mean you have to follow suit.

Be honest with others (and yourself)

As an entrepreneur, you may feel the need to shoulder your own burdens and avoid delegating tasks, as you do not want to let others see you sweat. However, maintaining such an attitude will thwart your long-term goals, rather than allowing them to thrive.

Therefore, it is imperative you be honest with yourself and those around you, and seek help when you are feeling stretched too thin. It may be difficult to admit at first, but once you find individuals you can trust with the smaller tasks, you discover just how much bandwidth you have to be creative and turn your ideas into reality.

Do not downgrade your goals

Once you are in the throes of overseeing and operating your business, you will likely wonder why you started this venture to begin with. When these moments arise, it is important to keep your long-term goals at the forefront of your mind and resist the temptation of lowering your own expectations. You began your business for a valid reason; stick to the path you have forged for yourself, regardless of how difficult it may be at times. You will certainly thank yourself for your dedication and perseverance.

Blog, Business

How to Prevent Burnout in Your Employees

There is no doubt that work can be stressful. Mix in the toll of one’s personal life and the risk of burnout is very real, and the impact even more so. Paying attention to the warning signs and taking action will make it easier to curb burnout and still allow for the motivation to make the necessary changes to get back on track.

With that in mind, let us highlight some effective ways you can help your employees if they are showing signs of burnout.

There is a loss of control

Individuals that start to lose control over aspects of scheduling and time management inevitably begin to feel helpless and hopeless, thus running the risk of major burnout. Therefore, it is important that employees do not have structures and policies that are inflexible, as such constrictions can make them feel trapped. Encourage employees to take 10-15 minutes every morning to outline the goals they would like to accomplish so they can regain a sense of control of their day.

There is a lack of transparency

When employees feel as if they are being overlooked for a promotion, are not being properly compensated for the work they are doing, or feel as if they are not getting the full story from upper management, they run a much higher risk of experiencing negative feelings and, ultimately, burnout. As a supervisor or manager, it is best to be open and honest with employees when communicating about decisions and giving reasonable explanations. Offering workshops and other resources to help employees cope could greatly curb burnout as well.

There is a shift in overall attitude

When employees are stressed, emotions can be difficult to control and it is easier for them to get angry or upset in a matter of moments. Burnout contributes to moodiness, negativity, and an overall lack of motivation. Talk to employees and offer support. Suggest taking up a new hobby and encourage disconnecting from work when out of the office.

There is a loss of confidence

When employees experience burnout, they often begin second-guessing themselves and the quality of their work. If an individual feels that they are not able to confidently do their job, they fully disengage and do not actively contribute to the task at hand. To mitigate such a situation, make a point to check in with your employees and help set a few reasonable personal goals to help regain their confidence. Also set small, achievable performance goals to help get them back on track.

Burnout has become a pervasive issue in Western societies, especially since the advent of mobile devices. Ensure you are doing all you can to set your employees up for long-term success. After all, their triumphs are also yours.

Paul Saunders is a founder and principal of James River Capital Corp. and its affiliated companies. In addition to those roles, Paul also serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of James River Captial Corp. and James River Financial Corp. To learn more about Paul Saunders and his professional pursuits, please be sure to visit his website.