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.

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Blog, Business

Simple Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Contrary to popular belief, becoming an effective communicator is a skill set that is learned, not something embedded in a person’s DNA. While there are certain personalities that have easily obtained the qualities of astounding communication, there is no communication skill that cannot be learned through hard work and dedication.

With that in mind, let us review a few fundamental skills that will help improve one’s ability to effectively communicate and influence others as a leader.

Think outside of the box

To become an effective communicator, think creatively and do not immediately dismiss an idea because it seems outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes, the most inspiring ideas evolve upon reflection and adaptation. Therefore, smart leaders know they need to stretch their creative bounds to inspire and influence others.

Practice makes perfect

Organizing thoughts and ideas into a polished outline will not only keep them in order, but also allow for a more natural message conveyed in real-time — a trait that is especially imperative in large meetings and other professional gatherings.

Once one has completed this step, it is imperative they practice all they have put into place. Read each point of conversation aloud, as this will allow for the discovery of content that needs to be adjusted or re-worded. Rather than reading from a slideshow or stiffly reiterating lines on a sheet, the message will be confidently and naturally delivered to the audience.

Be an active listener

A speaker best communicates when they are actively listening, which ultimately allows for a more organic response and expands their understanding of the dialogue at the same time. Keep in mind that real communication involves an exchange between all parties involved, not just by one individual.

Engage in organic dialogue

Leaders that engage in organic and interactive dialogue will establish a trust and rapport that cannot be formed from an audience that is being talked at. When a speaker reads from a slide with little to no emotion, the experience is dull and most will not take anything away from the message. Engaging and connecting with the audience will convince them to show empathy and pay attention to the message.

Avoid using certain words

Using strong, effective words will contribute to better communication as a leader. There are words that should not be used often and some that should be avoided entirely. There are situations that are more cavalier, but profanity should be avoided.

Other slang words like “dude” and “guys” are informal and can come off as being immature. Words like “actually,” “but,” “assume,” and “fine” lead to a negative connotation immediately. Therefore, it is imperative you adapt your language accordingly, as co-workers and peers do not want to hear excuses or sugarcoating.

Finally, always be constructive, respectful, and positive when communicating with individuals inside and outside of the workplace. You may be surprised how small, seemingly meaningless changes will garner results.