How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit From Free Advice

One of the most challenging things about being an entrepreneur is getting the advice you need to move forward. The Internet is full of suggestions, but unless you already know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, you have about as much chance of finding what you need as what will lead you astray. But, that’s no reason to be disheartened, because with a little creative thinking, you can get some of what you need for free.

How can you separate the two? Here are a few suggestions.

1. You need to have very clear ideas about what you’re looking for.

The more vague your questions are, the more abstruse any information will seem to you. If you’re unsure of what you want to discover, then put your uncertainties into the form of questions. Make them as specific as you possibly can. The more precise you make them, the more closely they’ll come to help you solve your problem.

2. Recognize that the best information is not necessarily sold.

It may, and often is; but of itself, whether you pay for information or not is no guarantee that you will get either what you need or that it will be accurate. That means that it could be irrelevant, inaccurate, or both.

3. Consider the source.

It may seem counterintuitive, but many entrepreneurs will gladly talk to you about your business and what you should do next if you’ll just ask them.

On of the most annoying things I recall encountering when I was living the UK was that almost without fail, whenever I ask a question of a “professional” that required his or her expertise, the first words out of his or her mouth were something like, “Who’s going to pay for it?”

I’ve since come to realize that you must give before you can get. That’s not to say that you never sell; but only, that none of us can achieve the business success we desire without the help of others. And those who think they can just take from others without giving anything themselves will eventually find that they come up short.

If the person you talk to is generous with his or her expertise, then you can be reasonably sure that that person is passing along valuable information. It’s only those who cling to what they know for a price who possess very little of value.

How to Create a Business by Creating Information Products

Many people still believe that in order to start a business, they need to have a real world store, and sell a real, tangible product. The truth is, however, that starting a business that sells information products is often far easier for a new business owner or entrepreneur.

Information products are products that are not necessarily tangible, although they could be in the form of a book or DVD. They are products that are based purely on learning. While starting a college may be one way of selling information, information products also are not limited to formal training.

Let us consider, for a moment that you are an expert in a particular field – whether it is dog training or cake decorating. You would like to use your skill to make more money, but you do not know how. The answer may lie in creating information products, and selling them to people with an interest in your area of expertise.

You might create a website that deals with your passion or skill, and have a member’s only area. You might run an e-course, or create and sell an e-book, or a series of e-books. You might even decide to self publish a real book, and sell it through your site, or in the real world. From training DVD’s to member’s only online streaming videos, there are endless information products you can sell to make money from your passions and talents.

The steps to creating an information product are quite simple too, although they will require some time and effort on your part. First, you need to have an idea. Your idea for your information product can be anything that you are particularly knowledgeable in – whether it is starting a small business, or arranging flowers. Remember that if you are interested in it, there are probably countless other people around the world who are too!

Next, you will need to decide on the format for your information product. Are you going to sell an e-book, a series of DVD’s or an e-course? There are even services like Lulu.com, which will print a real book on demand, and ship it to your customers, so you could even become a small-scale independent publisher if you decide to! Once that is decided, you will need to settle on your content. You will want to make it as comprehensive as possible, but still be easy for a beginner to understand.

Then there is the process of creating the materials. Even if you have no skill yourself, whether it is writing or animation, making movies or creating e-course modules, there are freelancers out there who are willing to do it for a fee.

After your information product is finished, all that is left is the marketing and sales of your product, usually via your website, but also in the real world, or through social networking and other platforms. Some large sites, like Amazon.com, even allow creators of information products to list their products alongside commercially created items, so there is plenty of scope for marketing these days!

The main benefit of selling information products is that anyone can do it. Whether you are a stay at home mom with a passion for needlework who wants to teach others, or whether you’re a small business owner looking to increase your revenues by selling a digital information product in addition to your real world services and products, this is a viable option.

There is also the benefit that while you may spend a little money creating the initial products themselves, after you have, every sale is virtually pure profit, unlike the real world, where each sale costs you something in terms of labor or raw materials, or both.

Information products can also be sold quite cheaply, since you are going to be selling on volume, rather than on a markup per item, and that makes them attractive to your buyer, even when times are tough economically. It is far easier, after all, to sell an information product like an e-book for a few dollars hundreds of times, than it is to sell a real world manual or book that costs hundreds of dollars!

If you’re excited about the prospect of creating an information product, either as a way to boost your brick and mortar business’s sales, or as a means of creating a business in itself, then that’s great! This is one of the most exciting opportunities that the internet has afforded entrepreneurs! Just remember to spend a reasonable amount of time investigating the market for your product, and creating it. You want your product to be as good as you can possibly make it, so that people want to buy it, refer their friends, and feel that they have made a solid investment.

Done correctly, information products can be a very lucrative business opportunity, and they are well worth looking into. Just remember that there is a lot of competition, even though this is a relatively new field of business, and that you will have to spend a fair amount of time planning, creating and marketing your products before you start making a fortune from them! For those that do, however, creating information products for sale can be an almost entirely automated, profit rich business opportunity, and if you are looking for something with low investment requirements, and high yields, this might be the opportunity for you!

Entrepreneurism – What it Takes to Succeed

Never forget that entrepreneurs are not born – they are created! Within you already lie the essential elements to be successful as an entrepreneur – and in anything in life – because you literally are capable of becoming and accomplishing anything. Remember though that an understanding of the principles below will certainly contribute to the accomplishment of your dreams and goals, but only if they are applied and acted upon continually. Perhaps most importantly, the attribute, characteristic, and action that will contribute most to your success is determining now to never quit. Despite the fears and doubts, the opinions or critiques of others, and the possible failures – success only comes to the individual who never quits!

1) Master-Mind Group: Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with like-minded as well as more talented and brilliant individuals than themselves. They seek, listen to, and follow the advice, opinions, and experiences of others. They ensure that every idea, venture, and opportunity is critiqued, analyzed, watched over, and improved upon by those close individuals, associates, and friends in the master-mind group. They understand that developing and strengthening relationships and partnerships is absolutely vital to their success.

2) Step Back & Evaluate: They take time – often – to evaluate, think upon, critique, change, and improve what they are doing. Whether individually, or the business as a whole, they ensure that the goals, objectives, processes, business model, daily habits, revenue streams, work ethic, and relationships are adjusted accordingly, changed if necessary, and improved upon always.

3) Declare: Every entrepreneur starts out small, inexperienced, and unknown. Successful entrepreneurs understand this, but they certainly do not communicate it in their thoughts, words, or actions. In every setting and conversation, they declare what they will be (not necessarily what they currently are). They literally believe and practice the cliché: ‘fake it till you make it.’ Before and after they achieve success, they declare and portray themselves as being experienced, knowledgeable, effective, and successful.

4) Moments of Thinking: Every success in life, and especially in entrepreneurialism, starts as a thought or an idea. Because this is true, successful entrepreneurs make time to think. They specifically set time aside, and often, to allow their minds to ponder, reflect, analyze, create, wonder, and think. It is no wonder that during these times that ideas on how to improve their business are thought of, and occasionally new ideas and strokes of genius come.

5) Help to Produce: Similar to the concept of ‘give and receive,’ they take the initiative to help increase the profits for others, grow the business of others, and limit or make easier the work others will need to do. By so doing, these ‘others’ are naturally much more inclined to return the favor and help them do the same. Instead of thinking ‘how can I make money from this relationship or opportunity,’ rather they think, ‘how will they make money?’ This mentality and approach will always be rewarded, because others reciprocate it.

6) Informed Ignorance: Successful entrepreneurs are always staying up to date with the latest information, technology, laws, and developments within their industry. Likewise, they distinctly know and follow what their competition is doing, to ensure their own competitive advantage. At the same time, they ironically develop the ability of selective ignorance. They understand that certain information as well as listening to the news and critiques of others too often will halt their progress. They also are wise enough to realize that obtaining all the knowledge possible and following every new piece of information regarding their industry will never produce any result unless they take action. Being informed, developing selective ignorance abilities, and taking daily action is a large result of their incredible success.

7) Improve vs. Invent: Let’s be honest, the vast majority of inventions are thought of and created by scientists or engineers. Very rarely do successful entrepreneurs actually re-create the wheel – they only make it better. Developing a better but similar product, slightly changing a business model, improving customer service, or even doing what everyone else does with a different company name – this is the reality of most entrepreneurial ventures. Ideas and opportunities are everywhere – successful entrepreneurs look for and take advantage of them. And therein is the secret to their success – that it ultimately is not the business or idea that is all-important – it is the desire, belief, work ethic, and persistence of the entrepreneur that makes the venture a success, not necessarily the product.

8) Pen & Paper: Isn’t it ironic, considering all the essential elements discussed in this Entrepreneurial Success article series, that perhaps one of the greatest indicators of successful entrepreneurs is that they always carry a pen and small notepad with them. They realize that ideas come to their minds at random times, and they believe the Chinese proverb that says: “the faintest ink is more powerful than the greatest memory.” Their dreams, goals, and successes are dependent upon writing down and acting upon these ideas that often come to their mind. And yet, they also understand that having a pen and notepad and writing down the ideas as they come is not enough – they most importantly act upon and implement those ideas.

9) Time is a Friend: In relation to the point above, while they certainly write down and act upon their ideas, they are also wise enough to realize that after the excitement of a good idea dies down, that logic, practicality, and reason always set in. Thus, rather than rushing into anything, they collaborate with their master-mind group, analyze and ask questions before moving forward, test the market before investing time or money, and they allow time to determine whether the idea is good and will work or not. With that said, unlike the majority of people who have great ideas, they never allow the voices of fear and doubt to dictate their actions – because inevitably, during this time, those voices become very persuasive. If the idea, over time, is still good (or gets better), then they will completely commit to their decision to move forward, take action every day, believe in themselves and their idea, and never quit regardless of what temporary failures happen along the path.

10) Employee Assets: Without question, successful entrepreneurs understand that their greatest assets are their employees. Because of this, they treat their employees accordingly. Now don’t get me wrong, these entrepreneurs still demand that their employees work hard and be honest, they ensure relationships are appropriate and even hierarchical, and provide commission and bonus structures to incentivize ultimate performance. But, they also ensure that their employees are highly valued, appreciated, befriended, recognized, feel important, and that they are engaged, committed, informed, and feel as thought they are contributing to something great.

11) There is No Guarantee: Every entrepreneurial venture ever thought of or attempted has had absolutely no guarantee of success. Successful entrepreneurs realize this, but they choose to focus on the fact that there is also no guarantee that that their venture will fail. Perhaps another word for faith is optimism! The revered U.S. founding father, George Washington, had absolutely no guarantee for victory during perhaps the most important war of our modern day, the Revolutionary War. When all odds were against him, he still took a risk, desired freedom and independence, believed it was achievable, and then went to work every day to obtain it. He had faith and hope, but no guarantee. The victory only came after the attempt. When questioning whether now is the ‘right time’ to attempt your entrepreneurial venture, be wise enough to recognize that there never is a ‘right time’ – you just need to do it, in spite of the fact that there is no guarantee for victory.

12) Failures Feed: Successful entrepreneurs understand that failures breed progression, mistakes are lessons learned, weaknesses are potential strengths, and loses precede profits. Every failed attempt should be viewed as a successful step closer to the goal. Ironically, the majority of successes in life are usually accomplished after the individual determines to not give up when they experience failure.

13) It’s Up to You: Successful entrepreneurs never give excuses! While the majority complains that they don’t have the time, knowledge, or money to achieve their goals and dreams, these entrepreneurs make time, acquire the knowledge, and understand that you do not need money to make money. The only limitations in life are the ones we create and nourish in our own minds. In fact, as important as the master-mind group and other relationships are to these entrepreneurs, at the end of the day, they realize that their success is determined by them, and them alone. Their goals, dreams, and potential are determined and achieved not because of talents or brilliance, degrees or awards, race or gender, experience or from others – but because they personally desire success, believe it is possible, think big, take daily action, and do whatever it takes – giving no excuses.

To your entrepreneurial and life success!

How To Conduct an Outstanding Interview With Entrepreneurs

Whether conducted face-to-face, by telephone or via email, entrepreneurial interviews are becoming an increasingly popular tool to be used in the contemporary marketing campaigns. The real success stories behind the stage have always been a great source of inspiration, bringing both – powerful advertising impact and intense interest amongst business circles.

This article will give you a walk-through of what to consider when preparing an interview with an entrepreneur for your blog.

No wonder why there is increased emphasis on the pre-interview preparation. It is a tough job indeed and can be very tricky for several reasons:

• Interviews should be conducted in a way to bring added value to the public, develop entrepreneurs’ favorable repute; boosting your blog popularity and traffic. That means one thing – you need to go that extra mile, being able to deliver a memorable experience to all parties.

• All people are unique. In practice, you would come across totally polar personalities, possessing super specific traits, cherishing different values and often reacting quite controversially in any given situation. The conclusion – you would better be a behavior- based interviewer and good psychologist, then being a stereotyped one, simply following your list of questions.

• You need to devote a decent amount of time, exploring your target interviewee’s interests, recent interviews and business sector. This will give you a sober notion of his personal attitude and help you create a questionnaire, strictly corresponding to his communication manner and behavior.

• You cannot underestimate the fact that you are interviewing a famous public figure, a successful leader or reputable manager who as such, needs to be treated very respectfully.

Some tips on making the interview worthy and viral:

· Go into details with the specifics of the business you are about to delve for a successful interview. That will give you the confidence that your questions sound precise, professional and just on the spot.

· Avoid questions that could be followed by short YES/ NO answers. Except that they don’t bring any valuable information, the definitive answers have never been the looked-for result in a professional interview. Use open questions instead, aiming at provoking detailed and quality answers.

· Make sure that questions are clear and can be easily understood both by the interviewee and the audience. Appealing quotes or phrases are always a good tool to catch people’s interest from the very beginning.

· Keep the right balance between professional and friendly attitude. Tone should be amicable to certain extend but still, speech needs to be elegant and courteous.

· Select the questions considering your specific goals and target audience – they need to be engaging and deliver brain teaser answers. To be a notable one, the interview should inspire, people must have something to learn from it!

Accordingly, here are some helpful questions to ask entrepreneurs, which in terms of precision, have been divided in several groups:

1. Ice-Breaking Questions

Those kind of introductory questions are the prep-step in an interview, helping entrepreneurs feel more at ease, melting the distance and inspiring a friendlier atmosphere. That’s the ultimate trick to make them share more.

When meeting entrepreneurs for the first time, you can safely take the floor by asking:

· Let’s test your entrepreneurial intuition. What is the first question you think I am going to ask you?

· Tell me more about yourself? What kind of person are you?

· Try to describe yourself in 3 words only.

2. Standard Informative Questions

After breaking the ice, you can move forward to a series of standard questions providing general information about the company, name, headquarters, company’s vision, mission, goals, values, future projects.

Here, you can try some of these:

· Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit? Are your parents entrepreneurs?

· What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?

· Where did the idea of your business derive from?

· How did you decide on the location for your business?

· How did you come up with the name for your company?

· Considering the fierce competition in Today’s business world, how would you highlight your company’s competitive advantages? What makes it stand out of the crowd?

· How do you handle investors and funding issues in your business?

3. Personal Questions

By asking more personal questions you are going deeper than just scratching the surface. Getting more involved in the talk, you are now bringing the interview to the next level – letting the audience become more familiar with the personal touch behind the business success.

Do not hesitate to ask some of the following question samples:

• Outline the schedule of one of your typical working day?

• What are your hidden inspiration sources? How do you generate new ideas?

• What best motivates you? How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?

• How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

• What’s your greatest enterpreneurial achievement to be proud of?

• What are your shortcuts to successfully handle frustration and stress?

• What book has inspired you the most? ( What is your favorite book?)

• Who is your greatest support when facing up hardships in business?

• What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

• What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

• How do you evaluate human resource factor as an inseparable part of your company success?

• What’s your way of hunting talents and building effective working teams to achieve great results?

• What are the main principles you follow to build a successful customer relations?

4. Critical Thinking Questions

Critical thinking quizzes reveal entrepreneurs’ analytical skills when solving a situation and show their ability to weigh the possible solutions before coming up with a final answer. Questions in this category are highly educational and greatly increase the degree of engagement.

Here are a couple of questions that would be beneficial to be asked:

• Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?

• What is your opinion on the following topic: Are entrepreneurs originally born as such or they are raised to be successful?

• How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?

• What popular entrepreneurial advice do you agree/ disagree with? Why?

• If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

• Who is the one entrepreneur to be your greatest example and inspiration?

• How would you scale the advantages and disadvantages of being entrepreneur?

• How would you rank the key 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

• How do you define success?

5. Extra Value Questions

The time has come. This is where you start asking questions to provide the best entrepreneurial and business tips , lessons and advices to the audience.

If you want to bring that added value for your readers, do not hesitate to include questions as follows:

· What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?

· What are your most effective methods to motivate your team for outstanding results?

· What ‘s your milestones to help you develop a stable company culture and friendly working athmosphere?

· What would you advice to the start-up entrepreneurs?

· What’s your personal manner for balancing work and life?

· Do you wisely consume your time as an entrepreneur? What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

· Do you follow some specific self-control mechanisms to encourage you to keep walking when things are not going as smoothly as planned?

· Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?

6. Amusing Questions

To escape a bit from the dry and monotonous business etiquette, find the right timing to fit some jokes in the tone of the discussion.

Bring some fresh air with a set of creative and funny questions such as:

· What’s your favorite quote for describing entrepreneurship?

· What’s your favorite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?

· Are you an adventurous type of person? What’s the most exciting experience to memorize in your entrepreneurial journey?

· Top 3 places on the globe that you haven’t conquered yet but would love to?

· Top 3 websites/blogs that you can’t imagine your day without? Give your reasons.

· Top 3 mobile apps that make your work more effective?

7. ” What If ” Questions

They will help you put entrepreneurs in a funny situation and play some role scenarios. People are always curious to know what successful people would do if placed under weird circumstances and how would they react if set out of their everyday environment.

Why don’t you ask them some of the following?

· What are the 3 things you would bring with you if teleported to a desert island?

· If you had a magic stick, which are the 3 things you would change in the world?

· What is the one issue about your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?

· If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?

8. Dare to Answer Questions

Those kinds of questions are to be asked at interviewers’ own risk, since some of them could be accepted as too provocative. On the other hand they are an effective way to convert the interview into a highly rated material, while bringing popularity to both parties.

You can try with:

· Are there any missed opportunities that you wish to have leveraged?

· What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear in general?

· How do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person?

· What makes you feel out of your comfortable zone? What are your ways to handle these situations?

· Share some of your failures and the best lessons you have learned from them?

· What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

· What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?

Conclusion:

Following those advices will guide you throughout the interview process. However, sometimes topics are naturally flowing from one to another leaving you in a chaos of thoughts so you have to be prepared to think outside “your question agenda”. In this case, you have to react fast, try to stay confident and be ready to bring more colors to the interview. Try to shape the interview more like a business dialogues rather than a boring monologue by being an active listener. Stay in motion; help entrepreneurs with extra questions if needed to keep the conversation smoothly going.

There is no general rule on the number of questions to be included in an interview. Keeping it simple and concise, often between 10 and 20 questions is a good working practice, but again, it can vary depending on the types of questions asked and the subsequent length of answers delivered. Making both entrepreneurs and public enthusiastic with the interview held, would be your best prize for being brilliant in what you do.