4 Secrets of the Successfully
Self-Employed

Secrets of Self Employed

#1 – We Only Have 2 Products: Time and Knowledge

No matter how you make a living or who you think you work for, you only work for one person, yourself.  Likewise, you only have 2 products to sell, your time and your knowledge.  Here are a few example scenarios:

  • Migrant Farmer – Sells hours of his/her life to pick fruit or vegetables for a farmer in exchange for money.  A perfect example of trading hours for dollars.
  • Doctor – Sells hours of his/her life to perform medical treatments based on the knowledge stored in his/her brain.  A perfect example of trading hours and knowledge for dollars.
  • Best-Selling Author – Spends time crafting a book based on his/her knowledge or intellectual capacity and then sells the book (knowledge) many times over.  A perfect example of trading knowledge for dollars.  The key benefit here is residual, passive income.

In almost all cases of the self-employed, the small business owner is taking information out of his or her brain and spending the necessary time to convert it into a product of value.  This concept confuses some people, and to others it seems obvious.  The bottom line is that customers pay you for your time and knowledge.  Success is achieved by properly crafting the two into one convenient bundle that can be sold many times over (think of products vs. services).

What knowledge do you have in your brain that provides value to others?  How can you extract this information and sell it?

#2 – The Implementation of Knowledge is Power

Knowledge alone is not power!  The implementation of knowledge is power.  Knowledge is simply a commodity; it’s a product like any other that has the potential to be sold.  How knowledge is organized, packaged, presented, shared, and received by others is what makes knowledge so powerful.

Knowledge is useless unless it’s effectively shared with others.  Your ability to educate others in a way that allows them to effectively apply the instruction is what makes knowledge an asset… something worth buying.

#3 – Time is More Valuable than Money

One of the most important points to understand is the fact that there are two basic forms of currency, money and time.  Of the two, time is the most valuable, for it cannot be replenished.  A surplus of time, and the unfettered liberty to do with it as you choose, is the true measure of success.

Your time must be extracted from the formula of making money.  No matter how skilled you are at transferring your knowledge to others, if you are paid on an hours for dollars basis, your ability to expand your business will eventually plateau.  You will run out of time. 

The successfully self-employed have made this realization and concentrate the majority of their time and effort on the single greatest secret of self-employment: generating passive income.  Passive income is achieved by applying what you know into a package that can be designed and built once, and then repeatedly sold over and over again.  Finding a unique way to promote and sell this knowlege is the key.

Passive Income Examples: Useful books and guides, time saving computer applications, etc.

#4 – Success is About Knowing What You Want

Self-employed success is not the byproduct of working your way up from the ground up.  It’s based on knowing what you want, understanding your abilities and implementing them diligently to achieve your goals.  There are plenty of people who get laid-off from their 9 to 5 day job and end up making millions in a few short years of self-employment.

Take a look at some of the success stories around you that emerged from nowhere.  These success stories were not initiated by people paying their dues to someone else’s initiatives.  These success stories revolve strictly around perception and choice.  The people in these stories know their capabilities, what they’re doing, and what they want.  Once people make this realization, and the conscious choice to act on it, the possibilities for success are limitless.
Photo by: TeeJe

77 Keys to Living Well Before You Die

Jump for Joy

Time flies.  Life is what you make of it.  Everyday is a day of opportunity.
Think it.  Seek it.  Find it.  Live it.

Life is too short not to make the best and the most
of everything that comes your way everyday.
– Sasha Azevedo

  1. Do something everyday that excites you.
  2. Read classic novels.
  3. Travel somewhere you’ve never been with someone you’ll never forget.
  4. Settle on a reasonable long-term goal and do 3 things everyday that bring you closer to your goal.
  5. Avoid TV.
  6. Buy happiness with a smile.
  7. Get involved in your community.
  8. Talk to perfect strangers.  Make new friends.
  9. Help others when you’re able.
  10. Get in shape.  Walk or jog a mile every morning.
  11. Learn one simple skill every week.
  12. Be aware of your surroundings.  Take notice of the simple joys life has to offer.
  13. Be creative.  Build something from the ground up, no matter how small.
  14. Learn a new joke everyday and tell it to someone else.
  15. Spend a few quiet minutes alone each day… think.
  16. Dedicate yourself to discovering solutions in the face of problems.
  17. Surround yourself with positive people who share goals similar to your own.
  18. Study for a degree that intrigues you or take a few classes in your field of interest.
  19. Organize a monthly game of poker (or any game) with your best friends.
  20. Watch the sunrise at least once a week.
  21. Watch the sunset at least once a week.
  22. Engage yourself in a meaningful hobby.
  23. Ask your spouse or best friend to be your business partner and get something fun started on the side.
  24. Express your creativity in art, photography, music, film, etc.
  25. Try something completely new every chance you get.
  26. Listen to a variety of music on a regular basis.
  27. Study the people you admire.  Analyze their habits and duplicate them.
  28. Tend a small garden and eat your own produce.
  29. Have incredible sex at least once a week.
  30. Pull the trigger on doing something you’ve been thinking about for a long time, but haven’t yet had the guts to do.
  31. Socialize, socialize, and socialize!
  32. Visit friends and family you haven’t seen in years.
  33. Stop tip-toeing around like a little pipsqueak.  Own your ideas.  Follow them through to fruition.
  34. Throw a quarterly blowout party at your place.  Invite all your favorite people and let them bring someone along.
  35. Spend more time outdoors entwined in Mother Nature.
  36. If you hate your job, find a new one.  Life is short.  Don’t be scared to bounce around until you find a job you enjoy doing.
  37. Get into the habit of realizing that it is never too late.
  38. Stop being so serious.  Lighten up.  Laugh.
  39. Go after as many life experiences as time permits.  Explore the world around you.
  40. Learn to surf… and surf.  It truly is a remarkable experience.
  41. Rise earlier.  Take on the world when your mind is fresh.
  42. Be compassionate.  Be a friend every chance you get.
  43. Organize yourself and your living space.  It will save you precious time.
  44. Stop worrying about what you don’t have and start enjoying what you do have.
  45. Set 3 priorities each morning and accomplish them by nightfall.
  46. Focus on the positives.  Never dwell on the negatives.
  47. Be romantic.  Surprise her.
  48. Challenge yourself.  Don’t take the easy road to mediocrity. 
  49. Stop wasting time on non-essential chores.
  50. Learn to get things done effectively.
  51. Shit happens.  Move beyond your mistakes immediately.
  52. There’s a big different between being scared and being prepared.  Always be prepared.
  53. Educate yourself every chance you get.  Be a jack of all trades and a master of few.
  54. Eat slower.  Enjoy your food.
  55. Be slower.  Relax.
  56. Use time-saving tricks and properly manage your time.
  57. Leave work at work.
  58. Perfect is the enemy of good.  Shoot for living the good life.
  59. Eat at least one meal a day with family or friends.
  60. Ask for help.  You’ll never get what you don’t ask for.
  61. Always ask questions.  Doing so will save you time and grief.
  62. Learn to say no.
  63. Always keep your eye on the prize.  Maintain your focus on the outcome, not the current road block.
  64. Play hard.  You only live once.  Live it up!
  65. Spend less than you make.
  66. Do one thing at a time… and do it well.
  67. Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.
  68. Be efficient while giving your mind a rest:  Write stuff down.
  69. Own less.  Do more.
  70. Avoid the common cold.  Wash your hands before eating.
  71. Stop driving like a maniac.  It’s less stressful and far safer.
  72. Practice self-sufficiency.  Once you attain it, nobody can take it away from you.
  73. Be spontaneous.
  74. Always keep your promises.
  75. Sleep well.
  76. Remain approachable to others.  The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will receive.
  77. Make a continuous habit of realigning your habits with the things that make you happy.

Photo by: jjjohn

22 Swift Tips to Increase Productivity

Increase Your Productivity

An increase in productivity saves time, the most valuable constituent of life.  Take heed to these swift tips and the victory dance shall be yours.

If you want to catch fish, and really enjoy the sport, you
will maintain your lures and line in some organized fashion.
The best at it will always have their tackle ready.
– David Allen

  1. Clutter hinders productivity.  Clear clutter.  – “Trash what you don’t need.  Get rid of the duplicates of the duplicates.  And quickly delete those e-mails or attachments from your mother or your best friend that you “just have to forward.”  Yeah, they’re funny, cute, and heartwarming, but they are cluttering up your life and your inbox!” – via Frugal Dad
  2. Create a dedicated workspace for yourself. – “Do not share your workspace with wives, girlfriends, work associates (you may not have any say in this one). People need a sense of ownership in their tools. They need to know that the tool that they need that minute is available and not being used by someone else.” – via Black Belt Productivity
  3. The first step is the most important step.  Take it. – “The most difficult part of investing is taking that first step. Writing that first check and sending it off to open an account is where many people falter in the process. It’s always easier to procrastinate and “give it some thought,” but you will have no success until you begin.” – via The Wisdom Journal
  4. Create separate to-do lists for the home, office, grocery store, etc. – “Basically, you need to ask yourself: What can I accomplish right now, based on where I am and what tools are in front of me? and then focus only on those tasks. GTD simplifies that process by breaking down your lists into separate contexts, so you only need to worry about the context you’re in right now, and not about any other contexts” – via Zen Habits
  5. Ask yourself: Why am I really doing this? – “We fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing something because we want to accomplish an audacious goal, but in reality we may be doing it for someone else.  You have to do some soul searching and make sure that you really want to accomplish this goal.” – via Work Happy Now
  6. Concentrate on the most important tasks. – “I for one have never accomplished everything I’ve ever needed to do in one day.  But that’s the very reason why trying to do too much will set us up for failure.  To put it bluntly, if we think we’ll successfully check off a 20-item to-do list within 24 hours, we’re kidding ourselves.” – Simple Mom
  7. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. – “The most strategic time to think about the actions you need to take is not when you need to perform them, but beforehand, when you have perspective. When you execute from an inventory of predefined tasks, you can act rather than react, and your menu of options is much easier to prioritize.” – via Tools For Thought
  8. Focus.  Focus.  Focus. – “I am suggesting from personal experience that having one primary focus and diving into it completely with all your being will give you a higher chance at success.  Having said that, you are free to work on multiple goals at the same time, some people can pull it off without stress, most cannot.” – via Think Simple Now
  9. Do it right the first time. – “Why do a job if you aren’t going to do it right?  We need to develop the habit of giving every task our best effort.  Excellence should be the standard we strive for in all we do.  We can’t start letting ourselves or our children do the least possible to get by.  If we do, then they are going to receive less than the best results from their work.” – via My Super-Charged Life
  10. Batch small tasks together and knock them off at once. – “Group up all of your small tasks (taking out the garbage, fixing a door hinge, organizing binders, etc.) and do them all at once.  This can help speed things along since there will be fewer interruptions in your regular workflow.” – via Pick The Brain
  11. Only spend time on the things you CAN control. – “Our impulsive thoughts always tend to waste our life-energy by focusing on things that we cannot control… Dwell more on what you can do rather than what you cannot.  It’s not the circumstances that cause us to react in a certain way, it’s rather a certain way we choose to react to the circumstances that matters most to win against the odds.” – via Success Soul
  12. Set time limits for yourself. – “One of the simplest things I do to increase my productivity is to use a timer throughout the day. I don’t always need it, but on days when I need the boost, it is the first thing I turn to.  For 30 minutes, I work like this, racing the clock and challenging myself to have it all done before the buzzer goes off.  By the end, I am exhilarated, accomplished, and feel relaxed because I am no longer looking at what was an overwhelming mess 30 minutes earlier.” – via Remodeling This Life
  13. Use your talents to your advantage. – “If you’ve got good people skills, then it means taking the time to engage as many folks as you can in conversation.  Whatever your best talents are, use them as often as possible.  It’s always good to stretch yourself, but there’s no reason not to use your natural talents to your advantage.” – via On Simplicity
  14. Take one bite of the elephant at a time. – “It’s important to know how long to run a race before you start. Starting off a marathon by sprinting isn’t going to get you to the finish line. Similarly, taking on every possible GTD, lifehack or to-do list upgrade at the same time isn’t a winning strategy.” – via The Change Blog
  15. Don’t get blindsided.  Always read the fine print. – “Why are they calling this a tax credit?  Have you heard about the new $7,500 first-time home buyer tax credit?  It’s not a credit at all, it’s a loan!  Granted it’s a 0% interest loan, but it’s still a loan.  Let’s call it what it is!” – via My Dollar Plan
  16. Use tricks to keep the momentum going. – “Probably the best way to counteract fatigue is to keep your toes tapping.  Find music that is upbeat, energetic and conducive to the environment you’re trying to create.” – via The Cranking Widgets Blog
  17. Reduce your stress by reducing your commitments. – “Given that we have these tensions in our lives, and that they cause some level of mental stress, how do we resolve them? There are two possibilities: Eliminate the source, or structure them so as to feel as if they’re eliminated.” – Matt’s Idea Blog
  18. Always be ready to capture your ideas. – “As a serial entrepreneur, I’m addicted to ideas.  I feed off of ‘em.  And nothing makes me more upset than having a great idea… and losing it.  Ideas never happen at opportune times, and having the proper idea capture tools can make sure that you’ll capture all your ideas for later processing.” – via LifeDev
  19. Communicate clearly.  Get straight to the point. – “Too Wordy: If you are overly verbose in your blog post, you’ll lose not only the point of what you’re trying to say, but you’ll lose your readers as well.  Keep it simple; get to the point and you can’t go wrong.” – via Create Business Growth
  20. Motivate others.  Inject energy into your environment. – “When a dance floor is empty at a party, most people simply won’t be the first people to start dancing, even if they want to.  It often takes somebody who is confident and who is acting through their intentions (doing what they want to do) to dance before others.  This is then a trigger to others that allows them to start dancing as it seems normal.” – via PluginID
  21. Do more work when you’re motivated. – “Why I do this?  Because there will be times when I’m just super lazy and nothing can change it.  By doing extra work when I’m motivated, I will feel less guilty about being lazy sometime later… and I’ll get more done.” – via LessonInLife
  22. Keep yourself healthy so you can actually get things done. – “With winter on its way, its time to start keeping our immune systems in top shape. Boosting immunity can come from a variety of different factors including how you handle stress, exercise and eating.” – via Zen to Fitness
  23. Bonus:  How To Get Things Done in 1 Minute – “A crystal clear, 1 minute read on increasing your productivity by using the slightly modified GTD-based methods that have worked for me.” – via Marc and Angel Hack Life  😉

Photo by: Divwerf

52 Sunday Evening Meditations on Life

Meditations On Life

Here’s a list of 52 meditations, one for each week of the year.  I sit silently each Sunday evening before bedtime and repeat one meditation as a mantra in my mind.  I get lost in thought for a little while and then I fall asleep.  This weekly ritual has helped me keep things in perspective.

  1. There are people in this world that would die for me.
  2. There are people in this world I would die for.
  3. The truth will set me free.  I will never lie.
  4. People are not mind readers.  I must never hesitate to tell someone how I feel.
  5. Mistakes happen.  I must learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.
  6. Life is short and people are not perfect.  I will forgive myself.  I will forgive others.
  7. My smile brings happiness to the world around me.
  8. There is nobody else exactly like me, with my exact abilities, talents, and ideas.
  9. I can help myself by helping those around me first.
  10. The people I care about deserve to know it.  I will show them how much they mean to me on a regular basis.
  11. I will accept compliments and criticism openly and make educated decisions based on a weighted sum of the two.
  12. Information is infinite.  There are ideas, products and cultures I do not yet understand.  I will always keep an open mind to new formulas.
  13. I am in competition with one person, and one person only… myself.  I am competing to be the best I can be.
  14. True wisdom is the byproduct of life experience.  I will seek as many real world experiences as possible.
  15. Education involves self-imposed discipline.  I can only learn if I want to learn.  I want to learn.
  16. I will treat everyone with the same level of respect I would give to my grandfather and the same level of patience I would have with my baby brother.
  17. I am what I eat.  My body is a machine that must be fueled properly if I intend to make it last.
  18. I will think before I act, but I will always act.
  19. I will try new things for the sake of broadening my horizons.
  20. I will never be reckless with another person’s feelings.
  21. I will never let someone persist on being reckless with my feelings.
  22.  The three most important things in my life are my health, my family and friends, and my education.  Everything else is secondary.
  23. I will celebrate my successes.  I deserve it.
  24. Money will only make my life easier if it is mine free and clear.
  25. If I wake up several mornings in a row and hate what I am about to do with my day, I will make a change.  Life is too short.
  26. I will never be jealous.  Jealousy only deteriorates possibility.
  27. My attitude can change my reality.
  28. If I want to remember it, I will write it down in a trusted location.
  29. I will never spend more than I have.
  30. I will thank the people who have helped me, and I will return the favor as soon as I am able.
  31. I will never complain about a problem.  I will supply a solution instead.
  32. I will listen more than I speak.
  33. If I don’t know, I will ask questions.
  34. Everything is nothing without happiness.  I must do what makes me happy.
  35. I will never succumb to greed.  Enough is enough.
  36. Time is precious.  I will manage my time effectively.
  37. Right now is the only guaranteed moment in my life.  I will make the best of it.
  38. I will stand firm by my values without senselessly promoting them.
  39. I will never over-promise.  I will over-deliver on everything I commit to.
  40. I will always assess the situation and provide value where needed.
  41. I cannot make someone love me.  I can only be someone who can be loved.
  42. I will always strive to be the best I can be, but I will never try to be someone I’m not.
  43. I will always articulate my words so people understand me.
  44. I will slow down and become conscious of life’s simple pleasures.
  45. Everything I do is by choice.  There is always another option.
  46. Less is more.  I will get rid of the stuff I do not use.
  47. If I never try, I will never know.
  48. I will face my fears.  I will not cower.
  49. My habits define my life.
  50. I will always take ownership of my actions, or my actions will own me.
  51. I will never make decisions in a state of emotional haste.
  52. If I don’t finish what I start, my success rate will always be zero.

Please feel free to edit this list to meet your own personal needs.  I’ve made a few modifications myself over the last few years.

Photo by: Kevin Labianco