Why Cohort-Based Courses Are the Future

Maven is a platform that hosts cohort-based courses from some of the world’s greatest business experts.

Learn from the founder of Maven

Welcome to the Entrepreneur’s Handbook Podcast, where we share inspiring startup stories and practical takeaways for you, the listener.

Today’s guest is Wes Kao, the Co-Founder of Maven. It’s a platform that hosts cohort-based courses from some of the world’s greatest business experts including Anthony Pompliano, Shaan Puri, and Li Jin. Wes co-founded Maven with Gagan Biyani who also founded Udemy and they’ve already raised $25m in just a year.

Wes previously co-founded the AltMBA with Seth Godin and helped other huge creators such as Tiago Forte, David Perrell, and Scott Galloway. She’s one of the world’s foremost experts on how to build a compelling cohort-based course and why it’s the future of the knowledge economy.

Courtesy of E-Handbook’s newsletter, September 15, 2022

Why You Should Bootstrap Your Next Startup

During my academic years, I struggled to learn anything I had zero interest in, but I excelled once obsession got a hold of me. Caring deeply about anything hyperdrives my learning & understanding. That said, I firmly believe that we are all meant to do something we are naturally inclined to outperform 90% of the population with. But it’s often difficult to find that signal in an overstimulated world of noise.

Put validation, profit, and traction first. Forget about raising any funds.

It took me years to discover that my “thing” was early-stage product development. Throughout my self-education, I found a ton of business starter guides that claimed to have the silver bullet with all the answers. In hopes of unearthing the ultimate guide, I bought a couple, only to burn out once I realized that I wasn’t connected to any given niche in the long run.

I noticed a huge problem: I didn’t know why I did what I did. I was chasing status rather than fulfilling an intrinsic purpose.

Building a business from scratch would require me to become the most resilient and directed version of myself. I quickly realized it was senseless to launch anything before I didn’t find out what truly made me tick. To uncover this, I needed to shift my point of departure:

Status-driven enturepreneur → Purpose-driven entrepreneur.

This reframing helped me disregard chasing titles like Founder or CEO. Instead, it made me chase tangible outcomes by shipping tons.

Finding your best path forward will require a lot of trial and error. There aren’t any proven methods to entrepreneurship. Only approaches.

Bootstrapping helped me avoid finding myself in an unfulfilled rut shaped by misdirected energy and false promises.

Entrepreneur types

When it comes to business building, there are roughly 4 different types of entrepreneurs. Each has its merits and place in this world but is highly tailored to the way your mind & core motivations are shaped. I am a Remixer and sometimes an Innovator:

  1. Innovators → create the first thing.
  2. Remixers → package and create a brand around the first thing.
  3. Scalers → mainstream the thing for mass adoption with hundreds of access points.
  4. Optimizers → assure the whole thing doesn’t blow up by maximizing every last percentile.

Are you in the first half? Build something from scratch & continue learning at bootstrap.supply. Are you in the second half? Consider acquiring a company at microacquire.com (if you’re stacked with cash) or learn at a VC or as a Founders Associate at first (if you are just starting out).

You will add value in every way. Just pick your type.

The 4 paths forward

With any business building endeavor, there are roughly 2 styles: build with or build without funding. Both have their merits. Either will say more about you as an entrepreneur than what you end up building. This is because it comes down to what you prioritize:

  1. Controlled Scale → building at your own pace & retain ownership
  2. Hypergrowth → expand at all costs & dilute your ownership.
Bootstrapping vs. Funding differences by @itsjulianpaul.

Zooming in even closer, there are 4 different styles of Founding ↓

  1. Bootstrapping → continuous profit-first building without the need for capital injections (also: Indiehacking). No stakeholder management.
  2. Acceleration & Incubation → pre-idea/pre-team/pre-product capital, program & network support in exchange for equity. Medium stakeholder management.
  3. Angel funding → any-stage capital injection & network access from high-net-worth individuals in exchange for equity. Medium stakeholder management.
  4. VC funding → stage-specific capital injection into high-growth companies expecting a +10x in 5 years or less. High stakeholder management.

I am most impressed with Bootstrappers, as they accomplished the most difficult way of building a business: without outside help.

Here are a couple of products you might not have heard of ↓

Hypergrowth vs. Controlled Scale

The Bootstrapper vs. Funding narrative is as old as the internet. But at its core, it’s more of a stylistic choice that comes down to hypergrowth vs. controlled scale. To understand this nuance, we need to revisit some basics like the top two reasons most startups fail nowadays:

  1. A lack in product-market-fit [38%].
  2. Run out of cash / failed to raise capital [35%].

These two facts amount to around 80% of all new businesses. And this doesn’t even include the classic 9/10 startups fail statistic, which can be even grimmer.

Since the dot com boom, we have seen VCs and Funds fuel a hypergrowth culture we now call big tech. Largely, consumers and companies have reaped the rewards regarding affordability and scalability, respectively.

Sadly, this is only true for a tiny subset of all startups. Most products & models just aren’t meant for the kind of growth that requires you to “double the team every 6–12 months on average. At that pace, you could go from 20 to ~300 people in two years and to 500 or 1,000 people in four years.”

Is that what you want? I definitely do not. If you’re like me, this makes Angel and VC fundraising almost unfeasible. And sadly, accelerators or incubators end up in the same reality once you complete the program.

Bootstrapping, Indiehacking, or Sidehustling is operating at Controlled Scale. It means moving at your business’s own speed. This equates to experimenting, pivoting, and doubling down on what works — which takes time… Capital just makes you adopt a speed of growth that your investors want to see. But it doesn’t allow you to move at your own pace.

The bootstrappers way

The biggest problem with fundraising is forever losing a piece of your company. When you run out of money and need to raise, you might dilute yourself out of a majority stakeholder position. But I digress. Contrary to a fundraising-first approach, bootstrapping opens the doors for a pragmatic profit-first culture. The way of the bootstrapper is simple:

Build your dream business for as long and far as you can without raising any funds.

Then, once you reach $100K ARR or you employ your team of 10+ full-time team members, you will not only be prouder of yourself, but you will be in a much better position to raise funds. You will have a successful track record giving you the leverage to retain most of your company and grow at the pace you’re ready for because you reached product-market fit first.

If you choose this path, you will enter the realm of the purpose-driven entrepreneur. You won’t just slap the title Founder on your LinkedIn because you raised a $3m round. No. You’ll earn it the hard way. Because you put validation, profit and traction first. Status is a byproduct.C

Courtesy of Medium’s Entrepreneurs Handbook by Julian Paul Sept. 15, 2022

Inspirational Successful Entrepreneurs Stories

The path to success is not always easy – just ask aspiring entrepreneurs, and they will tell you the tiresome, persistent process that has kept them awake on many nights. As you continue to pursue your career dreams, reading up on some successful entrepreneurship stories can help boost morale, especially if you already have a business plan, have taken out a loan, and have found a space, and all you need is a boost of encouragement. 

After all, starting a business from scratch is one of the scariest things in the world. Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong, think about the things that could go right and how one day, your name could fall in the list of best entrepreneur stories. Of course, if you read up on any entrepreneurship success story, you will find that most successful businessmen have gone through their fair share of struggles. Many of them failed but continued to pursue their goals relentlessly. Remember, perseverance is the key to success.

MaryBeth Hyland- Founder of Spark Vision

One of the most inspiring entrepreneur’s stories is of MaryBeth Hyland. She faced loads of abuse during her early life, which led her to question her self-worth. However, she delved into creating her own company, despite all her struggles. Spark Vision is a company that collaborates with other businesses and encourages them to maintain a collaborative office workplace, moving away from the toxic office culture.

Hyland has excelled in millennial engagement as she aims for her business to help businesses build close bonds with their employees. Her survival is an inspiration for all of us, especially because she uses her past experiences to connect with people. Hyland believes that all the ugly things she went through in life have helped her succeed, creating a name for her in the list of top entrepreneurship success stories. The lesson we learn through Hyland’s story is that even the most successful entrepreneurs have a past. They are not as unbreakable as they seem. However, using your past and your experiences to help you excel is one of the biggest strengths that many people acquire to have. Hyland had a troubled childhood. However, instead of letting her life being taken away from her and being a victim of her experiences, she used the pain and hurt to motivate her and create a wonderful business that promotes a healthy office culture. 

Eric Yuan – Founder of Zoom

Without Zoom, can you imagine what quarantine would have been like, especially since businesses and schools have turned to the platform to carry out their day-to-day tasks and activities? However, once you find out how Zoom came into existence, you will be shocked.

During the era of the internet boom – mid-’90s- Eric Yuan entered the US from China. However, it took eight tries as each time he applied for a visa, it was denied. He kept at it because he believed that he could do great things. Patience and perseverance kept him going. Finally, when he applied for a US visa the ninth time, he was approved! However, the entire process took two years. 

Yuan worked for a Silicon Valley communication startup initially, and by 2012, he introduced Zoom to the world. Yuan did not want distance to be a significant factor in communication. He did not want lives to be based around a 12-hour train journey. Instead, he aimed for virtual communication techniques so that long-distance was no longer an issue. 

8 Stories of Successful Entrepreneurs that Will Inspire You on Your Journey

Today, 750,000 companies use Zoom. It is used to connect businesses via video and audio conferencing, shared workplaces, chats, and more. The face-to-face video conferencing allows people to see each other in real-time, making communication more realistic and humanistic. It has also allowed millions of employees to work from home and communicate with their workplaces, giving many people a chance to apply to businesses offshore.

Yuan, like millions of other immigrants, had a hard time entering the country of his dreams. However, this did not discourage him. In fact, one of the reasons why Yuan’s entrepreneurship story is inspiring is because of his sheer determination and persistent nature. Having a success story of entrepreneurs is not easy. However, don’t give up, even if you have to wait a few years for your dreams to come true. 

More stories coming courtesy of ValiantCEO.com

Current in Entrepreneurship

27-Year-Old Entrepreneur Worth $220 Million

Daniella Pierson. who just turned 27, used word-of-mouth and referral marketing to build The Newsette into a profitable newsletter and marketing agency business. Now she’s one of the richest self made women in the U.S. as a Latino.

A Latinx founder, Pierson built The Newsette from nothing to $40 million in revenues and profits of at least $10 million last year, she says. Two weeks ago she sold a small stake in The Newsette to an investor in a transaction that values the company at $200 million. It’s the first outside money she’s taken (besides a $15,000 loan from her parents, which she repaid), and she remains the company’s majority shareholder.

She is also a cofounder and co-CEO of less-than-year-old mental health startup Wondermind with singer and actress Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey (CEO of Kicked to the Curb Productions and Gomez’s mother). Her stake in that company, combined with cash and other investments she’s made, puts Pierson’s net worth at $220 million, Forbes estimates. (Update: on August 11, Wondermind announced on Instagram that it raised $5 million at a $100 million valuation led by investor Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures.)

Pierson, who turned 27 last week, is ten months younger than Lucy Guo, the richest under 30 BIPOC woman on Forbes’ 2022 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Guo, who will turn 28 in October, cofounded tech firm Scale AI and appeared on Forbes’ list worth $440 million. The only other self-made woman on the Forbes list younger than Pierson is Kylie Jenner, who just turned 25 on Wednesday, August 10. (For context, the cutoff to make the 2022 Self-Made Women list, published in June, was $215 million.)

When Pierson was a sophomore at Boston University in 2015, she couldn’t find time to visit her favorite websites, so decided to create a newsletter that would curate the culture, business, beauty and wellness content she and her friends wanted to read. She first told people she was working as an intern for a cool newsletter company. “I didn’t want to say I was the founder,” she explains, partly because she lacked confidence. But she hustled, printing out copies and putting them in the common areas and lobbies of buildings around the university.

It wasn’t until after she graduated that Pierson started soliciting advertising. She says revenues went from $1 million in 2019 to $7 million in 2020 to $40 million in 2021, with partnerships and advertisers that have included Bumble, Fidelity, Old Navy, Twitter and Walmart. She made the Forbes Under 30 list in the Media category in 2020, when she was 24.

Now her free newsletter–which blends news and links to articles about things like natural beauty products–has more than 500,000 subscribers, mostly women ages 18 to 35. It’s mostly smarter than the Daily Skimm with an irreverent attitude similar to that of Morning Brew’s daily email. Subscribers get points for referring new readers via a personalized referral code; the points can be used to redeem anything from an “exclusive Sunday newsletter” (3 points) to a variety of swag: a coffee mug (15 points), a “cool” sweatshirt (55 points) or free coffee for a year (350 points).

Inside Newsette, she also started creative agency Newland, which creates TikTok channels for clients and helps them find influencers to market their brands, in 2020. Its first campaign was for Amazon on International Women’s Day 2020, highlighting 20 small businesses started by women. Business has mostly grown through word of mouth, says Pierson; the agency hasn’t had an official launch yet and only recently launched its own website, but accounted for a higher percentage of revenue than the newsletter business did last year and also for 60% of her 40 employees, she says. (She’s just hired 10 more employees who will start next month.)

The newsletter maven relishes her good fortune but is up front about the fact that she isn’t the typical ideal of a successful businesswoman. “I have OCD and depression. I was a horrible student,” she confesses.

Her mother grew up poor in Colombia and eventually became an oral surgeon and her father, who grew up in Niagara Falls, New York, owns car dealerships in Jacksonville, Florida–where Pierson was raised. As a young child Pierson had trouble sleeping; she was bothered by the fact that there was black tape on one side of her bed but not the other–it wasn’t even. She developed rituals including looking under the bed until it “felt right.” In her high school health class, she realized while studying mental health disorders that she had OCD. “I was considered the dumb twin to the valedictorian in my class,” she says. Her twin sister, who writes under the name Alex Aster, went to the University of Pennsylvania, graduated summa cum laude, has 1 million followers on TikTok (making her one of the most followed authors on the social media platform) and has published two popular young adult fantasy/thriller books–one of which is being made into a movie by Universal and the producers of the movie Twilight.

Pierson didn’t seek treatment for OCD until she was a senior in college. Her GPA had dropped to below 2.0 in the second semester of junior year and she was worried she’d be kicked out of school if she didn’t get her grades up. In addition to looking under her bed, “I would slam my hands on the ground–that was part of the ritual–so hard that my hands started bleeding one day,” she recalls. “I was crying every single day for three months.” She knew she needed help, but also knew her parents didn’t believe in therapists. With some of the affiliate money that had been coming in from The Newsette, she paid to see a therapist who prescribed Prozac; that, with some cognitive behavioral therapy, turned things around. She made the dean’s list senior year and got nearly all A’s.

“Something that Danny and I have in common: we don’t like to gloss over hard things,” says her sister Aster. “She has this amazing life and she’s so successful,” but not everything came easy. Aster was initially rejected by multiple publishers and parted ways with her agent before pitching her book on TikTok, which led to an auction among publishers and a six-figure advance. The sisters are close and have helped each other – Aster would copy edit The Newsette for Pierson every morning in the early days, and Pierson reads Aster’s chapters first. “I trust her opinion over anyone,” says Aster.

Driven nearly to a point of excess, Pierson says she took her first one week vacation in four years last month. “I couldn’t relax,” she says. “Nothing brings me as much happiness as building companies.” Still, she says that her OCD has evolved but not disappeared; she’s learned to not only cope but hopefully also be an inspiration to others. “I don’t want anyone with mental health issues to count themselves out from being successful,” says Pierson. “I want to show the world that success can look different.”

Courtesy of Forbes Magazine, “Under 30”

Entrepreneurial Mindset in CareerSource Training

Daytona Beach CareerSource Training Discovers the Value of Mindset Training – ELI (the Entrepreneurship Learning Initiative, founder of the Ice House Program in Mentor, OH) features the successful Daytona Beach community in this one hour interview to illustrates the impact of adding entrepreneurial mindset training. They found through experimentation that introducing the empowerment of entrepreneurial thinking in both the local Mary Karl College of Workforce & Continuing Education curriculum and the CareerSource Flager/Volusia training has brought big changes. They count a wide group of personas among the lives impacted adding entrepreneurial mindset teaching -the formerly incarcerated, re-skilled employees, all sized employers seeking soft-skilled labor, and college courses across-the-board.

You’ll hear an interview hosted by ELI President Rob Herndon and featuring Dr. Sherryl Weems, Associate Vice President of the Mary Karl College of Workforce & Continuing Education and Robin King and Charlie Howell of CareerSource Flager/Volusia as they describe the incredible impact of mindset training on student engagement and employer value in Daytona Beach. Not only are graduates more employable to local businesses through new solf-skills, but college faculty realized by adding an entrepreneurial mindset way of thinking every education major, discipline was easier to learn. Students became more valuable to the employers or those interested in self-employment were better prepared for their entrepreneurial journey.

Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurial Women Rise to the Top.

From recent post on Purpose in Life, we felt this ERI (Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative) would be appropriate as a follow-up. Dr. Barbara Kurshan has spent more than 30 years working in, and researching, the education marketplace. Kurshan is a Senior Fellow and Innovation Advisor who launched the nation’s first master’s program in education entrepreneurship; introduced the VOLT program for online teaching; and has overseen the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, the largest education business plan competition in the country. The interviewer is Gary Schoeniger, CEO & Founder of ERI/Ice House.

Guest interview with “Bobbi” Krushan, an entrepreneur and innovation expert.

Importance of Finding Your Purpose in Life

Having a purpose in life is an important factor for happiness. Without it, you’ll live your life less focused and restless. Furthermore, you’ll often feel stressed because you won’t feel aligned with the things you do.

But why is it so important to have a purpose in life? The importance of having a purpose in life has been proven by numerous studies. They all show that people with a clear sense of purpose are more likely to grow old in a healthy way. Additionally, people with a clear purpose in life find it easier to be inspired by the things they do.  This article will cover the most important details of these studies in addition to examples of how you can find your own purpose in life.

The benefits of having a purpose in life

You probably agree that it is important to have a purpose in life if you want to be happy. But does science agree here?  Here are some interesting results that will show you just how important it is to have a purpose in life.

Living purposefully is correlated to living longer

The most prominent and well-referenced study that I stumbled upon is very interesting. This study was conducted by Randy Cohen, Chirag Bavishi, and Alan Rozanski and was published at the end of 2015. As part of the study, over 136,000 people were evaluated and followed for about 7 years. The average age at the start of the study was 67 years old, and as the people in this subject passed away or faced health issues, the researchers found out an interesting piece of data.

The analysis showed a lower risk of death for participants with a high sense of purpose in life. After adjusting for other factors, mortality was about one-fifth lower for participants reporting a strong sense of purpose.

How did the researchers decide which person lived with purpose and which person didn’t? This is covered in more detail in the fully published report. This is where it gets a little technical, so I’ll just copy and paste the methodology here:

Purpose in life was assessed in 2006 using the 7-item Purpose in Life subscale of the Ryff Psychological Well-being Scales, previously validated in a nationally representative sample of adults. On a 6-point Likert scale, respondents rated the degree to which they agreed with each item. The mean of all items was taken to create a scale. Scores ranged from 1 to 6, where higher scores reflected higher purpose.

The participants were asked to rate their own sense of purpose on a scale from 1 to 6. This study clearly shows that you are more likely to grow old (healthily) when you live a purposeful life.

An example of how a purpose in life can make your life happier

In my article about different examples of life purposes, I’ve asked people the following question: What is your purpose in life?  Out of the responses that I got, I want to highlight one that I think provides some anecdotal proof:

I got cancer at age 30 and am currently grappling with this question. My focus has completely shifted and I feel like my the whole point of life now is just 2 simple things:

  1. Making positive connections with others and enjoying those around you. It is a lot easier to sit on the couch and watch a feel-good show then it is to go have dinner with your in-laws when you are tired – but what is the point in sitting there watching TV? We all waste way too much time doing crap like that. Better to build meaningful connections while you can. There are millions of super isolated people in the world as well who would kill to have someone to have dinner with.
  2. Squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of life. I need to walk home – I can either take the subway for 5 minutes underground or I can walk 30 minutes through a park and tree-lined streets and truly enjoy it.. maybe get an ice cream on the way. I’d pick the fast way every time before, now I’m constantly looking for the most enjoyable route instead.

This shows to me that having a purpose can enable you to:

  • Live a life that aligns with your values.
  • Be more motivated, disciplined, and efficient in being the best version of yourself.
  • Find long-term happiness in the things that you do (no matter what they are).

Does this explanation of a sense of purpose surprise you?

If I’m honest, I have to say that this explanation surprised me at first. This answer says that her purpose in life is pretty much to be as happy as possible while enjoying as much time with close connections as possible.

This is far different from some of the big purposes that people are well-known for. Take Elon Musk, for example, whose purpose in life is to accelerate space exploration.

But don’t be fooled! A purpose in life doesn’t necessarily have to be unique or jaw-dropping. It’s not a game of showboating. You have to find your own purpose in life, that’s what matters most. Don’t let your purpose be influenced by someone else’s.

Don’t feel intimidated by someone else’s purposeful life

So Elon Musk has a unique purpose in life, don’t you think? A lot of people admire him for that, and that’s great.  But don’t be intimidated by his purpose, and definitely don’t feel like your own purpose has to somehow match this high standard.

Elon Musk said it himself:  “The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst. It sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.”

I’m going to assume here that you are not like Elon and you don’t like high intensity as much as he does. Therefore, why do you think your purpose has to be similar to his?

It’s important that you find your own purpose in life instead of simply copying someone else’s. Just as much as your definition of happiness is unique, so is your purpose in life.

3 ways to find your purpose in life

People generally don’t wake up one day and have a “eureka” moment and suddenly know what their purpose in life is. No, we usually have to discover our purpose by trial and error.

So how do you discover your purpose? Here are 3 ways to find your purpose in life more quickly.

1. Actively try new things

You definitely won’t find your purpose in life by simply waiting for it to fall on your lap. You find it by actively trying new things and taking action.

If you haven’t yet discovered your purpose in life, then you will not find it by trying the same things repeatedly. It helps to always keep an open mind here. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s an article with some inspiring new things to try.

2. Know that your job is not necessarily your purpose

It’s important to know that your purpose in life and your job are not the same things.  Too many people look for a job that pays the bills and that simultaneously makes their lives have a purpose.

A very small percentage of people find actual purpose in the work they do. In fact, according to a 2013 study by Gallup, only 30% of all American employees feel engaged at work. The takeaway here is that your career doesn’t necessarily have to be your purpose in life.

3. Develop a growth mindset

When we stop growing, we plateau. And we all know a plateau is a meh place to be. Fireworks and magic don’t happen on a plateau. The thing is, many people don’t realize they have the internal power to expand their knowledge, develop their emotional intelligence, and become better versions of themselves.

That’s why you need to develop a growth mindset.  People with a growth mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

This helps you realize that who you are now isn’t who you have to be for the rest of your life. So if you find yourself lacking a sense of purpose, then a growth mindset will help you to develop yourself until you find one. If you’re looking for ways to develop your growth mindset, here’s our article on the topic!  It is no coincidence that the mastery of entrepreneurship begins with development of an entrepreneurial mindset.  This article is offered because purpose and entrepreneurship are so closely connected.

Non-Obvious Mega Trends

How to see what others miss and predict the future.

Rohit Bhargava, founder and chief trend curator of the non-obvious company, has taken the best of his annual Trend Report and written a Wall Street Journal bestselling book, title above.  He takes us behind the scenes at his signature Haystack Method for identifying trends.  According to Bhargava you don’t have to be a futurist or innovator to learn to think like one.  His key to understanding how to grow your business or propelling your career into the next decade lies in better understanding the present.  The future belongs to non-obvious thinkers.

 “This skill is often described as creativity, and we live in a world that celebrates it.  But finding the solution to a particularly tricky problem or discovering a world changing idea takes more than creativity –a fact discovered on a fateful day nearly two decades ago while sitting across the table from man waiting to be inspired by anyone but me.  We’re sitting in a conference room on the top floor of an office building overlooking Darling Harbor in Sydney.  As we present our epic game changing campaign idea, the first presentation seems to go well.  Unfortunately, as our pitch wrapped up our client asked the one questions we were not expecting, “What else you got?.”  I slowly realized that the only person who could remember those abandoned ideas was the junior member of the team who had taken notes in the meetings.  Summoning my courage, I broke the silence and spoke up.

I did not pull a million-dollar idea out of my head.  In fact, the truth is I don’t remember what I said.  But, I do remember how I felt.  It was my first taste of being on the other side, and I was hooked.  I wanted that feeling again.  I became an idea curator by accident.  Editing a blog, I constantly ran out of ideas so I started seeking ideas everywhere.  I scribbled possible blog topics on scraps of paper.  I save quotes from books and ripped pages out of magazines.  My collection of potential topics grew.  I started saving them is a simple yellow folder with Ideas scrawled not the tab.  It worked, and I now had plenty of inspiration for what to write about.  During this time I wrote more than a thousand articles, built a readership of hundreds of thousands people, and won several awards.

Near the end of 2010, I was reading an article about trends for the coming year.  Almost all of them were lazy, uninformed or self-serving declarations of the obvious.  Trends like the iPhone 4 and that people would express themselves more on social media weren’t trends, they were profoundly obvious observations of the world.  Frustrated to do better, I published may own list of 15 trends and called it the Non-Obvious Trend Report.  It went viral, hundreds of thousands of people read and shared it.  Now ten years later my library of non-obvious trends has grown to more than hundred predictions.  The books have been translated into eight languages and earned nine international book awards.”

This Non Obvious Mega Trends book has two important parts (editor) -(A) five key mindsets required for being a non-obvious thinker and (B) ten power mega-trends that will shape the coming decade and.  We offer taste of both below:

(A) The mindsets:  As professor Carol Dweck of Stanford researched, people either have growth mindset or a fixed mindset.  People with the fixed mindset believe their skill and abilities are set.  Those with growth mindsets believe success is the result of learning, hard work and determination.  Engaging in non-obvious thinking starts with adopting a growth mindset.  The five mindsets of non-obvious thinkers are;

  • BE OBSERVANT – See what others miss.
  • BE CURIOUS – Always ask why.
  • BE FICKLE – Learn to move on.
  • BE THOUGHTFUL – Take time to think.
  • BE ELEGANT – Craft beautiful ideas.

(B)  The non-obvious megatrends:

  • AMPLIFIED IDENTITY – People carefully cultivate how they are perceived both online & offline.
  • INSTANT KNOWLEDGE – Consuming bite-sized knowledge risks forgetting mastery & wisdom.
  • REVIVALISM – People seek simpler experiences with sense of nostalgia and trustworthy times.
  • HUMAN MODE – People place greater value on authentic, “unperfect” human experiences.
  • ATTENTION WEALTH – Attention is our most valuable resource so seek trust in communication.
  • PURPOSEFUL PROFIT – As consumers demand ethical practices, companies are responding.
  • DATA ABUNDANCE – Caution comes from ubiquity of data -useful, ownership, & who profits.
  • PROTECTIVE TECH – Increasing reliance on predictive tech brings privacy trade-offs.
  • FLUX COMMERCE – Rapid change brings continual disruption of channels and innovation.

This book is terrific for entrepreneurship.  Bhargava starts with mindsets because only those who train themselves to think entrepreneurially can recognize and then seize opportunities as they arise.  He also give his own experiences the led to his curator expertise -15 years in leadership roles at two renowned ad agencies, bestselling author of six books, keynote speaker in 32 countries around the world.  Rohit is a popular adjunct professor of marketing and storytelling at Georgetown University.

Written by the editor with generous use of book quotes.



Super Video Podcast with MSU’s Director, Center of Family Enterprise

Interview with U. S. expert in family business

Here’s a real treat to learn more about  entrepreneurship’s most common small business, the family enterprise.  The expert professor being interview is Dr. Jim Chrisman, the Director of Mississippi State University’s Center for Family Enterprise.  Jim has conducted over 500 studies of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program, presented at U. S. Congressional hearings, and published over 175 articles in business journals.  He is interviewed by Philip Bouchard, founder of Trusted Peer which advances innovation by advising institutions on entrepreneurship and operates this well subscribed video podcast.

Some of the topics they discuss within the podcast are the competitive advantages of family businesses, why family business is associated so closely with entrepreneurship, some of the most important family-firm-specific factors university centers should focus on, current trends in small businesses in the U. S. today, and the definition of socio-economic wealth.  So sit back and enjoy this valuable podcast:

For more on the Center for Enterprise and Dr. Chrisman – jchrisman@business.msstate.edu and Office: (662) 325-1991.

For more information on Trusted Peer and Philip Bouchard – philip@trustedpeer.com or support@trustedpeer.com, and Office  ‭(415) 218-3203‬.

Courtesy Trusted Peer’s Interview with Thought Leaders Website.

Entrepreneurship Takes Balancing Your Work, Life & Parenting.

For most of us, there’s nothing more meaningful than family and business in life. But, unfortunately, both require a lot from a person. And as a result, it can be a challenge to balance them.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a manual for being a working parent. And this is especially true for “parentrepreneurs.”

As an entrepreneur, you’re primarily focused on venturing into new opportunities, drafting working strategies, and achieving results. The reasons you do this are self-improvement, portfolio expansion, and monetary gain.   Adding family to the mix can make things a bit tricky. Since now you’re also responsible for your family, your work rate and results must improve. In addition, as your business grows, you’ll have to divide and share your attention between it and your expanding obligations. Understandably, this can be tough.

The good news? No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial and family journey, there are ways to balance your work, life, and parenting.

  1. Develop a routine.   The importance of spending time together with family cannot be overstated. But, if our precious time is wasted, we can feel stressed, frustrated, and burned out. That’s why it’s vital for parent entrepreneurs to be mindful of their time management. And implementing a daily routine that fits your family’s and business’s needs can do just that. Why? Because this provides structure.

    In addition to keeping you organized and productive, a routine makes your day more predictable, which saves you time and energy. For both business and personal tasks, assign a specific amount of time, and embrace flexibility because things may not go as planned.

    Among the helpful routines you can implement immediately are:

    • First, prepare your to-do list each night for the next day.
    • Check and respond to emails at a set time each day. As an example, at 9 am and 6 pm.
    • Finally, get your meal prep on.
    • Work around your children’s schedules. For instance, set your working hours when they’re in school.
  2.  Set priorities.   Lola Wright, founder of LolaWright.com and coach at LolaWright.com, says most people overcommit to their priorities. Eventually, feelings of inadequacy can be associated with this overcommitment.  “Know what your true priorities are, and don’t compromise on them,” Wright said. “This is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your business, and your family.  What’s more, any project that is not your top priority should be delegated.“Outsource the low-priority work to somebody who has that time to spend helping you with a business,” said William Gaunitz, certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology.

    In addition, Cheri Reid, owner, and operator of Huntington Learning Center in Skokie, Illinois, said there would be times when your attention will be split between your business and your family. “Don’t be too hard on yourself,” Reid added. “Priorities will ebb and flow.”

  3. Live by your calendar.  “If it doesn’t exist on my calendar, it’s not real,” said Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec. Sound advice. The question is, though, what should be included in your calendar?

    “Because of that, I never missed a swim meet. I never missed a school play. I never missed anything,” Herjavec said. “I’d fly from L.A. back to Toronto to be with my kids for one day. That’s the great thing about having your own business — the freedom to control your schedule and do what you want with it.”

    Of course, not everyone has a chance to personally meet with their kid’s teachers, counselors, or coaches. However, even without a year’s notice, you still have plenty of time to add key dates to your calendar. Examples could be the first day of school or when they have games or recitals. Your kids may even have their own digital calendar. If so, sync their calendar with yours to prevent calendar conflicts.

    In my calendar, I reserve time for networking, learning, and relaxing, as well as date-specific appointments. However, I schedule my obligations before all of that. These include vacations, school functions, and doctor’s appointments.

    “Plan as much as you can a year in advance and stick to it,” suggested Herjavec. For him, that means booking his calendar a year in advance. To do that, he sat down with their school counselor and assistant and went over “each” holiday and event they had off.

4.  Establish boundaries and follow through on your commitments. 

Get into the habit of putting clear time limits in place. That means defining when you are available and when you are not available is what you do in this section. You can also teach your children this valuable lesson.  Unless it’s an emergency, no one should disturb you when you are unavailable. This is your time to focus on your business.

On the flip side, being available to your children, however, means being fully present for them without any distractions. The only thing that matters here is you and them. Everything else can wait.

5.  Don’t go it alone. 

Starting a business requires a village — just as raising a child does. After all, business success is never the result of one person working alone. I mean, for every Steve Jobs, there’s a Steve Wozniak beside them.

The reason? You literally can’t do everything on your own. Whether that’s because of time restraints or the skills, you don’t possess. As a parent, that’s doubly true.

Despite this, learning to let go of control is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs. Even though delegating tasks to someone else may be necessary, it can feel uncomfortable when you build your startup from scratch.

You might want to consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle mundane tasks in your business. Depending on your needs, they can be very affordable. And, as your business grows, you’ll have more team members to help lighten your workload.

You’ll spend more time with your family if you delegate more and work less. As a result, you can focus more on taking your business to the next level and the bigger picture.

The same holds true for home life: you can’t do everything. As a family, that means planning and managing time efficiently and building supportive relationships. So, let’s say that you’re working from home, but need a couple of hours to focus on work. Ask a parent, sibling, or neighbor if they can watch the kids. Or, maybe find someone through sites like Care.com or Sittercity.

6.  Before you enter the door, stop.

“Parentprenuers need to get ready to be a parent before they open their front doors and walk inside,” says Leila Bulling Towne, The Bulling Towne Group, LLC. “Sure, you can turn off your phone and put away your laptop, yet changing your mindset is key.”

Once you cross the threshold, the role of entrepreneur changes when you become a parent, adds Leila. Make sure you put away your work baggage before dinner and before bedtime so you can be fully present.

7.   Bring your family along on the journey.

Obviously, you cannot hire your children full-time. You could, however, ask your children for help after school or when they’re home on in-service days. If the kids aren’t around, maybe you should delegate some tasks to your partner.  As well as giving you more family time, this teaches your children values that will make them stand out. Responsibility, teamwork, and problem-solving are all part of these skills.

In the past few years, I have followed Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist specializing in raising children. Campbell’s advice is straightforward and easy to understand. As Sherrie suggests, we can teach children about life to be successful by teaching them these seven values. As far as children are concerned, we all need actionable, doable information.

8.  You can compromise, but not on self-care. It does not matter whether you start a business or have a baby, your sleep schedule will be disrupted, and your hobbies will be neglected. Identify the areas you are not willing to cut out of your routine and determine how much you can compromise.  It’s essential to draw a clear line when it comes to moments of particular significance. The simple things, such as tucking your children into bed, reading a story, or watching a recital or basketball game, cannot be replaced. At the same time, it’s also essential to take care of yourself, whether by running every night or relaxing with a few minutes of meditation. As such, you should block out time in your calendar for self-care like you would for a dentist or investor appointment.

9.  Disconnect during family time.

“There’s no experience that can compare to bonding with your kids,” states Choncé Maddox. “However, family time becomes less enjoyable when you or your spouse are glued to your work while everyone is trying to spend quality time together.”  “I know it can be tempting to check your email when you’re watching a family movie,” Choncé adds. “Trust me when I say that they’ll notice how connected you are to your devices rather than them.”

Children pick up on everything, even when they are small. “When my son has basketball practice, I’ve felt tempted to bring my laptop and catch up on work,” she continues. “However, sometimes I’ve noticed he looks over at me to see if I’m watching him, especially when he makes a shot.”  “That made me realize that I didn’t want him to remember mom always on her laptop or phone.” As a result, I work very efficiently during my time so that I can disconnect when needed.

10.  It’s okay to accept what can’t be changed.

Whether raising kids or running a business, it’s never easy. They’re probably both of your biggest challenges in life.

There’s always a fine line between finding the right balance between both on even a “regular” day. Moreover, that doesn’t account for extenuating circumstances such as a sick child or workplace disaster.  In both areas, learning to take setbacks in stride is key.  It’s common for entrepreneurs who raise families to feel like they’ve failed at both due to stress, falling prey to the games their brains play when things get tough.

Even for ambitious overachievers, admitting family involvement is hard, but letting go of perfection is crucial. In short, there is no perfect parent, just as there is no perfect entrepreneur.

Certainly, crises will arise, and there may be times when you don’t feel you’re doing your best. However, looking at things from a broader perspective will show you that you aren’t actually in that bad of a shape.  In life, stumbles are inevitable. And once you accept that fact, you can focus on what matters most, whether it is playing with your kids or thinking of your next product.

  Courtesy of Productivity Center, Calendar.com Blog, By John Rampton