We all lead busy lives but can we be too busy?


Beware the barrenness of a busy life. ~Socrates

We all lead very busy lives; often too busy. We run around focused on our work and have little time for family and friends or for a little bit of ‘me’ time.

Work can take up so much of our time and it’s easy to become completely absorbed by it. The problem is when you miss out on stuff, you miss out and it’s gone forever.

If your child is in the school play and you miss it, you can’t go back and catch it some other time, the opportunity has gone.

The years go by all too quickly. Children grow up fast and then suddenly they become independent and, once that happens they don’t need you anymore.

If you don’t have time for family and friends, eventually they won’t need you anymore either.

If you’re not careful you can be left with nothing.

When you’re on your deathbed you’re unlikely to wish you’d spent more time in the office but you may regret not spending more time with your children.

Work is important of course but nothing is more important than the people that matter most to us. Our loved ones. Always there but often neglected. We think we can do stuff with them some other time, someday. But someday never comes.

Wake up and smell the roses. Your life needs balance, if you’re not to have too many regrets later in life. Work hard by all means but not at the expense of your loved ones. Work matters but people matter more.

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Does enjoying your work matter? Here’s why it should.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~Steve Jobs

Does enjoying your work matter? Well, here’s why is should in my opinion.

You’ll only have this one life, so you have to make the most of it.

Life is not a rehearsal. Your backstory might be written in indelible ink but your future is a blank sheet and the good news is that you hold the pen.

You don’t have to accept things the way they are, they can be changed with some effort on your part. It’s never easy of course but it can be done. And if you’re not happy with the way things are then why wouldn’t you want to try to improve your life?

Work is an important part of your life and it absorbs a significant amount of your time each week. So you have to enjoy it and you have to get up in the morning and look forward to what you’ll be doing that day.

Yes it’s true that no one’s working life is always perfect. However the good days should outnumber the bad days by a considerable margin.

Enjoy your work and you will do it well. Hate your work and you can never do it well. And it has to be done well if you want to succeed and maximise your earning potential.

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21 thought-provoking quotes about inspiration

Do you need a little inspiration occasionally, because I know I do?

It seems to me that most readers find quotes a good source of inspiration. Not just quotes from the great thinkers of course. Rather it’s those  observations from ordinary people about life and the human condition that can also be truly inspiring.

Here are 21 thought-provoking quotes about inspiration.

They’re not so much about inspiration as intended to be a source of inspiration.

Most of all, each and every one of these quotes offers something different by way of inspiration I think.

These quotes will make you think too, which is important. If you’re trying to develop your own philosophy for dealing with life and the people around you then these quotes should help you.

So read them all, reflect on them and see how many of them you can work into your day.

Quotes about inspiration:

  1. Everyone is good at something and once you find it, what you can achieve is limitless. ~Andrew Flintoff
  2. The deepest craving of human nature is to be appreciated. ~William James
  3. Every man has three characters: that which he shows; that which he has; and that which he thinks he has. ~Alphonse Karr
  4. The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is neither likely to make money nor find much fun in life. ~Charles M. Schwab
  5. Never mind what others do; do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day and you are a success. ~William J.H. Boetcker
  6. Don’t be afraid of failure. If something doesn’t work, use what you’ve learned to try and try again. ~Sir James Dyson
  7. Even if your vision is flawed, if you have the passion and the implementation skills, you’ll get there [in the end]. ~Jim McCarthy
  8. The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling. ~Lucretius
  9. Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. ~Haim Ginott
  10. A truly loving parent won’t be looking for payback from a child. The child’s happiness, self-confidence and independence are the only rewards for good parenting. ~Roy Sutton
  11. Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree. ~Marian Wright Edelman
  12. If you look around at successful people, the movers and shakers are those who are positive, who won’t take no for an answer, and who make things happen – either for themselves or for others. ~Carole Spiers
  13. I think one of the most pervasive evils in the world is greed and acquiring money for money’s sake. Once you have six houses and a plane it is just about a number. It’s never been anything I understood. ~Kevin Bacon
  14. Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. ~W. Clement Stone
  15. There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found while journeying east and west. The only folks we really wound are those we love the best. We flatter those we scarcely know. We please the fleeting guest. And deal full many a thoughtless blow to those who love us best. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  16. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ~Martin Luther King
  17. Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. ~Dr Norman Vincent Peale
  18. Other people may not like what you choose to do but as long as you’re not hurting anyone else then it is your business and yours alone. You weren’t put on this earth just to please other people. ~Roy Sutton
  19. The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny. ~Albert Ellis
  20. My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success. ~ Helen Hayes Brown
  21. The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration. ~Pearl S. Buck

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21 favourite quotes to inspire you when you’re feeling down

Quotes can be such a source of inspiration, especially when we’re feeling a little down. When everything’s not quite going in the way we’d like, it’s helpful to reflect on the wisdom of successful people.

Successful people weren’t always successful. They started out as ordinary people with a dream and a determination to follow that dream and take it as far as they could.

And in getting to where they are they’ll have met many obstacles along the way and at times they too will have felt a little down.

No one has it that easy. The only difference is that successful people keep going. They never give up.

Successful people make sure they have a source of inspiration for when they need it. They always have something to lift them when times get tough.

For me it’s quotes. I love them.

Here are 21 of my favourite quotes that certainly inspire me when I’m in need of a lift.

Favourite quotes:

  1. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. ~Steve Jobs
  2. Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. ~Samuel Johnson
  3. Every artist was first an amateur. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie
  5. Whoever is happy will make others happy, too. ~Mark Twain
  6. You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Christopher Columbus
  7. Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. ~Conrad Hilton
  8. That’s precisely the question everyone should be asking—why the hell not? Why not you, why not now? ~Timothy Ferriss
  9. The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour. ~Vince Lombardi
  10. It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are. ~E.E. Cummings
  11. Do not let what you cannot do; interfere with what you can do. ~John Wooden
  12. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford
  13. Use what talents you possess. The woods will be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~Henry Van Dyke
  14. You are what you think about all day long. ~Dr Robert Schuller
  15. The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy. ~Malcolm Forbes
  16. Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. ~Howard Thurman
  17. The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame. ~Rod Steiger
  18. Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use. ~Ruth Gordon
  19. Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions; they are easier to handle than dumb mistakes. ~Author Unknown
  20. Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. ~Albert Einstein
  21. What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left. ~Oscar Levant

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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

We all tend to worry a bit more than we should.

Worrying is natural but it is rarely helpful. It just adds to our stress levels. And what’s the worst thing that can happen?

And even if it does happen would worrying have stopped it happening? Life is too short to stress ourselves out with worry.

Question is, how do we stop ourselves worrying? Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a useful guide in this respect. This book is a great personal development text and it is well worth reading. I can recommend it to you.

Personal development:

However until you have the chance to read it this animated video provides a useful summary of the key ideas in the book. I can recommend you watch this video and then read the book.

Readers serious about their own personal development will be keen to establish their own small library of motivational resources. Dale Carnegie’s book would be a very useful addition to that library and it can be purchased here.

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How To Overcome Laziness In 4 Steps

Laziness can get the best of us. We’d all love to be more productive but often we just lack the energy and the drive. Do you ever feel a little work-shy and sluggish? If so, you’re not alone.

The problem is if we don’t deal with our laziness we’ll never get anything done.

And if we don’t get anything done, it all piles up and increases our stress levels. Small jobs can become very big jobs if we just leave things for another day.

And that makes it even harder for us to get going and get things done.

We have to be on top of our work all the time, whether we’re in the office or at home.

And to do that we have to be on top of our feelings of laziness and force ourselves to get going if necessary.

Do you need help to overcome your laziness? Don’t worry, help is at hand.

How To Overcome Laziness In 4 Steps: The Video

In the video here Emil Ihsan-Alexander Torabi offers some useful advice on how you can overcome your inclination to laziness, should it be a problem for you.

We can all be lazy at times and I’m as guilty as the next person. However the tips in this video have helped me, so I recommend them to you.

Now you’ve watched the video, perhaps it’s whetted your appetite to learn a little more. For me that always means buying a good book to add to my personal reference library.

One book you might consider is Motivate Yourself Daily: 50 Simple Ways Motivating Yourself Everyday to Take Action, Work Hard, Overcome Laziness, and Accomplish Your Goals by Kristi Jefferson.

I found it interesting and useful and you might too. You can buy from Amazon if you just CLICK HERE

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15 Quotes by Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur and best known as the driving force behind the success of Apple Inc. Together with Steve Wozniak, he was a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Famously he dropped out of college and proved, if proof were needed, that you don’t necessarily need qualifications or a college Degree to make an impact and leave a genuine legacy to the world.

What you need is passion and a desire to do something well and to do it better than everyone else. And Steve Jobs had that in spades.

Sadly Steve Jobs died, far too early, at age 56 on October 5, 2011. His death being due to respiratory arrest related to the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour for which he was being treated at the time.

However his influence on business and technology was enormous and his ideas resonate with people to this day.

In my opinion, he was one of life’s great thinkers and I think his views on life and work are worth reflecting on.

So here are 15 quotes by Steve Jobs which I think are worth a few minutes of your time.

Read them; reflect on them. And then consider your life and where you’re going. Are you living your life with passion or are you just going through the motions?

As Steve Jobs implied, our time is precious. We must live our own lives our own way. And we cannot be defined by how other people think we should be. We must be ourselves.

  1. Stay hungry, stay foolish. ~Steve Jobs
  2. I want to put a ding in the universe. ~Steve Jobs
  3. We’re just enthusiastic about what we do. ~Steve Jobs
  4. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. ~Steve Jobs
  5. My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. ~Steve Jobs
  6. We hire people who want to make the best things in the world. ~Steve Jobs
  7. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~Steve Jobs
  8. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs
  9. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. ~Steve Jobs
  10. That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. ~Steve Jobs
  11. For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~Steve Jobs
  12. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. ~Steve Jobs
  13. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. ~Steve Jobs
  14. I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things. It enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback. ~Steve Jobs
  15. As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what’s happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don’t seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids. ~Steve Jobs

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Management: 15 things every first-time CEO should know

So you’ve landed a gig in the management hot seat? They’ve given you a decent office; the key to the executive washroom; and on your office door there’s a polished plate engraved with the words THE BOSS.

It makes you beam with pride, doesn’t it? Well done! Allow me to offer you my congratulations. Your family will be truly very proud of you.

However before you get too comfortable in your high-backed, leather, executive chair let me offer you a word of advice. Enjoy the moment while you can because the honeymoon won’t last long.

You’re there to deliver results consistently and if you fail to deliver, you’ll find the sea in which you’re now swimming will become very unforgiving, very quickly.

Businesses exist to enrich their owners and your job is to deliver profit and growth, year-on-year. No one wants to hear why it can’t be done; or why it hasn’t been done; or that in some way you’ve been unlucky. Excuses count for nothing. Do or die, it’s that simple.

I’ve been in that management hot seat myself, so I speak from experience. Equally I speak with the benefit of hindsight because I’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes along the way. However what I can say is that I did make sure that I always learned the lessons from my mistakes.

Management at the highest level is tough; very, very tough. They pay you well and provide excellent perks for a reason. You never get anything for nothing. They want their pound of flesh in return.

So let me offer you the benefit of my experience now with some observations on things I wish I’d known a lot earlier.

1. Find a decent mentor:

If you’re new to the job then you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. It’s a legitimate strategy to learn as much as you can from the experience of others. I wish I’d found myself a decent mentor early on. An experienced, friendly ear with whom problems and their potential solutions can be explored on a regular basis.

Being king or queen of the castle is not easy. Managing people and leading them towards achieving the aims of the business is a difficult task. You might think it’s just a case of issuing orders but it isn’t quite that simple, unfortunately. You must carry people with you. If they’re not working with you then in all probability they’ll be working against you.

So if I was in your position now, I’d find a decent mentor as quickly as possible. Having a mentor is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and a sign that you’re willing and able to learn from others.

Learning is a lifelong process. No one starts out as the finished article.

2. Relationships are everything:

When you’re the boss it’s your job to get the most out of every employee. Amongst other things, it’s your job to guide, motivate, encourage, mentor, counsel, discipline and reassure people as and when necessary.

Employees are individuals and different individuals will respond in different ways. Your job is to know the individuals and know which technique to use to get the best out of them as individuals; to get the response that you need at any given time.

In order to know people well you must develop a relationship with them over time. You must care about them and you must take an interest in them and their families.

Employees are much more likely to go the extra mile for you if they really think you care. It’s your job to show them that you care.

That’s not to suggest that you should be a pushover. You must always be firm with people but you should always be fair as well.

3. You can’t be everyone’s friend:

Now having a relationship with individuals in your team doesn’t mean you should try to be their friend.

When you’re the boss there must always be a little bit of distance between you and the people you lead. Your relationship with individuals can be cordial of course. However having close friendships with people who work for you doesn’t work.

There will be times when you have to come down hard on people; push people; and challenge them. There will be times when you have to discipline them too. Individuals must accept that they work for you and you’re in command.

At the risk of sounding a little dated, the relationship between you and the people you lead is essentially one of master-slave. You’re the authority figure and, whilst they’re perfectly entitled to express opinions and make suggestions, you must have the final say. And you must be the disciplinarian whenever necessary too.

By definition friendship is a relationship of equals. So I’m sure you can appreciate that it would be difficult to be switching from equals to master-slave and back again as circumstances dictate. In my experience trying to maintain a close friendship with someone of a junior rank doesn’t work, so don’t try.

Maintain a little distance, always.

4. You get what you tolerate:

If you don’t enforce the rules then the rules will be ignored. If you don’t insist on there being standards then there won’t be any standards. Tolerate behaviour that is less than acceptable and that’s what you’re likely to get, most of the time. Tolerate bad practice and bad practice is what you’ll get, most of the time.

As the boss it’s your job to ensure that your employees are in no doubt as to where the boundaries are and what the consequences will be for any transgression. And in the event of any transgression you must act fairly but firmly. That’s essential.

The transgressor must know that punishment follows overstepping the boundary.

However it is equally important for every other employee to see what happens should someone overstep the boundary as well.

Punishing one individual serves a dual purpose in maintaining discipline.

5. It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear:

Effective communication depends on you making sure that the receiver of your communication fully understands the message as it was intended to be understood.

Whether you communicate verbally or in writing you must ensure that your message is clear. It’s not what you say, it’s what you mean and making sure that meaning is interpreted in the way you intended is a critical skill for the boss to develop.

Just because you said it, doesn’t mean they heard it. It’s not for others to guess what you really meant. Be sure that your real message was heard and fully understood.

Effective communication is very important.

6. If you want to know the truth, walk around:

There are lots of things going on in the business that you won’t know about. There are lots of things going on that plenty of people hope you’ll never find out.

That’s a fact of life in any business but it’s your job to know. Should something go seriously wrong then you’re responsible and saying ‘I didn’t know’ is not an adequate plea when you’re being held to account.

If you spend your life locked away in your office then you’re not going to find out, until it’s too late. So it’s essential that you walk around frequently and ask plenty of questions and awkward questions too.

And when you ask questions, you must ensure that people provide you with proper answers to those questions. Don’t allow yourself to be fobbed off with some polite but meaningless response.

Keep asking questions until you know exactly what’s going on. If something looks odd, then don’t be afraid to challenge it. You’re the boss and you have a right to know.

I will often ask questions to which I already know the answer simply to see what response I get. It often provides me with an indication of whether people are being honest with me or whether they’re trying to cover something up. It provides a gauge as to whether I can trust them too.

7. Doing nothing is doing something:

There are times when doing nothing will prove to be the right strategy. A ‘do nothing’ strategy is fine providing it follows a reasoned analysis and is a decision based on a logical conclusion from your analysis.

However doing nothing due to indecision is incompetence. In these circumstances, in doing nothing you’re actually doing something. That is you’re acting in a completely incompetent fashion and potentially putting your business at risk.

As the boss, you’re the master of the ship. You’re meant to be in control and not simply being driven by events. Allow events to drive you and disaster won’t be too far away.

Indecision and inaction has the potential to damage your business and damage your reputation too.

Indecisiveness will do you no credit at all. In fact it will reflect very badly on you.

8. Hire for character:

Hiring people can be a tricky business. In my experience hiring people is one of the hardest parts of the job of being the boss.

Hire someone dishonest and it can be very damaging for the business. The consequences to the business, and potentially to your own reputation, can be very expensive it you hire the wrong person.

When I’m interviewing someone, I look for integrity first. I look for signs that the individual is honest, has a responsible attitude and has the ability to work effectively within a team. These are vital competencies I think.

Yes of course skills and experience are important. However if people lack certain skills then that gap can be plugged with training. If the candidate doesn’t have every skill you’d like then it’s possible to work around that if necessary. To arrange some training once the individual has settled into the team.

Whereas with good character, usually people have it or they don’t. If they don’t have it, then it might be a bit naïve to assume that they might develop it whilst they’re on your payroll. Better to make sure they have it right from the start.

It’s my opinion that good character is the most important factor to consider during the hiring process and it’s what I always look for first.

9. Do it right first time:

When you’re the boss there are always many demands on your time. Sometimes when you’re very busy it’s easy just to have a stab at a task and then leave the job half done. However if you can’t find the time to do the job right first time; when will you find the time to repeat it such that it’s done properly?

Allowing a bit more time to get it right first time is actually a sensible strategy. Once the job is done, it’s done and you can forget about it.

Not allowing sufficient time to do it properly is a false economy.

Good time management requires you to get it right first time.

10. Delegate wherever possible:

Identify those things which only you can do and which will allow you to make your greatest contribution to the business. It is on those things you should concentrate and into which you should channel all your energy.

Anything that can be done by someone else should be delegated. Don’t be doing what others could be doing for you. That’s not the best use of your time.

However delegation doesn’t mean just giving someone a task and then forgetting about it.

It means giving someone a task with clear deliverables and timescales and then monitoring progress on a regular basis.

Delegated tasks should remain on your ‘radar screen’ and the individual so tasked should be providing you with a regular progress report until the task has been completed.

11. Everyone should know why they’re on the payroll:

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money. The stuff being done is an output to be delivered.

Every employee should know exactly what it is they’re meant to deliver. They should know why they’re there and so should you.

The business is not a job creation scheme. People are your biggest cost and costs must be managed if the business is to remain profitable.

Yes, skilled resource must be there to do whatever is necessary of course. However there is a balance to be struck between making sure you’re getting the most out of people and crossing the boundary whereby people are being overworked.

You have a duty to get the most out of people but you also have a duty of care to your employees, obviously.

12. Business is show business:

Business is as much about perception as it is reality. The perception you create for your business really matters.

You have to get noticed too. You can have the best products in the world but if I don’t know you exist then your products can’t be solutions to my problems.

However even if I do know you exist, trust matters too. A good reputation will help you but that must be maintained constantly.

And a good reputation starts with excellent customer-facing systems and a great level of customer service.

13. Adapt or die:

We live in a constantly changing world and businesses must constantly adapt if they are to survive.

Yesterday’s darlings of given business sectors can today be filing for bankruptcy protection. Brands that once dominated an industry sector can tomorrow be nothing more than footnotes in commercial history. Even major corporations can collapse without warning if their executives get their corporate strategy radically wrong.

If you’re business is doing well, that’s great but don’t make the mistake of becoming complacent. A technology change or a new entrant to your sector can suddenly make life very difficult for your business.

You have to be on top of what’s going on and what the implications may be for your business. And you must keep adapting.

Your business cannot afford to stand still. Adapt constantly or your business will die.

14. Make sure there’s a little ‘me time’:

Being in the management hot seat can be all consuming if you’re not careful.

Equally you can burn out very quickly if you’re not careful as well. You’re there to deliver results not to damage your health and well-being or the relationship with your family.

So make sure you factor into your schedule a little ‘me time’ on a regular basis. And make time for your loved ones too.

15. The best leaders are all readers:

All the most successful leaders are readers. Constantly broadening their knowledge and honing their skills by reading the latest books, listening to the latest audiobooks and seeking out information through professional journals and conference papers.

Make sure you spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day reading. If you can get through one book a week then over a year you will have consumed a PhD’s worth of knowledge. Over time you’ll become one of the most informed leaders in your field.

Here are five books you should consider having at the top of your reading list:-

The ONE Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Kemp and Jay Papasan

The premise of this best-selling book is that whilst multitasking may seem like an efficient approach, it is in fact better to focus on one objective at a time as this will boost your productivity and work wonders for your life generally. This book is a best-seller for a reason and you can check it out by clicking on the link.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build your routine, Find your focus and Sharpen your creative mind by Jocelyn K Glei

This book will help your get the most from your workday and with input from 20 leaders you’re bound to learn something, so it’s well worth your time. Again, check it out by clicking on the link

Tools of Titans: The tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers by Timothy Ferriss

If you want to be successful then identify successful people and copy what they do. This book is a compilation of the best take away points from over 200 hundred interviews carried out by Tim Ferriss with business people, athletes and celebrities. Again you can’t fail to learn something if you read this. So check it out by clicking on the link now.

The 7 habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

This book has been on the best-seller list for quite a few years now and it’s a best-seller for good reason. Stephen R Covey explains that success is as much an attitude as it is about lifestyle. His themes range from self-mastery to being proactive. This book will mould your attitude and outlook towards achieving success. Check it out by clicking on the link.

Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek

Challenging your team to achieve their full potential can be a rewarding experience. Simon Sinek studied some of the most influential leaders in the world, looking at what they do, and documented his findings. This is an excellent book and well worth the cover price. Check it out by clicking on the link.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

How to find the right job for you: Simply Explained

Do you enjoy your work? Do you have a job you love? Do you wake-up each morning filled with enthusiasm for the day ahead? Alternatively maybe you just feel your job allows you to earn an income but beyond that you can’t wait until 5pm when the working day is over? Perhaps you’re constantly asking how to find the right job for you? If that’s you then you’re not alone.

The acid test when you’re not sure is to ask yourself the lottery question. What does that mean? If means you ask yourself this, “If I won the lottery and money ceased to be an issue; would I continue to do the work I’m doing now or would I try something else?

Yes of course if you won the lottery you’d have a little fun with the money first, but eventually your life would need a sense of purpose and routine again. So how would you fill your time then?

If you enjoy what you do, and you are recognized as being very good at it, then you’ll do your job well and you’ll be successful at what you do. And if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Now how good would that be?

So if you’re not happy with your job right now, the next question to ask yourself is, “What do I really want to be?

To answer that question, you really need to consider:-

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you enjoy doing?

These are quite different things but if you can find the sweet spot between them then you have the basis for finding a job you’ll love. So the steps to job heaven are as follows:-

STEP 1: What are you good at?

Not merely competent but really good at? Think about that question carefully and be honest with yourself.

What activities are intuitive to you? Things you can do easily and readily without having to give them too much thought?

Ask friends and colleagues for their views, and ask them to be really honest with you. Ask people you work with about the tasks they consider you the absolutely, first choice ‘go to’ person?

Gather together this information and make a list.

STEP 2: What do you enjoy doing?

Then make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing.

Which activities really give you a buzz? What activities get you so absorbed that you really lose track of time? What activities would you do for free or as a hobby, if you couldn’t make a living at them?

Paul McCartney once said that if he couldn’t have made a living out of writing songs and playing music, he’d have done it as a hobby, simply because he loved it so much.

What activities make you feel the same way? Make that list and don’t be reasonable.

All this requires time for reflection and careful thought, as well as feedback from other people. So do give it the time it deserves.

Don’t jump to conclusions. You do want to ensure you get it right don’t you?

STEP 3: Where is the common ground between your lists?

When you have your two lists ready, the final step is to identify the common ground between them, the point at which the two lists intersect.

If you find an item that is contained on both lists then you have found the Holy Grail. Finding something you’re genuinely good at and have a real talent for, and which is also something you’d really enjoy, will give you the greatest chance of success.

It is essential you find the common ground between your lists because:-

  1. If you really enjoy it, you’ll stick with it.
  2. If you’re really good at it, someone will notice

And if you get it right, sometimes people will sprinkle fairy dust on you too.

Finding job heaven is never about luck. If you’re doing something you enjoy doing and you’re doing it well, you’ll stick with it long enough to get someone’s attention. And when you get their attention, you’ll dazzle them because you’re doing it well.

That’s not luck; it’s hard work, perseverance and timing.

Once you’ve identified what you want, the next question is, “How do you get it?” That will be the subject of another post.

Have you managed to find job heaven? If so, how did you succeed?

If you’ve any ideas you can share then that will really help your fellow readers.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s why you should consider becoming self-employed

There are many ways to make money and they all have their merits. Get a job with a big corporation and potentially you’ll earn a decent income and enjoy a few fringe benefits too. Get a job in the public sector and the pay may not be quite so good but the pension scheme is usually the best you’ll find anywhere. The job will be fairly secure too. Become a wage slave in any sector and you’ll make a living. However unless you work on Wall Street or in the City of London, you’re unlikely to make a fortune. If your aim is to make serious money then you should consider becoming self-employed.

We live in an age in which becoming self-employed has never been easier or cheaper. As a result of the Internet there are so many opportunities that were simply not available to previous generations.

And initially you don’t even have to give up your day job. You can start your own business as a part-time venture and keep it that way until the income your business is generating for you is sufficient for you to live on. You can even start one business to generate extra cash and as it makes money you can invest that cash into bigger and potentially more profitable opportunities.

As an employee you’re trading your time for money and that’s fine. However if your firm does well, you’re unlikely to benefit significantly from any extra profit they make. You might get a bonus but regardless of personal contribution, it’s more likely to be an incidental sum rather than life-changing money.

With your own business you can be making money whilst you’re sleeping. In fact it you want to get rich you have to start making money whilst you sleep. I can now hear you asking, but how do you make money whilst you sleep?

Let me give you some examples of online businesses that you could start with little or no money and start making money whilst you sleep:-

Selling Products Online:

Through the Internet potentially you can reach most of the people on the planet. Now think about that for a second. If you create a website or an online store then billions of people around the world will have access to it. And those people can access it whilst you’re asleep. So the potential is there for you to create something that can be generating money for you 24 hours a day 365 days every year.

Still not convinced? Let me give you some examples of businesses you could start to achieve this goal:-

Amazon:

If you’ve ever bought anything from Amazon you’ll probably have noticed that they are not always the actually seller of the item you’re seeking to purchase. Other suppliers sell their own products through Amazon via what is known as Amazon Marketplace.

And when third party suppliers sell products via Amazon they can also use a service known as Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA.

This means if you’re the seller, you simply deliver your stock of products to Amazon and they’ll handle all the logistics associated with product delivery to the buyer.

Fulfillment by Amazon:

So if you don’t want to handle your own packing, postage and delivery you can get Amazon to handle it for you. You can do it yourself of course but the point is that you don’t have to. You can just focus on finding products for your customers and Amazon will do the rest.

And remember this; those products don’t have to be new. They can be second hand items too. If you can find a suitable niche in second hand products there’s money to be made.

Consider this example. Each year graduating students have textbooks to sell. Essentially they just want to get some cash back for books they’re unlikely to read ever again. Shrewd entrepreneurs recognize that there’ll be a ready market for those very textbooks at the start of the next academic year. So they offer selling students a quick way to turn their textbooks into a little cash. And then buying students will be sold those same textbooks at a rate which will save them money on the price for the same book had it been bought new.

You can set up a website to attract book sellers and then through Amazon Marketplace the books you’ve bought cheap  can be sold at a profit. In that way you can create a profitable second hand book business.

You could repeat the same trick with music such as vinyl records and CDs, as well as films on DVD. Second-hand smartphones and other technology items could be another possibility.

Alternatively you could source your own products, e.g. skin care products, cosmetics, household products, et cetera, and then sell those via Amazon.

Plenty of people have created successful businesses with this approach. 

eBay:

When people sell stuff at a boot sale or a yard sale, they usually sell at very low prices simply because they price items for a quick sale. This is stuff they need to get rid of as quickly as possible for whatever reason. And in that there is a potential opportunity for you dear reader.

You buy these items on the cheap and you then resell them on eBay for a profit. More importantly people sometimes sell valuable stuff at boot sales and yard sales for silly prices because they didn’t realise the true value of the item.

On the British television programme Flog It, I saw a woman sell an antique item at auction for £800 having originally bought that item at a boot sale for just £1. That is a very nice profit. Yes such examples would be the exception but shrewd people can make money this way and eBay is a great vehicle for doing so.

Affiliate Marketing:

Essentially affiliate marketing is ‘commission only’ selling.

Linked with the idea of Content Marketing, what this means is that if you can direct traffic to a product seller’s website which results in a sale then you will get paid a commission for that sale.

The amount of commission can be as low as 4% from the Amazon Affiliate Program to as much as 75% from some items offered through programs like Clickbank and Commission Junction.

How do you achieve this in practice?

Well despite its relatively low commission rates Amazon offers the easiest opportunity for the beginner. You sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program and then identify a suitable niche which interests you.

Let’s say that niche is sports shoes for women. The niche does need to be focused and quite narrow. The category Shoes would be a bit too wide. You need to think about categories for which people will be searching via Google and other search engines.

So once you have a niche, you then create your own website publishing reviews of a variety of those sports shoes for women. And those reviews don’t have to be your own necessarily. They could be a summary of various reviews you’ve read elsewhere with an overall rating based on what others have been saying.

Creating a review summary by curating input from other sources is legitimate as long as you acknowledge the different sources which form the basis of your article. Essentially you’re doing the hard work for your readers by providing them with a comprehensive summary of all the reviews out there and then you’re providing a convenient a link to Amazon so that they can easily make their purchase.

Why review sites are a good idea:

Review sites work with affiliate marketing because they capture buying intent and that’s important. If someone searches for a review for an item on Google then the chances are they will buy if the reviews prove to be favourable.

When producing your review articles the crucial action is to embed affiliate links within the text. Getting readers to click on those links and taking them to Amazon is how you’ll make money. If they buy within 24 hours of clicking on a link then you will get paid a commission.

Amazon commissions vary from 4% to around 10% depending on the number and type of sales for which you are credited each month. So in choosing a niche you must think about product value too. Generate low value sales and you won’t make much. However sales for items with a bigger price tag can prove very lucrative.

That said generating some low value sales can be a way of pushing subsequent bigger ticket sales into a higher commission rate. So don’t ignore them completely.

Content Marketing:

Essentially content marketing is the idea of publishing web content in order to provide the means for promoting products and services. Content marketing is closely linked with affiliate marketing but not exclusively so.

There are two types of content you can consider, as follows:-

(1) Written Content:

For instance, if you’re producing regular content and publishing it on your own blog then there’s the potential to generate an income through advertising.

Now selling advertising space on your blog or website is only possible if you have substantial amounts of traffic. If you’re just starting out you will not reach those levels for quite some time. However what is known as pay per click (CPC) advertising could generate money for you right from the start.

Perhaps the best known CPC program is one offered by Google Adsense. You sign up for this program, then embed Google’s links in your blog and they will insert advertising on your blog that is relevant to your content.

Every time a reader clicks on an Adsense advertisement you will get paid and it’s not purchase dependent. Readers only have to click for you to get paid.

The trick with Adsense is to have a very narrow focus for your blog. Let’s say your blog is about how to keep chickens and deal with blights like red mite. You’ll attract search engine generated traffic from people desperate to deal with the problem of red mite. Google will insert ads from companies offering products that will help with this problem and desperate people are likely to click on those ads to see what’s on offer. They click you get paid.

As long as your subject matter is focused and narrow, and ideally based on a highly searched keyword or phrase, then this can be a way to generate decent money.

(2) Video Content:

Another way to benefit from Google Adsense is to create your own YouTube channel, produce videos and again insert links from Google so that relevant pay per click advertising will appear on and around the video. Again if people click then you get paid.

Write eBooks:

Devices such as the iPad, the Kindle and other eReaders, provide you with the opportunity to self-publish your own eBooks and sell them through Amazon.

You may not be able to come up with the next Harry Potter work of fiction but there is good money to be made writing ‘How To’ books on just about any subject.

They don’t even need to be that long either. As little as 50 pages or 8,000 – 10,000 words covering a topic of general interest can be enough to produce something that will sell for one dollar or one pound sterling. That might not seem like a lot but sell 1,000 of them and you’ve made a decent sum of money.

Write something on an evergreen topic and it could sell for years. If you then write several eBooks like this, again on evergreen topics, that could become a decent income stream.

And what do I mean by evergreen? These are topics for which people have always looked for solutions. That might be something like tips for good time management or how to lose weight, et cetera.

And even if you’re not an expert you can research the necessary information and pull it together for people. Essentially you will be doing the work for them.

Develop Apps:

If you can learn to write code, and you can learn to write code, then you can also learn how to develop apps. If you can develop a killer app and sell it through the App Store then you can make serious money.

You’d love to but you don’t know where to start, right? Well there are endless videos and tutorials on YouTube and from these you can learn how to code and develop apps. Yes there’s some work to be done upfront of course. However a good app will generate money for years to come. Just think about apps like Candy Crush Saga. Produce something which becomes a real fad and there’s serious money to be made.

11 things to bear in mind:

If becoming self-employed appeals to you and you fancy making money as an online entrepreneur then here are 11 things you should bear in mind:-

  1. Know your target customers.
  2. Know your target niche or niches
  3. Know your strengths and interests?
  4. Apply your strengths and interests to serve customers
  5. Recognise that different markets need different strategies.
  6. Make sure you’re capturing buying intent.
  7. Create an image that will appeal to your target audience.
  8. With a website, traffic matters.
  9. Search engine optimization (SEO) will bring traffic.
  10. Getting back links from other websites will help with SEO.
  11. Be determined, work hard and learn as you go.

6 things you must do when you’re self-employed:

(1) Register with the tax authorities: Make money by all means but pay your taxes too. Upsetting the taxman is not a good idea dear reader wherever you live. In some countries tax regimes are more benign than in others but it’s always better to keep the tax authorities happy.

(2) Register for sales taxes and VAT: Again it’s all about paying your dues. If you do well financially then you have an obligation to share some of your wealth with the rest of society. Taxes are the price we pay to live in society and you can’t have a successful business without the society in which you live.

(3) Get a separate business bank account: Keep your business activities completely separate from your personal life. This is very important.

(4) Keep accurate and up-to-date records: You’ll need these in any dialogue with the tax authorities. You don’t want to end up paying more in tax than was necessary. Paying your dues is one thing; overpaying your dues is careless.

(5) Insure your business: When you’re in business, you’re required by law to have certain insurance policies in place. Exactly which policies you need depends on the nature of your business activities. Make sure you know your obligations and act accordingly.

(6) Keep it simple: In the early days you don’t want to be spending money you don’t have on things that are initially unnecessary. So keep everything as simple as possible for as long as possible.

Conclusion:

Self-employment can be an attractive proposition and for most people it is the only way you will ever make a fortune. It’s not easy of course but it can be done and you don’t have to ditch your day job to get started.

With an online business you can start small and build it up over time. And you can mix and match options. For instance you can start a website for making money with both Amazon affiliate marketing and Google Adsense.

A good review website can become quite profitable and once it’s generating revenues on ‘autopilot’ it can become an asset which you can sell for serious money. There are plenty of examples where such sites have sold for 6 and even 7 figure sums.

Don’t underestimate the challenges of course but it can be done and people do. Why not you? Think carefully about how best you can exploit the opportunities before you and then have a go.

Good luck and may you be the next Richard Branson.

And if you found this article useful then please share it with your friends via social media.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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