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Corporation You: Changing the Way You Organize Your Life May 8, 2007

Posted by Brad in Life Entrepreneurship.
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As someone just starting out, you’re still learning how to work and hopefully you are looking for ways to get the most from yourself. By this point you realize that a lot about life is competitive and the way you structure your work process and your life can have huge implications when it comes to being successful.

Businesses epitomize the competitive atmosphere of today’s working world and businesses are constantly looking to find a competitive advantage that sets them apart from others in their market. If you acknowledge that the workplace is a competitive market, why shouldn’t you be looking for ways to set yourself apart as well? Now I realize you are not a business, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt to think of yourself as one. I think it is very important to realize how competitive advantage can be scaled to the personal level.

When it comes to your career, each person is their own business. Your work is your product. Your competition is anyone who does the same type of job or work that you do. You must examine yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses, just like a business would. You may not be able to sell as well as someone else or you may not have as many connections as another person but if you’re a better researcher than both of them then you tailor your approach from that angle. You would succeed by doing better targeted research to find the clients who are most compatible and then you don’t need to talk to as many people or cast as wide a net as the others.

Individuals in the same line of work still possess many different strengths and weaknesses. Those that succeed are the ones who take better advantage of their strengths and do a better job adapting their “competitive advantages” to the job at hand.

Hopefully you can see why it makes sense to think about yourself in this way. Treat yourself as business and get the most from yourself. I don’t mean this in a harsh or cold way but in a personal improvement way.

When it comes to organizing your life, you might also take a different approach if you continue to look at yourself as a business. Thinking of your accomplishments as profits, your goals as earnings targets, and yourself as the product, what would you change or do differently in your life if you were running it as a business? From deciding whether you can reduce costs by living in a different place or apartment or changing your diet to reevaluating how effective your current technology use is, there are many ways to examine your life from an entrepreneurial perspective.

Put the same effort into your everyday life that you would put into a new venture and the change in “revenue” may surprise you.

Wanna be More Productive? Get an Idea Book May 6, 2007

Posted by Brad in Career, Entrepreneurship, Ideas, Life Entrepreneurship.
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You’re like most young adults, ideas, thoughts, plans, and things you want to and have to do fly through your head all the time. You probably don’t even remember most of them. You doodle things in class and jot notes at work, you have dreams and ideas all the time. You probably already realize this but are wondering what good these ideas are to you. Ideas are a lot of good, but only if you organize them effectively. This is why one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get an idea book. Writers and other creative people use them and entrepreneurs are adopting them but anyone can use them. Ask around, I bet you’ll be surprised to see who has a book like this. Used correctly they can be an incredible tool for figuring out whatever it is that’s on your mind.

Since you don’t know exactly who you are yet or what you’ll become, you shouldn’t rule this out. Who knows what could blossom? I’m sure most of you do it without thinking about it. Now you’re going to give a place and a name to your thoughts. It doesn’t take much time. You’ll be writing down things as they strike you and working on your passions so it shouldn’t be that hard to find motivation.

Its equal parts journal, to do list, sketch pad, shopping list, and whatever else you can think of. It can be big or small and what ever form you choose; notebook, binder, a box full of post-it notes, or even index cards. The most important thing is to get your thoughts down and to have a place where you can work on them and develop them. Write down ideas that you don’t even think are important, the book is your story and while one piece may not make sense, it is interesting to see what comes together when you read back through. It’s pretty tough to reach your dreams and accomplish what you want to do if you don’t spend time working at it. Putting ideas on paper also has the added benefit of making you accountable, if only to yourself, when it comes to following through. Try it for a while, who knows what will come together?

Learn To Sell Yourself May 3, 2007

Posted by Brad in Career, Entrepreneurship, Life Entrepreneurship.
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No, no, no, of course it wasn’t meant like that (got your attention though didn’t it?). So you’ve probably heard something about this from your career center or your parents and probably brushed it off. In this case though, you should have listened. For starters, if you have an entrepreneurial take on the way you live your life, it is likely that you’re already familiar with the importance of being able to convey an idea or to present yourself in a way that motivates others to work with you. If you don’t think of yourself this way, you should consider starting. You would be surprised how important this way of thinking can be when it comes to separating yourself from the crowd.

In light of my recent experiences in the the post-graduation world, I have come to believe that knowing how to sell or knowing the process of making a sale is an invaluable skill to have. A sale is inherently more complex than someone deciding to make a transaction. A sale involves researching to find and target prospective buyers, developing knowledge and understanding of what it is you are selling, and then articulating this knowledge in a persuasive manner so that the buyer decides that your product or service is a worthy or functional purchase.

Now I bet some of you are wondering how in the world this applies to you, after all you don’t want to be a salesperson. You might be surprised to find out that transactions like this happen all the time in areas that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as the world of commerce. Ideally, the ability to sell is quite helpful in what could be referred to as human commerce. An excellent example occurs in the process of job searching.

Effectively, when searching for a job, you’re selling yourself to potential employers. If done correctly, you will have taken the time to sit down and decide what skills you actually possess, to research and find companies that are in need of those skills, and once you’re knowledgeable of your skills be able to tell these companies that you are in fact capable of fulfilling their need. This is an example of why it is vital to know how to sell and is where it becomes a skill that can translate to many facets of life. If you’re an entrepreneur this applies to you as well and is probably even more critical to your future success. Many would argue that a little sales knowledge could have saved many failed start ups. Its important to realize that everyday interactions can benefit from sales experience. Getting a loan from a bank, convincing your extended family where to take this years family vacation, and pitching your business plan are all examples of sales you might make.

This may be a bit of an extreme position in the interest of playing devil’s advocate but I do believe that the ability to sell can serve you many times over and is essential life skill for anyone, no matter their business or occupation. How important do you think it is to know how to sell? Am I using the correct terms when applying it to real life situations? What experience have you had with this philosophy? Has it helped you?