Latest EOFire Podcast 175: Top Conferences for Entrepreneurs in 2018

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

Conferences for Entrepreneurs

Each year we like to put together a list of the top conferences for entrepreneurs because we get asked the question often:

What conferences should I attend?

But knowing the answer to that question for YOU, as an individual, would require that we know way more about your business, your goals, and where you’re at right now on your entrepreneurial journey.

So first, let’s talk about a few steps you can take to figure out what conferences are right for YOU in 2018.

What conferences should I attend?

First things first, you have to know what your goals for your business and life are for the next three to 12 months.

Once you have your goals set, you’ll be able to look at conference opportunities from a new perspective: will this conference help me get one step closer to accomplishing my goal?

You can determine whether a conference will help you accomplish your goal by looking at things like:

  • The main topics they’ll focus on
  • The speaker lineup
  • The time commitment
  • The monetary investment

For example, if your goal is to improve your stage presence, learn how to be a great speaker, and eventually get paid to speak, then attending a conference like Michael and Amy Port’s Heroic Public Speaking is definitely one to look at.

Whatever your goals, interests or focus this year, be sure you weigh your options, talk to people who have attended the conference you’re interested in and ask about their experience, and consider the time commitment and the investment involved.

One things for sure: attending events can make a HUGE impact on your journey, and more often than not the most pivotal moments on one’s journey are directly tied to an experience, a mindset shift, or an individual they connected with at a conference.

Conferences to attend in 2018

Here’s our list of the top conferences for entrepreneurs to attend in 2018, including notes on where you can find us this year!

Podfest

Podfest is an annual podcasting conference that hosts about 100 attendees from around the world.

Dates: Feb 8 – 10

Location: Orlando, FL

Who it’s for: If you’re a podcaster, or thinking about becoming a podcaster, then this is a great event! Surround yourself with like-minded people and take advantage of a more intimate, single track format.

Traffic & Conversion Summit

Traffic and Conversion Summit brings together some of the brightest marketing minds in the online space to share the strategies and tactics that are working right now in email marketing, social media marketing, and online sales.

Dates: Feb 26 – 28

Location: San Diego, CA

Who it’s for: Existing entrepreneurs who are looking to scale and grow their business through online sales and automation.

*Bonus: JLD is a featured speaker!

Social Media Marketing World

Social Media Marketing World is one of the biggest events in the world around social media, hosting nearly 5,000 social media experts and students, and it’s THE place to meet with the brightest minds in social media today.

Dates: Feb 28 – Mar 2

Location: San Diego, CA

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs looking to dominate social media and learn about the latest strategies and tactics working in social media today.

*Bonus: JLD is a featured speaker!

Funnel Hacking Live

Funnel Hacking Live is an event hosted by the software ClickFunnels and it’s focused on building funnels that will help you automate and scale your business.

Dates: Mar 21 – 24

Location: Orlando, FL

Who it’s for: Established entrepreneurs looking to sell products and services to their audience through email marketing.

Social Media Day Denver

Social Media Day is internationally recognized as a day to focus on – and learn more about – the powers of social media.

Dates: June 30

Location: Denver, CO

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to enhance their social media skills, meet other entrepreneurs and like-minded people in the Denver area, and meet the top-notch speakers who are there to share their skills and knowledge!

Podcast Movement

Podcast Movement has been bringing together thousands of podcasters every year – for five straight years – to celebrate this incredible medium: podcasting.

*Use promo code FIRE for $50 off your ticket!*

Dates: July 23 – 26

Location: Philly, PA

Who it’s for: Whether you’re thinking about starting a podcast, have been hosting a podcast for years, or just like being around podcasters, this event will not disappoint.

Agents of Change

Agents of Change focuses on three major categories in the digital marketing space: Search, Social and Mobile.

Dates: Sept 20 – 21

Location: Portland, ME

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs looking for tips and advice on how to build a strong foundation for their business and grow their online presence.

Youpreneuer Summit

Youpreneur Summit, put on by Chris Ducker, shares a little bit of everything when it comes to growing and monetize your online business.

Dates: Nov 3 – 4

Location: London, UK

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs both new and seasoned who are looking to connect with incredible, like-minded people and have an amazing time while learning loads about what it means to be a Youpreneur.

Conclusion

Attending events is a powerful thing. Not only does it give you the entrepreneur to learn from the experts in your industry or niche, but it also gives you the opportunity to build meaningful – and hugely impactful – relationships with like-minded people.

Now, we’d love to hear from YOU: where will you be this year?

The post 175: Top Conferences for Entrepreneurs in 2018 appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2EZyj3h

Latest EOFire Podcast 174: How to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

manage overwhelm

Manage overwhelm, plan and delegate: three things strong enough to hold any entrepreneur back.

How do you make any progress when you simply have too many tasks on your plate, causing you to wonder where to even start?

A few months ago I attended an event in London put on by Chris Ducker called Youpreneur Summit. The event was incredible for several reasons, but one of my favorite things about the event was that I got to meet and spend time with someone I’ve been friends with online for a while now.

His name is Gerjo – you might remember him from previous seasons because he’s always gracious enough to leave me a voice message with his feedback on the content he wants to hear about most. In fact, Gerjo is the one who reached out to me and requested that I create a post and episode around these three things.

Does this sound familiar?

When Gerjo asked me about these three things, I thought to myself: I’ve struggled with the exact same things. His words sounded SO FAMILIAR to me.

Because I’ve also struggled with how to:

  • Manage overwhelm
  • Plan
  • Delegate

I remember so clearly starting my day feeling like I was already so far under water that there was no hope of me getting to float before the day was over – let alone get out of the water completely.

But last week, yesterday – today – I didn’t feel that way, and it’s because I’ve managed to accomplish beating overwhelm, being dedicated to a plan, and diligently delegating tasks that I know I shouldn’t be working on.

My goal with this post

My goal with this post and episode is to share with you exactly how I did it.

Warning: There’s going to be a little bit of tough love in this post and episode – and a lot of precise steps you can take right now to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate. With reading this post and/or listening to this episode comes great responsibility: I don’t create content so that nothing can be done after consuming it. I create it so you can take action.

The tough love and precise steps are exactly what I needed in order to turn the corner, and I was lucky to have John by my side giving it to me. Today, I’m paying it forward and giving it to you.

Here’s the bottom line

So here’s the bottom line: managing overwhelm, planning and delegating is just about doing it.

Sounds like no help at all, right?

That’s because you’re over-complicating it, just like I was.

So stop right now and make a commitment to yourself: “I will not over-complicate this process.”

I’m going to break down each of these three struggles, give you a “quick win” you can implement right now, and then talk about making your actions consistent so that this won’t be a one-time thing, but rather an ongoing process.

How to manage overwhelm

Overwhelm is a feeling you get when you have too many things going on, or too much to accomplish all at once. Therefore, in order to manage it we need to learn how to let things go.

Now I don’t mean in the sense of writing them off, or completely deleting them from your life. I mean choosing a priority knowing that you will get to the things that matter most to you when it’s their turn.

Quick win for managing overwhelm

If you don’t already have a to-do list for your day, take 5 minutes to create it now.

  • Your to-do list should include the tasks you need to accomplish today in order to feel as though you’ve been productive.

Once you have your to-do list for your day take another 5 minutes to reorganize it.

  • What is the number 1 MOST important task on your list: the one that you simply cannot skip?
  • Move that task to the top of your list.

Continue to put your tasks in order of priority. Once your list is “in order” start from the top.

Set a timer for 30 minutes (or whatever timeframe you feel is necessary to complete your first task – anywhere between 15 minutes a 1 hour).

If you think your task will take more than 1 hour to accomplish, then it’s too big of a task; break it down into smaller tasks.

Once you set your timer you are committing to being FULLY FOCUSED on the one single task you’ve said is your BIGGEST priority for the day. No distractions.

When your timer goes off, give yourself a score. On a scale of 1 – 10 (1 the lowest and 10 the highest):

  • How productive were you?
  • How disciplined were you?

Now, set your timer for 5 minutes and take a well-deserved refresh break!

Didn’t that feel amazing?

You just organized your task list and accomplished the one thing you said was MOST important in less than 1 hour!

Being consistent with managing overwhelm

You now have the exact framework you can use every single day to set yourself up for success – and beat overwhelm.

Each day try to increase the number of FOCUS sessions you complete.

Some days it might just be one FOCUS session, depending on whether you have a full-time job, a family, or other life commitments.

Some days it might be three or four FOCUS sessions.

Practice this every single day, and before you know it you’ll not only be checking the MOST important tasks off your list, but you’ll also be proving to yourself that a lot of the tasks on your to-do list really aren’t that important – otherwise they’d be at the top, and you would have accomplished them already.

At the end of your first week – where you’ve practice managing overwhelm with the system I’ve shared above – take our your task list, and ask yourself:

  • What tasks really aren’t necessary?
  • What tasks aren’t going to help me make real progress in my business?
  • What tasks don’t contribute to a specific goal I’ve set?

I’m willing to bet there are a lot of tasks on your list that really aren’t necessary – at least not right now. So go ahead and back-burner those tasks that can wait; literally get them off your list.

Asana is really helpful for this because you can document ALL of your tasks so that you don’t forget about them. Those tasks that aren’t a priority right now don’t have to disappear; but they do have to get off your to-do list, because they are the ones causing your feelings of overwhelm.

How to plan

Planning can sometimes seem like an unnecessary step; you already know what steps you need to take in order to accomplish something, so you just dive right in and start doing the work.

While I LOVE your enthusiasm for just starting, this is not the way to go about planning because there are way too many distractions and roadblocks that will come up in the process that will derail you and push you off course.

Having a plan in place will not only save you so much time, it will also:

  • Save you bandwidth on trying to figure out what to do next (which can be SO exhausting), and
  • Take the guesswork out of making progress (just move on to the next step on your list!), and

Quick win for planning

Pick a bigger project that you’re currently working on and using a tool like Asana (or just a piece of paper) write out the name of your project.

Underneath the name of your project write the date you will accomplish that project by.

Then, below that, write down numbers one through five (as though you’re making a list).

By each of those five numbers write down – in order – which steps you’ll take in order to complete your project.

If your project requires more than five steps, continue writing out as many steps as you need in order to complete your project.

If you’re not sure exactly what every step will be, that’s ok – just focus on what you know you need to do right now.

With your goal date in mind (the date you’ll finish your project by), write down a due date for each one of your steps. This should be easy to back into since you know the date you want to finish the project by.

There you have it! You’ve just create a lose project plan for yourself!

Being consistent with planning

In order to dive deeper into planning – and actually make it a habit – take time to map out the bigger goals you’re focused on over the next 3 months.

Schedule one hour in your calendar as soon as possible, and during that one hour follow these steps:

  1. Write out, in order of priority, the major projects (or goals) you’re working on over the next 3 months.
  2. Take the first project (goal) – your highest priority – and make sure it’s SMART (click here for this exercise).
  3. Just as you did in the “quick win” section above, take your SMART goal and start creating your plan for it, including the date you’ll accomplish it by, the steps necessary, and a due date for each of your steps.
  4. Keep your plan CLOSE throughout your project so you know exactly what your next step is – and so you can check in with your progress.
  5. Rinse and repeat! Once you’ve accomplished your goal, move to the next goal on your list, make sure it’s SMART, and then create a plan you can execute on.

How to delegate

For purposes of this post I’m going to assume that, if you’re struggling with delegating, then you have at least one employee, contractor, or virtual team member who is helping you in your business.

Quick win for delegating

Identify one task you do daily (or multiple times per week) that you shouldn’t be doing. Considering that you’re overwhelmed with tasks, this shouldn’t be an issue.

You’ll recognize a task as one you shouldn’t be doing because the task:

  • Is a $10 / hour task (you could pay someone $10 / hr to do that thing for you)
  • Doesn’t require that YOU be the one doing it (anyone capable could perform this task and it wouldn’t make any difference in the outcome)

Once you’ve identified that one single task, create a video tutorial of how you accomplish that task or a checklist that walks through each step you take.

Loom is a great resource for recording a video, and Asana or Process.st are great platforms for creating checklists and processes. All of these recommendations have a free version available.

You’ve identified the one task, you’ve documented how you do that task, and now it’s time to delegate it.

Get in touch with your team member (employee, contractor, virtual team member, etc) and let them know you have a new task you’d like for them to handle. Give a brief explanation of the task, why it’s important to the business, and send them the video link or checklist of how to do it.

Have them do it once, check their work, and smile: you’ve just delegated a task!

Being consistent with delegating

Delegating is not easy – I get it. Oftentimes your instinct is to just do it yourself because you:

  • Already know exactly what to;
  • Can do it quickly;
  • Don’t want to spend the extra time to teach someone else how to do it.

If you can’t get over this mindset, you will continue to feel overwhelmed. You have to believe that the time you’re investing in delegating a task to someone else will pay off – and it will.

Now that you know how to identify those tasks you shouldn’t be working on, make it a weekly habit to check in on your to-do list and continue delegating those tasks.

Actually schedule it in your calendar: “Check to-do list for tasks I can delegate”. Set it to recur once per week. Add a notification or reminder so you don’t forget.

Conclusion

There is not one step I’ve shared with you here that is difficult. It just requires your time and patience.

This is such simple process to follow, but it’s not going to be easy (if it were, then you wouldn’t be wondering how to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate).

You have to commit to being disciplined about this, and that means not just doing it one time and then falling back into your normal routine of “I’ll just do this task one more time before I delegate it cause it’ll be easier”.

Now it’d be silly to pretend that I’ve done this all on my own.

I already mentioned that John gave me some tough love to help me beat overwhelm, conquer planning and make a consistent habit out of delegating. But he also gave me this: The Mastery Journal.

Here’s what it looks like and how The Mastery Journal works…

The Mastery Journal in action

By using The Mastery Journal daily I’ve been able to get more done before noon than I used to get done all week.

With the help of four FOCUS sessions per day, my task list has never been cleaner, and I’ve never made so much progress towards accomplishing my projects and goals.

Trust this process.

Following the steps above, and using The Mastery Journal daily to help keep you on track, is how you win.

The post 174: How to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2Dx3EL1

Latest EOFire Podcast How to Get More Qualified Leads for Your Business

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

A New Year, a new you? It doesn’t have to be quite so drastic…

But one thing is for sure: if you’re looking for different results, then different actions are necessary.

Let’s take growth, for example – it’s typically a big one when considering goals. Personal growth, business growth, financial growth – they’re all things you want.

But how do you put together a growth-focused goal with the smaller steps necessary to actually help you get there?

It starts with setting a SMART Goal

A SMART Goal is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

You can check out this post for a deep dive into how to get started with your own SMART Goal, but for example’s sake we’ll cover one here in this post, too.

Creating a SMART goal is important because it’s what will allow you to put a plan in place you can execute on, along with a specific goal date to help hold you accountable.

Goal: Get more qualified leads for your business

Let’s say your growth goal is business-related: you’re looking to get more qualified leads for your business.

But getting more qualified leads for your business doesn’t meet any of the SMART criteria, so you’ll have to put it to the test.

Specific: Bring on paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners.

Measurable: Bring on 5 paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners.

Attainable: If I can reach out to and engage 250 qualified leads, then I know a 2% conversion (5 of 250) is attainable.

Relevant: Yes, beta testing my marketing services will help me turn this into a strong offer moving forward.

Time-bound: I will bring on 5 paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners by May 1, 2018.

Now that you have your SMART Goal set, it’s time to start putting a plan in place you can execute on.

Putting a plan in place

You know from reading about the importance of knowing your avatar, your niche and building a strong foundation for your business that you can’t just jump from launching a website, or a blog, or a podcast, or a YouTube channel, to suddenly getting lots of qualified leads on your list that you’ll automatically convert into paying customers.

So your first step, which you could think of like your first micro-goal, is to understand who this marketing services package is for, specifically.

Go ahead and brainstorm it out…

  • What does this person’s business look like now?
  • What are their biggest marketing struggles?
  • How will your services help them solve those struggles?
  • Where do they want to be in their business?

Once you know exactly who it is you want as a beta member, there are a couple of different options.

Option 1

Do your own lead generation to find this person.

Option 2

Automate your lead generation with a platform like LeadFuze.

Let’s look at option 1 first.

Doing your own Lead Generation

Since you’ve already defined who it is you want as a beta member, you know who you need to find.

Now, you need to figure out where you’re going to find them.

This means your next micro-goal will be to decide where you’re going to find your avatar, and which manner you’ll engage with them:

  • Online communities or at in-person events
  • Through referrals
  • With content marketing

It might be on social media, in online communities, at in-person networking events, or through personal referrals.

You could also take the content marketing route and try to attract your avatar to you through providing free, valuable and consistent content. This is what we’ve done here at Entrepreneurs On Fire with our daily podcast.

This will take time and require hard work, so you have to patient.

Remember, this is a measurable goal, so you should always be checking in with your timeline to be sure you’re on track when you start a new micro-goal.

In this example, given that you need to find 250 leads, which route will you take?

Once you’ve decided where you’re going to find your avatar, the fun part comes into play: engaging with them!

You not only need to know your avatar is on point (meaning, the avatar your defined actually exists, you’ve found them, and they’re interested in what you have to offer), but also that they’re a good fit for you and your services.

Your next micro-goal is to have at least 10 one-on-one conversations with your avatar – offer up a free 10 minute chat, or meet up at a coffee shop to chat about what they have going on.

Your goal in connecting and communicating with them one-on-one is to confirm that:

  1. They are, in fact, your avatar (your perfect customer)
  2. What you’ve put together can and will help them solve their biggest struggle

Now all that’s left to do is rinse and repeat.

Where can you find more of your avatars?

How can you start to reach them on a one-to-many level?

This might be through building an email list and campaign that introduces your marketing services, or maybe via a live training webinar you offer.

Remember, your goal is to reach at least 250 of your avatars, so always have that part of your goal in mind.

Now that you have an overview of how you might go about doing your own lead generation, let’s look at option 2: using software like LeadFuze that can help automate it.

Automating your Lead Generation

In a nutshell, LeadFuze (that’s our affiliate link) automates the heavy lifting when it comes to finding – and starting to develop a relationship with – qualified leads for your business.

But to get way more specific, let’s look at the steps you would take on your own if you were to go out and start looking for qualified leads for your business (this is assuming you’re a B2B business):

  1. Research who those people are and start building a list of companies
  2. Finding contacts at those companies you can reach out to
  3. Verifying contact details
  4. Preparing a message to send them
  5. Send that message
  6. Following up until you get a response

These are the steps that LeadFuze automates for you, and here’s how…

How does LeadFuze do it?

Once you know who you’re trying to reach (your avatar), you would put that information in LeadFuze. Let’s carry our example over from option 1: say you’re trying to pitch marketing services to other tech savvy business owners.

First thing you’re going to do is select the industries you’re interested in – let’s say Computer Software and Internet Technology are two that are high on your list given your avatar.

LeadFuze

Next, you would look at the role of the person you’re trying to reach within the industries you’ve selected.

You can start typing in job titles yourself, or select from LeadFuze’s pre-built filters. You can even use “negative keywords” to exclude certain roles from showing in your search results, which will help you dial in your targeting.

Then, you’ll want to identify any other traits of your avatar you want LeadFuze to know about before it performs your search for you.

This might include something like “Employee Size” (so you can exclude companies that have more than X number of employees).

You might also think of this criteria in terms of revenue. If so, LeadFuze recommends using a simple formula for calculating estimated revenue based on the employee size: ($150,000) x (number of employees).



It’s generally somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, but as a rule of thumb the $150,000 is recommended. That said, some industries are on a whole other level, so be sure to do your due diligence before relying on this equation.

So let’s say you want to work with businesses that are doing $100 million in revenue. That equates to about 660 employees. So in LeadFuze, you’d start with 500+ employees.

Once you have all your information set, LeadFuze will perform your search, and you’ll receive a screen like this:

LeadFuze

Based on the search criteria for those two industries, LeadFuze has found just over 16,000 leads available.

A lead is considered someone who LeadFuze has put through their double verification process, which results in single digit bounce rates. This is important since that can impact your future deliverability.

Once you assign Fuzebot, he’ll do all the work of building your list for you. No more researching companies, finding contact details, and verifying information – the prospecting is all done for you.

As we covered in option 1, the next step is to reach out to them and connect, and LeadFuze automates that, too! (Click here to get the full rundown on LeadFuze and everything it can help you do)

Conclusion

If you’re looking for different results this year than you saw last year, then different actions are necessary.

Whether you’re after personal growth, business growth, financial growth, or some other type of growth, there are simple steps you can take to get there, and oftentimes platforms available that can help.

All it takes is getting started with a SMART goal and a plan.

The post How to Get More Qualified Leads for Your Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2APFske

Latest EOFire Podcast Entrepreneurs On Fire: December 2017 Income Report

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

December 2017 Income At-A-Glance

Gross Income for December: $210,291

Total Expenses for December: $66,798

Total Net Profit for December: $143,493

Difference b/t December & November: -$11,103

eofire income report button

Why We Publish An Income Report

This monthly income report is created for you, Fire Nation!

By documenting the struggles we encounter and the successes we celebrate as entrepreneurs every single month, we’re able to provide you with support – and a single resource – where we share what’s working, what’s not, and what’s possible.

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into learning and growing as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re just starting out. The most important part of the equation is that you’re able to pass on what you learn to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here.

Let’s IGNITE!

**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below.

Josh Bauerle’s Monthly Tax Tip

What’s up Fire Nation, my name is Josh Bauerle. I’m a CPA and the Founder of CPA On Fire, where we specialize in working with entrepreneurs to minimize their tax liability while keeping them in line with the ever-changing tax laws.

I’ve been working with JLD & Kate at Entrepreneurs On Fire for years now, and they’ve included me in these monthly income reports with unlimited access to all their accounts so I can verify that what they report here is complete and accurate.

And because they believe in delivering an insane amount of value to you, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level; I also provide a new tax and accounting tip every month!

Josh’s December Tax Tip: The New US Tax Law

You may not – but should – know that the US just passed a pretty massive tax overhaul.

Depending on who you listen to, the tax changes will either make us all rich and send the economy soaring to never before seen heights, or hurt the middle class to pad the wallets of the rich and will surely put us into the next great depression.

So what’s the truth?

Is the plan good or bad overall, and for you specifically?

That’s exactly what we are going to look at here, with 3 caveats…

  1. This is a completely non partisan look at the tax bill with no regard to political parties, including which side initiated the plan;
  2. This will only look at how the plan will impact the average person’s – and specifically small business owner’s – taxes with no regard to larger economic impacts;
  3. This is a short, general summary on how it impacts the average small business owner. How it impacts each of us specifically can’t possible be covered here. Definitely talk to a professional to find out your specifics.

How Entrepreneurs Are Impacted

The new tax law provides plenty of changes for the average person, from doubling the child tax credit and standard deduction, to eliminating personal exemptions and capping state and local tax deductions.

But the biggest changes come for a group near and dear to Fire Nation’s heart: entrepreneurs.

Essentially, the new tax plan is going to reduce the amount of income you pay taxes on for your business by 20%.

If you remember any of our talks re: business entities, then you know almost all small businesses are what they call “pass through entities”. And pass through entities get their name because the profits pass through to the owners, who then pay any taxes as a part of their personal return.

Under this new plan, small business owners with pass through entities (again, almost every business owner listening to this) will only pay taxes on 80% of their profits instead of the normal 100% they always have.

So let’s say your business, after all deductible expenses, profits $200,000 in 2018.

Under previous rules, you would pay taxes on all $200k.

Under this new law, you will only pay taxes on $160,000, even if you pulled out all $200k in distributions. This could easily save you $10,000+ in taxes with that move alone. And as your profits go up, obviously, those savings become greater.

Restrictions

If your profits are over $315,000 and you are married – or profits are over $157,000 and you are single – there may be a few other restrictions on the 20% rule that involve your salary or guaranteed payments.

So if you are at or approaching those levels, please speak with a CPA as soon as possible to make sure you’re in line to maximize those savings.

Conclusion

Overall, and again, looking at this only from a tax perspective – and mostly taxes for entrepreneurs – I’m very happy with this new plan. Most small business owners, between the new breaks on the individual side, and especially the 20% reduction in taxable profits, will see significant savings on their 2018 taxes.

But with these changes it is more important than ever to talk to an expert and make sure you are in the proper entity and falling within the regulations to take these savings!

As always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss what would be best for YOUR business. I LOVE chatting with Fire Nation!

*Bonus* Claim your spot in Josh’s FREE Course on Business Entities!

What Went Down In December

Memoir: Audio Biographies

In 2018, I’m taking on a passion project.

This project has been banging around my head for a couple years now, and it’s finally time to unleash it to the world.

In short: I’ve always been a fan of history, and most of my favorite books are biographies of the men and women who changed the world.

These books are often GIANT works, and can take MONTHS (even years) to finish.

My idea is to create a fun audio experience that can be consumed in an hour or two and that will be both fun and educational.

Enter Memoir: Audio biographies of the men and women who changed the world.

Episode #1 will be Alexander the Great, and I have some other CLASSICS in the pipeline.

If this seems up your alley, sign up here to listen to the 1st episode: What is Memoir?, plus receive sneak peeks and special announcements!

I would LOVE your feedback on this project, so please email me with any thoughts about Memoir.

I can’t wait!

The Podcast Journal

Another exciting project we’ve been working on for a long time is The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.

The Podcast Journal is unlike any other journal we’ve created here at Entrepreneurs On Fire in that it’s essentially a step-by-step workbook that guides you through creating and launching your own podcast.

With detailed instructions for each of the 50 days, plus video tutorials, an online resource center, and check points along the way, The Podcast Journal will help you finally launch your podcast in 50 days or less.

We first came up with this idea in early 2015, and ever since we’ve been focused on other projects. But 2018 IS the year for The Podcast Journal, and our goal is to launch by the end of Q1 2018.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Podcast Journal and being the first to hear once it’s available, be sure to join our interest list!

The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz and 4 Days to Mastery

Our newest free course, 4 Days to Mastery: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus, launched in December – yay!

But the way we went about it was a little different than usual…

It started a few months ago actually, when Chanti reached out to us with a proposal: she was convinced we could be crushing it with a quiz optin on our site.

We accepted Chanti’s proposal, and within a few weeks she sent us an outline for The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz: How to Eliminate Fear and Finally Achieve Entrepreneurial Freedom.

We signed up for Interact quiz software and got to work.

The main goal of having The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz is to get more qualified leads into our free courses, including Free Goals Course, Funnel On Fire, Free Podcast Course, and Free Webinar Course.

Because we know if we can get more leads into these free courses, that means more potential for:

But in reviewing Chanti’s outline for the quiz, I realized she had an “outcome” that led to a funnel we hadn’t create yet: it was for The Mastery Journal.

So John and I sat down and brainstormed, and within an hour came up with the outline and name for 4 Days to Mastery: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus!

In December we not only got to launch 4 Days to Mastery, but we also got to launch The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz in several areas on our site.

The first phase is to test conversions and outcomes with the quiz to see if it’s working and of value to Fire Nation, and we’re currently doing this in 3 areas on our site:

  • Our welcome gate
  • Our hello bar area
  • Our sidebar

Want to check out 4 Days to Mastery and The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz?

You won’t be sorry, and we’d love to hear your feedback!

Click here for 4 Days to Mastery

Click here to take The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz

Our Business Lessons for 2017

We could’t wrap up December properly without sharing our biggest business lessons for 2017, which included:

  • No one cares about your business as much as you do
  • You’ll never know until you take action
  • Compare and despair
  • Constant improvement is key
  • Failures are a healthy part of business
  • And several more!

To check out a deep dive on each of these lessons, and to check out the rest of our business lessons learned in 2017, head over to the post!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

December 2017 Income Breakdown*

Product/Service Income: $154,111

TOTAL Journal sales: 1,161 Journals for a total of $49,593

The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!

  • TheFreedomJournal.com: $4,572 (96 Hardcovers & 24 Digital Packs sold!)
  • Amazon: $21,255 (541 Freedom Journals sold!)
  • Total: $25,827

The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 days!

  • TheMasteryJournal.com: $2,620 (64 Hardcovers & 10 Digital Packs sold!)
  • Amazon: $17,975 (460 Mastery Journals sold!)
  • 100 Days to Mastery: $3,171
  • Total: $23,766

Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 Podcasting community in the world!

  • Recurring: $24,620 (249 monthly)
  • New members: $10,257 (34 new members)
  • Total: $34,877

Podcast Sponsorship Income$64,250

Podcast Websites: $5,000 Your all-in-one podcast website peace of mind

Skills On Fire: $59

Podcast LaunchAudiobook$284 | eBook: $48

Free Courses that result in the above revenue:

Free Podcast Course: A free 15-day course on Podcasting

Free Webinar Course: A free 10-day course on Webinars

Free Goals Course: A free 8-day course on Setting & Accomplishing Goals

Funnel On Fire: A free 8-day course on Creating a Funnel that Converts!

Kickstarter On Fire: A free 5-day course on going from Idea to Launch on Kickstarter!

4 Days To Mastery: A Free 4-day course on how to master Productivity, Discipline & Focus!

Affiliate Income: $56,180

*Affiliate links below

Resources for Entrepreneurs: $39,330

Courses for Entrepreneurs: $14,006

Resources for Podcasters: $2,262

Other Resources: $582

  • Amazon Associates: $507
  • Other: $75

Total Gross Income in December: $210,291

Business Expenses: $60,477

  • Advertising: $117
  • Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $3,070
  • Accounting: $2,529
  • Cost of goods sold: $4,640
  • Consulting: $802
  • Design & Branding: $1,980
  • Education: $74
  • Legal & Professional: $297
  • Meals & Entertainment: $1,023
  • Merchant / bank fees: $1,358
  • Amazon fees: $8,764
  • Shopify fees: $120
  • PayPal fees: $359
  • Office expenses: $2,063
  • Payroll Tax Expenses / Fees: $1,258
  • Paradise Refunds: $2,220
  • Promotional: $1,191
  • Total Launch Package fees: $0
  • Sponsorships: $11,500
  • Show notes: $728
  • The Freedom & Mastery Journal: $5,000
  • Travel: $700
  • Virtual Assistant Fees: $9,207
  • Website Fees: $1,477

Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $6,321

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $100
  • Boomerang: $70 (team package)
  • Brandisty: $24
  • Authorize.net: $91
  • Cell Phone: $576
  • Dropbox: $99 (annual fee)
  • Google: $45
  • Internet: $631
  • eVoice: $10
  • FastSpring: $39
  • Infusionsoft CRM: $396
  • Insurance: $551
  • Libsyn: $400
  • Manychat: $65
  • Chatroll: $49
  • PureChat: $20
  • ScheduleOnce: $9
  • Shopify: $176
  • TaxJar: $19
  • MeetEdgar: $39
  • Taxes & Licenses: $300
  • Interact Quiz Software: $89
  • WP Engine: $2,490 (annual fee)
  • Zapier: $15
  • Zoom: $15

Total Expenses in December: $66,798

Payroll to John & Kate: $15,900

In our May 2014 Income Report and our June 2016 Income Report, Josh focuses on how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur. Check them out!

Wondering what we do with all of our net revenue? We share all in our April 2017 Income Report 🙂

Total Net Profit for December 2017: $143,493

Biggest Lesson Learned

Importance of Doing a Business Review

Unless we’re looking back at the strategies and tactics we’ve implemented or tested, and then taking the time to understand which ones worked and which ones didn’t – and why – we’re never going to know what to continue doing, or stop doing, moving forward.

The end of the year really brought this to the forefront for me, because it’s such a HUGE step in how I come up with goals for the year ahead.

But regardless of whether it’s the start of a new year, the middle of the year, or nearing the end of a year, a business review is always a good idea. Great news is, you can do it in only 5 steps.

 

Step 1: Take note of your bigger projects

First step is to take a look back at the bigger projects you’ve worked on in your business over the past year.

This will include things like:

  • Creating and/or launching new products or services;
  • Trying out / moving into a new piece of software;
  • Hiring and/or firing team members;
  • Engaging in new business relationships / partnerships; and
  • Anything else that took a significant amount of your time to prepare / implement.

Step 2: What worked, and why?

Once you have your list, it’s time to review each item and make note: which were successful?

If you have a hard time determining whether one of the projects on your list worked, then that’s a business lesson in and of itself.

It should be very simple to answer whether something worked based on the SMART goal you set when you committed to doing it.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it worked.

Step 3: What didn’t work, and why?

The same way you reviewed each item and made note of which were successful, make note of those that were unsuccessful.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that didn’t worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it didn’t work.

Step 4: Lessons learned

Based on the list you’ve just created, including the notes you’ve taken by each project re: whether it worked or not (and why), what are you biggest lessons learned?

  • What will you do again in the future because it worked so well?
  • What will you avoid doing again in the future because it didn’t work at all?
  • Make a list of all of your biggest takeaways

Step 5: Looking ahead

Remember: knowledge is power.

Now that you have a complete list of the projects you’ve worked on, which ones worked and which didn’t (along with why), and you have pulled out your biggest lessons learned as a result, it’s time to look ahead.

How can you leverage this knowledge to help you WIN in your business moving forward?

How will you double down on what’s working, and avoid the things that didn’t work so well for you?

Now you have a complete system for how to complete your own business review!

Next step: SCHEDULE IT!

Alright Fire Nation, that’s a wrap!

EntrepreneurOnFire

Until next month, keep your FIRE burning!

~ Kate & John

Note: we report our income figures as accurately as possible, but in using reports from a combo of Infusionsoft & Xero to track our product and total income / expenses, they suggest the possibility of a 3 – 5% margin of error. 

Click here for all of EOFire’s Income Reports

This post was written by Kate Erickson, Content Creator and Implementer at EOFire. Follow Kate on Social:

Facebook FollowGoogle Plus FollowLinkedIn FollowTwitter Follow

The post Entrepreneurs On Fire: December 2017 Income Report appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2CSEjOO

Latest EOFire Podcast 173: The best of Kate’s Take: Behind the Scenes of a 7 Figure Business

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

Kate's Take

I launched Kate’s Take in August 2014 with sweat dripping down my brow and a lump in my throat. You see, at the time, I didn’t feel like I had much to share with an audience.

Around this time I was going through some major personal development stuff. I had recently wrapped up a transformational training series where I learned some pretty deep truths about myself.

Mainly, that I was walking through life invisible.

I walked away from that training with a major declaration: I would never walk through life invisible again.

I also had some big goals lined up for myself in 2015, including speaking on stage 5 times. Now that was a pretty lofty goal for me because at the time I had spoken on exactly zero stages.

As you can imagine, launching a podcast and setting a goal of speaking on stage 5 times were both WAY OUTSIDE of my comfort zone.

The beginning of a new journey

But I knew I had a message to share, and I knew that if I was that scared about launching my podcast, chances were I wasn’t alone.

What if me launching my podcast inspired someone else to launch theirs?

What if through sharing my story of walking through life invisible encouraged someone else to make the same declaration I did: that they’d never walk through life invisible again?

And so I launched – scared to death, but ready for a change.

The evolution of a podcast

Kate’s Take has evolved a lot since launch. Not only has my content evolved, (and improved in my humble opinion), but things like my format and frequency have shifted as well.

  • I started out publishing episodes two times per week.

And I continued with that publishing schedule for nearly one and a half years.

When I wasn’t able to reach my goal in 2015 of hitting 30,000 downloads per month on the podcast, I decided to change things up.

I wasn’t ready to let the podcast go, but I knew I needed to shift – something wasn’t working.

  • So I started publishing in Seasons on the podcast.

The idea was that I would be able to create multiple pieces of content all related to the same topic – in sequential order – and collectively that would make them easier to find and consume.

I launched Season 1 of Kate’s Take in January 2016, and since I’ve published a total of 7 Seasons: 1 each quarter up until October 2017.

In October of 2017, I noticed something happening: not only was Season 7 my least downloaded Season out of all of them, but my call to action for my listeners to help me decide on a topic for Season 8 fell flat.

Sticking to my guns (I told my audience I would only go ahead with Season 8 if I got a certain number of people to reach out to me with their feedback for a topic), I stopped recording in Seasons.

But I still wasn’t ready to let the podcast go…

  • So I went to a once per week publishing schedule

In November 2017 I published an episode letting my audience know that I was going to commit to a once per week show: every Monday I will publish an episode that systems-focused and that will show you behind the scenes of a 7-figure business.

Hopefully you can see from this that a podcast isn’t a set thing that works out exactly how you had envisioned from the very beginning.

I’ve learned over and over that being flexible, and your ability to pivot as an entrepreneur, is critical to your success.

The best of Kate’s Take

I’ve learned more than I ever could have imagined through producing this podcast, and I’m so happy and grateful for every one of those lessons.

Kate’s Take has…

  • Helped me create an amazing one-on-one connection with my listeners.
  • Allowed me to have a better understanding of what our audience wants and needs.
  • Helped me become more confident and a better speaker (I did land those 5 stages back in 2015, by the way); and it has
  • Helped me become a better – and more intentional – creator.

And so while the best of Kate’s Take may not be determined by massive downloads or huge revenue streams, this podcast has changed my life, and I hope that through tuning in it’s helping you change yours, too.

Top 5 episodes from Kate’s Take

Here are the top 5 episodes I’ve published to date (in no particular order).

1. How to Set and Accomplish your biggest goals

When we launched The Freedom Journal in January 2016 I had an idea: to create an entire season on the podcast around setting and accomplishing goals.

We had an entire promotional calendar filled with guest posts, guest appearances on other podcasts, press releases, our Kickstarter launch – why not also promote on Kate’s Take and add massive value in the process?

To day, this is my most downloaded episode – by thousands! And for good reason: setting and accomplishing your biggest goals isn’t easy. But there is a step-by-step process you can follow to make it happen.

In this episode, and throughout Season 1, I cover every one of these steps.

Ready to accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days? The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner to help make it happen!

2. Why creating systems in your business is so important

In January 2015 I was sitting on a balcony in Puerto Vallarta with John and our great friends Jill & Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five.

We were having a little balcony mastermind session, and when it came to me I shared a struggle: I didn’t feel focused or like I was putting my best foot forward in the business.

After some brainstorming and back and forth, it was discovered – the thing that I’m best at.

Systems.

Since that day I’ve focused all of my energy in the business on putting my best foot forward. Whether it’s creating new systems, improving already existing ones, or learning about new strategies I can then share with you, it’s been all about systems for me.

Which is why when Season 2 came around on the podcast I knew exactly what I wanted to cover: How to Create Systems in Your Business.

This episode is the first in Season 2, where I talk about the importance of creating systems in your business. This episode lays the foundation for what could save you a ton of time and frustration, and what could also help you scale and grow your business.

3. Top 7 Strategies: How to grow your podcast audience

Podcasting is a pretty big topic here at Entrepreneurs On Fire. In fact, we created an entire online training and community around it in October 2013 called Podcasters’ Paradise.

Today, Paradise has over 3,200 members and is the most thriving online community I’ve ever been a part of.

It has not only helped me become a better leader, but it has taught me about some of the biggest struggles that podcasters face – especially when they’re first starting out.

One of those struggles? How to grow an audience.

So, just as we teach, I listened to that struggle come up over and over again, and then decided to create a solution for it: this post and episode.

To date it’s one of the most highly trafficked posts on our site.

4. How to Make This Your Most Productive Year Ever

Productivity is a pretty hot word in the online world today.

Everyone wants to know how to become more productive.

And I know from personal experience that when you commit to productivity, BIG things happen.

Suddenly, you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

When you commit to being productive, you actually get to check more off your to-do list than you put on it.

Focusing on productivity has helped me get more done before 12pm than I used to get done all day – literally.

And so I thought it a crime to not share the exact steps one can take to become more productive TODAY with our audience. I do just that in this post and episode.

5. Kate’s Take: The Audio Blog

This post was created back in 2014, right along with the launch of Kate’s Take.

Episode 0, as we like to call it, isn’t my most popular episode, nor is it anywhere near the most downloaded, but it continues to be one of the most popular “back linked” posts on our site (meaning, a lot of other people link to it on their site).

In this post I share a detailed journey of the things I did before I become an entrepreneur, and how each and every one of those things has inspired me to share my lessons here on the blog, and on the podcast.

Thank you Kate’s Take listeners!

Thank you for helping Kate’s Take become what it is today. I truly appreciate every single individual who tunes into this podcast, and as always, I’d love to hear from you!

Reach out to me any time with episode requests, to say a quick ‘hello’, or to provide feedback!

The post 173: The best of Kate’s Take: Behind the Scenes of a 7 Figure Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2CFH9ST

Latest EOFire Podcast 172: Systems and Standard Operating Procedures for Your Business

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

systems and standard operating procedures

Systems and Standard Operating Procedures may not be the sexiest things in business, but they are critical to any business’ success!

That’s why when I started working on a recent project I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself: this is the start of me sharing the exact project plan, brainstorming exercises, and implementation steps I’m taking in order to create systems and standard operating procedures throughout our entire business.

Be sure to tune into this episode for additional content not included in this post!

Starting a major project

As is the case with anything that comes to life in your business, the first step necessary is to decide that you actually want to work on a particular project.

I’ve been creating systems in our business since the beginning, but something I haven’t ever taken a step back to brainstorm and create: standard operating procedures for everything we do.

I’d been thinking about this a lot because in the past couple of years we’ve been able to launch some pretty amazing free courses, online communities, and even a second physical journal (The Mastery Journal) based on our knowledge from previous projects.

Because we’ve documented the steps we took in each case, we’re able to recreate that same success with different topics and in different areas of our business without having to start from scrath.

So now I know firsthand how much time you can save yourself – and your team – when everyone has a central place they know they can go for the exact steps to accomplish a particular task or project.

Same goes for every day tasks and projects in your business.

Once I decided I wanted to take on this project, the next thing I did was COMMIT to it.

This might sound super obvious, but when’s the last time you actually stopped and committed to yourself – out loud – that you were all-in on a project?

It can make a huge difference when it comes to holding yourself accountable.

Why do you want to do it?

Once I had decided on and committed to this project, my next step was to understand why I wanted to do it.

I know a project without a purpose behind it is going to be tough to create a plan for, and it’s also going to be tough to follow through on when the going gets tough. I need a WHY to come back.

When I asked myself WHY I wanted to do this project, here’s what I came up with…

1. I want to get a good handle on everything that’s going on in our business.

Now that we have a solid team of 4 virtual team members, plus myself and John, I wanted to have a solid, overall picture of what everyone is working on.

This is important because I know once we have that overall picture it will give us the opportunity as a team to evaluate and decide:

  • What we don’t need to do anymore at all;
  • What we can make more efficient / better;
  • What’s working great so we can double down.

2. I want to have a central place where we can all go to understand any process or system in our business.

Because some of the tasks and projects we work on overlap – or for some of our bigger systems, we have multiple people managing different steps of the process – it’s important that we’re all on the same page and understand what other pieces of the puzzle are necessary.

Having a central place where everything is documented will help:

  • Cut out the guesswork;
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page;
  • Save everyone time;
  • Serve us when doing new on boarding / training.

What will it look like when it’s complete?

Once you’ve decided and committed to your project, and you have a good understanding of WHY you want to do it, it’s time to brainstorm how you want it to turn out.

In other words, what will it look like when it’s complete?

You not only want to have a good understanding of the major deliverables (because that’s going to help you identify the individual steps you need to take to get there), but you also want to know HOW it’s going to help you.

So when I took a step back and thought about what our systems and standard operating procedures will look like when complete, I came up with four major deliverables.

1. A list of everything we’re working on in our business

2. Confirmation that everything is running optimally

3. System in place for each task or project

4. A central location where everything lives

 

 

In coming up with my list of major deliverables I was able to see exactly how this project is going to help us once complete. Once we have all 4 of these things in place, the reasons why I wanted to do this project in the first place will be met.

 

What’s the very first step?

Only thing left to do is START your project, which you can go about doing in several different ways.

You might start by putting together a detailed project plan, which is typically what I would recommend. But in order to get started on this particular project, all I needed to figure out is the first step.

I knew if I got too deep into putting together an entire plan in the beginning that I might get bogged down with everything I don’t know at this point. So instead, I’m starting with what I do know: the very first step.

I know that once I take the first step, the others will start to reveal themselves. Plus, as I start to identify new steps, I can start putting my project plan together as I go.

It’s easy to get held back when first starting a big project: overwhelm and not knowing where to start happens to all of us. So it’s ok if you don’t know all the steps right now.

Focus on the first step and the others will reveal themselves.

Steps for creating Standard Operating Procedures

Here are the first steps I’ve taken in creating standard operating procedures for our business.

Step 1: Create a board in Asana

I created a board in Asana for the overall project: Standard Operating Procedures for Entrepreneurs On Fire.

Then, I created a column for each team member.

Next, I reached out to all our team members and explained the project and why it’s important.

Finally, I requested their help with the first step: sending me a list of their tasks in the form of: daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and 1-time tasks.

Once I receive that information back from each of our team members, I’ll document what everyone sent me in their respective columns.

Step 2: Match tasks that already have a system

Next, I’m going to start matching up tasks and projects on each of our team members’ lists with the systems and processes that we already have in place. That way I can identify two types of tasks and projects everyone is working on:

  • Tasks and projects that already have a system
  • Tasks and projects that don’t have a system

 

 

Stay tuned for more steps!

This is only the beginning of this project, and I hope you can see from this that starting big projects doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary.

All you have to do is set aside the time to talk through it and brainstorm.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my goals for this project?
  • Why do I want to do it?
  • What do I hope is accomplished when it’s complete?
  • What’s the first step I have to take to get started?

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide that can help you with setting and accomplishing a BIG goal like the one I’ve shared here, The Freedom Journal is that guide.

The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner with daily check-in’s, 10-day sprints, and quarterly reviews to make sure you’re on track to hitting your goal.

Grab your own Freedom Journal today at TheFreedomJournal.com!

The post 172: Systems and Standard Operating Procedures for Your Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2qagNGP

Latest EOFire Podcast 171: A Year in Review: Business Lessons from 2017

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

Business Lessons

One of my favorite times of the year is when I get to sit down and gather up our biggest business lessons learned from the past 12 months.

But this hasn’t always been the case…

Looking back at my first year as an entrepreneur, I now know what an incredibly valuable learning experience that was.

But the problem was: I didn’t see it as such at the time.

I was blinded by frustration and overwhelm, which caused me to jump from project to project and task to task without ever taking time out to review what was happening. As a result, there were a lot of lessons I learned years after the fact – ones that had I taken the time to uncover them back then, could have helped me make big moves in my business that first year.

Since I have started to take time out to review what’s happening, I’ve learned so much. And more importantly, I’ve learned lessons that serve me in real time instead of years after the fact.

I now know how critical frequent reviews of your business are to its success – and to your growth as an entrepreneur.  So while I get excited to do this at year-end, keep in mind doing a review like the one I’m about to share with you shouldn’t only be a once-a-year thing; it should really be happening at least once per quarter.

Knowing what’s working and what’s not

Unless we’re looking back at the strategies and tactics we’ve implemented or tested, and then taking the time to understand which ones worked and which ones didn’t – and why – we’re never going to know what to continue doing, or stop doing, moving forward.

I not only hope the business lessons I’m about to share will be valuable for you and your business, but I also hope this post and episode will inspire you to do the same type of review in your own business.

So before I dive into our biggest business lessons for 2017, I want to share the steps you can take to do a review in your own business.

How to do a Business Review

Regardless of whether it’s the start of a new year, the middle of the year, or nearing the end of a year, a business review is always a good idea.

One of my biggest lessons year over year is that no one cares about your business as much as you do, and that’s never been truer than when reviewing what’s working and what’s not working in your business, because if you’re not looking out for your time and what gives you the best ROI, who is?

The answer is NO ONE.

Step 1: Take note of your bigger projects

First step is to take a look back at the bigger projects you’ve worked on in your business over the past year.

This will include things like:

  • Creating and/or launching new products or services;
  • Trying out / moving into a new piece of software;
  • Hiring and/or firing team members;
  • Engaging in new business relationships / partnerships; and
  • Anything else that took a significant amount of your time to prepare / implement.

Step 2: What worked, and why?

Once you have your list, it’s time to review each item and make note: which were successful?

If you have a hard time determining whether one of the projects on your list worked, then that’s a business lesson in and of itself.

It should be very simple to answer whether something worked based on the SMART goal you set when you committed to doing it.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it worked.

Step 3: What didn’t work, and why?

The same way you reviewed each item and made note of which were successful, make note of those that were unsuccessful.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that didn’t worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it didn’t work.

Step 4: Lessons learned

Based on the list you’ve just created, including the notes you’ve taken by each project re: whether it worked or not (and why), what are you biggest lessons learned?

  • What will you do again in the future because it worked so well?
  • What will you avoid doing again in the future because it didn’t work at all?
  • Make a list of all of your biggest takeaways

Step 5: Looking ahead

Remember: knowledge is power.

Now that you have a complete list of the projects you’ve worked on, which ones worked and which didn’t (along with why), and you have pulled out your biggest lessons learned as a result, it’s time to look ahead.

  • How can you leverage this knowledge to help you WIN in your business moving forward?
  • How will you double down on what’s working, and avoid the things that didn’t work so well for you?

Now that you have a complete system for how to complete your own business review, let’s dive into what I discovered after following these steps for Entrepreneurs On Fire.

Biggest Business Lessons of 2017

No one cares about your business as much as you do

This will always continue be a major business lesson for me.

In fact, I remind myself of it every day. Because no matter how many team members you hire or how much money you invest in consultants and professionals to help you build a business, none of them will ever care about your business as much as you.

I don’t share this business lesson to freak you out. I share this business lesson because I’ve learned this the hard way, several times.

Most recently, I realized that we weren’t being paid out on our American Express transactions.

Tens of thousands of dollars that we thought were being deposited into our account weren’t being deposited into our account.

None of our merchants, or gateway processors, or credit card companies alerted us of this issue, and while that made me really angry – and scared me to think that these companies, even though we pay them a hefty sum every month, weren’t looking out for us – it also helped me come to a powerful realization:

At the end of the day, it’s no one else’s responsibility.

It’s not their business. It’s mine.

So next time you rely on a company, a service, a product, or a contractor, remember that ultimately, the responsibility is yours.

This also prompted a huge overhaul of our system for tracking payments – clearly something that was NOT working in our business given the magnitude of what we were missing.

You’ll never know until you take action

Leading up to the launch of The Mastery Journal in January of this year we thought we had it all figured out.

Having just launched The Freedom Journal in January of the previous year we were feeling pretty confident about the steps we needed to take to make The Mastery Journal launch a success.

So we essentially took out our project plan and checklist and started going down the line.

While this definitely worked as a systems overview of what boxes needed to be checked, we should have known better:

As is true with everything in business, you’re never going to know what unforeseen roadblocks or challenges will present themselves until you take action and just start.

And if this was the case with a project we already knew how to prepare for, imagine a project you don’t know how to prepare for!

Prep and planning is very important, but it’s never going to outweigh the simple act of taking one step forward in order to uncover what’s next.

While our prep and planning for The Mastery Journal was spot on, nothing was going to actually happen until we started taking action.

Compare and despair

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re comparing ourselves to other people; comparing our launch to someone else’s launch; comparing our podcast downloads to someone else’s downloads; our email list size to someone else’s list size…

All you comparing yourself to others is going to result in is despair.

If you knew you were creating energy that would lead to a lack of motivation, frustration, and feeling down about yourself and your business, then why would you create that energy?

Now you know: every time you compare yourself or your business to someone else’s, you’re creating energy that leads to a lack of motivation, frustration, and feeling down about yourself and your business.

So just don’t do it.

I’ve caught myself going down this path many times in 2017 and it has led me to second-guess a lot of actions I’ve taken. Me second-guessing my actions leads to sub-par work. Sub-par work leads to disappointment.

And so I practice. Every time I catch myself starting down that path, I immediately stop and regroup. There just no point in comparing yourself to other people, and I don’t want to do things that don’t have a point.

Constant improvement is key

Podcasters’ Paradise has been alive for 4+ years now. We launched in Oct 2013, and around Oct 2017 – 4 years later – we gave Paradise a major facelift.

In doing so, we found a renewed energy throughout the community. Our existing members were really excited about the upgrade, plus, it gave us something new to promote on our bi-weekly live Masterclass to potential new members.

Making sure you’re continuing to deliver value on a consistent basis is key when you’re running an online training and/or community.

Sure, a recurring membership sounds great – and it is – but it’s not a “one and done” type of thing. If you’re asking members to pay you money on a recurring basis, then there has to be constant improvements being delivered.

This upgrade worked really well for us in 2017, and it’s something we’ll be putting a lot of focus on in 2018 – for all areas of our business.

Failures are a healthy part of business

There were a few projects we scrapped or decided to majorly tweak in 2017. One of those projects: FireUP, a software tool we launched as an MVP that didn’t quite stick.

In theory, FireUP was a great idea: a software plugin for your website to help you convert your websites visitors into email subscribers, and eventually, paying customers.

The problem was the MVP couldn’t stand up to the competitors already out there, like Optin Monster and Sumo.

We ran the MVP to see if could get some initial traction – enough interest to help prove the concept – and then we would move forward with adding additional features and improving the software.

But we didn’t get that interest, and therefore decided to let FireUP go.

Proof of concept is something we’ve come back to over and over again in our business – because it works. It’s a simple way to make a black and white decision: are we doing this or not?

It wasn’t an easy decision; we had partnered up on this project, and we didn’t want to end that partnership or see the software go. But this is why it’s so critical to have measurements and tracking in place when it comes to hitting goals: it makes it that much easier to make smart business decisions (versus decisions based on emotion).

Live events and the power of community

Committing to attending live events isn’t always easy.

  • When you commit to attending a live event you’re not only committing your time – your most precious resource – but you’re also committing financially.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the ROI for an event will actually be.
  • Your projects come to halt while you’re preparing for – and attending – said event.

This is why it’s key to have goals in mind for the live events you’re attending – and to do as much up-front research as possible before committing.

We attended and spoke at a lot of events in 2017, and we even hosted our very own first live event here in Puerto Rico called Puerto Palooza.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

1. You can’t put an ROI on creating and nurturing relationships…

…and a great way to create and nurture relationships is to put yourself in a physical space with others who are on the same path as you. Doing this has worked really well for us in regards to building a strong community who feels connected to us.

2. You get back what you put in.

You can’t show up to an event unprepared and stand in the corner the entire time. You have to go into events knowing exactly what it is you’re hoping to walk away with, a plan to help you accomplish that, and a positive attitude you can share with others through actually communicating with them.

I’ve proven this to myself many times over, so I speak from personal experience. Don’t go to an event expecting to get something out of it if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to show up big.

3. Actual experiences bring things to the next level.

The online world is amazing, and it gives us access to so many things we may not otherwise have access to. But experiencing things in “real life” will always bring them to the next level.

4. Hosting your own live event isn’t easy…

…but the results and the ripple effect make every second of prep and planning worth it. John and I are actually chatting now about Puerto Palooza II; if you’re interested in hearing more about our in-person mastermind here in Puerto Rico, don’t hestiate to reach out 🙂

Marketing

We’ve continued to double down on our marketing efforts from lessons learned in the past. For example, our closing and opening of Podcasters’ Paradise is a campaign we ran back in 2015, and that we repeated in 2017 with great success.

The basic outline is that we close the doors to the community for a set period of time in order to make improvements and upgrades within, and in doing so this gives us the opportunity to get a group of members in before the doors close (and the investment increases), and a group of members in when the doors open (based on the improvements we’ve made within).

But there are a couple of things we did in 2017 that didn’t work out so well for us, like running Facebook ads during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When we planned for the doors to Paradise to open on Nov 30, we didn’t consider that being right in the midst of these two “holidays”.

As a result, our ad cost and conversions weren’t where we wanted them to be.

I’m not typically one to say the time of year matters for much of anything you do in your business, but in this case, had we thought about it beforehand, we probably would have changed that opening date.

Overall, 2017 proved that marketing as a whole is a system and an idea that, at its core, doesn’t really change much. The psychology of selling and influence doesn’t change.

What does change is everything around us – the actual market – and so you have to continue coming up with new and unique ways of reaching your ideal audience.

In order to do this in 2017, we’ve picked up on a lot of new tactics, like FB Messenger Bots for email marketing.

Never stop evolving and thinking about new ways of delivering your message. This will work because it will set you apart.

Your business foundation

I’m a big fan of systems and processes; it’s my focus here at Entrepreneurs On Fire, and this year it became more relevant than ever due to some unexpected – and some expected – travel.

We’d been planning for most of the year to take a 40-day trip overseas to attend two conferences and to enjoy seeing a new part of the world we’d never been to before: New Zealand, Australia, and London.

What we didn’t plan for was a Category 5 hurricane named Maria to hit our island and community within weeks of our planned departure.

Because we chose to be off the island when Maria hit, we were inadvertently choosing to not be able to go back home before our 40-day overseas trip. So being away from our home office and out of our normal routine for nearly 3 months in a row took us a bit by surprise.

Luckily the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build over the past 5 years in business served us well, and even though we weren’t in our home office and didn’t follow our normal routine, our business continued running as if nothing had happened.

Seeing how resilient our business has become was really comforting and gave me loads of peace of mind, which is why I decided to create this post, which goes into detail about how you can make sure you’re creating a resilient business, too.

2017 in Review

To recap, make sure you’re actually taking a look back and doing some reflection around what’s gone on in your business.

This should be done quarterly at the very least.

It’s also powerful to do it at the end of each year to ensure you’re taking the time to let the lessons you’ve learned sink in, and also so you have the opportunity to double down on what’s working well for you moving forward, and remove the things that aren’t.

We hope our business lessons from 2017 will serve you on your journey moving forward!

The post 171: A Year in Review: Business Lessons from 2017 appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2kRAcHJ

Latest EOFire Podcast 170: Tips on how to connect: building meaningful relationships in business

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

building relationships

When Kristin reached out to me and said “I’d love to hear tips on connecting in business: networking online, offline, building meaningful relationships, and being genuine while building a business”, I immediately started drafting this post.

Building meaningful relationships and connecting with others is critical to the success of your business, and it’s also necessary for your own sanity.

But how do you actually do it?

As an introvert, I had the exact same question when I was first starting out on my entrepreneurial journey.

Luckily, I’ve always had a thing for building relationships, but translating that to building relationships in business was tough for me for several reasons:

  • I didn’t have a solid purpose for building relationships;
  • I didn’t know where to find the right people to connect with;
  • A lot of times I felt slimy at networking events – the connections didn’t feel real or genuine.

That’s about the time I took on a huge challenge: I wanted to figure out the exact steps I could take in order to build meaningful relationships in business.

Understanding why relationships are important

My challenge to figure out how to build meaningful relationships in business started with me getting clear on why we as humans crave and value relationships.

What do they provide us?

What happens when we don’t have the right relationships in our lives?

I came to realize through very little research and a lot of reflection and common sense that relationships provide us with comfort through:

  • Connection (knowing we’re not alone)
  • Support (knowing we have help)
  • Validation (knowing others feel the same way)

Then I thought back to how many times in the past 5 years or so I had turned to an individual whom I’ve built a relationship with for one of those 3 reasons (connection, support or validation).

I counted A LOT of times.

What would have happened had I not had those relationships?

What type of place would I have been in at the time – and more importantly, right now – if I wouldn’t have had connection, support and validation available to me?

One thing is for sure: I DEFINITELY wouldn’t be where I am right now.

All of this combined proves what everyone always says: how important networking and building meaningful relationships is; plus, it helped me understand at the very base level why it’s so important (by realizing where I’d be – or where I wouldn’t be – without relationships).

Which brings me to the next step in my challenge: how do you build relationships in business?

How to build relationships in business

Something else Kristin said to me in her email is this:

So many times I think that we know networking matters, or who you know matters, but many people don’t know how to build those relationships from a place that doesn’t feel slimy.

So then I started thinking… “Is it really that we don’t know how to do it, or is it just that we’re uncomfortable doing it?”

Or maybe we’re not confident enough?

Or maybe we don’t know where to go to start?

Because everyone’s personality is different, how you build relationships as an individual might be different from how I do it. However, I do believe very strongly in the five steps I’m about to share with you.

At the very least, they will put you on a path to success – regardless of your personality or where you’re at when it comes to building meaningful relationships in business.

5 Steps to getting started

1. State your goal or intention

First step to most things in life is to understand why you want to do it.

What’s your goal or intention with building a particular relationship in business?

Some examples might be:

  • To have an accountability partner who I can meet with once per week;
  • To find someone who is where I want to be so I can learn from them;
  • To engage in a joint venture or affiliate relationship;
  • To invite people on my podcast.

These are just a few examples – there are countless more.

And it might just be that you simply want to connect with others in your industry or niche so you know you’re not alone.

2. Pick your place

Now that you know exactly why you want to build a particular relationship, it’s time to figure out where you can go to put yourself in a place where these people might be hanging out.

That might be:

  • A specific in-person conference or event;
  • An online summit;
  • A Facebook or LinkedIn group;
  • Through a mutual connection.

Conference, events and online summits are easy to find via Google. Just type in the type of event you’re interested in (conference, event, meetup, summit, etc) + the keyword or topic you’re interested in.

An example might be “Conference for speakers”.

Another example might be “Summit for online marketers”.

In regards to a Facebook or LinkedIn group, a great place to start is to search right within the platform itself. Same idea here: you want to type in the keyword or topic you’re interested in connecting around.

That might be “podcasting group”, or “gardening group”, or “self-improvement group”.

Finally, figuring out whether you can build a relationship through a mutual connection just takes you talking about what it is you’re looking for with those you already know.

Next time you’re having a chat with a friend, let them know what you’re up to – maybe that you’re interested in connecting with people who have similar interests around gaming, or around comedy, or around music.

Then, simply ask if they know anyone who is interested in those topics who might want to connect.

Picking your place takes time and research, so don’t get frustrated, and know that if you commit the time to finding the right place to connect, that you will find the right people you want to connect with.

3. Introduce yourself, and offer value

Now that you know your goal for building a particular relationship and where to go to find those you want to build relationships with, it’s time to introduce yourself and offer up some value!

Remember, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Whether you’re at an in-person event, attending an online summit, or joining a new online group, introduce yourself and offer up some type of value that can connect you with who you want to meet.

For example, if you’re looking to connect with an accountability partner, then let people know that.

Post in the group, or include in your conversations with people, that you’ve just started an online business around helping mom’s build stronger connections with their children through one-on-one time together, and that you’re interested in having weekly chats with someone who is in the same industry or who has similar interests.

4. Be interested

This isn’t all about you; be interested in the others who are around you.

Learn about their background, listen to their story, and find out what it is they’re passionate about.

As questions like:

  • How did you get into what you’re working on now?
  • What’s something you’re really excited about right now?
  • Any question related to the type of business or industry you’re in.

Through asking these types of questions you’ll start a natural conversation that will lead you to learning more about their interests and what’s important to them.

Based on what you learn about them, offer up value whenever you can. This might be through a recommended resource, an introduction to someone who you know, or perhaps you have knowledge or expertise that can help them.

5. Follow up

Relationships aren’t built overnight. They take time and care to nurture and grow, so be willing to follow up, continue to engage and always take the initiative.

If you’ve met at an in-person conference or event, send them an email afterwards and follow up on whatever it is you connected over at the event.

If you’ve met on an online summit, send them an email afterwards and ask what their biggest takeaway from the summit was, and what their plan is to implement that into their own business. Perhaps there’s a way you can help support them in that?

If you’ve meet through an online group, connect outside of that group one-on-one. Maybe you could set up a quick Skype chat, or bring the conversation over to email so you can get to know more about one another and what each of you has going on.

Be natural, and don’t over-think it

Relationships are a part of human nature. The reasons why we crave and value relationships – they’re a part of us.

So just be you! Don’t over-think the process of connecting with others and building meaningful relationships in business. Just follow the 5 steps I’ve shared here and you’ll be on the right path to connecting with the right people.

I want to give a huge shout out to Kristin for emailing me with this question. It’s such a HUGE topic and holds so much importance on your journey to building a successful business.

So why not start today?

The post 170: Tips on how to connect: building meaningful relationships in business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2zk2xOw

Latest EOFire Podcast 169: Checklist: How to create a resilient business

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

resilient business

How do you ensure you’re creating a resilient business?

This is a question that’s been on my mind ever since Sept 27th, when I was having a catch up convo with a friend.

She said to me: it must feel pretty amazing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and with all the traveling you’ve been doing, to know that your business is still running.

Very true, although this was the first time I had thought about it like that.

It begged the question: how does one create a resilient business?… so that when things do get rough or go a little crazy, you can rest assured that your business isn’t going to crumble.

Can YOUR business take a hit?

We’ve created a resilient business here at Entrepreneurs On Fire.

But have you?

You’re probably wondering how you’d even know the answer to this question, which honestly is in and of itself the problem: you can’t wait for a disaster to hit to know whether your business can handle it.

It could mean the difference between going under or surviving, and my guess is that you don’t want to take that chance.

If my assumption is correct, then I have something for you: a checklist you can use to ensure you ARE creating a resilient business.

Be proactive. Use this checklist.

Checklist: How to create a resilient business

1. Take inventory

Taking inventory is the FIRST step to organizing your time and the tasks and projects you’re working on for your business.

Here’s how to do it…

Time required: 1 week

What you’ll need: a piece of paper + pen (or your favorite note-taking system); I recommend paper + pen

What to do:

  • Start by writing out the day of the week at the top of your paper – the first day, and each day thereafter.
  • Each day, for 1 week straight, let that piece of paper + pen follow you around as you’re working on your business.
  • Each time you work on a certain task or project, simply write it down on your paper under the specific day you worked on it.

No task or project is too big or too small to record.

This is simply an exercise to help you understand what it is you’re spending your time on, PLUS which tasks and projects are repetitive ones.

Examples would be:

  • checked email
  • went on Facebook
  • helped a community member with their password
  • wrote sales page copy
  • designed an opt in page
  • tweaked home page of website

At the end of the week take a look back at the tasks and projects you’re spending your time on.

Now, it’s time to categorize it.

Keeping everything intact from your one week of taking inventory, start with a fresh piece of paper and create 4 columns:

  1. DAILY
  2. WEEKLY
  3. MONTHLY
  4. 1-TIME

Beneath each of these categories place the tasks and projects you recorded in the appropriate column.

Which did you find yourself doing daily? Weekly? Monthly?

And there are probably a fair number of tasks or projects you’re working on that are only 1-time things (like launching a website, creating an online course, etc)

2. Identify actual dependencies

You’ve just discovered A LOT about how you’re spending your time and what tasks and projects you have going on in your business.

Whew!

Now, it’s time to go through your list and mark the tasks or projects that actually DEPEND ON YOU.

If you don’t have any employees or contractors helping you in your business, then initially, it’s going to seem as though everything depends on you.

Everything does not depend on you.

I’m willing to bet there are probably a fair number of projects or tasks you’ve written down over the past week that aren’t necessary at all.

There are also probably a fair number of projects or tasks you’ve written down over the past week that shouldn’t depend on you (i.e. you could either automate or delegate them).

Actual dependencies are projects or tasks that, if you weren’t doing them, would be detrimental to the growth of your business.

In order to legitimately determine actual dependencies, you’re going to have to know what your overall business goals are, and what projects or tasks you’re working on that are directly contributing to you accomplishing those goals.

You can sign up for our Free Goals Course if this is something you haven’t taken the time to establish (and with a new year approaching, now is a perfect time to do it!)

3. Create a system for those dependencies

Now that you have a list of the tasks and projects in your business that require YOU, it’s time to create a system for each of those dependencies.

I’m not talking about a system that will automate them or delegate them.

I’m talking about a system you can use in order to plan out one month – maybe even two months in advance – so that you’re never waiting until something is “due” to get it done.

An example might be that you are the content creator in your business.

Maybe you have a blog, or a podcast that you produce weekly and publish every Monday for your audience.

If this is the case, then instead of waiting until Sunday night every week to create and schedule your content, you could have a system in place that allows you to create and schedule your content out a full month in advance!

How great would it feel to have your content scheduled out a full month in advance?

How much time would you be able to create in your day-to-day if, instead of working on creating content 2 days a week – every week – you were working on creating content 2 days a week – one time per month?

If you’re not really sure how the whole systems thing works, then we have a step-by-step guide for you – both written and audio – right here.

4. Calendar your year

The best way to make sure no surprises come up in your business is to calendar out your year.

  • What major projects will you be working on?
  • What events do you plan to attend?
  • What major vacations do you have planned?

Based on the major projects, events and vacations you have planned, recognize there has to be a buffer for your dependencies.

For example, if you have a major project planned that is estimated to take up the entire month of March, then every other dependency in your business will have to be planned out and completed ahead of time so you don’t fall behind.

This is why #3 is so important; once you have systems in place for your dependencies, it’s going to be that much easier to plan ahead.

5. Review

CONGRATS! You’ve just done a ton of great preparation and planning for your business (and you’ve probably discovered a lot of things you never knew about the time you spend on certain projects and tasks)!

You’ve taken inventory, you’ve identified dependencies, you’ve created systems for those dependencies, and you’ve calendared out your year.

Now, it’s time for a big review.

What projects or tasks can you cut – or set aside – that aren’t contributing to moving your business forward right now?

How can you plan better so the dependencies you’ve identified in your business can be completed most efficiently?

What have you discovered about your projects, tasks, and the time you spend on certain things?

What have you discovered about your business as a whole?

Putting it into practice

One of the most helpful things I’ve heard since becoming an entrepreneur is something Amy Porterfield said on a podcast:

Schedule it to make it real.

I’ll leave you with a challenge

That challenge is to not only thoroughly review and implement the checklist I’ve shared above, but to actually put everything you’ve just learned into practice by scheduling time each day, each week, each month to implement it.

Drop into the comments below and COMMIT to ensuring your business is resilient. It could mean the difference between going under or surviving, and my guess is that you don’t want to take that chance.

The post 169: Checklist: How to create a resilient business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2AtbRBG

Latest EOFire Podcast Entrepreneurs On Fire: November 2017 Income Report

Here’s the latest Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast for your enjoyment!

November 2017 Income At-A-Glance

Gross Income for November: $208,971

Total Expenses for November: $54,375

Total Net Profit for November: $154,596

Difference b/t November & October: -$7,339

eofire income report button

Why We Publish An Income Report

This monthly income report is created for you, Fire Nation!

By documenting the struggles we encounter and the successes we celebrate as entrepreneurs every single month, we’re able to provide you with support – and a single resource – where we share what’s working, what’s not, and what’s possible.

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into learning and growing as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re just starting out. The most important part of the equation is that you’re able to pass on what you learn to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here.

Let’s IGNITE!

**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below.

Josh Bauerle’s Monthly Tax Tip

What’s up Fire Nation, my name is Josh Bauerle. I’m a CPA and the Founder of CPA On Fire, where we specialize in working with entrepreneurs to minimize their tax liability while keeping them in line with the ever-changing tax laws.

I’ve been working with JLD & Kate at Entrepreneurs On Fire for years now, and they’ve included me in these monthly income reports with unlimited access to all their accounts so I can verify that what they report here is complete and accurate.

And because they believe in delivering an insane amount of value to you, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level; I also provide a new tax and accounting tip every month!

Josh’s November Tax Tip:

One of my favorite benefits of entrepreneurship is the flexibility it offers.

And there’s no time I enjoy that flexibility more than the Holidays!

Back when I was an employee, I was extremely limited with when – and how much time – I could take off for the Holidays.

In some jobs, working at least one of the major Holidays each year was a requirement.

But now that I’m my own boss and set my own rules, I can take as much time off as I want!

Of course, if I want to be successful, the work still needs to get done, but how and when it gets done is up to me now 🙂

But flexibility isn’t the only benefit entrepreneurs can enjoy this time of year. There’s also the opportunity for some unique tax deductions that come up this time of year! And two of them that Kate and I were recently discussing and thought would be relevant to share with Fire Nation are:

1. Buying gifts for clients and/or colleagues, and

2. Throwing business Holiday parties

So, let’s break each of these down!

1. Gift Giving

There are actually some pretty big restrictions when it comes to gift giving.

Generally, the IRS will only allow you to deduct up to $25 per person or company you give to.

This is true whether the gift is for an employee, client or professional associate. So if you send a $50 gift basket to your favorite client (or maybe CPA?!) you will only deduct $25 of that cost on the return.

One major exception would be for actual charitable gifts, meaning they were made to a not for profit organization. The only restriction on deducting these gifts would be that the total amount given for the year can’t be more than 50 percent of your income (and if you are reaching that limit, kudos to you on your extreme generosity!)

2. Holiday Parties

Many business owners, both large and small, will throw some type of Holiday party. Whether it’s for employees, clients, or just people who help you in your business, throwing one of these parties is where you can get a little more creative on the tax deductions.

First, if you’re buying the food/drinks for everyone in attendance, you are no longer limited to the 50 percent limitation on meals and entertainment. You can take the full amount.

This is true whether you hold the event at a restaurant, bar or other outside location (or if it’s at your own home or office).

Second, where you can get really creative is with renting your home to your business to throw the Holiday party.

The general idea here is that your business would pay you rent for the privilege of using your home for the holiday party. And the best part? Because you are renting your home for less than 14 days in the given year, the rent your business pays you is not taxable.

So if your business pays you $500 to rent your home for the party, your business gets a $500 deduction – and you pay no taxes on it!

The key here is to figure out what a reasonable amount of rent is.

My suggestion here would be to call around to some local locations you would rent for something like this – a hotel conference room for example – and document what they quote you.

Then, use the average rate of the quotes you received for the amount of rent you charge your business.

The Holidays are a great time to be an entrepreneur (but really, what time isn’t?!)

We hope these holiday gift and holiday party ideas are helpful in maximizing your tax deductions this season!

As always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss what would be best for YOUR business. I LOVE chatting with Fire Nation!

*Bonus* Claim your spot in Josh’s FREE Course on Business Entities!

David Lizerbram’s Legal Tip

How to Hire a Lawyer for your Business, Part I

Sooner or later, every business is going to need legal representation. A lawyer can either be an expensive line item or a huge asset for your business.

As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make that choice.

If you haven’t hired a business attorney before, the process can be intimidating. I know having been hired by hundreds of clients to represent them over the course of my career.

When the client (that’s you) is informed and knows what they’re looking for, there’s a much greater likelihood of having a positive result for both sides – the lawyer and the client.

Ultimately, we both want the same thing: a mutually beneficial, long-term business relationship.

To help you achieve that result, I’ve put together this list for you!

7 Keys to Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Business

This is Part 1 – we’ll cover Part 2 in the January 2018 Income Report!

Key 1. Figure out when you need to hire a lawyer

This is going to vary for every client. Generally speaking, the sooner you establish this crucial relationship and start getting good advice, the better off your business is going to be.

However, good legal advice isn’t free. (On the other hand, bad legal advice is easy to find.)

If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest you start contacting business lawyers and asking them what their rates are for basic services like an initial consultation or a business formation.

You can put those numbers into the budget as you get the funds together to start your business – whether it’s a solo, bootstrapped operation, or one where you’re seeking investment capital.

Finally, be sure to hire a lawyer before you do something that’s going to get you into trouble. For example, if you’re forming a partnership, entering into a lease, taking money from investors, or putting a product out there that might create some liability, hiring a lawyer to protect your rights should be a high priority.

Key 2. Focus on the type of lawyer you need

Most business attorneys can handle typical formation needs. This might include creating a corporation or LLC, putting together a partnership agreement, or drafting common business contracts.

  • Tip: With all of these, be sure to ask if the documents are being customized to your specific needs.

It’s OK if the lawyer is starting from a template; sometimes there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

But your lawyer should be doing more than just pressing Print and handing you a document to sign.

If you just need a trademark, or you have a question about tax law, then you can focus on an attorney who specializes in those areas.

But if you’re looking for general, long-term legal counsel for your business, find a business attorney, and he or she can put you in touch with specialists from time to time as needed – whether they’re in the same firm or outside counsel.

Think of your business lawyer like your general practice doctor: you go to him or her for checkups and your regular medical needs; if and when you need a specialist, your general practice doctor will let you know and make a referral.

Key 3. Find a lawyer who understands – or is willing to learn about – your market or niche

This is a followup to Number 2. Yes, you need a general business attorney. But if that attorney has no clue about your industry or how your business operates, there are bound to be communication challenges.

This doesn’t mean that if your company makes green left-handed back scratchers, you need an attorney who only works in the green left-handed back scratcher industry.

It does mean that your legal counsel should have a willingness to learn and understand what your company does every day and who your main customers and strategic partners are. These points should be factored into your legal strategy.

Of course, in the event you work in an industry that’s specialized and highly regulated, you’re probably going to benefit from the advice of someone who understands those regulations. If you’re opening a nuclear power plant, an attorney who is familiar with the complex web of regulations involved in that type of project is going to be the right fit for you.

For most businesses, however, a basic willingness to learn is enough to meet your needs.

Key 4. Pick a law firm of the right size

There are pros and cons to working with big firms, small firms, and solo practitioners.

If your business grows to be the next Facebook, Amazon, or Tesla, you’ll probably be engaging the services of large law firms from time to time. Of course, by that point, you’ll also have your own in-house legal department.

Sometimes – and this is by no means always the case – startups and small businesses find themselves to be a low priority for larger law firms.

If the law firm is really making its money representing Fortune 500 companies, large government entities, and the like, it can be challenging for the firm to be responsive to the needs of every individual client.

Another potential issue with working with a larger firm is the question of who you’re actually going to be working with. Are they going to assign your work to a new associate attorney fresh out of law school?

Is that associate going to be with the firm for the long-term, or will he or she be looking for a new job just when you get used to working with them?

Will your file get passed from one office to the next?

However, there can be advantages to working with larger firms if your business requires the resources the firm can bring to bear.

Very complex lawsuits, for example, may be better suited for a larger firm than a solo attorney or small firm. Sometimes, clients prefer a blended strategy – working with a solo attorney or small firm on a regular, ongoing basis, and using a big firm (typically at a higher cost) for specific, occasional projects.

If your law firm is not willing to collaborate with outside attorneys, that may be a red flag.

  • Tip: No matter what size the law firm, be sure to understand up front who you’ll be working with. How do you get in touch with your contact? What’s their availability should an urgent issue arise?

Most firms with multiple attorneys have different hourly rates for each attorney, so that’s an important consideration as well.

If a young associate with a low hourly rate will be handling your matter, will the file also be reviewed by a more senior partner? If so, are you going to be paying that partner’s much higher rate for that time?

Working with small firms or sole practitioners can have its advantages, too.

Typically, you’re going to receive more individual attention. And many solo practitioners establish relationships with other attorneys to act as an informal version of a traditional law firm – meaning, your needs will still be covered if that lawyer goes out of town, or if you come up with an issue that’s outside of his or her areas of specialization.

So, if you decide to go with a smaller firm, make sure it’s one that has access to resources that you’ll need as your business grows.

Which leads me to Key #5…

Be sure to tune in to January 2018’s income report to get Key’s 5 – 7!

If you have a legal question that you’d like me to cover on a future Income Report shoot me an email with your request! I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out when I join John & Kate to talk about your legal questions!

*Bonus* Download David’s FREE Checklist on Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs!

What Went Down In November

Youpreneur Summit, London

When Chris announced his first annual Youpreneur Summit in London and asked John to keynote the event, we jumped on the opportunity to be involved.

We know that Chris and AMAZING events go together because we’ve been a part of two of his previous Tropical Think Tank events in the Philippines – in 2014 and again in 2015.

The time and care that Chris and his team put into creating an experience for those who attend never goes unnoticed.

As you can tell, we had high expectations arriving in London…

Were they met?

Absolutely.

From start to finish…

  • The opportunities to build new relationships – in addition to enhance already-existing ones – were plentiful;
  • The mastermind sessions each day provided FOCUS time for brainstorming and problem-solving;
  • The presentations delivered a mix of inspiration, motivation and down & dirty actionable steps; and
  • The nighttime get-togethers put the icing on the cake.

Top business lessons learned

The recurring theme of the entire event – something mentioned by nearly every speaker who stepped on stage – was this:

The importance of doing things that don’t scale; mainly, having one-on-one conversations with your readers, listeners, prospects and customers.

We all want to automate, scale, grow, gain back time… but we can’t do all of that from the very beginning.

We have to be willing to do things that don’t scale.

Like having one-on-one conversations with your readers, listeners, prospects and customers.

Lessons don’t come up over and over again on accident

If the same message runs through nearly every presentation at an event, then it’s time to listen up.

When’s the last time you had a one-on-one conversation with your readers, listeners, prospects or customers?

I challenge you – today – to put together a schedule that will allow you to spend an afternoon booking these one-on-one calls.

Then, set up a 2-hr block of time where you have 15-minute conversations with individuals in your audience.

You can reach out to them to schedule these conversations via email (anyone who has ever sent you a message telling you they love what you do, or that they enjoyed your last post or podcast episode – that’s a perfect place to start!)

Youpreneur Summit

A few other value bombs dropped from the stage?

Use #journorequest

I’m not a public relations pro by any means, but a great lesson from Janet Murray (who IS a public relations pro) is to leverage the #journorequest, which high-level journalists and PR pros use when looking for relevant news and stories to cover.

We all need to be more self-reliant

“You, where you’re headed, your idea – they are enough.”

This came straight from John Jantsch, who made several excellent, simple points about individuals needing to be more self-reliant.

In other words John said, “All the speakers on stage tell you what you could do, but not necessarily what you should do… what you should do is inside.”

Give yourself a little more credit and trust yourself!

And these are just a few of our top business lessons learned at Youpreneur Summit! To check out the rest be sure to head over to this post and episode from the Entrepreneurs On Fire blog!

A return to Puerto Rico

On Nov 17th we had a one-way plane ticket from London to Puerto Rico.

For almost the entire month of Oct – and all the way up to Nov 17th – we had spent a significant amount of time brainstorming and researching other places we could travel to prior to our return home.

Since Maria hit, we’ve had a combined 4 canceled flights, and after the 4th we were pretty much set on not returning until power and Internet were back.

Come Nov 17th, we made a tough decision: even though we knew power and Internet wasn’t back, we boarded our flight to return home for the first time post-Maria.

We arrived in Puerto Rico the afternoon of the 18th.

Up to that point everything we knew about the impact and devastation on the island was through text messages, broken-up phone calls, and through our Palmas WhatsApp group that we started with our friends here in the community.

Puerto Rico strong

Coming back and actually seeing everything was a whole different experience.

Our drive home and first few days here were interesting – to say the least.

Things that you wouldn’t ever consider on a day-to-day basis suddenly became our reality, and we’re very well aware of the fact that we don’t even have it that bad (some people in the mountains or on the interior of the island still don’t even have running water).

Some examples:

  • Nothing looks the same here; leaves have been ripped from trees (and a lot of trees are completely gone), there are downed power lines everywhere, and you see missing windows and roofs on major structures throughout the island. It’s hard to even ‘place’ yourself sometimes when you’re driving around;
  • No power = no traffic or street lights; we thought driving in PR was bad before…
  • When the sun goes down, it’s DARK; it’s crazy to realize how much light pollution happens without us even realizing it.

It’s heart-breaking to hear that many homes on the island still don’t even have running water, and while there are some restaurants and stores open, many of the places we were used to going to for basic necessities are still closed – and may not ever open again.

Returning to Puerto Rico has brought with it much responsibility:

  • Cleanup and starting to put our house back together is a daily focus;
  • Communication is minute-by-minute; sometimes we can make calls and send text messages, and other times we can’t;
  • Gaining Internet access has not been easy; just last week we drove 1.5 hours to San Juan to find out the co-working space we had rented just lost all power and Internet. Luckily their sister office about 30 minutes away was still up and running.

As you can see, Hurricane Maria has brought us a lot of challenges; but she’s also brought us perspective.

More on that at the end of this post, in our Biggest Lessons Learned section 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

November 2017 Income Breakdown*

Product/Service Income: $116,768

TOTAL Journal sales: 589 Journals for a total of $23,022

The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!

  • TheFreedomJournal.com: $2,183 (46 Hardcovers & 12 Digital Packs sold!)
  • Amazon: $11,505 (307 Freedom Journals sold!)
  • Total: $13,688

The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 days!

Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 Podcasting community in the world!

  • Recurring: $23,955 (240 monthly)
  • New members: $10,980 (50 new members)
  • Total: $34,935

Podcast Sponsorship Income$53,500

Podcast Websites: $5,000 Your all-in-one podcast website peace of mind

Skills On Fire: $92

Podcast LaunchAudiobook$168 | eBook: $51

Free Courses that result in the above revenue:

Free Podcast Course: A free 15-day course on Podcasting

Free Webinar Course: A free 10-day course on Webinars

Free Goals Course: A free 8-day course on Setting & Accomplishing Goals

Funnel On Fire: A free 8-day course on Creating a Funnel that Converts!

Kickstarter On Fire: A free 5-day course on going from Idea to Launch on Kickstarter!

Affiliate Income: $92,203

*Affiliate links below

Resources for Entrepreneurs: $59,246

Courses for Entrepreneurs: $31,203

Resources for Podcasters: $922

Other Resources: $832

  • Amazon Associates: $549
  • Other: $283

Total Gross Income in November: $208,971

Business Expenses: $51,101

  • Advertising: $2,438
  • Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $3,435
  • Accounting: $350
  • Cost of goods sold: $2,535
  • Design & Branding: $1,980
  • Education: $34
  • Legal & Professional: $630
  • Meals & Entertainment: $1,216
  • Merchant / bank fees: $5,944
  • Amazon fees: $5,764
  • Shopify fees: $49
  • PayPal fees: $199
  • Office expenses: $223
  • Payroll Tax Expenses / Fees: $1,581
  • Paradise Refunds: $5,430
  • Total Launch Package fees: $175
  • Sponsorships: $9,750
  • Show notes: $364
  • The Freedom & Mastery Journal: $0
  • Travel: $3,948
  • Virtual Assistant Fees: $3,632
  • Website Fees: $1,424

Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $3,274

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $100
  • Boomerang: $70 (team package)
  • Brandisty: $24
  • Authorize.net: $91
  • Cell Phone: $173
  • Google: $45
  • Internet: $380
  • eVoice: $10
  • Infusionsoft CRM: $396
  • Insurance: $551
  • Libsyn: $400
  • Manychat: $65
  • Chatroll: $49
  • PureChat: $20
  • ScheduleOnce: $9
  • Skype: $3
  • Shopify: $176
  • Stripe: $5
  • TaxJar: $19
  • Workflowy: $5
  • MeetEdgar: $49
  • Taxes & Licenses: $300
  • Try Interact: $89
  • Zapier: $15
  • Zencastr: $215 (annual fee)
  • Zoom: $15

Total Expenses in November: $54,375

Payroll to John & Kate: $15,900

In our May 2014 Income Report and our June 2016 Income Report, Josh focuses on how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur. Check them out!

Wondering what we do with all of our net revenue? We share all in our April 2017 Income Report 🙂

Total Net Profit for November 2017: $154,596

Biggest Lesson Learned

Putting things into perspective

Life isn’t always easy.

Neither is running a business.

Things come up that you didn’t expect; you face financial challenges at the worst possible moments; relationships with your friends and family hit rocky patches.

But I’m sure you can agree: you’re pretty darn lucky to be in a position to create an opportunity out of what might seem, in the moment, like something very annoying and inconvenient.

To be able to:

  • accept challenges – even when you don’t expect them;
  • offer up your services in order to earn money – even when you’re fielding overdraft charges from your bank;
  • simply have relationships with your friends and family – even if they need repairing.

Last week we returned to our home in Puerto Rico for the first time post-Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria has done a lot of damage.

  • She has destroyed entire islands;
  • She has left countless numbers homeless;
  • She has taken the island’s power;
  • She has also taken a lot of lives.
  • Something else Hurricane Maria has done:

She has put things into perspective.

You’ve probably experienced a life event at some point that really put things into perspective for you, too.

Hopefully you carry that lesson with you, and when you think about the fact that life – or running a business – isn’t easy, you’ll be thankful – you’ll feel lucky – that you’re in a position to create an opportunity.

Alright Fire Nation, that’s a wrap!

EntrepreneurOnFire

Until next month, keep your FIRE burning!

~ Kate & John

Note: we report our income figures as accurately as possible, but in using reports from a combo of Infusionsoft & Xero to track our product and total income / expenses, they suggest the possibility of a 3 – 5% margin of error. 

Click here for all of EOFire’s Income Reports

This post was written by Kate Erickson, Content Creator and Implementer at EOFire. Follow Kate on Social:

Facebook FollowGoogle Plus FollowLinkedIn FollowTwitter Follow

The post Entrepreneurs On Fire: November 2017 Income Report appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

       

 

 

from EntrepreneurOnFire.com | Inspiring interviews w/ today’s most successful Entrepreneurs http://ift.tt/2kvPTac