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Entrepreneurship

10 Clichés Every Ambitious Person Needs To Remember

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“I have a dream.”

Those words echo from every human soul. Big or small, our dreams are launched with a swell of excitement, but it doesn’t take long to realize it’s not smooth sailing. When our GPS fails, we regret not checking Google Maps before taking off.

Indeed it helps to have a sense of direction. Often, we overlook the most obvious; we steer away from clichés because, well…they’re so cliché. But just because something is trite, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Whatever your dream is, here are 10 clichés that are worth remembering:

 

1. It’s not what you get, but who you become

Great words from Tony Robbins. In our hyper-materialistic world, success is gauged by wheels and white-picket fences. But the Mercedes will rust, and the house will need to be repainted; but the habits and characteristics you’ve cultivated on the way to earning those possessions, they’ll last a lifetime.

Rather than see personal development as a byproduct of success, see success as a byproduct of personal development. Einstein said, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” The latter will bring the former.

 

2. Quality will beat qualifications. Every time

You’ll question whether you’re qualified to do the work. Inevitably, you’ll run into someone with more degrees, more initials after their name, and you’ll put your tail between your legs.

But history is full of successful high-school and college dropouts: Anne Beiler of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels dropped out of high school; and of course, Richard Branson, who left school at 16. That being said, it’s not that they decided to cease education altogether—they just found other ways to educate themselves, and succeed.

At the end of the day, if your work absolutely rocks, nobody will care what piece of paper hangs on your wall. Do as Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

 

 3. If you want success, start failing

Failure and losing have the unique ability to uncover our blind spots. Significant improvement comes not from studying your strengths, but your weaknesses.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

It’s called iteration—refined progress toward a goal. It’s one thing to move forward, but another to do so with improvement. Failure is the drawing board for iteration.

 

4. You can’t please everyone

Even close friends and family won’t all be supportive of your dream. While it’s in our nature to love and be loved, to make friends, not enemies, striving to live up to someone else’s blueprint only creates bitterness.

Before David fought Goliath, he was told to put on King Saul’s armor. It was so uncomfortable he could barely walk. Only when he stripped the armor, and picked up his own sling, was he able to defeat Goliath. It’d be a different David & Goliath story had he taken King Saul’s advice.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking counsel and taking advice, but you have to filter the advice that propels you, from that which derails you. It’s wise to have an inner-circle of people you respect to speak into your life and act as a second filter, but ultimately, only you know deep-down what makes you happy. The sooner you realize you can’t please everyone, the better.

Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

 

5. Talent = 10,000 hours

The best athletes train even when they don’t feel like training. The best musicians play even when they don’t feel like playing. The best writers…you get the idea. While there’s much debate over Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, there’s convincing studies showing talent and success are cultivated rather than inherited.

Mastery and success isn’t arrived at on the back of good feelings, but pushing through the painful grind. Showing up and doing the work. Seth Godin says it best:

“The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.”

 

6. Just go with your gut

Or follow your heart. Fairytail-ish for sure, but solid advice nonetheless. We’ve all had “trusting your gut” experiences—something not quite right, and the right decision was unexplainably clear as day.

Daniel Kahnerman sheds light on our intuitive thought in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow; the effortless and automatic ‘knowing’ comes from our unconscious ability to process vast amounts of information. Because it happens beyond the scope of our conscious minds, we’re completely unaware of it, and so we label it a mysterious gut feeling.

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of our snap decisions—a method behind the madness; which makes it less mad, and quite trustworthy.

 

7. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

Nobody leaves a campfire without smelling like smoke. Subconsciously, we can’t help but take in information from our environment. And, after much exposure, it manifests in our behavior.

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most time with.”

We’re deeply impacted by the people we allow into our lives. That’s why “Mastermind” groups are so popular and effective among entrepreneurs.

It’s a good time to take inventory of the people closest to you. Are they lifting you up or bringing you down?

 

8. You gotta have a faith  

Human imagination continues to baffle scientists. In a study comparing pianists, those who imagined playing a melody performed almost identically to those who physically practiced. Elite athletes visualize a completed action before attempting it physically. Your imagination—creating a vision, blurs the lines of reality.

Writing down goals and dreams involves the imagination, and likewise with profound effects. Dr. Gail Matthews’ took 267 participants and found that those who wrote down their goals with weekly check-points had a 76% success rate compared with 43% who only stated their goals.

Practically living out your dreams is fueled through “impractically” dreaming out your dream. Write down and visualize goals often. Clear, and detailed—seeing yourself celebrating at the finish line.

 

9. Ain’t no valley low enough

Your dream won’t be presented on a silver platter. Every successful person bears scratches and scars.

J.K. Rowling, chased her dream from the age of 5. But before Harry Potter took over the world, Rowling spent years deep in the valley. Losing her mother, a failed marriage, whilst raising a daughter, Rowling reflects, “I was as poor as you can get without being homeless.”

Of course, depression and turmoil aren’t prerequisites for success—but sacrificing your comfort zone is. And by definition, that’s not a pleasurable experience. Think of Rowling’s words when you feel down and out, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

 

10. Don’t just make a dollar, make a difference

Inspirational men and women have a vision deeper than their pockets.

Let’s be real—money is important. It’s a powerful resource that can bring great change. And when ambition turns into success, wealth is sure to follow. But money can make or break you. Much like the ring Frodo carries, money has an all-consuming power. And if the scope of your dreams cannot see beyond dollars, your fulfillment will be as short-sighted.

Just take a look at the tragic ending for most lottery winners. Money without meaning is worthless. Create a grand vision for your success that extends beyond your own pockets, and your own life.

Entrepreneurship

Is There A Coworking Space Bubble?

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An annual growth rate of nearly 100%, almost five years in a row? More than 60 coworking spaces in a city like Berlin? Are these the characteristics of a bubble? Nope, these are characteristics of a lasting change in our world of work, which has been further catalyzed by the recent economic crises in many countries. But what makes this change different to a bubble? We’ve summarized some arguments of why the coworking movement is based on a sustainable change. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job to open a good working coworking space.

Five reasons why the growth of coworking spaces is based on organic and sustainable growth: 

1. Coworking spaces invest their own money and create real wealth

Already, there is a convincing argument supporting why coworking spaces are not developing in a bubble: the fact that they create real wealth.

Whether referring to the dotcom bubble a decade ago or the real estate crisis in Spain or the United States, the crisis originated in a glut of cheap money, in an environment in which the sender and the recipient were unacquainted. From funds and banks, money flowed in steady streams to investments which offered little resistance and the most promising returns – which only a little while later turned into delusions and ruined investments.

Redistributed risks create illusions. Those people who distributed the money rarely wore the risk of investment decisions. The risk was mainly taken by small shareholders or people who bought parts of those investments. This was because either both parties’ (better) judgement was drowned out by the noise of the market, or because shareholders were unaware of the risk, and were at the mercy of banks and funds for reliable information.

Another fundamental condition for the creation of bubbles are the sheer amounts of money that flow from various locations globally and are concentrated, by comparison, in much fewer places.

Most coworking spaces, however, receive their funding from local or nearby sources and do not operate within this financial system. In fact, the founders mainly inject the bulk of the required investment, and turn to friends or relatives for additional support. They wear the full brunt of the risks that are involved in small-time investment.

They have access to much more information, because it is their own project, rather than a foreign one thousands of miles away. This also includes failures and mistakes that are encountered along the way, but the risk is less redistributed, thereby decreasing the probability of failures.

2. Labor market changes demand on certain office types lastingly

Most users of coworking spaces are self-employed. The proportion of employees is also on the rise, in many cases simply because they work for small companies that increasingly opt to conduct their business in coworking spaces rather than in traditional offices. The industry of almost all coworkers fall within the Internet-based creative industries.

With flexibilisation of work markets, new mobile technologies that are changing work patterns, and the increase of external services purchasing from large and medium-sized enterprises (outsourcing), the labor market has changed radically in many parts of the world.

The long-term financial and emotional security of becoming an employee no longer exists, especially for younger generations of workers. Bigger companies are quicker to fire than hire, and precarious short-term contracts are on the rise. Promising options on the labor market are more often recuded to freelancer careers and starting your own company.

And that’s possible with less money to invest. All you need is a laptop, a brain and a good network. For years, the number of independent workers and small businesses has been growing worldwide – particularly in internet-based creative industries. Anyone who has sufficient specialized skills and the willingness to take risks may adapt more quickly to market conditions if they own a small business or are self employed; more so than if they were to work in a dependent position in an equally volatile market.

Coworking spaces provide an environment in which to do this. Once they have joined a (suitable) coworking space, these factors become apparent to coworkers, who will remain in their space for years to come.

Furthermore, independent workers rarely fire themselves in crises, and even small companies are less likely to give their employees the boot – compared to their large counterparts. This combination enables more sustainable business models – and less business models à la Groupon.

3. Coworking spaces don’t live on crises

Global economic growth is waning while the number of coworking spaces is continually growing. Do coworking spaces thus benefit from this crisis?

The current crises accelerate the formation and growth of coworking spaces, because they offer solutions and space for the resulting problems. Coworking spaces are therefore not a result of a crisis, but the product of change that pre-dates their existence. A crisis is simply the most visible expression of change.

The first coworking spaces emerged in the late 1990s; the movement’s strong growth started six years ago – before the onset of economic downturns in many countries.

4. Coworking spaces depend on the needs of their members

Most coworking spaces are rarely full. Does this mean they are unsuccessful? On average, only half of all desks are occupied. But the average occupancy rate of 50% refers only to a specific date.

In fact, coworking spaces generally serve more members than they can seat at any given time, since members do not use the spaces simultaneously. Coworking spaces are places for independents who want to work on flexible terms. Smaller spaces rely more on permanent members. Larger spaces can respond more flexibilty to the working hours of its members, and, can rent desks several times over.

If a coworking space is always overcrowded or totally empty, the purpose of said space would be defeated. Firstly, it is rather impossible to work in an overcrowded room. Second, it’s impossible to cowork in an empty room. Given the nature of flexible memberships, a coworking space only can survive if they fit the needs of their members. Members would otherwise be quick to leave, and membership would be much more transient.

5. The coworking market is far from saturation

Less than 2% of all self-employed – and even fewer employees – currently work in coworking spaces. Reporting on coworking may increase, but inflated reporting on the coworking movement in the mainstream media is still far away.

Coverage of coworking space are most likely to be found in the career or local sections in larger publications – front cover coverage remains the dream of many space operators. This is because the whole coworking movement can’t be photographed in one picture. What appears to be a disadvantage, however, is actually a beneficial truth: niche coverage allows the industry to grow organically, and avoid over inflation.

Conclusion

Coworking spaces don’t operate in parallel universes – like the financial market. Demand and supply are almost exclusively organic and operate in the real world economy.

For the same reason, there is no guarantee that opening a coworking spaces will be automaticly successful. Anyone who fails to learn how to deal with potential customers in their market, or is unfamiliar with how coworking communities function, will have a difficult time of making one work. In the same way that business people in other industries will fail if they do not understand their market.

Those who simply tack on the word ‘coworking’ to their space’s facade will need to work harder. The structure of most coworking spaces is based on real work, calculated risk, and real-world supply and demand.

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About the Author

This article was produced by Deskmag. Deskmag is the magazine about the new type of work and their places, how they look, how they function, how they could be improved and how we work in them. They especially focus on coworking spaces which are home to the new breed of independent workers and small companies. see more.

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Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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