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When I was in school, online learning wasn't nearly as accessible or developed as it is now.

There was a time when taking online courses was viewed as a weak alternative to face-to-face learning.

With the advent of new technology in distance learning, this has changed irrevocably. 

In fall of 2020, around 75% of all undergraduate students were taking at least one online education course.

However, even those who aren’t working toward a degree are increasingly preferring online learning due to its numerous benefits.

Here are some tips for learning online to deliver more value to your digital education.

tips for learning online

Tips For Online Classes In 2023

If you’re taking an online class, you might be facing some unique challenges and might need tips for online classes. However, you need to remember that your efforts will pay off and deliver your desired destination.

Audo organizes online courses for people who want a positive change in their life and to acquire valuable knowledge for their future.

Here are 7 tips for learning online to help you get the most out of learning experience:

1. Treat it like a real class

An online class can be just as real as an in-person class if you have the discipline to treat it as such.

This means being present and engaged in the class, with your camera on, not on your phone, and not skipping class just because you “don’t feel like going.”

The flexibility that online classes offer is a blessing and a curse. You can learn from anywhere, at any time, but you must discipline yourself to do so. 

Treat an online course with the same respect you would an in-person course, and you will reap the benefits of this incredible tool.

2. Take responsibility

One of the best tips for online classes is just take the responsibility for your journey.

When you’re a student in a traditional school setting, your parents and teachers set deadlines for you and require you to meet them.

However, if you’re seeking out coursework on your own, it’s up to you to hold yourself responsible for your work in an online course.

You also need to figure out if you are a degree or a certificate preferring person.

If you want to succeed in your course and get the most out of it, then you need to be responsible for your education.

Set deadlines for yourself to complete all assignments before they’re due. It’s vital to learn how to manage your time, stay organized and be disciplined.

The more effort you put into self-discipline, the more you’ll thrive with your online classes.

3. Set a routine

One of my best tips for learning online is the importance of building a routine.

Not everyone works best under the same circumstances, so you'll have to do a bit of work to find out what works for you.

Do you work best in the morning? Afternoon? Evening?

Do you prefer to study in small increments every day, or to schedule large chunks of time together once or twice a week?

The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to create your own personalized study routine.

Make sure you create realistic goals for yourself when you create your study routine.

  It’s no use telling yourself you’ll study 2 hours a day if you’ve never managed more than an hour. 

Start small and work your way up to build your confidence step by step.

4. Check your progress systematically

Tips for online classes include productively is to check your progress systematically.

While it’s important to have a routine, it’s equally important to make sure that the routine you’ve created is actually serving you. 

Don’t just obsess over doing your routine perfectly–take a moment to ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. 

Have you been sticking to your routine?  Where did you deviate?  Did you make progress even if you didn’t achieve your goal?

As you work through these questions, try to be objective. 

If you find that you’ve overestimated your potential, don’t beat yourself up about it.

  Try recalibrating to see if there are changes you can make to help yourself get there. Or, perhaps the best thing to do is take a few steps back and be patient with yourself until you’ve grown a little more.

5. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your achievements

One potential downside of online learning is that the lines between work and play can become blurred.

It's important to take breaks when needed, so you can show up for your class without burning out. 

Be kind to yourself when you don’t achieve your goals, and celebrate the times that you do.

This can be as simple as spending a night out with friends, which can itself act as a way to get you recharged and refocused on your goals.

6. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the deadliest of all bad habits. It paralyzes us when we tell ourselves, "I'll do it tomorrow." Procrastination not only threatens your productivity and ability to achieve your goals but it also makes you stressed out and anxious. 

Putting things off only lengthens the amount of time that you have to worry and stress out.

Make sure you tackle the tasks you hate the most first when you make your to-do lists.

This will give you the push you need to keep going rather than stand still.

If you’re tempted to procrastinate, create a reminder on your phone.

You can also use online Pomodoro Timers to balance out work and breaks.

You’ll force yourself to take breaks, and you will train yourself to switch between the two seamlessly.

7. Give it your all

Here we go with number one tip for learning online. You only have one life to live–surely you don’t want any of it to go to waste.

When you sign up for an online course, you’re taking a step towards an important goal. 

Maybe you’re learning a new language for a trip you have planned, or picking up a skill to help you get a promotion at work.

As you pursue your goals, remember to take a moment to remind yourself of why you made this commitment in the first place.

If you can visualize what it is you want, it will be that much easier to give it your all.

Remember that lifelong learning  is essential for good life quality. 

These tips for online classes will help you get the most out of your online education, without the benefit of in-person learning.

Follow these tried-and-tested tips, and you’ll create a routine that brings out the best in you.

7 Tips For Learning Online Effectively and Productively

How to become an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurial thinking is the ability to spot a way to do something better than it's been done before, and then to make it happen.

Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the artisan shops of the Middle Ages to the multinational corporations of today. However, every entrepreneur has his or her own unique story. 

While some entrepreneurs have been full-time business people, others have worked other jobs and used their skills as entrepreneurs at night or on the weekends.

Some entrepreneurs started companies that were intended to create only one new product or service; others were the founding patrons of entire industries.

Becoming an entrepreneur is all about building something out of nothing but an idea, and that’s a concept as old as time itself.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

Most people don't understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. Many are even scared of the word, attributing to it negative connotations such as 'risk-taking' and 'failure.' 

Here we’ll take a  look at the very nature of entrepreneurship, from both a strictly factual perspective, and from a more personal perspective.

Deciding to be an entrepreneur does not make you one. Nor does being born into a family that encourages entrepreneurship or joining a startup immediately after graduating from college.

An entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business, taking on significant financial risks to turn their dream into a reality.

Entrepreneurship can be a deeply fulfilling, liberating and empowering way to live.

Starting a company and growing it from a seed of an idea to a thriving company, however, can be very difficult.

You need a lot of business savvy and skill in order to navigate the steps to becoming an entrepreneur. 

While some people are born with the traits necessary to be entrepreneurs, others have to learn them through practice. 

The good news is that, if you have enough drive and determination, you can learn how to be an entrepreneur.


Should You Become An Entrepreneur?

Why become an entrepreneur? The benefits are many, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. 

Here are a few of the main reasons you might find the answer on why become an entrepreneur and what changes it can deliver. Learn the steps of becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want to be independent

The main reason why most people choose to become entrepreneurs is because they want independence.

When you create your own company, you work for yourself. 

You don’t have to report to anyone, get anyone else’s permission to make decisions, or be beholden to a schedule that you don’t set.

  1. You want to have greater freedom and flexibility

Entrepreneurship grants you a certain level of freedom and flexibility that most people don’t have.

You can build a schedule around your own needs, control your own salary, and grow your business as fast or as slow as you want.

  1. You see a niche in the market you want to fill

Entrepreneurs often start their own businesses because they see an unmet need in the market.

If you stumble across a business opportunity that no one else has identified, you can find success by offering people something they cannot currently get elsewhere.

  1. You want to share your creative passion

A strong desire to help other people provides many entrepreneurs with the motivation they need to succeed. 

Passionate people who want to share their creative ideas with the world can make a difference in that way by becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want extra income

Money should not be the primary motivating factor in your life, but it can be the driving force behind successful entrepreneurship. 

With financial risk comes the potential for great financial gain, and founding a company can lead to high levels of income.


Skills You Need To Cultivate To Become An Entrepreneur

You may have the most business savvy, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Here are some skills to practice every day if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

  1. Communication skills

Communication is key to working effectively with other people.  In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know how to practice active listening. 

Improve your communication skills by reading up on civil discourse and active listening, asking others for honest feedback, and proofreading all written communication.

  1. Leadership skills

Leaders know how to motivate, inspire, and guide the people they lead. Practice your leadership skills by taking on more responsibility, striving for discipline, and taking initiative. 

A hunger to learn and challenge yourself will help build you into the leader you need to be.

  1. Strong focus

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to take their eye off the ball.  Hone in your ability to focus by setting goals for yourself every day. 

Consistently check in with your progress and make a daily effort towards your goal. You’ll soon develop a stronger sense of focus that will serve you well on your entrepreneurial journey.

  1. A drive to learn

The best entrepreneurs are curious people. The more interested you are in learning, the more you’ll grow.  Use every challenge as an opportunity to learn. 

The only person you’re competing with is the person you were yesterday, so try every day to learn more than you knew before.

  1. Flexibility

Routines help center us and keep us fixed on our goals.  But life throws us constant curveballs, which is why flexibility is a must-have for any entrepreneur. 

If you practice flexibility, you’ll be able to push through challenges without becoming derailed. Challenge yourself to adapt to new circumstances and practice humility by becoming willing to change when needed.


How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur

So, how do you become an entrepreneur? There are many tips that can help you get started on the path to creating your own business.  

Here are a ten initiatives for an entrepreneurial plan:

  1. Identify profitable startup ideas.

The first step in how to become an entrepreneur is to come up with an idea for your startup. 

A business is only as good as its ideas, which means that this is the single most important decision you’ll make in your journey.

Brainstorm on products or services your business can provide its customers; then do research to see which ones have the greatest potential for profitability.

  1. Identify and focus on a growing category (or categories).

It’s okay if your business isn’t entirely unique.  Maybe you’re inspired by the variety of subscription box services popping up around the world and want to do something in that vein.

  As long as you’re offering something that no one else is (or doing it in a better way) and you market yourself properly, you can take advantage of a surge in popularity around a certain area—and eventually grow beyond it.

  1. Fill an underserved demand.

Maybe you’ve been working in a coffee shop for years, and you’ve realized that there is only one bakery in your city that delivers gluten-free pastries.

Because the demand for this niche product isn’t being met, you could capitalize on it by starting your own bakery.

  1. Make something better (or cheaper) than what’s out there.

Always look for ways to improve the things people are already doing.

If you can find a way to create a better way to do something that’s already being done, that’s a valuable business idea worth pursuing.

  1. Validate your startup idea with buyer persona research.

Before you narrow your product focus, do your research on potential customers. The more you know about who your ideal customers would be, the better you’ll be able to serve them. 

By researching data on who your ideal customers would be, you’ll be able to focus your time on qualified prospects and develop a product that meets their specific needs.

  1. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP).

A minimum viable product (MVP) helps you to improve your product early on by receiving and integrating user feedback.

This gives you a plethora of information about your customers with very little effort.

It also allows you to release your product as quickly as possible, test it before committing to a larger budget, and improve it based on customer feedback.

  1. Create a business plan.

Your business plan is the road map to your company's future. 

Early investors want to see a formal business plan, so try to be as detailed as you can with it early on.  You can always refine it and add to it over time.

  1. Continue to iterate based on feedback.

If you have a minimum viable product, seek feedback from your customers to ensure that you’re creating something that solves their problems.

If you don’t have a minimum viable product, incorporate feedback into your work to make sure you’re best serving your customer’s needs.

  1. Consider a co-founder.

Having a co-founder or two can help you run your business and take some of the pressure off. 

It is easier to delegate work with someone else by your side who has different skills than you, and the stress of running a business will be lessened when there are more than one people sharing it.

  1. Manage your business and keep learning.

Once you’re on the ground, you’ll want to keep learning new things about your business.

The more hands-on you are, the more you’ll understand how your business works and how you can improve.

Starting a business is not an easy task. It takes courage and risk. Some businesses succeed, and some fail.

You may think the challenges of starting a business are enormous. You’re right.

That’s why most people don't start a business, or taper off after the initial excitement and motivation fades.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to start applying what you've learned in this guide, by adhering to the trends, and by being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

You can be among the small minority of self-employed individuals who are successful in building companies they are passionate about.

How To Become An Entrepreneur: 10 Steps to Apply in 2023

Collaboration is the art of people working together to achieve a common goal.

It isn’t just about teamwork, but also about maximizing each member's unique expertise. And when you exercise collaboration skills in the workplace, you boost team productivity.

Over the last few years, I've been focused on building three purpose-driven startups, and I've seen the power and importance of collaboration among teams time and time again.

It offers different perspectives, advice and energy to keep a company growing. Collaborating can mean the difference between a good idea and great execution.

It gives your team access to a wealth of ideas, resources and connections that can help you get started or grow your business in new ways.

According to a 2023 workplace survey, 75% of employees believe team cooperation is crucial to the company’s success.

Interestingly, the same study found that 40% of the employees think their workplace lacks collaboration.

As a leader, you must fix this disconnect.

Collaboration at work is the key to unleashing the full potential of your employees.

You need to build a cohesive team that pools their resources and builds on each others’ expertise.

Here is a comprehensive guide to collaboration skills and how to foster them in your organization.

What are Collaboration Skills?

Collaboration skills are the soft skills that enable people to work together as a team.

They help you build strong relationships, work on complex situations, and make decisions that drive collective growth.

The stronger the team’s collaborative skills, the better it performs.

Here are some essential collaborative skills:

  • Transparent communication

When a company is fully transparent in its communication, employees are able to collaborate and work together more effectively.

Focus levels increase, leading to greater productivity and fewer information swaps within the team.

  • Flexible mind

Flexible thinking allows you to consider different ways of approaching the same situation.

When your team is open to hearing diverse ideas, they’ll develop innovative solutions to effectively move towards the company’s goal.

  • Empathy

When employees are able to relate to how their colleagues feel, it helps them improve the team's overall efficiency.

Due to empathic communication team members feel for each other helps create an environment of collaboration and respect.

How to Build Collaborative Skills?

Leaders should foster to improve collaboration skills in their teams to create a growth-oriented work environment.

A team that collaborates well is more likely to deliver innovative results and create new opportunities for growth.

Here are the four best ways to develop collaborative skills at the workplace:

  • Encourage clear communication

When you use ambiguous language at the workplace, it can be confusing and detrimental to productivity.

Each person on your team will have unique views and biases; they might misinterpret your words if you don’t communicate clearly.

That’s why you must give clear instructions without resorting to jargon.

  • Push your team beyond their comfort zone

Challenge your team with difficult projects.

This will encourage them to grow and help you and your organization become better versions of yourselves.

It will also strengthen the team’s collaboration as they navigate the choppy waters together.

  • Create a mutual learning environment.

Encourage your employees to share their knowledge with others.

This way, they can move past the obstacles faster and achieve quicker results.

Just be sure to make sure that you set guidelines as to what they can share in order to avoid any security risks.

  • Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse provides a safe space for your team to freely share their views without fearing judgment.

People are more likely to say what they think, when they are not afraid of getting in trouble or being belittled.

Civil discourse creates a sense of openness and encourages people to speak up.

Examples of Collaboration Skills to Develop

In a world where the best innovation is happening in collaboration, collaboration is the new imperative.

It may be the only way to accelerate innovation, improve agility, increase adaptability and cut costs all at once.

But building a collaborative culture is not always an easy transformation for the traditionally independent entrepreneur. 

I’ve had to learn to trust the abilities of others to execute on my vision, and I’ve found that the true power of collaboration skills lies in how well you communicate.

How to improve collaboration skills in the workplace? Open communication is the key to fostering true workplace collaboration. 

Here are the four criteria with examples of collaboration skills you must meet to achieve this:

  • Encourage your employees to listen actively.

Focus on what the other person is saying rather than waiting for your turn to speak.

Strive to understand the underlying intent in people’s speech. Ask questions if something isn’t clear.

  • Hone your written communication skills.

Your writing should be clear and concise and convey your intended message.

It should be comprehensive, tie up loose ends, and leave the reader with clear takeaways.

  • Improve your verbal communication.

Use descriptive language that every team member can grasp.

Frame your sentences in a way that doesn’t make you sound confrontational.

  • Polish your nonverbal communication skills.

What you say is as important as how you say it. Your body language, gestures, tone, and facial expressions speak louder than words.

Maintain eye contact while speaking, keep your tone polite, and nod on points you agree with.

If we want to succeed in business, and in life, we must all collaborate. It’s a big part of how we work today. But it’s important to evaluate how you and your people collaborate on a regular basis.

It’s not enough to simply hire talented individuals. As a leader, you must build a collaborative team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Each member must align their efforts to achieve the collective goal. Honing your effective communication skills is the key to fostering collaboration. You need to put conscious effort into adapting it to your demeanor.

How to Foster Collaboration Skills in the Workplace?

Our lives are ever-changing. New technology is constantly being updated, skills that were valuable for us only a few years ago might no longer be relevant, and the speed at which this change occurs is increasing with each passing year.

Continuous learning is the best way to stay ahead of the curve. By continuously learning, you can develop your skills and grow in your career.

According to research, 54% of employees believe that continued training and new skills are essential to keep up with workplace changes. 

Too often, companies fail to implement the training necessary to help their employees succeed.

Constant learners, however, take it upon themselves to learn new skills and stay relevant by doing so.

In this blog post I will cover everything you need to know about the importance of continual learning, how it can benefit your life, and what steps you can take to practice it with purpose.

What Is Continuous Learning?

Continuous learning is the continuous desire to keep learning, developing new skills and techniques, and refining your existing ones.

It is a pathway to not only developing the skills necessary to excel in your career, but also to grow and be a better person.

Unlike traditional schooling or on-the-job training, continually learning is something you take on yourself to grow and learn new skills.

You should never feel like you’re constantly learning without interruption. 

Continually learning is about being willing to take opportunities to improve your skills and abilities over the course of your life. It is a lifelong learning journey. 

continually learning

The Benefits Of Continuous Learning

There are no limits to the ways in which one can benefit from continually learning. 

I owe much of my success to this practice, as I believe that my desire to grow and learn as much as possible played a major role in getting me where I am today.

Here are some of the ways in which you can benefit from being a continual learner:

1. Improve your skills

The first and most important benefit of continuous learning is that it can help you learn new skills.  80% of people agree that learning new skills would make them more engaged, but only 56% of people actually go out and learn new skills. 

When you make a habit of learning new things, you open up a world of opportunities. Even something as simple as taking an online course in programming can take your career to the next level. Get aware of how to learn new skills

2. Be confident at what you do

When you don't have the skills to do your job well, your mental health suffers just as much as your work does. 

40% of workers with poor training decide to leave their companies within the first year. 

This shows the importance of continual learning in building our confidence at work. 

When you know you have the skills to do what’s demanded of you, you find out just how much a sense of confidence can help you achieve.

3. Keep up with current innovations

You may be perfectly qualified for a job when first hired, but if you’re not a continual learner, you’ll soon fall behind. 

Technology changes rapidly, which affects almost every industry in the world.

As the world changes, so do the needs of business.

Accountants are switching from paper filing to digital, programmers have to learn new coding systems, and the real estate market is constantly shifting.

Continuous learning allows you to stay on top of new developments, learning new skills when necessary and adapting seamlessly.

4. Get ahead in your career

People who take the initiative and go above and beyond in their work are rewarded. 

If you take the reins of your own training, your superiors will notice your effort and reward you for it. 

Taking an extra online class or two might make you eligible for a promotion or provide you with an extra bargaining chip for a raise.

If you stay stagnant and don’t try to learn, however, don’t be surprised when you’re still working the same job after 15 years. 

To get something different, you have to do something different. Continuous learning is the key to getting you where you want to go in your career.

5. Become a more well-rounded person

Continually learning is not limited to your career. Continuous learners embrace growth in every area of their life, making them more well-rounded people. 

Pursuing personal development goals will make you a more likable person and improve your social and professional relationships.

By practicing mindfulness, you can become more emotionally adept. 

Learning to play a new instrument can also help you become more cultured and enrich your life through new hobbies.

continuous learning

How To Practice Continuous Learning With Purpose

If you want to become a continuous learner, you’ll have to make a concerted effort to practice it with purpose. Here are a few ways you can create a culture of continuous learning:

1. Maintain a growth mindset

The goal of continually learning is to create a habit of growth, so that you can keep growing throughout your life.

The more you embrace growth as a way of life, the easier it will be to welcome opportunities instead of turning them down.

If you cultivate a mindset of constant growth, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves.

For example, you may notice a poster advertising a dance class or start researching online courses to find one that seems interesting.

When you choose to remain open to growth, continuous learning becomes a way of life.

2. Set goals for yourself

It’s difficult to be a continual learner if your desires are vague.  Sure, you may have a desire to learn Italian, but what exactly does that look like? 

Do you want to be fluent by a certain date? Take a certain number of classes in a year? Prepare for a upcoming trip to Italy?

If you set concrete goals for yourself, these goals can provide the necessary motivation to keep showing up for the learning process.

3. Get feedback from experienced personnel

Growth is impossible without feedback.  Without feedback from people who know what they’re talking about, you risk standing still. 

Seek out feedback wherever you can in order to identify opportunities for growth.

Ask your boss at work to identify areas in which you could improve and then check in with him or her regularly to see how you're growing.

Find people who have the skills you want and ask them what they did to obtain them.

Feedback will give you an objective gauge of where you are in the learning process, so that you can accurately measure your progress.

4. Join groups to find other learners

Learning is a lot more fun when you are doing it with other people.

A great way to motivate yourself to learn new things is to join groups of people who share your common interests.

By taking online courses you can find new opportunities, advice and camaraderie in a new environment.

Online platforms can be particularly helpful by putting you in touch with other people taking the same online courses as you.

5. Check your progress

To keep up your motivation to keep learning, take a look at how far you've come. 

Check in with yourself regularly to see the ways in which you've grown. What new skills have you gained?

  What courses have you completed? What changes have you seen in your life since you started?

Writing these things down can help you see just how beneficial continuous learning has been in your life.

6. Put your skills to use

Never let a new skill go to waste. Put it to use in whatever way you can, even if it’s just a little bit, to keep yourself sharp.

If you’ve learned to play the piano, incorporate it into your life by booking a concert series with friends. 

If you’re learning a new language, plan a trip to another country to practice speaking with the locals. 

This will cultivate inspiration and drive in you to continue developing your skills and finding new skills to pursue.

Why Adopt Continuous Learning In Your Life?

If you want to continuously learn, online platforms can help you do so. If you're interested in adopting continuous learning, then career building destinations like Audo can connect you with helpful courses that teach you valuable new skills.

One of my goals with Audo is to provide a space for people to discover new skills, gain knowledge and experience life-changing moments. 

With Audo, you’ll get specific course recommendations based on your own unique interests and skills.

You’ll start seeing the benefits of continuous learning right away as you join the marketplace, where you can put those skills to use.

If you consider yourself not missing an opportunity of learning, get tips for online learning to make the process more valuable. 

Continual learning requires a growth mindset, an unwavering thirst for knowledge and a dedication to change. 

If you embrace continual learning, you push yourself to a higher level of potential than you ever realized possible.

I encourage you to follow these tips and become a lifelong learner.  It may take some work, but the results will be well worth it.

Why The Habit Of Continuous Learning Is Important

How to learn new skills has always been one of the most popular questions during all the courses of time.

However, it gained more popularity due to the entry of novelties and new industry demands.

Learning new skills is an enriching, rewarding experience that shouldn't be confined to universities or corporate training sessions.

Being a skilled person means having a large toolkit of various skills. That allows you to solve a wider variety of problems in your life than someone with just one or two very specific skills.

But accumulating new skills is difficult. You can't just read a book, implement and repeat. That won't make you good at anything, or let you hold your own in the long term.

According to research, 80% of people agreed new skills to learn would make them more engaged. Despite this figure, only 56% of people actually go out and make the effort to learn new skills.

You can improve the quality of your life and career by learning new skills.  Read on to find out how to get started and keep building upon the new skills to learn.

The Importance Of Learning New Skills

Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to advance in your career, the skills that you have are what set you apart from your fellow employees. 

Not changing with the times is fatal for any sort of work. Of course, we're all given skills training at universities. But it's not enough to have taken a course in spreadsheet programming.

It is a lifelong learning experience. How to learn new skills? Surely, you have seen that new programs are coming along every day, so you have to know how to use each one.

If you focus on new skills to learn that are the most useful for your growth, you can impress potential employers and build a strong resumé.

Let’s say you want to be a graphic designer; by taking an online learning course to learn how to use Photoshop, you open yourself up to higher-quality graphic design jobs.

New skills and knowledge open doors to many different career possibilities. 

For instance, if you take a programming class and discover that you have a knack for IT work, you can use this information to your advantage when looking for jobs.

new skills to learn

How To Learn New Skills Quickly

Trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming. In order to start the journey of new skills to learn quickly and completely, build a strategy to do so. Follow these tips on how to learn  new skills quickly and effectively:

1. Set goals for yourself

To move forward, you need to know where you’re going.  Ask yourself what your goals are.  A promotion at work?  A change of career?  Increased social connections? 

Once you have a sense of what it is you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to identify the new skills that will get you there. 

For example, if your goal is to get promoted to a management position, then you may want to take online courses that help you gain the soft skills needed to excel in that position, such as time management and conflict resolution.

2. Identify the skills you already have

While we may want to be good at everything, it usually doesn’t work that way.  It’s better to build upon our strengths instead of focusing solely on our weaknesses. 

A great way to identify useful skills to learn is to ask yourself which skills you already have. 

Are you good at working with people?  Skilled with technology?  Talented with language?  

For instance, if you have excellent people skills and want a position that requires managing other people, what other skills do you need? 

Maybe you have the people skills down but lack some of the technical knowledge required for the position. Online courses or training can help you become a perfect candidate for your desired position.

3. Break down new skills

It can also help to break down big skills into little skills. If you want to be more disciplined, break down your goal into smaller skills. 

Time management, motivation, and accountability are all useful skills that will help you achieve your larger goal.

Once you have identified the smaller skills that make up the larger skill of discipline, you can focus on learning each of them one at a time.

4. Make a list of obstacles and benefits

Before thinking on how to learn new skills, you need to know that learning is challenging. There will always be an obstacle standing in your way. 

It may be money, or time, or simply a lack of willingness. Whatever the obstacle is, you need to identify it.  You must overcome it if you ever want to learn the skill in question.

For each new skill you want to learn, write a list of the obstacles in your way. Maybe you want to learn to speak Spanish, but you have no extra money for classes and little free time to learn. 

To help yourself overcome these barriers, write out another list of all the benefits you’ll receive from the new skill.

Maybe learning Spanish will help you take on even more clients at work or take that trip to Spain you always dreamed of. Look at this list for inspiration whenever an obstacle is convincing you to give up.

5. Set up a rewards system

A great way to stay motivated while learning new skills is to set up a rewards system for yourself.

When you've successfully gained a new skill, how will you celebrate? It can be as big as taking a trip abroad or as small as going out to a favorite restaurant. 

Rewarding yourself for your efforts can help you create a positive association between learning and rewards.

how to learn new skills

How to Learn New Skills Quickly| 5 Tips

Once you've gotten started learning new skills, it takes time, patience, and determination to keep going. Here are some suggestions for mastering new abilities:

1. Be realistic

You won’t become a master overnight.  Be realistic with what you hope to accomplish and give yourself a break if you’re moving slower than expected. 

As long as you stay consistent, none of your efforts will have been wasted.

2. Check your progress

Getting better at a new skill is hard, but it can be even harder when you don't have the right motivation. Take a moment to check your progress at regular checkpoints.

  What have you been doing lately to learn new skills?  What have you accomplished?  How far have you come? 

This will help you remember the effort you’ve put into learning something new and encourage you not to give up.

3. Keep practicing the skills you learn

The path of new skills to learn is an ongoing process, with some skills you learn once and that’s it, but others require practice to grow.

Keep practicing the skills you’ve learned and find new ways to incorporate them into your life. This will keep you sharp, and you’ll go from novice to master with time.

4. Find fellow learners

When you define new skills to learn with other people, you get a lot of benefits you wouldn’t get when learning alone. If you take an online course, reach out to the other people in your class to connect.

You can tap into a wealth of advice and opportunities by connecting with other learners in the same boat as you. They can provide invaluable feedback that will help you improve even more!

5. Seek out resources

While most skills are learned through trial and error, it can be helpful to take classes or join a group dedicated to teaching that skill.

If you like the idea of continuous learning, here are tips for online learning to help you boost your potential. 

Look for resources that teach some of the skills you’re interested in acquiring. For instance, if you want to become a web developer, research coding bootcamps and other online courses in that field.

You can even attend conferences dedicated to programming to network with other people in the industry.

Why Adopt Learning New Skills In Your Life?

If you’re trying to learn new skills, an online learning platform makes learning easy and convenient. I created Audo to help Gen Z and Millennials gain career-relevant skills to set them up for success.

Unlike other online learning platforms, Audo takes into account your skills, experience, and passion to help you find which courses best suit your needs. 

Now that you know the most effective strategies to learn new skills, there’s no reason not to get started.

Following these tips will help you get started on this learning journey, and don’t forget to stop every once in a while to appreciate all of the useful new skills you’ve acquired to make your life better.

How To Learn New Skills to Meet Career Success

As industries continue to evolve and the nature of work becomes more dynamic, lifelong learning is becoming increasingly essential to stay competitive.

More and more, people are realizing that education is a lifelong process, not something limited to the years of formal schooling.

Lifelong learners continue to study, learn new skills, and try new things. They’re curious, open-minded people who continually adapt to change.

Lifelong learning became a requirement for me early on. As an Environmental Studies major who decided to build companies in the publishing and music industries while in college, it quickly became clear to me I needed to pursue learning opportunities beyond the classroom in order to make an impact.

I'm a big believer in seeking out new skills and using the digital resources we have at our disposal today.

Top Examples of Lifelong Learning

So, what does lifelong learning look like?  The truth is that there are many ways to engage in it. The beauty of learning continually throughout your life is that you get to choose what, when, and how you learn. 

Here are some examples of lifelong learning to get an idea of how you might learn:

Taking a course

Don’t let your education come to an end once you’ve finished high school or college. Lifelong learning means taking advantage of opportunities to learn about a topic that interests you, whether it’s through an in-person or online course.

It could be a course to learn a new skill for work, to learn a new language, or to improve your creative writing skills. Online courses are an excellent way to keep learning on your terms.

Gaining a new skill

Everyone learns in different ways, but it's common for people to learn a new skill by taking classes or trying it out themselves. 

Some skills, like salsa dancing and playing the piano, have official classes you can take, but plenty of other skills, like baking crème brûlée, can be self-taught through trial and error.

Researching a fascinating topic

If you have an interest in something, you can take it upon yourself to learn more about it. 

You might be a fan of the Golden Age of Cinema and decide to read up on old filmmakers. 

Or maybe you’ve just found a podcast that covers financial tips for dummies. You can learn outside a classroom if you’re willing to go looking for it.

Familiarizing yourself with new technology

Plenty of jobs require you to use complex technology or software applications. Playing around with new tech can help you get a handle on it so you can take advantage of all it has to offer.

When you invest in new technology and learn how to use it, that's an example of lifelong learning.

Pursuing personal development

One of the best examples of lifelong learning is having a hunger to know ourselves better. 

When you pursue things like meditation, self-discovery, and even therapy, you’re engaging in the process of learning more about yourself and how you work. 

This is a worthy area of study that can never be fully explored.

lifelong learner

6 Benefits Of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learners experience countless benefits that those with closed minds do not. These include:

  1. Better work performance

The more open you are to learning, the better your career will be. Lifelong learners continually gain new skills, improve their performance and learn from everyone around them. 

Strive to treat every experience as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow.

  1. A healthier mind and body 

Learning something new can have a profound effect on your health. Not only does it help your mind stay sharp, but it can improve your mental wellbeing and self-confidence.

It also keeps you mentally (and sometimes physically) active, which improves both your energy levels and your overall wellness.

  1. Improved self-confidence

The more you learn, the more skills you acquire. 

As a result, lifelong learners are constantly improving, overcoming obstacles and fearlessly taking on new challenges.

They’re building themselves into the people they want to be, which allows them to tackle whatever life throws at them with self-confidence

  1. Valuable new skills

Lifelong learning gives you new skills that can change your life for the better.

You’ll become familiar with a wide range of topics, more adept at using technology, and more cultured. You’ll gain hard and soft skills that help you navigate work and social life. 

Whether these skills are for personal pleasure or professional gain, they will enrich your life and expand your social circle.

  1. Greater self-awareness

Many people wander through life without truly understanding who they are and what they want. It’s difficult to find out what motivates us, inspires us, and strengthens us.

Lifelong learners discover the things they like and the things they don’t.

They also gain a greater understanding of what interests them, what nourishes them, and what they need to do to succeed with self-awareness.

  1. Stay up to date

Being out of touch with the rest of the world is one of the worst parts of having a closed mind. 

You’ll struggle to keep up with new technology, feel excluded from many conversations, and find yourself overtaken at work by people with up-to-date knowledge. 

Being a lifelong learner allows you to stay current, educating yourself with the latest innovations to make sure you keep up at work and in life.

Tips To Start And Be Engaged With Lifelong Learning

If you’re interested in becoming a lifelong learner, just know that it's worth it and learn the true benefits of lifelong learning. There are a few tips you can follow to get started. 

These tips and examples of lifelong learning can be practiced daily to help you make continuous learning a habit, helping you get through the temptation to quit when you face obstacles. 

Try new things

The best way to see what interests you is to try new things.  Indecision can paralyze us, so it’s best to move forward even if you aren’t sure of the outcome. 

If you want to learn to speak a new language, find a class that seems interesting and take it.  Even if you decide in the end that learning a new language isn’t for you, you’ll learn more about yourself than if you had simply done nothing.

Be curious

Having an open mind is key to being a lifelong learner. When new opportunities present themselves to you, don’t ignore them. 

Ask questions, be curious, and feel free to explore. When you choose to be curious in the unknown, you open yourself up to new opportunities to learn and expand your horizons.

Set goals

To make sure that you’re continuing to learn new things, set regular goals for yourself. 

Maybe you want to spend a certain number of hours a day learning a new skill, or take a certain number of classes by the end of the year. 

If you have measurable and achievable goals, it’s easier to show up for your dedication to learn.

Find fellow learners

It’s a lot more fun to learn something when you’re doing it alongside other people. If you take an online course, get in touch with other members who have the same passion as you. 

This can help you find new courses or groups from which you can learn even more. 

Your fellow learners can also share their knowledge and advice on their own learning journey, which can inspire you to keep growing.

lifelong learning

Getting Started With Lifelong Learning

I believe that people should be able to pursue courses that match their personality and interests rather than be forced into a narrow set of educational options.

That’s why I created Audo, an online learning and career-building destination that connects people with the resources to discover their passions and the courses they need to get ahead. 

Audo guides you in the learning and self exploration process, using A.I.-driven recommendations to help you find which online courses are the best match for you and your goals. 

Audo rewards lifelong learners by giving individual and effective examples of lifelong learning to acquire new skills and start earning money.

Learning throughout your life can help you improve your wellbeing and mental health, build new relationships, and more.

By committing to lifelong learning, you open yourself up to new opportunities and the chance to create a better future for yourself.

Lifelong Learning: 6 Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Gen Z'ers are leading the trend in freelance work.  Freelancing used to be viewed as a risky endeavor, a break from the security of a 9 to 5 job that wasn't always guaranteed to pan out. But as employees are increasingly less willing to stick to a traditional work routine, freelancing is skyrocketing in popularity and feasibility.  The number of freelancers in the US boomed from 57.3 million in 2017 to 70.4 million by 2022. That number is expected to keep growing, with estimates of 90.1 million freelancers in the US by 2028.

So what does this mean for anyone looking to set off on their own? Freelancing and the gig economy is a viable option worth considering. There are numerous avenues for people to find freelance work, as I’ll explain in this article. Read on to find out more about the ins and outs of a freelance career.

What Is Freelancing?

So what is freelancing? Freelancing is the act of performing specific work for clients while not being employed full-time by any one organization. One of the most attractive benefits of freelancing is that you are essentially your own boss, working for yourself instead of an employer. Freelancers can work for multiple clients at a time, whereas employees are typically committed to one company.

Freelance projects come in many shapes and sizes. While freelance jobs are generally short-term in nature, satisfied clients often request follow-on work from the same professionals again and again. Freelance professionals are available across a wide range of skills, including copywriting, programming, engineering, and marketing.

Who Can Be A Freelancer?

Freelancing comes with the freedom to work in the capacity of your choice, but how do you determine what niche to focus on and prepare yourself for success as a freelancer?

Freelancers have a wide variety of job opportunities available to them, including writing, graphic design and dog walking. Freelance job portals can help you find work in your preferred field.

One of the most important attributes of a freelancer is discipline. As your own boss, you’ll have to hold yourself accountable for your actions. You won’t be able to rely on a fixed income as a freelancer, so you’ll need to work hard at finding new opportunities if one falls through. This can be difficult at times, but there are plenty of people out there who have managed it. You may have to keep hustling for a while, but if you have the drive and persistence to keep going, you'll earn enough to see yourself through the various ups and downs.

Gen Z And Freelancing As A Career

Freelancing gives up the comforts of a full-time job, such as healthcare and retirement benefits. While you do have to pay your own health insurance, and you don’t get paid time off, you also gain freedom to set your own boundaries around work. You can work for whomever you want, whether it's multiple clients or just one. Your salary is up to you and your skills—in some cases, your salary can be comparable with or better than what a regular job earns.

The median annual personal income of freelancers has increased significantly over the last few years. Between 2014 and 2018, the percentage of freelancers earning over $75,000 a year leapt from 17% to 31%.  The more time you spend freelancing, the more clients you will attract and the higher your earning potential will be. Gen Z and Millennials have found that freelancing is a lucrative and rewarding career option.

How To Become A Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer isn’t as hard as it looks, and it’s easier than you think. Simply go to any website that offers freelancing jobs and assignments, and apply for them. Working on a freelance basis can be slow-going at first, but you can build up a client base and earn higher rates as you go.

Freelancing sites can help you find work or clients to work with. Here are some websites where you can find freelance jobs:

  1. Fiverr

Fiverr is a valuable resource for freelancers of any kind.  You can create a gig for pretty much anything, from creating graphic designs to writing online articles and content. You set your own rates, and clients find you through Fiverr’s search feature.

  1. 99Designs

99Designs is a graphic design company where you can create logos, websites, book covers, and more.  Depending on your niche, you can offer any graphic design service under the sun to interested clients through a secure and trustworthy platform.

  1. Upwork

Upwork is similar to Fiverr, although it’s the freelancer who seeks out the client rather than the other way around.  This makes it easier to get started, however, as you can submit detailed applications to gigs that fit your qualifications.

  1. is a career-building ecosystem that uses AI to recommend which skills you need to succeed in your career.  I founded this company to provide Gen Z with the tools they need to learn skills and earn money at the same time.  All you have to do is fill out your interests, abilities, and experience, then watch as Audo provides you with a personalized skill path towards making money.  Once you’ve completed coursework, you can use your new skills in our marketplace to earn money as you continue to learn more skills.

  1. is another site that works similarly to Upwork. Freelancers can create a profile and bid for projects with their own pitches that explain why they’re the best person for the job.  Freelancers will work out an agreed payment amount with the buyer, which will then be delivered to them through the site.

Like any career, freelancing has its benefits and drawbacks. Before you go down that path, make sure you’re willing to assume the risks that come with freelancing. While it offers you professional independence, it can also come with insecurity and the danger of failure. But the more you’re willing to take risks in order to follow your professional ambitions, the more opportunities you’ll have to establish your brand and reputation as you achieve your goals.

Gen Z And Freelancing: The Newest Workforce Trend

Certificate vs degree has become a question of many arguments. Going to college and getting a traditional education used to be the surest way to open up career opportunities for your future, but that’s no longer the case.

While traditional education is still considered the norm, it is no longer the only option for achieving career success, and more effective and attainable options are available today.

The number of people enrolling in certificate programs to gain a greater understanding of their industry, obtain vital skills, and become more valuable employees is increasing year over year.

According to a recent report, about 51.3% of American adults have a college degree, certificate or industry certification.

Degrees or certifications can expand your career options, but the path you choose should be the one that is right for you.

This blog will cover everything you need to know about certificate vs degree, so that you can make a more informed decision about which one is right for your career.

So, get entirely aware of all advantages and disadvantages to end up making smart decisions for the benefit of your career. Are you a certificate or a degree person?

What Is A Certificate?

A certificate is a document that verifies you have completed a specific program of study within an industry.

Certificate programs usually offered by colleges, universities, or private companies.

While a degree offers a wide range of knowledge and expertise, a certificate program usually provides training for technical or skill-based jobs. Examples include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • IT fundamentals
  • Data science
  • Nursing
  • Web development
  • Dental or medical-assisting
  • Firefighting
  • Real estate
  • Massage therapy
  • Construction
  • Plumbing
certificate vs degree

What Is A Degree?

A degree is an academic title that you receive after graduating from a university.

A degree vs certificate entails much more than the basic knowledge you need to work in a certain field, and can in fact prepare you for several different roles depending on your focus.

Degrees can be divided into four categories:

Associate degree

An associate degree is higher than a high school diploma but not as intensive as a bachelor’s degree.  It takes around two years for a student to complete.

Associate degrees can include:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Bachelor’s degree

To get a job in many fields, some employers will ask for a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree takes about four years to complete and includes general education classes in addition to courses pertaining to your specific major.

Bachelor’s degrees can include:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Master’s degree

A master’s degree is a post-baccalaureate program consisting of more rigorous classes within a specialized field of study. Programs usually take between two-three years to complete.

In addition to degrees within specific niches, the three basic master’s degrees include:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Doctoral degree

A doctoral degree is the highest degree you can obtain, and it certifies your expertise in a particular field.

The types of doctoral degrees include:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Practitioner doctoral degrees, such as Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)
certificate or degree

The Primary Differences: Certificate VS Degree

So, do you need to go for degrees or certifications? What's the difference: certificate vs degree?

 Some people believe a degree is more valuable than a certificate, and some think the opposite. 

The difference between a certificate and a degree usually involves the time and cost to earn them. 

Here are the main factors you need to know about certificate vs degree to choose your option:

Time commitment

Certificates are usually less time-consuming to obtain than degrees. A degree can take between two to four years to complete, while a certificate can be obtained in just a few months.

This is because certificates require fewer courses and can be taken according to your schedule.


Another difference between a certificate and a degree is the requirements for enrollment.

Because most degree programs require a high school diploma or GED, they are often more viable options for people without either of these qualifications.

Depth and scope

Certificates teach you about a single topic. Degrees, on the other hand, allow you to explore a wide range of topics in depth.

This can be useful to people looking for comprehensive knowledge, while a certificate can be useful for those looking for specific knowledge.


The cost of a degree vs. certificate is based on the number of courses you take. 

Because degrees require many more courses to complete, the cost of a degree is much higher. 

However, both certificates and degrees offer financial aid options that can help.

Job opportunities

If you want to get a specific job, then a certificate might be enough to help you land that particular position.

But if you want your education to make you eligible for a wide range of jobs, then one degree can get your foot in the door in many places.

How To Choose: Certificate VS Degree

In order to choose whether certificate vs degree, consider factors like your job ambitions, time constraints, and financial resources. 

Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before deciding:

  • How quickly do you need to earn your credentials?
  • How will you balance work and school?
  • What field do you want to work in?
  • How far do you want to advance in your career?

You may find that, while a degree would be ideal, it’s unrealistic for you to afford the time and money necessary to obtain one. 

However, you may find that obtaining a degree is a long-term goal worthy of pursuing through online and night classes.

Many personal factors need to be considered to think over degree vs certificate and come up with the right decisions.

Self Learning And Certification

There are plenty of ways you can get certificates through online or offline self-learning. These can help you upgrade your skills and even explore new careers.

One of the most difficult steps in starting along a path of education is choosing what to pursue. My company, Audo, aims to address that very problem.

Audo is a career readiness and management platform using AI to tailor data-driven career paths by integrating paid gig work into the learning experience.

Our AI-powered assessment maps your passions and interests to the careers that are right for you.

You can level-up your skills, earn certifications and turbocharge your career by taking courses and earning credentials from our education partners. 

Do your research before embarking on programs offering degrees or certificates.  Have a clear picture in your head about where you’d like to be in five years.

Do you want to be working your way up in the industry of your choice?  Freelancing while pursuing a master’s degree?  Starting your own business?

The path toward your goals will come into clearer focus if you can get a clear picture in your mind of where you want to be.

And if you want some assistance in creating that picture, take the Audo Guide assessment.

Certificate VS Degree: Which Is Right For You To Choose?

Collaboration is the art of people working together to achieve a common goal.

It isn’t just about teamwork, but also about maximizing each member's unique expertise. And when you exercise collaboration skills in the workplace, you boost team productivity.

Over the last few years, I've been focused on building three purpose-driven startups, and I've seen the power and importance of collaboration among teams time and time again.

It offers different perspectives, advice and energy to keep a company growing. Collaborating can mean the difference between a good idea and great execution.

It gives your team access to a wealth of ideas, resources and connections that can help you get started or grow your business in new ways.

According to a 2023 workplace survey, 75% of employees believe team cooperation is crucial to the company’s success.

Interestingly, the same study found that 40% of the employees think their workplace lacks collaboration.

As a leader, you must fix this disconnect.

Collaboration at work is the key to unleashing the full potential of your employees.

You need to build a cohesive team that pools their resources and builds on each others’ expertise.

Here is a comprehensive guide to collaboration skills and how to foster them in your organization.

What are Collaboration Skills?

Collaboration skills are the soft skills that enable people to work together as a team.

They help you build strong relationships, work on complex situations, and make decisions that drive collective growth.

The stronger the team’s collaborative skills, the better it performs.

Here are some essential collaborative skills:

  • Transparent communication

When a company is fully transparent in its communication, employees are able to collaborate and work together more effectively.

Focus levels increase, leading to greater productivity and fewer information swaps within the team.

  • Flexible mind

Flexible thinking allows you to consider different ways of approaching the same situation.

When your team is open to hearing diverse ideas, they’ll develop innovative solutions to effectively move towards the company’s goal.

  • Empathy

When employees are able to relate to how their colleagues feel, it helps them improve the team's overall efficiency.

Due to empathic communication team members feel for each other helps create an environment of collaboration and respect.

How to Build Collaborative Skills?

Leaders should foster to improve collaboration skills in their teams to create a growth-oriented work environment.

A team that collaborates well is more likely to deliver innovative results and create new opportunities for growth.

Here are the four best ways to develop collaborative skills at the workplace:

  • Encourage clear communication

When you use ambiguous language at the workplace, it can be confusing and detrimental to productivity.

Each person on your team will have unique views and biases; they might misinterpret your words if you don’t communicate clearly.

That’s why you must give clear instructions without resorting to jargon.

  • Push your team beyond their comfort zone

Challenge your team with difficult projects.

This will encourage them to grow and help you and your organization become better versions of yourselves.

It will also strengthen the team’s collaboration as they navigate the choppy waters together.

  • Create a mutual learning environment.

Encourage your employees to share their knowledge with others.

This way, they can move past the obstacles faster and achieve quicker results.

Just be sure to make sure that you set guidelines as to what they can share in order to avoid any security risks.

  • Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse provides a safe space for your team to freely share their views without fearing judgment.

People are more likely to say what they think, when they are not afraid of getting in trouble or being belittled.

Civil discourse creates a sense of openness and encourages people to speak up.

Examples of Collaboration Skills to Develop

In a world where the best innovation is happening in collaboration, collaboration is the new imperative.

It may be the only way to accelerate innovation, improve agility, increase adaptability and cut costs all at once.

But building a collaborative culture is not always an easy transformation for the traditionally independent entrepreneur. 

I’ve had to learn to trust the abilities of others to execute on my vision, and I’ve found that the true power of collaboration skills lies in how well you communicate.

How to improve collaboration skills in the workplace? Open communication is the key to fostering true workplace collaboration. 

Here are the four criteria with examples of collaboration skills you must meet to achieve this:

  • Encourage your employees to listen actively.

Focus on what the other person is saying rather than waiting for your turn to speak.

Strive to understand the underlying intent in people’s speech. Ask questions if something isn’t clear.

  • Hone your written communication skills.

Your writing should be clear and concise and convey your intended message.

It should be comprehensive, tie up loose ends, and leave the reader with clear takeaways.

  • Improve your verbal communication.

Use descriptive language that every team member can grasp.

Frame your sentences in a way that doesn’t make you sound confrontational.

  • Polish your nonverbal communication skills.

What you say is as important as how you say it. Your body language, gestures, tone, and facial expressions speak louder than words.

Maintain eye contact while speaking, keep your tone polite, and nod on points you agree with.

If we want to succeed in business, and in life, we must all collaborate. It’s a big part of how we work today. But it’s important to evaluate how you and your people collaborate on a regular basis.

It’s not enough to simply hire talented individuals. As a leader, you must build a collaborative team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Each member must align their efforts to achieve the collective goal. Honing your effective communication skills is the key to fostering collaboration. You need to put conscious effort into adapting it to your demeanor.

How to Foster Collaboration Skills in the Workplace?

Mindfulness in communication is a quality that manifests itself in the way we interact with others.

When we are mindful, we become more empathetic, compassionate and honest.

By being mindful, or maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environments, we bring awareness to the way we communicate with others.

A mindful approach is a key element to effective communication.

Being mindful of the present moment allows us to be more aware of how we interact with others.

We can recognize when communication has shut down and consider our words instead of responding out of emotion.

It's easier to notice if we're overreacting so we can take a time-out.

Jamyang Khyentse once said, “We think that we have successful communication with others. In fact, we only have successful miscommunication without being aware of it.” 

Mindful communication is a state of being. If you want to become better at it, here are some ways to increase your mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness in Communication?

Now that we're clear on the context of mindfulness in communication, let's discuss what it means to be a mindful communicator.

Mindfulness in communication is a distinct approach to communication that emphasizes being in the present moment.

It is the practice of being fully aware of ourselves and our surroundings, and in turn, how we communicate with other people.

As someone who aspires to communicate mindfully, I try to listen twice as much as I talk.

I strive to be a mindful listener when I'm engaged in a conversation as well.

learn about mindful communication

Can Mindfulness in Communication Help You?

Communication skills have an essential role in our life, and mindfulness in communication can make it even more powerful.

Instead of talking at someone, when you have the ability to be mindful, you talk with them.

Both sides of a conversation get more out of the exchange when they’re equally engaged in the communication.

Even if you’re the only one practicing mindful communication, you’ll still experience better results.

8 Ways To Improve Mindful Communication

As beneficial as mindfulness in communication sounds, you have to practice it if you want to get better. 

To improve your mindfulness in communication, follow these 8 tips:

Shelve your judgment

When you're too busy judging another person's words or actions, your own filter keeps you from hearing what they have to say.

When you make a judgment about someone’s character based on something you know about them, it can prevent you from really listening to what they are saying to you and even cause you to make hurtful comments that damage the relationship.

It is a total result of missing mindfulness in communication.

Understand your motivation

Before you speak, consider the purpose of your words. Are you trying to protect someone from harm? 

Are you trying to chastise them? Or are you trying to manipulate them?

One way to be mindful of what you say is to be aware of your motivation.

If your purpose is to be spiteful or criticize, perhaps you should pause or refrain from saying anything at all.

Be kind

There’s never a reason to be cruel. Even when you’re criticizing someone’s bad behavior, you gain nothing by doing so in a hurtful or insulting manner.

It’s best to express disappointment in a kind, direct way.

Rather than being accusatory or using incendiary words, phrase things with “I” statements and focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is a great way to practice mindful communication. It offers you an opportunity to discuss difficult subjects honestly and openly.

It also gives you boundaries between when to listen and when to talk so that you can fully understand another person's point of view. 

Try making civil discourse a regular practice so that you become better at mindful communication.

Say only what’s necessary

Some of us overestimate the importance of our opinions, and we should refrain from making unnecessary comments in sensitive discussions.

Sure, you may have an opinion about what your boss is doing, but is it necessary for you to share that opinion with others? 

A good rule of thumb is to only give advice when solicited or when talking with someone who works for you. 

If they’re a friend or a superior, then you should only speak up when it directly involves you.

Refrain from unhelpful comments

This goes along with making unnecessary comments.  When someone asks you for feedback, it’s important to use discretion. 

Sure, they’re asking for your opinion, but that doesn’t mean that every single thought you have is going to be helpful.

Only volunteer information if it benefits the other person.  By filtering out unhelpful feedback and constructive criticism you can focus on offering comments that will actually help someone improve.

Don’t make assumptions

We all make assumptions about what others are thinking, but we can't actually read minds. Our history with others often influences those assumptions.

You can’t know what another person is thinking, so don’t operate based on anything other than the information given to you.

If you suspect someone is hiding something, ask questions. Assumptions lead to miscommunication and conflict, so sustain conflict avoidance at all costs.

Practice active listening

Active listening prevents you from making assumptions. The better you get at it, the less misinterpretations you'll make.

Make eye contact when people are talking to you. Give them verbal and nonverbal acknowledgements to encourage them to continue their story.

While someone is speaking, wait until they have finished to formulate your own response. Ask questions to clarify if needed. 

Mindfulness in communication exercises will help you become a better listener and communicator.

As you become more conscious of the way you communicate with others, you may realize that you used to communicate much more poorly than you had thought.

After learning how to listen and speak with intention, you will become a more successful and empathetic communicator.

Ultimately, empathy and rationality are at the heart of all communication. Whenever we speak with others, we must ask ourselves: what is kind, helpful, and necessary?

These questions are key to becoming mindful communicators.

8 Ways To Improve Productive and Mindful Communication

Building your self confidence is a process that takes time, dedication, and practice. With self confidence, you can achieve anything you set on your mind.

Research indicates that people with higher self-esteem earn an average of $7000 more per year. 

Despite the fact that 85% of the world's population has self-esteem issues, there is a way to be more confident.

Self confidence is contagious. It can make the difference between getting that promotion at work or being stuck in the same job for years.

A positive self-image can improve relationships, help you avoid mental and physical health issues associated with low self-esteem, and make you a happier person.

The steps I've outlined below will help you build self-confidence and live with more confidence.

What Is Self Confidence?

Self-confidence is not something we’re all born with.  Some people have more of it than others, but it can be learned by anyone.

Self-confidence means to stand up for what you believe in and control your own life. It’s about being able to deal with the world around you by controlling your emotions and thoughts. 

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond to it. The benefits of self confidence come from feeling a sense of control over our lives.

what is self confidence

Know Why Self-Confidence Is Important

To learn how to build self confidence, you must first learn why self confidence is important.  Having confidence in yourself is the best way to find success in all areas of life. 

One of the benefits of self confidence is trusting your own abilities, and gaining trust in your colleagues and bosses. You will earn a reputation for reliability and responsibility.

The reason why self confidence is important not just because of how it affects others, but also because of the effect it has on your own behavior.

When you have self confidence, you’re more likely to pursue goals and accomplish them.

Believing in your ability to overcome obstacles makes you more willing to try and fail. It improves your skills, resiliency, and what you are capable of.

The benefits of self confidence are endless.

How To Build Self Confidence

Self-confidence is not only about what you feel about yourself on the inside, but also how you project that feeling to others.

Projecting a positive image to others can help you improve your self-confidence, but faking it will not get you very far.

These steps will help you build self confidence so that the image you present to the world matches the confidence within:

  1. Improve your body language

Body language can tell you if someone is confident.

The good news is that, even if you don’t feel confident in the moment, mimicking confident body language can help you become confident.

Standing or sitting up straight instead of slouching says a lot about your self confidence. Open your body and make eye contact with whomever you’re interacting with.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse requires a great deal of confidence and intelligence. Practice active listening when someone else is talking, be open-minded, and give honest feedback in return.

If you’re willing to have civil conversations about difficult topics, you will not only build confidence in your abilities, but also realize that you are a capable, intelligent person.

  1. Quit the comparison game

Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Instead, focus on improving yourself day by day.

Don't compare yourself to other people, who may have private struggles you know nothing about. Instead, focus on your own accomplishments and the positive aspects of your life.

  1. Become a better communicator

Confident people know how to have effective communication, the more you work on your communication skills, the easier it will be for you to succeed.

Learning the principles of communication is crucial for making a good first impression.

It allows you to engage other people, and it lets you project confidence even when you’re plagued with self-doubt.

  1. Focus on personal growth

Focusing on internal growth instead of external will guard you against feelings of inadequacy or impostor syndrome. 

Practice meditation, mindful listening and emotional growth. These areas will make you a more resilient, resourceful and emotionally mature person.

Confidence will help you tackle obstacles, bounce back from defeats, and feel good about yourself no matter what life throws your way.

  1. Affirm yourself

Positive affirmations are a powerful tool for building and retaining self confidence. By stating aloud your positive qualities, you will remember your strength and know your worth.

You can change your life by changing your thinking. 

Every morning, repeat positive mantras in the mirror, such as “I can handle anything life throws at me” or “I am deserving of all my successes.”

Write down a list of your strengths, carry it with you and refer to it whenever self-doubt strikes.

  1. Seek out feedback

People who are self confident also have a healthy sense of humility. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they aren’t afraid to admit to either.

  Instead of resting on their laurels, they are always working hard to improve themselves. Find mentors who have what you want and learn from them. 

Get feedback from your mentor about your performance to identify areas in which you can grow. 

You'll not only stay on track with your personal growth, but you'll also get positive external feedback on your strengths.

  1. Take care of your body

Physical wellness is essential to self-confidence. It’s hard to feel grateful for our outside blessings when we’re dealing with fatigue, stress, and body image issues.

To build and maintain self confidence, make sure you’re practicing self-care in fitness, nutrition and mental wellness.

Establish a workout routine that fits your schedule, even if it’s just 10 minutes at a time. Take the time to read food labels and choose healthy foods you enjoy eating. 

Have a self-care routine in place to deal with stress and avoid burnout.

  1. Test your limits

Learning something new is one of the best ways to build self confidence.

If you spend all of your time doing what you already know how to do, you won’t have an accurate gauge of your abilities to handle the unknown. 

Push yourself to the limits of your abilities by trying new things and experiencing new skills that you’ve never tried before.

You’ll build self-confidence when you realize just how well you do when up against a challenge that is outside of your comfort zone.

how to have self confidence

How To Know If You Are Overconfident

When building self confidence, it’s easy to go too far and fall into the trap of overconfidence.

As long as you’re mindful of the signs of overconfidence, you can build self-confidence without alienating others.  

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • You talk much more than you listen.
  • You’d rather teach others than learn from them.
  • You’re obsessed with how others perceive you.
  • You deny your weak spots and dismiss your failures.
  • You hide your true self around other people.
  • You get frustrated when you don’t do as well as you think you should.
  • You stop trying to grow.

Knowing how to be confident is an extremely valuable skill, one that can greatly affect the way that you interact with people and the way your coworkers, friends, and family view you.

The tips above are meant to get you started on your journey towards a more confident state of mind.

But remember: it takes time, so don't expect overnight results. The more effort you put in every day, the better you'll feel about yourself and the more confident you'll become.

How To Foster Self-Confidence to Have Higher Achievements

Can you define the boundaries of your life? I don't mean your physical boundaries like where you work, the places you hang out with friends and what's in your cupboard.

We all know that, but I'm talking about emotional and mental boundaries. A lot of people can struggle with this and find it hard to set boundaries, sticking to them or even knowing when they need to be set.

Setting boundaries is one of the most important skills to have in life. We live in a culture that values kindness and generosity over confrontation.

But saying no is an important way to protect your time, energy, and well-being. It’s important to remember that you are an individual with boundaries and limits, even when you care about someone a great deal.

Here are some tips on how to set your own boundaries and make them stick.

What Does Setting Healthy Boundaries Mean?

Healthy boundaries are sometimes difficult to define. When someone is doing something that directly affects you negatively, it's your responsibility to speak up and set a boundary.

Even though you may feel guilty, you do have the right to say 'no' without having to explain yourself.

For example, as long as I can communicate my preference for not receiving work calls after hours in a respectful way (and not ignore it when it’s violated), then I am setting reasonable boundaries.

The Benefits Of Setting Healthy Boundaries

So, are boundaries really important? Are they a luxury or a necessity?  I believe that you must have them in order to have a balanced life.

Healthy boundaries help us avoid burnout, maintain our physical and mental health, and show up for the things that matter to us.

Boundaries can be a gift, marking the limits we accept and those we don’t. They give us freedom, autonomy and control over our decisions.

If you want to understand the importance of healthy boundaries, here are some of the benefits of setting personal boundaries.

  1. Avoid burnout

When we don’t know how to say no, we can easily take on too much work or responsibility. 

By setting healthy boundaries, we can avoid overworking ourselves and make sure that the things that matter most get the attention they deserve.

  1. Reduce conflict

When we don't set boundaries, we tend to become resentful and lash out whenever people go too far.

When we communicate effectively, we can avoid the conflict that arises when people unknowingly cross that line in the sand.

  1. Improve self-respect

When you fail to set healthy boundaries with others, you become a doormat for them to walk all over, disrespecting your time and worth.

Setting boundaries allows you to live an autonomous life by respecting yourself and saying no when needed.

All you need to do is to stand up for what you believe in and live your best life. 

  1. Set clear expectations

People can't read minds. You have to tell others what your boundaries are so they know how to work best with you.

That way, everyone's on the same page and there are no misunderstandings. So, understanding people and your needs are the principles for happiness. 

  1. Improve communication

Boundaries are an important part of communicating with others. Improving communication skills, we learn to say no, and they give us practice standing up for ourselves when our boundaries aren’t respected.

Hints| How To Set Boundaries?

If you want to learn how to set boundaries, you need to know that it is easier said than done.

To become better at setting boundaries, take these steps:

  1. Identify your needs

First, ask yourself what it is that you need. To be spoken to with respect? More downtime? Greater respect for your time? 

It can be helpful to identify certain behaviors that bother you and ask yourself which need of yours isn’t getting met. 

If someone is consistently late, you might need to know how to set boundaries in relationships that your time is valuable and lateness infringes upon your ability to do other important tasks.

  1. Acknowledge your worth

You deserve to have your needs met and to feel respected, just as anyone else does. If you want to set healthy boundaries, you must remember that you are deserving of them.

Self-awareness helps to improve the quality of your life. 

  1. Examine existing boundaries

If you’re new at learning how to set boundaries, a good place to start is by asking yourself if you’ve ever set any before. 

If your colleagues know not to disturb you after a certain hour, for example, you can use this as a starting point for creating other boundaries in your life—perhaps with your spouse or children.

  1. Give yourself the gift of saying 'no'

You may feel guilty at first when you start saying no to people but don’t worry about it. People may be frustrated by your sudden unwillingness to put up with their behavior, but they will get over it. 

Saying no will become second nature soon enough.

  1. Communicate respectfully

It's one thing to tell someone what you need in a polite and respectful way. It's another to yell at them for violating your boundaries.

Always show respect to others and communicate new boundaries in a clear way, as well as learn to bring up violations without anger.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is an effective way of having difficult conversations. It will help you to respect other people’s right to speak and communicate respectfully while also exercising your own right to be honest.

Make Sure You Stick To Your Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is the first step to getting what you want from life. 

Once you’ve put in place the boundaries that work for you, stick to them.  Here are a few ways to help you stick to them:

  1. Always keep your boundaries in mind

Be clear about your boundaries so that you can act firmly when others start to infringe.

  1. Have a plan at the ready

Don’t wait for others to violate your boundaries. Instead, decide how you’ll communicate with them when you wish to remind them of the boundary you’ve set.

  1. Learn from your mistakes

When you set a boundary, try not to be so rigid about it.  If a situation arises where, for example, you need to change your mind about what’s okay and what isn’t, don’t be afraid to communicate openly with those around you about why your boundaries have changed.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your emotions. This can help you handle your relationships more effectively and set boundaries when you need to.

  1. Seek out mentors

If you want to meet your own needs, try to find people who are good at getting their needs met and do what they do.

Ask them questions and seek out their advice on setting your own boundaries.

You may also help yourself with asking self-reflection questions to understand your real needs. 

Setting boundaries is not easy, especially when you're starting out. Unfortunately, setting good boundaries isn't a magical process where setting just one boundary causes all your problems to go away.

Instead, it's a process that requires some willpower and effort. But if you want to set better boundaries in your life, keep reading.

After all, as long as you keep at it and do the work, your efforts will pay off in the end.

Learn To Set Your Healthy Boundaries To Live Happy

Self awareness is a difficult state to achieve, but it is the holy grail of emotional intelligence.

Self aware people are highly aware of their emotions, and of the effect they are having on others.

They take full ownership of their lives, which makes them strong and happy individuals.

Although many people think they are self-aware, the reality is that lacking self-awareness is what keeps people from realizing how unaware they really are.

According to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, the percentage of people who are truly self-aware lies between 12 and 15 percent.

But how can we improve if we don't know where we stand on the scale of self-awareness?

The answer is simple–practice. Like any other skill, we can gain self awareness through consistent effort and discipline. 

I’ll go over the different types of self awareness and what you can do to refine your self-awareness and self-reflection skills.

If you think you are lacking self awareness, you need to start practicing it to boost your life quality and live a happy life.

What Is Self Awareness?

Self awareness is the ability to objectively evaluate yourself—how you truly are, and how others perceive you.

It means understanding your emotional responses and what triggers them.

You also know what your values are and whether or not you’re living in alignment with them. 

It is difficult to master self awareness, especially because it means keeping our emotions from driving our behavior.

Also, it takes humility and flexibility to change our actions when we need to.

Think back to the last time you received criticism, whether at work or in your personal life. 

Did you stop and listen objectively to what you were hearing? 

Or did you go on the defensive, believing the other person was blowing things out of proportion? 

Being self-aware helps you admit your weaknesses and respond accordingly to negative feedback and constructive criticism.

In fact, feedback is one of the keys to gaining more power over yourself, if you are lacking self awareness.

The Two Main Types Of Self Awareness

There are two main types of self awareness: internal and external.  Internal self awareness is all about understanding how you operate–what your values are, what motivates you, your strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, you might know that you struggle with productivity, but also know that setting self-imposed deadlines can help you overcome it. 

This kind of internal self awareness can propel you out of inaction and help you achieve your goals.

External self awareness refers to how other people perceive you. This is related to internal self awareness, but having one doesn’t always mean having the other. 

You may know yourself quite well, but be completely clueless as to how others perceive you. 

For example, while you might work hard and take your job seriously, communication barriers with your colleagues can lead them to believe you’re a slacker. 

It’s important to make sure that your actions match the person you know yourself to be.

find self awareness

Benefits Of Self-Awareness

Self awareness is essential to personal growth. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be to improve your weak areas and capitalize on your strengths.

Here are a few benefits to self awareness:

  • You can more easily see things from other people’s perspectives.
  • You can practice self-control and reigning in your emotions.
  • You can become more efficient at your job.
  • You can boost your self-confidence through continuous self-improvement.
  • You can make better decisions with more reliable information.
  • You can improve your work environment and emotional well-being.
  • You can strengthen your relationships and gain other people’s trust.

How To Become More Self-Aware

Anyone can develop self awareness, even if they don't feel like they have a good handle on it now.

It just takes the desire to improve and a willingness to temporarily deal with any discomfort that comes up along the way.

It may go against your nature to ask for feedback and question your own assumptions about yourself. 

But if you’re willing to do these things, however scary, then you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll grow. 

These examples can help you develop and even master this skill, if you consider yourself lacking self awareness: 

  1. Practice mindfulness

You’d be surprised what you can learn when you’re paying attention.  All day, we’re surrounded by information coming from every angle–text messages, meetings, even the sights that pass by on our morning commute. 

We’ve trained ourselves to tune out anything we deem unnecessary, but often we go too far and find ourselves on autopilot. 

Practice mindfulness by taking a moment to look at your surroundings–what do you see?  Hear? Smell? Taste?

  The more you’re able to stop and be present in your own body, the more you’ll be able to observe your emotions and how you react to things.

  1. Journal your awareness

Writing is an excellent way of grounding ourselves in the present moment. Whenever you stop and practice mindfulness, take the time to write down everything you’re experiencing. 

What are you feeling? Have you experienced anything new? Is there something you’ve learned about yourself that you didn’t know before? 

It might be easy to remember what you had for breakfast yesterday, but much harder to remember how you felt when you first woke up. 

These journal entries can help you look back and track your emotional state over a period of time.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is a powerful tool to help us get a handle on our emotions. When you practice civil discourse, you become a mindful listener

You learn how to consider and then respond rather than immediately react. 

You also train yourself to understand the opposing side and gain new perspectives when you’re not entrenched in your own judgment. 

Civil discourse and self-awareness are two of the biggest assets in social leadership and in life.

  1. Ask for feedback

Most of us bristle when we receive feedback. Try practicing contrary action by soliciting feedback whenever you can.

The more you ask for feedback from superiors and colleagues, the more you’ll learn about yourself and how others perceive you.

You can also train yourself to become more comfortable with the process so that it becomes less of a burden when you receive unsolicited or constructive feedback.

  1. Try new experiences

Humans are creatures of habit. We don’t like discomfort, and new experiences are often uncomfortable.  If you want to improve your self-awareness, however, try exposing yourself to new experiences on a regular basis.

This will teach you more about what you like and what you don’t like. It will also help you learn how you react in different situations–do you stay calm?  Lose your cool?  Are you curious or closed off?  Rigid or flexible?

get self awareness

How To Test Your Self Awareness

There are many ways you can test your self awareness. One way is to write a list of your strengths and weaknesses. 

Once you're done, show it to a trusted friend and ask their opinion—do they believe the list is accurate?

  Is anything missing?  This will show you whether or not your perception of yourself aligns with how other people see you.

Another way to test your self-awareness is to take a personality test like an Enneagram test. Do the results match up with what you thought they would be?  How do they differ? 

Ideally, over time, you’ll test yourself in deeper ways that bring you closer to understanding who you truly are.

Self-awareness is necessary if you want to be a great leader

If you can pick your best traits and build on them to strengthen your weaknesses, you have a much better chance of success.

Self-Awareness: The Path To Self-Discovery and Success

If you’ve ever been in the middle of a meeting and suddenly found your attention wandering, you’re not alone.

  Studies have shown that although we spend 55% of our day listening, we only remember 17-25% of what we hear. 

People who practice mindful listening, however, receive numerous benefits.  Mindful listening increases your attention span and improves your memory. 

Beyond that, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness correlates with higher satisfaction in relationships.

Learning how to listen mindfully is something you need to practice regularly.  I’ll walk you through the basics as well as a few mindful listening activities you can practice to improve your skills.

What Is Mindful Listening?

Mindful listening combines two different practices: mindfulness and listening. Mindfulness is about being aware of your surroundings.

Active listening, however, is about paying attention to someone else's speech and demonstrate mindful listening.

When you combine the two, you’re able to receive information and remain open-minded. You don’t let distraction or judgment affect your ability to understand people.

Think of the last time you listened to a friend complain to you about a problem. Did you listen actively, nodding along and asking follow-up questions? 

Or did you interrupt with your own advice, tune out after a while, or let your attention wander?  When you listen mindfully, you’re present in the conversation in a way that allows the other person to feel heard and understood.

5 Benefits For Mindful Listening

It’s true that mindful listening can do wonders for your personal relationships. 

But it can also help your professional relationships, making you a better and more efficient worker and have productive team collaboration.

Mindful listening has a multitude of benefits for your life and career as an aspect of social skills, including the points below:

  1. You can retain more information

We can’t remember everything we hear, but it’s important that we remember more than we forget. 

Mindful listening helps you retain more information from a conversation that can be useful to you later. 

Whether you’re learning a complicated new subject, being briefed on a work project, or meeting a new client, it’s important to retain the necessary information to do your job efficiently and find common ground.

  1. You have more time to consider your words

Pausing before you speak gives you time to choose your words carefully.  Many of us speak hastily or out of emotion, which can lead to miscommunication and hurt feelings.

  Practicing mindful listening allows you to take a moment after the other person has finished speaking to consider how you will respond to respect other opinions.

You may find that certain things can be said more eloquently or even not said at all.

  1. You can pay attention for longer

Our attention spans are terribly short, but luckily there is a way to lengthen them. Mindful listening increases the amount of time that we can pay attention by focusing our energies on the present. 

When you set an intention to listen mindfully, you find that distractions are much fewer and further between.

  1. You’ll become an active listener

Active listening is such a powerful tool in the world of business. Whenever I meet with clients, I make an effort to sustain eye contact and keep my body language open. 

I also show that I’m paying attention by nodding along and giving small verbal encouragements to continue. By practicing active listening, I know that the other person feels heard.

  1. You’ll boost your self-esteem

The best way to boost your self-esteem is to practice estimable acts.  What’s more estimable than being a good listener in a world of bad listeners? 

People respect and appreciate those who offer them their undivided attention. You’ll make strong business relationships with people who see you as a mindful listener, which will allow you to see your own strengths.

How To Practice Mindful Listening

Becoming a mindful listener takes time and practice. You have to set a clear intention to be a better listener, which isn’t an easy task to do.

It’s normal to find yourself getting lost in your own thoughts every once in a while–this can happen to the best of listeners. 

But what separates those who listen mindfully from those who don’t is the ability to take a moment, acknowledge that your attention wandered, and then redirect back to genuine listening.

Practical Tips To Enhance Mindful Listening

To make it easier on you, I’ve listed a few practical mindful listening activities and exercises you can do to become a better listener.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on staying present

This mindful listening exercise will require a bit of discipline on your part. As human beings, it’s natural for our attention to drift to something that happened this morning or what we’re doing later in the day. 

But in order to listen mindfully, you have to be grounded in the present avoiding all types of listening barriers.  Find ways to ground yourself by focusing on the other speaker’s eyes, their words, and the tone of their voice.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse goes hand in hand with mindful listening. 

To practice civil discourse, you have to listen with an open mind, refrain from interrupting, and allow the other person to finish speaking before thinking of your own response.

  It will take a bit of work to get into this mindset, but it will help you have honest conversations about difficult topics without losing your cool.

  1. Ask questions

Asking questions not only shows you’re paying attention, but it can help you stay on track in the conversation.

Ask follow-up questions and repeat what you’ve heard back to the person for clarifications.  

  1. Pay attention to body language and tone

Body language and tone are both important forms of nonverbal communication that can add to what the person’s words say. 

Watch the speaker’s body language and listen for their tone to see how that affects what they’re saying.  You may find that a follow-up question is required to clarify or probe for more information.

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation

The best mindful listening exercise is meditation. Not only will it train you to be present, but it will also work as a way to combat stress and burnout. 

Try meditating for a few minutes a day in the beginning and see how it affects your ability to listen.

These mindful listening activities can help you unlock the key to being a better listener. 

Not only will you retain more information, but you’ll  and have effective communication with everyone around you.

Learn How To Practice Mindful Listening

Communication is something we all know how to do, but few of us can do it effectively. 

We talk more than we listen, we tune out what bores us, and we allow personal judgments to cloud our understanding. 

If we want to succeed in the workplace, however, then effective communication skills are essential.  

Whether you're presenting at a meeting, sending an email to a client or negotiating with a supplier, the bottom line is that the principles of communication can result in increased productivity and success.

Regardless of the type of business you're in, effective communication skills can help you develop stronger relationships, build stronger talent and increase your bottom line.

Read on for some helpful tips on how to improve communication skills and what can get in the way of you being a better communicator.

What Is Effective Communication?

Effective communication is all about exchanging information in a way where the message is clearly received and understood. 

When you communicate effectively, you exchange knowledge, opinions, and ideas with another person in a way that leaves both people feeling understood and heard.

I’ll give you an example. Say you’re in a meeting with your boss and he’s talking about a new project he’d like your team to work on.

His presentation is overly long, directionless, and frequently diverges into unrelated topics.  Sound familiar? 

While we’ve probably all worked with someone like this, we may not realize that the problem here is ineffective communication. 

When you’re an effective communicator, you know how to transmit information quickly, clearly, and concisely.  Ineffective communication can turn off listeners, confuse people, and lead to costly mistakes.

Common Barriers To Effective Communication

We are all capable of learning effective communication skills. However, we’re all susceptible to certain barriers that keep us from being good communicators. 

Here are a few of the most common communication barriers that prevent people from finding common grounds:

Stress and out-of-control emotions

When we’re upset, we don’t always think, act, or speak rationally. If you’re under a lot of stress or feeling angry, you’re less likely to listen with an open mind and respect other opinions

You’re also less likely to be direct yet courteous. Passive aggressive comments and outbursts are not only ineffective, but also damaging to our professional relationships.

So, it is vital to know how to stay calm during an argument and foster positivity. 

Lack of focus

True, not everyone is the most enthralling at telling a story. If you find yourself growing bored or the person you’re listening to starts rambling, then you’re much less likely to communicate effectively. 

But just because someone else’s communication style is lacking doesn’t mean that yours has to be. You can overcome this barrier with a little bit of discipline and some good follow-up questions.

Cultural differences

Cultures differ, and with them our communication styles. Some cultures have a much more direct communication style than others, while some have a certain tradition of courtesy that we may not be used to. 

If we’re communicating with someone from a different culture, we may find it difficult to understand their communication style or have our own be understood.

Negative body language

Our body language sometimes says more than our words do. Nothing shuts down a conversation faster than crossed arms and a scowl. 

It’s important to be mindful that our body language is open and nonjudgmental to encourage others to be honest. 

Otherwise, we might find that our body language keeps us from hearing important information that we need to hear.

Tips To Initiate Effective Communication

Communicating effectively is a skill that you can learn.  There are a few practices you can work on that will help you improve your effective communication skills over time. 

Here are six tips to foster effective communication:

  1. Give your undivided attention

How can you communicate effectively when your mind is elsewhere? There is no understating the importance of giving someone your undivided attention. 

This means putting down the phone, maintaining eye contact, and practicing active listening. When someone knows they have your full attention, they’re much more likely to speak freely.

  You’ll also be able to pick up on things like body language and other nonverbal communication that can add to what they’re saying.

  1. Get a team communication app

The easier it is to communicate, the less information falls through the cracks. Communication apps are great ways for team members to exchange information back and forth without having to go through multiple channels. 

Instead of having to sift through dozens of emails, put everyone on your team in the same chat group using the communication app of your choice. This will act as a central hub for all questions, ideas, and announcements.

  1. Show appreciation

People enjoy being told what they’re doing well. When you show appreciation for effective communication, you encourage others to improve their communication as well. 

This acts as positive reinforcement for their behavior and enforces an atmosphere of inclusivity.

  1. Ask follow-up questions

If you don’t know something, ask! This is the best way to clarify that what you’re hearing is what the other person is intending to say. 

Ask questions, repeat what you’ve heard back to the other person, and don’t be afraid to send follow-up questions by email if you think of anything later.

  1. Encourage two-way feedback

It’s not always easy for people to speak up with their superiors. But effective communication goes both ways, which is why two-way feedback is so important.

  When you encourage team members to offer you feedback, you make it easier to give them feedback without making them feel like they’re being singled out or negatively reacting to constructive criticism.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is at the heart of effective communication. Part of communicating effectively is ensuring that you’re allowing an open, honest, and respectful exchange of ideas. 

That means having an open mind, listening fully before formulating a response, and refraining from interrupting.

Just as you didn’t learn to speak overnight, you won’t become a perfect communicator overnight, either.

  Follow these tips to keep sharpening your effective communication skills and watch as you become a better leader.

6 Tips To Improve Your Effective Communication Skills

Active listening is a skill that many people lack because it's not something that we are accustomed to practicing.

Body language helps to spot when someone has poor communication skills like poor eye contact, uninterested facial expression, inattentive body posture, or talking over another person.

But active listening is harder to identify because it's a combination of only two things: paying attention and making it clear that you are paying attention using nonverbal communication. 

If you aren't aware of how others are demonstrating their ability to give good active listening, you may feel like you're doing a good job of actively listening when, in fact, you aren't even close.

What Is Active Listening?

Active listening is the process of paying close attention to the other person's body language, tone and choice of words.

The goal is to communicate, understand people and build trust. If it's done well, you can use these techniques to really connect with someone - even strangers or new contacts.

This may mean paying attention to their body language to help interpret their words–it also may mean verbally acknowledging what they say and replying with relevant comments.

According to the University of Missouri, 45% of communication is listening, and yet the average person remembers around 25-50% of what they hear. 

That means that when you’re venting to a friend, having a meeting with your boss, or chatting with a customer, most of what you say goes in one ear and out the other.  

The difference between active and passive listening lies in your reaction. 

While passive listening means not reacting at all, active listening usually involves verbal or physical reactions to encourage the speaker to continue.

These reactions show you’re listening to what’s being said without interrupting the speaker with your own thoughts.

What Are The Benefits Of Active Listening?

Active listening will help you in almost every area of life, from being an awesome friend to being a more effective and mindful leader.

It’s also an essential part of civil discourse: you must listen in order to share a discursive space.

When you listen actively, you respect the person you're communicating with and gain the information you need to be a better friend, better leader and colleague.

The 3 A’s Of Active Listening

The three A’s of active listening are:

1. attention

2. attitude

3. adjustment

So, what is active listening? Attention requires you to be fully in tune to everything the speaker communicates, including their words, gestures, and facial expressions. 

Eliminating distractions and maintaining eye contact are vital components of paying close attention to the speaker.

When actively listening, you need to have a positive and open-minded attitude. 

A scowl or an eye roll can shut down the other speaker and make them less willing to be honest with you. 

Lastly, you need to be able to adjust your gestures and body language in order to react to what you’re hearing. 

Nobody wants to talk to a blank wall, which is why it’s important to show you’re receiving the information being given to you (without being too over-the-top).

Key Points In Becoming An Active Listener

There are a few tips and techniques you can use to become an active listener in civil dialogue.

If you practice these techniques regularly for self-improvement, you’ll become a better communicator.

You can boost your productivity in the workplace, and improve relationships in and outside of work via accurate collaboration skills.  

So, what exactly are the active listening skills you can learn?  Here are 8 tips for how to be a better active listener:

1. Be present

It’s impossible to be an active listener when your mind is elsewhere.  In order to take in everything that’s being communicated to you, avoid distractions, communication barriers and pay attention. 

Mute your phone, make eye contact with the person speaking to you, and wait to formulate a response.  If you find your thoughts wandering, gently bring yourself back to the conversation.

2. Avoid interrupting

It can be tempting to jump in with helpful advice or anecdotes, but avoid interrupting at all costs. 

Wait until the person has finished speaking to make sure that you fully understand what it is they’re trying to say. 

If you interrupt, you run the risk of cutting them off before they give you all the relevant information.

  If you feel as though you have something you need to say, make a mental note to bring it up later and display respect for other opinions

3. Defer judgment

We can’t make an accurate judgment of what we’re being told before we know everything. 

Defer judgment until the conversation is over to avoid polluting your understanding of the speaker’s message. 

If you do find yourself making a judgment, try to avoid interrupting with judgmental comments or leading questions. 

Be ready to change your mind at any moment based on new information and find common ground.

4. Pay attention to your body language

Your body language might be saying something even if your words aren’t. 

If you’re closed off and making gestures or facial expressions that express judgment or discontent, this is just as bad as interrupting. 

Make sure you’re remaining open and interested in what the other person is saying. 

Make affirmative body movements by nodding, smiling, or peppering in a few comments that encourage the speaker to keep going.

5. Ask follow-up questions

Active listening is primarily about accurately receiving all the information you can and how to show respect

If you find yourself confused about what’s being said, ask follow-up questions to clarify the speaker’s points. 

Make sure you understand what’s actually being said without allowing your own assumptions to fill in the gaps.

6. Practice civil discourse 

Practicing civil discourse is a great way to sharpen your active listening skills. 

Be mindful of your body language, listen carefully even when you disagree, and ask questions to help understand different perspectives from your own.

7. Try repeating what they are saying 

Sometimes the best way to clarify what’s being said is to repeat it back to the speaker. 

Try using sentences like “What I’m hearing is…” and “So you’re saying…” to make sure you understand what they are saying.

8. Don't jump to conclusions 

As humans, we’re wired to make quick judgments about things. 

It’s important to refrain from jumping to conclusions, however, as this can cause you to tune out what’s being said.

One of the Top Examples Of Active Listening

Active listening is easy to recognize, even if it takes some work to do. 

To train yourself to become an active listener, check out this example of active listening:

Jeff: Hey, do you mind if I talk to you about something that’s been on my mind?

Rachel: Sure!  Let me just put my phone on silent so you have my full attention.

Jeff: Thank you.  I just need to vent about something that happened at work.

Rachel: Of course.  Tell me more.

Jeff: My boss is always breathing down my neck, which makes it hard to concentrate.  I’m always afraid of making mistakes.

Rachel: That must be really difficult to deal with.

Jeff: It is.  Then today he criticized me in front of everyone in a meeting.

Rachel: How did that make you feel?

Jeff: It was humiliating.  I feel like quitting.  But I really love this job, and I don’t want to let this get in the way of that.

Rachel: I understand.  I bet you could use some time to think about what you want to do.

Jeff: Yeah, I think so.  Thank you for listening, I think I just needed to tell someone about it.

Be a better communicator, leader and listener by following these tips. 

It won’t happen overnight, but if you stick with it consistently over time, your communication skills will improve. 

Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself in every conversation focusing on the other person and what they have to say.

8 Tips To Improve Your Active Listening Skills

The benefits of freelancing continue expanding and providing new opportunities. Freelancing has become one of the most popular new career choices for young adults across the world.

  As of 2022, there are 70.4 million freelancers in the United States, with an estimated 1.2 billion freelancers around the world. 

Why has freelancing gotten so popular, so much so that almost one-third of the global workforce is doing it?  The answer lies in the numerous benefits of freelancing. 

Not only do you get to be your own boss, but you gain the experience of working on a variety of projects you wouldn’t have access to at a 9 to 5 job.  

To help give you an idea of what freelancer benefits lie ahead of you, I’ll go over the pros and cons of freelancing and which platforms can help you get started.

learn the benefits of freelancing

5 Benefits Of Freelancing

If you want to join the expanding number of freelancers across the world, consider the benefits of freelancing to help you decide if it’s the right path for you. 

These freelancer benefits include:

  1. You choose the employer

We rarely get to choose our bosses in life. All of us have had that boss who demands too much without offering the support we need to get the job done.

  When you work freelance, it’s up to you who you work with. It is one of the greatest benefits of freelancing. You get to be your own boss, which means you call the shots on which clients you take on. 

If a client is difficult to work with, you’re perfectly able to turn down work from them in favor of clients who are a better match.

  1. Work as much or as little as you want

Depending on your schedule, you can take on as much or as little freelance work as you like. 

If you’re freelancing on the side, then you can take on one or two projects to supplement your regular income. 

Or, if you’ve decided to become a full-time freelancer, you can determine the optimal workload that doesn’t leave you feeling burned out.

  1. Develop your own schedule

Freelancing gives you the independence to develop your own schedule. If you’re an early bird, you can set office hours in the early morning to leave your afternoons wide open. 

If you’re a night owl, there’s no one stopping you from working late nights and spending your mornings with your family or sleeping in. 

The benefits of freelancing also includes giving yourself time off whenever you want, allowing you to attend special events or take vacations without having to clear it with your boss.

  1. Be your own boss

One of the best benefits of freelancing is the ability to be your own boss. Many jobs force you to color within the lines, delivering the work that your boss desires even if you would prefer to do things differently. 

When you work freelance, you get to decide how you operate. 

If you want to work from home in your pajamas, no one can stop you. If you want to outsource certain parts of the work, you have the freedom to do so.

  1. Work on a greater variety of projects

When we work on new projects outside of our comfort zone, we gain new skills that make us more valuable in the workforce. 

While a regular job might limit the scope of the projects you take on, freelancing gives you the opportunity to work on a wider variety of projects. 

You get to decide whether or not to branch out and challenge yourself, which can help you build your resumé faster and become eligible for more work.

What Are The Cons Of Freelance Working?

If freelancing didn’t have any pitfalls, everyone would be doing it. However, the people who succeed at freelancing do so because the rewards it provides exceed the cons. 

Here are a few potential downsides of freelance working:

  1. You have to pay taxes by yourself

When you have a steady gig at a company, your employer chips in to pay part of your taxes.

 This means that you only pay a portion of Social Security and Medicare while your employer helps pay for the rest. 

Working freelance means you take on these taxes all by yourself, paying the full corporate share.

  1. You don’t have a fixed income

A steady gig guarantees you a fixed income. When you work freelance, you’ll have times where you’re making a lot of money and times where you make very little. 

If you’re good at budgeting, you can weather the rough patches just fine. 

But some people aren’t equipped to handle these ups and downs, preferring the security of a regular job instead.

  1. You may feel isolated

Isolation is a potential downside of working for yourself. Without an office of coworkers to go into every day, you need to make an effort to maintain connected to other people. 

This may mean working from coffee shops or co-working spaces where you can meet and maintain relationships with other freelancers.

  1. It can be tough to find a work-life balance

At a regular job, you clock in and out at specific hours. When you work freelance, it can be tough to slip out of work mode. 

You’ll need to work extra hard to give yourself a firm end-time to the work, just as you would if you were working at a regular job.

How Do You Start Freelancing?

The best way to start freelancing is to engage with freelancing platforms.  Here are a few to help you get started:


Audo is a company that I created to help Gen Zers learn new skills and earn money at the same time. 

Using data-driven recommendations, you can discover which online courses will gain you the skills you need to succeed. 

You can also use the platform to find work through our Audo Earn Marketplace, putting your new skills to work right away.  


Fiverr has sections for different freelancing skills, from graphic design to writing online content. 

You’ll make a gig and set your own rates, waiting for clients to purchase your gig from a list of other freelancers.


Upwork puts the onus on you to find work, allowing you to bid on project proposals using a personal cover letter and work samples. 

This can be especially helpful for those with detailed portfolios that they can use to impress buyers.

There are many pros and cons of freelancing, but luckily the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  If you’re a self-starter who’s willing to put in the effort to find your own work, then freelancing will give you the flexibility and freedom to build a successful future.

5 Benefits of Freelancing to Find Life-Work Balance

Everyone has come up with an idea and thought, “I should start my own company.” But only 5% of those people actually do it. Starting a business requires more than just an idea, you need to know the steps to be successful. Ideas are the driving force behind every company. The companies I’ve created were born of simple ideas that fulfilled unmet needs and made a difference in the world. 

Audo began with the goal of providing Gen Z with the skills it needed to enter the workforce.  After publishing my writing on the Huffington Post in 2016, I was inspired to create Nota because I saw the need for vetted and anonymous publishing to restore civil discourse. My sister and I founded Guin Music to provide a full artist-first-ecosystem focused on artist development and sustainability. 

If you have an idea and want to turn it into a reality, read on for 10 easy steps to start your business.

What Do You Need To Start A Business?

Before you can get started setting up businesses, you need to be fully committed to your new venture. Setting up a new business takes a whole lot of drive and motivation to keep going through the various peaks and valleys. In addition to the actionable steps we’ll cover here, the mental commitment and preparation for starting a business is crucial. Don’t skip this step. Consider your willingness to take on the responsibility, stress, and time commitment necessary to see a business idea through. 

Research and seek out mentors who can help you turn your idea into a reality. No matter what industry you're in, there are successful people who have a lot of experience in that industry; and they like sharing the little secrets and tips on how to make it in their world. Seek out the wisdom of successful entrepreneurs by reading books on entrepreneurship for motivation and articles written by industry leaders. This can help you get into the right mindset to take the leap yourself and start your own business.

10 Steps To Start Your Business In 2022

Once you have done your research, you are ready to take the first steps to starting a business. These steps offer a basic roadmap for everything from coming up with a business idea to launching your new company. Here are 10 introductory steps to starting a business:

  1. Pick your idea

Deciding on an idea is the first step in determining the likelihood of your business succeeding. To come up with a monetizable idea, consider your own experience and strengths. Do you have any skills that could be turned into a business? Have you noticed any gaps in the market that you know how to fill?

  1. Perform market research

Before you move ahead with your idea, you want to make sure it’s actually profitable. A good starting point is to research how others in the same field are earning money and whether there’s a market for your idea. Even if you are entering a marketplace with other companies, your research can tell you how to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can offer lower prices, higher-quality products, or more convenient delivery.  Find a way to stand out and meet your customer’s needs.

  1. Draw up a business plan

Next, you’ll need to create a business plan, which will guide you through the rest of your journey of starting a business.  A detailed business plan should include descriptions of your product or service and how it will benefit customers, as well as all of the market research you’ve done. This plan should be formatted with a table of contents and clear sections to make it easy for investors to navigate.

  1. Decide on your business structure

Your business structure determines whether or not you will receive legal and financial protection as the founder of your business. A sole proprietorship is the easiest business structure to obtain, but it leaves you personally liable for the actions of your company. An LLC offers liability protection, which means that if someone sues your business, he or she cannot go after your personal assets. A corporation offers the highest degree of protection from lawsuits and other liabilities, but requires you to issue stock. This will give shareholders ownership over fractional shares of your company.

  1. File the necessary paperwork

To get started, you’ll need to register your business with the state. You’ll need to get a state and federal tax ID number for your business, as well as any licenses and permits required by your state/city. This often varies due to industry, as food service businesses have their own requirements separate from other retail businesses.

  1. Find investors

Now is the time to go out there and secure funding.  Before you start searching for investors, make an estimate of how much money your business will need. Don’t forget to include not only the cost of supplies and licenses, but also services that are essential to the success of your business such as legal advice. Once you have a number in mind, look for financing options such as grants, business loans, and angel investors. You can even look to friends and family members to invest in your business.

  1. Purchase business insurance

Business insurance and liability coverage will protect you, your business, and your employees from unforeseen events. You’ll want to consider general liability insurance, business income insurance, professional liability coverage, and data breach coverage if you need coverage in those areas. You may also want commercial property insurance to cover any physical space you rent for your business.

  1. Hire your team

Once you’ve got some seed money, hire a team to help launch your business. You may want a co-founder to help manage the day-to-day running of the business. Many businesses, regardless of industry, use IT professionals, marketing agents, and social media managers to help run their operations.

  1. Start Marketing

When you start a business, you must establish a brand. Develop a logo, create a consistent voice and tone for all your marketing materials, and design a website that is both easy to navigate and visually appealing. A marketing agency can be a real asset to help you build a website and become active on social media. Once you’ve laid this groundwork, it’s time to launch.

  1. Launch and scale

Launching your business is the beginning of a long and rewarding journey. You’ll need to scale your business and find new ways to grow if you want to start turning a profit. Keep your ear to the ground and listen to your customers' needs so that you can refine your products accordingly. You’ll also want to continue researching market trends and your competitors to make sure they aren’t outpacing you.

Now that you know all the right ways to start a business, you’re ready to get started. But just know that the most important step of all is defining your purpose. How will your business change people’s lives and add value? If you focus on this from the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll give your business the best chance of thriving.

10 Steps To Start Your Own Business In 2023

Peter Drucker once said, "The best way to predict the future is to create it."

This quote can be encouraging when you're considering starting your own business; instead of focusing on what an entrepreneur should be, find out who you are and what your passion is.

How to start a business? The truth is that there are many things to consider when starting a business, but the best way to get started is to just do it. There are multiple myths about starting a business, you don't need to believe in.

When I first started out, I believed plenty of myths about businesses. Like many people, I thought that entrepreneurship was an incredibly hard skill to learn.

When I began working for myself, I realized that my goals were much more achievable than I had expected.

Building a business is challenging, but you don't have to know everything or have every aspect of your business planned out from the start.

The willingness to take action is the most important asset an entrepreneur can have.

myths you don't need to believe about starting a business

7 Myths About Starting A Business And Entrepreneurship

A lot of people have a lot of wrong ideas about how to start a business. 

You may have heard that you can only think about how to start a business if you have money, or higher education, or a 20-page business plan. 

But none of those things are strictly necessary for starting a new business. If you have the drive and determination and motivation in entrepreneurship, you can succeed.

Here are 7 business myths that I’m here to correct:

  1. Only geniuses can start a business

Some entrepreneurs exaggerate their own expertise in starting a business by claiming that it takes a lot of knowledge.

While business savvy and a higher education certainly help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship, they’re hardly requirements.

The truth is that you don't have to know everything before you start a business but all you need is learning by doing.

The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has an inspiring story of success despite failing his university entrance exam (twice).

After years of rejections and initial failures, he was able to build one of the world’s largest e-commerce conglomerates.

  1. You need to have a lot money to invest

When starting your own business, time is more powerful than money. 

While money is always helpful, many entrepreneurs started with nothing more than their services and skills. 

If you want to know how to start a business with no money, look to entrepreneurs like Michael Dell. 

He started with just $1,000 from his family, yet he was able to become one of the richest men in the world. So, don't believe one of the greatest myths about starting a business.

  1. You need to begin with a full business plan

A business plan is an asset, no doubt. But you don't need a ton of detail and a rigid structure to get started.

It's okay to begin with just a few initial steps and an overarching purpose to guide you through the beginning stages of your business.

Once you've gotten started, you'll get more information to fill in the blanks as you go along.

  1. There is a “right time” to start

Another famous one among the myths about starting a business is that too many entrepreneurs are paralyzed by the idea that they have to wait for the perfect time to start their business. Don't be one of them.

You always have reasons not to act–you don’t know enough, the market isn’t right, you’re not organized enough.

The truth is that waiting for the perfect conditions to start a business will never happen. The right time to get started is now!

  1. You need to hire a full staff

Many businesses need employees to help manage day-to-day operations.

But if you're just getting started, it's perfectly acceptable to work alone for some of the initial period.

You can take on many roles yourself, then hire freelancers to handle tasks as needed. Instead of hiring a full-time copywriter, outsource your web copy to a freelance writer.

You can keep your business lean by hiring part-time staff and contractors until the business has grown enough to warrant full-time employees.

  1. You should be ready to work around the clock

One of the biggest myths about starting a business is that if you want to be successful, you have to work 24/7.

The truth is that if you take on too much too fast, you're likely to burn out.

Quality work is much more important than quantity, especially when you know how to prioritize and focus on what's most important. 

Work smarter, not harder. Focus on high-impact tasks and delegate or delay the minor stuff.

If you spend 30 hours a week doing high-quality work, it's likely to get you farther than burning out after a grueling 60-hour workweek.

  1. You need to be an expert at marketing and branding

Taking one or two online marketing courses can be a great asset to starting a business.  However, it's not required to be successful.

If you know your customers and you have a clear goal, it’s possible to succeed without being an expert marketer.

Think about the value you want to provide your customers and use that as a guide. 

This will help you create a strong brand and connect with your audience.

When it comes to learning how to start a business, there's a lot of information out there. Some of it is good, and some of it is less than accurate.

In order for you to get up and running as efficiently as possible, it's important that you avoid these seven common myths when getting started in business. 

Don’t wait any longer to pursue your dream of entrepreneurship. I’ve reframed the myths that are likely keeping you from getting started, so there’s nothing left to stop you.

  Anyone can start a business but not everyone is able to push through the failures required to achieve success.

In my journey of becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve learned the most from my failures.

If you want to know how to start a business, you have to be ready to embrace your fears, be willing to fail, and learn from it.

7 Myths About Starting A Business That I Used To Believe

When you're interviewing for a job, you'll often hear applicants boast about their “excellent interpersonal skills.”

But what exactly does it mean to have good interpersonal skills? And why are they such an asset in the workplace? 

The truth is, mastering interpersonal skills is certain to get you far in both your work and social life.

Interpersonal skills will make you a more effective communicator, help you to get people's attention and focus, and allow you to avoid conflicts that come your way.

The ability to communicate effectively with other people is a fundamental skill for everyone, whether you’re managing a team or starting an entry-level job.

In this blog, I’ll discuss what interpersonal skills are, why they’re so important at work, and the most important skills to develop.

What Are Interpersonal Skills?

So, what are interpersonal skills? Interpersonal skills are your ability to communicate and interact effectively with people throughout your daily lives, including at work and in personal relationships.

They are essential to your success and happiness in everyday life, as well as valuable assets when you apply for a job or an internship.

These interpersonal skills are the behaviors, attitudes, and strategies that we use when working with other people and collaborating with your team.

Interpersonal skills are those that involve managing other people. Such skills include conflict resolution, active listening and working as part of a team.

They can also include emotional intelligence skills such as the ability to regulate stress and empathize with other people.

While some people are natural born experts, others have to practice in order to make these skills a habit.

The Importance Of Interpersonal Skills

Practical skills such as coding and digital literacy are valuable in some professions, but interpersonal skills are applicable to every area of life.

If you’re an accountant, entrepreneur, or retail manager, the ability to work well with others will get you far in your career. 

Strong interpersonal skills are essential to resolving conflicts at the workplace with colleagues, friends and communicating more effectively with your romantic partner.

This will lead to less conflict, higher self-confidence, and greater productivity.

importance of interpersonal skills

Types Of Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are basic competencies that relate to working with other people.

Here are seven examples of interpersonal skills that are valuable in the workplace:


The principles of communication are the foundation of a strong interpersonal skill set.

Being articulate helps you pick up on important details and makes sure your message is never misconstrued. 

Communication can be broken down into two categories: verbal and nonverbal.

Verbal communication is a way of communicating with words. Good verbal communication includes being clear and direct while remaining respectful.

Nonverbal communication refers to the ways we communicate using our bodies, facial expressions, and gestures.

The best communicators are those who can read body language and pick up on other people’s nonverbal cues.

They are mindful of their own tone of voice and facial expressions, and they use these skills to interpret what others are saying.

Public speaking

Public speaking is an offshoot of communication skills, but it’s important enough to deserve a section of its own. 

The ability to address a crowd is something that distinguishes good leaders from great ones. 

When you have the ability to command people’s attention, you can do things like lead an effective meeting or even make a persuasive speech to attract investors. 

Public speaking requires quite a bit of practice, as you’ll need to rehearse and plan out what you’re going to say ahead of time. 

It can take a while to build your way up into being a confident public speaker, but it’s a valuable tool in any leader’s arsenal.

Conflict management

The ability to resolve conflict is another important interpersonal skill that every employee needs. 

Workplace disputes are a part of life, but being able to compromise and disagree respectfully are critical. 

Without the ability to remain levelheaded and look for common ground, you render yourself and your colleagues ineffective.

The ability to resolve conflicts between others is also an important interpersonal skill for leaders to have. 

If you can find the source of the conflict, make sure that each party has their say, and find ways to meet a common goal, you can create a more cohesive team.


Active listening is an incredibly valuable interpersonal skill.

This refers to the ability to listen fully to another person without interruption, taking in the meaning of their words before formulating your own response which may become a listening barrier.

  It also may include verbal or nonverbal gestures of encouragement to show the speaker that you’re engaged.

A good listener asks clarifying questions and pays attention to the speaker’s body language while being mindful of their own.


Empathy is an important key to working with others.

If you can’t understand why people act or feel the way they do, then you’ll keep running into conflict when your opposing work styles clash.

  When you practice empathy, you take the time to learn how the other person operates so that you can meet them halfway. 

If you stop to consider how your actions will affect them, you might decide to switch tactics.

Being able to empathize allows you to anticipate their reactions and minimize resentment against people who work differently than you.


A positive attitude is hard to force, but it’s easy to learn. It takes time and effort to maintain a positive attitude through the stress and burnout of work.

Train yourself to look for the positive side of things and see challenges as opportunities.

With a positive mindset, you’ll find yourself less stressed and less likely to succumb to burnout.

You’ll also be easier to work with, as you won’t take your frustration out on others.

Positivity is contagious, and the more you train yourself to stay positive, the more you will encourage that mindset in your employees.


The final interpersonal skill on the list is teamwork, which is a powerful skill for both employees and leaders. 

Whether you’re leading the team or not, it’s important to know how to work with others towards a common goal.

Teamwork and collaboration skills include the ability to compromise and delegate certain tasks to other people based on their unique strengths. 

If you tend to do everything yourself, you’ll need to learn how to let go of control and allow others to submit their own ideas. 

If you tend to shirk your responsibilities onto others, you’ll need to practice accountability to do your fair share of the work.

As you’ve read, interpersonal skills can play a very important role in your life. 

However, it’s important to learn how to use these skills in a way that will benefit you rather than harm you. 

These skills should help you support, inspire, and guide your fellow employees rather than manipulate or control them. 

As a leader, your job is to support the people you work with.  Interpersonal skills are your most valuable tool to be of service to the people around you.  

To keep improving your interpersonal skills, find opportunities to practice civil discourse on a regular basis. 

By actively listening, communicating honestly and respectfully, and maintaining your composure, you’ll be able to have difficult but necessary conversations. 

This ability will keep your interpersonal skills sharp and provide you with constant opportunities for growth.

7 Most Valuable Interpersonal Skills For Employees

Many organizations are working hard to create a culture where their employees can give and receive performance improvement feedback comfortably and kindly.

The feedback sandwich or “compliment sandwich” has long been recommended as a strategy for giving positive and negative feedback in management development and consulting.

The compliment sandwich method is an effective way to give feedback, but it isn’t the best approach for everyone.

It is a good way to provide constructive criticism, but it’s not the best approach for everyone.

Some people might find the structure of the sandwich confusing, especially if the person giving feedback misapplies it.

It helps to know when it’s the right time to put it to use. In this article, I’ll go over the pros and cons of this type of feedback as well as a few hot tips on how to deliver it effectively.

What Is A Feedback Sandwich?

Just as a sandwich filled with tasty ingredients is made with positive feedback between two slices of bread, a feedback sandwich is made with negative feedback between two pieces of positive feedback.

The idea behind this method is to give criticism after praise in a way that makes it easier to hear negative feedback and more likely to be accepted by the employee receiving the feedback.

A compliment sandwich is a great way to provide feedback because it allows you to deliver your thoughts without offending or upsetting the person you’re giving feedback to.

It also helps you provide a very clear and constructive criticism, which is often much more effective than simply trying to tear something down (“That was terrible!!”)

When giving feedback, it’s important to make sure the person you’re talking to is receptive. 

The feedback sandwich helps with this by beginning with positive feedback, then mentioning a piece of negative feedback, then ending on a positive note.

what can feedback sandwich give you

Pros And Cons Of The Feedback Sandwich Method

Like any method of communication, the sandwich method of feedback has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Check out these pros and cons to see whether or not this method is appropriate for you.

Benefits Of The Feedback Sandwich

It makes negative feedback easier to hear.

The biggest benefit of the feedback sandwich is that it softens the emotional impact of criticism. 

No one likes to be told what they’re doing wrong even the most confident employee can start second-guessing themselves if they receive too much negative feedback. 

By pairing the negative with the positive, you remind employees that their strengths vastly outweigh their weaknesses. 

This can help them maintain perspective when being shown areas of improvement.

It makes negative feedback easier to give.

Just as no one likes to be criticized, very few people like to give criticism. It takes a certain amount of objectivity and detachment to be able to tell another human being that they’re doing something wrong.

  Even people whose job it is to critique other people can struggle with giving negative feedback on a consistent basis. 

The feedback sandwich makes it easier to provide open and honest feedback by giving you an opportunity to focus on the good as well as the bad. 

This can train you to become more adept at identifying areas of improvement in an objective manner. 

It also helps you to acknowledge people’s strengths at the same time.

It reminds employees of their strengths.

Human nature causes us to focus on our own shortcomings and take our strengths for granted.

On any given day, we’ll remember the one thing we did wrong over the 20 things we did right. 

Compliment sandwiches boost our self-esteem by reminding us on a regular basis of the areas in which we shine. 

This confidence boost makes it easier to believe that we have the ability to overcome our weaknesses and grow no matter what.

It allows things to end on a positive note.

People tend to remember the way something ended much more strongly than how it began, which is why it’s important to end every meeting on a positive note. 

The sandwich allows you to part on good terms, which makes the person receiving feedback much more inclined to act on it rather than ignore it. 

When you make the compliment sandwich the standard form of communication, you train your employees to expect positive feedback instead of anticipating constant criticism.

It strengthens the tunnel of communication.

Communication skills are one of the most important tools in our lives. Whether we’re communicating with a boss, a colleague, or a partner, open and honest communication is necessary for a functional relationship. 

When you’re too afraid to give negative feedback or you’re overly critical, you risk harming your relationships. 

The feedback sandwich makes you a better communicator. It shows your employees that you will always be honest and they can be honest in return.

feedback sandwich pros

Drawbacks Of The Feedback Sandwich

It can sometimes come across as unclear.

One of the potential downsides of the feedback sandwich is that it can potentially cause confusion.

 It requires three clearly defined segments, but poor communicators can often blur the lines between the compliments and the criticisms. 

This leads an employee to hear something like “You’re doing great, except you really aren’t, although maybe it’s not so bad.”

Make sure that your compliment sandwich is clearly defined, specific, and most of all, actionable.

It can spoil positive feedback.

Another potential downside of the feedback sandwich is that it can ruin any positive feedback you’re looking to give. 

If you only ever give such feedback, you might inadvertently train people to think that every compliment you give is hiding a secret criticism. 

The goal of the feedback is to soften the blow of negative criticism, not weaken positive feedback.

Make an effort to give out positive feedback on its own every now and then. 

This will remind people that sometimes, you really have nothing but good things to say.

It can appear disingenuous.

It’s important to choose significant pieces of feedback to use as the individual ingredients. 

If both of your compliments are weak, then they’ll only add insult to injury when you deliver the criticism. 

For example, imagine if the feedback sandwich you received was:

  • Thank you for always being on time!
  • Your work is seriously subpar and if you don’t improve, we may need to fire you.
  • You always dress professionally.

While this is an extreme example, do you see how the positive feedback pales in comparison to the negative? 

If your work is so subpar, who cares how you dress?

  Each piece of feedback should be roughly equal in comparison, otherwise the person receiving it is going to feel manipulated.

It may not translate cross-culturally.

Cultural differences may prevent the compliment sandwich from being truly effective. While such feedback has many strengths, it is primarily suitable for the Western style of communication.

  Americans are used to hearing feedback in a certain way, while employees from other cultures may interpret the information in a totally different manner. 

You want to avoid confusion at all costs with the feedback sandwich, otherwise you risk creating distrust in your employees. 

Test the waters to see how it impacts each of your employees.

If you can tell it’s not working, you might want to try a different method of communication with that person.

It can increase anxiety among employees.

This drawback is primarily dependent on how confidently you deliver the compliment sandwich.

If you’re nervous, stumbling over your words, or speaking in riddles, then you’ll only make things worse for the person getting the feedback. 

Try practicing the feedback sandwich by yourself before testing it out for the first time.

If you like, you can write down bullet points to refer to during your meeting so you stay on track. 

As long as you’re communicating clearly, respectfully, and with empathy, then you’ll be sure to pull off the sandwich effectively.

tips for feedback sandwich

Tips On How A Feedback Sandwich Can Work Effectively

If you’re considering adopting the sandwich method of feedback, then it’s more important to understand how to do it effectively.

Here are a few tips to consider when giving a compliment sandwich:

Give constructive criticism

While a feedback sandwich does allow for negative feedback, this should be tailored in a way to be as constructive as possible. 

“You’re doing terribly” is not only vague, it’s unhelpful. All criticism should be clear and constructive, leaving the recipient with clear direction on how to move forward. 

For example, “Your work is sloppy and unprofessional” could be delivered as “I’d like to see a more polished product. 

Perhaps you could spend more time on the review process before turning things in, or let us know if you need an extension on the deadline.” 

This is clear and constructive, making it easier for the recipient to change their behavior to meet your needs.

Make additional suggestions for improvement

Don’t be afraid to make suggestions on what changes the recipient can make to improve. Sometimes people need extra guidance in order to learn from constructive criticism. 

By providing the person with a few ideas on how to improve, you give them an opportunity to show you that they’ve heard your feedback and they’re taking steps to change their behavior. 

That way, if they try your suggestions and still don’t meet their goals, you can then work together to give them the tools they need to succeed.

Have a strategy prepared ahead of time

It’s easy to lose track of things during the discussion and veer off course. Nothing derails a compliment sandwich more than rambling about something off-topic. 

Try to have a plan drawn out ahead of time for what you’re going to say, and include opportunities for the person to respond. 

You might want to consider the different ways they’ll respond and come up with your own way of dealing with that.

  For example, if your criticism is about lateness, you might anticipate that they’ll have questions about how often they’ve been late and by how long. 

Having this information on hand ahead of time can make the process easier to navigate.

Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is a powerful tool designed to have difficult conversations in an open and respectful manner.

What’s more difficult than telling someone what they’re doing wrong? 

To practice civil discourse, make sure you give both sides ample opportunity to speak. 

Don’t interrupt the other person when they’re speaking, and listen carefully to what they say before formulating your own response.

Practice active listening

Active listening is another great tool to make the feedback method easier. When the person asks questions about your feedback, listen mindfully and closely to what they’re saying. 

You may come in with an idea of what negative feedback you want to give, but then something they say makes you realize you had things all wrong.

  Be open to input from the feedback recipient and you might find that you’ll come to a solution together.

What Do Real Life Feedback Sandwich Situations Look Like?

Feedback sandwiches don’t always work out in certain real life situations.

Some people have selective perception where they tune out the negative feedback and only hear the positives. 

For example, let’s say you give someone such feedback:

  • You’re always so dependable.
  • You need to keep me in the loop with updates about work projects.
  • You have an excellent attitude.

If the employee has selective perception, they might not understand the negative criticism in the middle. 

You may want better communication about work projects, but all they’ve heard is how dependable they are and what a great attitude they have. 

Try to make sure your negative criticism is distinct from the positive feedback, and that it doesn’t contradict it.

The feedback sandwich can be a great tool for making constructive criticism a natural part of the workday.

Consider these tips to see whether or it meets to your needs.

Feedback Sandwich: 10 Pros And Cons To Consider

One of the best paths forward in your career is to develop your career skills. 

While the skills you need might vary from job to job, there are certain skills that will serve you well no matter where you go.

Career skills are the ones that help you perform well in a particular field, while transferable skills are those that can be used in other fields.

When you are looking to maximize your worth as an employee, it is important to focus on building a few transferable career skills.

This way, even if you change careers in the future, none of your effort will have gone to waste.

In my journey to become an entrepreneur, I’ve acquired a variety of skills that have helped me find success. 

In this blog, I will discuss the career skills that I think will help you the most on your journey and explain how you can start developing them today.

What Career Skills Do Companies Appreciate Most?

Different jobs require different sets of skills. As a barber, you’ll need to understand the best way to cut hair and how to deal with customers.

As an accountant, you’ll need to know how to read financial statements. It may seem like there's no overlap between these two jobs, but there is!

The ability to work well with others and good problem-solving skills are two skills that will help you in almost any career and make you a more valuable employee.

Here are some elements you should work on to advance your career skills:

Interpersonal skills

Most jobs require you to work with others. The company wants to know that when they bring you on board, you will be able to work as part of a team. 

Not everyone works well together, so companies usually try to seek out candidates that align with their company values and vibe well with the rest of the team. 

When you have strong interpersonal skills and value teamwork and collaboration, you’ll be able to fit into a new team with ease.

Interpersonal skills include:

  • Being accountable for your share of the work
  • Being willing to brainstorm ideas with other people
  • Sharing credit with a team instead of receiving sole praise
  • Letting go of your own ideas in favor of the group’s decision
  • Acting professionally and responsibly
  • Making ethical choices

Leadership skills

Many jobs entail working with leaders who direct other people. 

Some people take naturally to this, while others balk at the idea of telling someone what to do.

Leadership styles vary greatly, and it takes a solid set of leadership skills to bring out the best in your employees without alienating or controlling them.

These leadership skills include:

  • Being able to delegate tasks
  • Managing multiple people at the same time
  • Assessing other people’s strengths and dividing responsibilities accordingly
  • Creative problem solving
  • Resolving disputes and mediating conflict
  • Creating schedules 
  • Training new employees
  • Motivating and instructing employees
  • Providing positive and negative feedback on a regular basis
  • Hosting meetings and fielding questions and complaints

Communication skills

Some of the most important skills to improve at work are communication skills. 

You will be better able to communicate with your colleagues, superiors, employees, and clients when you pay attention to this career development skill. 

This is one of the hardest career development skills to fully master but you’ll improve the more you practice.

Communication skills include:

  • Learning to interpret nonverbal communication
  • Speaking clearly and concisely
  • Asking follow up questions to clarify
  • Speaking honestly yet respectfully
  • Providing constructive feedback
  • Being receptive to negative feedback
  • Proofreading written communication
  • Being willing to speak up and offer ideas
  • Networking with others
  • Negotiating with clients
  • Public speaking and leading presentations

Self-discipline skills

The ability to regulate yourself when it comes to your career is an important skill.

Many people are good at managing others, but they struggle with their own productivity and self-discipline.

Having the discipline to show up for your job and create your own schedule will help you get ahead in a competitive work environment.

Self-discipline skills include:

  • Creating and sticking to a routine
  • Holding yourself accountable
  • Setting goals for yourself
  • Meeting work deadlines
  • Holding up under pressure
  • Concealing stress while working with customers
  • Showing initiative and going above and beyond
  • Prioritizing tasks in order of importance
  • Outsourcing or delegating if necessary
  • Being self-motivating and bouncing back from failures
  • Practicing self-care and avoiding burnout
  • Multi-tasking effectively

Conflict management skills

Conflict is one of life's unavoidable elements, but the ability to navigate and value conflict will set you apart from other employees.

Companies look for employees who can manage conflict and resolve disputes between themselves and other people.

Not only is this a sign of a good leader, but it's also the sign of a good team player. Conflict management skills include:

  • Maintaining an even temper and a civil demeanor
  • Having an open mind
  • Being willing to compromise
  • Keeping a positive mindset focused on the solution
  • Mediating conflict between other people
  • Finding creative ways to compromise
  • Promptly admitting and taking ownership of where you were wrong
  • Practicing civil discourse to discuss sensitive topics

Personal improvement skills

Companies want employees who are interested in growing their careers and taking on new responsibilities.

One of the best ways to do this is by having the ability to take initiative.

If you’re constantly focused on personal improvement and self-development, then you will be a more attractive candidate and position yourself for promotions or raises.

Good personal improvement skills to improve at work are:

  • Being open to feedback
  • Seeking out mentors
  • Taking direction from others
  • Personal initiative
  • Going above and beyond instead of doing the bare minimum
  • Seeking additional training and outside education
  • Setting short and long-term goals for yourself
  • Reflecting on past experiences
  • Treating obstacles as learning opportunities
  • Exploring innovative ways to enhance productivity and efficiency

Adaptability skills

It's in your best interest to be able to roll with the punches. Being adaptable can help you survive in a constantly changing work environment, where you have to deal with new and stressful situations regularly. 

If you can adapt to new and stressful situations, then you prove your ability to do your job under pressure and problem-solve.

Some adaptability skills include:

  • Coping with stress
  • Avoiding indecisions
  • Being willing to change your routine to match the current circumstances
  • Supporting and informing your team of any updates
  • Being willing to take on new training
  • Dealing with last-minute problems
  • Maintaining grace under pressure
  • Shifting priorities as needed
  • Accepting and incorporating new feedback
  • Asking for additional help when needed
develop career skills

How To Develop Career Skills

Now that you know which skills you’ll need to be successful in your career, how do you acquire them? Are they innate?

The answer differs based on the skill. While some skills are innate and don’t need to be learned, others must be practiced regularly.

You may find that you have certain skills and traits that you will never possess, no matter how hard you work at them. 

For example, you might find that networking will never be your strong suit, although you do well at one-on-one interactions. 

Even if you don’t become as skilled as some of your fellow colleagues, a bit of growth can take you a long way.

One of the best ways to improve your interpersonal skills is through practice. 

The more time you spend working with other people, the easier it will be to work as a team and adjust to different personalities. 

Leadership skills can be tough to cultivate without a leadership position, but you can improve by taking courses or reading books on leadership.

Communication skills are another set of skills best improved through practice, both in and out of a work setting. 

Developing self-discipline and personal growth skills will take some effort outside of work.

Practicing mindfulness, choosing an accountability buddy, and seeking out mentors can help you develop these skills.

Adaptability is one of the most difficult skills to improve. A lot of people find it hard to become flexible.

They’re too attached to their routines. The best way to improve in this area is to try something new every once in a while. 

Try doing things differently, and allow yourself to fail as you venture into unknown territory.

Learning these career development skills isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. 

Some skills will take years to learn while others will be easier to pick up; it all depends on how well you apply yourself.

Self-improvement will help you focus on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses, you will grow faster in your career.

If you’re looking for help to get started, try taking an online course or joining a group. You’ll learn new skills and meet others who can support your learning.

Career Skills: How To Develop Skills Effectively

How to create a startup? The key to successful startups is having a good idea, but there’s more to the process than meets the eye.

An "aha" moment is the beginning of a genius startup idea, but it's certainly not the end.

Ask any successful entrepreneur: coming up with great startup ideas can be challenging, rewarding, and a little overwhelming.

The makeup of any great startup idea is creativity, a standout product, and a dedicated founder and motivated entrepreneur.

I'm a three-time founder, and I've learned a lot about the ideation, iteration, and execution processes of startup ideas. Here is some of what I've learned so far on my journey through entrepreneurship.

How To Create A Startup

If you’re ready to launch your own successful startup company in 2023, it’s time to go over how to build a startup.

Here are the 10 steps to learn how to create a startup:

  1. Consider your skills

Each of us have different strengths and weaknesses. If you’re planning on seeing your company all the way to launch, you’ll need to identify what entrepreneurial skills you have that will help you succeed.

  For example, passion, self-discipline, and the ability to motivate others are all great assets which will help you learn how to build startup.

  1. Choose an idea

All startups begin with an idea. You can find your business idea by looking at what you’re already good at. For example, maybe you’re an excellent cook and you want to start a meal prep business. 

You can also identify any gaps in the marketplace that need filling. If you’re troubled by the amount of food waste in the world, create a startup that addresses that issue.

  1. Create a business plan

Your business plan can be formal or informal, just so long as it lays out all the important aspects of your journey along the way. 

This should include aspects like the problem, how your startup solves it, and who your customers are. You’ll also want to include factors like infrastructure, revenue models, and cost models.

Once you’re pursuing investors, you’ll need to provide them with a formal business plan. It is the roadmap to know how to build startup that will initiate interest.

  1. Build a team

Startups have the best chance of success with more players at the table. You’ll want to build a team of like-minded people who bring their own advantages that help the startup grow. 

For example, you’ll want co-founders who have experience in the industry you’re entering or with creating a startup in general. 

To find co-founders, you can try networking with other entrepreneurs at local events and gather a supporting team.

  1. Establish your startup

This is a step with many individual tasks that define what exactly your startup is going to be. 

Here you’ll name your startup, choose a formal or informal business structure, and choose a physical location. 

You’ll also need to do all of the due diligence of registering and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits.

  1. Secure funding

So, how to build startup? The main points you need to care about includes finances. You can’t run a startup without money. At this step in the process, you’ll need to determine all of your startup costs before pursuing funding. 

Once you have a number in mind, you can get funding through:

  • Bootstrapping
  • Crowdfunding
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capitalists
  • Friends and family
  • Business loans
  • Business credit cards

    7. Set up accounting

Once you’ve begun to secure funding, establish an accounting system to manage these finances.

This can be anything from using an accountant, a bookkeeper, or small business accounting software.

  1. Begin marketing your brand

Marketing is how you’ll get your startup off the ground, so it’s important to come up with your own unique brand. 

Design a logo, build a personalized website, and start working on a social media presence. 

Begin writing press releases to start generating buzz about your company.

  1. Hire your team

You’ll need roles like a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Marketing Director.

  Depending on what service you provide, you’ll likely also need roles such as a Product Developer/Engineer and Head of Sales. 

You’ll be able to find people to fill these roles through recruitment agencies and online job boards in your industry.

  1. Launch away

Now is the time to launch your company and begin making sales. But just because you’ve launched doesn’t mean the work is finished–you need to be prepared to constantly adapt to changes. 

This means keeping up with market trends and continuing to expand your business. You should constantly be looking for growth opportunities both internal and external. 

Come up with strategies to motivate growth and define where you’d like your company to go.

My Startup Journey

When I was coming up with the ideas for my startups, I asked myself what the world needed and what I had to offer. It's about learning how to create a startup and succeed.

So, I founded The Doe (now Nota)  to be the world’s first anonymous digital publication because I noticed a real need to restore civil discourse during my time at Huffington Post.  

I also founded Audo to help provide Gen Z with the tools they need to become skilled workers because I believed in investing in our future. 

My sister and I co-founded Guin Music to provide a sustainable record label conglomerate that puts artists before anything else.

Each of these companies was born from a specific need and related to something I was passionate and knowledgeable about. 

To come up with your own idea for a startup, you’ll want to ask yourself what’s needed in the world and what kind of business you feel capable of building.  

Here are a few ideas to help you on your way:

  • Create educational content
  • Start a drop-shipping business
  • Sell subscription boxes
  • Build a local grocery delivery service
  • Make custom clothing
  • Create online courses
  • Develop an app
  • Open a food truck
  • Make a smart appliance
  • Create a zero-waste product

These ideas and the steps above should give you a taste of how to build a startup. If you can spot a good idea and have the resources to make it happen, the sky’s the limit. Get the idea and you will learn how to create a startup to deliver true value.

How To Come Up With Startup Ideas: First Business Steps

Ideas can come out of nowhere, suddenly with a Eureka! Either they come through hard work, built like a sturdy cabin, log by log.

In the best startup examples, they do both: the idea is a brilliant flash then improved through hard work.

The "aha moment" never happens without a certain amount of groundwork. That's what this blog is about -creating a business that's both original and feasible. 

How to start a business? Starting a business from scratch can be a long and difficult process that requires dedication, hard work and time.

If you’re willing to put in the work, then I can help you learn how to build a business of your very own.  I’ll go over everything you need to know about starting a business to help guide you on your path.

Ask Yourself Why You Want To Start A Business

Before you can learn how to start a business, you need to know why you’re doing it.  Every business should begin with an idea and a purpose.  

You have to ask yourself: why are you doing it? What's motivating you? Is it just the money, or something else?

Is this the right time for you in your life to start a business,  and why is it right?

Is there something else keeping you from starting a business right now, and what would it take to get rid of that obstacle?

There are multiple answers as to why you might start a business, but you have to know yours.  Some examples of a business “why” could be:

  • To make a difference in the world/your community
  • To help people reach their dreams
  • To fight climate change
  • To fulfill an unmet need

Once you know what motivates you and what you want, you can get started learning what it takes to start your own business.

Steps To Starting A Business From Scratch

  • Choose an idea

The first step to starting a business is coming up with an idea. 

This can be anything you want it to be as long as it fulfills a real need, has the potential to make money, and fits your interests and skill set. 

To come up with the idea for your business, ask yourself what skills you have and whether you’re interested in the niche you’re considering.

  • Do your research

To start your own business, you must perform market research to see whether your idea has the potential to turn into a successful business. 

Make sure there is demand for your product/service in your area and that there is not significant competition.

This preliminary research will also help you get to know your customers and their needs.

  • Write a business plan

If you want to know how to start a business, your first step should be making a business plan which is your road map to success. The more detailed your plan, the more organized you will be as you begin your business.

Your business plan which can also follow the idea of creating a startup should include descriptions of your product/services and how they benefit customers.

It should also include market analysis and an analysis of other companies in competition with yours.

  • Choose a business structure

The legal and financial protection you receive as the founder of your business depends on the structure of your business.

The three most common structures are sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC) and corporation.

  • Sole proprietorships require no formal filing with the state or federal government but leave you fully personally liable for any claims brought against your business.  
  • Limited liability companies offer protection from personal liability, but they require you to file articles of organization with the state or pay an annual fee for a registered agent service.  
  • Corporations are most appropriate for large companies or publicly traded businesses because they allow the owners to sell shares of stock to investors.
  • Get the paperwork in order

There is a lot of paperwork to file when starting a business. You’ll need to register with the state and get a state and federal tax ID number, as well as pick up the necessary licenses and permits for your business.

  For example, if you run a food service business in Los Angeles, you’ll be subject to Los Angeles laws governing businesses in LA and food service businesses in general.

  • Consider your costs

To get started on the path to raising money, figure out how much of it you’ll need. Start by making a list of the cost of all the physical supplies, professional services, and licenses or permits you’ll need.

Try to determine how much money you’ll need to cover six months of operating expenses, as this will help you get off the ground so you can start making money.

  • Acquire funding

Once you have a business plan and projected costs, start pursuing investors. Investors can come from friends and family, angel investors, business loans, grants or local funding.

Open a private business account to conduct all business transactions separately from your personal ones.

  • Get business insurance

Protect yourself and your business by insuring it against the many things that can go wrong.

  Businesses need general liability insurance, business income insurance, data breach coverage, and professional liability coverage. 

If you have a physical space, you may want commercial property insurance to pay for damages to your building or any equipment you have.

  • Hire a team

You can’t do it all alone. When building a business from scratch, you need to assemble a team of people to help you manage the launch as well as the daily operations.

Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire roles such as graphic designers, social media managers, marketing agents, and IT professionals and reach your goals while supporting your team’s growth.

You may also want a co-founder to help you run the business and manage the day-to-day requirements.

  • Market your business

Once you're ready to launch your business, it's time to start getting the word out. 

You will need a brand logo and a consistent voice, tone, and messaging with all of your marketing. 

Hiring a marketing agency can help guide your efforts to establish a social media presence.  Regardless if you sell online or not, it is vital to have a solid website for your business.

  • Launch and grow

Now that you've done the footwork, the real work begins. After you launch, keep promoting your business and refining your product until it meets customers' needs.

In order to beat out the competition, you'll need to keep investing time and money into staying ahead of market trends and looking for ways to scale up.

This is not an exhaustive list of what it takes to get a new business off the ground and gain traction, but it lays out the key points you'll need to consider as you put your business idea into action.

Building a company requires passion and commitment, as you'll have to put in long hours with little to no payoff in the beginning stages.

Those who don't have a genuine passion for what they're building won't last.

New business owners often lose entrepreneurship motivation after their initial burst of enthusiasm, which is why regular routines and habits are essential to maintaining productivity.

Set yourself up for success and the path to building your own business will be much smoother.

Fresh Thinking: Starting a Business From Scratch

It’s crazy to think that we, as humans, have been expressing our creative side for thousands of years. The oldest cave paintings (that we know of) date all the way back to the Prehistoric Age. Now, human-produced AI and algorithms are capable of creating their own art. Thus, the creators of art have now become the creators of the creators of art. However, there are still many things that AI simply cannot do. Even with how quickly automation and other AI tech are advancing, I sincerely believe that they will never fully replace human beings in the realm of art.That said, I’m a huge proponent of further research & development in AI. I even use AI to better some of my businesses. At The Doe, we conduct cutting-edge evaluations through AI; by utilizing natural language processing (NPL) and other technologies in our user quizzes, we help our readers better understand differing values and perspectives. However, just because AI is useful doesn’t mean it offers a solution to every problem. After all, if I want to hear a great song, I don’t ask Siri to sing something for me.

Art Is a Distinctly Sentient Process

I don’t want to offend any bots that might be reading this, but art has always been something created by (and for) sentient beings. Humans (and maybe even a few other species) have the unique capacity to feel emotions and produce things with intent. That is to say, we can make things not just out of necessity, but also out of desire. More often than not, it is the desire to make something of beauty.Whether it’s a poem, a song, a painting, a digital NFT, or something else entirely, humans have the unique ability to create things with intention. We want to enjoy them. If we produce art for the sake of others (as is often the case), then we want them to be enjoyed, or at the very least, appreciated.As a writer and music producer, I have a special place in my heart for my fellow scribes and musicians. Writers use their linguistic abilities to create beautiful prose, informative articles, entertaining scripts, and profound stories. On the other hand, musicians use a combination of senses to create intricate melodies and harmonies, beats that seem to reach directly into your soul and make your body move, as well as completely new sounds that have never been heard before. While technology may help many artists practice their craft, it’s hard to imagine an algorithm producing Sylvan LaCue’s “Clam Chowda” or penning David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

Artificial Intelligence Merely Replicates Human Intelligence

As it stands now, Artificial Intelligence really has no ground to stand on when it comes to creative intent. We currently have no formal way to measure sentience, but since humans created AI tech and we know (with near certainty) that it does not have a consciousness, we can conclude that an AI robot is not sentient — at least, not under current definitions of the term.Thus, AI is only able to replicate human intelligence and behavior. A robot can appear to feel sad, but that does not mean that it actually feels sad. Similarly, a robot can be programmed to create a beautiful work of art, but in this instance, who is the real artist? The human who wrote the algorithm or the robot that carried out the directive according to a specific formula? I would say the human, as the robot is merely a tool in the artistic process, rather than the creative mind behind it.

Even If AI Can Rival Certain Sentient Qualities, It Cannot Replace Human Creativity

In any case, there’s no doubt that AI is constantly evolving and improving, so how can I be so sure that AI will never fully replace human-made art? Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that AI evolves to the point that it is virtually indistinguishable from human beings. By all accounts, we have created a sentient robot with the capacity to feel, think, react, and create things from scratch with vision and intention. In short, I’m imagining a future in which AI can create art on its own, without any help or guidance from human beings.Even in this hypothetical future, human-made art would still remain distinct from AI-produced art. This is because every human consciousness is its own entity; we may have collective qualities and properties as sentient beings, but we are all individuals living our own little lives. Thus, human art will always be a reflection of human creativity that is unique to each person, and to our species as a whole. AI tech may evolve to produce its own art forms, but they will exist separately from what we create.So, even as fearmongers worry about robots writing news articles or algorithms creating hit songs, human art will always have its own space. We may not always be able to tell the difference between human and AI creations, but this fact is largely irrelevant. As long as humans never lose our capacity to exercise creativity and produce things of beauty, no robot will be able to take that away from us.

Why AI Will Never Fully Replace Human-Made Art

We’ve been hearing about 5G for a while now, even though the vast majority of consumers still can’t access it. Currently, 5G-ready devices are priced pretty high, and ISPs are each scrambling to market themselves as “the” leader in 5G coverage — just like they did with 3G and 4G. While 3G brought us basic mobile web browsing and 4G brought us high-speed mobile internet and streaming, 5G technology promises to kick things up a notch.

Thus far, consumers and media outlets have mostly focused on the promised speeds that will come with 5G — and for good reason. Theoretically, 5G could be up to 10x faster than 4G, though some reports indicate that people might get speeds nearly 100x faster than what they have now. To put this in real-world terms, this means you could be able to download a 2-hour, 4K Ultra HD movie in a matter of seconds.

However, the true potential of 5G isn’t the potential speed — it’s the accessibility. If you’ve ever traveled beyond the realm of your home Wi-Fi network (as I’m sure you have), you’ll know that wireless mobile signals vary drastically. This is especially problematic in rural towns, states, and even regions, where ISPs have invested very little in the way of infrastructure.

While people in rural areas should have the same speeds as everyone else, it’s hard to blame ISPs for their priorities; they simply can’t get the same return on investment setting up mobile internet towers in Cheyenne, Wyoming (population ~65,000) as they can in New York City (population ~8.42 million). Fortunately, 5G will make leaps and bounds in terms of high-speed mobile internet access for everyone — not just big-city dwellers.

Why is 5G so much better?

A big problem with 4G is network congestion. Sure, you can watch a movie on the train ride to work, but when thousands of other people are trying to do the same thing, you’ll often find yourself with a blank loading screen — even when you’ve got full bars. This is due to the fact that 4G has, by and large, reached its data-processing limits. As 4G became the norm for billions of people around the planet, it also showcased the technology’s inability to quickly transfer increasingly large amounts of data across blocks of spectrum. With 5G, this is no longer an issue.

5G will open the door for ISPs to control more spectrum, thereby allowing more people to use the same network simultaneously without reduced speeds. On top of that, 5G tech is inherently built to deliver faster speeds, lower latency, and greater bandwidth by default. In other words, 5G will make everything you do online faster and easier.

But again, I’m doing the same thing that everyone else does — talking about speed when I should be talking about ease of access. Detractors have already tempered expectations about 5G’s capabilities in rural areas, which are mostly served by low-frequency towers. Since 5G is designed to function at mid-to-high frequencies, it will have less of an impact at the outset. However, the greater efficiency of 5G technology means that it could still provide less congestion and nominal speed improvements in rural areas.

Moreover, this is just what we can expect over the next 2 or 3 years. Beyond that, 5G infrastructure will likely make accessibility to higher-quality mobile (and home) internet even better. Plus, there’s another important factor that people need to keep in mind. In rural areas, most people are accustomed to unstable internet and mobile networks that deliver paltry speeds at best. Even a small uptick in average speeds and network access could make a huge difference to billions of people in underserved areas all over the world.

What does 5G mean for entrepreneurs?

There’s a reason why many young entrepreneurs leave behind their small hometowns and move to the big city to start their business endeavors. While it may be the “chic” thing to do, it’s also a sound business decision. Nowadays, most businesses are completely dependent on the internet. As a result, entrepreneurs need access to high-speed internet whether they’re working from home or just checking emails on the go. This means that mid-size and large cities are home to the vast majority of new businesses.

While this may just sound like the cost of doing business in the modern world, it also means that there’s a huge barrier to entry for entrepreneurs in rural areas who don’t have the funds to relocate to more expensive cities. Not only does this force many people to abandon their dreams, but it also robs the world of great potential. The next Bill Gates could be living in a small village in Africa, but without access to high-speed internet, he or she may never be able to show the world their true potential.

This is exactly why I’m excited about 5G. Sure, it stands to give the average consumer access to better quality mobile and home internet service, but it really means so much more than that. Once 5G infrastructure grows and 5G-ready devices become the norm (as opposed to the latest high-priced phones), billions of people across the planet will have the power of high-speed internet wherever they are, opening the door for almost limitless innovation. It may take a few years before we see the full effects of 5G, particularly in rural areas, but for many new and existing entrepreneurs, it will be well worth the wait.

Why 5G Could Be a Game Changer For Entrepreneurs — and the World

An Ever-Evolving Industry

The music industry is changing rapidly, with new avenues arising for both creators and consumers every day. This begs the question: What will the music industry look like in the future?As the cofounder of an indie record label, I’ve watched many of the most recent changes happen in real time. Despite only working in the business for a few years, we’ve had to constantly adapt to new trends — both in music creation and consumption. While musicians can largely continue creating music as they have for years, the way in which they market their music and reach their audience is always changing.It’s easy to see how the music industry is evolving at an ever-increasing speed. Though SoundCloud has been around for more than a decade and is still one of the biggest players when it comes to discovering new, emerging artists, TikTok has emerged as a popular application for both creators and consumers. First introduced in 2016, the video-centric social media application has taken the music world by storm. Many new artists have gained huge followings on the application and, despite the Trump administration previouslyattempting to ban TikTokciting national security concerns, it has remained one of the most popular avenues for free music distribution, particularly among Gen Z consumers.In a sense, this is the future of the music industry. Whether you look at it from year to year or month to month, the ability to adapt back-end strategies is a must. However, one aspect of music marketing that has become increasingly relevant in the late 2010s and early 2020s is what I like to refer to as the “scandal factor.” You can create great music and garner a following as musicians have done for decades, but if you want to make it big in such a fickle and ephemeral landscape, you have to turn the dial up to 11.What does this actually mean in practice? It not only means doing something that no one else has done — it means doing something that shocks, polarizes and ultimately shifts the download and streaming data in your favor.Lil Nas X provides a perfect example of a musician where controversy has garnered attention and helped build his musical brand. He first turned heads by teaming up with Billy Ray Cyrus to create the highly popular and oddly catchy “Old Town Road,” a mixture of traditional country and modern rap that exploded on Twitter. The following year, Lil Nas Xpublicly came outin 2019, which in and of itself, shouldn’t have been controversial. However, it made him a mainstream gay male rapper — a rapper with a country hit who has attained international success. Lil Nas X capitalized further on this “controversy” with hismusic video for the hit single, “Montero,” which evoked images of the Garden of Eden before showing a fictionalized version of Lil Nas X twerking on Satan’s lap. While many saw it as an ode to the freedom of sexuality, manyconservatives decried it as blasphemous. However, regardless of how you felt about it, the controversy only put more money in the rapper’s pocket.This desire for increasingly shocking material doesn’t just exist in the music industry, either. The old modes of building brands — from political campaigns to retail shops — are falling by the wayside, with new players driven by clicks, streams, downloads, retweets and so on. Social media, particularly TikTok, Twitter and Youtube, might be the primary facilitator (for now), but the desire for controversy and virality are what underpin modern success. To be noticed, you have to do something worthy of people’s attention — which often means doing something completely unexpected. I learned this first hand by building the first completely anonymous publication. By allowing people to write for us anonymously, we get juicer, much more “controversial” perspectives. We’ve seen how the “scandal factor” of the narratives we publish on The Doe can lead to virality on social media like Instagram.Some artists may not like this data-obsessed way of creating, but there’s nothing inherently new about it. Musicians — and their labels — have been motivated by profits, usually above all else. Now, profits are largely calculated using algorithms and data provided by online platforms. Therefore, the environment for music creation and consumption may have changed, but the underlying drive to create new, interesting and profitable media remains the same.

The Bottom Line

My advice to young artists? Don’t feel that you have to cheapen or somehow betray your passion for music just for shock value. That said, if you want to reach a larger audience, you have to find ways to use your unique talents to create something worth talking about. There are millions of artists out there, so the key is figuring out how to make your music loud enough to be heard above all the other noise.This is why I like to tell artists to treat their music like a product and less like an art form if they want to succeed. That means every time they put music out, they should be treating their fans or listeners, no matter how small that group is, like a focus group they can garner feedback from. The fans may not always know what they want until they hear it. But they do decide what happens to your career, so being arrogant about knowing what’s “the best art” is probably not going to work out for you. Purpose-driven artists can build their careers by understanding how they can market or portray their unique art — even if it means pushing the current boundaries of artist comfort.Originally published on Rolling Stone.

My Thoughts for Young Artists on Marketing Their Music in an Ever-Evolving Industry

The Transition to Remote Work

In many ways, the transition to remote work in the wake of Covid-19 has helped redefine existing conceptions of “company culture.” Even the term itself seems rather outdated; it conjures up images of bustling offices of decades past, with daily meetings, memos and synergetic pep talks. Though some organizations still function in this way, much modern-day business is done with teams spread out all over the world. Many entrepreneurs — myself included — now have to juggle multiple time zones and communication platforms, as well as differences in both language and culture.I’d like to make it clear that I am in no way complaining. In fact, I find the environment of remote workplaces exhilarating. That said, there’s no denying that we have entered an era in which traditional ways of developing and nurturing company culture no longer exist. Consequently, we have to find ways to build and promote cooperation, camaraderie, innovation and productivity — perhaps without ever meeting most of our coworkers face to face.

Company Culture Built On Communication

With the knowledge that work culture has evolved in a remote environment, many startups must spend a great deal of time considering and implementing various ways to strengthen the community from within. It may sound tedious to those entrepreneurs who are, frankly, just concerned with making payroll. You may wonder, who has the time to focus on company culture when there’s a never-ending to-do list? But when the “boss” is physically separate from everyone else, building strong professional relationships is essential.It’s not about monitoring people’s every move or badgering them for constant updates. Instead, it’s about developing a relationship built on mutual communication, trust and understanding. I seek to understand all of the people I work with — and do my best to make myself understood by them. Even when there is a clear hierarchical structure within the business, I want to let everyone know that they are heard and respected.While this may not be completely revolutionary, it is somewhat unique, even in the ever-growing world of remote work. Now that employees are no longer working under the noses of management, there’s a tendency in many companies to over-enforce policies that ensure productivity. In my opinion, this almost never has the desired effect. Instead, it results in more adversarial relationships, where business owners distrust their remote staff and remote employees resent their overbearing bosses.At my companies, most team communication takes place over Slack, email, Zoom or one of the productivity tools we use like Asana and Jira. Small nuances become important when much of our communication is no longer tied to facial expressions or body language. The need to over-communicate so that everyone can understand my tone and intention quickly becomes rather important. For this reason, I think one-on-one meetings allow us to understand each other on a deeper level. I never want to dictate; I prefer to collaborate.This is where I believe the future of remote company culture is heading. Rather than a series of top-down directives, objectives and policies meant to guide employee behavior, remote workplaces should be built on mutual trust and respect. This all begins with having the right people, in the right roles, who are crystal clear on their responsibilities and expected output.

Turning Remote Company Culture Into Business Growth

While I personally like to communicate in writing, I’m not blind to the fact that many people are visual or auditory learners. So, in getting to know the people I work with, I also come to learn the most effective ways of communicating my ideas to them. While I may not prefer to brainstorm or think out loud on a call — as opposed to brainstorming in private and coming back with written thoughts — I recognize the importance of doing so in some cases. Sometimes people need to feel heard and seen, even if you’re reading everything they’re sending you. This helps facilitate an environment in which open dialogue is not only encouraged — it’s just the way we do business.Take one of my startups as an example. The first product we launched was our publication: It’s entirely stories from people’s lives. We simply tell stories that are not being told in other places. While we do verify authors and their stories, we publish them anonymously to ensure their ideas are considered fairly by the public. However, this also gives a voice to those who don’t yearn for the attention their story could bring them. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t organize my businesses using the same foundational concepts. Everyone involved — from part-time freelancers to junior employees — has a voice. While we may not always agree on the same strategy or idea, it’s up to me to listen to them all.Even if they aren’t physically by my side, I know that I can depend on a network of people all over the world to help turn our mission and aspirations for the world into a reality. We all work closely together, exchanging ideas and information — often on a daily basis. In doing so, we ensure that no one’s ideas are disregarded, and everyone understands that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves — even when we’re thousands of miles apart.

The Bottom Line

While many of us may be using many of the same tools — Slack, Zoom and so on — the difference lies in how you use them to build relationships. I believe in maintaining a safe and professional working environment for everyone, myself included, but I’m not afraid to get personal. In fact, my businesses depend on it. By building trusting relationships with all of your remote teams and network of associates, you can ensure that you’re cultivating a company culture that is built for everyone.Originally published on Forbes.

How To Maintain Company Culture Remotely

The Impact of Music — on Musicians

Arts and music are the most expressive industries. The spotlight they cast on artistic output is the death of many talented and upcoming artists. Contractual idiosyncrasies in the music industry offer several benefits, but also several distinct disadvantages. The mounting pressure to write, produce, and perform great music takes a toll on the artists, if not properly monitored. Although the current music industry offers many artists an opportunity to succeed, many times the artist will work themselves into a very unhealthy state. The creative process, and the pressure to remain relevant, exposes them to strong responses of depression, morbid public meltdowns, mental issues, and ultimately, may lead to their death.

The Impact of Streaming

On a similar note, the tantalizing premise of streaming services has led to success stories for a number of artists. As a consequence, music streaming services have resulted in a generation of single songs that have more impact than albums. At the same time, streaming has inexorably altered the music industry, which habitually notes the ‘death’ of artists, and many become tagged with the label of being one-hit wonders. However, as Paula Mejia wrote:

While streaming continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, the system through which artists are paid for the music being listened to hasn’t evolved in tandem — meaning that, as dissenters note, many artists are still paid little, after services and labels take their respective cuts.

Because of this new impact of streaming on artists, it is imperative to address the hot topic on the minds of many people — the literal and metaphorical death of artists due to mental health struggles, and the impact of streaming gatekeepers.

The wider cultural shift across the music industry, beginning with the advent of streaming, has introduced new types of gatekeepers. The industry is no longer siloed into discrete functions, such as promotion, publishing, talent management, and royalty collection, as it was in past decades. Streaming has changed music consumption and distribution, which has significantly altered popularity characteristics. The data used to evaluate the popularity of music and the artists, is obtained from streaming services in various classifications or charts. For instance, the Billboard’s Hot 100 includes weekly figures of the most popular songs across multiple regions and genres. It also ranks songs by radio airplay impressions, sales data, and streaming activity.

A Short Chart Life

The digital vetting process filters through songs, separating dubs and creating songs/singles that chart for only one week, known as “one-week wonders.” Digital songs are considerably more likely to plunge from modern digital vetting processes and disappear from the charts into oblivion. As Jerry Lao and Kevin Hoan Nguyen wrote in their article:

The end result is that digital songs are significantly more likely to fall off the chart in the first week compared to CD songs, but the effect moderates over time as the digital songs are scrutinized and only the good songs remain.

Moreover, the processes favor established artists who often regularly dominate the weekly charts. The digital platforms increase the avenues and frequency of music evaluation, as well as the speed with which singles from less established but talented artists peak and disappear — a one-time spotlight phenomenon.

The Decline of The Rising Career

The bedrock structure used by modern streaming services is disproportionately biased against emerging and midsize artists. The unfavorable model guts the musical career of many upcoming artists. Popular streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify, use a “pro rata” model to determine how revenues are distributed. According to Mejia, the meaning of pro rata is that:

Rights-holders are paid according to market share; how their streams stack up against the most popular songs in a given time period. The people who hold the rights to the most listened-to tracks, then, stand to make the most.

This model is vastly critiqued as unreasonably privileged because it prioritizes and benefits the services themselves, followed by top artists and labels.

As a result, emerging and midsize artists have little chance to earn a decent living. In addition to money considerations, there is a shift toward purpose and mood-driven playlists, instead of full album plays. This pattern is mainly adopted as an advertising tool that functions on the basis that more value is derived from people listening more. Therefore, singles are pushed and popularized to the extent they matter more than artists or full-length albums.

Striving To Succeed

Music has a powerful positive impact on listeners’ mental health, yet many artists are subject to a negative impact, as they struggle with dire mental health issues. Sudden fame, and a lifestyle revolving around music creation and live performances, can intensify mental health challenges, including substance abuse and other psychological issues. In a tangential way, the quest to enter and rise to the peak of the music industry can massively impact an artist’s emotional health. Artists report despair and suicidal thoughts after repeatedly being turned away while trying to rise to fame.

This rejection reflects the brutal competitive nature of the industry, as only a few achieve a successful career. Several aspects trigger these problems, including lack of confidence, anxiety due to rejection and failure, negative influence of others, and the impact of exploitation. The callous nature of the music industry is evidenced by the peak in record sales immediately upon the death of an artist. Mental health struggles are a real menace in the sector that continue to steal big talents, and numb shining stars; as co-founder of Guin Records, our mission is to provide better support to artists

The Impact of Performance Pressure

The music community produces significant pressure and stressors. Artists often experience high-pressure situations, including gigs and live shows, attended by thousands of eager and expectant people. Artists are human, and the body is pre-programmed to respond in different ways under stress, which includes various physical and psychological states. Hence, musicians can either perform well due to the heightened awareness from adrenaline rushes, or suffer panic attacks or even memory loss, which cause long-term anxieties. Several artists have reported instances of stress-related breakdown that trigger unhealthy habits such as drinking and drug abuse.

Demi Lovato, for instance, has been admitted in hospital for drug overdose in the past. Before this incident, Lovato was and is still among the most vocal artists on mental health awareness within the music community. Anxiety struggles are also prevalent among several high-profile artists. Such debilitating issues cause much exasperation, necessitating the need to address them publicly. If left unaddressed, issues arising from high-pressure music industry may rapidly deteriorate to feelings of severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Behind the Scenes — the Artist Suffers

It is paradoxical that music and musical communities and events foster a supportive environment to relax and have fun, yet artists suffer behind the scenes. The music industry is often a smoke and mirrors business, where artists may be portrayed as figureheads who have greater fortitude than others. Media and even artists foster these perceptions and encourage misconceptions about the magnitude of financial success. Nonetheless, they conceal the dire health conditions, and even worse financial outcomes that often occur.

The industry provides a brief window of opportunity for an artist to peak, but is all too often the death of many aspiring artists. Although streaming is arguably an engine driving the music industry to new heights, it is a black spot for those labelled as one-hit wonders. The sector is characterized by monsters, including mental health disorders, depression, and the death of artists and talent.

The Death of an Artist

Unfortunately, the most powerful impact of mental health issues in the music industry arises after the death of an artist. This issue is reflected in the deaths of major acts such as Avicii, who reportedly committed suicide after struggling with thoughts about the meaning of life, and Michael Jackson, who struggled with painkiller drugs addiction for years before dying from a combination of drugs. Artists are perceived (by fans) and portrayed (by the media) as having fun, ‘living the time of their lives’, and as people with superhuman fortitude. With this increased attention, artists often become influencers, and the demand for them to share their personal opinions and become subjected to the pressures of scrutiny, become even higher.

Instances of depression, mental breakdown, and even death show a different side of the lives of musicians. This situation shows the complexity and skewed perceptions about the subject of mental health issues in the context of the music industry. Unlike the easily relatable and understood cases of depression and anxiety such as schizophrenia, mental disorders and associated death within the music community is a major menace. The morbid public meltdowns, depression, and mental issues and ultimate deaths of artists continue to intrigue people — but sadly, just not enough to take action.

Originally published on Thrive

Works Cited

Lao, Jerry, and Kevin Hoan Nguyen. “One-Hit Wonder or Superstardom? The Role of Technology Format on Billboard’s Hot 100 Performance.” 2016, Accessed 15 July 2020.

Mejia, Paula. “The Success of Streaming has been Great for Some, but is there a Better Way?” NPR, 22 Jul. 2019, Accessed 15 July 2020.

Nobody Wants to Talk about it: The Death of Artists

The practice has gained much more prominence over the last two decades. Since the advent of the Internet, millions of 9-to-5 workers have put their extra time and resources toward making money through side hustles. According to a Bankrate survey, nearly half of full-time workers take part in some form of “side hustle” outside of their traditional job.

These activities can range from starting a fashion blog to working as a freelance delivery driver — and everything in between. When my co-founder Sabine and I pivoted Dormzi from being a service-based network to a marketplace powered by young people, our vision was to help students lean into their side hustles. One of the challenges we’ve been seeing since doing so is that many aspiring entrepreneurs believe that they would have to completely drop their 9-to-5 job or schooling to turn their side hustles into thriving businesses. Fortunately, this is frequently not the case. To show how to turn your side hustle into a full-time business, let’s look at a few real-world success stories:

Big businesses that started as side hustles

It’s a common misconception that your side hustle cannot become a successful business unless you dedicate 100% of your time and money to it. While it’s true that you cannot just expect a side hustle to become something more without any effort on your part, you can turn a side hustle into a full-time business without quitting your day job. How exactly can you do this? By regularly funding your side hustle with a portion of your 9-to-5 paycheck.

It sounds too easy to be true, right? The fact is that many side hustles remain side hustles because people don’t put additional funds into them. For example, if you provide writing services, you could pay to develop a website that markets your services and makes you look more professional. Without a website, you’ll likely struggle to gain new clients and turn your side hustle into a long-term business venture.

So, to refute the naysayers, let’s take a look at some entrepreneurs who invested in their side hustles and now run extremely profitable businesses:

Aytekin Tank, Founder of JotForm

Before founding JotForm in 2006, Aytekin Tank worked as a senior web developer for a large Internet media company in New York City. During his five-year tenure, Aytekin Tank was frequently tasked with creating tools with which editors could create unique forms, like surveys. However, Aytekin Tank often found the existing tools on the market wholly insufficient.

Thus, JotForm was born. While Aytekin Tank toiled away at his day job, he spent his free time developing what would become one of the most popular online form builder tools in the world. His work as a senior web developer provided enough additional funds to turn his ideas into a reality. Over time, Aytekin Tank put away a small fraction of his paycheck until he was ready to launch JotForm. Then, he had the funds to hire a team, grow his start-up into a full-time business, and become one of the dominant forces in his niche. Today, JotForm has over 2 million subscribers and counting!

Andrew Mason, Founder of Groupon

While Andrew Mason working toward a Public Policy Degree at the University of Chicago, he started developing The Pointa platform that introduced the “tipping point” concept of donating funds towards a particular cause. With The Point, users could collectively fundraise in support of a common goal. However, if the goal did not reach a certain number of supporters or a minimum monetary amount, no one would be charged and the goal would be abandoned. This “tipping point” concept would later form the basis of Andrew Mason’s subsequent endeavor, Groupon, with partners Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.

Andrew Mason and his partners put a great deal of time and effort into The Point, which proved to be a failed idea, due in part to its lack of focus. However, they found that one aspect of The Point was particularly popular: collective buying power with group deals. Thus, in 2008, Groupon was born.

Andrew Mason worked as a server and a series of other odd jobs to pay his way through college and put aside funds to create The Point. Additionally, he was able to launch The Point with funds from his future Groupon partners. Even once The Point turned out to be a bust, Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky stuck by Andrew’s side. The trio turned their initial failure into a massive success, creating a company that is now valued at more than $2.4 billion!

Eren Bali, founder of Udemy

In the mid-2000s, Eren Bali worked as a freelance web developer based in Turkey. While working for various clients, including the now-defunct, Bali was putting his extra time and funds toward his own passion project. In 2007, he developed software for a live virtual classroom. He saw a lot of potential in his new creation, so he saved up the funds to move his base of operations to Silicon Valley.

Once in California, Eren Bali met up with Oktay Caglar and Gagan Biyani to found Udemy, an open online course provider. The site launched in 2010 with minimal funding. In fact, Eren Bali and his partners tried and failed 30 times to gain the interest of investors. However, the early success of the platform allowed them to raise $1 million in just a few months. Later, Groupon investors Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell would help raise more capital for the burgeoning company. By early 2020, Udemy was valued at approximately $2 billion!

How to Turn Your Side Hustle into a Full-Time Business

It’s easy to look at success stories and feel that these side-hustlers-turned-business-owners just got lucky. While there is a certain amount of luck involved in every entrepreneurial endeavor, there are actionable steps you can take to turn your side hustle into a successful full-time business. Based on the examples above, you can reverse engineer their experiences to find a process that works for you. So, let’s take notes from successful entrepreneurs like Aytekin Tank, Andrew Mason, and Eren Bali!

Find and perfect your idea

In all three examples above, the founders of successful side-hustle businesses had ideas that they put into action. Often times, these ideas combined their existing skills or passions with a gap in the market. For example, let’s say that you are an excellent communicator and have expert knowledge in a particular niche. You could begin consulting for businesses in that niche. From there, you could set aside funds from your job to market and grow your side-hustle consultation services into a full-time business! This brings us to the second important step…

Develop a funding strategy

Most people begin side hustles to make money. However, to turn a side hustle into a business, you’ll need some starting capital. As a result, you’ll likely need to dedicate a small portion of your paycheck toward building your side hustle. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a sound business strategy.

Think about it; if you quit your job just to focus on your side hustle, you greatly reduce your income and risk putting all of your eggs in one unpredictable basket. Alternatively, if you regularly set aside funds from your job (or your side hustle) to build your business, you’re essentially investing in your future without taking on any additional risk. Over time, this nest egg could be enough to get your business up-and-running. If you still need more capital, you could always look for investors or take out a small business loan to get things moving!

Launch your business

It may seem like an unimportant distinction, but a side hustle becomes a business once you identify it as such. Side hustles are essentially part-time, temporary work to make extra cash; businesses are long-term investments with the potential to grow and create much larger returns. So, once you officially launch your business as an LLC or similar entity, you’ve taken an important step in your transition from side hustler to business owner!

As illustrated in the stories above, side hustles are generally low-risk. You spend a little bit of extra time and money to (hopefully) make more money or develop a unique idea. However, launching a business entails much more risk. When Aytekin Tank formed JotForm, he struggled to pay and manage his ever-growing staff. Andrew Manson’s first business launch, The Point, turned out to be a momentous failure, though it led him to develop a much better and more profitable website. Finally, Eren Bali and his business partners failed dozens of times to secure funding before finally getting the capital they needed to grow their business. In all three examples, these entrepreneurs launched their side-hustle businesses in spite of the inherent risks.

Time to get started

Turning a side hustle into a big business doesn’t mean you need to quit your day job. In fact, a day job has allowed hundreds of entrepreneurs to routinely fund their side hustles, eventually transforming them into full-time businesses. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs sometimes argue that leaving their much-hated nine-to-five jobs to focus on a full-time business will increase their chances of success. While there is validity to the point that you can’t just “set it and forget it,” you don’t need to completely upend your financial life or career to build your business. Instead, routinely fund and dedicate extra time to your side hustle until you’re ready to launch your business venture.

Originally published on Entrepreneur.

Big Businesses That Started as Side Hustles

Today, small time farmers across the United States are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to unfair and unjust pressures put on these family run farms by mega corporations. This pressure has made it harder and harder for farmers to make ends meet to properly care for the health and wellbeing of their livestock. Unfortunately, nearly all farmers have to choose between, either, treating their animals humanely and making a small profit, or signing with a mega corporation to inhumanely raise livestock for a slightly larger profit. Poultry farms throughout the United States serve as a great example for how hard it is to compete with these corporations. 

The reality is that these mega corporations came in and changed the age-old standards of ethical farming. When looking at poultry farms, the price of meat and eggs has remained too low for too long for smaller farmers to compete and make a difference. Therefore, the poultry farmers have to make a tough choice between selling at the farmers’ markets, or signing deals with mega corporations for a better profit.

Factory farming, which is controlled by big businesses and corporations, are notorious for their inhumane treatment of animals. Poultry farmers, most of the time, have to compete with these mega corporations that find nothing ethically wrong with packing chickens into crates so small that they cannot move, failing to care for the medical needs in order to raise a bird bigger, faster, and cheaper. By completely neglecting any concern or care for the chickens, and placing these animals in horrific, unsanitary, and tortuous environments, big corporations are able to mass produce more eggs and poultry products at a discounted price. In exchange for money, they opt to torture animals.

This, in turn, drives down the price of poultry and eggs, considerably. Today, most farmers only make pennies per bird, due to the mass corporations that can afford to only obtain a marginal profit per animal because they own so many. Put in simpler terms, to make a $100, a mega corporation might only need to make 10 cents per chicken, since they have 1000 chickens. However, a small time farmer, who only has 100 chickens — but keeps them humanely, cares for their needs, and feeds them real food that is not genetically modified — would need to make $10 per chicken. This means that a small time farmer simply cannot compete with larger corporations that specialize in poultry. 

Ultimately, they, either, have to raise their productivity and, in doing so, sign a contract with a mega corporation, or remain small and sell at the farmer’s markets. Either way, the end result is the unfair treatment of poultry farmers and the continued mistreatment and abuse of chickens.

Not surprisingly, many smaller chicken farmers are reporting feeling extremely disgruntled and downright depressed over the current state of the whole enterprise. They remember the days, in decades past, when they could care for their chickens in an ethical and humane manner and still turn a profit because it was just them selling along with other farmers who grew for their towns. Now, you can buy the same brand of chicken all over the country. Because of this, fewer and fewer farmers are able to act ethically and earn enough to stay in business.

But there is hope. You as a consumer have the power to help these marginalized farmers and their animals who, ultimately, suffer the most. It is vital for all Americans to petition their governments — local, state, and federal — and demand that stricter laws and regulations be put into place in order to protect animal rights. Stricter laws will accomplish one of two goals: either, factory farmers will be driven out of business, or factory farms will be forced to treat their animals humanely and ethically. It is essential to keep in mind, that these larger corporations are lobbying lawmakers and petitioning to have their agendas upheld and undermine the legitimacy of truly dedicated and just farmers.

If factory farms shut down completely, then smaller farms will be able to thrive and prosper without having to succumb to barbaric practices. On the other hand, if these farms do abide by the laws and regulations which protect animal rights, then poultry farmers will be able to work in a humane setting and not be expected to abuse and mistreat animals in order to turn a profit. 

Either way, the farmer and the chickens will win and the corporations, which exploit farmers and torture innocent animals, will be thwarted in their nefarious actions.

Originally published on HuffPost.

A Rock and A Hard Place: The Farmers of America

Social media influencers, bloggers, third-party review sites, and even major publications give negative feedback to businesses all the time. Learn how you can leverage media criticism to get your business ahead of the crowd.

One trait that applies to most new entrepreneurs is hopeless optimism. While many entrepreneurs and startup owners keep their feet on the ground when it comes to budgeting and business management, they may not be so level-headed about media criticism. In fact, most startup owners expect to receive nothing but praise and cheers when their products or services hit the market. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case.

However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Rather than throwing in the towel when you get negative feedback, you should leverage media criticism to your advantage. When it comes to leveraging media critiques, there are essentially two schools of thought. One approach is the “P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism” technique; the other is Eric Reis’ “Adaptive Learning” strategy. Though both methods are very different, they offer you two ways to turn negative media criticism into a useful tool to grow your business and ultimately stand out from the competition.

What is media criticism?

It may sound like a no-brainer, but many first-time entrepreneurs assume that any kind of negative feedback qualifies as media criticism. In fact, there’s a huge difference between consumers leaving your business bad reviews on Yelp and a journalist criticizing your startup in a respected publication. So, let’s evaluate the differences between consumer criticism and media criticism.

Consumer criticism

Consumer criticism refers to any kind of negative critique of you, your product, your service, or your business by a patron or customer. For example, let’s say you run a business that provides digital marketing services. A client uses your services, feels unhappy about their experience, and decides to write a negative review of your business.

This is a prime example of consumer criticism. It is simply a form of negative feedback from a customer or client. More importantly, the customer or client is not a public figure, nor do they hold any sway over a larger audience. However, their feedback will likely be in the public view, so it does have the power to negatively affect your business and possibly deter future clients.

Media criticism

Alternatively, media criticism refers to negative feedback from a public and/or authoritative source. Sometimes, consumer criticism can also be media criticism. For example, if a prominent Youtube star makes a purchase from your startup and creates a negative review video for their Youtube channel, this would be a form of both consumer and media criticism.

In any case, media criticism generally comes from individuals or organizations that have a large audience or have the ability to sway public opinion in a substantial way. Here are a few common examples:

  • Journalists
  • Prominent social media influencers or bloggers
  • Celebrities
  • Newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets
  • TV programs, radio shows, and podcasts

Needless to say, there can be many different sources of media criticism. When many new startup owners are faced with media criticism, they may feel the urge to crumble under the pressure. After all, being the target of public criticism from a popular or authoritative source can be painful. So, how can you get over the initial hurdles and leverage media criticism to your own advantage?

Different approaches to managing and leveraging media criticism

As previously mentioned, there are two unique approaches to leveraging media criticism. The first approach is the “P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism” method. This is a rather famous — and perhaps infamous — strategy implemented by world-renowned New York Showman and founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, P.T. Barnum. So, let’s take a closer look at the notorious showman’s strategy for using media criticism to grow his entertainment empire.

P.T. Barnum’s pro-criticism method

Though P.T. Barnum dabbled in a wide variety of ventures — from politics to journalism — he is most remembered for his traveling circus and widely publicized hoaxes. He became highly successful due to his keen observation that media criticism can be a good thing. In fact, many historians attribute the famous quote, “there’s no such thing as bad press,” (sometimes quoted as “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”) to Barnum.

One of Barnum’s most famous hoaxes was the “Feejee Mermaid,” which was the corpse of a monkey sewn to the tail of a fish, with paper-mâché to craft certain parts of the head and body. Despite its highly questionable authenticity, thousands of people flocked to Barnum’s New York-based museum to see the exhibit. In this instance, Barnum used controversy and negative media attention to grow his empire. This was further exemplified with his second most popular hoax, “General Tom Thumb.”

As part of his touring circus, Barnum employed several dwarfs and little people, one of whom he dubbed “General Tom Thumb.” The young boy began performing at the age of 4, with Barnum claiming that he was “The Smallest Person That Ever Walked Alone.” The act was so popular that Barnum took it to Europe, where Queen Victoria was both entertained and saddened by the young entertainer. His appearance before royalty — and the subsequent media frenzy — led to a hugely successful European tour.

So, how can these stories help you as an entrepreneur? The fact is that there is some truth to Barnum’s media criticism theory. Press — whether good or bad — provides exposure for you and your business. In short, it makes more people aware of your brand. For example, my business, The Doe, is a digital publication for anonymous contributors. Since we strive to encourage conversation and differing viewpoints, we have faced media criticism in the past. Most recently, we experienced backlash related to an article that argued against voting in the 2020 election due to the lack of quality candidates. Some of our more prominent followers took to social media to deride the article’s viewpoint, but as the founder and CEO of The Doe, I decided to lean into the criticism. Rather than ignoring, however, I always choose to respond to our critics, as often those conversations can be the most enlightening as a founder.

Eric Reis’ adaptive learning

In his much-lauded book, The Lean Startup, American entrepreneur Eric Reis puts forward a method for handling media critiques as a startup owner. Part of this process is a practice that Reis calls “Adaptive Learning.” As the name implies, entrepreneurs must analyze feedback so that they can adapt and learn from past mistakes. In short, it takes the same process that startups can use with consumer criticism and implements it with media criticism.

However, the ideas behind Adaptive Learning are far more complex than simply learning from one’s mistakes. In fact, Reis promotes a three-step process that every startup owner can use to their advantage. The illustration below provides a broad overview of Reis’ process:

As you can see, every startup must begin with a vision. This step defines the goals of your startup. To get to the next step, you must identify actionable steps that can get your startup up and running. Once you’ve identified these elements, you can start seeing how your business operates and how it is received. Are you able to profit right from the start? Is consumer feedback positive or negative? How about media critiques?

If you’re getting any negative feedback or taking note of metrics that could be improved, this is the moment to adapt and learn. This process of building, measuring, and learning is the foundation of Adaptive Learning. As you can see from the illustration above, you can continue through this process multiple times to improve your business and leverage media criticism to your advantage.

It’s inevitable

At one point or another, media criticism is an inevitability for every startup owner. Whether it’s a blogger who doesn’t like your product or a journalist who thinks your practices are questionable, there will always be media critiques of your business. Remember, you shouldn’t see media criticism as a reason to give up; you should see it as a reason to improve and build your business. Whether you use the P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism approach or Eric Reis’ Adaptive Learning method (or even a combination of the two), you have an actionable path to success. You simply have to use your ability to leverage media criticism so that your business can grow and get ahead of the crowd!

Leveraging Media Criticism to Get Your Business Ahead of the Crowd

Hi Friends,

I’m back with the monthly memo. And I’m going to start this one by asking y’all to take a deep breath, because it’s been a long 40 days since I began this newsletter. But I’m not alone in the sentiment of being a bit more tired than usual, it’s been a lot of really long days.

When I read that letter again, part of me feels the same as I did then: there are glimpses of fatigue along with a healthy level of founder optimism. But my sentiment in the last letter about battening down the hatches was no joke. The 6 am wake-ups and 14-hour work days haven’t quite let up, and while it does feel like I’m moving at lightspeed, there’s still a feeling of “hurry up and wait.” This letter, in large part, is for my fellow founder friends who are continuing to build amidst a financial winter unlike we’ve seen before.

All that said, if you’re going to stick with a startup during an economic downturn, I strongly believe in the importance of – as a founder – outperforming and inspiring those around you. In truth, that can be a very difficult thing to do when you’re young and everyone you work with has more experience than you.

That means you’ll have to figure out what your “secret sauce” is in order for you to stay ahead of the pack. I’ve found that nobody can prescribe the right sauce to any person, because the value we bring to our respective startups differs from one to the other. In my case, my “secret sauce” is my obsession with productivity and capturing information that can be leveraged later. I try not to let a single plausible idea – or concept that could improve my life or help me achieve my goals – go undocumented. This isn’t productivity for work I’m talking about, but a personal life management system.

For you, your secret sauce might be communicating the most outrageous concepts in the simplest of ways. Or maybe it’s showing up on time for people, something I haven’t been very good with recently. Whatever your secret sauce, use that each morning to deliver your unique value to whatever vendetta you’re building against. Focusing on one vendetta at a time keeps the stress levels down :)

But if you’re young, now is the time to be pulling all-nighters and risking it all to change the world. Stick with me as I tell you about the last 40 days since I wrote y’all... and apologies for the delay. Here we go!

This month I’ve been meeting with lots of different investors, from venture funds to angels. The feedback and interest in what we’re building is strong: it’s never been so obvious how terrible of an investment college is for Gen Z. Our challenge is straight up ambitious: use AI to tailor online education to get you employed in under 3 months. As we head into the holiday season, we’re focused on our beta users currently taking courses, and driving towards our MVP to open our doors to the internet.

We’ve made some exciting progress this month onboarding beta testers for Audo Learn, pushing the limits of what our beta can handle before our MVP opens in January. But even that statement feels like a blessing when I think back to the beginning of this year when we didn’t even know if the concept would resonate (we did tests, but ya never know). I’ve been doing live walkthrough onboardings with some of our beta testers, and it’s been really helpful to get that user feedback in real-time.

I was planning on telling everyone how many career tracks we’d launch with in January. But we may have a surprise in the works

Audo is hitting the road, and we’ve applied to some of EdTech’s biggest opportunities:

  • Myself, Andrew (CTO), and Ahmad (Partnerships) will be attending CES in January: would love to connect with anyone thinking of going!
  • You’ll see us in a booth at ASU+GSV where we’ll be looking to connect with new partners, demo our tech, and learn more about the future of education.
  • We’ll also be at SXSW to join hundreds of excellent companies working to reimagine the future of education. A hackathon is also in the works; more details coming soon!

I also had the pleasure of speaking on a couple of podcasts and Yahoo Finance to get the word out about Audo, which were really cool. I’m just a verbose dude, and am working on refining my answers, because I love rabbit holes. Conveniently located here to peruse:  

Yahoo Finance Appearance

Action & Ambition Podcast

Entrepreneur Radio Podcast

Man. This one is tough. As I spoke about in my last letter I’ve taken a step back from Nota (Previously named The Doe), to allow Josh Brandau the new CEO of Nota to bring the organization some much-needed focus.

That much-needed focus also came with a lot of innovative ideas, and a lot of questions around building a sustainable technology company in a struggling publishing industry. The problems are nuanced, but I’ll start with this: it’s very difficult to watch something you’ve built for so long come screeching to a halt, as we evaluate the most viable route forward.

All that to say, the Nota team has made it past many of the “rough times,” and momentum should begin to pick up soon with more clarity on what we’re building. But it took some time to get here. I don’t have much more to share at this point, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have some really exciting updates about Nota by the end of the year.

The Guin team has been growing significantly lately. We’re now a family of about 20 people, and proudly a 90% black-employed organization.

With our growing team also comes an evolution of concept. Beginning this year, Guin has focused on creating sustainability for the label, and we’ve made major moves toward ensuring that this happens. We’ve fleshed out our revenue model, and the label itself has undergone a huge in-service operation: everyone’s jazzed for 2023.

We have big dreams for Guin, and Misha is chipping away at all of them daily. Imagine a Guin studio in every major city. Imagine an incubator focused on artist development for aspiring artists who are financially disadvantaged. Imagine transparency at the core of every deal we do.

There’s a lot that’s been cooking in the oven that we’ll start to share slowly, but October was a temperature check on the dream, and it’s strong!

Across the Board

Culture has been a big focus of mine recently. It’s the driving factor of success for a startup, which is why I’m grateful to highlight an amazing culture being built at Guin. Misha has done an amazing job of driving cohesion among an ever-evolving team against a new pivot. But culture ebbs and flows. Across my organizations, we’ve had to let people go as we’ve made aggressive pivots and evaluated what the organizations best need to be successful. We’ve also seen amazing moments where we’ve gained explosive growth at Audo, meeting our goals, only to see the goalposts move into arenas like fundraising or team growth: which inevitably weaken culture. The startup game can be frustrating, but I also believe that building sustainable companies that employ many, and drive obvious solutions to industry-wide problems, is the greatest use of my drive and time.

At Guin, I’m seeing glimpses of a really amazing culture. At times, artists will tear into staff, but our team is learning how to deal with it. We are learning when to own up to a fault or hole in our startup processes and to recognize the moments when it’s not our fault. It’s amazing to see this growth in Guin under Misha’s leadership.

At Nota, the team and culture have suffered a lot. I’m grateful that all the team members we let go, or chose to leave during our pivot, have all managed to gain employment and make the next moves in their careers. That’s the best outcome you could hope for as a founder who will inevitably make mistakes. In my case, it was seeing hockey stick-like traction without building proper monetization strategies. To the team members who have moved on, thank you for trusting in me for so long. I’m proud of the work we did and proud of you all for keeping the drive and finding new opportunities to work: I can’t wait to cheer you on on your new paths.

For the folks still at Nota, I think we understand how daunting the challenge we’re tackling is, but I also think we’ve figured out how we’ll be able to operate and build. I know you all will love what we release next.

It’s been a tough month. I think most of my fellow entrepreneurs are changing their expectations of what the end of this year would look like. The hours have gotten longer and the work more extensive. I’m sure I’m not the only founder who’s been facing 14-hour days with no lunch.

But I don’t want you to think it’s all doom and gloom.

This past month has been a lesson on the importance of building connections and keeping an open mind, even under the intensity of building and raising. From chats with investors, to dinners with fellow founders, there’s truly no better way to get a perspective on what you’re building than by hearing other people’s stories. It re-motivates and re-excites you about the path you’ve chosen.

You never know what kind of insights or opportunities will come out of a conversation – and you are more likely to find them when you are receptive and present.

I attended an event on the Future of Work this month, intending to connect with VCs and find opportunities to pitch Audo. Surprisingly, though, the best connection I made wasn’t with a potential investor; it was with another founder. His company is creating tech that can quickly recognize patterns in large data sets. In connecting, we were able to follow up with meetings, learn about their technology, and develop new ideas that will save my team hundreds of man-hours. Had I been narrowly focused on networking with VCs, I would have completely missed out on that learning opportunity.

When you're building, staying laser-focused on your MVP and fundraising can be tempting, but there's a lot to be said for staying impartial and open-minded. In fact, the early building stage might be the most important time to remain objective and open. Remaining malleable and adaptive as a company culture will result in more effective pivots that keep you on track, rather than breaking you.

George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

I mentioned I’d talk about productivity in these newsletters, but really I’ve just been building out my life on Click-Up more than ever these days. So for now, here are some contact management apps to help you improve the relationships in your life. It’s been a very interesting, niche, craze. And there are so many options from Dex, to Clay.Earth, Contacts+, and more.

Book Update

In January, I shared that I got a publishing deal for a book proposal on civil discourse. I’m excited to say that the final manuscript has been submitted to the publisher, and we’ve approved the first set of proofs. On the long road of publishing a book, we are within sight of the finish line!

We’re 5 months away from our publishing date, so expect to see more on this soon. I’ll likely do a cover reveal in November!

October Monthly Memo

Hi friends! Welcome to the first installment of my monthly memo. I'm excited to share some news and updates with you, as well as insights from the blog, and a few other things on my radar.

It's been a busy year, and summer... I began this year with the intention of creating self-sufficiency for the three startups I founded over the last few years. 

To focus my time, I've taken on full-time responsibility as CEO of Audo (formerly Dormzi), while taking a step back elsewhere.

I have hired the previous CRO of the LA Times (Josh Brandau) to take over and evolve The Doe, and I've taken a step back from Guin, confident in my sister and co-founder Misha's leadership as sole CEO of Guin Records. 

I support both Misha and Josh as much as I can in my free time, sharing learnings from Audo and other companies across my portfolio to ensure learning and progress from mistakes and wins are made at each venture. 

On a personal note, Summer has been less relaxed than in previous years, with "building" being the focus on my mind.

Whether it's been increasing the amount of time and priority I put on family-time this summer, or the late nights and early mornings spent fundraising for Audo, I've been blessed to be busy!

But if you're feeling like this summer has been a quiet and heads-down period for more than just yourself, there's some logic there! (Keep reading)

I've been fortunate to learn a lot over this summer, and to put a significant emphasis on increasing productivity, increasing clarity in everyone's roles and responsibilities, and doing my utmost to drive these impact-focused teams.

But, at the risk of repeating what you all already know, the markets are down; beyond the global implications, from an early-stage founder mindset, the dial has been turned up for all of us to ensure sustainability in what we're building.

Fundraising is no longer dependent on who makes the most noise, but now, who has a real solution for a large enough market that can be monetized in your first 2-3 years of operating.

I'm confident I'm building solid companies, but this summer was a lesson in long-term strategy.

I'm learning that patience is a founder's best asset in a bear market and everything takes a little longer in a downturn.

Patience coupled with a realistic roadmap to product-market fit is the way through. That means being able to see the vision beyond the excitement of early stages, and being mentally prepared for years of testing, feedback and product iterations that will lead to a monetizable solution. 

Young founders, myself included, tend to be impatient, wanting to build the products that solve massive problems and grow into empires.

But Rome was not built in a day, so patience has been the biggest skill I've been developing most this summer, along with all the fundraising lessons I've been learning on the job. Amazon started by selling books, before selling everything you can think of.

Company Updates



Audo's beta is officially live!

In case you missed it, my college startup, Dormzi, has recently pivoted and rebranded to Audo - A career-building ecosystem that uses an AI-powered assessment to generate a personalized upskilling path and connect you to careers in today's increasingly volatile market. 

We believe that there are tons of powerful courses online, and tons of amazing job opportunities at the entry-level, but users are not being matched well to either.

We're building the ecosystem to bridge digital education with gig-style work and earning potential. A "get paid gigs, as you learn", kind of thing. 

We've partnered with Coursera, EdX, and Path Unbound to provide ample variety in courses for us to stitch together personalized curriculum.

The only question at hand, is how can we close the gap between higher education and job placement?

Well, it starts by ensuring it's offered at an affordable price that breaks the chokehold of student debt and the 4 year commitment typically expected by traditional education institutions. We're in the exciting stage of beta testing Audo Learn, and we're prioritizing collecting as much feedback from our early users as possible so we can adapt to their needs.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a beta tester, they can sign up here.



Say Hello to Nota-the next stage of evolution for The Doe!  

The Doe began as a solution providing a place online to authentically tell meaningful stories through anonymous publishing.

However, over the years, we've recognized we cannot do this alone. To do more, our vision must grow and pivot.

Enter: Nota.

With Nota, our dream is to build an ecosystem for journalists and media consumers by, finally, bringing technology solutions to the journalism industry that improve the content creation process for writers, increase revenue for publications, and rebuild trust in publications from consumers.

We want to return people to the center of publishing. We're focused on empowering the writers and storytellers who fuel the publishers we trust most, with the intent to improve the publishing experience for all those involved: publishers, writers, and consumers. 

Nota will continue to serve marginalized voices as the internet's leading anonymous publisher, while expanding our focus to a grander mission: improving the way consumers interact with news and how publishers source and distribute that content.



A lot has happened at Guin in the past 6 months.

Like the other two, Guin has also been very focused on sustainability. Misha and I have focused on how Guin can continue to grow towards becoming the leading artist-friendly label in music.

The mission is ambitious and challenging, but we know the only way to get there is by listening to what our artists and the greater artistic community are asking for.

This has involved looking at the data of what it takes for a label, which in the modern day operates like an early stage venture capital fund, to break an artist.

We've also been analyzing what the weighting of factors should be in the decision making of which artists we sign and how to better construct those deals to incentivize artist growth. 

As always, Misha and I have leaned on what we know best to make this happen: recruiting talented team members to collaboratively give this mission the best opportunity for success.

While our progress this year has been exciting, it hasn't come without its fair share of headaches either.

Signed artists are like founders: there never seems to be enough money, somehow the fund is always blamed for lack of growth, and while building a successful artist career is like building a business, artists sometimes don't see it that way.

Nonetheless, like any fund focused on the "early stage," it's our job to guide, mentor, and shepherd these young artists towards a mindset of partnership.

Misha and I continue to work closely to dream up what Guin can become and what the appropriate milestones will be along the way.

I'll continue to provide updates as we flesh that out. But for this year, beyond all of the amazing music releases we've had, I'm most proud of the team we've grown into: a team focused on setting and driving against goals in the next year, a team focused on process and efficiency to ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and a team focused on culture and mental health.

We're intentionally signing artists we believe we can work with closely to develop their work through our partnership, and avoiding artists who want to treat us like the label that doesn't care.

Because, believe me - this team cares so much, they put the lives of the artists ahead of their own. I couldn't be more grateful for the team we've built, and for Misha showing up day in and day out to build a music empire and family that artists are proud to be a part of. 

As Guin keeps building, I'll continue to share updates here; and in the meantime, here are some of our newest releases! 

Guin new releases:

Barny fletcher

From the Blog

What Is The Role of A Record Label In Today’s Music Business?

rolling stone

Record labels play an important role in artist development, fostering a body of work while maintaining a focus on profitability and data-driven results.

Principles of Communication

principles of communication

Human language, problem-solving, and morality originate in our imaginative ability to reflect on different situations and our deep-seated drive to connect with others.

How to Break Out of the Social Media Echo Chamber?

how to break out of social chamber

If you find your content consumption pattern one-sided and constantly bashing the other side, it's time to break free of your filter bubble.

Milan’s Monthly Memo September