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John Rampton- You just walked in the door from an exhausting day at work. You’re hungry and spent, just wanting to catch your breath for a minute. You grab something to eat and then veg out in front of the TV. Next thing you know, you've just binge-watched five episodes of the latest Netflix show.

While that’s okay occasionally -- we all need ways to decompress and shut down -- this isn’t a healthy habit. That’s why the most successful people in the world spend their free time learning.

During a five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that they don’t watch TV. Instead, an impressive 86 percent claimed they read -- but not just for fun. What’s more, 63 percent indicated they listened to audiobooks during their morning commute.

Productivity expert Choncé Maddox writes, “It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to read two or more books per month.” As such, she suggests everyone “read blogs, news sites, fiction, and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge.”

If you’re frequently on the go, listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

Maybe you’re thinking: Who has the time to sit down and actually read? Between work and personal life, it’s almost impossible to find free time. After all, if Barack Obama could fit in time to read while in the White House, what excuse do you have? He even credits books to survive his presidency.

President Obama is far from the only leader to credit his success to reading. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Jack Ma are all voracious readers. As Gates told The New York Times, reading "is one of the chief ways that I learn, and has been since I was a kid."

So how do they find the time to read daily? They adhere to the five-hour rule.

Breaking down the five-hour rule.

The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, founder of Empact, who has written about it widely. The concept is wonderfully simple: No matter how busy successful people are, they always spend at least an hour a day -- or five hours a week -- learning or practicing. And they do this across their entire career.

Simmons traces this phenomenon back to Ben Franklin, who was constantly setting aside time to learn. Franklin generally did this in the morning, waking up early to read and write. He established personal goals and tracked his results. In the spirit of today's book clubs, he created a club for artisans and tradesmen; they'd come together to pursue self-improvement. He also experimented with his new information and asked reflective questions every morning and evening.

The three buckets of the five-hour rule.

Today’s successful leaders have embraced Franklin's five-hour rule by breaking the rule into three buckets.

Read: Self-made millionaires including Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, read between one and three hours daily. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets, which lead to SpaceX, by reading. Besides expanding your knowledge, Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, says that “reading can give you a good head start; this is often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, readers are more likely to know other industries' strategies and tactics.”

Even if you can't commit to an hour or more of reading every day, start with 20 to 30 minutes. I always have a book with me so when I’m waiting for a meeting to start or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, I can read instead of waste time on my smartphone. You could also try audiobooks during your daily commute or when exercising.

Reflect: The five-hour rule also includes reflecting and thinking. This could be just staring at the wall or jotting down your thoughts. For example, Spanx founder Sara Blakely is a longtime journaler.

Focusing on the past gives you a chance to learn from mistakes you've made, as well as assess what you did correctly. As a result, you’ll be better suited to achieve your goals and improve your life. In 2014, a University of Texas study found that mental rest and reflection improves learning.

Need help getting started? Schedule reflection time in your planner. I’ve found blocking out 15 to 20 minutes after lunch is ideal because I’m coming out of that post-lunch slump. But start small: allocate five or 10 minutes per day, and then work your way up so you’re not overwhelmed.

Know the questions you want to ask. Stick with just two or three questions focused on that specific day. For example, if you attended a conference, ask, “What were the key takeaways?” and “How can I apply this to my business?”

Experiment: The third and final bucket is rapid experimentation. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.

The reason experiments are so useful is that you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments show you what’s working. You can learn from your mistakes and obtain feedback from others. Best of all, experimentation isn’t that time-consuming. Most of the time, you’re testing through the same activities you'd perform without testing.

Jack Ma even recommends applying the knowledge you’ve learned to a real-life scenario. For example, after reading a book about collaboration and teamwork, you could take on new volunteer work to put that knowledge to use.

When you make learning a habit, you’ll be more successful and productive in life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you're growing yourself -- and your company -- every day.

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Everyone makes mistakes, bankers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and most importantly entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is so very sensitive and greedy as it is in constant need of your attention and focus especially when it is a start-up. Slipping off here and there is not a jail time crime but as a start-up, constant tripping can become costly down the line.

"The biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid of failure. Failure is key to your success, and jumping into your fear is very positive for your future business. How you pick up after failure and learn from your mistakes is the key to great success." – Audrey Darrow, president, Righteously Raw

"Being organized is key. Running a small business is like being a circus ringmaster. It's normal to have dozens of things happening at once. So, I have a daily task list, things that I need to do. And I list them by their priority. It sounds simple, but it works, and makes me far more productive." – Tara Langdale-Schmidt, founder, VuVatech

"The biggest mistake a business owner can make when launching a startup is misinterpreting the market. Whether it is underestimating [or] overestimating costs, appealing to the wrong target demographic, or poorly gauging the demand, misinterpreting your market can end your business before it even starts." – Nabeel Mushtaq, COO and co-founder, AskforTask

"As a startup, there is sometimes a lack of self-awareness. Founders in the early stage are not great at delegating work to their team members. They try to do everything that they possibly can to cut costs, but really, in the long run, they should have delegated the things that they are not good at and focused on their strengths. If you are aiming for multiple targets at once, you are very unlikely to hit one." – Matt Pyke, founder and CEO, Fly High Media

"By far, the biggest mistake a startup can make is hiring employees too soon, such as hiring full-timers when a part-timer might make more sense, or hiring an employee when a subcontractor could have done the same job/function. It is very easy to run a small business with part-timers, subcontractors and the services of other professionals." – Joseph C. Kunz Jr., CEO and president, Dickson Keanaghan

"[It's a mistake] focusing on raising money instead of customers and product-market fit. Once companies have a product, many focus on raising money. But they should focus on customers and product-market fit, making sure their value proposition and offering resonates with a market and will get traction." – BJ Lackland, CEO, Lighter Capital

"One of the biggest mistakes a business owner/entrepreneur can make when starting a business is the failure to implement contracts. No matter how good relationships may be, they can come to a screeching halt when systems and agreements are not put in place." – Michelle Colon-Johnson, founder, 2 Dream Productions 

"Paying yourself too little or too much [is a mistake]. It's often easier to determine the salary for a new hire than determining an owner or partner's pay. Consider paying yourself a percentage of revenue. Whatever you choose, make figuring out your pay and that of your partners a practice and foundation to healthy expectation of management." – Diana Santaguida, co-founder and creative director, SEOcial 

"Having been a first-time founder who made many mistakes, I realize in hindsight that I never made decisions fast enough. I was slow to recognize that a relationship with a business partner wasn't working out, that my customer wasn't willing to pay enough money to sustain our business, that investors weren't interested in funding my business no matter how much they liked me, etc." – Sam Rosen, CEO and founder, MakeSpace

10. Grow at the right pace.

"I have had a lot of people who want to invest in my company. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is partner with someone just because of the money. The investor is more important than the money. You need to pick someone that shares your vision and morals. It is OK to be picky when it comes to an investor." – Tara Langdale-Schmidt, founder, VuVatech

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Aj Agrawal- Entrepreneurs have busy lives and making time in an already hectic schedule for a workout can be difficult. It is important to keep your physical fitness commitments as it will help you focus on your business better. Age and ability are unimportant as there are exercise routines available for every mobility level and age group. Entrepreneurs need to keep their bodies fit and their minds sharp, working out regularly assists in achieving both for a more successful career.

Relieves Stress

Following your own dream by building your own company as an entrepreneur comes with many stresses. You must adopt a stress relief plan so that you do not reach burnout, lose your ambition or enter into depression. Working out is a great way to relieve stress.

Most entrepreneurs are required to make frequent business trips, which is stressful on its own. A good workout upon arrival can help relieve the stress of just making the trip. Following a difficult presentation or long conference, another light workout won't hurt, just to clear your mind.

Helps Maintain a Work-Life Balance

Adopting an exercise routine helps maintain your work-life balance, which is required so that neither your business nor your family suffers. You must schedule time for your family, time for your business and time for yourself. The time you scheduled as your "me time" should include time for a decent workout to regroup. The ideal time to work out is after leaving work but before heading home so that work is separated from personal business.

Career Stamina past their Prime

After years of working long days and rarely having time for yourself, your body can feel run down. Just because your body wants to slow down, simply due to age, that does not mean you have to stop working out because you no longer have the stamina or mobility. There are workouts created for all age groups, medical conditions and mobility restrictions to still keep you career driven as a successful entrepreneur and in-shape. Lower-impact exercises are a good option for those with osteo-related ailments to prevent further injury to already compromised joints.

Consider working with a personal trainer to help customize a workout that is right for your age group, ability and medical conditions.

Improved Creative Thinking Skills

Entrepreneurs have to maintain a creative thought process to evolve with technology, marketing trends and industry competitors. Staying fit and active through exercise can help bring innovative solutions to mind for solving product defects, presentation delivery issues and increasing efficiency in your workforce. As thoughts flow through your mind, it is a sign that your body is working, it is alert and it is being taken care of. Entrepreneurs with difficulty focusing, being creative and solving problems have likely forgotten to take care of their body along with their mind.

Sleep Better

When you maintain a good workout schedule, you sleep better. Entrepreneurs that sleep better are faster thinkers, lead their industries and are more focused. It also helps to have a good bed with supportive pillows so that you are comfortable. Make part of your evening winding down routine a low-impact workout finished with 10 minutes of meditation to help relax your mind to fall asleep faster.

Without enough rest the night before, there will be no energy left for an afternoon or evening workout to stay fit, brain-sharp and goal-driven. Studies show that exercising before bed can help you fall asleep about 15 minutes faster and sleep an average of 45 minutes longer.

Do Not Stray from a Workout Schedule

No matter where you are, you can still workout, including in a hotel room while away on business. Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, planks and squats are enough to get your heart rate elevated to release adrenaline for an energy boost. Schedule your workouts as part of your workday so that you stay on-track with your fitness plan. Missing even one workout can throw your entire week off

During periods of product development, growth and increasing productivity are when you need to keep your workout schedule the most. These are some of the most stressful periods of time entrepreneurs face. Working out, as scheduled, helps keep you sharp, focused and ready to make decisions to expand on your dream.

Final Words

Staying fit, as an entrepreneur, is important. Not only can it help you live longer but you will have more stamina to handle hectic days, stressful meetings and working well into your prime. If you stray from your workout plan, you may experience a small fail. Fails help you build from your mistakes to improve on the next attempt, leading to success.

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Paula Fernandes- On paper, things have never looked better for female entrepreneurs. In fact, more than 11 million U.S. firms are now owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales, according to 2017 data from the National Association of Women Business Owners. African women are not left out in the progressing economy

But these numbers only tell part of the story. Women-owned firms are still in the minority, and the hurdles faced by women who have embraced entrepreneurship are vast and often very different than those experienced by their male counterparts. To shed light on some of these disparities, Business News Daily asked female CEOs about the key challenges women entrepreneurs face and how to overcome them.

1. Defying social expectations

Most female business owners who have attended networking events can relate to this scenario: You walk into a crowded seminar and can count the number of women there on one hand. When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving.

 In this sort of situation, women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereotypically "male" attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive and sometimes overly harsh. But successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations.

"Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are," said Hilary Genga, founder, and CEO of Trunkettes. "You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance, but most importantly, you're there. Don't conform yourself to a man's idea of what a leader should look like."

2. Dealing with limited access to funding

Not all startup founders look for investors to help get their businesses off the ground, but those who do know how difficult the pitching process can be. Raising capital is even more difficult for women-owned firms. A 2014 Babson College report found that less than 3 percent of venture-capital-funded companies had female CEOs.

Bonnie Crater, president, and CEO of Full Circle Insights said venture capitalists tend to invest in startups run by people of their own "tribe" – for instance, a Stanford-educated investor will want to back a Stanford alum's business. This means that VC firms with female partners are more likely to invest in women-run startups. But according to the Babson report, that accounts for only 6 percent of U.S. firms. Women looking for business investors should build confidence through a great team and business plan recommends Crater.

Investors typically look for businesses that can grow their valuation to more than $1 billion, Crater said. "Think about how to do that," she advised. "If you have experts on your founding team that can execute the business [operations] well, investors will have confidence in those people. [You also] need a good product-market fit."

Another way to overcome this issue is by working to get more female investors involved in supporting one another, said Felena Hanson, founder of female angel investor group Hera Fund and the Hera Hub co-working space. According to Hanson, groups like hers are "looking to not only inspire and encourage female investors but to grow and support other female entrepreneurs through both funding and strategic educational workshops."

Female entrepreneurs can raise the necessary capital for their business by learning to ask for exactly what they need, even if that means requesting more than what they want.  

"Women are more conservative and don't overstate projections," said Gloria Kolb, CEO, and co-founder of Elidah and mentor at UConn's Technology Incubation Program. "When we pitch investors, we are often pitching realistic numbers. But men so often overstate and exaggerate that investors often discount the numbers off the bat."

Kolb explained that investors, who are often men, will assume that the women entrepreneurs are operating just like the men and inflating their numbers. Therefore, they will provide funding at lower levels than requested. Women need to understand this dynamic and approach their pitches accordingly.

3. Struggling to be taken seriously

At one time or another, most women CEOs find themselves in a male-dominated industry or workplace that does not want to acknowledge their leadership role. Alison Gutterman, CEO, and president of her family's business Jelmar, had this experience early in her career.

"As a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, earning respect has been a struggle," she said.

This was especially difficult for Gutterman, who faced presumptions that she was living off her father's and grandfather's reputation.

"I was more than willing to put in the work to create my own reputation for being a hardworking, honorable businessperson in my own right," Gutterman said. "To overcome this, I have had to learn to build my confidence and overcome my negative self-talk."

Those negative comments that have built up in your head are stopping you from reaching your full potential, said Gutterman. To combat them, she's joined a variety of women entrepreneur groups.

"These groups have provided me mentors and peers to inspire me, hit me with reality checks on my capabilities and successes and help me grow and learn from their outside perspectives and experiences," she said.

4. Owning your accomplishments

The communal, consensus-building qualities encouraged in young girls can leave women unintentionally downplaying their own worth. Molly MacDonald, founder, and CEO of The Mobile Locker Co., a startup that provides personal storage for events, said she has always found it difficult to convey her own value as a leader.

"When I talk about the company … I always find myself saying 'we' instead of 'I,'" MacDonald said. "Using the first person to discuss successes feels to me as if I'm bragging, and I cannot shake the idea that if someone knows it's just me in control, the value of what we do will go down. As I grow the business, I am making an effort to own what I've accomplished."

Similarly, Shilonda Downing, founder of Virtual Work Team, advises women to recognize the value of their creative ideas.

"I've had to catch myself on occasion when I noticed that I'm giving away too much without a financial commitment from a potential client," Downing said. "[I] recommend other women value their knowledge as well."

Sharon Rowlands, who serves as president of Gannett/USA TODAY NETWORK Marketing Solutions and ReachLocal, agreed that confidence is the key to success, even when you're up against a boardroom full of men.

"I had confidence in my abilities to run the business," said Rowlands. "I just made sure that any initiative I was trying to move forward was backed up by a solid business case. I was never unprepared for the questions I knew would come."

5. Building a support network

Having a robust support network is essential for entrepreneurial success, so it’s no surprise that 48 percent of female founders report that a lack of available advisers and mentors limits their professional growth, according to Inc.

"With the majority of the high-level business world still being dominated by men, it can be hard to blaze your own path and facilitate the introductions and connections into some of the more elite business networks," said Hanson. "As most of the business, today still rings true with the philosophy that 'it's not what you know; it's who you know,' this can be a huge factor in your ultimate success."

Knowing where to find the right support network isn't always easy. A few good places to start include women-focused networking events – such as  WIN Conferences, EWomen Network and Bizwomen events – as well as online forums and groups created specifically for women in business, like Ellevate Network.

Once you find your network of supporters, don’t be afraid to ask for what you really need from them.

"Ask often and ... be clear about what you need. You never know who has the capacity to help," said Addie Swartz, CEO of reacHIRE, which connects companies to women who are returning to work after a break or women looking for new roles and advancement. 

"People are more likely to jump in if you are specific about what you need them to do," added Swartz. If you don't ask, you won't get." 

6. Balancing business and family life

Parent entrepreneurs have dual responsibilities to their businesses and to their families; finding ways to devote time to both is key to truly achieving that elusive work-life balance, said Genga.

For Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations, finding this balance meant leaving a corporate job and starting her own consulting business before her first child was born.

"I knew that if I had continued working in the corporate world that I would have had to make a lot of choices I didn't want to make," said Garrett. "I do think the culture of work is shifting to allow women more flexibility, which is a good thing. But working for yourself will probably always allow more freedom than working for someone else." 

7. Coping with a fear of failure

Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture, but Kristi Piehl, founder, and CEO of Media Minefield advises women to not let their insecurities keep them from dreaming big. She encourages women to work through the moments of self-doubt that every business owner faces and not wait for perfection before starting their business or taking on a big promotion.

Failure also should not be viewed as a negative or an excuse for relinquishing your goals, according to Swartz.

"When you hear no again and again, when your plans don't turn out or if you make a costly decision ... see that as a teaching moment," she added.

The road to success is paved with losses, mishaps, and mistakes, but it still can lead to where you want to go as long as you don't lose sight of your ultimate destination.

"Stay the course," Swartz said. "Take in all the feedback; filter out the noise and the naysayers; learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again. But whatever you do, do not give up."

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If your goal is to build a successful business, you’ve got to keep yourself motivated and your spirits high to win the game. But there are other factors that are just as valuable, and that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article. As an entrepreneur, self-confidence and motivation can only go so far. You need to be book-smart and street-smart.

Use Your Time Wisely

Most people are horrible at managing their time. They’ll spend the majority of their day doing busywork that doesn’t actually move the needle. The fact is, there are only 24 hours in a day, so it is very important to make every single hour count as an up-and-coming entrepreneur. Organize your life with a schedule that isn’t too rigorous to follow and a to-do list that won’t over-stress you.

The book The 4-Hour Workweek proves that you can turn 80 hours of work a week into four hours, all while achieving the same results. If you’re struggling to increase your hourly output, it can show you how to maximize life, live it to the fullest and spend fewer hours working.

Don’t Make Excuses

Every time you choose not to do what is required of you for your business to succeed, you are putting days or months of delays on your growth. Doing the dirty work is a prerequisite to entrepreneurship, not something that should be glorified.

Man Up: How to Cut the Bull**** and Kick A** in Business (and in Life) will show you exactly how to stop making excuses and how to work harder when you can’t find the motivation to do so. It's a mirror for those who treat their dreams and aspirations as mere hobbies and always find excuses not to step out of their comfort zone.

The Fundamentals Are Just As Important

Just like any sport, when it comes to business, you have to learn the fundamentals in order to achieve your full potential. Sure, you can skip it all and learn it the hard way by trial and error, but think of this as a shortcut to success. Many businesses fail because they lack a basic understanding of what it takes to sustain a business. Businesses that fail don’t know the basics of profit and loss or how to sustain cash flow.

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America help you understand the fundamentals of all-encompassing business practices. The book is a compilation of Buffett's most valuable writings, properly arranged and presented.

Proximity Is Power

Relationships in business are incredibly powerful and are one of the reasons why entrepreneurs can grow so quickly. How to Win Friends and Influence People is all about the art of persuading people in the workspace and building long-lasting relationships with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.

Without that connection to someone you desire to work with, the chances of them actually working with you become very slim. Proximity is power in entrepreneurship. Don’t underestimate the value of a relationship.

Many Things In Life Are Irrelevant

Don’t let the world take up valuable real estate inside your head. Your mentality is one of the most powerful and important things when it comes to succeeding in business and in life. Don’t let the downfalls and struggles of life eat away at your brain. Most things in life don't matter, and the only reason they do is that we give them importance. Focus on what will really move the needle. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life will teach you how to do just that.

Ultimately, You Control Your Destiny 

Only you can put in the work to become successful and reach your goals. Don’t waste the 24 hours you have every day. These five books will help you tackle the roadblocks or detractors along your entrepreneurial journey.

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John Hall- While many of us in mid-November 2018, was thinking about the upcoming holidays, travel plans, and quality time with loved ones; business and marketing leaders were crunching the numbers and having tough discussions about their budgets for the new year before 2018 comes to a close.

As you’re looking back at the year’s successes and (let’s face it) shortcomings, it’s important to look ahead to what the marketing industry as a whole has in store in the near future and to seek out new opportunities to engage your audience. To help, here are seven marketing trends that leaders should consider as they’re preparing to budget for 2019:

1. Content has become core to marketing (and sales, too).

One of the biggest trends in content marketing is that it’s all but taken over marketing departments. Content has become core to everything your marketing team does, so you absolutely have to budget for it. If you haven’t already, create a content marketing plan. And if you have created a strategy, take some time to revisit it, make sure it aligns with the direction you’re wanting to go in 2019, and determine that you have the resources you need.

While you’re thinking through how content will work for you, don’t forget about the goals you share with your sales team — and how content plays a role in achieving them. Pay attention to sales trends and think through ways content can smooth your individual sales process. Content has become the fuel for so many of your marketing and sales departments’ biggest goals, and your budget should reflect that.

2. Chatbots will offer benefits beyond customer service.

Audiences are looking for more authentic, helpful interactions with brands, and they want those touchpoints to happen on their terms. Chatbots can help you meet your audience members where they are and inform your marketing strategy with insights directly from them at the same time.

According to recent research, 73 percent of marketers say they use their website analytics to research their audience, but only 42 percent say they use actual audience conversations. That’s a missed opportunity for better relationships and better messaging, and if marketers want to close that gap, they might want to look into chatbots.

Not only do chatbots give you insight into exactly what your audience members are looking for and when, but they also make it easy to deliver that information to them — all while collecting those insights to refine your messaging in the future. It’s a win-win, and that’s why it should be on your radar in 2019.

3. Alternative search formats are on the rise.

Just as there are different ways to communicate your message, there are different ways for audience members to search for your content. Voice search is on the rise, and with Google announcing plans to make visual content more useful in search, marketers need to be prepared for the rise of alternative search.

According to the recent research I mentioned earlier, more than half of marketers increased their use of image-based content, and more than one-third increased audio-only content. This indicates marketers are moving in the right direction by producing more and different types of content for audiences. But if you’re creating different kinds of content without also thinking through how your audience will find it, it’s not going to do a lot of good. As we go into 2019, prioritizing multimedia content and the alternative search will be important.

4. Marketing and PR will continue to overlap.

As content keeps growing, marketing and PR teams are going to see more overlap. I’m not saying that these two teams are will ever become one and the same. But brands are starting to realize that marketing and PR share some common goals and work well together, and they’re making it a point to bring these two teams into closer proximity.

PR has evolved a lot in recent years. It’s less about the templated, mass-distributed messaging of the past and much more about engaging content that’s valuable to brands, reporters, and their audiences. Now if helpful, engaging content sounds familiar, that’s because it’s central to what marketing is all about. Marketing and PR can and should work together to enhance each other and deliver more value to your audience — and your bottom line.

5. Security and data privacy will be major concerns.

To say it’s not been a great year for privacy would be an understatement. If you value online security and the privacy of your information, then the seemingly endless stream of news stories about data breaches and hacks might be making you uneasy. And your audience probably feels the same way.

Online security and the protection of personal information are growing demands for all consumers, and marketing leaders must accommodate this development. The 2018 rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU was a big step in that direction. As audience trust in media declines and concern over privacy grows, marketers will need to put the processes in place to responsibly collect, store, and protect their audience members’ information to maintain the trust they’ve worked so hard to earn.

6. Personalization and authenticity will separate successful marketers from those who just contribute to noise.

To be honest, there’s no good reason in this day and age for anyone to receive generic messages and completely irrelevant offers in his or her inbox (or anywhere, for that matter). With the endless amount of data you have available, the technology that can analyze it and help you put it to use, and the tools available to scale that information across interactions, your audience members should feel special all the time.

They’re already bombarded with more content than they can handle, and you don’t want to just add to the noise. Technology doesn’t have to make you more impersonal. It can make marketers better communicators. Use it to (securely) collect relevant data, and turn those data points into insights that can guide your messaging. The more advanced these tools get, the higher your audience’s expectations for genuine, helpful, personalized content will be.

7. Less will be more.

In an article about trends to consider for 2019, I know it probably sounds weird to say that maybe we should be trying fewer things, but hear me out. Things evolve rapidly, especially in marketing and communication. There’s constantly something new that’s demanding your attention as a marketer and your audience members’ attention as content consumers.

In the race to take advantage of the next big thing, some marketers may be trying to do too much at once — which only leaves them with lots of partially realized investment payoffs, a potentially jumbled message, and audiences that suffer from their lack of consistency.

So rather than dive headfirst into each trend as it emerges, remember the members of your audience and what is truly best for them. That should be your guiding light. Assess everything carefully, make sure you’ve got a plan to actually measure whatever you try, and always prioritize your audience experience.

As marketing continues to evolve, pay attention to different speakers, trusted content sources, and other marketing leaders you respect that you are prepared for your budget talks. Hopefully, these seven marketing trends that are shaping the industry will help you as you sit down to allocate dollars and set goals for 2019.

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Racking your brain in search of a skill you might have hidden somewhere in you or trying to figure out what business you could venture into and emerge successfully is like the step 0.10.

Then you go in search of capital or an investor. You try so hard to convince your potential investors that your services or products are nothing like the ones they might have encountered. This could be the step 2.10.

With all of this checkpoints, you will almost think that all has been settled and your business is ready to bloom. Boom! competition begins to come in and you begin to struggle to stay afloat. You try so hard to convince your clients/customers why they need you. You may be lucky to get it right the first time.

But if it proves too difficult, here are six steps that will make your competitions completely and abruptly irrelevant.

1. Work with integrity. 

Every new project should be your "best work ever"

2. Find your unique selling proposition.

Take advantage of what makes you unique + authentic

Something that’s really important in building a business that has no competition is knowing the real reason why people hire you. 

3. Identify your ideal client.

Who are you confident you can get the best results for?

In order to build a business that has no competition, it’s really important that you get super specific about who your audience is. Forget this idea that your audience is “anyone that needs my product.”

 it’s sort of a lazy answer. The more specific and detailed you get about who your target audience is, the more you can tailor your business and brand toward them.

You stop having competition the minute that you are inspiring and attracting your ideal client. You know, the person that will benefit the most from your services. You want to ask yourself:

What segment of my market am I supremely confident I can get results for?

This means the people you know you can make an impact on. The people whose lives you can positively change. You want to take into account all the things that have to be true about them so that it would be easy for them to hire you and be sort of a no-brainer decision.

4. Focus on solutions.

Talk about the problems you solve for others.

Of course, knowing who your target audience is only the first part. The second part is understanding their problems and then offering solutions to them.

5. Give tons of value.

Take people from know>like>trust by giving more.

It’s an essential part of the famous and well-known idea that in order for people to buy from you, you have to get them to KNOW YOU, then LIKE YOU and, finally, TRUST YOU.

Giving free value is the first place in getting them to know a bit about who you are. Once they put to use the content you have given them, they start liking you for helping them. Finally, when they see results, they really start trusting you to be the person that can solve those problems we mentioned before. voilá. You have just made competition irrelevant once again.

6. Look great outside.

Have your logo look + feel and web match your inside.

Basically what you want to ensure is that the outside of your brand is capable of matching its inside. You want your brand to look as incredible as the solutions that you are offering. Makes sense, right? 

Another thing in terms of making sure that your brand looks great is that it proves to people that you’re the real deal. That you care about your business enough to invest in it. And, if you’re investing in your business, you can bet that you are dedicated enough to do what’s best for your clients as well.

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Simply and finely written in this post are 12 of the best easy-to-understand tips you need to master in order to be a very successful entrepreneur. 

1. Remember your purpose.

Whenever you lose focus on the craziness that sometimes is part of being an entrepreneur, you have to remember your why. Why did you decide to become a successful entrepreneur in the first place? Why this and not getting a job somewhere? Having a clear a purpose will drive you forward through the tough times and help you appreciate the great times even more.

2. Define your brand.

This means that the clearer you are on the value you’re providing and the direction you’re going, the easier it will be to make decisions along the way. It will also give you direction on the best way to communicate with your audience. Knowing your values will determine what you’re willing and not willing to do, and will go as far as defining the services you provide.

3. Understand your audience.

Speaking of your audience, knowing who your target market is, is probably one of the most important elements to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Spend as much time possible as you can getting to know them, understanding them and speaking the same language. This will get you far in business. It’s essential that you answer what their problems are and understanding what is keeping them up at night.

4. Just go for it.

There will be times when you will work tirelessly, waiting for when your work is perfect to release it. One thing I have learned over the years is that if you wait for things to be 100% perfect, they will never be launched. So stop that. Just go for it. Launch what you have and then make adjustments along the way.

5. Teach others why they need you.

You might have the best service in the whole world. It might be absolutely obvious to you why people need to hire you. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the case that it’s so obvious to your target audience. This means that you need to teach them. You need to be super clear in making others understand why they need what you’re selling. I’m not talking about why they need you specifically, but why they need your services in their lives and how they will make their lives even better.

6. Focus on creating solutions.

 For you, this means that you need to focus on solutions instead of on how incredible YOU are. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

7. Design a great- irresistible brand

Having a logo and website that look professional will give you credibility and build trust and it will undoubtedly make you stand out. Remember that in the end, what’s important is being able to differentiate your brand so that you can build recognition.

8. To win big, play big.

 Playing big means making the right investments. Being afraid and playing small will only keep you small. To become a successful entrepreneur you have to recognize the areas where you need to go for it. Have a bad website? Invest in one that will get you sales while you sleep. Need help in marketing? Hire. Feeling like fear is getting in the way of achieving your goals? Change your mindset

9. Have a support system.

While it’s important that we know a bit of everything, I also think that what we’re not experts at, we can delegate. You see, your focus should only be at creating or doing what you do best. You don’t have to do your website, program social media, do your own Facebook ads and keep track of finances. There will come a point when you realize that having a support system to which you can delegate non-essential tasks will be one of the best decisions you can make. You see, being a successful entrepreneur is all about delegating and focusing on your passion, being more productive and staying in consistent creative action. In order to be in that action, you need time! This is why a team is so important!

10. Continue learning + growing.

Our world moves incredibly fast, and you will be constantly tweaking and adjusting in order to set up strategies for your business. And when you think you’re done, you will find something else to tweak. It’s all about growth.

11. Be consistent always.

you see, being consistent doing what you have to do will get you really far. It means setting yourself up for success. It means standing out as an expert.

12. Share the real you.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I have learned over the years is that the more you you share, the more you will connect with others. You see, people, in the end, want to feel like you understand them and that you can describe their situation even better than them. 

 You see, even though there are billions of people in the world, there’s only ONE you so you really want to make sure you’re using that in your favor. No matter if your brand is a corporate one or a personal one, bringing your story, values and expertise is great at helping you shine.

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1. Create a product or service that solves a problem:

As long as consumers have problems they will always ever be in search for solutions. 

People will always look for better, faster and smarter ways to accomplish everyday tasks.

With different problems comes different remedy, so be a part of the innovative kind of remedy.

2. Build an audience before you launch:

Building an audience BEFORE you launch (not after) is something that most start-ups never seem to pay heed to. No consumer loves to be taken by surprise, your business has to have been on a billboard or the front page of a daily newspaper. Build a reliable audience, not just any kind of audience.

3.  Start collecting emails ASAP:

Before the idea of business comes to mind, you may have never given much thought about the importance of building an email list. My point is, building an email list is vital for any kind of business.

4. Build relationships with influencers:

Influencer marketing can help you build your ideal audience and email list faster than you think. Make a concrete list of all the influential people you can contact and share your 'mad-scientist' idea with.

5. Just Start! Launch small, then focus on scaling:

Many start-ups believe in "go big or go home". This is actually one of the worst things you can do in a start-up. Why tie up capital in expenses or inventory?

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Meet 5 remarkable under 30 African entrepreneurs, who have built 8 and 9-figure fortunes.

1. Mohammed Hamid, Ugandan

One of Uganda’s most successful young entrepreneurs, Mohammed Hamid, 43, is the founder of the Aya Group, a $650 million (annual revenues) conglomerate with interests in mining, milling, food manufacturing, commodity trading, transportation, agriculture, biscuits manufacturing, bakeries, and luxury real estate. Last year, Aya Group launched Pearl Of Africa, a landmark 5-star hotel in Kampala which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Aya Group in the process of constructing a $4 billion industrial park in Uganda.

2. Niyi Makanjuola, Nigerian

38-year-old Nigerian serial entrepreneur Adeniyi Makanjuola has built a range of businesses across the aviation, oil & gas, environmental utilities, energy, and the financial sectors. After acquiring his M.Sc in Urban Planning and Development from the University College London in 2002, he returned to Nigeria where he founded Caverton Helicopters – a charter, shuttle, and maintenance company that he set up to bridge the gap in Nigeria’s onshore helicopter service sector. Today, Caverton Helicopters owns the single largest fleet of ultra-modern helicopters operating in Sub Saharan Africa with an 80% market share in Nigeria. His Raven Resources Group is one of the largest traders of petroleum products in Africa, and he sits on the board of Visionscape – Nigeria’s largest environmental utility company.

3. Ali-shah Jivraj, Ugandan

Jivraj, a 32-year-old third generation Asian-Ugandan entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Royal Electronics, a $10 million (annual revenues) Ugandan company that assembles and distributes electronic home appliances such as Television sets, radios, speakers, and DVD players. He also owns a real estate firm which owns residential apartments in two of Kampala’s most expensive residential areas, and he is setting up a battery manufacturing plant in the country of Burundi, in Southeast Africa.

4. Kevin Okyere, Ghanaian

Kevin Okyere, 38, is the founder of Springfield Group, a $1 billion (annual revenues) multifaceted Ghanaian energy behemoth. Springfield Group is involved in trading and transporting hydrocarbons, terminalling and storage, gas stations, and oil exploration. The company owns an 82% interest in the West Cape Three Points Block 2 offshore Ghana (WCTP2) which was previously owned by Tullow Oil and Kosmos Energy.

5. Ronald Karauri, Kenyan

Ronald Karauri, 40, is a co-founder and CEO of Sportpesa, one of Africa’s largest online sport betting platforms. Sportpesa has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, the Isle of Man and the UK and annual revenues of more than $120 million. Karauri owns 6% of the company.

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