Leaving Accountant for Accounting Software Xero

This video covers the difficult predicament of starting your own business and having to manage finances when they are not your strong point. I explain how I will now be using Xero to do my accounting. We’ll see how it goes but it looks promising.

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UPDATE:

After speaking to my accountant I decided to keep using him for a couple more months while I start Xero, and have him over see everything. It is currently January right now, so I will reassess the need for an accountant after taxes.

He is currently using Quickbooks and is very reluctant to change technology, but he is aware that the accounting is moving towards the cloud. I also recommend every entrepreneur to use cloud based accounting software. There is no reason why you shouldn’t log into your smart phone and know where everything is at.

If you have any questions about my accounting process or anything else, I’m happy to address it in the comment section below.

How To Build Your Million Dollar Idea Muscle

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Conceiving a business idea — or more accurately stated — recognizing an opportunity, is a fundamental stage to any new business. It’s the vision someone aspires to bring to reality. It’s what provides excitement and enough courage to take incredible risk. It’s the beginning of a journey that could lead to wealth, and will lead to inevitable hardships. Creating valuable ideas is a skill that needs to be sharpened with practice, and more importantly, action. Learn to love this skill, because it’s a daily task for any CEO or entrepreneur.

I’ve heard many uncooked ideas over the years, and as time has passed, I’ve realized how underrated this ability is. In this post, I’m going to explain how fundamental and long term the skill of creating valuable ideas really is, and some of the most common mistakes people make.

Now, let’s get a couple things straight:

  1. EVERYONE has a million dollar idea. Just ask around and people will say what they think could be “the next big thing.”
  2. Ideas are WORTHLESS.

 

Do research and love it

There’s a good chance a business will need to raise money to get started. Even though raising money is a topic I won’t get into now, I will say investors know within minutes of talking if the entrepreneur actually cares about their idea or not. It’s obvious when someone hasn’t done their due diligence. Research is the easy part, anyways — it only gets harder from there. That’s why you really have to love the business/industry you’re in, because if you aren’t completely passionate about it, you’ll quit.

When someone really wants to buy something expensive like a car or television, they tend to enjoy researching and comparing said object to see which one would be a perfect fit. Well, embarking on something as large as a business opportunity should be just as fun to research and proportionally larger in the time spent.

 

Research is great, but action is better

You can study MMA technique all day, but until you actually get in the octagon and take a hit, you’ll never know what it’s really like.

After so many terrible ideas, long weekends, and literally thousands of hours of studying successful ideas/people, I’ve learned a lot. But studying ideas will only get you so far. I took action and tried some of my ideas — I failed A LOT — and learned from it. Actually going out and trying them on my own opened the door to other business opportunities I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. You can study MMA technique all day, but until you actually get in the octagon and take a hit, you’ll never know what it’s really like.

Remember, your original idea will change. New opportunities come up as a business evolves and adapts. In a startup, the end goal is to thrive and grow, but in the beginning, it’s more about staying alive than it is about huge growth. It’s important to minimize chance of failure, and establish a strong foundation. So for example, even though I have developed some of these skills, I’ll amplify my chance of success by surrounding myself with others who are more experienced and can give me additional advice and feedback when needed.

People/friends/family approach me with their business ideas all the time, and I love helping them out, but it’s very frustrating when they ask me if I think it’s a good idea before going out and doing their own research. The first step is to use Google and spend time validating the idea. Check to see if there really is opportunity or need in the market. Once researched, then try and talk to others about it.

PLEASE NOTE: NOBODY IS GOING TO STEAL AN IDEA. — Thinking someone is going to steal your idea is one of easiest ways to spot a naive entrepreneur. There is so much that can and will go wrong in your business that the benefits of valuable feedback vastly outweigh the chances of someone taking an idea. Please don’t make that mistake.

Once the idea is validated a bit more, take action. Don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars. As long as you learn from it all, you won’t fail. Also, don’t be afraid of the crazy ideas. Some of the best businesses seemed like terrible ideas at first. Airbnb started as two guys renting out their airbeds to strangers. Who would have guessed that would have turned into a multi-billion dollar company? Crazy ideas are where the real innovation begins.

When you walk into the gym for the first time, you won’t be able to lift as much as someone who’s been working out for years. More importantly, you won’t make it to the gym everyday unless you’re passionate about getting in great shape. It’s nature’s way of weeding out the flakes. Being able to see a business opportunity is as much of a muscle — or at least behaves like — any skeletal muscle you have. It will develop with hard work, action, and patience. We all wish we could have an overnight six-pack, but unfortunately there’s no such shortcut so start hustling. You’ll get there soon enough.    

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it … Stay hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs

One of the Scariest Things in the World for Entrepreneurs

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I recently read an article by Groove’s CEO, Alex Turnbull. It resonated with me because it explained one of the scariest things for entrepreneurs - uncertainty. Insecurities can really affect an entrepreneur’s self belief which is devastating and something that’s frequently challenged with this lifestyle. His article explains a solution to uncertainty that is simple and efficient, but difficult to maintain. Here’s what he said:

As I much as I learned in college, I didn’t have a single class that covered marketing automation, hiring, cash flow management, growth hacking, product development, company culture, customer support or sales.

There are a lot of things that, before starting my last company, I simply never learned how to do. As an entrepreneur, one of the scariest things in the world for me is that uncertainty.

What if I’m doing it wrong? I probably am. What am I not doing? Probably a lot. What am I supposed to do in this situation? I have no idea.

There’s no way to make smart decisions with that sort of self-doubt.

Fortunately, it can be overcome. There are so many entrepreneurs who are smarter, more experienced and more successful than I am. Much of their wisdom is available for free on the internet.

Snippet from Groove Blog – 7 Lessons We Learned Going from Zero to $30k/Month in Under a Year

The internet is the ultimate portal of information. Yes, it’s simple to do a Google search. Yes, it is efficient to find any article about any topic, but NO it isn’t easy build a habit to constantly learn the new skills needed to solve today’s problem. One of the most important characteristics an entrepreneur needs is embracing change and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. This requires you to think on your feet and make quick, but correct decisions.

Uncertainty is part of this lifestyle, and the only way to prevent catastrophe is by having the ability to learn quickly and adapt. I think Darwin says it best: “It is not the strongest of the species…nor the most intelligent, that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

5 Effective Tips to Produce and Manage Your Content

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Being able to produce good content is difficult, yet essential to any branding strategy. I’ve learned a lot over the years after having my own publication with writers all over the country, and as branding manager for a big corporation that didn’t know what a blog really was prior to me being hired. These are 5 essential tips for prodcing and managing content I learned the hard way. Continue reading…

How I Got Mark Cuban to Respond to My Email

MARK CUBAN, DAYMOND JOHN

Last week I decided to reach out to some big investors and tell them about my startup, PenPath. My goal was to simply just be on their radar and hopefully get some feedback. One of the emails I sent was to Mark Cuban — a very famous entrepreneur I really look up to. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any mutual contacts or context to put me in touch, but decided to reach out anyways. Getting a reply the next morning with the name “Mark Cuban” in my inbox was surreal. I had quite a few people ask what he said and others wonder how I got him to even reply after I wrote a Facebook status about it, so I decided to write this and share some tips I used while drafting the email I sent him.

Continue reading…