STOP PUTTING PRESSURE ON YOURSELF TO HAVE IT FIGURED OUT

Karmen Tang
Founder of another startup story
July 15, 2019

Image: @anorganisedlife

Image: @anorganisedlife

Recently, I’ve felt a severe amount of pressure to have life all figured out and to find my purpose.  With new engagements popping up on my Facebook feed every weekend, society is a constant reminder of how I don’t have it all figured out. One of my biggest fears (and I know it’s a lot of other people’s too) is not wanting to be in the same place this time next year. We want to be making progress.  

 

But we are creatures of habit. We think somewhere between 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts in one day, and 90% of those thoughts are exactly the same as ones we had the day before. We get up on the same side of the bed, go through the same routine in the bathroom, brush our hair in the same way, sit in the same chair as we eat our breakfast and hold our cup in the same hand, take the same route to the same job, and do the same things we know how to do so well with the same people (who push the same emotional buttons) every day. And then we hurry up and go home so that we can hurry up and check our e-mail so that we can hurry up and eat dinner so that we can hurry up and watch our favourite TV shows on Netflix so that we can hurry up and go to bed at the same time so that we can hurry up and do it all over again the next day.

 

We often rush to complete things in life. Just going through the motions and doing things to tick a box. We rush to get to the destination when life is honestly about the journey. I’ve learnt this the hard way.

 

Life is a marathon not a race. And what I do know for sure is that I want to try everything that life has to offer. This is why I love to travel and experience different cultures, people, smells, tastes and sounds.

 

The goal of travel is "disruption from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide. And that is why many of us travel not in search of answers, but of better questions."
-Jason Silva


Travel is a mind-expanding drug, it exposes us to new situations, new reflections, new thoughts and all of that is mediated by neurochemistry. To travel is to see different ways of seeing the world through different cultures and belief systems. Experience of such perceptual expansion that you have to reconfigure your mental models of the world. Traveling leaves you with increases feelings of openness, of well-being, boost in creativity and empathy and compassion.

 

Whenever making a hard decision in life, I always use the grandma test and ask myself what makes a better story to tell my grandkids? The fact that she went and explored different parts of the world and started a business and failed or stayed in the same corporate job for 9 years and never left her apartment in London?

 

The world is much bigger, richer and more diverse than we imagine, so try as many things as possible whilst you can. Your first years of adulthood aren’t about earning money or building a career. They’re about getting acquainted with the world of possibility . Be extremely receptive. Taste whatever fate dishes up. Read widely, travel far, because stories are excellent simulations of life. Only as you age should you become highly selective.

 

MIDYEAR REGENERATION.

It’s half way through 2019 already! Feeling the fear of not being where you want to be and like you’re running out of time? Do you need help getting back on track and resetting your mindset to give you a fresh new outlook? Make the decision and invest in yourself. 1:1 business coaching sessions now available at discounted prices for the rest of the year.

Click here for more information or drop me an email and let’s chat!

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FIND YOUR SIDE HUSTLE

MAY 30, 2019

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Whether you are employed full-time, a student, a stay-at-home parent, or just want to start something new there are, in fact, many ways to make extra money with a side hustle. A side hustle is “any project you start on the side...which can turn into something profitable”. This side project can certainly be an extra source of income and depending on the side hustle, and one can earn more than 1000 dollars a month. Depending on how successful the side hustle is, you could also potentially make your side hustle your full-time job.


Side hustles are great for anyone as they “require no initial capital”, and “you can begin with no experience and learn as you go”. Here are 67 side hustle ideas that you can get started with and increase your income. Click here for more details on each side hustle.

1. Freelancing.

2. Start a money making blog.

3. Write, publish and sell and eBook.

4. Invest in cryptocurrency.

5. Sell your crafts.

6. Get paid to drive.

7. Create and sell an online course.

8. Become an English tutor.

9. Be a tour guide in your own city.

10. Earn through sponsored content on Instagram.

11. Virtual assistance.

12. Sell stuff you no longer use.

13. Create a software or mobile app.

14. Mug printing.

15. Leverage Amazon Associates.

16. Web design.

17. Be a freelance make-up artist.

18. Rent a room.

19. Complete microtasks.

20. Join sites like Swagbucks and InboxDollars.

21. Be a social media manager.

22. Get into eCommerce.

23. Pet care service.

24. Visiting cards.

25. Vending machine investing.

26. Become a social media influencer.

27. Home baking.

28. Be a freelance photographer.

29. Open a coffee shop/bar.

30. Become a stock trader.

31. Be a consultant.

32. Try a career in real estate.

33. Complete simple tasks online.

34. Rent your car.

35. Review software.

36. House sitting.

37. Sell personalized gift items.

38. Podcasting/making YouTube videos.

39. Sell leaflets and flyers.

40. Build a niche site.

41. Lease swapping.

42. Join a focus group.

43. Party catering.

44. Offer graphic design services.

45. Home cleaning.

46. Start a drone business.

47. Data entry.

48. Sell your creativity by thinking of domain names.

49. Be a travel blogger.

50. Advertise on your car.

51. Earn money while traveling with tourism jobs.

52. Be a transcriptionist.

53. Start an essay writing service.

54. Open an online vape shop.

55. Become a call center representative.

56. Make deliveries.

57. Be a fashion designer.

58. Home-based travel agent.

59. Gamble.

60. Mystery shopping.

61. Assignment writer.

62. License your photos on Instagram.

63. Article writing for revenue sharing sites.

64. Gardener.

65. Babysitting.

66. Become a food stylist.

67. Carwash service.

Works Cited

  1. 67 Best Side Hustle Ideas to Make an Extra $1000 a Month”, Let’s Reach Success, September 24 2018

  2. Image: IG @lewisomler




HOW TO BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND THAT OFFERS MULTIPLE ROUTES TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS

Karmen Tang
Founder of another startup story
May 19, 2019

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I recently attended a conference where I heard Gary Vaynerchuk speak. Now for those of you who don’t know who Gary V is, you need to get to know. His advice on social media and content creation is GOLD for anyone with a business or personal brand and so I wanted to share some of the key learnings on the day.

If you’re finding it difficult to grow your social media following, it’s because all your content is selfish. Harsh, but true. The reason why people follow your account is for one of three reasons; to educate, inspire or entertain. If you’re not doing at least one of those, then it’s likely that your content is crap.

“Worldwide, people watch 1.25 billion hours of YouTube video every day. They post 66,000 photos or videos on Instagram every single minute. And, on average, 20 percent of the time people dedicate to mobile is spent on Facebook.

The scale and power of social-media platforms make it possible for any of us to earn money from a personal brand. With only 1,000 followers, someone on Instagram can earn $5,000 per year, from just two posts a week” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Crushing it!

Everyone needs to think like a publisher. The gateway is content and communication through media is foundational to any business. Media dictates what you think and it creates the outcome you aspire to. Your phone is the most powerful tool right now and it’s scary how many people are not utilizing and maximizing it to its full potential.

With Instagram being over-saturated now, it’s a blessing and a curse and the cream rises to the top. But the truth is, the more content you put out; the more you’re likely to bring out as much valuable content as possible.

The 7 principles you need to nail are: 

1.     Authenticity

2.     Passion

3.     Patience

4.     Hard Work

5.     Attention

6.     Speed

7.     Intent 

‘The intent of content is the variable of success’

 

You need to teach and help people, not treat them like holiday-makers trying to shove a menu down their throat. Every time you post, you can’t expect people to buy your product or services.

A good example is fashion blogger Nadia Anya. The reason why she has over 370k followers on IG and 47k YouTube followers is because she creates content to inspire and entertain others. People follow her for her fashion sense and beauty tips.

As a dear friend of ours, we’ve partnered up with Nadia to share some of her secrets to success as an influencer and YouTube Content Creator.  You can grab your copy of ‘Monetizing your Instagram Guide’ here.

THE TOXIC MYTH OF 'THE CREATIVE'

Kitty Ireland
May 19, 2019

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Everyone starts life as an artist. Maybe you didn’t have a grandmother who would let a two-year-old play with her watercolors, or a mother who would take you out of second grade to go to her community college art classes with her (like I did), but I’d bet $10 that before you could speak in full sentences or read “cat” you were doing something creative.

Creativity is deeply tied to how we learn, and it is the key to how we solve problems. When presented with a familiar situation, you generally know how to respond, or at least know how you responded last time. Over time you learn what works and what doesn’t and develop behaviors based on whatever has the best results.

When presented with an unfamiliar situation, you have to rely on your creativity. You have to make something up.

You may have a frame of reference, like observations of others’ behavior or memories of similar situations. But when you’re a baby, you are usually starting with no information at all, so you have to be very creative and experiment until you solve the matter.

I’ve always cringed at the term “creative” as a noun that defines a person. It implies that some people are and some people aren’t… and I just don’t buy that.

If You’re Not a “Creative,” When Did You Stop?

It’s unfortunate that education in the United States generally undervalues soft skills and creativity in favor of standardized test scores. I was going to say in favor of marketable “hard” skills, but stupidly the education system in this country doesn’t spend much effort on those, either. For an observer who hasn’t been in school or otherwise involved in education for a long time it feels like the system is geared to maintain social inequities and feed the for-profit college industry more than it is to help people become educated or functional in the world.

(sorry, #minirant)

In any case, you were probably taught to stop valuing your creative capacity sometime in early elementary school, which is a damn shame. It’s a shame for you, because (IMHO) a life devoid of creative output is just… #sad. Not to mention that creative thinking is how you become truly successful at anything. Look at anyone who has become super rich (who didn’t start out that way), and you can trace their wealth to a handful of creative ideas. Bill Gates may not fit the mold of “The Creative,” but he has used creative problem solving and creative negotiating to get to where he is today. Pick any successful person who made their own way and you will see a pattern of picking the road less traveled (creative thinking).

It’s also sad for everyone else, because a dearth of creative work and thinking in the world means the status quo is winning. And the status quo really, really sucks.

The Status Quo is Killing Us.

The status quo is killing the planet. We need creative problem solving to fix this more than we need activism. Arguing about it doesn’t help. Trying to convince climate change deniers is a waste of everyone’s valuable time and attention. Making individual efforts to recycle and drive hybrids has very little impact. Like most big problems, we need large-scale, structural and institutional solutions. We need policies. We need international cooperation. We need every major corporation on board and participating in the solution. And to get there, we need creative thinkers. But, because most people were discouraged from developing that skill, it seems like most people prefer being divisive and shouty over being solution-oriented.

The status quo is breeding hatred and violence. The economic inequity of the current flavor of capitalism in service of profit (for shareholders) and growth (of profit for shareholders) is not sustainable. We’re talking pre-revolution-France level concentration of wealth, which history shows does not end well. While this ugly system teeters on the edge of implosion, the growing population of very poor people are sometimes choosing crime rather than poverty. They are sometimes so despondent they use drugs and alcohol to drown out their grim reality. And a lot of them are looking for a place to lay blame. If you hear shouting about how “they” are stealing “our” jobs, you are listening to someone who is desperate for some security in this unstable and unfair economy, and who never learned the vital skill of big-picture critical thinking. They can’t see the real enemy because it’s too large to perceive. So they get stuck in their own bigotry. Stuck thinking like this indicates a lack of imagination. And an aversion to creative solutions.

The Toxic Myth

The main problem with the idea of “The Creative” is that it’s a form of elitism. If you believe that only certain genetically gifted individuals can be creative, you may discount the notion that you could ever have a creative idea. You may start to think that your old, well-tread ideas are the only right ideas, and that there’s only one way to do things: how things were done before. AKA, the status quo.

Meanwhile, these special individuals who have been dubbed “creatives” run around thinking they’re all that, while often operating as cogs in the status quo machine, churning out brilliant ad campaigns for light beer or getting into affiliate marketing on their blogs about how to get into affiliate marketing.

What if we just imagined for a moment that everyone is more-or-less as creative as everyone else? I mean, sure, some people are born with an uncanny ability to draw realistic portraits of animals or play stringed instruments. Others are born with limited capacity due to a disease or injury. But in between those extremes is most people. And most people would be doing themselves and the world a big favor if they used the creative capacity they were born with.

So…I Should Learn to Draw?

Well, sure, if you want to. But ability or interest in drawing, painting, crafts, playing music or writing poems is not a prerequisite for using your creativity.

Be creative in your daily life. Want to change your diet? Learn to cook something. Or, use creative problem solving and find a meal delivery service that suits your new diet. Break yourself out of your routine in any small way and you’re feeding your creativity.

Be creative at work. Are there things you think should be done differently? Write them up and propose them! Or just do them and see if things get better. Just because something was “always” done this way, that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do things

Word of warning: being creative requires a level of risk and vulnerability that can feel uncomfortable at first. Putting your idea or work out there leaves you open for criticism, which is another reason many avoid accessing their creative nature. It’s easier and safer to stay inside the box assigned and not rock the boat too much.

Whether or not you’ve ever considered yourself creative or even appreciate “the arts,” recognize that you have a creative capacity. The more you can tap into it and use it for good, the better off we’ll all be.

QUALITY OVER LIKES

Sae Jin jang
may 6, 2019

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Instagram has recently taken a big step on how posts could be potentially portrayed to others. In late August, Instagram announced, starting in Canada, the temporary removal of the number of likes a post receives shown to other people – you would be the only one to know how many likes you have on your own posts.

In fact, the test run for removing likes on Canadian Instagram accounts has already begun, and it will be very interesting to see how posts and content will be changed – or possibly stay the same.


William Soulier, the co-founder and CEO of Talent Village, explains how this will change how brands reach out and interact with their followers. He states that we can currently “judge the success of [a brand’s] social campaign” by simply observing the number of likes, noting that some brands might be fixated on likes rather than “more important factors such as the quality of the content produced”.


Furthermore, he asserts that it is “difficult to measure something like ‘quality’” of a post just based on the number of likes and that, by the removal of likes,

“Instagram can provide for a platform that encourages quality content rather than brands focusing on just the number of likes”
-William Soulier,
CEO of Talent Village



Brands will have to “realign their affiliation with the right kind of talent”, meaning that brands that only focus on the pursuit of likes, the current definition of success on Instagram, would need to changes by making quality posts, the real definition of success. In this way, brands can “match their values and have the credibility to talk authentically” on Instagram.

Essentially, William Soulier believes that removing likes will most likely have people posting in a positive manner with genuine motives, contributing to a better, more productive Instagram community.


Works Cited

  1. Instagram Is Testing Hiding Your Likes.” Social Songbird, 2 May 2019,

  2. Image: IG @Connectioncorner


WHY SOUTHEAST ASIA IS THE NEW STARTUP HUB

KARMEN TANG
FOUNDER OF ANOTHER STARTUP STORY
APRIL 29, 2019

Founders used to be obsessed with breaking America and Europe, now the ‘Middle Kingdom’ is becoming more appealing with the rise of accelerator start-up programs.

SEA has multiple countries all at different development stages and cultures. The ten ASEAN nations each have their own culture, set of consumer behaviors and local trends, in which there are still many problems to be solved.

The population size of SEA is two times that of the US, meaning the US and Europe are no longer the largest consumers of internet usage. Smartphone usage is only expected to increase and grow exponentially. For example, Vietnam has seen an increase in smartphone possession from 35% to 65%.

What does this mean for us? In this digital age, it means a massive shift in consumer/retailer behavior. Consumers are now better equip through the use of apps to allow them to make better decisions to improve their quality of lives.

Source: Global Web Index, We Are Social Report, Mar 2015

Source: Global Web Index, We Are Social Report, Mar 2015

The brands that have already made a massive disruption in the SEA market include the likes of Alibaba, Lazada, GoJek, Traveloka and Grab. All of which aim to improve efficiency, but there are still a number of issues like underdeveloped infrastructure and logistics. All of which present great opportunities for startups to come in and solve real problems.

The Chinese start-up scene is now stronger than ever, with the advanced level of technology, a rise in investors and VC funds and of course, the predominant Chinese work ethic. Not to mention, the lower corporation and income tax rates which makes it more attractive to the founders.  Utilizing this higher supply and advisory networks will equip founders with the support they need to excel in their ventures.

Source: Arden Capital, e-commerce in Southeast Asia

Source: Arden Capital, e-commerce in Southeast Asia

The SEA economy is one of the most rapidly growing regions. Led by Singapore, the most developed country in the region, other countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong are not too far behind. A recent survey showed that Singapore has the most amount of successful startups in SEA.

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Cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore have so much to offer in terms of sight-seeing, shopping, amazing food and nightlife. With English being the commonly spoken language, it makes it very traveler-friendly and expat-friendly. Asia has also become a popular destination for downtime retreats for artists, creatives, influencers, thought-leaders and entrepreneurs.


Despite the high rental costs in Hong Kong, the average cost of living is only US$2800 a month compared to a 46% increase of US$5211 in Silicon Valley.


Despite this surgency of startup culture and tech disruption within the APAC region, there is definitely room for more. These favorable factors mean there’s never been a better time than to start your own business here. With an abundance of opportunities, it’s really the place to be.

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BLANDING, OR THE BRANDING PARADOX

THIERRY BRUNFAUT
CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDING PARTNER OF
BASE
APRIL 25, 2019

In my 25 years in this business, I’ve come to believe one thing above all others: Brands are like people. Some are understated. Some are loud. Some are funny. Some communicate exclusively by exclaiming! Some have terrible grammar. Some, you imagine, have great abs.

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As with people, brands aren’t created in a vacuum; they’re products of the world around them. Formed in relief around the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, a brand is as much about what it isn’t as what it is. The point is differentiation; by definition, that’s what branding is. Which is precisely why I’m so baffled by the current epidemic of what I call blanding—branding designed not to stand out at all, but to blend in. With results that are, in a word, bland. 

The main offenders are in tech, where a new army of clones wears a uniform of brand camouflage. The formula is sort of a brand paint-by-numbers. Start with a made-up-word name. Put it in a sans-serif typeface. Make it clean and readable, with just the right amount of white space. Use a direct tone of voice. Nope, no need for a logo. Maybe throw in some cheerful illustrations; people like those. Just don’t forget the vibrant colors. Bonus points for purple and turquoise. Blah blah blah. 

And I do mean blah.

The Brands That Inspired the Blands


Apple. Google. Airbnb. Uber. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. These brands communicate in basic codes that function almost like signage. You might say it’s “intuitive” branding. The cues are all right there: youth, friendliness, progress, newness, nowness and, above all, tech. With the wild success of these companies, their shared visual language has become a diner placemat-treasure map for countless tech hopefuls. Let us call them: the blands.

Blands are like teenagers. They dress the same, talk the same, act the same. They loiter at the arcade and, sometimes, the food court. Like teenagers, blands don’t have a very defined sense of self or, if they do, they lack the confidence to be it. It’s a school-of-fish mentality where the comfort and safety of the familiar outweigh the risk of attracting too much attention. In identifying themselves through the looks and mannerisms of others, the only thing blands are saying about themselves is that they don’t have anything to say about themselves.

The Difference Between Brands and Blands—Show, Don’t Tell.

The problem is that the blands haven’t earned the branding they ape. The big tech companies have strong, simple visual identities that match their strong, simple products. In many cases, they are their product. Their branding has evolved to reflect their powerful missions. Google’s logo wasn’t always the pared-back wordmark you see today. It matured, lost its quirks (remember that exclamation point!), and became a better representation of the company over time, as Google itself grew up.

Unlike blands, the tech giants have a lot more brand power going for them than their samey logos. As I touched on in this interview, the big tech brands are strong because the services or products they offer are strong. They are their product. But they’re not only a what, they’re a who. And rather than telling who they are, they’re living it.

The same is true of success stories outside of tech. Take footwear company Veja. Famously, they don’t spend a dollar on marketing or advertising, and instead put their money into their products and into producing them sustainably. What a novel, daring idea. Or take REI. For the last four years the company has closed every one of its stores on Black Friday, the single biggest shopping day of the year, and paid its employees to spend the day outside. Who’s gonna hate those priorities? Or take Volvo, the inventor of the three-point seatbelt. Rather than keep that landmark 1959 patent to themselves, Volvo gave it away to the world. Why? Because it would save lives. Sixty years later, the company has pledged that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. An impossible goal. Or is it? Doesn’t matter. This is not a company simply broadcasting a message of safety; it’s a company devoted to it. 

Let’s face it. Who do you believe, the company that tells you they believe in something or the one that does something about it? My point exactly. If you have to tell people you’re innovative or disruptive or forward-thinking, you aren’t. 

Sorry if that sounded a tad harsh. I got a little worked up there.

In design, simplicity has historically been treasured. But simplicity, historically, has also carried an implication of cleverness. Or ingenuity. Or personality. Or all of those things. Simplicity was a compliment. But these days, companies are content with the simplicity part of simplicity, without any of the things that used to define it. And that’s not a compliment; it’s insulting to all of us.

It all comes down to personality. Without that, there’s nothing for people to hang onto. Except possibly a sans-serif typeface in vibrant colors like purple and turquoise with cheerful illustrations. That’s when branding rings hollow and ends up backfiring—the so-called brandscape becomes a blandscape*, and everyone crowded within its slender spectrum is reduced to generic. 

The Challenge of Omnichannel Branding

It’s easy to see why tech would embrace blanding so wholeheartedly. Many of the companies are young, they’re selling untested ideas, and they haven’t had time to cultivate a strong identity.

There is also a functional reason: bold colors and sans-serif type play well across the diverse media on which brands today must live. They scale up or down. They are legible on a screen, in a magazine, or on a billboard.

Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that the blanding trend isn’t limited to tech. Even some of today’s most established brands have erased their identity and, in one turquoise swoop, neutered their brand. Take Peter Saville’s controversial redesign of Burberry’s wordmark. The radical use of a neutral type eliminated all decorative elements. In Burberry’s case, these details weren’t superfluous; they happened to evoke style and class and heritage and something nobody else had—something that was, for lack of a better word, Burberry. Celine, too, went minimal recently, killing its accent and adjusting the spacing of its wordmark to “enable a simplified and more balanced proportion” that is designed to read as well on Instagram as it does on the side of a building. Blanding, the suggestion seems to be, is just good business.

But there’s a logical fallacy. Just because simplicity is the easiest way to accommodate diverse platforms, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Omnichannel branding is a tremendous design challenge that should make companies more creative, not less. 

Real Brands Blend Out

Blanding has left us with a cultural backwater of superficial brands that have been simplified to the graphic equivalent of a Trump tweet. I’m not advocating for getting back to fanciful, illustrative logos. I’m asking simply for brands to more expressive. That doesn’t mean loud, it just means personal. Honest. True. And Different. 

The process of getting there is a little like therapy. It can be painful to dig down to find the truest sense of a brand, but it’s cathartic and it’s crucial. We’re always looking for the secret ingredient. Something elusive and un-obvious, A contradiction, a surprise. Something to talk about, believe in, tickle, intrigue, entertain, agree with or disagree with and hopefully not give you a rash. And if you do it right, you end up with a charismatic hybrid of the you that others see and the you that you want to see when you look in the mirror. 

Does your company have a big nose? This is how people will remember you, whether you like it or not. So you might as well own it. Call your company Schnozz. Make a proboscis monkey your mascot. Donate a percentage of profits to preserving their habitat. Commission deluxe, XL facial tissues, brand them and give them to clients. Live the truth that big noses build character. Then translate that to visuals that feel like you, not somebody else. Just stay away from the sans-serif in vibrant colors like purple and turquoise and cheerful illustrations, ok?

This article was co-written with ex-Base writer and friend Tom Greenwood. Thanks Tom.

WHY EVERY ENTREPRENEUR NEEDS A BUSINESS COACH

karmen tang
FOUNDER OF another startup story
APRIL 20, 2019

Research suggests that working with a business coach can increase your profit margin by an average of 46%. However, further statistics reveals that 42% of businesses do not actually use a business coach.
 

Business coaches tend to be experienced entrepreneurs themselves or have a specific niche in a topic. For example, I wanted to use my knowledge and skills developed as a qualified Chartered Accountant and the experience I’d gained working within a global marketing agency to help educate creatives with their business acumen. Every entrepreneur needs a business coach and here are 5 reasons why…

 

1. It’s a Lonely World

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. You need to surround yourself with supporters and other founders who have your back and actually want you to succeed. In the startup world, entrepreneurs often find themselves alone facing unknown situations and new challenges. A business coach can help to give an objective view on your business and identify the reality of scenarios without any vested emotions.

You may at one point find yourself in a stage where all your friends are still working in 9-5 jobs (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but it may mean that they won’t understand the struggles your faced with when starting a business. Thus, making it difficult for you to go to them for advice and for them to understand what you’re going through. Start-up founders don’t often have a big team to begin with and may also miss the social aspect of being in an office surrounded by colleagues.

While running your own business can be really rewarding, there’s no denying it can be overwhelming and there comes a point where you constantly feel like you’re up against time and run the risk of burnout. When you work with a business coach, however, you’ll have someone in your corner who can assist you through the challenges you will inevitably face and serve as a source of experience and expertise that you can rely on when things get tough.

Question: Are you part of a community?

 

 

2. Too Many Opinions

We often allow the expectations of parents, partners, friends, managers, or teachers control our lives. But if you’re driven by peer pressure, you’re always going to be worried by what others might think. And unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.

It’s exactly the same for startup founders. They can easily be swayed by the opinions and expectations of others as to what should and shouldn’t be done. It’s also really important to note that often when we get feedback from friends and family, they aren’t necessarily your target market so what they like or dislike isn’t always a true representation of who you’re trying to build your business for.

I remember at the very early stages of my business when I was designing the logo, I would ask my mum for her opinion and her response would always be that she loved every single one. As much as mum’s are great, unfortunately she was not my target market. Equally, partners and friends will eventually get tired of hearing your ideas.

Question: Who do you share and bounce ideas off of with? Who do you turn to for guidance and insight?

 

 

3. Accountability

Coaching is not counseling or mentorship. Business coaching is a goal-directed and action-oriented approach to helping dreams become a tangible reality. The most common challenge I’ve come across with the majority of my clients when starting out is ‘self-belief’. It can be scary thinking about your dreams when you haven’t started, because you then start to question whether it’s even possible at all.

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In fear and self-doubt, you’ll end up talking yourself out of it and settling for the comfortable mediocre life. But playing things safe is never going to lead to a life of fulfillment.

I work with individuals to help them simplify things and organize all the messy ideas swimming around in their heads and to also step out of their comfort zone. It’s about helping them to identify what does (and doesn’t) work.

The best way to explain this is by using the example of an athlete. Every high-performance athlete needs a coach. Talent and training alone are not enough, you also need self-awareness, confidence, motivation, self-discipline, and many more traits, qualities, habits and skills. The same can be said for high-performance entrepreneurs.

“My biggest fear is being in the same place this time next year”

I wanted to apply this same concept to my personal fitness. My goal was to tone up and I thought it would be far more efficient to hire a personal trainer. Someone who would educate me and keep me accountable; all of which would help me get to my desire body type much faster had I done it alone. I also found there was a psychological aspect to it; once I had invested in a personal trainer I was more likely to show up with 100% commitment and take myself and my fitness regime more seriously.


Question: Who is holding you accountable?

 

 

4. Save Time

Working with a business coach is one of the quickest short-cut routes to success, yet the same logic is often overlooked when it comes to growing a brand or business. Most people have exactly the same thought patterns along the lines of ‘it’s ok I can just wing it, it’ll be fine’.

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Coaches also need coaches, I had invested in my first one very shortly after I had started the business and my only regret is that I wish I had invested in her earlier. Reason being is that you get to buy into their skills, expertise and network. You also get to buy into the experience they have from building their own businesses as well as all the lessons they’ve learnt along the way with other clients they are coaching.

Online articles and books are great for getting things started but they can be easily limited to that. Every business is unique and often the generic advice found online is not the right substitute for personalised guidance. And let’s be honest, no one wants to spend their Sundays reading ‘accounting 101’. Learning in theory is one thing, but practically is another.

 

Having 1:1 tailored advice with an experienced individual and being able to bounce back ideas makes the feedback far more valuable.

 

 

5. Continued Self-Growth and Development

At the very beginning stages of starting any business, there can be a lot of blurred lines between the founder and the start-up itself. So, it’s essential that every entrepreneur is consistently investing the time in continued growth, skill development and the self-awareness of habits, traits and decisions that impact their companies.

Muhammad Ali once said:

“It is not the mountain ahead to climb that wears you out; it is the pebble in your shoe.”


Coaching creates a powerful alliance between the coach and the client to identify and remove the pebbles in your shoe. The relationship is designed to set you up for a lifelong process of human learning. A business coach knows that they have not learned everything but that they know everything they need to learn.

Question: What would it feel like to adopt the mindset of being a constant learner in life?

There are three stages of entrepreneurship I can help with…

Birth Stage
“I have a new idea but don’t know where to start!”

I can help you with the whole process of setting up your business, writing the business plan, over-viewing the financials and defining your mission and goals. These key topics are the foundations and bed-rock to any start-up and putting these in place will strategically set you up for success.  

Growth Stage
“I have taken the jump or I’m working on my side hustle but need direction”

This is good news because it means you’ve already conquered the hard part of getting started. Now you just need more guidance and direction on how to prioritize and unlock any untapped income.

Maturity Stage
“I am an existing business owner and I’ve been working on my business for a while, but it’s become a bit stale and I need new inspiration and strategies to drive profit”

As a seasoned entrepreneur, it may be that you’ve hit a road block in your company’s growth. I can help rejuvenate your business and take it to the next level. Whether the problem lies within strategy and commercials or re-branding and re-positioning within the market, I can help you to take it to the next level.  


If this all resonates with you, it’s your sign to get started now.

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Applications for the exclusive another startup story Mentorship are now open!

Sessions can be conducted anywhere in the world.
Spaces are strictly limited. Apply here

5 TIPS BEFORE YOU PITCH YOUR DREAM IDEAS TO POTENTIAL INVESTORS

VIKRAM BHARATI
FOUNDER OF TRIBE THEORY
APRIL 15, 2019

Pitching your startup to a venture capitalist (VC) is like putting your dreams for display and asking people to judge it. In other words, it could be devastating! Sandwiched between a rock and a hard place, entrepreneurs struggle to pitch the best stories and raise funds. What could really help here is a little insight from the venture capitalist’s side. This could very well prove to be the leverage they were looking for.

Having worked as the head of VC investments across two ventures, I began raising money for Tribe Theory, confident that my network of investors would buy in to my dream. However, the entire experience proved to be humbling. After speaking to a hundred investors out of which 98 rejected our proposal, I realized how hard it was to be an entrepreneur, despite having one foot in the door. I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be for entrepreneurs who do not have the advantage of a network of investors like I did.

The dual advantage of working for venture capitalists and building multiple startups has placed me in a vantage point to observe both sides. This two-part series aims to share the perspectives I discovered through my own experiences with suggestions and tips that are hopefully invaluable to entrepreneurs. And who knows, maybe the trial by fire wouldn’t be so bad after all!

At the end of the day, the relationship between the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs is built on mutual respect.

1. Entrepreneurs hold the bargaining chips
Entrepreneurs are the people who create value with their ideas. They take risks, innovate and make the effort to build stuff. With enough capital to go around in the world, the only thing lacking is new innovative ideas with enterprising people driving them. So, entrepreneurs should pitch with confidence and realize that they have more bargaining power. At the end of the day, the relationship between the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs is a partnership. And one built on mutual respect. So always remember, there is more capital that’s chasing good ideas than there are good ideas.

2. Find the centers of influence and focus your efforts.
An entrepreneur can’t really chase all the VC’s all the time. So, it makes sense to identify the people who are the centers of influence in your category of work. They can then make the right introductions and help you find investors who have a track record of investing in your area of expertise. While it may seem easier to spray your efforts across by sending every investor a pitch deck, it may not be fruitful. But when you strategize and distill your potential investor list to the five or ten key players, you are bound to achieve success.



3. Look beyond the home ground
While home equates to comfort zone, it need not necessarily be the best playground to raise funds. Sometimes, people in your region may be limited by trends, outlooks or biases. And the people elsewhere may be fostering startups in your space. So, it is wise to extend your pitching to VCs outside home. Remember, this may not always work and may raise awkward questions. But at the end of the day, it is better to find an investor genuinely interested in your space rather than wasting efforts in disinterested investors in the neighborhood.

4. Vision matters
Vision drives execution, strategy and profitability. While most startups spend considerable efforts in creating an minimum viable product (MVP), prototype or business model, they lack a greater vision. If you don’t have a plan for your company beyond the one-year trajectory, then it is time to contemplate on a greater vision for yourself and your company. This is basic storytelling to ensure that people clearly see a beginning, middle and the victorious finale of your idea. And as we all know, stories have always kindled the human imagination since the beginning of time!

5. Don’t pitch to investors. Build a human connection
Most startups are guilty of pitching to investors from the get go. While this may seem like a sensible idea at the outset, this is not good practice. Investors get pitched all the time. So, you need a different approach. When you encounter an investor at a networking event or conference, build a human connection instead of pitching right off the bat. This way, they are keen to get to know you, understand your values and motivations and are primarily “invested in you.” Once you build that relationship, they are more likely to help you out. Opportunities to pitch will automatically and organically emerge. So, remember to make friends!

This was part one of the list of essential tips to mull over before you pitch your dream ideas to potential investors. More food for thought coming next week. Till then, we highly recommend you bring on the vision board and start planning for the future of your business.

Backpacking through 50 countries across 6 continents after a long career in finance lead Vikram Bharati to his true calling of becoming an entrepreneur. Vikram founded Tribe Theory, a global chain of business hostels targeted for young startups and entrepreneurs. With current locations in Singapore, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Yangon and Bali, Tribe Theory is expanding to 10 more countries in 2019.

another startup story also hosts events at the Tribe Theory Singapore, please say hi if you’re passing through!

HOW TO LIVE A PURPOSEFUL LIFE IN THIS MILLENNIAL GENERATION

karmen tang
FOUNDER OF ANOTHER STARTUP STORY
APRIL 1, 2019

The number of freelancers in the world today make up approximately 1/3 of the American population. According to a 2013 report on the stats of the U.S. workplace, over 70% of Americans are miserable which is costing us between $450 - $500 BILLION in lost productivity each year.

These stats paired with a shift in culture and technology has given rise to the number of people starting their own businesses.

With free access to social media platforms and zero cost of publishing, never before has it been so easy to have an idea and share it with the world.

 

The rise of podcasting, co-working spaces and digital nomadism has made it easier for people to align their personal life with their working life. With such a big cultural shift in the workplace it’s essential that companies and individuals are adapting. The question is, are you keeping up?  

The safety net and security of a stable job is a thing of the past. This was a problem our grandparents and parents had to worry about, but not for millennials. Most of us are fortunate enough to have basic needs and necessities met, meaning we can afford to experiment and try new things. Sabbaticals and time taken out of work to pursue our hobbies and passions are becoming more and more common.  

People want to make a living but they also want alignment and a sense of purpose in the work that they do. We would rather forego a cut in salary in exchange for more fulfilment in work.

Finding our passion whilst constantly striving to live a life of fulfilment and happiness can lead to millennial burnout. We still face the issue of FOMO. We want to follow our dreams and work hard towards building them, but we also want to have fun and travel at the same time. There’s this constant tradeoff between instant and delayed gratification.

If you’re working in a mundane job you’re not passionate about my suggestion is to try new things. Start a new hobby or learn a new skill.

It is only through action will you find the thing that sets your soul on fire.

It’s a lot harder to find your purpose through thinking. I remember so clearly sitting down one afternoon and contemplating about what I wanted to do with my life. As a qualified accountant, I no longer felt fulfilled in my role and wanted to do something more creative. I had mapped out my strengths and weaknesses, used the Ikagi model as a basis and the conclusion was to become a yoga teacher.  

Fast forward a few years, I look back and laugh at this idea I once had because I’m one of the least flexible people I know. Moral of the story, don’t try and think up your passion in life. It was only until I started experimenting with different hobbies; from life drawing and Spanish lessons to rock climbing and hip-hop dancing did I learn more about myself and figure out what I was truly passionate about.

I now wake up every morning so fulfilled and excited that I get to work on another startup story. My love for music, creativity, business and finance and spirituality has meant that my business is a unique expression of this.

We are multi-faceted humans and each and every one of us has unique talents, interests and passions. It would be unfair to confine ourselves under one job title.

Not only would this limit our creativity but also the ability to connect with people.

 

If you’re sat here in a panicking state of worry knowing that you’ve got nothing but time against you. Or even if you don’t have an idea but know deep down you want to start something of your own you’ve come to the right place!  

The good news is as a business coach, I’m here to help you find that something. Let’s start with finding something your truly passionate about and monetize that, because we all have our own unique talents and gifts to give out to the world. It’s just about tapping into it.


If you’d like to book a business consulting session with me, drop me a message at anotherstartupstory@gmail.com

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