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The Number One Reason Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail

The number one reason why most entrepreneurs fail is because they start big, without much thought.

What does this mean?

In the entrepreneurship world, thinking big is a term that is used quite often.

But it is a dangerous term.

While there is nothing wrong with thinking big, it’s often a misleading way of getting encouraged to start something.

Many entrepreneurs I see interpret thinking big as starting big.

That’s where they go wrong.

Let’s take an example to understand this.

Let’s say you want to start a café but have no prior experience of doing so.

You may think it’s your passion and that it’s something you would enjoy.

The mistake you can make there is to start big.

Starting big would be to apply for a business loan, get a space for your café, invest in equipment and staff and then hope that it will all work out.

Let’s take another example.

Let’s say you are interested in online marketing and want to start an online marketing agency.

Starting big would mean you start looking out for big clients, get an office and hire employees.

Starting big looks good on paper but comes with one crucial flaw.

Which is that all the effort is based on an invalidated belief system.

Too much has been put in but without any validation.

What is this validation?

I’m not just talking about the validation that your business has to make money.

There’s a far more important validation that precedes that.

Which is – Do you like what you are doing?

Do you like the activities that are going into running your business?

Then comes the validation of whether people are actually interested in buying your product or service.

You have to realise that starting a business is not completely a logical affair.

It cannot be.

If you start something, it will consume you totally.

I’m not saying you will have to work 24/7 (in fact, the biggest myth is that entrepreneurs have to work very hard, but I’ll save that one for a later article).

When I say it will consume you, I mean it will become a part of you.

There is no question of work-life balance like you may have in a job.

In entrepreneurship, your work is life and life is work.

Your business is your lifestyle.

And how can something be a part of your lifestyle if you don’t like the activities that go into it?

So what’s the solution?

The solution is to start small.

In the aforementioned examples, the person interested in a café should not simply jump into starting an actual café.

Instead, he or she should test the waters by starting small.

They can open-up a small stall first or start from their home and cater only to their friends initially.

This way, there will be no pressure, but it will give them an idea of the actual effort involved in running a real café.

They will get a taste of the activities that they are required to do.

If they like those activities, they will have real action-based validation that their desire to start a café is a genuine one and not based on some wishful thinking.

Similarly, the person looking to start an online marketing agency can start off as a solo freelancer.

This will give that person an idea of all that goes into running an agency.

The key is to get a little taste first.

I remember something similar happening to my friend.

She loved cooking and always wanted to start a night tiffin delivery company that caters to working professionals.

This meant that she had to cook late into the night.

She and her partner printed business cards, got the menu designed and started a website, even though they had never really put any of their theory into action.

And within the first few days, she told me what I had expected to hear –

Kush, I HATED cooking that late into the night and with so much pressure on me!

I tried my best to not smile when I replied – “No way!!

They shut that business down before it even took off.

They would have been better off had they first only “test-driven” their plan on their friends.

Then all those costs that went into making their promotional materials would have been saved, never mind the emotional turmoil that they had to endure.

My friend would have easily got the validation that even though she loves cooking as a hobby, it was not something that she would have enjoyed doing under entrepreneurial pressure.

The thing is that life doesn’t work logically.

We may think we like something but the reality can be totally different.

Starting small allows you to taste that reality.

In my case, when I started my photography workshops, I did so with the validation that I loved teaching.

The validation lay in the fact that I had already taught other subjects before and always loved teaching.

But I still did not start big because I had never taught photography before.

So before trying to arrange a group workshop, I tested the waters by doing a one-on-one session just to see whether I would like it and more importantly, whether it will work for the client.

Both the things worked – I loved it and so did the person I taught.

It’s been more than 2 years and I’ve been continuously doing these workshops and the only thing I don’t like about teaching is that I don’t get to do it every day.

This was because everything came out of starting small and validating my belief before taking things to the next level.

So next time you plan on starting something, start small, test the waters and once you validate your idea, go fully into it.

It will not only ensure that you stand a higher chance of succeeding but also keep you relatively stress-free.

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I sold my PlayStation to Start a Business

Around 3 years back, I sold my PlayStation to start my photography business.

I sold it for a measly 10k.

But this small amount was more than enough for me to start a business.


Because I knew how online advertising works.

I knew how cheap it was to advertise using online methods as opposed to using traditional offline advertising methods.

That few thousand rupees I earned were enough to run Facebook ads that resulted in sales for my business.

Why am I telling you this?

Because online advertising still hasn’t changed.

It’s still cheaper than any other form of advertising.

And that’s exactly why you should not even waste a second in starting to learn it.

Possessing knowledge of online marketing and advertising will give you such a huge advantage because you won’t have to rely on anything but yourself to start a business.

Very few people know about it right now and that’s exactly why you should jump into it.

It’s never been easier to start a business based around your passion.

In a few weeks, time I will be releasing a completely free Facebook advertising course here on this website.

But don’t wait for it.

Simply head over to Udemy, search for some free courses and start learning.

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The Biggest Secret to Running a Successful Online Business

The biggest secret to running a successful online business is to acquire your customers at a profit.

What does this mean?

It means that the money you use to grow your business doesn’t have to be your money.

It has to be your customer’s money.

Unless you have super deep pockets (think Amazon), this is the only real way to grow an online business.

Let’s take an example.

Let’s say you are running an e-commerce website that sells health supplements.

You run an advertising campaign (using Google Adwords/Facebook ads) to attract traffic and customers to your website.

Let’s say you spend Rs.X on your advertising campaign.

And let’s say you earn Y from immediate sales.

It’s a no-brainer that Y-X has to be a +ve figure for you to sustain your business.

If it is, then great for you.

But for a lot of people, that won’t be the case. That’s the reason most businesses shut down.

So what can you do if you are making a loss?


What’s this new strategy?

The strategy is that when you advertise your products/services, don’t create an ad that sells your products at the original price.

Run an ad that is giving a mega discount.

Why? Because of the following reasons:

  1. People love discounts so they are more likely to click on your ads. The more they click, the higher the CTR (click through ratio) of your ad. The more the CTR, the lesser the CPC (cost per click). If all this is sounding like Chinese, then to simply put, the more “seductive” you can make your ad, the lesser you will have to pay. So Rs.X goes down.
  2. People who click through the ad and come on your website are more likely to buy that product because it’s at a discount. Who doesn’t love a discount?

But more conversions doesn’t necessarily mean a higher Rs.Y since you are selling at a discount. But this is where you have to think long term. Right now, your only aim should be to let (Y-X) > Zero , i,e, even if you break even, that’s fine. Even if you do incur a loss but it’s not that huge, that’s also fine. And any profit is a bonus.


Because your real sales are not these first ones.

This initial advertising campaign is not to be run for sales. It has to be run for two very important reasons:

  1. To build your customer list (since visitors will be giving you their e-mail address, which you will ask in exchange for the discount coupon code.)
  2. To be able to run a retargeting advertising campaign later on . A retargeting campaign allows you to show ads to people who visited your website by using the pixel tracking mechanism. For example, if I’m running a Facebook ad, I can install a pixel code given by Facebook on my website, which tracks the visitors and allows me to create ads that can specifically be shown only to people who visited my website. In fact you have seen this type of retargeting everywhere. Haven’t you seen that when you check out a certain product on Amazon, you start seeing Amazon’s ad for that same product everywhere. That’s retargeting or remarketing for you.

Through sending follow-up e-mails to your list and using retargeting, you start to get into your customer’s minds.

That’s the time they start knowing you and trusting you.

And that’s when the repeat sales happen.

And that’s when you make real profit.

The initial profit that you have earned was only to acquire the ability to reach your customers anytime you want.

And even after you make profit, a significant chunk of it has to go back into the starting advertising campaign?

Why? Because that’s what is building your LIST, the lifeline of your business.

So don’t rush and apply for a home or car loan and spend all your profit.

Invest some percentage of it back. Re-investing your profits back to the first step is what makes sure that this cycle keeps going.

This same model can be applied to any business.

The execution and strategies will differ but the concept will remain the same.

Once you do things this way, you will, after practice, start to make every step efficient and then turn this process into a never-ending cycle.

Finding this process is the engine for your business.

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not.

But it’s the only thing that separates a business that lasts from the one that does not.

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The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When You Start an Online Business

Usually when you read such articles, you read about various mistakes related to marketing principles or some technicalities related to operations of business.

I’m going to tell you something different.

The mistake I’m talking about comes way before any of the mistakes that are usually talked about.

The mistake I’m going to talk about is the root of all the mistakes that appear later on on the surface.

And that mistake is not asking yourself one very important question, which is:


This is not just applicable to a business. It’s applicable to any kind of project, be it a job or any other kind of work.

If the answer to this question is Yes, then you know you’ve won half the battle because your project/business/idea is coming straight from the heart.

You’ll know you are in the game for the long run.

I see a lot of people, especially in the online marketing world, try their hands at all kinds of short-cuts.

Unsurprisingly, they don’t last long.

In fact I was one of them.

Let me give you a few examples of my own mistakes when I started out.

Here are three of the many online projects I tried:

  • Love Master India – A website where I was to be a dating guru and give advice to men on dating, grooming, romance, relationships, etc. My earning model was relying on the hope that the people who will come to my website would sign up for a dating website that I was affiliated with, thereby earning income as commission from that website. This website made me Rs.Zero with a capital Z.


  • Soccer Quick – A website where I wrote tutorials on how to play soccer and earned income by referring a video tutorial product that was I was affiliated with. I ended up selling this website for $1000 on Flippa.com.


  • Bowflex Blaze Review – A one –page website where I wrote about a home gym called Bowflex Blaze and then placed an affiliate link to buy it from Amazon. For a long time, this website was ranking on top of Google because of the SEO tricks I used and was making me pocket money every month. In June, 2016 my hosting provider emailed me saying that Bowflex wanted me to take the website down on the grounds of copyright violation. It’s funny because I was actually selling their product. Maybe they were scared that I would keep outranking them on Google and that it would hurt their brand.

Now why did none of these work?

Because they were all half-hearted short-cut projects.

Was I really passionate about dating? No.

Was I really passionate about soccer? Yes, but only while playing or watching it, not starting a business around it. In fact, during my MBA days, I even did a marketing internship with a Soccer club, where I lasted exactly one day.

Was I really passionate about selling home-gyms? Hell no.

Then why did I start all these projects and many others that I have not even mentioned?

Because of only one thing – to somehow make money quickly without doing much work so I can quickly retire and live the rest of my life sipping on martinis on a beach in Thailand.

The plan didn’t work out quite well.

The biggest problem with all these projects was that the answer to the aforementioned question was a resounding No.

I was NOT willing to do them for the rest of my life.

I see the same mistakes being made by a lot of other people. For instance, when I conduct any sort of digital marketing workshops, a lot of people come to me after the workshop and ask me questions like – How can I use Facebook ads to promote CPA offers or some other type of others? My friend does that and makes a crazy amount of money every day. Please tell me how to do it.

I usually don’t give an answer because of two reasons:

  • I don’t know how to do it myself
  • I know that such ideas are destined to fail


Because of simple supply and demand equation.

If a business model is as easy as jumping on to Facebook and running ads to make money, you can rest assured that a lot of people will figure it out and jump on the bandwagon.

And when they do, lot of things will go wrong, including:

  • Facebook ad costs will go up.
  • CPA offers will have higher barriers to entry (application process will become strict).
  • Affiliate commission from these offers will be reduced.

Basically, you’ll make some quick money and then everything will go south.

The trouble is that you can apply all the great marketing tactics in the world and they all still won’t be able to beat the biggest and the most proven marketing tactic – CONSISTENCY.

Consistent effort is what makes a business successful.

And to be able to be consistent, you need to do something that you like to do.

For example when I think of my photography business, I get the feeling that it’s something I can do for the rest of my life.

Whether it works or not is not the question here.

The only question is whether I get the feeling of me being able to stick with it.

At this point, a common question is – how can I determine if I like something?

Here’s the answer I like to give:

  • Find an area of interest that you like. It can be some hobby you like or some topic you like reading or enquiring about. In my case, I chose photography because it’s a hobby I absolutely love. And my second business (this one), I plan to make it revolve around blogging/Online business topics/self-improvement/psychology because I love reading and listening about these things.


  • After finding your area of interest, what is equally important is that you align it with your natural strengths. For example, though I love doing photography, I really don’t enjoy doing professional or commercial shoots that much. I enjoy teaching, so my business revolves around teaching photography. In the same way, I rather research about and teach online marketing principles than starting a digital marketing agency. Teaching comes naturally to me and is something I love to do. You make me stand in front of 1000 people and I will thank you for that, not get scared or intimidated. It excites me. I talk about this aspect of finding your natural strength in the article – Why Follow Your Passion is an Incomplete Advice.


The basic point is that you should try to visualise all the daily activities you will be required to perform in order to grow your business or perform in your job. And you should love or at the very least not hate them. At least not the majority of them.

Sometimes we are all required to do things we don’t enjoy but those activities should be rare.

The majority of activities should be enjoyable to you.

Even if things don’t work out for me in the entrepreneurial world, I know that I will be doing something related to teaching or training because it’s one of those fields that I can picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

This puts me at great ease because it makes detached from entrepreneurship.

Tomorrow everything can go wrong and I won’t be too disappointed since I know I can always get a teaching job and I’ll still be happy. And once I’m settled again, I can give entrepreneurship another shot.

Ideas that have an aura of eternity relax you.

So I suggest you play the longer game and start asking yourself the question that we talked about.

Whether or not your business/job will work because of it is for no one to say. But one thing that will happen for sure is that you’ll feel at much more ease overall.

More importantly, you’ll know that you are being authentic.

And that authenticity is bound to, at one point or another, shine in the form of excellence.


Why Are You Doing Your Day Job?

If there was a way to measure the dissatisfaction that people experience as a result of their day jobs, I think it would show an increase as time has passed by. For example, dissatisfaction in the 60s and 70s would be lesser than what it is now.

One of the main reasons behind this is that, courtesy technology, the rate at which information is available to an individual has gradually increased.

Tools like social media channels and smartphones have dramatically added to the information exposure that one faces in everyday life.

While many consider this a bane, I feel it’s actually a great thing. It has enabled people to get exposed to the experiences of other people, and learn from it. Of course, the majority of the information out there is not needed, but if you’re good at separating the wheat from the chaff, then it can be immensely helpful.

And I feel this availability of information is making people realize that their potential and possibility to live a fulfilling life is much more than they had imagined it to be. When they see someone else living the kind of life they always wanted, it creates a discontent within them. And I feel this sparks their desire to start a journey towards leading a life that they value.

In the earlier times, it wasn’t easy for people to get their hands on a vast amount of information, so they never even questioned the status quo.

In fact, this is the reason I never agreed with minimalists who suggest that social platforms like Facebook are a complete waste of time. I feel it can be a great tool to learn from other’s lives. The only thing to remember is to not get obsessed with it.

So let’s get back to the original question – Why are you doing your day job?

As explained earlier, you are more likely to ask yourself this question now and in the future, than ever before.

The first perception you must have formed when you read the question was that this post would be about quitting your day job. It’s not.

By posing the question above, I’m only asking you to think of the reasons you do your day job for. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a job, as long as there is some purpose behind it. A lot of people are not satisfied with their jobs because they do it for the sake of doing it.

I think only two things can keep someone happy at a job – First is if they are really passionate about what they do, and second, if they have a pressing need to do the job, like paying the bills.

The ones who aren’t happy are most likely the ones that view doing a job as a mental security or succumb to the pressure of the society. Since there is no practical reason involved, they always feel, at a subconscious level that their efforts and suffering have no purpose and this creates a subtle disconnect.

This is why I feel you would do yourself a great favor by thinking deeply about the aforementioned question. If you genuinely like what you are doing, then well and good. But what if you are doing it because you need to do it and are dissatisfied?

I think the answer to this would be to develop a measurable target to get yourself out of the situation that is forcing you to do the job. You can develop a goal based time frame that will eventually get you t the stage where you no longer need the job. It can be anything like saving a certain amount of money, reaching a certain position within the organization, etc.

What this does is that it gives you a reason and a quantifiable target to work towards. You’ll know that your effort is rewarded and you’re moving towards freedom as days go by. This would keep you at peace with yourself.

And if you feel you’ve got a situation that has no end to it and which requires you to do the job indefinitely, then you’ve got your priorities wrong. You will have re-evaluate your life and find a way to eradicate whatever it is that is hindering you. It cannot be something that you value deep down and genuinely, because if it was, you would not have felt dissatisfied by having to work for it.

This is where minimalism comes into play. Minimalism is all about finding yourself, and having the courage to pursue only those things that really matter to you. And more often than not, these things are not things at all. You’ll find that it really does not take much to keep you happy. This unshackles you and gives you the confidence to pursue work that matters to you. And you’ll stand a better chance of earning more too when you do something you like.

This was the thought that helped me quit my last job and go into the world of freelancing and blogging. Now I know if I ever do a job that I don’t really love, it’ll be because of a specific reason, and when that reason is fulfilled, I’ll be back to doing work I love. This way of thinking really liberates me, and can work for you too.

To sum up, it can be said that it’s all about motivation. And motivation can only come if you are focused. Don’t get yourself into doing work you don’t like and the purpose of which is not clear. Have the courage to get out of such situations because there is nothing practical that is holding you back.

Moreover, work on knowing your true values, so that whenever you are stuck in a valid situation, you’ll be able to get out of it in a quick and efficient manner, and move towards the kind of work you long for.


Do It Your Way. The Key to Enjoying Entrepreneurship.

Today, we’ll be talking about why you need to start relying more on intuition as opposed to blindly following a set of rules when it comes to entrepreneurship or your work or the way you live your life.

Let me ask you a question:

Who are the top entrepreneurs that you know?

Take some time to answer.

If I’m not wrong, most of you would have thought of people like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata and all those famous entrepreneurs that we keep hearing of again and again.

And surprisingly that’s the trouble.

The word ‘entrepreneurship’ has been contaminated because the moment someone says ‘entrepreneurship’, we immediately think of business and people associated with business.

But, new age entrepreneurship is shifting from this. Entrepreneurship has started to become a very individualistic scenario. For instance, why wasn’t your answer ‘Tom Cruise’ or any well-known entertainer?  Some of you might have thought of them but most of you wouldn’t have. This is because we still think of entrepreneurship as ‘business’ whereas if you really want to enjoy entrepreneurship, you have to start thinking of it from your point of view – you’ve to start realizing that business is secondary; you are first.

Let me share this story with you that left me pleasantly stunned:

I follow a beautiful blog titled ‘Becoming Minimalist’ (Website: www.becomingminimalist.com) run by Joshua Becker. He shared a story where he once was talking to a businessman about his website and blog. Amidst their conversation, the businessman said to Joshua, “You have such huge audience and crazy following but still, I don’t see you networking too much or getting in touch with sponsors or advertising your blog and website. You’re leaving too much money on the table! Your website can earn you millions!”

Joshua had an amazing reply to this; he said, “So what if I’m leaving millions on the table?”

I loved this response because I’ve observed that a lot of people who really want to start a business get bogged down even before starting one. This is because entrepreneurs feel that in order to become some kind of a ‘valid entrepreneur’, one needs to have a crazy business model that needs to be scalable and efficient. One needs to have employees, logos, cards and so on for a successful business.

However, this is not true at all. The problem here is that you’re thinking again from the business point of view whereas the starting point has to be YOU. You need to know: Why are you starting your business? How will it impact your life? What are your genuine desires which will be fulfilled as a result of your business?

Once you analyse this properly, you’ll realize that YOU CAN DO BUSINESS YOUR WAY – you can run an entrepreneurship project the way you want. This realization will take away a lot of stress off your life.

For example, if you don’t want your business to be scalable, if you’re happy with your little earning; if you’re happy with your small business that you don’t want to expand – that’s perfectly fine. Remember that there’s no one forcing you to expand your business – in fact, there are so many businesses that remain the way they started. Think of a café – there are so many cafés that started 50 years ago and still remain the way they were started. Their owners are happy running the café; they are happy being small.

Such café owners did not think about any sort of business expansion when they started off – they just planned less and acted more. This is what authentic entrepreneurs do. Remember that to be an authentic entrepreneur, you need to start from YOU – even though this might initially sound selfish.

You need to ask yourself what you want to do with your business. Remember that it’s perfectly fine to run a small business forever; after all, who is forcing you to go big? Going big invites stress. This does not mean I’m against expansion. I believe, expansion is a skill – some entrepreneurs possess this natural skill of making their business big. But, you might not belong to this group of entrepreneurs. Your natural strength might be something else – it could be creating innovative products or services that help a small community of people. This realization will help you stay content and happy with what you’re doing.

A lot of people take unnecessary stress of putting things a certain way when starting a business. Don’t take this stress. Start from you.

You should not run according to how your business needs to grow. On the contrary, your business should be run according to how you want to grow.

Therefore, ask yourself: What is growth to you? What are your genuine desires that you want your business to fulfil?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll realize that a lot of what you do in your work life is not really required. You’ll realize that you can completely do things your way. In fact, when you do things your way, your responsibility and stress go down, you enjoy your work and hence, you have a higher chance of being successful at what you do.

So, go ahead, trust your intuition and play it your way!

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The Biggest Marketing Lesson I learned and How it Can be Applied to Life

Hi! Welcome to episode number seven. In this episode I will be talking about one of the biggest lessons that I have learnt in marketing while I was selling my products and services. That lesson has got something to do with the term called ‘decision stress’ and how this particular term can also be applied to our life to make it better so that we can live a much more efficient and fulfilling life.

First, I am going to talk about how the term relates to marketing and selling. What does decision stress mean? When I say decision stress, I am talking solely about the customer. You should keep in mind that when you are trying to market or sell a product or service, you stand a much higher chance of converting i.e. selling your product or service when you decrease the decision stress on your customer. This is what I have seen in my experience. So then what does the term decision stress actually mean?

You must have noticed that whenever you buy something and you are just about to pay for that product or service, you experience some level of stress. This of course depends on the price of the product or service. The higher the amount of money involved the more stress you face. But it’s true even for smaller decision. Sometimes even when you recharge your phone you face some stress. Since money is going out of your account, you are bound to face some stress. This is the type of stress we are talking about.

I learnt three things about reducing decision stress. The most important step is that you should clearly be able to communicate to your customer how your product or service is going to improve their life. This should be the main criteria of your sales pitch. A lot of people talk about features of their product or services, which are not very important to the customer. What you really have to communicate is the benefit of the product or service as well as how it will improve and change their life for the better. How can you solve the pain that they are facing and whatever issue they may be facing? Moreover, how can your product or service get rid of their problem?

Take for example that you wish to sell a camera. It would be desirable if you show two images from different cameras. One image should be from the first camera which is the superior camera that you are trying to sell and the other image should be from a normal camera that people generally tend to use. You should place both the images from the two different cameras side by side. This will give people the opportunity to realize how a particular image will improve the moment they buy this camera.

The blunder that most marketers make is they would talk only about the features. For instance they would talk about ‘This camera comes with 25 megapixels. This is the sensor size. The body has these functions’ etc. All such explanations are fine since you do have to talk about the features. However, not every customer might be familiar with such terminology which usually consists of technical terms as well.  Instead, it’s better if you clearly let them know how the product is going to affect their day to day life.

The second point is you should be crystal clear while you tell them how they will receive this product or service once they make the payment. There should be no doubt regarding this. You should never let such a situation occur where your customers have made the payment and after that you are giving them instructions. The customers should know beforehand since that is what they want. They are paying for the product or service and they want something in return. Hence, you should completely spell out how they will receive the product and how this whole transaction will take place. There should be no doubt in the consumer’s mind. When there is no doubt, the decision stress will decrease.

The third point that you should keep in mind is that you should put something out there which lets the customers connect with you. They should feel that they have you at their fingertips when they need you. Just putting something simple like ‘Call me on my cell number in case you are facing any issues’ increased my conversions. Why? Because it generates trust and it decreases the stress for the consumer.  They will know that they have someone to talk to immediately if anything goes wrong in this whole process of buying this product. I am a solopreneur so I give my own number. You can have a dedicated team for this as well.

The three things mentioned really have to be present in your sales pitch. Be absolutely clear in everything you do. Whether it is your landing page, your flyer or any kind of a promotional material that you have, you should be really clear. Take mobile apps as an example. Some apps do much better than others. That is because the entire flow is so convenient for the consumer. The customers know that if they press these buttons, the job will be easily done. Always make sure that you make everything clear and communicate clearly to your customer. There should never be a doubt when they are reading about your product or when you are selling your product or service to your customer. That would definitely decrease their decision stress. The more you decrease the decision stress, the better it will be for you.

How can this aspect of decision stress be applied to life?

Before I answer this, I want to tell you about a very interesting research study that I was reading about. The study was done as follows. They divided a group of people into two groups. Let’s call them Group A and Group B. For a few days they made these two groups stay under two different conditioned environments. They presented Group A with a lot of decisions to make. They would give these people choice after choice. Let’s say they presented them with a doughnut and a pastry. Then they would ask them which one do you want to have? Similarly, they would give them the choice between two t-shirts. They would get to pick. They kept presenting them with choices and the group members had to pick one choice after going through the different options.

Group B did not get any choices. They were just given the t-shirt, food item etc. without being asked to choose from a range of choices. On the one hand Group A got to make a choice about everything and on the other hand Group B did not have any choice.

After the study got over, they put both the groups together and told them to put their hands inside a box of cold water. The temperature of the water was very cold since the water was really chilled. Then they made the observations as follows. People from Group A could not put their hand in for too long whereas people from Group B could keep their hand in the cold water for much longer.

The conclusion was that because Group A was required to make a lot of decisions their energy was going down because of these choices. Their decision stress was actually directly impacting their energy levels and their willpower levels too. Group B did not expend their energy in any decision and so they had conserved all this energy without wasting any of it. Thus, Group B had more will power because now they could put all their energy in putting their hand in the cold water.

What does this mean for us? This means that we can use the aspect of decision stress to improve our life. Try to live your life in such a way that you are taking minimal decisions. Make sure you know exactly what you have to do especially when it comes to ordinary things where making a decision is just not worth it.

For example, when it comes to deciding what you want to wear you can reduce the decision stress just by having a very limited variety of clothes in your wardrobe. I am not saying that you should dress simply. What I am saying is that you can limit your wardrobe to only those kinds of clothes which you like wearing. This spares you from having too many options to pick from. In my case, I like wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans or shorts most of the time.

Try to find those ordinary tasks where you can reduce taking decisions. From the time you wake up till the time you sleep, try not to make any decisions as much as you can especially when ordinary tasks are concerned. I am talking about tasks where the decision stress is not worth it. Remember that these types of tasks depend on you as an individual and so you will have to find out for yourself. The example I gave is just from my own life is because I don’t value clothes that much. I am happy wearing something very simple. There might be some other aspect in your life where you can use this aspect of decision stress to reduce unnecessary burden on yourself.

You should reduce the number of decisions you take regarding things that are not contributing to your life. You can reduce the decision stress by simply eliminating choices. My advice would be for you to watch a video titled ‘Paradox of Choice’ on YouTube. This is a Ted Talk by an elderly gentleman and it talks about exactly what we are talking about here except it goes deeper. The best thing is that you can apply this to a lot of things; your food, your clothes and even the kind of people you hang out with.

Try to reduce stress from every aspect of your life so that you can be sure of what your day looks like. I am not asking you to become completely mechanical but figure out those things where decision stress is not worth it.

The moment you do that you will start to save and conserve energy which is just going for waste. Then you can put that energy into much productive tasks which are of value; tasks where decision stress is worth it.

These are the more important tasks in your life, the kind of tasks that actually matter.

And when your attention and energy goes to them, your life naturally improves.

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What is Lifestyle Entrepreneurship? How is it Different From the Usual Entrepreneurship?


Hi! In this episode we’ll be talking about what is lifestyle entrepreneurship and how is it different from the usual entrepreneurship. Lifestyle entrepreneurship is something that is relatively new especially in India. In the US, it is very popular nowadays. So I am going to be talking about what it is and what are the differences. I am going to be telling you about 10 to 11 differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and the usual way that we know what entrepreneurship is.


The definition of lifestyle entrepreneurship is that a lifestyle entrepreneur starts a business not with the sole purpose of making a profit. A lifestyle entrepreneur, as the name suggests, does so because he or she wants to lead a particular type of lifestyle or a particular type of life. It is their hope that doing business will enable them to lead a certain type of lifestyle even if they are not making too much money doing it. We are going to be looking at a few differences.


One example which shows that it is relatively new and unheard in India is because I was at a networking event. I actually hate that word networking. I was just at an event where there are a lot of people and you just talk to them and exchange your ideas and views. I was at one of these events and I hardly go to these but I did once.


I was just talking to a guy and I just wanted to see what their reaction will be when they ask me what do you do and I say that I am a lifestyle entrepreneur. So I did that and the guy whom I was talking to, the first thing he asked me is, ‘Oh that’s great. So where is your store?’ What he thought was that lifestyle entrepreneur means that I have a business which is in the segment of lifestyle like clothing and all so he naturally asked me what kind of a store do you have and where is your store. I was like ‘Oh great. This is not very popular in India.’


I am going to be telling you about some differences. I have already told you what it kind of means generally but once you listen to these differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and usual entrepreneurship it will start to become more clear to you. With the advent of Internet, especially social media, lifestyle entrepreneurship is becoming very popular. I see a lot of friends of mine take this approach. What are the differences?


The first difference is that when it comes to money versus freedom. The usual entrepreneur normally is very concerned about making a profit and they do most of the things with keeping the bottom line in mind. Bottom line is very important just like in any other business. But for a lifestyle entrepreneur, even though, of course they have to make a profit to sustain the business, it is not that important. What is more important is the value of freedom.


So a lifestyle entrepreneur does everything for the value of freedom. That is, they don’t want to be under someone. They don’t want to be under some kind of a boss or they don’t want to be following some kind of rules and they want a free lifestyle. They want to wake up at whatever time they want. They want to go to sleep at whatever time they want and stuff like that. They want to have their lifestyle exactly like they want to lead. So they develop a business which can facilitate that lifestyle.


The second difference is when it comes to setup. A normal entrepreneur usually will have a team around him and a lifestyle entrepreneur usually will go solo. A normal entrepreneur is very good at delegating stuff which they are not good at doing themselves. A lifestyle entrepreneur prefers to do everything on their own. So they just don’t trust people to do a job very well.


Secondly, they don’t want the headache of having employees or anyone on contract. So they can get a few odd jobs here and there on contract but normally they would like to keep doing things by themselves. In fact, there is a new word which is coming up which is very popular these days called as solopreneur. These are lifestyle entrepreneurs. Solopreneur basically means that you are just a solo entrepreneur; you are a one man army or one man show in the business.


We are going on to the third difference now. Because a lifestyle entrepreneur tries to do everything himself, the problem is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurs will start very small. They will start with whatever is working. They will just go on, it doesn’t matter how small it is. But a normal entrepreneur would probably be getting some kind of a funding before they start because their idea is really big. May be they are coming up with a product or service which requires lot of investment. Lifestyle entrepreneurs on the other hand prefer their businesses to be bootstrapped. That is, they just fund their own businesses and they are pretty happy with that. So they start small.


The next point is when it comes to planning. Usual entrepreneur will have everything planned to tee. Ok, I am not saying all of them. I am just talking here on averages. So, planning is very important because if you have a team, if you have a whole setup, if you are liable to the people who have funded you, of course you need to have a business plan. A lifestyle entrepreneur just acts out of whim. They do whatever the hell they want! And they are just hoping that it will work and so they are pretty spontaneous when it comes to running a business.


This actually leads to the next difference which is flexibility. When it comes to flexibility a usual entrepreneur is usually not very flexible. They cannot afford to because they have people whom they are responsible towards. So they cannot just divert their plans whenever they wish. They need to really stick to whatever they have decided. But a lifestyle entrepreneur, because they are doing their things themselves, they can keep changing their direction wherever they want. It happens a lot.


For example, in my case I am doing this podcast thing and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I am just doing it because I like it. I just like talking and I just like sharing my experiences. Soon I am going to be having interviews on this podcast. I am just doing this because I like it. Whether it will work, how I will make money from it, I have absolutely no clue! Though I am doing a little bit of a podcasting course and all but nothing is sure here. That’s how we work. You just take a decision, you try it. If it doesn’t work you throw it out and then you try something new. We can do that because we do not have too many responsibilities.


Another difference is that a usual entrepreneur will normally be working from an office. So they will have this whole startup scenario around them. You must have seen them in little offices where people are working. On the other hand, a lifestyle entrepreneur will just work from anywhere; a coffee shop, home or any kind of place which gives them the environment to work. For example, if they need Internet and laptop to work, a café with Wifi works just fine.


Next point is that a usual entrepreneur is normally not very selfish. By that I mean that they always don’t take decisions with themselves in mind. So they will be thinking about a lot of other things such as their customers, their team members and the people who funded them etc. But of course they have to. But a lifestyle entrepreneur takes every step very selfishly. So every step that a lifestyle entrepreneur takes is completely with a point of view that it should lead them towards what they desire, towards what they want their lifestyle to be.


The next point is that the usual entrepreneurs are creating a machine. So they are creating a whole system. They really want to own that system. They will not have any other way. But a lifestyle entrepreneur is very happy to be part of the machine. So let me give you an example. Let’s say that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and let’s say that you are into teaching yoga. You just run a small yoga class and you are teaching yoga. Now if you are a usual entrepreneur, you would want to build a yoga empire. But a lifestyle entrepreneur will be very happy to be a part of someone else’s empire as long as they are just doing whatever they are good at. They usually fit into other people’s system. They are not really attached to this whole idea of entrepreneurship. They are just doing it because they just want to do what they like to do. Whether they are a part of someone else’s system or not does not bother them and does not affect their ego. But usual entrepreneurs are very attached to entrepreneurship. So for them the thought of working for someone else is just completely not thinkable at all.


Another point which is actually in favor of usual entrepreneurs is that if you start everything in a nice way and if you have a team and setup, you are very professional in how you conduct things. You will have timings for your team members to work; just like a normal office. You are the boss now. But a lifestyle entrepreneur can be, at times, a bit lousy in their work. They can really slightly unprofessional.


That’s something I see in lifestyle entrepreneurs a lot and it is something I still struggle with. It is something that has to be rectified pretty soon if you want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur. Whatever you do, that’s fine that you want freedom, but it has to be really professional no matter how small it is.


Another point which is similar to this is because everything is professional and the usual entrepreneur has all the resources, their businesses are usually very scalable.


That means they can cater to a lot of customers. So if they witness a growth in demand they don’t necessarily have to see an increase in overheads. They can really handle a lot of customers together because they have the resources to do that. One of the biggest struggles of a lifestyle entrepreneur is how to make your business scalable. The problem is that if you as a lifestyle entrepreneur try to take more responsibility, you are actually sacrificing one of your main values which is freedom.


Because any time you go towards making your business scalable, that means you will have to share responsibility. You will have to delegate things to other people and that is where you start to lose your freedom. So this is always a forever battle or a dilemma that a lifestyle entrepreneur faces. Should I scale my business or should I just maintain my freedom? Because if you don’t scale, you don’t earn too much. Can I be happy with whatever I am earning and slowly take things forward?


The next difference is that a normal entrepreneur doesn’t only rely on online marketing. They can be using all sorts of marketing. They will be involved in B2B marketing also. A lifestyle entrepreneur on the other hand has so no other option but to use online marketing. Why? Because it is just cheap. It is cheaper than other means of advertising and marketing. Usually all the lifestyle entrepreneurs you see nowadays get the majority of their work done online.


These are some of the differences. As you can see if you go back to our original definition, a lifestyle entrepreneur takes into account himself first and it is all about them. And then they figure out a way to give value to the customer. Whereas a normal entrepreneur just functions like how normal business is supposed to work and they will have everything planned; even if it comes to the expense of their own freedom. They are ready to sacrifice that. They have a big profit in the future in mind. The lifestyle entrepreneur is not really thinking about the future too much.


I hope you got a fair idea of how it works. Now, which is better? The answer to that depends on you. What kind of a person are you? In my experience, what I have seen is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurship is taken upon by people who are slightly rebellious in nature. Now all entrepreneurs are rebels but lifestyle entrepreneurs are slightly bigger rebels.


They are artists, they are normally very creative people who just don’t get along too well with other people and they want complete autonomy over what they do. They just want complete control and because of that they just can sacrifice many other things that could make their business grow. So which is better completely depends on you.


Also, another thing that I would like to mention is that just because you choose one thing doesn’t mean that you have to stick by it.


For example, Pat Flynn who runs a website called as www.smartpassiveincome.com earns like a crazy amount of money even though he is a lifestyle entrepreneur. But of course he has a whole team working with him. So I am sure, though I don’t know him personally, that he is not completely free. He must be having a lot of responsibilities.


But the point is that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and when things are working for you, you can of course take that added responsibility and then jump into proper entrepreneurship. It is not like you just choose something and that’s it. You can always do that. In fact, I actually advice people to do that because when you start small you at least find something that is working.


A lot of times what I see with normal entrepreneurs is that they jump into something but it might not work out in the end. Because they are starting big so the risk is bigger. So with lifestyle entrepreneur, one advantage you can have is that you can start small so your risk is small. Once things start working, you kind of get motivated to take that additional responsibility and you might just feel happy doing it.


I hope you like this podcast. I will be doing other podcasts too and I will be having some interviews of lifestyle entrepreneurs that I know. We will also be going down in one of the podcasts which we will be covering very soon. We will be going into the deep and inner psychology of a lifestyle entrepreneur. What makes some people really go into this type of a business where they want to have this freedom? We will be looking deep into their minds and trying to figure this thing out. I hope you like this podcast, thanks for listening. I will see you in another episode. Bye for now.

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Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is an Incomplete Advice

In this article I’m going to be writing about why ‘Follow Your Passion‘ is an incomplete Advice.

You hear people say all the time that if you want to be successful and if you want to have a fulfilling career, you should follow your passion.

While that’s definitely true, it’s not a complete advice.

So what is the statement that completes it? 

Follow your passion and align it with your strengths.” 

That should be right advice that should be given because passion alone just doesn’t make things happen and the reason for that is because unless your passion is aligned with your natural strengths, things are not going to work out too smoothly.

So I’ll give my own example for this:

I’m interested in fields of entrepreneurship, personal growth, digital marketing, psychology and all these things, so these all can be thought of as my passion.

Now naturally someone will think “Okay you’re interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, that’s great! So you should have a company of your own, or you should have some kind of a digital marketing agency, or you should have something like a proper startup.

So that would be the natural thinking because I would be following my passion very directly in that case.

But you see the problem with that is that it’s not aligned with my strengths. My strengths do not involve working with teams or being very innovative when it comes to coming up with some product idea or marketing it, or something like that, that’s not my strength.  My strength always has been research -that I can research something and communicate that particular topic to others in a very simple way.

A second strength of mine is that I can speak well – I’m good at inter-personal communication and I’m very confident when it comes to speaking in front of other people.

So both these strengths naturally make me go towards teaching or training. So when I teach something I’m passionate about, for example I’m making these podcasts or I’m writing these blog posts, I feel much more fulfilled than I would feel if I was, let’s say, to start a marketing agency. I rather teach marketing than execute it.

So you can see even though my passion, the field or the area of interest remains the same, I can have two completely different careers.  If I were to just follow the advice of following my passion blindly, I would have a completely different career.  But because I’m aligning it with my strengths, I stand a much higher chance of being successful because when your passions and strengths are aligned that’s when you actually feel that you’re doing something which is true to your nature and you start to feel fulfilled.

Another example of this is from my other business, where I’m into teaching the subject of DSLR photography.  Now I’ve always loved photography and the moment someone sees that photography is my passion, the natural reaction I’ve seen in this field is – “Oh that’s it, you’ve found your calling, you should be a professional photographer.”  But I say this from first-hand experience that  whenever I did commercial shoots I just hated doing them. I just did not enjoy doing them at all.

Instead, when I switched over to teaching photography and realized that teaching is my strength and that I need to align it with my passion for photography, I started my photography workshops where the job of being a photography trainer fulfilled me much more and I was much happier.

For example, learning about all the settings on a DSLR camera is a complex thing when you start off, so I broke the process down into simple steps and made it something easy for people to understand so that they could learn photography in an easy way.  That was the value I enjoyed giving, not the value that normally people would associate with photography which is taking professional looking photographs.

Don’t get me wrong though – I’m not saying that you should not master your field. I did become a good photographer before teaching it. But the point I’m trying to make is from the long term point of view of things.

So first figure out your passion or your area of interest because that is definitely very important because that’s what’s going to keep you going once your initial surge of passion or the energy goes away.

So passion is definitely very important because it just gives you that boost and it’s going to make you sustain things.

In fact you might have to discover new passions every time or keep steering yourself towards something that feels better and more in tune with your nature.  That is a never-ending process.

So doing something you like is definitely important but then do not forget about aligning it with your strengths.

In order to be able to do, sometimes you may have to take an approach which against the norm and expect people to criticize you.

For instance, in my my field of training and teaching, I have heard the following saying countless times:

Those who cannot do, teach.

I do not believe that at all because in my experience I’ve seen that some people, who are the top experts in their fields, can be awful teachers. They just do not have that natural acumen to teach something.

So strengths can be very different and you will have to just ask yourself  – What are you naturally good at? What comes to you easily which other people just find very tough?  And I keep saying this over and over that a lot of times we take our strengths, our natural strengths, for granted because it comes so easily to us, we never feel that we made any effort to get this. So we feel that we do not deserve this because this came to us so easily. It’s been hardwired into us that every good thing has to be difficult and that’s why we sometimes we don’t become aware of what our true strengths are.

So that’s what I wanted to say – that do follow your passion but then align it with your innate strengths.

You’ll be much more happy, fulfilled, and you will have a much higher chance of success, there is no doubt about that.

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Does Your Business Idea Address the Most Important Issue? – Your Happiness

Does Your Business Idea Address the Most Important Issue? – Your Happiness

When I was pursuing MBA, I remember how excited some people used to get about the fact that they had come up with a business idea that sounded very unique and ingenious. And that was just for the purpose of a project or a presentation.

On a regular basis, I see the same approach used by people who actually want to come up with a business too.

Now I’m no serial entrepreneur myself, but I firmly believe that placing only the aspects of innovation and contribution to society first may not always be the best thing to do since it often comes at the cost of not thinking enough about what the impact of pursuing a business will have on YOUR OWN HAPPINESS.

The first time this belief of mine was validated was when I read the book The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living by Randy KomisarThat whole book is an effort to convince budding entrepreneurs that a business should be an extension of your own life, not something that you do just because you think you have an outstanding idea. That idea may not always answer the question – Why start a business at all?

Most people say that we should start a business that contributes to the society. While that is true, I feel it’s not a good starting point to think about the kind of business we should come up with.

In fact the thinking has to be totally the opposite. We should be extremely selfish when coming up with an idea to start something of our own.

Selfish in the sense that the first thing that should come to our minds should be – What does this idea achieve for ME? Does it make me happy? Is it something that I will really enjoy pursuing? Is it aligned with the kind of life I want to live and the values I believe in?

Till the time the answer to all these questions isn’t a resounding YES, what point does it serve? You’ll contribute to society, but be miserable yourself. Awww, how nice of you.

If you’re not thinking about yourself first, don’t be under the illusion that you are being very noble. You’re secretly doing it all for recognition and praise. So the purpose is still selfish.

But unless you enjoy what you are doing, even the purpose of serving the society through some innovative measure will be defeated since your business won’t be sustainable. You’ll probably run out of steam and enthusiasm to keep going.

I believe that every business contributes to society in some way. Thinking too much about the contribution part drives you away from the most important thing and that is the degree of one-ness you feel with whatever you want to do.

Your idea can be something really small. The scale of it should not matter as long as you are happy. Even if it’s not some ultra-innovative concept, why should it matter? Don’t we see so many cafes opening up even when there are a lot of them anyway?

You can always find a little twist that makes your idea stand out but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is unheard of. The threat of competition is over-rated.

In fact the factors where you should be going away from the crowd have to be the ones that don’t stop you from pursuing anything that would make you happy in doing what you want to do – like worrying about getting a business registered when you start, or having some kind of office, or anything that you think is preventing you from going ahead just because that’s how things are done normally.

So the uniqueness of your business should be directed towards factors that break the norms of how business is carried out in the first place, and not necessarily what the business is about.

Many people don’t start something that they want to because they feel it may not represent something serious and official. Why does it have to be serious and official?

Let’s say you are good at dating men or women. And you want to start a website or a blog that educates people on how they can achieve similar success with the opposite sex. It may not sound like a great and official “business idea” but why should you care?

If YOU believe something can work, then why care about how absurd it may sound. If it’s fun and enjoyable to you and you are confident you can monetize it in exchange for providing something valuable, it’s all good.

Helping someone become better in their relationships is also contribution to society, since someone out there may really and desperately need such a service to improve their lives.

Being genuinely happy by becoming the best dating advisor may be better for you than being a half-hearted owner of some large scale software company.

Whatever you do should come naturally to you. The other technical aspects of entrepreneurship can always be learnt once you start. But at least you’ll be sure of feeling content and at peace with yourself.

But these things sound too spiritual and soft, so people don’t pay enough attention on them. They will first focus on the technical aspects because doing that makes them sound superior and like someone to whom running a business comes naturally. In my opinion, that kind of thinking comes from the fear of what other people will think about their idea and whether they’ll think that the idea is not clever enough.

Why does it have to be some clever idea? Just go with what is natural and don’t bother about others. If it makes you happy, it’s the right one. There cannot be any other criteria.

Lot of people argue that only worrying about our own happiness will not result in coming up with businesses that solve the real problems of the world.

But have you ever thought that the very reason why those ‘real’ problems exist in the first place is because of people who carry out the unnatural and stupid activities? So the whole process just turns into something that is similar to patching up problems. It becomes all about curing and not prevention.

The more we can move towards nature and happiness, the more those problems will disappear. But sadly, we’re too far from that state.

But at least we can contribute to that aspect individually by being more conscious and taking up something that makes us happy.

We can be rest assured that if we’re genuinely happy, our happiness will, in some way, have a positive influence on other people too.

And that will be true contribution to society since it will be without dedicated selfish motives.

It all starts from the individual and that’s where our focus should be.