Quick-fix to problems of life

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My mother always said that if you didn’t have enough problems in your life, you would not value hard work and one would lose faith in God. Point Noted.

As you grow up you realise one problem is just around the corner as you are about to get over the current issue. After experience you find methods to resolve them smartly, swiftly and sometimes effortlessly.

Here is my quick-fix:

  1. Break your problem into two parts. Set 1 is priority – Life can’t move on unless resolved. Make every effort and have this resolved.
  2. Set 2. By the time you finish resolving issues in Set 1, you will realise that problems in Set 2 have either disappeared or were not worth stressing about. 

There – Problem Resolved. Happy Weekend to you all.

Answering the “What do you want in life?” question

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The answer to “What do you want in life” would be most often answered in objectives – A good house, fancy car, lovely long holidays and more. Very few of us can define our life needs, the way this person has done it:

Rather than argue over numbers in a spreadsheet, we instead each listed the lifestyle we wanted. My list was simple: Eat dinner with my family every night, send my kids to good schools, work out three times a week, and if everything fell just right, fly business class. Clarifying success in terms of daily life vs. dollars made it easy to agree on how much was “enough.”

Extracted from: Never quit a job you hate without first doing this

What a wonderful way to look at life.

11 Lessons from being a business owner

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Last month I completed 1 year since I quit advertising, quit a job and started managing a small business along with my wife. What I do now is different from what I did in the past 14 years of my working life. Different but at the core very same.

However running your own business has some challenges and some lessons you need to learn fast if you want to survive, grow and make your efforts count.

1.Self-starter Wanted
There is No Boss for a pep talk, no colleague to drink with and no HR for your Annual Review. If you can’t be a self-starter then things are going to be a drag. You need to wake up every morning & get to office NOT because your boss needs you or the client is firing. But because you have clients to face and salaries to pay at the end of the month.

2.No role only responsibility
As a business owner you have no defined role you only have responsibilities. If transport fails, you need to load the taxi and have the good delivered to the client. If your accountant is missing, you need to issue bills and follow-up on the money.

3.Respect your time
If your business is a small setup, chances are you are working by yourself most of the time. Which means you need to fix deadlines for yourself and ensure you don’t get lost trying to check Facebook & Twitter because there is nobody expecting a report at the end of the evening.

4.Penny Pinching
Every penny counts. Cost of courier, travel & telephone expense, staff entertainment – all these indirect expenses matter if not controlled. So be wise, search for cheaper options, look for ways to ensure your expense is controlled from day one.

5.Build relationships
I think this one applies for any scenario – Job or Business. Don’t work with people because you think they are being paid and hence obliged to deliver. Work with the attitude that together you are fulfilling a requirement and helping everyone in the deal move forward. Respect them all.

6.Hire attitude then talent
As a small business owner budgets can be small when it comes to hiring help / talent. My experience – Hire people with the right attitude. A 6/10 on talent can be made into a 8/10 over a period of time. Hand holding, guidance and training should get them there.

7.Develop a problem solving attitude
Shit will happen. Things will not go as planned. You will be challenged almost all the time. As a small business owner if you don’t develop a problem solver attitude there is very little you will be able to achieve. Leave the comfort, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

8.Spread your hope & risks
No single client should be responsible for all your expenses. Spread your business so that you don’t have to close shop if that client goes out of business or just happens to not pay for the services/goods. Keep the faith but spread it.

9.Keep innovating. Keep experimenting.
In the last 1 year we have experimented and introduced our clients to a varied product range. Some were hits, some failures. We have worked & then re-worked our price points, re-seller commission models and everything that goes with it. We have banked on the success but haven’t stopped the innovation because we for sure know that our best designs will be outdated very soon.

10.Build your image
As a small business owner, I strongly recommend spending good time & some money building the right imagery for your business brand. Do you have a well designed logo? A sales pitch for new clients? You don’t need to spend mega bucks on marketing but do focus on the smaller elements to build the right image for your business.

11.Money is a bitch
Buyers will come in with very big smiles. They will agree to prices with maybe a small smile but they will smile the least when you talk about payments. If you happen to be unlucky, at some point chasing your OWN HARD EARNED money will become a TASK. Calls, follow-ups and what not. So play safe. Keep your risks minimised.

Want to share something with me & my readers? Do leave a comment below.

Automate sending your Pocket Articles to Kindle

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kindle wine glassSimple as it may sound, it doesn’t seem to be. A couple of Google searches, checked IFTTT but there wasn’t something which seemed easy and above all “Automated” with scheduled delivery options. The most famous way to do it is – Pocket to Instapaper to Kindle. Messy!

After much digging around and checking reddit comment threads I managed to find 2 good service providers:

En2Kindle – Free trial for 1 week, after which you need to pay a US $6 fee per year to keep the articles coming. Articles come as single pieces and are listed with their titles on the Kindle.

P2K.co – Free Service. I had some delivery issues in the initial few weeks and didn’t seem to work so I had to go back to En2Kindle and pay up the money. However I just noticed last week the service is back and the articles are coming. Articles get clubbed and are delivered in a “Kindle Magazine” format.

Once done, you can keep adding to your Pocket list and read the long articles with ease on your Kindle.

Make your everyday commute productive

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If you live in a big city chances are you spend a lot of time on the road traveling across for work or other social commitments. Here are some ways I use to make my time productive.

Read
That’s one of the best ways I make use of my travel time. If a physical book is not handy a short article on my phone with apps like Pocket or Medium. Reading in a moving vehicle can sometimes strain your eyes, so choose wisely.

Write
Lately I’ve been trying to write on what’s on my mind or drafts for my blog. You can even draw if you want to practice the skill. The idea is to ensure that you are capturing your thoughts.

make the most of your travel

Watch
Mobile devices are powerful these days. Personally, full length movies are not suitable but I do try and watch episodes of my favourite TV shows.

Listen
Music helps me keep the energy levels high and mood upbeat. I always make sure my favourite music is handy. Not the most pleasant way to enjoy it, but better than not having heard those tracks for a long time. Audio books & podcasts are also a good thing to try.

Plan
Making the most of the free time is key. I plan my day’s agenda. Capture the tasks. Scribble thoughts for the client proposal.

Socialise
If I am stuck in traffic, I call a friend and catch up. Even make plans for the weekend. Sometimes I give a surprise call to the old granny who misses me all the time.

Relax
Yes, somedays I decide to do just nothing. I try and relax the mind – think about life’s happy moments, observe people around me and let the breeze hit my face.

How do you spend your time when traveling? Leave your thoughts in the comments area.

photo credit: 27147 via photopin cc

What’s your job?

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There is no doubt that Seth Godin’s blog is a fantastic read. ALWAYS.

This one caught my attention and reminded me of one of my earlier posts.

Here is what Seth asks:

Not your job title, but your job. What do you do when you’re doing your work? What’s difficult and important about what you do, what change do you make, what do you do that’s hard to live without and worth paying for?

And here is what I had shared earlier:

How often do you meet somebody who says…

… I help people accomplish their financial goals.

… I design beautiful homes.

We are missing a personal brand tagline or a personal brand proposition. That something which sets you apart from the other bankers & designers.

So have you found more than just your job title?

5 tools to boost your productivity

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Fifteen days into 2014. Let me share 5 tools to help boost your productivity and make this your best year.

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Evernote
This is my biggest recommendation for anybody who is collecting lots of data pieces and needs it all to be organised in one place. A very useful tool to keep important information handy at all times. It has multi-device accessibility and a powerful search function. Read more on how I use Evernote.

Simplenote 
If you think Evernote is too complex, use Simplenote. A lot more useful than leaving information in multiple notepads / Word files and then not having access to them when away from your computer.

Dropbox
Using multiple computers? Need data accessible all the time? Want a backup option which is more reliable than your external hard disk. Use Dropbox. Store your files on their server. Get access to it from anywhere (including mobile). And also let’s you easily share the stored files with others.

Wunderlist
I am a big fan of Todo tools. Over the last few years I have experimented with a couple of managers and finally seem to have settled with Wunderlist. I love the the list feature, so besides my tasks I also use it to manage lists of movies & books I want to consume.

IFTTT
That means “If This Then That”. Let’s you automate triggers for various apps / services online. For example one of my favourite recipe – All photos uploaded to Instagram also get backed up in a folder on my Drobox. Cool na? Go see what else can you do.

Got a favourite tool or online service you want to share with me. Leave a comment.