Friday, July 14, 2017

Principles from Your Childhood: What to Do if Your Startup Fails

Unfortunately, sometimes failure is inevitable. You put massive amounts of hard work into a project or new business and do everything you can to help it succeed, but it just won’t be the right time. While failure can be crushing, especially to an entrepreneur who put so much effort into their venture, you can learn a lot from it. Every failure holds valuable lessons that can help you do that much better the next time. While you may not feel like planning for the future after a failure, it’s important to look ahead. Here is some advice for the next steps you need to take to really achieve your goals.

Take time to mourn
First, you should take time to mourn the loss of your business. It’s a difficult occurrence and you’re going to feel down about losing something you put so much time and money into. Give yourself no more than a week to feel bad about it and spend time coping with it. You won’t immediately feel better after this period of time, but you’ll need to start doing something productive again. Instead of pushing forward right away, let yourself feel down for a few days.
Evaluate what went wrong
After you’ve stepped away from the situation and worked through how you feel personally, it’s time to critically examine what went wrong. Think back over the business and the decisions you, or other people, made. What ultimately caused the business to fail? Lack of funds? No new customers? Pinpoint the reason to the best of your ability so you can know where you need to improve in the future.
See what you can salvage
It’s worth seeing what you can salvage from your business. Are there tangible items like equipment and resources you can save? Do you need to sell items to cover any debt? Then, think about the business model and organization of the company. See if anyone you worked with would be interested in working on a new company. If there was something or someone that really worked well, you can use it or them again in your next business venture.
Try something new
Before launching another business, take time to do something different. It might be starting a new job in a different industry or picking up a new hobby. You could take classes or travel somewhere. Doing something different helps stir creativity and lets you think about what goals you have for your future.
Start planning ahead
Finally, it’s time to start planning once again. If you want to start another company, begin creating a business plan for what you’d like it to be and how you can build on top of what you’ve done before. Maybe you’ve decided being an entrepreneur isn’t actually for you right now, so make a plan of where you want your career to go. Set new, long-term goals for yourself and begin working on those.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Volunteers Work for Free: Keep Them Happy

Most people feel the need to participate in philanthropic activities in some way and often do so by volunteering their time at an organization that works toward a solution for some social ill. Now more than ever before, people are getting involved in philanthropy and making it a top priority to give time toward a cause. However, if people really feel this way, why do so many charities desperately need volunteers? A big problem is that philanthropies do not know how to retain volunteers. While the main focus of a charity should be on helping their specific cause, it’s also important to take time to make sure volunteers are happy. It’s clear that too many people overlook the importance of satisfied volunteers, so here are some reasons to help convince you why it is so vital that those volunteering their time at a charity continue doing so.
They help run the organization
The most immediate result of keeping volunteers happy is that they help out your organization. Without volunteers, nonprofits would not be able to keep functioning, because you need people who aren’t paid to help out with different tasks. Even those who receive a paycheck for working at a philanthropy cannot do everything on their own, so it’s basically a must that there are volunteers to help with the different programs and tasks to keep the charity up and running.
They could become leaders
When people donate a significant amount of time to one organization, it’s likely to turn into a lifelong volunteer opportunity. As people become more experienced volunteers, they can take on the role of recruiting and educating new volunteers. Beyond being lifelong volunteers, current volunteers can become future leaders. Every organization eventually needs new people to take over leadership and having dedicated volunteers to fill those roles makes transitioning so much easier. Keeping happy volunteers means that you’ll be more likely to have people who want to take over leadership roles within the organization.
They’ll use what they learn
The longer someone volunteers with a specific organization, the more their mindset adapts and they take what they learn out into the world. Spending a significant amount of time volunteering helps people develop a philanthropic mindset, which changes the way they respond to the world around them. The more people volunteer, the more they’ll help others in the world outside of the organization they work at.
They further the cause
Finally, people who spend lots of time volunteering further the cause. They do so by volunteering their time at a specific organization, but they are also more likely to do so their entire lives. If someone spends hours each week giving time at a local animal shelter, they’re more likely to later donate money and time once they’re established in their careers because they’ll also feel passionate about that specific cause.
Now that you understand the importance of keeping volunteers content, it’s important to learn how to achieve this goal. Check back soon for part two of this blog on how to keep volunteers happy at a philanthropy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cultivating a Good Office Culture

This post was originally featured on

You’ve probably heard that the average human being spends one-third of their life sleeping. So how do we make sure that we’re getting the most out of our sleep? We buy an expensive, adjustable mattress, we shell out money for pillows from Sweden and we take all the necessary precautions to insomnia-proof our rooms–blackout curtains, dim alarm clock, white noise generator, the works.
So what about other parts of your life? Where do you think you spend most of your time? What do you think is the one place that might matter most for the sake of your mental well-being?
Your first thought would probably be your house–maybe your living room or den, more specifically. We do, after all, come home from work every day to our living room, relax on the couch and flick on the TV for a few hours before retiring to bed.
But what about the one place we spent eight or nine hours every weekday for years? That’s right–your office.
Cultivating an atmosphere in your audience that is both beneficial to work and conducive to employee morale remaining high is incredibly important in the grand scheme of things. So how do we create such an environment?

Lead by Example, not By Fear

Do you consider yourself to be a boss, or do you consider yourself to be a leader? If you’re running the office like a totalitarian regime, it might be time to dial it back a bit. The best bosses don’t lead their employees by intimidation or by sparking fear of being terminated in their minds. Instead, they help to motivate their employees and guide them towards success, not just demand that they hit certain milestones.

Open Yourself to Compliments…and Criticism

Everyone loves being told they’re good at their job. On the other hand, few are able to deal with criticism. Make sure that This goes for the management and the employees wherever you work. Opening up a two-way channel of communication between employees and management allows for critiques and corrections to be exchanged fluidly and smoothly. If someone at the office thinks that there is a better way to handle a problem they should be happy to share the idea with his or her fellow employees.
By creating a culture that revolves around an open flow of communication, employees will be more relaxed and easygoing, which will allow for a much more welcoming atmosphere.

Make It Relaxing

A relaxed employee is a happy employee, and a happy employee is a hard working employee who will enjoy coming to work. By nature, office work can be stressful. Really, any work can be stressful, but looking at the same cubicle wall day after day can come close to driving a man or woman insane. So liven up the office.
Make sure the office is well-lit. Dim lighting can give an air of prison, which is not particularly conducive to hard-work and fun. Having an office that has comfortable seating, a well stocked and well-furnished break room and doesn’t closely resemble Cell Block A will make the employees at any business enjoy coming to work much more than the alternate.
Unless it interferes directly, let employees listen to music. Essentially, make work a place where people can get work done without constantly being on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

You Need a New Mentality, Not a Work-Life Balance

This post was originally published on
Go ahead and Google the phrase “work-life balance,” and see what sorts of results you get. Go ahead–I’ll wait. I wouldn’t expect you to sift through all 21 million plus results that Google suggests for the term, as that would take up far too much of your free time. Your “life,” the crucial “good” part of that work-life balance. Without sifting too far past the first page, almost every result offers quick tips on how to better your work-life balance, how to make it the most effective it can be and how to reclaim the control that you may have lost as your work spills into your life time, and your life spills into your work time. All of these results, I’m sure, are hot takes that you undoubtedly couldn’t find anywhere else among the aforementioned 21 million results.
Except maybe once this post goes live, because I’m here to dispel the idea of a work-life balance once and for all. Strap in, because things are going to get interesting.
First things first: you don’t need to balance your work and your life. Or at least, you shouldn’t. Perhaps if you’ve read my past posts on Business as a Game you know where I’m headed with this. The “business as a game” mentality permeates my work life (notice I used both in the same sentence in a positive connotation) to such a degree that almost every challenge I face, every scenario that gets thrown my way acts as another opponent in my game. I love games–and I love what I do. Coincidence? Probably not. It’s far more likely due to the fact that my mentality when approaching work is one that allows me to enjoy it.
When I get home from work in the evening, I don’t typically feel the need to “unwind.” I don’t feel stressed out, I feel amped up. When you enjoy what you do, your work doesn’t feel like work. “How,” you may be asking yourself, “does that sentence make any sense?” Let me break it down for you.
The word “work” carries with it a heavily negative connotation. Often the word is used as an addendum as one replies in the negative to an invitation to an event. “Sorry, I can’t go to the movies, I’ve got work,” or “no I won’t be able to make your birthday, I’m bogged down at work right now,” both clearly negative uses. It implies that work in and of itself is bad, something to be avoided if at all possible. If you look at “work” as strictly negative, you may find yourself in need of a “work-life balance,” but if you open your eyes to the fact that work does not have to be negative, you won’t feel that need.
Don’t get me wrong, there are jobs we don’t enjoy doing. Maybe that’s what you’re doing wrong if you feel an intrinsic, burning desire to leave right when the clock hits 5 o’clock to balance your work and your life. The fact of the matter remains that if you’re in the right job–a job in which you enjoy doing what you do–it won’t feel like work.
Don’t misconstrue this post as an inspirational “anyone can do anything” post–that’s not what I have intended. There is only one President of the United States at any given time, and there have only been 44 thus far in America’s ~240 year history.  No matter how hard I try, I’m fairly certain that I won’t be number 45 on that list, or 46, 47 or 48 for that matter. Not every single person can do every single thing they set their mind to. But what you can do is find something you enjoy doing, and do it.
Chances are, you don’t need a better work-life balance, you just need a better job, or a better mentality.