What frustrates me the most is entrepreneurs who think they are better or of higher value than employees. The only reason that most entrepreneurs are able to realise their vision is through building and leading a great team.

So that’s why the image above I’ve taken from Facebook today irks me – it says to me that:

  • this is what an entrepreneur thinks an employees is
  • being an entrepreneur is better than being an employee
  • employment is not a legitimate way to earn a living
  • and it gives employees less credit than they deserve

In short, I completely disagree with the image that’s depicted here,and Eric Worre (highly influential in the network marketing industry) should not be sharing it with his audience. It’s short sighted and naive, especially since a significant number of network marketers are actually employees!

Back to the image – I don’t think you can truly compare employee with entrepreneur. The lines are far more blurred than these very basic assumptions about employee and entrepreneurial behaviour.

To dig into this comparison we have to first of all understand the employee work together.

Am I an entrepreneur?

I’m still not 100% comfortable with calling my self an entrepreneur. I think it’s fine when someone else calls you an entrepreneur, but I find it hard to call myself that.

Though over time I’ve become much more comfortable with it, simply because I’ve gained a better understanding of what I think an entrepreneur is.

My career in brief:

  • Student in formal education (5 – 19 at school and college, 28 – 31 at university)
  • Employee & employer (19 – 29)
  • Business owner & employer (31 – now (34))

In the middle block where I worked for a larger organisation for 10 years I employed 100s of people, from service level assistants to managers.

In the past 5-6 years I have started a few different enterprises most notably a music promotions company with a friend (failed), I joined a network marketing opportunity (stopped) and I also utilise freelancers in my day to day ‘work’.

I think it’s also worth stating that I’m actively building a strong community around my own vision, and those within the community are not employed, but we all share something in common. Something I can discuss later, but also highlights the blurring of descriptions & statuses about how to realise and build a vision or purpose.

In short, I have a very varied experience from student, to employee, to employer, to business owner.

It’s taken me quite a bit of time to work this out for myself so I’m going to get my current thoughts (March 2016) out here on my blog, for the record.

What is an entrepreneur?

Here’s what I think an entrepreneur is, or someone who behaves in an entrepreneurial way:

  • Has a vision or purpose larger than themselves
  • Creates something unique that didn’t exist before
  • Provides value to a market place that solves some kind of problem that people will benefit from
  • Finds a method to make a profit from said entrepreneurial activity (not all cases!)

This is how an entrepreneur views an employee:

  • Someone who believes in and entrepreneurial vision
  • Without the employees the vision cannot be realised to its full potential
  • Should be adequately rewarded for assisting in the realisation of the vision

Can an employee be an entrepreneur?

The short answer is yes, and another reason why the image I’ve made reference to is complete bollocks.

An employee can operate within the organisation and higher purpose, this is especially true where there is congruence with that of the entrepreneurial vision.

Essentially, we would like everyone to believe in the same purpose.

Within the organisation an employee can recognise unique opportunities and more effectively.

Is network marketing entrepreneurship?

I would also like to share my thoughts on network marketing. It’s relevant here simply because the image was shared by a network marketing thought leader – whom I hold in high regard.

When I was heavily involved in network marketing I think that I thought I was an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t. I think that most people in network marketing are not entrepreneurs either. I’m quite happy to go on the record with this because it’s what I believe, and you may disagree,

To be clear, I’m not saying that network marketing is a dishonest way to earn an income. I actually believe 100% in the model, especially if it’s a great product and reputable company. But here’s why it’s not entrepreneurial. And to be extra clear here, this is my opinion, based on what I’ve outlined above.

  • Entrepreneurs very rarely buy opportunities, they make them
  • You do not own the product you are selling – it’s not yours, you didn’t create it, and you don’t control it
  • The entrepreneur typically has the passion to build their own dream, not someone else’s

When I was involved with network marketing something didn’t sit right with me – and it was because I had the vision to create something of my own, to invent something new, something unique, something that I could build to be successful, something I believe in.

I believe that this is inside every true entrepreneur.

During my time in network marketing I essentially had a job, which I had to pay for the privilege to be a part of. Every time I made a sale, I made money, but I didn’t have any ownership and I certinaly didn’t have full control.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an employee, being involved in a franchise or network marketing opportunity. I feel I have to make that clear. We all have our own dreams to fulfil, our paths to build and we live in a world where we can choose that path for ourselves.

Everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur, regardless of what they are actually doing or what your job title may be. You can also be involved in many of these things at the same time (not recommended!)

Leadership is everything

The job of a great entrepreneur is to be a great leader (vision, purpose, ideas, opportunities), who then allows leadership to be present at all levels within the organisation to help to realise the entrepreneurial vision.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to employ the wrong people, it’s also entirely possibly that the entrepreneur cannot lead effectively.

I do not think you can simply compare an employee to an entrepreneur using basic functions of either role as a comparison. I also don’t think you can effectively compare with out clarity on the definitions of either.

Sharing an image like this on the Internet says more about entrepreneurs than the employees. And it certainly says a lot about those that share it.

Employees in jobs are pretty much the only reason you can buy anything today; from buying your lunch in a restaurant, to purchasing a used car from a garage, to ordering a product from the Internet. Every single step of the way there’s someone with a job, who probably want’s something better for themselves one day and provide for their family.

The best entrepreneurs will provide their employees with that opportunity and treat others as they would like to be treated, and view their employees as assets that will assist in the creation of something unique and special.

DFTBA!

Chris.

Since graduating from St Andrews and starting my business in 2013 I have had several opportunities to speak at local schools, local colleges, Edinburgh University and the University of St Andrews.

I really enjoy it.

Speaking at Edinburgh University 2015

Speaking at Edinburgh University 2015

I mainly speak about entrepreneurship, attitude, mindset, personal br anding, network growth, communications and marketing (social, content) – these are my favourite topics and they seem to be of interest to both the lecturers and students.

It’s awesome to have the opportunity to put myself in front of students and not be a lecturer – instead I can be a little controversial and talk about things that really matter when you’re trying to make money, build your own business and be relevant in the 21st century.

I recently graduated from St Andrews with a 2:1 in business. So with the speaking and the involvement as a student I have a good underst anding of what’s being taught in local colleges and universities in the enterprise and business curriculum.

It’s probably no surprise to know that the lecturers and the students are wildly out of touch of what’s happening right now in the global marketing and enterprise space.

My main concern is for the students, so this is for you.

I accept that you have to do your work at uni or college to get your qualifications, and you need to read the books and attend the lectures to learn what you need to so you can pass your exams. You’ve got to play the game.

I’m concerned about you leaving uni or college and really not having a clue about what’s happening right now. This is a real problem.

Fortunately you can do something about it – and I really mean that you’re the one that has to do something about it.

I’m sure things will change in colleges and uni’s in time, but for now it’s up to you to seek additional relevant sources of inspiration, learning and insights from people who are at the cutting edge of business and marketing today.

So this is my advice to you on how you can get in front, be at the cutting edge and make sure you leave college or university today with a real underst anding of what’s actually relevant in today’s world.

Here we go…

1. Listen – to podcasts

Podcasts are free to download and listen to.

Many successful business leaders publish their own podcast and give away their knowledge, insights and wisdom and expect nothing in return.

Podcasts are a perfect source of cutting edge knowledge, particularly the shows that are publishing new content frequently. To get you started, here are 10 podcast shows I listen to regularly to make sure I’m on top of my game:

  1. The #AskGaryVee ShowClick here to listen on iTunes
  2. Foundr Magazine PodcastClick here to listen on iTunes
  3. The Tim Ferriss ShowClick here to listen on iTunes
  4. The Mad Marketing PodcastClick here to listen on iTunes
  5. Content Marketing Academy (disclaimer: this is my show) – Click here to listen on iTunes
  6. Entrepreneur on FireClick here to listen on iTunes
  7. Excellence ExpectedClick here to listen on iTunes
  8. The Smart Passive Income with Pat FlynnClick here to listen on iTunes
  9. This Week in StartupsClick here to listen on iTunes
  10. The Solopreneur Hour Podcast with Michael O’NealClick here to listen on iTunes

Also check out Graduate Job Podcast – Click here to listen on iTunes

2. Watch – YouTube Videos

I find YouTube videos to not only be a great source of education, but also inspiration and motivation.

The quality that is being produced by individuals and young people is absolutely mind blowing.

Here’s a small list of channels I watch regularly to make sure I stay relevant, motivated & inspired:

  1. Casey Neistat – Click here to subscribe to Casey’s channel
  2. Gary Vaynerchuk –  Click here to subscribe to Gary’s channel
  3. TED –  Click here to subscribe to TED

I’ll follow up in a future article with specific videos to watch – I have my favourites that I’d like to share with you.

Note: Don’t waste all your time entertaining yourself on YouTube. Get in, get motivated/learn, and then take action on something.

3. Read Books

I know that you’ll have a lot of reading to do for your studies, but I highly advise you to also read from other non-academic sources.

It’s far more fun, enjoyable & practical 🙂

Here’s a small list of books to get you started (get them from the library to save on £’s):

9 books to read:

  1. The One ThingClick here to buy from Amazon UK
  2. The E-MythClick here to buy from Amazon UK
  3. DriveClick here to buy from Amazon UK
  4. The War Of ArtClick here to buy from Amazon UK
  5. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Click here to buy from Amazon UK
  6. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Click here to buy from Amazon UK
  7. Start With Why – Click here to buy from Amazon UK
  8. $100 Start Up – Click here to buy from Amazon UK
  9. The Lean Start Up – Click here to buy from Amazon UK
  10. Purple CowClick here to buy from Amazon UK

4. Attend Conference and Seminars

There’s a tonne of events, seminars and conference taking place in your local city and across the country.

As as student you are entitled cheap entry prices and discounted travel. So take advantage of this whilst you can.

Look out for start up, digital, marketing and content marketing events.

Also, look globally at live streaming events taking place – check out Blab for live events too.

5. Attend Business Networking Meetings

Across the globe there are local business networking events taking place (if there aren’t any in your area that you want to go to, then maybe you should start your own?).

You could also think wider and start networking with people across the globe using Skype, Blab, and other social platforms to get around the people your really need/want to.

Start building your network and getting to know more people outside of your current circle of influence.

Collect business cards, get email address and phone numbers, and keep in touch with people.

6. Join Facebook Groups

There are a multitude of Facebook groups for every topic in every industry. In those groups there are people asking questions, discussing challenges and sharing resources.

Use Facebook search to find relevant groups and jump in there and start having conversations with people and making connections.

7. Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Set up your LinkedIn profile – get a decent profile picture (cannot over emphasise this enough!)

Join groups, interact with people – connect, comment, engage.

Get involved in the conversation and get noticed.

8. Reach out to people that inspire you

Use the free platforms today to hustle your way in front of people that you otherwise would not be able to get in front of.

The great thing about social media is that it makes this easy!

  • Reply to people on Twitter
  • Send people snapchats
  • Email them
  • Write a blog about them
  • Mention them in your videos or podcasts

Most people don’t do this kind of stuff to get noticed, and thus there’s real opportunity for you to get noticed.

9. Get around the right people & audit your circle of influence

This is vital.

Your student friends that you are hanging around with today will probably not be your friends in a year or two. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be hanging out with them, but you need to get some other longer term influences in your life.

Do the things I’m advising you to do in this article – get in front of different people, network online and offline (see point 8).

Look for people that are smarter than you, perform at a higher level than you, are further ahead than you, that motivate and inspire you.

Drop anyone who is negative, pulls you back, and doesn’t underst and what you are doing – you don’t need this in your life.

In short, who you hang around matters a lot. Their behaviours and attitudes will rub off on you. So make sue you’re hanging around the right kind of people – audit your circle of influence!

10. Start your own group/club

If you are finding it tough to get around the right people, or find the right people to hang out with, you need to be the leader.

Start your own groups, societies, clubs or committees.

Dedicate your time to building your circle of influence (community) and creating a place for people that you like, and for people that like you, to hang out and talk about what you have in common.

11. Start a blog, video channel or a podcast

When I’m speaking at the local schools and colleges I always encourage the students to start a blog – it doesn’t matter whether it’s written, video or audio.

I’m an employer and I’d certainly be impressed if one of the c andidates for a job had their own content platform. I know for a fact that it would differentiate them from all the other CVs that l and on my desk.

Here’s why you should start your own blog:

  • It showcases your communication skills
  • It gives people a better feel for who you are – your personality, your opinion
  • It shows that you have specific set of skills. For example: to write and publish a blog; to record, edit and publish a video.
  • It shows that you are willing to do something different
  • It shows people that you relevant in the 21st century
  • It shows that you are building your personal br and

Look at the age of the stars on YouTube today – from teenagers up to 30/35.

This is what your peers are doing, and you have to believe that all of this is available to you to – FOR FREE!

12. Build your personal br and

When thinking about building your personal br and, don’t think about you as a student today, think about you a few years from now after graduation and what you would like to be known for.

Think beyond where you are today and start using social and content to tell your story and become known for something.

For example, when I was at uni I had two blogs – a personal blog and a marketing blog. I didn’t write about being a student, I wrote about what I was learning and used my knowledge and skills to help others.

Build your personal br and around giving value to others.

(Note: This is what this whole article is about – building your personal br and!)

13. Invest in online courses

There’s so much content on the web today, and as a student at 17/18/19/20/21/22 years old you’ve got the opportunity to do almost anything you put your mind to.

Check out platforms such as Udemy.com  and  Lynda.com for low cost online learning on virtually anything and everything you can think of (if it’s not there already, maybe you could create a course?).

14. Sell something

There’s no better learning experience than trying to sell something to a market.

It teaches you about sales, marketing and communication and how to make money on your own terms.

Believe it or not it’s not all that difficult to get started with selling something.

Here’s some things you could do that won’t cost you a lot of money:

  • Join a network marketing business – the marketing and product is ready for you to jump directly into selling
  • Join a small startup business where you can get involved in sales and marketing
  • Sell old belongings on eBay – everyone has old stuff they don’t need
  • Sell h andmade goods – are you interested in crafts?
  • Sell a skill – do you have a skill that you can to help others? (Graphic design, web design, writing, etc)
  • Sell your advice (consultation) – do you have knowledge of something that can help others?
  • Sell old books
  • Join Fiverr & sell mini services for $5

I don’t want to over simplify it, but you could buy two bikes and rent one out if you wanted to try selling something & make some money.

15. Don’t be a dick!

People don’t hang around people they don’t like. And people certainly don’t want to work with people that they can’t get a long with.

  • Be a leader
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Treat others like how you would like to be treated
  • Encourage others
  • Be the person that other people want to be around
  • Share your passion
  • Get excited about life
  • Show that you care
  • Stop complaining and moaning
  • Don’t bitch about other people

In short, don’t be a dick.

Other activities

  • Investigate and get involved in relevant social channels – right now you should be looking at live broadcasting: Snapchat, Periscope, Blab and how people are building their br and. Keep in touch with what’s relevant today.
  • Get an internship or work placement with a small start up company in your local area instead of a large corporate – you’ll learn more about business, marketing & sales.
  • Work for a small business for free – perhaps your parents know someone that runs a small enterprise?

Final thoughts and advice

Be open to continuous learning and development – I learn more everyday now than I ever have and business and marketing is a fast paced industry to be in.

Look outside of your current influences for learning – don’t just accept what you are learning in college or uni today as all you need to get a job. It’s not enough.

Most of your friends and peers will not do this kind of stuff – accept that they are not as smart as you and differentiate from them, and certainly don’t follow what they are doing. Be in the 1%. (The main reason they won’t do anything is because they don’t need to – but I know you can see the opportunity that’s available to you).

Accept that times are changing drastically and if you want to be hugely valuable to others in 10 years time (late 20s/early 30s) you need to be relevant to what’s going on today, tomorrow and everyday going forward.

Audit your circle of influence and make sure you are learning from people that matter today – make sure they people you are listening to and studying are practitioners in this world.

Work harder than anyone else and be smart – underst and that college and uni is one single chapter of your life and you need to be ready for the real world. You can st and out from everyone else by being relevant  and not simply relying upon you certificated qualifications.

At the moment you’re young an you’ve got the world at your fingertips. My advice is to take full advantage of it.

I hope this helps you and I wish you all the success that you are prepared to work for.

If you’ve got something to add, or your own advice to share please join the conversation in the comments section below 🙂

DFTBA!

Chris.

Like me, you’ve probably read all the positive 2016 new year messages on the Internet about how 2016 is going to be the best year ever, and it’s great to see all the ambition – I thrive on it.

But there are a few posts on Facebook from people I care about that concerned me, and this is for anyone who thinks that 2016 won’t bring them anything new.

You see, it’s not all that difficult to make this next year better than last year, all that’s needed is a few small changes. So if you’re glad to see the back of 2015, or if 2016 is just going to be another ‘shitty year’, or if you’re thinking it’s going to be the ‘same shit, different year’, I hope these notes will help you to change your life for the better.

What I’d really like you to get to grips with is that in order for things to change for you, you have to change. So if you don’t have any plans to change even just one thing about your life, how can you expect your life to change for the better?

You are in control, so take responsibility and own your life.

A change in your attitude will change your life

The only thing that you truly have control of is your attitude, and a change in your attitude will change your life. Trust me on this.

Your attitude is everything. It’s your philosophy, it determines how you react, it’s who you are at your core, it’s how people feel about you.

A change in attitude won’t change your life over night, but it will change the direction you are going in, which in turn will change your life over time.

You’re probably thinking “yeah, right Chris, that’s easy for you to say”, and it is. The hard part is making the changes and making the changes stick.

Which would you rather suffer? The pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

Keep in mind that I’m really no different than you – you have the same opportunity that I do, and also the same resistance that I have to making change. We’re all equal.

If you are looking for help, and you want things to change for you, your family, your life in general, then these notes will certainly help you. How do I know? Because they helped me.

It doesn’t matter if you are in business for yourself, if you are employed by someone else, or if you are unemployed – these notes apply to all.

It’s all about aiming to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.

Guess what? These changes won’t cost you a single penny!

Create ideas

If you want your life to change for you, and you want to succeed, you need to be able to create ideas. With practice, this is something you will get better at.

This practice of idea generation will help you to:

  • develop a creative mind
  • develop a solution based focus
  • increase your value to people
  • create more value in your business and your job
  • be more ambitious
  • achieve more in your life and business

The great thing about creating new ideas is that you can’t make mistakes – you can think big, you can be completely ridiculous, and it doesn’t matter at the idea stage – but, it gets you thinking differently about everything.

Write down 10 ideas a day and watch how you change the way you approach problems in your life.

You can also give your ideas away to other people. Be helpful and expect nothing in return. People will like and value you for it.

Cost to you – £0

Learn something new every single day

Don’t put yourself under too much pressure here. Some examples: Listen to a podcast, read 10 pages from a book, read a few blog articles from your favourite thought leaders – just do anything to feed your mind with new ideas and knowledge. This small daily practice will compound over a long period of time.

Be teachable and open minded to new ideas.

Cost to you – £0

Stop complaining

Stop moaning and bitching. Stop talking about other people. Stop doing it in private, and certainly stop doing it in public, like on Facebook.
Just don’t do it.

Not only will people see you in a different light, but you will feel better too.

Study your own life instead of other peoples’.

In short, don’t be a dick and focus on yourself. 🙂

Cost to you – £0

Write daily

Again, don’t put yourself under too much pressure here. Start with 10 mins a day, just write down your thoughts and ideas from the day.

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What’s happening tomorrow?
  4. What one thing do you want to achieve tomorrow?
  5. What are you grateful for today?

Some people call this their daily journal. The benefit is found in reflection, gratitude and keeping track of your life so it doesn’t just simply pass you by.

Cost to you – £0

Get around the right people

I’ve spoken and written a lot about this in the past – it’s so important to get around the right people. Reduce the amount of time you spend with people that aren’t helping you change your life and increase the amount of time you spend around people that are helping you. This is a conscious decision that you have to make.

Find people that you can seek mentorship from – ideally real people that are alive, but you can also seek mentorship in books, videos, seminars, podcast, etc.

Note: be the person that other people want to be around and your life will change. People don’t hang out with miserable and negative people – so be fun and likeable. Enjoy your life.

Cost to you – £0

Think big & set goals

If you don’t have a dream, you’re dead. You need to have ambition in your life – something to work towards, something that you want to achieve.

Take some time out today to think about where you are going, what you want to do in your life, and the person you would like to become.

Think big – why not? You’ve only got one shot at life, so why should it be mediocre?

Write it all down – document your dreams and ambitions.

Be the best. Be awesome!

Cost to you – £0

Take action

Many people do nothing to improve their lives, and some people do a lot of personal development, but don’t take much action. What’s required is a bit of both. In fact, taking action IS personal development. You can learn far more about yourself from taking action than reading another book.

It’s really about getting the balance right – learn a little everyday, but spend most of your time actually creating stuff – take action, create tangibility. You could read 40 books in the next year, but if you don’t do anything with it then it doesn’t matter.

No one cares what book you’re reading. No one cares how many you’ve read. All that matters is that you are learning and doing something with your knowledge. Knowledge only becomes underst anding when you take action, knowledge only becomes powerful when you take action.

Execute on the ideas you’re passionate about.

There’s no better time than now.

Cost to you – £0

Is it time for a change…?

What’s the point of life if you aren’t trying to improve and get better? 2016 is truly set to be your best year ever, you just have to grab it with both h ands and own it.

No one started off being great at what they do, but in order to be great they did have to make a start.

You’ve got the same opportunity as almost everyone else, it’s up to you to take advantage of it.

We all have same amount of time in the day – how will you use it effectively to build the life you want?

You have to truly believe that you can live the life you want to – spend time with your ambitions and write them down.

Have a dream, have an ambition, be selfish about what YOU want – there’s nothing wrong with living a good life.

… and don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Since 2013 I have run quite a number of workshops and live/in-person events. When I look back over the past 15 years of my working career I have facilitated probably 100s of training events and workshops.

From 2001-2011 I worked for The University of St Andrews, and they invest heavily in training their staff. As a manager I had to facilitate a lot of training sessions, and they also invested in me. I attend numerous certificated training courses to learn how to be an effective leader, manager and trainer.

This foundational training and experience has become very valuable to me now that I’m running my own business enterprise.

Particularly for running and facilitating The Content Marketing Academy, our annual conference.

Facilitating  and curating a conference is a lot of work, there’s no doubt about that. And to be completely honest, it’s not something that has yet made my company a significant profit, although in time I know that it will.

So, if it’s a lot of work, and there’s not a huge amount of profit to make from it, why bother running your own live event or conference?

That’s a good question, and I’d like to share with you 5 reasons why you should run your own conference.

1. Social proof and credibility

Running a successful conference directly enhances your personal credibility and also your company’s credibility.

One of the big lessons I was taught a few years back was to ‘be seen to be selling’, and you can’t get much better than having all of your customers in one room with each other!

A conference is a great way to increase social proof & credibility.

2. Network Growth

A big part of business is building strong relationships with people. A number of my best business opportunities have come from people I know very well.

A conference is a great way to spend a significant amount of time with the most progressive and influential people in your network.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to strengthen your connections, and also introduce the people you know well to other people.

A conference is a perfect and unique opportunity for you to make the most of having a room full of people that you know, like and trust, and who also know, like and trust you.

3. Trust

We already know that the biggest factor in making purchasing decisions is trust. When I teach others about content marketing, essentially what we’re teaching is how to create content that increases trust, so that people will be more likely to buy from you.

A conference gives you the opportunity to deliver a great product and service in front of all your customers. In doing so it’s likely that their trust for you will increase, and with that comes greater opportunities for business.

4. Recognition

As mentioned, curating and facilitating a conference is a lot of work, and that’s a big barrier to entry for most people. Therefore, it’s likely that you can put on a live event that no one else has done before or is currently doing.

I have learned that people are always watching you. Both in a positive light, and negative. Even when you think no one is watching what you are doing, people do see what you are doing. Especially when something goes well.

If you manage to execute a successful event people will talk about it and you will be recognised for your achievements.

Again, business opportunities will come from this.

5. Marketing

In some respects a conference is simply a big (expensive) marketing campaign.

You’ve got a big event on, which means you’ve got something big to talk about. Everything from the pre-conference promotion, to the selling of tickets, the social media, the content, to the delivery of the event on the day and the post conference marketing.

A huge indirect benefit of curating a conference is that your br and and your business is getting out there to many people, from multiple sources.

Your delegates will talk about it, they will share their experiences with others and online, on the day they will tweet and write blog and share photos.

Your and your business will benefit from all of this promotion and awareness, leading to more opportunities in the future.

It’s not (always) all about the money

The main reason I published this on my personal blog and not my company blog was because this is mainly about how you can personally benefit from facilitating a conference. In that a successful conference can positively impact your personal br anding. Although, that obviously directly impacts your business enterprise too.

My objective here is to share with you the indirect benefits of running a conference, and to not just talk about the financial aspects. These 5 benefits may not put money in your bank today, but they certainly will benefit you and your business in the longer term.

DFTBA!

Chris.

Most of us can’t make decisions. We find it difficult for many different reasons.

We find it hard because we want to please people. We find it hard because there are lots of things we could do, that we would probably enjoy and gain value from.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. It’s good to make other people happy. It’s good to try new things.

But we’ve only got so much time. We’ve only got so much energy. We’ve only got so much mental capacity.

We have to choose.

It is really easy to decide between something you really like doing, and something you hate doing. That’s simple. It’s a preference.

It’s far more difficult to choose what is best or more important between two things that you actually like doing, enjoy or get value from.

Deciding what’s most important is tough. How do you know what’s more important?

What makes things far easier in decision making is knowing very clearly what you want in life and business.

Clarity on your path and your vision really helps to decide what fits and what doesn’t.

There’s another factor at play, which is the fear of missing out, FOMO for short. I think this cripples most people when it comes to decision making.

In business you need to be able to say no to a lot of things, and yes to very few. You only know what to say no to when you know what you want to achieve and you have clarity on your vision. This is tough in itself.

Most people think there are two states in decision making – you can either decide yes or no. But there’s a third, and it’s the biggest waste of time, energy and focus – and that’s not making a decision at all.

All those unmade decisions build up and hang over you like a big black cloud.

Failure to decide has massive repercussions on all of us. All of these ‘things’ that haven’t been closed off begin to build up and consume our mental capacity.

So what can you do about it?

I don’t think there’s one answer here, and mostly you’ll have to figure it out for yourself.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to help with decision making, in case you’re interested:

  • I’m starting with no, and working up to a yes if it feels right and fits with what I want.
  • I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out what the most important things are in my life are  and in business.
  • I discuss and involve smart people in my thought process – it’s good to have smart people in your life

Disclaimer: I haven’t figured it out, but I’m working on it. Let’s be honest, who has really figured it all out!?

My goal here isn’t to present you with an answer, but to think more consciously about the decisions you are or aren’t making.

Maybe you are like me and it’s time for a clear out?

Is it time to make some solid decisions and draw a line in the s and?

DFTBA!

Chris.

Do you listen to music when you are working?

Those that know me well know that I listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books for education, but there are a lot of times when I just love to crank up my car music system, or plug my headphones in and listen to music purely for entertainment.

I’ve played guitar for over 15 years and music is a big part of my life, so it gets me fired up and keeps me motivated.

In particular, I love watching interviews and live and studio performances of my favourite b ands and musicians on YouTube.

These are the 5 b ands that I’ve been listening to the most so far in 2015, and if you don’t know me so well, this will give you a good insight into the music I listen to.

All That Remains – The Order of Things

All That Remains - The Order Of ThingsThis b and have had a huge influence on me – everything from the guitars I own to the style of music I love to play on the guitar.

I’d safely say that they are one of my favourite b ands of all time.

One of the things I like the most about All That Remains is that they write really good songs, and they like to mix it up. Some of their songs could be classed as ‘heavy rock’ and not heavy metal. But I really like that about the b and.

Click here, or below, to watch This Probably Won’t End Well from their 2015 album The Order of Things.

Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

Architects 2015I’ve been a fan of this British b and since the very early days of their career and followed them avidly. A lot of my close friends are big fans too.

Lost Forever // Lost Together has been played in my car consistently for most of 2015. It’s a fantastic album.

Click here, or below, to watch the promotional video for Naysayer by Architects on YouTube.

Lamb Of God – VII: Strum Und Drang

Lamb Of GodI simply love everything that Lamb Of God produce.

Each member of the b and is at the top of their game and they continually produce high quality records.

When the drums, guitar riffs and vocals come together you can’t mistake a Lamb Of God track for another b and.

Click here, or below, to watch one of the newest tracks from Lamb Of God, 512, on YouTube.

Parkway Drive – IRE

Parkway Drive - IRE - 2015Parkway Drive is an Australian b and and I’ve been listening to their music since they l anded in the UK.

They consistently deliver high quality music, and one thing that really makes them st and out from the crowd is that for every album they produce they do something very different. They are testing their own musical boundaries. I personally think it’s a brave and bold move, and they seem to be able to pull it off flawlessly.

Click here, or below, to watch the promotional video for Crushed from IRE – one of my favourites on the new album.

The Ghost Inside – Dear Youth

The Ghost Inside 2015The Ghost Inside are one of the b ands I listen to for fun. The rhythms and the beat from the way they write and structure their songs really gets me moving.

There’s nothing musically complex about the songs but I really like that. Some of their songs and lyrics have really struck a chord with me in my own story, which is probably why I relate to the b and a lot.

Click here, or below, to watch Dear Youth from their 2014 album (I didn’t download it until 2015).

I didn’t plan on writing a conclusion, but I realised when I was pulling this together that I’ve been listening to 4/5 of these b ands for about 10 years!

It just shows you that consistently practicing  and honing your craft, and working really hard over a long period of time, creates loyal fans. A lot of people in successful b ands agree that you’ve got more chance of being successful if you can stay the path.

DFTBA!

Chris.

It’s Jim Rohn’s birthday in September – he would have been 86 years old on 17th September 2015.

When I need inspiration, or if I’m simply not sure what to listen to, I default to a Jim Rohn audio.

He is absolutely my favourite philosopher. He shares so much wisdom.

I have listened to The Art of Exceptional Living to the point where I can speak it along with him – similar to how you sing along to your favourite song! It’s very much the same thing.

To celebrate my fondness for Jim Rohn I thought I’d put together my favourite Jim Rohn quotes here on my personal blog.

I’m sure you have your own favourites, and if I’ve not included them here please accept my invitation to pop your favourites into the comments section below.

Chris Marr’s top 20 Jim Rohn Quotes

1. “Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom”

2. “If you don’t need much, you won’t become much”

3. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

4. “I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me”

5. “It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination, it’s the set of your sail”

6. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

7. “It isn’t what the book costs; it’s what it will cost if you don’t read it”

8. “Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living; profits make you a fortune.”

9. “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

10. “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

11. “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the dem ands to perform are high.”

12. “Miss a meal if you have to, but ever miss a book”

13. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

14. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

15. “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job”

16. “Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.”

17. “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

18. “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”

19. “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

20. “Be a student not a follower”

DFTBA!

Chris.

Do you love creating and spreading new ideas?

If so, this is a call for you to start using Periscope to add fuel to your idea machine!

Over the past few months I have been following James Altucher’s advice and I’ve been proactively creating new ideas. Why? To exercise my idea muscle and to become an idea machine.

It’s not about executing on the ideas, it’s about becoming great at generating ideas.

Related content:

I’ve also been using Periscope a lot over the past 3 or 4 months, and one of the main reasons I love the live broadcasting platform is that I have the ability to share my ideas quickly to a core audience that listen.

I’m not afraid to share my ideas, in fact I love giving them away!

3 reasons why you should use Periscope to develop your ideas

One big point that I want to get across in this article is that your idea does not have to be complete before you share it! It’s actually great to get it out there when it’s not fully formed, and here are 3 reasons why Periscope can help you develop your ideas:

1. Get immediate feedback: Share your idea live with your audience and involve them in the discussion. You will very quickly get feedback and an underst anding of what people think.

2. Improve and develop your idea: People will flag up things you haven’t thought of yet, plug some gaps in your concept and challenge your thinking.

3. Articulate your idea: Talking about your idea for this first time can be a little disjointed but through sharing your idea you will get better at articulating it.

By grouping these three points together hopefully you can see how Periscope can help develop and improve your ideas, simply by sharing them live with your audience.

What ideas can you share with people on Periscope?

Let me know when you are broadcasting and I’ll join you.

DFTBA!

Chris.

I told Gordon that “I’m either in, or I’m out”. I’ve not got time to half-ass things these days, and no one ever achieved anything by ‘dipping their toe into the water’.

I met Sensei Mathie for the first time at our local weekly business networking club, which has turned out to be a fantastic growing relationship for both of us.

He’s very likeable, and a 6th Dan back belt with over 40 years of Karate experience! He’s an expert at what he does, no doubt about that!

It’s good to know that I’m being taught by one of the best.

When I was 15/16 (seems like a very long time ago!) I was really into Taekwondo, but I stopped going for whatever reason. That tends to happen when you’re a teenager – you discover other things to keep you occupied – mainly girls ;o)

In the past year or so I have had the notion to go back and do something with Taekwondo, but nothing has ever really ‘pushed’ me into it. Meeting Gordon was great timing and exactly what I needed.

Chris Marr Karate

Making Progress

Gordon encouraged me to come along for a trial Karate class, so I went along to the local Shotokan Karate class in Dunfermline and I was h anded a Karate suit, known as a Gi.

I think Gordon knew that if he gave me all the right stuff to wear that I would be more like to keep coming back, and he was right about that!

I passed my first grading a few weeks ago, which moves me on from white belt to orange belt. It feels good to be recognised for making progress.

4 reasons why I started Karate

Here’s the thing, I didn’t go to Karate just to learn Karate, I went for many other reasons.

Here’s an insight into what I get from Karate. Maybe it’ll give you a few reasons to try it too.

  1. Fitness – I’m nowhere near as fit as I’d like to be, and Karate is helping with that. It’s not full on like going to an aerobics class or anything like that, but even in the early days there’s a real fitness element – especially in the legs! The stances that I’ve been learning have been testing my core strength. Also, because I’ve committed to Karate I’ve also being going to a weekly fitness class to get my fitness levels up, so Karate has had a knock effect.
  2. Learning something new – I get bored pretty quickly, especially when it comes to exercise. With Karate there’s always going to be something new to learn – it never stops!
  3. Focus – My work occupies a lot of my waking hours, and sometimes my sleeping hours too! I was aware that I needed something to take my mind of other things in my life, and Karate works well for this. As soon as you put your Gi on and enter the Dojo, it’s all about Karate and you can really let yourself get into it.
  4. Meeting new people – I love meeting new people, especially when we have something in common.

I’m 3 or 4 months into this now, so it’s really early days, but I’m really focussing on it and putting in the time an effort. As I mentioned at the start, it wasn’t something I was going to dip my toe into, and I’m glad I went ‘all in’.

Achieving my black belt is firmly in my sights!

If you feel like you need some of this in your life then perhaps you should give it a shot. If you are in and around the Fife area, pop round to Bannatynes in Dunfermline from 7pm for the beginners class and have a go!

Here’s a short video testimonial that I put together:

DFTBA!

Chris.

Don’t think, write!

Are you afraid to publish your first blog article? Is that fear completely stopping you from writing or making the first step?

I know that you know enough to get started, but there’s something else stopping you.

Maybe it’s irrational fear, technology, over complication of the process, perfectionism, or thinking you can’t write.

Either way, I just want you to start, and the only barrier between you and writing your first word is a keyboard.

So my plea to you is to start writing today.

Don’t think, write!

Separate writing from publishing

A lot of people who would like to create content for their business are fixated on publishing, i.e. going live with every single piece of content they create, and this paralyses them from making a start.

I want you to know that you don’t have to publish everything you write. In fact, as you start to write more often, you’ll likely find that a lot of your writing doesn’t get published for one reason or another.

I don’t want you to pay any attention or think about the following things:

  • Keywords
  • Structure
  • Images
  • Publishing on social media
  • Sharing buttons
  • WordPress
  • Websites
  • Uploading
  • Aesthetics
  • Mobile responsive
  • Side bars
  • Subscription
  • RSS feeds

… and especially don’t think or care about what other people think.

Just forget about everything to do with the technical elements of content publication, and just write.

Simply put it all to one side, because it is not going to help you right now. Especially if you don’t have a single piece of content written. You can get around to all this technical stuff later, and there are plenty of people out there that can help you with it.

I want you to pretend that when you are writing, the door is closed and no one knows what you are doing.

Do it for yourself

The best thing you can do for you and your business right now is to quietly start writing. No one needs to know (well…you could email me and let me know), in fact, most people really don’t want to know – they don’t care.

So do it for yourself. Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do. Do it because you want to.

Trust me, you’ll really start to enjoy it.

Start today, start now!

Right now, for you, it’s all about writing.

If you want to improve and create great written content, you are going to have to start writing. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s the thing, everything starts in the written word. Every single piece of content I’ve created started as a written note in Evernote or my notebook.

Even video starts in the written on word as a script or a structure.

The sooner you start, the quicker you will get something out there. The more you write, the easier it will get and the better it will be.

Use an application like writingRitual.com for distraction free writing and without the worry of anyone reading what you write or if you ever publish it or not. It wil also help you get into the habit of writing 750 words per day.

Look at your schedule today – open up your diary.

Have you got a free hour today to open up your laptop, computer or note pad  and start writing? What about tonight? Early tomorrow morning? I know you can find an hour to make this happen, we all have pockets of time we can use if we really want to.

You and I both know that there’s only one person that can take this over the line for you… and that person is you.

Keep it simple, don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself, and get started!

… and most of all, have fun!

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.