Right about this time last year, I had the follow conversation with myself:
Things have to change.
Not because it’s nearly December and New Year’s Resolutions are lurking around the corner (and waiting to be broken).
No, things need to change because I can’t keep living like this anymore. My business runs me. My cash flow is more like cash stuck. My company’s growth should be through the roof, but it’s stuck somewhere on the basement stairs.
But with the same regurgitated advice floating around on the Internet, it seemed impossible to break out of the business prison I had put myself in. I needed something different. And I found it.
So today, I’m sharing the four websites I discovered that will help bust you out of the same-old, same-old reverie. Will they help change the way you think about your business? Maybe ... and maybe they’ll help you increase your revenue by more than 200 percent. Which is exactly what I’ve done this year, while taking a few trips, streamlining my services and becoming clearer on what life as a small-business owner will (not should—will) look like for me five years from now.
Sites To See
Finerminds. When you find your business bogging you down, quit reading the same old business advice crap. You probably don’t need new software to fine-tune your day-to-day activities—you need a new perspective. I discovered Finerminds in mid-2012 when they were generous enough to share my TEDx talk with their 100,000-plus subscribers out of the blue.
In addition to being incredibly grateful, I got sucked down into their spiral of content. With every page, I found ideas that would help me focus. Break up my workday. See my colleagues and clients differently. The big one, though? I decided to pursue some of their advice on meditation. By reading about topics that had nothing to do with the latest startups or who got what for funding, I opened my mind to new perspectives. This is how real change happens in business. I wish I’d discovered them sooner.
Upworthy. This site is all about “things that matter.” If you haven’t stopped by yet, well, I don’t know if it’s for you. If you’re wrapped up in the (meaningless) latest and greatest information that's coming out of Silicon Valley, you probably won’t find much of use here.
See, Upworthy is all about news and stories that lift you up. If you’re tired of the same old "someone wins/someone loses" myth that permeates business culture, Upworthy is ready and waiting. Nobody loses on Upworthy—it’s all good news. And when the crap is hitting the fan with yet another project and you find yourself calling your spouse to tell them you’re working late again, pop over to Upworthy. Be surprised—the world isn’t as bad as we’d make it out to be. I’ve gotten roughly a gazillion ideas for blog posts from this site’s videos alone.
The Daily Love. Did you ever think you’d bookmark a site with the word “love” right in the title? Neither did I. Seemed like a weak move. Thankfully, “seemed” is past tense. The Daily Love is at the top of my reading list because I got tired of being one of those people who was incessantly bitching about my business. I decided that if I couldn’t come to love what I did for a living and love the person I was while doing it, I needed to go do something else.
Somehow, this site always has just what I need to read, when I need to read it. The site has a wide range of contributors, many of them small-business owners just like me. There’s never a shortage of hard truths and intellectual kicks in the pants. My business—and my life—are better for both.
TED.com. Every day, I run into someone who has no idea what a TED talk is—and it blows my mind. If you have 18 minutes to spare (and yeah, I know you do because you spend at least that much time on Facebook every day), you have time to check out TED.com. TED stands for technology, education and design. The talks you’ll find on the site span topics that range from humor to staggering advances in medicine and technology. You can view lists of talk curated by leading minds in numerous fields or simply start with the talks most viewed. The videos will leave you amazed. Smiling. Maybe crying and laughing. However you feel after watching a TED talk, it’s sure to be different than how you felt before watching it. You can even search for talks by topic and see what leading minds in your industry are talking about all over the globe.
You might notice a theme with the above websites: They’re all positive in nature. I changed my business radically by shifting the type of information I let into my daily routine. You know, we've become so used to living in a world where someone has to lose in order for us to win, and it’s no different in business. That doesn’t mean I don’t check out the latest headlines about amazing entrepreneurs; it just means I realized what was missing in my business.
I realized that the only way to change my business and stop loathing it was to find things in the world that were positive and focused on what it really means to be happy. None of us started a business because we thought there would be cupcakes on every street corner (though that would be nice). We started our businesses because we didn’t have a choice. It was our must. Because we love it. And I know—oh boy, do I know—that love is hard to find some days when nothing’s going your way.
But by changing my mindset and letting more positive perspectives in from sites like the ones I’ve shared above, I’ve grown 200 percent this year. And that 200 percent? That’s just financially. I’d put my emotional growth in the 1000 percent range.
And that’s where real change happens, both now and for every year to come.
Can I get an awwwwyeah?
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Photo: Courtesy Ayah Bdeir