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Startup Mindset: 6 Killer Ways to Get Your Startup Mindset in Order

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Startup Mindset: 6 Killer Ways to Get Your Startup Mindset in Order

Coming off from the previous post on having a right Startup mindset and dissecting Buffer’s approach to their startup social campaigns, it is time now to talk about steps that you can take to have the right mindset for success.

In case you haven’t read the post, you can read it here.

In this post, you will learn 6 actionable steps to take in tweaking and refining your Startup Mindset, so that you do your Startup right.

Let’s begin.

#1 It all starts with Startup Desire

In the words of the late Napoleon Hill, the author of “How to Think and Grow Rich”, it all begins with wanting something really badly.

  • Do you want success enough?
  • Do you kind of want success?
  • Or are you just trying this startup thing, and if it fails, you are really fine with failing?

It is important that before we go any further, I will give my own definition of what desire in a startup is:

Desire is the amount of sacrifice, be it time, health,or money, that you are willing to lay down for your startup.

That’s it, really. Simple.

How much success you want in your startup depends entirely on how much you are willing to sacrifice for its growth.

When i was in Gallant, Vivache and Pillar, I had to sacrifice my health, my wealth, and more importantly, 5 years of my life.

My desire back then was to create a successful business, and be able to retire wealthily.

The Desire to success in entrepreneurship is what still motivates me today.

It helps face any challenges, and setbacks, which then develops my Growth mindset.

This also means that I am better equipped to face failure, because my desire to succeed in having a successful business outweighs the fears that I have of failing.

What about you?

  • What is your desired outcome?
  • How much do you want to be successful?
  • Do you kind of want it?

NOW, YOU TRY IT:

  • List down 3 of your top desired outcomes in your startup, in order of importance
  • Amongst the 3 desired outcomes, list down the rough amount of time you expect to achieve that outcome
  • Now, taking a deeper look into those outcomes, if you had to choose one and only one outcome, which one would you choose?

At the end of this exercise, you will want to focus your energies into moulding your startup to becoming that topmost Desired outcome that you have identified.

#2 Then, there’s faith in your Startup Mindset

With Desire being the foundation for your mindset, we move on to the next factor essential for a solid mindset, which is faith.

Napoleon summarises this pretty well in his book “Think and Grow Rich”

“Faith is a state of mind which may be induced or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion.”

This simply means that faith is the result of us repeating our desires to our subconscious mind, and overtime, this builds up a belief that is so strong that failing simply isn’t an option anymore, because we demand it.

In the case of Xissor, if I were to desire for a revolutionary design of a scissor, that would change the way people cut things at home, I would repeat this desire to my subconscious mind consistently, and demand that it happen.

I know this is probably a lot for you to handle, but trust me when I say that it works.

It has worked for the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas A. Edison, two of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, so why wouldn’t it work for you?

Over time, the thoughts that you put in your mind will make you a better or worse person, because thoughts start becoming reality if you want it bad enough.

It’s the same thing with your startup. If you desire the outcome extremely badly, you will one day receive it.

If you kind of want it, the outcome will be kind of good, kind of bad.

NOW, YOU TRY IT:

  • List down the top 3 Chief intentions in your startup is (Don’t be confused; Intention is not desire. Intentions are specific goals that you set for yourself to achieve your desires)
  • List down the top 3 actions that you have to take every single day in order to achieve those intentions.

It is not enough to have desire without believing in what you must do to get there.

The similar goes for a journey. For example, it is not enough to dream and desire to go snow boarding, if you are not willing to buy a snow board to begin with.

#3 The power of consistent suggestion

When it comes the issue of the Startup Mindset, there is nothing quite like the power of suggestion.

Our brain works an erratic state, that is heavily influenced by what is suggested to it, be they positive or negative thoughts.

This means that the outcome of your actions in your startup might be positive or negative, depending on what you suggest to your brain on a daily basis.

The power of suggestion is also heavily influenced by the emotions that we mix those thoughts with. Our brain ranks those thoughts according to the emotions that we assign it.

NOW, YOU TRY IT:

List down the following things and fill in the blanks accordingly:

  • I desire to bring (startup name) to succeed in achieving my chief desire (section 1)
  • I strongly believe that I will be able to realise this vision of mine through ACTIVELY practicing
  • Action 1
  • Action 2
  • Action 3

Repeat the following sentences to yourself every single day, without fail, to commit it to memory.

I do this for myself every single day; mine looks something like this:

  • I desire to bring Mentored Growth to succeed in achieving my chief desire of being able to retire wealthily with 10 million dollars by the age of 30
  • I strongly believe that I will be able to realise this vision of mine through ACTIVELY practicing
  • Providing sound, quality value and advice to entrepreneurs around the world
  • Challenging myself to go beyond the questions that are already answered online, and to find new boundaries to cover and educate the startup community
  • Consistently produce content that is of high value, and interacting and engaging with my readers so they may find startup success for themselves

What we are looking for is the “commit to memory” scenario: the point in time where we subconsciously know what we want, and what we must do to get there.

#4 Imagination

There are 2 types of imagination. Synthetic and Creative Imagination

Synthetic Imagination

According to Napoleon Hill, Synthetic imagination is the arrangement of old concepts, ideas of plans into new combinations.

It works with the material or experience, education, and observation with which it is fed.

For example, let’s say I want to find out what the best way of marketing Xissor is. I might do some research on the current best marketing techniques in the market today.

Next, I might do further research on thoughts about these techniques on forums from fellow marketers.

Quora is a good place to get started.

For a start, let’s do a quick search on this question and answer website:

These places and answers give a good insight into what works, and what doesn’t, and offers a good head start if you are new to marketing any product/service.

At the end of the day, I might arrive at a few techniques that I want to use for Xissor:

  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Instagram Marketing

Notice that these techniques are not new; they are simply an adaptation and repurposing of techniques that are already out there for my own use.

In short, there is nothing new that is being created.

To let you have a better idea, these are the pros and cons of using synthetic imagination in your startup.

Benefits:

  • I know what has a good chance of working, and what doesn’t
  • I get an immediate head start from my research, and I save myself a lot of time trying out different methods that don’t work (or so they claim)
  • I am able to benchmark myself against the average, just like Buffer was able to with their Facebook campaign.

Cons:

  • There is nothing new or fresh about my techniques, since they are only just a repurposing to suit my needs
  • What works for others might not work for me
  • Without new or fresh content, I might run into the trouble of market saturation. If I am doing research, my competitors will definitely do theirs, too
  • I might just end up wasting money altogether in my campaign because the market on those platforms is already overwhelmed with existing campaigns from my competition

You might notice immediately that you face the problem of paralysis by analysis; there is almost an equal number of pros and cons, and it can be quite hard for you to make a decision whether to embark on this campaign or not.

This is where creative imagination comes into the picture.

Creative imagination

This is imagination which occurs when we come up with completely new methods of doing things, because we are open to trying out new things.

For example, with Xissor, my competition might already be on Facebook, Instagram and Email, but they might not be so dominant on Youtube and/or Twitter, because those might be discarded as “lowest effectiveness” where scissors marketing is concerned.

In this case, coming up with a new idea, which is inspired by creative imagination, might lead to you to potentially dominating a whole new market that you’ve never thought of.

EXERCISE: Go to section 4, and list down the following:

  • What are the top 3 research insights that you have gathered for your startup? (This is synthetic imagination)
  • What are the top 3 things that your competition isn’t doing?
  • Why is your competition not doing those things?
  • Can you get an advantage over them by doing those things?

By actively practicing your active and creative imagination, it is possible to find new ways to consistently outsmart and outmaneuver your competition, and gain an upper hand.

Again, this post will not go on in detail on the techniques specifically; we’ll save that for another post.

#5 Specialized Knowledge in your Startup Mindset

If you are a budding entrepreneur, or even a seasoned one halfway through your startup, then you will know deep in your heart that you started this company for a reason.

More importantly, there might be a specific skill that you are particularly good at, that inspired you in someway to start your business.

That skill is also the skill that you and you only is working on in your startup.

The other skills can be handled by other people you trust.

For example, when I started Gallant, I was really good at talking to people and networking with them.

In fact, I got so good at networking that bars in Fullerton Hotel and Fullerton Bay Hotel started offering me a partnership to host my events in their bars; something that is typically uncommon.

Bars here, after all, charge for events mostly based on a fixed price.

Similarly, I started Pillar because I was really good at copywriting.

I’ve written over 800 Linkedin profiles in my career, and that is a sure sign to me, that it was a good reason why I wanted to start a copywriting agency in the first place.

NOW, YOU TRY IT

  • What are the top 3 skills that you are have?
  • What do you find yourself naturally good at?
  • What skills have you spent more time on than other peers?
  • What do people most often compliment about you?

Your secondary skills or knowledge

The next thing you will need to do is to find out what your secondary skills or knowledge is.

Many entrepreneurs like to take things into their own hands, and firefight their way through customer service, coding, design, writing and so on, but this lack of delegation has been proven to reduce efficiency of a startup, not improve it.

This next part of the exercise will show you how.

EXERCISE: Below your primary skills,list down the following:

  • What are you good at, but don’t consider yourself a master of?
  • What can you get moderately well done, but others don’t go crazy over it?

You should have at least 2 skills in your secondary skill sets.

Outsourceable skills

We’ve just helped you to uncover the most important and secondary important skills that made you start the company.

Be mindful of these skills and knowledge throughout your startup journey because it will help you to speed up your decision making process. I will cover this in detail in another post.

Now, the challenge is to define what you are really bad at.

For me, I’m good at writing, connecting, but I’m not really good with design, operations. This means that when it comes to design and operations, the most logical and efficient thing to do is to outsource these tasks.

Delegate them to your Rolodex

Now that you’ve figured out your main skills and secondary skills, it’s time for you to decide how and when they should be delegated.

For example, whenever I face an issue with design and operations, I know instinctively that me working on it will just worsen the problem, not help it.

I make a conscious effort to outsource and delegate my design and operations management to the rest of my team, and I make sure I surround myself with people who are really good at the 2.

While it might be pricey at the beginning to outsource some of your work to others, it is a worthy investment if you want to get your startup off the ground fast, and you don’t want to burnout in the process.

If I were to get into design and writing, as well as operations, I might just burn out and not have the mood to work in 1-3 months.

Losing passion in your startup is the worst thing that can happen.

I always go to sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find reasonably good freelancers for any work that I need done.

Your Startup Rolodex – Fiverr

Fiverr is a good place for any business owner to find freelancers that can get small tasks done for 5 dollars or more.

It’s a good place to start if you are tight on budget, but do be mindful of who you hire, because it is a peer to peer marketplace.

I have had good experiences, as well as bad experiences on then platform, and I would suggest if you have a higher business budget, go for Upwork.

You can check out the seller’s portfolio (if he/she has any) on the page of the “gig”: how Fiverr names a certain service offered by a seller.

Screen through them briefly and see if it fits what you are looking for.

The next thing I would see is the level that the seller is at. Level 1 sellers (green badge) are sellers who fulfil the following criteria:

  • Completed at least 50 individual orders in two consecutive months
  • Maintain a 4.5 star rating or above
  • Have a low cancellation rate

While level 2 sellers means that they have more credentials than level 1 sellers, fulfilling the following criteria:

  • Maintain a high star rating (4.7-5 star rating)
  • Exceptional customer care
  • Have a low cancellation rate
  • Community leadership
  • Volume of sales

A Fiverr Top Seller (yellow badge) means that he/she is well received by the Fiverr team, and is specially selected to become a Fiverr Top seller.

A word of advice would be: don’t be afraid to give new sellers a chance to prove themselves, but also be mindful if they can deliver what you ask for.

Use reviews to roughly gauge your experience with the seller, and it is always good to have a chat first before you buy, so that you can gauge the speed of your response, and the seller’s attitude.

If all is good, take a look at the prices quoted by the seller and then choose a gig that you find to best fit your needs.

If you are getting design work done, be sure to ask about their commercial license.

Most designers charge a premium further for businesses to use their license, and if you are not careful, you might end up with a logo you can’t use for your startup.

Upwork is another site where you can find freelancers of a better quality for a reasonably more expensive price.

Create an account through the sign up button on the right, and go to the sign up page.

Once you have created your account, go the right hand side, and click on the “Post Job” button, where you will be redirected to the job requirements page.

Once you have click on the button, you will be redirected to a page that asks you if you want an ad-hoc freelancer, or someone that you work with long term.

I would like to add on here that you should follow the same advice that I have laid out with Fiverr: Test your freelancer first, and decide if you want to proceed with him/her long term.

This will help you to avoid any unnecessary problems later on with billing, if he/she does not perform up to your expectations, but the contract is ongoing.

The freelancers there start their quotes from USD 40, and can scale up based on the quality of work and scope of work that is required.

While it is a bit more pricey, it really depends on the quality of work that you need done.

As with anything, you get what you pay for.

The freelancing world is not any different.

To being with the job posting process, select a category that you would like to get help with, under the “Choose a category and subcategory” tab.

In Xissors’ case, let’s assume that I need help with Project Management.

Once I have selected that, i will move to describe the project, and the requirements that I am looking for.

At this portion, it is important for us to be as specific as I can with my requirements, so that I can filter out the helpers that do not fit my description, and speak to the ones who do.

Upwork’s website has the following guidelines to post a great job post:

  • A clear, specific project title
  • Thorough project overview with a challenge to be solved
  • A detailed list of qualifications
  • The desired skill level

I might do a job posting like the following:

If you would like me to provide a few samples of job postings, let me know in the comments below.

For the purpose of this exercise, I shall post the following requirements as an illustration only.

Title: Seeking Capable and Hours Hungry Project Managers for Upcoming Startup in the Scissors Market

Hi guys, I am looking for a really capable project manager for an upcoming startup of mine, Xissors.

We are hoping to revolutionise the way people cut things at home, and we are looking for a remote staff to help manage our operations.

This Project Manager will be assigned to do the following:

– Manage day to day operations of the business
– Tend to enquiries of the company
– Report directly to management (me) of the happenings on a daily basis

If you are REALLY interested in a long term engagement with, indicate so, and I might even consider giving you revenue share, if you prove to be capable.

Apply if you are:

A Native English Speaker (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia)
Are able to communicate well in English
College educated
Newer to ODesk and looking for experience/exposure
Good at multitasking, and managing deadlines
Good at managing people and communicating with them

Notice that I did a few things here.

Title:

  • I deliberately stated “Hours Hungry”. On Upwork, the way freelancers charge is by the hour, so having a title like that immediately catches the attention of the seasoned freelancer
  • By starting the “Scissors Market”, I immediately block out the people who are not interested in the industry, and thus save much of my time later.

Box 2:

  • I stated my desire and intentions clearly in the post. Again, this helps to refine the audience that I am talking to, and allows me to filter out my freelancers later on.
  • I created a clear link between my desire, and why I need them to come in to help me out. That is very important, because it helps them to define their purpose for helping me.

Box 3:

  • This is where I state very clearly the roles and expectations that I have of my Project Manager

Box 4:

  • Having a final pitch where I give them a bait for long term engagement; something that freelancers with uncertain cash flow dream about, should get the attention of the best talent on the site.

Box 5:

  • You will want to write this thinking that you already have their attention.
  • Write your requirements with the mindset: “Now I got your attention, here’s what I want.”

Using these techniques should be good enough for you to sift out the best talents on the site.

Next, we would want to fill up the rest of the form.

Attach File:

If you have a file, which is most likely the case if you are trying to hire a designer, or a brief perhaps that is too long to type out, you can put it here.

What type of projects do you have :

This is quite a no-brainer. Choose the type or project that suits your needs, but remember; testing a freelancer is always the best way to go.

I’m speaking from a point of view of having been on both sides of the table.

How many freelancers do you need to hire for this job? Again, choose as necessary.

Enter skills needed:

This is an important section. Upwork further filters your job posting by using tags – important categories that help them to refine what you are looking for with the people with the relevant skills.

Some skills that you can put here are: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Mac OS X, and so on. Be as specific as you can.

How would you like to pay?

This is where you have the option of paying either by the hour, or by the project.

You can select ether option, but I’ve found that paying by project is always the best to go.

Simply put, it is hard to keep track of progress when you are working by the hour.

Upwork tries to help by having a desktop tracker – which helps you to keep track of your freelancer’s progress and work done, but it doesn’t answer the question of what if the project turns out to need more time than anticipated.

You might end up paying more than what you should, which is not the best idea if you are a brand new startup.

Desired Experience Level:

This is where you choose, again, based on the type of freelancer that you want.

Remember what I said about you get what you pay for, because it is so true.

There is a saying in the copywriting world:

when you pay a writer $5,000 for an advert copy, they sell for you. When you pay a writer $5 for an advert copy, they just need to sell TO you.”

Avoid mistakes like this and make appropriate payment. You can issue a dispute if the work turns out not to be what you expected, and Upwork can hear you out.

Freelancer Preferences

I always prefer to let anyone find and apply to a particular job, because you never know what you might get. But if you want to be specific, you can always choose as you like.

Preferred Qualifications

This is the section to be really specific about what you want. Depending on your needs, you might want a freelancer that is really qualified for the job, or you are open to suggested freelancers that Upwork recommends for the job.

Screening Questions:

If you would like to have a series of questions to ask your applicants, Upwork offers this nifty little feature.

I found it best to have a series of roughly 4 simple questions that aims to be as generic as possible.

It might go something like this:

  • Why are you hungry for hours?
  • What makes you different from the next guy?
  • What are some sample projects that you have worked on?
  • What are some projects that you are currently working on? Will it conflict with my business?

Once again, If you need me to do a specific breakdown on how to fill this up and every blank on the job posting page, please let me know in the comments below.

#6 Persistence

We’ve always heard the saying: Persistence is the key to success, and it is so true. But it is not known to many that persistence only comes once you have a definite goal, a definite plan, and have the power of will.

With the earlier example and exercises that we have gone through, the key is to follow through, and constantly find new ways to reach those targets on a daily basis.

In other words, you need to hustle in the right direction.

For example, I used to think that Gallant would be my defining moment. We would do 2 networking sessions a month with over 60 professionals attending each event, but we didn’t have the right goal, nor an action plan.

I didn’t realise the power I had in my hands. But it was too late.

The young me was only concerned with looking good, and having fun in the process. While having fun might be one of the reasons why you start a company, having solidly defined growth objectives that you and your team can work towards is the ultimate thing that you should look for.

Without the help of clearly defined goals, and clear plans to achieve them, there is no point in persistence because you are already headed in the wrong direction.

But when your Startup does have a goal and action plan

Persistence will be the success factor that sees you through your startup journey. As we talked about in the Growth Mindset infographic, successful minds tend to accept challenges, and push on despite criticism and failure. This is something that you should practice every single day.

NOW, TRY THIS:

With the information that you have earlier obtained from the different exercises, move on and complete this exercise.

Under this section, fill in the blanks:

  • I will constantly do ________, ___________, and ________ to bring my startup off the ground
  • I will, whenever necessary, delegate any tasks related to __________, ___________ , and ____________, so as to maximise my productivity
  • No matter the failure,the upsets and the disappointments, no matter the criticism that I may face, I believe in the vision that I have set for my startup, and I will achieve it at any means necessary.

I would highly suggest that you print these 3 statements out, and hang it up on your wall, put it in your file,make it your wallpaper, anything to remind you daily of what you need to do to succeed.

Recite these 3 statements everyday, and you will find clarity in your decision making process, and greater productivity in your work.

Do this now

We have just gone through the different mindsets of an entrepreneur, and we can use the 6 actionable steps to hone your mindset into a Growth mindset.

By now, you should be able to have a clear vision and desire of what you want to achieve in your startup, the most important steps to take to reach those desires.

You should also know your strengths and your limitations, and when to do something yourself, as well as when to delegate those tasks to freelancers.

You should also have completed the worksheet. If you haven’t, download it here and go back to the article to fill it up step by step.

After you have filled up the worksheet, as well the 2 statements here and here, print it out if you can, and read it to heart everyday.

You’ll be amazed at how easily you become convicted by the day to your desire, and will be much more capable of making the right decisions in your startup.

In short, read what you wrote to yourself in the morning, during lunch, and before you sleep, and you will find clarity in your startup mind.

Conclusion

Starting a business is hard. I can tell you that after starting 3 myself. But there is a certain joy in being that 2 percent. They always say that the journey is the thing that counts, and that is so true.

With every startup venture that I embark on, I always find there to be learning lessons that enrich me as a person, and bring me to the next level of understanding of myself.

Over time, I find that I am able to block out the things that don’t matter, and keep the ones that do. This knowledge has been very valuable to me as an individual and entrepreneur, and I am now sharing it with you.

With an indestructible mindset, means that the path for success is so much clearer.

I hope that this post will help you in one way or another to get ready for your startup journey, because with the Mentored Growth university, we are just getting started to.

What do you think about the tips that were given in this post? Were they helpful?

What are some ways that you can add on to the mindset of an entrepreneur?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

PSSST. You might be wondering…

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