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This Is the Single Most Important Job of a Leader

February 7, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Setting strategy and keeping the organization on track to meet its goals is critical for a leader. As a matter of fact, it’s probably what any leader will be evaluated against at the end of the year.  But a true leader needs to take a wider view of their responsibilities, one that encompasses the development of other leaders within the organization — one of a leader’s most important jobs.  
Why? Because as a senior leader, you might be setting strategy, but to execute that strategy, you need your team of managers. They are the ones that have direct contact with both your clients and the majority of your team members. You can’t accomplish your goals without them.
Related: 6 Leadership Best Practices to Empower Your Workforce
Got any change initiatives coming up? A large-scale digital transformation project perhaps? A big reason change initiatives fail is because of a lack of skilled leadership throughout the organization to help see it through.
Get better at coaching your team
Your ability as an organization to drive change lies in the ability of your leaders. Since any organization that cannot change and transform is as good as dead, that should be pretty good motivation as a senior leader to take an interest in developing the leaders that report to you.
So, how best to go about it?
The first step is to actually make that development a priority and an area of interest. Sounds basic, but many leaders don’t realize that their ability to coach others is one of their keys to success. It’s not as common as we might think for leaders to have top of mind questions like “How can I develop everyone on my team to be ready for the next step?” or “How do I give them the tools, skills, and confidence to move up a level?”  Or even more important “How much time will I invest this week in the development of my direct report?”
As part of this coaching and development, leaders should aim to answer less and ask more. For example, if one of your reports comes to you with a particularly tricky personnel situation they’re facing, resist the very common urge to tell them how they should solve the problem.
Instead, ask questions. You want to help people to increase their critical leadership thinking, and you’re not going to do that by giving them all the answers. The only way to truly make that happen is to really let them think about it, and to guide them as they dig deep and reflect on the different paths forward.
Being a role model matters
Another key aspect of developing other leaders is to model the behavior you want to see. Imagine the general manager of a five-star resort walking the grounds of the property and spotting a piece of trash on the ground. You’d better believe they’re personally stopping to pick up that litter in order to show the behavior and values they’re trying to instill in others.
Never underestimate the power of being a role model in this way, nor the importance. Because if you’re a senior leader, you can pick up trash until you’re blue in your face, but you’re just one person. The idea is to ensure the behavior is passed on to others.
What we see, then, is that developing your leaders is really also about developing your company culture and creating a company-wide ethos from the top of the organization all the way to the bottom. Because culture can never be defined by just one person at the top. It is defined just as much, if not more, by the person at the very end of the chain. Or shall we say “at the front end of the chain? Facing your client or building your product.
Related: 25 Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior
That’s why you as a senior leader need to be developing your leaders: so that they, in turn, can develop their people, who develop their people, and so on. If you for example want a culture with free-flowing feedback it must start with you. Are you regularly asking for feedback? Not only in organizational-wide surveys but in 1-on-1s with your direct reports? And are you encouraging them to do the same?
Your company culture can never be fully formed without this approach. The culture has to fully seep through to all levels. Otherwise, you’ll have people in one part of the organization acting and performing differently than people in another part of the organization.
You develop a stronger bench
A natural side benefit of developing your leaders and strengthening your overall company culture is that you simultaneously deepen your talent pool.
Think of your people like a football team. You want to have a deep bench of talent. If you produce good players on your team, they’ll get promoted on to greater things, or they might even be picked up by the competition. But that’s okay because you have plenty of talent waiting in the wings, by virtue of developing your leaders and building your culture.
The opposite approach, of course, is to not put much time or effort into developing your people. And then you have an underperforming team that isn’t winning very many games.
At the end of the day, developing other leaders is good for the senior leaders themselves, the talent being developed, and the organization as a whole. It’s one of the most crucial things a senior leader can do to ensure greater overall success.
Leaders who fail to grasp the importance of this approach and choose to simply focus on hitting their own goals are only shooting themselves in the foot.

6 Ways to Help Your Business Grow and Flourish

February 7, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Many entrepreneurs are stuck, frustrated, delusional or complacent. They generally don’t have enough time, they have too few customers, recruitment is difficult, and they are overcome by self-limiting beliefs and their fixed mindset.  
As an entrepreneur, you must always be thinking about reinventing a process, a system, your team and your products. Customer acquisition shouldn’t be a practice when you don’t have enough customers; it needs to be a constant, along with many other variables.
The problem is everyone gets busy, and most of the time, it’s because of growth or adversity.
Related: Bouncing Back and Staying Optimistic in the Face of Adversity: The How-to
People complain about limited resources and poor cash flow all the time but hear me; everyone starts with nothing. Whether you’re new to business or a seasoned serial entrepreneur, we all started with nothing. Sure, some may have started with an education or a few dollars in their pocket, but for most of us, we began our journey with none of those things. Instead, we began with passion, purpose and a hunger for achievement and fulfillment.  
The very best entrepreneurs keep it simple, and from my observations working with hundreds of entrepreneurs from start-ups to elephants, there are six proven ways to help your business grow and flourish.  
1. Check yourself and become self-aware
Know where you came from, who you are, what you stand for and why you are here. This is about purpose and self-reflection.
Becoming self-aware is one of the single most important traits of responsible leadership. I bet you are thinking, “I have no time. When I am going to find the time to reflect?” If this is you, stop it. You still have the chance to change your mindset.
2. Human connection
Business owners must get back to basics and reconnect with their customers on a human level. Pick up the phone and say hi! Don’t try and sell them something. Instead, engage in a meaningful conversation. Your customers are your fuel and these days, most humans feel isolated, unloved, lonely and alienated because the world is increasingly driven by technology.
Related: What I Learned About Business and Human Connection From Live Streaming for 100 Straight Days
3. Values
Customers are values-driven, so building your future content on your values will help you on your quest for customer connections. Now, if you have been growing your business for years and have lost direction, clarity or control, it’s likely that your messaging is no longer valid and nor is your method of communication. Therefore, it’s critical to review your message and your assets and test them against your values and your brand proposition.
4. Focus matters
Is your business all things to everyone? If your message is confusing and not relatable, how is anyone going to buy from you? We all experience this from time to time. As an entrepreneur, I have experienced this when running many companies simultaneously. Despite my efforts and those of my employees, our focus was stretched, and each brand’s focus was off-key.
My point is, go back and review your product suite and make sure your product is aligned to your values and that your message is focused on your customer. This will make it easier for them to buy from you — and this means more revenue!
5. Building value
To build value, you need to devote more time to uncover your customer’s purpose, their DNA, their values and what truly matters to them. This helps you find an intersection with your purpose and values.
This approach is different and requires critical thought and analysis. It’s a growth mindset rather than a purely results-driven approach. This is about considering the long-term relationship with your stakeholders, not just your customer. 
Related: 4 Ways to Make Value Creation Core to Your Business
6. Mental and physical availability
Are your customers thinking of your brand, and can they access it when they’re thinking of it? When your brand is strong in both of these domains, more people can easily buy your products.
To level up on both mental and physical availability, brands need to understand whether their customer is an optimizer or satisfier. Both types of consumer preferencing will result in different requirements, but when you nail it, you will scale!
As you build your business, keep asking yourself these three compelling questions:
How can we adjust to a changing world?
How can we stay relevant and grow while being true to our purpose and values? 
What must we do to become more adaptable?
Success comes to those who do what unsuccessful people refuse to do. Having a growth mindset will make you referable and help your business thrive, no matter what headlines are in store for you.
Live with purpose.

How to Deal With Employee Burnout

Leaders are not addressing all the stressors workers face in (and out of) the office.
Free Book Preview: Unstoppable
Get a glimpse of how to overcome the mental and physical fatigue that is standing between you and your full potential.

February 7, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Even before COVID-19, burnout was always a thing .
 The World Health Organization officially labeled it as an occupational phenomenon in 2019. Experts estimate the condition costs businesses somewhere between $125 and $190 billion every year. 
In an article for Harvard Business Review, Eric Garten asserted that burnout is a problem with a company, not the employee. This is absolutely true in that, while work always will involve some degree of stress, businesses have to create the right physical conditions that minimize extreme anxieties and overwork. Although some of us are more prone to cope with stress better than others, it’s not necessarily the fault of the workers if they’re having issues. 
But burnout doesn’t necessarily just happen only because of stress. It often is the consequence of many compounding stressors: Juggling new relationships or dealing with old ones that are crumbling, caring for kids, trying to keep finances in order, handling existing health worries, etc.
Thanks to the pandemic, there are a whole bunch of new stressors added to the usual list: Making sure the kids stay quiet during work Zooms or just trying to find space to decompress, political mayhem, trying to be both parent and teacher…and the hits just keep on coming.
Related: Finding the Good in Bad Times (AKA 2020)
A nation of unwell workers
Unsurprisingly, the number of people suffering from depression has tripled during the pandemic. Research led by Jiaqi Xiong further indicates that, more broadly, the virus crisis “is associated with highly significant levels of psychological distress that, in many cases, would meet the threshold for clinical relevance.”
So even in normal circumstances, approaching burnout as a product only of the work environment doesn’t present a clear picture of why someone is overwhelmed. Providing good support requires seeing the bigger picture of what’s happening in an individual’s life. It’s only when we view all of the factors someone is dealing with that it’s possible to create a truly effective health and mental wellness management plan that taps into the best resources. 
Related: How You Can Protect Your Mental Health During the Pandemic
Burnout won’t end with the vaccine(s)
Employers, workers and the general public also need to acknowledge that many of the effects of COVID-19 likely aren’t going to disappear overnight, even once people go back to the traditional office. For example, although some economists are hopeful about a quicker economic recovery, others don’t predict a return to “normal” conditions until the start of 2024. New systems and ways of operating that emerge as a direct result of the pandemic might be beneficial for this recovery, but it still will take people time to get used to all the massive shifts in thinking and doing. Of course there is no timeline for the grief around lost loved ones. Lastly, the World Health Organization asserts that the pandemic has disrupted critical mental health services in 93 percent of countries worldwide. The long-term affects that result because of the lack of good, consistent mental health care (e.g., worsening substance abuse issues) might linger for decades. 
Burnout likely is going to be an even bigger deal than it used to be well into the future. Fighting it will require full collaboration across a myriad of systems and, in some cases, a complete restructuring of those systems. Maintaining the big picture view of what people are dealing with and how it all interconnects, rather than pointing the finger at any single contributing factor, will offer the best direction on how to move forward for individual and collective best interests.
Related: 5 Ways Leaders Can Eliminate Stress and Reboot for Change

15 Tips to Improve the Way People Think of You in the Office (According to a Psychologist)

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In 1978, the expert Marilyn Loden coined the term ” glass ceiling” to describe the unequal employment situation that makes it more difficult for women to climb the job market. Forty years later, the term is still in force in an environment in which even having women in managerial or senior management positions implies greater effort.
According to the study “The glass ceiling in Mexico” by UNAM, only three percent of the 500 best companies to work for in the country are run by women and of the list of the most powerful women, only seven are executives of any company . In the United States, it is estimated that 4.8 percent of the CEOs of the top companies of the Standard & Poors rating agency are women.
How can marketing help destroy the glass ceiling? Working the personal brand. Of those times that I miss in bookstores, I went for a gem written by Lois P. Frankel , therapist and professional coach, called “Nice Girls Do not Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers” (The good girls don’t get the corner office: unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their careers ).
The book, drawn from Frankel’s experience advising female executives in the United States, seeks to detail more than 130 common mistakes that affect their professional growth, while containing many practical tips to overcome these problems. Thinking that among these there should be some that also apply to men, I bought it and I was right.
The author explains at all times that although women do not have a monopoly on these behaviors, there are more cases in them than in men. However, it is a fantastic read for all those who want to grow but have doubts as to whether they are acting properly.
Of the examples shown in the book, all accompanied by advice and practical cases, these are 15 points that caught my attention, as they negatively affect your personal brand.
1. Pretend it’s not a game
The work environment is a game, a competition, not a pink environment where we all live in peace and harmony without hurting each other. You have to seek to rise and grow. If you don’t, others will do it for you. If you trust that everyone arrives with the same cool attitude, you may be overly naive.
Recommendation: Quickly learn the rules of the organization you work for, find a mentor to guide you in the environment and learning to play chess could give you a plus.
2. Doing the work of others
“If I don’t do it, no one is going to do it” is the excuse of many people to do the things that correspond to others. The worst thing is that afterwards they take the measure and you work double. Remember that there are responsibilities for this. If someone does not do their job, it is something that should be communicated.
Recommendation: Do not offer yourself for routine, low-profile jobs that consume time and effort for little recognition, learn to delegate and identify when someone wants you to do their job to get the credit.
3. Work miracles
When we have little time and resources or on occasions where we take on a project where everything is in a mess, we know that our duty is to put some order and sometimes we invest more: we leave late, we work weekends and we put aside personal commitments for ” get the job done ”without knowing that what we really do is raise the bar higher for what is expected of us. After a while, what we considered exceptional because of the workload, such as going to the office on Sundays, will become the norm to maintain our own standards.
Recommendation: Identify the expectations that others have of your work and don’t be afraid to point out when a goal requires more effort than you or your team can handle.
Set achievable goals and request an extension if the workload requires it.
4. Not taking advantage of relationships
We should not be afraid that a family member, friend or acquaintance can help us when we need it, either by introducing ourselves to someone, informing us of job opportunities or as references. Modesty prevents us from showing off our contacts when many times it is they who open the doors or give a better impression of us.
Recommendation: Make a list or diagram of the people who can be key to your business, who can contribute and their order of importance. Remember that a key contact is only valuable if they can contribute, so go ahead and ask them for a favor when you need it.
5. Ask everyone before making a decision
This reflects our inability to make decisions or insecurity in our own judgment. It is one thing to consider the needs of co-workers, our clients or the boss and another is to completely lose the power to decide according to our objectives and experience.
Recommendation: Even if you ask everyone, you will be the one who makes the decisions in the end and assumes the consequences of them, so, regardless of the influence that others must have, take more risks gradually with small decisions and analyze the mechanisms that bind you to request approval from others even if it is not necessary.
6. Ignore the quid pro quo
Every time you do something for others, you expect to receive something else in return, even if not immediately. Doing favors for free only creates an army of ungrateful ones. Whenever you do someone a favor, don’t be afraid to ask for one in the future.
Recommendation: When you do a favor, let the other person notice the effort you put into it, emphasizing that it is not something easy to do and when it comes to asking for a favor, they will have less resistance.
7. Refuse benefits
The same modesty prevents us from accepting benefits that give us any advantage over our co-workers, even when we have earned them: a better office, a promotion, a parking space, that they give us a plant contract (yes, there have been cases ) or an area transfer. Even if it is new furniture or a cubby with a window, it is never wrong to indulge a little.
Recommendation: When the opportunity for higher benefits, a better office, company car or a salary environment presents itself, instead of thinking about not accepting it, ask yourself “why not?”, After all, it often comes with the new responsibilities of the position.
8. Minimize achievements
We say that it is nothing, that there is no problem, that it was not so bad, although it cost us one and half of the other. We can reduce a titanic effort to almost nothing with a simple “it was not much” and with that we demerit our effort and make others perceive it as something easy to do or without importance. It never hurts to cluck the egg and accept praise for a job well done. The same applies to our positions: saying “I am the director of operations for Ford” is very different from saying “I only run the assembly area in an automotive company.”
Recommendation: Identify those words or phrases that you use daily to minimize your work and practice to gradually eliminate them, changing them to neutral terms or those that do not imply qualifying the work, for example “I am satisfied with the results of the project.”
9. Wait until they give you what you want
Yes, many times we wait for the revolution to do us justice and give us what we deserve without even asking for it. This is situations in which the other is expected to intuit or assume what they want when the person in question may not have a clue that something is needed. It is always better to say what we require or need than to trust the good faith of others.
Recommendation: Making yourself known is key, from talking more about your achievements, training, projects, knowledge and interests. When it comes to requesting something, asking for it is not that difficult if others know your credentials, including promotions.
10. Decline big projects or responsibilities
“You just don’t understand, I don’t want to be a manager: I don’t want more responsibilities,” a friend told me who had killed herself for 6 or 7 years in a consulting firm when her boss told her of his intention to promote her. Every time we reject a challenging project that allows us to test our capabilities and demonstrate our performance, we give the idea that we cannot carry responsibilities or functions beyond a certain point, which can be misinterpreted as inefficiency or even mediocrity.
Recommendation: Accept those invitations to grow your career even if you don’t have time, set one aside, as it is an investment in your future. If you are offered a key position and you feel that you lack the knowledge to perform it, take it and learn what is necessary. Everything is a matter of trust.
11. Put work before personal life
There is no grave in the history of mankind whose tombstone says “He gave everything for the interests of the company” so get rid of your head that personal life, family, friends and partner can be put aside when removing the job is about. In time you will be a complete stranger to them if you continue like this. In addition to the fact that one day you will have to see that if you leave a job in which you felt indispensable, the company managed to find someone who can do what you swore that nobody else could do it, even better than you.
Recommendation: You have to balance your time at work with that which you dedicate to life outside of it. Think twice before canceling plans because they asked you for overtime in the office, evaluating the pros and cons. There will be times when it deserves it and others when it doesn’t. Do not cancel plans with your children unless your job itself is at stake, because that time with them will not return.
12. Let others consume your time
Rarely do we take into account the time we lose due to the work and grace of third parties, from the “hey, can I ask you a question?” going through the email war, coffee outings or meetings in which you have no participation or interference. It is time that they take you away to finish your work and even to go out on your time. Take care of him.
Recommendation: Differentiate the occasions in which others need to talk to you from those in which they want to talk to you, assertively saying that at this moment you don’t have time but you would like to discuss that issue later, have an activity schedule to avoid being bothered and even some simple tricks like typing while the distracting person is coming, wearing headphones or making a work call. They do not fail.
13. Letting them make you the scapegoat
In order not to argue or to turn against bosses, there are those who prefer to take the blame for problems that are not even theirs, as in the case of third-party errors or the ineptitude of their own bosses. If you allow it, not only your self-esteem will be diminished, but your confidence in your colleagues, your bosses and the company.
Recommendation: Politely, talk to your boss that you do not want to be the one to blame for the situation, especially if you did not have interference or decision-making power over it. For this you need to find a speech that is friendly and assertive.
14. Tolerate idiots
Yes, I know it is not news that in almost every job there will be one or more people who, voluntarily or involuntarily, do their job poorly and usually make others pay the consequences. It is important to take responsibility for your own work but at all times to show the mistakes that can affect others. If we let them do what they want, we will end up paying for them after a while.
Recommendation: Far from tolerating behaviors that go against the operation of the group, it is recommended to point them out to the relevant people (supervisors, quality control) so that the appropriate measures are taken and the person in question can correct their work scheme.
15. Cry
When I got to this point in the book my jaw dropped: I’ve had cases. For Dr. Frankel, That erodes the respect that other co-workers, bosses or subordinates have and gives the impression of being someone who cannot control their emotions or who cannot handle the workload or stress.
Recommendation: There will be times when it will be impossible to contain some injustice, an argument or the workload. Lois recommends taking a 15-minute break, saying “May I have a moment?” and go to a secluded place to cry, a moment that will also serve to reflect and put ideas in order to give a more assertive response.
Indeed, these points are in most cases unisex (I think the last one not so much) but they have a lot to do with building a personal brand. We do them unconsciously, sometimes out of good will, without realizing that those who do not commit them have an advantage that allows them to go further than the “good people”.
With all my heart I hope this post has served you. The book is available in its English version in bookstores and online stores, as well as in an e-book version.

Facebook and Instagram Launch #BuyBlack Shop Collections

In helping celebrate Black History Month, Facebook along with its other brands, Instagram and Messenger, are using the platforms to raise black voices and businesses.
Throughout February, Facebook is creating these experiences including #BuyBlack Shop Collections. This will allow consumers to easily find and buy from black-owned businesses directly.
This follows Facebook’s #BuyBlack Friday during the holiday shopping season. With that campaign, Facebook says 15 million people tuned into the live event show and supported the merchants. The company is looking to have the same success this time around with #BuyBlack Shop Collections during Black History Month.

#BuyBlack Shop Collections
With 80 black-owned businesses taking part in the collection, consumers can choose from a wide range of retailers. From men’s and women’s wear to jewelry, cosmetics, books, specialty drinks, handmade products and much more.
Instagram’s @shop account will also spotlight black-owned small businesses during the same time with a series of shoppable posts. Instagram will publish #Buy Black Guide to be featured in the Shop Tab on Instagram.
#ShareBlackStories is another Instagram multi-channel call-to-action to support and inspire the black community in the US. Throughout the month it will be hosting workshops and other virtual community-focused moments for Black creators publishing new creative tools. This will be in the Instagram Camera and stories visible on @instagram, @creators, @design, @shop and @instagramforbusiness.

Continued Support From Facebook
Another key point to highlight is Facebook will continue its support beyond this month with initiatives to help black-owned businesses, creators, and nonprofits. In June of 2020, the company committed an additional $200 million and since has awarded grants to over 10,000 Black-owned businesses in the US.
Facebook Elevate and Generation Black will strive to reach 1 million black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members. This three-year effort will offer the community training in digital skills and disburse 100,000 scholarships to black learners.
The help to nonprofits is responsible for donating $10 million to 36 such organizations in the U.S. These nonprofits were nominated by Facebook employees and selected with guidance from expert advisors. Some of the organizations receiving the funds include All Star Code, Management Leadership for Tomorrow and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.
Furthermore, Facebook will provide $20 million to some 400 local nonprofits serving black communities, with a preference for black-led organizations. In the past four years, Facebook has spent more than $1.1 billion with diverse-owned US businesses through its Supplier Diversity program.

Images: Facebook

6 Quick Ways To Make Money Without Spending A Dime

September 11, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
All of us want to make more money. However, we have been led to believe you have to spend money to make money. Or we’ve been told to be successful, we have to be the hardest worker in the room. The truth is, making money isn’t as time consuming or expensive as it’s made out to be. The issue is, there aren’t any sources that show the various ways you can make money quick with no risks.
These 6 strategies offer fast ways to start making money and do not require any monetary investment. These ideas are all actionable, take no more than 1 hour a day, and can be monetized within one month.
1) Dropship on eBay
Dropshipping has taken the world by storm recently and it’s no surprise why. Dropshipping is when the retailer (you) does not keep goods in stock. Instead, you transfer the customers’ orders to a manufacturer. They then fulfill the order and ship the item to the customer. By design, this method leaves you with a low-risk business model because you run an inventory-free business. 
There are costs associated with traditional dropshipping as you need to pay monthly for an eCommerce platform like Shopify. You may also end up paying for other tools like an email service provider, lead generation software, and landing page builders. But the highest cost for all traditional drop shippers is the cost to advertise. When you launch a Shopify store, you will start with no traffic. That means you will usually have to spend money on Google ads and Facebook ads to drive traffic to your store. To avoid those advertising costs, a great platform to launch your eCommerce business on is eBay.
You don’t need to spend money advertising your product as there are over 180 million eBay users worldwide. And eBay offers 50 free listings a month or up to 1000 for free with an eBay store subscription.
Now there are limitations to this business model as you can’t capture email addresses or retarget customers. Still, this business model takes no money to start, and some people make 6-7 figures a year doing this.
Related: 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
2) Create an Instagram theme page
An Instagram theme page is an Instagram account that posts content around one topic consistently. You have probably seen this in the form of funny videos of cats or motivational quotes. Most people don’t think much of theme pages, but there is serious money to be made.
Once you create an established page of around 20-30k followers, then you can start charging for sponsorships. You will see that around the 20k mark, brands will start reaching out to you for promotions. What you can also do is flip Instagram accounts. After you have built your theme page, you can reach out to bigger pages in your niche and ask them if they would be interested in buying your account.
Related: 7 Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram
3) Become an Airbnb host
If you have a spare bedroom in your house, you can start monetizing that space by becoming an Airbnb host. They make the process effortless. All you need to do is take images of your home, fill out a brief description, and upload your listing on their platform. It is entirely free to list your home on Airbnb. Just like eBay, you don’t have to pay to promote your house as Airbnb already has over 100 million users on its platform.
How much money you can make through the platform depends on your location. You can use Airbnb’s calculator to get an estimate of how much money you could make a day.
4) Sell used textbooks
If you want to find a goldmine of valuable items, go to a college campus at the end of the academic year. Most college students throw away perfectly good items that they don’t plan on bringing home. One item in particular that they will rarely keep is their textbooks. Although the textbook may have no value to them, some businesses will pay a lot of money for it. Websites like Sell Back Your Book will buy almost any textbook and pay for your shipping costs.
To find students looking to sell their textbooks, you can set up shop in a high traffic area of a University and advertise you will buy textbooks. When someone asks if you’d buy their textbook, you look up the book on the website and see how much the website would buy the book for. From there, you tell the person looking to sell their book that you’ll buy their book for a fraction of the price you can sell it for. Again, you incur no inventory risk as we have a guaranteed buyer once you acquire the book.
Related: How To Sell Yourself
5) Manage Youtube Influencers
Most Youtubers start their accounts because they love talking about their topic of interest. What they don’t know is that if they build a strong following, they can easily monetize their account. What you should do is find Youtubers in a specific niche and ask them how much they would charge for a promotion in their video. Most won’t know what to say as they do it more for fun than for-profit and will give a low number.
From there, with their permission, email companies in that niche and say you manage this Youtuber. In the email, ask if the company would be interested in having the Youtuber promote their product in a video. When they ask for pricing, give a number higher than what the Youtuber asks for. Make sure to be completely transparent with the Youtuber that you are making money from these product placements. Usually, they will be fine with this as long as you pay them what they ask for. 
6) Print on-demand t-shirts
Print-on-demand is a similar business model to dropshipping as you only process orders after they come in. Now, all colleges have various organizations, clubs, and teams that they make t-shirts for every year. These organizations don’t usually go price shopping for the best t-shirt deals, which means it is easy to undercut the competition.
First, go to a school’s directory and find every student organization on campus. From there, send them a message saying you provide high-quality, custom made t-shirts and ask them for their t-shirt design and how much they are currently paying. When the organization sends you their design and price, you can input their design to your print provider and see if you can get a better price. You want to make sure that you can undercut their current provider while still making a healthy profit for yourself.

How Teen Entrepreneurs Can Inspire And Motivate Others

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Students working on projects.
Millions of us get a much-needed energy boost by starting the workday with a cup of coffee. As far as I’m concerned, though, few things are more energizing than watching the rise of teen entrepreneurs.
One reason entrepreneurs succeed is that we tend to bring a singularity of focus to achieving our goals—and that’s a good thing. If we’re not careful, though, that same intensity can become an Achilles’ heel. We can start to miss important opportunities that do not, at first glance, seem to jibe with our vision.
Teens, on the other hand, grew up in a different world than we did. Rapid advances in technology shifted the landscape for them in ways we may be slow to grasp. They can’t help but bring new perspectives on the hyper-connected world we inhabit, along with boatloads of energy to pursue their passions.

Covid-19 Added Fuel to the Teen Entrepreneur Fire
The onset of a global pandemic significantly altered the high school experience for teens everywhere. Students were forced to get creative with how they spent their time at home, but many had already been doing just that.
Prior to the pandemic, the number of teens setting up their own businesses increased eightfold during the past decade. With many schools now struggling to remain open, teens are re-evaluating their life choices. Many have decided to focus their efforts on starting businesses.

A simple scroll through the #teenentrepreneur hashtag on Instagram will introduce you to hundreds of teens selling everything from jewelry to art to snowplowing services. What unites them all is passion, an understanding of digital marketing and a comfort with risk taking that may not have existed in the previous generation.
Teen Business Leaders Offer a Remedy for Pandemic Fatigue
Honestly, this last year has been a tough one for me personally. My companies are doing fine, and of course I’m grateful for that. Still, many of my good friends have completely gone out of business after successfully pursuing their dreams for years. It was hard to watch others suffer tremendous losses, so staying motivated has been a challenge.
Diving into the world of teen entrepreneurship proved to be just the inspiration I needed. The next generation of entrepreneurs not only thinks differently than I do, but they appear to be fearless—maybe even a bit reckless (in a good way). 
The teen entrepreneurs who have caught my attention are pursuing their ideas with a level of excitement that many of us would do well to rekindle. I’m inspired by their work and look forward to tracking their rise. Here are five teen entrepreneurs who have made it on to my radar: 
1. Charlotte Kerpen, Founder and Host, Business Better
From founding an organic line of lemonade beverages at age 8 to helping build a local chapter franchise model for national organization Doorstep Donations, Charlotte’s focus has always been on bettering the world.
Campaigning to become the first female chair of the High School Democrats of America, Charlotte gained an in-depth understanding of digital marketing that taught her how an online business ought to be run. That experience opened up the opportunity to serve as a teen coach and advisor for dozens of online companies. All of these companies generate profits, 100% of which are given back to the communities they serve.
Charlotte also launched a podcast, Business Better, where she interviews entrepreneurs devoted to social good. Charlotte can inspire others to keep giving back when it might have been tempting to tighten things up in response to the harsher business realities of the pandemic.
2. Moziah Bridges, Founder and CEO, Mo’s Bows
Mo’s Bows is a Memphis-based company that sells handcrafted bow ties. It was originally founded by Moziah (“Mo”) and launched via Etsy. Mo and his mother appeared on Shark Tank in 2015, after which Daymond John decided to hop on board as an investor. I remember watching this episode and just being wowed by Mo. I wanted to hire him even though I knew I wouldn’t have a shot with the natural talent this kid had. 
At age 9, Mo started his business out of frustration when he could not find a bow tie to match his personal sense of style. Now 19, Mo continues to grow Mo’s Bows while expanding into a matching line of facial coverings. He’s also published a book, Mo’s Bows: A Young Person’s Guide to Start-Up Success. Mo’s story serves as a great reminder for entrepreneurs: whenever we encounter frustration, we need to pay attention. There may be a business opportunity hiding in plain sight.
3. Aliyah Solorio, Founder, Aliyah Cosmetics
As a senior in high school, Aliyah Solorio used Shopify to launch her cruelty-free cosmetics line, Aliyah Cosmetics. Aliyah’s products, many of which are self-made, are shipped all over the world.
Selling everything from lashes to lip gloss, Aliyah taps into current trends and uses a variety of Instagram promotional tools to promote her business, including carousel photos, reels, and effective use of hashtags. It was refreshing to see how Aliyah combined her convictions regarding cruelty to animals with a marketing savvy that landed so solidly on its target audience.
4. Langston Whitlock, Co-Founder and CIO, SAFETRIP
Langston Whitlock co-founded SAFETRIP, an Atlanta-based ride-sharing app that focuses on non-emergency medical transport. Patients, caretakers and healthcare providers can use the app to schedule rides or travel on demand.
SAFETRIP founder Ja’Nese Jean originally tapped Langston after serving with his mother in a volunteer group. There Jean heard how Langston coded his very first messaging app in Javascript at age 12. He soon became her co-founder and right-hand man.
The SAFETRIP team has raised over $2M in funding, and the company has over 800 drivers in approximately 80 cities. What impressed me about Langston is how he looked at a problem that many of us would consider “solved” — just get a ride from a friend, call a taxi, get an Uber, etc. — and, with the help of Jean, brought a useful service to an underserved market segment.
5. Gift Igbin, Founder and CEO, G.I Social Society
A 17-year-old actress and model based in Los Angeles, Gift is also the creator of GI Social Society, an online community for teens. Marketed primarily through Instagram, GISS focuses on helping teenagers gain confidence and counsel when building their own small businesses. GISS offers an ambassador program and also has a podcast called SocieTea.
Many teens would be content to focus on their own success, but not Gift. She reminds me that my success can be immeasurably enhanced when I take the time to lift others up along the way.
From Pandemic Boost to Permanent Habit
In difficult times like these, it’s easy to get down about the economy and the future of our business prospects. I’ve found that we just need to look to our youth to see that the future is, in fact, brighter than ever.
Covid-19 more or less forced me to go looking for ways to stay inspired, but keeping an eye on teen entrepreneurs is one habit I plan to hang on to. I encourage other entrepreneurs to tap into the amazing energy of our young business founders and support them whenever possible.

4 Savvy Sales Strategies To Try For Success In 2021

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As the pandemic progresses, leaders have learned resilience. They’ve overcome challenges that no one saw coming in strategic, thoughtful ways. Sales leaders, specifically, have been forced to rethink how they operate. No longer able to direct teams to make in-person connections, they had to pivot when COVID-19 started spreading across the country—and they had to pivot in a hurry.
These pivots ultimately taught sales leaders countless lessons, and those lessons will carry them forward into 2021. These leaders now face a new challenge: In the months ahead, they’ll have to move past the immediate response necessary for pivots instead of focusing more on recovery and the future.
For sales leaders determining how to do this in the coming year, these four suggestions can guide your decisions and inspire a forward-thinking approach:
1. Outsource sales leaders.
Something executives don’t always consider that can be transformative for a business—especially in times of crisis—is to outsource sales leadership. As everyone begins to find their new normal, companies in every industry can benefit from bringing in outside expertise to influence and bolster their operations. This solution especially serves businesses that can’t afford to hire full-time leadership.

Mark Thacker, president of Sales Xceleration, says businesses “benefit from someone who has led large sales teams, been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, dealt with complex sales cycles, and led teams to meet large corporate goals with tremendous pressure on them to do so. They have been ‘through the fire’ before, so managing a less complex business is easy by comparison.” In the end, outsourced sales leaders make it possible for your company to weather the storm caused by the pandemic and come back stronger than before.
2. Motivate differently.
Another requirement of successfully recovering from the events of last year involves thinking about how to show your team members you appreciate their work and are ready to recognize and reward it in a way that meets the moment. Because this moment is still relatively new, it’s a good time to rethink and restructure your incentive plans. This actively shifts the focus from being solely on responding to the crisis in real time and toward recovering from it in the days ahead.

Depending on your goals and needs, this will look different for every organization. For some, it might make sense to choose a different type of incentive plan altogether. This could involve moving away from commission based on the first dollar from sales toward a structure based on meeting and exceeding sales goals instead. You could also work to align your incentive metrics; rather than paying salespeople for contributing to total sales of all products, consider rewarding incentives for sales of specific products in specific ways.
3. Automate and increase conversion.
In the average company, sales reps spend roughly 16% of their time in front of customers; meanwhile, the best-performing sales organizations aim for closer to 40% to 50%. What makes this difference possible? Automation. These organizations have intentionally redesigned their processes and automated tasks that take time away from representatives—and give them that time back to put to better use.
There are many ways to implement this automation. Lead generation analytics can identify leads with the best potential for conversion, for example, and automated chatbots can then reach out to initiate contact. By moving these responsibilities to automation technology, sales reps can spend more time nurturing relationships with the leads most likely to result in a sale. Technology is a huge reason businesses were able to pivot like they did last year, and now it’s time to think about how it can propel those people into the future.
4. Go digital-first.
Understanding the role technology can play in recovery and growth this year, sales leadership needs to consider taking a more holistic digital-first approach. As more people adopt a digital mindset and use technology for almost everything, sales teams have to engage with customers in a relevant digital way.
Making this shift lets sales leaders and sales teams exemplify the customer-first mindset that is so crucial to success. Start by diversifying your slate of digital sales tools and channels. Ensure these channels and tools are able to mirror your traditional sales process and serve both your customers and your sellers.
When making a digital transformation, prioritize your salespeople as well as their experiences. Find a balance between implementing this new technology and enabling your reps to do their jobs well. Training will be key—as is ensuring everyone fully embraces the digital transformation from the start.
The resilience sales leaders have shown in the last year is admirable, and they deserve some praise for the ways they’ve pivoted to ensure their teams can continue their important work. Now, they have a real opportunity to use that resilience to adapt and innovate to continue to lead their teams into the future.