We’ve got some articles, some books, some podcasts and some videos that can help you with your vision, motivation, productivity and all the other good stuff you need to succeed in modern indie business.
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“Current Events in Small Business, Q1 2017”
1. I completed Season One of Courage + Clarity! Lots of people listening know we decided to start another podcast under the Fizzle umbrella called Courage & Clarity, which delivers one part inspiration and one part instruction to go after what you love in business and in life. I set out to create 12 episodes of this show with 6 guests, and the conversations turned out to be much deeper, more meaningful and more helpful than I could have hoped. We’ve made the decision to continue with Season 2, which is already very deep in production as we speak. It feels amazing to connect with so many people who are looking for courage and clarity in their own lives, and I’ve had a blast losing myself in these conversations with amazing women.
2. Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) • Instagram photos and videos — So Mari Andrew is this amazing illustrator who I found through Brene Brown. Once Brene mentioned her I immediately started following because so much of what Mari publishes literally stops me from scrolling and sometimes I even say, “Oh, wow” aloud. Her illustrations capture concepts like grief and vulnerability almost painfully well, and a few of these have prompted journal entries for me and helped me reframe how I look at things. I’m a conceptual learner, meaning analogies and ideas really help me process, so the way Mari presents her topics visually is super compelling.
3. Netflix: The Minimalists. Okay, so I’ve known about minimalism for a while and have been vaguely interested in it, but hey I’ve got a kid and kids have a lot of stuff! I read the life-changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo a while back and started folding my clothes differently, maybe got rid of a few garbage bags of clothes. I think there’s been a quiet voice in me that’s urged me to explore a more drastic version of this concept. But once you get past all the novelty of all this minimalism buzz, I’m finding a lot of substance: creating simplicity in my home has shown me that I’m actually very adversely affected by clutter and extraneous items. On top of that, thee’s a whole ecological, sustainability, responsibility to the planet side of things that has come to light for me. Like, it’s so easy to just grab whatever off of Amazon. Lately, I’ve found myself trying to source things I need second-hand, giving some items a second life instead of adding to the pile of crap that’s going to sit in landfills. John and I live in a condo in the city and people are constantly asking us when we’re going to move to upgrade and get more space, but the truth is we’re getting really into living in a smaller space and it feels really cool!
1. To Motivate Employees, Show Them How They’re Helping Customers – In one field study, Adam Grant of the Wharton School found that fundraisers who were attempting to secure scholarship donations felt more motivated when they had contact with scholarship recipients. In another study, Grant found that lifeguards were more vigilant after reading stories about people whose lives have been saved by lifeguards. In fact, the words of beneficiaries of one’s assistance can be more motivating than those of inspirational leaders, Grant showed in another series of studies with his colleague Dave Hofmann of the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill. Similarly, when cooks see those who will be eating their food, they feel more motivated and work harder, Harvard Business School’s Ryan Buell and colleagues found.
Across these studies, the key factor that improved worker motivation was a direct connection to those who benefit from one’s work, including customers and clients.
2. Marketers Are Blogging 800% More but Getting Nearly 100% Fewer Shares – TrackMaven’s report shows that between September 2011 and August 2012, brands posted fewer than 10 times on average and saw approximately 3,000 social shares per post. In the most recent period measured, from September 2015 to August 2016, brands posted in excess of 60 times per month with fewer than 500 social shares per post. “Marketers are struggling to be heard across competition. There’s so much content out there, not just from other brands, but you’re competing against Buzzfeed, Vox, The New York Times and other major media companies,” she says. “There’s a finite amount of user attention and way too much content to get processed.”
3. Sonos’s Weird-Looking New Speaker Solves A Living Room Design Problem – Like many consumer products, Sonos’s newest smart speaker began with plenty of consumer research. But in studying the way that people live and interact with entertainment technology at home, the company discovered a fact that seemed to undermine its own approach: Most people—a full 70%, by Sonos’s count—do not mount their television sets on the wall, preferring to sit them on top of a piece of furniture instead. It’s a statistic that contradicts the popularity of home theater sound bars like Sonos’s own Playbar, which tend to be designed with the wall-mounted setup in mind. At the same time, it suggested an opportunity.
After countless iterations, testing and retunings, the Sonos Playbase was born. The 58-millimeter-high device doesn’t look much like a speaker, but it packs all the sonic fidelity of other Sonos products like the Playbar and Play:5. The new Wi-Fi-enabled speaker, which starts shipping on April 4th, takes on a somewhat odd, oblong, flat shape designed to sit comfortably and inconspicuously beneath most standard television sets.
1. Abraham Hicks Interviewed by Oprah Winfrey About Law of attraction — There’s a lot that’s weird and scandalous in what I can’t help but call new-age spirituality, but I, personally, am experiencing a lot of “sustainable awesome” from what I’m learning from a teacher called Abraham. This video I linked to at the beginning of this paragraph is a good place to get started. Then I’d get the Audible version of this book. The gist is this: I can pay more attention to how I want to feel. You want to be an entrepreneur? How do you want that to feel? I get into this in depth in this training on journaling for vision and motivation if you want to hear more from me on this.
2. Exponential growth devours and corrupts — David Heinemeier Hansson created the programing language Ruby on Rails and co-founded one of my favorite companies (37signals), and in this scathing article he makes a good argument for how "growth" as a motivator corrupts. He pulls the curtain and reframes some central business terms like "engagement" and "fiduciary responsibility." My advice: read this every year.
3. Beyond Success – Ram Dass Full Lecture 1987 – YouTube — Ram Dass on success? Yes please! I've been listening to a lot of Ram Dass the past year and, on a personal note, spending time with this guy's recordings while I go on walks or drive home from my son's school has completely changed my life. This talk in particular is relevant to us business folks because, well, success can bamboozle us and take us off course. I love the way this guy thinks. You just might also.
The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business
Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.
One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.
These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide. Get the 10 Most Common Mistakes in Starting an Online Business here »