The 4 Secrets of Productivity, According to 7 BillionairesForget the small hacks -- these productivity secrets of Bezos and Zuckerberg have material impact. By Brian de Haaff Co-founder and CEO, Aha!@bdehaaff
Frigid offices. Summertime weather. Fantasy football leagues. What do these three things have in common? Studies say they all cause your productivity at work to plummet.
You cannot always control your environment, but you can control what you get done. And more than that, you can learn from others to be even more productive. Sure, there are simple ways to achieve more -- like finding the ideal room temperature or cutting out Monday Night Football.
But these are small hacks that will only do so much. There are more meaningful ways to be your best. And you can learn these skills by following the lead of some of the world's most successful people.
Here are four secrets for getting important work done, according to these billionaires and successful entrepreneurs:
1. Make room for big goals
Staying productive is about setting big goals and then taking serious steps to accomplish them. This is why Mark Zuckerberg makes room each year for a new challenge, saying he wants to "learn new things and grow outside my work at Facebook." To date, he has done everything from learning Mandarin to meeting a new person each day outside of work -- big goals that fit into his overall vision for work and life.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos takes a backward approach to this goal-oriented thinking -- literally. He makes room for big goals by starting with the customer's needs and working backwardto build skills to get that work done faster. Says Bezos, "We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer."
2. Give each day a job or theme
The way you structure your day can either hurt or help your productivity. When CEO Jack Dorsey was splitting his time between Square and Twitter, he stayed productive by giving each day a theme -- Mondays for management, Tuesdays for product, etc. As he explains, "There is interruption all the time, but I can quickly deal with an interruption and then know that it's Tuesday, I have product meetings, and I need to focus on product stuff."
Then there are the "no-meeting Wednesdays" adopted by Dustin Moskovitz. The Facebook co-founder and Asana CEO believes that the mandate gives him and his team a solid amount of time each week for "focused, heads-down work."
3. Set limits for tasks, emails, and meetings
Wasted time and fewer results -- no time for that. Successful folks know how to make the most out of every minute and meeting. For example, businessman and former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn sets time limits on single-purpose, non-operational meetings. "The maximum is one hour and 30 minutes. Fifty percent of the time is for the presentation, 50 percent is for discussion."
Sheryl Sandberg sets another kind of limit -- the length of her emails. The Facebook COO and author says she responds to every single work email, but she saves time by keeping the responses short. "I would rather give a short, quick, incomplete answer than wait and do it better," she says.
4. Establish "deep work" zones
Focus, focus, focus. This is the final and perhaps most important productivity secret. Take Bill Gates, for example. In his 20s, he adopted a productivity technique called "deep work." And so he would set aside stretches of time each week to do his most challenging work without any distractions -- no stopping, not even for sleep. Author Cal Newport, who wrote a book titled Deep Work, has said, "Deep work is important ... not because distraction is evil, but because it enabled Bill Gates to start a billion-dollar industry in less than a semester."
You might try all four approaches. Or chip away, one tip at a time. The point is, these productive billionaires focus on doing a few things really well each day -- not a hundred things haphazardly.
And that might be the ultimate productivity secret: focus. When you bring more and more of it into your life, you might be amazed at what you can accomplish in a single day.
What are your productivity secrets?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: SEP 13, 201
3 Bedtime Rituals of the Most Successful People. Do these 3 nighttime things to prepare for a successful day ahead.
Evening is one of the best times to create habits that yield sustainable success. More specifically, the things you do before bed will have a direct impact on the next day. So if you want to win the day, you need to win the night before.
PUBLISHED ON: AUG 13, 2017
Additional editing by Kerry A. Dolan
Reporting by: Grace Chung, Zack Greenburg, Clare O’Connor, Natalie Robehmed, Katia Savchuk, Chloe Sorvino, Katie Taylor, Michela Tindera, Jennifer Wang, Kate Vinton; Additional reporting by: Joann Muller, Chase Peterson-Withorn
Forbes’ third annual tally of America’s 60 most successful self-made women has a new number one, two new billionaires, a transgender woman who climbed back into the ranks after a one year absence and five newcomers. It’s a diverse group of entrepreneurs, executives and entertainers who made their fortunes in everything from makeup and music to fashion, food and finance and range in age from 27 to 90. Many of these women started out trying to come up with better products to use themselves – including Spanx, Vera Bradley and IT Cosmetics, to name a few -- and ended up building successful companies. All of them, who together are worth a record $61.5 billion, share a passion for their products and how they can help their customers.
Leading the way at no. 1 is the cofounder of Little Caesars Pizza, Marian Ilitch. Known as Mrs. I, Ilitch’s fortune grew by $3 billion since last year and she moves up five spots. That’s largely because her husband Mike, with whom she started and ran the business for decades, passed away in February. Forbes now credits her with his portion of Little Caesars, plus her own holdings in the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and MotorCity Casino Hotel. Not included in her fortune: the value of Mike’s Detroit Tigers, which is now in a family trust.
Among the list’s record 18 billionaires are two newly appointed ones including No. 18 Carolyn Rafaelian, the founder of popular bangle brand Alex and Ani, now America’s richest jeweler, and No. 16 Eren Ozmen, cofounder of aerospace and defense contractor Sierra Nevada, whose sales rose 15% in 2016; its Dream Chaser spacecraft now has a partnership with the United Nations and a contract with NASA.
They join better known billionaires in the ranks such as Oprah Winfrey (No. 3) and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg (No. 12), who are actively influencing politics and culture. While Oprah returns to her reporting roots this fall as a special contributor to 60 Minutes. Sandberg has been speaking out against gender pay gaps and criticize President Trump’s travel ban and anti-abortion measures. “Every woman deserves to be paid what she’s worth,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post in honor of April’s Equal Pay Day, “When women are paid less than men, it doesn’t just hurt women. It hurts our families, our businesses and our communities.”
The richest newcomer is Anne Dinning, whose net worth is an estimated $600 million. Trained as a computer scientist, she has helped run one of the most successful quantitative hedge fund firms on Wall Street, D. E. Shaw, for nearly two decades. She is one of five financiers in the ranks, including another newcomer, Victoria Zoellner, chairman of $1.7 billion (assets) hedge fund Alpine Associates Management.
Another new face is Kendra Scott, founder of her eponymous jewelry brand known for customizable earrings, bracelets and necklaces. She debuts following a private equity investment valuing the company at over $1 billion; she is worth $500 million. Makeup maven Jamie Kern Lima also makes the cut after selling her IT Cosmetics to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion in cash in August; she pocketed an estimated $410 million.
Newcomer Jessica Iclisoy literally grabs the last spot in the ranks, coming in tied with real estate maven Dottie Herman at No. 59 with a net worth of $260 million, the minimum needed to make the 2017 list. (That is $10 million more than the $250 million minimum in 2016). Iclisoy launched California Baby in 1995. Today it sells $80 million worth of 90 nontoxic, organic baby care products at stores like Whole Foods and Target. Iclisoy, who owns 100% of the company, never brought in outside investors, has her own manufacturing facility and grows some ingredients on her own farm.
Founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and biotech firm United Therapeutics, Martine Rothblatt rejoins the ranks after a one year absence, as stock rose and Forbes got new information on some stock sales. Rothblatt, who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1994 but has remained married to the same woman, Bina, for more than three decades, started United after her daughter Jenesis developed pulmonary arterial hypertension; Rothblatt is the only transgender in the ranks.
The youngest person on the list is once again Taylor Swift, now 27, worth $280 million. The oldest is Alice Schwartz, 90. California is home to 23 self-made women, more than any other state by a wide margin. New York comes in second with nine, but New York City, where all of them live, has bragging rights as the top city.
Six women dropped out of the 2017 ranks including Sophia Amoruso, whose online fashion retailer NastyGal filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and Jessica Alba, whose Honest Co. was valued by 2016 potential suitor Unilever at a discount to its last venture capital fundraising round. The four others who fell off this year’s list are model-turned-merchandiser Kathy Ireland, Vera Bradley’s cofounder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, biotech Opko Health’s Jane Hsiao and financier Lynn Tilton.
To compile net worths, we valued individuals’ assets, including the value of stakes in public companies, using April 28, 2017 stock prices. We valued private companies by speaking with an array of outside experts and conservatively comparing the companies with publicly-traded competitors. To be eligible for this list, women had to have substantially made their own fortunes and be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. In cases where they started businesses with and still share with their husbands, we’ve assigned them half of that combined wealth. We attempted to vet these numbers with all list entrants. Some cooperated; others didn’t.
Acknowledgments: Euromonitor International; FactSet; LW Hospitality Advisors; Pitchbook; Privco; Simeon A. Siegel, Nomura Instinet; Timothy Landhuis, Staffing Industry Analysts; Lars Topholm, Carnegie Investment Bank.
Every day is #InternationalWomensDay thanks to the founders of these incredible women-centric companies
By Nina Ojeda
Founder and CEO, The Avenue West@ninaojeda
After the launch of my latest company, (PRÊTE, a membership to blowouts) I've become more acutely aware of companies who have changed products and services specifically for women. I typically hate the term "female founder" or "female CEO," but today, when there is so much change happening for womens rights and equality, I want to call attention to some incredible founders who have changed their industries for the better.
They are all women and they are all fearless; however, not all are startups. I want to shine a light on these women as they will teach our future generations (and current aspiring startup founders) to be that much stronger, innovate more freely and think outside of the box because #thefutureisfemale!
Health & Wellness1. LOLA
The feminine hygiene space has always been a bit taboo, especially in mainstream media, but LOLA, the tampon subscription service changed that. The beautifully designed feminine care startup got the attention of major VC's raising over $11M in funding last year. HBO's Girls stars, Lena Dunham & Allison Williams are also investors.
2. Sakara Life
Using the power of social media, Sakara Life skyrocketed to success with their organic meal delivery and healthy lifestyle coaching service. Founders Whitney Tingle & Danielle DuBoise profiles on Instagram created the baseline for their very loyal female following and by the looks of it, it's only getting stronger.
Similar to LOLA, Flex provides an alternative to tampons which can be quite unhealthy. The "Sex Tech" company graduated from Y Combinator and attracted investments from heavy hitters like Ellen Pao.
According to founder and CEO Moj Mahdara, "Beautycon Media is THE global community of content creators, celebrities, fans, and brands that come together to celebrate all things fashion, beauty, style and the passion points of the Gen Z and Millennial lifestyle." The company recently launched a subscription box and from the looks of it, their growth will not be slowing down any time soon.
The Millennial beauty company by Emily Weiss came second to her incredibly successful media company, Into The Gloss where beauty editors would review beauty trends and report on products they love. Glossier uses their deep connection with customer insights to design their products which is what has made them such an unstoppable force in cosmetics.
For the blowout fanatic (ahem, like yours truly) SHHHOWERCAP is your best friend. The SHHHOWERCAP is a uniquely designed waterproof cap that looks like something you'd wear outside - and not just in the shower. The line went viral in 2016 which led to the company selling out product multiple times. I'm sure the marketing genius came from their founder who was an advertising executive in another life.
The line of menstruation underwear made big waves this year garnering the attention of celebrities and major news outlets alike. The conversation about womens health is only growing, and these founders gave talking about "period panties" the spark it needed to be discussed openly.
A personal inspiration to many women, founder Sara Blakely launched this line for womens shapewear catapulting her to becoming one of the youngest self-made billionaires. Blakely not only runs Spanx, she also gives back to aspiring female entrepreneurs with grants and investments.
3. Yasmin Joseph
Like Spanx, Yasmin Joseph is a collection of lingerie specifically for busy and active women. Ask any woman if she likes wearing a bra, and I'll bet at least 90% say no. Founder Yasmin Wong - coming from a family of lingerie manufacturers - launched this line of comfortable (yes, REALLY comfortable) bras that women don't feel like burning at the end of every day. While it may not sound that innovative to some, it's because they haven't tried it.
Services & SaaS1. Kango*
Because Children & Uber aren't exactly a match made in heaven (especially now), and kids of working parents need to get to after-school activities, this SF founder launched Kango, a care and ride service for kids. Their CEO, Sara Schaer is a mother herself, so safety is a huge focus. Kango has the most heavily vetted caregivers and drivers in their space, and are the only ride service for kids able to drive kids under the age of 6. Expect to see Kango make major strides in the coming year.
This SaaS company helps doctors (Ob/Gyn specifically) determine whether a pregnancy is possible, and if so, when the right time would be for their patient. Celmatix recently announced their ability to provide genetic testing to continue building on their proactive approach to fertility management.
*Kango is a company represented by The Avenue West where I currently serve as strategic advisor; however, their inclusion is based purely on merit.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: MAR 8, 2017
Today more women are starting home based businesses than men, and studies are showing that female-led businesses are more successful than male-led organizations. It’s not certain why this is true, but there are some theories. One of these is that women need to continue to embrace their feminine side as they lead businesses to success. Here are some tips on how to succeed as a female entrepreneur.
Do Not Ask Permission. One thing women need to stop doing is asking permission to succeed, either from their husband or other men. You can succeed on your own without their permission. Remember that throughout history women have been leaders, and successful too. It’s only due to outside pressures that women have a history of giving up their power. Stop asking for permission and take what is your right.
Throw Out the Rule Book. Honestly, there never really was a rule book. It’s just that you’ve probably used someone else’s rule book to live your life by. Of course, you want to be kind, generous, and helpful to others, but none of those rules prevent you from running a hugely successful female-run organization.
Think Outside the Box. Women can be successful in all types of businesses, including technical or so-called traditional business models such as crafts and makeup. There isn’t any business that either a man or woman can’t start and lead to success.
Know That Women Are Technical. The first coders were women; that’s a fact. Women are also natural mathematicians. It’s only outside influences that have taken that ability away from women by eroding their belief in themselves. You can take all that back by learning about history and realizing that women are just as capable as men.
Take Your Power Back. If you’ve lost your power due to the way you’ve lived your life up until this day, realize that you can take your power back right now. Accept that you’re just as capable as the next person to be successful, lead and manage a business as a female. There is nothing innate about women that makes them less capable from men.
Over Deliver Every Single Time. It is true that there are perceptions you’ll have to overcome in business as a woman, which makes it even more imperative that you seek to over deliver to your customers every single time. As you show what you can do, people will start trusting you and believing in you - no matter in which field you ultimately choose to start your business.
Success Breeds Success. Each time you experience success it leads to your next success. Embrace your success, thank those who have helped you achieve it, and also thank yourself. Realize that you are in charge of your future more than anyone else, and that your choices and ideas are what are creating the success.
The Rules of the Past Are Gone. While you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you do need to let go of any rules and limiting beliefs that will hold you back in your entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills. Embrace your abilities, and keep practicing taking charge and you will succeed.
The fact is, women have never really been worse than men at building businesses. Unnatural forces have held women back and pushed them down, and women are learning that they are powerful and are able to make key decisions that are making waves in the business world.
This is your time! What are you going to implement today to make sure that you're moving forward in your business. Let me know how I can help and support you. Now go and create!
Networking Events...Do I Really Need To Go?!
As a home based business owner, networking events are wonderful ways to learn more about your industry, get to know movers and shakers, and even become a mover and a shaker yourself . There are many reasons to attend networking events that you should consider. But, if any one event doesn’t fulfill at least a couple of the following factors, then there is no need to go. Attend as many events as you can afford and so that you can research to see if at least a couple reason for you to attend.
As a home based business owner, attending networking events is a really great way to build your business, learn more about your business, and make the right connections. If the events you’re choosing from fulfill some of the reasons to attend and it’s within your budget to attend, yI highly recommend you go.
Believe it or not, growing a business takes more thought than just making more sales. You could end up in a bad situation where you’re making more sales than your business can support. It can cause a serious problem with trust from the consumer, and can actually totally ruin your entire business. Better to be ready for future growth.
* Create Standard Operating Procedures. Every single business from a fast food restaurant to a service provider can improve their business by creating standard operating procedures. When you have procedures in place that are repeatable, you’ll experience smoother growing pains and even encourage growth.
* Save Money for Higher Expenses. When your business grows, expenses go up. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, materials, costs for contractors and so forth, you’ll spend a little more on expenses. But, if you’re ready for the higher costs (which can sometimes kick in prior to experiencing the revenue), it’ll go smoother.
* Set Up the Right Software. There are numerous types of cloud-based software that you’re going to need in your home based business. Whether it’s shopping cart software or a website, you need to ensure that what you’ve chosen is scalable. You don’t want to pay for more than you use, and you want to make sure it scales easily.
* Use Automation Carefully. Today you can automate so much, from social media to even accounting. But, it’s important to choose which things should be automated and which should not. Generally anything to do with engagement should not be automated, and anything that keeps you from having to do data entry should be.
* Put an Accounting System in Place. If you’re currently doing your accounting by hand and you want to grow, it’s going to be best to create an accounting system that is automated and done by a professional. You can do this with many programs, from Go Daddy Bookkeeping to QuickBooks to Quicken.
* Identify Holes in Skills. Sometimes when you want to expand there is a problem when it comes to skills. For example, if you have a service-based business such as a website building business, you’re going to have to hire people like yourself in order to scale up.
* Improve Social Media Accounts. As you seek growth, focus more on your social media accounts. Upgrade them, ensure there is a branding match across networks, and then hire someone to keep your accounts up to date and create a social media marketing strategy.
* Make Contact with Appropriate Contractors. You’re going to have to hire contractors or employees as you ramp up your business and plan for future growth. It depends on the type of business you have, but if you make contact now and get to know people now, you’ll be ready.
If you’re not ready for growth, you can actually end up losing your business. The reason is that you could end up making promises you can’t keep, or having to turn away people due to lack of supply. This can be really hard to take. But, if you prepare in advance you’ll be ready for future business growth.
About the Author: Doreen Dilger – Certified Manifest Method Coach. Tagline: Master Motivator, Excuse Eliminator & Goal-get-her.