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Entrepreneurship

What Chess Has Taught Me About Business And Life

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I discovered the game of chess back when I was in middle school. As I played my very first match, I knew I would fall in love with this game. It just resonated with me deeply on a personal level. I always loved problem solving and critical thinking – skills that were essential for chess. I always preferred games that involved intellect, strategy and heavy utilization of the mind, over physical sports like football. The latter just didn’t interest me.

My strength has always been the mind. Back in high school, I went through a phase where chess became an obsession. I remember playing chess for 15 hours a day, every day, for months on end. It was not just about improving. It was way more than that. It was an addiction. I was in love with the immense mental stimulation that resulted from each match. I was addicted to competing with players who had a way higher rating than me, just so I could test my intellectual limits. I was obsessed with pushing the boundaries, and seeing what was possible for me. Chess had become my drug.

Years down the line, I am no longer an active chess player. However, as I look back at my chess games, I realize the invaluable lessons that chess taught me about business and life. Thousands of games later, I can now visualize chess as an imitation of life itself. Here are the key principles I have learned, which are as important off the board, as they were on the chess board.

Have a plan – hold long term goals.

In chess, if you focus solely on short term tactics, and do not have a long-term plan to defeat your opponent, you risk losing. It’s important to have a vision in mind, a long-term plan, which you want to realize, and you must make short-term moves which will assist you in reaching that long-term goal. This principle applies to life and business as well. In order to attain the highest amount of success, you must always have a clear long-term plan in your mind, and you must act daily in order to bring yourself closer to the materialization of your long-term vision.

Sacrifice – sometimes you need to sacrifice in order to get ahead.

In my games, I remember sacrificing crucial pieces, in order to checkmate my opponents. I became so skilled at sacrifices, that I could easily sacrifice valuable pieces like the Bishop or Rook, in order to get a better position, and checkmate my opponent in the long run. Many years later, I realize this same principle applies to life as well. In fact, this principle is absolutely crucial if you want to achieve a big dream in your life. In order to achieve something big, you have to sacrifice along the way. Sacrifice can be in terms of taking risks, or giving up luxuries and pleasure so you can work harder for your goals. The people who achieve the most in life are the ones who are able to sacrifice in the short-term to win big in the long-term.

Value your key pieces – know the worth of your best employees.

In chess, some pieces have a higher value than others. The value of a queen is way more than a pawn. What a queen can do to help you win the game is something a pawn can simply never do. Similarly, a pawn can never have the same worth as that of a Rook. In order to win at chess, it’s essential to realize the value of your pieces, and leverage them in the most effective way possible, while keeping the long-term plan in mind. If you don’t value your queen, and expect some pawn to help you win the game, you will lose. If you don’t protect your queen or rook, you risk losing them and getting checkmated. I find this principle replicable in the world of business as well. Initially, when I started playing the game of business, I struggled with hiring and finding the right team. I preferred hiring people with less value, and this led to significant losses for me. After many failures, I now understand the importance of realizing who your best players are, and utilizing their skills in the most effective way possible to help you win at business. It’s always worth it to spend more money to hire people who are more skilled. And it’s essential to value your most important employees, because if they are happy, they will do their best to help you win.

Timing is everything – don’t let opportunities slip by.

Missed opportunities rarely return. Simply acting is not enough. Timing your action is the most important thing. In chess, if you miss a chance to checkmate your opponent, then you might not get another chance to defeat them. Similarly, in business, timing is everything. Would Facebook have been so big if Mark Zuckerberg had launched it in 2019 instead of 2004? You cannot launch a Facebook-like website in 2019, and expect it to become the #1 social networking website in the world. You are too late to the game. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t let the opportunity slip by, and he acted at the right time. Therefore, acting at the right time is crucial to business success. The same decision made too late, might as well be a wrong decision. Timely action also means acting fast, instead of sitting around and waiting for the right moment.

Mistakes are inevitable – don’t let failure stop you, you can still win the game.

During a game of chess, we often make mistakes. If you are able to spot your mistake in time, and act quickly to fix it, you can still hope to win the game. However, if you start to believe that you can no longer win the game, majority of the times, you will lose, even if a possibility of winning had existed. In life as well, we often encounter failures and temporary defeats. It’s important to quickly realize your mistakes, understand what you did wrong, and continue believing and working towards your dream. If you learn from your mistakes, and continue believing, eventually you will win the game.

Have fun – what’s the use of playing, if you’re not going to have fun with it.

I didn’t play chess because I had to, or someone was forcing me to play it. I played because it was fun. It was thrilling. I loved the thought process that went into every move I made. I loved the look on my opponents face as I used well-thought-out strategies to trap them into an inevitable checkmate. I loved the game itself as much as I loved the final victory. The same principle should apply to whatever you do in life. Having fun, being curious, and always trying to learn and improve should be the cornerstone of every endeavour. Too many people are stuck doing jobs they hate. Too many people are spending their life doing things they don’t like. That’s a really sad way to live life. Life is too short to do things that you don’t enjoy. The end goal should always be to have happy, and have fun. If you’re doing something that is not bringing you happiness, or if it’s something that you don’t enjoy, then don’t do it.

After years of playing chess, I realized that we can learn to treat life itself as a giant chess board. We’re the ones in control of this game. We move the pieces. We can attack when we want. We can sacrifice what we want. We can strategise, and set long-term goals. In the end, there is a dream to be realized, hurdles to be overcome, and sacrifices that need to be made along the way.

You have two choices in this game: take strategic action to achieve your goal, or sit around and wait for your timer to run out.

I made my decision a long time ago, and I don’t intend to turn back. I love the process as much as I love the final checkmate, so I’ll just keep playing this game till the very end.

Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Vertabyte, a full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to drive their growth and achieve all their business goals. At Vertabyte, his special focus is on leveraging the power of social media to boost businesses exponentially. A marketing expert, Nabeel has a deep understanding of what it takes for a business to completely crush it on the social media landscape. His expertise in marketing has allowed him to help a number of businesses increase their revenue by tremendous amounts. Apart from that, due to his PR expertise, he has been able to get many companies and public figures featured on top news publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Inc Magazine, and more.

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Entrepreneurship

Secrets to Generating $3Mill Helping Companies Run FB Ads With Richard Jordan Louie

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Richard Jordan Louie has some pretty big accomplishments! From generating $500k within two months, to generating $3 million helping companies run Facebook ads. He grew up in a small Chinatown like city with his parents and started his journey when he was just 16. He hated school and knew that he had to achieve financial freedom to be able to do what he wanted whenever he wanted. He now has 2 companies, one is a digital marketing agency and the other is his e-commerce company. I had the pleasure of interviewing him. Here’s what he had to say:

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking ‘the leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Richard: I would tell them that you only live one life and if you don’t do it now, wouldn’t you regret it in 5 or 10 years?

What are your best 3 pieces of advice when it comes to FB ads?

  1. Being disciplined with your strategy
  2. Have an exit plan
  3. After spending over 4-5 figures into specific campaigns, you have a lot of data to study and observe; leverage that!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?

Richard: I have learned from many programs and YouTubers. However, Alex Becker taught me the most. He taught me how to focus, sacrifice and balance my life

Who are 3 people that inspire you? 

  1. Elon Musk
  2. Alex Becker
  3. Sam Ovens

We often hear stories that make it seem like someone was an overnight success, when really there were setbacks and stumbles along the way. Why do you think it’s valuable to be candid about both failure and success?

Richard: First comes many failures then success. You got to experience it to learn.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Richard: The more value you give towards your industry, the more successful it will become.

What has been the biggest challenge and, on the flip side, the biggest reward for you?

Richard: Holding onto a strict and disciplined routine. I personally workout, meditate, and intermittent fast every morning.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your journey?

Richard: During my journey, I sacrificed a lot of things. Time with my family, ditched all friends, and broke up with my girlfriend. These sacrifices allowed no distractions and I was so much more streamline.

What are two things you wish someone told you when you first started?

  • Sacrifice now for later
  • It is okay to fail

Thanks for the interview! What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Instagram Direct Message or Email is the best way to send over a proposal!

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Entrepreneurship

Take Advantage Of Running Your Own Business – 5 Tips To Start

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The advantage of running your own business doesn’t just lie on the financial side, but it’s also a powerful way to take control of your life. It doesn’t have to be anything big from the start – you can start on the side and start making extra money month after month. Just a few hours a week will get you there, even if you already have a job. You’ll be able to pick projects that truly excite you, meet a lot of interesting people along the way, and choose your own hours. Since you won’t be needing employees, some fancy storefront, not even LLC, getting started is quite easy – all you need is the right system, and I’ve prepared some tips to help you establish it.

1. Search For Your Business Idea

The world is full of ʽgreat business ideasʼ and that’s why this first step may sound so daunting – you’ve seen too many of them fail, even if they were big. But maybe that was precisely the problem – they were too big for the beginning. You can easily get past this mental barrier by looking into your own strengths. Every one of us has gathered some skills and knowledge through life, so that’s the place to start. We pay for expert knowledge all the time in the form of instrument lessons, college courses, language classes, etc. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to cash in on yours. If you can’t think of anything you’re good at, maybe your friends can, so simply ask them. Besides the fact you’ll get some ideas, their answers will also provide you with a nice little ego boost. Do you have some interesting hobbies? Why not turn them into businesses? Perhaps you are good at carpentry, or enjoy repairing cars or general repair work around the house – these could all be turned into businesses. Answering all these questions you’ll certainly end up with more than ten business ideas and all that’s left to do is to pick the one that excites you the most.

2. Start Investing in Yourself

Don’t worry, we’re not gonna talk about how much money you’ve saved up. Your investments can start in the form of time and dedication. But at some point, you’ll probably want to supplement your income. As your new business gets off the ground you’ll want to work full-time on it and leave your job, meaning you’ll probably want to scale. That’s when some bigger financial investments are needed. Since you’ve found something you’re passionate about and you ready to make it happen, deciding to take a loan won’t be a problem. But what if you don’t have an ability to get one? Maybe you weren’t paying your current loans or credit cards on time, and now you have difficulty getting another one or refinancing. Getting back on the right approvement track can be a long process, but it can be brought up to speed with comprehensive credit reporting, which will also help you with the interest rate you’re charged for your next loan. Finances don’t need to come in the beginning, but the need will come eventually, so you need to be ready and smart about it.

3. Finding Your Clients

Sending numerous emails – or, not to mention, making calls – in search for clients can be a real nightmare. But before you quit, just remember that the majority of your competition thinks the same. That means that just by putting in a little bit more effort into your initial reach out you’ll be able to immediately separate yourself from the crowd. So hold on to those emails and phones, but there’s no need to stop at that. Utilize your friends and neighbours and the power of word of mouth. Start building the presence on social networks. And don’t forget job boards such as Craigslist – believe it or not, it’s one of the best places for a freelancer to generate leads. The reason is quite simple – potential clients and customers looking for freelancers there often don’t get the best applicants, so there’s plenty of room to jump in. And that’s not the case just with Craigslist – depending on your niche you can do this on any job site. You need to be just slightly better than the average, which leads us to our next tip.

4. Crafting Your Pitch

Now, the reason why so many of your competitors suck on these sites lies in the fact that they’re just shooting off a bunch of boilerplate emails hoping to nail a gig. And the reason why you’re gonna be better than them lies in the fact that you’re gonna take time to craft your pitch. If you wish to reach out to your potential customers and clients you need to speak directly to their needs and concerns – this is basic human psychology. And all you need is five email lines in order to achieve that (if your pitch needs to be in speech make it an elevator one). In the first line, you’re gonna introduce yourself and mention how you know the client, building rapport. In the second you’re gonna talk about them in the terms of what you want to do for them, mentioning why you’re the best man for that role. This, of course, requires some research on their organisation. The third line has to be all about how your work will benefit their company – by maximising their profits or freeing up their time? In the fourth line, it’s time to get your foot in the door – get them to agree to a small agreement, making room for a larger one that will come later. And the fifth line needs to be an actionable one – it is also the most critical one so you need to be crystal clear in asking them if they’d like to proceed. Although this is a sort of a template, there’s still the need to change the email from a client to client, but benefits always remain the most important part.

5. Mastering Pricing

This last part is usually the most confusing one – beginners are in constant fear if they’re charging too much or too little. It’s true that there aren’t any firm rules for rates, but there are three handy ways to get rid of this confusion. If you’re charging per hour, just take your ideal (but realistic!) salary and drop three zeros from it – that’s your hourly rate. Or if you’ve come up with the lowest rate that’s on the edge of leaving you resentful – double it. The last solution is to simply charge the same as the next guy does – all you need to do is to find on Google the average rate for the service you’re providing. Whatever method you choose, it will be your initial price. After you start charging you’ll get a sense of where you’re at and you can start ʽtuningʼ your rates until you find the ones you’re satisfied with.

Starting your business on the side is the best way to go since the process is easily scalable, meaning you can generate as much money as you want, investing mainly time and effort in the beginning. After you get enough experience and generate enough money you’ll be ready to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig.

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Entrepreneurship

How Matt Hamilton Cultivated High Performance Skills That Put Him In The Position To Capitalize In This Billion Dollar Industry

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  • Matt Hamilton went from college dropout with a 1.8 GPA, to being the Founder & CEO of Revenue Forge – A full service marketing and branding agency built for the modern day. I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt. Here’s what he had to say!

Hey Matt! I’m interested more in your background story and how you got to where you are today. Could you give us a look into your background story?

Matt Hamilton: Growing up, school wasn’t a choice for me. It was mandatory. I was always reminded by my friends, peers, coaches, parents of the cliche “Go to school, get good grades, play sports, train for the scholarships, and then get your degree so you can get a well paying job.” This never sat well with me. I never really knew what I wanted to do, but that was just about the last thing I was interested in. Interestingly enough though, that’s exactly what I did.

I quickly found out that the education system was not the platform that would teach me the proper principles of high success. I looked around and compared the habits of college students and teachers against the habits of those who had already attained high performance and success, and (not) to my surprise, I found massive differences. College is sort of like pre-school for adults. No matter how similar to the real world it may be, it’s just not the real world.

What did you decided to do after realizing that? 

Matt Hamilton: As you may be able to tell already, I think very differently than a lot of people. Instead of going out every night, I stayed in my dorm room to work on business projects and network with celebrity influencers online. The work I was doing pushed me to cultivate high performance skills, and put me in a position to build key relationships. In a few months time, I realized if I didn’t go after my passions, I’ll be stuck at a desk job paying bills for the rest of my life. So I left.

After leaving what was your vision for the future?

Matt Hamilton: My vision consisted of working full time on my business, and massively changing the lives of my clients. There was one problem. When I got home, I had no clients. Zero. I went from making money and progress in my dorm room, to living back at my parents house with zero clients. I fell into bad habits, bad routines, and left room for complacency in my work. I was shocked by the raw reality of the real marketplace. This is not what I wanted, but it is what I expected. I took the safety net out from under myself. I gave myself no other option. I wanted the real, raw, non simulated experience of being punched in the mouth, and having no choice but to work my ass off to get the results I wanted. I was jolted awake by the stark reality that if I continue to allow my surroundings to dictate my actions, I would never achieve any of the goals I set for myself.

What did you decide to do once you realized this?

Matt Hamilton: I did everything to get new clients. I went to local business alliances, Networking groups, I did walk-ins, cold emails, cold calls, free work, work through referrals, and just about any other way you can think of. I just worked. That’s it. Sure enough, I started noticing that something was happening. Suddenly I had people reaching out to ME. I started gaining momentum.

I didn’t get complacent this time. No. This pushed me to go harder. And then harder still. Quite possibly the best feeling about being in this business is seeing the look of sheer joy on any of my clients faces when we’re able to really deliver for them. That’s why I do it. The impact it has on their business is worth way more to me than any sort of monetary value I can receive.

I will continue to grow and scale my agency to a National powerhouse, and hopefully impact others on the way. I want other people to understand that we only have one life. Only one. If you don’t ever take the risk to chase your dreams, the probability of you living out that dream goes down to basically 0. So don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that can happen?

You have an amazing story. What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you’ve learned?

  1. Persistence. Even when things get real dark, or there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities for you to capitalize on, its extremely important to stay persistent in those times of
  2. Uncertainty. The persistence and faith that you show in times of uncertainty are similar to the correct answer on a multiple choice test. When you’re tested, the answer is to keep going. No matter what.

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking the “leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Matt Hamilton: If it’s something you want to do, take the jump. Don’t think about it, because the “what if’s” will paralyze you. Realize that the only voice you need to listen to is the one in your own head. And when you do, don’t quit on yourself – ever.

What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Connect with me on instagram @officialmatthamilton

 

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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