Kamis, 21 Juni 2012

The Tao of Leadership, Business and Networking

The Tao Te Ching is a very short book written more than 2500 years ago, purportedly by a mysterious character that went by the name of Lao Tzu. This book is a great read. It is frequently obtuse, but it also provides some really unusual perspectives on life, success, and leadership.

One of the verses that I come back to frequently and try to hold in my mind as a business leader and school teacher is verse 17 where it says:

    When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one that is feared. The worst is one who is despised.
    If you don't trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.
    The Master doesn't talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say "Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves."
    This is incredible insight. So often we try to be either the kind of leader who is loved, or feared.

When we go out of our way to the kind of leader who is feared, we are hoping to inspire our charges to do exactly what we say. We use negative consequences to keep our people "in line." I have even met this kind of leader who I believe had the best interests of their people in mind. Unfortunately, the result of this is people who are afraid to do anything outside of the specific things that they are told. Who are uncreative, tentative, and uncommitted. At worst, the very people that we count on to build our business become our enemies and look for chances to leave, or thwart our efforts to build and grow.

The leader who desires to be loved is better than the leader who inspires fear, but they are limited in some very serious ways. First, they are often driven by a sick need for approval and regard and that can often make it impossible to difficult things like give clear and effective advice. Second, this person is often so eager to be loved, that they make bad decisions. Third, this kind of leader often becomes the single most important thing in the experience of the teams that they lead. They always speak, they always are the center of attention. The whole team revolves around them. And what happens when the leader gets sick, or reveals their human side, or leaves? The whole organization falls apart. The organization has no capacity to grow and succeed without the personality of the leader. We see this all the time in Network Marketing groups and in traditional businesses, as well. The result of the leader who needs to be loved is often an absence of leadership and creativity in the whole group.

Lao Tzu suggests that the best leader is the kind that is not noticed, but one who builds and supports and sustains their organization. He is not saying that they should go unnoticed, but that they don't draw all the attention to themselves. This kind of leader builds capacity in their organization, loyalty to a cause greater than an individual and in the end, has tremendous commitment to the organization and joy in the results of their efforts. It is a rare leader that can sit back and find real delight when their people say "Amazing: We did it all by ourselves."

Rabu, 06 Juni 2012

Build a Small Business at Home - Easy and Rewarding

Have you ever wondered about starting your own home business? Are you sick and tired of putting your best talents to work just to enrich someone else? Do you like what you do on a day-to-day basis? Is it possible for you do what you do to earn your paycheck today for yourself? Do you have a hobby that you would not mind spending more time on and making money at the same time? Are you satisfied with your pay? If you think deeply about these and your answer is in the affirmative then perhaps it is time to start thinking seriously about a home based business.

Usually, when people think about operating their own business from home they become overwhelmed by the very idea of managing resources and products, producing a widget, shipping, handling, inventory, employees, expertise, taxes, accounting, human resources and the list goes on and on every possible barrier that would prevent them from exploring their dreams. But, really it does not have to be this way. A little soul searching, digging deeper, challenging our core beliefs and pushing ourselves to do something outside of our comfort zones, thinking outside the box, surrounding ourselves with people who are good at what we are dreaming of doing may all be avenues to explore to help our thought process. Although none of these may easy, taking the first steps towards moving us closer to our own home business can be very rewarding.

It is interesting to note that the statistics show that the number of self-employed who work exclusively from home increased from 3.47 million in 1999 to 4.34 million in 2005 (the latest available from the Census). The total population of working from home at least some of the time increased from 9.48 million to 11.33 million in the same period. Today, these statistics are growing at a much higher rate in the same direction. Today, there are many more opportunities to work from home than before. The evolution of the computers and the tremendous advancements that have been made in technology make owning a home based business much easier. Access to the internet literally gives businesses access to clients all over the world. Also the opportunity to have businesses that do not operate on or have to maintain traditional business hours give us the flexibility to beat the competition. Some challenges may be bigger but operating a home based business could be much easier and very rewarding.

So what are you waiting for?

The opportunity is here. Consider doing something to compliment your incomes. Initially, it could be just you. Leave the other business aspects like managing employees; processing payrolls, inventory etc for when your business has taken off and you need more help. There are lots of people who have home based business and are making lots of money. This is encouraging and something to look forward to. Add yourself the list of success stories. It is a myth that people working from home don't make money, and that these things are part-time, hobbies. No they are real jobs, held by real people making real money.

Another interesting fact is that, as the economy continues to cling to a recession, the home-based business market still continues to grow. According to the census bureau, because of the record levels of unemployment, and job uncertainty for those still employed, many determined Americans who want to take control of their financial futures are seriously considering the investigation of home businesses and start-ups are actually increasing. Some popular home based businesses that are worth considering are:

    Affiliate Marketing-- Marketing products for different vendors online
    Dog Walking-- If one loves pets and enjoys the outdoors, this provides the perfect opportunity to do both
    Book Keeping-- If you work in that area and have the qualifications, then with a minor investment in accounting software and a computer, you can move ahead
    Consulting-- Knowledgeable about a specific area, then instead of giving free advise to friends and family, then consider charging a small fee for service
    Tutoring-- Launch your business from home or work with clients where they are on campuses, high schools, elementary schools etc.
    Cooking-- If you like cooking or baking, start small, market to friends and family. Have them pay for what you make and have them critique your products.
    Internet Business-- Build a website, and market something that you are an expert on or would not mind learning more about
    Interior Designing-- Put your creative talents to work. make someone's day!

Home based businesses survive and thrive when entrepreneurs realize that the easiest part of building the business is being passionate. Tapping in to that overflowing well of passion over and over again will be necessary in the formative years of your business. Good Luck!.

Ingrid Farrell is an entrepreneur and the proud owner of http://www.realonlinebargains.com. RealOnlineBargains is your one-stop online source for real online bargains. We specialize in Health News and Health Products aimed at improving your quality of life, Providing Work From Home Opportunities if you are interested in controlling your destiny and improving your financial situation, Financial Advice and Financial Planning Products that will put you well on your way to financial freedom and security and we also provide interesting and up to date information on variety of topics. Our goal is to provide very fun and innovative opportunities to find online bargains.