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5 Great Habits for Spiritual Entrepreneurs from Forbes Magazine

ForbesContrary to the approaches of plenty of other ministry leaders, I celebrate spiritual entrepreneurship and believe it’s closely related to the apostolic gifts demonstrated by the church’s earliest missionaries.

Because of my love for leadership, I read too many articles about it each week. One of my absolute favorites recently was The 8 Top Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs, from Forbes Magazine. The last three would apply to business entrepreneurs but not necessarily pastoral leaders and church planters. But the first five were gold…

  1. They’re not afraid to make well-planned leaps… If all you do is fantasize and never plot and take actionable steps, you’re stuck in idle.
  2. They’re usually early to rise… You can train yourself to become an early riser.
  3. They have some Type A in their blood… Everyone has a little Type A in them…
  4. They’re a people person (or can fake it)… Constantly working on relating to others will only serve you and your projects well in the long run.
  5. They have a thick skin… There’s no room in entrepreneurship for over sensitivity. Make “NO” your friend as well as a call to action.

I had a pretty enlightening conversation this week with a guy I highly respect who has a foot in ministry and the other in business. I make no apology for agreeing with his bold assertion that “if it’s a management principle that truly works, it’s because God invented it.” Read the whole article and see what you glean.

7 Tips For Better Social Media Connections

Big Cup o' JoeIn the world of social media, there’s a common scenario that goes a little something like this:

FOLLOWEE TO NEW FOLLOWER: Hi! Thanks for following. Check out my services and my blog, and like me on Facebook!

In other words, I don’t know you or care who you are. I just want you to know me and buy my stuff.

When you first connect with someone new over a social media platform, it’s far better and wiser to establish a genuine connection. Here are seven tips for a better way to connect.

  1. Pay attention. Read the bio, click the link, read a tweet or an update or two.
  2. Reach out. Say hello, the way normal people do offline, without selling anything.
  3. Take a real interest. Comment on something personal about the person.
  4. Make another connection. Suggest someone they should connect with in their field.
  5. Add some value. Offer a tip, or to help in some way, but not by selling a service.
  6. Respond. Keep the conversation going.
  7. Be the trusted friend to whom they might turn for help (including paid services) later.

You can’t know everyone, and you can’t always fully flesh out this approach with every connection, but when you want to connect with someone beyond the first follow, there is a better way. Imagine the above scenario, aligned with these tips. It might look more like this…

FOLLOWEE TO NEW FOLLOWER: Hi, thanks for following. You’re from Denver? Been there a few times and love the views!

NEW FOLLOWER TO FOLLOWEE: Thanks! Yes, I work for a marketing firm in the mile-high city.

FOLLOWEE TO NEW FOLLOWER: Cool. Loved the work you did on the Widgets-R-Us logo. Have you connected with Jacob Cass (@justcreative)?

NEW FOLLOWER TO FOLLOWEE: No, haven’t seen his work, but I’ll follow him for sure. Thanks!

FOLLOWEE TO NEW FOLLOWER: No problem. I’m in the SEO business if you ever need any help in that arena. Keep up the good work!

This isn’t necessarily blossoming into a have-you-over-for-dinner-on-Friday kind of friendship, and that’s okay. You can’t do that with hundreds or thousands of people. But you can be personal, authentic, and genuinely helpful. It’s a better way to do things, and good social mojo demands it.

2 Criteria for Redefining Success for Sanity’s Sake

The Stars

Photo by jurvetson.

What is success? Most people define it in one of three ways:

  • How many possessions do you own?
  • How much power do you wield over others?
  • How much prestige do you have among peers?

American Christians tend to blend right in. We even apply these standards to churches and church leaders. Which church has the biggest budget, the nicest building, or the largest weekend attendance? There’s nothing wrong with any of those things – money is good, influence is invaluable, and popularity is something God can use in huge ways. And we certainly need churches to grow exponentially in a world as lost as ours. The problem is, none of those factor into God’s viewpoint on success.

Jesus gathered a handful of followers in His lifetime, didn’t have a place of His own, and was despised and rejected by the social elite of his community. But He was most definitely successful. In fact, He was so successful that He could come to the end of His life and confidently proclaim…

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

– John 17:4 NKJV

Jesus did two things completely that provide the perfect framework for our understanding of success.

  1. He became all that God wanted Him to become.
  2. He did all that God wanted Him to do.

He glorified God in His life perfectly. He grew from the baby in the manger into the perfect, sinless Jesus who changed the world. He was kind, generous, funny (though we usually miss His humor), loving, and strong. He was everything God wanted Him to be. To keep your sanity, start thinking about WHO God wants you to become instead of what options He wants you to choose. In other words, it’s less about where you go to college or which car you buy and more about whether you take the high road and keep your integrity.

He also finished all the tasks which God had assigned to Him, leading right up to the final moment of His life, which He gave as a ransom for mankind. The second way to redefine success for sanity’s sake is to focus only on what God calls YOU to do and not on all the good things that others might be involved in.

Furthermore, He will give us all the time, talent, treasure, and relationships to accomplish exactly His will for our lives. When we are good stewards of these resources, we never run short. Not having enough time, not being able to please everyone, and not being able to escape pressure is usually a sign that we’re trying to do things God hasn’t called or equipped us to do.

So for sanity’s sake, redefine success. Get to the end of your life and be able to say, “I’ve become the person God wanted me to become, and I’ve finished the ‘to do’ list He gave to me.” That’s it.

7 Business Skills You Need If You’re Blogging for Income

Make Money BloggingBlogging is a business, so in addition to good writing and a basic grasp of technical things, you need a certain set of skills if you’re ever going to earn an income from blogging. Consider what Richard Branson said about his own career in publishing:

I wanted to be an editor or a journalist… but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going. ~Richard Branson

Source: Copyblogger

So what exactly are the business and entrepreneurial skills you need to make an income from blogging?

Vision

If you’re going to grow anything, including the reach of a blog, you need to be able to visualize the ideal future of it. Where do you see your blogging business going? How do you see it branching out and developing? What’s your ideal readership? Or as Guy Kawasaki might ask, how exactly are you going to change the world?

Initiative

There is plenty of talk among business bloggers about creating a four hour work week and kicking back on the beach all day. We are psychologically drawn to phrases like “auto-pilot profits” and “instant cash” but the reality is that initiative is necessary for anyone who is going to be successful at anything. In the world of blogging, you have to decide to write, publish, and promote content.

Bootstrapping

Blogging can get expensive. From hosting and custom theme design to the inherent costs of learning a new skill, you can wind up spending a lot of money. And some tools and products are definitely worth what we spend. But successful business bloggers have the ability to determine if an investment will pay off or not. Whether it’s a new logo or a specialized WordPress plugin, high income bloggers can decide fairly easily if they’re going to see their money back or not. And you also need to be resourceful. I work for a large organization, but I’m still always on the hunt for a free or cheap way to get big things done.

Communication

It isn’t just writing that you have to think about. It’s communication, which is more. Great writing is a start, but with blogging, you also need to understand how readers think. You don’t need a content strategy, you need a communications strategy that includes content. G

Great communication means getting the right message through to the right people at the right time, and providing a right response to feedback to stimulate productive conversations… conversations that move needles and make things happen.

Networking

This one is more crucial than ever. The ability to connect with people is absolutely essential if you’re going to make an income from blogging. And proper networking means building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Networking requires us to get out of the box, to be pro-active, to listen and respond, and to promote the work of others as often as possible.

Creativity

Have you noticed how fast things change on the internet? Today’s awesome apps are tomorrow’s techno-scrap, unless they are shaped by creative minds. If you’re still talking about “thinking outside the box” then you’ve just demonstrated a lack of creativity. That particular phrase has been used and abused in the business world for well over a decade now, so it’s not just about thinking outside the box. It’s about imagining things that aren’t quite happening yet, but could be with the right strategy.

Recovery

Rebounding from failure is an absolute must for business bloggers. You’re going to blow it. You’re going to make some bad calls, write some poor posts, and tick off the wrong people at times. It happens. So learn from it and fail forward. Get up and write again.

There are more skills, but I’d like to let you fill them in. What kind of business skills does it take to successfully earn an income from blogging?

You Might Have TBD (Too Busy Disorder)

I ran across this site via Dan Cathy’s website. The videos are hilarious… but sadly have a familiar feeling sometimes…

The Work Talker from TBD on Vimeo.