28 easy and practical success tips by prosperity


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28 easy and practical success tips by prosperity

  1. 1. www.prosperitylist.com 1
  2. 2. 28 Quick & Practical Tips to Increase your Chances for Success By Jennifer Zhang of ProsperityList Copyright © Jennifer Zhang, 2013. All rights reserved. www.prosperitylist.com 2
  3. 3. Disclaimer The content contained in this book is for informational purposes only. I have endeavored to make the material as accurate as possible. There are no guarantees that this information is free of typographical or content errors. Furthermore, each piece of content contains educational information accurate only up to its original publication date. The author disclaims any warranties or guarantees expressed or implied. The author is not liable for any physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or commercial damages, including, but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or other damages. www.prosperitylist.com 3
  4. 4. About the Author Jennifer Zhang is a blogger, writer and a student of life. She is currently blogging at Prosperitytodolist.com where she shares her insights and life experience. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto. www.prosperitylist.com 4
  5. 5. Contents Preface 7 What It Takes To Succeed 8 Create the correct foundation 8 Foster a good mindset 9 Create exceptional value 9 Emphasize the WHY and the HOW will take care of itself 10 Willingness to work hard 10 Be willing to learn continually 11 Go the extra mile 11 The correlation between perception and reality 12 Know what you want and love 12 Set clear goals 13 Learn from the success of others 13 The ability to create a system or learn how to earn passive income 14 Leverage your skills whenever possible 15 Have integrity at all times 15 Learn to manage your money well 16 Focus on cultivating good habits 16 Listen and develop your instincts 17 Learn how to position your products or services to your clients or customers 18 www.prosperitylist.com 5
  6. 6. Have self-confidence and trust your abilities 18 Be optimistic at all times 18 Take calculated risk 19 Be focused 20 Plan and have a strategy in place 21 Focus on which area you want to utilize: money, energy or time 21 Do not focus on perfection, but rather focus on continuous improvement 22 Be grateful and give back to the community 22 Build momentum – the concept of taking mini steps towards your goal 22 Learn the art of selling and marketing 23 Final Thoughts www.prosperitylist.com 24 6
  7. 7. Preface You have probably found this book via my blog ProsperityToDoList or via ProsperityList. The reason that I wrote this book is to share what I have learned from my mistakes and the lessons I learned from my mentors, people around me and life in general. The principles in this book serve as a guide for me and I would like to share them with you in the hope that you can become happier and more successful. If I can help only one person with the tips mentioned in this book, then the time I have spent writing this book will be worth it. To everyone who has supported me through reading my blog, subscribing to my newsletter and reading this book, I sincerely thank you. I welcome your support and feedback. I hope this e-book helps you on your path to success! Love, Jennifer www.prosperitylist.com 7
  8. 8. What It Takes To Succeed Create the correct foundation The purpose of this chapter is to help you realize the importance of having the right mindset, particularly a successful mindset. All my life I have been interested in personal improvement – trying to understand what it takes to be successful and happy. One of my goals is to become a millionaire by age 30 (I have not achieved this but I am not yet 30). The reason why I choose to be wealthy by age 30 is that I want time to do the things which are important to me. I want to have enough financial freedom so that I do not need to be tied down to a 9-5 job and I can spend more time with my children. Yes, another goal of mine is to have kids by age 30. I am sure that you also have many goals. No matter what your goals are, there is always something better; being able to do what you want to do without any limitations or worries. I believe that money is a necessity to enhance our lives. It can buy us time, give us food and clothes and give us the luxury to travel around the world (if you like traveling). So there is nothing wrong with seeking material wealth as long as you understand that wealth is a means to an end, not the end itself. Since my goal is to become wealthy by age 30, I have read a lot of books or blogs written by millionaires and successful entrepreneurs. My objective is to understand what made them successful. I am more interested in looking for what goes through their mind versus their material achievements. Create a correct foundation means you need to have a very strong desire to change your life for the better and be honest with yourself regarding your weaknesses and strengths. And you need to have the end in mind: what do you want to see yourself in 5-10 years’ time? www.prosperitylist.com 8
  9. 9. Foster a good mindset One noticeable characteristic of all successful people is that they have a “Sky is the Limit” type of mentality. That means that they are not daunted by their current situation. Instead they focus on what their future will be like and they truly believe that their ideal future will materialize. There is a famous story of Jim Carey that illustrates the power of the mind very well. During the time when he was a struggling actor and comedian, he wrote himself a $10 million dollar check with the note that it was going to be his payment for his acting performances. The deadline he set for that goal was Thanksgiving 1995. The rest as they say is history. Jim Carey became famous for his movies such as The Mask and Ace Ventura. By 1995, his earnings surpassed what he wrote on his check. So do not let your current circumstances deter you from dreaming about your future. Yes, you need to be realistic about your current situation such as working at a job you do not like for the sake of paying bills and so on. In the meantime, take steps towards the realization of your goals. Create exceptional value Value creation means that you provide a solution to your customers’ problems. The more value you provide, the richer you are. Always benchmark your output against the value you create. Did your results bring more value to your company and customers? Did it solve the problem? There are several factors that are going to determine how wealthy you are: The number of people you are able to reach to solve their problems – quantity. www.prosperitylist.com 9
  10. 10. How willing your customer is to pay for your services or products – quality. How many of your past clients become your repeat customers who are going to refer people to you? If you provide a high value and relevant product, charge a fair price and then reach a massive amount of people who are willing to pay for your value, you then have the formula to achieve great wealth. Emphasize the WHY and the HOW will take care of itself The why question – Why am I doing this is more important than the how question – How am I going to do this. When I started my blog, I had zero knowledge about how to set up a blog, what plugins were, FTP and I had only spoken English since I started university (I spoke Dutch in high school). However, instead of worrying about the how of running a blog, I asked myself why? Why do I need to have a blog? The answer is to share my knowledge and experience with others. Why am I writing a blog? Answer – Blogging is my chosen medium to convey my message to a wide audience. As long as you have a strong reason, you will find a way to get to the how. The why will impel you to seek out knowledge, resources and understanding to allow you to strive towards your goals. The how is important because you need to take the right actions and have the right strategies but the why provides you the motivation or the fuel to keep you going despite obstacles. Willingness to work hard I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you www.prosperitylist.com 10
  11. 11. have to practice, practice, and practice. If you do not love something, then do not do it. ~ Ray Bradbury. There are no shortcuts to success. Every successful person had to put in time and effort. Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule? In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he stated that all successful people put in more than 10,000 hours before they became an expert in their respective fields. If you want to be the best in your field, you need to be dedicated and put in the time to gain the expertise. Practice is the key to mastering any subject. However, you have to practice in a smart manner. Unless you are taking the right steps, you are not efficiently working towards your goal. Getting the right knowledge is extremely important. One way to do this is through mentors, seminars, workshops and written information like books, blog posts, conferences or even taking relevant classes. Be willing to learn continually The 10,000 hour rule means that you need to continuously upgrade and learn as much as you can in your respective field. There is always new knowledge to be gained. Keep yourself informed by attending key events, monitoring industry changes and other relevant trends. One great example is the accountancy profession: accounting rules and tax regulations change constantly and you need to be on top of current developments so you can provide the most relevant and useful advice to your clients. Go the extra mile If your boss or customer expects A, B and C then you should deliver A, B, C, D, E and F. When you exceed the expectations of your customers, they www.prosperitylist.com 11
  12. 12. are happy to pay for the services you provide and they become repeat customers. You become essentially indispensable. If you develop the habit of exceeding expectations you will always be able to find work. So make the effort to do more than what is expected and you will become highly valued. The correlation between perception and reality This point is related to the Abundance Mindset. Your perception becomes your reality. If you see limitations around you, that is what you are going to experience around you. Your attitude affects how you view things. For example, I was laid off when my former company was acquired by a competitor. I could view this as a misfortune or a great opportunity to start my own business (which I have wanted to start for a long time but had not acted upon). In the end, how you perceive a situation influences your decision on what path you are going to take. Know what you want and love A key aspect of success is the knowledge of what you want and love to do. People can call this by various names such as a life purpose, vision, life objective, dharma and so on. However, what it essentially means is to truly understand what your passion is. Do you like to play field hockey? Paint? Write? Crunch numbers? Do scientific experiments? Think of it this way; if you are going to spend the majority of your life working - 8 or more hours a day, five days a week – Wouldn’t you rather work on something you love and look forward? You need to find a passion that is needed by people (you want to be practical) so you can earn money out of it. To understand your purpose or passion, ask yourself one question: www.prosperitylist.com 12
  13. 13. What kind of work would I do if I have all the money in the world and I did not need to worry about paying bills and putting food on the table? Set clear goals If you want to achieve something, you need to set goals and put them in writing. And when you write down any goal, please be specific as possible. For instance, I want to earn a million dollars by age 30. A goal acts like a directional life compass: instead of bobbing around the sea and hoping to get to your destination by chance, why not take the wheel and consciously steer where you want to go? If you observe successful people, there is always a conscious intention behind their achievements. I have not heard of any self-made successful person who got what they have by a complete fluke. Sometimes you might be presented with new opportunities so there is no guarantee that you follow your goals to the letter. But as long as you have direction and an idea where you are going, you have a better chance to succeed when opportunities arise. Learn from the success of others The shortest way you can cut down your learning curve is to learn from people who have achieved the results and success you want. Personally, I am a strong believer in learning from others. And it does not just mean the most well-known people in a discipline; you can learn from anybody:   If they are successful, learn what they did and how they think to get what they have. If they are not successful, learn what you should not do and do not repeat their mistakes. All you need to do is be observant of people around you because you can pick up lessons from all kinds of people. It can be lessons on wealth, www.prosperitylist.com 13
  14. 14. family, relationships, productivity or anything else. Learn what to do to be successful and also what NOT to do as well. Identifying the top innovators and trendsetters in your industry and learn from them. It could be through informational interviews, books, seminars and other materials. Apply this principle to every aspect of your life. The ability to create a system or learn how to earn passive income Create a system for improved productivity like filing papers, working on projects, and so forth. Learn to create a system where you can be paid even when you are asleep (passive income creation). A regular job is essentially an exchange of money for your time. The formula is: time * wage = your income. If you stop working, you do not have an income. Why? There is no income because time is incorporated into the formula. However, if you have a product, you can be paid many times over. Examples are:     Rental properties you own Stocks which pay dividends or that can appreciate in value over time Royalties from books or products Licenses www.prosperitylist.com 14
  15. 15. Leverage your skills whenever possible Build the skills you need to succeed in your passion. In the meantime, you can still use your current skill set to earn you income while you are working on your side business or passion. . For example, let us assume that you are a very accomplished tax accountant but your goal or passion is to become a writer. Instead of resigning and starting to write your bestseller, leverage your current skills while you are working towards your current goal. You could still continue your old job but probably with reduced hours, or you can do it part time while you are writing your novel/book. You could also offer workshops/seminars on taxation topics in your local business associations or at universities. Constantly evaluate what you are doing with your current skill set against your long term goal or life path. Are your skills improving towards what you need? For instance, if you are an accountant but you want to be writer, how is your writing skill? Do you need to brush up and improve your writing skills? You can be dedicated to the transition to your new goal through leveraging your current skills. Another form of leverage is to hire people or outsource tasks that are of low value and spend your time on higher value, more impactful activities. For example, if you are an entrepreneur, you can hire a virtual assistant or personal assistant to do the administrative or customer service work for you. Have integrity at all times A principle that you should never compromise is to operate with high integrity. Under no circumstances should you cheat customers or anyone for that matter. A reputation is very hard to build. However, it can be destroyed easily. You do not want to lose everything because you were tempted to go for a, “get rich quick scheme”. www.prosperitylist.com 15
  16. 16. Once people lose trust in you, they will not come back. Even worse, word-of-mouth will spread to other potential customers. Always ensure that you have your customers’ best interest at heart. Understand their problems and needs – and do not short cut them. Learn to manage your money well Another important skill is managing your finances well. You need to track your expenses for your personal life and your business. Saving money is important in building wealth. What is the point in earning money when the money flows out just as fast? It is the net amount, earnings minus spending, which is going to build your wealth. Analyze expenditures and find ways to cut down if necessary. For example, you may notice a large share of your expenses go towards purchasing video games and movies. You need ask yourself, “Is it necessary to buy every game which comes on the market? Or should I be more selective in the games I am buying?” A solution could be to only buy the game you really want or to purchase used games. Focus on cultivating good habits Habits are extremely powerful. In fact, you are the accumulation of your habits. What you repeatedly do determines the outcome of our life. Some examples of habits are: waking up at a certain time, cutting down on junk food, drinking more water, smoking, drinking, reading every day and exercising. A simple practice you can do to cultivate a good new habit (or possibly to replace a bad one) is using a 28 day or 30 day time commitment. The theory is simple: for the next 28 days, visualize a good habit you want in place (e.g., to stop eating junk food). Then have an alternative activity in place so you do not revert back to your bad habit (e.g., have celery and carrot sticks ready). Do this for 28 days and check your progress: you www.prosperitylist.com 16
  17. 17. will see a positive difference. The reason why habits can be changed is because no habits are formed right away. You create them. For example, you were not born smoking or eating junk food. If you have bad habits, you can replace them with good ones. Focus on the positive habit you want to cultivate, find a replacement when you remove the bad stimulus and repeat and rinse for 3-4 weeks. Listen and develop your instincts Learn to listen to your gut. In the past, I always ignored my gut feelings primarily because there was no information to back it up. For example, when I was in university my family wanted me to go into the accounting profession. Since I studied business in school, it made sense to choose accounting. However, for one reason or another, I had a hunch accounting was not right for me. I ignored my hunch since I rationalized that accounting was a stable career and aligned with my business background. As a result, I signed up for the Certified Management Accountant program. However, I was laid off a few months later and my desire to start my own business ignited. After careful consideration, I stopped my CMA studies. However, my $3,000 in tuition fees was now a sunk cost. I ended up regretting not listening to myself earlier. Tip: Calm your mind and listen to your feelings before you make a decision. When you pay attention to your inner feelings, it will let you know what direction you need to go. Find a nice spot to sit on (I like to sit on a comfy chair) or you can just sit on your chair with your back straight. Then close your eyes and still your thoughts for at least 5-10 minutes. www.prosperitylist.com 17
  18. 18. Learn how to position your products or services to your clients or customers Businesses which are customer-centric have a good chance at being successful. Understand their problems, needs and wants. At the same time, highlight the benefits of the products and services you provide in the context of your client’s needs, problems and wants. Only telling them about the features is not going to persuade them to buy your products. You need to showcase the benefits and demonstrate how your products are going to help your clients to fulfill their objectives. Understand that clients are interested in resolving their problems and not your products’ features. Have self-confidence and trust your abilities There is a correlation between your self-confidence level and your achievements in the real world. Think about it for a second, if you are not confident in your own abilities, how can others have confidence in you? Self-confidence issues are mostly rooted in being uncertain about your own abilities. Maybe you are not confident that you can tackle a new project or assignment at work. Instead of worrying about the reasons (e.g., you have no prior experience), focus on the fact your boss trusts your abilities. Use this as an opportunity to show that you have the resourcefulness and capabilities to be successful. Identify what makes you feel uncertain, then attempt to acquire the necessary knowledge (e.g., read up about things, ask people with the expertise for insights). Be optimistic at all times You should maintain a positive attitude at all times. I know that it www.prosperitylist.com 18
  19. 19. sounds cheesy but it is true. When you are feeling negative or down about your goals or mistakes, you have a tendency to not take action and wallow in self-pity. I experienced many negative emotions just 3-4 years ago. My mother got diagnosed with cancer and I was very emotionally volatile for at least 6 months. I felt helpless and was not in the mood for pursuing the ambitious goals that I have set for myself (to be financially independent by age 30). But thanks to my friends and mentors, I learned to be more accepting and be positive. I realized that your energy is going to rub off on others so if I was always negative, how is that going to help me or my mom? Instead of being down or depressed about the situation, I committed myself to see the positive side of things and to give off good vibes to others. I try to be grateful that my mom is still with me and to be emotionally supportive to her as much as possible. As an aside, my mom is recovering very well from her chemo treatments. Take calculated risk Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing ~ Warren Buffett Successful people take calculated risks when it comes to their business or career. A great example of the concept of calculated risk taking is when you learn how to drive. When you are a beginner and have no prior experience, driving is going to be extremely dangerous. But what happens if you go through a driving course, and practiced driving on the road with a competent instructor and you have passed the written and road tests? Would it still be dangerous? Of course not, right? You feel comfortable driving by yourself and even though you know it is never 100% risk free at least you are skilled enough to know how to handle different road, parking or driving situations. Because of your education and experience, the risk of driving has been reduced. This is www.prosperitylist.com 19
  20. 20. applicable to other aspects of your career or business. Not knowing something is not an excuse for not doing it. You do not say, “Hey, I am not going to drive because I do not know how to drive.” Instead, you would do what most people do such as take a driving course and practice until you pass the test! Apply this thinking to all areas in your life. If you do not know how to operate your own business, then interview or talk to successful entrepreneurs and learn what they did to achieve their success. Read books on management, marketing, sales, leadership and product development to educate yourself in these areas. When you educate yourself, take a lot of action and tweak your strategies according to real life feedback; you are taking a calculated risk. Be focused Have laser focus on your projects. It is easy to lose focus and you might want to do 10 things at a time. However, I have found that I am more productive when I focus on one project and complete that before moving on to a new one. When I first started blogging, I was interested in all sorts of different things like setting up a blog, getting involved in advertising, creating niche sites, creating an e-book and doing affiliate marketing. But I ended up confusing myself and for a while I was not progressing very much. After it became clear that personal growth is my passion and that I love to share my mistakes, lessons learned and insights with other people, I cut down the rest or put them on hold for a while. Now, I am refining and concentrating my focus on my blog only. You need to focus: if you do 20 different things in one year, all you get is a little bit of everything. But if you focus on one huge project for one year, you can accomplish a lot in a year’s time. www.prosperitylist.com 20
  21. 21. Plan and have a strategy in place Have a plan for every goal that you set. You need to know what actions and steps you need to take to realize your goals. You cannot expect to write it down and hope it happens without any conscious intent, are you? You must figure out what you need to do. Suppose that you want to earn an additional $5000 a year. Consider which avenues you want to earn that additional money though – a second job, writing a book, working harder for a pay raise, getting a promotion or starting a side business. There are many different ways to brainstorm on what kind of actions you want to implement to earn you more money. Once you identify these actions, devise a strategy for execution and implementation. Focus on which area you want to utilize: money, energy or time If you are still young, you want to put in more energy and time. When you earn some revenues or additional income, you can then turn that money into a tool for you to free up time and energy. For example, if your business is growing and revenues are increasing, you can hire a receptionist, an accountant or administrative assistant for doing paperwork, freeing you from doing those low value tasks and allowing you to focus on more high level activities such as shaping the direction of your business, building relationships with your customers and doing product development. The same thing is true if you are a busy mom working a full-time career and taking care of the household. If your work overwhelms you, you can hire a part-time maid to clean your house once or twice a month to allow you to spend more time with your family. www.prosperitylist.com 21
  22. 22. Do not focus on perfection, but rather focus on continuous improvement There is no such thing as a perfect product. Focus on getting the product on the market which addresses some key needs and then add new features afterward. You can bring out a beta version and let clients test it while you garner their feedback in improving the product. Remember, the longer that you wait, the more competition you will get and someone might come out on the market with a similar product before you have time to announce your “perfect” product. Be grateful and give back to the community I believe in giving and sharing. Whatever you give out, you will get back. So if you have achieved any kind of financial success, give some of that back to your favorite charity or not-for-profit projects. There are many benefits to doing charity work. You can make a difference in other people’s lives. You can also meet great people and bring awareness to your company and brand. Build momentum – the concept of taking mini steps towards your goal Whenever you set goals for yourself to achieve, remember to build momentum from the start. The reason that many New Year resolutions fail is because many people tend to set enormous goals at the beginning. However, they do not see much improvement and quit. When you set a large goal, you need to set-up little goals to guide you towards the larger goal. That way, you will not feel overwhelmed and you can take baby steps. That is the key to goal achievement; ensure that you are working on your goal every day. No matter how small, you need to do it day-by-day. The objective is to build momentum which propels you forward. I am sure you have experienced this; you want to do something, then www.prosperitylist.com 22
  23. 23. you stop for a while (being busy, get sidetracked) but when you go back, you do not have motivation anymore. That is why building momentum is so important in achieving goals. Learn the art of selling and marketing Another important skill that leads you to success is the ability to sell and market yourself or your business. Selling and marketing is essential in life and business. For example, when you are going for an interview, are you not trying to convince the recruiter that you are the best candidate for the job? When you are a business owner, are you not trying to convince people that your product or service is helping them to solve a problem? That is where your sales skills will be put into action. You might have the best service or product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, how are they going to buy it from you? So you need to market yourself (sending your best cover letter and resume to relevant companies) or you need to market your products (using advertising, or other marketing channels). Learn how to market and sell because it is going to be instrumental in your success either working for someone else or working for yourself. www.prosperitylist.com 23
  24. 24. Final Thoughts The most important goal of this book is for you to gain value and take ACTION on the tips I mention. It is really not about how much you know but what you do with that knowledge. I wish you the best of luck in your journey towards prosperity and success. Take full responsibility for your actions and attitudes. Only you can shape the direction you are going to move, so choose wisely. Do not be afraid to “lose”. There is a Chinese saying: 不怕吃虧 meaning “Do not be afraid to be at a disadvantage”. Focus on what you can do for others and creating value and money will be the byproduct of that value. Be persistent. Do not give up too easily on your dreams and goals. Everything takes time to build and sometimes luck may come at an unexpected time but only when you are putting in the hard work and effort so that you are prepared. The harder I work, the luckier I get. ~ Samuel Goldwyn. www.prosperitylist.com 24
  25. 25. The End Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage ~ Lao Tzu www.prosperitylist.com 25