10 inspirational quotes to motivate entrepreneurs for greatness

 

/ 1 min read

Feel like you’re stuck in the midsummer slump? Does the nice weather have you longing to be outdoors? No matter what challenges you’re facing, chances are you could use a little inspiration to get you pumped to tackle the day.

For all the business owners who feel like they’re hitting the “wall”, we’ve compiled these 10 motivational quotes from some of our favorite creatives, entrepreneurs and leaders to help inspire you. Remember, it’s all about perspective.

Are we missing any inspirational quotes that have motivated you to entrepreneurial greatness? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll add them on our next update.

1. Abraham Lincoln: “Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle.”

motivational quotes for entrepreneurs

2. Jim Rohn: “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”

inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs

3. Karen Lamb: “A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

motivational and inspirational quotes for business owners

4. Rand Fishkin, Moz: “Don’t build links. Build relationships.”

Rand_Fishkin quote

5. M. Scott Peck: “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

M_Scott_Peck quote

6. Scott Belsky, Behance: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

Scott_Belsky quote

7. Vivienne Harr, Make A Stand: “Stick with it, even on the bad days.”

Vivienne_Harr quote

8. Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Albert_Schweitzer quote

9. Simon Sinek: “Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.”

Simon_Sinek quote

10. Tim Ferris: “Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.”

Tim_Ferriss quote

Megan O'Brien

Megan O’Brien

Megan is a marketing Swiss Army knife who loves working with our clients on testimonials, promoting our stores on social media and planning cool Bigcommerce events.

GM expands Self Driving operations in Silicon Valley: The New York Times, Neal Boudette

 

In the race to develop self-driving cars, General Motors is expanding its operations near Silicon Valley.

The automaker said on Thursday that it planned to hire 1,100 people and invest $14 million at a new development center in San Francisco that would spearhead the company’s work on self-driving cars.

G.M. and Cruise Automation, an autonomous-driving software company G.M. acquired a year ago, have been testing more than 50 Chevrolet Boltelectric cars equipped with self-driving technology on public roads in San Francisco; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the Detroit area.

The new investment and hiring are intended to expand and accelerate their work, G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said in a statement.

“Running our autonomous vehicle program as a start-up is giving us the speed we need to continue to stay at the forefront of development of these technologies and the market applications,” she said.

The move comes as traditional automakers are rushing to partner with and acquire technology companies amid a global race to develop cars capable of driving themselves safely with little input from passengers.

In February, Ford Motor said it planned to invest $1 billion over the next five years in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, as part of its own push to develop self-driving cars. Ford has also vowed to begin production of a fully automated car — with no steering wheel and no pedals — by 2021. Similar efforts are underway at Audi, BMW and other car companies.

The automotive giants are competing with technology companies that appear to be leading the self-driving race. Google’s automated car subsidiary, Waymo, has racked up more than 200 million miles of driving with various test vehicles, while Tesla already offers its semi-automated Autopilot system in its electric vehicles.

The ride-hailing service Uber is also ramping up testing of autonomous cars, while chip maker Intel is moving into the same space after acquiring Mobileye, an Israeli maker of camera systems that allow cars to steer and brake themselves.

Traditional automakers from Detroit and around the world are responding by trying to build a greater presence in the Silicon Valley region, to compete for both technology and engineering talent.

G.M. plans to introduce a system called SuperCruise as an option in certain Cadillac models, possibly by the end of this year. SuperCruise is supposed to be capable of piloting a car on limited-access highways, although it will require drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

SuperCruise is not based on technology developed by Cruise Automation. G.M. acquired Cruise for a reported $1 billion.

G.M.’s investment will upgrade an existing location in San Francisco that will more than double Cruise Automation’s research and development space.

“As autonomous car technology matures, our company’s talent needs will continue to increase,” said Kyle Vogt, Cruise Automation’s chief executive. “Accessing the world-class talent pool that the San Francisco Bay Area offers is one of the many reasons we plan to grow our presence in the state.”

Correction:April 21, 2017

An article last Friday about General Motors’ plans to expand its self-driving car operations in Silicon Valley referred incorrectly to SuperCruise technology, which G.M. plans to offer as an option in certain models and is supposed to be capable of piloting a car on limited-access highways. It is separate from technology developed by Cruise Automation, an autonomous-driving software company G.M. acquired; Cruise Automation is not part of the basis of the SuperCruise technology.

Source:  Linkedin/The New York Times

11 Ultra-Successful Entrepreneurs on How to Start Over If You Lose It All

If your worst fears come true and everything collapses, follow this advice.
11 Ultra-Successful Entrepreneurs on How to Start Over If You Lose It All

Image credit: Peter Cade | Getty Images

Tai Lopez on How to Live the Good Life

Avoid this one thing if you want of a life of good health, wealth, love and happiness.
Tai Lopez on How to Live the Good Life

Image credit: Mary Delaney/The Oracles
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APRIL 5, 2017

This article was written by The Oracles member Tai Lopez, an investor and advisor to many multimillion-dollar businesses, who has built an eight-figure online empire; connect with Tai on Facebook or Snapchat.

There is one thing sure to kill your hopes and dreams. It’s the “mismatch.”

And there is one thing sure to bring you “the good life” of health, wealth, love, and happiness. It’s avoiding the “mismatch.”

And there is one thing sure to bring you “the good life” of health, wealth, love, and happiness. It’s avoiding the “mismatch.”

What do I mean by this concept of the mismatch?

I was reading Daniel Lieberman’s “The Story of the Human Body.” The book covers much of this mismatch and explains how the hardwiring of your brain is adapted to be really good at living in a small village of about 150 people.

A village where you go to bed around 7:30 p.m., sleep eight hours, eat a ton of vegetables and a little meat, and where you fall in love and have kids with an old friend that you’ve known since childhood.

In that village, you have two or three career choices but not more than that. It’s a village where you are encouraged to save and not spend everything you earn.

But guess what? That world’s long gone. The world that the hard wiring of your brain works best with has been replaced with a modern, crazy world.

I live next to Hollywood. I can look out my window and see 13 million people. That’s a lot more than the 150 that Robin Dunbar, the Oxford anthropologist, said is the optimal number for my brain. I see the billboards selling me things I probably don’t need. My brain is designed to trust people. These advertisements are trying to take advantage of that trust.

My house has lights that let me stay up all night and not get enough sleep; I would feel a hell of a lot better if I went to bed like the Amish do, when the sun sets.

I have the option to pursue 1,000 career choices and invest money into 10,000 different stocks. My brain isn’t good at weeding out so many options. So I’m left thinking that maybe I’m missing out on some big business opportunity.

I can press one button on my phone and have Chinese, pizza or fast food delivered in 30 minutes. My body is not designed to always have that many calories on demand.

Like the Nobel Prize winner Christian Lous Lange said, “Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master.”

The modern world is a blitz of options. You have been taught that having all these options is the final culmination of man conquering nature, using technology. Unfortunately, almost all of those options are the “mismatch.”

Farmer and author Joel Salatin once told me, “Tai, humans can now create technology faster than they can anticipate the consequences of using the technology.” For example, last year the modern world’s agricultural technology produced about 1,300 million metric tons of sugar! That’s enough to make half the world fat and diabetic.

I was on a plane to Sweden and I bought a Sprite (it helps with my motion sickness). I read the label. There was like 40 grams of sugar. That’s double what I should have in a whole day!

We humans have gotten really good at making technology that tempts us into doing the wrong thing.

Psychology Today wrote a top-10 countdown list of all the evolutionary mismatches we face each day:

10. You are surrounded in your day-to-day life by a higher proportion of strangers than would ever have been true of our pre-agrarian hominid ancestors.

9. You run into a higher total number of people each day than our pre-agrarian hominid ancestors ever would have.

8. You have the option of spending 90 percent of your waking hours sitting at a desk—and you often exercise this option.

7. Your extended family includes people dispersed across hundreds or thousands of miles (think New York and Florida).

6. You have been exposed to more images of violence than ever would have been possible for pre-agrarian hominids.

5. You were likely educated in an age-stratified system—spending each of several years in a group comprised of about 25 others who matched you in age—being taught in a classroom environment by a few specially designated “teachers.” You likely spent a lot of time sitting behind desks in the process.

4. You are exposed regularly to politics at a global scale—often discussing or being involved in issues that potentially pertain to thousands, millions, or even billions of other humans.

3. You were raised in some variant of a nuclear family—with less assistance from aunts, uncles, older cousins, and grandparents than would have been typical of our nomadic ancestors.

2. You spend a great deal of time interacting with “screens” and “devices”—having the evolutionarily unprecedented possibility of almost never having to be bored at all.

1. You can eat an entire diet of processed foods—and you live in a world in which processed foods are cheaper and more accessible than natural foods.

You and I have been tricked by the mismatch of the mind.

I recently spoke with Jonathan Haidt, the NYU professor and researcher on human happiness. He says we have to all get on the right “path.” Haidt means we have to be part of a system. We cannot use willpower to become happy. We have to get in the right environment and then, over time, happiness and fulfillment will hit us.

The first way to start down this path is to remove all “learned helplessness.” This is a psychological concept pioneered by Martin Seligman.

Once a monkey is put into a zoo, it gets depressed because it feels helpless to hunt for its own food and control its own destiny. Even when you take the monkey out of the cage and return it to the jungle, it usually will still act helpless and just sit and starve to death. It doesn’t realize that it’s no longer helpless now that it’s out of the zoo cage.

It’s the same with you and me. The modern world and its many choices are like a cage. If you’re not careful it will trap you and bounce you around from one thing to another. Most of which are not in your best interests.

The good news is that we can live in a world that, for all it’s bad, also has tremendous good.

We have the option to cut the sugar, to sleep more, to find true love, and to find one career and stick with it for decades (which by the way, is by far the best way to make a lot of money).

That’s all for now. Stay strong.

 

How She Built a $50 Million Postcard Empire

~The Oracles

A brain trust of high-level entrepreneurs
The Oracles is an invitation-only brain trust comprised of the world’s leading entrepreneurs who share their top advice and success strategies to help others grow their business, live a better life, and achieve success faster.

Direct mail never died. It just needed an upgrade.

How She Built a $50 Million Postcard Empire

Image credit: Courtesy of Joy Gendusa
 
MARCH 24, 2017

Even some of the smartest moguls alive take for granted a truth that is just plain wrong: Direct mail is dead. No, we’re not making this up: Sending physical mail to prospects and customers can actually work — and pay off big-time.

While digital hogs the headlines, direct mail has made a quiet comeback, representing a huge opportunity for the businesses that do it right. Don’t take our word for it, though. Real businesses are benefitting from direct mail.

One real estate agent makes $5,000 to $20,000 in commissions every time she runs a direct mail campaign. A Texas dentist added six figures in new revenue thanks to one mailing. And a financial services firm spent a few thousand dollars to net dozens of new clients with an average value of $1,500 each.

This kind of success is typical for Joy Gendusa, founder of PostcardMania, a company that does nearly $50 million per year selling incredibly successful direct mail campaigns to thousands of small businesses.

And she has one simple argument for the haters:

Given her stunning success, we had to sit down with Gendusa to find out how to do direct mail right.

Born from a customer service experience from hell.

Gendusa started out small enough. She ran a graphic design business and tried to keep up with the market. “I started making more money brokering printing services than selling actual graphic designs,” Gendusa says.

Gendusa had two toddlers while working 70-hour weeks. The business was making some money, but nothing life-changing given the time she was investing. Even then, she still didn’t think about starting a large venture. That only happened when she had a customer service experience from hell.

She designed a postcard to promote her business and FedEx’d the art off to be made into postcards. When she got the proof back, it had the postcard company’s own phone number on the bottom in tiny five-point font.

“They told me I had to pay $50 to remove their branding on my postcard,” Gendusa says. She dodged the charge, but was furious about the bait-and-switch.

“I decided to start PostcardMania and that we’d sell direct to business owners. Nobody was doing that.” And a new industry was born. That was in 1998, and Gendusa hasn’t looked back since.

Why direct mail and why now?

It’s 2017 and someone is making tens of millions of dollars mailing postcards. How is this even possible?

According to UnitedMail, 79 percent of people act on direct mail immediately; only 45 percent do the same for email. More than two-thirds of consumers open all of their mail, even easily recognizable junk. If you think this only applies to your grandparents, think again. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 36 percent of people under the age of 30 look forward to checking their mail. Thirty-seven percent of the coveted 25- to 35-year-old demographic immediately read their mail.

Gendusa’s numbers validate direct mail’s appeal. Her company made $45.7 million in 2015 almost exclusively by sending 135 million postcards that sell products and services for more than 13,000 customers.

Image credit: Courtesy of Joy Gendusa

Gendusa’s enthusiasm for direct mail doesn’t mean she shuns digital. Her postcards marry the best of both worlds. Her company’s mailings are optimized for conversion through strategic design and innovative tracking codes that provide levels of delivery precision.

In fact, Gendusa sees a valuable role for PostcardMania in a digital landscape. “Google advertising isn’t very user friendly,” she says. “People set budget for $500, it’s suddenly gone and they have no idea what happened to clicks and leads. Google doesn’t teach things like remarketing well. It’s not just about getting someone to click, but what they do when they arrive.”

Gendusa and her team understand these challenges because they’re marketers first. In addition to selling postcards, the company makes it dead simple for clients to convert postcard traffic by building landing pages and WordPress sites that non-programmer clients can then customize.

Welcome to the modern mail campaign.

Modern direct mail campaigns are well-oiled machines that marry the best of direct and digital marketing. On one hand, the cards have crisp calls to action on their physical surface; on the other, the actions that the consumer takes are tracked and enhanced using online technologies like retargeting.

Here’s how it works. PostcardMania crafts clear, eye-catching copy on the postcard design for, say, a dance school client. The copy offers a free day of dance to local moms in the hopes of bringing in new students. Then, the card continues with carefully defined bullet points that speak to the dance school’s benefits on the back. These include items like “teaches discipline” and “fun and entertaining.” The card is sent to a highly targeted list of mothers with an annual income over $100,000 and daughters ages five to 12.

“Too many business owners sacrifice clarity for cleverness,” says Gendusa. “We’re trying to get a response not a design award, so we make the postcard crystal clear.”

When prospective customers visit the dance school’s website using the URL on the postcard, PostcardMania uses cookies to add that prospective customer to their online follow-up list. Anyone on the follow-up list sees online ads promoting the free day of dance for 90 days while surfing online. The ads are designed just like the postcard, so the marketing stays consistent when it makes the jump from print to digital. Small businesses get access to branding that used to only be available to major marketers. And they are paying pennies on the dollar, thanks to PostcardMania’s partnership with the Google network.

PostcardMania’s website touts a number of case studies in dozens of industries where customers generate considerable revenue with a single direct mail campaign. Because of that, the business has grown over the last 18 years to employ more than 200 full-time staff and generate nearly $50 million in annual revenue, all while touting a culture more at home in Silicon Valley than its Tampa Bay, Fla., location.

And there will be millions to go around if her bet on software and subscriptions pays off.

Postcards, meet software.

To capitalize on her success, Gendusa started a software startup, DirectMail2.0, that offers a white label version of PostcardMania’s software to other printing and mailing companies. More than 50 partners have already bought in and the DirectMail2.0 product produced $1 million for PostcardMania the first year it launched. It has more than doubled in revenue since.

Gendusa’s also spearheading the postcard-as-a-service model. Her product “New In Town” is a follow-up system that mails an area’s new residents each month on behalf of PostcardMania’s customers, fully automatically. These introductory postcards are critical for local businesses: They introduce the business to new residents and lock in long-term customers by offering one-time promotions.

These successes have PostcardMania set to crack $100 million in the next 24 months, proving one simple truth: Anyone who says direct mail is dead should check the casket, because it represents a huge opportunity for the businesses that do it right.

Image credit: Courtesy of Joy Gendusa

Six steps to the perfect postcard marketing campaign.

There is art and science to postcard marketing. Gendusa shared with us what business owners and entrepreneurs must do to create campaigns that boost visibility and sales, based on the strategies she used to make millions off direct mail.

1. Get the right list. Postcard campaigns live and die by the quality of their mailing list. Gendusa suggests isolating a list of only your target market — even if you have fewer people on it.

2. Actually design with your audience in mind. Gendusa says that direct mail marketers make the same serious mistake over and over again: They assume their audience understands the terminology of their industry. “Financial advisors do this all the time,” she says. “Nobody knows what they mean and they don’t get responses.” And it happens in every industry.

3. Communicate what problem you solve — immediately. Too many business owners waste postcard space with unnecessary copy that no one ends up reading. Instead, they need to immediately communicate what problem the business solves in the headline (not buried in the body copy).

4. Don’t get cute with your images. The image used on the postcard should be “instantly recognizable,” Gendusa says. Too many business owners and entrepreneurs try to get cute or creative, and end up confusing their audience. You have seconds to communicate a value proposition and reinforce it with an image. If you fail, consumers won’t keep reading. More importantly, they won’t act.

5. Don’t neglect the back of the card. It’s just as important as the front. Once the reader turns over the card, you’ll want a sub-headline that transitions into text or bulleted items with the benefits of your product or service. Keep them simple, Gendusa says. People won’t read a bunch of text.

6. Create an authoritative call-to-action. “People enjoy being told what to do instead of just being given a phone number,” says Gendusa. The last item on the card you want them to see is a clear call-to-action that gives the reader directions: go to the site, download an offer or pick up the phone and call today.

It helps that Gendusa never loses sight of the mission behind even a simple postcard.

“We’re not just selling a commodity. Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and we want to help them grow.”