Spend Time on Labors of Love

12/02/14 0 COMMENTS

I have a confession. I’m pathologically persnickety when it comes to how I spend my time in my professional life.

Over the course of the last decade (or so), I’ve removed activities from my professional life that I do not enjoy. I don’t enjoy phone calls, so I have http://SorryNoCalls.com. I don’t enjoy managing people — so I don’t (despite the fact that my company, HubSpot [NYSE:HUBS], has over 700 employees).

Don’t get me wrong, as founder of the company I will move mountains to help the company and my team grow. But, over many, many years I’ve discovered that the best thing I can do for the company in the long-term is to allow myself to focus on the things I love doing.

I attribute much of my modest success to the fact that I have allowed myself the luxury to spend time on labors of love.

I love teaching both in written form and otherwise — so I do.

I love learning — and so I do.

I love building things — and so I do.

Here’s a concrete example: For the past year or so, my primary labor of love at HubSpot has been inbound.org. As part of that effort, today, I launched a new tool/service that provides a dynamic list of the top marketing blogs in the world. Now, some might ask: Why would you do this? My answer: Because I thought it needed to exist, it fits into my larger mission of helping marketers connect and grow and because it makes me joyful.

Another example: Despite being Chief Technology Officer for the company, I still write code. Some might argue that there are probably better uses of my time. In the short-run, that’s probably true. But in the long-run, it keeps me plugged in, helps me recruit better and it makes me joyful.

The “makes me joyful” is the most important part. Because I allow myself to do the things that bring me joy, I’m still having a great time at HubSpot. Candidly, I’m having more fun now when the company is 700+ people than I had when we were 70 people — and even 7 people. And in the long run, especially for start-ups, I think founder happiness matters. Some of the best tech companies in the world still have their founders involved. Google. Facebook. Dropbox. The list goes on and on. What founders bring to the table is not just some domain expertise and talent. They bring love. To lose that is to lose something important.

So, some closing advice for entrepreneurs:

The most important things to do are the things that will keep you in love.

Of course, in the early years, you may not have the luxury to spend all/most of the time on things you love. That’s OK. Just start somewhere and afford yourself even the small luxuries and take it from there.

 

Dharmesh Shah

Giving Thanks for Letting Go: How To Manage the Guilt and “Shoulds” This Holiday

11/25/14 0 COMMENTS

“Beware the bareness of a busy life.” – Socrates

As my family prepares for Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of what a powerful time of year this is. Starting this week, we will each experience moments of this season’s joys, as well as, frustrations. Through it all, please remember that this season is a time to reflect, to be gentle with yourself, and to create a life you love. It was during the holidays a few years ago that I experienced my wake up call.

It was December 26th. The day after Christmas. Ten days after my daughter’s first birthday. I was sitting on the floor coiling Christmas lights when I began to try to stand up. Almost immediately, I sunk back down to the floor.

I was tired. I was physically tired. I was emotionally tired. Even my soul felt tired.

In that moment, I couldn’t help but wonder: how did I get here? Sitting on the family room floor after two beautiful family events—my daughter’s birthday and Christmas—and my bones, heart, and soul ached so much that I considered whether I would be able to stand up again.

Six weeks after the birth of my daughter, I chose to get back on a plane and continue building my consulting business. I spent the entire first year of her life haunted by my ego as I frantically tried to build my business, serve clients, and prove that I was needed and valuable.

The image of a successful woman that I’ve always carried with me is that of a woman who is smart, driven, professionally accomplished. She is also a Mary Poppins mom, a loving wife, and a leader in the community. And she is someone who makes it all look effortless with her calm, impeccable style.

That superwoman was the gold standard I’d spent years, and especially the last year, trying to live up to. But now, on December 26th, I’d awakened only to realize that as much as I was chasing the dream of the superwoman, I wasn’t living my life.

I came crashing headfirst into my so called life. The words of Socrates, beware the bareness of a busy life, were suddenly eerily real. I knew it was time for me to make some significant changes in my life.

As I reflected back on that year, I realized that I had been driven by guilt and its close cousin, the “shoulds.” Together, they ignited a fire in me that drove me, ultimately filling my hours and days with busyness.

Guilt would rear its ugly head with questions like, “Am I working too much and not spending enough time with my family?” Or “Am I undermining my health and my family’s health because a significant majority of the food consumed in the household comes from a takeout box?” Perhaps, “Am I letting down my client because I did not immediately reply to their email?”

All I needed to do was to spend a few minutes pondering questions like these, and I was deep in the black hole of guilt—insecure, confused, miserable, tired.

But, when I paused on December 26th, I realized that it was my fears and anxieties that were driving me. My guilt was the manifestation of both. So, I decided it was time to face my fears by asking myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen? Is it real? Is it true?”

As I looked at my fears—really looked at them—I realized that I had created elaborate, worst case scenarios that had no actual grounding in reality. They were neither real nor true.

I did not know a business owner who had lost a client because they did not immediately respond to an email. And, upon reflection, if I did lose a client because of this, he or she probably wasn’t an ideal client for me.

Once I realized that fear and anxiety had been driving my guilt, it was time for me to take an honest look at its close cousin, the “shoulds.” The “should” are those voices in your head—and you know the ones—saying “You should be doing this,” “You should like that,” “You should spend time on this,” “You should stop doing that,” and so on and so forth—endlessly.

There were numerous unspoken “shoulds” that had contributed to my busy, barren, exhausted life. The problem with the “shoulds” is that they can easily become a runaway train, completely derailing your ability to get clear and focused on what you need and desire.

I realized that I needed to start saying “no”. Saying “no” to the voices inside my head, and maybe externally as well, and doing it in a new way—a way that I developed and like to call the “P.O.W.E.R. No.”

Here’s how I use it:

Priorities: When that voice in your head tells you that should complete this task, lead another project, attend another meeting, or make cupcakes from scratch, evaluate the priority of that message. How does this “should” align to your priorities, the company’s strategic priorities, and/or your family’s priorities?
Opportunities: Explore the opportunities. What opportunities does this “should” create for you? Is there something that does actually need additional attention in your life? This “should” could be shining a light on something that you need to address.
Who: Who or what triggered this “should”? Was it an old script from childhood? Was it an ad in a magazine? Was it your colleague?
Expectations: Whose expectations are these really? Your manager? Your mother? Your spouse? Your child? Society’s?
Real: Get real.What is this “should” really about? Are there real priorities that are driving this “should”? Or are you taking on societal expectations that are not in alignment with your priorities?

The P.O.W.E.R. No enables me to think carefully and critically about all of the “shoulds” so that I can consciously and thoughtfully respond. It has helped me get back in the driver’s seat of my life—conscious, intentional and awake.

I am so grateful that I crashed headfirst into my life on December 26th. In that moment of crisis and confusion, I was able to see clearly what drove me to such a barren, lifeless existence—and to know that I was capable of fixing it to restore personal and professional order for myself.

Today, I have created a life that keeps me connected to my husband and daughter, laughing, running in the mornings, building my dream business, working simply and living fully.

With that said though, I keep Socrates’ quote posted inside my desk drawer. It serves as a simple reminder of not only what’s at stake, but also, and more important, how far I’ve come to build a life I love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Holidays.

Carson Tate

Confidence Trumps Talent When It Comes To Success

11/18/14 0 COMMENTS

“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.” – Zig Ziglar

That quote conjures up the best mental images. I can picture a person who will not be deterred. You can clearly visualize the fisherman in this tiny boat, the rough seas, boat rocking back and forth, and still ready to fight the ferocious creature – all the while knowing they will prevail the victor.

That’s confidence. That’s attitude. That’s mojo.

Confidence and State of Mind

Confidence is state of mind. It’s the feeling of self-assurance that arises from the appreciation of your abilities and qualities. Confidence is knowing what you bring to the table. You believe in your knowledge, skills, and the experience you have.

It’s knowing that you can get the job done.

Talent or Confidence? What Drives Success?

According to Medical News Today, confidence, not talent, is a driver of success. Researchers at the University of California (UC) Berkeley’s Haas School of Business found that those who were more confident experience more success than their peers, despite their talent.

Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that those who appeared more confident achieved a higher status than their peers. At work, “higher-status individuals” tended to be more admired, listened to, and had more influence over group decisions.

Business News Daily also published studies on confidence that suggested confident employees have more fruitful careers than their peers who aren’t as self-assured. Their research discovered a correlation between confidence and career success and also revealed that those who self-reported higher levels of confidence earlier in school earned better wages, and were promoted more quickly.

Can it be? Can confidence really be the key to greater success?

The Importance of Confidence

The good thing about confidence is that you don’t have to be born with it. You can increase it whenever you want. Confidence is not a static measure. Our confidence to perform tasks can increase and decrease. Some days we even feel more confident than others.

But being confident changes things. People take notice.

Confidence changes your relationships, how you communicate, your ability to meet your goals, and having a successful working environment. Confidence is one of our most important assets.

How Does Confidence Help?

Confidence helps with competence

Let’s say you are having an interview. Your skills can be off the page but you have to be able to convince an employer that you can do the job. If your body language or communication style says otherwise, that’s going to hurt.

Confidence helps with communication

If you lack confidence, it diminishes your ability to speak with conviction to your colleagues. It may even keep you from meeting new people and forming good relationships.

Confidence helps with meeting goals

If you don’t believe you’re capable of reaching your goals, you probably won’t reach them.

Confidence means you are comfortable just being you

You can tell a confident person by the way they walk into the room.

Confidence frees us from fear

It helps us move out of our self-restricted boundary – called our comfort zone – and helps us to control any situation, circumstance, or outcome.

Confidence replaces fear and anxiety.

Confidence helps our success

The studies above have shown a correlation between self-confidence and success. Increasing confidence can help to increase success.

How to Gain Confidence and Get That Whale

Plan and Prepare – Prepare for difficult situations and take control of the unknown. Break it down into bite-size pieces so you can plan our course of actions.

Increase Your Knowledge – The more you know, the more confident you become. Increased knowledge helps boost confidence levels as well as confidence with our abilities to perform roles and tasks. As we continue to complete our tasks, our confidence that we can complete the same and similar tasks again increases.

Know You Will Do It – Powerful thoughts provide us with powerful intentions. Negative thoughts can be very damaging to confidence and your ability to achieve goals.

Strengthen Your Strengths and Improve Your Weaknesses – Keep doing what you do best and continue to develop those strengths. Understand where you fall behind and find ways to improve or manage your weaknesses.

Take Note of the Times You Were Not Successful – Don’t think of your mistakes as negatives but rather as learning opportunities. Some of the greatest life lessons are a result of missing the mark first go around.

Recognize Your Accomplishments and Accept Compliments – It’s okay to toot your horn every now and then. Recognize your own achievements and don’t be embarrassed to accept compliments when given.

Learn to Express Yourself – Stand up for what is important to you. Flex those vocal cords. Stand up for what you believe and stick to your principles. People admire those who are not afraid to speak what is on their mind. Assertiveness, confidence and self-confidence are linked. As people become naturally more assertive, confidence develops.

Confidence is Not Cockiness – Be confident but not cocky. Arrogance doesn’t win friends and can be detrimental to interpersonal relationships. A little humility goes a long way to temperate arrogance.

Remember, it’s not enough just to feel confident. You have to actually perform the task at hand. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. When you set the ground rules for an expectation of success, you can attempt new things, forge new relationships, contribute to your success, and revel in small wins as you move toward bigger goals – or the whale.

Jan Johnston Osburn

How To Ask For Advice, And Get It!

11/11/14 0 COMMENTS

We all need advice, but many of us don’t seek it. When we do, we stumble over ourselves with shyness and often ask the wrong person. Learning how to ask for and receive not just advice, but good advice, is a skill that many of us should work on. When it’s advice about your career, it probably should not come from mom or your high school buddy.

First, let’s define what “good advice” is. In my experience, good advice is true, solid, and actionable. It comes from a place of experience and wisdom. Also, it is given by someone in a position to actually help. Very likely that person has lived what you are going through and learned a few lessons from their own experience.

Advice proliferates; it’s everywhere from the TV show Good Morning America to thousands of self-help books, but good advice is something you have to seek with intent.

If good advice is valuable, why is it so hard to obtain? Sometimes, people are too ashamed to ask for help, especially if they think the person is important. Also, people tend to be too busy to stop and ask, often questioning whether taking the time to ask will be worthwhile. And unfortunately, good advice is hard to obtain because when we do ask for it, we ask the wrong person in the wrong way.

I have been fortunate enough to be the CEO of three software companies including now at Aha!, I have learned a bit about asking for help and providing assistance. There are a number of ways to seek advice. In a business context, oftentimes it’s not a casual request. Therefore, giving some thought to your request beforehand will help you be prepared to ask for appropriate advice as well as to receive it in a way that allows you to act on what you learn.

It is important to know how to ask for good advice. And it’s even more important to recognize a trusted adviser when you see one.

So, how do you do that? I suggest three ways that have worked for me on both the requesting and receiving end:

Clearly define your problem
Before seeking advice, ask yourself what problem you seek to solve. Define its parameters. Make it as specific as possible. And if you can not easily define it in a sentence, you definitely are not going to get a meaningful answer. Force yourself to write the problem down.

Ask the right person
Give some thought to who might be able to help. The person to ask for advice is someone who has relevant experience or knowledge pertinent to the question you have. Remember: you’re not seeking opinions; you’re seeking a trusted adviser. Approach the problem and the adviser with that distinction in mind. And don’t worry if you do not know the right person, use your network to make the right connection.

Ask one question
Describe your question when you find the right person in a clear and concise way. Limit background noise and concentrate on the end-goal of receiving actionable, valuable help. One straightforward question is most likely to yield a sound, meaningful reply. And when you get a helpful response, share a heartfelt thank-you if you expect to be assisted again.

Most people are happy to help others; because it validates one’s own worth. I personally enjoy helping ambitious people who are acting with purpose whenever I can.

Oftentimes, though, I cannot help because the question I am being asked is not clear or because I do not have the right expertise. The three steps I suggest above will help both seeker and adviser attain results.

Learning how to ask for and receive good advice can help advance your career. Clearly identifying the question you have and the people who can help answer it is a great start. Then, help that person to help you by being direct with what you seek, and you both will benefit.

Brian de Haaff

Propel Yourself to Success

11/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Whether you’re starting a new job or starting your first job, success may seem a long way up the ladder. Perhaps you are many rungs down on the corporate hierarchy. Perhaps your job keeps you far from the company’s most powerful players. You may believe success in your job is a far off dream.

I recently wrote about how thinking like a leader will change your perspective, propelling you to success. This is a great quality to have throughout your career. But if you’re starting something new, there are things you can do – right now – to begin your climb. While your current job may not be considered a power position, you can begin to move yourself in that direction, building the habits and attitudes that will propel you forward. Even if you are in the most entry-level of positions, your success strategy can begin today.

Try these strategies:

Collect small successes. The trick to beginning your upward climb is to foster a habit of success. You may feel you are too far down in the corporate ranking to rack up successes, but that’s not so. Set the goals yourself. Set small ones so that you achieve them routinely and establish a pattern of success in your experience. This is a habit you can foster now.
Set stretch goals. Even as you set your achievable early goals, be sure to also set ones far above your reach. While you may feel they are far off, these stretch goals will serve to inspire you as you make your small steps upward.
Use visualization. Great athletes use this technique to achieve their goals. Visualize your achievements – great and small. Keep the vision in your head as you work. These will help you to stay on track and not lose faith in your ultimate success.

How will you propel yourself to success?

Hiroshi Mikitani

The Six Worst Things You Should Never Do At Work

10/28/14 0 COMMENTS

Careers are not easy to build. Unfortunately there is no clear road-map to success that highlights an exact process to follow that will guarantee us a fruitful and happy career and life. However, there are steps that we can take to help increase our chances.

Throughout my career so far, I have made and observed others make a great number of mistakes. I have also accomplished and watched others do some really great and important things successfully which resulted in significant business, career and personal advancement.

When I look back at my career and life and those of others who I either personally know or have followed through the media, there are six things that stand out in my mind as the most devastating and irreversible mistakes we can make in our professional and personal lives.

Here are the 6 things you should never do at work:

1. React to ANYTHING out of rage or spite

I’m sure you remember Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who in 2010 dramatically quit his job and made a scene by sliding down the emergency exit of a flight he was working prior to its takeoff. He was arrested and burned not only the bridge with JetBlue or any airline for that matter, but is probably not too likely to be considered a serious candidate by many organizations because of his very public, unprofessional, and explosive resignation.

Since most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work we will undoubtedly face times of anger, frustration, fear, and the whole range of emotions that make us who we are. As much as it is important to be genuine and honest with our colleagues, and ourselves, it is important that we do so respectfully of everyone around us and of the place where we work.

When faced with a challenging situation, take time to internalize it and cool off before reacting. An adverse reaction out of anger or spite rarely accomplishes anything positive both at work and in our personal lives.

If you’ve ever read Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, you might remember that the most immediate and efficient way to get a point across to someone is rarely the most effective at getting the results we hope for.

2. Betray your coworkers or friends

Remember the expression your parents hammered into your head while you were growing up?

“Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

Well that applies to the people we work with too.

Unfortunately I see it, or should I say hear it almost everyday. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past, and it’s not something that I’m proud of. I hear people mocking and sabotaging the reputation and careers of their coworkers, bosses talking poorly about employees to other employees, and people putting down friends behind their backs. No one is immune to this and few can honestly say that they’ve never committed any of these workplace social crimes.

The bottom line is that gossiping about others shows a sever lack of integrity on the part of those partaking in the gossip. Talking behind someone’s back never justly resolves any real issues.

Betraying your friends and colleagues is an intentional and malicious act that in the long run will come back to haunt you.

“What goes around comes around.”

Sorry for all the clichés, but from my experience this is 100% true.

3. Bring your personal baggage to the office

We all have lives outside of work and at times our personal lives can be demanding and taxing on our physical, emotional and mental states. Seeing as many of us develop strong friendships with our colleagues at work, it can be easy at times to talk to them about personal matters during work hours.

The problem that this creates is that now not only are we ourselves distracted with our issues, but we are now distracting our work friends and keeping them from doing their jobs also. We are all human and can have trouble separating our personal state of mind from our professional state of mind, but by continuing to bring our personal affairs into the office with us, we are hurting not only our chances of success, but the chances of our close colleagues.

If you wish to share your personal challenges with a colleague whom you trust, then only do so outside of business hours or on breaks. If your problems become too hard to manage, seek professional help. The benefits, both personal and professional, that you can realize by seeking the help of a therapist, counselor, or coach will often times surprise you in a very positive way.

4. Lie

Most of us lie because we are hiding truths. We hide these truths because we are either afraid of certain consequences or because we feel that the will do us more harm than good and that we will get further ahead by telling a lie.

The issue with this is that when you lie you are accepting the truth as a weakness. Rather than facing the truth and growing as an individual, you are choosing to avoid reality and run from your challenges.

In the workplace and in our personal lives, it takes a lot of energy and focus to keep up with the lies we tell. What I’ve learned from my past mistakes is that the truth usually comes out eventually. If you lie about your experience to get a job, the truth will come out when you start your new role and appear lost or make certain mistakes that you would have avoided if you had the skills and experience you claimed to have.

When we lie about something today, we are jeopardizing our credibility, reputation, and possibilities for tomorrow.

5. Complain about your job, company, or coworkers

Before my corporate career, I worked as a sales rep for a large national electronics retail chain to pay for my schooling. After working at the company for 3 years the company was taken over by an even larger retail chain from the U.S. who decided to change the commission structure. The new structure made it harder for me and the other sales reps to earn what we had become accustomed to.

In my displeasure I started complaining to my colleagues and manager about how I hated the new changes and how unhappy they were making me rather than focusing on selling more. Eventually I was let go because my sales started to drop and my toxic attitude became a liability for the company. I was left to scramble to find a new job.

Were I to have been more respectful and approached the situation from a different angle, such as talking about my aspirations and what I enjoyed most and were most successful at in my job, perhaps I could have negotiated an increase in my base salary or even a promotion to Assistant Manager.

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

These days corporations are placing more and more importance on company culture. If you make it a habit to speak negatively about your company or it’s management you are not doing yourself any favors.

The next time you feel like you’ve reached a dead-end in your job, rather than expressing your displeasure to your boss or coworkers, try to work with your manager to find ways that you can advance with the current company. Highlight the strengths that you’ve demonstrated on the job and try to find a solution for one of your company’s current challenges. I know many people who succeeded at creating exciting new roles for themselves by presenting an innovative option to their managers. It may not work every time, but it’s worth a try. If it doesn’t work then you are no further behind from where you started and you can then decide what your next step should be.

Whatever the situation, you will get further ahead in life by communicating respectfully and effectively with others.

6. Burn your bridges

Have you heard of the saying“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”

There are few things truer than that!

I’ve learned that the single most influential element to success in business is really the people who we build relationships with. Having the right skills and abilities is extremely important to achieving your goals and growing both in business and as individuals, but you still need the help of others along the way.

Everyone we work with today might one day either need our help or be able to help us. If we treat others with respect and are genuine towards them we are able to form many potential powerful relationships with our bosses, our employees, our coworkers, our mentors, people we meet at events, and anyone really.

We don’t have to befriend everyone. Although we should choose our friends carefully and avoid those whom we feel we can’t trust, we should never burn our bridges.

It sometimes takes just one other person to change the rest of your life, so treat those you encounter with dignity and respect.

Steven Tulman

Great Job Descriptions Hire Great Candidates

10/21/14 0 COMMENTS

In a perfect world, everyone who applies for an open position at your company is well qualified, enthusiastic and a good fit for your work environment.

But let’s be realistic. Many job descriptions are written quickly and come across as vague and unfocused. This approach encourages a high volume of unqualified applicants and also deters some of your best prospects. Because here’s the bottom line: if you want to attract quality applicants, you need to write a quality job description.

Writing a great job description can be a bit challenging, but it’s also easier than it seems. With some additional planning—and possibly some help from the best wordsmith on your team—you’ll have a job description designed to help you hire the best candidates in your field.

How to get started:

Decide what you’re looking for. Start by asking yourself what your company really needs. What type of individual will thrive in your environment? What are your current team’s weak points? What kind of employee would complement and enhance your existing workforce? Answering these questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of what you’re looking for in a new employee.

Describe your work environment. Most job postings spend a lot time describing qualifications and say very little about company culture. Big mistake. The culture of any workplace is extremely important for a prospective candidate. Include a snapshot of what your environment is like in your description. How big is your team? Is this a high-pressure environment or a more laid-back 9-5 operation? Do most employees spend their day working independently or is the workplace highly collaborative? The right candidates will be highly interested in this information and thus, it’s in your best interest to include it.

Be realistic. Another common job description error is to make too many vague requests. Don’t provide a long laundry list of qualifications that you think an applicant should possess. Instead, consider asking only for the most crucial skills. What most companies are really looking for is an experienced candidate who learns quickly and adapts well. If you ask for too many things, some of your best prospects might look elsewhere.

Ann Bedford-Flood

America Is Running Out of Entrepreneurs

10/15/14 0 COMMENTS

America’s biggest problem is that we don’t have enough good jobs. Yes, unemployment has gone “down” to 5.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But that percentage is almost meaningless, as it doesn’t count people who’ve quit looking for work. A staggering 20 million people or more are still jobless or grossly underemployed, and many are deeply frustrated or depressed — they’re not celebrating “declining” unemployment.

More troubling, Gallup Analytics finds U.S. underemployment above 15 percent and only about 45 percent of adults employed in full-time jobs with at least 30 hours per week of work and a paycheck from a real organization. According to the Labor Department, the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population remains at one of the lowest levels since they began measuring this.

The one thing I’d fix right away is this super serious jobs problem, because if we don’t, we might lose our republic and our way of life. And I wouldn’t fix it with more government “shovel-ready” jobs or free money from the Federal Reserve. I’d fix it with millions of new start-up companies and by reviving the spirit of entrepreneurship.

We’ve got our work cut out for us. In 2008, the total number of new business start-ups and business closures per year – the birth and death rates of American companies — crossed for the first time since the measurement began, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Here, I am referring to employer businesses, those with one or more employees.) Four hundred thousand new businesses are now being born annually nationwide, while 470,000 are dying annually — we are at minus 70,000 business survival per year. This is hugely significant, because small businesses are the main source of new good jobs and new economic energy. Up to 50 percent of all jobs are in small businesses and approximately 65 percent of all new good jobs are created by them, according to the Small Business Administration.

Also significant: A shortage of good jobs leads to social unrest. This is true especially when young males are affected, because joblessness destroys their self-concept, makes them feel depressed, humiliated, and hopeless.

Why was there such unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer? You could say it was a problem between cops and minorities, but I’d argue this was a jobs problem. As The Washington Post reported, “The unemployment and poverty rates for blacks in St. Louis County are consistently higher than those rates for white residents.”

If all those young men in Ferguson had a good job to go to each morning — one where they could feel pride in themselves, feel productive, and be doing something that matters — do you think they would be in the streets, protesting, rioting, and looting? Probably not.

The fix: American business leaders in cities across the country, as well as local elected officials, must begin right away to find and nurture tomorrow’s most successful entrepreneurs in their communities. America needs at least a million more start-ups fast. This means being as serious and intentional about the early identification and development of entrepreneurs as you are about finding star athletes and kids with high IQ’s.

And the talent is out there, waiting to be found. There are nearly 30 million students in U.S. middle and high schools right now. Early Gallup research reports that about five in 1,000 working-age adults in the U.S. possess the rare talents of entrepreneurship, so that means there are about 150,000 future blue-chip entrepreneurs in fifth through 12th grades now, more in college, and tens of thousands more high-potential adult business builders out there. City leaders should find them all and make their entrepreneurial growth as systematic and intentional as intellectual and athletic growth are. Great business builders are like great scientists or great quarterbacks — they will respond and accelerate with special attention. Furthermore, without it, their potential is at risk of being underdeveloped, or worse, never developed at all.

Americans have accomplished much harder tasks. We mobilized the whole country to win World War II. We put a man on the moon. Good Lord, we ignited the dot-com boom that revolutionized business and led to one of the greatest bull markets in history. We can turn the American economy around. But we had better get on this one fast, because we need millions of good jobs right now.

Jim Clifton

Please join Joseph Chris Partners in Welcoming our newest addition to the team, Angie Truitt!

10/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Angie Truitt joined Joseph Chris Partners as a Partner in 2014. A military brat, Angie developed a talent at an early age for developing and maintaining relationships that would later become invaluable in her career as a recruiting professional.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree in business management with a focus on marketing, Angie began working in retail sales management for The Limited Stores and became the youngest store manager in company history at the time. Shortly after graduation, Angie opted to follow in her father’s footsteps and attend law school, graduating from Baylor University in 1999. Practicing law for 13 years allowed Angie the opportunity to develop relationships with other lawyers and business owners and to become a keen listener, critical thinker, and skilled communicator. Those abilities enabled her to quickly identify the specific needs of her clients and deliver the results they expected and translated seamlessly into a career as a recruiter. Partnering with clients and candidates in the legal field, Angie successfully placed attorneys in new positions with law firms, small businesses, corporations, and nonprofits prior to joining the team at Joseph Chris Partners.

What Angie offers her clients and candidates alike is authenticity, dedication, creativity, and a genuine desire to build lasting relationships. Honesty and trust are key in any successful relationship, personal or professional, and Angie is proud to be a part of a team whose foundation is built on integrity. Additionally, finding just the right person requires hard work and persistence, someone who is committed to producing quality results. Any recruiter can amass dozens of resumes and forward them to a client in the hope that one might be a match, but Angie listens carefully to both her clients’ needs and her candidates’ career goals to ensure those candidates submitted will be a match. Also, attorneys are trained to think very critically, examining each issue to not only solve existing problems but to anticipate future concerns, and then to provide practical solutions. As such, Angie brings a very creative approach to recruiting, adding value for her clients by employing nontraditional search methods when necessary to get the best result possible. Finally, dating back to her childhood and life in the military, Angie has always been successful in forging long lasting relationships that span both miles and years. This skill, or what Angie views as a gift with which she’s been blessed, is the cornerstone of her recruiting practice and what brings her the most professional fulfillment.
Angie loves spending time with her daughter, and when she isn’t supporting her at a sporting event or band concert, Angie can be found at the beach or the gym. She is an avid CrossFitter, has competed in the Tough Mudder, is active in Team Red, White, and Blue, and plans to retire on the beach somewhere, someday.

Please join us in Welcoming Andrea Felt to Joseph Chris Partners!

10/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Andrea Felt joins Joseph Chris Partners as a Special Projects/Executive Administrative Assistant to our company CEO, Veronica Ramirez.

She previously worked as a senior researcher in real estate valuation and counseling where she worked closely with lawyers. Her efforts included researching deeds and sales of commercial properties and preparation of exhibits for hearings and trials pertaining to eminent domain cases. She also assisted with bookkeeping, record keeping and managed fee allocation and served as communication liaison for public sector accounting departments.

Andrea has also worked as an information systems research analyst and consultant, technical support for internal software, hardware and IT systems.

Andrea is a Houston native and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In her free time she loves doing Crossfit, training for half marathons and participating in anything involved with the outdoors.

We are pleased to have Andrea join us as her research, organization and detail orientation skills will help our organization efficiently and effectively serve our clients!

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