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Mixing Work and Play

work-play.jpgFortune does a great job every year of compiling the 100 best places to work. They put out the list for 2009 a little while back. We found their top pick this year interesting.

NetApp, a data storage and management company, knocked Google out of the top spot for the first time in three years.

You can find a great video about NetApp on the Fortune site. NetApp invests time and money to create a culture where people want to work. The video shows people playing volleyball and working out in the company gym. It sure doesn’t look like work!

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They do more than encourage play time at work

NetApp has a program that pays employees to take time off to volunteer for something they’re passionate about. They’ve found that employees sometimes come together to work on a cause. So this program has helped build teamwork among their people.

You may be thinking …

“Well, this is great but it sure wouldn’t work in my business.”

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georgeI understand why someone might think that because it wouldn’t have worked in the businesses I was in before we started Bigg Success. Most of our people were in the field. We didn’t need a gym – the work was very physical so most of our employees got a great workout with their job. We were lucky to see most of our people for fifteen minutes a day. But the details of what NetApp does aren’t really important.

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marylynnYeah, it’s the idea behind what they’re doing at NetApp that we think is most interesting. Bigg success is life on your own terms. The leaders of the company are certainly doing that. They set out to build a great company by creating a great place to work. The founder says that they took a leap of faith and spent time and money to create this incredible environment for their employees.

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That’s three of the five elements of bigg success right there – growth, time and money! But they hit all five because they have found ways to let their employees play at work.

Now isn’t that an interesting idea? Work doesn’t have to be … work.

Something magical happens

In the interview, NetApp’s founder talks about energizing people. They think when people feel good – when they feel motivated – something magical happens.

That’s why we’re talking about them today. They are a great example of something that’s critical to living our lives on our own terms. It’s the bigg idea behind bigg success:

You create synergy between the five elements of bigg success by understanding the relationship between them and discovering ways to get them all working in sync.

Our lives are fuller when we’re able to do that.

We work to make money so we can afford to play. But what if you can work and play all at the same time. Isn’t that so much better?

What if you loved your work so much that it seemed like play? What if that work paid you enough to buy everything you really wanted?

NetApp took a leap of faith that’s paying off for them. Sure, they’re being affected by current economic conditions. But their market share has gone up in spite of it.

It can happen to you too. In your life. In your business.

Look for ways to blend the five elements for your benefit. That leads to bigg success!

Have you found ways to blend work and play?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for stopping by our site today.

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Bigg success is life on your own terms. Please join us next time as we discuss ramping up your savings one term at a time.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 1

success Today on The Bigg Success Show, we were honored to have Deb Neuman as our guest. Deb is the host of the Back to Business Radio Show, talk radio for small business owners on WVOM, the Voice of Maine News Talk Network. Deb was recently named Small Business Journalist of the Year for Maine and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Passion

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marylynnDeb, you've talked with thousands of entrepreneurs and you've found some critical keys to business success and they all start with “P”. Your first one is Passion. You have to love what you do.

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debIt’s not unlike a relationship; it’s not unlike love. You have to be passionate about the person that you commit your time and your life to. It certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to like them every second. Similar to operating a small business, you don’t have to love every part of it. A personal example of that … I used to own an inn in Bar Harbor, Maine and I cleaned more toilets in five years of inn ownership than most people would ever want to do in a lifetime. So that wasn’t my favorite part, but I was certainly passionate about my business as a whole and I was willing to clean the toilets to make it work.

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georgeWhen you’re on the outside looking in, Deb, do you think there’s a tendency to romanticize that vision of what it means to own your business? I think a lot of people who have never done it before are disappointed that it’s not easy. It is hard, so you really do have to love it, but not romanticize it.

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Exactly. I always suggest that if you do have a romantic dream of owning an inn, for example, or operating a restaurant, that you go and work in one for a while. Really experience it; really find out what it’s going to take. Of course, it’s different when it’s yours, but you have to understand what the job entails.

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marylynnYeah, you definitely have to make sure you know what you’re getting into. That you see that toilet!

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Product

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george
Moving on to your next “P” for business success – it is Product.

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debYou have to have a product or service that people will actually pay you money for. Oftentimes, I’ve seen entrepreneurs romanticize their idea for a product or a service or an invention even. They just think it’s the greatest thing … that everyone will want this. They’re in love with it, but they really haven’t tested the market to make sure that other people will be as passionate about it as they are. And that these people will actually pay money for it because that is really a key.

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marylynn
Yes, because there are bills to pay!

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debThere are … that’s the reality! It’s worth it to take the time to do the market research to be as certain as you possibly can be that there is a market for your product or service.

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Persistence

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george
Next on your list, Deb, is Persistence.

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debThis is so important. When you start a business or when you’re trying to grow a business, things often can become challenging. They may not go the way that you want. Certain things may take longer than you hoped. You just have to persist through those challenging times. But you need to know when to cut your losses. It certainly doesn’t mean that you should just keep going and going and going if things aren’t going well. Sometimes you just have to say, “This isn’t working.”

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marylynnGeorge just worked with an entrepreneur who had to do that. She had to call it quits. But what’s interesting is that she has a great attitude. She’s not calling entrepreneurship quits, just that particular business. There was really no place else to go with it. She’s taken the lessons learned and regrouping, but then she’s going to launch another business at some point. I admire that in her.

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debEntrepreneurs are born with that genetic gift, as I call it sometimes. At other times, I call it a curse! We will come back with the next great idea and constantly be creating something. We just take those lessons, good and bad, and apply them to the next great idea.

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Planning

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george
And another one of your P’s for business success is planning.

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debPlan! Plan! Plan! You really do have to develop a business plan. If you’re just starting a new business, it’s critical to determine many things, including if a market exists for your product. But also planning has to happen every day and every week and every month. You have to plan the small things out and you also have to plan the big picture. You constantly have to be in planning mode. When you’re the boss, there’s nobody else telling you what needs to get done this week.

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georgeI think that’s one of the bigger challenges for people who just start a business. Not having that person to answer to. It could be a coach. In my former businesses, I met with one of my partners every week to make sure that he kept me on track. We try to do that with our coaches. You need that outside person to keep you focused and working on what you say you need to work on.

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Get more small business advice from Deb Neuman on her web site: debneuman.com.

Join us tomorrow when we discuss Deb’s last three critical keys to business success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00344-030509.mp3

Related posts

Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 2

The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

Profitable Passions – Part 1

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Profitable Passions – Part 2

career_renegade Today, we continue our conversation with Jonathan Fields, author of the great new book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

Last time, Jonathan discussed why it’s so important, especially in tough times like these, to understand how to operate online because it’s an inexpensive way to swap work for money. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeJonathan, I believe that really good entrepreneurs are masters at minimizing risk. I think one of the great secrets of being online is that you can test concepts with a relatively small amount of money compared to what it used to cost us in the real world. You find out fairly quickly whether or not that concept can get traction. If it doesn’t, you move on. If it does, you keep funding it.

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jonathanThat’s such a great observation. We were talking briefly before we started recording. You said that it seems like everything I do is a success. And I said, “No, everything that lasts that I do is a success.”

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Test, listen, adapt

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marylynnBecause you have two successful blogs, you have this book and then you have best yoga center in New York? You have the magic touch.

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jonathanI do a lot of different things. I’ve had failures offline and I’ve had failures online. I will continue to have many more failures in both worlds. I can tell you, hands down, that I have lost so much less money in my online failures. I’m able to jump back in to the next adventure in the blink of an eye online. Whereas when something goes wrong offline, you have a substantial amount more money, overhead or time invested in it. Everything is recoverable in my mind, but it takes longer. It may take months or years. In the online world, I’m sort of off and running. I have tried and failed online too many times to count, but that’s just part of being an entrepreneur. You’re constantly testing. The ability to listen and adapt are critical to survival, whether you’re online or offline.

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Getting started online

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marylynnSo for our audience, Jonathan – they may be thinking, “This sounds interesting. I may like to explore this online world. But I have no idea how to build a web site. I have no idea how to get started with an online business.” What would be some critical, career renegade, first steps for someone like that?

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jonathan
Step 1 – Buy my book!

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marylynn
Ha-ha, good suggestion! Does your book help walk people through that?

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jonathanIt’s interesting. When I started writing this book, I didn’t intend for it to have so much online advice, but it turned into a massive encyclopedia of references answering that question. So, if you’re interested in blogging, starting an information business, or figuring out how to turn your knowledge into a revenue stream – not just little products but real businesses – the book offers a ton of information. It also offers a ton of links and resources to other places where you can go a lot deeper because I don’t believe any one book is capable of covering the entire space. Beyond that, though, there is so much free information when you start to explore the blogosphere. I would start out with an idea, with what interests you. Search on it. Find the blogs where people write on a regular basis. To me, one of the critical things for almost anybody who is trying to build a reputation as a leader in any field is blogging. That’s something you can leverage into working for someone else or starting your own business. To me, it’s an amazing way to position yourself as the go-to person in your field of interest in an astonishingly short period of time. Anybody can start a blog, probably in less than an hour, and it costs almost nothing to do.

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georgeI became a renegade because I couldn’t find anybody to pay me what I thought I was worth. Then I found out I couldn’t afford to pay myself what I thought I was worth. What do you do about that? I had to adjust the value a little bit, but over time it’s been just fine!

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A very special offer

Jonathan amazed us with a special offer for you. He’s put together a sixteen-hour video training course called Career Renegade Flight School. You could expect to pay $1,000 for similar programs. He’s giving it away for a short while with proof that you’ve purchased his book. Go to Career Renegade to learn more.

Thanks, Jonathan, for the great advice!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
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Thanks so much for stopping by our site today. Next time we ask, “Is your idea worth your money?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00320-013009.mp3

Related posts

Profitable Passions – Part 1

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

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Profitable Passions – Part 1

career_renegade We are privileged to have a special guest on The Bigg Success Show today. Jonathan Fields is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and author of the recently released book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

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marylynn
So Jonathan, you’re a renegade. That sounds so fun … so dangerous.

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jonathanWell you know I live my life all around danger. But the renegade side is just taking a different approach to how you earn a living. It’s almost like taking everything everybody says you can’t do and won’t succeed at and then somehow figuring out how to do it.

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The limitations of others

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georgeI think that’s a great point. It doesn’t matter if it works for anybody else. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

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jonathanAbsolutely. And it’s funny … people think it’s age-dependent to a certain extent and I’ve had people who were 16 come to me and say, “Hey listen. I can’t get anybody to take me seriously because I’m 16 years old, but I have mad skills in the IT world.” And then I’ve had people come to me who are 55 and say, “I have this idea and nobody will take me seriously because I’m too old or I have too much on the line.” But the reality is that you make your own opportunities in life. When people say, “You can’t do that” what they’re really saying is, “I can’t do that. So who do you think you are to try?” You have to understand that and step outside that limitation. Realize that it’s their limitation and not yours. If there’s something you truly believe in, just do it.

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Becoming a renegade

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marylynnLet’s go back to your renegade story. You were a lawyer making good money and you decided to walk away to follow your passion. What motivated you to do it and how did you get past your fears and go for it?

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jonathanDepending on how you look at it, I had the good fortune or the bad fortune of having a bit of a health issue. I was actually not too deeply into my law career at the job and the career and the firm that everybody wants to be at making a great living. After working a three-week stint with very little sleep and very little downtime, my immune system essentially shut down. My body was, literally, physically rejecting my career. So I started making a list of things that I thought would be really cool to do, that I love to do, and that I could somehow figure out a way to make a living at.

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It’s not the hours

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marylynnDoesn’t being an entrepreneur take as much time? I hear a lot of people saying that they don’t want to be a business owner because of the time that it takes.

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jonathanAbsolutely. Being an entrepreneur takes as much time, if not more time. But it’s not so much the hours that you put in, as it is how you spend those hours, which determine your satisfaction with what you’re doing. I put in a lot of hours – between writing and running different businesses – but I have control over those hours. I’m a family person so there’s nothing more important to me than having time with my wife and my daughter. So I wrap those business hours around the time that I know I want to spend with my family. I make breakfast and lunch for my daughter. I hang out with her in the morning. I pick her up from school. And then I may work a little bit in the evening after everybody goes to bed. The flip side is that when I wake up, I can’t wait to work. I’m bummed when I can’t work because I love what I do so much. So when that’s how you define work, hours don’t really mean a whole lot anymore. The bigger challenge becomes balancing multiple passions so that you have enough time to intelligently honor whatever your commitments to those passions are.

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Is now the right time?

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georgeJonathan – it would seem like the objection a lot of people might have – there are times to start a business and there are times not to start a business. Like right now, is this a good time to be a renegade?

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jonathanThat’s a great question. In my mind, it’s a phenomenal time. Some of the biggest companies that are out there today were started during the last substantial recession. Within any time where there’s economic challenge, very often the people who are willing to take risks, when everybody else is awash in a sea of paralysis, are the people who end up being in a phenomenally better place once we emerge from whatever’s going on. They tend to be really well positioned to move forward aggressively. The challenge with what’s happening now is credit. A lot of people are saying, “Listen, I would be willing to take a risk.” Hundreds of thousands are out of a job. They’re saying, “I can’t go back to that job. If I had access to money, I actually might take the risk but I don’t.” But what’s really interesting is that there is a massive move to creating entrepreneurship online where you can swap work for money. It’s not so much that people don’t have the money anymore because you don’t need a whole lot. It’s that they don’t have the knowledge of what’s capable when you tap the online world. All you need for that is a broadband connection and a little bit of money to get going. You can literally transform a lot of knowledge that you have into monetizable businesses if you know how to do it.

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marylynnSo if your specialty is marketing, you can create your own brand online. Instead of just having your local clients, now you can have a shot at international clients.

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jonathanYeah. Being online opens up a worldwide market to you – whether it’s marketing or making kooky hats. There may be only 100 people in your town that would support a kooky hat store. But if you open up your market to online, maybe there’s thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. You also don’t have to pay the rent for a storefront. You’re cutting a massive amount of your fixed overhead. I’ve been an entrepreneur, both online and in the brick-and-mortar world, so I understand the issues of overhead very well from both worlds.

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Learn more about Jonathan at his Career Renegade site.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for stopping by our site today. Join us next time when we continue our discussion with Jonathan. He gives more great advice for all you career renegades who want to get a business going. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00319-012909.mp3

Related posts

Profitable Passions – Part 2

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

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What’s Hot in 2009: Questions

hto_2009 This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re discussing opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at some important questions to ask.

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marylynnEarlier this week, we discussed continued outsourcing as a threat to our careers. We also talked about the opportunity to be a free agent – to start your own micro-business to which large businesses can outsource. So a threat to one person may be an opportunity for another.

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That’s why it is so important to look at the opportunities and threats holistically. We wrote an article recently with five questions which help you do just that.

Is there a cheaper substitute?

This is one of the questions we suggested you consider in light of today’s economy. We discussed in a previous show this week that consumers are repairing instead of replacing. And when they do replace, they’re often looking for used items instead of buying new ones.

Substitute: Store brands for name brands

In other words, they’re substituting down and it goes beyond lower priced alternatives to a product or service. In other words, it doesn’t just mean they’re buying store brands instead of name brands.

Substitute: Do-it-myself for do-it-for-me

As an example of that, we’re coming out of an era where more and more consumers were willing to pay for more and more services. They wanted someone to do-it-for-me. Now they’re substituting with do-it-myself more often.

Prove the lifetime value
It’s not just about price, although that is a more important consideration. Consumers are looking at lifetime costs, not just upfront costs. They’re willing to pay for value, but you need to be able to prove it to them.

Your business, your career
If you’re in business already or considering starting a business, think about what your product or service could be a substitute for. That’s where you’ll find opportunity. Also consider what products or services might be a substitute for what you offer. Those are your threats.

What about your job? If your company offers a cheaper substitute, there should be opportunity right now. If not, can you help them find ways to reduce costs? Or prove to customers that what you offer will pay them back in the long run?

Personal considerations

So far in this series we’ve only looked at the external environment, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. You also have to think internally.

The best opportunity for you will match a market need to your personal considerations. So as you consider a career or a business, it’s important to consider your own wants and needs.

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georgeI wish I had heard that advice a long time ago. I tended to be very opportunistic. I got into businesses that looked promising without thinking enough about how I really wanted to spend my time. I enjoyed being a business owner, but I’m having even more fun these days!

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Find your passion
We hear it all the time, “Do what you love.” That’s the ideal. However, what if you can’t get paid to do what you love? What if there are no job opportunities? Then do something that lets you do what you love when you leave work.

Consider your preferences

Also think about your preferences when it comes to the environment in which you’ll work. Some people prefer to work at a desk; others can’t stand it. Some people prefer to work in a group; others like to work alone.

The best opportunity in the world isn’t a good opportunity for you if you don’t enjoy working at it.

Contemplate your proficiencies
What are you really good at? What do other people compliment you on? What do you find really easy to do? Chances are that is a skill you can exploit.

Now take another look
With your passion, preferences, and proficiencies – we’ll call these “the three P’s – in mind, consider your career and/or business opportunities again.

What can you help people do? What can you teach them to do? How can you save them money? What skills do you have that are transferable from one business industry to another?

Match your 3 P’s to a market need to find your bigg opportunity.

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we look at some fun trends for 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00304-010809.mp3

Related posts

What’s Hot in 2009: Careers

What’s Hot in 2009: Businesses

What’s Hot in 2009: Threats

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