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Entrepreneurship Philosophy Productivity Startup

How to Get Unstuck and Motivated?

Are you feeling stuck and not motivated enough to finish your project? Not seeing enough progress or finish line in sight?

Here’s a simple operating principle that keeps me motivated even in the most uncertain projects.

Divide your project into smaller milestones.

Yes, it’s clichéd, but it’s still surprising how often people get stuck because they focus too much on the end goal.

They get overwhelmed, stressed, and lost. And that kills their motivation.

And that’s why – you need to set smaller milestones.

Ideally, a milestone should be accomplished in a few days or max 1-2 weeks.

No milestone should be longer than 2-3 weeks. If it feels it would take longer than a few weeks, then break it again.

Smaller milestones help you get something done.

It helps you accomplish smaller victories and build momentum.

And momentum fuels your motivation and keeps you going.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

A New Way of Working

I was on a podcast y’day and the host asked me why I got into entrepreneurship. And it reminded me of how I used to get fascinated by manufacturing factories and used to think – one day, I want to build a “factory”. 🏭

Well, that dream never came true 🙁 as I got into Software 😊. And that got me thinking – that’s a new reality.

Today, if you need to start a Software or Internet-enabled business, all you need is – a creative mind and a laptop.

You don’t need a fancy office or expensive machinery. Almost anyone can be in business.

You don’t need unions and departments. One person can do the job of many.

It’s probably easier to start a Software and Internet-enabled business as tools are accessible a click away.

You don’t have to work 9-5. You can work on your own schedule.

You don’t have to take huge debt and a big risk. You can have little savings to get started.

You don’t have to go door to door or trade-shows to sell your stuff. You can sell to anyone in the world by sitting in your home.

It’s a new way of working.

And it is very relevant and important in today’s unemployment situation.

Don’t think you’re starting a “business”. For some people, that is daunting.

Think it like – you are going to work for yourself.

Categories
Startup

Hire Better Writers

We recently hired Sales executives at Avoma. One of the reasons we hired them vs other candidates – they demonstrated that they were better writers.

That’s our new hiring criteria when there are multiple options – hire a better writer. 📝

It doesn’t matter if that position is for sales, marketing, design, and even programming.

Better writing suggests that they have clarity in their thinking.

It means they can communicate effectively so others can understand it easily.

Which means there is less back and forth and faster collaboration. ⚡️

And that’s a secret sauce to achieve more with less.

Categories
Philosophy Productivity Startup

The Secret for Doing Effective Work

If there is one secret to do your work most “effectively” – then it is “concentration”.

Every single time when I take up too much on my plate and commit to too many things – I mess up.

The quality of my work and results hamper.

And obviously, I never complete everything I commit.

On the other hand, every single time when I concentrate on only one important thing at a time – I excel.

While saying this is easy, doing it is very hard.

Even though I know this, I make the mistake of saying “Yes” to too many things all the time.

But constantly thinking and reminding about this helps me to keep building my self-discipline to say “No” more often.

In fact, concentration helps me to
– Finish things faster
– Produce better quality
– Use lesser resources

So my recommendation to you – review what’s on your plate, pick up the most important thing, and only concentrate on that thing.

There you have it – a simple, yet powerful secret to do your work most “effectively”.

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Startup

There is No Plan B

When I was doing customer-development and searching for a co-founder for Avoma, people often asked me – “Are trying to throw this idea on a wall and see if it sticks?”

I hated that question.

There was no Plan B for Avoma.

I strongly believed in the problem with extensive customer research and the gap in the market.

I had a point of view to solve this problem and an ambitious vision of what the world would look like in 5-10 years.

I left the high-salaried full-time job without having a co-founder for 6 months, without having a prototype, or any sort of commitment and clarity on any milestone.

I never doubted my vision and the opportunity even though we had very (I mean really “very”) highly-funded competitors.

We had many investors rejected us because we had “many” highly-funded competitors who had already launched and were ahead of us in the market.

There is not even a single day since Avoma’s inception I ever thought about a Plan B.

There is no Plan B.

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

I Have Fallen In Love with Selling

I’m an engineer by training. But have fallen in love with selling.

Here is why.

Selling is personal. Share your stories. Be vulnerable.

Selling is interpersonal. Meet new people. Build relationships.

Selling is collaborative. Get help from colleagues. Strategize with the team.

Selling is disciplined. Be consistent. Make and keep promises.

Selling is scientific. Follow the process. Learn from the best.

Selling is artistic. Be creative and solve problems. Make it unique.

Selling is hard. Face many rejections. Persevere until you succeed.

Selling is addictive. Win one, two, ten. Keep winning more.

Selling is rewarding. Create impact. Make companies successful.

Selling is mysterious. Wonder why it worked. Diagnose why it didn’t work.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

How Do You Hire for Passion?

In the previous post, I shared one of the hiring mistakes we did at Avoma that we hired for skills and not for passion.

But the question is still unanswered, how do you hire for passion in early-stage startups?

If I want to hire for passion in the future, I’ll ask these two questions:

1. What are your passions? (So clichéd 😊)

The goal is not to understand “what” their passion is, but “how” they talk about it.

Their passion could be about literature, painting, sports, etc. and not necessarily about early-stage startups.

But you can judge how passionately they talk about their passion, how deep they go, how do they find time to work on their passion, etc.

2. Do you have any side hustles?

The goal is to understand if they have the ambition to turn their passion into an additional income source.

It indicates their resourcefulness and creativity.

And that’s why they might have a higher chance of being more successful and instrumental in early-stage startups.

Do you agree? Is there anything that you would consider?

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Startup

Hiring for Passion, Not for Skills

In Nov 2019, we were a team of 7 people at Avoma, then by Jan 2020, we were a team of 13 people, and then by Mar 2020, we were 10 people again.

And no, these reductions are not due to COVID, but what I believe is due to passion (or lack of it).

Early-stage startups are a different beast (note, I didn’t say “hard”).

They require a different level of combination of skills and passion.

I think the mistake we made was – we primarily hired for skills and experience on resume.

But we didn’t hire for passion and grit.

We can teach new skills, product knowledge, subject domain, strategies, tactics, etc.

But I don’t think we can teach passion, drive, or grit.

I believe we should hire for passion and grit.

And then bridge the gap for skills and domain knowledge if there is any.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Philosophy Product Management SaaS Sales Startup

Know More

What separates a great salesperson from a good one?

It’s the same thing for a marketer, copywriter, engineer, lawyer, surgeon, and many others.

They know more.

There are only 3 ways they can know more:
1. They have more experience
2. They seek more knowledge
3. They continuously apply their knowledge

1. The hack to gain more experience at less age is to be more curious and take risks to work at small-scale companies.

The first job I got in 2002 after college was with one of India’s largest IT providers – Infosys.

I left it in 8 months, took a 40% pay cut, and went to work for a 100 person company.

2. The hack to seek more knowledge is to have a growth mindset and devour as many books and training as possible on the subject matter.

I’m an engineer by education, but people get surprised by how much I know about UX Design principles, Sales methodologies, or Copywriting.

All credit goes to reading a lot of books and taking online courses.

3. The hack to apply more knowledge is to try more in your day job but also do side hustles.

The only way I became an SW engineer from an HW engineer, or a product manager from an engineer, or a salesperson from a PM is – my side hustles.

So invest in yourself and know more than others.

Categories
Marketing Startup

Produce, don’t just consume.

Anyone who is creating content (including me) is seeking your attention and time.

What if, you seek your own attention and time?

Content creators want you to read their articles, listen to their podcasts, and watch their YouTube videos.

So you invest your time in reading, listening, and watching.

What if, you want to observe your world, think about new ideas, and produce great creations?

Shouldn’t you be investing your time in observing, thinking, and producing?

Produce, don’t just consume.