[5 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

5 Directional Signs Not to Miss

Into the Wilder{ness}with the children of Israel VII

By Louise Lee

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.” Exodus 13:21

Entrepreneurship requires constant direction.

It is especially true in the start-up stage when most of your setup are not conclusive and subject to change. And because of the start-up nature, entrepreneurs are always looking out for opportunities for business development, at times open track might lead them into a rabbit hole or even danger; while there are times opportunities lead them to a wide-open field which allows the business to grow in leaps and bounds.

What set the direction for the entrepreneurs? How to look out for signs of genuine opportunities? How to avoid illusion or traps?

Just a recap of some earlier principles we gleaned from the wilderness experience of the Children of Israel in entrepreneurship. We have covered so far “Manna” or divine supply of opportunities from the Manna principle, branding from the never-worn-out clothes principle, effective marketing/business system from the never-worn-out shoes principle.
In this article, I am going to share “The pillar of cloud” principle.

The pillar of cloud in context
In the context of the wilderness journey of the Children of Israel, the pillar of cloud was for direction. The Children of Israel were going towards their destination – the Land of Canaan. Before they reached there, they had to go through the wilderness. For a group of slaves who were residence of Egypt, how would they know the way to Canaan?

They needed external help.

Signs from the nature was a strong indication for their guidance. Since it is their God who called them out of Egypt, they were dependent on Him to lead them.

“The Pillar of Cloud” is the divine guidance provided for the Children of Israel. Their LORD went before them and led them with the pillar of cloud.

The shade under the cloud
Wilderness is an uninhibited land where no man has developed. Unlike trade routes, there is no known path in the wilderness. It is directionless by nature with no signs of direction.

What makes matter worst is everything inside the ex-slaves (the Children of Israel) are from Egypt – a very developed country with a long history of human inhabitancy.
Naturally, it is not possible to go through the wilderness and reach Canaan Land on their own.

They needed external help.

The only direction the Children of Israel can get is from the cloud and the shade it provides. Now, the external help is visible and it makes them feel cool and this encourages their hearts.

Application of “the pillar of cloud” principle
1. Entrepreneurs at this stage need to look up and towards the purpose of their journey, that is all the “whys” before they started out.

The “whys” provides a visible direction when the going gets tough. By checking back to the purpose of starting a business is important. This is the biggest direction sign you can get. It is good to literally make a big sign and place it at your home, your office to remind yourself.

For the Children of Israel, they left Egypt was to worship God and that was why they set forth to go to the Canaan Land. They have faith and they have hope for their future.
The moving sign was huge to direct them.

Can you imagine how big the cloud can be to lead a group of over 600,00 men together with their wives, children and their herds?

How big is your directional sign?

Your primary purpose of starting this entrepreneurship journey ought to be big enough to be directional. Your why should be big enough to set you move in a certain direction even it suffers detours and oppositions along the way.

2. The moving shade
Shelters or shade typically provided by static objects. In this sense, a moving shade is a miracle. The directional movement of the shade is a miracle upon miracle. Weather is a natural occurrence that do not provide direction, so the directional moving shade is a miracle upon miracle.

Entrepreneurship is a journey involves miraculous signs.

Opportunities are not static and they often have a divine nature. The provision of God supplies the seeds of opportunities. Opportunities open only when you move. Stepping into an opportunity makes you feel good, it is like coming under a shade in the wilderness.

You may enjoy the moment of success, you may make small money here and there but you know this is not your destiny, the best has yet to come!

Study the sucess stories of others can certainly help you towards your success. Learn from their sales funnels (also known as a revenue funnel or sales process) and apply to your own business generates opportunities, check out the Funnel University and see how this works for your business: https://goo.gl/WgHc5D.

3. Do not follow the signs of mirage
Mirage is optical illusion that takes place in desert when the ground is very hot and the light refracted with images of water from another location. Optical illusion is appealing to the sight and to the senses. A mirage is a distraction appeals to your needs. Beware of your unmet needs and don’t let them be your guide.

The swift moment of success and the sight of get-rich-quick promise might be just a mirage. Beware of appealing opportunities that sets itself up as a trap, especially those investment opportunities that demand only financial investment with no requirement of skills, hard work and patience.

Don’t allow your sight to lead you. Don’t allow the get-rich-quick illusion to lead you. Don’t allow the present pleasure to lead you away from the long-term blessing.
Beware of the opportunities without substance. Golden opportunities are those align with your purpose and destiny.

For believers, the opportunities ought to be in line with the revealed will of God or God has spoken to you clearly about your future and life calling.

4. The coverage principle
The cloud was big enough to cover entire camp where the Children of Israel was.
The pillar of cloud principle talks about also coverage. The directional sign is not only big but with a wide coverage.

In application, at any given market there is a spectrum of services one can get into. It should not be one single thing you get yourself in. Be diligent to understand the width and the length or the radius of the coverage of the industry you set your foot in.

In other words, it is the shape of that industry you need to be familiarised with, that allows you to be flexible and not breakable. Be versatile in all that you do; you should not put any limit on yourself.

The principles of three is useful: get involved in three services, three aspects of your industry and three products. The three will provide you with a shade that is big enough to cover you along the way.

5. The Earth Orbit Principle – be a student of your market (subscribe to Funnel U: https://goo.gl/WgHc5D) and the overall economy situation in your country and the world. Just as the earth rotates and overall it moves around the sun, your business has its own movement and overall it move towards a direction.

Don’t be distracted by the detours and minor movements, look at the big picture of moving around a long-term goal and a noble purpose.

After all, look far at the signs and you shall move in the right direction.

I hope you are blessed by this article. Coming next will be on risk management (The Pillar of Fire Principle).

Stay tuned!

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[4 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

Adopting a marketing system that works 

By Louise Lee

Entrepreneurship journey is likened to the wilderness experience of the Children of Israel. The principles gleaned from their experience might be ancient, but when we begin to apply them in the 21st century start-up, they can become powerful tools that keep your business thriving and growing.

I have covered so far two aspects of “the wilderness” implication and application like the Manna supply and the never-worn-out clothes. In this article, I am going to expound on the third principle “the never-worn-out shoes” principle, that is to identify a sustaining marketing system or one business model that works for your start-up.

This? training or  this? dotcomsecrets

First, let’s look back again at where these principles originate and have a little overview of the background of the “wilderness experience”.

“Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”  Deuteronomy 29:5, The Holy Bible (NIV)

Back to the Bible time where the Children of Israel just left Egypt. They have stepped out from a system of which they made a living. Sad to say it was a slavery system, where they laboured hard as a slave serving the Egyptians. They had been in this system for the past four hundred over years before they stepped into the wilderness. They might have left the system behind them but its influence was still in them.

Old system versus new system

Since I am using the wilderness as an analogy to a business start-up, then the Egyptian system is the 9-5 work life that you left behind. What the system did was to condition you to believe that working a full-time job is the only way to gain wealth.

This mindset will constantly pull you back when you are starting out on your own without consciously building a new system. With this pull, you need to establish a pushing system to get you going in the right direction.

This new system ought to be a new belief system and in the business sense, it is the marketing system or a business model that is different from the 9-5 model (one that causes you to sell your labour and time in exchange with a pay cheque of a fixed amount).

A new system was introduced to the Children of Israel shortly after they stepped into the wilderness. The new system is a God-appointed system stipulated in the Ten Commandments, the Sacrificial System, Priestly system, Festivals, Year of Jubilee, etc. These are permanent system for them to follow as a nation, yet there are also some temporary systems that only applied in the wilderness like Manna; the never-worn out clothes, and the never-worn out shoes, pillars of fire and pillars of cloud.

Temporary systems are for training purpose so that the old system (from Egypt) can be eradicated from your mind.

Application of the principles of never-worn-out shoes

After you have defined your personal branding, you need to get going.

Ultimately, a business is set up for making money and to be more exact making profit. You will need a system that helps you to bring in businesses that makes profit consistently without fail.

In short, an effective marketing system is all you need. Take another look at it is the business model that works to bring in profit.

Marketing in the 21st Century

What is marketing? Every business needs marketing. It is so especially in today’s world. You can’t keep quiet about your business and expect people to buy your products or engage your service. What is the marketing system that works? You probably have learned the five Ps of marketing (price, product, promotion, place, people), these are the backbones of running a business. Today, when applying marketing to your business, there is a need to upgrade and modernise its concept.

The concept of business has evolved into different models. The internet has transformed the way we do business today; this provides the 21st century entrepreneurs a wider platform, a greater potential as well as challenges. And today, marketing methods have evolved into a plethora of approaches.

I have done a little research on marketing methods, the varieties available are mindboggling. You might have heard of the following as you go about trying to figure out how to promote your business: e-mail marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, multi-level marketing, referral marketing, network marketing, TV marketing, niche marketing, affiliate marketing. content marketing, contextual marketing, user experience marketing, animated marking, video marketing, podcast marketing, FB marketing, etc.

Besides, there are many who claimed to have devised some new business models that help others to make money without prior experience, or marketing knowledge, you just need to be coachable and follow the system that works for that person (the coach).

The promise is that the method is duplicable and that will allow you to make as much money just like them. To understand more, you can just start subscribing to one of these free email or newsletter, you will then receive many of these modern gurus telling you how their system works for you.

Pick yours and get going

Now what? What are you supposed to do? Which one to adopt? There is no harm to try out some of these and especially those who offer 30-day money-back guarantee. Some even offer a 3-months guarantee and up to one-year money back guarantee.

Clickfunnels offers a 14-day trial, which by far serves a wide range of business needs for local businesses, financial planners, MLM marketers, affiliate marketer, retailers (online and physical stores), etc. there is no harm checking it out!

If you are adventurous enough or you have time and money to devise your own marketing methods by combining various approaches, you should go ahead with them. There are many success stories to learn from, why reinventing the wheel?

The key is to watch out for the one that get your business off the ground and running. By the way, teaching people how to do marketing has become a lucrative market and a new business model. The logic is once you are successful in what you are doing (like marketing your own business), you will gain many followers!

Sustainability is the key of “the never-worn-out shoes principles”. Once you have experiment enough, you are likely to develop one hybrid approach that works well for your start up.

Be innovative, be open-minded, and learn as much as you can, there should be at least one system that works, and remember not to go back to the old system (9 to 5 fixed pay exchange system), keep going on with your “never-worn-out shoes”. Bon voyage!

The next article I will be writing on “the pillar of clouds” principle.

Stay tuned!

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[2 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The Manna Concept – Don’t Get More Than You Need

Into the Wilder{ness}with the children of Israel III

By Louise Lee

“The “Manna” concept in the start-up journey represents the small but just enough opportunities that get every entrepreneur going. The origin of these opportunities is divine, but you need to work hard to consolidate and make good use of them. The discipline of doing small things every day enriches your experience, sharpens your skills and boosts up your confidence” ~ Louise Lee, Ancient Principles of the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The environment for the new entrepreneur might be harsh, but there is a divine supply of opportunities (Manna) along the way; the start-up experience is likened to the wilderness experience of the children of Israel as recorded in the Holy Bible.

In this article, I will carry on with the manna concept and its application in the start-up journey. If you recall, there are “dos and don’ts” regarding the collection of “Manna”…

1. (Do collect everyday) The children of Israel had to collect them every day – early in the morning after the dew laid on the ground. Each one was to collect as per their needs.

2. (Do not collect more than you need) There was no use to collect more, the extra manna would breed worms and stink.

3. (Do collect more when there is a double portion supplied) The only day they would have double supply was on Saturday.

4. (Do not work when you need to rest) There was no manna to collect on Sundays.

I would like to focus on the don’ts in the manna concept in the following paragraphs.

Passion First

The first few years of your start-up are crucial as they determine how far and how long you will go in a certain direction. It is important to set it right from the start. It is also important to make corrections if it does not align with the main course, or what you set out to do.

Did you know that if you do not have a vision or a long-term plan, your needs will drive your business? You might be ended up like a hamster running on the wheel, or running the same rat race, the one that you hated most when you were an employee.

Do you have a plan? How long is your plan? One year, two year, or six months…? It is essential to have at least a five-year plan, and maintain a flexible one year plan and review it every six months. If you haven’t gotten any of these yet, please find time and set them in place before you go any further. You will not regret doing this because this will save you a lot time and effort, as it helps steer your business towards the right direction. Write your plans and your goals down and paste them somewhere you can see every day.

Frist, your plans should align with your passion, your vision, and they shall become your motivation when the going gets tough.
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“It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” -T. S. Eliot

I find this quote a powerful illustration to describe passion. If passion is light to the blind, you would need to have a passion in what you are doing in your business. Passion helps you prioritise your opportunities, make the right selections, and keep you on track with your goals.

Passion with vision is a powerful team to bring you success. Vision is about the future of your business; it is somewhat like a goal but it is visual. It is also the big picture that guides your goal setting. In this sense, your goals are the lamp posts that lead you along the way towards the big picture. Passion ignites with vision makes your business a powerful rocket. The profit you make from your business will surely be put into good use if you have a vision, or a cause or a solution you see to the problem you felt strongly about.

Does “a passionate entrepreneur of … ” describe you? If your answer to this question is yes, congratulation! You shall see your success. If you have no answer for this question yet, spend some time to find that out because it is the key to your success. Only then the rest of the effort will make sense, it is also the only way to get you out of the hamster wheel!

Ploughing of Ground

Whatever you do in the early stage of your business is an act of ploughing, the ground could be hard and it might be harder than you have imagined. Ploughing is different from planting seeds; the key distinction is that you do not expect a harvest when you plough the ground. Like it or not, you are only ploughing grounds in the first few years of your new business. That is also why your opportunities come in piece and pieces and they are small by nature. They are not significant in the sense of value but they are significant in the way that they can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

In fact, if we look closer at this ploughing stage, the ground is not anywhere outside, but inside your heart. Each opportunity shows up to confirm what you have in your heart, and only those stay on and became the seed for your planting later. So, when opportunities come, make it a time to differentiate your passion from your needs.

Answer this question honestly: Is it your passion or your need(s) that drive you?
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Managing your needs

What do you need? Recognition, a sense of significance, respect, money, freedom, success, a sense of achievement are all legitimate needs, but if these are all that drive you on the path of entrepreneurship, you are only running on the treadmill. Likely, you are not going anywhere significant. You may have wondered why you live a life that is not much different from being an employee; or now it is worst because the stress level is much higher that you must constantly look for business opportunity, rather than waiting for the month end pay check.

How is the life of an entrepreneur different from that of an employee anyway? Why did you take a step out doing what you are doing right now?

Don’t be surprised that what set you out might not be what drives you now. So, constantly we need to have a conversation with ourselves. If you are honest enough, you will have some answers. Make sure your business is fuelled by your passion, and you are here for the long haul.

Do not take more than you need.

Now, let us get back to the “DON’T”s of entrepreneurship: Do not take more than you need. What is your business’ basic need? How much business or profit you need to survive? How much do you need to sustain your business? All these determine how much opportunities or jobs you should take on at the minimum.

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You need to be selective. Choose what brings you satisfaction and happiness. Once you get your hands in doing some of the new jobs (opportunities), you should know if that aligns with your passion or not. If it is not, do eliminate them in your future endeavours. Nevertheless, there is no hard and fast rules to tell what jobs guarantee satisfaction, but if you like, you might work on the guideline of three: Work on maximum three niches at one time and spend some time working through them, and to identify one that brings you the most satisfaction, then focus your energy to develop that niche. Be open and prepared to work hard, and prepare for changes. You might be one of be those talented individuals that could manage three niches and be successful in all of them, but it might be rare! So, stay focus on one or two but not more than three at one time.

Why should you be selective? Consider this: if you are not, you might end up getting too much to do that you are working around the clock and making very little profit or progress. Remove some of the unproductive jobs that bring in the least profits. Remember to keep your work-life balance as the entrepreneur’s journey is long, you need to reserve your energy. Remember to set your five-year plan, and set goals to achieve it. Any plan that is shorter than that will not be sufficient to steer your entrepreneurship journey right.

Do not work when you need to rest.

Six days you should work, and give yourself at least one day to rest in a week. It is kind of strange when we worked for people, we demanded from our ex-employer overtime pay, annual leave, sick leave, benefits, bonus, etc., but when we start on our own, we become very lenient on ourselves concerning worker’s benefits. Let’s face it, you are the only worker in your start up, do consider the benefits in a reasonable term. Then, when your company grows bigger, the principles you apply on yourself will expand to those who work for you in the future. Work within your means and that includes your time, and your mental and physical capacity, remind yourself that you are no transformer or superhero. So, don’t be too lenient in demanding yourself an employer, and don’t be too hash on yourself as a worker. Rest well and it will benefit you for the rest of the work week, work years and the rest of your entrepreneurship journey.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the ancient advice in handling our entrepreneurship journey is wise and helpful. They are gold and still applicable today in the 21st Century when knowledge is available from all directions that provide plethora of opportunities. The “DON’T”s guide our process of selection and decision making. Ultimately, no one can be a superhero because we all have limits. We are limited by our mental capacity, physical capacity, experience and resources, do work within these limitations and not to overstretch at the early stage of entrepreneurship. Of course, passion and vision is the team that will help you overcome your limitations and give you the breakthroughs your need, do recruit them early in your journey!

Coming up next is the personal branding principles – inspired from the never worn out clothes of the Children of Israel.

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