The Secrets Of A Successful Social Media Strategy For Startups

The age of social media has disrupted conventional ways of advertising and transformed the way that businesses reach consumers. In recent years, social media itself has undergone radical changes. Mike Mandell is a leading lawyer on social media thanks to the popularity of his legal tips and entertaining posts. Here he shares his advice for startups and their founders.

Alison Coleman: Why is it so important for startups to develop a great social media strategy for their business?

Mike Mandell: In the past, companies had to spend years amassing a large following to have any hope of a substantial number of views. Today, short-form video content, 15 to 30 seconds in length, is the cutting edge. Quickly produced videos can launch a business into the spotlight overnight, or even faster.

By studying what captured the public’s attention, companies can follow up with more viral content on a consistent basis, keeping their brand relevant and vital. Social media represents a quantum leap in identifying niche markets. Algorithms know things about users that they might not know themselves. As the software learns more about individuals, its ability to influence them only grows.

Coleman: Many startup founders lack the time, resources, and budgets to create valuable viral content; how can they compete?

Mandell: First, let’s talk about budgets. With the dominance of short-form content, it’s not necessary to have one. Posting consistent, quality content alone can create a huge audience for your work. That said, even a shoestring budget can go far on social media. Allocating a few hundred bucks to boosting your posts would allow you to experiment until you see enough leads to justify the time and effort.

The beauty of this system is that cost scales with your success. If you’re making money, you’ll eventually want to hire staff to handle your social media. Businesses can do this more cheaply than they might expect. A million young people ache for these jobs, and they don’t expect a fortune in salary. They want in the game. That’s it. Keep in mind that these skills are learnable, as well. Consider offering paid internships.

Coleman: What tips do you have for startups for building a winning social media presence that pays dividends?

Mandell: Build an inventory before you launch. Have 10 to 20 videos on hand as a cushion. Avoid making your topics too time-sensitive, if you require your ‘rainy day’ fund for later, rather than sooner. Keep a list of your thoughts. You’d be surprised how often you can forget a brilliant idea if you don’t record it. Listen to followers and consumers; they’ll tell you what they want. On social media they leave comments. Read these and let the feedback, both positive and negative, guide your future content.

The algorithms favor consistency, and part of maintaining your audience is ensuring followers know when to expect something new. If you release new content on Monday and Friday, then do that consistently. Even consider letting subscribers know you’ll be going away on vacation for a week. If your content isn’t seeing sufficient returns, consider taking a hard look at its appeal from an audience-centered perspective.

Coleman: What’s the key to going viral?

Mandell: Firstly, you don’t need to go viral to have a successful social media presence. The key is engagement, not the number of views or your follower count. The more people engage with your content, the farther along you are in creating a community of supporters who love your brand.

Focus on that. I’d rather have 1,000 followers who engage with me all the time than 500,000 who never comment. People want to do business with someone they feel connected to, and social media provides you with that opportunity. A tight-knit audience that has ‘buy-in’ will do more for you than a huge passive following.

When it comes to creating viral content, the keys are to innovate, engage with followers, produce solid material, and release it on a consistent schedule. Most importantly, persist. One of the quickest ways to fail involves assuming you’ll strike gold, failing to do so, and quitting. Building a following on social media can be a grind. Luck does indeed play a role. But the longer you push, the luckier you are bound to get.Coleman: What are the common social media mistakes made by startups and small businesses, and how can they be corrected?

Mandell: Don’t develop a persona and try to perform. Be genuine. People respond to authenticity. And don’t bandwagon. If you just echo what everyone else is already saying, then you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Most people can tell you are just fishing for likes or followers. Instead, create a purposeful brand and stick to it, even when others shift in another direction. People can change their minds overnight, and they might switch back before you know it. Your consistency will beget their trust.

Be careful what you say. What you put online stays there. This goes for private messages, which someone could screenshot and share on multiple platforms. Finally, long-form content is popular – but only if you have a base audience that wants it. If not, short means short. If it’s not essential to post, remove it.

I’m a freelance journalist, founder of Coleman Media. For the last 20 years I’ve covered business stories for national and international online and

Source: The Secrets Of A Successful Social Media Strategy For Startups

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11 Passive Income Ideas to Earn an Extra Grand Each Month

What would you do with an extra $1,000 a month? For most of us, this could be a real game-changer. After all, with this influx of extra cash, you could…

For most of us, this could be a real game-changer. After all, with this influx of extra cash, you could pay off financial debt, purchase a life insurance policy, or invest in your retirement. What’s more, you could finally take that dream vacation, make home repairs, or take a class to further your career. And, considering that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans could pay for a $1,000 emergency expense, you could build a substantial emergency fund.

But, unless you receive an inheritance or win the lottery, this $1,000 per month isn’t just going to appear out of the blue. You’re going to have to earn it. And, your first thought might mean picking up a second job.

There’s nothing wrong with this approach — especially if you’re in a financial crisis or have a short-term financial goal. On the flip side, this can pull you away from your family, friends, or hobbies. Plus, it can be exhausting in addition to your full-time job. In turn, that could actually put your main source of income in jeopardy if your performance or productivity plummets.

So, where can you realistically earn an extra grand each month? Through a passive income.

What is a passive income?

A passive income is when you make money without exerting much effort. In fact, this requires so little effort that many people describe a passive income as earning money while sleeping. Obviously, that doesn’t always literally happen. But hopefully, you have at least a basic understanding of what a passive income is.

There is, however, a passive income myth that must be debunked. Many people assume that earning a passive income is so easy that you only need a weekend to start. And, after that, you can just sit back and wait for the money to roll into your bank account.

In reality, there’s a lot of work to be done upfront. Even after the initial legwork, you’ll still have to maintain and update your passive income sources. It’s like taking care of your home or vehicle. Without properly taking care of these assets, they will quickly deteriorate and lose value.

If you do put in a little elbow grease and stay committed, then yes, a passive income can create an additional income stream. Eventually, this can help you achieve financial freedom, stability, and security. As a result, this reduces stress and anxiety.

In short, earning a passive income can significantly improve your life. And, if that sounds appealing to you, here are 11 passive ideas that can bring in an extra thousand bucks per month.

1. Investing.

As Jeff Rose, the Wealth Hacker, says, this first idea should be a no-brainer. And, despite what you may believe, it doesn’t take a small fortune to begin investing.

“Whether it be 50 bucks a month, $100 a month, anything that you can start investing, you can start making gains, start making interest, of your investment,” he adds. Examples include;

  • Index funds. These are mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that are tied to a market index, such as the S&P 500. Because of this, these funds’ performance correlates with that of the underlying index. Moreover, they’re passively managed as well.
  • Dividend stocks. If you want to make this a worthwhile investment, you will have to invest a significant amount of time and money. If you invest regularly in dividend stocks and put in the time and effort, you will have a very stable recurring income.
  • Peer-to-peer lending. Through platforms like LendingClub and Prosper, you can lend money directly with a click of a button. You can expect a 10.58% average interest rate.
  • Cryptocurrency. It’s not advisable to go all-in with crypto. But, as Cale Moodie wrote in a previous Due article, “the risk of investing in crypto is evening out, and as the market continues to correct itself, we’ll see more legitimate crypto investment opportunities rise to the top.”

What if you don’t know where to start? No worries. You can get assistance with robo-advisors.

“There are Robo Advisors such as Betterment, Wealthfront, Acorns, Robinhood, Ally Invest, E-Trade,” Rose says. “If you know nothing about investing and you want somebody to pick those investments for you, that’s why I have to recommend Betterment.

“Betterment doesn’t have any money to start and they will choose an ETF model for you,” he explains. “So, if you’re putting any money in, they’re gonna choose those investments and then you’ll sit back and start making those capital gains in dividends, otherwise passive income.”

2. Deal and/or survey sites.

Some might not consider this as a passive income since you are putting in a little work. But, signing up for deal and/or survey sites let you earn a minimal income while going about your daily life.

For example, you can make money when you’re doing your online shopping or filling surveys while watching Netflix or on your commute to or from work.

Sure. This probably won’t buy you a yacht. But, instead of just sitting there and wasting time, why not pick up some extra cash on the side?

3. Cash-back reward points.

“This one’s a little bit outside the box, but hear me out,” Rose states. “Taking advantage of cash-back reward points,” is another proven passive income idea.

“Now, I know, I’m sure you’re thinking how is that really passive income?” he asks “But, check this out.

“Before I started using credit cards to pay all of our bills, we used to use debit cards all the time, “ Rose states. “Because I always subscribed to the idea of like you shouldn’t have credit cards because credit cards are evil.” The thing is, when used responsibly, credit cards aren’t that evil.

Why? Because credit cards offer various reward points. And, if you don’t take advantage of them, you’re missing out on free money.

Rose explains that began using rewards points for cash back, hotels, or airline miles. “Anything like that that we knew that we’d be using on a frequent basis.,” he says. “So, now everything that we buy, whether it’s our cell phone bill, our satellite bill, Netflix, groceries, gasoline, we run all of our expenses through our credit cards and we get back tons of reward points.”

In fact, Rose was able to take a family vacation to Jamaica without having to spend a dime. “So, using your credit cards to take advantage of these reward points is so passive because you don’t have to do anything. You’re doing something that you’re already gonna do to begin with.” You just sit back and watch the money roll in.

4. Sell photos online.

Today, more than ever, photographers of all levels are in high demand. The reason? Bloggers, graphic designers, marketers, publishers buy and use photos online every day. Specifically, those on a shoestring budget, like bloggers and small to medium-sized website business owners are purchasing stock photos for their site or marketing materials like brooches.

But, where exactly can you sell your photos online? Unsplash, Shutterstock, iStock. Adobe Stock or Dreamstime are some of your best choices. Or, you could be in complete control by creating your own photography website in WordPress.

5. Patron.

“So, there’s this cool service called Patreon,” says Rose. “It’s for any artist that has a community, a growing community, and you wanna get paid for your work. And, you have a community of people that love your art whether that be your drawings, your music, whatever that art may be. And each time that you release a new item, you can get paid a fee for that.”

Best of all? You determine the amount of the fee.

An example of how this works is from Evan Burse, aka the Cartoon Block, who is friends with Rose. Burse has a thriving YouTube channel where the community will pay a fee whenever release a new image. And, he loves showing people how to sketch superheroes.

Since Burse was already sketching superheroes, he’s making some extra cash from a dedicated community that is excited and supportive of his work.

6. Write a book.

There’s no need to sugarcoat this. You aren’t going to compose a book overnight. Thankfully, the process is relatively simple.

Write a book about a niche you’re familiar with, self-publish it on Kindle Direct Publishing, Kobo, IngramSpark, or Smashwords. Although you’ll have to market as well, if it’s well-written and unique you’ll have another income source for years. In fact, Ross says that he’s still getting paid on sales of his book Soldier of Finance that he released in 2013.

7. Physical goods.

With physical goods, the sky’s the limit. For instance, you could sell coffee mugs, t-shirts, dog leashes, yoga mats, or handkerchiefs online. Especially, through Amazon’s FBA program.

“Amazon offers a couple of different fulfillment strategies,” explains Serenity Gibbons in a previous Due article. “One is their Fulfillment by Amazon platform – also known as FBA. The other option allows sellers to fulfill their own orders. Each method comes with its own pros and cons.”

“The major benefit of using FBA is that you don’t have to worry about a thing,” adds Serenity. “Amazon stores your inventory and does all of the picking, packing, and shipping. They also provide tracking numbers, handle returns, and deal with customer correspondence.” Just be aware that you will “have to pay for this service, which can eat away at your profits.”

Another option? Sell your own handmade products, like jewelry, belts, furniture, pet supplies, clothing, or candles. Afterward, you can list them on online platforms such as Etsy or Shopify.

8. Real estate.

“Real estate investing is a great way to not only build your passive income but your financial future,” notes Catherine Way in another piece for Due. “Thankfully there are many easy ways to start investing in real estate despite your background. From flips or note investments, it is easier than ever to start real estate investing.”

In order to start investing, you must understand the basics such as the local market conditions, how to calculate your return on investment, profits, and the different types of real estate prior to investing in real estate

Another option for real estate investing? Rental property that’s run by a managing company via platforms like;

  • Roofstock provides the option for renting cash-flowing single-family homes.
  • Fundrise lets investors invest in private real estate through a crowdfunding platform.
  • RealtyMogul allows you to invest in large developments, such as commercial or multifamily buildings.
  • EquityMultiple permits you to invest in real estate with as little as $10,000.
  • Groundfloor aims to make private capital markets accessible to all by crowdsourcing real estate investing and lending for as little as $10.
  • FarmTogether lets you invest in farmland to create a predictable investment strategy.

9. YouTube.

In terms of what type of channel to launch on YouTube, there are quite a few options available to you. You might review products, give your opinion, or share instructional tips. You can even provide updates on a niche topic that you’re either familiar with or passionate about.

But, how does that translate into money?

That’s an easy question to answer; ads. Of course, you need to be a quality content creator and build an audience. When you do, you’ll get paid through those ads that you’re probably skipping. Additionally, you could have your videos sponsored by a company. If you spend any time on YouTube, you’ve no doubt come across videos that have been sponsored by companies like Magic Spoon, Manscaped, Raycon, or ExpressVPN.

10. Blogging.

Yes. You can make serious coin by blogging. You just need to take that all-important first step and actually start your blog by;

  • Select a blog name related to your name, product, or service.
  • Purchase the domain and web hosting so that your blog goes live.
  • Customize your blog through a website builder or hire a pro to do this for you.
  • Write and publish your first post.

Next, keep creating and sharing your content. Like with YouTube, having quality content and a dedicated following can help you monetize your blog. Generally, this is through banner ads or affiliate marketing. But, you could also offer coaching services or sell information products like an instructional guide, eBook, or case study.

To turn this income into a passive income you’ll want to take advantage of automation. “Simply find tools that streamline the tasks you’re tired of doing and integrate them into your blogging workflow,” suggests Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Hostt. “There are apps to automate email marketing, social media, list segmentation, proofreading, writing headlines, scheduling meetings, tracking analytics, finding link-building opportunities, optimizing images, automating business payments, and everything in between.”

On the other hand, there is only so much you can automate.” At some point, you have to build up a team of skilled professionals who can help you handle the tasks that require human energy and creativity,” he adds. “This is where outsourcing to freelancers and virtual assistants comes into play.

11. Create your own online course.

Creating a course is one way to diversify your income,” says personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money Taylor Gordon. “If you’re making money from a business, there’s a good chance you have something to teach that people want to learn.”

“I like making and taking courses from other people because they’re often a smaller ticket product that gives me an introductory into what the person is about,” adds Gordon. “From there, I can decide if I want to invest with them again.”

Interested? Then let’s rundown the steps you’ll need to take to create an online course;

  • Choose the right idea. Your course topic should be one that is likely to be of interest to people. Make sure to do your research and ask the right questions beforehand. “Sometimes courses that people say they’re interested in aren’t actually courses that they will dig into their wallets to purchase, she says.
  • Outline the course. You don’t have to include every single detail. But, you’ll want to flesh out a lesson plan so that you and your students know where the course is heading.
  • Test the market. Gauge interest through a presale or beta version.
  • Choose a course platform. Delivering your course via daily emails is probably the easiest and cheapest method, says Gordon. Alternatives include Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, or Zippy Courses, which are more involved sites. You could also go with a straightforward payment and digital delivery service such as SendOwl or Gumroad.
  • Promote like it’s your job. Finally, go on a marketing blitz through email marketing, purchasing ads, hosting a webinar, or being a podcast guest.

By

Source: 11 Passive Income Ideas to Earn an Extra Grand Each Month

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How To Learn The Trick of Confidence

Dr Nate Zinsser, a top US army psychologist renowned for helping lieutenants and officers build their confidence, is giving me a talking-to. We’ve been discussing highly disciplined writers who sit at their desks at 9am each day, no matter the circumstances, and assertively punch out stories. “I definitely don’t do that,” I say, remarking that I envy their confidence to sit and deliver. An aggressive perfectionist streak combined with niggling impostor syndrome insecurities mean I need conditions to be just-so in order to have faith that I’ll produce anything decent. Zinsser blanches.

“The statement ‘I don’t do that’ is a decision you’re making about yourself,” he says, speaking over video call from his office at the US Military Academy in upstate New York; behind him there’s a whiteboard, ornamental Japanese swords and photos of athletes he’s counselled, including the Olympic-medal-winning US men’s bobsled team.

“A constructive shift in your thinking would be the idea that, ‘Whether or not I got the right amount of sleep the night before or had a good breakfast, once 9 o’clock strikes, I am at my desk, lights on, ready to go – and I’m producing good stuff,’” he says. “That’s a belief about yourself that you can de-li-be-rate-ly cultivate,” he adds, stretching out each syllable in “deliberately” so there can be no question that in this matter, as in all self-confidence-related issues, change lies with me.

Delivered with a gentle assuredness, rather than barked across the screen, it’s not the tone you might expect from a man who for 27 years has directed the academy’s performance psychology programme. Indeed, the only thing about him that screams “army” is his black jacket, which has the word emblazoned in capitals across its front.

With his snow-white beard and softly yawning New Jersey twang, the 67-year-old has a calm, almost paternalistic presence. His brand of optimism is far more reserved than the full-throttle enthusiasm often associated with self-help gurus. “We don’t live in a world of sunshine and lollipops,” as he puts it. “We live in a real world of deadlines, sweat, blisters and muscle fatigue, and we have to look at what is a constructive way to think in those situations.”

In addition to his army duties, in his private practice Zinsser has worked with a glittering roster of clients, including neurosurgeons, congressional candidates, ballerinas, writers and star athletes, such as two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning. Whether their arena is the surgical table or the running track, they come to him for gamechanging advice on how to dispel those pesky naysaying voices in their head so that they can deliver knockout performances under pressure. And now he’s distilled his knowledge into a book, The Confident Mind: A Battle-Tested Guide to Unshakable Performance.

I’m hoping to glean some tips from the famed confidence-whisperer. While hardly a quivering mess, I do have a habit of second-guessing myself in parts of my professional – and social – life. And the thought of public speaking sends me into a cold sweat. The chance to smooth out the chinks in my self-belief armour and come away with a quarterback’s swagger is tempting to say the least.

But is it realistic? We tend to view confidence as a magical elixir that’s only available to Olympic sprinters, CEOs and other creatures blessed with rare talent, puffed-out chests and Colgate-white teeth (plus, the odd blustering buffoon). For most of us, being an adult means having a PhD in our multitude of shortcomings, foibles and crippling insecurities. And while I can improve my fitness with a Peloton, and my inner calm with meditation, surely I can’t just learn how to think highly of myself, can I? How to be unflappable under pressure? How to believe – with a surety that overrides any lingering doubts – that I can be good at anything?

In his poised, methodical way, Zinsser is here to tell me that, if I doggedly commit to altering the story I tell myself about myself, then yes: yes I can.

First, some housekeeping: Zinsser wants to straighten out some common misconceptions around confidence – starting with how we define it. Although we tend to think of it as a sense of belief in one’s own ability, he finds this unhelpful because it neglects a crucial fact: we are hardwired to perform skills unconsciously. When we’re in the zone – whether during a tennis match, maths exam or violin concerto – we’re not critically assessing each movement but operating in a free-flowing state.

“If you’re hung up with the mechanics, and trying to think about what you’re doing as you’re doing it, you access a whole lot of neural pathways that tie you up,” he says. He defines confidence, then, as having “the sense of certainty about your ability that allows you to do something without thinking about it: that allows you to execute more or less unconsciously.”

Being in this state makes success possible, not guaranteed. It won’t conceal a lack of ability, but it will enable you to go into a performance thinking: “I’ve got this money in my wallet and now I can spend it – let’s see if I’ve got enough,” he says. Without confidence, we’ll never know how good – how talented, how skilled – an individual really is.

Zinsser doesn’t particularly see confidence as a product of genetics. Nor is it necessarily linked to competence. Sure, we idolize superstar athletes whose talent and bravado seem to go hand-in-hand, but he comes across just as many gifted people lacking self-belief. “The unfortunate fact I have seen is that our actual competence is higher than our degree of confidence in it,” he says, speaking about the population generally. “It’s the conclusion you draw about yourself from experiences of success [that breeds confidence],” he says. “Unless you make those conclusions, the actual success that you have might not do you any good.”

He believes confidence is cultivated during childhood – “how you were encouraged as a young person to think about yourself” – and cites as an example King Richard, the recent biopic showing Richard Williams constantly telling his daughters Serena and Venus that they were destined to become the world’s best tennis players.

Can anyone become more confident or is it only attainable for certain individuals? He pauses for a few beats, chewing over his words. “I think it’s quite possible for anyone to develop a greater sense of certainty,” he says, eventually. “Some people might have to overcome more baggage from their past than others, but I’m quite a believer in that kind of human potential.”

In any event, there’s no such thing as “a confident person”; it’s more that you’re confident in a particular skill or situation (and even within a skill, you’ll feel better about some things than others). Case in point: Eli Manning. The former NFL superstar, who twice led the New York Giants to Super Bowl triumphs, “was very confident in his ability to throw certain balls and reach certain defences, but he did not like to stand up and talk in front of a crowd,” says Zinsser. “I’m convinced that’s the case for all of us: I don’t think there’s anybody who’s confident across the board.”

“Have you ever produced good work in suboptimal conditions?” asks Zinsser rhetorically. We’re back to helping me forge a bulletproof writing mindset. “I would think so,” he continues, “otherwise, you wouldn’t be in the job you’re in. So what you need to be reinforcing, a story that you need to tell yourself about yourself, is: ‘I work well, despite distractions. I work well, in almost any condition. My editor can count on me to deliver quality work, even when things are chaotic around me.’”

This rather simple reframing of how I view myself feels pretty significant. And I put it into immediate practice: in a meta situation, I’m writing this article from a cramped plane seat en route to Australia, a series of pre-flight texts from my editor demanding reassurance that I will be able to deliver words by the deadline still warming my phone. With each blood-curdling wail from a baby in a nearby bassinet, I repeat my new mantra about myself with an increasingly feverish vigour.

Yet there’s much more to be done. Zinsser likens confidence to a mental “bank account” that we must constantly top up with valuable deposits. That includes mining our memories for instances of when we have done things well. After each training session, or day at work, we should devote about five minutes to reflecting on things we have accomplished and committing them to our “internal hard drive”. No victory is too small for inclusion. (He also notes that it’s worth spending time looking ahead and envisioning, in realistic HD-film quality, the dreams you most desire.)

This can apply to whatever knee-knocking situation is keeping you up. Plagued with impostor-syndrome thoughts of not being qualified to do your job? “I’d tell you to give me the whole of your résumé,” says Zinsser. “We’re so good at overlooking the skills that we have cultivated, the effort that we have put in to develop ourselves to the point where we are indeed employable and competent. Look for some of the reasons that you are indeed the genuine person for the job.”

His book contains countless tactics for keeping that bank account fat by recasting how you think about your missteps. Some are sourced from Martin Seligman, the father of “positive psychology”. These acknowledge that you will have negative thoughts and will make mistakes, but you can effectively see them off by viewing them as “temporary (“It’s just this one time”), limited (“It’s just in this one place”) and non-representative (“that’s not the truth about me”).

There are physical techniques, too: keeping your shoulders slightly back and eyes straight ahead will improve your posture, while focusing on breathing during a performance can be a powerful way to bring a feeling of control and yank you into the present moment. (Note that none of these require you to obnoxiously strut about like The Wolf of Wall Street.)

The most extreme example of selective thinking, the “shooter’s mentality” pursued by Golden State Warriors basketballer Stephen Curry, involves treating missed shots as temporary and as an omen that you’re about to experience a return to fortune (“I’m bound to make the next one”), while viewing successes as permanent (“Now I’m on a roll”).

One nagging thought I had while reading these passages: building confidence often requires you to ignore logic. This took me back to the late 2000s when, as a tennis-obsessed teen who travelled around Australia competing in tournaments, my on-court confidence was fragile at best. If my warmup went badly, I was convinced the whole match would be a disaster.

And I couldn’t get my head into the game if I had assessed, pre-encounter, that my opponent was better than me – smoother technique, bigger shots, flashy overseas academy training. In those instances, I was defeated before the match started. As often happens when we enter a situation devoid of confidence, it became a self-fulling prophecy.

If someone had told me about the shooter’s mentality, which Zinsser calls a “thermonuclear psychological weapon”, I would’ve said: “Great, but how am I actually meant to believe these things?” To cast aside all reason and buy into a fantasyland where errors lead to success and success also leads to success?

If I’m being honest it sounds slightly delusional, I tell Zinsser now.

It is, he replies. But the way to wholeheartedly believe in it is to practice it, repeating these mantras, memories and mental tricks until the story they tell becomes “your dominant way of thinking about yourself in that context”, he says. “It’s got to become your dominant habit of thinking about yourself – just like you brush your teeth every morning and night – if you want it to materialize in a challenging atmosphere.

You can’t just turn it on. It has to be already in you.” He can’t say how long this could take: for some clients it’s happened after only a few sessions, while for others it has taken six months of conscientious observance before it became endemic to their thinking.

In case confidence wasn’t slippery enough, once you have gained it, the struggle continues. “We’re all imperfect beings and, no matter how many times you practise that second serve, occasionally you’re going to mess it up,” says Zinsser. Confidence is more delicate than a handblown vase. Acquiring some of it “doesn’t mean you’re going to have it for ever. It can easily be knocked down. You’re going to have to wake up again tomorrow and rebuild it.”

Talk of confidence has been around for as long as humans have been going into battle. Zinsser’s book opens with a quote from the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu who, in his fifth-century BC treatise The Art of War, declared: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

Yet now, perhaps more than ever, individuals need to embrace self-assured thinking. Modern society is, at best, “very ambivalent” about confidence and is not about to puff us up, says Zinsser. Growing up, we’re taught that a soupçon of it is good; any more and we risk becoming smug or arrogant and therefore unlikable. Zinsser believes the biggest hurdle to striving for greater confidence is “the misguided impression that if I become certain about myself, I will somehow become lazy and complacent and I will lose my fire and motivation to improve,” he says. “Boy, is that a big misconception.”

As part of our education and socialisation, we’re taught to focus on fixing imperfections and mistakes, marking every facet of our lives with red pens. “There is a curious tendency in our modern world to over-identify with our shortcomings and even define ourselves by our mistakes, presumed limitations, and all the things we can’t yet do,” writes Zinsser. While he admits that there’s a time for being a harsh critic, “there’s also just as much value in being one’s best friend”.

Social media hasn’t helped the cause. “The 24/7, nonstop barrage of messages are always putting these somewhat false images in front of us: ‘Look at me, at this place, enjoying this wonderful day and this fabulous drink,” he says. “It tends to make us think, ‘Well, gee, I’m not in a beautiful location with a beautiful someone enjoying a beautiful drink. What’s wrong with me?’”

Are we less confident than previous generations? There’s another long, reflective pause from Zinsser. In the 1950s and 1960s, he says, “There was a whole generation or two of folks who really grew up believing, ‘Things can be better, I can have a great life, I can succeed. Today, with the generation that’s grown up online, I’m not sure there’s the same general level of optimism,” he says. “My sense is that maybe we’re not quite as confident and optimistic now.”

All the more reason to get to work on that movie about your life in which you’re the charming protagonist who completes everything – real feats from your past and wishlist goals alike – at a remarkable level. It takes dedication to stream this flick in your mind each night, sure, but it makes all that other hard work you’ve done – the backhand drills, the weekend reading, the university degrees, the blood and sweat – worthwhile by putting your head in the game come crunch time.

Zinsser calls it the cherry on top. “It’s the decision to say: ‘I’ve done the work. I know what I know. I’m going to deliver now. I am enough.’”

The Confident Mind: A Battle-Tested Guide to Unshakable Performance by Dr Nate Zinsser is published on 27 January by Cornerstone Press at £14.99. Buy it for £13.04 at guardianbookshop.com

By: Jamie Waters

Source: How to learn the trick of confidence | Health & wellbeing | The Guardian

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After Taking A Thanksgiving Break, Elon Musk Is Back To Selling Tesla Stock

Now that the post-Thanksgiving food coma has worn off, Elon Musk has resumed selling Tesla shares with unprecedented vigor. He exercised options to buy 2.1 million shares on Thursday, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and immediately unloaded 924,091 shares, worth about $1 billion, to cover the tax bill from the transaction.

All told, Musk has shed about 10.1 million Tesla shares, worth nearly $11 billion. Roughly $5 billion of that sum has gone toward taxes owed from options exercising; the remaining money—an estimated $4.4 billion after taxes—has gone into Musk’s pockets.

Musk first embarked on the selling spree on November 8, two days after posting a Twitter poll asking followers if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake, ostensibly in light of a short-lived legislative proposal that would tax the unrealized stock gains of billionaires. (58% of the millions of respondents voted yes.)

Yet Musk had already planned to sell some of his Tesla stock long before that. In mid-September, Musk set up a trading plan “for the purpose of an orderly sale of shares related to the exercises of options scheduled to expire in 2022,” SEC filings reveal. The chief executive faced a multibillion-dollar tax thanks to the options.

Since last month, he’s been chipping away at the 25.5 million options that were set to expire in 2022, exercising his right to buy 10.7 million shares and selling a total of 4.7 million shares to cover his tax bill. Musk still has more than 14.8 million options to exercise before the August 2022 deadline.

Meanwhile, he’s been dumping stock he has held for years as well. In total, he has sold 5.4 million shares—nearly 3.2% of his Tesla stake—for some $5.8 billion in pretax cash. To hit the 10% mark he promised his Twitter followers, Musk will have to sell an additional 11.6 million shares, worth about $12.1 billion as of Friday at 11 a.m. in New York.

The Twitter-saavy CEO has never sold stock like this before. Before November, Musk dumped Tesla shares only twice: In 2010, he jettisoned roughly 1.4 million shares for $24 million shortly after Tesla went public; in 2016, he sold 2.7 million shares for $593 million, which he used to cover taxes he owed for exercising some of his Tesla options.

Based on Tesla’s closing stock price on Thursday afternoon, Musk’s fortune stands at $282 billion, Forbes estimates, down from more than $300 billion just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Though the latest stock sales have boosted Musk’s famously-small cash pile, his net worth—which is largely tied up in Tesla stock—has ping-ponged over the past few weeks in line with the company’s stock price.

Shares are down roughly 17% from where they traded just before Musk posted his Twitter poll, representing more than $200 billion shaved from the electric car company’s market capitalization.

While Musk is no longer above the lofty $300 billion net worth threshold, he’s still miles ahead of the world’s second-richest person, Jeff Bezos, who currently sports an estimated $196.7 billion net worth. French fashion mogul Bernard Arnault claims spot No. 3, with an estimated $187.1 billion fortune, followed by No. 4 Bill Gates, who’s worth an estimated $136.1 billion.

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I’m a reporter on Forbes’ wealth team covering the world’s richest people and tracking their fortunes. I was previously an assistant editor for Forbes’ Money & Markets section, and I

Source: After Taking A Thanksgiving Break, Elon Musk Is Back To Selling Tesla Stock

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China’s Internet Tycoons Suffer $13.6 Billion Wealth Drop As Regulatory Crackdown Triggers Market Sell-Off

China’s internet billionaires suffered the biggest losses on the list of the world’s richest people on Monday, as spooked investors continued to dump stocks targeted in Beijing’s widening regulatory crackdown.

Meituan founder Wang Xing, NetEase Chief Executive Williang Ding, Pinduoduo founder Colin Zheng Huang and Tencent Chairman Pony Ma racked up a combined $13.6 billion plunge in their wealth in just one day, according to the World’s Real-Time Billionaires List. The hits to their fortunes come as a sell-off in Chinese education and technology stocks continued to spread to other sectors, with investors pondering which companies could fall under Beijing’s scrutiny next.

“[The crackdown] is a continuation of previous policies of anti-monopoly and stop the disorderly expansion of capital,” says Shen Meng, director of Beijing-based boutique investment bank Chanson and Co. “China also wants to reduce discontent among different factions of the society, and alleviate overall pressure.”

For example, following reports of long working hours and dangerous conditions, regulators are now seeking to adopt safeguards to protect food delivery riders by requiring their employers to pay more in insurance and making sure the couriers earn above minimum wage. The announcement of the new guidelines sent shares of Tencent-backed food delivery giant Meituan, which is already subject to an ongoing anti-trust probe, tumbling by as much as 10% in Hong Kong on Tuesday, after plunging 14% a day earlier.

Tencent, which also backs online marketplace Pinduoduo, lost 5% in Hong Kong today, after regulators ordered the company to give up exclusive music copyrights. The company has already pledged to comply with the directive.

In the meantime, Beijing is also seeking to alleviate some of the financial burden of parents in support of its efforts to boost declining birthrates by targeting after-school tutoring. The sector once grew rapidly as students went online to study during the pandemic, but has recently been plagued by complaints of misleading pricing and false advertising.

NetEase’s New York-listed online learning unit Youdao lost more than 60% of its market value over the last three trading days. The U.S.-listed shares of Chinese education firms Gaotu Techedu, TAL Education and New Oriental Education & Technology all plunged a similar amount, after regulators unveiled a sweeping set of rules over the weekend. It requires tutoring firms seeking to teach school syllabus to register as non-profits, as well as stop offering courses over weekends and during school vacations. The companies are also banned from going public or raising capital.

“To remain listed, they may need to spin off the businesses that are in violation of government rules, ” says Tommy Wang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at China Merchants Securities. He adds that as much as 90% of the companies’ revenues could be hit as after-school tutoring for elementary and middle school students account for the bulk of their sales.

In this uncertain environment, foreign investors would be wise to take into account policy risks and re-assess the outlook for investing in Chinese companies, according to Chanson and Co.’s Shen. The crackdown on education companies, for example, has left global investors ranging from SoftBank to Temasek struggling to find a way out of their positions. They’re among investors who had placed multi-billion dollar bets on Chinese education startups like Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang and Yi Qi Zuo Ye, which are now also being subjected to heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Claudia Wang, a Shanghai-based partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman, says one option for investors is to simply wait, and exit when the startups find a market that is on par with the online education industry that was valued at 257.3 billion yuan in 2020, and transition their business. The wait-and-see attitude is already taking hold among some investors in public markets, according to Nomura securities.

“Bruised and shaken investors are now likely to ponder which other areas could potentially become the next target of expanded state control,” analysts including Chetan Seth and Yunosuke Ikeda wrote in a recent research note. “Until news flow on regulation starts abating (no signs of it yet), we think most foreign investors will likely remain on the sidelines despite some areas of the market looking attractive over medium term on valuation grounds.”

I am a Beijing-based writer covering China’s technology sector. I contribute to Forbes, and previously I freelanced for SCMP and Nikkei. Prior to Beijing, I spent six months as an intern at TIME magazine’s Hong Kong office. I am a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Email: ywywyuewang@gmail.com Twitter: @yueyueyuewang

Source: China’s Internet Tycoons Suffer $13.6 Billion Wealth Drop As Regulatory Crackdown Triggers Market Sell-Off

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Critics:

The Chinese government’s crackdown on big technology companies will likely last for a few years, which means those stocks aren’t a buy for now, a BlackRock portfolio manager said Wednesday.

Since autumn, regulators have ramped up scrutiny on the country’s tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent. After years of relatively unrestrained rapid growth, becoming some of the biggest companies in the world, the corporations now face fines and new rules aimed at curbing monopolistic practices.

“This regulatory cycle is long-lasting compared to 2018,” Lucy Liu, portfolio manager for global emerging markets equities at BlackRock, said during a mid-year Asia investment outlook event.

In contrast with that period of increased scrutiny, which ran for about six months to a year, she said that this time, “we think it’s going to be a multi-year cycle.”

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