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Growth Hacking

How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

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entrepreneur

I learned first hand that starting your own successful business is the same as any day job – you are only successful when you show up and put in the necessary time and work. For years, I worked for others as an employee, until the day I decided to take a leap of faith and opened my own business. What I discovered was that when you become an entrepreneur you get to make your own rules along the way and have fun while doing it!

Whatever product or service your business may offer, here are a few tips I wish someone had shared with me when I ventured down my entrepreneurial journey:

Find Your Passion

This is one of the biggest factors that attributed to my success. You need it, because there will be blood, sweat and tears (sometimes quite literally) to see your business through. For me, I was inspired from my childhood in Colombia to create bright and beautiful jewelry and handbags. Because I was so motivated, it was easy to dive in and work hard. I suggest sitting down and taking the time to find out what opportunities excite you and find a way to incorporate those into a future career.

Overcome Adversity With Resilience

I started my company after going through a tough time in my life. I stayed resilient and eventually overcame the rough patches with hard work, dedication and determination. I knew if I wanted to succeed, I was going to have to adopt a confident attitude and push through any obstacles that came my way. When you start your business, there will be lots of challenges, but if you have a good attitude you can accomplish anything!

Maintain Balance

Mental breaks and time with your family will ultimately make you so much better in your work. I created my business with this in mind and also set it up to empower other women to start their own businesses through our social selling model with a focus on maintaining balance in their lives by setting their own work schedules.

Mentor Others

You learn new things about yourself and your business by leading others down their own paths. For me, this comes in the form of working with our hundreds of consultants around the country to guide their own life-changing business under our corporate umbrella.

Continue Evaluating Your Model

I started selling my fashion line through traditional retailers. After some soul searching and a lot of research I refocused on direct sales – seeing the potential in the $30 billion industry behind 82%  of women in America who make more than $100,000 a year. Always reconsider shifts in your approach and never stop seeking out new information to guide your decisions.

Have A Support System

You’ll need it! Along with a strong personal network, build your business with professional support. As a social selling company, our consultants have a built-in close-knit network of support from other women who are always there for each other in all aspects of life. It’s something that empowers me personally and I hear feedback from our consultants all the time about the impact this has on their lives and careers.

Create A Network Of Referrals

One of the easiest ways to grow your business is through referrals. Consider asking your current customers and supporters to spread the word about your brand, and give them a reward for bringing in new traffic. This simple yet strategic move will help you increase customer loyalty, brand credibility, and reach.

Give Back

My favorite thing about owning my own business is that I have the opportunity to give back and donate to causes I am very passionate about. Think about making an annual company donation to a charity or contributing a percent of proceeds from one of your products to a nonprofit you care about. Giving back is good for the soul, but it also promotes goodwill among your customers and fans.

Above All, Remember To Have Fun!

I make a point to have fun every day at my job and at home. Following your dreams can be stressful but it is also a huge blessing to be able to pursue a passion for a living. If I ever feel overworked or stressed out I try to stop and unwind for 10-15 mins. Playing a mindless game or taking a mini-nap revitalizes me and allows me to continue working hard the rest of the day, while continuing to enjoy what I do!

Claudia Gutierrez

Born in Colombia, South America, Claudia Gutierrez has a passion for jewelry and handbags from a very young age. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that Claudia decided to take a leap of faith and launch the ClaudiaG Collection, selling to women nationwide in small trade shows and boutiques. ClaudiaG Collection not only offers stylish women’s handbags, jewelry, accessories, as well as a line of bags for men, but the company also provides a unique, life-changing opportunity for women who want to start their own business just like Claudia did in 2012.

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Business

Tech Trends Changing The Way We Do Business

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tech trends

Whether you’re an established name in the business world or you’re just making your start, you ignore the march of technology at your own peril. For companies with even the smallest footprints, some of the tech trends emerging today may be life-changing. Here’s a brief tour.

Cleaner Materials, Packaging and Standards

With just a few stubborn exceptions, most folks in America and throughout the world agree: Life on Earth can’t continue if we keep squandering our resources. Developments in more energy-efficient production equipment save us cash money on our utility bills all the time and bring us ever-closer to true energy independence. The materials being pursued are lighter, stronger and cheaper base materials to make products more durable and inexpensive to manufacture. What about some of the other exciting opportunities in new packaging and packing materials? Besides looking potentially awesome, these outside-the-box ideas help us remove lots of the more harmful chemicals and plastics from our supply chains. This action will keep them out of the hands of our clients and customers — and out of the environment for good. Tech trends that include better technologies, plus social pressures, let us design less wasteful and more appealing products and packaging all the time to ultimately help raise our shared definition of excellence.

Crowdsourced Design and Troubleshooting

Maybe it was inevitable, but modern technology has given businesses something they just didn’t have in decades past: the opportunity to get their customers to do some of the work. We’ve all had to become citizen journalists, the needs and wants of our globalized world mean we’ve also had to become hobbyist creators in our own small ways. Plus, it’s just really fun to take part in the creation process! Kickstarter was the first company to take “democratized creation” — to borrow/turn/re-coin a phrase — mainstream, but that kind of crowdsourcing is just the tip of the iceberg. Current tech trends has made product creation a more social process from nearly top to bottom, letting brands from all types and sizes a chance to engage with their intended audience. This allows brands to gather valuable feedback about the development phase of product design. Engaging directly with the most creative minds in your audience also lets you iron out any kinks as they crop up and effectively “rev” a brand-new product for a more confident official rollout.

Direct-to-Consumer Delivery

Nobody likes the middleman. There are growing tech trends of brands working to engage directly with you through smartphone apps and push notifications. It’s also why we’re seeing more subscription-based and home delivery services pop up all the time. It took a tech giant like Amazon to throw down the gauntlet in the home grocery delivery space, and more are continuing to lead the way as consumers demand more convenience from the products they want most. For example, Marketview Liquor will not only help you find the best wine for the season, they’ll also deliver your wine right to your door. The whole point is that customers know how to do research. If you’ve made yourself visible and your presence suggests a superior product without the hassle of brick-and-mortar shopping with the middlemen, and if you provide truly measurable incentives like cheap or free shipping for repeat customers and discounts for recurring deliveries, they’ll probably choose your expert wine curation or your hand-selected ski bindings over those offered online by a more faceless corporate brand every time. For the faceless corporations, all of this works for you, too. A major point here is that each of the tech trends on this list are, in their own way, leveling the playing field. The little guy, more each day, has the means to compete with “known quantities” and familiar retailers.

Hobbyist Home Production

We’ve talked a little bit about how crowdsourced design like Scooterboard can help lead to more thoughtfully designed products in the run-up to a major product hitting the market. Thanks to 3D printing and other technologies, the very act of producing some of those projects is also vastly more open and accessible. Today, you can pick up a 3D printer with limited capabilities for around the $300 markConsider the nearly countless advantages of allowing consumers to print their own “OEM” replacement products — or even modifications to existing products. Then there’s this: What if you don’t need to ship them a product at all? This is one step beyond even direct-to-consumer delivery: It’s a state where consumers could purchase blueprints for general product types, add their own features and embellishments to then build it right in their home using 3D-printed components in a variety of plastics and metals. This is the future. It’s not quite here yet, but it’s coming. If you sell a physical product yourself, how might you take advantage of this situation?

Apps and Subscriptions

Information powers our lives. But information isn’t a physical product. Apps have changed everything about how we consume products and do business. Back when there was a physical counterpart — a CD, DVD or even a thumb drive — to the software we used, you paid once and had access to a “finished” product for a year or so. Some of us even remember waiting in line for Mac OS X Tiger on DVD! Now that “app culture” is here, it means consumers expect a constant drip-feed of new products and user experiences. That means subscriptions. Those colorful little squares on your smartphone are now windows. You can open and look through some of those windows for free, but the view you enjoy takes a lot of hard work to maintain. It’s a rich garden full of features with diligent developers trying to keep features bloat and bugs at bay while refreshing the UI often enough to keep you interested.

App-based subscriptions have had a shaky rollout, with even seasoned fans giving their favorite developers “the business” for pivoting to a subscription model instead of sticking to the pay-once-and-receive-updates-for-life model we’ve all been enjoying until recently. Smartphones are nearly indispensable in our personal and business lives. Now, those of us who use them will need to be more selective about the companies we do business with, and become patrons of the ones who truly excel in their field. For business, it’s a huge challenge as well as an opportunity. Apps like Ulysses and Weather Atlas are now available via subscription, ensuring their talented coders a chance to eat and their users in getting new products as soon as they’re ready. Even websites like Medium and The Atlantic are trying out new membership platforms to monetize information and business in a world where technology has delivered users from advertisements. Publishers still need a revenue stream however.

Your primary product may not be an app at all. App culture is a tech trend that gives you an opportunity to turn your presence on somebody’s Home Screen into a money-making, brand-expanding opportunity. Make yourself indispensable.

Technology, Business and Destiny

To say technology will let us achieve our dreams would be a flowery statement. We’re all still trying to make sense of most of it, but it’s clear that there are exciting tech trends in front of us all — most particularly for excelling in business. For the many reasons touched on above and lots more, it’ll pay off in the end to stay informed about new technologies as they emerge. If you’re not, somebody else definitely will be.

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Growth Hacking

SpaceX Trademarking Starlink As The Name For Their Internet

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SpaceX Internet

The multibillion-dollar SpaceX satellite network project created by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was created in 2015 to provide cheap global internet to people around the world in an accessible manner. SpaceX is trademarking the name Starlink as the name for SpaceX internet.

The origin of Starlink comes from the US Patent and Trademark Office on August 21st as a trademark filing. The company wants to trademark SpaceX internet as Starlink to capture their motive for a wireless broadband communication services, high-speed wireless Internet access, telecommunications gateway services, and other various areas related to the satellite communication network.

The estimated budget towards the network project is going to cost up to $10 billion to even get started. Though the investment is large, Elon Musk sees this opportunity as a special type of revenue for the future once it is completed. As broadcasted by the Satellite Industry Association report, the satellite industry is at an estimated value at about $260 billion in 2016 and the launch services are totaled to $5.5 billion. This data further cements their advantage in pursuing the satellite network project.

Upon entering the satellite industry, Elon Musk seems to have an advantage with SpaceX. The reusable Falcon 9 rocket and future Falcon Heavy vehicle seems to be dominating the journey to orbit. SpaceX takes up all responsibilities and approaches to nearly all aspects of design and manufacturing by what’s known as a “vertically integrated approach”. In an effort to doing this, their project is at a lower-cost to launch compared to others entering the industry.

Elon Musk’s known scheme in doing the impossible with SpaceX and Tesla is coming into contact with his satellite network. The vision with this network is a revolutionary act, in their efforts to build internet access to underdeveloped grounds with difficulties in acquiring modern communications infrastructure. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been coordinating with the Federal Communications Commission to bring a satellite constellation to space for a better reach and expansion of internet access. Representatives from the SpaceX satellite network project met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in March to explore that venture deeper.

There are attempts from other companies to expand internet to more people around the world. A Virginia-based internet venture called OneWeb is racing to have an operational network. After securing another $1.2 billion in investment, they are planning on building satellites for SES, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, while organizing a medium-sized orbit network.

Their schedule is planned to launch sometime in 2019 and will continue through 2024, while SpaceX promises to regularly update their network to meet customer demand. Elon Musk is assumed to announce more on the the project when he speaks at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia. Expanding access to better communication with SpaceX internet is a step closer to a better world.

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Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!

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