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Ways to Outline and Focus on Your Writing

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No matter how long you’ve been writing, getting started or finishing can be challenging. Professional writers still get writer’s block or freeze up when looking at a blank page, despite their years of training. Even if you just want to write to express your feelings, it still takes discipline to put words on a page. If you want to become a more productive writer, here are some tips that help get the job done.

Writing Time

It is not really a surprise to find out that most writers write in the morning or at a time when their energy level is at their peak.  Writing time differs from writer to writer, but many of them dismissed the notion of setting aside a specific amount of time to write. Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman for example said that he spends time writing a page and a half before launching into his work day. The words don’t have to be about your project or book. It can be about anything. The idea here is to get your mental gears going. Think of it as a warm-up before a workout.

Detailed Outline

Creating a detailed outline sounds like something you did for your high school research paper, but it helps get ideas flowing. Journalist Shane Snow shares that he breaks down his writing into smaller pieces, whether it’s a short article or a full novel. He says that writers get a psychological reward from tackling smaller pieces of a big project. Breaking down work also keeps you motivated to move forward.

Always Be Ready

Sometimes inspiration sparks out of the blue and words spurt out. When this happens, you have to be prepared. Sarah Wendell, author of a widely followed romance blog, says that “word labor”, an experience she links to having children, can strike anywhere, and her mind suddenly bursts with words that need to be written. When this happens, she stops whatever it is she is doing and takes out her phone or a notepad and starts writing.

Social Media

The internet is widely used by authors and writers for research. It is a good tool to have around, but can be distracting, especially with social media. Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors author Sarah Stodola shuts down social media completely by using a tool called Freedom.

The Right Place

Finding the right place to write is essential if you want to get your writing done. Shane Snow says that for his book Smartcuts, he got the bulk of his writing done in a corner table at a Starbucks. Author Joanna Penn also shares that she finds it easier to write in coffee shops compared to her apartment. Environment is critical when you want to write. Find a place where it is easy for you to concentrate so that you can write more.

Hopefully these writing “hacks” will get you in the mood to write. Getting started and finishing is an ongoing battle, but having plans to help you fight along the way can make the job a bit easier.

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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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Business

15 Ugly Truths About Entrepreneurship Everyone Should Know Before Starting a Business

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Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t everything you see on Instagram or what you see in most interviews. There’s no map and what has worked for another company may not work for you. You’ll constantly find yourself in a state of despair and hopelessness but still have to keep your head above water in order to not look like a failure to everyone who has believed in you. 

1. Most things don’t work the first try

Just about everything you do seems to somehow “not work”. If you’re developing an App or software, expect it to turn out completely different than how you explained it to your developers. If you’re running an online store or business, expect emails to your customers to go straight to spam for some reason. Things never seem to work the first, second, or sometime the 50th times. But you keep going and keep fixing until it works!

2. The REAL stressor that breaks you

You obviously expected a certain level of stress. But we bet you never expected WHERE it will come from. Your startup will without a doubt give you plenty of stress to deal with, however most of that is eustress and good for you. Solving business related stress makes you feel good. The stress of dealing with everything else around you is what will ultimately wear you out. Your business is starting to grow and now moving higher up your ladder of priorities. Other things are starting to become less important but you still need to take care of them. And taking care of them starts to become more stressful and mundane without yielding much reward. 

3. Losing friends

Expect to lose the majority of your friends. Being an entrepreneur is hard and making time for your friends will gradually become harder. You can only bail on your friends and families so often before they stop inviting you out. 

4. It’s a REALLY long journey

Don’t expect your business to take off overnight. Most entrepreneurs expect their idea to take off and exit within a year or two. Having that kind of expectation will often lead to feeling like a failure and losing faith in your business. Tony Robin says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.” 

5. Regrets

Oh yea…expect this to happen real soon. And expect it to happen often. You will regret all the sacrifices you’ve ever made for this business when you start considering choosing tofu over chicken just to save a few bucks at Shoprite. 

6. Anxiety Competition

It’s normal to worry that somebody out there is executing the same idea. Having anxiety over potential competition is natural. Don’t let this drag you down. Let it inspire you to work harder and become better than your imaginary competitors.

7. Other People Depend On You

It’s not just about you anymore. It’s not just your life and your future that’s at risk. Once your business starts taking off and you become an employer, you’re responsible for everyone you employ. 

8. You’ll see people’s true colors

Will Smith once said, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” Unfortunately those closest to you may act differently depending on where you are in life. Those who are true to themselves are worth their weight in gold. 

9. It never gets better for those closest to you

This is a strange one because it’s both a good and a bad thing. You’ll eventually make promises to either yourself or a significant other that things will get better and you’ll take them on some exotic vacation etc. Unfortunately it never truly gets better. At first you’ll struggle to get your FIRST client. After that, you’ll stress out on getting your 10th client. And before you know it, you’re constantly chasing bigger and bigger things. That’s your nature as an entrepreneur, you’ll always want more. 

10. Leadership is hard

Once you start having people work for you, you’ll quickly realize how difficult it is to get a group of people to work productively together to achieve a common goal. Leadership is a lot harder than you think because it’s not just doing a few things. True leadership require years of commitment, hard work, and self discipline to prove yourself a competent leader to your team. 

11. No Appreciation

If you’re a good leader, then you’ll know that appreciation is what YOU give to others, not what you expect to receive in return for your hard work. No matter what you’ve done and what you’ve sacrificed, you won’t be appreciated for it. But it will be demanded of you. 

12. Meditation becomes your best friend

As silly as it was in your teens, meditation now becomes a ritual you can’t live without. It becomes the only few minutes in your day where you can think clearly and not be bombarded at every angle. 

13. Dealing with being sick

At first you’ll be invincible and can do just about anything to your body and deprive it of sleep for days on end. After a while…you’ll actually get sick. It’s a weird feeling being sick and not having insurance because your company isn’t quite there yet. But this will be one of the many challenges you’ll have to overcome as an early stage founder. 

14. Realizing that you’re actually “stupid”

This may or may not come as a shock to you but you’ll eventually realize how stupid you are or have been with your business. There will be plenty of “Aha!” moments where you asked yourself “how could I have been so stupid?!” These are character defining moments that you need to cherish and take notes of for your future self. After all…if you know everything, why aren’t you rich yet? 

15. You’re going to look back and cringe

These are the best moments. At some point in your business you will look back at posts, photos, tweets, text messages, and notes and just…cringe. Similar to feeling stupid, these are also character defining moments that you should cherish. What’s the difference between this and #14?  This is absolutely hilarious and your fellow team mates will die of laughter while you die on the inside. 

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