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Build Your Own Future – Interview With Ram Media Group Founder Nehemiah Burney-Porter

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Nehemiah Burney-Porter

Jobs are difficult to come by for millennials, so it’s no surprise that many create jobs for themselves as entrepreneurs. Launching a company is not as easy as it sounds and requires tons of hard work, but the rewards are incomparable. With more and more people aspiring to become entrepreneurs instead of working a 9-5, there may be some questions that are overlooked in the process. To give a clear look into the life of an entrepreneur, we connected with Nehemiah Burney-Porter, Founder of Ram Media Group. He runs a digital marketing agency that specializes in maximizing marketing ROI and measuring content effectiveness. Nehemiah recognized value and demand in digital marketing early on, giving him a head start in the industry. He was able to give insight into building a business and what you have to do in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

What are some surprises that have risen after the start of your own business?

Honestly, the biggest surprise for me was the amount of legal and tax paperwork that was needed to make the company legitimate. Everything from insurance, corporate quarterly tax reporting and the legal aspects of registering for an LLC. Not to mention figuring out how to pay myself and separate the two incomes. You go from working your job from 9 to 5 and then going home, to having to be an accountant, HR manager and salesperson in your non-working hours.

Another surprise was realizing how fluid I needed to be in my product offerings. I went into business thinking I would just sell my Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics reporting expertise like I did when I was consulting for other companies. But I quickly realized that if I wanted to continue relationships with these clients that I would have to be their go to for any new supplemental tools they were looking at getting into. Essentially, I was already a SME (Subject Matter Expert) at the reporting sides of Google and Adobe but most of these companies need an data strategy SME who is tool agnostic. In less than a year, I had to learn the pros and cons and how to implement at an enterprise level close to 20 different tools all ranging from cloud based data lakes to machine learning implementations.

What are some risks that you have had to take when starting your own business?

The biggest risk that I take over and over again is putting my name or brand on the line to prove my value as an expert. In my industry, people aren’t paying you to get work done, but instead they’re essentially paying you to know more than them on a specific subject. Because of this I find myself going toe-to-toe with very intelligent and powerful people within these companies. And if I’m wrong about something, that’s it. There’s no training or conference they will send me to to get smart on a subject. That contract would be cancelled and they’ll get someone else in there.

I also picked up and moved my life when I signed my first major client because they were 2 hours away and I needed to give them a lot of face time. Its unnerving putting everything on the line with no real safety net. Knowing if it doesn’t work out I would have to move again, or downgrade my life a bit to make ends meet. But honestly that became sort of a driving force for me. Knowing how easily I can lose everything makes me work even harder to stay ahead in this industry.

Have you had to ever make an irrational decision to safeguard your business?

Yes. Before when my biggest client wasn’t enough to go full time with, I got wind that one of my smaller clients were thinking about switching providers so they could get more face time or whatever. Work was good and they were happy with results, but there’s something about southern culture that they want to see you every once in awhile. Anyway, they were meeting with a local agency the next day out in Houston (or so I thought). I bought a last minute plane ticket and popped into their offices to take him to lunch. Come to find out, once I landed I get an email telling me he was working out of the florida offices. So I bought another ticket and that lunch became dinner. Well $1300 and many hours later I was able to keep that $400 a month client. The worst part was a couple of months later I had to let that client go to make time for a bigger one. I don’t know if it all was worth it.

How do you enter an industry and make a lasting impression?

To put it simply, do good work. I was lucky enough to be doing the same exact work for a number of different companies before I branched out on my own. I was already getting recruiting calls on a regular basis and I changed those to sales leads. The Philadelphia data analytics industry is a pretty small tight knit community. So by doing well at a number of different companies, word spreads. The problem is Nehemiah Burney-Porter is already a proven data analyst and business strategist with a strong resume. But Ram Media Group isn’t. That’s the part I haven’t figured out yet. How to take the name that I built for myself in this industry and get my company name to outshine that.

Why do you think business owners fail more frequently?

In my experience, people don’t market themselves well enough to stay afloat. You can have a great product but at the end of the day you need people to buy into whatever you’re selling. It’s not easy and at times you can start to take rejection personally. But once you find your niche or specific target demographic it becomes easier. Or you may have to be open to change the product somewhat to give it an edge. At first I thought I knew my target (smaller ecommerce companies just starting to get into online sales). And I was missing left and right. But then I kept signing large services based companies. The work changed significantly and the pressure of perfection was significantly higher and not exactly what I wanted. But I adjusted and kept working. Learning from failure is a big necessity when trying to go out on your own. A “no” isn’t an “I don’t need this product.” It’s an “I don’t need your version of this product.” Your job as an owner is to figure out and produce what version sells.

Owning a business is not easy, what recommendations would you make to an aspiring business owner?

The biggest mistake you can make when starting out is trying to make something that everyone thinks is great. Find the people you want to sell to and listen to them. A lot of people that have nothing to do with your offerings may try to give you advice, but from a business standpoint they’re not important. Take failure as a learning experience and the biggest thing is don’t give up. There is A LOT you will have to learn along the way that may not have anything to do with your main product but everything to do with running a business. Lastly, you don’t have to be ahead of all the competition, just ahead of your clients’ needs.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Business

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy And The Race To Space

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People are looking to the stars again — even though they might just be looking for Elon Musk’s midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster that’s somewhere in orbit between Mars and the asteroid belt. The successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which sent that car on its potentially billion-year journey, has everyone scrambling to get their rocket program on the same level as SpaceX. What does the Falcon Heavy launch mean for the future of space travel and the possibility of a new space race?

The Falcon Heavy

On Feb. 6, Elon Musk and SpaceX celebrated the maiden voyage of the Falcon Heavy. This miracle of engineering was launched successfully at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, powered by a whopping 27 Merlin engines — nine inches each of the side booster rockets, and nine more in the center core.

The two booster rockets successfully separated and landed almost simultaneously at Landing Zones 1 and 2 back at Cape Canaveral in a mind-blowing feat of synchronization — if you haven’t had a chance to watch the replay of this landing, you should. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

The third core, which was supposed to land on the autonomous droneship Of Course I Still Love You about 300 miles off the Florida coastline, didn’t fare as well. According to the post-launch press conference, the core didn’t have enough fuel to reignite all three of its engines for its final landing burn. It hit the water at about 300 miles per hour — hard enough to take out two of the engines on the droneship.

If the cameras on Of Course I Still Love You weren’t damaged in the crash, we may be in for some spectacular crash footage in the coming weeks.

It’s not a great loss, though — Space X wasn’t planning to reuse any of the cores from the Heavy’s maiden launch. The two Falcon 9 boosters that landed successfully are Block 4 style rockets — the ones that will be used for future Heavy launches will be Block 5.

Despite the spectacular failure of the center core, the launch itself was a complete success — pretty good for something Elon Musk was expecting to explode before it even made it off the launchpad. As Musk put it, “Crazy things can come true. When I see a rocket lift off, I see a thousand things that could not work, and it’s amazing when they do.”

Now that it’s off the ground and proven its viability as a reusable heavy lift option, the Falcon Heavy is much cheaper than any other currently available options. “At $90 million per launch, it’s the cheapest heavy lift option available,” said William Ostrove, a space industry analyst. “The Delta IV Heavy, for example, typically costs $350 million to $400 million per launch.”

The Future of SpaceX

Now that his Roadster is traversing the solar system, what is next for Elon Musk and SpaceX?

In the short term, the next big milestone for SpaceX and for the Falcon Heavy specifically is to get certified by the U.S. Air Force to carry secure and government payloads. The Falcon 9 received this certification back in 2015 and has since carried several military and classified payloads into their places in orbit. The next flight for the Falcon Heavy is scheduled for June for the Air Force — and depending on its outcome, it could be the flight that qualifies the Heavy for military and government contracts.

Next year, in addition to continuing to develop the Falcon Heavy, there are two more projects on SpaceX’s plate — Crew Dragon and the BFR.

Crew Dragon is an upgraded incarnation of the currently used Dragon capsule, but instead of just hauling cargo to the International Space Station autonomously, Crew Dragon will be outfitted for carrying astronauts into orbit and beyond.

This will likely become an essential part of the space program, or at least in getting America’s astronauts to space, especially with the current administration’s plan to defund the International Space Station by 2025 and hand it over to private investors, shifting that funding toward the goal of putting humans back on the Moon.

The BFR — short for Big F*****g Rocket — is designed for use a lot closer to home, at least to start. Once completed, the BFR will be even larger than the gargantuan Falcon Heavy. A BFR with a capsule could potentially turn a 12-hour airline flight into a 30-minute hop around the globe. It could also change the way we look at travel to the Moon, Mars and other planets, as well as facilitating asteroid mining to allow us as a species to take advantage of the resources in the rest of the solar system.

Experts estimate the BFR, once it’s off the ground, could turn space into a multi-trillion-dollar industry — currently, space travel is worth about $300 billion.

The New Space Race

The U.S. hasn’t really been in a “space race” since the 1960s, when we threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. This grand idea resulted in the Apollo program, and we sent men to the Moon for the first time. During his Falcon Heavy post-launch news conference, Elon Musk set forth a challenge: “We want a new space race. Space races are exciting.”

They most certainly are — and Musk isn’t the only billionaire with his eyes turned toward the stars. Jeff Bezos, the mind behind Amazon, is also throwing his hat into the ring, as is Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, Tory Bruno of the United Launch Alliance and the Sierra Nevada Corp.

Bezos’ entry into the space race is his company Blue Origin — he’s launched and landed his New Shepherd rocket multiple times, even before SpaceX managed a successful landing, though all his flights were suborbital. Bezos was planning on his first space tourism launches in 2017, but that fell through. Musk and Bezos regularly launch friendly barbs at one another on Twitter, but when it comes down to it, they each support the other’s endeavors.

Virgin Galactic, headed by Richard Branson, has been trying to make it into orbit for a while now, and has even started selling $250,000 tickets. Unfortunately, Virgin Galactic has hit a few roadblocks, namely the explosion of the space plane during a test flight in 2014 that killed the copilot of the flight.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is the mind behind NASA’s Space Launch System and the Delta IV Heavy rockets. Bruno and Musk are butting heads on Twitter, but Musk isn’t worried. He’s actually said if ULA can launch a national security mission before 2023, he’ll eat his hat — with a side of mustard.

The Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) is one of the most exciting entrants in this space race. Their space plane, dubbed Dream Chaser, completed its first successful suborbital test flights in 2017 and recently landed a contract with NASA for an ISS resupply mission in 2020. Musk might have some stiff competition if SNC can manage to nail this launch.

SpaceX might be the first one out of the gate, but they’re not the only game in town anymore — and that’s exactly how Elon Musk wants it. “I think it’s going to encourage other companies and countries to say, ‘Hey, if SpaceX, which is a commercial company, and it can do this and nobody paid for the Falcon Heavy, it was paid with internal funds,’ then they could do it too. So I think it’s going to encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say, ‘We can do bigger and better,’ which is great,” Musk said at the post-launch press conference.

The Falcon Heavy launch was history in the making, and being able to witness this launch is an amazing feeling. You can expect SpaceX to continue to push forward in their quest to find new and innovative ways to explore the solar system, but they’re not the only company we need to watch anymore — they’re just the only ones with rockets in the air. Elon Musk may have provided the spark to start this new space race, but he’ll have to come up with some amazing innovations to stay on top!

And if this launch has taught us anything, it’s that we need to keep looking at the stars — and believe crazy things can happen.

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Business

We need to talk to Marketing and PR Agencies about Amazon

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Owner’s Magazine is writing an article featuring the top Marketing and PR Agency’s perspectives on why Amazon should choose their city as it’s next HQ. We’re reaching out to all marketing and PR agencies in each of the 20 cities on Amazon’s list for a private interview. If you’re a marketing or PR agency, then we want to talk to you to get your perspective of your city. Your interview and responses will be featured in an article published featuring your city.

Here are requirements to qualify to be featured in article:

  1. Must be legally classified as a Marketing or PR Agency (cannot only be a service you offer)
  2. Company must either be headquartered in a prospective HQ2 city or have an active office there (No satellite offices)
  3. Company must be at least $1MM+ revenue anually

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Business

0 – 100 With Peter Hwang CEO of Bite App Inc.

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bite app inc.

0 – 100 With Peter Hwang CEO of Bite App Inc. Exclusive interviewed Peter Hwang, current CEO of Bite App Inc., a startup company based in Philadelphia that’s changing the way you discover your next meal.

“Bite is a mobile app that makes deciding what to eat easy by mitigating the time and energy required to evaluate a restaurant dish. It also provides a platform for users to share useful, concise reviews that help improve others’ dining experiences.”

 

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