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Monthly Archives: October 2013

15 Baseline Tech Skills All Entrepreneurs Should Have



“Being able to wireframe a page is an incredible important skill for technology development. It’s critical for being able to properly and ideally communicate with your technical and product teams. While not a coding skill per se, it requires understanding how sites or apps are designed, and the more advanced wireframing can involve complex software. Be sure to develop this skill before starting up.”

– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.


“It sounds basic, but most people drown in email without any skill for how to manage, delegate, and reign it in. If you aren’t careful, email can take your entire day. Use tools like filtering, auto-forwarding, labeling and auto-responders to clear out your inbox quickly so you can get on to the business of actually running your company.”

– Laura Roeder | Founder, LKR Social Media



“The most important tech skill that you could learn is the ability to learn new ones. That might seem like a hard skill to acquire, but it’s actually pretty simple if you practice learning and researching new things using search engines to find solutions to problems. Try it now: find a solution to one of your tech problems, and you’ll be on your way in no time!”



“At least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, the two popular core technologies for displaying web pages, is key to so many basic things on the Internet. It may seems silly, but I’ve found a familiarity with them can just make so many things easier and better understood.”

– Derek Flanzraich | CEO and Founder, Greatist



“A spec is a simple document that describes how a technical product or feature should function and work. You do not need to have technical skills to write this document, but there are certain best practices in how you communicate product descriptions to engineers (who will build) that you should be aware of. Ask your friends who are product managers to share with you some specs they’ve written.”

– Eric Bahn | Co-Founder, Hustle Con Media



“Businesses run on numbers and online analytics just proves the point. You have to know the basics of how an analytics package functions, how to set it up correctly and how to act on the numbers it gives you. Otherwise, you’ll be operating blind.”



“When I was 17 and my dream of becoming a world-famous actress was taking too long to come true, I decided to start a website for other young actors. I bought a domain and learned the predominant web language of the day — HTML. Twelve years later, that skill is still extremely relevant and will remain relevant for years to come. It’s easy to learn and useful in a wide variety of jobs.”

– Lauren Friese | Founder, TalentEgg



“Start basic. Have a good grasp on how to best utilize all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for business. Entrepreneurs need to know how to best communicate their ideas to a wide audience via social media and how to get feedback in the same manner.”



“The look and feel of your company speaks volumes to potential clients, users, and investors. If you don’t understand what certain colors ‘say’ or what using particular typefaces imply about the nature of you and your company, you may end up speaking pretty words but chasing people away with your approach to aesthetics. Read some books, take some classes, and improve your overall design IQ.”



“Sales solves a multitude of problems. If I had to choose between a founder that knows how to code and one that knows how to build a lead and conversion funnel, I’d pick the latter every time.”

– Sean Johnson | Partner, Digital Intent



“You’ll be amazed how many emails you’ll need to send to get a business started, and then how many email you’ll receive once your business is off the ground. If you can’t quickly get through your inbox, you’ll be doing nothing else aside from email pretty soon.”

– Gregory Galant | CEO and Cofounder, Sawhorse Media



“A rudimentary understanding of Microsoft Excel is something all entrepreneurs should have. Simply as an organizational tool, Excel is worth its weight in gold, and as your knowledge on it expands, so does its value. Excel skills allow you to efficiently stay organized, which frees up more time for important things, like growing your business.”



“Knowing your own machine — whether desktop or laptop, Apple or otherwise — is crucial. Your computer is a key business tool which will be the work engine of your daily life. Any entrepreneur should know how to work the basic functions of their own machine, as well as how to get the most out of it, troubleshoot it and even how to hack it to do what they need and want it to do.”



“Even if you’re hiring an entire team to handle your website design, creation, SEO and even social media campaigns, if you don’t know what HTML, a wireframe, a domain name or a Twitter handle is, you’ll end up having an extremely hard time communicating your vision and spend a whole lot of wasted money on making your professional dreams come to fruition.”

– Erika London | Co-Founder,



“Email marketing is the main reason why we closed our first client deal with my startup. Every month, my list would receive an email about our latest milestone. One month before launch, I emailed my list to set up a meeting. I set up five meetings and closed one client deal, allowing us to launch our product with a paying client — all thanks to email marketing.”

– Jun Loayza | President, Ecommerce Rules


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

How to Start Your Own Business While on the Job

Becoming an intrapreneur isn’t something people typically fall into. If you want it to happen, you’re going to have to get out there and make it happen. And to do that, you’ll need a plan.

Item number one on your list is to master your job. This is actually a two-parter. First, become an expert in your current role. Second, you’ll need to hit certain milestones if you want to pull this off. The first one is being at your job long enough for you to learn your role and feel that you could teach everything you do to another person. You need to prove your worth and demonstrate that you can handle the responsibilities you were hired to do. You’ll also want to build in enough time on the job to make your boss look like a rock star and gain his trust before you venture outside your role. Otherwise, you’re going to have a really tough time getting him to buy into and support your ideas (and to support you in your desire to expand your role in the company). In my experience, it usually takes six months to get to this point. Of course, if you can do it in less time, great! But don’t rush things. It’s better to take a little more time than to try to make a move when you’re really not ready.

Throughout this process — and throughout your entire career — it’s important to think in terms of how you can best leverage your strengths and weaknesses to help your company succeed. What are some things your company does really well? What does it do less well? What should it be doing to improve? How can your strengths and intrapreneurship goals get your company where it needs to go? With that in the back of your mind, you’ll be better able to articulate to your manager how your intrapreneurial idea will benefit the company.

You’ll also need to be able to clearly define your objectives and metrics.

In other words, what does success look like and how can you measure it? Be absolutely sure that your project aligns with the corporation’s mission and values.

If you want your company to support your idea, you’ll need heavy hitters behind you. Start with your manager. Sit down with them and talk about the potential opportunity you see. They’ve worked at the company longer than you have and they know the path to making a project successful, including how to assemble a team and how to get decision makers to buy in. Have a presentation that describes the opportunity, how it benefits your company, and what resources you’ll need to execute (people, materials, funding). Once your manager is solidly backing you, ask for their help in lining up a senior executive or major decision-maker inside your company to put his or her name on the project. That will help you get the resources you’ll need to give you the greatest chance of succeeding.

Remember, this is your project, and you want to be the center of attention, right? But don’t try to do everything — you’re going to need help. In addition, trying to do it all makes you seem either like you can’t get others to work with you, you can’t delegate, or you’re trying to hog all the glory. Instead, surround yourself with people who have skills you don’t but who can make your idea even better. Look for people who are passionate about the idea you want to develop. Some will come from inside your organization, but others may come from outside.

Optimism and self-confidence are great qualities for intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs alike. But they can easily turn into naïveté if you don’t have a backup plan. Having a great idea, a great team, strong backing, and deep resources significantly increase your chances of success. But even with all that, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d hoped. Life can be awfully unpredictable, and it doesn’t pay to be overconfident. There are too many factors beyond your control, such as your company’s health, management changes, and corporate mergers. So you’ll want to have a backup plan — at the very least so you can salvage the work you’ve done and have something to show for it. Not having a contingency plan is just plain foolish (and it’ll be interpreted by people you’re trying to turn into allies as amateurish and immature).

You also want to have a contingency plan because intrapreneurship, just like entrepreneurship (and everything else in life, for that matter) is risky. You could get laid off tomorrow. You could get hit by a bus on the way into the office. Likewise, there’s no guarantee of success in business — most ideas fail.

Taking risks is what builds successful careers. Those who don’t, get stuck (in fact, I’d argue that not taking risks at work will be more harmful to your career than failure, because your company needs new ideas in order to grow. So if you’re holding back on proposing a new internal business opportunity, don’t. And keep in mind that you could benefit even if your project doesn’t get funded.

Two final things and then we’ll move on. First: As you go through the process, check in with your team to learn what’s working and what isn’t, what you’d need to do to improve. How could you prevent mistakes in the future and repeat your success? Intrapreneurship is all about experimenting/testing ideas, measuring the results, and improving on them. It can sometimes take a few tries to figure out whether or not something is right for your company. Finally, as soon as your project is up and running, start thinking about your next one and what kinds of people, backing, and resources you’ll need to build it out.

This post is an excerpt adapted from the author’s book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y career and workplace expert, the Founder of Millennial Branding and the author of the new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press). He made the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 in 2010 and the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 in 2012.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Painful, Embarrassing Shit I’ve Done Trying To Make Money Online

When I began writing at Rich20Something, I felt like a small child lost in the woods.

First, let’s get something straight: A lot of other bloggers or writers will tell you “Oh, I hardly even considered making money off my blog. Why, it happened practically by accident!” That’s bullshit. It doesn’t happen by accident.

And I knew from day one that I wanted to figure out a way to make money with Rich20Something by sharing the things I’d learned launching my other businesses. I just had no idea HOW to actually do this.

I saw a lot of these sketchy, over-the-top, narcissistic personalities online and it made me think of what directors used to tell me when I was acting in stage work:

“When you’re on stage, you have to be BIGGER so that even the back row can see you.”

So I saw all these over the top personalities supposedly making money and I thought THAT was who I would have to become in order to make a name for myself — and then one day…maybe I could make money online.

So for months, I tried a bunch of shit to attract attention. Now, I’m going to reveal some of the painful, embarrassing shit I attempted.

WARNING: All of these ideas are horrible. They make me want to set the treadmill to infinity and do the endless walk of shame. After reading them over again, I’m reconsidering religion.

  • I tried putting naked women in my videos to get more clicks (yes, I did think this would work so shut the hell up)

(This is an actual screencap of my first video.…)

  • I tried putting up a bunch of Google Adwords campaigns to a corny landing page that looked like a 2004 advertisement for OxyClean. Google suspended my account. It was their way of letting me know how good my content was…

  • I tried writing posts every single day and using Hootsuite to spam my friends and family on Twitter/Facebook. It was a marvelous failure.

  • I even tired…gulp…ok…I hired a professional ventriloquists to make a video for me to announce a web event. Yes. You read that correctly. Don’t believe me?


Puppets? Pants? WTF was I smoking?

  • Bonus fuckup not related to Rich20Something: I once lied to a web design client to get a project and told them that my team and I we ex-Google coders. Then when I got the job, I scrambled to find people who could help me do it. It didn’t work. I had to pay back everything. Umm…readers, never do that. Dumb x infinity.

Can you tell I was in gifted classes in high school?

Looking back, It seems pretty obvious that these approaches would be complete, total flops…but nothing is really obvious when you’re IN THE MOMENT — and you’re trying to copy what it appears other people are doing

How many of us are in the moment – trying to figure things out in our business and personal lives on a day-to-day basis?

Raise your hand if one of these strikes a chord with you:

  • You’re just looking for a way….ANY WAY to make an idea of yours work.

  • You find yourself quietly contemplating the meaning of life, saying things like: “WHAT THE FUCK IS THE SECRET TO MAKING MONEY?”

I feel you.

In my case, I was dying to know what the “secret sauce” was that all these other bloggers had (and I clearly didn’t).

They certainly weren’t better looking than me…


Then, one day, LIGHTNING STUCK. I had an “a ha” moment.

See — all this time, I’d be coming at this blog from a selfish P.O.V.

 How can DANIEL make money?

 How can DANIEL get noticed, get attention, get flocks of adoring female fans to send him semi-nude selfies?

I made it all about me. Me, ME, ME.


I started looking at the blogs of other people I admired who were making money — but also being themselves. People like Ramit Sethi, James Clear and Derek Halpern.

I smacked my head so hard, it’s still hurting…and in an instant, I finally realized the two components that make ANY business — whether it’s a product or a service…or even a blog — successful:

  • Authenticity

  • Offering your audience a genuine solution to their problems

So now, it was time to do a little soul searching and take an inventory. I started asking myself probing questions.

First: Authenticity

How could I really connect with my audience?

  • How can I reach them in  a way that makes them feel  a genuine connection to me?

  • How can I be the most honest version of myself.

I started writing posts that just expressed my feelings, hoping that people would relate. Not mushy, woo-woo, “The Secret” stuff. I began to write real, truthful pieces in the form of open letters.

These resonated. They stood out from the pack because people could tell there was no agenda. It was just me talking…and if they liked what I had to say…they could read more of my blog. That’s it. This type of genuine concern for others built my community faster than any other “tactic” I’d tried in the past. Imagine that.

Next: Offering my audience genuine solution to their problems

Now that I had peoples’ attention, what could I actually help them with?

  • The biggest mistake you can make here as a beginner is thinking that your experience has no value. It always has value.

  • You can always teach somebody something. You always have something to give.

So I started teaching — and I got great responses

Now, after some time I’d learned how to offer REAL, TANGIBLE value to readers — and it was a very simple transition to turning readers into clients and the blog into a business.

I started learning what people wanted by learning what people wanted via survey. I listened to what they were feeling and created something to help them.

 A few months later, I created a simple, program called the Tribal Accelerator where I help entrepreneurs one-on-one to take concrete action on their goals, stop messing around, and finally launch their start ups.

Now, I’d leveraged a legitimate business from my blog.

In my first 6 months of business, I made about 16,000 in sales from Rich20Something.

Now, it’s your turn.

  •  What do you want to know about my failures? My successes?
  • What specific questions do you have about how I run my businesses?

You can ask me about marketing, product creation, finances. Anything you can think of. Nothing is off limits.

Leave any question in the comments below with your questions and I’ll answer it.

BTW: If you want to learn inside info on freelancing, building your own online business and conquering the biggest startup hurdles, you have to join my tribe — I share private things there with my readers that I’ll never post anywhere online. Sometimes my emails are so ridiculous, my mom freaks out and calls me.

About the Author: Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel DiPiazza teaches young people how to stop doing shit that they hate and break free of 9 to 5 boredom by starting their own businesses at his blog

9 Ways Co-Working Can Help Your Business Grow

Question: Share your best anecdote/lesson from co-working and how it helped your business or brand grow.


New Clients All Around

“I work regularly at coworking spaces. I routinely land new clients through a quick chat, especially since in a coworking space, I can immediately show the person sitting next to me exactly what I’m working on.”


Word Gets Out

“I belong to a community of entrepreneurs that work together and play together, and I started serving a couple of clients. Word started getting around the community that my service was good, and more and more people started using my service. This is a great strategy for those whose clients would be in a co-working environment.”


New Talent in Your Space

“If you’re in a space with other talented individuals, it’s the perfect opportunity to scout for new talent for your own business. We’ve hired some of our most talented employees just because they were working in the same proximity to our company in a co-working environment. Without being in a co-working environment, we would have never had met those future employees.”

– Derek Johnson | CEO/Founder, Tatango


Creative Problem Solving

“Co-working spaces bring together diverse businesses. Be open about your difficulties and support other companies with theirs to uncover clever solutions to your challenges. We’re a consumer products company and struggled initially with building our subscription program. We finally talked to a co-located company with deep tech expertise and were able to crack the issue over a weekend!”

– Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches


Support for Each Other’s Business

“At 1871, a new co-working space in Chicago, I have the opportunity to work around awesome startups everyday. In my immediate area, I work with two very different startups, but we find ways to support each other’s businesses. Whether it’s through signing up for services, going to launch parties or promotion through social media, we have worked together to expand our businesses.”

– Mike McGee | Co-Founder, The Starter League


Co-Workers as Brand Ambassadors

“One of the things we do at my co-working space is “pitch meet-ups” where everyone has a chance to give an update on what they’re working on. I always use this time to let my co-workers know what they can tell others about my business, and having so many ambassadors for my brand has helped the word spread like wildfire. I act as an ambassador to their businesses too. Give love, get love!”

– Natalie MacNeil | Emmy Award Winning Media Entrepreneur, She Takes on the World

Quick User Feedback

“Co-working can be great for quickly getting feedback on design and product plans. When co-working, I’m often asked for feedback on projects, and once you get to talking, it’s a great way to get feedback on your own activities—from design to product roadmap, co-working space can be great for fast feedback from those who are external to your project, but close by.”

– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.

Spontaneous Collaboration

“The thing you really get with a co-working space is those spontaneous chats and “bump ins” you have with other entrepreneurs that lead places you’d never be able to go if you were working by yourself in isolation. When I started our entrepreneur co-workspace, The Loft, that was a big reason people joined. To be around entrepreneurs, to have random conversations and brainstorming. Awesome benefit.”

– Trevor Mauch | Founder, Carrot

Accountability Audience

“Our company was born out of co-working space and has been growing inside of one for the past 11 months. One unexpected benefit I love about co-working is the accountability. There is a communal sense of showing up from work, getting stuff done, and motivating each other to do so. It fosters the work hard, play hard attitude.”

– John Meyer | Founder/CEO,

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Image Credit:

10 Awesome Foods to Transform How You Look and Feel Everyday

“Let food be thy medicine”, Hippocrates.

It has been proven beyond shadow of a doubt that the foods we eat can strongly influence our health and play key roles in either raising or lowering the risk of disease.

Simple, effective, low-cost lifestyle changes such as improved diet have been proven as or more effective than drugs and surgery for both prevention and treatment of medical concerns in many people.

When you incorporate a healthy diet, with regular exercise, and proper supplements, you can totally transform the way you look and feel.

Studies also show that a healthy diet, along with other lifestyle approaches, can help ward off a number of chronic, age-related conditions, including heart disease, bones, and joint problems, cognitive decline, and even some types of cancer.

It all begins with a choice; a mindset shift.

You don’t like the way you look? Then make a decision to become the best version of yourself possible, not just for you, but also for those who care about you.

After doing some research, I have found 10 foods that can help you improve health and vitality and may even offer protection against a wide range of conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

1. Salmon


Rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats help counteract chronic inflammation and have also been shown in studies to protect against cardiovascular disease and provide benefits to support optimal mental health.

Salmon is delicious broiled, backed, poached, or lightly grilled.

Sockeye (red) salmon is particularly good choice because all of it is wild and it has lower concentration of environmental toxins than other species.

2. Garlic and Onions

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and Onions possess allicin, which is responsible for many health benefits as well as the pungent scent given off by garlic and onions.

Allicin’s antibacterial and antiviral properties have been shown to help fight infections like colds, flu, stomach viruses, Candida yeast, tuberculosis, botulism, and H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for peptic ulcers. The odor causing elements in onions actually kill a variety of mouth bacteria, especially when consumed raw.

Garlic and Onions are natural substitutes for salt, providing a sodium-free flavor packed with antioxidants benefits. You can use garlic as an effective home remedy for colds. A clove or two a day is recommended for people who suffer from chronic or recurrent infections.

Bad breath? No problem. Chewing some fresh parsley after eating garlic helps minimize the odor.

Garlic and Onions are best eaten raw, as they lose most of their medicinal value when they are cooked or dried.

3. Olive oil

Olive Oil

Olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Olive oil contains a unique anti-inflammatory agent, oleocanthal, found to be as effective as ibuprofen. Olive oil contributes to increasing concentrations of osteocalcin, which contributes to healthy bone formation.

Top quality extra virgin olive oil has a natural peppery finish and a deep aroma of grass and artichoke.

4. Flaxseed


Flaxseed is high in fiber content making it good for digestion. Also, it protects against common conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and diverticulitis, as well as colorectal cancer.

The abundance of lignans in flaxseed have also been linked to a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer and to milder menopausal symptoms.

Sprinkle ground flax on cereals, salads, and cooked vegetables, or mix it in shakes and nut butters to add a sweet, nutty flavor to meals.

2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed has about 4.5 grams of total fiber, 3 grams of omega-3s, 3 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and less than 6 grams of carbs, and about 80 calories.

5. Chia

Chia Seed

Chia is very rich in precursors of omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flaxseed. And it has another advantage over flax: Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.

Insects don’t like the chia plant, so it’s easier to find organically grown varieties.

You can mix seeds in water and add lime of lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Central America as “chia fresca”.

You can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, yogurt, salads, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.

6. Turmeric


Turmeric is a culinary spice that spans several cultures. It is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and gives American mustard its yellow tone.

In a review of 700 studies, respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD, concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effect against several chronic, debilitating diseases.

Turmeric contains a number of constituents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.

You can add turmeric to curries and sti-fries. Also, you can try turmeric tea, a staple from Okinawa, the island nation with the world’s longest average life span.

To make turmeric tea at home, bring 4 cups of water to a boil then add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, and add honey and/or lemon to taste.

7. Ginger


Ginger not only adds zing to meals but has a number of remarkable medicinal properties as well. Clinical studies suggest that the spice may help reduce nausea and vomiting related to surgery, morning sickness, and motion sickness. Ginger also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory that’s worth considering for conditions like arthritis, as well as for sore throats and congestion.

8. Broccoli


Broccoli is high in vitamin C, carotenoids (including lutein), and fiber, as well as several nutrients that appear to have anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties. Among these are sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a substance that has been shown to block the growth of cancer cells.

People who eat a lot of broccoli have lower rates of cancer than those who don’t. Regular consumption of broccoli has also been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce incidence of aggressive prostate cancer.

The best way to cook broccoli is to steam or stir-fry, otherwise, it loses beneficial compounds by 30% after only 5 minutes of cooking.

9. Blueberries


Half a cup of blueberries is equivalent to the antioxidant power of 5 servings of peas, carrots, apples, squash, or broccoli.

Anthocyanins, the pigments that make blueberries blue, are responsible for their antioxidant properties. Blueberries are also good source of fiber; you’ll get about 3 grams in one half-cup serving.

Like cranberries, blueberries may help protect against urinary-tract infections because they contain substances that prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder walls.

Fresh, frozen, and dried blueberries are all equally beneficial, and heating or cooking blueberries won’t affect the amount or quality of antioxidants they contain; in fact, cooked blueberries may provide a higher content of beneficial phytonutrients.

10. Black Beans

Black Beans

Beans are great sources of protein, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc, plus they have the highest antioxidant levels of all legumes, thanks to their content of anthocyanins, which give their dark tone.

Beneath their skin, black beans have a light, cream-colored flesh with an earthy, almost mushroom-like flavor that complements both Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.

When shopping for black beans, always look for dried organic black beans which give you more control over sodium and allow you to cook them in ways that minimize digestive issues.

Soak dried beans overnight in water, then drain and replace the liquid with fresh water for cooking.  Remember, one of the best strategies to achieve and maintain vibrant health is to follow a diet that incorporates fresh whole foods.

What other organic non-processed foods do you know that offer optimal health benefits? 

10 Traits Employers Should Look for in New Hires

Q.What’s one underappreciated trait you look for in all new hires?

New Hires

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Communication

We look for candidates who over-communicate: they reconfirm times and locations for interviews a day in advance, they email thank-you notes after screening calls, and they follow up if they don’t hear anything. We know this trait will help ensure that they won’t have a miscommunication at work and that very little will slip past them.
– Bhavin ParikhMagoosh Test Prep

2. Entrepreneurship

Because my company is small, each person is treated as an entrepreneur in charge of her own domain. Too many companies shy away from entrepreneurial employees, but I embrace them. Everyone I hire has the curious, can-do attitude of an entrepreneur.
– Laura RoederLKR Social Media

10 Tips for Starting a Lifestyle Business

1. Copy what’s working

Having no competitors is not a good sign. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

If there are no other products in your market you probably have to invest a lot of time and money into creating the product and evaluating the market. You also need to change people habits meaning a lot of money needs to be spent on marketing.

Instead go into a market where money is already being spent, evaluate the competition and then try to do it just a little bit better. That can be to compete on price, service, features, delivery whatever really.

This will have your lifestyle business up and running much faster.

2. Create a business that can be automated

If you need to spend time proportionally with each new client, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s ok to spend a little more time if you got 100 clients than if you have just one, but it shouldn’t be 1 to 1.

In the beginning it is ok for things to be proportionally but you need to be able to automate this down the line be using either technology or outsourcing. If you build a business that needs you all the time, you won’t gain freedom and you will eventually end up working you ass off.

3. Start with something you are passionate about

A lot of people tell me that they have no idea of what that should build. The same people can talk on and on about some obscure hobby they have. Well, there you have it.

Start out with by building a business around something that you are truly passionate about. Just for one second don’t think business plans and markets, just that you are passionate about this subject.

You passion will be transferred to your potential customers and you are less inclined to quite at the first sign of obstacles (and believe me, when building a business you will hit obstacles along the way).

4. Just Do It

All successful lifestyle entrepreneurs share one secret ninja ability.

They DO stuff.

They don’t sit around at parties explaining everyone what a great idea they have, or how much money they will get if they only chose to implement their idea.

Successful entrepreneurs know that they won’t make a dime just having an idea, so the act on that idea, kick ass and do stuff.

I love Nike’s slogan “Just Do It” because it’s short (something my limited brain can remember – great :) ) and it’s something I again and again want to tell people who are telling me about their new great idea but I know won’t ever pursue it.

5. Realize that there is no 4 Hour Workweek

I think it was a great book, and it was the one that inspired me to take action and work less and live more. But if you think that this is a quick fix for being a lazy ass, then think again. It is hard work while you are building the business, the idea is to have it as automated as possible once it is built, but until then forget about actually building a business using only 4 hours per week (unless you have a really long timeline).

Timothy Ferriss himself spend 80 hour weeks before he look at automating his business!

6. There is no failure, only feedback

Now this is a statement that is used in NLP and as I wrote earlier you will experience obstacles when building a business.

Now you can be use those obstacles to tell yourself that you’re a failure and you can’t build a lifestyle business, or you can simply think of them differently.

There are no failures only feedback on how not to do things!

And now that I know how not to do it, I can simply try and do it again, this time with a higher chance of success. If you thought of yourself as a failure, there is a chance that you will quit all together in order to avoid any repetition of a potential future failure.

7. Focus on producing

You are either producing stuff or consuming something that someone else produced. So where do you want to be?

Yeah sure watching X-Factor on television is probably great entertainment, but it’s not bringing your lifestyle business forward.

If you want a lifestyle business you want to have a producer mindset. To create content, products, checklists for outsources, writing sales copy, autoresponder emails and what have you.

Remember one thing, while “research” might sound like a good idea. Don’t get stuck with this, when you are researching you are consuming and you want to start producing as quickly as possible.

8. Reach out – or you go crazy

When creating a lifestyle business you are most likely a solo entrepreneur. And if you would you could probably just sit around home in your 3 day old underwear and nothing else (unless you have a spouse that is on you ass about it :) ).

If you don’t reach out and talk to other people you will eventually go crazy. And I’m not talking about just chatting with people on Twitter or commenting your Friends’ updates on Facebook. I’m talking about going out and interacting with real humans.

9. Solve people’s problems

Want to make money? Easy enough, just solve people problems. The hard part is most often getting your problem solving product in front of people having the problem.

A lot of clever people want you to built stuff that you yourself would want to buy. Forget about that, I could come up with the first 10 products that I would like for myself that no one else in the whole world would like to pay money for.

No instead you should focus on solving common problems – and have this mantra in your mind as your building the business and your products. You only make money as long as you solve other people’s problems.

The closer you can come to solving the exact problem, the easier it will be to pursued people to buy your product.

10. Kick ass and have a blast

Remember that you don’t build a lifestyle business over night, so unless you enjoy the process you will eventually run out of energy.

For someone like me who’s very result oriented, this can actually be a hard thing as I don’t value the process that much.

So this is one of the things that I’ve worked a lot with for the last couple of years.

So while you’re using your ninja kick ass skills on building your lifestyle business that will provide you with time and freedom, remember to enjoy the journey as well.

Rasmus Lindgren is the author of The Lifestyle Business Rockstar: Quit your 9-5, kick ass, work less, and live more!,which is a guide to prioritizing your life and achieving work-life balance by starting a lifestyle business. To learn more, visit

Entrepreneurial with Brent Beshore

Interview with Brent Beshore about starting his business

Hiscox-Small-Business-Insurance-Logo-600This is part six of the ten part series. Follow the Starting a Business as a Young Entrepreneur interview series and don’t miss an interview! 

Interview Series Sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance.  Hiscox  specializes in protecting IT/technology, marketing, consulting, health and beauty, photography and many other professional services businesses, tailoring coverage to the  specific risks in your industry.

At the age of 7, Brent Beshore partnered with a neighborhood friend to manufacture bows and arrows in the U.S. to sell in Guatemala.  There might have been some holes in his plan, but Brent’s entrepreneurial roots and intuition have grown stronger over the past couple of decades.

Today, Brent’s endeavors are just as ambitious, and even better prepared. Brent is founder and CEO of venture capital firm, venture partner at Gen Y Capital, an angel investor, and owner of Beshore Family Vineyards.

Brent has entrepreneurship deeply rooted in his genes.  His great-great grandfather invented the bedspring and his grandfather helped in turning a $4 million dollar company into a $4 billion dollar company., founded in 2007, is a problem first venture capital firm that seeks out significant widespread problems to solve through starting new businesses and making select angel investments.  A problem that the company is currently attempting to solve is obesity.  After working with researchers for the last 18 months, they believe that they can make a difference and will be launching a new company in February or March of 2014.

Over the past 6 years, the company has experienced rapid growth, and was 28th on Inc.’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies list in 2011 and reached $6.8 million in revenues with 62 employees. Brent credits’ success and growth to intellectual honesty.  When trying to find solutions for challenging problems, most people have their own ideas of how to address that problem.  Most of these ideas and viewpoints will be wrong.  Brent pointed to the ability to adopt new perspectives and being honest through the process as significantly helping fuel the growth of

Q: What has been the hardest thing you have encountered as a young entrepreneur?

A: “The emotional rollercoaster…you can feel like a million bucks one minute and ten minutes later you feel like you’re scum of the earth.”

Like almost every successful entrepreneur on the planet – Brent has failed and struggled along the way.  “When things are going great don’t burn out, and when things are going bad don’t try to hide.  Early on in my career that was a huge challenge.  I went through a period of two years where I think I cried in my office 2-3 days a week.  You feel like you can’t do anything right and a lot of people are going to call you a failure.  I finally realized, for the most part, people don’t care.”

Brent has reached a high level success at the age of 30, but one thing that he feels he still wants to accomplish is to have a big defining moment that makes a significant impact on the world.  “I feel like we’ve done a good job. We made some money, we’ve helped quite a few people, but we haven’t had that hugely denting the world moment yet.”

Don’t settle for just the highlights – listen to the full interview audio below!

Interview Highlights

– Brent’s thoughts on whether starting a business at a young age is an advantage or a disadvantage and why he believes that young entrepreneurs should lean towards products instead of services.

– Favorite part about being an entrepreneur: “It’s just this incredible, awesome experience to bring together a community of people. I was the initial spark for it, but it’s grown way past me…the greatest reward.”

– What’s the best way you can protect your business? “Don’t try to control people.  I know that’s a little counterintuitive because we think of control as a positive thing in the sense of – if you have control, that’s good.  I’ve learned personally, the more open, transparent, and authentic I am, and the less I try to control them…the better things happen.”

– Best piece of advice for people under 30 to do right now: Read. The smartest people in the world are telling us their secrets.  Brent reads 1-2 hours every day and says that they are the hands down most productive hours of his day.

– “Embrace the fact that you’re not always going to be productive.”

– If you could add any entrepreneur to your team, who would it be and why? Aaron Levie from Box.  Intelligent, funny, intellectually honest and one of the best Twitter philosophers.

Listen to the full interview here:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download


Read more interviews from the Starting a Business as a Young Entrepreneur Series

About the Author: Michael Luchies

Michael Luchies is an entrepreneur and passionate supporter of everything entrepreneurship. Michael is Co-Founder of PitchJam and is National Growth and Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). He has been covering entrepreneurship over the past 5 years and has been published on Under30CEO, Yahoo!, Yahoo! News, ThinkEntrepreneurship, PitchingGreatness, and other websites and publications. On Twitter @MichaelLuchies.

Education Is Good, But What Kind?

Education is good. It is good in a different way and for different purposes than you might have thought. College is necessary. It is needed for the advancement of technology, humanity, and to make sure we live like humans. There is no better indicator of societal advancement than the level of education the masses receive.

The conventional wisdom that investing in a college education is the best way to guarantee a better financial future is true. But here is the biggest problem with a college education:

No matter what you go to college for, you won’t learn to be financially independent, and you won’t learn how to make money.

Even medical doctors are being sent out to start their own practices without having more than a few hours of instructions on how to actually run their practice so that they can enjoy it and make money in the process. As a result, there are quite a few medical doctors whose practices don’t make it in the market economy.

In college, you won’t learn money management, financial freedom, financial intelligence, and business savvy. What you do learn is how to become a highly functional “ant” in the job-based economy of the western world. We learned about finance in theoretical concepts that had absolutely no application to making money for ourselves. We were taught about micro- and macroeconomic concepts of how national economies compete against each other. With all that, however, we did not learn much at all about how we could take these concepts and make money with them on our own.

That’s why I say that school is the worst place to go to learn how to make money. They don’t teach you what you need to know about that subject.

You need education that you can actually apply, that helps you succeed in life—particularly financially. You need an education that teaches you how to deal with money. I’m not talking about just any type of education; I am speaking of a specific kind of education.

If you want to be financially successful, you must learn:

• How to invest

• How to tell a good investment from a bad one

• How to make more money in your life in—and outside of— your job

• How to find ways to invest in the stock market without the risk of losing money (there are strategies for that)

• How to outsource cheaply the things in life you don’t enjoy so that you can spend more time on doing the things you do enjoy and which bring you forward personally and financially

• How to get more than the 1–2 percent that banks offer on your deposits in a safe way. For example, there are ways to get 12–36 percent on your money in government-guaranteed investments, like tax liens

• How to find cash flow investments that will give you Forever Cash for, well, ever!

If you are the entrepreneurial type and want to start a full-blown business, you also need to educate yourself on:

• How to manage a business by the numbers

• How to hire the right people

• How to run businesses remotely without having to be there every day or even without having to live close by

• How to do marketing for your company

• How to find opportunities at every corner and how to tell which opportunity is a good one

• How to keep your cost under control

• How to have a strategy that works for your business and how to implement that strategy

When you have that kind of education, even just the first part of the list I just gave you, you are prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Unfortunately, this kind of knowledge is not being taught in a “regular” college. But you can find it. You can learn it.

An excerpt from Forever Cash: Break the Earn-Spend Cycle, Take Charge of Your Life, and Build Everlasting Wealth by Jack Bosch

 Jack Bosch is the author of Forever Cash: Break the Earn-Spend Cycle, Take Charge of Your Life, and Build Everlasting Wealth. He is an entrepreneur, nationally recognized speaker, and wealth mentor who became a cash and Forever Cash millionaire through real estate investments and online business.

12 Myths about Starting a Business

1 I need to write a business plan before I start.

No you don’t. Start-ups are so unpredictable that writing a business plan is a pointless exercise.  You don’t exactly know who your customers are or what benefit/value they get from your product/service. If you think you need to prepare a plan to raise start-up funding see point 3 below.

2 I need lots of business experience.

No you don’t. There is a little unknown principle called be, do, have.  But for some reason our society believes it is the other way around – have, do, be.  People think you need to have a certain amount of skills, knowledge, contacts before you can start a business (do) and be an entrepreneur/business owner.  A better way to live is first of all just be an entrepreneur then you will do all the things that entrepreneurs do and eventually have the necessary things you thought you needed before you could start.  Essentially fake it till you make it.

3 I need to raise lots of funding before I can start

No you don’t. This is a risky and unnecessary strategy.  What you need is a minimal viable product to send to potential customers to receive their valuable feedback. Then you can alter your product/service until it’s exactly what they want.  Let them guide you as in the end its customers that will eventually be paying you for it. If there is no demand for this product/service idea you will find out without wasting much time, energy or money.  An MVP is not just market research.  If you were conducting market research you would ask someone if they would find your product useful and they may respond yes – but there is a massive difference between what someone says they will do (during market research) and what they will actually do in the real world.