Interview: Ellen Sperling, Co-founder of YouveGotFunds.com

Ellen Sperling discusses the role of crowdfunding for business through the YouveGotFunds.com platform and how you can use it.

Listen to Ellen’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

5 More Reasons to Start Your Own Business

Last week, we talked about our top 5 reasons to start your own business and guess what? We have 5 more.

You ready? Because here we go!

1. You will finally have the respect you deserve

Mainly, you’ll learn to respect yourself. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Starting your own business is tough. More than tough. It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. When you get to the other side, success or failure, you’ll see exactly what you’re capable of when pursuing your passion and dreams. Everyone surrounding you on the endeavor will see it, too.

2. You’ll create jobs

In the last post, we talked about the tax breaks that come with hiring your family. That’s all well and good, but think about all the other jobs you’re creating. You’ll be an economy-stimulation machine. You’ll have the chance to mine and cultivate talent. You’ll be the one in the boss’s seat.

3. Your story will reach your customers

When we talk about branding on this site, one of the things we like to talk about is sharing your story. Why are you here? Why is this the thing you’re passionate about? When you share your passion with people, they can passionate in response. Your customers are the perfect people to hear your story and help you spread the word.

4. You can flex your creative muscle

One of the big things the self-employed tend to do is find their creative flow and use it to advance and grow their business. Imagine what kind of entrepreneur/boss/innovator you can be when you are allowed to work the way you’re comfortable with. Being your own boss let’s you off the leash to explore your full capabilities. Go as far as you can.

5. Start a legacy

Whether you want to keep the company in the family or hand it over to your most trusted second in command, you have started something that could last for a long time. Your business could be enduring. You could start something that lasts far into the future, beginning with your own innovation and spreading out for generations to come.

Why would you start your own business? Did you start your own business? What pushed or inspired you to jump from the corporate world into the world of self-employment? Share in the comments!

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: Big Bang Disruption by Larry Downes

bigbangIt used to take years or even decades for disruptive innovations to dethrone dominant products and services. But now any business can be devastated virtually overnight by something better and cheaper. How can executives protect themselves and harness the power of Big Bang Disruption?

Just a few years ago, drivers happily spent more than $200 for a GPS unit. But as smartphones exploded in popularity, free navigation apps exceeded the performance of stand-alone devices. Eighteen months after the debut of the navigation apps, leading GPS manufacturers had lost 85 percent of their market value.

Consumer electronics and computer makers have long struggled in a world of exponential technology improvements and short product life spans. But until recently, hotels, taxi services, doctors, and energy companies had little to fear from the information revolution.

Those days are gone forever. Software-based products are replacing physical goods. And every service provider must compete with cloud-based tools that offer customers a better way to interact.

Today, start-ups with minimal experience and no capital can unravel your strategy before you even begin to grasp what’s happening. Never mind the “innovator’s dilemma”—this is the innovator’s disaster. And it’s happening in nearly every industry.

Worse, Big Bang Disruptors may not even see you as competition. They don’t share your approach to customer service, and they’re not sizing up your product line to offer better prices. You may simply be collateral damage in their efforts to win completely different markets.

The good news is that any business can master the strategy of the start-ups. Larry Downes and Paul Nunes analyze the origins, economics, and anatomy of Big Bang Disruption. They identify four key stages of the new innovation life cycle, helping you spot potential disruptors in time. And they offer twelve rules for defending your markets, launching disruptors of your own, and getting out while there’s still time.

Based on extensive research by the Accenture Institute for High Performance and in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, and executives from more than thirty industries, Big Bang Disruption will arm you with strategies and insights to thrive in this brave new world.

Interview: Matthew Edgar, Founder and Developer for SpringTrax

springMatthew Edgar is the founder and developer for SpringTrax. SpringTrax can help hunt down and wipe out all your broken links and 404 errors.

Listen to Matthew’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

Inspiration: 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

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5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

At BizTV, it’s no secret, we’re all about entrepreneurs, small business owners, and making your own way through the financial world.

Not included on this list: wearing pajamas to work

Today, we’re going to give you an excuse to join the ranks of the self-employed (as if you need one), and, hey, if you’re already there, maybe you have some of your own excuses to share in the comments.

1. Tax benefits

Bet you didn’t think that would be number 1, did you? But, it’s true. There are many tax benefits that the entrepreneur and small business owner can call their own. If you educate yourself on tax law, or hire a good accountant, there are expenses for your business that you can write off. If you employ your family, you can keep the money within the household. If you hire your children, you are relieved from withholding income taxes and paying payroll taxes, including Social Security, until the child turns 18. Also, you don’t pay federal unemployment until the child reaches 21. If you hire your spouse or parents, you don’t need to pay federal unemployment taxes on them either, though you must withhold federal income tax and pay FICA on them. Corporations are not allowed these tax breaks. Enjoy!

2. As long as you get your own work, you’re in charge of your own job security

This might be a double-edged sword if you aren’t good at selling yourself (read: get good at selling yourself). If you have a skill or product that’s in high demand, you’re on top. No one is going to downsize your department. You’re in charge of your own employment future.

3. You can challenge yourself

Think about your job right now. Are you challenged? Are you stimulated? Do you jump into work every day with a take charge attitude because you’re excited to solve the next puzzle that falls in your lap? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take heed: every day with your own business is as challenging as you want it to be. Are you going to integrate a new technology? Are you going to find a way to appeal to a new customer base? You have the ability to explore and challenge yourself every day.

4. You are the expert

Think about how satisfying it would be to tell someone: “Trust me. I’m an expert.”

Well, when you own a business that provides a certain product or service, you have the right to say you’re an expert in that product or service. You know what you’re talking about. You’ve learned things to trial and error. You create your own expertise.

5. You’re in control of your own networking

What’s your passion? Have you ever wanted to find people who share that passion? As the owner of your own business, you have the right to pursue the opportunities with those people who share your interests. In fact, it’s encouraged. Go to conferences. Go to meetups. You’ll find the people worth knowing in your industry.

Those are some of our reasons to get out of the rat race and join the self-employment movement. What made you leap from regular employment to entrepreneurship? Share in the comments!

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

startupofyouA blueprint for thriving in your job and building a career by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

Why? Start-ups – and the entrepreneurs who run them – are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage.

These are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead today.

This book isn’t about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career. Whether you work for a giant multinational corporation, a small local business, or launching your own venture, you need to know how to:

* Adapt your career plans as you change, the people around you change, and industries change.
* Develop a competitive advantage to win the best jobs and opportunities.
* Strengthen your professional network by building powerful alliances and maintaining a diverse mix of relationships.
Find the unique breakout opportunities that massively accelerate career growth.
* Take proactive risks to become more resilient to industry tsunamis.
* Tap your network for information and intelligence that help you make smarter decisions.

A revolutionary new guide to thriving in today’s fractured world of work, the strategies in this book will help you survive and thrive and achieve your boldest professional ambitions. The Start-Up of You empowers you to become the CEO of your career and take control of your future.

How to Avoid Collaboration Fatigue

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

It’s nearly impossible to escape a meeting or conference call without someone touting the virtues of collaboration. After all, researchers have linked collaboration to increased innovation, and many have compellingly argued for collaboration’s role in better leadership performance. Collaboration just feels right — like a big hug or a warm puppy.

But collaboration also has an overlooked dark side.

Picture this: A complex issue is identified. A diverse, cross-functional team is assembled to solve it. Key stakeholders are gathered. Information is collected. Options are debated. Approval is sought. And then… nothing happens. So more information is gathered. More stakeholders are invited. More conference calls are logged. More debate ensues. More approval is sought. Round and round the project goes — when, where, and how somebody will decide, nobody knows.

This is a recipe for collaboration fatigue, and if consumed in large doses for prolonged periods, this potent blend of abdication…

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Interview: Amy Abatangle, VP of Sales and Marketing at Untangle

Amy Abatangle is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Untangle.

Listen to Amy’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

The 12 Best Jobs in 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC]

12-best-jobs1

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