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Advice From Millennial Entrepreneurs

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millennial entrepreneurs

Millennials are underrated when it comes to work ethic. As the biggest age group in the country at 80 million strong, entrepreneurs sprout from all over, creating jobs for a variety of industries. Success comes in many forms, and we at Owner’s Magazine had the opportunity to talk to a few successful entrepreneurs about culture, motivations, and how to achieve your goals. Many of these entrepreneurs are founders and CEO’s of their own businesses, and they are here to give some advice on how to grow.

 

Greg Star, Founding Partner of Carvertise

Carvertise

“Why finding a mentor is the worst advice I ever received. You may be confused by this title. After all, a mentor is crucial for personal development. They can provide hard earned wisdom that only comes from experience facing similar challenges that you are up against. Additionally, a mentor can open up a network of contacts that you would not meet otherwise. So why would finding a mentor be considered bad advice? Isn’t this a no brainer? The answer is no- and here’s why.
Finding a single mentor limits your thinking. You should be trying to find multiple mentors. Here are three important benefits you get from surrounding yourself with a team of mentors as compared to one.
1. Different viewpoints– Having several mentors with different specialties to bounce problems off of will give you broader insight on the problems you are facing. Your one mentor may have a biased that can only be seen if your getting multiple points of view.
2. Larger network– A mentor can open up a lot of doors to a lot of key introductions for you from a personal and professional standpoint. Thus, the more mentors you have, the larger your network becomes.
3. It teaches you how to ask for help– This is probably the best lesson for finding multiple mentors. The act of constantly reaching out to different people asking help is an incredibly important skill. It teaches you to put your ego aside,  which is incredibly important in developing personally and professionally. I personally reach out for help 3-4x a month to people who I think I can learn from, and the benefits have been exponential.
Bringing it together:
Next time someone tells you to find a mentor, stop them, and let them know why they are wrong!”

Andrew Nakkache, Co-founder & CEO of Habitat LLC

Habitat

“7 core attributes or traits that I think are important for entrepreneurs (at least for me):
Share Ideas – I’m big on sharing a raw idea with everyone. Ideas are typically worthless, and the only way they get better is through talking to enough people (and customers). 9/10 ideas I have are terrible.
Delusional Optimism – You need to have a deep-seeded belief that you and your team are exceptional, and you are the ones that are going to fix the problem you’re solving.
Everlasting Paranoia – Simultaneously, you have to believe that what your building is worthless
Shameless Persistence – Again, tell everyone your idea and ask everyone who you think can help..for help. Most people like to help entrepreneurs, those relationships can turn into mentors.
Impulse Control – You need to have the ability to resist temptation.
Level Headed – This ties into Impulse Control, you’re going to have a lot of internal battles. It’s important to keep a level head, and your team needs to see that.
High Integrity – Always be thankful and courteous to everyone you meet. You never know how someone may be helpful down the road.”

David Feinman, Co-founder & CEO of Viral Ideas

Viral Ideas

“For new entrepreneurs, it is important to just get started, to do something that you can take to market. Be it a product, a consulting concept, or something small, that you are able to take to a few customers that are willing to pay you something, for your idea or for your concept so that you can test, learn, and grow from that initial starting base, and really build on top of that.”

 

Benjamin Fuller, Associate of Montgomery McCracken’s Business Department

Montgomery McCracken’s Business Department

“While every situation is different, I often recommend that the partners in start-ups have honest and frank discussions their goals. I find that they rarely have accounted for disagreement and difficult circumstances that are likely to arise in any business. It is always easier to have a discussion about these issues up front.
With respect to growing companies, I counsel them on how investment may dilute their equity. For founders of any company it is important to understand what they are giving up in order to gain investment. The bottom line is it’s important to include your lawyer in these types of conversations early and often. We often act as the facilitators of these discussions and can provide specific insight sometimes based on “war stories” – both good and bad – from past representations.”

 

 

Stephen Blackwell, Chief Strategy Officer of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group

Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group

“The Great Recession created a lot of uncertainty for my generation and how it viewed itself and its prospects. The status quo didn’t appear sustainable at the time and it forced a lot of us to think outside the box – and ultimately create jobs during that time. To me, success has been about educating yourself at length about the industry you’re entering and then taking the extra time to get creative. Find that niche your industry is looking for. It’s probably hiding in plain sight.”

 

 

Tony Cho, President of Metro 1 Properties

Metro 1 Properties“To me, culture is everything. That is why most, if not all, of our agents and employees chose Metro 1 over other more established companies. The culture we curate and create exudes and exemplifies who we are and who we aspire to be in the community. Providing regular yoga and meditation classes for staff and agents builds camaraderie and rapport between and among the team. Culture is key in business.”

 

 

Erica Dias, Co-Owner of The B Firm

The B Firm

“Never give up! Dreaming isn’t going to get you anywhere. DOING will! You’ve got this! Faith It Until You Make It!”

 

 

Ryan Shear, Principal of Property Markets Group

Property Markets Group

“I’ve found that so much of what dictates success in real estate development as a profession and an industry ultimately boils down to effective management, whether it’s managing time, resources, personnel, etc. From the beginning, I recognized an opportunity to do things at PMG differently from the typical development shop. We have a great blend of really experienced industry veterans working hand-in-hand with ambitious young professionals that has left us with a very atypical culture relative to the other companies in our field. We have fun together and support one another, but we are also constantly pushing. When it comes to incentivizing employees based on project performance, I think we are more aggressive than just about any other developer of our size and that gets the team to reach for that higher gear. I am very demanding of my team, but they have become even more demanding of themselves and that is what makes me most proud.”

 

 

Karen Elmir, CEO of The Elmir Group

The Elmir Group

“To maximize sales, one must be creative and think outside the box. Push beyond ordinary marketing tools by investing in your listing and always look for new channels of communication and sales. Remember, it takes money to make money. Additionally, professionalism and dedication are key. Make sure to consistently be knowledgeable about your product, as well as the state of the market and its trends.”

 

 

Ali Grant, Founder of Be Social

Be Social PR

“As your business expands, you will soon understand the need to scale efficiently. It can be difficult giving ownership to others, but putting trust in your team allows you to conquer, grow, and scale.”

 

 

Elizabeth Convery, Founder of Very Real Estate

Very Real Estate

“I have been fortunate to build my entire book of business at VERY Real Estate on word-of-mouth referrals. It is my belief if you do right by one person, and put their needs above your own, treating them with respect, dignity, and acting in a thoughtful way on their behalf, that you leave a lasting and memorable impression. Naturally, when people have a positive experience, they tell their friends and your business grows like a tree. I strive to always have people smile when they hear my name. Making someone feel special is the key to building trusting, lasting relationships and having a reputation that leaves people feeling great.”

 

 

Zubin Teherani, Co-Founder of LeagueSide

LeagueSide

“Sell your idea before you sell your product. Youth sports sponsorships have unique advantages over other forms of marketing. They provide a captivated audience for hours every weekend, guarantees digital and in-person impressions to the same group of families, and supports the families you’re marketing to by subsidizing their costs. We always, always, always, start by selling the merits of sponsoring youth sports organizations before we get into how it works. Selling the big picture helped us close big clients and investors in our early days before we ever built a product.
“Fake it till ya make it” – When we started LeagueSide, we focused on selling before we ever built a product. We pitched clients, youth sports leagues, and investors and got yeses before we committed to LeagueSide full-time. This validated that this was a business worth pursuing, saved us months of time, and gave us perfect clarity of what we needed to do next.”

 

Jenny Cipoletti, Founder of Margo & Me

Margo and Me

The Shift: I started reaching out to stylists to work with them on weekends. I worked PR during the week and started styling on the weekends with whoever needed an assistant at the time. From there, I started to realize I really enjoyed the styling more. I woke up at 25 and I had a grocery list of all of these amazing things: my health, my boyfriend, and my puppy, but I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was alive but I wasn’t living. I was just going through the motions.
That Quit Moment: I said to myself, if I wake up at 30 years old and I’m still doing this, it’s not going to be pretty, so I left my PR job and went back to school. I did the nine month program at FIDM for fashion design, and it was incredible. For years and years, I hadn’t learned anything tangible applicable or creative — that changed overnight. I’d totally forgotten what it felt like to be a student again, totally immersed in a creative culture and constantly inspired by my teachers, my peers, and my work. I was thrown into a design program where you learned how to sketch, sew, drape, and create patterns. It was like this bubble just burst inside of me. I suddenly realized that this was what I’d been missing all along.
Start, Just Start: In addition to going back to school, I launched Margo and Me as a way to showcase what I was designing (Margo is my french bulldog). It started out as just a showcase for the dresses I was designing, but then I started posting outfits and styling tips as well. My husband is a director and was the one who originally inspired the idea because he was testing his new camera lens so I asked him to take a picture of me wearing one of my outfits. There were a few trendsetters out there, but this was before the huge blogging boom. There weren’t really many people doing it at the time. It was a whole new world.”

Kathleen McCabe, Founder of Syreni

Syreni

“In the early stages of starting a company the best way to stay motivated is hold yourself accountable by telling as many people as possible about what you are doing. This will help you gain confidence and allow you to practice your natural sales pitch while building your future network. Get a web presence early and publish your anticipated launch date. The excitement you see from your early followers will motivate you to keep going and not give up.”

 

 

Hayk Tadevosyan, Insurance Agent at State Farm

State Farm

“I always go back and use numbers to make things simple to understand as I strongly understand that numbers don’t lie. A powerful statistic and a very familiar one to business owners is “9 out of 10 businesses don’t make it past year One”, well what happens after year one?
Another interesting statistic, half the business owners that make it past year one don’t see year three and half of who makes it past year three don’t see year five…. Why is that?
During the starting phase of a business if you are part of the 9 out of 10 that doesn’t make it, it’s due to the fault of the person in charge, the business owner. You didn’t work hard enough, weren’t committed and were not putting in the hours. The only “silver bullet” in business success that I’m aware of is good old fashion Hard Work. SAME can be said by every successful entrepreneur I know.
The problem with year 3 is our business outgrown us in volume. As an individual there are only so many meeting we can attend, so many calls we can make, so many things we can manage. If we don’t duplicate ourselves, and in many cases duplicating ourselves several times, we will not keep up with the growth. When a demand exceeds the business structure, the business falls apart, which is why it’s crucial to start training and developing a team right away, and the right people take a while to develop. If you ask yourself the question of, “How long it took us to learn a skill and perfect it?” If the answer is years, then why do we get frustrated with our managers if they don’t get it right the first time and fire them?! We have to be patient and spend a lot of our time coaching, although sometimes we feel that time is better spend closing more deals. That’s a huge misconception, training and developing a team is the highest ROI time we can spend in a business.
Usually by year 5, the business owner is no longer working for money, but more for balance in life. At this point, we have to realize we don’t need a job and the business is not built to create a job for the business owner, it’s built to create jobs for others. If by year 5 the business owner doesn’t have a manager that manages his team and a team that manages the customers, there is a high chance of the business owners to get negative with the business, which takes away creativity, and with lack of creativity, there is no passion, and without having passion, business dies, either right away or slowly till it becomes more expensive to maintain the business than to just close doors.
There are a lot of moving parts to making a business work, but if I were to give anyone advice on what to focus on is this time schedule.
Year 1 – Be the hardest worker with longest hours. Become what you are looking to recreate as far as future employees in the business.
Year 2-3 – Since you are a machine, look to duplicate yourself. We always attract what we are, not who we want. So, if you are a hard and smart worker you will find a good team, if you don’t, then you need to ask yourself if you are leading by example.
Year 3-5 – One of your team members will shine more than the rest, put them in charge and train them on how to train others. Train the team to answer to the manager, so you only answer to your manager. It’s much easier long term to answer to few sharp leaders within your organization than thousands of clients. At this point, the machine is running, you have lots of time to spend on other business ventures, hobbies, family etc.
Your team is making lots of money and you have created good jobs in the community, and the business doesn’t stop growing as you are not a one man show.

 

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.

Business

How to Ask For a Favor

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how to ask for a favor

Do you know how to ask for a favor? Asking for a favor might be hard especially if you’re the independent type. Like it or not, we need to ask favors now and then if we want to succeed. Favors have varying degrees from the very easy: “please come to the conference call tomorrow” to the onerous “please introduce me to your contact at Apple”. Lucky for you, people like doing favors. Studies show that people comply with requests to avoid awkwardness and it also suggests that favors are less of a burden than we think.

But regardless of studies, asking for favors can still feel strange. Therefore being deliberate in the way you ask a favor can make a big difference in the outcome. When asking for a favor, remember the following:

  • Set the stage: “I need to ask a favor”
  • Provide reason
  • Provide means of escape

The phrase, “I need to ask a favor” is a very powerful verbal contract. It also implies reciprocity. If you help me now, you can ask a favor from me in the future. This two way relationship of give and take acknowledges that the favor is not totally one-sided. But aside from this, it also makes the other switch gears into receiving mode. This will give your friend time to have an “uh-oh” or “happy to do so” moment. Consider these:

“Friend, can you cover my shift tonight? I’m not going to make it due to an emergency” or

“Friend, I have a favor to ask. Is it possible for you to cover my shift tonight? I have an emergency”.

In the first scenario, the friend is off guard and might feel that he has to do the favor. In the second scenario, setting up the stage to ask the favor gives your friend a second or two to decline or accept the favor.

The Reason

According to Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence; giving a reason to your favor increases the chances of a positive response. If you know how to ask for a favor be sure you’re providing a reason makes people react positively even if the reason is makes no sense to the request. People like to know that they are being asked something. If you’re asking a millennial for a favor, consider reading this article  about 5 things you need to know about Millennials. It’ll give some insights on what makes millennials tick.

The Escape Clause

When learning how to ask for a favor, it’s good to keep in mind an Escape Clause. People are inherently good especially when they are asked to comply with a request. This is because giving is better than receiving. However, when you ask a favor your goal is two-fold: getting what you want and making the giver feel good about helping. The best way to do this is to provide and escape clause so that your friend can graciously decline in the event that they cannot do you the favor. Remember you are giving them the choice to comply. You are not commanding them.

Good Escape Clauses Include:

  • “I understand if you can’t help. But I thought I’d ask”.
  • “I understand if you can’t come because you’re busy”.
  • “I would like an introduction to your friend from Apple but I understand if it makes you uncomfortable”.

Friends and colleagues cannot always come through when you ask them a favor due to a variety of reasons. However, you can always ask them favors with grace and gratitude so that you maximize your chances of getting what you want. Hopefully you will be able to pay back the favor once they ask something from you.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Millennials

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Millennials (aka: Generation Y) are an interesting breed.  We’ve experienced quite a drastic change within our lifetime and the way we communicate with one another is very different than the generation before us.  Unfortunately we’re not that easily understood and people tend to categorize us without knowing all the facts.  Below are 7 things you MUST know about millennials before you begin to make judgement.

It’s harder for us to get a job

Contrary to what others may think, our generation aren’t fortunate enough to get a job with just our high school degree.  For most of us, a Bachelors is barely enough to get accepted.  Our parents and grandparents had it much easier than we did in this department.  Demands for our education is increasing, our cost of living is higher, our student loans are piling higher than we’d like…and job opportunities are scarcer than before.

We’re not buying Houses

We’re considering many other alternatives as most of us still prefer to be in the cities where our job opportunities are highest.  And unfortunately that also comes with a very high rent, so we prefer to room with others to save on living expenses.  And we’re also marrying much later as well, so the need to have our own american dream house doesn’t need to be realize so early.

We’re not driving anymore

Again…back to the whole idea of cost of living rising.  It cost on average anywhere from $500-$800 a month to own a car in most cities, and that’s not even including the cost of parking and tickets you’re likely to rack up.  With Uber and Lyft in most major cities nowadays, we’re looking at other alternatives to driving.

Not all of us are Entrepreneurs

Yes…it’s true.  With the boom of entrepreneurs in the recent years, it’s easy to assume that most millennials are following similar footsteps as Zuckerberg and Jobs.  The truth is, although the idea of running your own startup is very appealing, most of us are actually straight up trying to create a profitable company.  We’re still for the same dream, except without the early-stage hustling and grinding.

We want to work for a cause

The work we do does define us, and as Millennials we’re NOT okay with settling for a meaningless job that simply pays the bill.  The job doesn’t have to be high paying, as long as the work we do is meaningful and we are apart of something that’s making waves.

 

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15 Business Ideas to Start Today

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Here’s 15 business ideas to start today. More and more people want to start their own business. The good news is that starting a business no longer takes months of market research and thousands of dollars in capital. In fact, there are business you can start today with little or no capital. Here are some ideas.

1. Freelance

There is an estimated 54 million Americans who have joined the freelance army. You can do anything from blogging to web design. Freelancing is attractive because hours are flexible and you can work from anywhere.

2. Buy and Sell

You can buy and sell anything with the help of sites like eBay, Etsy and Craigslist. You can start by selling stuff you no longer need and go from there. You can also check out drop shipping and affiliate marketing.

3. Tutoring

Start your own tutoring business at home or through the web. If you are good at something like math or science, there are people out there who need help. You can do this online or contact schools nearby to advertise your service to set up tutoring at the student’s home or a coffee shop.

4. Accounting/Bookkeeping Service

You would be surprised how many businessmen do not know how to do their books or set up an accounting system for their business. If you are an accountant and want to go into private practice, advertise your service through flyers or word of mouth. Tax accounting is a lucrative field since many businesses can do day-to-day accounting but don’t have knowledge regarding the tax aspect.

5. Repair Service

It can be computers, cars, gizmos, furniture, or TV. People are always surrounded by technology and chances are, they get broken. If you have talent in repairing, set up a repair shop at home or at a commercial space, and advertise your business.

6. Landscaping

If you enjoy being outside, plants, flowers, and gardening, start a landscaping business within your neighborhood. You start by making your front yard fabulous and people will come and ask about your landscape.

7. Interpreter

If you are fluent in another language, you can have a business as an interpreter or translator. Offer your services to individuals or start an online business transcribing books, letters, or manuscripts.

8. Social Media Manager

Managing different social media accounts can be a full time job and many businesses outsource these to the pros. If you have talent in managing and engaging social media accounts, this can be a business you can start at home.

9. Event Planner

This is a good business for somebody who likes planning and organization. You can organize events, weddings, and parties. You can expand this business by providing other service like invitation printing or cake baking or you can simply affiliate with vendors and take commissions through referrals.

10. Tour Guide

If you have local landmarks nearby, start a tour guide business. You don’t have to have prior knowledge about the site, but it can help. Do research to be familiar about the tourist spots to make the tour enjoyable.

11. Financial Planner

You need to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), but if you already are, offer your services to people who need help in getting their finances in order. You can help them get out of debt or secure their future.

12. Music Teacher

If you play an instrument and have a love for teaching, become a music teacher. You can have people come to your house or visit theirs for a one-on-one session.

13. Cleaning Service

There are many different directions to this business. You can focus on offices and do cleaning after office hours. There are homes that require cleaning or small businesses that need help every now and then.

14. Personal Assistant/Errand Runner

There are many busy people today who do not have time to do their errands. The good news is that you can capitalize on their busyness and become their personal assistant. Check out sites like TaskRabbit or Care.com.

15. Babysitting/Petsitting/Housesitting

This job is not just for teenagers. There are many adults who do this kind of job professionally. We all know why babies need sitters, but some pet owners and homeowners do not like to leave their pets in kennels or houses empty. In cases like this, they want somebody present to personally take care of their pet or property. If you want to do this professionally, personal reputation is important.

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