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Advice From Millennial Entrepreneurs

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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 MeThe 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

Tips For Starting A Profitable Business

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How many entrepreneurs do you know start a company with the intention of failing? We hope that this number is zero, but failure can be the result of a business even if it is unintentional. Serial entrepreneurs know many different ways to fail. This is because success in not guaranteed no matter what business you get into. They also share their tips to avoid failure to help you start a profitable business.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

The phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" also applies to a profitable business. Without talented individuals working for you, it will be very hard to survive. Surround yourself with amazing friends and successful business owners so that you can have access to different skills and knowledge that can help you grow a profitable business and make it thrive.

Build a Strong Foundation

Before starting your business, ask yourself why you're starting it in the first place. How is your product or service going to help your target audience's lives better? How does this idea align with your core values? Do you have a solid profitable business plan to make this dream a reality? The answers to these questions will help your business have a strong foundation.

Perfect Your Pitch

You should be able to describe your company in 3-5 words.  Think of AirBnB: a place to stay. Describing your business concisely will make it easy to understand. If it is easy to understand, it is also easier to sell. When working on your pitch, stay away from mistakes like using industry jargon that is hard to understand for the layman, asking the wrong questions to those who listened to you, not making the pith relevant to the listener or only talking about yourself.

Know Your Competitors

Keep your enemies close and your competitors closer. They are not the enemy but not knowing what they're doing could be harmful to your company. Don’t hesitate to use tools to analyze your competition. Tools like SEMrush, SimilarWeb or even Google Alert can help tell you what your competitor is up to and increase your chances of survival.

Build a "Must Have Product"

Sites like Hacker News have a ton of really cool startups ideas. However, if you really want to increase your chances of survival and success, build a must-have-product instead of a nice-to-have product. The difference between the two is easy to spot. The former is a product that is hard to live without while the latter is more disposable.

Build A Company That You Can Scale Independently of Your Staff

It’s better to grow a company that can be scaled using technology and automation. Take Groupon for example that did the opposite. They have a massive staff because they need it to keep new deals flowing everyday and to service their customers. Their company is not scalable because their growth is dependent on the number of staff their hire. This is why their balance sheet is awful.

Find Ways To Keep Costs Low

You can think of cash as your company's lifeblood and high cost is equivalent to a hemorrhage. Remember that all the cash in the world is not worth anything unless it’s a positive cash flow. Find ways to keep your costs low like going directly to the supplier or negotiating for better prices. Find better ways to finance transactions and ways to work out deals.

Focus on Sales and Marketing

Nothing happens in business unless a sale is made. From the start, find ways to get leads and ways to convert those leads into sales and make sure you are getting repeat sales from your customers. To do this you need an effective sales and marketing funnel that you can work, test and measure.

Always Find Ways To Increase Profits

Don’t rest on your laurels yet. Don’t just be happy with getting customers and making them buy from you. Always find ways to get them to buy more.

Embrace Creativity

Brands like Apple and Ikea stand the test of time because they have followers who are loyal to them. They also differentiated their companies from their competitors by embracing innovation and creativity. Reach out to your employees and don’t be afraid to use their ideas. Launching new products and developing a clever marketing campaign is a good way of retaining that competitive edge your company needs.

Test and Measure

Are your marketing campaigns increasing sales? Is your social media presence helping drive traffic to your website? Testing and measuring everything gives you perspective especially if you want to find ways to increase traffic and keep costs down. Use tools like Google Analytics and Unbounce to help you test and measure marketing campaigns.

Empower Your Staff

No matter how big or small you are, empowering your staff by letting their voices be heard can help boost your profitability. When they feel that they are contributing or when you give them freedom to work, you are making them feel wanted which can greatly affect their productivity and self confidence.
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Interview With Interior Designer Taylor Spellman, Host Of “Yours, Mine Or Ours”

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taylor spellmanTransforming from dancer to interior designer, Taylor Spellman is as creative as they come. Taylor is a recognized interior designer and staging expert in New York with a portfolio of multi-million dollar clientele, including Ryan Serhant of BRAVO’s “Million Dollar Listing.” Her unique style of mixing high end with treasures from Goodwill has earned her a position as host of BRAVO series “Yours, Mine Or Ours” alongside real estate agent Reza Farahan. Her firm TSNY handles 30 million dollar’s worth  of real estate daily. Because of this, Taylor Spellman manages the best team possible including Vice President, Lana Ataman, and Lead Designer, Jacqueline Leung.
Taylor Spellman works with finesse. Her sense of humor and bright personality shines through in her work and as a host for “Yours, Mine Or Ours.” She takes care of her clients by personally taking the time to learn about their lifestyle and how interior design can elevate their lives. During the design process, she gets deep into the nitty gritty, overseeing each stage until completion. Her Instagram and Twitter is flooded with pictures of her projects and bits of advice for aspiring interior designers. Taylor Spellman talks to Owner's Mag about TSNY, design strategy, and being the host of “Million Dollar Listing”. 

How did you build a business around interior design?

I built a business around interior design by capitalizing on a niche in the market. When I started, no one was doing interior design just for bachelors. I felt strongly that it was strongly due to the fact that there wasn’t a service being offered versus there being a need for it. I became known as doing interior design for men, and that gave me a competitive edge and people found out about me quicker, and ultimately word of mouth lead to more clients and a full blown firm.

What are some key factors you think about when designing a room?

  1. How does this person really live?
  2. How do you maximize the functionality of the space?
  3. How do I bring my client’s personality into the space to make it reflect who they are and make them feel very much at home?

When do you consider a room “done”?

Accessorizing. People often lay the groundwork but then stop after they have their coffee table, rug, and couch… but a layer of décor delivers the personal touch that make the home feel like you.

What is your average day to day like?

I would love to tell you that I get up and do yoga and relax, but in reality I hop up, get the biggest coffee possible and get going. It is a beautiful and hectic madness. I like to spend the majority of my day on-site with my clients and projects. Sometimes I’ll be in a client’s living room painting custom artwork, sometimes I’ll be running around coordinating contractors and electricians to make sure everything is on point. I am extremely detail oriented so every single piece of the puzzle matters to me.

How has hosting a hit TV show influenced your lifestyle?

It’s been interesting because I’ve been very hard at work for the past ten years, hustling, and trying to make a name for myself. And this show has definitely shifted things over the hill. Needless to say, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over getting recognized. That is something that will always be crazy to me.

What do you look for in a team?

First and foremost I think about work ethic. Is this person willing to work really hard and put in the hours, and be dedicated? Second I think about one’s ability to think outside the box. Interior design and staging change by the second, and there’s really no formula, so I need my team to be able to really think on their feet. And that’s easier said than done.

What was the biggest challenge since starting your business?

My number one challenge has definitely been to ‘stay the course’. There are so many things that come up that really make you truly believe you’re on the wrong path, but if you have enough conviction, dedication and talent, then you just need to remember to stay on track and you will find success.

What is your favorite moment of 2016?

Watching the first episode of ‘Yours, Mine or Ours’ air. It was a very full circle moment for me, getting to see the fruit of my work come alive in a completely different format.

What are some tips you can give to aspiring interior designers?

Figure out what your unique selling point is. Is it your style, your personality? Is it your ability to make clients feel comfortable enough to use their own aesthetic in the place? Figure out what makes YOU unique and run like hell with it. Never stop.
taylor spellman

87 Leonard Street

taylor spellman

87 Leonard Street

taylor spellman

87 Leonard Street

taylor spellman 
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6 Books That Will Change Your Life

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Whether you're going through a transition in life, starting a new career, ending a career, or simply looking for ways to improve yourself, there's likely a book for that. But today there are thousands upon thousands of self-help books from qualified authors to choose from, which ones do you pick? We've curated a list of some of the best self-help books for you to check out.

Think And Grow Rich

This comes as no surprise to anyone. Think And Grow Rich is one of the best self-help book ever written. To date, it's helped hundreds of millions of people discover themselves. The book is a practical guide that outlines some fundamental laws that govern success and has been released internationally in just about every language.Buy it here

How To Win Friends And Influence People

Dale Carnegie's work was released in 1936, but it still remains a popular choice nowadays. The advice and practical tips suggested applies today as much as it did when it was originally published. To date, it's sold more than 15 million copies and can be found on the shelves of many executives.Buy it here

The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People

Originally published in 1989, Steven R. Covey's work became an instant bestseller and today still can be found in every Barnes & Noble. It's been reprinted and sold over 25 million copies in over 40 languages. The book provides valuable knowledge on how to be a more effective you whether at work or in your personal life.Buy it here

The Road Less Traveled

Over 7 million copies sold in it's most recent print, translated in over 23 different languages, and being on the New York's Best Seller's list for over 10 years, this is a rare gem you don't want to miss out on. Dr. Peck's teaches his reader how to live a full and complete life, how to differentiate dependency from love, and how to find your true self.Buy it here

The 5 Love Languages

Who knew there were 5 different languages of love? Dr. Gary Chapman did and his work has helped millions of people all over the world to renew their intimacy, learn how to love, and most importantly - learn how to receive love better. Beyond simply helping with personal relationships, learning the 5 love languages will also give readers better insights into dealing with people both at work and at home.Buy it here

The Art Of Happiness

Who's more qualified to write a book about happiness than the Dalai Lama? Despite the great loss his country and he personally have suffered, the Dalai Lama remains positive and enthusiastic whenever you see him. Those who have been fortunate enough to be in his presence reported feeling lighter and even happier within just a few short moments. Coauthoring with Dr. Howard C. Cutler, The Art Of Happiness is a book that will arm you with the knowledge and tools to overcome everyday challenges and discover a better version of you - one that is happier and more fulfilled.Buy it here
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